Host Robert Strock focuses on the third set of questions surrounding a needed change in psycho politics—Am I doing enough? Am I using my resources in a way that benefits the world? There’s a dire need to change the psycho-political climate in the United States and in the world. It’s not enough to love and use our resources only for family and friends. Consistently questioning how and why we’re using our resources can help develop a community- and world-centered focus rather than a self-centered one.
We should continually ask ourselves these questions and give of our money, time, and talents to benefit society. In the current state we’re in, the vast majority of people miss out on the joy that comes from contributing to community and society by choice. We can use our ability to choose to help the vulnerable and take care of the planet. In the process, we save the planet, while also saving our freedom and the democracy on which it is built.
Mentioned in this episode
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 18.
Robert Strock: (00:04)
Unless the majority of us start to change our sense of self to include what was and has been others, we are contributing individually to the political and the practical decline of our whole planet.
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: (00:59)
I want to welcome you again to The Missing Conversation where we address the most pressing issues that the world is facing today. And we would look for the most practical and inspiring programs and innovative ideas to support survival on our planet and finding a sense of unity, inspiration, and fulfillment that both we and the world needs very badly. I’d like to introduce Dave again and welcome him. He’s been my dearest friend for 50 years and my partner at the Global Bridge Foundation
David Knapp: (01:37)
As always thank you for the opportunity to participate, uh, especially in this particular set, uh, of Psycho-Politics and its, amazing relevance and important meaning in today’s world.
Robert Strock: (01:52)
Thanks, David. Um, what I really want to say is that this is enormously passionate for me, and that I’ve had to contain the passion because I feel it so strongly and have for so many years that it’s a great joy to be able to go into it. So I’d like to recap the three main principles briefly in case any of you have not listened to prior episodes. So the first principle of Psycho-Politics is recognizing how natural it is for us to care for our family, our friends and ourselves, and really have our main protective instincts be for those that are close to us. However, we’re living in a time where we can see the end results on a global level that caring for ourselves and those close to us and not caring as much for the world as a whole leaves us in a place where the world as a whole, our globe is threatened with global warming and all kinds of other dangers.
Robert Strock: (03:01)
And so the necessity to start to redefine for ourselves, what does it mean to be protective even of our kids today? When the planet that they’re living on may not be here in the same form. So it might mean, and I believe it does mean that being protective of our kids and our grandkids, we have to deal with our energy in a different way of raising them in schools and personally, to care for the greater planet in their time, energy, thought, schooling, et cetera. The second principle is very similar, but it’s really relating to money. And what do we do with our money as it relates to balancing it, if we have any money that is, uh, between those that we love and the world that we love and the poorest of the poor, giving them a chance to survive, giving them opportunities to work.
Robert Strock: (04:06)
Because if we don’t do that, we’re setting up the conditions for continuing war, class, division, prejudice and terror, terrorism, all kinds of difficulties that are life-threatening. And then the third principle is really quite simple, but it’s not something just to understand it’s something to practice on a daily basis, which is to keep questioning. Am I in balance with my relationship with those that I love and the world, and am I, is my relationship to money in balance with those that I love in the world. And if I’m struggling to survive, am I really doing my best to survive and resourcing it and not getting negative and staying negative about the situation, but really advocating to find opportunities to help my family survive in a more together and inspired way of possible. For those of us that are, have been somewhat staying current, it’s quite obvious that we’re dealing with not only a threat to the planet, not only the class division that’s been there forever of having the poor class and the upper class, which if I highlight more succinctly, we can see that even in the political debates, we talk about the middle class as being what we address.
Robert Strock: (05:39)
We never address the poor class. It’s not even in the discussion. So that needs to be profoundly in the discussion in the political debates and our democracy itself, as well as the planet is, has a death rattle on right now. And if we can’t hear it, we’re not looking, we’re not looking at the hurricanes. We’re not looking at the fires. We’re not looking at the scientists and we need to all raise ourselves and our children and advocate for our schools to include this as part of education.
David Knapp: (06:14)
I want to add, I want to interrupt you a second and ask you to, to take this to another level. You’re talking about something that is so profound. When you say death rattle and it’s not conversational. It’s, it’s, it’s, uh, it’s a different level. Can you go to that level inside yourself, where you really live? And we really feel at the deepest.
Robert Strock: (06:39)
I think it’s insane, really and crazy that what I’m saying is not normal, that it’s considered to be a philosophy or it’s considered to be a futurist thought. And it, and it really, day to day, I find myself being overwhelmingly passionate and many times outraged that this is not even a core discussion between self, between friends, between the country, between other countries. And it’s like a primal scream. And as, as you’re listening, if this isn’t touching a place inside you, it feeds that outrage and that passion, because unless the majority of us start to change our sense of self to include what was and has been others, we are contributing individually to the political and the practical decline of our whole planet. And for us to just project that it’s our politicians and not see it’s us too, because we do, we want what we want.
Robert Strock: (07:47)
We want to protect our families. And that has been considered up until now as being a great quality. And it has a great quality, but it can’t be so great that it dominates lack of care for the world. So there’s an outrageous quality to the daydream of living the American dream and thinking that that’s going to get us somewhere when the whole planet is gradually dying in front of our face. It’s like the planet is almost as obvious as Trump is announcing it publicly. It’s like just right out front, we’re seeing hurricanes and fires. We’re seeing the scientists say this, and yet the conversation has barely begun. So we need to begin that conversation. So all of us have heard either the great teachers or musicians with a central message, but it usually has been viewed as a philosophy. Not that it doesn’t really apply to me deeply or even to how I raise my kids, but it might be the Beatles saying, “The love you take is equal to the love you make,” or the Moody Blues saying, “All the love you’ve given has all been meant for you,” or our teachers that have long-term said, “Treat your brother like yourself” or “Compassion and wisdom needs to guide our lives.”
Robert Strock: (09:12)
These simple statements sound lofty to the normal everyday life when we’re focused on ourselves, but this has to become part of the inner dialogue and the outer dialogue and the series of actions that we’re taking or else we are contributing to the downfall of our planet. Even if we’re liberal, you know, maybe especially if we’re liberal, because then we think that we really are contributing because we’re giving a small percentage of our money, or we have liberal ideas. No, this requires much more than liberal ideas. If this requires massively progressive actions that are benefiting the planet and benefiting the poor, and it appears oftentimes like we’re giving to others, but really others are in interconnectedness to ourselves. And if we don’t see that and act that way, we’re going to be creating enemies and divisions unwillingly. And it’s innocently intended enough if we’re raised.
Robert Strock: (10:24)
And we actually are nice to our families and we are nice to our friends. We’re considered to be a good person we’ve passed, but that can’t be a pass anymore. That has to be, you know, a C minus. So I’m not callous to the importance of loving our friends. That is perhaps the most important part of my life, but a close second. And it’s hard to say whether it’s first or second. Is a love for the planet in each of us, finding a way to gradually move in this direction. None of us are going to be completely there. And the goal is not to arrive. The goal is not to pressure ourselves. The goal is to see if we can for ourselves, oh my God, this is real. And start to question. Have I really adjusted in how I use my money? Have I really adjusted? And that is a question that we need to keep asking ourselves as to whether we’re imbalanced in our own eyes. This is not something that my intention is to invade you, violate you, pressure you, make you feel guilty. The intention is to have each one of us see this for ourselves and realize it warrants a collective change of what our priorities are for ourself, and those we love. And whether our very definition of ourselves starts to change, to include others more.
David Knapp: (11:56)
And you please give some examples on an individual basis or a familial basis of how this would manifest, how people can take this, these words and actually put them into practice.
Robert Strock: (12:10)
Starting with the wealthy or even the ones of us that are pretty well off. Let’s say we have $500,000 to $3 million. We’re thinking to ourselves, oh my gosh, I’m not sure I have enough for my retirement. And so I have to keep working on that. We spend our whole lives doing that, and the possibility could be we could be giving $5,000 a year to something that directly is going to help the poor or directly help the planet. Then let’s go a level up from 3 million to $10 million. And we give $20,000 a year to some kind of cause it’s going to help the poor. Who’s going to help the planet. And we think that we’re generous. That needs to be re-evaluated. We need to question that. Is that enough? Is that really going to be enough if I multiply that times the amount of people that are in the same situation I’m in? Am I keeping my eyes open?
Robert Strock: (13:10)
Or am I just following the conditioning that’s there from my childhood, which is the same conditioning that’s been going on for thousands of years, which is largely take care of yourself, and those you love, those that are in your family, those that are in your religion, those are in your party, but not the other. Now let’s go a step further. Those that have $10 million or more, and they give away a hundred thousand dollars a year and they think, wow, I’m pretty generous. And they are holding the wealth of the planet, channeling it towards self and not giving the opportunity for the poorest of the poor, to have a work opportunity and are suppressing the reality of the world. And it requires, I believe from my projection, but of course, everybody has to ask this of themselves that maybe it’s maybe 50% of that wealth needs to go toward the planet and toward the poor and providing opportunities to the poor.
Robert Strock: (14:12)
And I want to be clear, I’m not talking about gifts to the poor, not talking about giveaways. I’m talking about giving opportunities to be contributors to the planet. So it’s not only giving the money to the poor for opportunities, but then the poor gets to give opportunities for the other poor. So it’s, it’s a contagious thing. And then you have those that really are in a survival struggle and they deserve our dignity. They deserve our respect, not only in the sense of being supportive of them, but we want to encourage them to think constructively of how can I make my next step and not lose their energy. And what I could say is a partially sane and rational feeling, which is to be upset that the wealthy are greedy. They don’t care about us. And yes, it’s understandable that there’s going to be anger at that level, but it’s really provoking those that do not have enough money and have food insecurity and housing insecurity to try to stay focused on what is going to help them survive and resource people who may be helpful and not to give up and to have the courage not to give up.
Robert Strock: (15:33)
So this sense of a changing definition of what it means to be me or what it means to be you on a daily basis to include, I care about those that don’t really have opportunities. I care about our planet that is gradually going into fires and hurricanes and droughts, increasing the likelihood of not only global warming, but terrorism, et cetera. So we need to keep this in our awareness, I believe, but I’m only me. The question is how many of you are going to see the urgency, and in your own awareness, I do want to change. Now, if this is hitting a guilt part of you, then it’s not likely you’re going to change. Or if this is hitting a casual interest, it’s not likely you’re going to change. But then I am saying definitively, you’re part of the problem. Even if you’re a little bit liberal, you’re still part of the problem.
Robert Strock: (16:40)
And I believe all of us need to evaluate that because there’s no doubt that we’re in jeopardy. And one of the things that is really made it easier to see this, is having been a therapist for almost 50 years, that it’s been evident that even those that are successful, even those that have $10 million, a hundred million dollars, or even a billion dollars, there is an emptiness when they’re really honest with themselves. And, and my clients that is the center of the clients that I see who are aware, have been successful, but are aware it’s empty. And it’s, it’s really would not be an overstatement to say that life doesn’t allow you to be fulfilled and inspired if you aren’t including other people and caring for other people that don’t have money, and a planet that doesn’t have support, that you will feel an emptiness because you’re self-centered.
Robert Strock: (17:40)
And it’s, it blows my mind at times what I see how it’s like a natural law that hasn’t been stated if every, is valid as, as gravity, that is a grave situation inside our psyches, when we’re really wealthy, we don’t think we’re in, we’re feeling this emptiness–we’ve covered it with we’re making plans constantly. We have what’s our next meal, what’s our, you know, what’s our next vacation? Where are we going to stay in that kind of world, which is the normal world for the last endless period of time. And that kind of world, there will be a feeling of emptiness and incompleteness and a lack of intimacy. There will be a level of subconscious guilt as we walked by the homeless and we, we see them coming up to our window and maybe we feel annoyed because we suppressed the fact that we could be part of the solution actively.
Robert Strock: (18:37)
And when we make that shift, my experience is with many, many other people that I’m seeing doing it as well, is that the fulfillment naturally comes. We, we get rewarded. It’s like a positive self-centeredness where the self is redefined to be more inclusive. And of course, this is very different. If we’re struggling with survival, there’s every bit of a tendency to be angry and frustrated at the greedy folks around us, terribly insecure while they have $3 million. And those are the people that really need to take a look. And the, and the people that are really don’t have the opportunity, how can I keep myself focused healthfully on my own survival? Who do I know that I can go to, that can give me a better opportunity? It’s really an equivalent or something. Very similar to what has been called tithing, where we’re talking, not about a lobotomy here.
Robert Strock: (19:44)
We’re talking about a percentage of us. It may be 10%. It may be 5%. It may be 50%. It may be 75%. If we’re really wealthy, that would be balanced, would really be protective of ourselves in this current world, rather than really believing our current conditioning or the old conditioning or the old American dream, or maybe for some still the American dream, where if I really take care of myself, then, then we’ll be protected. So really, as I’m speaking, it’s really about how you’re receiving this information. Does it matter to you? Do you believe that the world’s falling apart? Do you believe that terrorism and poverty go together? Do you see that if we split classes we’re more likely to have a war? Is this obvious to you? And I’m going to be repeating some of these messages because they cannot be enough from my vantage point, but obviously you have the power to run your own world.
Robert Strock: (20:54)
You have the power to be aware of this, to be questioning this, and frankly, to be enjoying this purposefulness as a potential, if you are one of the halves, and frankly, if you’re one of the have nots, there’s still going to be purposefulness because survival, when you’re in there struggling for your family and you give it your best effort, that is purposeful. That’s every bit as dignified as earning a lot of money and giving away X percent, in a sense it’s more dignified because there’s a chronic state of suffering and to stay centered amidst that is heroic. So the greater, the challenge, the greater the glory, or the greater, the sense of well-being. And that’s why we see so many communities in third world countries that even though they’re poor, they’re happier because they have a sense of community. We really need to ask ourselves.
Robert Strock: (21:54)
I believe if we start to really understand what Psycho-Politics is or what these concepts are, is that we have to ask ourselves, how do we expect our politicians to make the changes in caring for the poor or caring for the planet in a way that’s proportionate to the need that’s there. When we aren’t really doing it ourselves, we’re sitting with our wealth and we’re still in our own insecurity in our own little cubby hole. And please don’t hear this as a judgment. Please hear this as a plea to awaken and ask these questions again. And again, am I balanced in my relationship to my sense of self and my sense of other, am I teaching that to my kids, my grandkids, to my friends, is that my conversation, please ask yourself that question. Am I asking myself these questions? And it’s important to really check in how much does this resonate with you?
Robert Strock: (22:57)
Is this just making you feel bummed out? So many people that I interact with these days say, oh, I can’t even handle watching the news. Can’t even handle it. I’ve got to go back to my life, or I can’t even handle it wearing a mask. Now what that is, is a massive denial of reality and wanting to stay in a tiny microcosm of what’s real in the world. I believe that we all need to stay attuned to what’s happening because our very survival in those that we love, survival is at stake. But the most important thing is, does it touch “you” really looking right now? Do you think you’re going to reevaluate? Do you think you’re going to question, do you think you’re going to see inside yourself? Am I really asking myself these questions? Could I volunteer five hours a week for a cause if I don’t have any extra money that’s going to help the poor, am I motivated?
Robert Strock: (24:06)
Do I just feel shame, I collapse and then I’m going to withdraw and avoid. So these questions are very personal and looking at how these three points lead to our underbelly of politics is so important at a psychological level. If we don’t understand that we almost, all of us, are a part of our own politics. This interconnectedness with our own self-centeredness leads to a politician that’s self-centered that wants to take care of himself that wants to get reelected. If the masses were saying, no, I want to take care of the poor, as well as our own. I want to take care of the planet and I’m only going to elect politicians that are going to do that. If that was the mass voice, do we not think the politicians would be different? Of course they would. And yes, could there be a renegade politician that’s going to risk everything, just like it could be on an individual level with us.
Robert Strock: (25:09)
It could happen, but it’s not very likely. And if we see the interconnectedness, it’s inspiring not only inside ourselves, but we’re helping create the politician and understanding the Psycho-Politics individually, collectively, and in our leaders. So, yes, I’m proposing that. We ask ourselves these questions, how do I optimize my relationship to self and other, how do I optimize my relationship to money and other, on a multiple times daily basis? Not because we should, but because we’re fortunate enough to be able to have choices and options, to be able to be of benefit. And it’s a hidden joy. We’re robbing ourselves of a joy if we don’t ask these questions. We might think we’re being robbed if we have to give money away, or if we have to give our time and energy away. But the truth of the matter is we’re robbing our own soul with our ego leading the way, and that’s been normal, but because we’re at a time in the world today that is no longer, just we’re fighting with our neighbor, or we’re fighting casually with religions.
Robert Strock: (26:39)
We’re now in a world threat and the denial of the dangers to our democracy, the denial of the dangers to our planet, the dangers of nuclear war, dangers of terrorism is enormous. So I’m asking you to end this show today with asking yourself the question, how interested am I? And if that gets catalyzed on a mass level, surely we can see how much greater chance our planet, our country, our kids, and ourselves have a better chance to survive and thrive and include those around us that are less fortunate. Keeping our attitude focused on the positivity of wanting the world to survive. Thank you for your time.
Join The Conversation
If The Missing Conversation sounds like a podcast that would be inspiring to you and touches key elements of your heart, please click subscribe and begin listening to our show. If you love the podcast, the best way to help spread the word is to rate and review the show. This helps other listeners, like you, find this podcast. We’re deeply grateful you’re here and that we have found each other. Our wish is that this is just the beginning.