Skip to main content

Fear of Social Conscience

Have you noticed how some of your relatives and friends get irritated when you mention a social issue that is not directly related to them?

Perhaps you are enjoying a good cup of coffee and a donut as you share 'what's up', and you blurt something about the threat to wild salmon, Neo Nazis in Charlottesville, or some other issue. And suddenly everything goes quiet while someone around that table gives you the evil eye.

Have you noticed in groups how some hate those who are sensitized to issues of injustice? One or two members of a board or club will target an anti-racist, a feminist, or environmentalist, who speaks up? Or mobbing at a University - how often is the target a person who has expressed a desire for social justice?

At dinner parties have you noticed if anyone mentions equal pay, equal respect, violence toward a specific group - they are quickly interrupted and the subject changed?

Why is this? Is it because we want to feel safe, that the world is just, and our co-workers and friends are ethical and have a good conscience? Or is it that any issue of injustice in our society strikes a tone of moral superiority? Or that most of us don't want to be reminded of prejudice or systemic violence when we are having fun?

Is there a flaming red flag around the aura of a person who makes it clear they are aware of the larger society? A sub conscious understanding that this person does not base their worth on getting your approval?

Is there a time and place for difficult conversations other than social gatherings? Is the common gap in all social intercourse a matter of privilege?

Stephen Metcalf wrote in The Guardian about how neoliberalism has swallowed up the world along with all the beating hearts and minds within.  "Peer through the lens of neoliberalism and you see more clearly how the political thinkers most admired by Thatcher and Reagan helped shape the ideal of society as a kind of universal market".  Social reality since then, says Metcalf,  has been reordered where the blood coursing through our veins means nothing other than the price the market will give it.

We have been dismissed. Art, science, intellect, music, love and family means nothing if they can't make a profit for someone.  We have swallowed this reasoning to the extent that any reminder of society as community, kindness, inalienable rights and duties, is almost an admittance of our gullibility over the last forty years. 

We've been had and had bad.


Popular posts from this blog

Letter to BC Ferries

I am a resident of Gabriola and often travel Taylor Bay Road to get to the village.

I have noticed the line up takes cars onto the road where there are bends. Because some of the cars are part way on to the road I must pass on the oncoming traffic lane. This is dangerous because oncoming traffic cannot see me. I move as close as possible to the cars in the line up but still go to the oncoming traffic lane.

It appears that we need more frequent ferries to avoid this long line up. When catching a ferry I get in line as the previous ferry is leaving, which is possible for retired people, but not everyone can do this.

Overburdened line ups also cause some to get too frustrated and do dangerous things. We are all responsible for our own behaviour but so much of our civil society is being destroyed by ruthless economic ideologies.

Climate change, abusive treatment of workers and the economic trend which intentionally pushes people to a deep sense of insecurity, calls for a renewal in comm…

The Truth As the Body Knows It by Lynda Archer

I know the news moves on quickly, but I am still back, as I expect some of you are also, with what occurred in the US Supreme Court a few days ago. I am sharing with you all an essay that I couldn't not write after Dr. Blasey Ford's testimony. Trigger warning for some of what I write. Feel free to share with whomever you wish. And thanks to those who have read earlier versions. You know who you are. 

Continuing from Dr. Blasey Ford’s Testimony, the Truths I Know 

I watched closely the Supreme Court events in the US and found myself becoming increasingly sad, angry and churned up with the process and the ultimate outcome. Spoiler alert. Yes, I clearly side with Dr. Ford and I will over the course of this essay endeavour to show you why. 

I am not myself a survivor of sexual assault or abuse. But at this historic moment I am reminded of all the brave women who I was honoured to treat in my capacity as a clinical psychologist and Assistant Clinical Professor within the Dept. of Psyc…

How The Light Gets In

The story of civilization on this planet is held in Leonard Cohen’s “Anthem”. 
How can I contribute to my society so it sustains and avoids the entropy of corruption, pollution, death and despair?

Cohen's song inspires me. I see our history on this planet as a cautionary tale of cycles, problem solving, good intentions and unintended consequences.

The first stanza of Anthem announces the birds sing at the break of day.  This tells me that I need not look to our human history alone. I can find wisdom and inspiration in all living things.If the birds start the day by singing then I can do something every day. Music is like a prayer urging me to go on, not give up.

Those "little things with feathers” that Emily Dickenson called hope, were taken for granted by us, until Rachel Carson warned of a silent spring. DNT was killing so much of the natural world many of us didn’t notice until Carson pointed it out. It inspired the environmental movement to pressure the monolith of “the econ…