Sex or chess? Peace, the world’s trump card

So yesterday I enjoyed a little rant about the game our governments, supported by the people’s consumer-driven values, are playing with military pawns, strategically placed towers, and other oil-powered weaponry. We established the difficulty in knowing what sources we can trust, but decided that either way whatever moral and immoral tactics the governments are using with their present day “war of wants”, it is the westerners that gain the lifestyle benefits of cheap clothes and food and transport and travel. I am absolutely a beneficiary of this, and I must say I’m glad to be on my side of the fence. But we also established that our state of being is temporary. One day, if we keep playing this zero-sum game, someone else will be the winner and we will be the losers. I left you with a hint of hope: is there another way?

I believe there is a trump card. And that trump card is PEACE.

Ok, ok, don’t close down your browser just yet. I know it’s cliché. And I’m getting to the sex bit.

I think that there’s a difference lifestyle and world system out there that is more satisfying for each of us both mentally, physically and spiritually. What I am talking about is a world system not based on consumption and capital acquisition and an excessive usage of our world’s resources. It’s NOT based on competition, win-lose, on war and violence. What I’m talking about is a PARADIGM SHIFT. A change of game.

A shift from win-lose to win-win; a shift from competition to cooperation; a shift from a world based on limited supply to a world based on infinite creativity. It is crazy that people in the developing world die from hunger while people in the developed world die from obesity. One party has too much, the other has too little. Over the last couple of hundred years or so we have quite ironically and erratically set ourselves up in a lose-lose situation.

It is ridiculous that people in the developed world suffer from self-imposed stress-related illness and depression, and the developing world suffer from lack of self-determination that comes as a consequence of our material and superficial values. They work 17-hour days behind a sewing machine to provide us with more clothes we do not need. They work 17-hour days producing wheat and sugar, to create more unhealthy “foods” to make us fat. WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON HERE?

There are hundreds of ways that this absurd system can be fixed. And everyone has a part to play.

Governments: shift the billions of dollars from defence budgets, stop filling up your troops with McDonalds style BBQ foods, and invest in addressing the roots of the conflicts – invest in sustainable cradle-to-cradle designs of products, houses and transport facilities. Be transparent. Create a true democracy.

Voters: vote for governments who put their money where there mouth is, that support the long-term future of humanity. Write letters to your representatives, tell them what you want.

Consumers: spend the extra on the products and services that are sustainable and buy less of the products that are not. Buy fair trade where you can. Write letters to companies and tell them what you want.

Shareholders: you are accountable for your investments. Your money has a consequence not only on the profit you receive in your profit, but also on the social and environment and political situation of your country, of the countries involved in the trade process – which will have an affect on you and your children. Tell the CEOs and MDs of the companies you are invested in what you want them to do with that money.

Bank account holders: your money you put in the bank is then invested in shares – so find out where your money is and make sure your bank knows your values.

Business decision makers: look at the outcome of your company’s actions and your decisions – not only in terms of profit for shareholders, but in terms of people and our planet. Where are your Inputs coming from? Where, after purchase and consumptions, are the remnants of your Outputs (including packaging) being disposed of? How could your product be designed better, so that it’s materials can be not only recycled but are “up-cycled” and used infinitely in the biological and industrial metabolisms? The aim is ZERO waste.[1]

Rich people: did you know that the 225 richest people in the world could provide the $40 billion needed to create a world where everyone has access to food, shelter, education, safe water, sanitation and healthcare [2]? So get off your ass and encourage mates to do so too. Invest in “social businesses” aimed purely at achieving a social or ecological objective. Your money alone can change the world!!!

Workers: look at the company you work for – what product are they creating? Is it good for the environment? Good for people? Where do they get their inputs? What toll does this have on people and the planet? Communicate your thoughts with your bosses. Think creatively – how can things be improved?

Media: try to report more than just the violence – tell people about the peace movements, give people the biggest picture you can get. I know it’s tough given your limited sources.

Basically we must THINK GLOBAL ACT LOCAL. We each can make a difference and together we can change the world.

Imagine if we can shift from looking at the world as game of chess, to seeing it more like, hmmm, more like SEX

Imagine if the world was a place of making love – a game where there are only winners, and there are no losers. A game where each party feels more pleasure, the more pleasure they provide to the other. A game where energy is created, and not taken away. A game where the happiness and joy and creativity is infinite. A game of utter satisfaction and never-ending joy and happiness. And with no ecological footprint. Now that’s my kind of world.

Did my peace card trump your defense card? DOES SEX TRUMP CHESS? Is it time to change the game?

References:

[1] William McDonough & Michael Braungart (2002) Cradle To Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, North Point Press.

[2] L. Schirch (2002) “Human Rights and Peacebuilding: Towards Justpeace”. Paper presented to the 43rd Annual International Studies Association Convention, New Orleans, Louisiana, 24-27 March 2002.

Picture Credits:

Dormice® (click to see more of his incredible art) Sawan Yawnghwe A very successful Canadian artist based in Panzano – Florence, Italy. My distant friend.


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10 Comments

  1. Johnny Reed
    14 Apr ’12    

    Discovered your blog by accident. Could spend hours chatting with a great mind such as yours. Keep it up, we need more like you.

  2. Deepak
    17 Jun ’12    

    Wow fantastic, keep writing and will follow all of them. Yes a better single world – no division of countries, sharing resource with everyone is great. But when we will learn that its not mother country its mother earth with no boundaries and unbounded love..

  3. 15 Oct ’12    

    hi julie, i turned 50. i’m white, live in canada. 4 years ago, while biking home after work, i suffered a cavernous malformation, which is kind of like a stroke deep in the brain. the ensuing surgery left me permanently physically disabled (i’m in a weelchair and i type with one finger), but not mentally–i’m still pretty sharp. i’ve always sought for the reasons behind things. and now i got all this time on my hands. uh oh.

    anyway, in my questing, i seem to come across people who act deaf, tho some hear and are pissed off. but i also find a rare golden nugget, a fellow truth-seeker. seems the general consensus for us pomo-types is love the ones your with, be true to yourself, and care for your fellow humans–all life if you can manage it. ideally, the rest will take care of itself; realistically, however, it’s a little more complicated. what do you think?

    peter

    • 16 Oct ’12    

      Hi Peter, it sounds like you’ve had quite a life changing experience – bringing you many challenges (I can’t hardly imagine), but also many gifts as I can see with the time you can put into thinking about things like truth and care…

      I agree that idealistically all you need is truth and care and things should turn out alright, however the problem seems to be when a “truth” is not really truth, and care (generally connected to such a “truth”) leads to harm of others (people or planet) even if one is not aware that harm is being caused.

      Eg If someone believes in the “truth” of an afterlife and the practice of jihad, and they “care” about their family and themselves enjoying whatever they are told they will receive in that afterlife, then people might be killed in the name of truth and love.

      I’m thinking a lot about these things, and there seems to be something in an ongoing dynamic exchange between the different sides – eg truths that are not absolute, and are always looked upon with a critical eye, but which are also not completely relative ie some truths must be recognised to be “more true” or “less true” according to some criteria used to judge truth.

      Also care can be expressed for different levels – for an individual human being vs for a group of human beings in a nation vs ecosystems as a whole. What is good for one level may be harmful for another. How does one deal with the ethical dilemmas faced in the trade-off between these levels?

      The only conclusion I’ve come to so far is that one has to keep questioning. No matter what one comes to believe, we have to keep looking for more information, for greater understandings of other perspectives, and to improving prospects for the future of our species starting from ourselves and working out from there. At least that’s what I have concluded is the best thing for me to do for me. How about you?

      BTW the first “ping back” comment I received from you (and I don’t really know what ping back comments mean and have previously ignored them all in the past, I think) was on your post entitled “the lowest amongst all”. I have to say I was a little worried when the first comment I saw the described my change from a “left-wing idealist” to “kinda a right-wing protectionist” after India. I thought: this guy thinks I’m the lowest amongst all… oh dear! Well by reading a little more and then seeing this earlier comment, I don’t think (hopefully) that’s the case.

      Anyway thanks for reading and engaging with my posts. The scariest thing about a blog is that what was “truth” for me a few years ago may not be truth for me today. I keep changing, and the words posted on my blog stay the same! I hope you keep my words in the context which they were written… (which right now is with a head cold clouding my mind, so if my reply above doesn’t make sense that is probably why!)

      Thanks!

      Juliet

      PS Have you seen the TED Talk “A Stroke of Insight”? I’d love to hear your reflections on this, given your experience and your philosophical intrigue…

  4. 17 Jun ’14    

    I’m an older geezer who has been transfixed by reading your commendable searches for the absolute “truth” . I’m sorry to say I feel the world is reaching an abyss of depravity such as we have never seen before. Politicians have no interests but seeking their own reelection and lining their pockets with as much geld as they can muster. Plus****** we have the terrible sham of “neo political” movements masked as religion destroying cultures of the western world. Thousands of innocents are being killed by bombs & shootings while the majority of viewers are more interested in football scores.. The masses are more interested in being entertained than doing some serious thinking about their roles in society. I apologize for being so pessimistic….but I am delighted to find a blog with a woman who is really seeking true values in present day life. I am appalled that in current times people are still so addicted to religion that they are unable to visualize that humanism and secular thought is probably the only way back to sanity.

    • 17 Jun ’14    

      Thanks for your comment Michael, it’s nice to hear from you even if a pessimistic summary of the misled values behind humanity’s destruction of the gifts our planet has given us. I’m sorry to say I’m slowly growing more pessimistic too.

      I’ve been puzzling over three traits in particular: (1) Greed, (2) Ignorance and (3) Laziness. Figure out how to encourage (1) Contentment with material belongings; (2) Curiosity to question the stories one is told or not told; and (3) Motivated to participate in global society; then maybe there is hope?

  5. 18 Jun ’14    

    Juliet your comment to my note was much appreciated. My current perplexity concerns the thinking of men and women who have accumulated immense wealth. e.g. Warren Buffet & Bill Gates whose combined wealth exceeds $110billion = $110,000,000,000,000. I believe that’s the right number of zeros.
    I am struck by the phrase ” I million$ here, 1 million$ there….. pretty soon you’d be talking about real money !!” What drives men to garner such riches when they must see so much poverty around . Today, I heard there are 15,000 homeless children in Los Angeles, without parents & no home: some even cannot afford a toothbrush let alone scraps for a meal. 1% interest for one day on $50 million is over $500,000. It boggles the mind when you compare have nots… with the have too much. Luckily some can get a school lunch free.
    California probably the richest State in the Union has an estimated 127,000 homeless people. Many are mentally ill, too. It makes you ponder……

    • 24 Jun ’14    

      If only those earning over a million dollars a year paid tax … crack down on tax havens and create a healthier, happier, more sustainable and just world for all.

  6. 18 Jun ’14    

    Juliet you mentioned you were concerned about 1/ Greed 2/ Ignorance….
    I have a story that covers those ideas . Years ago I worked on the trading floor of a major Investment Bank. A customer of the bank was chatting with the head of our department and I overheard the man saying ” I just sold my corporation for a net profit of $127,000,000 that’s 127 Million$$$ that I will put into Tax free Municipal Bonds so that I will not pay a dime in Taxes Federal or State in the future”……… My first impression was suppose everyone “thought” that way. Who would pay firemen, the police, street cleaners, pay for public schools??? The list is huge. May this be an example of greed & ignorance ??? Granted Cities and states need financing to operate. But the thinking that went into that particular conversation gave me very negative impressions of that individual.
    Another incident that fits into the category of greed( and callousness ). Before Investment Banking I worked for an airline office in San Francisco afternoons & evenings while going to a University mornings. I booked reservations. A call rang one afternoon the voice was tense and demanding ” He said ” I’m Frank Sinatra put me on the 6 O’clock flight to LA”.
    I said” I’m sorry but that flight is fully booked and there is a waiting list with 15 people and I cannot put more passengers on that list… its locked.” He blew his stack and said get me on the F.*******G plane or on the top of that list or do I have to call the president of your airline.???”. I didn’t feel like arguing with an irate person….so I said ” just a moment”. Clicked off….. and went out to lunch.

    • 24 Jun ’14    

      This story made me laugh out loud whilst walking on the road reading from my phone. Thank you for sharing Michael!

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