Host Robert Strock discusses how we can develop true international values. If we can take ownership of our own lives and become questioners who challenge old values, we can guide ourselves toward a broader view. Facing our challenging emotions lets us build a healthy self so we can also look beyond ourselves, our families, and our communities to a bigger, more complex world.
There are options out there to end hunger and homelessness, but it will take a wider view from those with wealth and power to make change. Regenerative agriculture is one of the possibilities that, if embraced, can change communities, states, and countries by restoring balance with the land. We can develop a sense of self that’s inclusive of those of all socioeconomic levels and any other number of divisive factors. Facing our challenges lets us move beyond them so we can finally build the necessary international mentality.
Mentioned in this episode
The Acumen Fund
Walking for Water
The Global Bridge Foundation
Note: Below, you’ll find timecodes for specific sections of the podcast. To get the most value out of the podcast, I encourage you to listen to the complete episode. However, there are times when you want to skip ahead or repeat a particular section. By clicking on the timecode, you’ll be able to jump to that specific section of the podcast
The Missing Conversation, Episode 26.
Robert Strock: (00:04)
So, I think there’s reason to be utterly optimistic about the potential of even the majority of humanity. Getting this message. The question is, will it be in time? Do we really have to have billions of people die.
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: (01:01)
Thank you again for coming to The Missing Conversation where we’re looking for those conversations that haven’t been prevalent enough for the crucial issues that the world is facing and where we address the most pressing issues that the world’s facing today. And we’re looking for the most practical, inspiring programs and innovative ideas to support the very survival of our planet. And also to find a sense of unity, inspiration, and fulfillment that both we and the world needs, very badly. At first, I’d like to start by again introducing Dave, my co- president, or not mine, our co-president of the Global Bridge Foundation and my 50 year closest friend.
Great to be here, uh, looking forward to diving in these conversations and particularly missing conversations about psycho-politics are so important, and thank you.
Robert Strock: (02:06)
So, we in the last episode talked a lot about international values and these are values that everyone would identify with no matter where you are, if you can imagine being anyone, of course, you want an opportunity to survive. That’s utterly common-sensical, but when we’re in our world pretty far, especially if we’re a have, it’s not obvious that so much of the world doesn’t have that international value supporting them. And so, it’s something that in my experience, it’s so obvious that kids immediately understand, they know that other kids would want to have food in their belly, would want to have a place to sleep. That’s not the ground we’d like to be able to have some protection, but as we get older, we start to lose that, especially if we’re in the more fortunate have group. So, these really reflect the three principles of psycho-politics, which again, starts with the naturalness of caring for those that we love and ourselves.
Robert Strock: (03:36)
But the equal naturalness of seeing that we’re at a time where our very planet is looking like it has a mortal wound and more accurately has a moral wound, and that we need to give her a percentage of ourselves and a percentage of our attention to that. And the second principle is looking at our relationship to money and seeing how similar to principle number one, we need to look at it as well. What percentage is balanced, given the condition of the world? Not because we should do this, but because it’s part of our fulfillment, it’s part of our meaning. It’s part of our purpose. And then the third principle is really realizing that this is not a fixed state. This is not a one-timer, this is something that we need to keep asking questions of. How do I become imbalanced personally? How I teach my kids, how I teach my grandkids, how I teach my students, how I teach the people that are, that I’m leading politically, or I’m leading as a religious leader or a spiritual leader. How do I bring it down to that nitty-gritty to where it’s not just abstract it’s concrete and that we get to practice true international values.
As you say, international values, part of me gets disturbed and the disturbance is the value seems to be again, unless it’s place you live that’s abject poverty, or you’re in a war zone, or things so far out of what we call our Western world that the value seems to be accumulation of wealth. The value seems to be sure I’ll accumulate wealth, but I’ll, I’ll keep doing that. Maybe even with the idea that it’s because I want to eventually have accumulated wealth enough that I can be of service, but it still seems to be accumulation of wealth. And there are so many wealthy people, the so-called 1% relative to the, the amount of people that have poverty level incomes is become out of hand. It’s become insane. It’s become something that is, uh, as I said, disturbing.
Robert Strock: (06:11)
Yeah, I think the, the, the even worse news in that, if we look throughout history the powerful countries have never made it a priority to care for the poor. And if I’ve missed an exception, I apologize, but it’s at least 99%. If you look at the powerful countries at any time in history, there isn’t one that’s famous for caring for that for all the poor. And if there is one I’m happy there is. So, in a certain way, this is a conditioning that’s gone on for 10,000 years. And so we need to recognize and have a certain kind of compassion for ourselves that what we think of as a self or as a life, or as a family is utterly distorted because for millennia there’s been that value of, as you said, wealth as being number one, it’s been converted into security, common sense, planning for an emergency.
Robert Strock: (07:15)
And all of those values have been an endless goal to be more and more secure. And if we look closely, I’m not going to dwell on it, maybe another time I will, if we look closely that endless security is a defense against death, it’s a defense of being immortal of believing that we can be immortal. If we’re really secure, then we’re going to be safe. And that safety is an illusion. And if we can see that that’s the root of the extreme end of always wanting more, always wanting more, being vulnerable instead to see, oh, that’s right. My relationship with so-and-so isn’t very close. Oh, that’s right, I am going to get sick and that, that scares me. Oh, I don’t want to go to the doctor, or if we can start to sense our vulnerability, we have much greater chance of breaking that conditioning.
Robert Strock: (08:13)
Especially if we simultaneously look at the condition of the world and we can see that people are in situations that as you mentioned are so much worse than ours, that it’s natural to want to care for them a little bit, at least too, I personally, I don’t know, but I don’t believe that we need to do more than about a 10 or 15% tithing for the people that are wealthy, if it was targeted for opportunities for the poor, and if it was targeted for survival of the planet, regenerative agriculture ecosystem restoration, um, those kinds of world changing situations that are doable by almost anyone would be enough to balance out the move toward wealth. So, I think there’s reason to be utterly optimistic about the potential of even the majority of humanity, getting this message. The question is, will it be in time? Do we really have to have billions of people die?
Robert Strock: (09:26)
Do we have to have large swaths of the planet be dead? And the likelihood right now for most people that have researched it is probably, but hopefully we can learn before there’s massive devastation. Hopefully, we can really start to see that we deserve forgiveness for not knowing what we don’t know, and we don’t deserve to be punished, but we do need to see that our dreams are largely formed from prior generations. And they aren’t really our unique contemplative dreams, which is why the third element of psycho-politics is so important that we take ownership of our own lives and become a questioner. And even as we dwell in that, we start to really enjoy or find inspiration in the question and find it like we have a guide inside ourselves. But in order to do that, we each need to see that all of us have deep, challenging emotions.
Robert Strock: (10:38)
And this is something that sounds obvious, but we haven’t found a way to not let these emotions run our lives. And if we don’t have another level that can be aware of our emotions and care for our emotions, that leaves us fixated in an angry state and a frightened state and a hopeless state. And so, we’re stuck because we don’t have any element of giving it oxygen, giving it healing, giving it medicine, but if we can care for those emotions, then that frees us to be a new being. We have the possibility of moving toward what we talked about as universal values. And it’s very important it’s for this reason that in “Awareness That Heals,” the book. And there’s a free download called the “Introspective Guides.” So, you don’t have to pay money. And it has a list in Chart One and Chart Three of 75 challenging emotions to help us specifically be aware of those challenging emotions.
Robert Strock: (11:52)
And then the other chart, Chart Three has 75 universal values or core needs or, or essential actions that we can take. And if we can find a way to be able to be more aware at the root of these challenging situations or emotions and can care for them and then move toward these values at the same time that’s the foundation of a healthy self. It’s a foundation of a deeper mental health or spiritual health, but being spiritually healthy doesn’t mean just being spiritual and forgetting our challenging emotions or being psychologically healthy. Doesn’t mean just feeling our emotions and expressing them. We need to integrate the, both, both the fields of spiritual values, international values and the healing of our challenging emotions and challenging situations. And it’s very important that we get specific and that we don’t just vague them out. Like I feel bad cause if we do that there’s not a very good chance that we’re going to be able to develop a healing attitude toward them and then free ourselves to become a more awake and versatile and find our own unique dynamic intelligence and heart.
As you say that it’s inspiring and yet at the same time, can you, can you take me to your deepest core feelings about seeing this not happening and how for you it, it’s so apparent and yet it’s not happening.
Robert Strock: (13:45)
If I stay with just my feelings, I feel it’s hopeless. I feel like there aren’t enough people listening. I feel really frightened. I have two grandchildren that I am confident if I, when I stay with these feelings that they are going to be on an island somewhere. If they’re surviving, they’re going to be in a completely dysfunctional world. They’re going to have to do a local version of regenerative farming or agriculture, because there’s going to be no common system that’s working anymore. We’re going, we’re going to be devastated by any number of the corruptions or global warming or nuclear war. All those things are going to happen and I feel powerless. I feel like I’m a voice screaming and there are very few people that are hearing us and not seeing it as a guilt trip or a moral superiority that I’m trying to lay on people.
Robert Strock: (14:51)
So, I feel devastated and depressed and hopeless and empty, one isolates and if I stay with those feelings, I’m underground and I’m, I’m literally like a, like a bird with my head underneath the sand that’s miserable. So I have that level that is in me, even, even though I’ve spent the last 50 years moving in this direction, knowing that I haven’t come close to arriving, knowing that I’ll never arrive. But when I stay with these feelings, there’s utter despair, utter terror, utter emptiness. And that is a universal experience that all of us have at one level. So that can either be the death now, or it can be the inspiration and staying with your question, it’s the death. Now it’s going right straight into the death of my energy, the death of my thoughts and the ultimate death of my body and the death of purpose and the depth of any reason to live.
Robert Strock: (16:00)
And so, it’s so important and seeing how utterly despairing that can lead us to be able to let it catalyze us in our own unique way and to ask, how can we move from this state? But what’s even worse is so many people are in this state, but it’s buried so far deep underground that they don’t even have access to see the challenging feeling they’ve so compensated that their life is in a bubble and they’re not, they’re barely noticing. So, we have two ways. I personally am someone it’s going be, if I was going to go down, it would be in the feelings, but there’s a whole larger set of people that are going to go down with the lack of seeing the feelings and living in a daydream. And then I dream and are basically living in a fantasy world, in a myth.
Robert Strock: (17:03)
So, coming back to me, I’m part of the universal state that what it means to be a human being, if we’re looking for our survival, which all of us as human beings are, and we’re seeing the state of the world, we’re either going to go into denial or we’re going to be utterly devastated. But if we see devastation or terror as being the starting point and as being the pointer towards meaning and purpose that’s where it all can begin. One of the ways that we really can get over our rationalization or at least partially get over our rationalization, what can I do? I’m only one person. So, I smile at somebody in the supermarket or I volunteer for an hour. One of the ways that we can really look at this in a way that I believe is rational, is that we need to look at every action we do as multiplied by eight and a half billion.
Robert Strock: (18:09)
And really take the time to say if the majority, or if the dominating majority of eight and a half billion people saw that their small actions matter and helping for the survival of the planet and survival of the poor, because that’s, what’s going to bring peace on earth and survival of the earth. Then we really would have hope. I think if the politicians and leaders of our country recognized or believed that we only had one year left to save the planet, that somehow science was able to show that we had the technology. We had the regenerative agriculture, we had the ecosystem restoration. We could feed everyone. We could fill in all the dead spots of the earth and plant them with composting. And we could organize the principles. We could cooperate with countries. It would be a version of John Lennon’s imagine song, and it really happened or Buckminster Fuller’s vision in world game. That if we could really have that happen in the political leaders were a reflection of a society and a series of thousands of societies that recognize it’s do or die time.
Robert Strock: (19:31)
This isn’t a matter of debate. This is a matter of survival. This is a matter of we die in a year. Think of how obvious it would be that we needed to change our sense of self, how we raise our children, what kind of school we have if we even still have school. And that’s the way that we need to start to think of it, thinking of it as one year left to live is only a catalyst because we may only have 50 years or 30 years or 20 years. I’m not someone that is claiming to be a futurist. Other than saying that it’s obvious from the present that we only have a certain amount of years to survive. When we’re putting our money into defense departments, putting so much wealth into having to defend ourselves. Imagine just turning that energy around slowly. Step-by-step, brick by brick, take 5% of all the defense departments and put it toward job opportunities for the poor, setting up communities for the poor, healing parts of the planet, germinating, regenerative agriculture, and ecosystem restoration, supporting manufacturing for things that are going to be beneficial for the planet.
Robert Strock: (20:46)
Think about how much difference that could make, because 3% of the defense spending is, is trillions of dollars. Yeah. So, if we were to make that change, or maybe it’s a trillion dollars, or maybe it’s a half a trillion dollars, but it’s a lot of money. And if we made that shift and increase that gradually over time, where we see that we were insane to have wars, we were insane to have defense departments have be such a large part of our budget. And can we see that the potential is enormous if this thought, if this reality, if these principles or parallel principles that are to the same ends were followed, we could be utterly optimistic. And I am optimistic that there are so many people that are going for it that all we need to do is ask Google, how can we go for it?
Robert Strock: (21:47)
Or again, if we’re amongst the less fortunate, really work on our survival and look for regenerative agriculture to come to your neighborhoods and spread the word, because everyone can do it. Everyone can plant their food in their neighborhood, if they’re given the proper tools and the proper information, and it’s totally available. And I know the people who will give their lives to give it to those people. So, it’s just a question of when a hundred times those amount of people are there, the planet will have changed. Now, the question is, well it has changed in time. Now, one of the organizations that is one of Global Bridge’s favorite organizations is the Acumen Fund. They’re in 20 countries and they have a person in every country where they’re sponsoring businesses, like micro-finance where you gave small loans to third world, world village women of $200 or $300.
Robert Strock: (22:45)
They’re giving millions of dollars to communities that are spawning, ambulances, natural energy, solar energy, all kinds of ways, medical care that are doing, not only creating jobs for millions and millions of people, but the services they’re providing are helping millions and millions of more people. They are a vast group of people that are the most intelligent group of people for bringing the bottom up. And you can look them up, if you’re one of the people who are looking for a good organization, support them, they are an efficient version of what the United Nations could be. If it wasn’t dependent on the nine countries that it has, the United Nations is doing good work, but they’re, they have a dependency, Acumen Fund, doesn’t have a dependency they’re going for it. And they’re having an online program that is, has half a million people that are being taught, how to be future leaders, ecosystem restoration.
Robert Strock: (23:54)
You can look that up. It’s already created 35,000 square kilometers of turning a desert into an oasis. There’s a current project in the Sinai Peninsula right now that’s 75,000 square kilometers of depth of desert that’s being turned into an oasis. And then after that, it will be turned into regenerative agriculture that could be in every refugee camp. They, they could be taught how to do regenerative agriculture, countries could be taught how to do ecosystem restoration, where they could take swaths of every state or every area in their country when they learn the benefits. And it starting to happen. As I mentioned earlier, in an earlier episode, Gabe brown is consulting for 23 million acres. That was as of last, last note is probably 25 million acres now. And when, when it’s seen by the traditional farmers that are not making money, and that are living off of $75 billion of subsidies, that they can make money.
Robert Strock: (25:00)
They are going to be converted. This is going to happen in our country. And the sooner we, as people unite with the type of programs, the faster it can happen, and the better chance that we’ll have of surviving as a plan right now. We are working with John Lou L I U, if you want to look him up and talking with, and beginning the conversations with the State of California, of repairing and restoring the forest in California, to use ecosystem restoration as a form of reforestation and creating forests that will have protections. One thing of note that many of you probably don’t know is that regenerative agriculture only requires 10 to 15% of the water. Think of what that will mean to the San Joaquin Valley when they really understand, and they don’t understand yet. So, if you’re in the San Joaquin Valley, please, as I give the, the documentary movies later on, please listen carefully because you can see how your farm can be transformed.
Robert Strock: (26:12)
And you will be given hundreds, if not thousands of referrals, this is not an abstract belief. This is a science that’s been proven over and over again. Global Bridge Foundation has been, just begun a relationship with Crystal Stairs, which is a Headstart program. And that is supervising 16 poor neighborhood schools. And we’re starting regenerative agriculture in those schools. And we’re just at the point of the pilot programs. And that is something that can happen all throughout the country, where kids can learn and will become future leaders, that they can do a program, get their hands in the dirt and feel the joy of contributing to humanity. Because at that age, it’s still internally obvious that this is what life is about. They can identify more than we as adults can with kids, with pictures, from Africa and other poor nations and other poor continents starving.
Robert Strock: (27:21)
And it makes them sick. It makes them feel miserable. It makes them want to give. Yeah, my dear friend, Susan is, is doing a program and her, her program is Walking for Water. It’s happening this weekend. And what’s happening this weekend where I’m filming, not this weekend when you’re, when you’re listening to me. And what they’re doing is, uh, walking all throughout the country where she’s raising money and the kids are being taught, how to be authentic, how to face their challenging emotions, how to not get absorbed in them, how to care for them, and then how to look at the real world and wanting to contribute. And seeing that in Africa, they’re having to walk for water, so they’re raising money to build wells. And over the last 20 years, they’ve built 35 wells in India and Africa. These kinds of programs are happening throughout the world.
Robert Strock: (28:22)
And all of us, whether it’s in a small way or a big way can decide, yes, I want to be a part of that for those of us of which I know there are plenty. I know of thousands of people myself that say, I want to contribute, but I don’t know where any of these examples I’m giving any of these movies that I will be giving our keys. Our Headstarts are ways to move toward creating a connection and interconnection. When I was in college, Buckminster Fuller was my hero. And he had an international program called World Game, and World Game was a series of universities before computers, where the assumption was when the world realizes that it’s in a struggle for survival on a gut level, and for their own survival, they will cooperate, but they might have to wait. And no one’s going to listen to me for at least 50 years, which by the way is 2020.
Robert Strock: (29:30)
And when they start to listen, if they cooperate, and he itemized, where are all the natural resources? Where’s the communication. Where’s the manpower. Where’s the technology. Where’s the wealth. Where’s the ingenuity. Where’s the loss for defense departments converting into all the ways that resourcefulness can happen. And in his day he didn’t have regenerative agriculture. He didn’t have ecosystem restoration. He showed that within three years, if the whole world really cooperated and it was their prime objective that within three years, the whole world could live equal to the upper middle class of America. So, you can see that these programs and so many others are tangible hope are tangible inspiration. And all of us that aren’t just working on our dignified survival can find a way to move from confusion or overwhelm or anger or despair to care for it. And then to move toward any of these programs, the ones that are similar or ones that touch your heart. So, with your challenges, learning to care for them so that you won’t be fixated and stuck in them. And you can liberate yourself toward international values, attitudes, actions that will create what might be called a positive self-centeredness. We are still taking care of yourself, but your, your sense of self or the way that you identify yourself is inclusive of what you used to call others. Thank you so much for your attention. And I give a prayer that all of us do, what we can with our best selves and be content with that.
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