Host Robert Strock discusses the need for a change in how we view and respond to our relationship with ourselves and the rest of the world. Our world is at a breaking point. Socioeconomic divisions, racial divisions, and many other dividing factors can be overcome if we can see that we can be the witness and responder to our conditioning, rather than be controlled by it, and contemplate individually how we view our place in the world. We can start by asking “What are the small or large gifts that will allow us to respond in a way that is grounded and inspired and have the best chance to be as fulfilling as possible. Are we open to this? Can we see a longing inside that wants to be heard? We may be able to see beyond our immediate identifying group, expand, and do more for others and society as a whole. Strock encourages readers to investigate movements and opportunities to help the impoverished and the planet. Search terms like “ecosystem restoration” and “regenerative agriculture.” We can educate ourselves and use what we learn to affect change, whether that’s helping everyone get access to voting or sharing what we’ve learned about ways to change how we live on and with the planet. If you ask these heartfelt questions of yourself and build a willingness within yourself to be open to authentic change, we can develop compassion and dignity for all.
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The Missing Conversation, Episode 24.
Robert Strock: (00:05)
We haven’t heard as much about bringing the poor up. We haven’t heard as much about regenerative agriculture or ecosystem restoration, and these are viable. Our planet can rally in a way that’s unprecedented. The knowledge is there.
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: (01:04)
I welcome you again to The Missing Conversation where we address the most pressing issues that the world’s facing today and where we really look and ask you to look for the most practical, inspiring programs and innovative ideas to support survival of our planet and finding a sense of unity, inspiration, and fulfillment that both we and the world so very badly needs. So, I’d like to start out with introducing Dave, who is co-president of the Global Bridge Foundation and my closest friend for the last 50 years.
As always thank you for what this is, what this conversation is, uh, this missing conversation and this series in particular about psycho-politics.
Robert Strock: (02:02)
So, starting with a very brief summary, because I don’t think we can hear it enough because it’s so counter to our conditioning, the three points of psycho-politics starting with number one. It really is rooted in recognizing the natural conditioning that we all have and our parents and all the generations before have had of taking care of our families ourselves, and those we love, in our friendships. And that was natural until these times. And now in facing these times, it’s so important that we see that we need to care for our planet that is in mortal danger and that we care for a vast population of impoverished people throughout the world, because we see that those people will inevitably and have always shown up as a division in society, a class division that is created. It’s really the roots of war, the roots of alienation, the roots of, of violence, and that we see that we need to include more people on the planet and the planet itself to allow for a better chance for survival and for a sense of well-being.
Robert Strock: (03:32)
The second point is really the same thing of seeing this tendency to care for our family and those that are close to us, but applying it to money and our energy and what we do with our money and our energy. If we have any, if we’re in the have group, then it’s really looking at, am I balanced given the times we’re in of where I’m leaving my money, I’m using my money when I’m alive. And am I including the planet in some percentage and being careful not to hear this as some extreme request for you to give away all your money. It’s saying give a little bit more of a percentage or consider whether that would be healthy. And if you’re dealing with survival, staying with the dignity of protecting your family and not falling prey, to being angry at the people that are the haves that are not supporting you to have the opportunity. And recognizing the third principle is having a healthy self-doubt about whether you’re in balance and whether the way you’re living your life, both in who you care for and how you’re dealing with your money.
Robert Strock: (04:48)
Is it balanced, considering the planet’s on fire, considering the planet is in danger, considering that we can now see the roots of war. We can now see the roots of alienation. We can now see why black lives matter is just one symbol of what’s all over the world that doesn’t have a voice. And if we give it a voice, then we can start to see that we can unite and do the baby steps, the middle steps and the big steps, depending on where we are to try to create a world that’s going to have a better chance of surviving.
As I hear you speak, and you talk about a world on fire, two things occur to me. One is the passion, the fullness of what that means to you along with, as you look out, seeing people are asleep, living as if their world and their house is not on fire and how to convince, how to move people. I know this is part of what this is about, but both of those things, how those people don’t get turned off by, by the assertion that, Hey, your world is on fire and you’re not even looking.
Robert Strock: (06:09)
Great question. So, I think the first thing for most people is looking at the resistance to what’s being said; there may be a hard resistance, like who in the hell does he think he is? Or it may be a soft resistance of, oh, that’s, that’s an interesting philosophy. But the first thing is looking at your own reaction to what’s being said, is it actually stoking a fire? Or is it creating a subtle or gross resistance? And seeing how the many ways in which we separate ourselves, whether it’s the group we join, whether it’s the nationalism we have, whether it’s the religion that we have that thinks it’s superior and isn’t rooted in bringing the poor up, saving the planet, as well as caring for ourselves, whether it’s our tendency to be obsessed or somewhat obsessed with money, whether it’s our lack of questioning, all of these things, we have to see that maybe our leaders are only leaders.
Robert Strock: (07:20)
That really would be more accurately viewed as cult leaders, that if we aren’t taking care of the planet, and if we see this as a philosophy, if we see this as an imposition, if we see this as a guilt trip, that’s the way we avoid it. So, the way that it can be spread is through education, especially parents, through friendships, through organizations, through corporations, having a part of themselves that are saying this is important children’s books. There are so many ways, entertainment, all of these things need to project the reality of the planet on fire. It’s going to have to come from millions of sources, maybe even a billion sources to reach the eight and a half billion people. So, it’s going to be through all these traditions, making a shift, not so much to give up the tradition, but having an “and” . . . so like, I am a Christian “and” I need to do more.
Robert Strock: (08:36)
I am a Jew and I need to do more. I am an American and I need to do more. I am the leader of America and we need to do more. So, it’s staying in a questioning and recognizing that if we’re not even questioning, we’re living in a fairy tale and if that fairy tale isn’t questioned, then we’re going to be going down. The world is going to die. And that when I say the world’s going to die, I don’t mean every person’s going to die. I don’t mean every person isn’t going to die. I just mean there are going to be billions of people that are going to be disrupted because the waters are going to be in the land and, and the country is going to be burning. And the heat is going to create drought and, and that’s going to create wars and it’s going to be an open door for terrorism.
Robert Strock: (09:25)
And if we don’t unite, then that is going to happen. So, we need to see, how do we receive the key to your question is how do we receive this information? And are we going to be giving this information to others? And as we give this information to others, are we looking at their reaction and are we preaching or are we really saying, what do you think? Well, what’s your take? Are you taking it seriously? And it leads to a dialogue, not a monologue. The key is trying to have this be a catalyst for an external dialogue and an internal inquiry. So, as we look at the obvious recent dangers, these last years to our democracy, it’s so shocking that we may not have a democracy depending on how things go. If that isn’t a catalyst to want to wake up and not only to vote, but to really reach out to those that are not voting, to empower the people that have the least power to give opportunities, and to recognize that it’s not a sin to be in denial.
Robert Strock: (10:41)
But when you see it’s denial, then it starts to become a real, let’s say, if your a tire, the air is going out of your tire, the balloon’s going out of your balloon. You know, you are going to be empty because you’re not part of the solution. You’re part of the challenge, denial, complacency, when facing our challenges is all too common and we need to help support everybody gently, not with punishment, not with guilt, but gently say the way you’re raising your kids is a cocoon. It’s not a cocoon and something. That’s going to be leadership. We need to bring the poor up. And when I say bring the poor up, I mean, not give the poor money, but give the poor opportunities, we need to see as we’ve visited in prior episodes of The Missing Conversation that there are incredible solutions. The beauty of what’s being said, or what is true in the world today is that we have regenerative agriculture, which is a different kind of agriculture.
Robert Strock: (11:58)
If you’ve heard the earlier episodes that can transform the world and feed the hungry all throughout the planet, if the wealth was used to give people the opportunity to grow their own food and the simple instructions that are needed, it could change the whole relationship that we have. If we used ecosystem restoration, which is taking like virtually states and turning them all throughout the world from a desert to an oasis, through composting, through animal pooping and peeing on the land, and having people have jobs that are rooted in preserving the earth that is entirely possible. If we return to a life where everyone is given the opportunity to have true-low income housing in communities that would have tiny homes, it would be a $30,000 mortgage, it Could be a hundred dollars a month. If we start to look at possibilities of how do we really bring the poor up that’s what’s really going to allow the real hope for our planet. We need to stay focused, not so much on the doom and gloom and the overwhelm, as much as really focus on how we can, in our lives, be an inspiration, because there’s never been a time that is in-built, where we have the potential to have purpose, inspiration, fulfillment, by seeing the interconnectedness of the planet. Our dream, whether we know it or not, is at least been partially interrupted because it’s impossible not to notice what’s happening in our country and our world and our planet.
As you speak and, and knowing, and, you know, and I’ll disclose these last six, eight months and more how much you personally have invested in working with homelessness and regenerative agriculture ecosystem restoration. And right now, the headlines all over the place or how the West part of the United States, and of course that’s just part of the globe, is just burning up, drought, expectations of fire systems, of our fire seasons, overwhelming departments, and overwhelming everybody. The fact that you can express this optimism in the face of what seems to be obvious solutions, being so hard to get accomplished is incredible to me.
Robert Strock: (14:40)
Yeah. I, I think it’s a crucial point. Go to Google, go to Google and look up ecosystem restoration, go to Google, look out for regenerative agriculture, talk to your educators, educate them about it later. We’re going to talk about the films that you can watch that are utterly inspiring and uplifting. Yes. Clean energy is a very, very important part of the solution. That’s the one that we’ve heard a lot about. We haven’t heard as much about bringing the poor up. We haven’t heard as much about regenerative agriculture or ecosystem restoration, and these are viable. Our planet can rally in a way that’s unprecedented. The knowledge is there. There’s a significant minority of people that are completely activated, are going to do it till they die. And that inspiration, that fulfillment, that meaning is on the tips of our fingers, if we really take a closer look.
Again, please address how you keep it going, how you keep it going when you have run into the political system and the other things that you’re the entrenched people and lobbyists and the rest of it.
Robert Strock: (16:04)
Well, you, you hit a sore spot when you say the political system and you also hit an opening. So, the sore spot is that these ideas have been embraced by the whole regenerative agricultural community throughout the world and the homelessness community throughout the State of California. And the political system is still a challenge to make major breakthroughs, but we’re making headway. The key is just as the poor mustn’t get negative toward the rich, those that are trying to make changes, mustn’t get negative about the politicians. And we need to see that our own, especially if we’re a half or maybe only if we’re a half, if we’re a half and we’re running against walls, we need to see that our life itself for almost all of us has been rooted in protecting our wealth. And that, that is a self-centeredness. And if we, the wealthy, have that self-centeredness and the poor don’t have any power, then of course, we’re going to elect politicians that are going to be self-centered and are going to feed our interests.
Robert Strock: (17:15)
So, if we identify with being part of the cause of electing the politicians that haven’t had the group will to really care for those that don’t have a real chance on their own because of where they were born, then it helps develop the patients and the perseverance. And it has helped me personally, a lot to see that even though at 72, it’s very evident. I don’t have anything better to do. I realize it’s taken me a while to wake up and I realize I’m not up, I’m still in the midst of waking up. And all of us need to recognize that we’re never going to wake up, wake up. So, have an arrow pointing in the direction of every little step, step matters, every barrier we need to face, and then try to find a healing direction. And when we can get the knack of that, which is really psycho-politics, number one, facing our challenges and then really going for what’s the healing direction.
Robert Strock: (18:22)
And seeing that with money and questioning, it’s like, how can we really be motivated to do much of anything else when we really see the fires are there? And the drought is here and the dangers of terrorism are here and the corruption is massive and right in front of us and facts are not facts anymore. That allows an inspiration. It can allow a reactivity and an anger. And of course at one level I’m angry as hell. And I want to scream on the rooftop and say, “I’m mad as hell. And I don’t want to take it anymore. I’m not going to take it anymore.” But I realize if I cave into that anger and I don’t transmit it into some kind of passion, that’s trying to arouse that center in other individuals, and not touch the guilt space, but touch the awake space, touch the best-self space, touch the inspiration, touch the innocence.
Robert Strock: (19:23)
That’s where the sweet spot is. And it’s so critical as your question implied, can we each see that we’re part of the politicians that our self and involvement is going to create politicians that are going to want to feed us and that part of us. But imagine if the majority of us were really saying, no, I want to follow Andrew Yang’s proposal and have a thousand dollars be given to the poor. I don’t think a thousand dollars to everyone, but a thousand dollars to people that are below the poverty line and create a sense of community where everyone has that option. Then we start to see the optimism. Then we start to see the inspiration. And every one of those communities can have the option to do regenerative agriculture or clean energy or any kind of manufacturing that’s going to help the planet and how doable it is.
Robert Strock: (20:25)
If we stay in that state of looking for the solutions, rather than reacting against the problems, finding the core universal needs, rather than the personal reactive negativity. And it’s not a matter of getting over the reactive personal negativity, it’s a matter of seeing it, feeling it, carrying forward, and then recentering on the question of how can I be my best self as it relates to caring for those I love and the survival of the planet and the caring for those that have the least chance and giving them an opportunity to survive. Does it make sense to you to keep as separate as you have, even if you’re involved? Does it make sense to not get more involved from our country and the world? When we see it falling apart, this is a very personal question or not. And when we asked that question, we feel an aliveliness, it comes from an innocence.
Robert Strock: (21:35)
It comes from a seeing things as they are. I would ask you as you’re thinking about it, do you think I’m imagining this? Do you think this is real? Do you think our country really isn’t a struggle? Do you think our world really is in an international civil war? That’s not stated can we see it in the cyber-attacks? Can we see it in the degree to which wealth has risen and poverty has gotten worse in the last 50 years? You know, in being a therapist for 50 years, it’s been so obvious that the sense of therapy itself doesn’t even involve as it’s traditionally applied, to being connected to a larger group of people or to survival of the planet, therapy itself needs to change for ordinary neurotics. And as I’ve said before, this is not applying this to people who have severe character disorders, severe anxiety, severe depression, for that end therapy is very helpful, but for us, so-called healthy neurotics.
Robert Strock: (22:48)
We need to expand and we as therapists need to guide people to realize that interconnectedness is mental health, that we can’t get to another level of mental health, similar to what Maslow said, “There is a hierarchy.” And in this time I don’t personally believe, even though we might dilute ourselves, we can get beyond a, a C+ in terms of happiness or fulfillment or inspiration. If we’re a billionaire and we have every single thing we want, we don’t have what we need, cause we all have universal needs, whether we recognize them or not to take care of our planet, because it’s our home. It’s not a philosophy. We live on this planet and we’re in denial. So, it’s so crucial that we don’t cave into being overwhelmed and we can see it, we can care for it. And then we can take that next step to ask what would be the healing step, but as I’ve emphasized again and again, the tendency would be for these words to hit a part of you that feels inadequate or guilty.
Robert Strock: (24:02)
And then you turn in another direction back to your life. And I really am asking for a consideration. No, don’t just turn back to your ordinary life. Take with you these three principles of caring for beyond your little community, looking at your relationship to money and either survive and work towards survival. Look for organizations. Go on Google, see if there’s anyone out there to help you. If you’re struggling with poverty in your family, obviously there are many people that don’t even have access to that because they don’t have an internet. And see if there’s a part of what you would deem to be your best self that wants to find a way to focus today, this week, on the small best steps. And it’s not very hard. If you live in the Western world, all you need to do is go to Google and start to ask whatever you feel an affinity towards, whether it’s clean oceans or whether it’s poverty or homelessness or global warming or political healing, whatever is your step.
Robert Strock: (25:21)
Go to Google, ask a question, keep going and asking those questions. Google can be our friend to be able to foster questions, being more tangible, rather than abstract. And we can see the small steps that we can make. One of the other very optimistic communities that’s been formed is a community called Community First. And that’s the level that it’s happening. It’s totally extraordinary. And it’s one of the movies Community First: A Home for the Homeless, where they gathered a community like we talked about in the first 12 episodes in agricultural zoning and created tiny homes that cost $30-$40,000, a complete sense of dignity and gratitude and seeing a potential for healing, getting out of the rat race and the community living on less than a thousand dollars a person by being able to not have to have a car, not having to go outside for your basic needs, having opportunities to work, having opportunities to have enjoyment, having opportunities to have friends that you identify with.
Robert Strock: (26:44)
And the bigger vision of this is the whole world needs to have an organization or a possibility of communities where there’s a central purpose of starting with regenerative agriculture. There isn’t any community on the planet, if it’s taught how to grow its own food that can’t survive. And it’s our collective will that have wealth to want that to happen? So go online. Look at regenerative agriculture, look at ecosystem restoration, but don’t abandon your own heart. Don’t abandon your best self, don’t waste your time resisting me. Look inside and continue to ask these questions. How can I be my best self and how can this include the reality that we’re facing? The reality that I’m facing today? Thank you very much.
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