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My Dear Friends and Lovers,

The whole world is being educated about empathy these days. And that is not a bad thing. With that regard, I have here brilliant writing by Tom Atlee, Charles Eisenstein and myself. These guys blow my mind and warm the cockles of my heart. (Does anyone know what a cockle is?)

Tom Atlee wrote this short message in Tom Atlee’s Co-Intelligence Journal:

“What this message is about is in this quote from Charles Eisenstein:

“Normal is coming unhinged…. The social and environmental horrors likely to be committed under President Trump are likely to incite massive civil disobedience and possibly disorder…. We are entering a time of great uncertainty. Institutions so enduring as to seem identical to reality itself may lose their legitimacy and dissolve…. At such moments, it is a normal response to find someone to blame, as if identifying fault could restore the lost normality, and to lash out in anger. Hate and blame are convenient ways of making meaning out of a bewildering situation….

We are entering a space between stories. After various retrograde versions of a new story rise and fall and we enter a period of true unknowing, an authentic next story will emerge. What would it take for it to embody love, compassion, and interbeing? I see its lineaments in those marginal structures and practices that we call holistic, alternative, regenerative, and restorative. All of them source from empathy, the result of the compassionate inquiry: What is it like to be you?….

Politically, empathy is akin to solidarity, born of the understanding that we are all in this together. In what together? For starters, we are in the uncertainty together…. Something hurts in there. Can you feel it? We are all in this together. One earth, one tribe, one people…. If we can stare hate in the face and never waver from that knowledge, we will access inexhaustible tools of creative engagement….”

– Charles Eisenstein

Tom Atlee continued:

The Trump doorway to an empathic new story

“In my view this remarkable essay – written immediately after the election – is becoming more true and important every day. It is close to a perfect statement of the case for active, engaged empathy as a socially and personally transformative strategy and response to the period of societal convulsion we are entering.

Charles Eisenstein – whose book SACRED ECONOMICS I celebrated several years ago – has named a deep root of the creative response that is called for by our rapidly emerging crises. I offer his naming of it here in its full integrity.

To his essay I want to add two strategic branches: 

(1) the development, training, and evolution of nonviolent theory and practice far beyond what even Gandhi and King imagined, an undertaking whose scope I can only glimpse at this time but whose necessity seems quite real to me and (2) the expansion of empathy into what I call Big Empathy and committed efforts to embed it into new forms of politics, economics, and culture.

I’ll leave it at that for now, so you can fully appreciate the transformational gem below, which I mentioned in a blog post 3 days after it was written but I want to highlight today as new intensities surface within us and everywhere around us, making its prescient message ever more compelling. Coheartedly, Tom”

 

The Election: Of Hate, Grief, and a New Story

by Charles Eisenstein

Normal is coming unhinged. For the last eight years it has been possible for most people (at least in the relatively privileged classes) to believe that society is sound, that the system, though creaky, basically works, and that the progressive deterioration of everything from ecology to economy is a temporary deviation from the evolutionary imperative of progress.

A Clinton Presidency would have offered four more years of that pretense. A woman President following a black President would have meant to many that things are getting better. It would have obscured the reality of continued neoliberal economics, imperial wars, and resource extraction behind a veil of faux-progressive feminism. Now that we have, in the words of my friend Kelly Brogan, rejected a wolf in sheep’s clothing in favor of a wolf in wolf’s clothing, that illusion will be impossible to maintain.

The wolf, Donald Trump (and I’m not sure he’d be offended by that moniker) will not provide the usual sugarcoating on the poison pills the policy elites have foisted on us for the last forty years. The prison-industrial complex, the endless wars, the surveillance state, the pipelines, the nuclear weapons expansion were easier for liberals to swallow when they came with a dose, albeit grudging, of LGBTQ rights under an African-American President.

I am willing to suspend my judgment of Trump and (very skeptically) hold the possibility that he will disrupt the elite policy consensus of free trade and military confrontation – major themes of his campaign. One might always hope for miracles. However, because he apparently lacks any robust political ideology of his own, it is more likely that he will fill his cabinet with neocon war hawks, Wall Street insiders, and corporate reapers, trampling the wellbeing of the working class whites who elected him while providing them their own sugar-coating of social conservatism.

The social and environmental horrors likely to be committed under President Trump are likely to incite massive civil disobedience and possibly disorder. For Clinton supporters, many of whom were halfhearted to begin with, the Trump administration could mark the end of their loyalty to our present institutions of government. For Trump supporters, the initial celebration will collide with gritty reality when Trump proves as unable or unwilling as his predecessors to challenge the entrenched systems that continually degrade their lives: global finance capital, the deep state, and their programming ideologies. Add to this the likelihood of a major economic crisis, and the public’s frayed loyalty to the existing system could snap.

We are entering a time of great uncertainty. Institutions so enduring as to seem identical to reality itself may lose their legitimacy and dissolve. It may seem that the world is falling apart. For many, that process started on election night, when Trump’s victory provoked incredulity, shock, even vertigo. “I can’t believe this is happening!”

At such moments, it is a normal response to find someone to blame, as if identifying fault could restore the lost normality, and to lash out in anger. Hate and blame are convenient ways of making meaning out of a bewildering situation. Anyone who disputes the blame narrative may receive more hostility than the opponents themselves, as in wartime when pacifists are more reviled than the enemy.

Racism and misogyny are devastatingly real in this country, but to blame bigotry and sexism for voters’ repudiation of the Establishment is to deny the validity of their deep sense of betrayal and alienation. The vast majority of Trump voters were expressing extreme dissatisfaction with the system in the way most readily available to them. Millions of Obama voters voted for Trump (six states who went for Obama twice switched to Trump). Did they suddenly become racists in the last four years? The blame-the-racists (the fools, the yokels…) narrative generates a clear demarcation between good (us) and evil (them), but it does violence to the truth. It also obscures an important root of racism – anger displaced away from an oppressive system and its elites and onto other victims of that system. Finally, it employs the same dehumanization of the other that is the essence of racism and the precondition for war. Such is the cost of preserving a dying story. That is one reason why paroxysms of violence so often accompany a culture-defining story’s demise.

The dissolution of the old order that is now officially in progress is going to intensify. That presents a tremendous opportunity and danger, because when normal falls apart the ensuing vacuum draws in formerly unthinkable ideas from the margins. Unthinkable ideas range from rounding up the Muslims in concentration camps, to dismantling the military-industrial complex and closing down overseas military bases. They range from nationwide stop-and-frisk to replacing criminal punishment with restorative justice. Anything becomes possible with the collapse of dominant institutions. When the animating force behind these new ideas is hate or fear, all manner of fascistic and totalitarian nightmares can ensue, whether enacted by existing powers or those that arise in revolution against them.

That is why, as we enter a period of intensifying disorder, it is important to introduce a different kind of force to animate the structures that might appear after the old ones crumble. I would call it love if it weren’t for the risk of triggering your New Age bullshit detector, and besides, how does one practically bring love into the world in the realm of politics? So let’s start with empathy. Politically, empathy is akin to solidarity, born of the understanding that we are all in this together. In what together? For starters, we are in the uncertainty together.

We are existing in an old story that explained to us the way of the world and our place in it. Some may cling to it all the more desperately as it dissolves, looking perhaps to Donald Trump to restore it, but their savior has not the power to bring back the dead. Neither would Clinton have been able to preserve America as we’d known it for too much longer. We as a society are entering a space between stories, in which everything that had seemed so real, true, right, and permanent comes into doubt. For a while, segments of society have remained insulated from this breakdown (whether by fortune, talent, or privilege), living in a bubble as the containing economic and ecological systems deteriorate. But not for much longer. Not even the elites are immune to this doubt. They grasp at straws of past glories and obsolete strategies; they create perfunctory and unconvincing shibboleths (Putin!), wandering aimlessly from “doctrine” to “doctrine” – and they have no idea what to do. Their haplessness and half-heartedness was plain to see in this election, their disbelief in their own propaganda, their cynicism. When even the custodians of the story no longer believe the story, you know its days are numbered. It is a shell with no engine, running on habit and momentum.

We are entering a space between stories. After various retrograde versions of a new story rise and fall and we enter a period of true unknowing, an authentic next story will emerge. What would it take for it to embody love, compassion, and interbeing? I see its lineaments in those marginal structures and practices that we call holistic, alternative, regenerative, and restorative. All of them source from empathy, the result of the compassionate inquiry: What is it like to be you?

It is time now to bring this question and the empathy it arouses into our political discourse as a new animating force. If you are appalled at the election outcome and feel the call of hate, perhaps try asking yourself, “What is it like to be a Trump supporter?” Ask it not with a patronizing condescension, but for real, looking underneath the caricature of misogynist and bigot to find the real person.

Even if the person you face IS a misogynist or bigot, ask, “Is this who they are, really?” Ask what confluence of circumstances, social, economic, and biographical, may have brought them there. You may still not know how to engage them, but at least you will not be on the warpath automatically. We hate what we fear, and we fear what we do not know. So let’s stop making our opponents invisible behind a caricature of evil.

We’ve got to stop acting out hate. I see no less of it in the liberal media than I do in the right-wing. It is just better disguised, hiding beneath pseudo-psychological epithets and dehumanizing ideological labels. Exercising it, we create more of it. What is beneath the hate? My acupuncturist Sarah Fields wrote to me, “Hate is just a bodyguard for grief. When people lose the hate, they are forced to deal with the pain beneath.”

I think the pain beneath is fundamentally the same pain that animates misogyny and racism – hate in a different form. Please stop thinking you are better than these people! We are all victims of the same  world-dominating machine, suffering different mutations of the same wound of separation. Something hurts in there. We live in a civilization that has robbed nearly all of us of deep community, intimate connection with nature, unconditional love, freedom to explore the kingdom of childhood, and so much more. The acute trauma endured by the incarcerated, the abused, the raped, the trafficked, the starved, the murdered, and the dispossessed does not exempt the perpetrators. They feel it in mirror image, adding damage to their souls atop the damage that compels them to violence. Thus it is that suicide is the leading cause of death in the U.S. military. Thus it is that addiction is rampant among the police. Thus it is that depression is epidemic in the upper middle class. We are all in this together.

Something hurts in there. Can you feel it? We are all in this together. One earth, one tribe, one people.

We have entertained teachings like these long enough in our spiritual retreats, meditations, and prayers. Can we take them now into the political world and create an eye of compassion inside the political hate vortex? It is time to do it, time to up our game. It is time to stop feeding hate. Next time you post online, check your words to see if they smuggle in some form of hate: dehumanization, snark, belittling, derision…some invitation to us versus them. Notice how it feels kind of good to do that, like getting a fix. And notice what hurts underneath, and how it doesn’t feel good, not really. Maybe it is time to stop.

This does not mean to withdraw from political conversation, but to rewrite its vocabulary. It is to speak hard truths with love. It is to offer acute political analysis that doesn’t carry the implicit message of “Aren’t those people horrible?” Such analysis is rare. Usually, those evangelizing compassion do not write about politics, and sometimes they veer into passivity. We need to confront an unjust, ecocidal system. Each time we do we will receive an invitation to give in to the dark side and hate “the deplorables.” We must not shy away from those confrontations. Instead, we can engage them empowered by the inner mantra that my friend Pancho Ramos-Stierle uses in confrontations with his jailers: “Brother, your soul is too beautiful to be doing this work.” If we can stare hate in the face and never waver from that knowledge, we will access inexhaustible tools of creative engagement, and hold a compelling invitation to the haters to fulfill their beauty.

Then I, Brad Blanton, wrote:

Dear Tom and Charles, Thank you so much. I love you both with all my heart. And that is the best title (The Trump doorway to an empathic new story) for this whole dilemma/opportunity anyone has me up with yet. It is the essence of the context within which our enemy becomes our ally simply because we get that at a very deep level he is our ally and share it with the world. Every time I read this I like it more, Charles. I will see that the people of the world get it. Sending it to 8000 of my closest friends. Love, Brad

Charles Eisenstein wrote:

“Hey there Brad, hi Tom — wow thanks for all of your kind words!”

Then I (Brad) remembered, what Tom said, that we are working on a brand new concept of non-violence…

“The development, training, and evolution of nonviolent theory and practice far beyond what even Gandhi and King imagined, an undertaking whose scope I can only glimpse at this time but whose necessity seems quite real to me and (2) the expansion of empathy into what I call Big Empathy and committed efforts to embed it into new forms of politics, economics, and culture.”

And I wrote more…

Dear Charles, This powerful statement, even though I agree with it completely, is still not good enough: ” We’ve got to stop acting out hate.”

What is true is that all moral shoulds, stringently advocated or enforced (all of them, including “stop acting out hate…”) are potentially poisonous and can lead to more hate. To quote a noted psycho therapist and poet (me): “When you experience an experience it comes and goes. When you resist an experience it persists and grows.” This is particularly true with fear and anger, sometimes there at the same time, which we Texans call “The Fanger”. If giving each other the fanger is as far as we get, you would think not much empathy shows up. But surprisingly, if you can stick with it, face to face, and don’t run away, a transformation often occurs!

You get over hate through processing anger related to the hated person in smaller bites. When that process dissipates the anger elements, causing the hate to decrease, recede and then eventually disappear, a process of transformation has occurred. Then empathy can show up. (Not be brought to mind. Show up.) Then the experience of anger has been felt through. Not figured out…that comes later. It is possible for “Fuck You!” to become “Bless Your Heart!”

Going to war is stupid, a waste of life and magnifier of hate and a few dozen other shitty things. However, just because we can’t solve anything by going to war does not mean that getting God damned mad and cussing and hollering and maybe even destroying property or shouting and screaming and maybe throwing shit (shitting in your hand and throwing it at someone on purpose like our chimp brothers and sisters) should be outlawed or tabooed. So I say we have to change how we act from hate…a minor but important distinction.

First let’s drop the idea of non-violent communication. There is violence. And there is communication. And let’s admit that there are even important gradations of expressions that sound violent but in fact are not, that sometimes allow you to feel your way through things instead of thinking your way around things and lying constantly about being pissed off.

When the Secret Service questioned me (about ten years ago) to see if I was a threat to the life of the president (George Dubya Bush) their last question was: “If you were in a room with the president, would you do him harm?” I said, “No.” Then, as an afterthought, “…not unless he came after me…then I would take pleasure in kicking his God damned ass.” The two SS guys looked at each other and didn’t know which box to check. One of them said, “O.K. We’re going to go outside to our car and talk. We will either come back in here and get you and take you with us, or we will go away.” They went out and sat in their car for about 20 minutes and then left.

I keep picking on you, Charles and Tom, about this process issue, because I know that forgiveness does not occur by thinking. Without anger being acknowledged and processed, thoughtfulness becomes a pretense, a lie, and ideal in the place of something real.

I am in favor of political incorrectness just like Trump’s supporters are. I identify with them. But my smart political incorrectness is better than, and much superior to, their stupid political incorrectness, and makes me want to significantly abuse them for their God damned ignorant shit-for-brains stupidity. I am just the same kind of self righteous prick and cunt they are. But we don’t get to empathy for each other just by thinking we ought to. I have to engage the enemy as enemy, and then engage them further with what comes up next until we have, both of us, closed the distance between us with honest sharing, full self expression, and contact.

If we engage, just short of physical violence, something might happen. After a while, I might feel sorry for them. Then after a little while longer, sorry for all of us. In other words I would engage in a process, called forgiveness, which is a process, a series of changes over time, changes in sensations in my body and then, following the sensations, the thoughts in my mind. Then I can talk to my frienemy about our mutual suffering.

Forgiveness is harder but better than impotent moralism or overly oppressive moralism, because both of those maintain or expand hate rather than reduce it or transform it. We need to press harder and then let up more. 

Trump is a real challenge. Having empathy for one who has no empathy and is as fucking stupid as he is, is a hell of a challenge. But being careful to not be too righteous or angry won’t do the trick…anymore than condemning him and stopping at that. Living in Trumpland, if we survive, is, and will continue to be educational, for even the most ignorant and criminal amongst us (Republicans). But for now I am tired of writing about the sonofabitch. Fuck him. (Just kidding. He is bringing the world together, just not the way he intended. I’ll be nice now.)

Lucky for us, transforming anger to empathy starts with the very satisfying task of calling an asshole an asshole, then being specific about what he said or did that you think is assholish…and then saying, “…and I will NEVER forgive you for that!” That starts the transformation called forgiveness. The conversation about our deeply shared pain is then just around the corner.

Charles responded (to a slightly earlier version of the above that I sent him):

“…basically I think you might be misunderstanding my point of view a little bit. I’m not anti-anger. In any circumstance whether personal or political, I think that pretending not to be angry when actually angry, is much worse than expressing anger. What I’m saying is that most of our hate, as well as the direction of our anger, comes from a false understanding. People are not in reality when they dehumanize others. I’m asking people to be in reality. From there, anger might still arise, conflict, the playing out of long-suppressed energies. I think what is likely from a place of empathy is sometimes a very insistent confrontation of the opponent that says, “I insist that you hear me! I insist that you see what is happening. I will not back down and I will not shut up.” This is an expression of anger that is not based on dehumanization. There’s more but that’s the gist of it for now.”

It’s me, Brad, again. I think what Charles said above is great. Just one caveat…which is that you cannot just “be in” reality without a little processing. You have to get there from mindfuck land. And a little “temporary dehumanization” along the way may be permitted to let the steam off just short of murder.

Charles reminds me of what Mark Twain said, “I have no race prejudices, and I think I have no color prejudices or caste prejudices nor creed prejudices. Indeed I know it. I can stand any society. All that I care to know is that a man is a human being–that is enough for me; he can’t be any worse.”

It is empathy that allows the three of us to actually have this conversation and share it with others. And it appears that we are evolving at least two kinds of degrees or sizes of kinds of empathy—one from identity with our fellow human sufferers from human ignorance and cruelty and desperation—and then a second kind of empathy which is the result of a process through which we transform hatred experientially into love.

Tom’s concept of “Big Empathy” I imagine is like John Prine’s wonderful song “Father Forgive Us.” “Father forgive us for what we must do. You forgive us and we’ll forgive you. We’ll forgive each other ‘til we both turn blue. Then we’ll whistle and go fishin’ in heaven.”

Brad_Blanton
Love, Brad

So our job now is to work with the people of the world to create together a world that works for all of us.

O yeah? How do we do that?

We do that by creating a context. Creating a context allows for people who take positions in opposition to you to become a primary source to help you achieve your objectives—even as they appear to be the opposition! They actually assist you in your creation by being subsumed in and included as a vital part of the process in the wider context you create.

The context we are currently creating has to include things like the Donald Trump presidency, the right-wing takeover of Israel by Likud, Brexit and other awful things that are manifestations of angry lying nut cases trying to “bring back” some bullshit illusion about the past projected to work better in the future. We include and work with all these formerly unfortunate people to actually bring about the creation of a new progressive world order. Oughta be nothin’ to it, huh?

The first step is to get a distinction first pointed out by Werner Erhard in a 1977 brochure about The Hunger Project. It is about the difference between taking a position and creating a context.

The following brilliant quote is an excerpt from Practicing Radical Honesty: How to Complete the Past, Live in the Present and Build a Future with a Little Help from Your Friends. (I wrote that book. I am smart. I was brilliant to recognize Werner Erhardt’s brilliance and I am brilliant in seeing how it applies so bigly now. See! I am just like Donald Trump!)

The Story about Creating a Context

In 1977, Werner Erhard started a project to end starvation on the planet by the year 2000. He wrote a brochure. In 1978 the brochure was published, clearly defining the objectives of what Werner and the other founders had named The Hunger Project. This was possibly the best brochure written during the twentieth century. In this unlikely place- the middle pages of a brochure- there occurred one of the most brilliant syntheses of the twentieth century’s evolution of thought–in linguistics, philosophy, and the study of the mind.

A segment from that brochure follows a couple paragraphs below, and it gives us the key to dealing with all the trumped up bullshit of the regressives who are trying to take over, and who will soon (within months) wreck the world wide economy and unless we do our job, could possibly destroy the God damned world as we know it in the next couple of years.

A coalition of regressives and progressives is like a big ball of fishing worms fucking. They are all slimey and wrapped around each other and squirming and a mess that is unsortable and above all else, messy. For that reason, in this excerpt the special emphasis in italics and parentheses and color to heighten the importance of certain sentences is to slap you in the face with it… Here is Werner’s brilliant refinement of the essence of one of the most important ideas in history:

What Causes an Idea’s Time to Come?

When you know the answer to that, you are no longer a mere speck of protoplasm on a dustball hurtling through space. You know how to have an impact on the world. You know what can make your life matter. The answer to “What causes an idea’s time to come?” is what The Hunger Project is about.

The Hunger Project is not about doing something more to end hunger. It is not about doing something better to end hunger. It is not a different set of solutions to the problem of hunger. It is simply about causing the end of hunger and starvation on this planet to be an idea whose time has come. The people who enroll themselves in the project commit themselves to that. What they do will be derived from that commitment.

The question, “What causes an idea’s time to come?” belongs to a particular class of question. Its answer is not the normal and conventional, reasonable type of descriptive or explanatory statement that a mind likes, that we are used to handling. It is not an exposition, concept, or theory. The answer to this class of question is, instead, a principle more powerful than all the forces in the world.

To answer this class of question, you have to give up your normal way of arriving at answers. Rather than knowing more and then more as you go along, you will need instead to be willing to know less and then less (that is to say, to become somewhat more confused as you go along). Finally you will have struggled enough to be clear that you don’t know. In the state of knowing that you don’t know, you get, as a flash of insight, the principle (i.e., the abstraction) out of which the answer comes.

While this is work that transcends ordinary intellect, all it requires is an unusually high degree of openness, commitment and intention. You will need these qualities to get you past the impatience, frustration and confusion that almost certainly will result from the feeling that what you are reading doesn’t make any sense. In fact, the statement we are seeking isn’t sensible; it transcends the senses. One doesn’t test the validity of such a statement by seeing if it fits into one’s system of beliefs. The test is whether there is a resulting shift from controversy, frustration and gesturing to mastery, movement and completion.

Answers in this class are fundamental principles; they are the source of parts, rather than the product of parts. They come as a whole, which whole can then be divided into pieces. You cannot reach the whole by adding up pieces; obviously the pieces don’t even exist as pieces until there is a whole of which to be a piece. Answers in this class (fundamental principles) can be known only by creating them.

                                            Causing an Idea’s Time to Come

What causes an idea’s time to come? An idea’s time comes when the state of its existence is transformed from content into context.

As a content, an idea expresses itself as, or takes the form of, a position. A position is dependent for its very existence on other positions; positions exist only in relation to other positions. The relationship is one of agreement or disagreement with other positions. This agreement or disagreement manifests itself in various familiar forms. For example, your position is similar to, cooperates with, or supports other positions; it is independent from or ignores other positions; it protests, conflicts with, or opposes other positions. Positions exist by virtue of contrast, such as being different from, or more than, or unrelated to, or better than other positions. A position cannot stand by itself; it is not self-sufficient.

To come at this from another direction, we can look at content as thing, because an idea as a position is a thing. That which is without limits is either everything or nothing, and therefore not something, not a thing. It follows then that a thing requires limits to exist. These limits are expressed as the boundary of that thing. Since the existence of a thing is dependent on its boundary, and a boundary, by definition, is that place between a thing and not-that-thing (i.e., something else), the existence of a thing is dependent on something else-anything else. Therefore a thing, a content, is dependent on something outside itself for existence. Content is not self-sufficient.

Context is not dependent on something outside itself for existence; it is whole and complete in itself and, as a function of being whole, it allows for, it generates parts-that is to say, it generates content. Content is a piece, a part of the whole; its very nature is partial. Context is the whole; its nature is complete.

When an idea exists as a position (when it is a content) then it is an idea whose time has not come. When an idea’s time has not come, whatever you do to materialize or realize that idea does not work. When an idea’s time has not come, you have a condition of unworkability in which what you do doesn’t work, and you don’t do what works.

When an idea is transformed from content to context, then it is an idea whose time has come.

When an idea is transformed from existence as a position to existence as a space, then it is an idea whose time has come. Now an idea as position literally requires other positions for its existence, while an idea as space is both self-sufficient, requiring nothing else in order to exist, and allows for (is the space of) the existence of other ideas. When an idea is transformed from existing as a function of other ideas to being the space that allows all other ideas, then it is an idea whose time has come.

When an idea is transformed from content to context, then it is an idea whose time has come.

                               Creating a Context: Putting a Man on the Moon

Contexts are created by the Self, out of nothing. When you stop identifying yourself as a thing, as a position, and start experiencing your Self as the context, as the space, for your life (when you start experiencing that you are the context in which the content of your life occurs) you will automatically and necessarily experience responsibility for all the content in your space. You will experience that you are whole and complete and that you are aligned with other Selves, with the Self.

When you experience your Self as space, you create contexts from which you can come into the world. One such context is the end of hunger and starvation on our planet within two decades.

You are probably not yet clear about what context is (at least, not how it works) so we’ll use an example. On May 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy initiated a context when he told Congress: “This nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.”

By creating the context, “A man on the moon in 10 years,” Kennedy transformed space travel from merely a good idea (which had not succeeded despite considerable attempts, the feasibility of which had been questioned, argued, and discussed) into an idea whose time had come.

The result of what Kennedy did can be understood by analogy. It is as if he created a building named, “A man on the moon in 10 years,” and inside that building he put offices for all the various ideas, positions, notions and people that had to do with space flight. The first office inside the front door of the building in 1961 would have been called, “It can’t be done.” This office would have been inhabited by the skeptics and cynics.(and people who have lists of why it can’t be done! Like, for example, “We can’t put a person on the moon and bring them back because we don’t have any metals that can stand the heat of re-entry into our atmosphere without burning up.” And our response is…”Thank you! Please take this office and $80,000 a year to keep on making that list and giving us more and more detail…)

A content or position is threatened by any opposite position. Given two opposing positions, only one can survive. On the other hand, a context gives space to, it literally allows, it even encourages, positions that are apparently opposite. In fact, the most important position in a newly-created context is the position which appears to oppose the context.

It is important to get that opposing positions actually contribute to establishing a context. In the case of the civil rights movement during the 1960s, for example, all those people who opposed civil rights for blacks actually contributed to creating a national dialogue that demonstrated to the country that the issue could no longer be ignored. Every government official in the South who stood in the doorway of a school and prevented black children from entering had been a cause, a part of the persistence, of the problem, of the oppression. After the creation of a context (“equal rights and dignity for blacks”) the very same action that had been a part of the problem’s persistence became an action contributing to the end of legal discrimination against minority races. Then, every such action contributed to an increased awareness of the issue, to the passage of civil rights legislation, and to the gradual change in attitude that ultimately evidenced itself in the recognition that civil rights was an idea whose time had come.

In a newly-created context the most important position is the position, “It can’t be done.” That is the first and most important content to be processed, to be realigned. Anyone who has created a context knows that context generates process; process in turn grinds up content, it changes content so that it becomes aligned with the context. (THIS IS SO FUCKING IMPORTANT TO GET!!!!! BRAD)

In the building of “A man on the moon in 10 years,” the skeptics and cynics were working on “It can’t be done” in the context of doing it, so that instead of being a threat or a stop to the goal, suddenly their skepticism and cynicism started contributing to the achievement of the goal.

All the forces in the world are not so powerful as an idea whose time has come. Context generates process. A contextually-generated process transcends the existing forces; it transforms those forces. A contextually-generated process aligns the existing forces within the context. Then the aligned forces provide a condition of workability. Every action taken in a context is a fulfillment of, an expression of, and a manifestation of that context. The pessimism, the cynicism, the position, “It can’t be done,” are ground up by the process generated by the context, and are transformed into the material out of which the result is achieved. When an idea is transformed so that the apparently opposing idea actually validates and gives expression to the idea, then it is an idea whose time has come. (The Hunger Project brochure, 1978)”

The Flow From Context

I have been a member of the Hunger Project for thirty six years. Hunger and starvation are still ongoing, though significantly reduced. The number of children dying from starvation has decreased but not been eliminated.

An incredible number of events have resulted from millions of us holding the context: the banding together of artists and musicians and athletes and politicians, the creation of Band Aid and Live Aid, the coordination of all the relief agencies of the world and all their efforts, the growth of UNICEF, the creation of Results (the political lobbying group that grew out of the Hunger Project), the writing of books and articles, the production of television specials, and many, many other events. These results have brought us closer to our goal but we have not succeeded in the time we originally allotted ourselves. At this writing we are sixteen years overdue on the date of our projected end result.

Kennedy’s context resulted in a man on the moon in eight years. The civil rights movement, which I was active in from 1959-1964, had by that time resulted in the passage of legislation that outlawed segregation. But the overall context of equality of races is still not accomplished. The anti-Vietnam War movement, which I participated in from 1963-1972, did eventually help bring about an end to that war. Now, all these years later, there has been general acknowledgment that it was a terrible mistake, just as we said it was then. But the ongoing use of military so-called solutions like the Gulf War and NATO’s war on Serbia of recent times and the last 12 years of stupid and unnecessary war in the Middle East reflects that the overwhelmingly poisonous context of secrecy and force has not been effectively brought to an end. (There are still thirty-six separate secret services in the military and the government. And more than half of our annual budget for the United States is still being completely squandered on the incredibly stupid war mongering shit for brains multi billion dollar military industrial complex.)

As Marianne Williamson says in The Healing of America, “We shouldn’t be over impressed by terms like ‘foreign policy’, huge secretive counterintelligence agencies, and government departments that play the world like a giant chessboard and view it as no more than a game we’re trying to win. Our consciousness should drive them; their consciousness shouldn’t drive us.”

The completion of the results for any context is hard to achieve on a specific timetable, but in the minds of many hundreds of thousands of us, the time for an end to forcible solutions is long past due.

Creating a Context for the Future of the World that Allows Us All to Survive and Thrive Instead of No Longer Be Alive

The life lived, as a context within which the events of life occur, consciously created by declaration and continuing in conversation with others, is the most wonderful life possible. A life spent creating new possibilities for people that allow them freedom and power they have never known before is a vision we all can share. The context for a nation that was envisioned in the Declaration of Independence generated the United States as an idea whose time had come. That vision can be, and has been, twisted all to hell by politicians and military folks who call us forth to our mutually shared vision and then rip us off by playing adolescent war games. It is time we recaptured from those more limited folks the methodology and responsibility for actually bringing that vision into being.

So when you design your life and write your projects for this year, think big. Think of your own sweet self, the being you are, as the context in which the whole world occurs. Then, based on your memories from the past and your mind’s assessments, come up with a vision for our future that pleases you and also contributes to other people. Have whatever you come up with eventually lead to the transformation of the world! Join with others of us who are transforming the world to help us and those we are helping. It makes all the difference.

Contact and Context

When we contact other people honestly- in such a way that we get their attention and learn about what they are engaged in and committed to- we enroll them in helping us bring our vision into being. We also become enrolled in helping them bring their projects into being. A project creates a context so that creation through speaking and listening can occur.

The act of creation requires that you operate in alignment with others, and that you understand the difference between taking a position about what “should” be in the world and creating a context within which what you want to create becomes possible, then likely, and then a reality. (Practicing Radical Honesty, 2000)

You are invited to come to D.C. or to my place in Virginia, on or after January 18, to stay a few days and to march in Washington, D.C. as demonstration of opposition to the inauguration and presidency of Donald Trump and to participate in the Million Women March. I live in Virginia about two hours from D.C. We will have rides to the subways in Northern Virginia so you can get into D.C. without having to be trapped in traffic there…

Come on over. We are expecting a half a million people or so… If we get arrested a few times we will use our detention as a way to create a context that allows us to bring about a world that works for everyone!

Love, Brad

Merry Xmas from the Center for Honesty Radicalness

Having worked as a psychotherapist during many holiday seasons I know that people generally get more depressed around xmas and new year’s because they make comparisons of their lives to the projected images of happiness that surround them during the season. It doesn’t matter how phony or how authentic the messages are, people get depressed anyway, and there are damned good reasons for why they do. So I want to remind you–my friends and kinfolks and readers and supporters–of a cheerful little idea from the realm of reality, which if you love, can seem to love you, and have you get that you are God. Here it is: It is not important whether the glass is half empty or half full. What is important is whether we can see a God damned glass with some liquid in it.

We all need to overcome the primary control system that keeps misery in place. That system is this: Focusing entirely on some assessment or other about whether the glass is half empty or half full. This bullshit question is the source of untold misery. It resides within our minds and throughout our culture. This is the very source of the sickness unto death we all share. It gets magnified during xmas.

Seeing and describing what is so, rather than trying to figure out what it means, is the fundamental focus of Radical Honesty. We invite you to read our books and take our courses to learn the skills and distinctions that liberate you from the cultural jail that resides in your own mind–particularly around xmas time.

This entire Radical Honesty set of options is a recovery course for so-called normal adults. This work is for our mutual recovery from our poisonous education and the terrible collective mental illness called civilization. The holidays are often a failed attempt to transcend civilization. And that, of course, is even more depressing. Ho ho ho.

The undoing of this internalized faulty system of lies about what is and is not important, begins with this simple assertion: Honesty about what actually exists is more critical to the health and well being of human beings than any philosophy about what things mean. Description counts. Assessments, evaluations, comparisons, explanations and understandings are secondary–and more often screw things up than help.

Because of how our minds work when they are entangled in assessments and comparisons and the like, it is absolutely impossible to plumb the depths of human ignorance. There is no idea stupid enough that you can’t find some human being or group of human beings advocating that idea, operating according to it, and with very extensive explanations for why it is a good idea, and trying to enroll others in it. It is because of the system that lives in us and that we live in–trying to figure out half full or half empty while ignoring what is there–that we can be so psychotically, pathologically stupid. So from one dumb ass to another, good luck.

And, at the same time we admit the depths of our capacity for incredible ignorance, we must acknowledge that it is also hard to comprehend the heights of human courage and compassion. The magnificence of human beings is as hard to get as are the depths of human ignorance. Sometimes human beings are willing to sacrifice their lives for others, and go to great ends to help other humans and other creatures. Human beings are often wonderful, individually and collectively. This capacity for love and wonder and sacrifice comes from seeing a glass with liquid in it. It does not come from arguing about the glass being half empty or half full.

The real answer to the question, “Is the glass half empty or half full?” is this: “It is both half empty and half full.”

Happiness requires acknowledging what is present, including what appears to be the source of unhappiness. Like they say in AA, we have to admit that we have a problem. Then we have to support each other in not letting our problem run our lives while we try to fix it by “thinking” or “figuring it out” (a highly overrated activity, having to do most with trying to decide if the glass is half empty or half full.)

Out of Conflict, Wisdom. Out of Trouble, Peace

We know that people come to our workshops and to the other programs of the Center for Radical Honesty because they are not happy. You inquire here and participate with us because you are rich and middle class people, privileged of the people of the world, and you are not happy about something. And even though you are often fed and watered and sheltered and entertained, and pleasantly distracted enough to be able to sustain unhappiness for a long time, after a while entertainment doesn’t do the trick of distracting you sufficiently from your alienation, or from our mutual alienation, and our insane culture. That takes a while to happen. The quicker you get it the better off you are. We assume since you are reading this shit here that you are about ready now.

From me and my friends and colleagues at Radical Honesty–Our Holiday Greeting: We knew you would show up sooner or later, and we are happy to hear from you and to respond back. We want you to know that you are not to blame for what you have learned that has made you unhappy. And at the same time we must tell you that, without a doubt, you are entirely responsible for your own happiness. Unhappiness and dissatisfaction are built into our dysfunctional attempts to control and/or dominate or use other people while faking that we care—which is the standard operating procedure taught by our culture. It is imbued in our Judao/Christian heritage. Manipulation and lying is the way to “happiness” in our culture. That doesn’t work, but it takes a while to learn that it doesn’t work. By the time we get that what we do to try to be happy doesn’t work, really, for anyone, even for those “on top,” it is often almost too late–and then we resist acknowledging what we know to be true for a while longer just to piss away a little more time. We have to bang our heads on the wall of life for a while before we begin to question whether or not what we are persisting with that doesn’t work, is stupid. All these things take time. If you think you may have pissed away enough time now, and are ready, let’s begin again. Can you find it in your heart to feel sorry for Donald Trump?

We would like you to join a cult now, organized to not merely overthrow the government, but to save humanity and its millions of victims among our fellow species. Whether or not we survive as a species depends on whether all these long progressions from dumbed down to enlightenment must be followed without any shortcuts—in order to get enough of us to wrest control from, or educate and re-train (or some combination thereof) the rich people who are in charge of our entire economy. We the people, who have been dumbed down by what our culture calls “education” –are all anxiety and depression prone–and most of us are committed to staying that way! Quit doing that, dumb ass!

Not only that, and if that is not enough, corporate billionaires are funding the continuation of ignorance for the sake of preserving their wealth. This quote from an October 3, 2010 article by Paul Krugman in the NY Times is the best way to bring in the new year I can think of:

“Scientists willing to deny the existence of man-made climate change, economists willing to declare that tax cuts for the rich are essential to growth, strategic thinkers willing to provide rationales for wars of choice, lawyers willing to provide defenses of torture, all can count on support from a network of organizations that may seem independent on the surface but are largely financed by a handful of ultrawealthy families.” Paul goes on to say how a few multi-billionaires created the “grassroots” uprising that voted the Pee Rub Lick Um Party back into power. Contemplate that to cheer yourself up.

In order to impact and change the ignorant pell-mell trip into hell we sub groups of humans are in a race with each other to achieve or prevent, we overachievers need to act more quickly than we have ever acted before to bring about a change of heart and perspective in our enemies and in ourselves. And to do that we must learn how to be happy personally. And then we need to work together to start a contagion of curative happiness that cures the low level depression that most of us privileged people of the world call “life,” while we rob and kill others to maintain our lifestyle, miserable as we, nevertheless, are.

What can we do? One option is something we call Radical Honesty, a shortcut to enlightenment.

Conscious Misery is the First Step to Happiness

We need to generate awareness of unhappiness in order to generate happiness. We need to acknowledge misery and work with others to do something about it. We need to admit we are unhappy enough to change, though change is a miserable pain in the ass as well. That is what we do. It is called the Course in Honesty, or sometimes, the Curse of Honesty. We are going online with it in March to see what we can do to help others discover our miserable little key to happiness.

Probably the most valuable single thing we have to contribute is something called the completion process. We help people get over things by teaching them how to cause to happen what they have been avoiding most, and then shift their attention from their mind to their body, where they actually experience the sensations associated with their self imposed misery based on bullshit assessments and phony “self” judgments.

…when life is just sensational. We support each other to shift from a focus on the assessments of the mind (is the glass half full or half empty?) to noticing the sensations in the body (what do you notice in your body now?) This allows people to experience their experience to completion. When that happens forgiveness occurs simply because bitterness peters out when guarding against it recedes. Then when that happens there is a new beginning, a new dialogue, new deliberation and a new life together. So here’s wishing you a miserable time or some miserable times as a result of this work. Here’s to an increase in the sickness unto death until you throw up.

So xmas serves a purpose after all. If you read the model for life from the Sufi’s, called The Sufi Levels of Consciousness (a chapter in Practicing Radical Honesty), you will see why we are happy for your misery. Merry Xmas!

Love and kisses,

Brad,
The Duke of Puke,
Pope of Plenty Out of Poison,
King of Cream from Crap,
Prince of Half Empty/Half Full of Shit

bernieDear Friends, Here is the Umbrella project to manage my life design for this year. Out of this so far has come a whole new expansion of Radical Honesty in the world. I will tell you about that in the next Radical Honesty Rag ezine in a couple of weeks. Love, Brad

P.S. Bernie Sanders and I have the same birthday, only I am a year older than him. We have made something of our lives by taking what we were given in hand and using it rather than being used by it. I am proud of my younger brother in the faith and I hope that young whippersnapper keeps up.

CO—CREATING A LIFE OF PLAY AND SERVICE

2016

Brad Blanton

Theme for the year: That people want change so much is heartening. And that they want to make things better for others as well as themselves is touching and inspiring. That they know so little about what actually needs to change is depressing. We can do something about that, so let’s do that. We need to gather ‘round and ongoingly do some deeper work together and change the way the world actually works for all of us. So the theme for the year is called: Changing The Way the World Works for All of Us.

granny-dQuotes for the Year:

“Do we see who we are, finally? Do we see, behind the curtain, the scars and insecurities that have controlled us? And when we see them and look them squarely in the eye, do they lose their power over us, backing down from their bullying bluster? Indeed they do. We become free to take our life in whatever shape it has become, and find a good and enjoyable use for it, serving others and ourselves.”

Granny D (Doris Haddock)—(The woman who walked clear across America to advocate Campaign Finance Reform when she was 90 years old. She just died a few years ago at age 100. I miss her.)

“Each one of us holds transformational capabilities to engage the world constructively through the images of the future we hold in our mind. Our thoughts have power. The power of intent together with action transforms our lives and our world.”  Dennis and Elizabeth Kucinich, (wishing us a happy new year 2007).

 “You can have anything you want as long as it doesn’t have to look like you thought it would.”      Werner Erhardt

This document, which has in it my plans for 2016, follows a structure. I have divided my life into 5 Domains, and then listed and written up a number of Projects under each domain. The Projects are all managed by this overriding Project write-up called The Umbrella Project, which is the first to be read in this document. The structure of all the project write-ups, INCLUDING THIS UMBRELLA PROJECT, is:

Project Title: the name of the project

Brief History: what has happened so far

Background Commitment: values I am coming from

Vision: picture of what could be that inspires action to bring it about

Committed Listeners: the main friends to help keep the conversation alive by talking with me about it over the course of the year

Network of Support: a whole bunch more friends who will help

State: choices reflect the stage of development of the project: formulation, concentration, momentum, stability, BREAKTHROUGH!

Measures: Signposts along the way, milestones, signs of progress

Description of Overall Plan: Summary rephrasing of the project into a laser statement of what it is so that any one can get it.

Action: “To Do List” to add to, revise and update as we go—what to do and by when.

Date Printed: to keep track of which version this is, so the most recent upgrade is the one being used.

(You are invited to steal this form for the write up your own life design—and there is more detail about its use for conscious life design in the last part of my book Practicing Radical Honesty.)

The headings for the project write-ups are underlined and in red throughout this whole Project write-up system, so anyone can copy it, starting with the Umbrella or overview project, and continuing through each of the projects, subsumed under the 5 domains.

This structure is the RIVERBED of my life’s energy this year. Shit that happens that I didn’t plan for falls into this river. Having a river for the shit you didn’t plan for to fall into is what a whole lot of this is about! A few years ago I made a river to change the world and three workshops and the Occupy movement fell into it. Who knew? It helps to have a river you can bank on, and vice versa. Let’s river on!!

UMBRELLA PROJECT 2016: A Project to manage all the projects for this 75th year of my life.

Project Title: Changing The Way the World Works for All of Us. Working with other people to bring into being, out of our co-intelligence, common vision, service and leadership, a world that works for everyone.

stepping-stonesBrief History: Turning Stumbling Blocks into Stepping Stones. (This is a bit of the story of my personal history. A river of memories and stored experience I swim in, and can use to design my future with.)

My father died when I was six years old. My brother was four. My sister was 12. My mother remarried when I was seven to an alcoholic veteran of World War II, who was shell shocked and a wife beater and child abuser. My half brother was born when I was nine, and at the same time my sister left home to avoid being sexually molested by my step-father.

In this context I developed skills for dealing with my life circumstances, which required me to take care of my younger brothers because my mother and stepfather were often too drunk to do so. And my step father and his friends were not only no help but a part of the problem…namely a danger to the kids, my mom and each other. I learned to be wary, alert, and quick to respond to cues to help me predict mood and likely behavior changes in drunks, so I could keep them from hurting one of the kids or killing each other. I learned when to avoid, confront, demand, threaten, fight, run away and take control with weapons if need be.

I considered myself a smart kid and a hero and I couldn’t afford to admit to being scared and feeling sorry for myself. Because of this good and bad luck, I was raised in such a way that I became sensitized to subtle cues about human behavior, and wanted to help people who were hurting. So I have been designed by my life to be a helper who wants to help those who are already hurt and keep them from being hurt more.

As I grew older I ended up wanting to help people, take care of them, teach them how to take care of themselves and each other, and show off my perceptiveness. I resented people if they didn’t appreciate me a lot, do what I said, and turn out the way I thought they should. I purchased allegiance by helping others. I charged this allegiance to the helpee in an inexplicit way, such that a vague sense of obligation bound them to me, protected me from them, and got me praise. I am, by nature, a manipulative, co-dependent, lying survivor. My life has been organized around letting people in general know they had better not fuck with me or anyone I cared for, and letting women know they could fuck with me, and showing off some hoping they might be interested.

As a psychologically reactive, homemade, individual humanoid, I have here a hand-built, home-built set of neurotic survival techniques, my carried-around-with-me-at-all-times way of getting along feeling protected and surviving tool kit. By transforming my relationship to this system of survival instead of being victimized by it, criticizing it, and resisting it, or trying to “fix” it, I can choose to serve people of my own free will. I can use my presence and my history much like the Greek mythical hero named Sisyphus learned to use his.

Albert Camus, in The Myth of Sisyphus, wrote that Sisyphus’ condition of being condemned for all eternity, to roll a big boulder up a mountain and have it roll back down again, was a perfect analogy for the human condition. We are all condemned to engage in completely futile tasks that take everything we’ve got. We have memories and minds that make comparisons, and that is a gigantic  challenge.

sisyphusSisyphus, who used to be a hell of a man on Earth and a hero like Hercules and Pan all rolled up into one, was condemned for eternity to roll that rock up that mountain and then have it roll all the way back down again as punishment from the Gods. They were pissed off because he fucked a Goddess. Humans were not supposed to fuck Goddesses. He was thrown into this hell of complete futility that takes everything you’ve got, forever, just as we, who were once happy as children, have been thrown into the hell of the meaningless meaning-making machine of the mind and the absolutely insane obligations of so called adult life.

If we are to discover the secret to happiness as human beings, said Camus, we must be able to imagine some way Sisyphus could come to be a happy man, while living right in the middle of that special hell.

So, if we were to catch a glimpse of him just as he turns to walk back down that mountain to find his rock and push it up again, we would see a beaming smile on his face! How could that possibly be?

Camus said there was only one way that man could be happy, and by implication, only one way any human could be happy—which was by choosing to do what he had been condemned to do.

Sisyphus was condemned to the hell of rolling that rock up and having it fall back down, for all eternity, as his punishment, but he conquered hell by transforming his relationship to what he was condemned to do by choosing to do it.  When Sisyphus decided to choose to do what he was condemned to do, he said, “this is my job, this is what I do for a living, I am good at it; it is what I do. I roll my rock up my mountain and back down again. This is what I do and I’m doin’ it.” He owned it.

Sisyphus could have been rolling that rock every day, saying, “Damn! I wish I had a glass of wine! Damn, I haven’t been laid in a looonng time! Damn! I wish I could go back and see my old friends!” Instead, he took on what his present life was; doing what he was condemned to do. As Montaigne said, “A person is not hurt so much by what happens, as by his opinion of what happens.” (Like in the movie “Groundhog Day” when the lead character finally surrendered to having the day happen over and over again without resisting it, it finally became a new day.)

So I can choose to serve people as a design for my life simply because it is a good choice given my design, which I am condemned to live with. I can escape the oppression of the historical personality that drives me, even though I cannot escape the personality itself. In other words, the meaning made for me without any choice on my part from the life, times, family, and culture I was born into and formed by, was not under my control. What is under my control is (1) the use of that personality and history as a creative instrument and (2) what I use it to create.

By using the equipment I have available to me, I can choose to serve people, envision how to do it, and make it happen. So lets try that: I learned to survive by protecting my mother from beatings, taking care of my little half-brother and my brother and some other people by being wary, paranoid, aggressive, and defending against other people who could hurt us. I will always operate from that mode, and I have no choice in the matter. Still, serving people can be a choice for me and can be very fulfilling and fun instead of constant struggle.  If I own that built-in system and choose to use that model I can use it consciously to create my life with!

If I consider myself to be this being in the moment who is typing now, and my history to be something my present-tense self possesses, I can use my memory, in the present, for ideas and images to design a future to live into, and with help from others! Rather than continue to react to the past that designed how I should live at about age seven or eight or nine, I can transform my life by my own design, by choosing to do what I have been condemned to do, and use it. I can design the projects of my life, using my developed skills in surviving to bring about the results I plan to bring about for me and my friends.

I can use my personality and case history and reactivity to bring about my dreams for the future. Instead of trying to fix myself, or change my self, I can simply use my self to create the life I want—and to contribute to others the way I want. And one of the main ways I want to serve people is to present to them the possibility that we are all alike in the way I have just described—we can have either an unconscious, reactive life or a conscious, creative life.

The key is to generate a conscious vision for the use of our life. Unless we create some vision to hitch our wagon to, we automatically fall back into being controlled again by mind-made reactions and defensive moralism—based on formative experiences in which we stored ways to survive. Otherwise we are left with just our minds and beliefs and standards of operation based largely on survival in fearful circumstances. But our circumstances now are not the same as they were when we worked out how to deal with them when we were little.

Most of these ways of survival that worked when we were children no longer serve us as adults but we persist with them anyway. After we bang our heads up against the wall long enough we either (1) become more conscious or (2) join a group of permanent adolescents—as in most organized religions and political parties and their ilk—where we simply avoid thinking about it and work to keep from becoming more conscious like a God damned ignorant shit for brains Republican.

Now and then some of us transcend our childhoods and our groups of permanent adolescence called a culture. These moments of transcendence are usually temporary. Then, even after these moments of transcendent enlightenment, we become merely neurotic again, and all wrapped up in bullshit belief, just like we were before we last escaped the jail of the mind. Each time we regress to automatic survival and belief, deliverance is always at hand when we acknowledge the truth of our experience in the moment out loud, and then assign our mind a job to so it has something to chew on other than it’s own ass.

We can free ourselves from the relentless taboos and controls of our unconsciously built systems of survival through using two things: 1) honesty and 2) employing  our neurotic minds to accomplish the projects we design for the future.

This transforms a life of obsessive preoccupation with survival and avoidance to a life of creating.  Each of our lives becomes a conscious work of art. And a life lived in a community of people who know and practice this is the life of an artist, artfully lived.

This Life as an Artist is a choice that provides an alternative to the usual civilized and depressing way of living. To remain free of our culture means living outside of our mind in the world of noticing, and giving our mind some bone to chew on to keep it busy and out of our way.

We need to give our minds work to do, in obedience to our heart’s desire, and continue to share with each other honestly about our goals and our rackets, in order to create, and keep creating, what we want in life, consciously, together.

This conscious choice to do what one is condemned to do is called transformation. My life is transformed by my choice to serve people because the purpose of my service is no longer to manipulate and control them to get what I want based on my old story, but to contribute to them and affiliate with them toward our common vision—to be both leader and servant, usually at the same time. And that is what I want now, after all, really.

Starting from Being Already Satisfied

As a being, who notices, who lives in the moment and is satisfied in the present, I already have what I want. What I’ve got right now is enough. By giving up the demand that other people make up for how I was deprived, I stop living from unfinished business from the past and am quite happy with the opportunity to face what I’ve got in the moment, whatever the moment brings.

So, being of unsound mind and using that to create a future, (as my grandmother used to say), “I DO DECLARE!!” This is what I do declare: MY LIFE IS TO SERVE PEOPLE! (Not because I was psychologically built to be a caretaker, Jewish social worker, superman, savior neurotic, and etc. but) SIMPLY BECAUSE I FUCKING SAY SO!

Declarative speaking comes out of nowhere. I assert it.  And what happens from it is because I say so, using the accident of my upbringing rather than being used by it.

This umbrella project is a declaration of intentions that the context for my life in 2016. It is also a model to be copied by others who want to use it, to inspire and empower all of us to contribute to people we know, and have the effect spread until heaven shows up on earth for all of us.

What follows now, in all the domains and projects I will list, are details about what I will bring into being out of this following vision, which is a declaration. This vision for my Umbrella Project is my life purpose statement. (You can write your own if you go to Chapter 16 in my book Practicing Radical Honesty.)

Vision: The purpose of my life is to use my perceptiveness, intelligence, love of children, love of people, love of life and sense of humor by writing books, designing and conducting workshops, giving talks, making video and audio recordings, sharing honestly with friends, being with my family, and helping with the raising of children and grandchildren in such as way as to create the possibility of a lifetime of play and service for every human being on the planet.

Because of how my family and friends and I live and raise our children and love and teach and care for them and each other, this world evolves to the place where every little baby born on earth gets welcomed into participation with the rest by being played with, loved, fed, sheltered, and interacted with in a family and community of functional, loving human beings. War ends. Pure greed based economics no longer controls government. Compassion does instead. We play in heaven.

As this vision grows from the mutual effort of millions of us, I do my part by conducting workshops, making public appearances, writing books, keeping web sites going, launching online workshops, doing television shows and actively engaging and loving my own children and grandchildren. My books, now published in 14 languages, are read and talked about and quoted by business and political and intellectual leaders of the world.

Before and after I die and get frozen and then revived through cryogenics (see the proposal that follows, in my Health and Well Being Domain, called “Come Again?”), most of my work will be to support people engaged in coordinating the work of major institutions, associations, corporations and nation states. Our job will be to consciously help evolve a system of world wide organization in which the distribution of opportunity and the distribution of wealth are coordinated to bring about the elevation of all human beings who were formerly in poverty of goods or of mind, to a luxurious minimum standard of economic and psychological security.

I will be a part of the founding group of the first world government based on stewardship of all beings and the sharing of the freedom, creativity and compassion of all of the world’s people. If we humans don’t wipe ourselves out, this is what we could have.

I just watched an animated film entitled Inside Out, given to me by someone with whom I am in love. The whole story of Inside Out (a helluva title message too, “put what is inside out ”) wonderfully gives permission to us all to have all the emotions we have, to not hide them or play like they are not there, to celebrate the diversity of human experience and be glad about the variety of it we can have and how that can serve us.

So, rather than be victimized by trying to avoid and control emotions, or keep secrets for a phony sense of security, or just not mention things that are important to us because we think telling about them might upset someone—We can go ahead and be out loud about what we are feeling and thinking and doing and we can all work it out together. We might have a little faith in each other and see what we can handle and be pleasantly surprised.

The video is for pre-teens and teens and young adults and as it turns out, for older people too. The liberating message of this wise and wonderful video is that our fear and anger and joy and sadness and shame (those emotions are actual cartoon characters in the film) are all O.K. In fact, emotional reactions in all their forms are good, helpful, and to be shared and used to help each other with. They all help make our participation with each other elaborate and multifaceted and challenging and endlessly interesting.

I watched Inside/Out with my 9 year old son, Bruno Buddha Blanton, with whom I am in love as well. He had already seen it before and wanted to see it over again with me. I loved him all over again for that.

The emergence of this video into popularity is one of many new evidences I see every week. According to me, who (of course!) has no vested interest in such an interpretation, more and more people in the world are affirming the value of being radically honest. This interpretation of the meaning of what is going on in the world makes me happy.

At the same time, the news about idiotic world politics makes me want to puke. Being with all of those assessment triggered sets of sensations (being in love and having people agree I am right and being about to puke about the intense cruelty of ignorant true believers, all at the same time) caused me to hallucinate a vision: We are all in a kind of gigantic dance together with Goodies and Evilies all doing their part! All of it counts! And the whole thing is, in it’s own way, quite beautiful!

Yes! I am a scared, pissy, whiney, romantic, angry, happy, competitive, judgmental, selfish, greedy, etc. asshole! Hurrah!

So are you! Hurrah!

So are we all! Hurrah!

Here’s to all the scared, pissy, whiney, romantic, happy, angry, judgmental,
competitive, selfish, greedy, deluded assholes in the world! Hurrah!

We wonderful multi-faceted, extremely creative, multi-varied mess makers are all making and learning from our horrific wonderful mistakes, and that is all wonderful, except for just one tiny little thing: Getting the inside out is not just an option. It is a requirement for human survival. It is an offer we can’t refuse.

Most of us in the whole human community are still blithely assuming that we will go on forever by not letting the inside get out. I have bad news for all of us.

zorbaWe will not.

We (all of us, humankind and it’s story from beginning to end) will still be a beautiful and ecstatically horrific story even if we come to a rather sudden end in the near future. Ending up the whole show is pretty much set to be determined by all of us shortly. There are many, many splendiferous crises (Nuclear holocaust, global warming, etc.) on the immediate horizon, that could bring down everything and everyone (like Zorba the Greek’s great crash). And even though we, like Zorba, could dance to celebrate the immense tragedy at the end, wouldn’t it be so much more fun to celebrate saving our souls at just the expense of our egos?

What is Coming Up Next

So when the global warming summit in Paris fails, as it is bound to do because greedy corporate psychopathic bastards who ought to be killed are in charge of what happens in this poison for profit world, politicians are pussies, especially rich stupid fucking Republicans…etc. we will take one step closer to the end. After that we can all be nostalgic and tragic and feel sorry for ourselves. We can say we tried but it was too little too late.

We can commiserate together about how we were so close and almost made it. Just for a moment before we are suddenly not alive anymore we can talk about how Damn! We almost fixed it! Unfortunately, as they say, nostalgia ain’t what it used to be. And that saying will be particularly true when we are all dead. (Maybe a few will be left behind just for nostalgia’s sake?)

We Who Are About to Die and Kill all Our Children Could Fix This

I wonder what could happen to us if we loved everything, including hate?

There is a thin chance
if we celebrate the whole dance
we won’t shit in our pants.

That question, and that response to it. are the focus of my life now, until I die.

In January, about a month from today, at the Center for Radical Honesty, we are coming out with an online course to help all of us be in transcendental love instead of being trapped in mere self righteous hate. The course shows how you do that by being explicit, direct and honest about what is going on with you even when you feel hateful. We teach how to pay attention. You end up feeling all the energy of all the sensations inside while sharing what you resent or appreciate and reveal what you have been hiding. And then by letting sensations come and go in the open air, a new moment of feeling arrives for you and everyone involved. You become present…to your own being and to the beings of all of your friendemies. Everyone is moved not by thoughts but by presence to experience while it flows and to contact with another being just like you.

You do the same thing (become present to, notice, be in contact) with the whole parade of feelings in Inside/Out (and inside you). You let it all hang out for your sake and everyone you care about’s sake. You could be a hell of a lot happier, and help us save the world and the rest of us in it. This course could save our lives.

The online course is called a lot of things. We who have been working on it for years now have a whole series of names for it. Reading these titles over really does let you know what the course is about. Please help us out now. Based on your experience of Radical Honesty pick the main titles you like and let us know. Or suggest another…as soon as we come up with a name for this we can get started. We gotta pick a name by Xmas! Here they are!

radical honest shitRadical Honesty: How to Get Over Shit and BE Happy

Radical Honesty: How to Get Into Shit, Get Over It, and BE Happy.

How to Straighten Out Your Life for the Sake of Other People…and Vice Versa

How Giving Love and Honor to Other Beings Like Yourself…to Even Your Enemies… can Enhance Your Life and the Lives of Others.

Tough Love is not so Tough, Sometimes It’s more fun a little bit rough…then all of a sudden you can’t get enough.

Putting a Finish on Unfinished Business

Mothers, Brothers and Significant Others!

Mothers, Brothers and Significant Others: Completing what’s Incomplete and Getting Back Out on the Street

You Did It Once! You Can Do It Again! The Radical Honesty Course in Completion

How to Forgive People who Have Pleased You, Hurt You and Offended You, and Enjoy Your Life Again Outside the Box of Avoiding Dealing with People You Care About

How to Be Completely Here: Honest Coaching, Love and Beer!

How to quit living in the past & create a happy future

How to complete the past, arrive in the present , & create a happy future

How to clean up the past, arrive in the present , & create a happy future

How to heal the past, arrive in the present , & create a happy future

How to forgive people in the past, arrive in the present , & create a happy future

Forgiveness for dummies 🙂

Fomenting forgiveness & creating connection 🙂

How to actually give & receive forgiveness and create true (or “real”) love
creating real forgiveness and true love / intimacy / connection

Practical Forgiveness Skills

Radical Honesty: How to BE Happy by Facing what You’ve Been Avoiding and Getting Over Shit

How to Stop Avoiding the past, Lying in the present, and missing out on the future

Be How You Be How You Would Love to Be and Do what You would Love to Do

Getting Back to Sweet Honesty Like a Child Will Get You Where You Want to Be: Being Grown Up and Happily

Go Through It to Get Over It

Connection at your Fingertips

Break through to Connection

Instant Authenticity

Break through the BS

Instant Intimacy

Breaking Through Barriers to Intimacy

Reuniting with Lost Loved Ones: Opening Your Future to New Loved Ones

All those titles point to what the course has in it—the secret to the good life. I gives you a chance to start lovin’ life as it is instead of how it ought to be. It is about the most practical aspects of love that have ever been known.

Unfortunately, this course is probably a week or so too late to actually save the world. Sorry. I was busy with other things there for a while and got a little behind…shit happened…etc.

All kidding aside. If you and I can accept, be present to, acknowledge and share what we notice about everything, inside and out, with everyone we have been or could be close to, we can transcend our reactive minds. Then those we have loved in that way can notice and transcend their reactivity of mind too. And we have to do that now or die. If that happens right quickly, to billions of us, we might not only survive, but thrive. The odds are against us but we still have some odds.

Religious Implications of this Course in Honesty

Our destruction or our salvation depend on the wisdom of Buddha, not Moses or Jeziz or Muhammad. Buddha won. And Moses and Jesus and Muhammad were actually right too, (just a little to God damned zealous about it). It turns out the love talked about by Jesus is from the noticing Buddha focused on.

buddha statueThe point is: It’s all the Moses freaks and Jeziz freaks and Mohammad freaks, (including American right wingnuts), who are terrorizing the world right now. One time religion had relevance. Not so much now. They traded in their love of honest social intercourse to start masturbating to belief. They can only rediscover their root faiths when you and I demonstrate how well they work for all of us. Love is the answer. But getting it from a religion and turning it into a “should” is questionable.

If you’d like to pursue this further, gimme a hAllah! Hell Mary! That would just be Buddha full! Allah Lew Ya! Ahhh! Men!

Love, Brad

P.S. In my last newsletter I said that the sexual revolution seemed to have reached a tipping point in the U.S. in 2014 and 2015. All over the country marriage equality seemed to have happened suddenly. After hundreds of years of oppression and 50 years of escalation of people coming out of the closet about their sexuality, “suddenly” LBGT rights and gay marriage and love between people of all kinds became legitimate, recognized as a right and confirmed by even a conservative Supreme Court.

Radical Honesty is about coming out of the closet about pettiness, judgmental condemnation of self and others, anger, “illegitimate” love, embarrassment, pretention and hateful proclivities toward the actions and behaviors of others.

When Radical Honesty tips, if it does, the worldwide fascist economic order will be replaced by some form of government by friendemies who have faith in each other, and trust each other…to fight, but not kill each other, forgive each other, and survive and then thrive, and keep it up.

I hate to lay this on you but it really is up to you to save yourself and those you love and the rest of humanity. You could honestly straighten out your life for the sake of other people. Some of them you know and some you don’t. Some of them, many of them, are children. Many of them, if you knew, you would love. Some of the older people you will help to be alive and stay alive won’t be such great people. And they need their chance to straighten out their lives for the sake of other people too. That’s what is in our course, of course.