Day 233: Practical Self-Empowerment: From Submissive to Self-Directive

What does it take to stand up from being meek? What emerges in oneself and one's life when one start implementing self as directive principle? Continuing with the Practical Self-Empowerment Series, in this hangout we'll be discussing with our guest the process she has walked from being submissive, meek, and avoiding in nature to becoming self-directive, a self-leader and how that has impacted her life and relationship with others. 

Watch all the hangouts in this series:

Day 233: The Politics of Self Episode 3: A Critical Eye on the News

What is the news media? Who or what are the forces that determine what is news and what is not? What are the consequences of media/news monopoly? With the control and deception that is rampant in the Mass Media - How do you as an individual empower yourself to be able to make sense of what you see and hear in the News, without getting lost in the Hype?
Tune In to get the scoop on how to have A Critical Eye on the News:




Here's a couple nice Charts depicting Who owns the Media:
http://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s--ZbL5vLTv--/rvbsrgrseidxhnmogbee.jpg
http://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s--Tb_z5Fcz--/c_fit,fl_progressive,q_80,w_636/lckoza8wfctpe7k9k1de.jpg

Suggestions for further Self Education:
Documentaries/Films:
Manufacturing Consent
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JEvxOdMWOU

Outfoxed
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P74oHhU5MDk

The War you Don't See, by John Pilger
https://vimeo.com/67739294

The New Rulers of the World, John Pilger
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfrL2DUtmXY

PROPAGANDA | FULL ENGLISH VERSION (2012)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6NMr2VrhmFI

The Century of the Self
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7EwXmxpExw

Psywar
http://metanoia-films.org/psywar/

Books:
Public Opinion - Walter Lippman
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_Opinion_(book)

Profit over People - Noam Chomsky
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Profit_over_People

The New Rulers of the World (book) - John Pilger
http://johnpilger.com/books/the-new-rulers-of-the-world

LIVING INCOME GUARANTEED:

What is the Living Income Guaranteed? http://wp.me/P42l71-65

LIG by the Equal Life Foundation:
http://livingincomeguaranteed.wordpress.com/

LIG News: http://livingincome.me/

Media under the Living Income Guaranteed:
https://livingincomeguaranteed.wordpress.com/2013/07/05/sedition-and-media-under-living-income-guaranteed/

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/BasicIncomeGuaranteedByEqualLifeFoundation

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/livingincome

Twitter http://twitter.com/livingincome

Watch our Live Google Hangouts: http://www.youtube.com/livingincome

Equal Life Foundation: http://equallife.org

Presenting the Fundamental Human Rights by Equal Life Foundation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eT8Sfq-pF3Y

Wordpress:  http://equallifefoundation.wordpress.com/

Twitter http://twitter.com/equallifefndn


Day 232: Blame Welfare Recipients.. or Implement a Solution?


Think People On Food Stamps Are Eating More Lobster Than You? Think Again

Stories of SNAP recipients using benefits to buy shellfish and junk food abound.
"I have seen people purchasing filet mignons and crab legs with their EBT cards," Rick Bratten, a Missouri Republican who this year proposed prohibiting SNAP recipients from buying seafood or steak, told the Washington Post. "When I can't afford it on my pay, I don't want people on the taxpayer's dime to afford those kinds of foods either."

In Maine and Wisconsin, lawmakers are pushing legislation to restrict SNAP benefits to foods deemed healthy. The Wisconsin State Assembly approved legislation this week to ban junk food and also "crab, lobster, shrimp, or any other shellfish." The bill's sponsor cited "anecdotal and perceived abuses."


Frankly, I don't know how someone could really afford to regularly eat lobster on food stamps. You don't really get enough money to eat comfortably. I mean, sure, you could buy some lobster this week, and maybe go a bit hungry the next. But really, who cares? You can do that with your hard earned wages too if you want. But it really doesn't matter.

For those who would be concerned that individuals on food stamps are eating more luxuriously than you can on work wages, look – the problem of you not being able to afford expensive food on your wages is not caused by someone on food stamps buying lobster. Therefore, the solution is not contained in trying to prevent those on food stamps from buying lobster or what have you. That would actually likely have more of a negative effect. It would take much more bureaucratic oversight to impose stricter limitations on what can be bought with food stamps, requiring more government work, paid by your taxes.

Wages are low because the economy is low because nobody has any money to spend into the economy. It's a vicious cycle that just feeds itself and more and more we feel the squeeze. What boosts the economy is people having money to spend into the economy. At this point jobs can't be counted on to provide enough income to individuals and that's why we have a support system like food stamps. We have a lot of welfare programs in the U.S., taking up a lot of government resources because it is already divided into so many different programs to ensure that it's spent on certain things. So much added bureaucracy and tax money going into a lot of double-work, essentially, filling out and processing applications for each different program.

This is why I support the Living Income Guaranteed Proposal, because it proposes to simplify and streamline the welfare process by providing a basic income to those who need it, to be used to cover all one's primary needs. There doesn't need to be multiple programs with multiple application processes and reporting processes and so on, when it can be done from one platform. And there doesn't need to be restrictions on how/where it is spent. That can be up to the individual, as it is the best way for individuals to learn financial responsibility, by going through the consequences themselves, and studies have shown that when individuals are given the chance they do not generally make poor choices, as some would seem to imply or expect. Certainly deciding for individuals promotes dependency as it does not encourage or provide an opportunity for an individual to learn and develop self responsibility.

So let's make sure that we focus on the real problem and therefore the real solution, and not get caught up in a form of blame game and 'it's not fair' point, like 'if I can't have it then neither can they' I mean, how does that help anything at all? Rather, look at how do we go about creating that which we would like, for everyone, and realize that things don't have to be the way they are. We live in a world where there is plenty, we need to stop getting lost in blaming each other, and focus on bringing about the changes that will actually solve the problems we're experiencing.

Investigate the Living Income Guaranteed Proposal

Day 231: The Ick Factor that Prevents Self Movement

For this post I'd like to bring through a very important point that came up in discussion after a recent google hangout, which you can watch here: Revolutionizing Social Reintegration. The point was briefly touched on within the hangout, but I want to now go a bit deeper into it, because we noticed that it is really a crucial point that can kind of be overlooked, not only in regard to the topic of the hangout which centered on the prison problem in the U.S., but really relates to any of the problems that we face in the world today.

What I noticed was that when I decided to go deeper into the prison problem and take the time to do research and consider solutions, was that in the moment that the consideration came up to do so, there was initially this kind of resistance, like, 'ehhh, I don't really want to go there' was the essence of the sentiment. What I realized from this is that we tend to see such things as 'unpleasant' and something we'd rather not get involved with, like it's 'too messy' or 'heavy' a problem that it would rather be avoided. But, is that really the case?

I mean, it's easy to look at problems from a distance, and see that things really need to be fixed and that we really need to implement solutions. It's easy to agree to that. But when it comes to really getting into the nitty-gritty, it just seems like it's too little, too slow, not enough impact. Because the mind wants instant gratification. It's easy to see the 'overall' solution for things. Like if you were to consider not just looking at solutions in general to the prison problem, but for example actually working with individuals released from prison, creating programs to assist them to transition back into society, or even just really researching the issue, putting in the time and effort to find materials to read about it, watch videos about it, maybe even write about it, getting to know the actual details of the situation, the history of it, and so on, the mind balks, like it would just be so slow, too tedious, with such a minimal effect.

Who wants to step into that issue with the poverty, the racism, the tension of a tense situation, the reality of people being put through extreme conditions, and individuals shaped by the undignified conditions that we've allowed to exist as a society and who have never really known or learned or experienced what it's like to have a dignified life because they have never had access to it.

What I found with that initial resistance that came up toward going deeper into a point that we tend to see as 'unpleasant', is that that 'unpleasantness' isn't really real. That sinking feeling of, 'gosh, who wants to deal with that' is really just my own perception or projection where I am seeing that thing as negative/undesirable/unpleasant, but in reality it's more like the opposite is the case because those things that we tend to resist, often would be the most rewarding. I mean, why wouldn't you want to be a part of bringing forth solutions in this world? Most individuals out there really want something better and would be unimaginably grateful to have an opportunity to improve their life. Isn't that what we've really all been waiting for? To be able to really find solutions to the problems we face, and bring them into fruition? But it's like we've accepted the idea of this world as 'tainted', 'icky', and we'd much rather just find a new planet to possibly live on so we wouldn't have to actually deal with the whole mess we have here!

Well look, if we can't sort out our mess we've created here, we're just going to create it wherever else we'd go, so in that respect, we don't really have a choice but to sort out what we've got going on here. And we actually have here as this physical reality, is actually a really amazing foundation for living on and exploring what life really means. The problem is not with the world itself, but with the mess we created on top of it. So it's time we got around to actually doing something about it.

So I challenge you, to challenge that voice inside yourself that would tell you 'you don't want to' for whatever reason, because it is precisely that voice that keeps us from moving in this world to do what needs to be done, to fix what we have created. And which would keep us from doing things that would actually be, dare I say, truly rewarding. Certainly it won't be easy and it won't be all rosy and wonderful all the time. But what it comes down to is what are we doing here? Is it really better to keep your head in the sand, and ignore reality while the problems just get worse and have increasingly more impact in our lives? Or would the real satisfaction be in working toward solutions, instead of accepting the way things are, thinking it's just 'too messy' to deal with?

So when you see something that you could do to expand yourself or your reality and that resistance comes up, don't just immediately accept it, have a look and question it because, it may just be turning you away from something that could actually be really rewarding that you would ultimately truly enjoy.

Day 230: Who Is The Real Idiot?

So an interesting point came up in a discussion recently in regard to taking responsibility for where we go into a kind of superiority toward others. An example came up of going into a point of superiority toward other drivers on the road who aren't driving as fast or as 'good' as you and where you would get annoyed like 'come on, what the heck, why are you going so slow??' and maybe try to get around them and such. I'm sure maaaaaany can relate to this point, as you can see it happening all the time on the road, it's a pretty common occurrence.

It's even got to a point where it's like we forget that we're not in a private universe in our car where no one can see us and will totally go into a reaction toward another driver and pull a face, throw hands up in the air and make all kinds of gestures – as if they can't see us right there having this reaction toward them. And in some cases, some people don't care if they are seen and it's like they actually want to make some kind of confrontation out of it. I actually witnessed this the other day while I was just departing a local fast food establishment and there were two cars, trying to get by each other and it didn't go quite smoothly, and one person reacted with an angry face and throwing hands up, and so the other in turn reacted, got out of the car and walked over saying things like 'What – you got a problem??' sort of thing, this being a kind of extreme example because nothing really even happened, they didn't hit each other or anything.

In another moment I remember I was backing down a driveway and then needed to turn into another driveway on the side, and at the same moment someone was coming down that driveway that I needed to turn into. They didn't realize that I needed to go down that driveway, and so had not left space for me to turn into it, and so I had to pull forward to let them out, and they went into a 'what the heck are you doing??' kind of reaction and made a 'nasty' face and threw their hands up, all right in front of me, and in that moment I could really see how going into such a reaction is really totally ludicrous, because I wasn't doing anything 'wrong' or 'stupid' there was just a lack of understanding of what was going on in that moment. Especially with driving, it is difficult to communicate because you can't readily talk to the other person and are limited to simple hand gestures and turn signals that can only communicate so much.

So this brings up a kind of larger point that goes beyond just driving – that we tend to go into a perception that other people are apparently idiots when they are doing something that we don't in that moment understand, or have the context to see what is really going on. And in that moment in our lack of understanding, instead of stopping and saying to ourself, 'hm I don't understand why this person is doing this or that, let me see if there are any factors that I can notice that might help explain what is going on, or what information could I be missing that would make this scenario make sense' we instead go into a reaction toward the other person like there must be something wrong with them or they are idiots with like an assumption that they shouldn't be doing whatever they are doing or how they are doing it – when we don't even have all the information and don't even know what is going on. So who is the real idiot in that?

What such experiences have helped me to realize is that when I go into some kind of superiority reaction toward others – that I am the one being an idiot, because I am not seeking to understand the situation, or possibly find a solution for it, or perhaps consider how I could possibly help another person who seems to be doing something in an ineffective way and I might know of a better way. How ridiculous is it to get annoyed at a situation, which would imply that we don't want such a situation to be taking place, but then not look for a solution to the situation, or get some understanding so that we could see that maybe our expectations are not aligned with reality, and we are expecting that which isn't possible. Like for example when we are getting annoyed at someone who is driving slow – maybe they are old and have poor eyesight and have no one to drive them, or maybe their car only goes so fast.

I myself once had a car that probably wasn't worth the $500 that I bought it for. It had virtually no acceleration and was pretty horrifying to drive, especially when trying to turn onto or cross a busy road, because you have to have eeeeeextra room to get out because the car moves so slow. This would lead to people honking from behind, probably thinking 'There was plenty of space!! Why didn't you go!!' but they did not know that the car could not have actually made it and would have resulted in a car accident.

It's like we believe that all human beings are like super-amazing-perfect skilled beings that are always in perfect physical health, perfect hand-eye coordination, will never ever make a mistake or do something in error – and how ridiculous is this when we know people, we see them all the time, we ARE ONE ourself, and we KNOW that there is FAR from perfection going on here – we've got all kinds of maladies and afflictions that affect our functioning for example, we ALL make mistakes now and then. Bad eyesight from old age affecting one's ability to see. Not being able to afford to have a car in good condition. A new driver just learning and not having it down perfectly yet, I remember my first driving experiences were pretty intense. The list goes on. On top of it, we have created a world where there is little to no support to deal with these kind of problems so that everyone can be in the best health possible, the best car possible, the best driving training possible, not be so overworked that we are driving everywhere in a hurry most of the time, etc, etc. Our expectations are really not in line with the world we as we have accepted it to exist.

So now when you are in these moments where you find yourself getting annoyed and thinking 'what the heck??' realize there is a better way – you don't have to get stressed out in that moment – it doesn't do anything anyway, just wears you out – you can instead start to look at how can I understand this situation? And in this a whole universe opens up. It is such a relief to no longer have to get all worked up and bothered and stressed and potentially causing more consequence, but now I can actually keep my cool and expand myself in looking at what is going on and how I can help in a situation. This has led to some very interesting moments where I noticed details that I would not have if I'd just gone into that reaction and stayed there, and some moments where once I understood what was going on I was able to take action to help the situation along. I can say that this has been a very rewarding point to work on, and that is why I have shared this with you today, so that you might be able to benefit as well from these realizations, have less stress in your life, and create less stress for others as well.