Host Robert Strock helps identify small ways we can each begin today to discover how we individually can make a difference in the bigger world. There’s a need to contemplate the norms of how we raise children facing the new challenges of the world, view our roles within the community, adjust our relationships to step up and support our nation, and change how we respond to our place in the world. We can learn to face and care for our own difficult emotions and use them to help us make more meaningful contributions to others and by extension, the world. Minute actions like a smile or dollar donations can act as a first step. As long as we each take steps forward and repeatedly ask ourselves if we’re moving in a direction that dignifies our relationship to ourselves and the world, we will naturally be guided to contribute toward healing our communities and the planet.
Mentioned in this episode
The Global Bridge Foundation
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The Missing Conversation, Episode 23.
Robert Strock: (00:05)
Can we feel the urge or maybe just see the wisdom in giving everyone on the planet a fair chance to survive and to maximize the chance of our planet surviving?
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: (01:00)
I want to welcome you again, a very warm welcome to “The Missing Conversation,” where we address the most pressing issues that the world’s facing today. And we’re looking for the most practical, inspiring programs and innovative ideas to support 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 start by introducing Dave, who’s my partner at the Global Bridge Foundation and 50-year closest friend.
Great to be here as always, especially for these important conversations, these important missing conversations about psycho-politics.
Robert Strock: (01:48)
So, I’d like to start off with just a quick review of the three principles of psycho politics. First principle is really recognizing how natural it is for all of us to want to care for ourselves. Those, we love our friends and have that be a priority, but realizing that we’re at a time in history, that if we stay with just that limited of caring as being the dominant kind of caring, and we don’t care for the planet with global warming and don’t care for the poorest of the poor and the poor in general, that we’re really heading for very likely a destruction of the planet. And that’s principle number one. Number two is the same thing, basically accepted applies to money. And for those that don’t have money, it’s really keeping their focus on survival and doing everything they can to increase their chances for survival and not letting themselves slip into a negative attitude and stay there and distract themselves from the dignity and the honor of fighting for survival for their family.
Robert Strock: (03:03)
And for those that do have money, it’s really taking a look at am I really considering the right balance, given the place in history where we are of taking care of my family and myself and those that I love, but also am I using my money and my time and my energy to care for those that really need it the most, as well as the planet and balancing that in a good way. That’s different than the conditionings that have existed throughout history because of the time we’re in. And of course, number three is the practice that really is the ongoing practice, which is having a healthy self-doubt about these questions because none of us arrive at an answer. And the real answer is the question of, am I in the right balance of taking care of those that I love and the planet that is showing signs of dying or of being in a mortal wound?
Robert Strock: (04:09)
So, in a sense, it’s very clear that the world is divided within itself with eight and a half billion people in little groups or communities that are caring for themselves, but haven’t really been taught from a young age, how important it is to expand a percentage of ourselves to care for the planet and those that are really most needing it. And this conditioning needs to be changed both inside ourselves, if we have kids, we have grandkids, if we’re a teacher, if we’re a religious teacher or a spiritual teacher, we need to have this be part of our fundamental DNA and be really front and center and not just viewed as a philosophy. A big part of the first step of psycho-politics is facing our own challenging emotions, our anger, our grief, our helplessness, our overwhelm, and seeing that we need to face it honestly, and then ask ourselves, how can we best take care of that feeling and still go for a meaningful, wholesome, balanced life at the same time.
Robert Strock: (05:35)
And that might sound relatively simple, but I think you’ll agree with me. If you look at your times when you’re most angry or most scared or feel most helpless, want to turn off the news because it’s too catastrophic that it’s very difficult to make that pivot and change while we’re in that feeling to look for how can I be a healing influence, how can I be cooperative? How can I expand my sense of self to include more and more people in a tangible, simple, pragmatic way and not to defend yourself by saying that what’s being asked is a lobotomy some gigantic change. It’s the eight and a half billion small changes that’s going to make the difference in the momentum of the planet, the need to be moving toward a global lessening and hopefully eventually alleviation of poverty from global warming, from nuclear war, from corruption and moving toward cooperation, unity, international peace, it’s absolutely vital.
Robert Strock: (06:49)
And philosophically, I have no doubt that you all agree with me, but the issue is moving from philosophy and from the head to using our body, using our wisdom, using our actions, using our money, using our intelligence, to make those little steps, at least at first, and ask ourselves in a very personal way. What could I do today? What could I do this week? Whether it starts with a smile and just putting out good energy toward people around you, or whether it starts with a $5 donation or a one-hour volunteer, or a phone call or asking a question on Google to find organizations that you can align yourself with. What are those small steps that will allow you to feel that your sense of self is more connected in a bigger way, with more people and with the planet? Now, a big question is, does this sound like preaching to you? Really crucial because the intention here is not to be a preacher.
Robert Strock: (07:58)
The intention here is to be a reflection of your best self talking to you. So please convert my words into your words so that you feel like your best self is talking to you and that you are facing the world around you as it is and you’re asking yourself, what do I really believe? Forget, Robert, it’s not about Robert it’s not about what Robert is saying it’s about you having a deep conversation. That’s a real inquiry of, what’s my best self telling me about what I’m capable of, realistically, given the challenging situations and emotions I’m dealing with.
So just to ask a question about that for a sec, um, from the point of view of again, people thinking, yeah, that I agree with that and putting it in my own words. And then I asked myself and I’m asking you, well, then why isn’t it happening more? What’s that about? What, what, what is, is this some pie in the sky, overly optimistic aspiration.
Robert Strock: (09:14)
Really important question. And until this last 30, 40, 50 years there really wasn’t a consideration of the planet dying. There really wasn’t as deep a consideration of our country being no longer a democracy, there wasn’t the degree of obvious corruption or even questioning whether a fact is a fact or truth is a truth or smart medicine is smart medicine. All of those things are more in question. And so, because we didn’t have the conditioning to have us deal with these risks for ourselves, for our kids, for our grandkids, it was natural to want to just take care of ourselves. And frankly, taking care of ourselves has a completely different meaning. When you have a fire all around you versus you don’t have a fire all around you, whether that fire is in forest or whether it’s in hurricanes. So, there’s a deep denial and a projection of all the conditionings, all the norms that have existed throughout history.
Robert Strock: (10:31)
And most of us are still under the hypnotic conditioning of that upbringing. And that upbringing is almost insane if we minimize the size of the globe and we viewed it as just being a boat and we saw the boat burning, we wouldn’t have this denial, we’d be doing what we can to get water on the boat to get, get sheets or towels or whatever we could, and we’d be making moves. But if we were on a boat, like we were 50 years ago, a hundred years ago, relatively speaking, we wouldn’t have had to take notice of it. But now if we open our eyes, we will see that our boat is burning and that it is up to us as well as our leaders to make this big shift. So, the key is understanding that we didn’t learn this from our parents. We didn’t learn this from our religions, or our spiritual teachings or our educational system.
Robert Strock: (11:32)
So, it’s natural in a certain way that we’re asleep, that we’re sleeping in our old conditioning, not out of malice, but out of an illusion A that we’re going to live forever and B that the planet is going to live forever. And that protection means gathering for ourselves or our families rather than also making sure that the vessel that we’re living on is taken care of. And also having a little bit of wisdom that hopefully COVID expanded that the poorest of the poor and the poor class, of course are going to always rebel against us if we don’t take care of them. And that if we can start to bring the poor up in a significant way, then we have a chance of not reinforcing terrorism or nuclear war or some of the perils that have happened throughout history.
I’ve been reflecting as today is June 10th, the new holiday, and became aware that it took a full two years when that actually happened in the 1860s for the whole of the United States, to be informed that today with social media, the instantaneous ripples, uh, the instantaneous conspiracy theories that go around the world, the, uh, you know, weaponization of it is, is also another unique and present day factor, uh, that can help or hurt, but seems to be having a lot of harmful influence.
Robert Strock: (13:14)
Yeah, whenever there’s any major change, you know, whether it’s being freeing slaves or the right to vote or any of the progress, there are still the people who really are identified with just being white and even worse, or even more extreme, being superior in white. And so, we all need to see that there are a certain percentage of us that really are under the illusion of being superior, and that’s always been a danger. So, even when we make breakthroughs, there’s always the danger and really inevitability of those that disagree going underground, and then waiting for the opportunities to bring back the good old norms as they will see as to make things right, which is white are superior. And as outrageous as that sounds, that is what’s going on. And so it’s very important that those of us that see, of course, we need to have equal rights for everyone, even as our constitution says it, but equally, of course we haven’t done it. And the powerful nations haven’t done it. So, we always need to have a healthy skepticism and a proactivity of getting involved because the people that can see this need to be the powerful, need to take over the power on the planet so that everyone has an opportunity to work, to survive, to take care of their kids just as we would want to, if we were role reversing and in their situation.
And just to make your point even more, to me poignant, how is it that a country like America has a constitution that says blacks are three fifths of a person let alone forgetting about voting and, and how long it’s taken and how regressive it feels today with what we’re going through. And what’s been effectively Pandora’s box feeling like it’s been opened in our country to the things you’re talking about.
Robert Strock: (15:32)
Yeah. The, the grotesqueness of that image without shame, or even with shame is so enlightening and it needs to break our denial as to how corrupt a part of humanity is and has been. So, it’s going to require an inspiration, a global inspiration to have a chance to really have the power shift, be for everyone to have an opportunity to survive and to make that transformation. So, it is healthy to have those extreme images right in front of us, because there’s no debating. If someone believes they’re 40% superior, but in the brain, it’s obvious how important it is that all of us get involved and that we don’t stay with rationalizations, that it’s our leaders that are the problem. Now it’s our self-centeredness, you know, we who can see this can feel superior and say, gee, how outrageous that is and ignore the fact that we’re living a largely self-centered dream.
Robert Strock: (16:50)
That doesn’t mean all of us are, and it’s obviously a matter of degree, but it’s crucial that we see directly what we’re dealing with and why the world has always had wars and how outrageous it is that wars are just the natural way of things throughout human history. So, as we more frequently glimpse, and maybe I should say, maybe if we more frequently glimpse our mortality and the fact that we are temporary on the earth, we start to, we can start to break our denial, but as long as we’re in denial about our own impermanence, it makes it so easy to forget about others. In a sense, we’re forgetting about ourselves too. It’s our faith, it’s all of our faith. And a lot of the root of being able to be so self-centered is to believe that we’re never going to die. There’s no consequences, but if we really see that, yes, we’re going to get sick and die too.
Robert Strock: (17:58)
And that’s what’s happening with such a large percentage of the planet, our vulnerability, our awareness of our vulnerability, our awareness of our challenge will help us see that’s what’s going on in the globe and has always been going on in the globe. So, we might ask, well, how do we lessen our denial of our own deaths? We need to start to ask ourselves questions about us. What do we believe? Do we really know what’s going to happen? What do we feel as we look at the end of our life? How come so few of us are talking about it, and these need to be commonplace conversations inside ourselves, and with those that are closest to us that are more mature. So, we can face the fact, oh my God, we are temporary here and so is everybody else, so maybe it would make more sense. In fact, of course, it makes more sense to have equal rights for everyone and not to set up a class division and a class struggle where it’s me against the invisible you, and it’s invisible because I’ve made you invisible. And I want to make you visible. And I want my life to have meaning and purpose, which is rooted in a collective caring for everyone’s individual, right? To have an opportunity to work hard and survive. And for those that are more fortunate to feel a natural connectedness with this, as a sense of purpose.
On a personal note, and in the last seven, eight months, I’ve been dealing with my wife’s health issues and they’ve been serious. And they have, uh, notwithstanding the fact that in my life, I have had these kinds of conversations many, many times, but pushed me through, as you described to, uh, a deeper vulnerability, very, very hard, this is, this is hard just to face, be with on a daily basis for me. And this is, this is something I’d like you to speak to the, the real, real difficulty, because all of us are going to experience it at some point and do.
Robert Strock: (20:15)
Yeah, it’s such an important question. And the key is there’s really a couple of keys there. One of them is naturally being kind to yourself because you’re vulnerable, you’re scared. It’s hard to tolerate being so scared. So, you are aware of that challenging emotion of being scared, and you, and you tell yourself it’s perfectly natural to be scared, perfectly natural, to be scared, and you hold yourself as much as possible. And you ask for support from those around you. And then on top of that, the next level is the crucial level. And in fact, in a sense, they’re all crucial, but it’s a crucial level that’s least dealt with, which is, oh my God, not only am I scared, but there are billions of people that are scared and expanding from the personal experience to the global experience, then brings meaning to the fear because the fear will lead you to take care of you, of your wife, as you have in spades.
Robert Strock: (21:26)
The question is, how much does it lead you to want to take care of those that are in much worse plights that are dying every day, all over the globe and not get overwhelmed by it, but actually hang in there and say, no, the purpose of this life is to take care of others as well. So, it’s going to face the feelings to care for the feelings to act in a way that’s going to help take care of your wife, and then to help that catalyze you to the global situation and how many billions of people are in the same situation right now, and how much we’ve suppressed that extra level. And because we stay self-focused, even if it’s caring, if we exclude the rest of the world, we can only be 70% fulfilled. There’s some kind of a, a natural instinct that wants to care for ourselves.
Robert Strock: (22:28)
Those we love, but also the rest of the world. And that natural instinct has been conditioned out of us for the millennia. So, it is the time where we have the great opportunity to expand both in ourselves and beyond ourselves. Thank you for that. And can we see that all of us as humans are in the same boat on the same planet and that how natural it is to have equal opportunities for everyone, and how much as a, let’s say, culture in thousands of different cultures, how much that has been ignored. And perhaps the only exception that I’ve seen has been the indigenous populations, where they had an actual caring for the planet in as far to the best of my knowledge. Can you see, does it seem obvious that most of us believe that we deserve the rights of wherever we were born, whether we were born into wealth or poverty, that we have no idea how we were placed in a superior or inferior position.
Robert Strock: (23:47)
And that because of that, because we haven’t delved deeply enough into ourselves, the rich have become richer and the poor have become poorer. And can we start to do a role reversal? I could have been born in the poorest region in India or Syria, or any part of Africa or any part of any part of the world. And when we start to ponder in this way, we have a chance to open our heart a little wider than we ever have, and notice the tendency to just hear these words and not to apply it to yourself. I’m going to say it again. Notice the tendency. Are you noticing the tendency to just hear these words and not to really apply it to yourself? What does that mean this week? What does that mean today? Is it clear to you that the tendency is to diminish what’s being said into a philosophy? And again, I want to say, as far as I’m concerned, I’m largely irrelevant. What’s relevant is a message of including humanity for our survival.
Robert Strock: (25:03)
Is it evident to you that the normal tendency in conversations is to care in a very minimal way for, or maybe a maximum way for a minimal amount of people and that that’s normal, and we’re talking about challenging what’s normal. And seeing that it’s rooted, even in that small group, how many of us are looking as, gee, I feel kind of inadequate or I feel incomplete because I haven’t really cared for a greater group if we have that potential. And again, I never want to leave out those that are fighting for a dignified survival. And that from my vantage point, it’s pretty obvious that if we’re fortunate, we have a natural part of us that wants to include the other. And even the sense of the other is a travesty, because we’re all part of each other, we’re all interconnected in the sense that if you can’t see it on a direct energy level, you can certainly see it, that if we have a group of people that we’ve ignored, they’re going to rebel against us.
Robert Strock: (26:22)
It is going to create war. We are a part of creating war. If we’re protecting ourselves that much, is that evident? Can we feel the urge or maybe just see the wisdom and giving everyone on the planet a fair chance to survive and to maximize the chance of our planet surviving. So, I ask you as much as possible to stay with these kinds of questions, not as a guilt trip, not as a philosophy, but as a part of you, a part of what you sense as this is an element of my core identity. So, I thank you very much for giving your attention and leave it with a prayer that we all see the reality of what we’re facing. And that we do the little things on a daily basis, whether it starts with a smile or a dollar or an hour or a question that we take that little step. And if we’re farther along the way, we keep realizing none of us ever arrive and that we, what we need to do is keep asking this question until we die. Thank you.
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