Having read the “Broken Democratic Processes – Awareness” material, you are invited to consider a few reflective questions on this subject; questions designed to stimulate any “Awakenings” that may have been stimulated within your conscious mind. The reading may have prompted certain thoughts in regard to your own specific views on how healthy you feel our current democratic processes are today or based upon some real life experiences your have had in this field. A base-line question might be “How well do you feel our democratic processes measure up to the expectation contained in the original Magna Carter?” If you recall, the prime purpose of the Magna Carter was to appropriately represent “The Will of the People” through an new instrumentation known as “government”; empowering it to make enforceable laws and to put in place processes which would ensure agreed laws are complied with by all (including the King/Queen and the wealthy). In this awakening step you are invited to not only consider some relevant set questions posed but also express your own specific views on this matter, within the context of the 4 Tier Framework of Life (F4L) – a taxonomy constantly referenced throughout Yourself Helper.
In our evolution as thinking, rationale human beings, we are reminded again that our sub-conscious mind is intent on our survival and the survival of our species and genes. To operate purely from our sub-conscious mind is to be constrained to operate like all other animals intent on survival on the planet. We have evolved to be in the unique position to have available to us our unique and powerful conscious mind, which sets us apart from everything else in our known universe. To undertake an effective awakening, we are required to utilise this – our greatest human asset – our conscious mind, not just our sub-conscious mind. Numerous scientific studies have shown that we humans tend to treat outsiders (from ourselves, our family and friends) far worse than members of our local community. So it could be said that love alone does not motivate effective altruism but empathy – the ability to put oneself in a position of others (outsiders) and identify with their feelings and emotions. Using our conscious mind, we are able to draw upon our cognitive empathy with a large group of outsiders, even though we experience the strongest emotional empathy when we are able to identify with a specific individual within such a group, even a total stranger. So our awakening to empathise, with what is a big problem across western society problems (namely our broken democratic process), requires “cognitive empathy” for the broader community not just our own personal views and our love of family and friends. A true altruist seeks to do the most good they can though their position and capabilities, beyond that of just our immediate family and friends – seeking the biggest bangs for our bucks and supportive actions. Its all about accepting that the lives of outsiders have the same value as the lives of those we love, especially those closest to us.
The first line of questioning in Tier 1 concerns the assessment of yourself from a physical or materialistic perspective, in an attempt to provide some sense of relativity in your living an ethical and good life. Its primarily our sub-conscious mind that is intent on keeping us a live and well, often without any direct input from ourselves. So the main choices to be made in Tier 1 are those guiding our material responsibilities for our own well being, those close to us and the community and society we live in ie. the food we eat, the security we have, the home we live in – all towards us living a long and healthy life.
Tier 1 – Physical Body-centred Self
We open with a series of questions requiring deep though and reflection from within our conscious mind to express how we feel right now about the subject of our “broken democratic processes”:-
- To what extent do you feel the “Will of the People” is appropriately represented in our current layers of government (Federal, State & Local Council)?
- What is the most good you can do towards making our current democratic process (at all three levels of government) more receptive to the will of the people (eg. through your purchasing power, donations, actions, voting rights, use of social media, etc.)?
- Do you typically purchase, donate and vote mainly out of self-interest (from your hip-pocket) in seeking mostly what material gains are in it for you?
- What do you think you (ordinary people) should be able to do within a democratic system to deal with situations where elected politicians have blatantly lied about their promises (as part of their election campaign) and then go back on their word once in government?
- In a democratic system where the very rich (0.1% of people) have increasingly control of the bulk (99%) of wealth (no matter what major party is elected into government), what changes do you feel would reverse this trend to ensure a more equitable distribution of wealth and power where the poor, disadvantaged and uneducated are able to implement effective exit strategies from their current predicaments (be it poverty, homelessness, un-educated, mentally ill, etc.)?
- With most progressive democratic societies pursuing growth strategies to stimulate employment opportunities using trickle-down economic in a market economy, what alternative strategies would you favour for improving the lot of ordinary people in helping themselves exit their current predicament.
- Given the regular stand-off between the lower (legislative) and upper (review) houses where nothing major ever seems to get done even though voters at election regularly seek major reform, what would make sense to remove such stalemates and stand-offs (eg. even the removal of the upper house) for the sake of reform progress and the will of the people being acted upon?
- With the global trend towards increased nationalistic popularism (Brexit, Trump election, German nationalism, Australia’s One Party) do you feel a greater isolationist stand will make ordinary people better off, better able to live in peace and live better lives?
- What major change would you make to address the current level of corruption rampant across all facets of democratic government where large sums of money is available for distribution (namely all levels of government, big business, unions, wealthy individuals, etc) and securing their on-going wealth, power and ensuring the status quo continues?
- Do you feel the emergence of philanthropic organisations (like Bill Gates & Warren Buffett) committing enormous sums of their money to “well meaning” causes they see will do much good in the world might be a better way to avoid government involvement and be something you would be attracted to support and make donations towards?
- Do you feel capitalism has driven more people into poverty in recent times or lifted people out of it?
- Are you an advocate for not only making donations to worth while charities but also donating of yourself for helping others (volunteering, kidney, bone marrow and stem cell donating, vegan living to minimise your impact upon the environment etc.)?
Before moving to Tier 2, let’s play-out the physical runaway trolley scenario. A runaway trolley is heading for a tunnel in which there are 5 people. It will kill all of them unless you throw a switch to divert it down a side track, in which case only the 1 person down the diversion track will be killed. The only way to stop all 5 being killed is to push a large stranger off a footbridge. In killing the stranger, his body is heavy enough to stop the trolley, thereby saving all 5 on the trolley. What of the 3 choices would you make – do nothing (kills 5), throw the switch (kills 1 but saves 5) or throw the stranger in front of the train (kills 1 but saves 5)? Are you a do nothing type of person when it comes to your cognitive empathy towards others?
Tier 2 – Physical Mind-centred Self
In Tier 2 we call upon our unique and precious conscious mind (as in the runaway trolley scenario) to make rationale decisions pertaining to our contributions towards our greater empowerment in solving our social problems where key choices are involved – like how to fix our broken democratic processes. From the awareness read you should now have our own view on this problem and its potential causes. One being the apathy of ordinary people, that which democratic processes thrive on. We are dependent upon us not just utilising our mandatory survival instincts inherent in our sub-conscious mind but choosing to invoke our other, more advanced mind, namely our conscious mind. Our conscious mind has the power to apply rational and draw upon copious amounts of information in its quest to make the best possible choices towards our own contributions in solving what are complex problems within our democratic processes. All in the hope that other humans will do likewise and that this aggregation of commitment will instigate (through the power of numbers) ordinary people voting more thoughtfully, but that they become more mindful of how they spend their money and time ie. what we purchase or donate and how we communicate more effectively (say using social media etc.) in influencing others.
In simplistic terms, human life becomes a persistent struggle between your sub-conscious (survival centred) and your unique conscious (rational) minds. Each has a different objective (one survival, the other rational thinking). A struggle between you looking after yourself, your family, community and society generally while balancing the interests of the common good with your own personal self-interests. Despite your previous efforts where you may have either failed to achieve this or failed to get sufficiently motivated to give it the amount of seriously thought required. That is about to change. First we encourage you to journalise your feelings on this matter as an extension of your conscious mind so that it remains available to you to reflect upon from time to time. In doing so, you will be able to assess the degree of shift that has been necessary to find that right balance for you. Such reflections will either be motivating, uplifting or disappointing? According to Henry Sidgwick, there are certain moral principles which we must grasp in order to make more effective use of our conscious mind:-
a) “The good of any one individual is of no more importance than the good of another, unless there are special reasons for believing that more good is likely to be realised in the one case than the other.
b) Each one of us is morally bound to regard the good of any other individual as much as his own, except is as far as he/she judges it to be less, when impartially viewed, or less certainly knowable or attainable by him/herself.”
With these principles in mind:-
- Do you feel you have the “Will Power” (aided only by available self-help) to make well informed decisions about the makeup of our government, it laws and how these laws are enforced?
- Is your cognitive empathy for others and the common good sufficiently developed within our democratic society to bring about change in your current/previous ideas on living a more purposeful and ethical life
- Do you feel the need to shift from some of your traditional positions on this matter (like I always vote for this party because my family has always voted this way) in order to have a more balanced and open view on such all matters pertaining to our broken democratic processes?
- Do you feel that implementing solutions to our broken democratic processes can be achieved without regard to your political persuation, demography, cultural differences, age, gender, education and religiosity?
After journalising and reflecting upon your responses to the above questions of principle,
- Identify situations in your life where (despite your best efforts) you frequently re-act or feel differently than you believe you should. The higher the numbers of “yes” responses above the more likely one/many of the situations are associated with a particular trigger to be more conscious of your actions and opportunities for making a contribution to bettering our democratic processes.
- For each of the situations identified above, describe in detail the emotions you usually experience (Amazement, surprise, anger, betrayal, relief, sadness, happiness, contentment, shock, confusion, intrigue, doubt, denial, etc.)
- What did each of these emotions teach you about yourself and your current journey through life?
- Did this brief period of reflect (documented in your personal journal) stimulate any potential changes you might consider or any anything which you might be more mindful of in your everyday life in regards to your purchasing habits, your voting trends, what you read and view, the company you keep, how well you spend your time and how mindful you tend to be when opportunities present themselves?
Tier 3 – Soul-centred Self
In Tier 3 we dig deeper into our unconscious mind to aid us further in making important decisions related to why many find it difficult to take on empowerment after initially stepping back from the “do nothing” default suggested by our unconscious mind. To make meaningful contributions towards solving our obviously broken democratic process problems, it then begs the question – how? The most common exposition of when our unconscious mind comes into play is when we are in deep sleep (REM) dreaming. The thought processes taking place then is beyond our direct control, enabling our unconscious mind to take control in having an influence on our decision making, in conjunction with giving our conscious mind a rest and to recharge our physical body for the next day. Not all our dreams can be remembered but those we do remember often contain messages from our soul worthy of serious consideration. Even if we cannot remember our dream, they are typically stored in an apparent dormant state unless we deliberately attempt to unlock their treasurers. Alternatively through the likes of meditation, prayer and being more mindful of self you can always tap in on your soul-centred self in quite moments of deep thought.
For its in your heart of hearts where you can find out what is it that your soul is telling you or trying to tell you? Is how you are living currently the right way to go about things and/or are you open to change your life accordingly and permanently? And if not, why not?
This tier is primarily about identifying with your “Shadow-Self” – the self you are now and the gap between who you know you want to be. Your soul is that reflective space between yourself and your apathy towards our democratic processes and who you really want to be (based upon meaningful experiences in your life). Deep down inside there is a self-perception of the real you. It’s the doorway through which you must pass into the life you wish to live, with depth and passion. In this case the shadow-self is that person that feels there is nothing that you can really do to improve our current dysfunctional democratic processes. In your heart and soul you know this is not your authentic-self because you have identified with numerous opportunities but you just cannot be bothered. Deep down there is the real you inside that wants to get out; a more politically aware, more pro-active person that is waiting to be empowered to enjoy life more, lead a good life and feel good about all the positive adjustments you have made.
Your conscious mind contains programs that have strong negative emotional content associated with particular situations and events in your past life that typically keep being repeated. These programs are triggered by situations that arise in your everyday now life. Emotions regarding what you watch on TV, the value take out from your use of social media, newspaper articles you dwell upon, how you maintain your journal and the actions you tend to take as a result. When your heart and soul may “not be in it”; such things are not really a part of your authentic life. Once you have identified where and why you have failed to make the “right” decisions in your life and in preferring to live in places of delusion, illusion or denial (she’ll be alright mate’), you turn your back on situations you know are causing you to be apathetic towards many large social problem that persist around you. Places and situations in your life where you know you really do not want to continue because they are contributing to you being lazy, disinterested and lacking in motivation, typically inferring its someone else’s problem. Its all in your mind and regaining control of your conscious mind reflecting your soul is your challenge.
“We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are.” The Talmud
- Recall recent times when situations have arisen that were the opportunity to lead a more meaningful life in this regard, yet you defaulted to those old habits (eg. couch potato TV watching, being bored and becoming involved in an array of addictions to take your minds off such matters). And all the time in your heart and soul you knew this was not good for you in the longer term, nor good for society generally.
- What event(s) triggered you to get into this tempting situation (eg. when friends call and ask “Would you like to join us in a discussion group?” You know you need to be stronger in terms of your will power. Either avoiding such situations by choosing to be somewhere else, that probably doesn’t do yourself any good nor society (drinking down the pub, playing poker machines, eating too much, etc).
- What were you attracting to yourself or fearful of (eg. criticism, being different, exposure to others more familiar with the democratic process and opportunities for change?)
- Which ones have you been attracting you for most of your life (eg. friends seeming to prefer my shadow-self, boredom, loneliness, craving for computer games, pornography, gambling, eating)?
Tier 4 – Spirit-centred Self (Optional)
In Tier 4 we reflect upon the “will of God”
This Tier is for those who believe in God, where there are some very straight forward questions to reflect upon in your conversation with the God you know loves you just as you are and also loves you to be the best you can be in your life right now. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with operating within an imperfect democratic system. But with a well-informed conscious mind reflecting upon the full ramifications of our current democratic situation, the corruption and manipulation involved tells us there has to be a better way to represent a well informed Will of the People. Here you can become fully empowered in your response – “I am …” from a self-reflective perspective and “We are …” from your social perspective. Accepting that you attract these situations to yourself, you accept responsibility for your current state (especially the self-inflicted social problems that surround us) and for undertaking the known self-help strategies available to support you in makinge a positive contribution towards improving yourself and the democratic processes within which you operate. Accepting that the experience of every trigger situation is an opportunity for you with God to freely heal yourself in the knowledge that this process is pleasing to God as well.
Very powerful social responses like – I love you, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, help me, I need help can open the way for you to communicate to others the changes in you you seek and for them to identify with who you really are and what we are as a society in seeking to live a good (God-like) democratic life together. Experiencing faith in yourself and God, hope in your future with God and love of your authentic self and of others in God, empowers you to fully accept responsibility for who you are and who you choose to be with God as your guide.
Journalising Your Authentic-Self.
The above are a few generic questions and propositions provided for you to consider in reflecting upon who you really are when it comes to you and your broken democratic processes, as structured across your Framework for Life (F4L). Please do not be constrained in your reflections by containing your reflective journal entries to just these questions and propositions. In journalising, this will become one of many entries you make on this subject as you progress on your journey of enlightenment through life. As stated earlier, any other questions and your associated self-response should be positioned within the context of one of the four F4L tiers. Your journal becomes an expression of your empowerment to raise whatever awakenings occur as you reflect on the awareness material you have read and your experiences in living your own life. Those issues you feel are at the heart of your own unique situation, your own responsibilities for the state of our democratic process problems. The journal is your personal contribution to your own Framework for Life, for living a good life.
Simply download the above material as a framework document to your own highly personal journal to ensure its privacy and security stored on your own PC/Laptop/Tablet. Re-read what you have written until you can say “Yes, this is how I feel on this particular problems right now” or generally your views on this subject for your own personal reflection.
You can download a PDF with these questions here: Awakening Self-Questioning
In order to use this PDF, you should first save the file to your computer and then enter your personal information into the form and save it.
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