The goodness that is in all man ..

leaders
At a time when we celebrate the freedoms that come from living within a democracy, hate, mistrust, misinformation, exaggeration, blame and shame rise to the top of our collective consciousness, dominate our discussions and fill our media. At no other time do I recall such hatefulness.
Despite all of this, I hold strongly to my belief in the goodness that exists within ALL man …

.. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone if possible…

We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that.


We want to live by each other’s happiness, not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another.
 

In this world there’s room for everyone and the good earth is rich, and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, … 

You have the love of humanity in your hearts. You don’t hate only the unloved hate, the unloved and the unnatural … 

You the people have the power, the power to create machines, the power to create happiness. You the people have the power to make life free and beautiful to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then, in the name of democracy, let us use that power. Let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work that will give youth a future and old age a security…. 

~  Charlie Chaplin, The Great Dictator
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You don’t have to be special to change your world

I watch as people begin to introduce themselves and tell us how they are going to help to change our lives for us after the upcoming election. These are ‘special’ people. They tell us how educated, how clever they are. Some have faced great tragedy in their lives and they tell us how this has helped them to become much better, wiser people today.

It is perhaps no surprise that the ‘average’ kiwi disengages from politics. They just aren’t clever enough, wise enough or special enough to be able to make a difference.

I have had a good life, in many ways a privileged life. I have had my ups and downs, many that I would not wish on any person and I continue to face my own struggles, but none of that makes me special.

If I was highly educated, if I was young and attractive, if I had traveled more, if I was a millionaire or a top athlete. If I was part of an oppressed minority. If I had overcome some create trauma, or tragedy in my life, then perhaps I would be more confident in my own ability to make a difference.  But I am none of those things.

I am more streetwise than I am worldly, and even then not so wise. If statistics are to be believed, I was once among the top 5% of wage and salary earners in New Zealand but now earn barely above the average.

I am a short, fat balding, middle aged man with healthy issues. Like most people (perhaps all people if we were to be truthful) I have mental health issues.

And all of this makes me wonder how worthy, how capable, how relevant I still am in this world.

But none of this should stop me trying to change the world, my world.  Being average or less than average does not make me, or you, matter any the less.

If the average or below average people in this world didn’t matter, then why are so many clever people so determined to help them? Everyone matters.

Think about it and if you care, even if you care only about yourself, you simply need to say out loud “I Want”.

Saying out loud “I want” is the beginning of a conversation. A conversation with your self, a conversation with family, with friends, workmates, your community and suddenly you are changing the world.

Anyone, not just the clever ones, the wealthy or the brave can say “I want” and can start changing the world.

Try it now. What do you want? Say it out loud.

I joined the TOP Party

01245_TOP_web_banner-white_(300x250px)This isn’t a promotion of TOP.  Its a continuation of my journey in pursuit of a Fairer, Kinder and More Ethical New Zealand that began 12 months ago.

A friend has nominated me as the local The Opportunities Party (TOP) candidate so, in hopeful anticipation I have sat back and resisted all temptation to comment on the political carry-ons of the last few weeks. But now I realise that sitting back hoping that someone is going to notice you is futile and just as frustrating as all hell.

Its a long time since I wrote on this blog, too long and the last few weeks have been pretty tough going for me.

I joined TOP on a whim for no other reason than to challenge my own thinking. As it turns out Gareth and the team are asking New Zealanders to do exactly that, ‘Think’. Its great advice and I am here to testify that it works.

I have always figured myself to be staunch ‘right’, a capitalist and have traditionally voted National or Act, now I’m not so sure.

Over the past 12 months I have been asked to join up with the Green Party and it was suggested that I would be a valuable asset to the local organising committee for the National Party.

How could I fit on both the right and the left?

Take the politics out of politics. TOP will work with parties on the left or the right to bring about important change.

In TOP you are encouraged to have your own thoughts and to express them freely. Its a refreshing approach to politics without all the ‘politics’.

I began this site over a year ago and so many of the ideas that I was writing about then are being discussed today. It makes for some interesting reading and some serious thinking. Much of it inline with the thoughts of TOP and some of it not, but I figure that its okay.

I will write more soon. In the meantime check out http://www.top.org.nz/

 

My World of Hope

The world is changing. The people of the USA got what people all around the world want. It is just a shame that they had to vote Donald Trump in order to get it.

I believe that we are evolving into a world of the middle ground, a world of compromise and a world where contradiction is accepted and valued. A world where not everything needs to be black or white, and where human-touch is embraced and treasured.

A world willing to fight for a cessation to the global dehumanisation of society.

A world where we will not hide behind process and procedure or allow systems to replace people

Where we will break with our reliance on data and evidence, and where instinct will once again drive our decisions

A world where we will demand governance in favour of the people, not purely for political or economical means. It’s happening in front of our very eyes and its happening now.

Is this not what Brexit was all about? Isn’t this why Donald Trump has resonated with so greatly with the people of the USA? Why Bernie Sanders was able to test Hillary Clinton?

I am a strong supporter of Bhutanese belief that:

Gross National Happiness is more important than Gross National Product as a measure of a nation’s development.

Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations agrees:

“GNP has long been the yardstick by which economies and politicians have been measured. Yet it fails to take into account the social and environmental costs of so-called progress. We need a new economic paradigm that recognizes the parity between the three pillars of sustainable development. Social, economic and environmental wellbeing are indivisible.”

Gross National Happiness (GNH) recognises the need for a balance between 4 pillars:

  • Sustainable Socio-economic Development
  • Preservation and Promotion of Culture
  • Environmental Conservation
  • Good Governance

Herein lies the key to what we have just witnessed happen in the USA. Everyday people demanding that they be listened to. Demanding that they be allowed to retain what is most important to them: their happiness, their identity and their culture.

I believe in the goodness that globalisation has brought to the world. For all history wars have been fought over borders, over cultural and religious differences.

Globalisation has helped to break down those barriers, to remove the reasons for war. We are living in the most peaceful times ever on this earth as a result of globalisation and free trade. We work together, despite our nationality, to find cures for diseases and to eradicate plague and famine. We are learning to put aside our differences in order to focus on what we have in common for the good of all humanity. We do, after-all, have far more in common with each other than things that divide us

But in doing all of this we have forgotten about the ‘Preservation and Promotion of Culture’.

This now is the greatest challenge ahead for all humanity: How to preserve and promote culture while keeping our borders open, because closing our borders may lead us back to war.

There has to be a way. I believe there is. We need to abandon the old ways of focusing on our differences, what divides us, and instead celebrate what it is that we all have in common.

I can live as I wish, and allow you to do so, standing right next to me, if we are both willing to focus on the things that we share.

Gosh, isn’t this what our indigenous peoples all around the world have been asking for? Now, perhaps we are at last, beginning to understand.

John Lennon almost got it right when he wrote:

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today… Aha-ah…
Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace… You…
You may say I’m a dreame
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world… You..
You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

 … we can have all of that and religion too.

 We can live peacefully as one and retain our national identities and culture if only we focus on what it is that we have in common.

 I truly believe in the goodness in all humanity.

I will leave the last word to Charlie Chaplin (1940):

… I don’t want to be an emperor. … I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone if possible … We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each others’ happiness, not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone. And the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way.

Greed has poisoned men’s souls; has barricaded the world with hate; has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. … More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost. The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in man; cries out for universal brotherhood; for the unity of us all.

… the power they took from the people will return to the people. 

… Don’t give yourselves to these … machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! You are not cattle! You are men! You have a love of humanity in your hearts! You don’t hate! Only the unloved hate; the unloved and the unnatural. 

… Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give youth a future and old age a security. … Let us fight to free the world! To do away with national barriers! To do away with greed, with hate and intolerance! Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness.

 

My message for the world:

For the good of all humanity keep your borders open , fight against the global dehumanisation of our societies and try to not spread any more hate into the world.

Love to you all.

 

 

 

 

The Life I Choose

As life should be

I cannot be dissuaded from the idea that there is goodness in all humanity and neither would I want to be. I will always look at people and see the good in them.

People may think this naive of me but I do it, not for the sake of others, I do it for myself.

I want to feel good. I want to feel safe and I want to look forward to a bright future in a caring world.

I have no wish to bring myself down or to concern myself with things that I cannot change. That is not defeatist. Maybe one day I will be able to change things, perhaps even change the world, but if I cannot do it now, then I won’t let it ruin my day.

I know that putting all of your faith in people may eventually lead to disappointment and I know that I can be impatient with people, but I would rather feel good and have to deal with the consequences of my own disappointments later, when and if they come. This is easier to do if you begin from a position of believing in the goodness that is in all humanity.

I know that, just like love, hate comes from within. Love comes from our sense of connection, security and worthiness. Hate resides within us as shame or fear.

I know that sometimes I will be scared, but I will not live in fear. I will do things and experience things that I may not always be proud of but I will not live in shame.

Hate and fear should not define us, they should not make us angry.

For myself and all those around me, I choose to love and I choose to live with the goodness of all humanity in my heart.

The Goodness in Man

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe more I read, the more that I think, the clearer it becomes to me that man is good.

We are engineered for good, we are wired to be good and to do good. We are born good.

We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each others’ happiness, not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone. And the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, …

Charlie Chaplin, The Great Dictator

If this is true, then how come there is so much hate in the world today?

We have for all of time, focused on our differences, the things that divide us and not understood or celebrated the things that we share. But is the world really as full of hate as we imagine?

War, plague and pestilence are disappearing from our world as a result of the love that we have for our own:

In ancient societies human violence caused 15% of all deaths. By the 20th century this had been reduced to just 5% and so far in the 21st century it is as low as 1% (0.2% were killed in war and 0.8% as a result of violent crime).

In the late 17th century countries were losing as many as 20% of their population to famine. Today, while some isolated areas will still be hit by famine they are now very much a rarity and we have the means to overcome them relatively quickly. In most parts of the world if a person was to loose their income and all of their possessions it is highly unlikely that they will starve to death. Even in the worst slums around the world, few people die from starvation. In today’s world you are 3 times more likely to die from obesity related causes than you are to die from famine and malnutrition.

We have wiped out many diseases that had wiped out tens of millions of people. The statistics are staggering. Plagues, like the Black Death, that spread around much of the world and killed up to 25% of some populations. One third of the global population was infected by the Spanish Flu in the early part of the 20th Century. Today we are alarmed by new plagues: SARS, Sine Flu, Ebola but they cannot take hold and are very quickly dealt with.  We are even dealing with AIDS so that for most populations AIDS is no longer a death sentence.

All of this great work can only be as a result of loving and compassionate people, corporations and nations working together. There are those who will claim that it has all been done in the name of greed and corporate profit. Yes, it is true that corporations make sometimes huge profits from their work in these areas. But at least now it is within our own power as a species, to make things better and reduce the incidence of suffering for all mankind.

Watch now as the world turns its focus and vast wealth and resources towards dealing with issues of the environment and human happiness.

… we … have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.

British Politician, Jo Cox

It is a natural human instinct to need to believe in and be a part of something much bigger than ourselves. Today that something is humanity and a belief that we are good enough, there is enough goodness within us, to take care of ourselves and each other.

You have a love of humanity in your hearts! You don’t hate! Only the unloved hate; the unloved and the unnatural. 

Charlie Chaplin, The Great Dictator

 

 

Ethical New Zealand – a place where I want to live

Ethical Business

Imagine a New Zealand where every company had a code of ethics. Where decisions weren’t made purely on commercial objectives but where people truly mattered. Those zero-hour employment contracts that we have just done away with were never a good idea. What were those companies thinking about when they brought them in? They certainly weren’t thinking about their people, the people of New Zealand. And its not good enough to blame something like that on company policy. Some one in the company came up with the idea and some people in the company allowed the idea to become policy. Individuals need to take responsibility for these decisions.

The Government shouldn’t have had to legislate against zero-hour contracts. Zero-hour contracts simply should never have existed and would not have existed in an ethical company, in an ethical society, an ethical community and an ethical New Zealand.

As a nation we struggle to come to a consensus about so many things, but no one seemed to think that the zero-hour contracts were a good idea and it didn’t take to long to get rid of them. The companies involved didn’t put up too much resistance, they knew it was wrong.

So how about a moral code? We support ‘ethically sourced’ products from other countries. We insist that companies like Nike don’t use child-labour in India. Ethical sourcing matters but we don’t seem to want to apply the same rules at home.

Outsourcing our jobs offshore and Government departments awarding contracts to overseas companies.

I’m not advocating ‘people before profits’, profits matter but we should be able to know which companies care enough for New Zealanders to include questions of ethics in their decision making.

What about supporting companies that front-up and pay taxes to this country rather than trying to find ways of avoiding them?

Would you support a company proudly displaying a “Ethical New Zealand” accreditation?

Ethical Politics

Imagine a New Zealand where politicians supported an idea because it was a good idea and didn’t talk it down simply because it was the oppositions idea.

If we are willing to accept that we are flawed and want others to accept that, then we need to allow our politicians to be human. We should show them that we will support them even if they are flawed, simply because they are human and they are just like us.

We want our politicians to be honest with us, yet if we can only accept that politicians be flawless, we are complicit in their deceitfulness.

THE MAN IN THE ARENA

Excerpt from the speech “Citizenship In A Republic” – Theodore Roosevelt, 
delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on 23 April, 1910

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.