The Wisdom of Play in Times Like These

I first met Zori at an Improvisational Theatre workshop. I set up the free weekly gathering as I had recently discovered Improv and knew I needed it in my life. It is the perfect therapy for a perfectionist, for someone who feels they need to know and calculate everything before doing something. Because you can’t do that with Improv. After the workshop a group of us went to dinner and I told Zori the paper I had been working on. As a former IT entrepreneur and someone exploring the possibility of starting a business, she was interested in the environmental theme. I explained how during my year unpaid sabbatical from my University job, I had returned to reading the scientific literature on climate change, and had concluded that it is too late to sustain the industrial consumer societies that we depend upon. I had also concluded that this scenario was not in the distant future, but that many of us would suffer and die as a result of the breakdown of the systems that feed, cloth, house, protect and motivate us. 

“How long do we have?” asked Zori, as we waited for our dinner.  

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A Positive Song in a World Gone Silly

During the pandemic many people appear to have had their capabilities for logic and ethics vaporised in the heat of fear and the distortions of reality from elite interests.  Consequently, from a serious public health perspective, the conversations about the pandemic are mostly silly. That does not mean there are really serious and damaging outcomes for individuals and societies. Millions of lives were lost and many might have been saved with smarter actions and more free flowing information. Now millions more lives are being risked due to the impacts of policies on supply chains and the cascading impacts on the poor worldwide. But given how much misinformed piety and pseudo professionalism is on show, it can be helpful at times to simply laugh at the orthodoxy on the pandemic. Here are some examples. 

Medical officials ignoring early outpatient treatment from their frontline colleagues? Arrogantly silly. 

Bigtech firms suppressing such information that might save lives? Ruthlessly silly. 

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Decolonize the World Health Organisation (WHO)

There is now much peer-reviewed science on the medicinal benefits of various natural foods. Which is obvious as humans have been healthy and recovering from disease since… um… well… prehistory. 

So science is playing catch up with traditional and community knowledge on how to help stay healthy and recover when we get sick. But that wisdom is studiously ignored by medical bureaucracies that have been trained to only accept large clinical trials of the type that (mostly Western) pharmaceutical companies can pay for. It means that esteemed institutions like the World Health Organisation (WHO) mostly ignore what is being done with healing plants in many countries. Worse, their staff devoutly and proudly ignore it as a matter of professional and personal identity as being strictly “scientific.” I know that because I worked as a consultant with them before. And there is evidence that millions are suffering as a result of their conceit. 

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Uniting in Love and Rage against Corporate Power

If you think things in society are going wrong, how does that make you feel? Sad? In some situations, might you feel some rage?

It is natural to feel angry about a bad situation. The issue is then what we do about it. Our culture tends to denigrate anger in ways that mean we do not have a healthy discussion or understanding of the difference between a positive anger and a destructive anger. Anger suppressed can lead to a destructive anger which manifests as aggressions towards people. However, there can also be a righteous anger which is a natural and important response to unnecessary harm and injustice. Such an anger can remain connected to our sense of love for creation and each other. But it needs to flow somewhere…

When you feel righteous anger about a situation, what do you do next? 

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Finding my voice through a fever

Getting sick with Covid-19 forced me to stop. I had to experience my busy mind without the habitual means of entertaining or busying myself. I found little energy or interest for anything other than strumming my guitar. But as I can’t play properly, I knew only two songs the whole way through. So within a few days I started singing my own words and melody. Sometimes I liked what I heard, so recorded it on my phone. Then I experimented with expressing a mood I was feeling through a melody and words. That produced some chunks, but nothing like a song. So I called a friend and asked him how to create verses if I have a chorus. “Try doubling the chords you used for the chorus” he said. With that I was on my way, soon writing down lyrics for verses and deciding when to return to a chorus. “You need a bridge” said another friend, after I sent him my first attempts. I didn’t know how to create a bridge, but after messing around with some ideas, I found what sounded about right.

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