Stop Damaging Ourselves

Posted on 3 May 2020 | Comments Off on Stop Damaging Ourselves

2019 CC BY SA 4.0 Intl Michal Klajban

So many of us were raised by people who were damaged and who controlled, judged, and manipulated us through physical and/or emotional violence. So many of us are damaged and relate to the world through that damage.

To survive others of our kind we resort to the strategies used to protect ourselves from predators: fight, flight, fawn, or freeze. We all use a mix of these in different ways at different times.

Fawn

We try to please our parents, please our teachers, please the people in power. As children these are the people who are critical to our survival and we have no choice but to rely upon them. We expect their love.

As adults we may learn to flatter people in order to get what we want and need, but there may be little truth in the flattery. It is an appeal to fragile egos that are easily manipulated. We end up living in a world of glamours where we see nothing but complimentary images of ourselves.

The dark side of this is knowing that we do not match our images and become terrified of being found out. We become manipulable to those who recognise our secret and offer supposed solutions to our inconsistencies, while keeping us locked within them. We also live in terror of others finding out that we are not sincere, making our flattery ineffective and worthless.

Freeze

Just nod and agree with everything. Don’t rock the boat. When we see someone being brutalised by another, just stand back and become invisible. Maybe the bully won’t see us.

We may pat ourselves on the back saying that we are the peaceful ones. We are the moderate ones. We are the good people. In reality we are the cowards who are empowering oppressors.

Bullies only need to harm a few people to terrify everyone else into fearful compliance. We could stand together to stop them, but most of us do not. Instead we turn our backs on the victims, saying that they somehow deserved this mistreatment–because that excuses us for remaining uninvolved.

Flight

A number of us stay as far as we can from other people. We go to work, keep our heads down, go home, sit in front of the tv or play computer games until bed time, then after sleep go through this same cycle again. If we get lonely, we may become involved in social media, chatting with people we will never meet in person. If someone suggests we meet, we run away, terrified that we will be controlled, judged, and manipulated.

We may become especially sensitive to differences. That person is dangerous because they are a different gender, their skin is different, their culture is different, they are in a different field of work, they have more or less money, they look weird, they are in need, they are too good for us…etc. Honestly, bigotry is only the most obvious beginning to this sensitisation that results in isolation, dehumanisation, and ostracisation of ourselves and others.

Fight

We live in a culture that idolises violence. We spend a significant portion of our lives absorbing stories about people in violent contact. We normalise violence in order to keep that tool handy to protect ourselves. People who win live to fight another day…as if we should want to fight other days. We even romanticise those people who turn violence against themselves in order to escape the suffering.

When we are damaged by our families we may choose to harm them by being the opposite of all they are. We may do the same thing to our culture. However, then we are a simple mirror image. Everything we do requires keeping our eyes on what the enemy is doing. True freedom would be to simply walk away and be our most authentic selves, even if parts will be like our family or our culture…but it will be a matter of careful choice.

We may choose to “kiss up and kick down”. We treat those of higher status with deference, then transfer all our fear and frustration to those who are vulnerable and can’t fight back. Sometimes people kick up. But that doesn’t mean they are kinder to those of lower status. Many will bond more closely with those like themselves and form a gang. People can fight for noble things like universal health care for all, then define “all” as those who are part of their gang…all others are interlopers. And some will manipulate the most vulnerable into a combined force in order to give themselves power, without caring about the damage they are doing to these people nor ever intending to make their lives better.

Stop

I have lived long enough to see my cultures ride a roller-coaster from mean to less mean to mean again. Many people either do not have the will or the time to reflect upon the core reasons for their unhappiness. Many are terrified that if they let go of the script they are using to get by, then they will lose everything. Some are terrified of losing even a smidgen of their privileges.

No one is wholly good. Only a number are wholly bad and are probably in need of medical attention. We have to be conscious enough to start giving one another the things we need to be kinder more peaceful people. The children of abusers tend to become abusers themselves, but the cycle can be broken. Aren’t we all tired of living insecure lives? Security will only come when we are big-hearted enough to leave no one behind. Anything less becomes a cancer that eats us alive.

Things can be better. Open your mind. Open your heart.

In peace and kindness,

Katherine

Be Prepared

Posted on 6 April 2020 | Comments Off on Be Prepared

The Flag of Democracy

We need to think about many things for when our pandemic quarantine is over. Here are two I would like to mention.

Many small businesses have or will go under, leaving us more fully in the hands of the mega-businesses who are non-democratic and tend to be answerable to no one.

We have been granting our governments special powers in order to protect ourselves during these extraordinary times. In many cases we will have to claw those powers back.

In both cases we are losing rights, freedoms, and our democracy is being eroded.

We need to reacquaint ourselves with why these things are important to our collective and individual well-being, then be prepared to push hard to claim what is justly ours. Don’t let anyone fool you. We are the power. We must use our power wisely to create a world of peace, compassion, and sustainability.

In peace and kindness,
Katherine

How to Withstand Staying at Home for a Lengthy Period

Posted on 23 March 2020 | Comments Off on How to Withstand Staying at Home for a Lengthy Period

Get up and go to bed at regular hours
These don’t have to be the same hours as previously, just regular.

Clean yourself and get out of your pajamas.
You don’t have to dress up formally, just wear day clothes.

Give yourself a schedule.
For example: wash clothes on Saturday, play an online game on Sunday, Monday to Friday have a project your are working on. Whatever works for you.

Have a meaningful project you can work on.
Some hobbies can fit this gap, but really what you want is something that has a sense of significance like writing letters for Amnesty International or sprouting trees to be planted in a park.

Have special events you can look forward to from week to week.
This can be as simple as a favourite TV show on a particular night, or a day and time when you regularly call a friend or family member for a chat.

Make sure to find ways to exercise everyday.
You can follow a YouTube exercise tutorial, walk the dog, or just turn on some music and dance like a maniac for thirty minutes a day. Extra points for doing a little bit outside regularly.

Eat healthy.
Poor health can lead to poor mental health.

Find ways to socialise.
The more of a person you can connect with, without being physically present, the better. Writing on social media is fine. Hearing people on Zoom is better. Seeing and hearing people on Skype or Google Hangouts is even better.

Find a private space where you can cry, laugh, scream, whatever you need. Then be resolved to take one day at a time, noting what good moments you can.

Be kind to yourself. Be kind to others.

In peace and kindness,

Katherine

An Ordinary Rainbow

Posted on 19 March 2020 | Comments Off on An Ordinary Rainbow

Kindness 2020

Posted on 16 March 2020 | Comments Off on Kindness 2020

COVID-19, like Mad Cow Disease and a number of other pathogens, came into being because of our mistreatment of the animals we rely upon for food. These pathogens are spreading effectively because of our mistreatment of one another: not providing healthcare for all, not providing safety nets for all, creating an everyone for themselves culture.

We are all scared.

Kindness will save the day.

Saving The Day

Posted on 16 March 2020 | Comments Off on Saving The Day

hands
 

I’ve just come back from running a few errands. I had to deposit a cheque at the bank, and since I’m a combine errands kind of person, I thought I would pick up a few things.

I had already seen the empty toilet paper aisles over a week ago, when people panicked over the potential spread of COVID-19 in their region. My hope was that this was going to be a single burst of foolishness.

Yesterday I picked up a pizza on the way home from a small meeting. At the supermarket frozen vegetable fridges were emptied, pasta was emptied, flour was emptied. Today two different butchers were completely sold out, evidently within the first hour of opening.

I don’t know if I want to cry or yell!

This hoarding is the height of “I’m taking care of me and mine…the rest of you can go starve.”

Our society only exists because we offer one another a complex web of support. If our doctors and nurses can’t obtain masks because of hoarding, they become sick and you can’t receive treatment for any type of medical condition, including COVID-19. We overwhelm supermarkets with requests for delivery service of an unnecessary excess of goods, then they will do as has been done today by companies such as Coles: shut down the service. This harms people who have been relying on this service due to disability and chronic illness. The list of what can and will go wrong continues.

For a long time we have needed government plans in place to face these sorts of crises. We need emergency stores of food within every community, that are regularly sold off cheaply to the public as surplus when new stores come in. These are then available when a community faces, fires, floods, epidemics, etc. We need decentralised rationing software. Everyone always has enough…everyone. Not just the greedy jerks who take more than their fair share. We need a universal basic income, so that people can stay at home as necessary without losing their ability to pay for food and housing.

As things stand we are hitting a serious economic bump in the road. COVID-19 is going to take more months to resolve, and quite possibly longer. In the meantime businesses are already going belly up, and the more businesses fail…the more businesses fail in a domino effect.

And much of this can be fixed. Are you listening? Much of this can be fixed, if we choose to work together and consider our collective well-being, including that of the rest of our living world.

COVID-19, like Mad Cow Disease and a number of other pathogens, came into being because of our mistreatment of the animals we rely upon for food. These pathogens are spreading effectively because of our mistreatment of one another: not providing healthcare for all, not providing safety nets for all, creating an everyone for themselves culture.

We are all scared.

We have to learn how to be good allies quick smart to see this through. Start asking what you can do to help and thank those who already are helping.

Kindness will save the day,

Katherine

Compassion

Posted on 14 March 2020 | Comments Off on Compassion

I made this for sharing. <3

What Sharing Can Do

Posted on 13 March 2020 | Comments Off on What Sharing Can Do

 
 

If we had a Universal Basic Income:

  • People could afford to stay home if they have caught the coronavirus.
  • If we are hit by a recession, people will have a safety net with which to pay rent/mortgage and keep paying their kids school fees, as well as just keeping food on the table until things are sorted out.
  • We could quickly transition to green industries without a loss of livelihood between old and new jobs.

I’m all for a jobs guarantee and a Green New Deal, but it must be combined with genuine safety nets such as UBI.

Peace and kindness,

Katherine

The Mature Artist

Posted on 12 March 2020 | Comments Off on The Mature Artist

Van Gogh banner
 

Part of maturing as an artist is finding better dreams. Youth: I want to be famous! Adulthood: I want to create something significant! Maturity: I just want to leave the world a better place, however small or large that contribution is.

So many great artists did not achieve greatness until after their deaths. Artists themselves cannot rely on public acclaim to measure their worth. The big problem is just survival in order to create and grow as a creator.

Many European countries do a creditable job of supporting their artists. Australia once did too. Now we have governments quietly clamping down on freedom of speech. We must remember that art holds a mirror up to society. It can also provide visions for a better world.

Peace and kindness,

Katherine

The (nonexistent) Centrists

Posted on 21 February 2020 | Comments Off on The (nonexistent) Centrists

Volrath2002 CC BY SA 4.0 2016

From the US we hear a lot about the “centrist” vote. This vote is even lauded for being moderate and level-headed. In Australia we hear about the “swing” vote. These are voters who are not actively aligned to any party and may vote as the wind blows.

These are in fact the same sorts of voters in both countries.

Since the US has devolved into a two-party system, both parties have reason to be complimentary of non-aligned voters. They will be told that they are the good people, the people with a thoughtful vote. Honestly, if they were that thoughtful then upon occasion they would be centre. Other times they would appear left or right, depending upon where the goalposts have moved between the two parties.

Once upon a time the Democrats were more right-wing and the Republicans were more left. In the nineteenth century Democrats voted against the freedom of enslaved people and Republicans voted for their release. In the sixties Democrat President John F Kennedy proposed and the US legislature voted in a Civil Rights Act that outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. In the 1980s Republican President Ronald Reagan brought in many neo-liberal policies which eroded the rights of workers and freed the very wealthy from social responsibility. In the 1990s Democrat President Bill Clinton put forward very similar policies. You would be hard pressed to find much centre bewteen those two presidents.

So who are these “centrists”?

A great number of them will be people who are terrified of conflict. They don’t want to be part of any side. They don’t want to reveal a preference for fear of choosing the wrong one and being punished for it, or worse…facing violence. The more heated the debate becomes between two prevalent sides, the more they will want to disappear.

Another related set of people will not want to express a preference until such time as they can see who will be a winner. They want to be on the side of a winner because not only will it be safer due to the numbers, they will also have more opportunities to gain power for themselves.

Then, we have the manipulators. When sides of an argument are evenly matched, these are people who happily conspire to influence all sides. Their position of indecision becomes a form of power in its own right. “I might join your side, if you do this for me.”

Finally, we have a small number who have an opinion that for the moment looks like centre.

Trying to convert these people is a waste of time. Most of them will say “yes” to anything you say, without meaning it. They will keep saying “yes” all the way to the poll, then vote as they like. The polls will be skewed and you will have gained nothing.

The people you are most likely to convert are those who genuinely tell you, they don’t know. Then when they are hit by an issue that affects them personally, they will see why they might want to take a side. Just remember, though, these people are unlikely to become pure left or pure right.

In Australia it was the left-wing Labor party in alliance with the Protectionist party that brought in the White Australia Policy, in order to “protect” workers’s jobs from Asians. Many people are progressive or conservative on one policy, and are the polar opposite on other policies. That’s the closest most people will get to being “centrist”: a patchwork of self-interests.

If you want to gain people to your political position, consistently be on the side of universal well-being. Constantly press to find the most effective means by which to maintain universal well-being. Treat everyone with kindness and respect, while sustaining a strong position of justice. Being nicey-nice, don’t rock the boat, does not equate to a stable society. That is a position of fear that gives predators power. Being a party of well-being you will be attractive because you will represent deep safety. Everyone will know your motives are for their best interest. This may be a slow journey, but your consistency will pay off.

In peace and kindness,

Katherine

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