First of all — hat tip to Umair Haque for his piece on the importance of Love in Leadership — it inspired me to write this post.
If your higher purpose to change the world turns you into a bully, heckler, harasser, tyrant — precisely the kind of person that ruins the world — you’ve already failed.
I would like to build on the importance of this insight, as it’s not just your behavior that’s affected — it’s everything you see, perceive and build.
Fear becomes the Lens through which you see reality. It is a shit colored filter that clouds your judgement.
All your knowledge of the world, your mental models, your human to human interactions are shaped by your Dominant emotional state. This impacts not just how you behave towards others, it shapes your thoughts and your creations.
If you are Leading from a position of Fear it reduces your ability to Trust. When we don’t Trust each other we have to create systems that act as a proxy for Trust. These systems erode Trust further and erode our relationships, creating a negative feedback loop. The systems then fail, and grow increasingly complex as we try to replace Trust with incentives, penalties and bureaucratic processes. Most of our society is built on foundations of Fear.
Fear has a high cost.
Trust is Love in action.
Fear changes your language, it alienates and divides. Defining the lines — eg. the 99% creates Fear in the people with the greatest resources to change the world. I live in Berlin, and every day I see these posters — Fight Nazis, Smash Capitalism, Burn the Rich. These are Fear products. They often have alarming aesthetic links with those whom they claim to be against — white, black and red posters with bold symbolism and a violent overtone.
[As an aside it’s interesting to note the aesthetic links between extremist groups of differing ideologies and how they continue to be inspired by one another. Was ISIS aesthetically inspired by the black block?]
Violence creates more Fear, it doesn’t create a safe and welcoming space for change.
Change requires a safe space. Fear locks the brain, denies the feeling of safety.
Fear changes what you see and how you see it.
Like Love, Fear is blind.
You must make the choice what you wish to be blind to, because Fear thrives on your attention.
There are creatures that feed on Fear, that grow in it and nurture it. They feed off our society. The forms these beings take are not the physical forms we are used to recognise. They are anti-social super-organisms — from military-industrial multinationals, to laws, prisons and terrorist organisations. Our collective Fear keeps them alive, they each have an interest in perpetuating this state.
Many of you will read this through the Lens of Fear, your shit colored spectacles. You will say, look at the world, look at how we treat each other. How can we NOT Fear each other? Clearly Man cannot be Trusted.
The Dominant narrative affecting your mental model is that Humans are shit. Technology might save us, but rarely are we given agency in this model. We are not to be trusted. Your mental model is affected by the media you consume. Every day feeding your brain Fear and Mistrust.
The News is not Reality.
I was in Egypt just before the Second Revolution, just after the first. My friends and family were worried for my safety. The media lens only showed violence. Yet the view from the ground was different — the violence was focused on small areas and certain times — 2 streets from clashes it was life as usual — I even heard from a photographer that nobody wanted her picture of a couple picnicking while the protests erupted behind them. Young men sat in shisha cafes watching the violence on screens taking place at their backs.
The news is the unique, that which is novel or different — we don’t show the baseline kindness that most of us have at our core.
How do we remove the shit goggles, how do we view the world through the Lens of Love?
How do we meet the challenge highlighted by Umair? How do we Love those that Hate us?
It’s hard to write about this as our language is so filled with division already. The statement above features Us, which implies a Them, which implies a separation. Identity creates division.
The Us that we are is infinite. There is no separation.
If you’re uncomfortable with the talk of Love and Fear then the above is probably making you more so.
Our discomfort and our Fear have much to teach us.
To learn we must gaze into the abyss — speak to the monsters and understand their origins.
Ask yourself why are you uncomfortable with this conversation? Why is discussion of emotion uncomfortable? What are the underlying Fears that lead to this discomfort.
I can relate to the discomfort, I don’t need to go back to far in my own journey to relate to the roots.
Fear of Judgement — Emotion and Spirituality are frequently dismissed or disregarded by establishment thinkers. There is a lot of “Woo” in this arena, therefore it is better to steer clear of the discussion altogether. As a Man I have been schooled from an early age that Emotion is a Feminine thing, and that being Feminine makes me less of a Man. My identity has been entwined with a rejection of Emotional Literacy. Society does does not encourage discussion of it and to do so may make me vulnerable. Emotion is irrational seen as “irrational”. The dominant model of our society is rational, and material.
I now embrace my femininity, it’s what attracted my partner. She loves my man boobs, and regards me as 50% female. She celebrates this balance, allowing me to embrace it and nurture it further.
I’ve started to wear a dress — well a Sarong to be precise. This isn’t as much about embracing my femininity as much as not allowing Western Masculine Norms to define me or my level of comfort. From the first moment I tried on the sarong I was converted. Gentlemen — let your balls breath. Why would we wear trousers when such a superior garment is available?
The judgement of others should not limit my growth as a human.
Fear of Vulnerability — To talk about our emotional states makes us vulnerable, for all of the above reasons and more. We don’t like to expose ourselves for Fear of exploitation or rejection. If we’re already viewing the world from a position of Fear, it is especially hard to make ourselves vulnerable.
There can be no love without vulnerability. It is essential for authentic communication and understanding.
The devaluing of the Spirit, of Emotion I believe may be rooted in the War on the Feminine. An unconscious product of the narrative of Female Inferiority. It’s necessary for us to reconnect with this language. With being present to our Emotional states and how they affect our behaviors and our actions.
Our Emotional Bias, affects the way we see whether we like it or not. We must confront the “irrational” being within us, the frightened child clinging to reason in a world that is irrational and ever changing. This denial prevents us from seeing the connection between the Emotional, Physical and Intellectual elements of our beings, and how they affect each other.
I talked earlier about Us and the infinite. From the scientific perspective I would call it a Collective Super-organism of which we but a small component, composed of even smaller components. A meta-ecosystem of which our human scale ecosystem is but one tiny fragment. From a spiritual perspective it is still hard for me to discuss, as first we must define the words — they have become too clouded by misinterpretation. I will for the sake of argument call it One. The meta ecosystem can be understood from an atheist perspective, but to feel the One requires a deeper commitment to connect with your underlying emotional/spiritual self. To confront the unknown. There are some gentler paths to this such as meditation, however sometimes something stronger is required to break the walls of the illusion of self.
I wonder how many of our everyday self destructive behaviors and pathologies can be attributed to an absence of the spiritual, magical and mystical. Of a disconnect with the super-organism of which we are all a part.
Our society’s rational and material bias is a dominant cultural pathology.
That which cannot be explained or quantified is dismissed and buried as we fear to peer into that which challenges our carefully measured and controlled perspective of reality.
The right brain, the feminine, the creative, the unknown vastness of our unquantified self. It’s value persistently undermined, undervalued, and the means of access dismissed or outlawed.
It’s good to see research into the power of psychedelics making a comeback. Sometimes we need something that causes us to Open up our narrow perspectives and take a wider view.
The greatest challenge I think will be in how it is appropriated by the dominant capitalist framework — and how it threatens the existence of many a legacy organisation — the purveyors of Needs Violators and Pseudo Satisfiers. Those reliant on our largely unexplored emotional/spiritual needs — which are ill met by a mind and matter oriented system.
A human reconnected and content human consumes less alcohol, cigarettes, product. They have little need of other psychological drugs and medications.
Our entire economy relies on just the right amount of psychological damage, emptiness and fear in order to function.
There is no greater threat to our present system than a happy human.
To Love what we see as the other, we must recognise that they are a part of us. We must understand our own Fears and the Needs that create them, understand our own biases and how our relationship with our ecosystems affect us.
Conflict and Pathological behaviors arise when Needs are not met. When they are not met frequently or for too long Fear becomes entwined with the Need — leading to over consumption even when the need is met. Such Fears become entangled with our personalities, our cultures and even our DNA.
We have to purge our Legacy Fears, our Hereditary Mistrust
By Understanding, Loving and Trusting ourselves we can then begin to see others through the same lens — vulnerable creatures in need of Love and other essential Nutrients in order to grow and thrive.
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This post is not complete, and not fixed. It’s a work in progress. Feel free to discuss and critique.