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.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

How Close To Climate Crisis Are We?

How close to climate crisis are we?  Some argue, like Paul Kingsnorth, that we have already passed the tipping point and that the best we can do is to hold a wake.  Once an environmental activist, Kingsnorth now refrains from talking about “saving the planet,” focusing instead on what we can do in the face of the crisis.  Others remain firmly of the belief that things will get better, that we can retreat from the impending crisis.  Both of these perspectives suggest we are very close to climate crisis – one believing the crisis has happened, the other that it is near.

There is another way of asking, and answering the question: how close to climate crisis are we?  That is to ask it from the perspective of our individual and collective psychology.

Perhaps the first book (and research) to be published alerting the world to the limits to growth was -The Limits to Growth,1 published in 1972.  Tellingly, the first figure in that book (on p19 of more than 200 pages) was one that looked like the following:

People’s concerns lie somewhere in this time/space continuum.  For most people their concerns are close to home; for their family, friends, and perhaps local community.  Their concerns are for the near future; getting the kids to school today, or next months annual holiday.  The further out from the immediate local environment we go, the less the number of people with concerns.  Similarly, the further into the future we venture, the less the number of people concerned.

This understanding is pertinent to climate change activism.  Climate change, for many people, is not near at hand, it is screened onto our TV from elsewhere in the world.  Climate change is also seen as being off in the future.  Climate change for many is not here and now.

For those concerned about climate change, this perspective is of concern.  Climate change dialogue, activism, policies, and research is mostly situated in the upper right hand corner of the time/space continuum, as pictured below:


Hence, the key question for those concerned about climate change must be: how do we shift the debate from the upper right hand corner to the lower left hand sector, where most people are?  

I do not know the answers to that question.  However, there are some psychological understandings that may be worth looking at when attempting answers.
  • When people are faced with a crisis that they can see no way of preventing, they will tend to withdraw and stop thinking about it.
  • People tend to try to prevent present suffering without regard to long-term consequences.
  • People are often more concerned about something concrete, rather than abstract.
  • People will tend towards the social norm.  People are influenced by the behaviour of those close to them.
  • When faced with bad news, or something scary (e.g. climate crisis) there is a tendency towards the classic fight or flight.  Thus, faced with activism, people will either turn away or will oppose vigorously.
What does all this suggest?

Those concerned with climate crisis need to think about:
  • how to work with established neighbourhoods, communities, and networks,
  • speak to local issues and local concerns,
  • work towards an empathic approach to those in opposition (they may be “fighting” from fear),
  • bring the possibilities of change into the here and now – focus less on UN agreements and global summits.  Make the concerns “real,” and not far off in other times and other places.
Well, I said I didn’t have the answers.  Perhaps I have stimulated some questions though.

Notes:

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

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

6 Male Archetypes To Reclaim

Most cultures have used story, metaphor, myth, and archetypes to understand and explain who we are and how we relate to one another and the world.  Western culture is no different.

Throughout western history there have been many such stories: the Celtic myths, the Greek heroic stories, the “fairy tales” of Hans Christian Andersen, or the plays of Shakespeare.  With the birth of psychology in the early 20th century attention was focused on how these stories and archetypes play out in our psychological make-up.  One of the first to explore archetypes from a psychological perspective was Carl Jung.  A disciple of Jung’s, James Hillman, in the 1970s, initiated the movement known as archetypal psychology.  Many others since then, have expanded and refined the ideas contained in that movement.

Out of this has come the notions of male and female archetypes.  In some circles, these are referred to as the sacred male/female archetypes.  As a male, I do not intend discussing the female archetypes, and will concentrate on the male archetypes.

6 Sacred Male Archetypes

Depending on who, or what, you read, you may find reference to anywhere between 4 to 12 sacred male archetypes.  Here, I will discuss briefly 6 key ones: God, King, Priest (Shaman), Warrior, Lover, Sage.

God.  This is the archetype of transcendence, the man seeking for the highest expression of who he is.  The God expresses unconditional love and is at one with all there is.

King.  The King is the benevolent nurturer and supporter of those around him.  He combines strength with wisdom and is the material agent of the God archetype.

Priest (Shaman).  The Priest holds knowledge of the unknown and bears witness to that knowledge.  He connects the material and spiritual worlds.

Warrior.  This is the archetypal protector, in service to humanity and the highest good of all, including those who are vulnerable.  He undertakes this service with courage, even if it may mean at a personal cost.  The Warrior is a collaborative player.

Lover.  The Lover is the sensual aspect; passionate, creative, playful, and vivacious.  The Lover seeks to bond and unite, and looks for beauty.  The Lover enjoys movement of the body, in sex, yoga, dance, or other celebrations of the body.  The Lover is comfortable with “being,” rather than “performing.”

Sage.  Picture a grey-bearded man sitting cross-legged with a serene look on his face and you’ll get the idea of the Sage.  He is observant and uses wisdom to guide “right action.”  He supports the wisdom of others.  He is grounded and earth-centred (you could say Gaia-centred). 

6 Grotesque Masks

If there are 6 sacred male archetypes, then you may have, as I did, noticed something puzzling:  Where are they in today's world?  A very good question.  They’re there, often hidden behind 6 grotesque masks that are distortions of the 6 sacred male archetypes.

Instead of the God, we have the Devil.  Instead of unconditional love we see hatred and intolerance.

Instead of the King, we have the Dictator.  Instead of benevolence we see meanness and animosity.

Instead of the Priest/Shaman, we get the Satanist.  Instead of connecting the material with the spiritual, the Satanist is bent on disconnecting us.

Instead of the Warrior, we find the Conqueror t work in the world.  Instead of service to the highest good of all, we see self-serving Conquerors, who, far from protecting, are murdering and putting at risk thousands, even millions, of people.

Instead of the Lover, we have the Rapist.  Far from being creative and playful, the Rapist exploits others, including the earth,  Instead of looking for beauty, the Rapist is intent upon destroying it.

Instead of the Sage,  we get the Smartass, or Know-It-All.  Instead of using wisdom to guide “right action,” the Smartass thinks they know-it-all and can use this knowledge in the pursuit of actions that may destroy us.


Men – let us rip off the 6 grotesque masks and reveal the sacred male archetypes that hide behind.

There are men all over the world who are re-discovering the 6 sacred male archetypes.  Let us continue to do so.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

If We Can Imagine The Future...

I do not know how the minds of other creatures on this planet work, I’m not a neuro-biologist.  I do know that we humans have the quite remarkable capacity to do two things with our minds.  We can remember the past, and we can imagine the future.

Not only is this remarkable, it is also incredibly useful.  By remembering the past we can learn, we can adapt, we can do things differently than we did in the past. 

If we can imagine the future, then we can see our next step. 

What is this future we can imagine?  Some humans will envision a dystopian, apocalyptic, nightmarish future in which the world is a bleak, nasty and brutal one.  Not me, and I guess, not many of those who are working in community development or social justice fields.  The future we imagine is a rosy, utopian one.  Most of us will no doubt be imagining a world of peace and harmony.  We project a world in which our friends, family and community are living happily, and where our children can play safely.  In this future society everyone has access to education, health, shelter, food, and ample leisure time to pursue their dreams.  It is a world of tolerance, diversity, compassion and forgiveness.

Yes, I’m sure most of us have dreamt of this future world.  We may have even participated in visioning exercises designed to get us to think of what this world will look and feel like.

There is a third aspect that is remarkable about our minds.  Not only can we remember and imagine, we can also centre and ground ourselves in the present moment.  Moment by moment we take step by step (literally and figuratively).

If we can imagine the future then we can see that next step, we can feel that next moment.

When we fully realise the power of this third aspect of our minds then we truly can change the world.  And isn’t that what we dream of – changing the world?

Taking the next step is an incredibly simple task:  we act, here and now.  We co-act, and co-create, with whomever we are with and with whatever is existing right now.  We create the next step.  Our next step does not happen by chance, we consciously take it.  We step towards our future.

If we can imagine the future then our next step becomes our future.  In taking that step we act peacefully and in harmony.  Into that step we take with us tolerance, diversity, compassion and forgiveness.

Our future is our next step, our next step is our future.

The paradox of such a state of mind and being is that we no longer need to imagine what the future will look and feel like.  Our future is already here and now. 


This all sounds so simple that it is almost laughable.  Yet, wait – think about it.  Why wait for our imagined rosy, utopian, future?  Why not act our future now?  We can do it.  All we need is the conscious intent.