Health and Humanity: Conclusion
by MQ Bismil
Tue 31st May 2016
To this point we have perhaps discussed and dwelt upon some of the challenges facing humanity and health, so let us today start to explore some solutions, and summarise what we have discussed. In today’s piece we will attempt to use the generalities of health and its relationship to humanity that we have previously discussed, initially from the perspective of one human’s journey (the latter which we have termed intraspective). The premise we set out on day one of this series was that the human journey and the journey of humanity could be beautifully and synergistically linked of course.
According to Maslow and Engel, the health of the human could be summarised as follows. Humans have physiological needs and after these, the most basic need is safety. After this, from a psychosocial viewpoint they seek love, belonging and esteem. As we know, health is not merely the absence of disease but is in fact an all - encompassing entity which perhaps too few humans ever actually enjoy: biological, psychological and social wellbeing. A healthy human in the most complete sense could then hope to build upon this state of intraspective equilibrium to go on and find him/ herself, ie. self-actualise and perhaps even ascend to the top of Maslow’s mountain - transcendence.
Crime, conflict and ‘scandal’ are ubiquitous in the modern world. Regularly, various scandals present themselves whereby it seems that groups of hitherto upstanding citizens have behaved and acted scandalously. A recent and topical example is the Hillsborough tragedy, which we now know has taken decades of work by a minority to achieve some justice. There are many recent examples in the sector of health and social care in the UK. Examples of those from the caring professions behaving very badly. We have previously considered why groups of people may not necessarily be more than the sum of their parts, and may actually be less than one of their components. We have also previously considered that some, such as Hunter S Thompson, would say that humans are becoming deindividualised in the modern world. This author would suggest that if every human was provided with a foundation of good health in the true sense (biological, psychological and social wellbeing), and hence empowered to ascend Maslow’s mountain on a personal level, they would be more altruistic and less likely to act badly when forced to work within a faulty system.
The justice system is obviously fundamental to securing the health of humanity. To protect the majority of good citizens from the minority of trouble makers would perhaps be the general theme. But, if we take a step back to gain a perspective on Maslow’s mountain, and wonder what a different place the world might be if every human being was empowered through having their physiological needs addressed; if through interactions with their fellow man and woman they found esteem, belonging, love and safety, and if then they were able to ascend to the top of their own personal mountain how great and peaceful a world might we live in? Notably, money, sex and power do not appear on Maslow’s list of human needs, yet the modern world seems to revolve around these factors. Perhaps we as individuals need to reconsider who we are, what motivates us and what should motivate us. And perhaps then, as a species, we can move forwards through the twenty-first century and beyond. When we started off the year with this series we resolved to find time to think logically, and again it is emphasised that some intraspective navel gazing would be a great start towards transcendence.
Purpose it's that little flame
That lights a fire under your ass
Purpose it keeps you going strong
Like a car with a full tank of gas
Everyone else has a purpose. So what's mine? ...
I'm gonna find my purpose
I'm gonna find it
What will it be? Where will it be?
My purpose in life is a mystery
Gotta find my purpose
Gotta find me
Purpose Avenue Q (Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx)
A healthy human, with a foundation of biopsychosocial health, could hope to find their purpose in life. This can only be achieved through meaningful interactions with our fellow (wo)man: what we have termed the interspective. If they did, they could self-actualise and perhaps even transcend. Which would, I suggest, place them in a minority. From this author’s perspective, some humans who have self-actualised early in their lives and transcended would be some obvious names such as Gandhi, John Lennon, Orwell, Einstein and Twain. There are many more, and there will be debate on this issue of course. This author would of course add Bill Hicks, Ron Paul and Ellen Brown to this list, but others might not. But this author would suggest that in the modern world only a minority of humans self-actualise and transcend. Yes there are many very successful individuals in this world who achieve fame, power and monetary transcendence. Many of these figures are political, media, celebrity, corporate and sporting ‘greats’. But in a world that measures success often now via media-supported fame and power, or the ascent not of the Maslow pyramid but of various pyramidal corporatised power structures, many or most of our seemingly most successful individuals have perhaps never self-actualised and will likely never transcend. They have, however, almost always learned to work within a particular system and often to turn or work entities such as money, debt and/or marketing to their advantage. Working within a corporate-type or media enhanced system, finding success and then doing some charitable deed(s) neither equates to self actualisation nor transcendence. It may be a start though. It may also be (more) marketing.
Thus, in the modern world the meaning of life may be lost on the majority or even on the minority of individuals who flourish in terms of money and or power. The meaning of life will of course be endlessly debated, but may in fact be very simple. Find your own humanity and use that to help humanity. The diversity of human beings would, I suggest, mean that every niche that humanity would require to flourish would be filled. Thus, if the majority of individuals could be facilitated to self-actualise and transcend, then perhaps this could enable humanity to transcend. Obviously, before this can happen, the billions of people who do not enjoy ‘health’ would need to be assisted. And hence inequality would have to be addressed. As per Maslow, the first step would be ensuring every human has appropriate shelter and clothing and clean water, food and air to breathe.
As to how an individual, on a platform of good health in the truest sense, might self actualise and transcend, first let us pause and reflect on this:
“Above all be true to yourself, if you can’t put your heart into it, take yourself out of it.”
Maslow suggests that self-actualisation and then transcendence are the goals of healthy and complete humans. What is perhaps the missing link between these two in the modern world is the ability to stay true to oneself when most humans are confined within and marketed to by various systems. A question is whether in the modern world any of us are empowered to think logically and freely for ourselves, or whether our work system and the political, financial, media, social and religious systems which permeate our lives control us.
Secondly, I would suggest that only a logical and rational thinker who finds time and space to think for themselves could hope to find themselves. Finally, I would suggest that finding oneself has to be empirical process, with ups and downs, and with failures as well as successes. If, as Bill Hicks said, the world is like a ride at an amusement park, with chills, spills and thrills, life’s journey will teach us as much from the downs and pain we experience as from the ups and joy. The modern media often seeks to tell us that happiness is the key and or meaning of life, but where the intraspective, interspective and extraspective may come together to question this notion is as follows: If personal happiness is the key to modern life, then surely this requires us to ignore or become impassive to the suffering of our fellow man and/or the plight of humanity. Some might say it is possible to find personal happiness whilst empathising with others less fortunate and/or whilst understanding the failings of modern life. Whilst this is agreed, it is suggested that then happiness might be more of a secondary aim rather than a primary quest. If happiness is what we seek, then as Orwell said, we must accept and presumably acceptance should at least come well after understanding and some significant attempt to optimise things.
As discussed in the first section, it is this author’s contention that when individuals are immersed in a world where money, sex and power are seemingly fundamental, where the majority of humans never enjoy good ‘health’, and where people who have not been empowered to find themselves as human beings are forced to work within faulty systems, it is unsurprising that humans may lose their humanity. So let’s make it better.
The first steps for humans to become more than the sum of their parts to make a better humanity would be for us to help each other self actualise, and for that the modern world needs to place less emphasis on individuals working within systems and more emphasis on individuals developing organically and empirically. Prior to this, education should teach them to think logically. After that, life should afford us enough time to navel gaze, to understand who we are and to pause and reflect. Life's journey, ride or roller coaster may then take each of us in different directions, and we should seek to learn from every significant experience we have, both positive and negative. Often, the road less traveled will be the one that teaches us the most.
“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
The Road Less Traveled - Robert Frost
Some challenges facing humanity we have previously discussed are how the commentariat, the political class, and organised religion market to the masses, and how corporate pyramidal power structures and the modern money system do not necessarily do a great deal for humanity. The most important tools we have at our disposal as human beings are firstly our humanity and secondly our thinking.
The modern world is indeed a product of our thinking. To make the world a better place, we just need to think more, think more logically and think better. As individuals and collectively.
Unfortunately, we have a financial system which is out of control. We have abused the natural resources at our disposal. We are polluting the environment. There is unbelievable inequality in the world. Conflict is ubiquitous. Debt is money.
To move forward, humanity should look back too. The financial experiments of the 20th and early 21st centuries have not really worked. Money should mean something. Debt should not mean more. Bankers should not spend their lives making bets with money created out of thin air (derivatives) on a scale which all the money in the world could not compensate. Jefferson knew banking might spiral out of control, and unfortunately it has.
“I sincerely believe, with you, that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies; and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale." Jefferson writing to John Taylor on May 28, 1816, Source Web Of Debt, Ellen Brown
Rather than having a casino - style financial sector, we should concentrate on tangible goods and services. Healthcare, (social) justice, production, transportation, technology, infrastructure. Natural resources should now be respected and protected. Conflict should be seen as a last resort, and the military industrial complex should be seen for what it is. Inequality should be minimised. Those economies which are likely to do better when the world economy shudders under the weight of modern banking and business are those which have concentrated on production, technology and tangible skills. Almost all economies now are debt based but those countries who have kept a significant proportion of there interests in tangible services and industries should do best.
I have previously put forward the case that logic should be a taught subjective. Abductive logic is a form of reasoning that could benefit every human greatly. The commentariat, the political class and the financial - corporate sector combine to feed us with narratives. The media news increasingly feels like a Hollywood production. The economy is a window to the world and a great example of how we can think better as individuals. The majority do not understand the basics of the modern economy. This is not because it is complex. It is because mainstream economic theory is both flawed and mystified. To understand the economy better than most all that is required is a basic level of interest in the subject, basic logic and a basic understanding of fiat money cycles. Abductively, there is only one conclusion that can be reached and that is that the money system is heading for a reset, probably sooner rather than later.
We have discussed above and indeed before that some systems have ended up being less than the sum of their parts - in relation to the commentariat, politics, sport, finance and business. We have also discussed that humans can save humanity by firstly finding and being themselves and then empowering each other and the human race to do the same. In such a world, not everyone would behave altruistically but most probably would. It would be nice to find out. In a modern world of failed systems, we each must empower ourselves to think more and think more clearly. Here in the UK and Europe the ‘Brexit’ issue is reaching fever pitch. As discussed by others here, the Panama papers leak has been utilised by the commentariat and friends to reinforce various narratives. Kayfabe appears to be ubiquitous, a recent example being the ‘oops I didn’t realise the microphone was on’ scenario utilised on more than one occasion. Across the pond, Mr Trump is getting closer to the White House. With regards to the latter, whilst it does appear that the US Political System is parodying itself in Spinal Tap - esque proportions, this author would dare to state to the readership that a Trump run government will likely deliver no less or no more that the previous administration or an alternative one. Trump at least, for now, says what he thinks, will have to work within the political system as it is, and whilst his politics may easily offend many, he may bring some fresh ideas at least in terms of the business world. As someone who is big business, he may feel less pressure to heed to big business. Whilst his policies will undoubtedly change more as we run into the election, one example of where he appears to be on the right track is in his support of auditing the federal reserve. More recently, as Ellen Brown has pointed out on these pages, he appears to be wiling to contemplate a true overhaul of the money system, again at least for now. It will be clear to most of the learned readership that Sanders was the change candidate. Anything else is likely to be more of the same, but a term of two or Trump could actually shake up the establishment a little which might be interesting, if he can hold his nerve.
"If voting changed anything they’d abolish it ” Ken Livingstone
In terms of Brexit, too, we can apply abductive logic. Most economic writing in this journal, if not the mainstream media, agrees broadly that the world financial system is heading towards a reset. Recent commentariat, political, and financial narratives have centred upon the effect on the world economy of a Brexit. Abductive logic would tell most of us who understand the economy and the failings of 20th century mainstream economics that linking the Brexit to an almost inevitable world financial unraveling is just smoke and mirrors.
Nevertheless, eventually, by changing our thinking and changing the modern world for the better, humanity will progress. No debt, no war, no inequality, no marketing and humanity living in synchrony with each other and the planet. Surely the aim? Discuss.
This concludes our series on health and humanity, for now at least. Go forth and be great.