Nonviolent Communication -- an introduction
I first encountered NVC slightly over 5 years ago now, shortly after going vegan. It resonated with me very strongly, though it took me a while to figure out how to integrate its insights, especially when it comes to engaging in advocacy. And even now, I still feel like an amateur. :) Nevertheless, it was the missing link I'd been looking for, as it provides us with a way to give everyone's needs equal weight, and to learn what it means to embrace egalitarianism, as well as how to get there.
Life under Meritocracy -- embodied edition
I am a white male with a lower middle class background, who was among the first to go to uni, with an extended family that I felt strongly encouraged me to embrace petit-bourgeois (protestant) values and life goals, in a society that does the same. As a youth, I encountered few positive role models or like-minded peers, and lots of confirmation that I was different, which I didn't know what to do with, and found difficult to accept. Due to social awkwardness, some early bullying and the like, and because I equated social status, likability and attractiveness, I also long doubted both my general likability and physical attractiveness. This gave me the freedom to not care much about people's appearance beyond basic hygiene, as I saw these as facts of life for everyone.
Some thoughts on "How to Turn Litter into Money": Linking Promises, Money and Violence
Reintegrating the dismal science with other human behavior
There are a number of ways to explain what money is, and what it allows us to do. Sadly, money's "origin story", which we were all taught in school, is a very misleading morality tale, in which human interactions that involve goods are treated as a wholly separate sphere of life, in which people would only engage in spot trades. According to the tale, humans were only willing to move away from direct exchange once they invented currency. This picture is a complete fantasy, in ways that matter a great deal.
Chomsky on the need for ideological control
Up until 2008 I had mostly been ignoring the world of politics, having accepted the suggestion that we were in a post-political age. But when the financial crisis of 2008 hit, I realized that elites can't handle the responsibility of running the world by themselves. So I tried to do the responsible thing, and inform myself -- reading the elite media, paying special interest to those who were critics, to see how they explained things. However, most of what I read struck me as unconvincing, as the crisis tended to be presented as a fluke or a "natural disaster", while the "f word" was hardly even mentioned. This struck me as indicative of collective blindness, given how beneficial the run-up had been to some, and given what I already knew about (the lies leading up to) the invasion of Iraq, and the Dot-Com bubble. As such, I went off on my own, moving around until I encountered Naked Capitalism, and then David Harvey's work. Since then, I've slowly been (re-)educating myself, and unlearning to accept the status quo as normal.
Veganism, and "so long as we accept violence in any form, we accept violence in every form"
Although we're mostly unaware that we're being taught (or teaching) this lesson, nearly everyone is raised to believe that the weight of someone's needs depends on how we view them. By the time we're adults, this idea and logic are deep-seated indeed, though people differ in how broadly they apply it. Sadly, most of us apply this logic to our thinking about non-nationals, and people with a different ethnic background. As many or more people apply it to their thinking about people who adhere to no or different religions. Elites think this way about non-elites (and esp. the unemployed or "less educated", or those "left behind by globalization"). Whites about non-whites. And so on.