Why we are tackling Root Causes
– not symptoms
Need a header section here that will explain the importance of tackling at source. Then the rest of the page can be in blocks eg that collapse or get navigation system to make them easily found.
- We Can’t Drive Change Alone, Or Piece-meal
- Society: Out-dated and broken systems
- We're drowned in noise, starved of knowledge
- We're overwhelmed by change and complexity
- Sold to, manipulated and misinformed
- We're swamped and weakened by negativity
- We hunger for sense-making and meaning
- Overwhelm and learned helplessness grows
We Can’t Drive Change Alone, Or Piece-Meal
At a personal level, making deep change is hard.
As living is complex, there is a lot of factors to take into account when we want to change our lives: We got to take care of our bodies, our minds, our relationships, our careers, our financial well being … the list goes on.
If we try to make change on our own, or if we try to make piece-meal change without taking everything into account, we are going to run into several problems. For example, you may find that you are not able to prioritise or integrate what it takes to live a better life. You might constantly switch focus to different parts of your life that you want to improve, not being able to grasps all of the information you need for each part. Partial and incomplete solutions offer false hope, take our energy and our time with which we can make progress.
The power of working together
If we don’t work with other people, we don’t work on the best information that’s available, as noone of us knows everything.
Only through working together we can find the best way forward for ourselves personally and collectively.
Doing that involves combining a lot of different factors. We need good information and the best support we can get. That way we can make sure we are approaching things in the right way and it also helps us sustain the efforts that it takes to change behaviors, habits and also ourselves.
We need to address social, economic and environmental factors and we need to do so sustainably, working towards a socially just and a responsible economy that respects the natural environment.
So the way to fix our world’s problems is through addressing their root causes in a joined-up manner across personal, societal and organizational levels.
Society: Out-Dated And Broken Systems
What do we see when we take a deep look at our society?
It is organised on a competitive, winner-takes-just-about-all basis. The dominant social values of money, fashion and acclaim are sort-of gods.
Make no mistake – economic and capitalist principles have played a critical role in lifting humanity into modernity, however, we are not living in that time anymore.
Social norms belie the kind and altruistic natures that are proven to lie at the core of most people.
Society now chugs away based on patterns and rules which at best we partially comprehend. The complexity of modern life (and the pervasiveness of misinformation) are beyond our biased abilities to fully process. While we may wish to fight injustices and change society for the better, in reality we mostly see it as being too vast for us to effectively influence.
We (hopefully) exercise our votes, those of us lucky enough to have them .. and shrug when our politicians break their promises again.
So given the complex, rapidly changing society we live in, why do we still hold on to out-dated norms from the past? Why do we still teach our children in a school model that emerged from a time when society was in need of fabric workers, not individual thinkers?
We need a society, where every single one of us can find their place. Where we can contribute with our personal skills. A society that focuses on creativity rather than just on copying others.
A society that we change according to our needs.
We need a society that is for the people!
If you consider the following, the change we are looking for may actually be within our grasps:
Things are only rational because we have agreed for it to be that way.
Every single law even though it may be rational in many ways, is not natural reality. It is our constructed social reality.
The fact that these constructs define, control and inform our lives even though we made them up and the fact THAT we made them up, becomes hugely empowering if we trust that those norms can no longer sustain us into a new future.
The old cannot continue forever, but when we realize that we made those norms up, we are not stuck with them. Instead we can change them. And in moving our norms we also move society.
We’re Drowned In Noise, Starved Of Knowledge
Did you ever look for information online but weren’t quite sure if you actually found a trustworthy source? If the information was accurate?
Our ability to generate and share knowledge has definitely changed in the past 30-40 years since the invention of the internet in the late 70s.
The fact that scientific findings and all sorts of knowledge can now be disseminated quickly from their originators into the whole world for examination and verification, has hugely spread up the production of quality knowledge. Also technology now creates their own knowledge by looking through patterns and by determining things that we could not have determined without those technologies in the first place.
Challenges of limitless information
Our time of unlimited knowledge does not necessarily make us an information society. Without question, there is a lot of valuable information out there BUT limitless information availability does not give each of us the time to find the best information on each subject, let alone find the information that is most right for and valuable to us at each given point in time. In that perspective, limitless information is actually an incredible challenge; we get distracted, misinformed, misdirected, disconnected …
We usually know what we are looking for, what we wish to understand, but we can’t get the actual information even though we have beaten our way past sales and market messages, advertising, misinformation and fake news.
This includes knowledge about how life can best be lived, individually and collectively, as well as insights into why humanity acts in the often-counterproductive ways it does.
What kind of information do we need instead?
We need information we can trust.
Information that has been filtered, verified and proven by experts.
Information that is not clouded by sales messages.
And information that we can access easily with just a few clicks.
We’re Overwhelmed By Change And Complexity
We change; the world changes; living and society is SO complex. We’re adrift in confusion.
We are living in a time of change.
Change has always been there and part of that change is in ourselves. What was most relevant for us two years ago is different to what is most relevant for us today and it will be more different again in two years time.
However, never before have we experienced change at such an incredible speed.
Our ability to collaborate on learning, research and innovation, together with the emergence of some core enabling technologies, multiplied by the incredible speed of technological change, have already immensely transformed our reality.
We face huge challenges including but not limited to global warming; multiple ways of annihilating our species; military conflict and other forms of violence; social unrest, poverty, illness, unjust distributions of wealth and power; and dramatically-unsustainable consumer behaviors and energy utilisation.
The rate of change is continuing to exponentially increase; emerging technologies will ultimately transform our understandings of work, money, learning, identity, relationships, self, career, contribution and meaning.
The challenges of a complex time
The time we live in is so complex, meaning that we cannot see, know or measure all of the connections and patterns.
People and society have always been a complex structure, but now we are connected to billions of people. We are connected in market systems where the flow of goods and services and the payments for these is hugely interconnected; where an earthquake in Japan can have ripple downstream effects across the western world and where the financial systems, on which our modern economies and societies work, are impossible to reliably predict.
All of this leaves us adrift in confusion.
We can’t process or cope with that change and complexity all at once and even if we try there is no way for us to know where it will take us.
We need to understand that while modeling and working with that complexity and change is important, it is even more important to know that our primary response to it has got to be flexibility. We need to organize us flexibly so that we are not as threatened by the inherent unpredictability of the systems that we live in.
Sold To, Manipulated And Misinformed
Whether you turn on the TV, go online or enter a shop it will be right in front of your eyes: advertisement! There is no way around it and, unfortunately, most ads do not contribute to your life as they promise but instead mislead you.
The power of advertisement and fake news
In today’s world of constant advertising, we are subject to a deluge of messages that are designed to make us believe things that are not necessarily for our own good.
However, a lot of times we can’t see that. In fact, if you look at the evaluations of facebook and google, it turns out that the advertising industry grasps the center of our attention.
Additionally to constant advertising there is fake news, which have become very popular of late. Like with advertisement, we are constantly subjected to fake new. Sometimes it is intentional; even politicians and media personnel are sometimes sharing and promoting messages which they know to be false but which they want us to believe for their own ideological or personal reasons. However, many times it’s just truly coming from a place where people are spreading a message they firmly believe and want you to believe, as they can’t see it is not based on reality.
So WHY are we misinformed and bombarded with a vast amount of advertising, cultural messaging and stereotyping?
By taking our attention and putting messages in front of us, the media world is making money. Therefore it is telling us what the advertiser wants us to believe, which is neither good for us, nor for society, but only for the advertiser himself.
Finding our way out
Identifying manipulation as a root cause is the first step to set us free. As long as we buy and accept those messages that we are being asked to believe and act on, we are being controlled by people, who do not have our best interest at heart. Also we are being used and treated as consumers.
But … the choice is ours!
Every single one one of us has a choice! We can take responsibility, choose to not just buy anything, to get informed and to act as conscious decision makers.
We’re Swamped And Weakened By Negativity
Advertisement is not the only thing that surrounds us every day. There is also negativity – in many different forms.
When we are exposed to news, and even if you look at our social media news feeds or on facebook, the predominant message from the world is a collection of bad news. Floods or earthquakes in different parts of the world, children starving, women being assaulted, families being torn apart by war … Warnings, risks, dangers – negative news are everywhere. Of course it is important to know that these things are happening, but why do they take up most of our news?
The answer is simple and contains deep psychological reasons.
Happy news stories don’t make the front page of your typical newspaper because they don’t sell.
The media is just feeding the demands of the public. However, the demands of the public are based on our personal needs.
Our brains are geared to be more alert and more receptive to bad news.
Negative offense stands out more and therefore attracts us more than the positive ones. If something negative happens, it usually touches our emotions at such a deep level that it stays and we remember its affects longer.
We are so focused on the negative aspects, that we even put more effort into avoiding loss than into gaining a win.
Sounds illogical? There is actually an explanation for our behavior coming from our evolutionary past.
In the past, it was extremely important that we recognized danger in time, as human beings lived in very hostile environments and needed to be constantly hyper alert for dangerous situations. Therefore our brains evolved that way and that is what our media reflects today. So there is a reason why there is a media and why we are subjected to so much bad news.
Personal consequences of bad news
The problem is that the constant focus on bad news is disempowering. We are swamped and weakened by it. It has a huge impact not only on our physical bodies but also on our ability to be positive and to find positive solutions for the challenges in the world.
Not avoiding but being realistic
We are not suggesting to ignore and avoid bad news!
Instead we need to acknowledge that they are there, but at the same time we look for empowering options and promote good news. It is all about creating an empowered form of reality where we are aware of the negatives but don’t focus on them.
Instead we focus on the positives and make good things happen.
We Hunger For Sense-Making And Meaning
What does it mean to be alive? Why are we alive? Do our lives have an ultimate purpose?
These are questions we all think about; questions that are not that easy to answer.
On top of that it seems like these questions have become more important than ever.
There are a number of reasons for that, however one of the central ones is the decline of old belief models, religion being one example.
The role of organized religion
While religion has always played a central part in many people’s lives and to some degree it still does today, organised religion is declining in importance in most societies. Our interpretation of what it means to be alive is no longer believably given to most of us from Sunday school, church or doctrine. Incidents like the catholic church reacting purely to a huge series of sexual child abuse standards contributed to that.
Regardless of how critical you may be given any belief system, the old certainties definitely did one thing: They served the purpose in their time of giving a bigger context in which our lives are lived. By characterizing our life here as a short term thing with the real point being to follow when we die, religion provides a meaning for our lives.
The loss of the easily-available interpretations of the meaning of life embedded in the core of the organised religions has created a vacuum which many of us struggle to fill.
In the solitude of our own minds, we strive to understand … life.
What do we need to keep on going?
Fact is that every time we struggle with something we need a reason to keep on going.
To keep on trying and failing and trying and failing …. and picking ourselves up when we fail.
To find that strength we need to have a meaning, we need to believe that there is a purpose in us getting back up.
That’s why we need a new approach to life and living. One that allows us to find meaning in the infinity of existence.
Each one of us is, of course, alive. What that means is different for everyone, so there is no right answer. Instead we all have to find the answer that is right for us individually.
Overwhelm And Learned Helplessness Grows
There is an old story about a baby elephant that is tied to a very small stake in the ground. As it is still a baby the elephant is not able to pull the stake out of the ground. The elephant grows up and whenever he is tied to a stake again, he remains where he is. Now he is way bigger and much stronger, so it would be trivially easy for him to break the stake and walk away, but because it is so ingrained in him that he can’t break free, he doesn’t even try anymore.
When we experience learned helplessness, we are that elephant
We look at the complexity of being alive, at the messages and the noise we get sold, at the phenomenal amount of information that is out there, at the difficulty of finding meaning in our lives … and we are overwhelmed. On top of that overwhelment we build a sense of learned helplessness where we increasingly believe that we can not make the changes that we would wish to make.
We are so used to be who we are with our limitations and our beliefs. We are stuck in the same habits and patterns, as we are scared to tackle the root problems above and make change.
And because we think change is not possible, we stop trying.
The same is true of us as a society. We are aware of economical challenges, we see the huge inequalities that we would wish to change, as well as ecological disasters, the risks of global warming, of militarisation and war … Those changes appear to be so large, vast and complex that we feel helpless doing anything about it.
We are not used to having the tools available to us to really globally cooperate and coordinate and therefore we can’t see a way out.
However, just like the grown-up elephant has the strength to break loose, those tools are there. The Internet and social media have created a new game in town. We have seen those tools making change happen at a national level, the arab spring being one example, but we haven’t taken it to the next level – which is making global change.
The only way out of this is to see THAT we are tied to the stake. Once we get that, we need to realize that we are bigger than the stake and that we can make changes in our lives by making choices, following those choices and staying true to ourselves.
We need to start now.
Because now is the time to tackle all of those root causes and to break free.