Hope and Despair

My last post was a re-blog, thank goodness some people can write and others like Ken Loach can show, that there is a totally dreadful and perverse world out there and some people are suffering it daily, hourly, and the rest of us act helpless/feel useless in the face of this despair. We keep ourselves in hope of a kind, not by denying that real betrayal of humanity, but because it is one of the few things that an ordinary person without much influence and near zero power, can do. We keep ourselves in hope by going about the day to day business of doing whatever it is we do. I am adding this in, in the same spirit as I add in my support for Positive Money, as a mite of contribution. If you say it is just because it makes me feel better, so what, my feeling better is not out of tune with my mite being a tiny but possibly important grain in the weight that will eventually create a change. Below, is some of what I have been doing the last couple of days (scroll down to reply below to tell me what you are up to) OK, I am also not denying that I think there are some people who DO REALLY BETRAY HUMANITY and who deny who they are because they lack the common decency, probably have not sufficient emotional maturity , to self-analyse and see what is being done with their mute say-so. They do not step up their input, however tiny it might be. I have no words for those in power, who do purport to represent, who sit on corporate boards, or are engaged in whitewashing (or e.g. laundering) the facts of the despairs. Some try, but also do not engage with enough recognition of where and why they fail to make the cut. My own member of UK parliament talks of his assiduous activities, they are considerable and well-meaning, but he does not show reflexive feeling thoughtfulness, and so (in my view) he joins the follower pack of ‘good intention’, not those who make real change happen. I despair.

I hope – and do… not a lot … it is some only… The photos are all from yesterday morning, trail-clearing.

Adrian’s Army are a volunteer group who go out weekly for a couple of hours to help clear the Nature Conservancy trails on this utterly beautiful magic part of the world where I am lucky to live. My volunteering has nothing of duty or altruism in it, I like the people and the walking and the work such as it is, that we do. But it is nice to know that it is probably “a good thing”.

In the evening I joined a library group, considering memoir writing, learning about memoir writing. Again, lucky I live here where there are people who both know and share their knowledge, and their experience – hope/despair both.

Today we had a lunch meeting of NAMI BI and met the new director of Rhode Island National Alliance for Mental Illness. That was really positive, hence – in this area after lots of despair, there is a feeling of hope for the future. Maybe, just maybe, mental health has finally made it into the mainstream enough to get better access to care and less of the stigma and minimal resources that has dogged help for so long. A long way to go, but, this particular part of my activities has been a slog against other trends for a long long time.

Back to hope. But I still despair, even though there do seem to be more people around who have a generosity in their way of thinking, so they care and share in more contexts than not. But I repeat what I said at the beginning of this post: there are some people who DO REALLY BETRAY HUMANITY … especially … I have no words for those in power, who do purport to represent, who sit on corporate boards, or are engaged in whitewashing (or e.g. laundering) the facts of the despairs. Some try, but also do not engage with enough recognition of where and why they fail to make the cut.

I was once engaged in the teaching of social justice (now rather a long time ago, when the words for it were not common parlance as they are now, so that even someone like Theresa May can trip them off her tongue, unaware that to some of us her actions and her words are so discrepant that she sounds like a child pretending to be grownup). In courses that looked at prejudice and discrimination, we referred to four broad classes of interaction (that vary from context to context):

  • the prejudiced discriminator (direct – in your face – racism, sexism, homophobia etc)
  • the unprejudiced discriminator (unawareness of institutional elements, e.g no notion what ‘white privilege’ means, never mind the effect on those who do not have it)
  • the prejudiced non-discriminator (yes, you too have grown up within a particular set, or sets, of individual cultural and institutional beliefs – but you have listened, and learned, and try to keep learning.)
  • the non-prejudiced non-discriminator… Ha ha … we said this person is very unlikely to exist, so if you think it is you, we think you are one of the first two but have not the emotional maturity to look at yourself or hear how others see you.

I meet more and more people now willing to learn, more and more people who have understood some of what something like “active listening” might mean, or how we can use our will to make a difference, well. Hence, hope again.

There is a lot of work to do. Good. Now I feel I can get on with some of it. Thanks for reading. Good luck to you with whatever it is that you do. May we all become prejudiced non-discriminators, able to act, in whatever sphere we find ourselves.

 

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