James Bovard once said: “As long as enough people can be frightened, then all people can be ruled. That is how it works in a democratic system and mass fear becomes the ticket to destroy rights across the board.” He must have known how fear can work to suppress the masses. This is still day-to-day practice in many countries of the world. It is rooted deep in patriarchy and has become an auto-pilot culture that many people not even tend to debate. We act as if this is the normal way to go. Just because we got used to it during many eons of time.
But if we could transition towards a new ‘ruling’ concept based on the opposite of fear, which is Love, would we also do it? Or would we fear that such a transition is impossible or too complex? Well, it is not complex at all. All it requires it that you change your mindset. Change your focus. Stop with the ego-centric competing with each other for a small piece of a very large abundant cake. Start having compassion for each other and instead compete on how good you can help your fellow Earth inhabitants. Accept that mass-fear is nothing more than a personal perception for each of us allowing the perception. Is there an antidote? Yes there is. Let’s call it a Loveacracy: a kind of democracy where compassion and Love for each other rule the development of our beautiful planet. Good luck with your personal quest for institutionalizing your own Loveacracy!
Fear of inconsistent behavior is a quite common phenomenon. You can experience it everywhere. And it is often blocking or frustrating us. But why is that? I think it’s because demonstrating inconsistent behavior is generally “not done!” It’s socially unacceptable. It’s a taboo. And because of that it drives our behaviour in a certain direction. We sometimes rather make stupid decisions and then later on hide that fact by showing “consistent” behavior. For example: “The decision I made last year still stands and I am in no way going to change that, even if I now know there are much better alternatives”. But wouldn’t we make things a lot easier for ourselves and our environment, if there was somehow a kind of culture that allows us to demonstrate (a little bit) inconsistent behavior? A culture that allows us to make learning mistakes? And no longer consider a learning mistake as a taboo? I think it can be made possible. And it doesn’t cost a thing. We only need to accept a new mindset that helpes us promote what I call the Love for Progressive Insight. That allows us to be a learning society. And that accepts that our society is getting so complex that no single soul can make the sometimes very complicated decisions (s)he can stand up to. So it’s time to allow for more learning mistakes. Time to stimulate the culture towards progressive insight. Time to forget pointing fingers at inconsistent behavior. What is your opinion, could this approach work?
I used to be a control-freak. Seeing things that others did “wrong” in my judgment. Seeing opportunities for preventing others make mistakes. Adding structure where I thought others created chaos. Adding principles where I thought others must be missing them. Adding policies where I thought others needed them for damage control. Promoting standards to limit innovation where others in fact needed room for innovation. Adding governance where I thought others must be governed. Ignoring the idea that others must have a chance for the necessary learning experiences. Until I read the statement “Relax. Nothing is under Control” from Adi Da Samray. Since then I am more and more convinced that too much control isn’t desired. And if any, control should not be aimed at controlling others but rather on helping others. So I am learning now how to let go of things I used to want to have “under control”. Learning to transform my controller “role” into a helper role. And I discovered some useful instruments that support me with this transformation. They’re very easy to use and they’re free. They are virtues. The most important virtue that can help letting “control” go is trust. If you trust another person, you’re allready halfway there. Think of it this way: the cost of structural lack of trust will probably be many times higher than the benefits of structural trust. Another virtue is forgiveness. If another person makes a learning mistake and you forgive them, you’re at 75%. People make mistakes, you too! Accept it as a fact! Allow ample room to learn. If you practice patience when things aren’t quite going the way you would like (for example not fast enough) you’re at 85%. I like to compare this to the “angels” patience I must practice when training my dog for agility: it works!. And then there is respect. If you respect that not everyone has the same learning skills as you would maybe like, you’re at 90%. Not everyone is equally talented so the real “talent management” is to accept talent diversity and integrate the available talents. Acceptance brings you to 95%. And finally, add a little love on top to help take away (suppressed) fears. Now you’re at 100%. To wrap things up: 50% trust, 25% forgiveness, 10% patience, 5% respect, 5% acceptance and 5% love are useful ingredients that help me transform my role from controller to helper. The percentages are just an example, they can be adapted to any situation. Good luck with practicing these virtues and please let me know if they also worked for you. Picture source here.
What do you think about the picture of the two trees that together “embed” a woman’s face? Picture source here. I think it’s a beautiful example of how creativity can work. I stumbled upon it when googling “creativity spiral”. It inspired me to write this post. And I thought to link the topic to the Spiral of Silence and how that relates to fear. Now what’s this about the spiral of silence? What exactly is it and how does it relate to fear? Wikipedia says the following: “…it’s the spiral of silence that begins with fear of reprisal or isolation, and escalates from there. The fear of isolation is the centrifugal force that accelerates the spiral of silence…” What is boils down to is that public opinion and how that is influenced by the mainstream media influences a lot of people who “go with the flow” and this follow the spiral of silence. Wikipedia says: “…The mass media have an enormous impact on how public opinion is portrayed, and can dramatically impact an individual’s perception about where public opinion lies, whether or not that portrayal is factual…” The power of public opinion can be overwhelming, for example 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong. Or lots of (main stream) media shout that we’re going to the Cloud so that must be true, isn’t it? So even if you don’t believe the public opinion, chances are that fear of not following the public opinion puts you in a minority position. And a lot of people fear to be in minority. They rather keep silent than become a minority position. So then you become almost automatically part of the spiral of silence. Now what could you do about it? Well, in fact it’s quit simple. If fear is the dominant driving force that puts you into the spiral of silence, next time, try to reduce it’s impact by exercising the opposite of fear: Love. It’s that simple. Good luck!