Dialogue transcripts published

The Integral Leadership Review is publishing the series of dialogues that I have been having with Nish Dubashia inspired by David Bohm and J Krishnamurti’s dialogues. The full dialogues can also be found on our YouTube channel. Here is the first transcript in the December edition of the Integral Leadership Review.

Conspireality – navigating the chaos of breakdown and breakthrough

Is it possible for climate change and the corona virus to both be real phenomena and there to be a powerful group of people intent on using these developments to maximise their own influence and wealth? Do climate change and corona denial have to go hand in hand with a radical critique of our current structures of governance and economics? Why do they so often seem to?

These are questions that have been running around my mind for the last couple of months, and often I find the best way to sort them out is to try and write down my current thoughts, so here we go…

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Embodying the Future

Embodying the Future – why the body is the key to the future.

In order to navigate successfully through these turbulent times of transition, we need to be able to access the information in the subtle fields. Energy can only be interpreted through the body. In order to reach up to higher dimensions we need to send our roots deeper. This session will explore the role of the body in working with subtle energies, and what we need to do individually and collectively to be able to unlock the promise that this work holds. You can access the recordings of all the other great speakers too at https://theembodimentconference.org/#PeterMerry

The Way of Wyrd

This is a talk I gave on Brian Bates’ work on the Wyrd – a West European Tradition of Subtle Interconnectedness.

In the so-called “Dark Ages” Western Europe was home to the Anglo-Saxons and Norse. These cultures had great respect for the interconnected web of life that they referred to as “wyrd”. Over the last decades the Western world has imported Eastern concepts such as ch’i which have helped us to rediscover the sacred/hidden dimensions of reality. However, few people know that we had our own native concepts, language and practices for the subtle world. Brian Bates, in his book The Way of Wyrd, brought it to our attention, creating a novel based on an ancient manuscript in the British Library that tells the story of a missionary scribe being sent to discover the ways of the “pagans.”

This talk explores the world of wyrd and how it relates to eastern traditions as well as recent scientific discoveries. It is part of the Merry Musings series with Ubiquity University. If you would like to join the module with the background materials and online discussion group, you can sign up here. For the whole Merry Musings series, see here for more info.

Talk on Regenerative Money, Economics and Work

This is a talk I gave as part of the Merry Musings series with Ubiquity University. It is based on the Why Work book. If you would like to join the module with the background materials and online discussion group, you can sign up here For the whole Merry Musings series, see here.

Volution – the Pain and the Promise

This talk gives a summary of Volution Theory and focuses particularly on what I call the Pain and the Promise – the split that happened between humanity and the Earth, and the healing that is required for us to access the subtle realms that will enable us to successfully navigate this transition. It was originally hosted by Puria Kästele for the Conscious Evolution Summit 2020.

Time, Thought and the Human Condition

I have recently been reading the dialogues between David Bohm and Krishnamurti and have been particularly intrigued by their interactions around time and thought. A key part of volution theory (www.volutiontheory.net) is that linear time as an experience and construct is an inadequate expression of how life works. The concept of evolution itself is part of that linear mindset, hence my proposal that volution – that integrates linear and cyclical in the spin-based toroidal image – is a more encompassing way to describe our individual and collective development.

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Three Policy Pillars of Economics for Planet and People

One of the positive things to come out of the pandemic is some radical questioning of our current economic system. Fundamental flaws have been exposed in terms of what is valued and how money is used. In the Why Work book I identified three main pillars in terms of policy that would set us on a course for a more sustainable economics: Eco-tax reform, Basic Citizen’s Income and Redistribution of Work.

Eco-tax Reform

At present it is more economically efficient for a producer to intensify energy use and cut back on human labour, due to the relative expense of the two. The present taxation system encourages the use of scarce natural resources and discourages the use of abundant human labour. Eco-tax reform aims to reverse that situation. It involves:

  • the phasing out of taxes on incomes, profits and value added;
  • taxing unsustainable energy at source;
  • taxing the unimproved site value of land;
  • taxing the use of other common resources (e.g. oceans).

Basic Citizen’s Income

The Citizen’s Income (also known as a Basic Income) is, in its purist form, an income, sufficient to meet basic needs, paid unconditionally to all individuals, independent of all other income and without any requirement to work.

The ideal Citizen’s Income would be unconditional, permanent and cumulative. In more detail, it would be:

  • tax-free income paid by the state to every man, woman and child as a right of citizenship;
  • unaffected by other income, wealth, work, gender or marital status;
  • age-related (higher for adults than children, and higher for the elderly than those of “working age”);
  • a replacement for all existing benefits and pensions, but would include additional supplements for people with disabilities and for housing for low-income families.

Redistribution of Work

Bertrand Russell illustrated clearly the ridiculous logic of the present system:

Suppose that, at a given moment, a certain number of people are engaged in the manufacture of pins. They make as many pins as the world needs, working (say) eight hours a day. Someone makes an invention by which the same number of men can make twice as many pins as before. But the world does not need twice as many pins: pins are already so cheap that hardly any more will be bought at a lower price. In a sensible world, everybody concerned in the manufacture of pins would take to working four hours instead of eight, and everything else would go on as before. But in the actual world this would be thought demoralizing. The men still work eight hours, there are too many pins, some employers go bankrupt, and half the men previously concerned in making pins are thrown out of work. … Half the men are idle while half are still overworked. In this way, it is insured that the unavoidable leisure shall cause misery all round instead of being a source of universal happiness. Can anything more insane be imagined?

Sharing out the paid work that is available more widely would appear to be the more logical solution. A number of different methods could be stimulated to achieve this. They include:

  • job-sharing;
  • shorter working week/year;
  • overtime restrictions;
  • longer holidays;
  • more part-time work;
  • V-time (trading time for income in employee/employer negotiation);
  • flexitime (employee fixes start and finish times);
  • sabbaticals;
  • mid-career training;
  • opportunities for earlier retirement.

For more on each of these areas see the Why Work book.

See my other post of the creation of a parallel economy focusing on what we can all do at the community level (as opposed to policy proposals like the above).

How to Build a Parallel Economy

(Originally posted on the UbiVerse)

It has always puzzled me how we seem to accept our current economic system when it is clearly so fundamentally flawed. It only values those things that generate monetary exchange, diminishing the value of non-monetized activity carried out amongst family, friends or community. It externalises the negative impact of any of that monetized activity – such as the environmental or social cost of producing stuff – meaning that the real cost is not reflected in the actual price, and that other people and life on earth have to carry those costs. It has become such an abstract system  – another part of the expertocracy – that people feel very little ownership of it. And in crises such as corona, it stops working.

The thing is, it is such a huge system, embedded in all kinds of governance and processes globally, that it feels impossible to change. That is why I think we need to build an alternative economy in parallel to the existing one that better meets our needs as people and planet, and will still function when the next crisis hits – which it will. It should be an economy that reflects true cost, which people have an understanding of and which is connected to our local needs and experiences.

When I wrote the Why Work book, I researched what the various parallel economic solutions were, and connected them up to provide a coherent picture of how each and every one of us could engage in creating an alternative on our doorstep. Here is the summary graphic. I will describe the different elements briefly below.

The Community Economy, from Why Work by Dr. Peter Merry

Currency: clearly there needs to be a means of exchange that enables more flexibility than direct barter (although that can of course play a role). What is important is that the money that is generated keeps circulating as much as possible locally, and isn’t siphoned off to companies elsewhere who have no interest in the community’s well-being. Examples already abound of systems that can be used for this: community banks, credit unions, local currencies and Local Exchange and Trading Systems (LETS). The Blockchain of course offers possibilities here too.

Business: for our resilience and sense of ownership, we need to meet as many of our core needs as locally as possible. Food, energy and housing would be good examples. All of these can be run through community businesses that make sure the interest of the community is at the heart of the business. The cooperative structure enables that to happen. There can be an overarching community cooperative to focus on the local interests. Community Supported Agriculture where people subscribe to a weekly package of locally grown food supports local farmers and makes us less dependent on decisions taken by large food corporations whose primary driver is to increase the financial return to their shareholders.

Land: who owns the land determines what can be done on the land and at what price. Often land is owned by speculators whose interest is to make as much money off it as possible. Community Land Trusts enable the community to own and govern the land in the interests of the community – be it for housing, recreation or agriculture. 

As you can imagine, there are many other areas in which we can reclaim local ownership of currently outsourced domains – e.g. education, healthcare. The three main aspects outlined above and the graphic lay the foundations.

During Humanity Rising our team have become inspired by the Parallel Polity strategy, that emerged with Vaclav Havel and the Charter 77 movement in the transition of Czechoslovakia. The idea is to just get on and build the alternative in parallel to the current system, enabling people to choose which they want to adopt. Once mature enough, the old system that everyone knows is breaking anyway is able to let go. People can withdraw their consent from the old system and channel their resources and energy into the new. This gives us some ideas on how to do that with the economy. Proceed until apprehended!