Fear comes from the unknown

Human being has always been looking for security and comfort.

In the actual society, security and comfort depends on money which depends on work.

A lot of people i love and care about are afraid to lose their jobs because they are scared to step to the unknown, to lose their security. They all find some interest in their job which allow them to do some of the things they truly like during their free time. Traveling, going to concerts, pubs, reading, movies, arts…

It’s like a deal : be my slave and i will reward you.

But this reward is an illusion, a chain, and jobs can be prisons. And there are so many cool stuff to help us accomodate with our slavery.

I can only recomand the reading of Amusing ourselves to death from Neil Postman. The title summarise a lot of things by itself…

So we’re looking to have a great life, to have fun, and by doing so, we forget about a lot of crucial and vital considerations. Amusement makes the fear go away, at least for a moment, and the more we’re looking for that, the more we’re heading to death. Both physical and spiritual. We consume to fulfill a perpetual need, we run through life without thinking about how we deeply want to live.

In the actual society, we depend on each others. Everyone is heavily specialised and not many people know how to grow food or to survive more than a few days in the wild. We count on so many people for our basic needs, and it’s why we’ve been so scared about a possible societal collapse, an apocalypse or anything that could end these complex relationships on which we depend.

I shared this fear, but i was also fascinated by its mechanism.

What happened since cold war is quite interesting.

People care about the persons and things they are aware of, and with television and internet, people’s consciousness has grown to humanity. We are still aware and concerned by our family, our tribe, but we also started to think about our species survival, about our species resilience. Ecology, peace efforts, and humanitarian organisations actions come from a global consideration that goes far beyond a state, a tribe or a family.

More individually, we can observe that many people are getting back to the fondamentals and trying to be more autonomous and less dependant of an increasingly absurd system. Some are forced to because they suffer from the crisis.

The do it yourself philosophy comes from a financial need, but also from a profound need to build something.

Survivalism is another interesting approach. Being conscious of the dangers of your environment, urban or natural, leads to resiliance in case of emergency.

Another interesting thing is that a lot of communities or exchange circuits exist that just aren’t part of the actual global system. A good exemple would be the neighbours communities in african cities. The level of poverty and unemployment are so huge that people adapted and managed to survive without any government help. My cousin is actually doing sociological searches in Nigeria about these unformal organisations which feed and help so many people.

We can observe the same phenomenon all around the world. Many people don’t trust anymore in official institutions, governments and the actual economic system, so they just do things on their own. Open source philisophy goes in the same direction.

Capitalism and actual governments systems have already lost the economic war that killed millions (billions ?) of people over the last decades. People are winning it as they are getting more autonomous, responsible, conscious and resiliant. But the war is not over.

We need to think about a non-violent transition. It’s already happening, and it comes from the roots of humanity, it comes from the many.

But a lot of people are still living false dreams of money and property, and some of them will do anything to defend their privileges, their thrones, their power.

Show the trick and the illusion disappears.

With political and economical support, the transition to a more responsible and human society could be faster than we could imagine.

I will not get into details about this on this discussion, the initial subject being resilience.

What the heck is happiness?

You speak about fear. The fear of losing their job. I agree with you, it is the core of the problem. Fear deprives people of choice. Fear shrinks the world into defensive enclaves. Fear spirals out of control. Fear makes everyday life seem clouded over with danger. Freud said that anxiety is the mind’s most unwelcome guest. These are boom times for unhappiness. Massive unemployment that lingers… dragging recovery, etc. Many people consider the future with fear. The population living in industrialized countries has lost faith in optimism. A major problem is that not enough leaders are warning the population that it’s the worst possible reaction.

Fear isn’t all bad. There is a positive side to fear. When one faces fear, he/she can choose to get out of it.

We have seen in the past that economic bad times were solved by holding our breath and waiting for money to flow back in. That kind of strategy will probably not work this time. When there is less in the way of material advantages, it becomes easier to make the distinction between happiness and comfort­.

Is there not something odd about our fear of losing our “consumer buying power”? Why don’t we use this situation to realize that we went too far with the consumerist mania? Instead of mourning about profit margins, can’t we use the slowdown to ask ourselves what makes for true personal happiness?

An impoverished country like Nigeria scored number one in a survey of the happiest countries on earth. (See Nigeria, the happiest place on earth)

“A global survey has confirmed it: in a 53-country Gallup poll, Nigerians were rated at 70 points for optimism. By contrast, Britain scored a deeply pessimistic -44. Why so glum, Britain? And what in the world makes Nigerians so happy?”

I don’t know why we need a crisis to bring out those fundamental human qualities in us. But we often do. Growth is driven by the flame of discontent. It’s up to each individual to begin to grow on their own, by facing the problem of fear first. No crisis was ever solved by contracting and hiding in fear. The solution comes from expansion. Before we can dream about the expansion of the economy, there is another kind of expansion that must take place first.

What the heck is happiness? Have gov leaders asked themselves this question? What is it made out, happiness? There is something bothering me. Let us suppose that governments could begin to talk of about resilience, but have no idea of what is happiness, the nature of happiness, the roots of happiness, what it can leads us to, what it does in the brain, what it does in the human body, how it transforms a human being, how it transforms a community, how it impacts on the economy, how it impacts on global health, how it can transforms a whole society, HOW WILL THEY BE ABLE TO IMAGINE A VISION OF THE FUTURE?

we are the society of unhappiness

Talking about our society and our lifestyle, I think that you’ve touched one of the focus points and I would like to add my opinion about it…

Our “Western countries” are often called “democratic”, “free” and developed" forgetting a lot of values and principles that we should learn form other “societies”.

The economical crisis is showing a social, political and economical system that has failed and that has imposed a universal way of life to all of us. As Serge Latouche and its “de-growth” theory say we work more and more so we can buy more and more and doing so we are permanently unsatisfied. We are the society of unhappiness because the “global ecnomical system” ruled by corporations wants us unhappy. A happy society doesn’t need to buy everything and doesn’t need to work more than enough to get more money.

This “permanent unhappiness” explains why the rate of suicides is always lower in poor countries and higher in rich countries. And I think that our fears are strictly related with our unhappiness because we are more individualists, closed and scared. We look at the people only according to where they are from and how many things they have. In this sense I’m sure that we have a lot to learn from the rest of the world…

Why is this so hard to face and accept?

What else is there, besides what we are from and how many things we have? Since it is a “universal way of life imposed to all of us”, it makes people very uncomfortable when one attempts to show that there exists another context.

Values and principles, many do not want to hear about them.

How many more railway suicide, how many more immolation on public places, do we need to understand that our lifestyle and systems were built, do not answer the most basic need of human beings, which is to be happy.

We believed that economic growth would follow an exponential curve, without ever stopping. We believed that natural resources on Earth were inexhaustible.

We put our beliefs in the wrong places.

We human beings, we have an unlimited potential. But we neglected to realize that. Why is this so hard to face and accept? The moment it is accepted, fear and control can no longer be at the heart of our actions.


David, we could probably call this sort of stuff “pre-resilience”: making a case for why it makess sense to try to build resilient systems at this point in time. It is an important discussion, and we need to have it at a societal level. However, for the session, I would suggest we focus on the proposal made by Lucas to do some actual resilience, and specifically (since the theme is too vast) how people can deploy an ultralow-cost health care system that does not depend too much on external support in Greece in the worst case scenario of financial meltdown and cutoff of imported supplies which could happen three days after the conference if the hit should really fit the shan in next Sunday’s elections. In very bad scenarios, of course, Greece, would just be a forerunner, with Spain, Portugal, Ireland and even Italy going the same way.

We have a big advantage there: Lucas is a doctor, and he is in charge of pandemic flu planning. If we get a really vicious flu bug that kills millions, his job is to take over the hospital system of the Canary Islands and run it according to some contingency plan. I think it is a great idea: would you guys like to play ball? To find out more, read and comment his proposal, we are still in time to change course.