So tweeting wont save democracy? Nor blogging :-(

For me, Twitter has been a useful place for getting some news headlines but a lousy mechanism for discussion. With over 11,000 followers I thought I should keep sharing some news and views, despite the restrictive format. So for the first time I tweeted a couple of threads, to give a bit more of a substantive view on a topic that is alive right now… whether authoritarianism is a growing concern in general and might even come with the excuse of environmental necessity over the coming years. Reading it in blog format, below, it’s hard not to have a robotic Dalek voice in my head.

The first thread is here:

My paper in a #psychotherapy journal is generating some discussion on social media. I explore why & how to talk publicly about anticipated disruption & societal #breakdown
https://ojs.aut.ac.nz/ata/article/view/187

The issue of why it is time to speak out about the worst case scenarios as becoming likely, and to allow that to transform us and radicalise us, is well explored by @AndMedh, former finance lead of @ExtinctionRebellion
https://andmed.medium.com/contemplating-collapse-should-we-speak-about-it-more-and-if-so-how-b835e32cd13c

I look at the poor theoretical & empirical basis for arguing such an outlook is unhelpful #doomism. I invite attention on whether emotional avoidance leads some to demonise people with bleaker outlooks. Something picked up on by XR founder member Skeena
https://www.resilience.org/stories/2021-10-06/its-meant-to-hurt-allowing-our-feelings-on-climate-will-promote-action-and-reduce-conflict/

I explore the extensive social & pyschological research on how emotional avoidance in response to anxiety can lead to support for authoritarianism. A theme picked up by this ecologist in a warning that says fascism would itself be an aspect of #collapse
https://papillon-earth.medium.com/destination-collapse-next-stop-fascism-a6eff8cdbd19

Although sociology says much on the dynamics of authoritarianism, this paper arose from inquiry with psychology research over 3 yrs, since the #deepadaptation paper came out & I realised (unaknowledged) inner states influence scholarly & policy discussion on topics like #collapse

I have mostly focused on improving different ways of relating that could avoid some of the emotional avoidance that limits topics & the depth of our discovery. For instance, #deeprelating #facilitation, which I explained in a peer reviewed paper https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/13/11/6280

I also worked on enabling the articulation of many views on how to positively engage in reducing harm if one anticipates societal disruption & collapse, which is why I edited #DeepAdaptation with
@RupertRead that includes many experts e.g. @jongosling
https://politybooks.com/bookdetail/?isbn=9781509546831

It was a change of tack to analyse closely the veracity of arguments of scholars who say that the range of collapse-anticipators (e.g. @scholarswarning) are somehow ‘bad.’ Strident critique of others is normal in academia, but felt unfortunate in the climate arena. So why now?

My reason is the psychology research doesn’t support their view. Instead it points to a concerning process where #ExperientialAvoidance (esteemed in some academia) can lead to aggressive & authoritarian views. Thus, within the #EnvironmentalMovement we can be clearer about values

In the next years some climate scientists will back techno fixes, oppressive rules & censorship, not because of science but from their personalities & anxieties. Others will centre rights, justice, accountability & changing the systems pushing us to compete, exploit & denigrate

The establishment, backed by capital & presented to us by compliant politicians, bureaucrats & media will sell us the technoauthoritarian fraud of safety & success. They won’t push for freedom from exploitative & oppressive systems. Grassroots radical environmentalism does that

Therefore, in a situation with vastly unequal power relations between different persons within the environmental and climate fields and movements, calls to avoid arguments & collaborate might actually enable a technoauthoritarian dystopia in the name of climate safety.

Instead, it’s time for #agonistic dialogue, where we are keen to identify differences of opinion, expecting either shifts of perspective or confirming views. Can that happen on social media? I’ve seen scholars blocking, virtue signalling & shaming in response to @AndMedh

Therefore, if you have just come across this on social media, it’s worth knowing that 500+ scholars & scientists from around the world signed a public letter that explicitly addressed this need to have better dialogue on collapse risk & readiness
http://iflas.blogspot.com/2021/02/over-500-sign-scholarswarning-on.html

My next thread was in response to the main Extinction Rebellion twitter account promoting the report from the Institute for Strategic Dialogue on the right wing conspiracy theories about a #climatelockdown. Slightly less Dalek…

A thread on this in reply. The report on conspiracy theories about a future #climatelockdown has been promoted by environmental campaigners and experts. That might seem sensible, as the way some Covid-lockdown critics then pivot into climate change denial is a worry. However…

Focusing on conspiracy theories can undermine legitimate and needed discussion of substantive issues and our undermine scrutiny of public policy and those seeking to influence it. Promoting conspiracy theories is even a tactic of elites to disable criticism #hypernormalisation

Many scholars and activists I talk to or read from are advocating forms of authoritarianism as what they see as a needed response to climate crisis, and pointing to experience from Covid policies as proof there can be such action. That view needs serious questionning.

If someone doesn’t understand how the environmental crisis is the result of wrong dis/incentives that drive exploitation, consumption, destruction, etc, then they might wrongly conclude that unrestrained humans are the problem that need stricter rules by a parent-like authority

By focusing on a rightwing conspiracy theory, rather than the actual issues, like what is authoritarianism and whether it is growing and would be counterproductive or not for efforts on the environment.

Ive heard some climate experts wishing for a day when there’s a climate equivalent of a Fauci to ordain what “science says” are sensible policies. A different starting point to respect human nature & try to liberate us to look after eachother & nature isnt an instinct of elites

Instead we need clearer articulation of rights-based environmentalism, like #XR works on with #coliberation processes & calls for participatory democracy. How do we uphold rights during a necessary bold policy agenda on emissions, drawdown, adaptation, restoration & reparations?

…and a coherent response to #bigtech hegemony. Any report that advocates more unaccountable forms of bigtech censorship rather than the following is not pro-democratic:
i) breaking up bigtech
ii) compulsory publishing algorithms & the editorial decision systems within bigtech

After these threads, I am left with the obvious insight that defending support for human rights and democratic accountability is going to require more than tweets (or blogs). At some point more of us will need to recognise that organising is required and that complaining is not organising. Dalek or not, words won’t ‘exteeeerrminaaaate’ authoritarianism. If you know of any relevant initiatives please leave a comment below. Or if you just want to join the noise on twitter, you can find me here. I have uploaded a picture to prove I am not a Dalek.

5 thoughts on “So tweeting wont save democracy? Nor blogging :-(”

  1. The problems of complexity and overload
    Jem,
    In a recent book, I discuss unaddressed obstacles humanity faces from the introduction of the internet; but also from the electronic production and transmission of information and overall technological complexity.
    In short, for humans to work together as groups to solve problems, each person must: 1. have the ability to gather all the relevant “truths” related to an issue, and 2. Have the brain capacity to envision the entire scope of the problem. Human brains, which have not evolved a whit beyond what we had over the short period since the Neanderthal period, are NOT ABLE TO DO THIS with CONVENTIONAL tools and approaches. That’s what we need to change. Contact me, and I’ll send you a complementary copy.

  2. We must all work together on a fundamental paradigm shift required for ending the THE THREEFOLD EMBEDDED STRUCTURAL FAULT gripping the interwoven curse of USURIOUS MONEY SYSTEM,
    THEFT OF THE COMMONS
    and INSTITUTIONALISED POWER OVER OTHERS…….introducing COOPERATIVE SHARING OF APPROPRIATE SKILLS AND TASKS.
    Peter Challen

  3. I’m interested to know why antinatalism is being ignored as the only viable solution to our anthropocentric exceptionalism? This topic has been written about by Professor David Benatar and Professor Patricia MacCormack in her book the ahuman Manifesto. Even if this is too extreme a position, what about something on population ethics which also feeds into the social contract on birth, suicide and dying? Julian

  4. Sometime during my morning meditation in the temple
    I think about Jem Bendall
    I’m trying to disassociate myself from social media but how will I live without Jem and Deep Adaptation Network.
    A voice tells me. “They are dear to us. No need to worry”. A sublime yet gentle euphoria envelopes me
    It’s never too late to love.
    That’s if you know who is always with you to love. Everything else is designed to collapse.
    And salvation?
    Let go! Let God!

    As recommended by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

    The transcendental vibration established by the chanting of Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare / Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare is the sublime method for reviving our transcendental consciousness. As living spirit souls, we are originally Krishna conscious entities, but due to our association with matter from time immemorial, our consciousness is now adulterated by the material atmosphere. The material atmosphere, in which we are now living, is called maya, or illusion. Maya means ‘that which is not’. And what is this illusion? The illusion is that we are trying to be lords of material nature, while actually we are under the grip of her stringent laws. When a servant artificially tries to imitate the all- powerful master, he is said to be in illusion. We are trying to exploit the resources of material nature, but actually we are becoming more and more entangled in her complexities. Therefore, although we are engaged in a hard struggle to conquer nature, we are ever more dependent on her. This illusory struggle against material nature can be stopped at once by revival of our eternal Krishna consciousness. Chanting of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra is the transcendental process for reviving this original, pure consciousness. By chanting this transcendental vibration, we can cleanse away all misgivings within our hearts. The basic principle of all such misgivings is the false consciousness that ‘I am the lord of all I survey’.

    “Guru” means heavy with knowledge.
    This great guru is always reminding me that I am attached to residing in this realm of the collapsed. He invites me to join the realm of love.
    His life is a testament of the transformative power of his love in reconnecting the collapsed to that realm.
    Why is collapse the nature of this universe I reside in. Because I deserve it. If I accepted love with true gratitude I would be living in another universe.
    Prabhupada, my guru, seemed to have no difficulty living in both realms simultaneously.
    Now that’s what I call “deep adaption.”
    It’s very hard to select from Prabhupada’s writings and audio
    sections to recommend. https://vedabase.io/en/library/transcripts/710919le-nairobi/
    for some reason has “auto-suggested” but please use the search option within vedabase.io/en/library to delve where your intuition takes you.

    If you’ve stayed with me this far you deserve my heartfelt thanks.
    I’m a struggling practitioner pained by my lack of the credentials usually needed to catch the attention of literary giants. However I find the tone and ethos of this blog so attractive that I expect to be permitted to offer this humble offering.
    Your aspiring servant,
    Javatvasi dasa

    Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
    Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
    Hare Rama Hare Rama
    Rama Rama Hare Hare

  5. Dr. Bendell, I am writing a book which outlines a possible path, over the next 70 years, to a less authoritarian society, and have been posting my rough draft in sections each Wondering Wednesday. I’ve been hoping to make the project, currently dubbed Do Better, a collaborative one, through my ShiraDest blog. The suggested project phases encompass environmental, economic, and social issues.
    I am at your disposal if you have questions.

    Best Regards,

    Shira Destinie A. Jones, MPhil

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