Einstein once said that a teacher who cannot make a lesson simple does not understand the subject well enough. He was talking from the experience of being a scientist. In science, a theory must be tested with proofs. As a shaman with a criminal record, anything I might choose to teach must be subject to the same rigour, especially if I am trying to communicate my understanding of the ethics of power in what I believe to be a world operating in a criminal manner.
To begin with, a convicted criminal teaching ethics is not unusual – today it happens in America and probably elsewhere. Nor is it unusual to find convicted criminals involved with politics – we only have to start thinking of the likes of Nelson Mandela or Bobby Sands to find our route to further research. So there are precedents for what I am about to teach here. With both science and ethics there are principles that must be applied. It will be up to you, the reader, to determine whether these have been clearly established and adhered to when you examine the proofs I present in this piece. In addition, I have to adhere to the structure of my methodologies, outlined elsewhere in this blog. All these configurations are vital if the essence of the lesson is to be grasped and understood.
Whilst certainly ambitious, this is not intended to be a definitive piece. The human difficulties we are facing collectively are still unfolding and will continue to take us beyond what we already know. What is being sought here are understandings flexible enough to evolve with us without loss of fundamental integrity – a psychological and spiritual genome, if you like – where human success and failure co-exist in a creative dynamic that anyone can access on their own individual terms, whoever or wherever they are, yet which can encompass human experience at all levels.
Carl Jung once said “If there is something wrong with society, there is something wrong with the people who make up that society; and if there is something wrong with the people who make up that society then there is something wrong with me.” As an experiential teacher, therefore, any lesson in ethics, politics, people and crime must commence with me.
It begins with an expression of passionate rage at the absence of effective political opposition to the actions of my country’s government.
I received no response from Dr. Clarke.
As someone who believes in the importance of offering alternatives even in the midst of criticism, I believe one of the solutions to the political impasse we face can be found with women. As a collective human ‘grouping’, healthy women have different priorities to the present establishment which, of necessity, has to include others because we give birth to the future. There is also clear evidence from around the world that when women, at ground level, have autonomy over their resources, the whole community benefits.
Nor is this ability solely restricted to women – men can do this too if they choose to, e.g. “The Bank of Dave”. Soon after my tweets to Dr. Clarke, I was privileged to be able to explore my notions with women friends. It can be found here “Women Talking” as it is far too large to be included as a picture. Any discussion, especially when feelings are involved, will be ‘messy’ because the feeling dimension frequently conflicts with intellect. My exchange reflects this yet still finds its way through to a mutual understanding upon which new ideas might be built. It is a beginning and a process – not a solution. I believe that each and every one of us has something to offer in this, if we choose to. There will be consequences to our choice, regardless of which path we choose.
I include a spiritual dynamic in addition to intellect and feeling when I reflect upon my own processes. I notice what the ‘universe’ brings into my experience, particularly at times when my feelings are erupting (See “When Rage becomes Passion” for more details on this process). As I was posting the Storify, “Women Talking” to my friends, I saw a tweet that resulted in this exchange:-
As a ‘proof’ of my instinctual beliefs, I really cannot ask for anything finer.
In the space of three conversations, I had been able to express my woman’s rage, transform it into mindful passion and then encounter a man’s respect of that mindful passion. For me, only a universe based on loving stuff is capable of manifesting evidence in this way. It suggests that I may be on to something useful to the collective. It points to potential agreements within the human collective at a time where we need them the most and it emanates from the very people who need it most. In short, it gave me hope where little had existed before. It is hard to express the depth of gratitude I feel towards all those individuals who were actively involved.
Nevertheless, when we are in a process, a satisfying conclusion to a particular event does not signal the end of the matter. The next step made its appearance almost immediately:
This tweet infuriated me because, whilst identifying a problem, the tone reminded me of irresponsible parliamentary debates and totally failed to offer anything other than a grandstand view of further cruelty to my nation’s youth. It also seemed to underpin the points I had made to Dr. Clarke earlier in the day. Why is there no effective opposition to this coalition government? Why are brakes not being applied to such policies by the coalition partner? The tweet evoked this instinctive response:-
Please bear in mind that I may have misrepresented Dr. Clarke.
When faced with cruelty inflicted by the State upon its citizens, individuals face an ethical dilemma – to act or to bystand. When we bystand in the face of systemic abuses, we collude with them. When we collude, our actions indicate our ‘agreement’ with the abuse regardless of what we might say. We become a part of the problem rather than contributing to the solution. This is the individuals’ dilemma and only the individual can resolve it, for better or worse. Nevertheless, when our own internal ethical system fails in the face of government-organised abuses upon the vulnerable and impoverished, by choice or by ethical-failure, we become accessories to crimes against humanity. We become criminals ourselves.
This is how far my own lessons have taken me as these processes continue to emerge. If my theory about the ethics has any validity, then it ought to have resonance within your own experiences. Where we differ is important because it points to a need for deeper thought. Where we err indicates the corrections we need to make within our fallible selves in order to move forward to mutually acceptable solutions. If, however, we refuse to consider the ethical implications of our attitudes or behaviour; if we continue to deny the existence of a problem in the face of mounting evidence; and if we continue to pursue irresponsible, unethical and abusive goals regardless of reasoned objection, we are likely to find ourselves convicted of crimes in a mentally healthy society.
As one of my psychotherapy trainers once said, “If you continue to behave irresponsibly, then you are demanding I take responsibility on your behalf. If you force me to do that, you won’t like my decision.”