Has the world gone mad?


This is an attempt to find simple answers to what are difficult questions: What’s gone wrong with our world? What can we do to change direction?

I’ve always been interested in just what makes the world go round … what makes people do what they do … and, most importantly, why life on planet Earth seems to be increasingly troubled. I marvel at the sheer brilliance of Humankind. Looking around I realise that every manufactured item, every artistic creation, every life-saving operation has been built on the knowledge laid down through generations and has been brought into existence by imagination, planning and hard work.

Why is it then – and this is the crux of my pondering – that such incredible talent seems to be taking us up the wrong road so that we have a world torn by conflict, misery and starvation?

Hours spent reading and musing and talking to the interesting people I’ve met along the way has led me to a pretty depressing place but has also shown me that many inspiring and brave people are working towards a bright, new, future.

I’m hoping that off-loading my thoughts here might bring your comments to help my understanding and strengthen my hope.

Proposed Book: Change is in the air – Finding Hope in our troubled world

Having spent much of this year reading what the great and the good are saying about the state of our world (and how we can move to a better future) , I’ve been writing what I hope will become a published book.  Would like some feedback on how it sounds and anything I’ve perhaps misunderstood

Section 1 ‘Setting the Scene’ …
I never dreamed that I would write this or that you would read it. But, write it I must and read it I do hope you will.
Like many a good story my writing has taken me to dark and painful places but it has brought me surprises and has the promise of a happy ending. And, of course, as the story teller I’ve chosen who are the villains, who are the good folk and what to include in the plot.
In writing I had to grapple with something about which, I’m led to believe, most of us really don’t want to know. Something at which, it’s said, our brains are ‘wired’ not to look1. It makes us feel anxious, overwhelmed and perhaps even a little guilty with thoughts that we should be doing something … And, of course, that’s how I often feel, but t I do hope you’ll stay with me. I see the light ahead and I’m feeling uplifted and hopeful!
So, what is this difficult and fascinating subject which has preoccupied me for much of my adult life, which I’ve struggled to understand and which has made me increasingly frustrated and angry as the years have passed?
I live comfortably here, close to the Thames estuary in S E England from where I look out at the world. I’ve always been interested in what makes the world go round … what makes people do what they do and why life on planet Earth seems to be increasingly troubled.
I sometimes marvel at the sheer brilliance of Humankind.  Looking around I realise that every manufactured item, every space adventure, every life-saving operation has been built on the knowledge laid down through generations and has been born of imagination, enterprise and hard work.

Why is it then – and this is the crux of my pondering – that such incredible talent has helped to build a world where there is so much inequality with some people spending thousands of pounds on a handbag while others die of starvation? Why are we destroying the natural environment on which our very existence depends? ?
How could such an intelligent and creative species as homo sapiens have made such a mess of things?
This book is the result of my musings, my reading and my discussions with the many interesting people I’ve met along the way. It is the story of what I have learned, the pain I’ve sometimes felt and the hope and inspiration I’ve taken from the many, many people worldwide whose work, courage and resilience is taking us towards a better future.

Hormone-injected beef is very tasty!

Have I got this right??
Russia and the US were no doubt pretty chuffed with the Brexit result.  The UK leaving the EU will weaken the EU and make it easier for Russia to meddle in Eastern Europe.  With the UK desperate for trade deals with the US this Tory government will do anything to the clinch a deal.    Clorine washed chickens, hormone-injected beef, pesticides which kill bees and the rest …  Fox reckons the Americans have been eating clorine washed chicken for years without any harm.  How does he know?  Perhaps it accounts for the lunacy which has led them to elect DT as President!

A Light Bulb Moment!

Of course the US and Russia are both gleeful about Brexit.  It took me a long time to understand that. Brexit weakens the EU so it’s easier for Russia to ‘tamper’ in the Eastern European states. A Britain out of the EU will no make us pretty easy meat when negotiations get going on the trade agreement which Trump tells us he is very keen on.
I’ve already come round to thinking that the reason the trade agreement between the EU and the US – TTIP – was put on hold was because the EU regulations on things like food safety and harmful chemicals are much better than in the US.
When the US comes knocking on our door to make a deal will Theresa May stand up to the pressures to allow hormone-injected beef and genetically modified foods into our supermarkets?  Will she keep our ban on various harmful chemicals which are allowed in the US?   Will she resist the US demands to open up our public services (including the NHS) to bidding by US corporations?  We’ve already sold many of our essential services (water, rail etc) to foreign countries, will we soon need to turn to US corporations for our health care?
Those who voted Brexit might rue the day.  Didn’t they realise that the ‘regulations’ with which they claimed we were stuck (straight bananas and all that) were really protecting our health and our natural environment?
And then there is the joke about ‘taking back control’  ….  didn’t those who voted Brexit realise that it’s not WE who will be in control, but those multi-national corporations who are increasingly taking control of our essential services.

Fancy a nice cosy relationship with the US?

Rarely a day passes without some news which gets me going …

Yesterday’s was the news that President Trump is very keen to get a trade agreement with us very soon.  I bet he’s keen.

First, we’ve been led to believe (is it true or fake news?) that the Internet billionaires influenced the Brexit vote so that we are now leaving our friends in the EU.  The US billionaires will be looking for a return on their investment me thinks.
Then,  I remember that the TTIP negotiations have been ‘put on ice’  following lots of opposition across Europe because a trade agreement between the EU and the US (TTIP) would mean we would have poorer food safety regulations (see Jamie Oliver’s website) and poorer animal welfare regulations(see www.theecologist.org).   Control would move away from our national government to a  ‘trade committee’ set up under the trade agreement.
Then, of course, any trade agreement with the US would be sure to include opening our NHS up to yet more privatisation.
The EU,  in the face of lots of opposition across the continent, stopped TTIP negotiations (see  www.theguardian.com/business/ttip).  Am just wondering whether Theresa May and her government will give such a listening ear to opposition in this country when our friends in the US try to cement our ‘special relationship’ with a trade agreement which will nicely line the pockets of the corporate elite.  Talk about ‘take back control!’

Readers Needed

For about six months I’ve been working on some writing which I hope to get published as a book.
I’m not an expert and some of the stuff  I’ve been reading is pretty difficult to understand but I soldier on.  I have a professional advisor and she’s told me I should find a few people to read my work and give me feedback.  So,  if you have the time and interest, please get in touch.  I need all the help I can get!
The idea for the writing came to me when I realised that we seems to be living at a really interesting time in human history and I was really struggling to understand just what’s going on.  Then I read a book called ‘Don’t even think about it:  why we are wired not to think about climate change’ and I decided I would think about it.   Then I started to read about it.  And then I started to write about it.
What I’ve learned is that although so many awful things which are happening in our troubled world are looked at as separate events – the recent awful fire for instance – they are so very often linked to the fact that we have an economic system which concentrates on maximising profit by meeting our physical, material, needs while not taking account of our all-round well-being, the other creatures with whom we share the planet or the natural environment.  School playing fields are sold off without concern for children’s health;  community centres turned into flats without considering the impact on the local community;  cheap materials which are not fire resistant are used and people die;  people have several homes while others live on the streets.  The list goes on.  But, I’ve found light at the end of the tunnel and lots of good stuff is happening.  So I’ve decided to look for the good stuff and heed Bernie Sanders who said ‘despair is not an option’.

A Future to believe in

Went to London to hear Bernie Sanders speak on Friday.  What an exciting and uplifting evening it was.
He was talking about his defeat in trying to be selected as the Democratic candidate in the US presidential election. He’s full of energy, very charistmatic and stirring. Because of the rapturous standing ovation he got from the audience it feels almost sacrilegious to make any negative comments, but I came away feeling a bit let down. Perhaps I’d been expecting too much.
The main thrust of his talk was how big money has taken over our world and how people are feeling let down and powerless.  They turned to Donald Trump to change things.  And he’s pretty clever at saying what they want to hear.
I think I was expecting more about how we can change things but having listened to him I guess there is no ‘magic bullet’.  If there is one I think he would have found it by now.  Perhaps his biggest message was that the huge number of people who have supported him is the beginning of a ‘political revolution’ and that his defeat mustn’t be consigned to history but should be seen as part of the move towards a fairer and more sustainable future.
It sounds good but I’m still left wondering whether our ‘democratic’ process is really up to delivering any sort of significant change.  Let’s face it, the powerful elite would prefer the status quo and there are already signs that steps are being taken which could be construed as ensuring the ‘masses’ aren’t able to bring about change.
For democracy to run freely we are supposed to be an ‘informed’ electorate but most of our mainstream media is in the hands of a few corporations.  In recent times its become obvious that billionaires have even taken over much of social media to get their message across and to keep an eye on any peasants who start to get out of hand.
Then there are the limits being put on free expression and protest.  The privatisation of much public space (such as outside the GLC building in London) means that no public protest is allowed there.  After the Occupy movement,  squatting, previously a civil offence, became a criminal offence.   Many people are worried that the restrictions on and surveillance of individuals, put in place as a means of combating terrorism,  can also be a very useful way of monitoring any social unrest and protest not related to terrorism (am I on their list now?)
So,  I guess my question to Bernie Sanders is:  Are you really convinced that our present democratic process is up to bringing us a ‘political revolution?’


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