If you’re reading this, chances are you believe things are pretty messed up. You probably want to know why. You probably want to know how to make your life better and also help out to make things better for everybody you know…and maybe even everybody you don’t know.
Maybe you already have a good idea why things are messed up and you want to see if you agree with our take on it before you check out our suggestions. Fair enough.
So here’s a quick history lesson:
First of all, there’s a lot of talk about HOPE these days, right?! Hell, a president of the United States was elected in 2008 talking about “hope and change” very explicitly (although all of the US presidents ran on some version of hope and change). Why is hope so popular? Have people always been looking for hope? Have they always been looking to see if there’s hope for their own life, for their family, their tribe, their community….for the world?
Surprised by that answer?
As the late, great psychologist, James Hillman, pointed out in his must-read book, “The Soul’s Code: In Search of Character and Calling:”
Hope enters history, and our psychology, as trust in continuity fades.
In other words, when societies and communities are shattered and we end up with what Peter Vail calls a world of “permanent whitewater,” we start to feel powerless and we focus on the future instead of the here-and-now. We don’t trust that good stuff will continue or, for too many of us, that we will ever get the good stuff—that we’ll ever get mo’ betta. So we’re only left with hope.
As the mystics are fond of saying, “Hope is for suckers.” Why? Because it most often implies we are powerless to change anything and so we must rely on hope. Or other people. Usually rich and powerful people.
Or our kids. We always hear we must pin our hopes on the kids. But what hope can children and young people see in the world of adults?! These days, not much. Never-ending war, brutal poverty we’re told will always be there, pollution that just keeps getting worse, anxiety about our global climate, greed, rich getting richer, poor getting poorer, and everyone else in the middle getting squeezed and having to work harder for less etc. Sound familiar?!
Big-time religion says, “Hey, if you’re on the bottom or really suffering, forget about mo’ betta in this life—just wait it out and the afterlife will be great!” (Some of the religious fanatics even hope for armageddon so they don’t have to wait!) It’s no wonder that Napoleon once quipped: “Religion keeps the poor from murdering the rich”!
If you’re feeling powerless and hopeless, the rich and powerful don’t want you to do anything different than what you’re most likely already doing. That’s what they’ve always wanted. That’s the age-old scam. By definition, they need most of us on the bottom or somewhere in the ever-shrinking middle to just go along to get along. Don’t rock the boat. Play the game.
Only dead fish go with the flow. (Author unknown)
You know the drill: become a zombie. Numb yourself out with illegal or legal drugs (including tobacco, caffeine, and prescription drugs), alcohol, junk food, overeating or under-eating, gambling, sex and/or porn, spectator sports, video games, social media—take your pick (just to clarify: we’re not saying we think everything on that list is evil and should always be avoided…everything in moderation, including moderation, right?!).
There’s a lot more we have to say about how we got here, but, for now, we don’t believe you need the kind of hope that keeps you waiting, keeps you worrying, or even keeps you paralyzed with fear because there’s nothing (they say) you can do to get mo’ betta.
Jeffrey and Marty know how you feel. We’ve been there—a lot! We still have to fight against despair, cynicism, and complacency, just like everyone else not in the 1 percent.
What we believe is needed is assistance as well as community. Remember: Psychology has had a lot to say about how individuals develop, but not a whole lot beyond that: we have to look elsewhere for how the groups of people develop…and how the whole human race develops!
Please join us and let’s start figuring out how to do both!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. (attributed to Margaret Mead, anthropologist, but disputed by those who knew her.)
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