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Videos of SAL/UER Climate Week events

Racism and the Collapsing Society, Barbara Love and Tim Jackins, June 7, 2020

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RC and the Transformation of Society: An Introduction to Wide World Change

Re-evaluation Counseling provides exciting opportunities and valuable resources to make the world a better place. We use the phrase “wide world change” to describe our work to transform our society into a rational one—in which no person is hurt by other human beings or oppressed by society, in which all people and all life flourish, and in which the natural world is respected.

HUMAN BEINGS

We assume humans are very intelligent. We define intelligence as the ability to respond to situations flexibly—in a way that is appropriate to each distinct new situation. Humans are, however, vulnerable to being hurt. If we do not heal from our hurts, they install distress recordings that can cause us to act in rigid ways. They cause humans to engage in war, genocide, colonialism, imperialism, and activities that damage the environment. They cause adults to emotionally, physically, and sexually abuse young people, and to engage in such other forms of violence as murder and rape. Fortunately, we can recover from how we have been hurt and regain our flexible intelligence through discharge and re-evaluation. We have the ability to transform society. We can end war. We can have a world in which the resources are shared equitably and the natural world respected and preserved. Achieving such a world will not be easy, but we can do it.

CAPITALISM

From early times, hurtful experiences and anxiety about personal and family survival led many humans to acquire distress recordings based on fear and greed. Groups fought over resources, and sometimes the “winners” enslaved those they defeated. In some parts of the world, rulers emerged and empires developed.

At present, most people live under economic systems that exploit the labor of workers for the benefit of owners or national rulers. These systems are sometimes called capitalism. Capitalism is an economic system based on private ownership of property, trade, and industry, including the raw materials and equipment used in manufacturing or providing services. Its goal is to profit owners. Some nations have an economic system with both private and state ownership. In these nations, most wealth (produced, as always, by workers) also goes to the owning class.

The owning class typically values making money over the well-being of people or the environment. As nations and capitalism developed, the owning classes found that installing patterns of nationalism and patriotism was effective in increasing profits. So was establishing a national language that suppressed other languages. War provides the owning class opportunities to make money: the victors can steal resources from the defeated, and industries on both sides, especially the armaments industry, make money supplying the military.

OPPRESSION

Oppression is the systematic mistreatment of a group of people by society. Sometimes a particular group of people is conditioned to act out a particular oppression.

Oppression divides people and hinders us from organizing for change. Racism is an example of an oppression: Although human beings are in fact of one race and species, many people still believe the lie that different “races” exist. This lie says that (a) biological differences between so-called races determine social, moral, and intellectual characteristics of individuals and groups, and (b) some so-called races are superior—more intelligent, more favored by God, more worthy. These erroneous beliefs were used to justify enslavement, colonization, and genocide of people in various parts of the world—often, but not always, by white people. These beliefs were used to justify the theft by white people of immense wealth through genocide, colonialism and imperialism. This wealth has never been returned and is still being stolen.

Similar beliefs, installed on other groups, result in the establishment of oppressor–oppressed relationships that interfere with our trusting each other. Men oppress women, owning-class and middle-class people oppress working-class people and people living in poverty, and so on. In reality, no human being is better or worse than any other human being. This basic principle underlies wide world change in RC.

CHALLENGES

Placing profits before people and other life forms has caused extreme damage, and it threatens still more. At present, enough nuclear weapons exist to devastate the world. The exploitation of the environment for profit has caused deforestation, climate change, ocean rise, and the extinction of species.  Climate change, poverty, and war have generated millions of refugees. Human survival is in danger.

The “for profit” society is unlikely to stop climate change, since those who control the current system profit hugely from it. Attempts to change society—through revolutions, wars of independence, and nonviolent direct action—abound in history. Some have resulted in progress; some in failure. But the exploitation of workers and of the environment for the benefit of owners persists. A complete transformation of society is necessary.

Present challenges include our distresses, as well as those of people we work with and of the people in economic control. Capitalist values are entrenched in the policies and practices of national and international institutions. Longstanding animosities exist between countries.

But as the effects of climate change become more visible, people could agree that the time has come to work together to replace capitalism with an economic system that sustains the environment and works well for everyone.

WHAT DOES RC HAVE TO CONTRIBUTE?

Re-evaluation Counseling is a theory and practice for helping people recover from distress recordings that interfere with our thinking and acting intelligently. In practice we build local and Regional Communities, within an International Community, that support people to form Co-Counseling relationships. In these relationships and in support groups, we discharge about the challenges we face in our own lives and the challenges facing humanity. We support each other in regaining our intelligence and in taking leadership both in RC and in the wider world. Following are some important assumptions that guide our relationships and our Communities and that relate to wide world change:

  • All humans are born good. No human would hurt another human unless they had been hurt themselves.
  • No human being, language, or culture is superior to any other human being, language, or culture.
  • Every human inherently wants to communicate and cooperate with other humans.
  • We are not born greedy or with oppressive beliefs about other individuals, other groups, or ourselves. We innately want a world that is good for all people and all life.
  • War is not inherent in human societies.
  • Humans have an enormous amount of intelligence, which can be used in our efforts to make the world better.
  • A large part of the damage to our intelligence is a result of the oppressions that have been imposed upon us. To free our minds fully, we need to eliminate all oppression.
  • Powerlessness and hopelessness recordings are installed on us by the society when we are young and by adults around us who become restimulated when we use our inherent power. Recordings of powerlessness and hopelessness interfere with our ability to work for the transformation of society.
  • In a rational world, no one would be hurt by humans, the world’s resources would be shared equitably, and society would preserve essential resources forever.
  • Many leaders will be needed if we are to achieve a rational world, a world good for all humans. Every person can take leadership.

LEADERSHIP: HOW YOU CAN TAKE ACTION

To lead is to see to it that everything around you goes well. Leading means taking responsibility for what matters to you.

If we are to succeed in transforming society, people from many parts of the world will have to discharge the distresses caused by capitalism, oppression, war, colonization, imperialism, and genocide. (Note that in doing this discharge work, blame and criticism never move things forward. A more productive perspective is that no one is to blame for our difficulties; we cannot change history.)

Discharge is crucial. Without it, wide world changers may be pulled to act on the basis of painful emotion, or burn out. Important areas for discharge are the models of leadership you grew up with; distresses you experienced because of capitalism; experiences of seeing mistreatment on the basis of skin color, economic class, sex, and so on, or of being made to feel superior or inferior because of such identities; the effect on you of nationalism, patriotism, language oppression, war, and genocide; and ways you were criticized, attacked, betrayed, or humiliated as a young person.

SOME IMPORTANT THINGS YOU CAN DO

Decide to lead. Choose something you want to change. Tell your counselor, “I decide to ___” (use the present tense) and say whatever thoughts and memories come to mind. With discharge, you will think of specific steps to take. Saying your decision in session will bring your chronic distress to the surface for discharge. This surfacing doesn’t seem to depend on the scope of the decision; even a small one contradicts recordings of powerlessness and insignificance installed on us when we were young. (A “decision” —such as “I decide to eliminate nuclear weapons”—is different from a “direction” designed for discharge—such as “I am lovable.” A decision is designed to bring action as well as discharge.)

Allocate resources wisely. Figure out how to use your time and energy well. You can reasonably say no. Well rested, well discharged, and relaxed, you will be more effective.

Build trusting relationships. Especially with people different from you. Listen to stories from many people of different backgrounds. Treat people with respect, kindness, and caring. Relationships are more important than solving problems or developing tactics and strategies.

Identify new leaders and support their development. Especially leaders with backgrounds or identities different from yours. This practice requires you to identify and discharge on areas of unawareness in yourself and to learn from others’ perspectives.

Lead in both the wide world and RC. You learn useful things in each domain that you cannot learn in the other. Introduce RC ideas and methods into your wide world work. Work to build strong, diverse RC Communities.

Prepare yourself to effectively handle attacks. Attacks are often initiated by privileged groups or individuals who feel uneasy about, and threatened by, change. They are conscious or unconscious attempts to decrease the effectiveness of a person or a group. Some people attack to get attention, to feel important, or to compensate for having been silenced. If you are attacked, get sessions. Stop the attack by responding firmly, but not angrily. Distinguish between disagreements and attacks. Attacks are meant to disrupt your work. Disagreements are honest differences of opinion and are welcome, because we want everyone to think for themselves.

Choose to be hopeful—and communicate hopefulness. Most were told as young people that we could not make a difference. We have, however, good reason to be hopeful. And communicating hopefulness to others will help build a community of wide world changers around you.

Lead in your own way. Learn from the leaders you admire, but lead the way you want to lead.

Don’t seek perfection. You will fail. You can’t be perfect, but you can be effective and can learn from mistakes.

Celebrate the struggle. You were born to lead. You may be uncomfortable, but you can enjoy leading. Don’t let fear stop you.

Julian Weissglass and others

 Julian Weissglass is International Commonality Reference Person for Wide World Change


Last modified: 2021-10-14 03:13:27+00