Host Robert Strock and guest discuss the current psycho-political environment. We’re currently in a time where COVID-19 and natural disasters have highlighted individual and societal vulnerability. Before COVID-19, there was a great amount of disconnection between those with the financial means and power and those struggling to survive day to day. There’s now a profound sense of equal vulnerability to disease and natural disasters. We need a growing understanding of the disparity— yet connection— between the poor, rich, and everyone in between.
Strock calls for change in how children are raised and educated from a young age through to adulthood into the highest degree programs. There’s also a driving need for everyone to affect change through the power of the vote. As citizens and political leaders look outside themselves to the greater whole, the United States can stand as a leader for the world. Our society and elected officials can lead by doing what’s right for the world, not just one country or entity. The overarching goal is to change perceptions and behavior so that individuals and society care and act for humanity as a whole.
Mentioned in this episode
The Global Bridge Foundation
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The Missing Conversation, Episode 17.
Robert Strock: (00:03)
The world has always been run by the haves and the haves have that lacked the wisdom to include the have-nots. This is the big change that has to happen.
On this podcast we will propose critical new strategies to address world issues, including homelessness, immigration, amongst several others, and making a connection to how our individual psychology contributes and can help transform the dangers that we face. We will break from traditional thinking as we look at our challenges from a freer and more independent point of view. Your host Robert Strock has had 45 years of experience as a psychotherapist, author, and humanitarian, and has developed a unique approach to communication, contemplation and inquiry born from working on his own challenges.
Robert Strock: (00:57)
I want to express how pleased I am to have you join us again to The Missing Conversation where we always address the most pressing issues that the world is facing today and where we look for the most practical, inspiring programs and innovative ideas to support survival on our planet and finding a sense of unity, inspiration, and fulfillment that we can both individually and collectively find together. To start off by introducing Dave, who has been my 50 year closest friend, and he is my partner in Global Bridge. Dave, thanks for joining us.
David Knapp: (01:43)
And as always thank you for the invitation to be here and in particular, uh, the subject of Psycho-Politics.
Robert Strock: (01:51)
So I wanted to really dwell on a couple of points. One of them is that there’s going to be some repetition because what’s being proposed isn’t quite a lobotomy, but it’s such a shift and it’s going to require so much repetition that I’m intentionally going to be repeating myself.
Robert Strock: (02:21)
And one of the areas that I’m going to be repeating myself is that this is not black and white lobotomy that we’re talking about, but it is definitely looking to see what would a shift of a percentage of what we deem as important is real for you. And it really doesn’t matter whether you’re striving to survive or whether you’re in the wealthier 50%, because either way what’s required is our best effort. What it does require, using the three principles of Psycho-Politics is expanding the scope of what best efforts means. For example, we could make our best efforts while we’re playing monopoly. And I would encourage that. Why make a second best effort for that? Or we can make our best effort while we’re taking care of those we love, our families, our friends, and I would certainly recommend that.
Robert Strock: (03:43)
But what we’re talking about here and gonna be repeating hopefully to minimize resistance, is it, none of us can be, afford to be so lax, so complacent. So believing that we’ve arrived at the answers, even if we’re doing a bunch of good things for the planet already, and for, for people, the poorest of the poor, even if that’s our main work, we still need to be in the third part of Psycho-Politics, which is questioning. Is there a way I can psychologically, is there a way I can with my resources, be my best self? Use my best efforts? I just want to say, say, I don’t think this can be said too often.
David Knapp: (04:34)
I don’t think these points about Psycho-Politics could have been said any time in history too often, but particularly now when it’s an existential reality that our planet is threatened.
Robert Strock: (04:50)
Yeah. And I really liked the word existential and I like breaking the word existential down to that, which exists and dealing with it.
Robert Strock: (05:02)
It’s almost a tragedy that we have to use the word existential because when you look at the alternative, it’s not an existential, it’s falling to a large extent or at least partial fall, and all of us need partial falling, but all of us need existential too. So what we’re talking about is moving the dial and asking the questions and starting to see the possibility, which I think many of us have in seeing what ways our country has been torn apart through being attacked directly. And it being for almost half the country, almost a nonevent, or even worse, an event of patriotism. So we need to really move forward to ask ourselves, what does it mean for me to be a human being, in, are we in the beginning or maybe for some people in the middle of a human pollutant where it’s no longer so much about our separate selves, it’s about a new definition of self that includes the other.
Robert Strock: (06:31)
And again, that’s kind of like existential for us to have a separate self with no inclusion or very little inclusion of the other, of course, it’s going to leave us empty. We’re creating enemies unwittingly. When we have, and the other doesn’t have, of course, it’s going to piss them off. And if you were in the situation and aren’t in the situation now, you would be pissed off. And how many times has that really come to the forefront for you? How pissed off you’d be that somebody else is ordering the exact food they want. They have 200 restaurants to choose from, and you’re looking to scramble, to find something maybe in the trash can. And there isn’t a sense of being brothers and sisters or being connected. So it’s like, as a part of human evolution, we have the very real, I want to say probability, but it might be possibility of changing our sense of what it means to be a human being inclusive more and more of others and caring for the whole in a greater way.
Robert Strock: (07:56)
When we look closely, we can see that no society that has had the power, to the best of my knowledge at least, has given something like 10% or more to those that are most disempowered, most to the planet that gradually has been in decline. And again, I want to emphasize, I’m not talking about indigenous people. I’m talking about those that are in power. I would love to get an email back from you saying you forgot about these six nations. I would love that, especially if it was real. And I hope somebody down the line can point to me, oh, no, there was this nation that was really dedicated and even if there were one or two or three, I’m pretty sure there are none here today. And that doesn’t mean the United States isn’t giving through USA ID and all the programs throughout the world and helping with vaccinations and doing a lot of good things. That we’re not doing good things, please don’t misunderstand me. But what I am saying is relative to our wealth, we are putting in such a vast amount of money toward defending, toward being the premier defender of the world. And there are ways in which we are creating alienation, crime, violence. And this is rooted in our individual and collective lack of identification with the haves and the have nots and both fail.
Robert Strock: (09:54)
I have more empathy for the have nots failing because they spend a lot of time, probably close to half the time being off, frustrated, alienated. Has it been taken for granted, which they are that energy needs to be used for your family, for yourself, for the people that could set up a program that could give you a better chance to survive and thrive, get a tiny home or trailer, or be in a community, or find some way to innovate, a way where you can survive rather than scramble and have your kids scramble, or be in a gang, or be in a situation where they have to join something or a terrorist organization, to be able to get food and get through, how do we get through, how do we break through as individuals, as, as people that are amongst hundreds of millions in our country and billions in the world, in all of these circumstances?
Robert Strock: (11:10)
And are you talking more from the wealthy side or the less wealthy people that are struggling?
David Knapp: (11:16)
I am talking from the point of view, and I, I think both are important, actually, both are important, but it’s far easier to break through from the wealth side, far easier. It’s a choice. At least you have the means, uh, it’s a different kind of choice. If your world has been surviving, if your world has spent, as you said, half frustrated, pissed and survive.
Robert Strock: (11:42)
Well, one of the good examples, and I’m hoping that it will be inspiring. A significant minority of people is COVID itself because it has created a sense of personal vulnerability, personal mortality. I do believe, and I have experienced in my extended group of people, the people are going, oh my God, this could happen to anyone. And even a quick flashes is going to happen to everyone.
Robert Strock: (12:20)
And it has always happened to everyone. And our culture is based dominantly on denial of this fact, which really helps to compartmentalize between our world and their world. So using COVID as a teaching, using hurricanes as a teaching, using fires as a teaching, using drugs as a teaching, using terrorism as a teaching, using the cyber world being attacked and the vulnerability as a teaching, that unless we react and respond individually, it’s going to keep getting worse, reliably worse. And so having that go into our educational system, hopefully starting at the latest in first grade where not only do we have access to the earth and watching something grow and have an education about how that happens. But we also have an education about the dangers that are happening that are not too scary for the kids, but the idea of protecting our children is no longer isolating our children.
Robert Strock: (13:42)
Protecting ourselves is no longer isolating this quality that the broadcasters are attempting to wake up the public of COVID fatigue, death fatigue. The reason why it’s fatiguing is because we’re not inspired to make our best efforts. That’s the source of fatigue. If we’re making our best efforts, we’re not going to be as drained. We think it’s because of COVID, but it’s because we’re not really impeccably devoted to protect ourselves, those we love, and frankly, the whole community, the big factor being right now at this point in time, do it for the world. And of course, that’s the least manifest. And it’s, it’s really being able to see from those that do see that there’s a need for conversation to start to dominate. It’s like entertainment is entertainment, this to be equal to entertainment. This needs to be potential inspiration, potential connection, potential meaning, and purpose and fulfillment.
Robert Strock: (15:02)
And how can you do that when you’re six years old? How can you do that when you’re eight? How can you do that when your dead, all the way out? And this sounds like a philosophy only because most of us are in a dream. In reality, it’s talking about facing the actual reality of what is. There hasn’t ever been a time, the best of my knowledge, where there haven’t been the poorest of the poor in large numbers, enough to be a perfect setup for civil war on an emotional level and national war and terrorism. And so being aware of this in as young an age as possible is really the best way to seed a new mankind. So it can’t be anything short of a new way of parenting and a new way of teaching all the way up through Ph.D. level and especially in psychology and sociology and social work and all the healing professions, doctorate, I may ask you, these are radical steps.
David Knapp: (16:21)
These are steps that as the listener says, okay, knew this, knew that knew, knew fundamental things in the way we are operating as a society that we have for hundreds of years. And yeah, as you may imply, millennium, and we’re simply going to change that, can that really happen? Is that really realistic?
Robert Strock: (16:45)
I think the answer in normal times, 30 years ago, the answer would have been a definite no and the brilliance of Buckminster Fuller, I repeat, which is unless, and until then really more emphasis on until. The powerful feel that they’re going to die. It’s not very realistic. It’s realistic for a significant minority to gather momentum and to have the individual that doesn’t have, let’s say even survival taken care of. It’s realistic for them to vote. And the people voted. The whole world would change. I fully believe that the power in the people would change the world because the people that are most disempowered are the most sane, they have a worldview.
Robert Strock: (17:49)
So whatever we can do to really reach to the people that are most struggling with survival to vote, that’s the biggest pop, population, even more than the middle class, even more than the upper lower class, but the people that are really struggling and they see the only way you’re going to have a change because you see you’re wiser about what’s needed in the world situation. Everyone in the world needs to have a chance to survive, everyone. The world needs to support the world to survive. This is obvious. It’s always been obvious to the indigenous tribes before we, as a series of cultures, invaded them and still is more obvious there than it is to the population.
David Knapp: (18:38)
So here we are, we’re in the United States, as you say, Buckminster Fuller had a premise that until the people in power feel their life is being threatened, change is not very likely.
David Knapp: (18:54)
And the people don’t, in power, feel that way, and they are doing everything they can currently to prevent those very people, the broad population, overwhelming broad population, from voting them out of power. And so there is this dichotomy. They have the power, they are attempting and in some cases succeeding and they don’t feel their life is endangered at the same time. What to do?
Robert Strock: (19:24)
I believe before the next election, and as soon as possible, we need to make a collective effort to reach the most disempowered. I believe the percentage of vote, especially with some education, with so, support, international rights, the insanity of fighting against each other in wars and killing each other in mass, of terrorism, of wasting food, of not using new technologies that are clearly in the benefit of everyone. The percentage of people that are the poorest of the poor that would understand that if they were given the opportunity to be in regenerative agriculture or ecosystem restoration or clean energy and were trained, they would jump up.
Robert Strock: (20:25)
And the misunderstanding of the wealthy that they’re lazy, they’re unmotivated is such a rationalization that the two ways that I can see speeding up the process is by talking deeply about the rationalization and getting the education to the poorest of the poor and supporting them with transportation, with education, with really seeing the perspective of how the world is always been run by the haves and the haves have lapped the wisdom to include the have-nots. This is the big change that has to happen in edges, education and parenting. And the idea of protecting your kids is so, it’s like a virus, it’s such a virus, the virus that doesn’t include the whole, and that needs to be so profound. The books that are being made, the books that are being read by the young kids and the education, absolutely is setting up a new world. And it is happening to a small extent. I see it happening, but it needs to keep growing and growing and growing.
David Knapp: (21:46)
The rationalization. You said, we need to talk more about the rationalization, which you just began to do. Can you please expand on that?
Robert Strock: (21:56)
Yeah. I believe a true leader in all the important fields, in the political fields, in the spiritual fields and the religious fields and the psychological fields need to speak about this rationalization. They need to talk about it. Personally. I too was raised with the dream and I am well off and I’ve come to this realization and I’m in conflict because I realized as much as I’ve done, I’m still spoiled relative to the masses. And I have this very complicated split, but I am committed to keep asking the question. I am committed to talk to larger groups, whether they be corporations or whether they be schools, I am committed to redefine what it means to be human and to see the compartmentalization of the wealthy and how important it is.
Robert Strock: (23:02)
Not that we have a fixed moralistic idea that you should give more you stupid ass. Not that, not that horrible message, that’s guilt-inducing, but an inspirational message. The president of the United States, Joseph Biden needs to acknowledge that yes, America is great. Yes, America does do more than most, but it’s also done at least its share of selfish acts, which as I mentioned earlier, in an earlier podcast of killing the indigenous people that were here abusing, killing blacks throughout our history, disenfranchising them, that needs to be front and center and with the voters expanded. And with that effort, there’s a very real chance that we can turn it around right now. The voting rights act looks like it may very well not pass, but if another 5 million or 10 million people from that poor class voted, it would change that. And if it happens in 2024, it would change it then.
Robert Strock: (24:23)
Right now we do have a situation where it’s not two parties. It’s one party that you can take issue with that. I used to be more identified with, now I say, okay, I’m more that way, certainly than I am a Republican, but I have a lot of the same issues with Democrats of being spoiled of not really being generous of the wealthy, wealthy giving 1% of their money. In some cases that’s, that’s a million dollars or $10 million. That’s like so token, but what’s needed is to have the politicians themselves come out and say, it’s time that we recognize the only thing that makes America great or more accurately, the greatest is to be a leader for the rest of the world. It’s not, God bless America. It’s God bless the world. God bless the poor. And I will show you how I, as one of the many leaders that I am unsure how we move forward, I need, I need your help.
Robert Strock: (25:35)
As John Kennedy said, ask what you can do for your country, ask what you can do for your world and expand that. And that being part of the central dialogue and the leaders admitting that they’re still questioning. They’re not just giving answers with one side of the question. They’re talking about two sides of the question and they’re admitting their own personal, psychological challenges, how they’re dealing with them and recognizing that’s what’s happening in Israel and Palestine, that’s what’s happening in the Russian people and the American people. And how do we infiltrate? You know, we talk about the cyber response and how do we infiltrate into Russia? It seems evident to me that we give these messages through the cyber world and other countries that we have to be one, we have to lessen the defense departments and move toward global cooperation. And that’s one of the ways that we can do it and we need to do it in all these ways and more so in a way, what we’re really talking about is it being more normal to be like it was when we were in the Peace Corps or for those that were in the Peace Corps, but that’s not just a small group of dedicated people, but it’s us as human beings.
Robert Strock: (27:04)
That is part of our identity. It’s part of our humanity. Know when we talk about a humanity, there’s a way of hearing it, where it’s, we care about humanity. And then when we talk about humanity, it can be, oh my God, humanity, the way it’s been wars, alienation, class struggles, bigotry. And so the three principles of Psycho-Politics are really asking us individually to take a deep look at the difference between the way we were raised and what it really means to be a human being and to have it be something focused on our psychologies, facing our personal challenges and then as close as possible to the same time, how do we really move toward being of greater support and how do we deal with our money? How do we deal with our resources? How do we do the same thing? And then staying with that question and being inspired, being fulfilled, being at peace, feeling like it’s a way of finally humanity coming home.
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