Monday, September 21, 2020

IMMATURITY

 


We are at a time where people need to engage with each other, listen and share, build bridges and not walls. To instead favour and promote strident demands, unnecessary division, and worst of all, abuse of power to control others, are clear signs of immaturity: a state of being not-yet-fully-grown.

 

AT THE INDIVIDUAL LEVEL

Areas of maturity include physical, technical/ task, ethical maturity, emotional maturity, social maturity, cognitive maturity, and 'spiritual' maturity. One may think here in terms of applied intelligences.

They are qualities that are important in today's world of work, in today’s evolving society and communities, and at home. They should be heeded.

SPIRITUAL MATURITY

At lunch with a friend this week I was asked to describe my take on religion versus spirituality – one sentence each!  In a nutshell, religion for me equates more and more to institutionalised interpretations and beliefs (dogma) that consider all others to be wrong or ill-informed, and which results in limited thinking and exclusivity. Spirituality is the recognition of and deep appreciation of the interconnectedness of all beings and nature (a transcendent, unified field), which provides a springboard for the evolution of our highest possibilities, primarily love.

More than an umbrella over social and emotional maturity, spiritual maturity admits to an element of unknowing, is an outcome of being that precedes doing, and realises that values not converted to character virtues remain empty talk. Spiritual maturity is demonstrated by metanoia (bigger picture, non-dualistic) thinking, and kenosis (self-emptying beyond merely being prosocial). 

Ken Wilbur points out that spiritual waking up without growing up can be disastrous and abrasive. Thus, cleaning up should precede showing up.

Wilbur also points out that pioneering psychologist Abraham Maslow topped his framework for self-actualisation with transpersonal needs, which include compassion.

Have you ever wondered why religion has, on the one hand, everywhere been claimed to be the single greatest source of love, compassion, care, and morality in the world; and yet it is also, without doubt, the single largest source of hatred, murder, torture, and war that humans have ever known. How could the same basic human endeavor result in such diametrically opposed outcomes? How on earth could that even happen? Well, according to this more recent research, those at the lower stages of Growing Up almost always interpret their spirituality in power-driven, egocentric, and ethnocentric ways, thus actually predisposing them—causing them—to be hatred-driven and given to murder, torture, and warfare—and all, of course, in the name of the love of their God. Yet individuals at the higher stages of this Growing Up development almost always interpret their spirituality in open, loving, compassionate, and all-humans-included ways. The stunning breakthrough in the last century is that we finally discovered the major steps and stages that this overall Growing Up or development goes through. And thus, for the first time in history, we have some say as to whether a person’s spiritual reality will incline them toward hatred and war, or toward love and compassion”.   (Wilbur, K. 2018)

 

 EMOTIONAL MATURITY

Emotional Intelligence is being self-aware and managing our own emotions effectively.  (Goleman, D. 1995)

Emotional immaturity is when people are unable or reluctant to express their feelings, shy away from venturing beyond being shallow, work towards becoming other-oriented and being empathic, and instead remain self-serving. They cannot admit to being wrong or having made a mistake. have commitment issues. ...

Emotional immaturity makes people prone to work-a-holism (often to mask lack of self- esteem)


SOCIAL MATURITY

Social intelligence is the way we apply a rational, moderating brake to our evolutionary-wired and memory-driven primitive, impulsive being. As we mature, we become more socially adept, grow skills like listening, understanding, being prosocial, and building healthy relationships. Where the focus is on self and others do not matter, then the development of narcissistic tendencies is possible. A sociopathic component of personality makes us socially immature. Conversely the development of reliability, respect, trust, compassion and a giving rather than taking nature (especially in hard times) indicate social maturity.

 

TECHNICAL/ TASK MATURITY

People may or may not mature in technical and task (skill-fully applied knowledge) capabilities as time passes (Mastery). Without accompanying relationship mastery something remains seriously lacking however.   


COGNITIVE MATURITY

Thinking with a larger mind (metanoia) allows for engagement with paradox, ambiguity, uncertainty, unpredictability. Thinking non - dualistically in ‘and/both’ terms rather than ‘either/or’ terms often leads to better sense making, problem solving, decision making, and a predisposition to accept diversity. This includes thinking in terms of relationship-building being the best route to superior task performance.  

Cognitive maturity allows for open-mindedness, adaptability and agile response, usually goes hand in hand with sound self-esteem (which in turn admits to genuineness, authenticity and vulnerability). And mature thinking capacity spans the temporal range (future, past and present)

 

ETHICAL MATURITY

Oberlechner puts it succinctly: “Virtue ethics … emphasizes the character, motivation, and intention of the decision maker. The understanding of ethics in virtue ethics represents a comprehensive approach, not a specific approach, because it moves beyond the examination of single isolated issues or situations. It looks at ethics from an agent-based perspective, not an action-based perspective; it addresses characteristics of the decision maker’s personality rather than particular actions (as in the rules and guidelines for actions in deontological theories) or consequences of actions (as in consequentialist theories)”. (Oberlechner, T. 2007)

 

 PHYSICAL MATURITY

Suffice to say that embodiment and interoception are areas of study based on an interrelated mind- body concept. (The physiological, psychological and psychosocial interplays between the causes, reactions to and alleviation of stress and trauma are now widely accepted). Physical stirrings may trigger intuitive insights.

And King Artur’s Merlin talked not of ageing but of “youthening”!



The different maturities are not separate from each other. So for example, cognitive maturity might come into play when having to solve a problem, make a decision, make sense of something - but without the spiritual aspect of wisdom it will not be sufficient. Technical/ Task maturity and all the knowledge and experience in the world, if not linked with the relationship dynamics of emotional and social maturity, will not result in optimum workplace performance and employee growth. Ethical maturity is in some ways an outcome of an intersection of spiritual, cognitive and social maturity. And being mature in the midst of a heated argument, and pausing to identify feelings and reaction possibilities before responding (verbally or physically) may be driven by the intersection of a number of the maturities outlined above. 


Immaturity, per se, is not inherently negative and by definition is an opportunity for growth. But when combined with positional power, cognitive and psychological limitations, a ‘we-they’ mindset and narcissistic tendencies, it does become decidedly problematical. 


AT THE STATE LEVEL

Last night, while reading Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale, a wonderful story about two sisters in occupied France during World War II, the book became very real as I was struck by the similarities between a belligerent military occupation and the nasty, bossy, immature management of our lockdown in South Africa. (Hannah, K. 2017) Coincidentally a commentary on recent action taken during lockdown by Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Front thugs underlined my sentiment:

That the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) should have seized upon the Clicks hair advertisement to showcase their propensity for violence was only to be expected. Ditto Cyril Ramaphosa’s supine response … and likened the EFF’s incendiary actions to Kristallnacht, when Nazis attacked Jewish business throughout Germany in 1938”. (Kane-Berman, J. (2020)

(The EFF grew out of the ANC Youth movement, led by Malema, and are very likely to partner with the ANC in our next election).

Back to our ANC government.  The behaviour of any “interim” authority (such as an occupying force or Disaster Management Council) may be theoretically  ‘lawful’ - because of the absence of constraining laws, or because laws are enacted specifically to support actions decided upon, or where a deliberate bypass of the constitution is allowed because of a false, “manufactured situation” (and a trampling on the constitutional rights of the populace is orchestrated).

Some are beginning to believe that the scale, predictability, consequences of the coronavirus pandemic have been manufactured. Authoritarian, “scientific”, “logic” is looking increasingly thin. (Sweden’s success based on herd immunity and the absence of a lockdown is adding to this belief). The WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction) hoax, the Bush/ Blair pretext to invade and make war on Iran was similarly devoid of logic and truth. The headline says it all: There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq (The Guardian. 2004)

Certainly, the harsh, unilateral, lock-down here has been enforced and continues without any humanitarian, compassionate, mature application. Regulations include the removal of many inalienable rights, curfews, a built-in bias towards certain population groups and service providers, irrelevant restrictions, encouragement of blatant corruption, unnecessary controls, abuses, and the use of this situation to opportunistically introduce further discriminatory, muzzling and unconstitutional legislation and political aims – is reprehensible. At a visit to a local police station this past weekend I was struck by the intimidating, needlessly rude and domineering demeanour of the duty officers who ‘served’ us.  

Whatever one’s views on the causes embraced by Robert F. Kennedy Jr, his statement during a public speech in Berlin on the 29th August this year bears serious consideration: “Governments love pandemics for the same reason they love war. It gives them the ability to impose controls on the population that the population would otherwise never accept, creating institutions and mechanisms for orchestrating and imposing obedience”. (Kennedy, R. 2020)

 

Far from demonstrating statesmanlike behaviour, the South African government has clearly flagged its collective and individual members’ immaturity during its handling of the coronavirus – cognitively, ethically, emotionally, socially and spiritually.

We need wisdom, compassion, ethical and bigger picture thinking to take root and put a brake on the imposition by government control and command behaviours  and the reduction of basic human rights, fueling of collective adversity and trauma. This trauma will result even if new laws and regulations are not initially understood and are meekly accepted. 



 

REFERENCES

Goleman, Daniel (1995) Emotional intelligence Bantam Books, NY

Goleman, Daniel (2006) Social Intelligence Hutchinson, London

Hannah, Kristin (2017) The Nightingale Pan Books

Kane-Berman, John (2020) Clicks: Losing all sense of proportion Daily Friend

https://dailyfriend.co.za/2020/09/21/clicks-losing-all-sense-of-proportion/ 

Kennedy, Robert F. Jr. (2020) Speech at the Festival for Freedom and Peace, Germany Berlin August 29, 2020

https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=1DfW8k6BRXA

Oberlechner, Thomas (1997) The Psychology of Ethics in the Finance and Investment Industry The Research Foundation of the CFA Institute 2007, citing Dobson, J. Ethics in Finance II Financial Analysts Journal, vol. 53, no. 1 (January/February):15–25. 1997

The Guardian (2004) There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq 7th October, 2004

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2004/oct/07/usa.iraq1

Wilbur, Ken (2018) Wake Up. Grow Up. The Leading Edge of the Unknown in the Human Being Amazon

http://integral-life-home.s3.amazonaws.com/Wilber-WakeUpGrowUp-TheEdgeOfTheUnknown.pdf


 [

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

How will you fit into a post Covid-19 “brave new world”?

work-from-home

 

A different new world?

 
Aldous Huxley’s science-fiction novel, Brave New World, is about a world of high tech and subtle, unconscious conditioning. It differs somewhat from the picture painted by George Orwell of a blatant command, policing and control society (Nineteen Eighty-Four). Yet their end results are not dissimilar. Do either of these two worlds face us?  German philosopher Martin Heidegger warned that the consequence of continuous, fast - paced science and technology development is that we begin to see ourselves and the world we inhabit in scientific and technological terms. We lose the high-touch that needs to balance high-tech. 
To what extent can we play a role in bringing about the new world of balanced high-tech and high-touch?  How do we prepare as individuals for whatever emerges?
 
Many speak as if the ‘new normal’ of high tech, work-from-home, social-distancing, short-term focus, an accent on agility, greater accountability and stricter control to overcome authoritarian boss’s ‘out-of-sight, less productive’ mind-set and employee’s ‘out-of-sight, forgotten’ mind-set, has arrived and is here to stay. We should be talking about 'the new ABnormal' and 'UNsocial distancing'.
 
A few believe that we need to shift away from the growth, wealth and competitive paradigms and values that drive so much of our economic, political, social and environmental values and behaviours. Instead, they see a shift towards a more sustainable, simpler, collaborative way of living. A way of living that encourages giving more than taking, compassion-power more than control-power, and the balancing of high-tech with high-touch.
 
Maybe what will transpire is a middle path – a hybrid of work-from-home and work-at- office, and an allowing for both high-tech and high-touch.
 
 
 
Why a 100% work-from-home scenario won’t work
 
Less than a year before he died German/Czech, Jewish author Franz Kafka wrote his last story. 
 
It was about a creature that lived in an underground maze of tunnels. Was completely isolated. Was locked down against imagined enemies, against the random, unseen, unpredictable, and the uncontrollable. 
A creature who struggled for self-sufficiency and survival – body, mind and soul. Was locked into certain habit patterns, had highly limiting beliefs, and was haunted by insecurity, anxiety and its own imagination (as we may be if we continue to suffer those “new brain-mind troubles” so well described by psychologist Paul Gilbert – regrets and resentment about the past, and anxieties about the future – because of our advanced ability to imagine, anticipate, recall, reflect …) (Gilbert, P. 2013)
The burrowing creature continually built and shored up underground defences in its battle against fear, uncertainty, ‘rational’ reasoning, self-doubt. Was caught between complacency and terror.  The unfinished short story ends with: "But all remained unchanged, the…."  (Kafka, F. 2017)
Surely an existential story for our times and our unsure future.
 
It may be true that the pandemic lockdown has given us the time to trigger personal growth, cultivate family relationships, avoid aspects of office work that are less-than-meaningful – from stressful commuting to navigating office politics. It has allowed us to raise by many notches our thinking and decision-making independence – when we are in a space that is free from the usual unconscious and conscious pressures, influences, expectations, opinions and norms of others. There is also little doubt that many employees subjected to lock-downs and a forced, and new-to-them, work-from-home situation have exhibited anxiety about the future, experienced being insecure or depressed, and have felt what is becoming known as Zoom fatigue caused by too many on-line meetings.There are early reports of a new form of burnout driven in large part by fear. As lockdowns extend and we move further along the Fourth Industrial Revolution path, so we will see what pioneering psychologist William James termed our "torn - to - pieces - hood" - with widespread, deep individual trauma translating into significant collective trauma.
 
We are social beings, so being forced to go remote is not natural. Coaching remotely has some benefits, but lacks what the dynamics of live one- on- one coaching bring to interactions (expressions, gestures, voice tone and pitch, natural silences, mirroring and matching for rapport, conveying empathy, and yes, appropriate touch).    
 
The absence of physical proximity and touch is a huge issue. “Humankind has continuously adapted and evolved as social beings who group together for protection and advancement reasons. Closeness and physical proximity is part of our “DNA”, beneficial to our physical immune systems, and our emotional, social and spiritual well-being”.
(Refer http://storytellinginbusiness.blogspot.com/2020/07/touch.html - a blog post that examines our human need for physical proximity and touch). 
 
 
 
An opinion about what we will see in future
 
I believe that the pendulum will swing back again and that over time (although how long is a question we cannot answer at this stage) - we will find that in leading edge organisations we will see:
 
a combination of remote work-from-home and at-office activities (for those lucky enough to have work). A hybrid. Humans crave contact and a community working together in physical proximity is more likely to facilitate a sense of psychological safety, deeper sharing, an ability to bounce-off-each-other, innovate, create a sense of belonging, be motivational, and develop a new appreciation of the richness of diversity.
 
an accent on utilising individual participation and contribution in a psychological safe ‘space’ (either remotely or in a shared office space) – and not a control and compliance approach. 
 
short term, medium term and longer term foci. Multi-temporal. More will adopt a ‘fast- feedback – loop’ way of working: for example, using surveys or polls, followed by assessment and decision, followed by immediate action. We will make more use of reflection and scenario planning - a means of sense-making that develops thinking skills and future- readiness (even if the described possible futures don’t transpire). Resilience and agility is facilitated. Longer-term scenario thinking is a necessary accompaniment to shorter-term agile operating (while waiting for the next ‘black swan’ to arrive!)  Purpose and values (in many ways the glue that bonds employees, and a requirement for providing meaning and commitment) are also not short-term features. Being purpose and values-driven tempers frenetic activity and helps us to avoid too much short-term thinking. 
 
high touch will (must) accompany high tech – as people empathically see each other through in a brave new world (and stop seeing through each other). This highlights our fundamental human need for the qualities of acceptance, understanding and compassion. And for counselling, coaching, communicating, relating and leading skills. Over and above technical skills. (Although in the short to medium term the focus of leaders is likely to be on task, productivity, control and high tech only - pushed by the Fourth Industrial Revolution merging big data, 5G, artificial intelligence, robotics ...)
 
 
 
So for the individual, in addition to staying abreast of new work-from-home technical skills; areas of inner work that can be addressed now include connecting to self, spanning a wider temporal range of thinking (past, present and future), boosting personal resilience and agility, concretizing personal purpose and values, becoming more centred, present and calm, developing compassion for self and others, re-aligning work, home and social activities, adopting self-directed learning and development, finding an alternative to “water cooler” exchanges of information and ideas …. If we spend more time (working, socialising, being at home) within a smaller geography, will this proximity to our neighbours herald greater community and interdependence?
 
 
The bigger picture? If sufficient work-from-home occurs, there will undoubtedly be impacts on certain sectors of the economy (slowdown of public transport usage and a shift in inter-modal connections, impact on vehicle refuelling points, a faster shift to a cashless society – that may also further disadvantage the most needy, less construction because of surplus office space – perhaps compensated for by more near-home building of community facilities, changed processes in respect of home deliveries and personal services, issues around data security and communications reliability as more work-from-home comes about  …) Business processes along the entire business change may need radical adjustment, as may dynamics such as customer connection, application of ethics, transfer of knowledge – and care for the whole person: exercise, meals, worship, entertainment – which will vary according to their housing situation (high, medium and low density). To what extent will organisations, as they compete for talent, contribute (financially and in other ways) to employees’ space and equipment needs under work-from-home conditions?   
 
 
 
Quo Vadis. Where to business leadership?
The following theories emerged in the last century to help us better understand leadership and provide a range of lenses to examine the study and practice of leadership.
Great Man theories: mid-19th century
Trait theories: 1930–1940s
Behavioural theories: 1940s–1950s
Contingency theories: 1960s onwards
Transactional/transformational leadership: 1970s onwards
Implicit leadership theories: 1970s onwards
Charismatic leadership: 1980s
Contemporary theories include authentic leadership, servant leadership, spiritual or ‘conscious’ leadership, dispersed or distributed leadership, adaptive leadership, agile and resilient leadership, mindful leadership from the inside-out, group leadership 
 
 
Over time we’ve seen shifts from command and control, to an accent on influence and persuasion, to increasing focus on sustainability and good corporate governance and ethics, engaging employees via purpose, meaning and values, and to belonging to a diverse ‘workforce’ 
To what extent will new practices, technologies and work locations reinforce any of these trends or cause a reversion to historical practices and styles?  and
To what extent will a task and productivity orientation and new rules (which include more control of less visible staff) override the relationship needs of staff? 

The jury is still out.
How will you begin to become more future-fit for an emerging new World?
 
 
 
Reference 
Global work-from-home day


 

Monday, August 31, 2020

PUTTING THINGS RIGHT



Let’s put right what is wrong

Putting things right and restoring harmony is illustrated in this painting Justia by Brazilian artist Alexander Moreira. The soluble coffee and white tempera depiction of Lady Justice calls to mind what is honourable, fair, well-reasoned, balanced and right. What is sorely needed from our ANC/ Communist Party/ Trade Unions government right now. And from us. In the painting the absence of the usually prominent sword conveys a gentle and strong power (rather than an overt power) that our government must surely heed.

Over 30 years ago I enjoyed a correspondence with Elias Charcour, a priest in Gaza who wrote Blood Brothers in 1984 (It was translated into 20 languages).

He has always championed peace, unity and justice, was three times nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and in 2006 became Archbishop of Akko, Haifa, Nazareth and All Galilee of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church.

He wrote about “fighting for our dignity and freedom” which is a fight we in South Africa are now deeply engaged in. 

Inherent in Elias’s thinking is unity and interconnectivity. He refers to himself as a “Palestinian-Arab-Christian-Israeli". His message has validity for us today as we hurtle as a nation towards the edge of the precipice.

I believe that that foolish man of Galilee, Jesus Christ, had something to tell us, to tell me”.

“The momentum carried us out of the church and into the streets where true Christianity belongs”.

He refers too to the David and Goliath story, an apt metaphor for our general situation – in our cities, our towns and our farms.

 

This brings to mind the Les Miserables lyric:


“Goliath was a bruiser who was tall as the sky.
But David threw a right and gave him one in the eye.
I never read the Bible but I know that it's true
It only goes to show what little people can do!
A worm can roll a stone.
A bee can sting a bear …
… A flea can bite the bottom of the Pope in Rome”
 
We must somehow overcome all the evil actions that have been happening.

And insist that government begins to put things right.

 And we are big enough to achieve this.

 

HOW should we campaign for things to be put right?

A careful reading of the letter from Elias Charcour below shows that he is focused on achieving peace, justice and unity, and putting things right in the right way.

Michael Ramsden underlines this principle in his talk Culture and Conflict. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJVv7UcZjcI

Ramsden explains that if we pursue justice with a mind-set of bitterness, then even after justice is achieved, we will be bitter. If we pursue justice from a base of love and compassion, then love and compassion will be the fruit of justice achieved. The means to the end is as important as the end. And he draws on powerful metaphors from Amos 6:12 to illustrate: “Is it possible for (unshod) horses to go running on the rocks? May the sea be ploughed with oxen?” 





A strident “you owe me” mentality (something that we see far too much of) feeds bitterness, and is likely to invoke resentment, fear, resistance and further separation.

A new testament parable that speaks to this mindset is that of the man released from his debt, then demanding payback from those who are indebted to him (Matthew 18). On the other hand, Zacchaeus, befriended and engaged by Jesus, made restoration far in excess of what was expected. (Luke 19)

Those who would transform a Nation or the World cannot do so by breeding and captaining discontent or by demonstrating the reasonableness and desirability of the intended changes or by coercing people into a new way of life. They must know how to kindle and fan an extravagant hope” - Eric Hoffer, American moral and social philosopher.

 

I’ve been asked to produce a chapter for an upcoming Business Storytelling Encyclopaedia to be published by World Scientific Publishing Co Pte Ltd. Two story practitioners who I work with and who are both deeply knowledgeable (Terrence Gargiulo and Stévé Bánhegyi have joined me on this task. Our working title is From Walls to Bridges with Story: exploring ways of countering the societal, economic and environmental impacts of negative, belittling, divisive, harmful and false narratives. We cover the changing of predominant, existing narratives (from walls to bridges) at the nation-state, organisational, inter-relationship and personal inner levels. We are guided by Eric Hoffer’s wisdom and our principles and methodology for bridging-stories, which are an imperative, and reflect his philosophy. As do the desired characteristics of ‘bridging story’ practitioners). And by the simplicity of Simon and Garfunkel's Bridge Over Troubled Water. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8uZgcz_WlAA)

To borrow from G. I. Gurdjieff’s ‘law of three’ as elucidated by Cynthia Bourgeault: Given a ‘for’ and an ‘against, there can be a ('and/both') reconciliation, and as a result of this process a new dimension is born. A teaching from Jesus is that if a seed (‘for’) falls to the ground (‘against’), then only with water & sunlight (a reconciling force) will there be a sprout (birth of the new). (Rohr, R. 2019 citing Bourgeault, C. 2013)

The picture that follows shows two separate swans coming together - a new and third thing transpires: the heart that they form.  (Bowen, Pan. 2007) Two stories, me and you, can become a third story: we.

 


Bowen Pan (2007)  Two swans forming a heart shape   (Wikimedia Commons)


In his book Intelligent Ethics, associate Luke Andreski identifies three simple moral objectives, which are based on a commitment to life – to the very essence of what we are – and to the living world. They are:

 

·        To nurture others

·        To nurture our species as a whole 

·        To nurture all life

 

These simple and uncontroversial moral aims reflect the core elements of many of the great ethical traditions of the past. More than this, their simplicity makes them an ideal tool for addressing the moral dilemmas of the modern world.

In a bigger context of our interconnectedness we have a duty to counter what separates and harms, destroys. Work for unity and compassion. 

 

What should we campaign for?

For the purposes of this article, the focus in not on the individual, group, organisation or institution, but at the nation – state level. Massive, positive effort is required.  Specifically, in South Africa. (I am not sufficiently aware of the situation in other countries).

For six months South Africa has been subjected to a harsh lock-down and pandemic regulations that have killed the economy and badly damaged the social fabric of the country, and its citizens. In light of the reported success of Sweden’s Folkvett (Trust the people to be responsible) approach (which naturally allows formation of a herd – immunity , what has happened to our people is nothing less than criminal.

At a protest rally I was struck by the palpable sense of not being alone, pride in standing up to the abuses, robbing and plundering enacted by government officials, and disappointed in the silence of the institutional churches, synagogues, mosques and temples.

In addition, Rees gives a clear perspective on other trends and threats: “…. environmental degradation, unchecked climate change and unintended consequences of advanced technology could trigger serious, even catastrophic, setbacks to society”.  On necessary wealth distribution and closing the gap between the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’: “Failure to respond to this (feasible) humanitarian imperative, which nations have the power to remedy, surely casts doubt on any claims of institutional moral progress”. (Rees, Martin (2018) On the Future: prospects for humanity Princeton University Press) 

There is so much wrong that needs to be named. We need to apply our minds to the implications of unconstrained developments in a number of areas. Broadly, the three most important areas that require addressing (not in priority order and all interconnected) are:

 

The encroachment of biotechnology and the Fourth Industrial Revolution, if not ethically – bounded

The rapid, wide advent of technology into every area of our lives promises both benefit and dis-benefit.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is picking up (Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, 5G networks …).  Drones and robots can make deliveries, plant crops, and kill. Face recognition software is developing to the point where emotions can be read. The more connected we are the more is known about our lifestyle, preferences, feelings, state of well-being. The more interconnected technologies become the more this becomes true.

Transhumanism flirts dangerously with de-humanisation and brings us ever closer to the AI/ Human crossover point, termed ‘singularity’. Becoming trans-human is an ego-driven goal. It aims at overcoming our physical and biological 'limitations' in order to ‘evolve’ into being ‘super-human’.  Closer to perfection. Or closer to dysfunctionality? 

Will information and access to us be in the hands of governments and a few rich people? Without non-technical, appropriate involvement to apply ethical limitations to technology advancement, we could be in big trouble …

 

Plundered resources – financial, natural, human, intellectual, social capitals

We have seen unbelievable corruption, state capture and state creep that has gone unpunished as the ANC simultaneously dismantled or rendered toothless the necessary checks-and-balances institutions. Now under consideration we have nationalisation of the reserve bank, state-prescribed pension fund investments ... The ANC, founded with the support of various institutions including the Church, is a tripartite alliance with the Communist Party and the trade unions (whose motives are not in any aligned with what is best for a "democratic" nation. The long-ongoing deployment of cadres who are rewarded on the basis for their loyalty to the party, has taken precedence over any selection to high posts that are based on competence and merit. And we have stayed silent for too many years.

Pending legislation includes:

 

·       No environmental assessments needed for gas pipelines, electricity corridors, and more 

·        Proposed removal of the requirement on SARS to prove intent with regard to information submitted on income tax, VAT and other returns. If you make a genuine mistake in your tax declarations, SARS can unilaterally deem this to be of criminal intent 

·        5G network towers may be erected on private land (including residential), and property owners may not charge an access fee and are liable for any damage to the tower and other infrastructure (At one stage India banned cell towers near schools, hospitals, prisons, because of potential radiation effects - but that is not even a consideration here·       


·    Censorship of any criticism of the Government

 

Trampling on unalienable human rights, and sewing disunity

 More and more are seeing that the Swedish approach and absence of harsh and prolonged, debilitating lock-downs and command and control measures based on fear - mongering, pseudo-science and faulty prediction models, has worked. Without destroying economies, social fabric and lives.

Our Bill of Rights, when last I read it, includes many citizen rights that are being derogated (abused) by the CCCCCC. (Covid-19 Command Control Compliance and Capture Council). A better description than the official National Coronavirus Command Council. 

These include inalienable and unimpeded rights to work, life, equality, dignity, the absence of discrimination (including on the grounds of age), freedom of movement, freedom from degrading treatment, freedom of thought, expression, privacy including protection against search and seizure of home, person, and correspondence, ownership of land and no expropriation without compensation, the right to information held by the government, freedom of worship …

Instead we now have a military-like command and control  'leadership' that influences and directs how we think, feel and behave, at every level, that is biased against certain population groups, and deliberately sews disunity.

There is a real chance of an undemocratic shift to a communist model. Ex-president Zuma’s ex-wife who heads the National Coronavirus Disaster Management Council has said that the pandemic “… also offers us an opportunity to accelerate the implementation of some long agreed upon structural changes … These opportunities call for more sacrifice and – if needs be – what Amilcar Cabral called “class suicide” ….’.  (Hoffman, P. 2020)

Cadre deployment has been practiced for years now. Comrades are rewarded for their loyalty to the party. This selection criterion takes precedence over competence and merit. 

(The Marxist Cabral led the revolutionary guerrilla war for independence against Portuguese Guinea, West Africa. His solution requires doing away with capitalism and adopting the non-colonial values of the masses. Hoffman, Paul. Advocate. (2020) Survival of the nation trumps the revolutionary transformation of the economy   2 May 2020) 

The killing of farmers as a visible, ideology-fueled, symbolic “struggle” strategy designed to whip up hatred, and badly hurt ‘colonialists’ is a related activity that has remained a deliberate ANC strategy. Not only do they not admit that the “Kill the farmer” war song and slogan constitute hate speech, they have continued to refuse to acknowledge escalating white farm killings (except for a little while under Mandela) as a priority crime; instead they hide or fudge statistics. This has been the case during the Mbeki, Zuma and Ramaphosa eras. These killings have no place in a civilized, democratic society. They deserve priority crime status because:

 ·        the struggle is long over,

·        the attacks occur frequently,

·        many if not most of the victims are old,

·        the attacks are brutal and grisly,

·        they disrupt and reduce our food supply in a time of economic depression,

·        they are contrary to social cohesion, and dangerously divisive.   

  • statistics about who owns the land stem from false audits. In a recent development a municipality offered to repay a debt of billions of Rand to Eskom, by transferring ownership of 129 farms from themselves to Eskom!


It is shocking and an abomination that the "kill the boer" hate campaign continues by commission and omission. Society at large and key institutions (including the religious) have stayed silent. Shame! 

Beyond disrespecting our constitution and trampling on basic human rights, this government shows scant regard for the value of life itself. 

Ukulungisa is an African concept, essentially meaning a chance to put things right, restore order, aspire to higher things. We should not lose this chance. Let’s do it. 

 

Further reading is available at:

The Swedish model

https://fee.org/articles/sweden-now-has-a-lower-covid-19-death-rate-than-the-us-here-s-why-it-matters

Touch trumps unsocial distancing http://storytellinginbusiness.blogspot.com/2020/07/touch.html

The new abnormal

http://storytellinginbusiness.blogspot.com/2020/05/two-boys-and-girl-and-new-sub-human.html

Our constitution mocked

http://storytellinginbusiness.blogspot.com/2020/06/does-our-constitution-belong-in-waste.html