I’ve been feeling some cognitive dissonance about wishing people a Happy New Year this time around. I’ve been feeling a bit off-kilter ever since New Year’s Eve – watching London’s firework display on TV, I found myself missing the usual (in the old world) lairy, half-drunk but carefree crowds waving and trying to get into camera shot, and was disconcerted by the drone display, which at the same time as being very cool, also felt uncanny, even a little sinister.
Sorry to be the buzzkill party-pooper, but I think this year is going to be interesting, rather than happy. So I’m looking forward to it, because I’m all for an interesting life, but I suspect it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
But what do I know? I just know that I have a lot, an awful lot, of questions about what’s going on in the world, and I very much hope to see some of them resolved in 2022. I find unsolved mysteries, especially important ones, quite vexing.
A Quick Update
But before I get into my questions, a quick update on 2021. My blog posts and newsletters were a bit sparse because SEEDS, the regenerative complementary currency, took over my life for much of the early part of the year. I’m still involved with SEEDS, but temporarily from a distance while other projects (of which more in a moment) take centre stage.
So here’s a quick roundup of my news. I got my Doctorate of Professional Studies from the University of Middlesex, with a dissertation entitled The Ocean in a Drop, a critique of my environmental activism with a broader analysis of how conscious change happens – or all too often fails to.
I am now writing a book of the same title, loosely based on the dissertation, due to be published by Flint Books on 27th October this year. The book will be more of a call to action about how we are all creating the future with every decision we make – so let’s make them wise decisions.
I launched a podcast called Sowing the Seeds of Change, featuring many of the great and the good from the worlds of activism, literature, organisational change, and economics. We rounded off Season 1 just before Christmas with a fabulous conversation with the visionary sci fi writer, Kim Stanley Robinson, author of The Ministry for the Future and many more. Season 2 of the podcast coming up later this year – subscribe now on Apple or Spotify to be notified of new episodes.
And a final update: I’m opening up a small number of slots for coaching clients to focus on ✨2022: Year of Life, Legacy, and Love ✨I wish to support people who are succeeding by conventional metrics, but feel there is something missing.
Do you feel like you want to squeeze more juice out of life?
Like there’s a level of living – vivid, rich, fulfilling – that has so far eluded you?
Like you’re in danger of leaving this life without a legacy of which you can be proud?
Like there’s more to this life than you’ve been told?If that resonates, then please register your interest using this form. You’ll also find more details about commitment, costs, and timings. Deadline for initial expressions of interest is 10th January 2022. Please feel free to forward the message to anybody you feel would benefit from this opportunity.✨
So, on to my unresolved questions Some questions are for the world – which for now I’m asking rhetorically, but if you have insights or opinions, please share! And some are for myself, to challenge myself to think better and be better.
Questions for the World
Covid and the vaccine – why are people who present an alternative to the mainstream narrative being deplatformed, cancelled, shut down? What happened to free speech? While some theories are clearly whackadoodle, not all can simply be tossed unthinkingly into the cesspool of “conspiracy theories”. This 16 min video is one of the more balanced perspectives – I don’t agree with all of it, but it’s refreshing to find a relatively centrist view in the midst of so much extremity. Charles Eisenstein is also asking excellent questions.
I’m noticing that when I go to some media outlets I get one perspective on the pandemic, from other media outlets a completely incompatible perspective. Both cannot be true. The truth probably lies somewhere in between, and/or the data have been subtly massaged to support a biased view. So what news sources can I trust? When I follow the money, who has fingers in what pies and to what end?
One of the reasons that conspiracy theories are flourishing is because many people don’t trust the government, and they don’t trust big pharma. When I hear that pharmaceutical companies are making unprecedented profits, that (in the US at least) there is little or no oversight or quality control on clinical trials, and that pharma companies are mostly immune from prosecution, I wonder: how can the profit motive be reconciled with public safety?
Moving on from the pandemic (although still related), will the UK’s new policing bill and nationality and borders bill be signed into law? Is this the thin end of a very dangerous wedge? What emergency measures being put in place now will never be rolled back? Are we living out Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine?
When and why did the UK agree to be a testing ground for innovative technologies – the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution? I’m no Luddite, but given the consistent failure of humanity to predict undesirable side-effects, I’m not enthusiastic about deregulating innovation, and using the UK population as lab rats. Sure, let’s innovate, but let’s not remove important citizen protections.
Ghislaine Maxwell – what does she know? What will she reveal? Why wasn’t there a plea bargain? I met her three times – at her homes in London and New York, and at her old Oxford college, all in connection with her ocean nonprofit, the Terra Mar Project. I believe she was genuine. It’s a valuable reminder that nobody is completely evil.
And maybe no conspiracy theory is completely nuts.
Questions for myself:
There’s a chapter in my book about cognitive biases – confirmation bias, bystander effect, linear projection, personal exemption, status quo bias, availability heuristics, and so on. It’s notoriously difficult to overcome these biases, fallacies, and errors – even when we know about them. Believing that we can overcome them is in itself an error, called the G. I. Joe fallacy. But still, to the best of my ability, where can I avoid these traps?
Where am I opting for the safe, simplistic, convenient, expedient explanation? Where do I need to step outside the paradigm and ask more deeply searching questions? Can I manage to hold contradictory perspectives, pending the revelation of more information? Am I willing to admit it when I’ve been wrong?
Where am I “othering”? Charles Eisenstein and I talked about this in our podcast conversation. Do I catch myself saying “they”? Where am I coming from separation and judgement rather than connection and empathy?
Sigh. So many questions, so few answers. But I think answers will emerge – maybe not clear ones, and maybe not the answers we want, but I’d rather deal with uncomfortable truths than comfortable illusions.
All that said, I wish you a wonderful 2022 – no matter what it may bring. 💜