A Culture of Compassion and Dialogue – Day 272 of 365 Days to a Better You

Say something, do something, or be someone I don’t like and I’ll flame you, unfollow you, or even block you. If I REALLY don’t like what you said, I may seek to enlist others to ruin your career or even cancel you from our culture.

I reserve the right not to expose myself to ideas that challenge my worldview. If you cross that line, I reserve the right to destroy you. It doesn’t matter to me if you’re a famous celebrity or a long-lost friend from elementary school.

Meanwhile, I also reserve the right to be completely hypocritical about how and when I apply these standards, if they’re violated by political, religious, or cultural heroes of mine and it causes me too much cognitive dissonance to apply my standards to them, I’ll ignore and defend them to my last tweet.

This is the mindset of what some have called “Cancel Culture” or what I’ve called for years the Unfollow, Unfriend Culture. Social media, with it’s ability to block or delete someone with a single click, has simplified this, as have prevalent cultural mindsets that subdivide human beings into real and false tribes. Either agree with me 100 percent or I’m instantly clicking you out of my life.

What all of this really is, in my humble opinion, is the mindset of an infantile ego. It’s a small child stamping her feet to get her way. It is not the mindset that creates a compassionate, free, or democratic society where dialogue happens. It’s a recipe to further and further divide us into smaller and smaller circles ending with us being alone and ruled by that childish ego.

We’ve given this brand of ego the ability to create its own despotic fiefdom in our minds.

Is this the enlightened society we want? Do you REALLY want to disown your cousin or your best friend from second grade because he or she voted for someone different or fails one of your cultural litmus tests? What of their humanity? What of yours?

Is it really sound judgment to dismiss people that way? Think how complex and contradictory you are. Shouldn’t they be given the same slack?

I absolutely believe this mindset is an existential threat to critical thinking, freedom, and the compassionate society we must be building in the 21st century. I run several Facebook pages. I’ve never blocked one person, even when they’ve been disrespectful to me. Instead, I try to remind them of their humanity and mine and reestablish that connection. I’ve been instantly blocked on Twitter for daring to disagree, but I’ve never blocked one person. I simply don’t believe in it. Free speech gives other people the right to disagree even with my most cherished ideals. I never forget their humanity or that freedom because my ego is bruised.

This kind of culture only persists because we allow it to. If the social norm was to think of everyone you encounter as a free human being who is where they are in their journey based on their experiences just like us, maybe we’d have more compassion and understanding for their position.

I want to close today with an affirmation of sorts; a kind of pledge. Are you willing?

Affirmation: I refuse to participate in a culture that demeans, dismisses, and cancels other human beings. I’m beautiful, but far from perfect myself. I choose to see that beauty and accept that imperfection in others. I don’t know everything and I haven’t experienced everything. I accept that others can look at life and reach different, reasonable positions from mine. I reserve the right to dialogue respectfully with others in an attempt to persuade them, in the best tradition of a free society. However, I refuse to strip them of their humanity or diminish mine in that process. A sane, enlightened world is possible and I will do my part to bring that world to life.

I love and respect each and every one of you. No matter how similar or disparate our experiences or our views. Namaste and Aloha. I bow to greatness in you and I come to you with respect

Ray

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Collective Mental Empowerment Part I – The Affirmation Spot for Monday June 22, 2009

Today’s affirmation is:

“Change the world…I am changing the world one loving action at a time.” (Click to download this affirmation in MP3 audio)

Man_StressedToday in Part I of II we will explore the ways in which broad swaths of humanity are systematically, divided and disempowered (i.e. The Problem).  We briefly look at the methods used today and through the centuries – consciously or unconsciously – by religious, political, and ideological leaders to control, manipulate, and get the masses to serve  the leaders’ interests rather than their own.

The key is that you cannot counter disempowering messages until you clearly recognize them in the mental environment around you. This is going deep for a Monday, but the issue of collective empowerment and the tools of disempowerment are critical to our ability to advance. In Part II, we will discuss some possible solutions.

The Problem: Collective Forms of Disempowerment

When most people think of empowered thinking or motivation they think of it on the scale of the individual. This is appropriate since all change that comes to our individual lives or the collective world is generated within us first. However, the collective mental environment can and does have a very real impact on all of our lives and outcomes.

So, nothing discussed in this article should be interpreted to encourage you to fall into the trap of “waiting until the world is perfect” before you act to better your circumstances. Today’s post is not designed to provide a reason to avoid moving forward in your own life, but is rather a nod to the fact that our collective thought environment does impact us all.

What is the state of our collective thought environment today on planet Earth? Are people largely empowered to pursue who they are, their goals and dreams, and live out their purposes; or are people largely discouraged from doing so? Do those conditions really differ so much from “free nations” to “unfree nations” or are the means of the disempowerment simply more sophisticated? Does freedom consist of being able to take a vacation once a year and pulling a lever to pick a leader every few years? Isn’t it about true self-determination and the right to live your purpose?

“None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free.” ~ Goethe

I would argue that most people never question the religion they were born into, rarely question the political system they were born into, rarely question the national motives of their government, fail to see the ways their behaviors are drastically altered by advertisers and societal conformity-meisters. I am not suggesting that any particular system is right or wrong; only that most people have no idea about the truth, wisdom, or benefits because they have never looked into it for themselves. They have obtained their wisdom, beliefs, and habits second-hand.

Given this, most of humanity can be persuaded to see those who differ from them as threat, less than, or even unworthy to live. How did we reach these conclusions? Did we even reach them for ourselves or have we been swept along by the mindless forces of societies carefully conditioned by thought-shapers?

Adolph Hitler’s Information Minister Joseph Goebbels clearly stated the point of view of those who seek to disempower the people.

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

~ Joseph Goebbels – Adolph Hitler’s Information Minister

“It is part of the general pattern of misguided policy that our country is now geared to an arms economy which was bred in an artificially induced psychosis of war hysteria and nurtured upon an incessant propaganda of fear.”

~ General Douglas MacArthur

I would argue that most us have not made the conscious choices on these issues based on reason or from a love-centered perspective. Instead, we have been propelled along by fear-centered, conditioned thinking that operates only at the level of mere survival and places the highest value on comfort.

We are content to allow “the experts” to think for us. We place a high degree of faith in the fact that these experts and institutions would never break our trust and have our best interests at heart.

This mindset is shaped by events and crises planted in our minds by media, government, religion, and the people around us – themselves conditioned by the same forces. The mindset is encouraged by “positive” messages like “All is well”, “Keep shopping”, “We’ll take care of you” or “negative” messages like “It’s a dangerous world out there”, “We’ll protect you”, “Don’t question the leaders”. Concepts like patriotism, religious heresy, and social outcasting are used to keep the majority in line and in control.

You may have heard some of the tell-tale signs of this disempowerment escape your own lips at times:

  • “You can’t fight city hall.”
  • “They would never…”
  • “That’s just the way the world has always been.”
  • “Corruption is to be expected.”
  • “What can one person do?”
  • “I can’t do anything about it.”

I would further argue, that while some of this is harmless advertising or persuasion, much of it is carefully planned and implemented to shape the world in a way that empowers a few and disempowers the many.

Occasionally, a moment of awakening happens, as events in Iran over the past few days have again demonstrated. These moments often erupt with anger and violence like the jolt of an earthquake when the Earth’s crust finally must give way to the force.

Suddenly the level of discomfort becomes sufficient for people to act out. The thought shapers fully expect that is will happen occasionally. Yet, they know they can generally wait out the people and things will die down.

These situations could be avoided or lessened significantly by reducing the stresses that oppression, of all kinds, inevitably creates. In the next article, we will explore ways to do that. For now let’s define the problem.

The problem can be summed up in a simple equation.

Fear-Based Thinking + Short Circuit of Love-Based and Reason-Based Thinking = Mental/Spiritual Disempowerment

In other words, we are disempowered to the degree that we make our decisions based on fear rather than love or reason. This scenario is usually presented to us in the Chicken Little Formula. The sky is falling and unless you act on a prescribed solution right this moment you are going to lose something of value. Alternatives are few or one and there is no time for discussion. Often we are told there is no alternative (TINA). Sound familiar?

When we are forced think from our fear-center we are not able to evaluate situations from reason or love….it’s physically impossible. So, if someone wants you disempowered, they must keep you in perpetual fear of someone or something. Our political, religious, and media leaders do a very effective job at promoting fear and activating our fear-center of thinking.

“Hurry, ” they say. “There is crisis. We must act NOW!” When a herd of cattle acts now from fear they can run right off a cliff.

Constant Crisis = Perpetual Fear

The Economy

The Climate

War and Peace

Global Pandemic

End Times

Earth’s Destruction


Your disempowerment always accrues to those spreading the fear as more power for them…always. If humanity is to progress and prosper, we need to deactivate our fear centers and activate our reasoning and love centers. Doing so immunizes us against the constant fear being planted in our subconscious.

There are three broad systems (with many guises and derivations) that implement the fear and execute the transfer of power from the people to those generating monster shadows on the walls of your mind.

It must be said that the mere existence of these systems is not the real cause of our problems. For none of them could exist without the consent of a lot of people. It is the way that billions of people on this planet voluntarily cede their thought processes, their attitudes, their beliefs, and ultimately their actions to these systems that makes them possible. The real culprit that underlies all negative emotion and the propagation of these mindsets on the planet is FEAR.

The three disempowerment systems that drain collective human empowerment are:

  1. Political tyranny – tyranny happens in the political realm when the many give away their innate dignity and freedom to choose to a political/financial elite out of fear – often manipulated or perceived fear. Two scenarios are common:
    • A strong leader such as a Hitler or Mussolini comes along promising a return to greatness and initially playing on peoples’ innate desire to achieve. Slowly, the dictator accrues more and more power to himself, using the ultimate goal as the excuse. There is often a cult of personality that develops around the leader. This proceeds until no one can question the leader.
    • Tyrants often find it effective to have external threats or internal crises (real or manufactured) to help them unify the people against something big and scary and consolidate power.
  2. Religious Dogma – we should be clear that religious dogma is not religious faith or spiritual practice. Dogma rules the spiritual realm when we trade an ever-living relationship with our spiritual core or the divine for a system of static rules and tradition administered by an elite religious hierarchy. The hierarchy place limits on the human beings under their control by positioning themselves and their rules as a false intermediary between the individual and God. Most people on the planet believe in a divinity and an after life in one form or another. The fear factor when people believe religious elites hold eternal fates in their hands, is very high. People obey for fear of losing their eternal souls. It’s a ready source of control and manipulation. Generally, these systems seek to discredit all other means of worship and sometimes even counter the basics of their own teachings to support or actively participate in attacks on believers in other systems.
  3. Ideological Conformity – ideological conformity is a kind of modern, more sophisticated synthesis of tyranny and dogma. It incorporates formal conditioning with “the cool factor”.  People are more concerned with what is perceived as cool than what is right or what makes sense. It was not really possible until the age of mass media. It is perhaps the most pernicious because it uses modern advertising and mind conditioning techniques to encourage the masses to place mental and sometimes physical shackles on their own hands, feet, and minds. Modern advertising and psychology have the methods for mass manipulation down to a science. The completely systematic pattern in this system is to take a legitimate concern such as terrorism or environmental degradation, blow it completely out of proportion to its reality, and then condition, condition, condition until people willingly buy into the ideological elite’s solutions to the problems. This usually involves a loss of personal freedom, the imposition of self-policing of the ideology, and an ever-present burning crisis that makes the whole system necessary.

Fear is Why These Systems Succeed

The common thread in all of these systems is fear. Fear that is used by a few to manipulate, limit, and control the aspirations, thoughts, and dreams of the many. These mindsets reduce the vibration and the possibility in the collective mental/spiritual environment and place false limits on individuals and humanity as a whole. This system benefits the few who perpetuate it, but reduces horizons for those of us who allow ourselves to be controlled by it.

Fear and the Brain

Stress and the Brain



These strategies are highly effective in telling us what’s cool and what’s uncool, who to admire and who to despise, who to point the guns and the bombs at, and who is in God’s favor and who is not. Oh, and by the way, they’re also good at selling us products because it is the exact same process.

“From a marketing point of view, you don’t roll out new products in August.” –White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, on why the Bush administration waited until after Labor Day to try to sell the American people on war against Iraq, “New York Times” interview, Sept. 7, 2002 (Source)

The strategy in each system is to activate the fear center in your brain. You’re afraid of external threats, going to hell, terrorists, financial meltdown, global warming, or the next pandemic. There is a legitimate reason for associating fear with each of these things. If any of them were to actually occur, it could be frightening. Fear short circuits reason and absolutely disempowers those who succumb to it.

What the fear-masters have recognized is that as long as you are afraid you won’t question or reason out their solutions. The key is to keep you perpetually in fear mode. The fear center of the human brain reacts completely on survival instinct and emotion.

Reason-centered, or better love-centered, thinking does not even get tagged into the ring to have its chance. They can manipulate the majority any time they want as certainly as getting cash out of an ATM – as long as you and I let them.

“He that cannot reason is a fool. He that will not is a bigot. He that dare not is a slave.”

~ Andrew Carnegie

Have you noticed in the past few years how many “worst crises” we’ve ever faced have been foist upon us? How many of them have actually been true? How much real solid evidence or facts were we given to back up the claims? Have you reasonably looked at alternative information or courses of action or have we simply reacted in a manner consistent with the ready-made solutions?

The truth of the scenario quickly loses ground amid the herd mentality thinking that follows. Something need not be true it simply needs to be scary enough to convince us to relinquish a little personal power. With each crisis, we give up a little bit more. What have we given up in response to these repetitive fear-centered activations?

Of course, the final illusion in all these systems is that we readily see it in other peoples’ beliefs, but not our own. This fun fact makes it easy for the differences to be stirred up as sources of conflict by those imposing the systems of mind control.

This is a big topic and there could be books written on it. The key is to remember that when you or any of us are making decisions from a place of fear we are not thinking clearly. We can be convinced to act against our own best interests and even our most cherished beliefs.

That is the problem. In Part II, we will discuss some ways we can mitigate these techniques and begin to empower our thinking and that of the people around us.

Stay inspired!

Ray

2009 Affirmation

“This year I am absolutely committed to being the person I came here to be!”