Thursday, 4 December 2014

Jeremy Rifkin The Third Industrial Revolution

What can we do to support this work? I am in UK and as yet we do not have a Third Industrial Revolution (TIR) project running. Italy has Rome and France has Nord-Pas-de-Calais.

TIR has the possibility to unite many sections of the population. The Trade Union Climate Change Group has put out a publication calling for a million climate jobs which has a very similar plan to TIR. Those who protest at the increasing inequality between rich and poor generally see big business as antagonistic to their demands. Environmentalists blame polluting corporations for having profit as their priority. How can we help these groups to see that TIR is expressing their interests?

As Rifkin points out in his latest book there is no guarantee that the international community will wake up before Climate Change kicks in to an irreversible feedback loop. It is urgent that we do our part to bring these ideas to all sections. If you have suggestions or would like to take part in an active way please contact me at

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Response to Deeper Darkness

 Thank you Matt for starting this website and giving us the chance to ponder these deeper realities.

Deeper Darkness seems to connect with a theme I have been pursuing recently. It starts with a quote from Keats I read in the 1970s which I still remember because it so struck me at the time:

'I mean Negative Capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable  reaching after fact and reason.'

The possibility of resting in uncertainty seems to express what is needed to be open to this deeper reality.

This links with something from R.D. Laing:

  'The really decisive moments in psychotherapy, as every patient or therapist who has ever experienced them knows, are unpredictable, unique, unforgettable, always unrepeatable, and often indescribable.'

 I think these guys are pointing to the same thing you are alluding to, approached from another perspective. It seems to me that this perspective, or experience, exists in all aspects of life, if we are open to it. It is not necessarily a comfortable place to be. And because of that we tend to try to avoid it, and stay with what is familiar, and 'known'.

(I put 'known' in inverted commas because this is what has come to be called knowledge in our society, not an inner knowing, but what is socially accepted as true.)

You also link this to the dark night of the soul and I agree with you. Doubting socially acceptable truth can rock your whole world, crash your foundations, and threaten your security, both personally and socially.  Think how whistleblowers are seen as terrorists.

For Bion, a psychoanalyst I came across in the 70s negative capability is 'the ability to tolerate the pain and confusion of not knowing, rather than imposing ready-made or omnipotent certainties upon an ambiguous situation or emotional challenge.'  

These sorts of feelings usually generate embarrassment and shame if exposed socially. We try to keep them hidden. We don't expect our leaders or politicians to express themselves in this way. So we end up with a totally false idea of reality. It is essential for our sanity to allow these aspects of ourselves to be not just tolerated but welcomed.


Saturday, 2 August 2014

Sit until the world becomes still

There is a lot of truth in what Brandon says in this article.

But it is not the whole truth. 

Sitting until our minds become still enough to see clearly, will help so that when we act we are not overwhelmed with the enormity of the task in hand, or so depressed that we become paralysed. 

But this article assumes, as many spiritual beliefs do, that all the problems exist within my mind. I don't have to worry about what is going on 'out there'. Some activists believe, on the other hand, that it is all going on 'out there', and if I sort it out there my problems will be solved. 

Both are true, but only partially. They both need each other to complete the picture. We will tend to emphasise different aspects at different stages of our lives, and according to our culture. I think that the 'it's all in your mind' camp most probably came from the upper classes, the ones who wanted to keep everything the way it was, who were well provided for materially, but still found they weren't happy. The 'get it sorted out there' camp probably came from radicals who wanted to change society because of the inequality and poverty around them.

We are both individuals and social beings, and while we have some choice about what we experience and how we feel, we have less control about what sort of society we want to live in. It feels good to focus on the part we can have more control over. That can help us to feel empowered. And we can choose to stop there and just focus on as Brandon says what fills us with the most bliss, the most peace, inspiration, enthusiasm, satisfaction, and fulfillment. 

When we feel that fulfillment in our own lives, and through connection to higher energies we experience the constant generosity of the universe, we can develop a desire to serve which takes us beyond our own personal interests, to become an active force in the world for peace and justice.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Schumacher North Weekend Retreat

Schumacher North weekend retreat for a group of 12-14 in Yorkshire, offers the opportunity to share where we are in our thinking about who we are and what we need to do to respond to the challenge of this moment in the story of humanity. Discussions and workshops will be lead by ourselves using whatever tools we have available: meditation, movement, song, poetry, walks, silence.

The weekend starts on Friday October 3 and ends Monday October 6th. Accommodation is in a 6 bedroom 16th century farmhouse set in 200 acres.
We will prepare meals and wash-up together.  Food is vegetarian, home cooked from fresh local organic ingredients where possible. Any home-made offerings will be welcome.

Cost is on a sliding scale of £50 - £90 for 3 nights including food, and sharing a bedroom.

Many of us are aware of the need for a radical change in the way of life we are currently pursuing on this planet, in our relationships to the earth, to each other and to ourselves. We are aware of fundamental inequalities of opportunity that divide us from each other, and we see the need for a more cooperative and intuitive way of life which expresses our humanity and allows for the full flowering of our childish delight and creativity, while not losing the amazing innovations of medicine and science. We have come a long way as humans from our cave dwelling ancestors but have we lost our way? Is this a dead end?

To book your place please send £10 deposit to:
 Anna Harris, 16 Elphin Court, Mytholmroyd, HX7 5ES.  Phone 07954345550


A new award winning documentary film 'Trashed' shows that our land and oceans are being severely polluted by plastic waste. Managing plastic waste is a major global challenge, and it is something we can begin to tackle locally. Plastic bags, packaging, drink bottles are obvious culprits. Biodegradable plastic does not help, because it breaks down into tiny fragments which produce a 'plastic soup' in lakes and seas.

A major campaign is being set up for Upper Calder Valley, and the film will be screened at several venues during the coming months, Trades Club April 1st, Salem Centre April 16th, Hope Baptist Chapel May 17th, for parents and children, and The Good Shepherd, Mytholmroyd May 28th. Incredible Edible Todmorden will screen the film on Easter Sunday. We hope to gather ideas and suggestions as to how to control the use and disposal of plastic, and form a core group to take this forward. The film can be watched online for a small fee.

There is a special version of the film for schools (57mins) plus other educational material available. Hebden Royd Town Council have agreed to approach schools to use the film to bring awareness to children. I have been invited by Calder High to work with the School Council's Eco sub group to see how students could be involved. My 5 year old grandson watched the film with his mother and really 'got it'.

There are no easy answers, but that does not mean we should just ignore what is happening to our environment, and leave it to future generations to deal with. Raising awareness about the toxicity of the plastic we use everyday, and how we dispose of it, is sorely needed.This is something everyone of all ages can play a part in. I would welcome your support.