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, 14 September 2016

Please Don't Fix It

“I don’t want you to fix it, I just want you to listen to me.”  How many men have heard these, or similar words, from their wives, lovers, partners, daughters, or mothers?  The female desire for connection and true listening, and the male wish to fix things, or find a solution to the perceived problem, could just about qualify as the single most prevalent source of communication breakdown in male/female relations.

The generalisations inscribed in the above paragraph should not be read to suggest that only women desire a listening connection, nor that only men wish to fix things.  People lie all along the male-female continuum.  However, the desire to fix things, and to solve problems, is more readily associated with men.

No matter how this came to be, no matter what evolutionary or other cultural driver led to this state, men (and women) are now understanding that listening is at the heart of true communication.  The skills, techniques, and methods of active (or creative) listening are being learnt, understood, and practiced more commonly than they were just half a century ago.  As these skills become more widespread the possibility of communication breakdown between the sexes lessen.

What if we broaden the perspective?  What if we explore the “desire to fix” beyond that of male-female communication?

Could it be that the desire to fix things, the desire to “solve” perceived problems is one of the drivers that have led to the problems we have today?  Are we caught in a circular trap of our own making?  Does fixing things lead to even greater problems than those we thought we were fixing?  What if the problems we are fixing aren’t problems at all?  A couple of examples may help flesh this out.

The Automobile

Not so long ago, in the the 19th century, we moved from point A to point B on foot, horseback, or horse-drawn buggy.  This was considered to be a problem.  The solution was to invent the internal combustion engine and the motorcar.

Today, less than two centuries later, we are now faced with the ramifications of that “fix.”  We have traffic congestion.  We have enormous tracts of land tied up in roads and parking lots.  Globally, more than one million people killed every year in traffic accidents, and a further 50 million injured.  We have pollution problems from vehicle emissions in many of the world’s cities.  And, of course, we have greenhouse gas emissions contributing to perhaps the greatest global issue humanity has ever faced.

Terrorism

In the aftermath of 9/11 the US convinced or coerced some of its allies into the “Coalition of the Willing”1 to invade Iraq and to hunt down its President, Saddam Hussein.  This was a classic “fix it” approach.  What were the perceived problems?  Saddam Hussein, weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, Islamic militants.

A decision was made to invade Iraq in order to solve these perceived problems.  The listening that was needed at the time was woefully lacking.  The UN Security Council was not listened to.  Advice as to the legal basis for invasion was not listened to.  The findings of the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), headed by Dr Hans Blix, was not listened to.  The leadership of a number of churches (including the Vatican and the World Council of Churches) were not listened to.  The opposition to invasion by 54 of the world’s nations was not listened to.  Millions of people in the streets of cities in February 2003 were not listened to.2 

However, Bush, Blair, and others were determined to “fix it.” 

Now, more than a decade after the “fix it” solution was applied we have a part of the world that is torn apart by internal strife, the continued presence of military action from other nations, and a massive humanitarian crisis.  Fixing the perceived problems only exacerbated them.  Terrorism is not only increasing (nine times as many people are killed in terrorist actions now than in 20003), it is also spreading (the number of countries experiencing more than 250 deaths per year from terrorist attacks has quadrupled since 2000. 

Listen To Mother Earth

Now, we are trying to fix the Earth.  For centuries we have been trying to fix the Earth for our own benefit.  We have gobbled up her resources, we have depleted her forests and waters, we have exterminated many of her creatures.  Now, we face the consequences of that “fix it” approach – climate change - and we are trying to fix that as well!

Women have been telling men to listen for decades.  It is not only human women that we need to listen to though.  We must listen to Mother Earth.  We need to stop trying to fix her and simply listen.  All of us can get caught in the trap of trying to fix Mother Earth.  Some promote geoengineering, and others call for green technology.  But, perhaps we just need to listen to Mother Earth.  She knows how to take care of herself.  She also knows how to sustain us, if we would only listen.  Please, don’t fix it – just listen.

Notes:
1. Three nations (the UK, Australia, and Poland) joined the US in sending armed soldiers into Iraq. 
2. Estimates of numbers include 3 million in Rome, 2 million in London, and many thousands more in over 600 cities worldwide.  The 2004 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records cited the demonstrations as the largest mass protest movement in history.

3. More than half these deaths are in just two nations: Iraq and Nigeria.  Almost 60% of all terrorist attacks occur in just five countries: Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria, Syria.  Source: Global Terrorism Index 2015, Institute for Economics and Peace.

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