Today’s show has a very unique focus on the TV program 24. Robert points out from the start that it is a potential danger for the public to idealize Jack Bauer and 24 for torturing terrorists. In contrast to this insight, Robert emphasizes there is a movie called The Report, which is a true story where America acknowledges that America tortured prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and that America gained zero benefits from using torture as a strategy. 24 is viewed, instead, at a completely different level of depth by Robert and Dave, revealing examples of how it could wake up a part of us that is all too frequently asleep. The storyline helps bring us in touch with the potential of mass death, nuclear war, and other world threats. It shatters a level of denial that we are safe for those that really let themselves face a level of reality that we’re threatened by now. It models for us how to summon up the courage to look at and respond to what is needed for the greater good of our country and the world.
Robert highlights in this series the tear that exists inside us when we feel a depth of protection for both our families and the world simultaneously. The relationship between the character leads Jack Bauer and President Palmer spotlights a humanitarian partnership and continuous conflicts that arise between protecting the world and one’s family. The depth of the characters in 24 is layered and multi-dimensional. Robert connects that like the characters, we all have multiple parts of ourselves. The conflict between these essential parts of ourselves may even inspire you to watch 24 again and look at how it might impact your life and its implications for living in the world when we open up our protective instincts toward risking parts of our lives because we care so much.
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 67
Robert Strock: (00:03)
Today, we have a unique set of creative examples that are extraordinarily rare in the media. Now we haven’t done anything at all on the media. So today’s show is actually gonna have a very unique focus, and we’re gonna look at the six television series that have helped wake up a part of humanity, or more accurately, if these shows are really dwelled into it would help wake up a part of humanity.
In 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: (01:11)
Thanks so much for joining us again at The Missing Conversation where we do our damnedest to address the most pressing issues that the world is facing today and where we look for the most practical, inspiring programs, innovative ideas, and people to support survival on our planet. Today, we have a unique set of creative examples that are extraordinarily rare in the media. Now we haven’t done anything at all on the media. So today’s show is actually gonna have a very unique focus, and we’re gonna look at the six television series that have helped wake up a part of humanity, or more accurately, if these shows are really dwelled into it would help wake up a part of humanity. And we’re gonna highlight the details that give some of the keys to create a lasting peace in the world. Now I’m sure like many of you, you watched these shows or some of these shows and just enjoyed it for what they were, and you may or may not have penetrated into the deeper meaning and the deeper potential impact if you really allowed yourself to see, oh, what if this was the real world?
Robert Strock: (02:35)
What if this kind of revealing happened in the real world? So a lot of what we’re gonna be going into today, and the next episodes, is dwelling more deeply into these shows and seeing part of the deeper meaning and not just the incredibly interesting storylines and character development, but also what’s the impact of the world. Now it also includes some of the depth of characters because the characters themselves in almost every case are shown to be multidimensional. And instead of having a dominant persona of one kind, these characters were brilliantly developed to show the multiple sides that they had. And more importantly, as you are listening to this, you’ll see me highlighting—and I hope you highlight it—and further I hope you highlight yourself to see that we have these multiple parts of ourselves, and that our dominant way we present ourselves is a poor reflection on the totality of who we are.
Robert Strock: (03:54)
So, yes, the themes are very crucial, but also the common example, which in a way, is even highlighted more dramatically with people who are, are icons that show, oh my gosh, they have this dark side. One of our, our greatest athletes, our sex addicts or our greatest politicians have sexual craziness’, or our religious teachers, our geniuses, our innovators, our most successful businessmen, that they have these other sides and many cases are not great with families. And so, being able to see two or more sides of ourselves is so critical. And again, it highlights the feature of awareness that we’re talking about and gives us a chance to not only be aware of it, but also to enter into our intention to care for these sides that are more hidden. It’s sometimes too subtle to see how this kind of rare entertainment shows us a way to respond as countries, as individuals in our educational system and in our contemplation, because we’re simply being entertained.
Robert Strock: (05:14)
We’re not necessarily looking for the deeper meaning. And that’s the reason why we’re doing these podcasts is to highlight the subtler aspects and the deeper teaching aspects that we as a society, and as you as an individual, can really appreciate. Hopefully, it may even inspire you to wanna watch the shows again, and to look at ’em again, and how they may impact your life, and how they have implications for the world. And these shows express so much of the essence of what I’ve really highlighted in this series as a psycho-political life and their relationship to the world. They have a very unique and profound message for humanity and it’s worth stretching our brains and hearts to comprehend not only the message, but also the potential positive implications for humanity. So before I start to go more deeply into it, I’d like to introduce my dearest friend for over 50 years, Dave and my partner at the Global Bridge Foundation.
Thank you, Robert. Um, I look forward to this. I think it’s gonna be actually, maybe even a little fun. I think some of the lessons here and some of the reflections will be painful reflections of our society, but some of them will be, um, I think put out there in such a way that the popularity and the viewership of the programs themselves shows how people have interest in things that are so important and are reflected in these different series.
Robert Strock: (06:57)
So before I go into the depth of 24, which we’re gonna be exploring today, the series 24, I’d like to give a very quick rendition of psycho-politics. So, psycho-politics really has three core elements or stages. And the first stage, it really highlights that it’s really natural to care most about our family and those closest to us, and to give our main devotion to those people. But we’re living in the 21st century and if we all, let’s say there’s 800 million families or a billion families, if we all billion of us give 98% of our energy to our families, that means there’s only 2% left over–especially if you’re counting the wealthy or anybody that has wealth, there’s only 2% left over of energy to give to the rest of the world. And so doesn’t it make sense? The first stage is really looking at just the energy component of doesn’t that make sense to give a little bit more than 2% of our energy to people around the world.
Robert Strock: (08:12)
Now, of course, there are many people, a significant minority, I should say, maybe 10% or 20% that are in the healing professions that do give a lot more than 2% to the world. But so many of us are living a life where it’s so family-centered, and we just work and that work doesn’t really represent a giving. And so, there’s an emptiness that comes from that. So the first stage is really encouraging us to give a greater percentage of our energy toward the world. It also highlights that our challenging feelings, we have a tendency to project onto everyone else in the world, to other countries, to other political parties, to other families, to other religions. And so taking responsibility to see that those feelings that prefer us, rather than them, and divides us into an us and them. That’s usually rooted in family and non-family that, that energy is causing a major part of the problem in the world, both global warming, because we’re focusing our energy on ourselves and not the impact on the world.
Robert Strock: (09:23)
And it creates a greater chance for terrorism because it allows those of us to be so self-centered that we’re not giving our energy to people who need it the most. Now the second principle, which is closely tied in is related to money, and we have a tendency again, to give a vast, vast majority of our money to our families–and as a generalization, and used more as a metaphor–so please don’t make this just mathematical. That maybe the average family gives 98% of its wealth to its family and 2% to the greater world. Well, what does that mean to the poor, doesn’t that guarantee the poor will remain poor forever? And I’m not advocating that we give money to the poor. I’m advocating that we give opportunities to work to the poor. Doesn’t that make sense to use our money, to give opportunities to work, and then ultimately use that money to create a better chance for lessening global warming and increasing the chances that there will not be a nuclear war because the societies will not be as divided.
Robert Strock: (10:36)
And so therefore, it won’t be a breeding ground toward terrorism or toward alienation where tyranny has much more of a likelihood to take over. And then the third step of psycho-politics is really for the rest of our lives, asking the question, “What do I consider to be balance in terms of what I give to my family and what I give to the people that are most destitute?” And when I say give, again, I’m saying give opportunities to work. What’s the balance between that and giving to the globe for global health and our planet that is imperiled and is on the verge of potentially not being able to survive. What’s the balance in 21st century for giving to my family and giving to the world and giving to those that don’t have any wealth. So those are the basics of psycho-politics. So as we switch to now, look at 24, I wanna acknowledge that I’ve had a very, very difficult time finding any TV shows or any TV series or any movies that I find particularly meaningful.
Robert Strock: (11:46)
So this will be the first of six that I found to be extremely meaningful. So in the beginning of talking about 24, I wanna acknowledge that it’s potentially very dangerous to just idealize Jack Bauer and 24 and, and torturing terrorists, because he had a very unique situation where he had information that legitimately showed that when he was torturing someone, that it was going to create hundreds of thousands of deaths. So as a qualifier, I’m taking away that degree of idealism as we really show the benefits of 24. So please hear this qualifier, which I’ll probably make one or two more times during the show, because in the context of when he did that, he was consistently looking at what’s the horrors of torturing this person compared to the evidence that this is the only person that could lead us to potentially saving hundreds of thousands of lives.
Robert Strock: (13:02)
And again, and again, we were shown that that was the case. Now I’m gonna highlight that as a contrast, just to emphasize it that there was a show called The Report that I would encourage you all to watch that showed America acknowledging that we tortured the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, and that we gained no benefit from the tortures. In fact, that in general torture doesn’t work as a strategy and America apologized to the world and admitted to the world that we tortured people from Guantanamo Bay and Senator Feinstein and Senator McCain made the presentation. So again, that highlights that the torturing aspect is not the key point that’s being emphasized here. The key point is looking for the greater good in all situations. And that was one of the key elements in 24, but I’m trying to take this out of the context of just using torture as a strategy in the world.
Robert Strock: (14:11)
So, one of the key features in 24 was the incredible split that the main characters had where probably six or seven different characters had an incredible loyalty to their family, their lover, their wife, their child, and a complete devotion to take care of the greater good of humanity. Now that mirrors so much of psycho-politics because it shows here I am, how much do I dedicate myself to my family? And how much do I dedicate myself to the world? And that dilemma was just strewn all the way through that show. And one of the characters actually chose to completely take care of their wife and to ignore the trauma that was going to happen to the world and ended up going to jail. And another one of the characters, Jack Bower chose to not take care of the person they loved and great pain to them, enormous pain to them, and chose to take care of the world.
Robert Strock: (15:26)
And it’s this very heart-tearing conflict that I believe that we as a humanity need to embrace. And one of the things that 24 also did well, is it focused on the crisis of death and the crisis of mass death and the love of humanity and the love of family. So you had Tony Almeida was the character on the show that absolutely was dedicated to humanity and was dedicated to his wife. And he’s the one that chose his wife right in the middle of sabotaging a mission. So you got the, you got the examples of not a one-sided view. You got a two-sided view and maybe even more than a two-sided view, but the two extremes where one person always went for the greater good of humanity and the other character went for the greater good of their lover. So it’s not a simplistic matter of good and bad, and all of us are gonna see it uniquely, or part of that uniqueness is not seeing it at all, but every one of us, if we’re looking at both sides, we’ll see it uniquely, but it’s important to also see that many people aren’t really profoundly devoted to either one.
Robert Strock: (16:52)
There are a lot of people that really are not great family, men or women, and they’re also not great with taking care of the world. So really, deeply caring for either one is already a good, but what we’re talking about with psycho-politics, and what we’re talking about with looking at 24 is how these individuals all cared for at least one, at least they cared for the world deeply and profoundly, or they cared for their family. So take a look at yourself in this situation. Now, if you’re normal, you very likely will see that the dominant part of you is caring for your family and that you aren’t using your energy or your money in a very significant way toward both. And so part of the appeal here without wanting it to be due to guilt is to consider, is it really in your best interest or even in your family’s best interest to just take care of the family?
Robert Strock: (18:01)
Because if we just take care of the family in the 21st century, doesn’t it mean that the earth that we’re living on is very likely gonna die if we’re not in denial and that’s not a throwaway line, the normal state in the United States and the Western world is a vast denial of death. One of the beauty’s of 24 is it brought us in touch with the potential of nuclear war, of world sabotage, something that we’re visiting right now with Putin invading Ukraine. Something that we’re very likely to be envisioning with further actions from Putin, or actions from China, or other situations that would be an extension of COVID, or something that would threaten world survival. How much are we gonna put our energy into dealing with the threats toward world survival? And are we really taking care of our family? Like it would’ve appeared in the 19th century or even the early part of the 20th century if we’re only dominantly taking care of our family. So that becomes a central question.
I just wanna reflect on particularly 24 and the tension almost for the entire hour of 24 episodes, literally 24 hours, but the tension and the choices. And as you said, the characters that were facing the loss of a loved one’s life existentially, versus potentially the loss of hundreds of thousands or millions of people’s lives, existentially. And how we are in such denial. You know, that those words sound fine to say as a TV show, and you begin to get absorbed and drawn into a TV show and you feel it, if you’re into it, but to feel it even today, as the UN Inspectors are going to Ukraine, to a facility that has the largest nuclear plant in Europe, that’s currently in a war zone and not anywhere close to feeling the vulnerability and the intensity that I remember feeling in 24, in a TV show.
Robert Strock: (20:30)
Exactly. And I admit myself, I was so captivated with the action in 24. You know, they had four little screens and showing all the best actions and I couldn’t believe that all four of them were so dramatic at the same time. It was so captivating that it’s easy to miss that this relates to our world. And especially now more than it did then when you look at it, now we are facing global warming at a level we weren’t, then we are facing the nuclear dilemma more than we did. Then we are facing international illness more than we did. Then we are facing the very high likelihood that in a less extreme way, meaning we’re not likely to be the individual that’s gonna make the decision between a hundred thousand or millions of lives versus one. We are definitely in a situation where we’re all, if we’re aware, facing a level of this dilemma. And it’d be more accurate to say, we’re in this dilemma, we may not be facing it.
And just to speak to that, about how individually we are involved or not, we have votes to cast. We have people that represent our country that makes decisions that have a view, a view one way or the other, or in between. We have money to give to direct programs. We have money to give to potentially people that are going to use that money to support our views. Or we have our energy to give, or not
Robert Strock: (22:05)
Exactly. And it’s so crucial that we identify with being a smaller version of what happened in 24. And if not, we are in our denial of death. We’re in our denial of death for the planet. And I thank you for mentioning voting, because we all have the responsibility. You all have the responsibility to ask yourself, do you really believe in the voting right now? Which one do you believe would have a better chance of resolving global warming? Which one do you really believe is going to be able to create a sense of better partnerships and better extension to world survival? And you have the responsibility. We all have the responsibility of using our vote to save our country, which direction is our country gonna go in? And which one do you really believe that you vote for? And I don’t only only mean president. I mean, senators and governors, which ones that you vote for, do you believe are gonna give the best chance to be generous with their time, energy, money, political relationships, which one creates better partnerships.
Robert Strock: (23:25)
And we each have a responsibility, not only from the past what we believed, whether it was Republican or Democrat, but in the present day. And I have to speak my own prejudice that I don’t believe president Trump represents the Republican party as it has been throughout history. I do believe he is anti-democracy. I do believe that if you cast a vote in that direction you are not looking at the amount of anti-democracy, how much threat he has created with people that are actually there as vote. You have a responsibility to see that poll workers are being threatened. One was cast out and they had life threats and had to move for several months. The head of the postal service was taking down postal machines. And I could go on and on, if this is not obvious to you, but I ask you to look at who do you really believe is likely to support democracy.
Robert Strock: (24:24)
And certainly saying democracy is going to be the key, or one of the central keys, to really support survival on the earth. I also believe saying democracy is gonna have to have a deeper collective responsibility element that has to be factored in. Which party do you think would move toward collective responsibility in the world? That’s a critical decision that you have to make. And as we continue to explore 24, the most important thing is this that you see you are a character in 24, whether you recognize it or not, and you need to put yourself in that position and say, I am in this position. What is my decision? How do I believe I’m gonna move in a direction to use my money and my energy toward the survival of the world? And if you happen to be in a situation where you’re just in a survival struggle, I dignify, every part of me dignifies that your best efforts are gonna be just to work towards your own survival. That’s a different ballgame. But I’m mainly talking to people that have some degree of wealth, some degree of free energy. And for those people, this question is crucial and don’t disidentify with being a character, an extended character of 24, or else recognize that you’re in denial. And I thank you for your attention. I especially thank you for applying this to yourself.
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