The name of this blog, Rainbow Juice, is intentional.
The rainbow signifies unity from diversity. It is holistic. The arch suggests the idea of looking at the over-arching concepts: the big picture. To create a rainbow requires air, fire (the sun) and water (raindrops) and us to see it from the earth.
Juice suggests an extract; hence rainbow juice is extracting the elements from the rainbow, translating them and making them accessible to us. Juice also refreshes us and here it symbolises our nutritional quest for understanding, compassion and enlightenment.

Friday, 16 March 2018

Feminism: What Have Men To Fear?

Often I hear statements such as these from men:
  • Men don’t know who or what they are anymore because of feminism.
  • Men are oppressed by feminism.
  • Feminism says that men and women are equal, but we’re not!
These, and similar statements, suggest that feminism has been damaging to men, to families, and to relationships between men and women.

Is this so?  What follows is one man’s perspective.  I do not claim this to be truth – simply my understanding.  It is also, by necessity, simplified.

Let me begin by summarising this perspective in four proposals, which I will elaborate upon over the next two blogpieces:
  1. Feminism is misunderstood by men (and some women).
  2. Feminism is not the problem that many men make it out to be.  The problem is patriarchy.
  3. Feminism has not achieved what it set out to do.  It has been (in many instances) diverted from that goal.
  4. Men are also oppressed by patriarchy, and have something to benefit from understanding and supporting feminism.
In this blog I will elaborate upon the first two of these proposals.

Feminism Is Misunderstood

Let’s go back to the 1960s.  In that decade women began to meet together in “consciousness raising” groups.  Out of these groups a movement was born (perhaps better thought of as re-born when we think of the women’s rights movements of the 18th1 and 19th centuries.)  This movement became known as “Women's Liberation.”  Very soon, the (male) media subjected this movement to what the powerful often do – minimise and belittle, and dubbed it “Women's Lib.”  Perhaps because of this, the term “feminism” became the more popular name.  Today, the name has morphed into “gender equality.”

In that naming and renaming journey, “liberation” got dropped and was replaced by “equality.”  Indeed, one of the early feminist writers from the 1960/70s, Germaine Greer, caustically noted that “feminism aimed at liberation, but settled for equality.”  She later expanded on this by saying, “… seekers after equality clamoured to be admitted to smoke-filled male haunts.”

So – how is liberation different from equality?  Equality suggests assimilation.  Women are assimilated into male domains, in much the same way as indigenous people are assimilated into western culture.  Assimilation and equality imply getting rid of difference.  Liberation, however, asserts and celebrates difference.

Furthermore, if feminism means women becoming equal with men, then that implies that men and masculinity are the gold standard to be measured against.  Hardly liberation, and hence, not feminism in its original sense.

Feminism Is Not The Problem

… and nor (I might add) are men, per se.  The problem, according to the early feminist writers, is a system called “patriarchy.”  Patriarchy is a self-referring, self-justifying, and self-supporting system of beliefs, values and power.  Patriarchy asserts that “male” values, qualities and behaviours are paramount.  It rewards those who display and aspire to these.  Furthermore, patriarchy, like most systems, is largely invisible to those within it, because it is portrayed as being; normal, traditional, the-way-it-is, or simply “just because.”

Within the system of patriarchy the lessons we learn accumulate in our lives and we come to internalise them.  The longer this goes on, the harder it is to see that these lessons are not necessarily normal or “the truth.”  Then, not being able to see the system for what it is, it is difficult to gain distance from it.

The early feminists were right to point the finger at this oppressive system and to catalogue the range of institutions and establishments that make it up (e.g. marriage, bureaucracy, business, politics, the media, education, science, religion …)  They were also correct to note that women participating in these establishments supported these establishments, and did nothing to enhance the liberation of women (or men for that matter – but I’ll get to that.)

Two examples from politics serve to illustrate this:
  • Margaret Thatcher became “successful” and powerful because she aspired to be as domineering as men.  Indeed, she became moreso to “prove” her masculine values and abilities.
  • Julia Gillard, on the other hand, attempted to bring her “feminine” values and behaviour into the realm of politics.  She was side-lined and ridiculed within the political arena and by the media circus, and eventually tossed out of politics.2
I mentioned earlier that feminism stressed difference and diversity, rather than equality.  Patriarchy, on the other hand, promotes and exploits difference towards its own ends.  Not only in stressing the difference between men and women in order to suppress female values and qualities, but also in other arenas.  It used difference to justify slavery and to send children down mines.  Patriarchy also used difference to “transport” Britain’s “unwanted” to the penal colonies of Australia.

The next blog will expand upon the other two proposals – i.e. feminism has not achieved its goal, and men are also oppressed under patriarchy.

1. Mary Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Women was published in 1792.

2. Margaret Thatcher (aka the Iron Lady) was Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1979 to 1990.  Julia Gillard was the Prime Minister of Australia from 2010 to 2013.

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

What If These Words Didn't Exist?

“What an idiot.”
“You ignorant fool!”
“She’s a lazy good-for-nothing.”
“He’s an arrogant, stuck-up know-it-all.”

How many times have we heard, or said ourselves, phrases such as these?  Furthermore, there are many many many such phrases that we hear or say each and every day.  Most are much worse; more defamatory, more insulting, more degrading, or more foul-mouthed.

I wonder what our speech would be like if none of these words existed?  What if we didn’t have in our language words that insult, degrade, or abuse others?  What if we had no judgemental words?

What would we say?  How would we talk to one another?

If we had no words of judgement, what would our speech be comprised of?  Perhaps we would have to be more specific, and maybe more descriptive of what we observed.  Instead of jumping to judgemental conclusions, we might have to describe what we saw or heard. 

If we could not immediately respond with judgement, perhaps we could take a moment or two, reach inside, and discover what it is we feel about the situation.  We may become more in tune with our feelings and not confuse them with thoughts.  Then, we might find that instead of judging someone else, we might respond with how we are feeling which in turn may help us to discover the needs that previously we had not expressed.

Maybe then, just maybe, our speech and our conversations might stand a chance of being of mutual benefit.  Our conversations might become inspiring, encouraging, and even gratifying.

One of the outcomes of using judgemental speech is that we fall into the trap of separation.  We set up a distance between ourselves and others, which may end up as a barrier.
This is not something just to think about in terms of the conversations we have with our friends and family, or our neighbour and those we work with.  We could ask ourselves how we pass judgement upon those who we deem to be on an opposing side.  Unfortunately, politics and social causes tend to cast us into opposing camps.  And from those camps it is very easy to label those in another camp as ignorant, arrogant, or having other disparaging traits.

When that happens we are trapped.  We have created a trap and fallen into it.  In that trap, the accusations and the judgements just keep going round and round, escalating in intensity and animosity.  There seems to be no way out.

The only way out is to - stop!  Stop using judgemental words. 

Start observing what is going on.  Start identifying and expressing our feelings.  Start noting our needs.  Start hearing the feelings and needs of others.  Start empathising.  Start truly conversing.

Yes, I wonder what our conversations would be like if we didn’t have judgemental words in our language?

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Prisons: Retribution or Rehabilitation? Part 3, Restorative Justice

Last week I briefly outlined the process of Restorative Justice as an alternative to retributive justice and the use of prisons.  That blogpost outlined 3 lessons that I had learnt from working in the restorative justice arena.  This week I am posting the other 4 lessons.

1.      We All Make Mistakes.

Let’s face it - we all make mistakes.  We make many mistakes in our relationships with one another, especially in our younger years.  One of the most common sentences I heard directed towards offenders in the restorative justice conferences was “we all make mistakes.”  The speaker would then often go on to describe an incident in their youth, or talk about how mistakes can be used as something to learn from.  Many times the conference itself was a vehicle for that learning to take place.  Because restorative justice is a community-based program offenders are often put in contact with agencies, counsellors, psychologists, or other specialists, that can help them learn from their mistake.

Surely, it is far preferable that someone learns from their mistake, and finds ways to ensure that they do not make it again, than it is to dismiss the incident as “youthful exuberance” or, at the other extreme, lock them in jail with other offenders.

The offender learns that their offence isn’t simply one of them and the person they directly offend against.  The direct victim always has family, maybe a husband or wife, or children that are affected in some way.  The victim has work colleagues, or friends that they play sport with or socialise with.  All these people are affected by the single incident involving the victim and offender.  The ripple effects of crime can be extensive.  Many times I saw the realisation of this dawn in the awareness of offenders.  The restorative justice format is an excellent crucible within which these ripple effects can be displayed, heard, and appreciated.  The “normal” court systems, and retributive justice, are unable to do this.

2.      We Are All Human.

In last weeks blogpost I observed that all participants come into the restorative justice process with an array of feelings and emotions, many of them what we could call unhelpful emotions: pain, anxiety, hurt, fear, uncertainty, or anger.  What I noticed was that these emotions were the most often displayed ones, irrespective of the participant’s role.  Victims and offenders were just as likely to feel fearful or anxious.  Supporters also displayed fear and hurt, whether they were supporters of the victim or the offender.

My observations of these universal feelings suggest to me two truths:  First is that we are all human, we all react to trauma, disharmony, and upset in similar ways.  We are not immune to a set of emotions just because we are the initiator of the disharmony.  The second truth is that emotions such as fear, anxiety, and uncertainty suggest that we wish to re-establish order or harmony in our lives.  Human beings desire to live harmonious lives, in concord with one another. 

3.      There Is Always A Bigger Picture.

When people come together to share their story, and to relate how they have been affected by someone’s actions, a bigger picture than the “simple” offence emerges.  Victims share their hurt, their pain, and how the offence impacted their lives in an ongoing way.  Victims get to look the offender in the eyes and tell them how they felt the next day at work, or what it was like to go home and tell their children why they have a black eye.

It does not stop there though.  Often the back-story of the offender emerges also, whether told by the offender themselves or perhaps a supporter.  Often I found that the offender was, at the time, experiencing a low point in their lives.  Sometimes too, the mental state of the offender is discovered to include anxiety, depression, and perhaps even suicidal tendencies.  Maybe the offender was working through some relationship or employment difficulties, with little or no support.  None of this is to excuse the offence, but it does allow other participants to understand, even empathise, with the situation being faced by the offender.

Recognition of the bigger picture is crucial for enabling all the participants in the restorative justice process to recommend, and agree upon, courses of action, or outcomes, that have a realistic chance of making a difference in the offender’s life.  One of the major objectives of most restorative justice programs is to reduce the possibility of re-offending.  A bigger picture makes it more likely that the best possible plan will be forthcoming.  A fine and/or jail sentence is unlikely to do this.

4.      People Are Generous.

People want to help.  I made this simple observation time and time again.  People want to help others fully understand the situation or background.  Often, victims want to help the offender make better choices in life.  Some are able to offer very specific advice, others know of agencies or professionals who can help.  Community representatives in restorative justice conferences can be extremely generous in offering their time, energy and skills for follow-up one-on-one work with offenders.

So much of our cultural and social conditioning tells us that we get ahead by competing with one another, and that the success or failure of others is not our concern.  There is now much research showing that this conditioning provides us with false ideas.  More often than not our happiness and feelings of self-worth are found in our helpful interactions with others.  I witnessed the truth of this often in restorative justice conferences.  I could see it in the faces of all participants when they moved towards grappling with how to make things better in the future.  The frowns, grimaces, and tight jaws, would be replaced by smiles, greater eye contact, and ofttimes even laughter.


Although I witnessed these seven lessons (see last weeks blog also) in almost all of the more than 50 cases I was involved with, it was often not until participants experienced the process themselves that they were able to recognise these outcomes and come to appreciate them.

I could not sit down with a victim prior to a conference and tell them that, as a result of the conference they would come away healed, or perhaps even offering forgiveness.  Creative writing has a phrase, “show, don’t tell.”  It is a phrase pertinent to restorative justice also.  Often I would sit with a victim one-on-one and they would tell me what they wanted for the victim.  Sometimes that was a punitive outcome: “this guy needs to go to jail,” or “I want this person to have a record against their name for the rest of their life.”  I just accepted these statements, without attempting to judge or suggest alternatives.  In all cases where such sentiments were announced to me before the conference, the outcome was entirely different.

I recall one case in which the offender had stolen something from a shopping centre.  Prior to the conference I met with the shopping centre manager who told me that he “wanted this guy locked up and that’s what I will be saying in the conference.”  In the conference itself, he did not make that statement.  By the end of the conference he was saying, as he looked at the offender, “Look mate, I don’t want you to go to jail.  I think you have made some excellent changes in your life since and I support you, and want to encourage you to keep going.”

In at least three instances the victims offered to go along to the offender’s court hearing following the conference to offer support and, if able to do so, tell the Judge that they supported the victim in what they were doing to make changes in their lives.

Such changes can only come about through experiencing the restorative justice process.  Although I have been involved in over 50 restorative justice conferences, I am unable to tell offenders that they will emerge from the process healed and perhaps forgiving.  I can say, however, that by observing this happening, the restorative justice process is of enormous benefit to offenders and victims alike.  It offers healing, and the chance to make better lives of everyone involved.

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Prisons: Retribution or Rehabilitation? (Part 2)

Last week I promised an alternative to prison in this blogpiece.  Before doing so, I want to recap with two observations.  First, most of those in prison are there for “crimes” that are not of a violent nature.  Second, prison does not rehabilitate or reform.  Indeed, a spell of time in jail is more likely to make the prisoner “better” at what they did that got them imprisoned in the first place.

That said, the practice of restorative justice has been experimented with and practiced in many parts of the world over the past few decades.  I have worked in the restorative justice area for a few years and have discovered seven lessons in that experience.  This blog talks about three of these lessons.  Next weeks blog will speak of the other four.

Brief Overview

In some ways, restorative justice is a very old practice which was superseded by a more retributive approach, at least in western styles of justice, over the past millennia or so.  More recently, certainly since the 1990s, restorative justice ideas and practices have begun to be re-introduced.  The indigenous peoples of New Zealand (Māori) and of North America incorporated restorative styles into their justice systems.  Mainstream justice systems then began to take note and in 1990 the book Changing Lenses–A New Focus for Crime and Justice by Howard Zehr shifted the lens of justice from a retributive one to a restorative one.

So, what is restorative justice and how does it differ from retributive justice?  The traditional system of justice throughout most western democracies is based on the belief that crime is an offense against the state and that the state must intervene to mete out justice and punishment.  Restorative justice, however, views crime as harming individuals and the community and/or the relationship between them.  It recognises that people - victims, offenders, and the community - are hurt by an offence.  Restorative justice attempts to repair the breakdown in these relationships and seeks to find ways to reduce re-offending.  It does this by bringing offenders, victims, supporters of both victims and offenders, and members of the community into a facilitated space in which all participants are encouraged to share their pain, hurt, fears, or disappointments.  From this sharing a plan emerges that becomes the offender’s community-based sentence. It is a plan that is agreed upon by all, including the offender(s) and the victim(s).

Seven Restorative Justice Lessons (1-3)

1. Remorse is Real.

People tell me that it is easy to express sorrow for a crime after the fact.  It is “just too easy” they tell me to look back in hindsight and say “I am sorry for what I did.” However, such glib reflections are also far too easy to express.  The reality that I experienced is that most often offenders are truly sorry for their actions and feel a deep sense of remorse.

Before every conference I met individually with every participant.  As I sat opposite offenders I looked into their eyes and most often I would see pain, grief and remorse. I could see it also in the way they clasped and unclasped their hands. I could hear it in the way their voice stuttered and they grasped, desperately sometimes, for words to adequately express their feelings or thought processes.

I recall one conference in which the offender was charged with assault and damaging property. The offender in this case was a young man who was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome. When it came to putting together a plan for him there was discussion about him doing some voluntary work at the victim’s business. However, the victim was reluctant to do this as it would mean that the people who worked for the victim would be put out of work. During the conference it became known that the offender had a passion for tropical fish (many with Aspergers become very passionate and knowledgeable about a specific topic or interest). It was suggested that he could clean out the fish tank at the victim’s business. Immediately, his eyes lit up and I could see that he was thinking “yes, this is something I can offer back, and something I have an expertise in.” This desire to give back clearly stemmed from feelings of remorse, and he wanted to find a way that he could repair the harm done.

2. Healing Happens.

As I sat with each individual participant before bringing them together into a conference, the most common feelings that all expressed, whether they were victims, offenders, or the supporters, were ones of fear, anxiety, uncertainty, and yes, often anger. I would listen to their story, with empathy and without judgment. I would reassure each and every one of them that they would be able to tell their story in the conference. Victims would be able to look at the offender and tell them of the harm done to them and how this affected them, their families, their work colleagues, or others. Offenders would be able to apologise to the victim and others if necessary. All participants would be listened to and heard.

By the end of, often, a two hour process those feelings of fear, anxiety, uncertainty and anger, were largely dissipated and a healing for all had begun. Victims felt heard, often for the first time since the incident. Offenders too, felt that they had been able to tell victims about how troubled they had been by holding onto their remorse.

3. Forgiveness Follows.

Desmond Tutu1 notes that forgiveness is not a throw-away absolution of responsibility. Forgiveness, for him, does not mean forgetting, nor does it mean the process is easy. I have witnessed many tears in the conferences I have facilitated, and must admit, came close to shedding them myself on occasion. I did not count how many times that by the end of a conference the victim would approach the offender and offer to shake hands. I would guess though, that it would be in at least 90% of cases. In one very moving conference, the wife of a man who had been assaulted, walked across the room at the end of the conference and hugged her husband’s assailant and wished him well. If that is not an act of forgiveness then the word is an empty one.

Although the phrase, “I forgive you,” may not be uttered much in restorative justice settings, the intention is certainly present. When forgiveness is offered in this way the person who benefits most can be the victim, or victim supporters. In the expression of forgiveness they are released from a trap of anger and grief. Russell Marks2 notes that often the media (particularly tabloid style media) and other punitive commenters risk keeping victims trapped in an endless cycle of anger and grief, by insisting that they (the victims) should remain angry at the offender(s). Forgiveness, however, allows a victim to step out of this trap and to find a healthy way forward. And, I have seen this happen time and time again within restorative justice conferences.

Next weeks blog will look at the other four lessons: 4. We All Make Mistakes, 5. We Are All Human, 6. There Is Always A Bigger Picture, and 7. People Are Generous.

1. Rev Desmond Tutu and Mpho Tutu, The Book of Forgiving, William Collins Books, 2014.

2. Russell Marks, Crime and Punishment; Offenders and Victims in a Broken Justice System, Redback, Collingwood, Victoria, Australia, 2015. Russell Marks worked as a criminal defence lawyer and is an honorary associate at La Trobe University.

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Prisons: Retribution or Rehabilitation? (Part 1)

More than 11 million people are imprisoned worldwide.  Almost half that total are behind bars in just four countries: the US, Russia, China and Brazil.  With one in 690 people worldwide behind bars it is worth asking: do prisons work?

That question, however, begs a prior question.  What is it we want prisons to do?  There seems to be four broad answers.  We may want prisons to do one, or more, of the following:
  1. Be rehabilitative and reform prisoners.
  2. Be retributive and punish offenders.
  3. Deter future possible prisoners.
  4. Keep society safe from “unsafe” prisoners.
Your answer to this question, of course, depends upon your personal world-view, your cultural setting, and even your own propensity towards behaviour that may lead to jail.

If the purpose of prisons is to reform and rehabilitate, or to deter, then they are blatantly failing.  Prisons, by and large, do not reform, do not rehabilitate, and do not deter.  Indeed, prisons may be doing exactly the opposite.  Prison may be making it more likely that prisoners will continue with their “anti-social” activity, and may even become “better” at doing so.

A study published this month (February 2018) is pertinent.1  Studying a group of prisoners in the Netherlands, researchers found that after 3 months imprisonment, risk-taking in prisoners significantly increased, attention significantly declined and self-control significantly deteriorated.  The researchers noted that this deterioration in self-control could “exacerbate the risk for aggressive or violent behaviour in high-risk individuals.” 

Hardly a recipe for rehabilitation or reform.

It should be noted that this research does have limitations.  The sample size was small (37 prisoners), there was no control group, and it was carried out in a specific cultural setting (the Netherlands).  However, it is the first exploratory look at the effects of prisons (an impoverished setting as the researchers note) on the self-control functioning of prisoners.  The researchers recommend further studies.

This research, though, does serve to make us stop and ask: do prisons rehabilitate, reform, or deter?  The indications are that the answer is – NO!

If we are locking people up at a faster and faster rate (as we appear to be doing), then one of two things seems to be happening.  Either people are displaying increasing levels of “anti-social” behaviour (i.e. the crime rate is going up); or we are locking people up because we want to punish to a greater extent, possibly for lesser and lesser violations of acceptable social behaviour.

Consider that many prisoners are in jail for crimes that not related to physical harm to another person.  In the US for example, approximately half the prison population are there for drug-related crimes.  In Australia, homicide and armed robbery has decreased significantly in the past three decades (although assault and sexual assaults have increased to a lesser extent), yet the rate of imprisonment has increased.  Consider too, that a highly disproportionate number of people in jails are from indigenous populations or minorities that are discriminated against.

It would appear, from a cursory look at the statistics, and from the small amount of research, that prisons do not reform or rehabilitate.  They may not deter either.  The reading of statistics relating to incarceration rates and violent crime are ambiguous.  Certainly there is a correlation between the two.  But, as we know, correlation does not imply causation.  It is possible to read the stats two ways.  It is possible to infer that as incarceration rates increase, violent crime decreases.  It is also possible to infer that despite violent crime rates decreasing, incarceration rates have increased.

There is, of course, a further factor for us to consider.  That is, the cost of imprisonment.  Throughout the western-styled nations the cost of keeping one person in jail for one year ranges from about US$50,000 to US$80,000 or more.  Yet, even that figure is only the tip of the iceberg.  A Washington University study found that for every dollar of correctional costs, a further ten dollars in social costs are generated.2

That is worth repeating.  For every dollar spent on imprisoning someone, ten more dollars of social costs are incurred.  So, the true cost of incarceration could be as much as half a million to a million dollars per year for every person imprisoned.

The question now is this:  if prisons do not reform or rehabilitate, or deter, is the cost worth it in order to satisfy our collective need for retribution or revenge?

Part 2 will look at an alternative to prison.

1. Meijers, Harte, Meynen, Cuilpers, Scherder, Reduced Self-Control after 3 Months of Imprisonment; A Pilot Study.  Frontiers in Psychology, February 2018, Vol 9, article 69

2. McLaughlin, Pettus-Davis, Brown, Veeh, Renn, The Economic Burden of Incarceration in the US, Working Paper #AJI072016, Washington University in St Louis, October 2016.

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

What Are We Afraid Of?

Lets face it.  One of our biggest motivators is fear.  Fear is not our only motivator, of course, but we’d
have to admit it is a pretty big one.  And our classic response options to fear are – fight, flight, or freeze.

So, when we look at the world what do we see and what do we fear?  All of us will have differing answers, but some that come to mind on the global scale might be terrorism, war, climate change, biodiversity loss, inequality, corporate corruption, or refugee crises.  Closer to home it may be domestic violence, homelessness, or drug/alcohol abuse. 

In 1974 the authors of the ground-breaking book/study Limits to Growth,1 noted a correlation between what people were concerned with and their proximity to it geographically and in time.  The further away the issue, the less concerned people tended to be.  The more into the future the issue, the less concerned we can be.  Even things that may affect our children adversely in their lifetimes often are of less concern than something happening next week, or in our street.

We can also be more concerned about something if it happens suddenly, rather than if it unfolds over a long period of time.  For example, our fear is amplified by a gunman firing at random in a street, yet our fear of climate change is diminished.  One happens suddenly and occurs over a short space of time.  The other unfolds over many years and continues on over a long period of time.  See the diagram below.

It is little wonder then that public policy debates relating to community safety tend to focus on those events that happen suddenly, with little attention given to the safety that is threatened by events that unfold over a long period of time.

The psychology involved here is undoubtedly complex.  I am not a psychologist and hence, I have no insight into how to work with this.  If any reader is aware of any research into this conundrum, then please share it.


1. Meadows, Meadows, Randers, Behrens III, Limits to Growth, Universe Books, New York, 1972

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Advanced and/or Evolved?

I recently read a book that asked whether we were an advanced or evolved species?  The book noted the difference between "advanced," and "evolved."  I thought, what a useful question to ask.  So, now I pose it here, along with a few comparisons.  What do you think?  Are we advanced?  More importantly, are we evolved?  Are we evolving?


We’ve invented combine harvesters, refrigeration, microwaves.  We are able to grow food using machinery and plant technology.

We communicate with iphones, ipads, and smart phones.  We instantly connect by texts, skype or by tweeting.

We have better sanitation systems, water comes through a tap.  We have flushing toilets and impressive sanitation systems.

In psychiatry  we have developed anti-depressants, antipsychotics, and mood stabilisers.

We can fly from one side of the world to the other in less than 24 hours.  There are over one billion cars in the world with car ownership at more than one for every two people in North America, Western Europe and Oceania.

The financial world continues to develop new financial instruments.  Cryptocurrencies have skyrocketed in price.

The world spent $1.68 trillion on arms in 2016.  Just 8 countries account for more than 2/3rds of this expenditure.

One billion people world-wide experience hunger and malnutrition.  Global obesity rates have tripled since 1975 with 650 million now obese world-wide

Yet, we still seem unable to truly communicate with one another.  Communication problems are one of the biggest problems in relationships and in business.

844 million people globally are without access to safe water.

Suicide rates are on the rise, amongst the 3 leading causes of death in some countries.  Depression is a leading cause of disability.

In many parts of the world women and girls spend up to six hours per day walking to fetch water.

Over 3 billion people live on less than $2.50 per day.

The number of people killed in wars has tripled since 2008.  Drone warfare and other such technologies is desensitising combatants to killing other humans.  Civilian casualties in war have climbed drastically as a proportion of total casualties.

What do you think?  Advanced?  And evolved?  The ledger above doesn't look good does it?  Perhaps we have invested too much in becoming advanced and paid too little attention to our evolution as a species.

Let me know your thoughts