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What Can We Do Individually,
Dealing with the Global Problems We Face




Setting the Conceptual Context

Before we can consider and understand what individually we can do dealing with the global problems we face, we must first set the stage. We need to establish some clarity of mind and understanding about the problems we face. How as a species, we got to where we find ourselves today, and the problems we create and we face. We have to establish a framework of understanding within which to consider what individually we can do.

To this end, we need to distinguish and differentiate between symptoms, results and consequences, on the one hand, and root-causes and underlying developments, on the other. We need to distinguish and differentiate between instant relief, quick fixes, short and medium-term measures addressing symptoms, results and consequences, and long-term development, change and transformation addressing root-causes and underlying developments.

The global problems we face today -- persisting and growing cultural, religious, racial, political, social, economic-financial, environmental, interpersonal and individual problems, difficulties and crises, competition, conflicts, confrontations and violence, and associated problematic, negative, harmful and destructive results and consequences, are only symptoms, results and consequences.

We are the causes. Human behaviour and actions are the causes. Specifically, the causes and underlying developments are how we understand and manage existence and development. In essence, how we understand and manage existence and development contradicts, conflicts with and falls short of the natural conditions, demands and challenges of existence, leading to persisting and growing problems and difficulties for the individual, society, future generations, the human species, nature and the natural environment.

More to the point, the causes are what lies behind, defines and governs human behaviour and actions, how we understand and manage human existence and development, the choices and decisions we make, the aims, goals and objectives we pursue. In their essence, the causes are rooted in what takes place and what we do in the mind and mental existence. The experiences, perceptions, sensations, feelings and emotions, thoughts, ideas and notions that enter the mind and our awareness, how we deal with, respond and adjust to them. How we make sense of them, the conditions that lie behind them, and how to deal with them. The causes lie in the beliefs, views, values, conventions and practices we embrace and we rely on, how we acquire, develop and use them. The beliefs, views, values, conventions and practices that define and govern the choices and decisions we make, and how we make them, the aims, goals and objectives we pursue, and how we define them, the behaviour, actions and practices in which we engage, and how we consider, plan, organize and manage them.

Traditionally, throughout history, in dealing with problems and difficulties, demands and challenges the focus and concentration has always been instant relief, quick fixes, short and medium-term measures addressing only symptoms, results and consequences, while failing to address the root-causes within ourselves. Traditionally and today, we abrogate responsibility for ourselves, our behaviour and actions, how we understand and manage our existence and development, particularly what takes place and what we do in the mind and mental existence. In religious culture, responsibility is abrogated to supernatural forces, spirits and gods. In scientific culture, we abrogate responsibility to nature, natural forces, processes and developments, the brain, neurological processes, our genetic makeup and natural evolution. On a daily and more general level, we abrogate individual responsibility to culture, society, government, family, parents, superiors, experts, specialists, and so on. Holding them responsible for the behaviour and actions in which we engage, the choices and decisions we make, the aims, goals and objectives we pursue. We hold others responsible for our limits and shortcomings, errors and mistakes we make, and negative results and consequences.

It is this approach of dealing with problems and difficulties, which has brought to human species to where we find ourselves today, and the problems and difficulties we face globally. Instant relief, quick fixes and addressing only symptoms, results and consequences, while failing to deal with root-causes and underlying developments, is leading to creating persisting and growing problems, difficulties and crises, competition, conflict, confrontation and violence, and associated problematic, negative, harmful and destructive results and consequences. The way we understand and manage existence and development, the conditions, demands and challenges of existence, our own mental and physical existence and development and the world around us contradicts, conflicts with and falls short of the natural conditions, demands and challenges of existence. Leading to the problems - persisting and growing cultural, religious, racial, political, social, economic-financial, environmental, interpersonal and individual problems, difficulties and crises, competition, conflict, confrontation and violence, and associated problematic, negative, harmful and destructive results and consequences, we face locally and globally around the world today.

Today, because of this approach and way of understanding and managing existence and development and dealing with problems and difficulties, failing to address the root-causes and underlying developments, we are in the process of destroying the very foundation of our existence, the natural environment. We are bringing about changes in nature and natural developments, which in the long-term will render the natural environment of the Earth uninhabitable for the human species. Exploiting natural resources beyond actual human material needs, and degrading and interfering in nature, natural forces, processes and developments beyond what is required to manage and sustain human existence and development.

(For a detailed discussion of the limits, shortcomings and contradictions of how we view, understand, organize and manage existence and development, leading to the global problems we face today, look on the right-hand side of this page, under Lecture Presentations. Here you find ten, one-hour lecture presentations, in both PowerPoint and PDF format. They discuss the nature and causes of the problems we face, how as a species we got to where we find ourselves today, and the direction of the answers and solutions, the direction we need to take in conceptual and mental development and growth.)


Direction Of The Answers And Solutions

To deal with the global problems we face requires more than instant relief, quick fixes, short and medium-term measures addressing symptoms, results and consequences, waiting until a later date to address the root-causes and underlying developments. What is required is to address symptoms, results and consequences within the context of dealing with root-causes and underlying developments. It requires dealing with both of them at the same time, simultaneously. We must address the symptoms, results and consequences within the context of addressing the root-causes and underlying development. They need to take place within and contribute to the long-term development, change and transformation required to change how we understand and manage existence and development. Particularly, changing how we understand and manage the mind and mental existence, what takes place, what we do and need to do, what we must establish, develop and maintain in the mind and mental existence.

Addressing symptoms, results and consequences must take place within and contribute to, and not detract from long-term development, change and transformation addressing the root-causes and underlying developments, changing how we understand and manage existence and development. Short and medium-term measures addressing symptoms, results and consequences have to provide the time required for the long-term development, change and transformation required to address the root-causes and underlying developments. Long-term development, change and transformation addressing the root-causes and underlying developments, in turn, will define the nature and direction of dealing with symptom, results and consequences.


What We Can Do Individually

Within this context, what we can do individually today is quite simple and straightforward, exercise and practice daily:

  • Consume less, accumalate less, buy less, and waste less.

  • Make fewer demands, looking for causes, answers and solutions to others and the world around us. Look first to yourself.

  • Be more actively engaged in understanding and managing ourselves, our own life and existence, our mental and physical health and well-being, order and stability, development and growth.

  • Pay closer attention, keep track of, and take responsibility for what we do, what we engage in, and how we do things.

  • Pay closer attention, keep track of, and take responsibility for the beliefs, views, values and understanding we embrace and rely on, how we acquire, develop and use them. The choices and decisions we make, and how we make them, the aims, goals and objectives we pursue, and how we define them, the behaviour, actions and practices in which we engage, and how we consider, plan, organize and manage them.

  • Pay closer attention, keep track of, and take responsibility for what takes place and what we do in the mind and our mental existence. The experiences, perceptions, sensations, feelings and emotions, the thoughts, ideas and notions that enter our mind and awareness, and how we deal with them. How we deal with, respond and adjust to them, how we make sense of them, the conditions that lie behind them, and how to deal with them. The mental behaviour and actions in which we engage, and how we consider, plan, organize and manage them.

  • Establish and maintain the necessary internal mental conditions, a sense of self, mental order and stability, clarity of mind and understanding, a sense of certainty, security and confidence, in everything we do and we engage in, before acting, before engaging and dealing with external conditions, with others and the world around us.

Work our way down the list, from the top to the bottoms. When we arrive at the bottom of the list, we will have made a major contribution not only to address the symptoms, results and consequences, but to deal with the root-causes and underlying developments behind the global problems we face. In addition, we will have reached a level of individual development and growth to lead other, by individual example.

 



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2003 Institute for Human Conceptual and Mental Development. All rights reserved. No material from this site may be used in part or in whole by any other publication or web site without the written permission of the Institute for Human Conceptual and Mental Development.