Ideas #2 (maximising edge)

Positive affirmations: they only work if you imbue them with emotional content, and if you also work to manifest what they relate to. Otherwise they can result in internal conflict and soul-destroying disappointment.

Here are some positive affirmations and wisdom sayings I’ve used, some self-penned, some assimilated from elsewhere: ‘I am enough’ /// ‘I am innocent’ /// ‘I am fearless’ /// ‘Enlightenment is…total observation of Nature’ /// ‘Love is the Law, Love under Will’ /// ‘Enlightenment is…beginning everything with death in mind’ /// ‘Enlightenment is…total freedom from addiction’ /// ‘Character is greater than personality’ /// ‘The best heroes have a combination of vulnerability and strength’ /// ‘Anxiety and stress can often be a sign of doing too much or too little’ /// ‘Private victory before public victory’ /// ‘Victorious warriors win in their hearts before going into battle’ /// ‘Everything is me’ /// ‘The opposite of addiction is connection’ /// ‘Be proactive’ /// ‘Begin with the end in mind’ /// ‘I am not afraid to be a leader. I am not afraid to explore uncharted territories.’

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City-country conduits: Statistics like these show that the world’s population is increasingly urbanised. Articles like these show that humanity could be at risk of a major breakdown of civilisation either this century or the next. Since cities import most of their food, energy and water from outside the city limits, their densely-packed populations are more immediately at risk from a society-wide breakdown in economic and energy infrastructures.  I have long thought that the resilience of civilisation as a whole could be improved by establishing conduits between city and country in a way which increased understanding and communication between rural and urban populations, as well as flows of energy and resources both ways to reduce the impact of infrastructure breakdown on cities, and the potential burden on the country of fleeing urban citizens. This would in essence be a releasing of pressure on cities by ‘merging’ them better with their rural surrounds, but not in an environmentally destructive way. Regional food security is also implied in this vision, so that ideally, polyculture food growing systems would surround the city and provide all of its food needs (not a new idea). Most importantly I would like to see well-planned and sustainable mobility between city and country increased significantly. I smile at the prejudice of ignorance that exists between city and country dwellers. When I am in the city, sometimes even my most intelligent city friends may make ignorant remarks about rural dwellers and rural life, and when I am around my rural home, I will likewise hear fearful and ill-informed remarks about city-dwellers. This isn’t necessary! This kind of two-way prejudice will only make any serious large-scale infrastructure shocks -which as I’ve said are not unlikely this century- be felt worse and dealt with less efficiently.

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Ensuring Earth is fit for the next seven generations: This is the ‘7th generation principle’ of governance and human culture in general, as propounded by various Native American tribes. It is the idea that every human action and every human decision should have a benign or regenerative effect on the next seven generations of humans to live on the planet, by caring for Nature as a whole (that which supports us). By average modern understandings seven generations amounts to 7 x 25 years = 175 years. This benchmark of sustainability is often quoted in modern movements towards ecological living, but we don’t always stop to appreciate that seven generations is 175 years. Perhaps we should. I advocate sitting in meditation, alone or as part of a group, and trying to envision what the Earth might be like in 175 years. It is almost impossible to guess at, which is precisely the point. How often do communities, businesses and governments plan this far ahead? With the the increasing intelligence of our software, one hopes that more of this will be directed towards scenario planning and global strategy with Earth’s overall ecology at its core. If well-directed, and that means by human beings with deep empathy and experience of Nature, AI could be a force for greatness in putting the 7th generation principle into practice. It’s time to bring the wilderness into Silicon Valley!

‘All My Tomorrows’ -Evolving Epic

This is the beginnings of an epic poem. A history of my life which I hope sheds some light on the issues that I care about, in a way that may also inspire others. So far it is focused around gender, sexuality and mental health, but over time I intend it to develop to be a reflection of everything that I see as vital within me; everything that is expressed through the Epic Tomorrows blog and business.

 

All My Tomorrows

 

Next time I come I will kill the Man inside

I was birthed in a WASPital, Scots-beseiged

He gave grey opium to my fragile mother

In-out skirts of Europe’s heroin city

Clinical trial, Empire pushing it on China

-The Scots mountains glowered

But the light of my Spirit daybroke

Pulsing for the justice to be

 

Far from the north is the English southwest

We moved for the sake of Father Career

Forgotten wee lassies and laddies just gone

Two girls and a boy, my coven my clan

Paled for Him, rugged, the eagle’s decline

Lesser buzzards, scanned the factory lowlands

Neither they, nor I could make sense of this botch

-Patchwork, the bank-rolling countryside irks

 

Quilted confused…market-town fused

From aged three I was praised without boundary

But vaguely blamed for failures in the fable home

-That was my mother, I was provided for

Instilled with liberty’s statue, that was mother

And my poor dear father, I was traumatised

In the porch, three years after Scotland

-You left, the never-returner –trauma echoes daily

 

I played with girls carnally young and free

Explorer of sensuality, piano keys and paper

A little older I touched boys, that was me too

The big shock of big school, soul’s blocked unfurling

Uncompromising sports field, trust degraded

Of the life of the Father, sickening classroom

Sometimes I found wilderness, self-touched in mud

Reluctant into Manhood’s violent ways

 

Now aged sixteen, mind heavy, metal rebel

Pierced and couldn’t kiss the numbed young women

They meant too much to me and most of them

Seemed bewildered, maybe traumatised by Him

I never knew genderqueer, this was ‘ninety-five

And Queer favours the city -didn’t live there

Yet my genderwild Spirit fought its way undefined

Amidst brambles, meadows and cannabis smoke

 

At eighteen on a trampoline, my desperate lock on

To a woman, ‘men have girlfriends’ Father said

Went to university ‘because that’s what men do’

Father said. I learnt how Greece and Rome

Got away with murder, (Catullus and his cunts)

Smoked too much skunk, bombed on speed

Ate the junk food of the Man, ate it all

In Midlands towns, dead canal’s hope

 

This renegade son did fancy women some

Too shy for Father’s laid out courtship role

So I grabbed hold of another I was indifferent to

‘This is what men do’ spake Father, ‘now chain your heart’

The metal got angrier, I broke down came home

Mother-coddled again, diag-supposed a ‘social phobic’

Father said ‘you are inept at my game

-There’s no other’ (Phobic of that is no illness)

 

I was grain-fed diag-dozed-bull-nosed ‘depressed,

Moderately, with psychotic features’ i.e. Father’s sins

Obfuscated in this painful presentation

Capabilities pressed-down and frustrated

Then pressed-down and frustrated by medications more

Which sought to check my lofty projections

Of what humanity could achieve in me

And the others I knew who took their own lives

 

I learnt the Buddha-Dhamma and it was life

To realise deep in space, I’m neither he nor she

I took up boxing, to kill the Man inside me

Learnt tantra alone, came in fountains of rainbow

Joy of Holy Spirit coursing through in

Moments healing every Fatherly ill

‘No-one could touch me’ but I wanted touch

Genderwild Spirit, caress of leaf, thorny taunt

 

Lonely slipped, tripped into pornographic hell

By umbilical cord of deathly cable broke

Free years earlier but the images returned:

Women doing headstands in pools of primordial

Maggots crawling in their eyes, a huge dais

Supported on their feet, atop of which, a throne

Occupied by Father which is to say haunted

By fetid sob of guilty rage, repeated zombified

 

-I met a woman as selfish as I –as sweet

The destruction of She, of Earth, mental health

On her land we built against, railed against, unlawful

Silent haven with a magick core of confluence

Karmic threads infinite, there where redemption

Of everything was possible, yet the tragedy was

Our love was not equal to our difference

Or the madness of the district’s laws

 

Labelled again, ‘borderline personality disorder’

This fine personality disarrayed on society’s fringes

-This society disordered, by a Romanian shrink

Border-ashamed of her agrarian country past

She assured me it was ‘modernising’ (Father spake)

Like her profession’s pills would ‘modernise’ me

The pills that traumatised I now refused to take

And her suggestion that my unfinished projects

 

Were a sign of illness and not the poetry

Of an expansive mind spiralling out to completion

Through ever grander, superseding ventures

Like the mass adventure of humanity itself

-Then named ‘bi-polar’, this sort of oriented

My map –no time to teach the new doc

Long hungover as I was from illicits and psychiatrics

But thank you doc yes, a certain soaring, a crash

 

‘Schizoaffective disorder’ was then slapped on by

A young psych-twist who received the careless

Wilful spin I gave my condition that day

In orders that I profit from the welfare state hateful

Yet I had no need, for the whispers were real

The sensitive Cosmos is all my affect

And clear to me, flickering through this no-mind

Too quick for doc to notice, but voices keep stock

 

-The first time delectable, the only sweet time

I ever fell for a man, walked onto a farm

He was shovelling earth, we both knew at once

Our conversation, bisexual could stay just in talking

Relief of revealing release of cross-dressing

-Yet crossing what? Patriarchy’s nasty ‘transvestism’

Father’s ice way, not admitting our freedom

Spirit spitting fire through genderdom constructs

 

Spirit castigating the love that is reined

His possessive lust, monogamy, now I realise

Since school days of awakening sexuality

When I’d pen epic erotica of all the girls

That my sex is liberated but greater than that

My love, my soul is unfettered is the quick

And deep growth is the sun’s love, the shoot

(Even when through us Earth wars with Herself)

 

-To Rojava! Where the women determine themselves

Defend and study the science of themselves

In a gaping whole blasted through the nation state

That drew my Spirit through the cybersphere

English comrades have gone, recalling Spain

To where the town decides what’s best for the town

Attacked by cold Turkey, Father Erdogan

Accruing weapons from the bitch at Britain’s helm

 

Thirteen painted ominous and absent by such men

Thirteen moons birthed roots thirteen of oceans well:

First moon wilderness, second, wilderless human builds

Third, the body’s hoelth, fourth, Godly dirty ecstasy

Fifth, materials to live, sixth, a family to give love

Seventh, community, eighth, a society to give worth

Ninth, worth spoken and heard, tenth, understood, eleventh

Created afresh, twelfth, in Spirit, thirteenth all dramatically told

 

Now finally the genderqueen’s Voodoo chile

Erupts from my guts, an alien to some

Plans plenty hatched but yet to conquer

Yet to soar like the Scottish golden raptor

Now I don’t want, particularly, women or men

Most would put me out back in a box again

The same old has failed, chaste in my rebellion

If you’re not a rebel with me, chase me hard

 

But if you are genderwild I may rainbow come to you

Killing the Man inside that has kept us sweetly sick

Be we he, she, both, neither, inbetween

And orgasm as yourself and say no to all drugs

-Now frightened I crouch in my rural base

Dartmoor rocks, gushing Spirit mine, inexhausts

I was never a Man –never will be –was never

Mentally Ill –all I’m is this Rising Up!

 

 

 

 

The Social Contract of the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria

Before I share this document with you, let me explain why.

I am lonely. Very lonely. I am lonely for want of respect, friendship and understanding from my fellow human beings.

I have just moved to the city from a rural area. I do not know if this is the right decision. There is so much going on here, but because I am struggling to find work, most of it is inaccessible to me. Desperately, I characterise myself as an entrepreneur, in the hope that my skills with words can generate an income on a self-employment basis. I extol the wonders of WordPress that are at the tips of my fingers, but who has paid for those wonders, in this world where we are all interconnected, but some more equally than others?

In grave self-doubt, which is doubt of the modern culture that comprises my shaky identity and sense of self, I wonder what right I have to generate income on the back of a blog. What specialised skill sets have I developed, am I developing, that depend on the marketing lies of various corporations and the physical exploitation of workers, past and present?

I struggle to find a way forward.

I struggle with this framework of global capitalism that I must act within, or act against, or both.

Meanwhile, my interest and support remains for alternatives to global capitalism around the world, that strive to defend themselves against the capitalist juggernaut.

Particularly, the feminist and pluralist democratic experiment in Northern Syria has been truly inspirational. It is all I can do right now to share one of the defining political documents from the revolutionary regional government of the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria (DFNS -see below).

My mental health is at a low ebb. The capitalist world system itself must take some responsibility for that. Rates of depression and also so-called ‘schizophrenia’ are higher in so-called ‘developed’ countries than ‘developing’ ones.

I almost didn’t write a post today, which would have been a shame, making it very difficult for me to keep up my average of one post per week, which I’ve kept up since this blog began last autumn.

If just one new person seriously considers at least half of the document that I have reproduced below, with a humility and an openness to change and alternatives to the economic and political world system we live within, then my job today was well done.

The Social Contract of the DFNS

Preamble

We, peoples of Rojava-northern Syria, including Kurds, Arabs, Syriacs, Assyrians, Turkmen, Armenians, Chechens, Circassians, Muslims, Christians, Yezidis, and the different doctrines and sects, recognize that the nation-state has made Kurdistan, Mesopotamia, and Syria a hub for the chaos happening in the Middle East and has brought problems, serious crises, and agonies for our peoples.

The tyrannical nation-state regime, which has been unfair to the different components of Syrian people, has led the country to destruction and fragmentation of the society fabric. To end this chaotic situation, the democratic federal system is an optimal solution to address the national, social, and historical issues in Syria.

The democratic federalism of northern Syria is based on a geographic concept and an administrative and political decentralization; it is part of the united Syrian democratic federalism.

The consensual democratic federal system guarantees the participation of all individuals and groups, on equal levels, in the discussion, decision, and implementation of affairs. It takes ethnic and religious differences into consideration according to the characteristics of each group based on the principles of mutual coexistence and peoples’ fraternity. It guarantees the equality of all peoples in rights and duties, respects the charters of human rights, and preserves national and international peace.

Within the consensual democratic federal system, all segments of people, in particular women and youth, shall form their organizations and democratic institutions. The democratic federal system guarantees free practicing of all political, social, and cultural activities, and enjoying all the merits of free and equal life.

The democratic federal system of northern Syria adopts, in this contract, the physical and moral values of the Middle East. This document is approved by the free will of all the components of northern Syria and according to the principles of the democratic nation.

Title One

General Principles

Article /1/

This document is named: “The Social Contract of the Democratic Federalism of Northern Syria”. The preamble is considered an integral part of this contract.

Article /2/

The democratic federal system of northern Syria adopts the ecological and democratic system and women’s freedom.

Article /3/

The democratic federalism of northern Syria draws its legitimacy from the will of peoples and groups through free and democratic elections.

Article /4/

All languages in northern Syria are equal in all areas of life, including social, educational, cultural, and administrative dealings. Every people shall organize its life and manage its affairs using its mother tongue.

Article /5/

The Democratic Federalism of Northern Syria and its administration shall have a center and a special flag, along with the democratic federal Syria flag and it shall have an emblem; this is regulated by law.

Article /6/

The Oath

“I swear by the Almighty God and by the blood of Martyrs to abide by the social contract and its articles, preserve the peoples’ democratic rights and the values of Martyrs, protect the freedom, safety, and security of the regions of the Northern Syria Democratic Federalism, preserve the federal Syria, and work to achieve social justice according to the principle of the democratic nation.”

Article /7/

“The Democratic Federalism of Northern Syria” consists of cantons based on democratic self-administrations, which depend on the democratic organizations of ideological, ethnic, feminine, cultural groups, and all social segments.

Article /8/

“The Democratic Federalism of Northern Syria” is based on the organized society and the free individual. In this framework, peoples’ local organizations, groups, and components are the basis of this federalism.

Article /9/

The democratic, environmental, and societal life are the basis for building an ecological democratic society in order not to harm, abuse, and destroy nature.

Article /10/

Coexistence shall be established within a fair, free and democratic society system according to the principles of the democratic nation, which are full of the spirit of fraternity between all peoples and groups in northern Syria.

Article /11/

“The Democratic Federalism of Northern Syria” is based on the principle of making the land, water, and resources publicly owned; it adopts ecological industry and societal economy; it does not allow exploitation, monopoly, and the objectification of women; it shall realize health and social insurance for all individuals.

Article /12/

The Democratic Federalism of Northern Syria adopts the co-presidency system in all political, social, administrative, and other fields. It considers it a main principle in equal representation of both genders. The co-presidency system contributes to organizing and establishing the democratic confederate system of women as a special entity.

Article /13/

Women’s freedom and rights and gender equality shall be guaranteed in society.

Article /14/

Women shall enjoy free will in the democratic family, which is based on mutual and equal life.

Article /15/

Youth are considered the leading and effective force in society and their participation shall be guaranteed in all fields of life.

Article /16/

Fair representation of all ethnic components in all the administrative institutions related to federalism shall be guaranteed according to demography of the region.

Title Two

Rights and General Freedoms

Article /17/

“The Democratic Federalism of Northern Syria” shall abide by the international declaration of human rights and all related charters of human rights.

Article /18/

The right to life is essential and guaranteed in this contract, which does not permit capital punishment.

Article /19/

Human dignity shall be preserved and it is not permissible to torture anyone psychologically or physically; the doer shall be punished.

Article /20/

Peoples, groups, and societal segments shall have the right to organize themselves freely. Cultural oppression and fusion, extermination, and occupation shall be considered a crime against humanity; resistance against these practices shall be considered legitimate.

Article /21/

Every canton or group shall have the right to decide its own affairs provided that it does not contradict this contract.

Article /22/

Freedom of faith, conscious, and thought and the right to self-organization and self-expression shall be guaranteed for all people.

Article /23/

Everyone shall have the right to participate in political life, run as a candidate, and elect according to the law.

Article /24/

No one shall be insulted or excluded on the basis of difference in colour, gender, race, religion, or belief.

Article /25/

Using violence, manipulation, and discrimination against women shall be considered a crime punished by law.

Article /26/

Women shall have the right to equal participation in all fields of life (political, social, cultural, economic, administrative, and others) and take decisions relevant to their affairs.

Article /27/

Youth shall have the right to organize themselves and occupy effective positions in all fields of life, taking their special characteristics into consideration.

Article /28/

Every defendant shall be presumed innocent until convicted by law.

Article /29/

Private places or houses may not be entered or inspected except by an order of judicial authority in cases of being caught in the act.

Article /30/

Individual freedom shall not be restricted without a legal basis.

Article /31/

The right to self-defence is sacred and shall not be restricted. The law shall guarantee to everyone the right to prosecution.

Article /32/

Everyone shall have the right to live in a sound ecological society.

Article /33/

Cultural, ethnic, and religious groups and components shall have the right to name its self-administrations, preserve their cultures, and form their democratic organizations. No one or component shall have the right to impose their own beliefs on others by force.

Article /34/

Education shall be free at all stages; the elementary and intermediate education is compulsory.

Article /35/

Every citizen shall have the right to work, health care, change residence, and get a house.

Article /36/

The rights of all workers, in work and social life, and support for their organizations shall be guaranteed and regulated by law.

Article /37/

Freedom of media, press, and publishing shall be guaranteed.

Article /38/

Every citizen shall have the right to get and access information.

Article /39/

All people shall have the right to develop and publicize their cultural and artistic activities.

Article /40/

Every human shall have the right to seek human and political asylum; the political refugee may not be returned to their country without their approval.

Article /41/

Wealth and natural resources are publicly owned; and their investment, management, and conditions of fair distribution shall be regulated by law.

Article /42/

Investment shall be in special projects, which take into account the ecological balance, provide necessary services for economic development, aim at meeting social needs, and contribute to activate and establish societal economic activities.

Article /43/

The right to private ownership shall be guaranteed unless it contradicts the common interest and shall be regulated by law.

Article /44/

The participation of all citizens in the legitimate defence of the Democratic Federalism of Northern Syria, or the Democratic Syria Federalism is a right and duty to deter any attack.

Article /45/

The rights of people with special needs shall be guaranteed, and a decent living for the disabled and old people shall be secured.

Article /46/

Child rights shall be preserved; labour and manipulation of child shall be prevented.

Title Three

Societal System

Chapter one

Article /47/

Peoples and groups in “The Democratic Federalism of Northern Syria” shall organize their free and democratic societal lives based on forming communes, societal institutions, unions, and assemblies. The democratic system of society shall be developed and established based on these institutions.

Article /48/

Communes

The commune is the essential basic organizational form of direct democracy. It is a system to make decisions and management within its organizational and administrative boundary. It works as an independent council in all stages of decision making.

Article /49/

The councils

They are the societal units which represent the people, discuss and decide its affairs, and formulate policies beginning with villages, neighbourhoods, towns, and districts. They protect society, ensure its continuity, and secure the realization of its goals, in the political, social, cultural, and economic fields. They organize society by enabling direct democracy and set rules and principles related to democratic and free life.

Article /50/

All councils shall be formed according to the following principles:

The councils consist of a sufficient number of elected members according to population; 60% of the representatives are directly elected by people, and 40% are elected by the components, groups, and social segments. This shall be regulated by a special law according to consensual democracy.

1. No member of the councils and executive boards shall be a candidate for co- presidency for more than two terms.

2. The council of the village, neighbourhood, town, region, or district, is formed by representatives who are democratically elected, within their residence boundary, by ethnic, religious, cultural groups, social segments, or communes. The electoral term is decided by the councils’ rules of procedure.

3. The councils elect a sufficient number of coordinating board members in the neighbourhood and town and the executive board of the town and region. They elect their co-presidents and organize their activities through committees.

4. The councils approve members of the justice systems and the internal security administration, and oversee them.

Chapter two

District councils

Article /51/

The district in the societal system of “Democratic Federalism of Northern Syria” is the extension of the city with its surroundings.

1. The district council is the legislative system elected by free voting of the peoples and groups and is formed according to election laws. It consists of a sufficient number of members according to population and size of the district.

2. It shapes the policies for the entire district and takes necessary decisions.

3. It organizes activities and forms committees according to the democratic nation principles.

4. It elects its executive board.

5. It approves the members of the justice office and local security administration in the district.

6. It monitors justice, internal security, and administrative systems in the district.

Article /52/

The executive board of the district

1. It consists of a sufficient number of members and two co-presidents elected by the district council.

2. It implements the decisions and applies the policies decided by the district council. It is responsible to the district council and provides it with reports on its regular activities.

3. It organizes and practices its activities through committees, which consist of sufficient numbers of members. The co-spokespersons in each committee shall coordinate its activities. The co-spokespersons of the committees shall be from executive board members of the district.

Chapter three

The canton system

Article/53/

The canton in the “Democratic Federalism of Northern Syria” is the self- administration unit, which consists of a district, more than one district, or some regions that share the same historical, demographical, economic, and cultural characteristics and are geographically integrated and connected.

Article /54/

Rights, authorities, and responsibilities of the cantons

1. The cantons of the democratic self-administration in the “Democratic Federalism of Northern Syria” shall organize themselves and administer their affairs according to the principles of the democratic self-administration in political, economic, social, internal security, health, educational, defense, and cultural areas. They shall enjoy the rights and authorities stated in the laws enshrined by “The Democratic Federalism of Northern Syria”.

2. Every canton shall organize itself according to the principles of self-sufficiency in the economic sector. It shall help in securing general social prosperity and richness in the “Democratic Federalism of Northern Syria” according to its strength and conditions; it shall take its share from the general budget of the federalism.

3. All cantons shall adopt a fair distribution of underground and over ground wealth in the “Democratic Federalism of Northern Syria” and “The Democratic Federal Syria” (petrol, water, mineral reserve, woods). The fair distribution of wealth is regulated by law.

4. Every canton shall have the right to build and develop its justice system provided that it does not contradict the social contract of the “Democratic Federalism of Northern Syria” and the treaties and charters of the of international human rights.

5. Every canton shall be responsible for organizing and strengthening its internal security system.

6. Every canton shall have the right to legitimate defense against foreign attacks, and it shall also be responsible to defend the “Democratic Federalism of Northern Syria” and “The Democratic Federal Syria”.

7. Every canton shall have the right to develop and establish diplomatic, economic, social, and cultural relations with the neighboring peoples and countries provided that they do not contradict the social contract of the “Democratic Federalism of Northern Syria” and the “Democratic Federal Syria”.

8. The components of each canton shall have the right to practice and establish their political, social, and cultural lives using their mother tongues and cultures.

9. The principles of rules and mechanisms of every item of the cantons’ rights, authorities, and responsibilities, stated above, shall be decided by separate and detailed laws.

Article /55/

Peoples’ assembly in the canton

1. It is a representative assembly for peoples and groups in each canton; it legislates, monitors, and shape general policies; its electoral term is four years; and its mechanism of work is regulated by law.

2. 40% of the canton’s assembly members are formed from directly and democratically elected representatives within the ethnic, religious, doctrinal, and cultural components; this shall be regulated by law. 60% of the people’s representatives are elected in general elections.

3. The first session is held sixteenth days after announcing final results in all regions by the high electoral commission. The co-presidents of the executive council shall call for holding the first session of the elected peoples’ assembly. If the first meeting was not held for inevitable reasons, the co-presidents of the executive council would decide another date within fifteen days. The quorum must be (50%+1) from the general attendance. The first meeting of the peoples’ assembly is headed by the oldest member; and the co- presidents and office are elected; the sessions shall be open unless there is a necessity according to its rules of procedure.

4. It is possible to extend for six months the term of the peoples’ assembly in extraordinary cases at request of quarter of the members or the assembly’s presidential office; the approval of two thirds of the assembly members is needed.

5. The assembly member shall enjoy immunity during his/her entire membership; he/she shall not be held accountable for their opinions; he/she shall not be prosecuted without the assembly’s permission unless being caught in the act; and the assembly’s office must be informed.

6. It shall shape policies and take decisions regarding social, economic, internal security, educational, health, and cultural fields in the canton.

7. It shall elect an office of six members including the co-presidents to organize and manage the assembly’s activities.

8. It monitors and supervises through its committees.

9. It elects the co-presidents of the executive council with two thirds majority and assigns them to form the executive council to approve it. It shall have the right to vote of no confidence in the executive council or any of its members.

10. It shall approve the members of the justice systems, internal security system, and media, publishing, and information council and monitors their activities.

11. It shall organize and conduct activities through committees. It shall hold regular meetings and meet when necessary.

12. It shall work according to its rules of procedure.

13. It shall enshrine and legislate on rules in the canton.

14. It shall approve the general budget of the canton.

15. It shall approve the general policy and the developmental plans of the canton.

16. It shall approve and give a general amnesty in the canton.

Article /56/

The executive council of the canton

1. It consists of the co-presidents, their deputies, and some boards; it shall adopt fair representation of peoples, groups, and social segments.

2. It is the executive system in the canton. It applies the decisions of the peoples’ assembly and justice institutions and provides it with regular reports on its activities.

3. It organizes itself through boards according to the principles of the democratic nation and forms its collective executive power accordingly. The council’s co-presidents assign tasks to boards.

4. The board is represented by two co-spokespersons chosen from executive council’s members. Each board consists of a sufficient number of members and representatives according to its activities.

5. The formation and organization of the executive council’s work and the relationship between the other administrations and institutions shall be regulated by law.

6. After the executive council is formed and given confidence, it releases a statement to decide its agenda for the next phase, and the council is committed to implement it during its term after approving it by the peoples’ assembly.

Chapter four

The democratic peoples’ conference

Article /57/

The democratic peoples’ conference represents all the peoples living in the “Democratic Federalism of Northern Syria”. It is a symbol of integration, fraternity, coexistence, and free democratic union of peoples in northern Syria. The conference includes Kurds, Arabs, Syriacs, Assyrians, Armenians, Turkmen, Circassians, and Chechens. From the doctrinal and cultural groups, it includes Muslims, Christians, and Yezidis. It takes into account the historical, demographic, geographic, religious, doctrinal, ethnic, and cultural structures and characteristics of all peoples and groups; and it is formed on the basis of their demands and will.

The democratic peoples’ conference shall ensure the right of the peoples and groups to establish democratic self-administrations. It ensures doctrinal, ethnic and cultural freedom by law. It shall adopt the democratic system in organizing the society and enabling it to live within economic and ecological balance.

The democratic peoples’ conference views the organization of democratic self-administration cantons, groups, and local units as the basis of the democratic federal system. It aims at unifying all groups under the northern Syria democratic federalism by their own free will.

Article /58/

Forming and organizing the democratic peoples’ conference

1. Members of the democratic peoples’ conference are elected once every four years by people according to electoral law and the population of each canton.

2. The democratic peoples’ conference makes legislations and generally represents the peoples and groups in the “Democratic Federalism of Northern Syria”.

3. Members of the democratic peoples’ conference are elected as follows: 40% of them are democratically and directly elected from ethnic, religious, doctrinal, and cultural components, depending on population, and from social segments, depending on their organizational level in society, according to electoral law. 60% from the peoples’ representatives are directly elected by people in general elections.

4. The democratic peoples’ conference shall be administered by the “presidency office”, which consists of two co-presidents and four deputies. The two candidates for the presidency office and the co-presidents are suggested for the conference by consent of representatives of groups and social segments in the general conference.  The co-presidents are elected by absolute majority while members of the presidency office are elected by half plus one vote in the general conference session.

5. The democratic peoples’ conference works through committees. It gives the final draft of the resolutions and projects which are proposed to the general conference meeting. It can form the necessary committees when needed. Its activities are done in light of the rules of procedure.

Article /59/

Tasks of the democratic peoples’ conference

1. It elects the co-presidents and the conference presidency office.

2. It elects the co-presidents of the executive council with two thirds majority and assigns it to form the executive council in a month to approve it. It shall have the right to vote of no confidence in the executive council or any of its members.

3. It shapes the general policy and decides the strategic goals in all areas of society life.

4. It prepares or amends the social contract at request of a quarter of conference members and on approval of two thirds of its members.

5. It declares the state of peace and war in the “Democratic Federalism of Northern Syria”.

6. It legislates on all laws related to the “Democratic Federalism of Northern Syria”.

7. It monitors the boards through committees.

8. The conference holds regular and extraordinary meetings, evaluates its activities, plans future activities, and discusses proposed projects and approves them.

9. It approves the members of justice council, internal security system, media, publishing and information council, and the high commission for elections and supervises their activities.

10. It approves the appointment and promotion of the general leadership of the military council and monitors its activities.

11. It discusses and approves the charters and treaties concluded with cross- national institutions, States, or different groups in the name of the “Democratic Federalism of Northern Syria”.

12. It is possible to extend the electoral term of the democratic peoples’ conference for six months in extraordinary cases at request of a quarter of the members or the conference presidency office and on approval of two thirds of its members.

13. It approves the accession of a region or canton to the “Democratic Federalism of Northern Syria” after accepting the social contract.

14. It approves the general budget of the “Democratic Federalism of Northern Syria”.

15. It approves and provides a general amnesty in the “Democratic Federalism of Northern Syria”.

Article /60/

Tasks of the conference presidency office

1. It represents “the democratic peoples’ conference in the democratic federalism of northern Syria”, and it is responsible for arranging, coordinating, implementing and supervising all conference activities.

2. It organizes and supervises the meetings of the general conference.

3. It activates, monitors, and supervises the committees.

Article /61/

The executive council of federalism

1. It is formed by a sufficient number, and both genders are equally represented. Fair representation of peoples, groups, and social segments in the canton is adopted. Membership of the executive council can be given to 20% of those who are not members in the conference.

2. Members of the executive council are elected from among the candidates suggested by cantons’ councils from conference members. Other members are suggested to replace those who are not approved by the conference taking into consideration fair representation of the cantons.

3. Co-presidents of the cantons’ executive councils shall have the right to attend the meetings of the executive council of federalism when necessary.

4. Co-presidents of the cantons’ executive councils shall not have the right to be candidates for the co-presidency of the federalism executive council.

5. The co-presidents represent the executive council and lead its activity.

Article /62/

Tasks of the executive council of federalism

1. It implements decisions and applies policies shaped and decided by the democratic peoples’ conference in the Democratic Federalism of Northern Syria.

2. It conducts diplomatic activities in the name of the “Democratic Federalism of Northern Syria”.

3. It ensures coordination and cooperation between cantons in political, economic, social, and cultural areas.

4. It supervises and monitors the boards’ work.

5. It provides reports to the democratic peoples’ conference in the “Democratic Federalism of Northern Syria”.

6. The executive council in the “Democratic Federalism of Northern Syria” organizes itself through boards and forms its executive collective strength according to the dimensions of the democratic nation.

7. Every board consists of at least six members including the co-presidents who monitor and coordinate its work; they shall be from the executive council’s members.

8. The boards in the executive council of the democratic federalism of northern Syria monitor, support, and coordinate the work of the cantons’ boards.

Chapter five

Media, publishing, and information institution

Article /63/

1. Media, publishing, and information institution shall organize itself independently according to the principle of free and democratic publishing and media. It shall help develop and support media and publishing institutions and ensure free media activities within legal frameworks. It shall not allow monopoly in the field of media and publishing; it shall monitor and supervise the realization of freedom of media in accordance with the freedom of society to receive news and necessary information. It shall also be assigned to ensure fair and equal financial support for all media and publishing systems according to legal frameworks.

2. The institution consists of a sufficient number of members, half of them are elected by the conference or cantons’ councils and they include representatives of components and social segments; and the other half are elected by national media institutions.

3. It conducts activities according to the principles of media and publishing law. It organizes itself according to fields of work and it forms committees and conduct activities according to the principles of its rules of procedure.

4. The peoples’ assembly in the cantons and the democratic peoples’ conference monitor its activities.

Chapter six

The legitimate defense force

Article /64/

The “Syrian Democratic Forces” are the armed defense forces in the “Democratic Federalism of Northern Syria”. It depends on voluntary recruits of the people on one hand, and self-defense duty on the other. It is assigned to defend and protect the Democratic Federalism of Northern Syria and the Democratic Federal Syria from any attack or possible foreign threat. It ensures protecting citizens’ lives and properties. It organizes itself in a semi-independent way according to the recruitment system law. Its activities are supervised by the democratic peoples’ conference and defense board.

Chapter seven

The social contract council

Article/65/

The social contract council consists of a number of judges, lawyers, and law figures; their number, selection method, and the council’s work is decided by law and approved with two thirds of members of the democratic peoples’ conference. When choosing the members of the social contract council, the peoples’ conference shall take into consideration representing all components.

Article /66/

Tasks of social contract council

1. It interprets the social contract items.

2. It ensures that the laws issued by the peoples’ conference, decisions issued by the executive council, and the laws and decisions issued by the cantons’ councils are not contradicted.

3. It settles any differences related to the application of this contract between the democratic peoples’ conference, the executive council, and justice council.

4. It settles any differences between the federalism and the cantons or between cantons.

5. If any party gave evidence to challenge the constitutionality of a legal item applied by a court and the court which is considering the challenge found that the evidence is reliable and should be ruled on, it shall stop the case and refer the evidence to the social contract council.

6. It approves the results of the elections and general referendums.

Chapter eight

Justice system

Article /67/

The democratic justice system solves the problems related to justice and social rights through peoples’ participation and self-organization. Justice vision is based on the moral principles of the democratic society. It aims at building a society which adopts a democratic approach and vision and ecology that believes in freedom of women and societal life and organizes itself on the basis of democratic society. Services of justice are conducted through social participation and the organization of democratically formed local units.

Article /68/

Justice principles

1. Social justice is considered a basis to organize and self- protect society. It depends on solving social problems related to justice in the villages, neighborhood, and district communes. It solves problems by means of dialogue, negotiation, and mutual consent.

2. Actions which harm social life and environment are considered a crime. When a crime is committed, victims have the opportunity to defend their rights. Society shall have the right to assess the damage, criticize and give suggestions, and participate in decision making.

3. Punishments shall aim at rehabilitating guilty people, force them to substitute for damage, develop awareness, and correctly include them in social life.

4. Regarding the problems related to peoples, groups, and social segments, they shall have the right to form justice mechanisms and develop special solution methods provided that they do not contradict the social contract or basic human rights.

5. Regarding issues related to general interests and security of all peoples and groups, they are settled in justice systems which represent the whole society.

6. Special feminine organizations and equal representation of women are the basis in the field of justice and its institutional activities. Women-related decisions are dealt with by feminine justice systems.

Article /69/

Ways of organization and basics of work

Justice systems consist of reconciliation committees, justice offices, investigation committees, justice council, and feminine justice council. They are the main institutions which are active to achieve and establish social justice; and their members are elected by popular councils.

1. Reconciliation committees solve conflicts and disputes and achieve peace and social concord. They organize themselves everywhere and at all levels as needed from commune to canton; their members are from volunteers and socially respected people.

2. Justice offices are the systems which organize themselves in towns, districts, and where necessary to eliminate injustice against communities and individuals and achieve justice. Members are suggested by justice councils in the canton and voted for by peoples’ assemblies in districts. Justice offices are formed in towns and regions as necessary.

3. Investigation committees are specialized justice systems which investigate and reveal crimes to achieve justice. They carry out their tasks after being voted for and approved by the council in their residence area.

4. Justice councils in the cantons organize and supervise justice institutions in the cantons. Members are chosen by peoples’ assembly in the canton through voting. They ensure fair and democratic representation of peoples, groups, and social segments based on quota for justice institutions.

5. The justice council in the Democratic Federalism of Northern Syria is responsible for supervising and monitoring the justice system. It provides reports, projects, and draft of resolutions regarding justice activities to the democratic peoples’ conference. It ensures reciprocal coordination between cantons. Members are suggested by cantons’ justice councils and voted for by democratic peoples’ conference.

6. Women’s justice council in the democratic federalism of Northern Syria deals with all issues and affairs related to women and family. It has the right to monitor and coordinate with the cantons’ judicial councils.

Chapter nine

The high commission for elections

Article /70/

1. One third of its members are suggested by the justice council in the Democratic Federalism of Northern Syria; the other two thirds are suggested by representatives of components and social segments; all of them are approved by the democratic peoples’ conference.

2. It consists of sufficient specialized number. It is responsible for planning, organizing, and conducting popular referendums regulated by law, electing general assembly members of the democratic peoples’ conference, electing peoples’ councils members in the cantons, and all legal and democratic elections according to law.

3. The high commission for elections settles the cases of objection to elections, and its resolutions cannot be appealed against; it works according to its rules of procedure.

4. It organizes and forms the elections commission in the cantons. One third of its members are suggested by the justice council in the canton, and the other two thirds are suggested by representatives of components and social segments; and it is approved by the peoples’ council in the cantons.

5. The elections commission in the cantons organizes and forms their committees in districts according to its rules of procedure.

6. It can send its members as observers in the elections of the political parties and official institutions in the federalism and cantons.

Title four

General principles

Article /71/

The relationship between the “Democratic Federalism of Northern Syria” and the “Democratic Federalism of Syria” shall be identified at all levels according to a consensual democratic constitution.

Article /72/

All elected administrations shall be subject to supervision from the bodies that elected them. Electoral systems shall have the right to vote of no confidence in their representatives when necessary; this shall be regulated by law.

Article /73/

Referendum shall be held in all decisive issues related to public interest, like the formulation of the social contract, concluding or revoking international treaties, or amending the system’s form.

Article /74/

Local components shall have the right to object the decisions of the general systems, which contradict their interests and do not agree with their will and aims, if the objection is not settled by general consensus through presenting the decisions to the intended people to approve it.

Article /75/

In case the decisions of the cantons or local components are contradicted with the general interests or the social contract, these decisions can be refuted by the social contract council.

Article /76/

Ecological life and balance shall be maintained.

Article /77/

Natural resources are society’s wealth and they shall be invested and used according to the needs of the cantons; this shall be regulated by law.

Article /78/

Investing foreign capital shall be allowed within legal frameworks and approval of the democratic peoples’ conference and the peoples’ assembly in the canton.

Article /79/

Political parties and movements may be established, and may freely organize themselves and practice their activities within a legal framework.

Article /80/

Social institutions and organizations, like collectives, associations, syndicates, unions, chambers, and other, may organize themselves freely within the framework of laws in the “Democratic Federalism of Northern Syria”. Democratic organizations of social segments may be developed and supported in all areas.

Article /81/

No member in the democratic peoples’ conference and the peoples’ council in the cantons may have the right to be a candidate for more than two consecutive terms.

Article /82/

Electors and candidates’ age shall not be less than eighteen for all institutions and councils in the federal system. Conditions for candidacy and election are regulated by a special law.

Article /83/

The amendment of the general principles of this contract requires agreement with the peoples’ assemblies in the cantons and approval of 75% of the members of democratic peoples’ conference.

The Constituent Assembly of the Democratic Federalism of Northern Syria

29.12.2016

 

How I Got Here: An Ecopreneur’s Story; Permaculture, Business and Mental Health Integrated Process #1

Hello! Let’s introduce some music into this blog -or it will dry up completely! Here is an old gothic song by Type O Negative, paying homage to my origins amongst the wilds of Scotland. I am the perennial Green Man.  Permaculture must always begin with wilderness! The wild non-human society of the whole of Earth is the mother of human society; and that umbilical chord is meant never to be broken.

This is a post all about my lifepath (the short version!) and how this bears on my current perception of myself as a practising ‘activist ecopreneur’ in the realms of mental health, business and Permaculture. I want to INSPIRE other folk who at heart want to try a similar path, folk who have a lot of drive if only they would uncover it and stop listening to the voices in society that would have them follow a conventional career path, to serve conventional masters. That is, those entrenched institutions of corporate capitalism, patriarchy and kyriarchy that would appear to reward coercion and greed. We must rebel against those! Resistance is everything!

This post may seem like a very self-absorbed exercise, but I feel that to properly know oneself, including one’s whole history in its socio-cultural (including political) context, is necessary for the wisdom required by the aspiring positive changemaker (that’s me). Permaculture -at least according to Graham Bell– requires that we individually and collectively track our impact on the Earth’s resources as far as possible. Coming to terms with my history will enable this. I will explore this further in future posts. I also want to build up trust with my readers; I want you to know me pretty well; and if you want, to learn from my victories and ‘mistakes’ i.e. learning experiences.

My first community breakdown, the first of many, (but of course, I am a modern person) happened when I was three years’ old and I was torn away from my early playgroup friends (Craig, Caroline, Kirsten) for the sake of my father’s career. From Scotland to the southwest of England. It was not his fault. Market forces prevailed. It was and still is, a rich man’s world, of course. It’s all about the money.

dark side of moon

My father left the family home when I was six, not to return (although I would see him fairly regularly.) This remains the central wound of my life. However it is a wound that has taught me a great deal about the makeup of society; about gender roles, capitalism and marriage; about patriarchy and class. Moreover, this initial wound has spurred me on to a deep interest in the creation of a sustainable human society. There was a delay of a few decades before the wound was really focused into this positive drive for global harmony. Meanwhile, and not necessarily through any fault of my father’s, I missed out on being fathered. It was perhaps an ideal and elevated version of ‘the father’ when I would think, ‘Wish You Were Here’.

I didn’t know anything about mental health, business or Permaculture for the first 20 years of my life; well, not very consciously or coherently. However, I did learn how to write. Off and on since primary school age I have loved to write. I have also found an affinity with musical expression since aged three, mainly using the family piano.. Add to that an enjoyment of drama from aged 11 onwards; so I’ve always been highly creative and expressive. I’ve only begun to properly focus my creativity and expression recently; now in my late thirties. The Epic Tomorrows blog is partly a manifestation of all those years of creativity, re-focused. I have every faith that this could be a stairway to heaven.

I went to university mainly because everyone said I should. I had a pretty difficult time although I made a good friend, since lost to me. After two years I suffered a ‘mental breakdown’ and left without a degree. For want of more explanatory words, I was ‘anxious’, ‘depressed’ and ‘paranoid’. This was the drug-induced breakdown of my spurious ‘self’. Looking back, it was something that needed to happen. The violence and suddenness of it was unnecessary (blame the criminalised drug trade) but I certainly needed psychic ‘rearrangement’ in order to grow as a human being relative to a complex modern society; relative to the context of my upbringing. The violence and suddenness of a lot of the music I listened to was also unnecessary, but I still hold a place for the energy and righteous anger of heavy metal! It’s in my roots.

roots

After my breakdown I was soon taking anti-depressants and anti-psychotics at the suggestion of the medical establishment. I was on these for a few years. Psychiatric medication is a very subtle issue on which I don’t want to be misunderstood. Let me put it like this: I strongly believe, from the research I have done, that although the medication superficially allowed me to move forward in life, on a deeper level it not only left the causes of my dis-ease unaddressed, but allowed underlying causes to be compounded and worsened by neglect. Nowadays, neuroscientists and psychiatrists at the top of their professions will admit that there is no known neurochemical cause of mental illness. This is despite public belief to the contrary, influenced by years of marketing by pharmaceutical companies. For an excellent and very well-researched expose of all psychiatric medications, please read this book Anatomy of an Epidemic. In short, the drugs don’t work, but I’m still very much alive.

-Which is more than I can say for some of the residents I worked with in a 12-bedded unit for adults living with ‘mental health issues’; knocked out by medication and the negative affirmations of psychiatrists-

-After I returned to Somerset from university, it took me a couple of years to get on my feet again. But something very beautiful happened. My deep suffering led to my feeling great empathy for other human beings for the first time; I wanted to help anyone and everyone who had ever suffered from mental ill-health. My own heart and mind were also helped enormously by taking up meditation in my mid-20’s. This helped me wean myself off psychiatric medication. My heart became a little firework. The problem was, in the mainstream mental health services, I was working in a system that on an institutional level didn’t care enough for the true causes and cures of mental dis-ease. After a few years, I left my mental health work, disillusioned.

To cut a longer story shorter, for the purposes of this post, I then started to volunteer on land-based projects; conservation projects, woodlands and smallholdings; gaining an understanding of land-based living and ecological sustainability issues. My attraction to these projects was partly their beneficial effect on my mental health, and I soon came to see, although I have only been able to fully express this recently, that mental health and the ecological sustainability of human culture as a whole, are fundamentally linked. I started to learn,  mercy, mercy me! about the ethics and principles of Permaculture (permanent culture) and how these could be applied to society in general; not just to sustainable food growing systems, which are the origin and specialisation of Permaculture.

During a few years where I lived on a low impact woodland project, mostly without electricity, in my own very individual way I developed a theoretical framework of ‘Permaculture’ (very loosely formed) with which I found it was useful to address all the ills of the world -including mental ill-health- in a coherent, sustainability-focused way. I developed strong political views during this time also, seeing the ‘neoliberal’ patriarchal corporate capitalist paradigm as the conglomerate evil monster of unsustainability that must be killed at all costs.

monster

 

All you good good people! It is only in the last three years or so that I have realised that capitalism, at least for the few decades to come, can be part of the solution, as well as the problem. In order to redistribute wealth for social and environmental justice (not to mention mental health!), change political and economic systems and weaken the power of the over-powerful institution of the nation state, there is a strong case for the rise of ethical, political, independent entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs whose aim it is with their businesses to re-embed human beings in their landscapes and create a globally sustainable human culture, necessarily involving challenges to those in government, local or central, as well as challenges to large corporations. Who said you can’t be an activist and an entrepreneur at the same time? I have now come to the view that more than ever we need those individuals who are critical of corporate capitalism in theory, to stop their hypocrisy of working for corporate giants and be more creative in how they make a living. This is the path I have chosen to follow, although in my case I was never working for a corporation (except perhaps the NHS).

In my own case, a fair degree of desperation and frustration have gone into my drive and aspiration to be an entrepreneur. I almost don’t know what else to do; but the ethics explained above and the integrity of my lifepath leading naturally into this new direction, still hold true. Nowadays, my mental health is a subtle subject (as any human being’s should be). I still suffer from certain extremes at times, addiction and instability. I still get kind of blue and I still need time out.

In modern times, mental health and well-being can best be expressed in terms of social and environmental sustainability; in other words, we need to ask ourselves, how are our emotional and mind states socially and environmentally defined, and how do they contribute to the larger narratives of our lives in the contexts of sustainable and unsustainable elements of modern global society?

Essentially, I am a writer first and an entrepreneur if I’m lucky. If one doesn’t follow from the other, at least I hope you get something from my writing. As for what’s to come, ah um…just…get ready!

christmas tree

 

Loneliness

This is really hard. I’m listening to Seth Godin, the marketing guru give me advice on how to connect with people and develop a free blog that people will actually be interested in, in a time-poor and choice-saturated modern world. Surely with my writing skills, envisioning skills, empathy and imagination I can do this?

But I want to do more than just this. I want to provide a service that helps our relationship with the rest of Nature, that integrates society more closely with Nature and itself, that there are no more lonely people; that the multiplicity of possible connections online actually translate better into meaningful face to face connections, and those all-important oxytocin-releasing hugs. (Anyone got a hug for me? I need one.) Here is a great TED talk on Youtube about the negative feedback loops, biological and neurological, that happen as a result of loneliness: The lethality of loneliness

It seems to me, from what I’ve observed and the reading I’ve done, that the capitalist model of society, as it currently exists in its dominant form, prevents a proper integration of culture that could almost eliminate loneliness.

Three examples (which overlap in various ways):

  • A key unit of contemporary capitalism, the monogamous family unit, does not always bring with it an extended network of familial support. Further, when the unit is encouraged to compete with other units in a capitalist sense, this can often prevent a well-connected social embeddedness in a community, or in wider society -especially when waged work is done away from home. Social embeddedness is key to preventing loneliness, felt both on the inside and outside of families. The relative economic predictability of the monogamous family unit plays a role in its prime position in contemporary capitalist society. See The Extraordinary Political Power of Moving Beyond Monogamy But economic predictability is not mental health. Many monogamous families are very happy, but I hypothesize that this norm creates the polar opposite of many lonely people, the incidence of which would be reduced in a society that wasn’t mono- family unit -centric. A properly integrated culture, one relatively free from loneliness, is surely one where the shared identities of everyone are constantly reinforced in face to face interactions, (not just online ones), including at home. These interactions are on some level ‘cultural events’ in that they propogate or carry forward culture, ideally often involving a degree of human touch as well, and not just between lovers, family and friends. This can still all function if you are someone who ‘likes their own space’ (as I do) -that’s fine.
  • In the UK, the relatively large number of single person households (7.7 million in 2016), I think does not reflect the desires of those people for human connection. See Families and households in the UK: 2016 The modern consumerist mantra is ‘I want whatever I want and I want it now’. We are marketed capitalism-driven stories by mass Media that tell us we shouldn’t settle for anything less than the perfect home, with the perfect life partner, and the perfect job. We ‘happily’ continually dislodge ourselves from neighbourhoods in the hope of finding better ones. I contend that this has a detrimental effect on the coherent sense of culture that I think is integral to making meaningful human connections. Many people say they ‘just like living alone’ and ‘can’t share’ but I contend that this is a faulty attitude (which I often have myself, in my own flat!) borne of a lack of understanding or exploration of the diverse private / communal living boundaries and arrangements which are possible, or alternatively a lack of appropriate communal living situations on offer.
  • Economically-driven loneliness is common in modern society. I suffer from it myself. There are different kinds of economically-driven loneliness; I discuss only one kind here. For people who find it difficult to make money, and for people like me who find it difficult to orientate their lives around making money, the financially affordable options for meeting likeminded people face to face are drastically reduced -especially in rural areas, unless you are lucky enough to be connected to charitable land-based enterprises or fulfilling volunteering opportunities. In modern society the ‘likemindedness’ of people is often dependent on the type of culture they spend money on consuming. Although internet-based culture is largely free, if I am financially poor I am by default uncultured by the dominant capitalist model and moreover there are large gaps in my very understanding of the whole culture I live in. It is largely up to individuals to work out a sense of the whole culture they live in, based on what they consume. So the important work of cultural integration in modern society, you could say, is done by individuals and groups of individuals in a haphazard way, depending on what culture they have consumed, largely dependent on what they’ve spent their money on (whether food or cinema trips or academic textbooks), in turn dependent on the capitalist forces of marketing. The financially poor are often emotionally isolated from this whole process, and end up lonely. This blog is my own haphazard project of integration, but by eventually including as many sources (especially integrative sources) and people as possible, I hope that over time it may bear useful fruit. Otherwise, I may just be another force for disintegration, especially if I charge people for what should be free, once the business wing of this blog is developed. I do think capitalism can be reformed or gradually usurped by something more evolved. A re-orientation of society to Nature / land -based socialising and culture must be key.

Possible solutions to these examples of loneliness, briefly (to be expanded on in future posts):

  • More normalisation and society-wide support -including legal and financial -for extended family living units (as used to be the case in this country, for instance), communal living units and polyamorous (ethically non-monogamous) living units. In normalised polyamory living units, the travelling of some individuals between units would be common, in a culturally supported way. This type of living unit is potentially inclusive of individual-types who are failed by the strict monogamous standard.
  • More support in Government Planning and in architectural practices, for more of a diversity of housing designs and living arrangements for single people, including more allowance of self-builds, and different options for managing private / communal boundaries and spaces. On a deeper level, the reduction in power of consumer-driven culture.
  • More opportunities for socialisation and the consumption of culture for the financially poor, especially in rural areas. Alternative localised economies which are not aggressively competition based. On a deeper level, the evolution of capitalism into something which has the whole of Nature, alongside human social justice, at its core.

The internet may be the most powerful tool that we’ve ever had, ironically, to reconnect with Nature and with each other face to face. How can I use the internet to translate the multiplicity of possible online connections into actual face to face connections (and hugging!) ? How can we use diverse connections online to reshape the actual, physical society we live in, in a way that all but eradicates loneliness?

Perhaps this blog -Epic Tomorrows- could be a force for good on this mission. Will you help me? Feel free to comment below. Additionally, see my Heroine Quest -my ultimate remedy for human loneliness.

 

 

Taw Samhain

I’m sat on a rock in the river Taw. Never have I seen it so high. I’m here to wash away the distractions of life that I may focus on the highest stream within me; the stream of servant-leadership. There is no point in leading except to serve whom you lead, or you are only serving yourself. There is no point in serving except to lead whom you serve. In other words, don’t let your leaders become complacent. Let them know how life is for you and if they don’t listen, replace them.

We are two days away from the Gaelic festival of Samhain that has Celtic pagan origins. I love these old Celtic seasonal observances, even though I don’t usually celebrate them outwardly. Samhain is roughly halfway between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice -a neat orientation point; something that raises my awareness of the passing seasons and their different characters. Samhain is a festival of spirits and the dead. Apparently it is a time when the boundaries between this world and the ‘Otherworld’ are more easily crossed. Personally I am reminded of my ancestry, especially the recent ancestry of my grandparents. I am lucky to come from rich and diverse stock. ‘Taking stock’ of food supplies and cattle returned from their summer pastures, was another traditional Samhain theme. Personally, I am reminded to take stock of where I am, how I got here and what I have to offer.

In this first blog post for Epic Tomorrows, I offer you a ‘working hypothesis’. It is nothing radically new but I intend that in the coming weeks and months I will show how this hypothesis can be consistently applied in many different contexts. That may be a little radical to some. I hope it’s useful. Please tell me if it isn’t, or help me improve on it.

The hypothesis is simply that a lack of narrative integration in modern society is responsible for a great deal of unnecessary suffering and death. This suffering and death is implicit in globally poor standards of individual mental health and well-being; group, institution and business efficiency and well-being; and the well-being and sustainability of global culture as a whole. The root lack of narrative integration that is to blame, centres on the disconnection of humanity from the rest of Nature. This divorce began at the dawn of civilisation (the agricultural revolution) at the latest.

To demystify what I have just written, us human beings make sense of the world, and of human culture, by the stories and myths that we tell ourselves, as well as, more crucially, the underpinning unconscious narratives that guide our thinking and behaviour. Our individual autobiographies and our collective stories and narratives have become confused, hypocritical and fragmented in modern society, reflecting social and ecological injustice. Lack of integration is the defining pathology of this situation.

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There’s plenty of great stuff going on in the world. I’m looking forward to using this blog to connect up with it more. I also intend to help positive change-makers of all kinds connect up in useful new ways. For me, integration is the key word. I am aware that all this may sound very abstract so far. I will give you a solid oak example by way of my personal history or ‘how I got here’. First, let me quickly explain that I do not blame anyone, including myself, for any lack in my past or present life, but I do take responsibility for change:

My own life narrative of mental health is something that I’m working on. A few years ago it looked pretty shaky. However, the more I detach myself from conventional understandings of mental health -particularly the biomedical model of mental illness-  the more I appreciate my unique journey and the gifts it has bestowed on me, as well as the unique challenges which could be headed under ‘mental dis-ease’. It has taken me over a decade and a half of trial and error to arrive at this understanding. Sometimes I struggle not to feel injured, to feel beaten black and blue actually, by the fragmented society that allowed me to be defined as medically sick and that still sometimes seeks to define me as such. Ironically, conventional attitudes to mental health are actually a contributory cause of mental ill-ness. I will write at great length on this in later posts. I don’t blame individuals or even ‘society’. I am just sharing feelings and observations.

Reconnecting with Nature was key to my recovery from the worst of the dis-ease, and continues to be. Earth Nature as a whole is also key to my new, positive life narrative of mental health i.e. my new understanding of my journey. It is a journey of integration with non-human Nature, integration with the people around me and integration with parts of myself I may have previously struggled to admit into consciousness. I am convinced that ‘integration’ in these ways is key to others’ mental health too. I want Epic Tomorrows to be a place of discussion about this, amongst other things.

I also have a strong intention to develop Epic Tomorrows into a blog-based business. I intend to inspire an Earth-integrated Tribe of co-creators to help me develop products of information, integration and emotional connection that have genuine transformative value in the lives of individuals, groups, institutions, businesses and communities. This will take some time. A few years at least. I have some rough ideas of services I may provide. Things are coalescing in my mind, and it’s exciting. The catchword of ‘integration’ speaks of energy efficiency and mental resilience. Meanwhile, it is my joy to share my ideas with no thought of financial profit. The blog will always be free.

I am immensely grateful to the marketing guru Seth Godin for helping get me to this point, as well as the online business community ‘Fizzle’. Fizzle are an example, for me, of how the internet can be an incredible integrative tool. I am learning from writers, bloggers and entrepreneurs from all over the world. It took me a few years of searching through slimy online business gurus before hitting on these fresh folk. (Good-hearted and environmentally minded entrepreneurs need more help in finding the right resources, and in integrating them -a subject for another post!) I have been set in good stead to remind myself continually that Epic Tomorrows is always work in progress and can always be improved.

It is a day before Halloween, or ‘All Hallows’ Eve’, the beginning of the Christian observance of Allhallowtide: three days of remembrance of the dead. The modern Halloween is a mixture or perhaps integration of Samhain and All Hallows practices. As we remember all the positive change-makers that came before us, what positive tricks and treats of integration -for mental health, for business health, for sustainable culture- can we share with one another?

The sky is clear today and the harvest sun is warm on the wildness of the Samhain Taw.

Please share your thoughts with me! Please comment below.