May 22, 2012

Are We All Insane?

Image: Rebecca L. Daily

The reasonable man adapts himself to the conditions that surround him… The unreasonable man adapts surrounding conditions to himself… All progress depends on the unreasonable man.
~ George Bernard Shaw

I was talking to a friend the other day who was very kindly pointing out some of my behavioural “issues.”

According to Peter Senge, very few of us reach adulthood without some challenges to self esteem mixed with feelings of powerlessness. Negative thoughts and behaviours often stem from incorrect assumptions. Our outer world is really a merciless reflection of our inner world. But one thought surprised me: the world of people would be classified as truly insane.

I don’t think individually we’re all insane but, collectively, we act delusional to the point of absurdity. I sat and pondered on five assumptions which prove the point. Ironically, if you were to ask people if they actually believe these assumptions, they would most probably deny it. And yet, they are the cornerstones of our collective behaviour today.

Listen to the Master but beware his limitations.
~ Zen

One person has all the answers… With all the experts working on the challenges of the world, why are so few solved? If the leaders of nations are so clever, why do they not fundamentally solve the climate problem? Why do we have child poverty in developed countries? You get the idea, it’s because no one person has all the answers or is able to implement the ones they do have.

Many of our biggest achievements seem to come from international collaborations.
~ Alice Gast

Only by working democratically and collectively will we begin to fundamentally solve challenges. It’s time to stop following presidents, it’s all one-sided ideology. It’s time to remove the barriers across borders; they’re just an extension of ego.

Experts are useful when their knowledge is utilised in context. Leaders are great for inspiring and enabling as long as they remain servants. Competition for resources and controlling behaviours need to be replaced with collaboration, connectivity and contribution to the whole.

America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter, and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.
~Abraham Lincoln

War leads to peace… Feel any safer after several wars? How do you feel about the loss of hundreds of thousands of innocent lives? War is never the answer, but whilst we support a military machine, we will continue to have war. Lincoln was right: we are faltering and, as a result, losing our freedoms and dignity from within.

Capitalism and the market are presented as synonymous, but they are not. Capitalism is both the enemy of the market and democracy.
~David Korten

Capitalism is the best we got. As I watched an equine dentist struggle with a not-so-small horse, I wondered what makes someone get into that field. It was because she wanted to be a vet but she realised most vets were being influenced to maintain certain product quotas in order to safeguard their monetary sponsorships. She didn’t agree with that. 

She also mentioned that food, recommended by some vets, can be responsible for giving pets diabetes which of course creates more demand for vet services.

Another friend of mine working in big pharma, said his company would rather make a drug that keeps people alive over several decades, not cure them. They earn more money that way.

Whoever believes in continuous growth in a finite world is either mad or an economist.
~ David Attenborough

Continual economic growth always leads to a systemic collapse just as a cancer does. It’s time to explore a healthier alternative.

The rich will look after us… It turns out that the increase in money the wealthy have accumulated in the U.K. over the last three years could pay off the budget deficit and still leave £30bn to spare. But what staggers me is that people are waiting for help to arrive from the same institutions that created the problems in the first place.

The rich are always going to say that, you know, just give us more money and we’ll go out and spend more and then it will all trickle down to the rest of you. But that has not worked the last 10 years, and I hope the American public is catching on.
~ Warren Buffett

We are all products of our environments, the wealthy just happen to be at the top of the tree. There are not enough reasons for those at the top to change anything. That unfortunately means we, the 99.997 percent, are on our own.

We’re helpless… Of course we’re not, but we act as though we are. The majority of people who support the Occupy movement carried on working. They didn’t turn up and that’s exactly what the institutions depend on. We’re all too comfortable. At some point, we are going to have to make a stand and unplug ourselves from the comfort blanket of the Matrix.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
~ Margaret Mead.

That’s why enlightened entrepreneurial leaders are not waiting for the rest of the world. Nor are they wasting energy fighting the status quo. Enlightened people are creating new paradigms to live by today. They understand that there are no “real” challenges that we cannot fundamentally solve now, given the knowledge available collectively today. Only the will to walk a different path, to be different, to appear quirky, maybe even insane. I think more people need to have issues with mediocrity and the status quo.

~ Like elephant enlightened society on facebook. ~

Editor: Lynn Hasselberger

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