Wednesday, 29 February 2012

And the Debate Begins… Peer-to-Peer and Marxism:
Quote from above – ‘The key is that generalized non-reciprocity cannot be imposed by any top-down force, however benign, but must by necessity mature in the real society as people can gradually move towards it as sufficiency and abundance replace scarcity dynamics.’

One large factor being ignored here is the role of childcare usually provided by the mother, the basis of all non-reciprocal relationships, producing value which is nowhere acknowledged as an economic asset, but without which no society could exist. or regenerate itself. I hesitate to mention the word ‘love’ in this context but without it why would people move towards more generalised reciprocity? It is that primary relationship with a carer – not to exclude fathers or others – which is the first experience of sufficiency and abundance, which will set the pattern of receiving and giving, and will enable a deeper connection with and solidarity with humanity as a whole. In that ability to care, engendered by that first primary relationship, care for ourselves and the other, we can discover our deep need to give, to contribute to another’s well-being, which can nourish our own dignity and empowerment. Through that experience we can envisage the maturity described above moving towards the ‘social individualism’ described by Marx and further towards the ‘Communism [that] is the voluntary cooperation among individuals for both social good and for their own pleasure and development.’

This is not a relationship that has to be created. It is our natural relationship to each other and to the world which is distorted by the economic system of markets and money mechanisms, which alienates us from our true selves. It remains to be discovered when that conditioning and those conditions are thrown off. Whether we have to go through a transition period will depend more, in my opinion, on how quickly we recognise the motivating role of Love and the priority of the mother/carer/child relationship.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Thoughts on Anger in Protest Activism

Anger is not the central issue. It is more a symptom of not being in touch with our hearts, and of seeing the other, as the Dalai Lama said, as an independant absolute. He spoke about protest being justified at times when there are situations which are causing suffering, and there may be a need to use harsh, ferocious words or actions to communicate protest. When that is motivated by compassion it is valid. So I would prefer to focus on the need to stay in touch with the heart and compassion as the motivating force behind everything we do, because I think this gets to the heart of my concern.
I would not call it 'altruism', or 'selflessness', as the Dalai Lama did, since that signifies putting others first, before me, implying sacrifice. The way I see it is when I am aware that we are all one family, I see my welfare inextricably bound up with the welfare of others. I see them as My Family. When I show them compassion I feel good. You could even say I do it for selfish reasons. Who cares? We all benefit, and that's the point.
So protest has to be moderated by this underlying recognition that my enemy is not my enemy but is part of my family. I may use harsh words or actions, but all the time I need to remember I do not do it to punish them, but to benefit them and me.
How do we establish that we are all one family?
Dalai Lama says there is a reality which is to do with 'knowing', but is not established by scientific measurement, or intellect. That reality which we know in our bones, in our heart, is what we need to access, and keep contact with. It is our innate wisdom, buried deep under layers of 'knowledge' learned in school and accumulated through our years of socialisation.
I was very moved by the Dalai Lama pointing to his mother as the one who first gave him a taste of this compassion.  Through his education and study he could acknowledge the importance of her input. How many men would be able to say - actually he didn't use the word 'love', he said 'affection' - that they had imbibed this from their mothers. This aspect is to do with reconnecting with the feminine, something which may come more naturally to a woman. but is certainly not exclusive to them.

Recording of Dalai Lama 


Friday, 17 February 2012

A Positive Approach

I have found myself getting more and more out of step with the way things are developing on the international Occupy scene, as expressed on the Squares and other international email lists. I see a multiplicity of proposed protests, demos and 'actions', with the probability of confrontation and violence escalating, as they are in Greece, and few voices, if any, expressing the possibility of responding with more positive passion to the situation. Not to deny the anger and frustration, but to explore using the energy constructively, to build the alternative system we all want, pointing to a view of humanity as one family, rather than espousing the values of the industrial growth economic system we now have, which separate us from each other and the earth.
I know that there are others who want a more constructive way to connect. Perhaps it is possible to form a different approach, based on acknowledging the work we have to do on ourselves, in order to free ourselves from the value system we have grown up with, and recognising also how destructive the expression of self righteous anger can be, however valid the justification, as when the violence is perpetrated by a government against its own people.

  • Anger allows us to feel powerful, even if only for a short time. As a reaction to feelings of impotency and frustration it gives us for a limited time a feeling that we can achieve what we want, that we are strong, and can impose our will.
  • There is at the moment very little acknowledgement within Occupy of the need to work on ourselves, 'be the change we want to see'. Paulo Friere wrote of how easy it is for revolutionaries to re-enact the oppressive methods of the ruling elites. We have been brought up with this stuff, it pervades our every thought and action, unless we consciously work to overcome these barriers.
  • Unfortunately ANGER shouts louder than 'love' (using that as a shorthand to describe the alternative), and it is easy to become intimidated, so that it feels heretical to express a different viewpoint, and certainly in comparison, it seems weak and ineffective.
Would you be interested in helping to formulate some alternatives to the multiplicity of protests and actions which are being planne?