We cannot handle the truth – on collusion, polarisation, and the need for love

There is no denying that the human race has to tackle some wicked problems if we want to ensure the healthy future of our grandchildren.

Sadly too many of our institutions, leaders and the very system that underpins them is heavily invested in denial and keeping the incumbency alive.

True, for things to change for the good of all of humanity, wealth needs to be redistributed. it doesn’t work for a minority to hold extreme wealth while a single child dies of hunger. Power needs to become more democratic, not held in the hands of the few. And this is terrifying for those who either have it or long for it.

My co-founder and I and a team of amazing individuals decided we wanted to play our part in building a future that would support 100% of humanity, without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone and that we would start this at the local level. We wanted to demonstrate, through building models, that people are not victims of a system, they can co-create a more healthy and just system, without needing to wait for permission, and through the cooperation and collaboration of fellow citizens. Welcome to Big Blue Sky, this beautiful enterprise to co-create a healthy future for our community, built on the backs of volunteers and supporters who have given their life energy and love to the purpose of our work – to increased the Common Wealth of Community.

Think about this…increase the Common Wealth…the wealth for all, the wealth of the commons..not the wealth of a few at the expense of another, not the holding back of knowledge so that we win while someone loses, not the forgetting of a whole segment of the community…the Common Wealth of Community. Based on a premise that there is enough to go around. That we are playing an infinite game, not a game of win lose.

We believe it is a noble and important aspiration. A real Moonshot.

Have we succeeded? Far far from it. We have only just begun. Are we perfect? Not at all. Do we pretend to be perfect? No. Do we know exactly how to do this? In some areas yes, in most no. Are we committed? Evidence would say so, for on those many days I wake and wonder what would have me persist, when there is little income, and massive mountains to climb and it seems exhausting, and people seemingly block you in the most unexpected ways….yet back to the fray we go…onwards…one step forward, two back, repeat….

And I ask myself why? Why this particular goal?

Because this goal will ask more of me than any other. This goal requires me to bring my whole self, the best part of me and the less elegant parts of me, to the game. This is the hardest program I could ask for, the one that will develop me beyond all others. Mostly because if I do not do this, then who will? I can no longer hide behind some mythic illusion that someone else will take care of this, of attempting to do something that enables our children a more healthy future. I choose to do this because I didn’t want to be the person on the couch complaining. I have been given the emotional, mental, and relational resources to do this. It is a call. Not a question.

Do I seek fame? I am so far from wanting that. I do care about the people I most love, respect and admire in my life seeing the truth of my work, but I can count these people on both hands…and I know they already love me, approve me, respect me…even if I refuse to lift another finger. Though I am quite sure they will not let me get away with that kind of irresponsible inactive behaviour.

Why do I do this? Because to not do this would be to deny the responsibility my privileged life has gifted me. And even when I have no income, I am privileged. Privileged by my country of birth, my education, my health, my networks, my skill. Privilege that can never be counted by the money I do or do not have in my bank account, or the status I may or may not achieve.

How easy it is to attack good intentions.

As Mahatma Gandhi said…first they will ignore you, then they will laugh at you, then they will fight you…then you will win. But we don’t want to win, because it is not a game of winning that we are playing..we just want to create a more beautiful world that our hearts know is possible. We want everyone to win. Is that naive? Idealistic? Probably both. We still think it is worth aspiring to.

How easy is it to judge and sentence a person by staring at his/her skin, not in the way we white people tend to do with people of different colour, but by making zero effort to inquire into the person behind the skin. We don’t like his/her attitude. We don’t like some of his/her thinking. So we throw the whole person in the dump, just like that.

I too have been guilty of doing exactly this, not once, not twice, but many times with other people. And this is what I am reflecting on. As I approach my 56th birthday, this is the commitment I am making to myself. To not do this again with anyone. (I might not get it right every time in the beginning, yet this is the practice I earnestly seek to do as the rest of my life plays out…if we cannot move towards more love and compassion as we get older…then our age is lost to us.)

How many of us have ever felt not understood? Not seen for our ALL? How many of us do exactly this to others. Judge, jury and sentence, in a nanosecond. Thrown to the dogs. Just like that.

And then we get together in our little collusions and we make the story bigger. We start speaking about this person and that person with even more hostility. Where the hostility breads hostility. And like a virus, this spreads, such that anyone associated with this person also becomes bad. And the contagion spreads. It spreads on the back of a destructive energy, devoid of love.

And all the while, we have never stopped to ask what is the truth. We have never inquired into the person. Why does he/she think this, or believe that, or say this? Why do they do what they do?

Why is such a noble question. Why invites understanding. But we would rather not ask it, and stay at war, or stay righteous, justifying our behaviour. That smug little feeling I too have felt. Righteous. Superior. The ugly side of me. The ugly side of humanity that breeds dominion over. That keeps us, in the end, small and separate, the exact opposite of what most of us yearn for. Love, connection, being seen, being understood.

We live in a world where to keep people disempowered we need to keep them separate. We need, like Donald Trump, to build walls that separate the ‘good’ guys from the ‘bad.’ If you are reading this you are probably someone who knows intrinsically that this is not the answer. Never has been. It only continues to feed those who flourish by keeping people separate, different and at war. The good, the bad, the black, the white, the Muslim, the Christian, the rich, the poor…the polarising and those who never speak an opinion…for polarisation can only be present when someone stands up for an ideal and speaks out….and goodness knows we need more people to stand up and speak the truth.

But are we really interested in the truth? Really? When we speak the truth it invites all manner of other issues we must deal with. That your daughter is on drugs, that your partner is having an affair, that you are an addict, that you are a liar, that you will collude with the ‘in’ group to be liked….that captains of industry exploit and profit from the breakdown and degradation of society, that it is OK to build wealth on the backs of the modern slave, that offshoring our business into tax havens to not pay our share to society is good business….

Donald Trump isn’t the problem. We are. How can we ever possibly imagine building a better future for our children when our own actions are so divisive? When we are hell bent on tearing down the good, the true and the beautiful, even if it is not perfect? When just because someone can be polarising, we seek to bring the whole thing down. Almost anyone who has changed the world for good was polarising and imperfect. (Abraham Lincoln, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr, Tupac, Mandela….)

Polarization is the backbone of a healthy democracy. The person with a different world view. It is exactly this than enables humanity to progress. Polarisation was Nicolaus Copernicus, who against overwhelming disbelief stated that the Earth was not the centre of the Universe. History is littered with great people who polarised, and were laughed at, discriminated against, hanged, stoned, executed. Because they had the commitment to speak the truth. And sometimes polarising people do not speak the truth. Sometimes they are crazy. Their value lies in getting us to ask questions, to inquire, to start thinking for ourselves. Really, the Earth is not the centre of the Universe? Man does not have dominion over Earth? Really? There is no such thing as a straight line? Perhaps we have not really innovated since the late 1950’s, but instead made incremental change?

But to start thinking for ourselves and inquiring into the truth of the matter is risky business. It may mean our own isolation. It may mean we have to go along with our own minds, rather than the crowds.

Sure, we can be polarising, and sure we are far from perfect. Heck, I am far from perfect. So are you. So are we all. If perfection is what you are after then stay in bed. But to criticise and tear down because you don’t like someone, without even knowing them, this is not the behaviour we seek to endorse in anyone.

It takes courage to speak truth to power. What I mean by this, is to actually name names of people and companies that use our system to profit from the suffering of others. It takes massive courage to persistently do this, year in and year out. To stand persecuted on a daily basis, not because you are the perpetrator, but because you are working for a better humanity. Imperfectly, but in full commitment.

How easy is it for us to tear down. A callus word here. A pointed finger there. It might feel good in that moment, offering a taste of short lived superiority and status. That rush of power to bring someone down, not because they are bad, but because we don’t like them and we don’t agree with them. Even when we have never asked how they know what they speak of. We have never bothered to inquire as to their intentions.

Want to change the world and make it better for our kids? If we cannot stop the micro wars that we fight between us, if we cannot stop tearing others down, if we cannot see the truth of someone, if we cannot respect the fact that to take a position of any form of public office means also to suffer the hate that will be directed towards you, if we cannot at least take the time to ask questions and inquire into a persons motivations, then we have no chance.

It starts with us. With me. With you. We must end the war between us. We must not sentence people before we have allowed full inquiry. This is the basis of our justice system. It is what we would want if we stood accused. To treat our fellow humans with dignity and respect as a first step.

Big Blue Sky is beautiful. Its DNA is collaboration, invitation, respect, decency and the belief that most people are good and seek to come together to create a better future for our children. That to act, to no longer be victims of a system, or money, or government, or any other forms of perceived power, is what we are about. That we are doing this imperfectly. That I am not a saint, that I have rough edges, and can appear to be bossy, I am direct, not everyone likes me…that some of the people we love to collaborate with are polarising, but that the truth is we are united…really united around a singular purpose…to increase the Common Wealth of our community…to make the world work for 100% of humanity, without ecological offence, and the disadvantage of anyone.

If this calls to you, then please join us. It will never be perfect, there will be clashes…and disagreements, and we will make mistakes. We deliberately chose the language of MoonShots because to get people to the moon and back safely, back in the nineteen sixties, with less technology than you currently have in your pocket, took passion, disagreement, polarisation, argument, risk, incredible uncertainty, absolutely no map…it took all of this..it was messy, creative, rushed, challenging…or as JFK said in his 1961 speech…” we choose this goal not because it is easy, but because it is hard: because that goal will serve to organise and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win..”

Or, if you want to stand on the sidelines and criticise our imperfections and mistakes, do that too. We will still hold the space for engagement, we will still invite collaboration, we will still work for your children. And every day, we will continue to send you love. For this is the only way we can co-create a world that will be worthy of our children. By inviting love. Extending love. Acting in love. Building businesses and enterprise and community on a bed rock of love. Love for Earth, love for life, love for humanity, love for animals, love for beautiful business, love for each other. Love for no one suffering so I get to win.

It’s Big, It’s Blue, It’s Beautiful. It’s love. This is Big Blue Sky.

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