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| Success for Society
Here are some ways to gauge how successful or
healthy is a culture, country or world.
How does the society/nation/world handle:-
Mothers - Mothers are the foundation of all things. Through mothers all things come into being. Are Mothers at the centre of your society?
In the UK in 2019, the first political party honouring this reality was registered. Motherworld can be the policy of any nation. Their vision:
MotherWorld is the society where Mother Earth, mothers and the value of mothering - love, care and support for each other, and for all Her creatures and nature - are placed in the Centre of our lives and communities, rather than being left out on the periphery.
Iceland, with Scotland and New Zealand, are prioritising family-friendly values over GDP.
Birth - "The freedom in a country can be measured by the freedom of birth." (Ágnes Geréb) See here.
"Women are not dying [around birth] because of diseases we cannot treat; they are dying because societies have yet to make the decision that their lives are worth saving."
(Quote cited in Midwifery Today 2010 article, accessed online 15 January 2020; read why there...)
In our world, birth is under the stranglehold of fear, medicine, money and patriarchy.
Birth needs to be returned to women and to evolutionary ways.
"I make milk. What's your superpower?"
Do all the mothers in your society say this?
Attachment Parenting - Attachment Parenting is not something new to learn, but rather a return to ancient, evolutionary, instinctive ways. See here, here.
'Attachment Parenting is an application of sensitive responsive parenting. Attachment Parenting is based in the practice of nurturing parenting methods that create strong emotional bonds, also known as secure attachment, between children and their parent(s). This style of parenting encourages responsiveness to children’s emotional needs, enabling children to develop trust that their needs will be met. As a result, this strong attachment helps children develop the capacity for secure, empathic, peaceful, and enduring relationships that follow them into adulthood.' (Attachment Parenting International, dated 1994-2019, accessed 3 March 2019)
We do not practise or prioritise this Love. Instead we are all about efficiency, technology, money, productivity and growth.
“Something new can enhance, encourage or evolve the tribe or it can undermine, devalue or destroy what nature and instinct would preserve. Instinct injury is the greatest loss to survival and happiness.”
(Sister MorningStar, accessed online 11 October 2018)
"When we invest in early childhood, we invest in society as a whole. When you pay attention to the beginning of a story, you can change the whole story. For the better!" (Notes from The Beginning of Life documentary, 2016, ±1h27m)
We need to rediscover this powerful Love instinct!
“There is no single effort more radical in its potential for saving the world than a transformation of the way we raise our children.” (Marianne Williamson)
Children - "The true character of society is revealed in how it treats its children." (Nelson Mandela)
So, how is our society doing?
Nearly 1 in 10 children are forced into child slavery (Unicef, accessed 18 April 2022)? You may be complicit if you eat, if you wear clothes, if you use modern tech.
When they arrive as refugees in the UK, the Government treats them like shite?
The richest country in the world - the supposedly pro-life and family-friendly USA - drops their own children into poverty and hunger.
The Climate and Ecological Emergency, created and defended by the 'elite' of the existing system, doom our children to unimaginable horror. Not only is this ecocide, it is neocide (a neologism = the deliberate killing of young people and future generations).
Let's riff with Mandela:-
I see the response of those in power as abysmal. "They claim to know God, but by their actions, they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good." (Bible, Titus 1:16)
Will those in power get anywhere near Heaven? "Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." (Jesus Christ, Bible, Mark 10:15) Hence, no! Not any time soon - as they fail to understand the needs of children.
So, it is totally understandable when we see the young rebel (XR Youth, School Strike for Climate, Just Stop Oil, Sunrise Movement, etc.) and/or be weighed down with existential dread.
"Kids today wouldn’t be so depressed about all the catastrophes around them if there was more evidence that the powers that be gave enough of a fuck about their lives to actually DO SOMETHING about it."
(Mary Annaïse Heglar, quoted here, posted 17 April 2022, accessed 18 April 2022)
FFS, treat the children with compassion. FFS, create a better world for them. FFS, act.
Animals - "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." (Gandhi)
Diet - How pure is the diet of your culture?
Many are getting woke to the idea that a plant-based diet is essential to minimise climate change. But apart from Environmental, there are other reasons: Evolutionary, Financial, Health, Anatomical, Ethical, Spiritual. Read more at:-
Sports - In the modern world, competitive sports are at the centre, in entertainment, in education systems. Obviously they can be exciting to watch.
But what if most schoolkids dislike participating in them? What if they prefer to play non-competitive sports?
What if indigenous cultures prefer win-win physical activities?
Or, as in certain indigenous cultures, if you can be first in a race, and you do so more than once, it is seen as disrespectful. Is this way healthier for a society?
Just as with the misunderstanding of evolution - where life is seen as a competitive contest when for the most part it is not this - the same applies to sports, surely? Most of the time life is co-operative. Surely we need our sports to reflect the overwhelming amount of co-operation seen in nature?
The evidence of kids' preferences suggests this - see No Contest - The Case Against Competition (Why we lose in our race to win) by Alfie Kohn [also see here, here].
So surely we need a culture filled predominantly with co-operative exercise/sports? This needs to apply in education and for community events where everyone can participate. From unifying group dances to actual games, there is so much fun to be had.
Cooperative activities and physical activities individually produce such good feelings. What do you think will happen when they are combined? There is so much to invent...
Cooperation is a vital survival skill. Evolution tells us it more important than competition and thus surely needs to be central to any culture, including its sports?
‘Around the world, rape and sexual abuse are everyday violent occurrences -- affecting close to a billion women and girls over their lifetimes. However, despite the pervasiveness of these crimes, laws are insufficient, inconsistent, not systematically enforced and, sometimes, promote violence.’ (Equality Now, undated, accessed 6 March 2017)
"Unless governments fix their laws on rape and sexual assault and implement them effectively and sensitively, we are unlikely to see an end to the worldwide abuse of women and girls anytime soon." (Yasmeen Hassan, Global Executive Director of Equality Now)
Help your society to be successful by helping Equality Now!
(2) Do we need money? Consider:-
Captain Picard: "The economics of the future is somewhat different. You see, money doesn't exist in the 24th century."
Lily Sloane: "No money! You mean you don't get paid?"
Captain Picard: "The acquisition of wealth is no longer the driving force in our lives. We work to better ourselves and the rest of humanity."
Work - There are various issues:-
Politics - "Access to power must be confined to those who are not in love with it." (Plato)
Our mission - should we accept it - is building a Utopia, Heaven on Earth.
Politics is so full of lies and corruption. It is evilly busy with genocide and ecocide.
Dictators are rife (Trump, Xi Jingping, Boris Johnson, Putin, Bolsonaro, Duterte, el-Sisi, Orbán, Duda, Erdoğan, Lukashenko, MBS, al-Assad, Modi, Min Aung Hlaing, Kim Jong-un, Scott Morrison, etc.). In an unstable world, they are only likely to fester and seek further control.
We have to work very hard to counter this.
So here are some of the next steps and other considerations:-
Art - "...a sign of a functioning society is the independence of its artists to create work that pushes against prevailing political tides.... artists can – should – act as a nation’s conscience, expressing truths that may be unpalatable or otherwise inexpressible."
(Charlotte Higgins, The Guardian, posted and accessed 6 December 2021)
Art is: Painting, Sculpture, Literature, Architecture, Film, Music, Theatre/Performing, etc.
But does your society allow the many arts to flourish without state control?
Intuition - "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift." (Albert Einstein)
We undervalue and besmirch the intuitive. Although science has been helpful in reducing charlatanism and dismantling unquestioning belief, it has become too dry, too clinical, too reductionist, too dominant, too damning of anything it cannot measure. We need intuitive compassionate societies served by the rational mind.
Environment - Does your society care, nurture and protect it? Or does your society rape, monetise and exploit it? Probably the latter? So, surely we need: 'System Change, not Climate Change'. Greta Thunberg (Swedish climate activist) explains:-
Rather focus on saving the myriad species and on the system change so urgently required!
Energy - "One five thousandth’s part [of the energy that the sun sprays on the earth every day] would provide all the energy requirements of humanity. And the fact that we haven’t tapped it directly before is really extraordinary. We... understand the principles. What we need now is to refine them so that we can do it really economically. And then the fossil fuels, or oil and coal, would simply remain in the earth and cause no more problems for the climate." (Sir David Attenborough, BBC, 49s, posted and accessed 30 November 2015)
Controlling energy resources is very linked to inequality and war. Follow the example of the Sun and ensure everyone gets energy for free! We need a Solar Culture.
Health - "Health is made at home, hospital is for repairs." (African saying)
Society needs to be demedicalised, from birth to death. Modern medicine, with its technology and drugs, is suitable for severe problems. But most health issues presented to doctors are chronic; around 80% of health issues are far more suited to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).
We need an Integrative Health System, promoting self-care, generally offering CAM, utilising orthodox medicine only where necessary. Compassionate support and self-care are both central; drugs, technology and highly-trained doctors are not! Health needs to be taught as a key life skill (e.g. exercise, nutrition, sleep, relaxation, flower essences for mental health). People need to do things (CAM) rather than get things (drugs); it is far more empowering. But, for example, only 5 of 200+ CAM modalities are available on the NHS.
Also of massive value - more than drugs - are things like disease prevention (clean water, good sanitation, vector control) and healthy architecture. Health is not merely the absence of physical disease, but includes physical, mental and social well-being (WHO).
Does your society nurture health?
Top of Page
Sanitation - Sanitation = clean drinking water and adequate sewage disposal.Top of Page
This must be a priority for the world. In a huge way, it creates health, and reduces sexual assault and violence for women. If you live in a society where you have it, great! But urge your society and the world to ensure the same for half the world who lack proper sanitation. Clean water for all. Build sewage systems, not walls!! [Also see 'Water'.]
(1) Spiritual Transcendence - "The Industrial Revolution radically transformed our perception of sleep from a gracious, transcendent experience to a mechanistic, biomedical process." (Rubin Naiman, posted 2016, accessed 20 July 2016)
Has modern life perverted the experience of sleep?
Surely the cure for insomnia is to fall in love with sleep again?
See the article by Rubin Naiman to check how well your culture is doing.
"Every human being streams at night into the loving nowhere", wrote Rumi.
Do you and your society feel this?
(2) Dreams - We spend about six years of our life dreaming (in REM sleep) - but we no longer talk about our dreams.
Throughout our evolution, dreams have brought creative insight, wise soul guidance, even lifesaving prediction and lifechanging visions. They are an Archive of the Unconscious, reflecting our hidden fears and desires. They have also developed myths and spiritual paths, inspired songs, inventions and scientific breakthroughs. But most societies today treat them as merely brain babble or embarrassing weirdness.
Instead of industrially mining the Earth and destroying Nature, perhaps we need to mine the delicious Unconscious? No colonisation called for to explore the Inner World. No environmental destruction nor drugs required for these creative jewels and gold nuggets...
"Don’t rush to interpret your dreams in search of quick answers. Treating them as profound, ongoing psychic conversations may bring you to a place of deeper insight and understanding... You have to engage in the actual experience of the dream and feel it in order to tap in to its transformative potential. Immediate interpretation destroys that healing possibility. So when you next wake...feel your dreams."
(3) Mental & Physical Health - "If you had sort of a magic pill that you could take that would help increase your mental health, increase your physical health, lower your stress, make you more efficient, most people would be itching for a dose. Well, we do have that magic pill. It’s called sleep." (Adapted from Lisa Demour/Denise Pope, The Guardian, posted and accessed 8 June 2021) [Also see here.]
Does your society organise itself in such a way that everyone gets plenty of sleep?
Or does it accuse you of being lazy and shirking your responsibility to society?
There are various issues on how a society treats death (also see Death & Immortality).
One is assisted dying for terminally ill, mentally competent people. This is explored in more depth at Assisted Dying.
Why do we find it so compassionate and obvious to exercise this with animals, yet we resist it for humans if they choose?
In fact, most people support it, but very few countries allow it.
"A safeguarded assisted dying law is the hallmark of a liberal, compassionate society..." (Sarah Wootton, Chief Executive of Dignity in Dying, posted and accessed 30 October 2020)
Racism - There are many houses on fire (as listed herein). Racism is another one. Another emergency that requires immediate action. For example, there is a history of over 400 years of horrific abuse of blacks in the USA, from slavery to police brutality, and systemic racism - with its hydra heads of injustice, inferior resources and opportunities, afflicted health, etc. They can't breathe. Black lives matter!
Time to listen to their plea for a fair world? Learn more here!‘Black Lives Matter’ is often met with the response 'All Lives Matter'. But the latter is often used by white supremacists to keep black people trapped in systemic racism.
If your 'house' is White, it is not on fire. Help out the Black 'house' that is burning bad? Surely it is your duty to understand your privilege and the oppression caused by it?
And it's not just black lives. Indigenous peoples (Aborigines, Native American Indians, Tibetans, San, Inuit, etc.) have been horrifically damaged by colonial racism and continue to be vulnerable. Any racism is unwanted on Mother Earth now.
Will you help eradicate racism from your society?
Refugees - How dare you put up walls and hi-tech fortresses, create hostile environments and have your police brutalise these vulnerable people?
These refugees are fleeing war, mass rape, torture and the most evil authoritarian regimes. You may have no idea of their desperation, of how lucky you are.
They are often suffering from severe physical injuries or health issues, deep emotional and mental traumas, and they need compassion.
The Rich World has created the war, poverty and inequality from which refugees arise.
But the colonial Rich World takes no responsibility for its centuries-long carnage.
It offers no debt cancellation, no reparations, no opportunity at equality.
Instead, governments exploit the Poor World, supply weapons to the dictators and gangs, whilst stirring up fear in their peoples. Meanwhile they claim that the refugees are criminal and dangerous.
The Climate & Ecological Emergency in the 21st century is part of this atrocity. It is created by the Rich World. We will likely see billions of refugees, as many parts of the world become uninhabitable (see here).
Will your society continue to make it so difficult, so inhumane, so unwelcoming for these refugees? Or will it take responsibility for the shit it has shat?
Here are some guidelines:-
Prisons - "The degree of civilisation in a society can be judged by entering its prisons." (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
How does your society define 'criminal'? What does your society do to rehabilitate and reintegrate 'criminals'? Does your society invest in and prioritise the prevention of crime? Or is it pretending to solve crime?
Or are your society's prisons the place where the opponents of the dominant political system end up? So, in a society of capitalism/inequality/white supremacy/colonialism and patriarchy, prisons consist of: the poor, the abused, the addicted, women, the indigenous and people of colour, the whistleblowers and eco-activists. In autocracies like China, we find: the dissenters, the religious, etc.
In the words of evil criminal Charles Manson, "My father is your system... I am only what you made me. I am only a reflection of you." But, surely we can improve the system?
In other words, a successful society needs to invest heavily in prevention and rehabilitation. There will be a few psychopaths unamenable to help, but surely:-
"I am convinced that imprisonment is a way of pretending to solve the problem of crime. It does nothing for the victims of crime, but perpetuates the idea of retribution, thus maintaining the endless cycle of violence in our culture. It is a cruel and useless substitute for the elimination of those conditions — poverty, unemployment, homelessness, desperation, racism, greed — which are at the root of most punished crime. The crimes of the rich and powerful go mostly unpunished.
It must surely be a tribute to the resilience of the human spirit that even a small number of those men and women in the hell of the prison system survive it and hold on to their humanity." (Howard Zinn)
Success - "I just think society is currently telling us that success means financial success: having money, a big house, cars, whatever, like a high position in your job. And what society needs to be teaching us is that success means having a loving community, and... touching people's hearts... making the world better." (Raya Encheva, 1 minute 58 seconds, posted 6 August 2016, accessed 8 August 2016)
"The planet does not need more successful people. The planet desperately needs more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of all kinds." (Dalai Lama)
Is your society a Culture of Love or a Culture of Greed?
Image - Does your society promote a perfect image? Especially an image where you must spend money to achieve it? Particularly an image where it takes a lot of effort to suppress imperfect images? This is terribly seen in airbrushed models. Also it is obvious in filtered and false social media photos and stories. All this puts immense pressure on (young) people, to get that image. The stress is mental, emotional, dietary, physical, financial. Let us understand that veg and fruit can be wonky, yet still precious. Don't cherry pick - enjoy them all!
"In a society that profits from your self-doubt, liking yourself is a rebellious act." (Seen on the internet)
Does your culture promote self-love and self-worth?
Culture - Cultures need to be purified of certain practices. Cultures can claim certain acts to be cultural and therefore untouchable. For example: bullfighting in Spanish culture; circumcision; female genital mutilation (see here, here, here).
But surely we need to reframe these acts as abuse or violence and not culture??
"Cultural acceptance does not mean accepting the unacceptable. Abuse is abuse." (Jasvinder Sanghera cited at BBC, posted and accessed 24 February 2017)
How pure is your culture?
(1) Education systems forcibly create cultures. Modern education prepares us to slot into a global economic system, which only serves the financial elite and corporate interests. Read more in Schooling the Poor World.
"Real freedom will come only when we free ourselves of the domination of Western education, Western culture and Western way of living which have been ingrained in us." (Mahatma Gandhi)
"Education is a compulsory, forcible action of one person upon another... Culture is the free relation of people... Education is culture under restraint. Culture is free." (Leo Tolstoy)
(2) Education needs to teach Love. Consider this quote by Mary Gordon of Roots of Empathy: "Our long term goal is building a more caring, peaceful and civil society, where everybody feels a sense of belonging... If we are educating children who can read well and compute well but can’t relate well... we will have a failed society. Learning how to relate to one another requires empathy. You have to understand how the other fella feels." (BBC, posted and accessed 23 January 2018)
Anyone for Natural Education which for me = Natural Family Living, a Culture of Touch, a Culture of Love, a Solar Culture?...
Initiation - Does your society have initiations for young people?
Initiation here means an event which allows a person to move more effectively into a new role. Changing from child to adult is a massive transformation. The alchemical challenge and understanding of this psychological process is not central to our societies. This compromises the mental health of your society.
Although life's events may give you an initiation, these tend to be traumatic, toxic and unsupported. This is not what evolution suggests is best.
In indigenous cultures all over the world, young adolescent males have undergone arduous sometimes death-threatening initiations. This prepares them for adult life.
As I was told in South Africa, young women don't have these initiations as they have always had the life-changing experience of birth.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding are also initiatory, also requiring sisterhood support.
In modern societies, we now have birth control and this means that most adolescent women do not get pregnant so young anymore. Their 'matrescence' [becoming a mother] initiation can now be delayed for decades.
Meanwhile, the young men in modern societies often lack deep and transformative rites of passage from boy to man, or they can be highly toxic events such as hazing or heavy drug use or gang initiations.
A consequence of this is that we live in an adolescent world, characterised by immaturity, delinquency and disrespect for nature. This applies to nations and leaders and policies.
So, society today needs healthy initiations for both young men and women. There are various options such as:-
We need to prioritise morality over technology. "We're at the level of infants in moral responsibility, but with the technological capability of adults." (Dr Nick Bostrom cited at BBC, posted and accessed 24 April 2013) "Rubbish in, rubbish out" is an old computing maxim, so until things change, we can expect mostly a dystopian Earth.
And prioritise spirituality over technology. What is really exciting is that the future of humanity is surely in realising that the most amazing spiritual 'technology' is within us at all times? This is the human body, soul and Spirit. For most of us, it does take a lot of work to be able to perceive energies around people, or be able to see into very small or very large structures from atoms and cells to galaxies, or to be able to travel throughout the physical and spiritual universe in our subtle bodies, etc. We have so many untapped spiritual powers that can be used for the good...
However, currently we are glamorised by digital technology, by social media, by our intellect, etc:-
Vulnerable - "How a nation treats its most vulnerable citizens is a litmus test for society." (Lord Dubs)
This article has already covered Animals, Women, Ethnic Minorities, Refugees, Mothers.
But let us also remember: Children; Gypsies and Travellers; Indigenous Peoples!
Water - Water is joy, dignity, life - and essential for health.
Spiritually, water is the greatest servant, a superb role model, a symbol for spiritual light.
But in your community/society:-
Surely, stop worshipping science and medicine? Rather simply ensure we all have clean, free water? Rich World must help Poor World... [Also see 'Sanitation'.]
to a profoundly sick society."
"Many psychiatrists and psychologists refuse to entertain the idea that society as a whole may be lacking in sanity. They hold that the problem of mental health in a society is only that of the number of ‘unadjusted’ individuals, and not of a possible unadjustment of the culture itself."
(Erich Fromm, The Sane Society)
"There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they're falling in."
(Bishop Desmond Tutu)
"We must come to see that the end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with its conscience."
(Martin Luther King Jr.)
The Importance of Women
Freedom for Birth
Big Life Issues