courage

“When they go low, we go high” (Michelle Obama)

pixar-inside-out-fearDemagogic leaders, like Donald Trump, are exploiters of fear and anger. The way they do it is outlining a doom scenario and then asserting that they have (or are) the solution. It is exactly what Donal Trump did in his acceptance speech at the Republican Convention, and is doing ever since. It is a well-tried selling technique: telling you have a problem and I have the solution.

This technique is very effective because there is a lot of fear and anger in the society. Fear of the unknown, of the stranger, fear to loose everything what we now have (even if this is very little), and anger about others who have what we don’t have (and are in a seemingly safe position).

How can we defend ourselves against these practices? First of all it is necessary that we realize that there is fear and anger in ourselves. Suppressing it doesn’t help, on the contrary, then it is becoming stronger and can erupt as panic, resentment, rage of even violence. If we can accept that we too are afraid every now and then, it is is easier to take a stand against the threats.

It also helps when we realize that all  fears and angers are connected to the fear of death. That too is the fear to lose everything, the fear of the unknown (does hell exist?), and, when the proceeds of dying is beginning, the envy that others are still safe and sound. So the deepest and most effective way to confront our fears is to confront our fear of death. Some people are fighting against the fear of death by  believing that there is life after death, and that this is proven by near death experiences (NDE’s). But that is esoteric truth, that only is completely convincing for those who had these experiences themselves. Moreover, NDE’s don’t prove that there is a life after death – they only prove that there is infinite non-local consciousness*.

So we have to learn to live with the uncertainties of life and death. We have to learn to accept the unacceptable. This is the highest art of living. We can train it by staying aware of our fears, staying with it, enjoy the moment, and at the same time doing what Michelle Obama said: “When they go low, we go high.” It is developing courage, the force of the heart.

And then, when we are developing courage, we can radiate it out, especially to them who are not as privileged as we are. This, as far as I am concerned, is the way we in the end shall defeat populism and racism. Attractive perspective? The key to this is lying in your own heart.

 

  • Pim van Lommel; ‘Consciousness beyond Life. The Science of the Near-Death Experience‘. Harper Collins, New York, 2010. 
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From loosing hope to courage – the preacher speaks

Who watched the politicians the last few weeks in several countries didn’t see an uplifting show. In Italy we saw the bizarre comedy around Berlusconi. In Germany the negotiations between the CDU and the SPD are very complicated. to say the least. In Holland there is  a strange political game going on for months, in which every party leader want to score his points.  And what  to think of the United States, who are pretending to be the moral leader of the world. In many countries politicians are completely occupied with power fights with only one goal: to acquire more power and winning the next elections.

In the meantime the two big crises of our time, the economical and the ecological crisis, are not dealt with. Only measures wit marginal effects are taken. Therefore these two crises will have disastrous consequences. A new financial crisis is certain, and this time governments won’t have any financial reserves anymore to mitigate the consequences.* The results of the ecological crisis will be even more dramatic, be it that we don’t exactly know what will happen when. But that the consequences of global warming will drastically change the face of the world, can be taken for granted. It is uncertain to what extent we as humanity shall be able to adapt.  Not only politicians don’t take drastic action, also the business world generally doesn’t make an essential difference.

Under these circumstances it is tempting to loose all hope, and to  turn away from society and enjoy in ones own life what there is to enjoy (and that still is quite a lot for us wealthy Western people). In the end that is not completely satisfactory however. But then what?

I said it before and I shall repeat it until I die or doomsday comes, the only way to help yourself is to stay focussed. Keep looking to what is going on – in society as a whole, but also in your close surroundings. However in order to really see what is gong on, we also have to see what is going on inside us, because otherwise our perception is distorted. So getting to know ourselves and being consious about what is going on around us go hand in hand. That doesn’t mean that we have to watch ourselves and the world consciously all te time. There is a time for everything: there is a time for being aware and a time for taking vacation from being aware. We park as it were the knowledge of the things we don’t like in a parking lot, while we we are doing and experiencing the things we have or want to do and go through. But finally we have to return to the parking lot and confront the problem. As Scott Peck said: problems don’t go away by ignoring them. That is true for our private problems, and also for our collective problems.

If we have the courage to confront our collective problems that then will have two effects. First  by doing so, and accepting our feelings about it, we find more and more courage to keep looking. The more serious the problem, and the more fear we have, the more courage will develop. Courage needs fear in order to grow. If there is no fear, where do we need courage for?

Secondly, by practicing this way we shall find what our hearts and hands want to do: speaking, acting, whatever. And so we fulfill our lives and become content, notwithstanding the turmoil outside. The preacher has spoken!

 

* Many economists are pretty sure of that. For dutch readers I may refel to an article of Jori Luyendijk in NRC Handelsblad, Oktober 1, https://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2013/10/02/het-kan-zo-weer-gebeuren/. And in De Groene Amsterdammer of Oktober 3 (Schaduwbanken) Ewoud Engelen arrives at the same conclusion.

 

(I apologize for mistakes in my English. Blogs are cursory – not stuff for correction by a native speaker)

 

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