“Open Up” conference from the perspective of the sociologically inclined non-mentalist

EDIT:  I bloody well missed it!  Happy (er?!) three year birthday to my blog! That’s ancient in blog terms.  Hark, I hear a man approaching with a shotgun… RUN! RUN! RUN AND GRAB ALL THE CAKE YOU CAN CARRY!

EDIT EDIT:  I found the speech I made as part of the panel in my emails, but I deviated wildly from it.  Anyway, it’s at the end of this post after the cut.

I have my own extremely late thoughts on the Open Up conference, which was about how to communicate mental health issues through the media, but due to aforementioned feeling depressed thus tired, I haven’t finished the post. In short, I enjoyed it, it was interesting, it highlighted a glaring division in the mental health “community” (the problem of language- some people take massive exception to “illness” and to words like, “mental”, some are more in keeping with the medical model who want mental illness to be more normalised.  The issue of identity- if there is no consensus, we’ll just argue amongst ourselves, and what then?) and I hope to be hanging around at other such events.  As I was hanging around I met a few of my readers, so hello out there!

I found speaking nervewracking and I will post about it properly when I’m feeling a bit better (which I hope comes soon- I feel slightly better today) as it deserves some proper articulation.  I was glad to see that a lot of people made an effort to be there, coming from far afield. I still think Alastair Campbell is a tiresome, self promoting cockend. Do quote me on that.  There is no thread of discourse so interesting that he cannot turn it back onto himself somehow.  He even had a book signing at the break.  I admire Campbell’s openness about his problems, but I wish he was more inclusive in his promotion.

I think Mark from One in Four is a star.  Here was his opening speech:

Hello, I’m the editor of One in Four magazine.  I’m a professional.  I’m also a person with mental health difficulties.

There isn’t a division between people with mental health difficulties and professionals, be it professionals in politics, in the professions, in the media or in any sector.  You’d be surprised at the amount of charity, public sector and private sector professionals that we run into who have a mental health difficulty. It’s like a secret club, spread across workplaces throughout the country.  Some of the people you’ll hear from and meet today are members of this club.  I know I am.

This afternoon is about beginning to find new ways of talking about mental health difficulty.  More than ever, we need to be cleverer and more effective in getting across useful, meaningful and positive ideas about mental health difficulty.

Like a growing number of exciting and groundbreaking projects like Star Wards, Patient Opinion and Cool Tan Arts, for us in producing One in Four it’s about meeting people halfway and collapsing old divisions between those providing services to people experiencing mental health difficulties and those experiencing them.

One in Four is a grassroots project, similar to all of the other excellent and innovative projects created and run by people with mental health difficulties that are supported by Open Up, the part of Time to Change that incubates and supports grassroots projects.  But we’re also professionals.  The old divisions no longer apply.  We produce a magazine that is written by people with mental health difficulties from the point of view of what people need to know, not the point of view of what needs to be told to them.  We all face the challenge of not only making people aware of what mental health difficulty is, but also what it means.

It’s more important than ever that we get things right.  Just one little slip, one badly judged idea, one badly informed person and an individual can be made to feel worthless, forgotten, stigmatized or without hope.  People focus on information, but information is meaningless unless people know how to understand it and how to make use of it.

We all need to find new ways of moving people’s ideas of mental health difficulty on, of shaking up old understandings and putting in place new, positive ideas.  We need to finally remove the stigma of mental health difficulty and help everyone to see that mental health difficulty isn’t a list of symptoms and treatments, but a series of challenges that can be overcome and lived through.

The reality is that there is no ‘us and them’ when it comes to mental health difficulty. Any group will contain people with experience of mental health difficulty, regardless of how much it might protest that it does not.

It’s only through working together that we will be able to change attitudes, be they the attitudes of those that don’t experience mental health difficulty or those that do.  There is so much information available, and so many competing ideas that we must find ways of helping and supporting people that start from the point of view ‘what do people want to know?’  The only way we can do this is to shake off the idea that simply putting information out there in ever-increasing volumes is the answer, and meet people halfway by working with them to find out the best ways of answering their questions and meeting their needs.

It’s about all of us working together.  It’s about getting beyond the idea of thinking of people with mental health difficulties a separate group in society. It’s about working together, whether it’s with public sector organisations, the voluntary sector, the media or just in everyday life. People with mental health difficulties need to be at the heart of the production of messages about mental health difficulty.

It’s awful to be stereotyped by people who should know better.  It’s time for a new way of dealing with mental health in the media. At least one in four people will experience a mental health difficulty.  That means a quarter of the audience for any television programme; any radio show, any newspaper or any other public material will have experienced mental health difficulties in their lives, or will know someone who has.

If one in four of us experience mental heath difficulties, no one who produces materials for public consumption should ever use the excuse that they couldn’t find anyone to talk to about the issues or the best way to discuss them.  There’s thousands and thousands of us out there, just waiting to be asked what we think, what we’ve experienced or how something affects us.  Some of us run companies.  Other provide services.  Others are more than happy to give our time for free if we know it will make a difference.

We need to get beyond a culture of just complaining. We need to get beyond saying ‘oh dear’ or working ourselves into a moral lather. People with mental health difficulties need to work with, and in, organisations to make sure they get it right and producers and organisations need to accept that and make it possible.

We hope that this afternoon will mark the birth of a number of new ideas, schemes, ways of working and plans for doing just that.

Thanks.

So, it might interest you then to read the thoughts of my glamourous assistant Robert, who is- as is quite apparent from his manner of speaking- a sociology student.

He also blogs over at: Vaughan Vanquishes Vaughan (his “nice” blog- warning, CONTAINS ARSE), Sporting Deviance (his sociological sporting blog) and The Trap Box (the “nasty” blog.  Warning: contains visceral mentions of teeth).

He is also a Nice Man.

Hello. I am not Seaneen. I am, however, a Sociology student. And whilst I attended the Open Up conference solely in the capacity of giving Seaneen moral support for her speech, I found myself studying it, in academic terms.

I am particularly interested in how people organize and express themselves as groups, how they try to exert power & influence and the smorgasbord of things they believe in. All collective action is interesting in the same way, be it women’s lib, football hooliganism or a pop.culture scene. They exist and act in the domain of culture, lifestyle and symbols, not the old-fashioned rigidities of traditional politics. Changing language can be as powerful as changing laws, if not more so. It’s sometimes called postmodern politics. I would call it, simply; the way things currently are. It occurred to me that the Open Up conference was an event for one (or more) such group(s).

This was an event held largely by and for *enters lexiconographic minefield* mentalists/people with mental health problems/service users etc. I myself, if I may just jump into another minefield, am… normal/healthy/able/non-service user. An “unmentalist” perhaps.

I was very aware of my difference. You don’t notice not being in “a secret club” (as Mark Brown put it) until you’re there amongst them.A stowaway. Amidst this company I was The Other. Not in an extreme or difficult manner, in fact I quite enjoyed it for its strangeness & irony, and must emphasize the incredible friendliness of everyone I met. This was the, ahem, polar opposite to, say, being a Manchester United fan sat amongst the Liverpool hardcores.

But the sense of difference was tangible inside me, profound enough for it to be noteworthy. It was a polite Us & Them. The “normal” me as the minority Them surrounded by a majority Us. The spatiotemporality of my supposed normality was exposed. For a brief fascinating moment I actually had an insight into what it is that might make someone yearn for diagnosis/labelling – the precise kind of thing that for good reason so enraged Seaneen last week: https://thesecretlifeofamanicdepressive.wordpress.com/2010/01/27/bipolar-disorder-can-suck-it-suck-it-hard/

In fact, as a warning, I should like to predict that as this self-organizing “mental rights” movement(s) continue, as they win their discursive culture-battles, be prepared for more and more wannabes. Having something to believe in, something to challenge, something to change is an intoxicating feeling. People will aspire to the bandwagon as it gathers more pace. Prepare yourselves for some annoying buggers! But take it as a sign of success, perhaps, albeit one of the least desirable trappings.

Superstar speaker and self-promoter galore Alastair Campbell was, as one may expect from a former PM’s spin doctor, absolutely explicit in this being a cultural battleplanning meeting, emphasising the all-importance of (mass) media… He made reference to the fact comparable movements such as gay rights and black civil rights were “five or ten years” ahead (I would sy they’re further than that). “Have your arguments ready!” he demanded. In sociological terms, he was urging the listening audience – the group – to push their discourse to the vibrant globalised centres of knowledge/power.

There is serious business afoot, things are in motion. And this added to my sense of separation. Which is to be expected. But perhaps wasn’t quite the intended point…

For while I felt separate, it wasn’t because I found myself in a dynamically bizarre heterodox environment. It wasn’t. It was very normal. Normative. Homodox. A business conference in a business conference setting. Suits. Chit-chat. Pressing of the flesh. Mingling. They, those crazyfolk, were more normal than me in the presented aesthetics of the event. And this is a good idea. A good tactic. I’m sure. The general message was: mental illness is normal, even mundane, and should not be allowed to get in the way of anyone’s life, career, social life etc. Which is a message I support…

However. I have a right troublemaker who lives in my gut. Mr. Visceral. He was alarmed. He claimed that whilst challenging the dominant discourses about the mentally ill being dribbling axe murderes is no doubt useful & interesting, there is another discursive action going on. A deeper, more profound one. The active conformity to normality… the drab bureaucracy of the businesslike setting… the bending over backwards to accommodate an elite figure like Campbell…

Do we (as in all human beings, and gutpeople like Mr. Visceral) really want to carry on the social order as it currently is? This is something I, er, I mean, Mr. Visceral would ask of every group, every movement. From football fans to feminists… Motorway protesters to the mentally interesting…. Is the rest of the world worth joining as it currently is?

Rather wise words, there.

Here is what I said, roughly.  I deviated massively from this.  It’s long, so behind a cut it goes.

Hello, I’m Seaneen Molloy.  I write a blog and for One in Four, and I
have bipolar disorder.  Which, if you believe a lot of you read or
watch about it, makes me, in some ways, lucky.  I’m more creative than
the average person.  I’m more productive, more interesting and more
vibrant.  I reside in the company of artists and actors. So, thanks,
bipolar disorder.

But that’s not true.  I’m neither lucky nor unlucky to have bipolar
disorder.  It’s just something that I have, in the same way I have
asthma.

I applaud the efforts of Rethink and filmmakers in bringing real
people with severe mental illness to a wider audience and proving that
people with mental health problems are not just sitting in a corner
rocking back and forth.  That we’re not dangerous.  That we’re not
worthless.

However, striking a balance is difficult and I think the media are
often failing to do so.  Mental illness, like any thing else, is not a
wholly positive nor wholly negative experience for most people.

Representing a vast group of people via a more positive stereotype can
be as harmful as a negative one.  The media’s representation of
bipolar disorder is often guilty of this.

The connection between bipolar disorder and creativity has been
explored in books such as KR Jamison’s, “Touched with Fire”.  The
problem is, the creative geniuses with bipolar disorder are, like
autistic savants, the exception, not the rule, yet the alleged
creativity of bipolar disorder as experienced by some in manic
episodes is emphasised constantly.  Likewise, when it comes to
depression, there is almost a romance in the way it is reported.

For example, although Stephen Fry’s fantastic documentary, The Secret
Life of a Manic Depressive did a wonderful job of raising public
awareness of bipolar disorder, the people whom were interviewed as
part of the programme were, by and large, those who pointed out that
they felt most creative and productive during manic episodes and who
wouldn’t wish the condition away.  This is some peoples’ experience
but what about those who feel differently?

The point is that by representing bipolar disorder as a sort of gift
or as just a condition where people are depressed then very happy-
which completely ignores the existence of dysphoric mania- makes it
harder for people who have bipolar disorder to be taken seriously and
perpertrates a fundamental misunderstanding in what bipolar disorder
actually is.   In my experience, I’ve found that I’ve been dismissed
when I’ve spoken about how hard I’ve found it.

The vast majority of people with bipolar disorder aren’t journalists
or artists.   I’m a writer, but it’s little thanks to having bipolar
disorder, in fact, it completely impedes my ability to write.   My
experience of mania isn’t that it’s a wild creative force; when I’m
manic, I can’t concentrate long enough to pen a single sentence.  The
fact that I don’t think bipolar disorder is a virtue for me to have
can make me feel like I’ve failed somewhere.    There are cab drivers,
civil servants and checkout assistants with manic depression who seem
to be invisible within the media.

Although I think the Time for Change campaign is fantastic, I think
one of the pieces has been misjudged.  Schizophrenia and psychotic
disorders are arguably the worst-perceived of all mental health
problems, and the ones with the most stigma attached.  “Schizo” is
used as shorthand for madman in some of the British press.  So I think
it’s important that there is a counter to that that challenges the
public perception of schizophrenia.

The  campaign featured a short film called, “Schizo”.  From the
cacophony of horror music  emerged Stuart, who then spoke about the
fact that he had been diagnosed with schizophrenia.  All this was done
in the setting of a pristine show kitchen with a woman, presumably his
partner, milling about in the background.

Given that schizophrenia is sometimes referred to as, “the cancer of
mental illness” by less enlightened people, I’m glad that people like
Stuart provide a counter to that fatalistic view.  Whereas people with
schizophrenia can recover and lead full lives, as Stuart did, I don’t
think it’s helpful to gloss over the social and personal problems that
schizophrenia can cause.  It can be an incredibly debilitating
condition that can be intensely isolating and hamper someone’s ability
to work or take care of themselves.  Although I think the advert might
be more aimed at the general public who subscribe to the idea that a
person with schizophrenia is dangerous, it should be remembered that
people with mental health problems are the general public, and in
something as underrepresented in the media as schizophrenia, it’s
important to have someone that people can identify with.  I’m not sure
that many struggling with schizophrenia would identify with the Schizo
movie.

I also think the media needs to be careful that they don’t attempt to
make an, “acceptable” face of mental illness. In terms of stigma, it
could just result in a hierarchy of “good” mental illness and “bad
mental illness”.  Mental illness doesn’t need to be advertised, nor
does it need to be sanitised.   I think the media should be more
honest when it comes to speaking to the public in regards to the
mental illness.  The issues and challenges that people with mental
health problems shouldn’t be shied away from.  Psychosis seems to be
roundly ignored in mental health media other than in articles that
feature violence.  The counter to that is to include more people who
have suffered from psychosis in the portral of mental health problems.
Why is psychosis not openly spoken about, along with other aspects of
mental health problems, and other challenges that people with them
face?  There is nothing shameful about these challenges.  There is
nothing shameful in not being able to work, or in having difficulty
taking care of yourself.  This is the experience of many people with
mental illness.  Being honest and direct in talking about them doesn’t
mean that there is no hope; it’s just acknowledgement that it is not
easy.

There are the grassroots campaigns like Open Up in which real people
share their experiences and I think this is the right approach.  A
wide a group of people as possible should be involved when it comes to
consulting on mental health problems within the media.  I think that
in that trying to be fair, there’s a tendency to
sometimes overstate the positives.

I think the media and public as a whole should take a more equable
approach to mental illness and represent it as what it is: mundane and
normal.  It’s just a fact that people suffer from mental illness and
it doesn’t make them better or worse than anyone else.

25 Responses

  1. so, depression gives you writers block? I have trouble or cannot concentrate on long text. It could be ADD or just related to being bipolar. I think I am like that no matter what my mood is.
    Depakote keeps my mood pretty flat though.

    • Although in my case it’s associated with Asperger’s syndrome, not bipolar disorder, depression is certainly giving me writer’s block at the moment!

  2. Really, really good post. What does it mean to make mental illness/menatlisms/madness mundane? What do we lose when moving something that stands outside the dominant discourse into the mainstream space?

    I’ve been wondering about this a lot lately, personally. What is there to be gained from trying to act as much like a ‘normal’ person as possible? I’m not a ‘normal’ person and this attempt will fail, at least periodically or partially. Why normalise the heterodox instead of radicalising the orthodox? I have no answer to this but I’m glad to know someone else is asking the same question.

  3. I am always ‘the other’ and I kind of like that. I enjoy the view. Belonging is overrated,

  4. And the magazine ‘One in Four’ is bright, it’s vibrant, it’s ‘upbeat’; but I can’t see what they bring to the party. I see nothing in there that I haven’t seen before. They still focus on the elite. Almost all of my mentally ill friends are ‘burnt out’. I watch them deteriorate more and more each year. I do not see their experiences reflected in the pages of ‘One in Four’.

  5. Great post Seaneen. I really enjoyed Robert’s depiction of the conference. In particular his closing question, “Is the rest of the world worth joining as it currently is?”

    It’s my opinion that mental health is always going to be taboo. It’s never going to be accepted by the mainstream. Mental disorders are hard to understand by those who do not suffer from them. And when people can’t understand things, they fear them and they hate them and they judge them.

    I applaud those who do try to understand, as much as they can, and who understand that they can not understand. My wife of almost 5 years has fluctuated up and down trying to understand me and my bipolar. Sometimes I feel like she gets close. Then something happens and I realize that she simply has no clue in the world. She still gets scared and upset. Sometime my actions, even when the bipolar is apparently affecting my life heavily at the time, she judges me for the things I do.

    I do not believe the world needs to change for us. We have to take responsibility for our own lives, despite the circumstances, and become the best mentalists the world has seen and rise above the labels and “words” the world uses. If I take what my wife says personally, our relationship would not be a good one. I understand that her fear, anger and judgments are meant for the bipolar and not for me, even if she doesn’t realize that’s where she’s directing them.

    I believe in awareness and letting the world know about our plight, but I do not expect the world the change nor do I believe they can change.

  6. My way of presenting myself is within the context of disability. I am disabled, just like my friend M who has serious lower body joint problems, my SIL who has schizophrenia or another friend who uses a wheelchair.

    Therefore, I am not “normal” – my disability affects my ability to live a normal life.

    Like other forms of disability, there are degrees – I am less disabled by my mental illness than some of the people I know, and more disabled than others.

    Disabled people do have problems, and I don’t believe in sugar-coating disability or assuming that everyone who is disabled is off running ultra-marathons. BUT they also have regular lives and should not be treated like some kind of mutant frog spawn, or alternatively, patronised like a wee child.

    This is why I have no time at all for the bloody prima donnas who strutt about insisting that they are not ill or disabled (“mental health difficulty” really gets up my fucking nose, sorry), no, they are, to quote Seaneen, “a colourful little sunflower trembling with creative energy”. That attitude fucks me right off. To me, someone who doesn’t want to say they are mentally ill is perpetuating the stigma – oh, look at me, I’m all different, but I don’t want to be labelled like THOSE people, the mentalists, so I’m going to insist I’m some special little snowflake.

    Look, if you’re suffering from crippling anxiety and cannot go out for days on end, or nasty voices are yelling in your ears to kill yourself, or you’re so depressed you can barely stand up – you’re sick. Something’s wrong. It may be nature’s variation but so is a hole in the heart.

    The cardiac patient with a congenital heart defect who spends her whole life trekking to and from consultations and interventions does not insist that she is not ill, no, she was simply born this way.

    The social model of disability does not work for mental illness, or any illness, because no matter how accessible society might become, I still experience symptoms.

  7. My real bugbear with the Schizo film, even though I haven’t yet watched it, is the way people keep telling me that the bloke in the video was ‘fine’ or ‘normal’, so why can’t I be?

    Minimising the impact mentalism can have on one’s life simply provides the doubters and the bigots ammunition for saying ‘Well, they have X like you and they can do it, why can’t you?’ and starts down the road that leads to accusations of malingering and ‘enjoying’ being sick.

    • and starts down the road that leads to accusations of malingering and ‘enjoying’ being sick.

      Yeah, it’s such fun being told that you’re ugly, fat, grotesque, a witch and that you don’t belong on the planet. Come join the party. Maybe there’s a way to simulate auditory hallucinations so that people who trivialise MH can see just for a moment what it’s like to be bombarded with abuse by something you are supposed to be in control of – your own mind. Your own brain is your enemy This is the most important message.

      • “Maybe there’s a way to simulate auditory hallucinations so that people who trivialise MH can see just for a moment what it’s like…”

        A mental disorder pill that actually caused the disorder in non-mentalists. That would be a “mind” opener for a lot of people.

        My wife had a bout of real bad depression for a couple of weeks. When she finally came out of it she felt horrible knowing that I struggle with what she just felt, for only a couple of weeks, all of the time (on and off). I think it was that experience that it all became real to her. But unless your experiencing it all the time / frequently, your memory forgets the intensity of those emotions.

    • Yeah, that was a problem I had with it, too. “He’s fine! You should be!” It feels like that with the bipolar stuff, too. Because the people the media focuses on are high-functioning, whereas I am not, and feel like I should be.

  8. Fuck normal. I don’t believe in it. I think people who convince themselves of what is normal are deluded. Kind of like high school where everyone doesn’t want to seem different… they were kidding themselves. I was one of the smart-outcast-nerds. My friends and I embraced our uniqueness. It was our own little bubble but it was good because it was genuine.

    It’s a bloody tricky thing to approach the world with the determination to be yourself; especially with a mental illness. But, fuck it, that’s who I am. I’ve been rejected by all kinds of people (friends, girlfriends, employers, even family, yikes). Many times I was too daft to understand why. However, It’ll happen again as it does to everyone. Now with a infant-aged diagnosis and pills that kind of help, it seems to me that at least I’ll have a better understanding of my own life instead of being puzzled by my failures.

    I’m sure it’s been said that to want to be accepted is human nature. I think as someone with bipolar, I will try hard to accept the fact and work with the fact that the people who do accept me are very worthwhile and I will have fewer of them than the “normal” people (the ones who only believe they are normal that is). I would never want to be “normal” anyway. It’s so drab and uncreative and packaged and sold as something everyone needs. The fucking “American Dream”. Its a disease of the planet. -insert environmental rant here- Whatever.

    I just want to enjoy my life as I can… whatever that entails. It helps to give up what you don’t have.

    “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”
    – Dr. Seuss

  9. Sounds like you handled it very well Seaneen, congratulations ((HUG)).

  10. Good to hear you are feeling slightly better. I was actually worrying a little not to see updates that often. Very well you are handling something so daunting as a conference.

    Nowadays in Italy there is a lot of discussion on the mental health-care system as it’s 30 years this year since the death of the controversial Franco Basaglia (who -almost singlehandedly- ended/reformed Italy’s mental institution in the 70ies)

    If you want to have a peek, here is a couple o’ link in english for you:

    http://bjp.rcpsych.org/cgi/content/abstract/146/3/247

    http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/full/165/8/968

    Stai bene Seaneen

    G.

  11. Well done Seaneen!

    I believe that educating people about mental illness is a good thing, but I don’t believe that we can change everyones opinions. I mean, on the outside I look “normal” I’ll meet someone at a party and the dreaded question of “what do you do?” always comes up, I can lie and say I’m a nurse but more often than not I tell them I’m in therapy three full days a week. Now to me, this doesn’t define me, but when you meet someone for the first time most of them think “wtf” until they get to know me (thats if they aren’t scared off)

    I’m not a high functioning “borderline”, I can pretend to be, to a point, but people who know me know different. I’m not “normal” either. I’ve helped working on anti stigma campaigns, but I wish these things weren’t so sugar-coated.

  12. I’m in no fit state to be writing anything but I have to say that I think I disagree strongly with your friend Robert’s hypothesis or whatever it is. I say I think because I am not sure I entirely understood his contribution but here goes with my counter-argument of sorts.

    The world is often extremely shit and embarrassing but it is what it is and the only realistic options you’ve got are to be a part of it or to opt out. If you opt out then you can avoid an awful lot of bullshit, but you’re in an extremely poor position when it comes to assisting with any kind of worthwhile change. You’ll always be the protestor, never the politician. If you’re a part of the world then you’ll have to put up with things that aren’t ideal for you, but you’re in a much better position to make a difference. If the goal is to educate the world then you have to go the world. You present your case in their arena. Seems fair. So the conformity your contributor refers to is a necessary step at this stage in the game. I mean it’s all about what you’re hoping to achieve. There are lots of groups and individuals that have opted out of the system. But with this issue I think there’s a greater good thing going on. There are countless lonely voices going unheard, so it’s important to play nice right now, even if you feel like a bit of a phony. We simply have to be sell-outs for a while. That’s the sacrifice and for now it’s fundamental and quite frankly anyone who thinks otherwise simply shouldn’t be in the frame. They’re not going to be any fucking help right now. You can’t have it both ways, so identify the goal and act accordingly surely?

    To sum up, too many people opt out for all kinds of reasons. In a lot of cases mankind can do without them thanks. But every so often we lose someone useful, which leads to losing momentum, which leads to losing battles. And that has a knock-on effect, causing more useful people to lose hope and give up the fight. Opting out is about the best self-fulfilling prophecy there is and its effects are seen all over the world. To paraphrase Mark the magazine editor, getting involved is the only way forward, whereas sitting on the sidelines and complaining is just not helpful. If you choose the latter path then please stay out of the way of the people who are trying to get things done. To those who muck in, use your head, stay focussed and all that other stuff.

    • Nah, it’s a question he’s posing more than an answer. He believes in activism and speaking out. He’s just not too enamoured by the world as it is.

      • Hi, how are you? I fear that I may have caused offence by the tone I used or by using a wrong word or something. Right now my head isn’t working right as a general rule. I get that it was a question, and I attempted to answer it. I answered it passionately because there are people who actually think like that and they need to be put right. In fact, in my, thankfully increasingly infrequent weaker moments, I think like it. And it’s wrong and unhelpful and negative. It’s a distraction that kicks the shit out of forward momentum and aggressively steals focus whilst simultaneously undermining absolutely everything. And there really has been more than enough of that attitude. So lets all just fuck it off. And do our best to refrain from bringing it up in any form. And see what happens. One needs to be seven tenths denial to be enamoured by the world as it is. But at the same time I feel that there is enough evidence to suggest that a lot of people who could be extremely useful in the field of world improvement need educating on the subject of how change actually happens. They need a fucking reality-check. The most successful protest is only ever going to be a drop in the ocean. As with anything, the real change must come from within. So then, is the rest of the world worth joining as it currently is? Of course it fucking is. How else is anything worthwhile going to get done?

        • Being sell outs and conforming is not the answer. Neither is opting out. Neither is joining the world as it currently is. We don’t change the world by joining the world. We change the world by changing ourselves. Through integrity and character, honesty and good works. If we want the world to change, we need to be an example of what we want the world to be.

          That is how anything worthwhile is going to get done.

  13. Ok Adam. Go for it. Good luck.

  14. Fine reading. Thanks so much, very useful indeed…

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