Mutuality for Social Action – we are never absolutely free

December 28, 2018

5329871139_03cd4e8dd3_zThe human has, relatively, attained in the last 150 years that which they have often sung about, yearned for and claimed to desire above all things; freedom. Although not perfect, we, particularly, in the West are less subservient and freer from the absolutism of princes and the determination of religion than we have ever been before.

But, freed from the judgement of both, the Western Human has discovered that not having ‘moral dictatorship’ and not having to be ‘well behaved citizens’, means we must work out for ourselves what the rules are for social co-operation. We must take personal responsibility, lead ourselves and act accordingly. Praxeology is the idea that humans always act purposefully, with a goal in mind and in the process of working out what we should now do,  that is steeling our values, has caused as to fret and fracture amongst ourselves.

Without direction on how to act, we suddenly realise that the concepts of what is good or bad, fair or unfair, truth or lies,  and what we are willing to do in response, must be worked out by ourselves, which where true healing lies. In the 1980’s, we were taught that it was the price that we were willing to pay for the tangible goods and services we consumed. But it was never just that. There are a whole host of intangible, value judgements and reflexive responses we make too, before we decide and act. The fret and the fractures make it seem almost like it has become too much for us personally to deal with (before we even consider the needs and views of others, we need to socially co-operate with!)

This is because the idea of ‘absolute freedom’ is a falsehood. We must all compromise something to be effective; a parent to their children; a worker to their market; or a vulnerable person to their carer’s benevolence. This implies two things for healing the fret and fracture: 1. We need to know what the rules (or values) of exchange are 2. We should seek mutuality in all things i.e. to leave each other feeling good after each interaction.

The economic price is rarely ever the only factor that drives our decision making  (if you meet someone for whom it is, I suspect you will enjoy very few transactions with such an individual), so make sure you understand that we cannot be absolutely free, so we should work out what our values, needs and contributions are and understand the same for others. Then in all things you do, seek much local influence as possible, that is where the value of true mutuality lies. And remember, words do not matter, only action does.



Adept Living – Foundation for the Future

December 26, 2018
ground group growth hands

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The elder, having reached a place of personal sustainability, is obliged to look at the world objectively and suggest ways that the youth should focus and grow. The youth have energy and passion but are easily persuaded and misled (for example into war or overly constrictive alliances and agreements). The youth for me are the directorate at the Adept Living Foundation CIC (ALF) and the peers we work with.

As business man and leader of a community interest, it is an encumberment on me to produce a strategic plan, to set out the assumptions we will work to and to provide guidance and be transparent in doing so.

This Christmas 2018, our queen reminded me and ALF of its agenda. Treating the other person with respect and as a fellow human being is always a good first step towards greater understanding, so that we can build ‘bonds of affection as it promotes a common desire to live in a better, more peaceful, world’.

Our ALF peers are perplexed by the challenges facing Britain, which are not new, seem scary, but simply represent the changing, exciting opportunities of the abundant world in which we live. ALF sees that the best way we can respond to that is to focus on leading personally purposeful lives, based on mutuality; that is, to live an individually responsible life in co-creation with our community.

At the first stage of our business planning, ALF looks at the world conditions, assuming as follows:

The World Economic Lead Table (WELT) 2018 Report issued by the impartial, influential and renowned Global Construction Perspectives (GCP) and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) state that:

  • Developed world share of the economy will drop from 76% (2000) to 44% (2032).
  • Western Europe drops from 30% (2000) to 13% (2032).
  • World Trade Growth will continue to defeat protectionism.
  • Technology will take over from Globalisation in driving the economy.
  • Climate Change will impede some economic growth.
  • India takes 5th WELT place. UK loses 6th to France, early post Brexit, but recovers 2020.
  • Brazil takes 6th place in 2024.
  • Asian countries grow, Russia declines, the US continues to grow and remain in 1st WELT place
  • Mexico overtakes Spain, Italy drops out of top 10.

Disruptive technologies are taking effect such that:

  • 3D Printing will transform distribution channels.
  • Dematerialisation will reduce traded goods in favour of information & expertise.
  • The price of energy will fall, therefore resource-based economies will need to diversify
  • Air and High-Speed Rail travel are likely to be reduced

Infrastructure, Construction & Urbanisation will drive economic growth:

  • Key areas will be India, China & Africa will invest
  • These key areas will create gravity pull effect on economic growth
  • Flexible economies must respond with need reformed welfare, tax, education and labour market polices

Britain’s opportunities lie in:

  • A blend of tech & creative sectors and the creative sector which CEBR terms The Flat White Economy
  • The warm relationship with the Common Wealth
  • Renewing its relationship with the EU

ALF see this an exciting, yet challenging time ahead and firmly believe that the principles of ‘Peering Into the Future’ will be invaluable both in business and in community, and both of which we will continue to develop and promote.

ALF’s initial response to this is:

ALF will support the Flat White economy by continuing to work with those peers, migrants or otherwise, who are in employment or self-employment, being either directors or staff, to enhance their emotional and mental wellbeing and work even more creatively and productively. ALF will also continue supporting severely challenged peers to find a purposeful direction and, when the time is right, occupation.

The Common Wealth principles are like ALF’s, based on individual nation sovereignty, minimal intervention, but with mutuality as a defining value. The Common Wealth:

  • Represents a third of the world’s population, 50% of whom are young people.
  • Benefit from a common language, legal systems and institutions.
  • Reduces inter member trade costs by 19%.
  • Has an agreed strategic plan.

The Common Wealth’s principles, values and strategic plans will form a key plank of the work that ALF will do both in integrating within local communities, and internationally too. Those strategic plans will be addressed as the second phase of ALF’s strategic planning, with a focus on the Common Wealth’s ambition to ‘Accelerate Social Wellbeing’.

ALF considers that the UK and EU Governments will reach some form of relationship that will be mutually beneficial. Given that the international trend towards less Government intervention is more likely, ALF will focus on generating its own income and delivering Government funded programs where it is efficient and effective to do so.

Looking for results?

February 11, 2018




I am told that ‘the unexamined life is not worth living’ (Socrates, coined some long time ago!)



But what makes a well lived life? What does it mean? All of the jobs, with large pay, that you have listed on Linkedin? The number of friends or likes you have on Facebook? Or the speed with which you can Twitter and claim your share of the socially networked world?

I am then reminded of the story of the student looking to get enlightenment. She seeks out the master, living on a mountain and finds him carrying a huge burden on his back, up the path.

‘What is enlightenment like?’ she asks. Without speaking, the master sighs and puts down the pack. She gets the message immediately. ‘Wonderful!’ she exclaims ‘but what happens after enlightenment?’ she further inquired. The master sighed, silently again, picked up the burden and continued on his path.

The psychologists Panskeep (2004) and Emmons (1999) tell us that, to give meaning to and reach contentment in, our lives, we need to both seek and achieve. I add ‘and then seek again’.

Perseverance in continued growth, to coin the great philosopher, Punch ‘that’s the way to do it!’ Do you want to find the way?




Measuring up, yet Dressing down

February 3, 2018


Bridget smiled radiantly, glancing at the bemused onlookers as she parked her bike, unpegged her jean clips (it was a bit late, the chain had already caught the bottom of her now stained, old fashioned bell bottoms) and coughed to clear her lungs.

The bell sounded, breaking the trance of onlookers; kindly family, friends and the like. “You need to get ready dear” an elderly aunt cautioned, just as the church organ struck up its welcome. “I am” she replied, “very ready”.

“Without make-up and no white, long flowing white dress? In holey jeans and muddy boots?” came the query, the crowd’s bemusement shifting to incredulity.

“Yes. I walked, breathed and reflected, rather than sat, pampered and gossiped. I am ready to pass through and onto my new life” she retorted, as she strode down the aisle and into the welcoming arms of her chosen partner.

Moving through life’s stages, rites of passage, is all about the preparation. Rush and we maybe unready. Pontificate and pout and we may be distracted and focus on the wrong things.

It pays to take time out. To retreat and conference with trusted confidants, but then the time comes to bounce back out again. To take up that project and hop on down into the new adventure.

“Go on bounce across ……… I will catch you!” bubbled Bridget’s confidence

A story of adversity. Reject or Resolve? – ‘Mikey Boy’ becoming ‘Mike the Man’ (Part 1)

May 1, 2017


As young boy Mikey’s mother left home, taking his sister, but leaving him alone with his step-father. Mikey’s dad had died when he was a baby. Although kindly, the step-father could not cope and Mikey was pushed into foster care.

Through no fault of his own, Mikey found himself frequently having to move homes. Sometimes his foster family had children or sometimes they changed their minds or goals. Sometimes they were abusive and simply could not cope with the shy and awkward, often resentful boy, whose withdrawn and sullen response to his challenging circumstances made him a target for the bullies.

Mikey soon learned to override the initial fear of these bullies and fought back. This had two impacts on the teenager’s life: he became aggressively angry and he also  came to believe everything bad that was said about him. That pattern or sense of fear did not leave him for a very long time, haunting him and making him overly anxious, but more on that later. Just now, that fear of not being good enough of feeling under threat, negatively affected his self-efficacy or belief in himself. Mikey felt like he had been cursed and slipped slowly into trouble with the law.

Then a trigger moment happened. A kindly policeman simply challenged, the now young man, to “take charge” of his life. The policeman interjected into Mikey’s stunned silence, telling him the well known story of the two wolves who battle inside each of us. One is the fearful, angry, bitter, self-pitying and nasty wolf, the other a kindly, energetic, grateful and hard-working wolf. “Who wins? The one you feed.” The police man explained. Mikey paused and reflected.

At this point he could have gone one of two ways, resentfully rejected the prompt and slipped further into self-pity, anger and addiction or resolved to pull himself up and choose a different route.

Reflect now:

When was the first time you experienced an overwhelming adversity, conflict or failure?

What was the nature of that event or situation? Was it gradual and slowly draining or unexpectedly sudden?

What coping strategies did you employ?

Your ‘Seven Ages’ interrupted

January 15, 2017


Learning is Life Long.

History illustrates that where education falls behind the pace of technological change, workers become idle.

Once education catches up, prosperity follows.

The problem is that the life long learning necessary to keep up (or ideally out pace) technology favours those who are either young or already educated. It also tends to favour those who have general rather than specific skills.

Although there is a current reaction against globalisation and migration, which tends to exacerbate the woes of the middle aged specialist worker, it is unlikely to be halted. The world is simply smaller now and will become even more integrated, eventually.

Change will happen and it may be difficult. The career/job for life no longer exists. And more and more people are becoming self-employed, either as specialist or generalists through the so called ‘gig’ economy.

These workers are de facto taking responsibility for themselves and will need to know how to and what to develop competences in. This is even more important for them now, given that working lives are getting longer and time to market for technological innovations shorter.

The ‘Seven Ages of Man’ may need revision. Those of us moving from six to seven may need to put our grumpiness on hold and adapt. Those in five or six may need to learn responsive learning patterns.

Those new ways will include developing resilience to change and the emotional intelligence to keep being flexible, learning and risking try new ways to contribute. I have no doubt we will want to do so with organisations that take us empathetically in mind.

We need a real, inclusive Community College for Careers and Commerce for ‘5th ages giggers and beyond!’

How to be ‘Ill at Ease’

January 12, 2017



The modern world would have you pop a ‘pill and flop back to work’. It’s almost like there is no time to pause and recover. The government stats bare this out; sickness per employee is dropping still. It is below four days a year. Hurrah for productivity! Hurrah for progress! But are we really getting better?

The government stats also bemoan the number of people who present at over worked A&E with flu like symptoms’, because they simply don’t know how to be ‘ill at ease’, that is how to stay at home and recover properly.

Of course, if necessary we, patients, should seek right medical support for urgent or critical illnesses, but there is also a case for being ‘patient at home’ with ourselves, by arming ourselves with proper rest rather than harming ourselves with over work (which also includes over working the emotional berating we can put ourselves through for not being ‘better enough’. There is a sense of social exclusion driven by being perceived as ‘feeble’ or a ‘shirker’.

Many of the pharmaceutical peddle this view throughly highly advertised ‘miracle cures’ and have us believing we should bounce back instantaneously. Before they existed, like back in my 1960’s childhood all the kids with mumps and measles would meet up and play together. We would keep ourselves isolated in community!

But today, kids, even big kids like you and me, are wheeled down the doctors for antibiotics for a sore throat. Why? Because our busy, important world demands it!

Instead, honey & lemon, gargling with salt water, warm rest and fluids will suffice, best done of course, quietly without grumbling or bowing down to demands to be perfectly fit!

In essence we just have to be a bit kinder to ourselves and others. To encourage us all to take better care of ourselves. Let’s not threaten each other with terrible things that might happen if they don’t get better, quick!

Ideally, they should rest at home, sparing the rest of us, too! Maybe, if you make just one resolution this year, forget wearing yourself out at the gym and, instead, make life a little easier by embracing the art of being ‘ill at ease’.
‘There is one consolation about being sick; and that is the possibility that you may recover to a better state than you were ever in before.’ Henry David Thoreau