The Storm Cloud…

When I lived in Malaysia, I was quite shocked one time as I drove past a huge billboard sign outside a construction site which had Oprah Winfrey’s head on it. Of course it wasn’t her image, but a quote underneath it which read as follows:

“Only surround your self with positive people”. My initial thoughts were ‘what an arrogant bitch she is, how is that possible and how is that right’, it’s OK for her to say something like that with her millions in the bank’.

Many years later, I read snippets about her and the truly awful things she had to endure as a child and how she deals with them even today by trying to surround herself with positive people (like Deepak Chopra and their recent foray to introduce meditation techniques on a global scale).

It got me thinking today (albeit rather tenously and randomly) about storm clouds. The top of the cloud is positively charged as is the ground, but when the conditions are right and a bank of negativity is introduced, the cloud takes a tempestuous turn and sparks fly, resulting into a lot of noise and violent bursts of raw and dangerous energy.

And so it is with us. These days I try to heed the words of Oprah all those years ago, and surround myself with positivity and positive people, and in a crazy mixed up world I think I’m doing ok.

I look at Facebook (probably too much) and there are a lot of really negative and volatile threads that appear from time to time, so I have looked by today at my own threads and found that over the past 6 months they have been all positive (which is nice).

I am trying to adopt the Sufi Three Gates position in everything I say and everything I type these days (as I posted during my Robin Williams blog 2 weeks ago), and it is not easy (as one has to remain responsive to certain situations, questions and thoughts). I have also removed feeds from Al Jazeera, Reuters and Huffington Post as it was turning into a constant positivity drain.

So where there are clouds of pure positivity (from an electrically charged perspective) no storms will grow, and we are safe from the maelstrom…

ALS(o) have this on my M(i)ND…

And so it came to be that I was eventually nominated to do the ALS / MND Ice Bucket Challenge by a good friend of mine. Without a doubt the cause is just, those folks out there that suffer from this affliction must go through a living hell. Just knowing that once diagnosed, one is subjected not only to a reduced lifespan the average life expectancy following positive diagnosis of a mere 36 months until death, but a daily degradation of physical service whilst the brain and consciousness remains untouched. A prison without walls.

Stephen Hawking is living proof of what MND does to the body and not the brain. He has defied the odds in terms of MND life expectancy and lived to a ripe old age thus far all things considered, and the scientific world is surely glad for that.

Facebook is often pilloried, but I think in this case it has been used globally as a positive tool to raise both awareness and funds for ALS and MND. Every second news feed at the moment is a video of someone taking part in their own “challenge”. It is a bit of fun for those that wish to participate, and also a vehicle for those who do not wish to participate in person, but either chose to donate to ALS / MND or to donate to other charities (for example a friend of mine’s view point was that all the wasted water concerned him, so instead he chose to donate some funds towards Water Aid), which is great too.

Personally, I chose to take part in the Ice Bucket Challenge, albeit with my own slant on it, and I had fun doing it and followed it through with a donation to MND:

http://youtu.be/kU8MIrAg8WI

However (there always seems to be an however with me), there is a part of me which remains sceptical about donations towards research, not just for ALS / MND, but for any body looking at providing cures for world ills. That part of me is concerned that the funds raised are either misappropriated or not channelled into the right places.

Taking ALS / MND as an example, £50m has been raised in one month, fantastic, but where is it going and what is it going to be used for? Will it be handed to Big – Pharma for them to use it as a way to produce a new synthetic chemical to treat the symptoms and not challenge the root cause and make a tidy profit from it all? Will it look deep into the genetics of the disease and look to eradicate it from happening in the future via a post-modern eugenics movement of sorts? Will it look into complementary therapies like yoga, meditation and reiki to see if these alternative self-healing techniques can aid or assist recovery or combat it’s onset?

All of these questions remain unanswered to me at present, but it’s something I’ll look into, but I do hope that the funds do end up in the right place and used in the right way.

This whole issue really got me thinking, and I think that it is no coincidence (I don’t see coincidences anymore – just breadcrumbs) that I started to watch the Channel 4 series Utopia (available in the UK and on Netflix) at exactly the same time as the Ice Bucket Challenge kick off.

In short, the story follows a small group of people who find themselves in possession of the manuscript sequel of a cult graphic novel called “The Utopia Experiments” which is rumoured to have predicted the worst disasters of the last century. This leads them to be targeted by an organisation known as “The Network”, which they must avoid to survive. Using the manuscript, they must uncover the meaning hidden in its pages before the disasters depicted become reality.

Without spoiling it too much for anyone that hasn’t seen it, the fundamental theme relates to the ever increasing world population, how the future demand for planetary resources will exponentially increase and whether via a ‘humane eugenics movement” is something that we could or should put in place to control the population explosion as a way to extend our existience on our little blue dot.

So this is where I get controversial and perhaps hypocritical to my original gambit about ALS and MND. As a human race, we need death. We need death by any means. Should we just treat the symptoms and keep these things around, but make sure that those who have them do not suffer? No matter how you slice it, global population growth at the rate we have seen it over the last 200 years is completely and utterly unsustainable when mapped against projected resource decline. I was frankly amazed by the following statistics relating to world population studies:

  • 35k BC = 3 million
  • 10k BC = 15 million
  • 1400 = 375 million
  • 1804 = 1 billion
  • 1927 = 2 billion  
  • 1959 = 3 billion  
  • 1974 = 4 billion  
  • 1987 = 5 billion  
  • 1999 = 6 billion  
  • 2012 = 7 billion  
  • 2026 = 8 billion  
  • 2042 = 9 billion
  • 2060 = 10 billion

A little over two hundred years ago, there were only one billion homo sapiens on Planet Earth. We have added six billion people to that amount over the last two centuries.

By the year 2060, there will be an estimated ten billion of us on a planet that is very quickly running out of natural resources. So what are we doing about it?. Rather than looking into the mid-term future and concentrating our research efforts into safe, renewable and sustainable energy sources, instead we invent new ways of raping the geological stratas underneath the Earth’s surface as a way to satisfy our immediate need for energy, much to the detriment of the climate and our precious water table.

All this is to satisfy future demand they say as renewable energies cannot satisfy the supply versus demand curve. Those who will be able to afford energy in the future will be able to pay for it, but with advances in automation and an ever increasing demand for energy (from the needs of a ballooning population), those that cannot will be pushed even further away from the “haves” causing an inevitable future class war of epidemic proportions. It seems that our train is heading towards George Orwell’s vision as laid out in 1984, or Kurt Wimmer’s dystopian world as seen in the film Equilibrium, and the brake cables have been severed.

Of my home town during the Toxteth Riots of 1980, Margaret Thatcher (the then Prime Minister in the UK) said that Liverpool as a city was expendable, and that it should be placed under managed decline until (I guess) it either ceased to exist or it became manageable (a truly awful statement said about one of the most historic cities the world has ever known (not always for the right reasons)).

So for me, the Utopia series really does address and ask us a key question of the future, albeit through shocking graphics and a very disturbing storyline. Should we be managing our own decline globally? Should we put in place a humane eugenics movement for the greater good of our offspring to try and kerb global population booms in an effort to avoid wars and the continuing fight for natural resources (in the likes of Iraq) and inevitable plunge into dystopia?

Would it be our place to put in place such a drastic action (taking over the role of the Creator if such a thing exists), and has evolution turned such amazing potential into nothing more than a collective marauding beast which will stop at nothing including it’s own inevitable destruction?

Or do we say fuck it, let’s live the dream whilst we can, because tonight I’m gonna party like it’s 1999?

My belief is that the inevitable catastrophic decline will happen (via a global war), and that at some point, mankind (if indeed it still exists post-apocalypse, albeit in significantly smaller numbers) will rightfully have no alternative but to turn our future way of life into resource based economies as detailed by The Venus Project, as the value of currency will quite literally not be worth the paper it is printed on.

Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could change the paradigm into The Venus Project today. I’d move there tomorrow (I mean today)…

Where will it all end…

There is of late, a tidal wave of negativity all over the world, not one place excluded it seems. With so much turmoil going on, some of it so extreme one cannot read in-depth reports, global reality as we know it seems to be dystopic to say the least.

I have just read an article on the Ferguson Protests in the U.S, and in that particular instance, it’s not about race or colour, it’s an out and out class war. It is a perpetual conflict between the haves and have nots, governed and enforced by a totalitarian state (both government and police) that erodes the basic rights of the people (education, welfare, health and importantly positivity) until such times that the people either turn to crime or turn on each other, which gives the state an excuse to wade in all guns blazing as a show of force to let everyone know who is in charge, as is the case here.

It’s times like these (re: Ferguson) that additions to Homeland Security bills are passed, further eroding the rights of the citizens until such time as a populace is under complete and utter control, and dystopia is fully realised (akin to Orwell’s 1984).

The US is not the land of the free, and it will take an unprecedented change (or revolution) to overturn the mess.

That is one example of the “State of the Union”, but there are countless others out there, sadly too many to recount here. Whilst I am keen to stay positive in my own reality, in my own personal space and share those feelings with those who are around me, it’s difficult no to become entangled with the problems we face as a collective.

Thinking about the self (if such a thing actually exists), all “I” can do to help is to pass on positive vibes (through distance reiki) to all of those suffering at present, make donations to causes where it is clear my money will land in the correct place and that money will improve the situations of others, sign petitions where it is clear that parliaments and government have to take note and are tasked with follow on actions, and ultimately vote (or not vote as the case may be next year) for a party/collective that represents my views, my vision of what is impotant, not a vision for me and mine, but for all of us, the collective consciousness.

Peace…

The Three Gates

Reading a Guardian article about Robin Williams and some of the opinions floating around made me think about my posting of Tuesday morning, which read:

“Spare a thought too (or donation) for the countless innocents being slaughtered in Gaza, Ukraine, Sudan, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Nigeria and Pakistan as you weep into your cereals for Mork”.

My general thoughts were that the mass grieving of a celebrity (irrespective of their cause of death) was disproportionate next to the mass and unjust suffering and lack of empathy and media coverage in a country like Syria which has already lost 27,000 people this year (interestingly enough Syria has one of the lowest suicide rates in the world).

I did feel a bit guilty about the post as on the face of it, it was rather cold and I guess I was just trying to highlight the fact that there are media outlets who have the ability to help peoples perception of what really goes on in the world but either choose not to, are told not to by the government or get more ratings / money from the docile masses who believe (through either choice or indoctrination) in the tripe they pedal.

I hear that some outlets shared the exact details of how Robin Williams died and left out the important bit of why he died, what his true condition was, how it can be recognised, how the individual can self-realise that they have a similar problem, how it can be addressed and how people can formulate an opinion on it and then chose if it’s in the best interests of the public, friends or family whether you share that opinion either verbally or via social or public media outlets.

What I can say from personal experience is that when someone close to you commits suicide suddenly (both my aunt and uncle took their own lives), there is complete and utter devastation, there are initial feelings of anger and accusations of selfishness and cowardliness, but once one thinks logically about their existing condition and state of mind after those initial dark moments, those feelings quickly fade.

I do think that people with no personal connections to the likes of Robin Williams (especially those in the media themselves) or have no personal experience in having to deal with the suicide death of a loved one through mental health issues, have to be very careful in sharing their own negative opinions in a time when those who do or have known the deceased (in this case Robin Williams) are in genuine mourning.

Let’s remember Robin Williams for what he was, not selfish man or a coward, but an absolute comedy genius, a true game-changer in the world of comedy, as well as a superb actor, when he played the roles of Dr Sayer in Awakenings and Mr Keating in Dead Poets Society.

When sharing opinions about someone (especially someone who has passed away), if it’s not positive or kind or complimentary or sincere, silence is always the better option.

An old friend then put me onto something called The Three Gates, and after some research I found the following:

THE THREE GATES

The old Sufi taught that right speech had to pass through three gates. The first gate asked, “Is it true”? The second gate asked, “Is it necessary”? The third gate asked, “Is it kind”? The old sheik taught him that it would be better to be silent than to utter words that had not passed through the three gates.

For those that do not know, Sufism is the mystical side of Islam. This teaching is very similar to the kind of teachings also uttered by the Desert Fathers and Mothers of the early Christian era. Many basic teachings such as this one can be found in all the major religions. This is a great teaching regardless of what religion or philosophy you follow. Who among us couldn’t do a better job of guarding one’s speech. Try to avoid complaining, gossip, and any kind of hurtful speech. We are human; however, so there are times we do all of these things. We should strive to minimize complaining by focusing on gratitude. Minimizing hurtful speech through age and experience and being aware of ones own weaknesses will teach us to be more patient and tolerant of others. Even though we won’t always remain silent, it is better to be silent than to speak a lot.

 “One should not speak unless your words improve the silence”