Nigel and Rowena talking about stuff:
“…There are many here among us who feel that life is but a joke
But you and I we’ve been through that and that is not our fate
So let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late…”
NS: Close to home and all over the world, we seem to see humanity stuck in cycles of violence and, increasingly, in danger of enslavement to technology, drugs and ‘entertainment’. How can those who get an inkling of what is happening, and yet see that life can also be beautiful, live in the midst of ugliness? Can change for the better take place alongside change for the worse?
RJR: I am not sure I see it that way. But I do believe we can all strive for change for the better. Although I suspect everyone feels that way – that they are striving for the better. What would ‘better’ look like for you?
NS: I guess everyone may be striving for the better – unless they have given up or don’t care. For some, right now, ‘better’ would be for a woman accused of blasphemy to be taken out and hanged – because their belief is that this would be right and proper. For me, change for the better would be the seeing of wanting to kill someone because they have offended your ‘belief system’ for what it is. More generally, ‘better’ is more an ending of the violence etc, rather than a specific aim, or a thing that we can see in the future. For example, if hate and violence end, perhaps love and intelligence will flourish. But aren’t some people’s actions taking us the other way? And if so, how can one remain optimistic in the face of that? Can a better world still be possible?
RJR: I hear what you are saying. But shall we look at what changes are happening in the world that we might feel positive about? What can you see around you that you feel gratitude for?
NS: I feel it is encouraging that many young people are becoming active in campaigning seriously on major issues, eg gun control, sexual harassment, fracking, climate change… Young people are also showing themselves to be thoughtful and creative, and they appear willing to think about other people and about the future of the planet. I feel grateful for the beauty of nature that surrounds us, even in cities… the falling leaves at the moment, the trees, the skies, the sun, the sea… What are the positives for you?
RJR: That life will prevail and the laws of nature will always assist us back into balance; that darkness forces the polarity of light to burn and break through. We live in times of change, and anything is possible.
NS: Everything dies, but it seems to be a certainty that life will prevail. And the swinging back and forth between darkness and light appears to be a continual thread through human life. So the best – and the worst – is always possible? Is it foolish, short-sighted – and perhaps selfish – to dream of a better, fairer, gentler and sustainable human world any time soon?
RJR: It is important to dream; and better still to do our best to put our energy into manifesting those dreams into reality.
NS: I think we agree that it’s important to dream and to be positive in the face of negativity. I was wondering at the outset of this discussion how we keep being positive in the face of the current darkness, particularly with the rise of totalitarian regimes, brutal wars, shallow materialism and a sort of enslavement to technology. Fascism and war seem to have always been with us, but materialism and becoming utterly immersed in increasingly sophisticated technology are more recent phenomena. Is there not a danger that these more recent arrivals are changing the human mind – and may even block the mind’s ability to dream, think or be aware?
RJR: My concerns are more with the animals – how can we feel positive about a world where animals like tigers, orang-utans and elephants will be extinct? How can we sleep at night knowing this?
NS: I agree. The predominance of materialism and entertainment-addiction and technology seem to have exacerbated human greed and selfishness – and thus the tremendous threat to the natural world. Is it the case that most humans just don’t care about this? Or is it that even those of us who do care don’t care enough?
RJR: I think we all care on a deep level, but some of us use the mind’s capacity for denial more readily….
NS: You have hit the nail on the head, I think. Like the animals whose survival we want to be concerned for, we seem to be ultimately concerned with our own day-to-day survival over almost everything else – when we have the potential, unlike those same animals, to do so much more for the planet. The survival of a growing number of essentially selfish humans puts everything at risk. So can we stop this tendency to easily fall into denial? And if so, how?
RJR: Those who are conscious and aware can do their best to raise awareness – and they are. You have been asking me all the questions in this dialogue – so I am going to put this one back to you. Do you have any ideas on how to raise consciousness on this totally crucial topic?
NS: I realise that I’ve been asking a lot of questions – most likely because I don’t have a lot of answers. I’m sure that the only thing that one person can do to raise consciousness on any issue is to be fully aware all the time and thus to act positively and creatively in all interactions with other people. But sometimes I feel so overwhelmed by the magnitude of the problem and the relatively small contribution that I can make that I probably do what you suggested earlier we can all easily do – let denial hold sway (and more or less give up). But what I get from you is the imperative of being positive. We somehow have to be totally positive.
RJR: What do our readers think? Contributions to the discussion welcome 🙂