Host Robert Strock introduces and discusses what will be an ongoing discussion on psycho-politics. Strock focuses on the current state of psycho-politics and how it’s led to a society that’s largely neglected the poorest of the poor and the planet. Over the next few episodes, we’ll look at how to expand our vision and redefine what it means to be psychologically healthy. As we put our familial and societal relationships into perspective, we can use our energy, money, and work abilities to benefit not only ourselves but vulnerable populations and future generations with a thriving planet and society. This process of developing a deeper psycho-political understanding will lead to the habit of questioning our positions in society and how we as individuals, groups, and countries can act as a coordinated unit that thinks, feels, and functions as a whole and acts for the good of humankind and the planet.
Mentioned in this episode
The Global Bridge Foundation
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The Missing Conversation, Episode 15.
Robert Strock: (00:03)
The way we were conditioned in the American dream was a fairy tale.
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: (00:48)
A very warm welcome again to The Missing Conversation where we address the most pressing issues that the world is facing today. And we’re looking for the most practical, inspiring programs and innovative ideas to support survival of the planet and finding a sense of unity, inspiration, and fulfillment that we both individually need and the world needs also. So I’d like to introduce Dave, who is my partner at the Golden Bridge Foundation, and also has been a best friend for 50 years, and we’ve done so much together. And for those of you that have listened to prior episodes, I’m sure you’ve heard the full wrap on Dave and I.
David Knapp: (01:37)
Great to be here as always and I look forward to this topic, especially today.
Robert Strock: (01:42)
This is a topic that I probably have 10 levels of passion on. So please forgive me if I hit a word or two that hits you in the wrong way, but I’m hoping that you’ll stay with the overall meaning and that you’ll particularly apply it to yourself. So we’ve talked about regenerative, agriculture, homelessness, immigration reform, and what do they all have in common? And I would say in general, all of them reflect how we as a culture have ignored the poorest people on the planet and the planet itself and how it can best survive. Now, this could sound as an expansion or it could sound as a guilt trip, and we’re definitely going for this. Hopefully finding a place inside you that realizes, oh, we’re actually at a time in the world where the planet is in peril. Our democracy is in peril. Terrorism is real. Cyber-attacks are real, and that if we don’t wake up as an individual, and if we don’t wake up as a country and a world that our survival is truly threatened and especially the survival of our kids and grandkids.
David Knapp: (03:17)
And when you say wake up, what do you mean?
Robert Strock: (03:21)
Well, wake up as we’ll get into in great depth in the next series of podcasts on Psycho-Politics. I mean, not only become aware that the way we’ve conditioned, that we should be, which is largely taking care of our family, taking care of ourselves. If we’re working on survival and taking care of our survival isn’t enough and that we realize that we really are in danger, like no other prior debt generation and not only in danger, but in danger in multiple ways. And therefore waking up means not only being aware, but activating ourselves toward new attitudes, new actions, new priorities, and recognizing that in a way, taking care of ourselves and our family primarily isn’t enough. It is going to leave us in danger of a planet dying. And it’s going to leave us in danger of all kinds of ways that we could deeply wound the whole planet ourselves, put ourselves in peril.
Robert Strock: (04:40)
This isn’t an easy thing to convey, and I truly believe this could result in some of you being offended, especially if you don’t listen carefully, but I assure you, this is not my intention. It is asking for, I’m asking for, we’re asking for a seismic shift in how we treat and see the world. So please, I ask from my heart to consider the times we’re in and the need for a change in the way that we have been. Since the virtual beginning of civilization today, we’re going to explore a critical understanding of the underlying psychology of politics. And when I say politics, I do mean politics, but it’s even broader than politics it’s an underlying understanding of how we treat the poorest of the poor, how we treat our neighbors, how we treat the planet. This is through the ages, including today, been a source of significant suffering because the basic understanding why this led us into wars, prejudice, class struggles, choosing leaders that have significant biases is not well understood. We’re going to explore this both in this episode and several more to come. We’re all a part of this in ways that aren’t obvious, no matter what part of the world we find ourselves. If we can understand the psychology, we can find ways to contribute to a healthy sense of politics individually and collectively, and how our world and the countries are guided by all of this. And this isn’t, definitely isn’t a quick fix and requires some significant rewiring to support how we relate to politics and ourselves to be a source of well-being.
David Knapp: (06:59)
Question. We’re in a democracy, we’re in the United States. How is it if we’re voting for our leaders that we’re voting against our own self-interest, as you’re describing?
Robert Strock: (07:15)
Uh, really great question. One that we’re definitely going to delve into deeply. The short answer is if we look closely, we’ll see that almost all of us view ourselves, our families, maybe a few friends as the ones we’re dedicated to. That’s what we were taught. And if we continue to do that, we don’t really recognize that we have thrown out virtually the poor. That is those that need help to help themselves the most and the planet’s survival. And if we don’t take that in, then that’s going to transfer. If you have 303 and a half million people that are all primarily thinking of themselves and their families, how does anyone believe that the poor and the planet is going to get taken care of? Of course it’s not, you know, I would say something like 97, 98% speaking metaphorically, not mathematically, but approximately, of us put our dominant money and our work and our time and our energy and our thoughts into those close to us, which in one way, that’s even seen as expanded if we’re able to do that, but to put some significant small percentage, again, using mathematics as a metaphor, 10, 15% of us are putting energy into the poor and the survival of the planet.
Robert Strock: (09:03)
That’s a quantum movement. That could be a different sense of identity of who we are. Now, of course, there are some of us that are already doing way more than that. And even for those of us that are, we need to keep asking, is it enough? Do we have more changes we need to make? And there are many people that are in the 2% category that need to really contemplate. Does this make sense now that we’re in the year 2021 and there are all these dangers, hopefully that answers your question.
David Knapp: (09:44)
I think it does. I reflect on the fact still that the poor, the folks you’re talking about are, at least in the United States, the disenfranchised, they don’t vote. They don’t have representatives.
Robert Strock: (09:59)
Yes. And the, and the planet. So some of the more obvious ways that we create waste because this isn’t foremost, or even semi foremost in our awareness or in the way we’re brought up, either at home or at school is we start to look at areas where we’re having the capacity to help, but we’re not putting our ingenuity into it. Places like criminal medical expenses. I use the word criminal. I have a friend, two days ago, who has a father that’s 78, been on dialysis, has multiple health complications, is being given two weeks to live. And they’re looking at giving him MRIs and invasive biopsies in four areas of his body, scanning his whole body and blowing probably $15,000. And fortunately, he had an advocate, my friend to say, no, he doesn’t want those potentially lifesaving measures. They wanted to do a colonoscopy as well, as if, as if that was going to do something while he has two weeks to live.
Robert Strock: (11:22)
Now, this is happening all over the country. Hundreds of millions on, indefinitely, billions of dollars is being wasted. Then we can move to an area like wasted food. There is so much food that if we were smart enough to have a part of society that was dedicated to this wasted food and distributing it to the poorest of the poor, to the food banks, there would be enormous change in survival rates and food insecure situations. There’s another area that we’ve carried extensively, which is ecosystem restoration or regenerative agriculture, which for those of you that haven’t listened to prior episodes, ecosystem restoration is taking desert land that is actually creating more carbon in the atmosphere and turning it into an oasis, which absorbs carbon and regenerative agriculture is utilizing a different kind of tilling, using animals, multiple crops, rather than one crop, dominantly, feeding humanity directly the healthiest food it’s ever had and having it done locally rather than being exposed to a loss of nutrient content when we’re eating it two weeks, three weeks later.
Robert Strock: (12:51)
So poverty is getting very little assistance and the planet is definitely wounded and maybe dying. And then of course we have war, which at one level, if we look at it through our fear, we’re going to say, well, of course we do because we have Adolf Hitler’s and others like that. Well, for an Adolf Hitler, yeah, I think we did need a war, but the various other ones that have mutual motives, we need to determine that we’re guilty too at some level, and really be careful before we’re going to go and kill another individual. And then we have defense departments that are spending billions and billions, hundreds of billions of trillions of dollars worldwide. And if we could see how to communicate and own our own gray areas where we’re also self-centered, defense departments would be able to gradually, in unison, reduce, though not through an immediate timetable, but a little bit at a time with cooperation and smart leadership. But again, we as individuals have to be less defensive ourselves. So we need to learn how to care. We need to learn to vote and how crucial it is. Not only for America but for mankind.
David Knapp: (14:24)
So as you’re speaking and in particular defense departments, war countries defending themselves, who goes first, how do you make yourself defenseless potentially, or at a disadvantage when other countries aren’t joining you? How do you get everybody on board?
Robert Strock: (14:46)
Another great question. My belief is that it’s going require a series of private meetings that are not public, that are going to be through the largest and most powerful countries that are going to see, as time goes on, that none of us are going to survive. And then unless we take an experiment toward trust, Russia, China, America, there has to be a common consensus that you know what, we are going to die. You know, we’re, we’re seeing starvation in our very country. It’s a little early, we’re only seeing the beginnings of forest fires and hurricanes, but as that gets more severe, the three powers that be, could say, you know, what we realized there has to be a greater power than us. And we’re willing to invest in that being covered by some kind of a world body that is built as an extension of the United Nations or as a replacement of the United Nations, where power is gradually going to something that’s going to care for the earth.
Robert Strock: (16:00)
But it is a very, very tough question. One that we’re going to deal with later of how do we possibly get a person like Putin to think beyond Russia in his own wealth. And I don’t feel very optimistic right now because he still believes he can be powerful, but when the mass Russians are rebelling, which right now there’s certainly enough that would rule him out. That will be the time when there’ll be an opportunity. When the people that get involved that are the ordinary people that say we have to vote in somebody that’s looking at a world perspective. So it’s a very, very important question. It’s going to have to start with a very powerful, doing it quietly because they wouldn’t do it publicly because they’d be too afraid of the impact in their local country. On the other hand, if we ever saw three major powers agreeing on the fact that we have to be one world where we’re all going to die, that would be an inspiring message and a transformational message to the world. I don’t have any illusion it’s going to happen tomorrow, but I think it’s possible. It could happen the next five to 10 years.
David Knapp: (17:19)
And what would force it? I mean, how bad does it have to get, how irretrievable, this is my concern to listen to the people talking about global warming. And as, as you, as you begin to see climate change impacting, uh, economies and people, how bad does it have to get? Is it then irretrievable by the time these people that want power, give it up and talk about this stuff?
Robert Strock: (17:44)
Again. Totally relevant question. I think it’s going to, to get very bad. I think there’s going to have to be tens of millions of people that die. I think there’s going to have to be replacements of, of countries or, or more accurately states that have to retrieve from their borders because they’re flooded out. I think the forests are going to have to burn 10 times or a hundred times where they are now. I think we’re going to have to see that nature is rebelling in such a severe way. So I believe it’s going to be like Buckminster Fuller said 50 years ago, it’s going to require a personal sense of, I might not survive this. And I know my kids won’t, it’s going to have to get to that level where a fear of death is going to arise and be big enough that it counteracts the power drive.
David Knapp: (18:41)
Hard to find that place today. For sure.
Robert Strock: (18:43)
Yeah. This is an appeal to start to see that on an individual level, we can take stands, take actions, vote for people that are going to be more inclined to see that this is happening. People that believe in global warming right now, people that can see the evidence and can start to move before we’re at that total crisis point. And to your last point, is it going to be in time? It’s very questionable, even if we did it right now, it’s very questionable. That’s from the point of view of seeing how many fires have been in California, how many hurricanes have been all over the world? How many complete desert-like conditions there are all over the world that are getting worse, but it’s not really going to have an effect until it’s quantum, until it’s major. So I think it’s going to have to be 10 to a hundred times what it is now.
David Knapp: (19:48)
Knowing you as I do and knowing the vision right now that you’re expressing and knowing how some are underneath. This is a very irrational presentation of a crisis. Where do you go inside when you really lay your soul bare?
Robert Strock: (20:11)
You know, I, I have to contain my frustration, helplessness, anger at the stupidity of the world, not seeing that makes much more sense to take care of the poor and the planet. And so I have a deep frustration and anger that I have to morph into sincerity of intention, but at any moment I could use a word like stupid again. And it really, it really is infuriating that the powers that be are keeping their self-centered position, just like we are. So even approaching them as I have been with trying to combine regenerative agriculture and homelessness, it’s like, as I approached the people that have that greater power, they feel they’re doing me a favor while I’m dedicating my life to try to create a possibility. So I’m on borrowed time. So it, it really does, and is going to require a persistent effort on all of our parts to realize the way we were conditioned in the American dream was a fairy tale.
Robert Strock: (21:31)
And that it’s not that it wasn’t an okay fairy tale, while that we had the illusion that it wasn’t going to be killing people and killing the earth. But when you look at it from that perspective, and it’s not global, we’re also close to each other. It’s obvious that we’re facing a death. And it’s also obvious that we’re not facing the death, that we’re in denial in general. And that the only way that we have a chance of breaking this is to rattle up the denial and wake up and not hear this as guilt, but hear this as the natural urge to want to survive. Not only for ourselves, but for our kids, our grandkids, and everyone else’s too.
David Knapp: (22:17)
I think that they really just heard and I think it’s so important is the difference between being in a life or death situation for real, right in front of my face, versus seeing what’s coming. Like I’m driving a car and I can see there’s a wall down the road, but I’m going to keep going 60 miles an hour, which is what you’re describing.
Robert Strock: (22:43)
Exactly. And, and it really is even the, who’s ever listening right now, are you in touch with a fear? Are you in touch with a fear enough to where it evokes courage and the desire, not the guilt, the desire to move in a different way. And if you aren’t, then you’re just going to hear in the head and say, yeah, this makes sense. And you’re just gonna hear it on an intellectual level. The whole idea is for this to be a body blow, not coming from me, but coming from reality. And if that isn’t there, then people are going to be thinking about it, might even be talking about it, but they’re not going to be motivated to move a part of their life from being concerned about, do I have enough savings versus I have enough savings to at least have a fallback position, but look at these people who have so many kids in the young years dying, and the ability to compartmentalize this is so deadly.
Robert Strock: (23:52)
So this is true in the field of psychology as well. The field of psychology really in general, is talking about adjusting to this world, dealing with the anxieties, finding a sense of well-being on your own, like a happy island. But the truth of the matter is adjusting to this world is insane. This world right now is, has multiple ways it can commit suicide or homicide. So it, instead of adjusting to the world, we need to recognize that who we are as an individual and as a people is an, our people that are working to be part of the solution and their time, their energy, and if they have money and their money, and if you don’t have money, in your survival making best efforts for survival, not giving up, looking for the best connections that you can find that can possibly help you politically, voting and being passionate about it.
David Knapp: (24:59)
So one more question, are you saying that people should do these things, but are they coming from a place of goodwill or they’re coming from a place of ignorance? Is it, is it a malign intent in, in, you know, in the billions of people in this world that are trying to survive?
Robert Strock: (25:19)
I think the booby prize is coming from should, which means you’re not awake inside it still feels like an imposition from the outside. You’re hearing a voice like mine that’s saying, gee, you should. But really what I’m saying is if we awaken, we want to, it gives us a sense of purpose. It gives us a sense of aliveness. It has the potential to lead us to a fulfilling life. It helps us to teach our kids. It helps us to teach schools in a different way and have classes that are teaching some of the skills like regenerative agriculture, ecosystem restoration, having gardens in the schools, teaching what it is to have life, having an understanding of the dangers of them dying and not having a culture where it’s based on the denial of dying. But it’s based on the fact that you’re facing a generation that you are going to die.
Robert Strock: (26:17)
If you don’t have a different sense than we did, as we grew up in the way we’ve lived up till now, 95% of us or 90% of us. So I’m going to give a brief understanding of the three points that we’re going to be going to in future episodes that are really what Psycho-Politics is. And the first point is that it’s really that we want to take care of ourselves and our families, and that shouldn’t evoke guilt. That’s a good person. And those of us that have done that well, good on us for doing that. But when we look closely and we recognize again, what year it is, point number one is we need to take into consideration the poor and the planet in the way that we give out our energy. If we’re not the poor, if we’re the poor, again, we do our best efforts, but if we have extra, we need to view this as like a tithing.
Robert Strock: (27:23)
Not because we should, but because we see we want our beautiful earth to survive. We want to eliminate the source or less than the source of terrorism by having poor cultures, fighting against rich cultures and terrorism, being able to recruit those that are in situations where they have to steal money, they have to steal food to survive for their kids. As we very likely would do if we were wealthy. So point number one is redefining what it is to be a healthy individual psychologically, and including some percentage of the world, the poor in the world, and the survival of the planet. So the conclusion of point one is the psychological relationship to family versus the world and the poor. And looking at that psychologically facing the challenges that we have, not only in our families, not only in ourselves, but also in the planet and the poor that can’t take care of themselves, unless they’re giving opportunities to succeed.
Robert Strock: (28:37)
The second point is dealing with money, energy, and work. And, and that’s, of course, if we have some and realizing that we need to be flexible, did it give a greater percentage of our money, energy, and work toward the survival of the planet and toward the survival of the poorest of the poor. And that’s not a free giveaway that is giving job opportunities, which is an abundance of job opportunities. If we were to keep that in our radar so that we don’t set ourselves up for this great division. So that’s the second major point. And the third major point is realizing that point one and two, again, one being our psychology focusing on more than just our family and self, but including planet poverty and number two, always questioning am I putting in the balanced amount of energy work and money if I have it into taking care of the planet and the poor, and if I’m in a survival struggle, am I doing my very best work?
Robert Strock: (29:59)
Number three is recognizing, we all need to question this for the rest of our lives. This is not a one-week assignment. This is a lifelong assignment where it becomes part of our identity, where it becomes part of our conversations with those that are close to us. So we’re in this questioning, we’re loving the fact or at least liking the fact that we’re in this questioning mode. Am I in balance, my in balance with both one and two? And am I seeing that this is important enough to ask these questions for the rest of my life? And I thank you greatly for listening to this bare-bones, beginning of Psycho-Politics and understanding the three main points.
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