How I think: Focusing on the words… Reality and [Psychological] Freedom
My starting Point is Progressive… solution based with reality firmly in mind. And its all about health. I can’t change the world so I have to think… is it heading in a progressive direction? Yes it is. I know that Westminster Politics is dying but that is irrelevant. That’s THEIR demise. It is their problem.
So let me list some key words concerning how I think. The key words are linked to how I think:
- Progressive/Solutions orientated
- [Psychological] Freedom
I want to focus on the word ‘REALITY’. How do people who do not focus on Reality think? The answer to that is through Prejudices. It is not thinking. It is not progressive. It is not solutions orientated. Its therefore irrelevant. I cannot listen to meaningless prejudices that do not care about anything really. Its all fake with them. I don’t know why they bother. They collectively keep the world in a state of “illness”. If one side of a dialogue does not think in terms of reality then the other person cannot dialogue properly with him or her because they think the other person does not think in terms of reality. That is bad for psychosocial health.
* Health… i.e., psychological and physical health. If you are not physically healthy then you are not psychologically healthy. Thus you do not experience psychological freedom.
Freedom is Psychological. So the state’s job is to enable freedom. Of course, genetics, bad choices etc can still hamper and destroy your freedom. On the other hand technological innovations could potentially bail you out. E.g., new innovations may enable someone to walk who would have been confined to a wheel chair in the previous decade. The more we live online in VR communities the more irrelevant the state will become. The states role to ‘enable’ will be weakened because it will no longer be necessary as technology will have achieved what the state had no chance of achieving. For example, those who cannot walk in the physical world will be able to walk in the VR environment. Therefore it will be technology (not the state) that ultimately enables people to be free. (positive freedom). Another example of technology enabling freedom will be that everything in VR will be free. (afterall whatever is being purchased is not really real). That will solve a trillion problems.
Brian Clough, in the context of describing his positive ideas about socialism, once said “I’ve had a nice car, I’ve got a nice house. And I don’t see any reason why everybody shouldn’t have that”. https://twitter.com/i/status/868469800762265602 Well in full immersion virtual reality everything will be limitless. Hence, everybody who wants that will have that.
Lets go over a few things I have said above. The ‘limitless’ characteristic of full immersion (globally connected VR) will mean that Cloughs idea will become reality. Afterall it can all be switched on and off like a light switch. It will mean whither the state. Technology will enable psychological freedom as opposed to the state. Cash will be irrelevant in the sense of it will make no difference (in globally connected VR) whether it exists or not. If it exists its limitless which takes away its point. Cash exists to ‘limit’. If its limitless then everything is free. Hence cash becomes irrelevant and that will solve a trillion problems. (just think about poverty and all the problems for those suffering from it that poverty causes them to experience). Labels may decline. E.g., Once socialism is achieved then who needs a label. It just becomes everyday normal. Age will become irrelevant. People will be able to be whoever they want to be. I think the majority will opt for a young adult look thus eternal youth in VR.
Mental Health is linked to almost every policy of mine
Mental Health: I hear the words ‘Mental Health’ a lot. I hear the words ‘Mental Health Awareness’ and positive claims about ‘funding’. But I think I am a lot clearer in this paper about what I mean by Mental Health. Everything I refer to in this mini paper is linked to Mental Health… some of my ideas will help many people… some of my ideas will only be beneficial to a few. But taken as a whole, I think my ideas are highly pro Mental Health.
Universal Basic Income (UBI) and Mental Health: Think about having to choose between heating and eating. Think about the anxiety of not being able to pay a bill. Think about not being able to participate in any consumer culture. Think about not being able to provide for your family. Clearly progressive and generous UBI will help millions of people.
Technology and Mental Health: Immersive realistic looking yet fantasy world (virtual) experiences can already (or at least… will be able to) have a profound impact on people’s mental health. I think these experiences will benefit people who exaggerate their psychological problems to themselves (but by doing that, bring about a self-fulfilling prophecy concerning their state of mind). These immersive experiences can constantly remind them that life is good, exciting, enjoyable and they are lucky to be able to be alive to experience these things. Also, empathy with other human beings can be enhanced through virtual experiences showing realistic looking scenarios whereby any negative discriminatory situation is experienced. The more realistic the more we reduce these ugly experiences as people become consciously aware that they are immoral and criminal.
Oppose Post-Truth Politics for psychosocial health: Post-Truth Politics makes it impossible (or at least more difficult) to educate, reach consensus, solve problems. If someone possesses an absolute post-truth mindset then it’s an absolute block on dialogue. I think opposition to truth (in favour of prejudices, negative emotion etc) has always existed. Now it’s considered as stronger than ever. Reality and truth are very psychosocially important. People should not be proud of being in psychological denial and should not be proud of being deceitful. I also view people that are Post-Truth in their mindset as often on the side of those who actually want (and aim for) conflict in society.
Climate Change and Mental Health: Parts of the UK are flood-risk areas. Following the Somerset floods lots of homes were raised onto higher ground. People in areas of flood risk should be able to obtain grants to do this. Having your home destroyed is something that impacts a persons mental health very negatively.
National Unity and Mental Health: All of the above policies (especially UBI) would dilute the support for anarchism in society. We need to placate working class England on Brexit, and we need to placate Scotland and London on Brexit. The Norway option is the only option that can do this. Because then we can say we have political sovereignty. And we can say that economic ties (in the Single Market) remain as before. This could establish a settlement on Britain’s relationship with the EU… especially if the other policies were put into practice. Personal relationships have come to an end over the Brexit issue. This issue was crying out for a national unity compromise before the referendum result. Now (if possible) that is even more urgent.
I also think its time to turbo-charge the creation of fully immersive virtual communities so as to take much of the heat out of outer world politics as people can form their own identities in the virtual world.
Focus on the Idea without emotionally identifying with it
This is a paper about individual freedom. Individual freedom is not just freedom from harm (although it is that). Its also freedom to be able to freely think and freedom to do what you want within the law. I think the idea of Universal Basic Income is important and can boost millions of peoples mental health. Firstly though I want to focus here on ideas and mental health. Many people’s psychology is one in which they feel like they possess an idea. I see this on social media. Its unhealthy for that individual. Their mind is suffocated and they are now at the mercy of the success of the idea in question. We do not possess ideas. But they can possess us if we let them do so. We need to divorce ideas from ourselves. Ideas are healthy when we are
(1) not the idea. Our mental health does not depend on them. And
(2) the idea put into practice improves the physical and mental health of the individual.
Universal Basic Income (UBI) will do that. On another issue putting as many high flood risk homes as possible onto higher ground will do that. (i.e., raising them like the wealthy did in Somerset following their historic floods). Getting nanobots into the bloodstream will do that. Returning to my number 1 policy idea, UBI, its progressive as opposed to utopian. It will increase peoples freedom to do what they want within the law. It will reduce anxiety about paying bills and about paying for essentials such as heating and eating. But it will not enable people at the bottom to just jet off on a holiday abroad. The reason why my main idea is progressive (an improvement) but not utopian is not because I am opposed to utopia. Its because I do not know how to attain utopia. Meanwhile UBI’s time has either arrived or is very near. Two entangled reasons for this come to mind:
- Middle class insecurity has increased and they are more supportive of UBI than ever before.
- The UK’s feverish politics. Brits are more open to voting for big changes than ever before.
The above is not to say that my mind is closed to the possibility of losing. I am supportive of ~ but not possessed by the idea of UBI. In a passionate general election who knows for certain whether UBI would be a vote winner or vote loser. All I will say is that it would do better now than in the past. The more technological our society gets the more support UBI gets. But I am aware that it would be met with a ton of hostility from economic right wing commentators. It would be history repeating itself as it would be reminiscent of 1945 when the NHS was popular and a vote winner yet the Conservatives were saying it (alongside the welfare state) would turn Britain into a Communist country. I am not saying that the outcome would definitely be the same as in 1945. But the similarity is clear. Of course UBI is not communist. The free market capitalist economy creates vast wealth. It is commendable for that. It distributes goods very effectively. I think there is some market failure at the bottom where people want to buy things but can’t due to lack of money and thus shops needlessly get boarded up. So what I say there is that market capitalism is great at creating wealth but terrible at distributing it. UBI solves that problem to a large extent (albeit as said, not to a utopian extent).
So am I opposed to Soviet Communism? Because I implied so above. I want to empower the individual because that is the best for the individuals health. My mind is open and I only want what is best for the individuals physical and mental health. Universal healthcare, Universal Basic Income, medicine going within the human body as prevention (nanobots)… these things seem sensible to me. Soviet Communism strikes me as imitating the market and that strikes me as impossible. Market Capitalism is the only way we know of to create wealth and distribute goods over a wide area. But capitalism is serving less and less people. It is narrowing in terms of its already terrible record on income distribution. UBI is the policy lever that needs pulling.
Psychology seems most difficult for people to grasp. So I want to again move on to discussing that.
If an idea possesses a person and they could not possibly imagine thinking differently then it is damaging their mental health. Their health is being determined by the success or failure of the idea. Take human caused climate change as an example. I think its scientific and therefore I do think that human caused climate change is real. But should new information become apparent that contradicts this, then I would be willing to change with the science. An idea must not possess me. Then I am better able to trust myself.
Now lets take a moment or two to look at the Conservative Party and Brexit. Because they illustrate why my emphasis on ‘psychology’/ ‘mental health’ is important. The reason why the Conservatives have gone all anarchist is because of Brexit. But it’s a negative (i.e., mentally unhealthy) tribal anarchism based on emotionally lashing out at opposition. Some or many Brexiteers already were anarchist in 2016: “Blow up the state” was a common rallying call online during the referendum. They now appear to be putting it into action. Its ironic. They have been forced to be precisely what they want to be. It’s the + in Brexit+. To destroy everything in the name of Brexit is exactly what the Brexit Party crave to do. The label of “Anarchism” is perfect. We need no other label. Incredibly the Tories success for as far ahead as I can see is dependent on their anarchist credentials. The more they stick it to the man the greater their success will be. The more they conform, respect norms, seem content with the rule of law, the more they will shed voters akin to a moulting dog shedding his hair. The Tories are now Brexiteers/Anarchists. So I am crystal clear in where the Tories stand… what their position is politically/ideologically. So what has this to do with the title of the paper? It’s part of the tribal identity issue politics. That is where most people (in the UK at least) are at in their political evolution. They are at the level of ‘tribalism’… although 50% of the public are on one side (Brexit tribe) and 50% on the other (Remain tribe). I do not know where the Norway Soft Brexiteers are these days: i.e., do they get categorised as Brexiteers or Remainers? The goalposts have moved so much. Britain has realigned. Therefore the answer depends on who you ask. Jo Swinson would say they are Brexiteers. Nigel Farage would say they are Remainers. Not identifying with Brexit or Remain means that I just want as much national unity as possible. This is a confession that most people do identify with either Leave or Remain. Brexit is an identity issue which is precisely why it evokes so much passion and hostility. Its precisely the Soft Brexit option (or Soft Remain as Farage calls it) that we need to calm the flames. We will fail to put those flames out because the Brexit Party and Lib Dems are here to stay. The aim (for me) is to contain them. That is quite a challenge in this frenzied political climate.
In the U.S. Andrew Yang says that his Universal Basic Income policy is what matters. He says Universal Basic Income will win. He says he (himself) might lose. Usually, in politics, when we refer to playing the ball, not the man… we are referring to our attitude towards our opponents. But here, Yang uses this logic to refer to himself. Universal Basic Income is the idea. Yang is the Man. He says its the idea that is important. And of course he is right. Universal Basic Income is growing and growing and it would be absurd to say that UBI’s success all depends on him. I don’t support Andrew Yang. I support Universal Basic Income. Two more Democratic candidates for President are supporting UBI. They are Gabbard and Williamson. Likewise its not them that I am supporting. I support UBI. There are so many plus points to UBI. Those plus points include:
- It decentralises power (in the form of income) to the individual themselves thus empowering the individual who will feel more free and included in society. I think that it will reduce governmental authority so much that people will be depoliticized. This will mean that not only extremists (or potential extremists) will be depoliticized but also people who are just political animals (whether they were radical or otherwise) will feel less passionate about politics. With regards to reduction in political extremism, this would lessen threats to politicians and reporters, and re-establish some level of trust with them.
- Abolishes income poverty. And the ‘Universal’ aspect means that an economically right wing government would find it impossible to abolish UBI. (abolition seems impossible if its set at, e.g., £220 per week. However If set too low then it would be a realistic aim of the right wing to abolish it).
- Linked to point 2, the abolition of poverty means the reduction of anxiety, depression, stress etc related to inability to pay bills. Linked to point 1, individual empowerment also means that there is an improvement in mental health.
- Increases ‘demand’ at the bottom end of the capitalist economy. That is where there is market failure. Hence UBI will lessen market failure.
- Compensates for increased economic insecurity among the middle class. Thus its time has come. There is a narrowing of capitalism, i.e., a narrowing of who capitalism serves. UBI will mean that a transformed UBI capitalism serves everyone.
There’s so much tribalism these days based around identity issues. This means they are not thinking through ideas so much. They are not thinking much at all in some cases. They identify. Identifying never ends well. Indeed, it is neurotic at all times.
I want more of this… focus on the ball not the man attitude. i.e., focus on the idea approach. Otherwise I cannot help but conclude that the focus on the man (or woman of course) is due to prejudice. If two people who could be PM or President share the exact same idea then the outcome is exactly the same because it is not them that implement it. It’s the civil service and Inland Revenue. i.e., it’s a collective endeavour that involves thousands of bureaucrats and tax collectors. There is nothing illegal about focusing on the Man as opposed to the idea. But I think it serves no ones interest. It is not the best idea for the individual concerned as it sells him or herself out to non-think that way. Its group think. Its also often associated with lashing out at the opposition and ends up (in that sense) as mob-rule, abuse. We see this online everyday. Its easy to see when someone is more interested in playing the Man not the Ball. However, some of those group-thinkers simply heil their own side while some lash out at the other side in a personal manner. I see very little focus on what the other side actually say. Todays tribal politics has almost no interest in the good points of the other side. That would be too balanced for a tribalist!
A lot of Brexiteers are so obsessed with Nigel Farage that he is their fantasy mate. This partly explains why the Brexit Party have managed to maintain 14% support despite Boris nicking all their policies. However, I do admit another (more important) reason. That more important reason is because the Brexit Party’s role is (at this minute in time) to keep the Tory government honest. It’s a case of telling the Tories to stick to the plan or we will take ALL of your voters for ourselves. If the Brexit Party ceased to exist Boris would soften his Brexit policy in a millisecond. He would probably delay Brexit and then seek compromise. So we can say that the Brexit Party are in charge of the Tory Party and that their instructions to the Tories are:
- Deliver a No Deal Brexit.
- Keep up the Anarchism so as to destroy the State.
I am no Brexit Party fan. They are the Kings of Identity Issue Politics. The Kings of Tribalism. TheKings of Prejudice, and the Kings of Anarchism. They want to blow up the State. The Brexit Party want people to be tribal and to lash out. This anarchism is based on prejudice and hate. It wants conflict so that these negative emotions can be unleashed. While, what I want is an ideas or solutions based thinking that does not possess the mind. Thus I divorce the idea from myself. I am not the idea. It does not possess me. I do not feel identification with it. I would bin it in an instant if I thought it did nothing for human health. Thus if I imagine being a member of a political party… even imagine being at their conference… I would just so happen to (as an individual) agree with the gist of what they are saying. But I would not be tied to them because I do not identify with ideas. There can be no tribal loyalty from me to them. They therefore genuinely have to win my vote. And even if they did, I would not get sucked into a tribal mindset.
Moreover I think that identity issue politics is inconsistent with solution based politics. Of course, this is a controversial thing to say. It would mean that not only is the Brexit/Remain conflict being criticised, but so too is Scottish Independence, Welsh Independence, and the Spain/Catalonian identity issue too. I think the growth for Welsh nationalism is not a right wing thing. It’s a reaction to English nationalism. Generally speaking Welsh people are left of centre. However, I also accept its very much part of a trend towards a more and more demanding political assertiveness in people. And there is tribalism among the UK regions irrespective of whether its right or left wing.
Personally, I would be less interested in politics if it placated me. That would require generous UBI, NHS funded at average level of western Europe, Brexit settlement with those on the extremes contained, PR to be fair. That would be one hell of a settlement and would depoliticize many. I think it would last along time, and the only thing that would weaken the settlement is the natural withering of the state… i.e., if people went off (in the 2030s) into virtual worlds and their communities. That would be beyond depoliticalization. It would be as said, wither the state. But you can have all of those things and still be possessed by ideas. Individual empowerment does not just mean UBI and nanobots in the bloodstream. Individual empowerment also means that you are not possessed by ideas that are not you. If your mind is possessed… if your mind is not free… then all of those healthy empowering policies do not equate to mental health… because you are possessed by an idea or ideas. Indeed, your mental health is then determined by the success or failure of the idea. Therefore it is essential to be distant from ideas. This means for mental health reasons it is important you do not identify with an idea, with a tribe etc. i.e., do not group-think. Group thinking is non-thinking. Its tribal thinking.
Tribalists can be educated and can be uneducated. All of them sell out their intelligence for tribalism. In September 2019 the BBCs Laura Kuenssberg tweeted a video of a man challenging Boris Johnson in a hospital concerning the care of his son. She followed this by pointing out that the man is a Labour Party activist. Kuenssberg was then subjected to a barrage of twitter attacks from people on the left. However, she had simply done her job. Her job is to give both sides which she did… by posting both the video of the incident and then the point about him being a Labour Party activist. Even the man involved defended the reporter. If it had been someone heckling or challenging Jeremy Corbyn and the person doing the challenging was a Conservative Party activist then I am sure that the left would want not only the challenge to be reported but also the fact that the person challenging Corbyn is a Conservative Party activist. Incidentally Brexiteers are frequently involved in online abuse. Arron Banks has a list of MPs he wants to F*** off. Anyway, when I see incidents like the Kuenssberg incident, I can see exactly what is going on. It’s a deliberate attempt to scare the reporter individually and at the level of BBC (or if its Sky, at level of Sky News). It’s a deliberate attempt to scare her and the BBC into thinking twice about how they report on Labour. Its psychological warfare. (It happens the other way round of course. There’s a ton of abuse of the BBC from Brexit supporting anarchists). This attack on reporters is a classic example of playing the reporter not the ball. Reporters have to be balanced. Attacking them is an attempt to blow up impartiality.
More on UBI) UBI is VERY solution based… I regard my general philosophy as being solution based… although I take the free market capitalism side of it as a ‘given’. I am a social democrat because free market capitalism is great at creating vast wealth but terrible at distributing it fairly. I would preface “social democrat” with “modern” (modern social democrat) because I am more of a Universal Basic Income social democrat as opposed to welfare state social democrat. The principle of universality is very important. It makes freedom from poverty a ‘right’ that would be impossible to reverse. UBI really will be a solution that gets implemented if middle class insecurity continues to grow. The threat from automation suggests it will grow.
I’m not perfect. This is evolution for me and I found writing this paper more difficult than usual. It wasn’t the writing that I found difficult but the psychology. It was challenging. I was challenging myself, challenging my psychological flaws. Perfection does not need to evolve. I think that slanting towards thinking as an individual requires:
- Not identifying with the idea. Healthy Individual thinking is non-attachment. Hence, not tribal. You may find that tribal minded people agree with what you are saying. However, if you are thinking as an individual then your psychology is different to theirs and your mental health will be healthier than it would be if you gave up your individuality in favour of identifying.
- Focusing on the idea, the solution and not on the man or woman) is more intelligent than tribal group thinking. (i.e., non-thinking). Tribal thinking is just rubber stamping and lashing out at the opposition’s figure heads. I do not deny that tribalism can win votes. I predicted the Brexit Party would eat Theresa Mays support and they did as the Tories went down to their lowest level of support in their 185 year history. With Boris Johnson in charge, they have predictably won most of that support they lost back. (due to their tribal approach to Brexit and No Deal). At time of writing the Lib Dems have almost done the same thing to Labour that the Brexit Party did to Theresa May’s Conservatives. The Lib Dems are interesting and I want to write a paper on them comparing their approach to mine. Because they are supposed to be individual in their thinking to a significant extent. Yet they are the flip side of the same coin as the Brexit Party. Very tribally Pro Remain and now promising to cancel Brexit altogether.
Note above, that point 2 emphasised ‘focusing on the idea’ yet point 1 emphasised ‘not identifying with the idea’. Its important to point out here that putting point 1 and 2 together means that the healthy thing to do is to focus on the idea without emotionally identifying with it.
The problem (for the individual) concerning tribal thinking is:
- Its sells themselves out to group-think.
- It results in prejudice and even hate.
- Its inauthentic.
- Its bad for mental health
Splits… Splits… and more Splits… as Britain becomes a nation of political tribes
There is not just a split between Brexiteers and Remainers anymore. There are splits within the two tribes themselves.
On Pro Brexit side split between No Deal and a Deal.
On Pro Remain side split between a referendum and Revoke.
I know some Brexiteers claim a Deal = Remain. But I don’t buy that. Maybe you can call it an establishment Brexit. Hence there is even a split on the issue of categorisation.
I would be happy with a referendum that was between a Norway style Soft Brexit and No Deal. I think the former would win (although No Deal would score better than the vast majority would predict and give Soft Brexiteers like myself a scare). If I am right and Soft Brexit won, then we would have attained as much unity in our split society as possible… and as I always say, that isn’t much unity. Hence, I am for the least bad option and there only are bad options.
During the 2016 Referendum I understood with 100% certainty that the genie was out the bottle and this new vitriolic political culture was here to stay (i.e., a loud, demanding, hateful, conflict culture). And national unity attempts had to therefore be made irrespective of the result. I have not budged a millimetre since then. The conflict will go on until its resolved. I think Universal Basic Income will put some of the fires flames out. But UBI is years away.
In 2016 I was also predicting some kind of radical decentralisation (in the UK) that would eventually reach the individual level. Well I think I was on the right track. 3 years later I see decentralisation from the centralised level of a nation to the regions. i.e., we see English Brexiteers (some of whom I view as anarchists), we see the most predictable London internationalists, Scottish Pro EU/pro SNP Independence position, and now we see the rise of Welsh nationalism that has the same logic as the reason why Scottish independence is so strong. They don’t want anything to do with Boris’ lot. Ever since the 1980s complaints from the Scottish public have become louder in response to perceived neglect from England. Labour introduced devolution but that just acted as a stepping stone. Now, Boris’ government are seen as alien to the Scots… ditto alien for many Welsh people with support for Welsh independence up from 10% to 40% in 3 years. So in other words the decentralisation equates to a breaking up of the whole… into tribal groups. The Conservatives used to be the Unionist party but are now the Anarchist party… hence they don’t care because all they think about is sacrificing anything and everything (including the rule of law) for Brexit. I just think that sets a dangerous long-term precedent. I also think the breaking up of the whole is accelerating hence I was definitely on the right track. I understood (during the referendum) that people will not take defeat anymore. They consider democracy like fast food. They think it’s a democracy therefore if I demand it then I should receive it. But people think “Ahh, that lot won’t give me what I demand, but my own tribe will”. And people have clicked on who their own are. E.g., Hard Remainers know the Lib Dems are for them (or the SNP in Scotland). Hard Brexiteers watch the Tories like a hawk and demand they heel otherwise they’ll collectively vote for Nigel Farages Brexit Party. And now Welsh people are giving up on England and looking on approvingly at Plaid. At this rate, my own region, the northeast will be demanding independence. I’m not sure what Mackems would think of being ruled from Newcastle though.