Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Your/Our Story 2023


Illustration of the Theory of Moral Foundations, by Aprilia Muktirinia


Evil is not what we should fear. Creatures with power acting in their own interest: that is what should make us shudder” - Shehan Karunatilaka (Booker Prize-winning, Sri Lankan author)

“It’s not dark yet but it’s getting there” – Bob Dylan



Winston “Churchill believed that modern scientific advancements, while productive of many good things, could also potentially lead to the loss of freedom. He sought to counter this possibility by speaking out against socialism and by recruiting citizens to the cause of a free society" - Prof Larry P. Arnn, Hillsdale College

 Yuval Noah Harari, adviser to Klaus Schwab and lecturer at the World Economic Forum is adamant that:

 • natural selection is being replaced by intelligent design as man continues to evolve, 

science is gearing up to create eternal life for man, 

men will become gods, 

the Bible is fake news, 

science is the new world religion.

Homo Deus, Harari’s new book is recommended by Bill Gates. Barack Obama and Mark Zuckerberg are amongst his other fans. A review states, “We are the only species in earth’s long history that has single-handedly changed the entire planet, and we no longer expect any higher being to shape our destinies for us”   

See also:

The term science fiction describes a speculative literary genre but has recently assumed a sinister new meaning when dishonest, deceptive ‘leaders’ and a new self-appointed ‘elite’ refer to “following the science”.  (We need to question everything. Ask “Who says?” and “So what?”)



Churchill - British warrior, statesman and Prime Minister during both war time and times of peace thought and worked on the basis that there are only two types of country:

 • People own the government (Participatory democracy at its best. Free), or

Governments own the people (Socialism carries within it the seeds of totalitarianism. A regimented society without freedom)

We are on a path from the former to the latter.

In this chart (click on image to see larger version) we try to depict:


Information-power, the power of science, technology, engineering, wealth, position - in the wrong narcissistic hands for the wrong reasons - signals extreme danger for humanity. Churchill pointed out that Marx saw the institution of family as a threat to the State, (where all loyalty should be directed).

Andrzej Lobaczewski, the  Polish psychologist, recognized that ruthless and disturbed individuals are strongly drawn to political power, and often end up constituting the government of nations. In The Hideous Strength, C.S. Lewis (educator, philosopher, author of the Chronicles of Narnia series and other incredibly wise books), tells a story of self-appointed ruling “elites” who adopt the power of science and use emergency conditions as the opportunity to enforce their self-interested rule. They run NICE (the National Institute of Co-ordinated Experiments) as a front for sinister forces).

Lewis points out the self-destruct certainty of totalitarian politics, for example Nazism, and “the disciplined cruelty of some ideological oligarchy”. (Wedgeworth, S. 2013)

Such power overcomes any resistance to the reining in of the destructive potential carried by science, engineering and technology.



In any form of totalitarian rule (like socialism or absolute monarchy) that entails a “scientifically” regimented rule by a self-appointed “elite”, and administration is performed by non-elected civil servants who are neither civil nor servants - the people effectively become slaves. Get told what to do. Institutions like family and local community are overthrown and eradicated by centralized, unbridled power.

The toll on citizens can be huge – to take one indicator: rates of euthanasia, assisted and unassisted suicide may all be on the rise around the world.  And the numbers tend to increase in times of undue trauma and economic hardship. For every suicide there are many more attempted suicides, and for every attempted suicide there are many more contemplating whether to act or not. It runs deep and sore. (Chapman, A. 2020)

And what we are being encouraged to accept is an artificially imposed ‘new normal’ which is not new (Oligarchies continue to happen time and time again) and is certainly not normal (when evaluated against freedom, morality, power abuse and power imbalances, loss of competence at deep listening and communication, how we organise, democracy, well-being, dominance of pseudo-science, conflicts, thrust of education, our physical norms, what we may own, what we may or may not spend, what we must think and believe, falsehoods, rich-poor gaps, narcissism,  inequalities, exploitation of societies and the environment by irresponsible capitalism, decline of neighbourliness and compassion and our disconnections from others, nature and spirituality, the negative ongoing impact of lockdowns and related regulations and controls, forced compliance with 'orders' from the 'elite' reinforced by digital vaccine passports and the like …) and this ‘new normal’ is set to get worse. Far worse.  

Make no mistake. We are in mortal danger. It's like the (twisted values) game of Monopoly where the rich and 'elite' are amassing all the wealth, powers and control, and are bent on eliminating any competition. We might go around the board another few times but the end is in sight.

We opened this newsletter with a quote that mentions "Creatures with power acting in their own interest". And so for example the World Health Organisation (funded by Bill Gates) is slowly but surely amending the 2005 International Health regulations to eliminate individual freedoms and push their idea of the 'collective interest'. Humanity may be described (as is said to be the American death row tradition) as a "dead man walking".



C.S. Lewis was in his time the most popular U.K. radio host ever. He believed that the fundamental, foundational nature of what it means to be human - a universally embedded objective moral value - is an inheritance the human family cannot afford to lose. Call it Tao (The Way). It is needed to counter evil, tyranny, and slavery in their many guises.

Tao is widely accepted as a true way for humanity. (Truth is a deep remembrance of the nature of things and what is important). (Moore, T. 2002)

Perspective is needed:

A traveller watches an old man struggling to draw water from a well in order to irrigate his garden.

He suggests to him a vastly more effective, modern, mechanistic solution. One that would produce water far in excess of what the gardener needs.

The old man is angry as he replies, “Those who use cunning implements are cunning in their dealings with others, and those who are cunning in their dealings with others lack purity of heart, and those who have cunning in their hearts have restless spirits. I know about solutions such as you propose, but I am ashamed to use them”

- Chuang-Tzu the 4th Century BC Chinese sage. (Williams, G. 2016)

Yullyeo is an ancient Asian concept of the rhythm, cycles, pattern of the universe, “similar to the idea of the Tao, that can help people to understand their place in the universe”. (Lee, I. 2018). 



A raising of consciousness is much needed, in order to birth a new narrative for humanity.

One that takes an opposite direction to the expectations of the likes of Yuval Noah Harari, and the New World Order and the so-called ‘elite’.  Take Dr Gabor Maté’s advice and counter some of Yval Harari’s thinking by reading The Dawn of Everything. (Graeber, D. & Wengrow, D.    2021)

Raising our consciousness is an absolute choice for every individual to make:

Taking a simple view that ‘self’ is the core of our being, I think we can take one of two routes:

The low road. Maintain the basic animalistic and egoic self, which determines that our values and choices, conditioned by society, become self-serving and narrow by nature

The high road. In order to becoming fully human, to be able to bask in beauty, solitude, community, love… requires putting on a more beautiful mind of non-duality and higher character (metanoia), learning to love sacrificially and becoming self-emptying (kenosis) and being completed and being in a new, enlightening, energising point of contact with one’s Creator (pleroma) (Bourgeault, C. 2010) For me personally this lines up with mention of belonging to "The Way" throughout Acts in the New Testament.  


Let’s choose and take the high road, and usher in new hope for a better future.

(Click on image to see larger version)

A move from a telling to a talking governing approach, and towards community.

A move towards recognizing the individual and collective trauma that abounds, and promoting the bringing of light and light - triad character traits that underline Tao/ objective moral value (finding the way, the truth and the life) 

A closing of the gap between ‘left brain’ scientific/ engineering/ technological analysis and decision-making; and ‘right brain’ poetic, human and big-picture thinking. And embracing community and family (in the widest possible sense)   


Ponder for yourself the moral foundation of "sanctity" depicted in the opening illustration. What does it mean to you? 



"...telling the truth is the first necessary step toward facing well the numerous crises of our day, from a global pandemic to climate change. Truth-telling is an act of faithful resistance and practical hope"- Mary Emily Briehl Duba, Wendt Center for Character Education 2022

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” - Martin Luther King, Jr.

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart” - Helen Keller, the first deaf and blind person to write her biography The Story of my Life, at the age of 22

“It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light” - Aristotle


Books33, who this year published Story Bridging: create the connections and possibilities that build bridges, are in the business of education. Early on in 2023 a number of on-line distance-learning, self-directed courses for business leaders and progressively - minded staff members will be launched:
• Business Story telling certificate course
• Story Circle Work certificate course
• Story Bridging Foundation course
• Story Bridging course for Professionals
• Advanced Feedback & Measurement certificate course

Certificate courses are 10-hours long, Foundation courses 5 hours, Professional courses 20 hours, all paced at the learner’s discretion. Free introductory courses (60 to 90 minutes) will be available for each of the above topics.

At the end of 2019 I was requested by the editor and story guru David Boje to write a chapter for the Encyclopaedia of Business Storytelling to be published by World Scientific Publishing Co Pte Ltd. I invited Steve Banhegyi and Terrence Gargiulo to co-write this chapter which is now due to be published in the first quarter 2023. (The chapter has been greatly expanded and evolved into the Story Bridging book which is available at the give-away price of US$4 - in order to spread the story bridging message for our times during this turbulent, dangerous period. Global Kindle version: 

Artem Mushin-Makedonskiy, Russian Story Gatherer and Board member, Storytelling In Organizations Group of the National Storytelling Network, who so successfully hosted the popular Storify Your Leadership and Storify Your Culture webinars, is keen to conduct a third conference sometime in May 2023. He envisages “a conference where people could come to discover story techniques and narrative mindsets that can help build bridges instead of walls - inside their communities and teams, companies, countries, between people and groups and even inside themselves”. Naturally this pleases me no end!

In association with the World Storytelling Institute, the Indian Institute of Psychodrama is offering a Diploma Course in "Psychodrama" commencing March 2023.
Course info is at 



Bourgeault, Cynthia (2010) The Meaning of Mary Magdalene: discovering the woman at the heart of Christianity Shambhala Boulder

Chapman, Alan (2020) Suicide

Graeber, David & Wengrow, David (2023) The Dawn of Everything: a new history of humanity Picador

Lee, Ilchee (2018) 10 Simple Ways to feel the Rhythm of the Universe Patheos

Moore, Thomas (2002) The Soul’s Religion: cultivating a profoundly spiritual way of life Bantam Books

Wedgeworth, Steven (2013) From the Politics of N.I.C.E. Calvinist International 24 February, 2013

Williams, Graham (2016) Ancient wisdom for Modern Workplaces



Monday, November 14, 2022

The “Post Covid” situation – New findings

"Unless someone like you cares an awful lot; nothing is going to get better. It’s not” – Dr Seuss (The Lorax)



We recently posted an article highlighting the wellness, mental and physical health and well-being problems being experienced as a result of employee’s covid experiences. (If you have yet to read Curing Malady at Work, where we talk about this and also about lost connections and lost values, go to:

As Gabor Maté proves, there is nothing 'normal' about the way we are living and the remarkably high level of stress and toxicity that we face every day. (Maté, g. 2022)

There are a growing number of research papers and articles emanating from a number of countries, about the inefficacy of and the adverse effects of covid vaccinations. That is not what this article is about. Instead, in this article we outline the impact on the health and wellness of people emanating from their covid experience as we move into what is being heralded by some as a post-covid period. (This period may turn out to be simply the lull before the next inevitable medical, financial, technological or social pandemic - which will again traumatise millions). Documentation of what people are experiencing is still sparse but deserves our full consideration.

What we can now say with certainty is that people have suffered and continue to suffer. There have been many impacts, potentially serious and lasting in terms of our health and wellness at every level: physical, intellectual emotional, social and spiritual. These traumatic impacts have been both collective and individual.

New Findings of Note

Scientists in Europe and the USA compared levels of the five-factor model of personality traits before and after the coronavirus pandemic, finding that personality itself has been affected by the trauma of covid (with some differences across age groups):

Extraversion (characterised by outgoing sociability, high energy) declined (moved towards introversion)

Openness (characterised by curiousness, insight, imaginativeness) declined

Agreeableness (Prosocial, kind, giving, helpful, accepting) decreased

Conscientiousness (goal-directed, focused) suffered

Neuroticism (self-blaming, tendency to focus on negative emotions) increased

(Bello, C. 2022)

On a ‘whole person’ basis, other research conducted, and our own experiences and observations have been in line with the findings that follow. (See References below).

Interlinked, negative impacts (mainly long-lasting and not short-lived) that are being revealed:


Insomnia, digestive problems, listlessness, curtailed movement and lack of exercise, unexpected sudden ailments of many sorts


Boredom, brain fog, memory loss - ‘pandemic amnesia’, not feeling in control

(Exacerbated for some by longer work hours)

Emotional/ Psychological

Anxiety, high stress, panic, depression, loneliness, grieving for those who’ve died  

Parents worry about their school-going kids: schooling time lost, lowered concentration, new fears and vulnerabilities, teacher’s inability to handle acting out, giving up, low morale 

(Often triggered by change, uncertainty and financial stress).


Social isolation is abnormal for humans and can become a self-imposed habit. Many relationships have suffered. A ‘me-first’ attitude has become more prevalent. There is less compassion for the other. ‘Red flag words’ spark conflict. There is a new sense of being vulnerable to harm from others (Young and older experience this). And sometimes a phenomenon of pseudo self-sufficiency. (‘It’s everyone for themselves’)

Attachment-style (attachment-inheritance may be a better word) plays a big role. Where attachment style is one of relational insecurity, the dynamic between needing to have your own space and being able to enjoy being very close to another or others creates problematical behaviours. These may result in major conflict within relationships)


Fear and being wary of others, feeling vulnerable to others and the unknown future. Community and togetherness is impacted.

Attending funerals where there is forced distancing between mourners, or not being able to be with loved ones when they are dying have scarred people. They ask, ‘Why is this being allowed to happen to me?!’

Some also exclaim: ‘The world should for us all be charged with the grandeur of God. Humans should be blessed by the spiritual realities of beauty, love, harmony, contentment. Not weighed down by abuse, totalitarian behaviour by those in charge, not subject to narcissism and a materialistic culture. Why is this happening?’


What has been imposed, and/or allowed with inadequate response, can be described as despicable.

The impacts outlined above have the potential to render people, institutions and organisations dysfunctional if no adequate remedy is forthcoming.

In addition, in a hybrid (at-home and on-site) operating circumstance, where there is already potential for a single organisation culture to come under threat, these ongoing covid impacts may certainly exacerbate culture damage.

We advocate as a first step that leaders of organisations and institutions learn about their specific situation by conducting a quick, illuminating survey in order to find answers and take action. Contact

(If you wish to do a sample survey (which is not as refined as the one that would be done for your organisation but will give you an idea of possible survey content, go to:



Bello, Camille (2022) Scientists believe COVID may have altered our personalities, especially young adults Euronews November, 2022

Chirichella, Caroline (2022) How and Why the Coronavirus Pandemic Might Be Messing with Your Memory Shape

Lebow, Hilary I (2021) and Juby, Bethany, PsyD medically reviewed. How the Pandemic Affected Our relationships   PsychCentral

Maté, Gabor MD, with Maté, Daniel (2022) The Myth of Normal: trauma, illness and healing in a toxic culture Avery

Nardone, G, and Portelli, C. (2005) Knowing through changing: The evolution of brief strategic therapy. United Kingdom: Crown House.

Pietrabissa, Giada & Simpson, Susan G. (2020) Psychological Consequences of Social Isolation During COVID-19 Outbreak 09 September 2020 Frontiers in Psychology

Rogers, J. P, Chesney, E., Oliver, D., Pollak, T. A., McGuire, P, Fusar-Poli, P, et al. (2020. Psychiatric and neuropsychiatric presentations associated with severe coronavirus infections: a systematic review and meta-analysis with comparison to the COVID-19 pandemic Lancet Psychiatry 7, 611–627. doi: 10.1016/S2215-0366(20)30203-0





Friday, November 4, 2022



Can we together nurture humanity back to a better ‘new normal’? These explorations or conversations are aimed at mobilising a meaningful, perhaps counter-intuitive response to the malaise that cloaks society as economic, environmental, technological, societal and geo-political woes beset the World. The pace and pervasive nature of change is overwhelming to many, who find themselves individually and collectively traumatised, leaderless, feel betrayed, lied to, and on the cusp of losing not only rights and freedoms, but maybe even their very humanity.

Winston "Churchill believed that modern scientific advancements, while productive of many good things, could also potentially lead to the loss of freedom. He sought to counter this possibility by speaking out against socialism and by recruiting citizens to the cause of a free society. He also championed constitutionalism and social reform as means of increasing social stability and protecting free markets and property rights". Prof Larry P. Arnn, Hillsdale College

So, this is not a call nor an attempt to activate protest and solve problems.  Simply a sharing  of thoughts and feelings.

SPREADING LIGHT: We are disconnected, dissociated in an abnormal, doomsday World. What is happening out there? What can we help to make something better happen?

·       INVOKING HEART: Acting from the heart to bridge walls between and within. How do we contribute to move humankind from being hate-based to heart-based, both human and kind?

·       SHARED MIND: Discovering the power of a larger, more beautiful, interconnected mind. Can we get closer to understanding the power and potential of our shared, collective mind?

·       TALKING CURES: Revelling in new talking cures. Can philosophies and methodologies like dialogue, circle work and story-bridging be the spaces in which a transformative difference can come about?

·       LIVING WILD AND FREE: Is a new reality, one that we can imagine, waiting to emerge? How do we improve our ability to belong more deeply to the interconnected web of life, to forge decent and supportive community, to mature and integrate self, to hone-in on the values and virtues needed to undergird a sustainable society, and to bravely bring about a better ‘new normal’?


The 5 conversations that follow are intended to be 'conversation starters' for anyone, or any group wishing to have dialogue on situations and topics relevant to the state of society - what it is today, where it is headed, where it might land, and what we can do in playing a part in its future yet to emerge.