Wide World Change is Possible

I have recently been appointed RC International Liberation Reference Person for Wide World Change (WWC). This is an awesome responsibility, and I am committed to doing an effective job. I have been discharging on the decision a lot!

At this point I see my job as:

  • Encouraging, counseling, and organizing Co-Counselors who are working for the end of oppression through political, social, economic, or institutional change;
  • Working with Co-Counselors to eliminate the internalized oppression (for example, the passivity, powerlessness, competitiveness, lack of confidence) that inhibits WWC work;
  • Helping people to develop and organize around progressive policies with the goal of replacing any policy/practice that injures humans with a just, caring, and healthful policy/practice;
  • Helping to spread RC theory and practice into every group working for political, social, economic, or institutional change.

My view of this job will undoubtedly change as I learn more from doing the work and listening to others about what they think the job is. I don't see it as replacing any other job in RC, but as adding additional leverage to achieving a rational society.

COUNSELING ON WIDE WORLD CHANGE

One thing I learned from deciding to take on this responsibility is that making a decision to lead based on a "big vision for change" is extremely powerful. It changes one's life. I can't get lost in distress anymore. I can't act out my bad feelings about myself or other people. I have found myself discharging in ways I rarely, if ever, discharged before. Outside of session I am thinking more clearly and acting more decisively. Taking on this new responsibility has changed my life for the better (although it doesn't always "feel" that way!).

I therefore encourage you, in a counseling session, to ask yourself or have your counselor ask you: If you were to make a decision to completely change an institution (a hospital, school, or factory, for example) or a system (local, regional, or national government, for example), what would be the biggest internal challenge you would face? Then say, "I've decided to change _____." Let yourself discharge. Then tell your counselor your thoughts. Then repeat the phrase.

CHALLENGES

Many people have had (or currently have) an inspiring vision of what society should be like. Some of these people are well known, but there are many more who do not get any publicity or mention in the history books or media. They may have led a peasant or worker revolution, reformed a nation's medical system, kept a forest or lake from being destroyed, or raised their children to be good, caring human beings. There have been many people throughout history who have tried to eliminate oppression. Obviously something has been missing from all of these efforts. Otherwise our society would be in better shape. What has been missing, most notably, is knowledge about how distress experiences contribute to humans acting rigidly and oppressively, and how certain natural physiological processes of emotional release (what we call discharge) enable us to heal from hurtful experiences and act more decisively, flexibly, and awarely. Any social change effort that does not incorporate these two insights will not be sustainable. Patterned behavior (passivity, opportunism, timidity, competition, greed, and bias) will creep into actions and policies unless people are healing from the hurts that cause them.

I challenge all RC wide world changers to:

  • Act outside of and fully discharge any passivity/timidity patterns;
  • Identify and thoroughly discharge all distressed motivations for leading (frozen needs for recognition, power, parenting, or approval; desperation; competition; etc.) and instead lead solely in order to make the world a better place for all people;
  • Develop and support large numbers of sound and principled leaders;
  • Overcome the distrust, misunderstanding, and lack of acceptance of emotional release among people working for social change. Give them the tools of RC that we find so powerful.
  • Eliminate the race, class, gender, and cultural biases that are embedded in governmental and institutional policies and practices;
  • Hold out for all people the importance of acting with integrity at all times;
  • Empower all people (not only radicals or progressives) to look beyond the simplistic arguments that established leaders and fearful people use to simplify very complex problems in ways that perpetuate oppression;
  • Build relationships with other actual or potential wide world changers (policy makers, politicians, elected officials, institutional leaders, community activists, social workers, etc.).

With regard to this last point, I think it will be beneficial to act as non-permissive listeners by asking pointed questions that will help people re-evaluate their practices. Some questions I suggest are: When did you first realize that there was something wrong in the world (poverty, injustice, prejudice, for example)? When did you first realize that you wanted to make changes in the world? As a young person, what were your dreams for our society? What are they now? How have you acted with integrity in your work? How have you compromised? Within the existing policies of your institution, what regulations or practices can you implement that will increase respect for people and lead to human liberation? What policies need to be changed?

It may be necessary to serve as a one-way counselor for a while, but you should quickly make it a peer relationship with each of you being both counselor and client. If you build relationships with two or three people, you can start a support group and then expand that into a fundamentals class. If you have success with this approach, let me know. If you have access to e-mail you can write to the Wide World Change List Serve. You can subscribe to this list serve by getting the approval of your Area Reference Person and then applying to me (weissgla@math.ucsb.edu). Applications must also be approved by Harvey Jackins, the International Reference Person for the RC Communities. I will forward your application to him.

WIDE WORLD CHANGING

The last issue of the RC Wide World Changing journal appeared in 1981. We need an editor. The responsibilities are to gather material and edit it for publication, with the assistance of the staff at Rational Island Publishers. Issues are published when there is enough material to fill a journal. If you are interested in applying to be the editor, write or e-mail me. If you are using RC in wide world change work, write me a letter or send me an article about: what you are doing, what your successes have been, how RC theory and practice have been useful, and what your current challenges are. I will forward these to the new editor when she or he is chosen.

REPLACING CAPITALISM

One of the key issues facing the world is the development and implementation of an economic system to replace capitalism. Capitalism is based on the economic exploitation of the labor of the many for the economic benefit of the few. It uses (and manipulates) people's patterns of greed, competition, and materialism. It is leading us to an increase in the gap between wealthy and poor, to increased violence, and to environmental degradation. By exploiting the human instinct for self-preservation, capitalism has led humanity to the precipice of self-destruction. The destruction of the ozone layer and the increased rate of species extinction make it imperative that we work cooperatively to establish an economic system that fosters human intelligence and cooperation, does not exploit the labor of any person, and sustains (even restores) the natural environment. The world needs and deserves such a system. Having the tools of RC enables us to make a decisive contribution to developing and implementing it. I encourage you all to discharge on and think about what such a system would look like and to write and talk about your ideas.

INTERMEDIATE STAGE

One of the obstacles to progress is the (incorrect) belief that a just and responsible society is impossible. On the contrary, it is logically possible to have a society in which every human is treated with complete respect. The fact that this has not yet happened historically in any widespread or sustained manner is not a reason to believe that it is impossible. Such a belief must be the result of a distress pattern! Although it appears that we have a long road to travel in order to achieve a responsible society, even that appearance may be deceptive. It will help us to not become overwhelmed by the seeming enormity of the task if we focus our efforts on a more readily attainable stage.

As an intermediate stage toward a society in which people no longer hurt people, I encourage us all to advocate that policy and decision makers enact, and only enact, policies and decisions (laws, regulations, procedures, building permits, etc.) that:

  • decrease the gap between the wealthy and poor people in every region and in the world as a whole;
  • halt the destruction of the natural environment;
  • promote the health and welfare of people living in poverty;
  • lead to people healing from the hurts of past and current oppression.

We must take responsibility for demanding that the above four principles take precedence over the desire for private profit or gain, capital expansion, or national economic advantage.

We will attain a society in which people no longer hurt people!

Julian Weissglass
Santa Barbara, California, USA
Present Time No. 110, January 1998


Last modified: 2016-09-01 08:17:08-07