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Climate Change and National Security, Public Health

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Climate Change and National Security Through the Lens of Key Federal Publications

Climate Change and National Security Through the Lens of Key Federal Publications

by Susan Maret for Project Censored

As I write, the 24th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP24) to the United Nations Convention on Climate Change(UNFCCC) has concluded. COP24 was held at Katowice, Poland from December 3-17, 2018 and brought together representatives from 200 governments to adopt guidelines for the Paris Agreement. The foundational document for COP24 was IPCC’s (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) Global Warming of 1.5°C, with 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7F) as a goal set by Paris. The IPCC report was approved by representatives from 195 nations, including the U.S.; during COP24, the U.S., Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, however, failed to endorse the report arguing that IPCC’s study should be “noted” not “welcomed.”

Leading up to COP24, climate change has been linked to human security and conflict, been the subject of scientific urgency, innovative modeling, and the target of deception by the fossil fuel industry,. Climate-related change is the focus of secrecycensorshipdenial, media distortionsuppression of speech, and conspiracy thinking. For example, oil companies such as Shell failed to disclose internal assessments on environmental damage caused by fossil fuels; the Environmental Protection Agency removed and discontinued providing educational information on climate change from its Web site; National Park Service archaeologist Marcy Rockman resigned, voicing concerns over the lack of protection over cultural resources affected by climate change; and the two volume peer-reviewed Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4) released in late November, 2018, contains a chilling forecast for humanity in its volume 2:

  • Rising temperatures, extreme heat, drought, wildfire on rangelands and heavy downpours are expected to increasingly challenge the quality and quantity of U.S. crop yields, livestock health, price stability and rural livelihoods.
  • Continued changes to Earth’s climate will cause major disruptions in some ecosystems. Some coral reef and sea ice ecosystems are already experiencing transformational changes, affecting communities and economies that rely upon them.
  • Changes in the quality and quantity of fresh water available for people and the environment are increasing risks and costs to agriculture, energy production, industry and recreation.
  • Climate change will transform coastal regions by the latter part of this century, with ripple effects on other regions and sectors. Many communities should expect higher costs and lower property values from sea level rise.
  • Climate change threatens the health and well-being of the American people by causing increasing extreme weather, changes to air quality, the spread of new diseases by insects and pests, and changes to the availability of food and water.


Post COP24, the World Health Organization’s report, Health and Climate Change, recommends that the effects of “health-damaging” air pollution and greenhouse gases be integrated into fiscal and economic policies (p.17, 63). An additional recommendation made by the Organization is monitoring mitigation efforts by way of the Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs), especially Goal 13. Goal 13 is linked to the right to health as recognized by the Paris Agreement and numerous human rights instruments.

National Security (Re)Visioned

In 1977, scientist and founder of the Worldwatch Institute, Lester Brown, wrote the prescient Redefining National Security. In his essay, Brown suggests that the “overwhelmingly military character” of national security ignores natural threats to human societies and ecosystems. Brown observed these “new threats to national security will challenge the information-gathering and analytical skills of government” (p. 36). More importantly, Brown notes

the purpose of national security deliberations should not be to maximize military strength but to maximize national security. If this latter approach were used, public resources would be distributed more widely among the many threats to national security – both the traditional military one and the newer, less precisely measured ones. (p.37)

To place Brown’s comments in context, a Joint Chiefs of Staff publication titled Doctrine for the Armed Forces of the United States (JP 1, March 25, 2013) describes national security historically as a


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Collective term encompassing both national defense and foreign relations of the United States with the purpose of gaining: a. military or defense advantage over any foreign nation or group of nations; b. A favorable foreign relations position; or c. A defense posture capable of successfully resisting hostile or destructive action from within or without, overt or covert. (GL-9)

On the tail end of COP24, I find myself pondering Brown’s ideas, especially in terms of how climate change is portrayed in major defense and intelligence publications over the past decade. Even though the current U.S. response to COP24 favors a type of denial rooted in vested interest, I was curious to learn how certain agencies, bodies, and presidential administrations viewed climate change in their public communiques. To this end, I reviewed a number of official federal publications to discover how these entities came to designate climate change as a social problem in its own right – that is, “what people decide what is and is not a social problem by the way they react to things.” [1]

The Publications: Glacial Thinking & Hashing Out A Problem

The U.S. Department of Defense’s (DOD) Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), the

the Intelligence Community’s (IC) Global Trends (compiled by National Intelligence Council, or NIC) Global Trends and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s (ODNI) annually published Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community, and the quasi-annual National Security Strategy of the United States, published by the Office of the President, are but a few official publications where the deep connections between climate change and national security are inconsistently identified and analyzed. Below I report on how connections between climate change and national security are reported these publications.

Defense

The Quadrennial Defense Review was first published in 1997 and ceased in 2017. It is indeed a puzzlement that discussion of climate change wasn’t included in the early iterations of the QDR, for as Michael Fincham reports in October 2003, “a little known think tank in the Department of Defense quietly released a report warning that climate change could happen suddenly – so suddenly it could pose a major threat to our country’s national security.” In response to the lack of climate discussion in the QDR, John T. Ackerman, Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, argued for DOD to include the influence of climate change on the armed forces. It isn’t until the 2010 version of the QDR that climate change is identified as an “accelerant of instability and conflict” and that “extreme weather events may lead to increased demands for defense support” (p. 85). [2]

In the final volume of QDR published in 2014climate change, food, water, energy security, and the search for new technologies are examined in an interconnected manner – in fact, this volume of the QDR distinguished climate change as a “threat multiplier,” a concept used by CNA in 2007 in its report National Security and the Threat of Climate Change. The QDRobserves that climate-related change is a security threat to countries worldwide:

The pressures caused by climate change will influence resource competition while placing additional burdens on economies, societies, and governance institutions around the world. These effects are threat multipliers that will

aggravate stressors abroad such as poverty, environmental degradation, political instability, and social tensions – conditions that can enable

terrorist activity and other forms of violence. (p. 8)

Lastly, DoD published its Report on National Security Implications of Climate-Related Risks and a Changing Climate as part of the H.R. 4870, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act (July 23, 2015). DoD writes that this report

reinforces the fact that global climate change will have wide-ranging implications for U.S. national security interests over the foreseeable future because it will aggravate existing problems such as poverty, social tensions, environmental degradation, ineffectual leadership, and weak political institutions that threaten domestic stability in a number of countries. (p. 3)

This report singled out “four general areas of climate-related security risks” as targeted by Geographic Combatant Commands (the various “COMs,” such as USCENTCOM, USNORTHCOM, etc.) are outlined as:  

  • Persistently recurring conditions such as flooding, drought, and higher temperatures
  • Extreme weather events
  • Sea level rise and temperature changes
  • Decreases in Arctic ice cover, type, and thickness (p.3-5)

The IC /
National Intelligence Council

The National Intelligence Council’s Global Trends is issued every four years since 1997 and details “how key trends and uncertainties might shape the world over the next 20 years to help senior US leaders think and plan for the longer term.”

NIC’s Global Trends 2015 (published December, 2000), barely mentions global warming and greenhouse gases in terms of a challenge to the U.S. and international community; Global Trends 2020: Mapping the Global Future widely discusses climate change as a problem through to the year 2020. However, by the 2008 publication of Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World, climate change presents center stage, characterized as a “security issue” (p. xi). Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds (2012) and Global Trends: Paradox of Progress (2017) connects civil unrest to food and water (in)security caused by climate change, and hence as critical factors in maintaining national and international security. [3]

In September 2016, NIC released Implications for US National Security of Anticipated Climate ChangeIn this report, the Council identified that climate change “and its resulting effects are likely to pose wide-ranging national security challenges for the United States and other countries over the next 20 years” (p.3). NIC outlined the following “pathways” where national security may be compromised by the effects of climate related-change:

  • Threats to the stability of countries
  • Heightened social and political tensions
  • Adverse effects on food prices and availability
  • Increased risks to human health
  • Negative impacts on investments and economic competitiveness
  • Potential climate discontinuities and secondary surprises.

The IC /
Office of the Director of National Intelligence

The first Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community was published with a “statement for the record” by ODNI John Negroponte; the 2006 and 2007 volumes center on the contemporary problem of terrorism (ODNI Negroponte), with much the same commentary in the 2008 edition (ODNI J. Michael McConnell). However, beginning with the 2009 volume (ODNI Dennis C. Blair), climate change increasingly becomes a priority security issue alongside terrorism, cybersecurity, resource depletion, energy security, WMDs, pandemics, and mass atrocities; in the 2014 volume (ODNI Clapper), the Assessment recognizes that “extreme weather events” and a “general warming trend is probably affecting weather and ecosystems…in recent years, local food, water, energy, health, and economic security have been episodically degraded worldwide by severe weather conditions” (p.11). By the 2015 edition, climate change is singled out as a factor “in the distribution of vectors for diseases” and extreme weather events (p.11).

With the 2016 annual volume (ODNI Clapper), the Assessment dramatically shifts in its discussion in connecting

extreme weather, climate change, environmental degradation, related rising demands for food and water, poor policy responses, and inadequate critical infrastructure will probably exacerbate and – and potentially spark – political instability, adverse health conditions, and humanitarian crises in 2016. (p.13-14)

The 2017 report (ODNI Coats) is noteworthy for the IC’s statement on the record that they “assess national security implications of climate change but do not adjudicate the science of climate change.” In its report, the ODNI/IC defers to science in the form of

US government-coordinated scientific reports, peer reviewed literature, and reports produced by the  Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is the leading international body responsible for assessing the science related to climate change. (p.14)

The 2018 Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community (ODNI Coats) again stresses extreme weather events, a “warming climate,” and other “drivers” that

raise the risk of humanitarian disasters, conflict, water, food shortages, population migration, labor shortfalls, price shocks, and power outages. Research has not identified indicators of tipping points in climate-linked earth systems, suggesting the possibility of abrupt climate change. (p.16)

The President /
The National Security Strategy of the United States

It is the National Security Strategy of the United States (NSS) that represents the official face of U.S. national security priorities. [4] The NSS is submitted in classified and unclassified versions as directed by the Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Department Reorganization Act of 1986 (P.L. 99-433, October 1, 1986), which states that a sitting president “shall transmit to Congress each year a comprehensive report on the national security strategy of the United States.” Per the Act, the NSS is distributed “on the date on which the President submits to Congress the budget for the next fiscal year.”

Among the information included in the annual NSS volume is “a comprehensive description and discussion of the following: (1) The worldwide interests, goals, and objectives of the United States that are vital to the national security of the United States.” NSS editions are variously titled; for instance, the Clinton administration’s NSS are creatively titled National Security Strategy of Engagement and Enlargement (1994) and National Security Strategy for a New Century (1997).

It is important to note that even though mandated by Goldwater-Nichols, historically the NSS has not been annually published. Case in point, the NSS was unevenly published from the Reagan through Obama administrations; in particular, the George W. Bush and Barack Obama presidential administrations are notable for not publishing the annual NSS as required by Goldwater-Nichols.

A quick read of NSS volumes indicate that climate change was not historically a priority issue. However, certain NSS volumes compiled by presidential administrations that do include discussion of this security challenge are:

  • The 1991 NSS (GHW Bush administration) briefly mentions climate change;
  • The 1994 NSS (Clinton) is ambitious in its discussion of a National (Action) Climate Plan and compliance with the Montreal Protocol on ozone depleting chemicals. The idea of environmental security – that is, environmental degradation has a resulting impact on national security – has its genesis in this NSS [5];
  • The 1997 NSS (Clinton) suggests that climate change, associated environmental challenges, and sustainable development require global partnerships;
  • The 2002 NSS (GW Bush) notes that “economic growth should be accompanied by global efforts to stabilize greenhouse gas emissions associated with this growth, containing them at a level that prevents dangerous human interference with the global climate.” The Bush NSS also recommends increased spending on “research and conservation technologies”;
  • The 2010 NSS (Obama) suggests that a “global effort to combat climate change must draw on national actions,” but these efforts must be “incentivized, so nations that choose to do so their part see the benefits of responsible actions”;
  • The 2015 NSS (Obama) perhaps goes deeper than any other NSS published during previous administrations in thinking of climate change in a ecosystems way. That is, this NSS not only notes the “accelerating impact of climate change,” but plainly states “climate change is an urgent and growing threat to our national security, contributing to increased natural disasters, refugee flows, and conflicts over basic resources like food and water. The present-day effects of climate change are being felt from the Arctic to the Midwest.”This NSS also marks international progress and U.S. contributions to the global community in targeting emissions through the Climate Action Plan, Copenhagen Accord (UN Conference on Climate Change, 2009), the Green Climate Fund, and the Montreal Protocol.


The sole NSS issued by the Trump administration in 2017 characterizes climate in terms of “America’s business climate” (p.21), an “investor-friendly climate” (p.22), and “energy dominance” within the context of an “anti-growth energy agenda” (p.22). In what can only be characterized as a deliberate lack of vision – not ignorance – climate change, global warming, greenhouse gases, extreme weather events, water security and scarcity, and their effects on U.S. domestic and national security are noticeably absent – all factors that press on human security. [6] This is not only a glaring error, it is disturbingly contradictory, as Congress and the Trump administration seemingly “affirm that climate change threatens security” and requested the U.S. military to plan for the effects of climate change.

Also absent from the Trump administration’ NSS and 2017-2018 defense and IC publications is Obama Presidential Memorandum (September 21, 2016), Climate Change and National Security. The Memorandum

establishes a framework and directs Federal departments and agencies (agencies) to perform certain functions to ensure that climate change-related impacts are fully considered in the development of national security doctrine, policies, and plans.

Conclusion

Climate change is now almost universally recognized as a grave challenge to the national security of the U.S. and its global counterparts. As illustrated in this essay, it took decades for climate change and its association with national security to capture the imagination of certain federal bodies. [6] The particular  publications discussed here exemplify how challenges are characterized in the federal universe and elevated to the status of an “official” or recognized social problem; on another level, these publications stand as forecasting tools and indicators of warning and uncertainty. [7] In effect, the documents produced by DoD, the Intelligence Community, and presidential administrations are fodder for policymaking and sustainable action if political will prevails.

Susan Maret, Ph.D. teaches information secrecy and other courses at the iSchool, San Jose State University. In addition to research and writing on various aspects of secrecy, she is also the managing editor of the open access, peer-reviewed journal Secrecy and Society. Maret has published two previous chapters in Project Censored’s annual books by Seven Stories Press, “Contested Visions, Imperfect Information, and the Persistence of Conspiracy Theories” for Censored 2017,and “The Public and its Problems: ‘Fake News’ and the Battle for Hearts and Minds” for Censored 2019, and has shared her Information Integrity Checklist online with their partnering organization, the Global Critical Media Literacy Project here

Notes

1. Harris, S.R. (2013). Studying the construction of social problems. In J.

Best & S.R. Harris (Eds.) Making sense of social problems: New images,

new issues (p.1-9) Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner.

2. DoD’s Climate Change Adaptation RoadmapDepartment of Defense Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan FY-2014acknowledges the critical role of the 2010 QDR; we are left to wonder, however, why only one climate roadmap was compiled by DoD. See https://dod.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/605221/

3. See John Cushman, Jr. (2018). Intelligence agencies warn of climate risks in Worldwide Threat Assessment. Inside Climate News, February 23, https://insideclimatenews.org/news/13022018/climate-change-conflict-disasters-worldwide-threat-assessment-intelligence-agencies-refugees

4. McClelland argues that the NSS should not be viewed as a “grand strategy,” and offers numerous examples where specific volumes may be considered forays into propaganda. See Patrick A. McClelland (2007), The United States National Security Strategy: Grand Strategy or Propaganda, Thesis, National Defense University, Joint Advanced Warfighting School, June 15, ADA468868, https://apps.dtic.mil/docs/citations/ADA468868

5. See Gareth Porter’s (1995) Environmental security as a national security issue, Current History, 94(592), 218-222.

6. It appears that discussion of climate is also absent from the Affordable Clean Energy Proposal that appeared in the Federal Register, August 21, 2018, which captures this Administration’s short term thinking.

7. Uncertainty is discussed in the Congressional Budget Office (2018), Options for the reducing the deficit 2019-2028, December, https://www.cbo.gov/system/files?file=2018-12/54667-budgetoptions.pdf. See p. 292-293; also stated in CBO’s report are extreme weather events and futility of reducing emissions in the U.S. if there is not a global effort to attack the problem.

Source: Project Censored

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The Decisive Role of Conscience: Clues for Non Violence

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“Some clues for nonviolence”: 10 – The decisive role of conscience: “A clue to nonviolence

We transmit to you the study “Some clues for nonviolence” carried out by Philippe Moal, in the form of 12 chapters. The general table of contents is as follows:

1- Where are we going?
2- The difficult transition from violence to nonviolence.
3- Prejudices which perpetuate violence.
4- Is there more or less violence than yesterday?
5- Spirals of violence
6- Disconnection, flight and hyper-connection (a) Disconnection.
7- Disconnection, flight and hyper-connection (b- Flight).
8- Disconnection, flight and hyper-connection (c- hyper-connection).
9- The different ways of rejecting violence.
10- The decisive role of consciousness.
11- Transformation or immobilisation.
12- Integrating and overcoming duality and Conclusion.

In the essay dated September 2021, the author expresses his thanks: : Thanks to their accurate vision of the subject, Martine Sicard, Jean-Luc Guérard, Maria del Carmen Gómez Moreno and Alicia Barrachina have given me precious help in the realisation of this work, both in the precision of terms and ideas, and I thank them warmly.

Here is the tenth chapter:

The Decisive Role of Consciousness

Our inventions and creations, the progress of science and technology, but also our beliefs, our ideological choices, our values, our lifestyle, etc. are the fruit of the intentionality of the consciousness that is shaping the world in its image. If consciousness is altered, the resulting world is altered; a violent consciousness generates a violent world, a consciousness on the run produces a runaway world.

The question of consciousness therefore deserves to be addressed, but let us begin with the concept of the unconscious, which is omnipresent in today’s society.

It is true that psychoanalysis and developments on the unconscious have made it possible to unveil our inner world and reveal its meanderings: fear, anguish, resentment, contradiction, compulsions, the desire for revenge, and so on. We know that these inner contents have implications for life and that they are very active. However, today there is a new tendency to resort to the development of consciousness, as if we decided to move to another stage, to change the level of consciousness.

If psychoanalysis has allowed us to understand that the contents of consciousness are active, phenomenology has also allowed us to discover that consciousness is active. The subject of intentionality is arousing great interest. The image inculcated during education, in which consciousness was shown more as a critical judge than as an ally, is being questioned.

The presentation of the active role of the conscience is moving away from the classical theses on the subject. Indeed, the consciousness does not transmit its vision of the world to us according to the information it receives, like a simple mirror; it does not passively reflect the world, but, on the contrary, it does something with the world it perceives. It does not limit itself to evaluating whether what we do is good or bad, but integrates and interprets the data that reaches it and, above all, structures this data, uses it to elaborate responses in order to transform what it perceives, even to transform itself.

Being active, it is therefore mobile and therefore free in its essence, as it is not subject to determinism. We note that fixation on values, beliefs or prejudices immobilises it in conceptions that can cause it to close in on itself and become violent.

It is easy to notice this active aptitude of the conscience. “I ask myself about a particular situation or a problem to be solved without being able to give an immediate answer; sometimes, after several days and in an unusual situation, the answer suddenly appears to me”. The conscience, silently one might say, has continued to search for an answer during all this time. The questions, doubts, needs and desires that I formulate internally are acts that activate the consciousness to give an answer. Technically, we speak of an act-object operation.

However, the initiated acts are not always completed with an object, that is, they do not always find an answer, which generates a tension that, in a certain way, places the consciousness in a constant dynamic, in a state of permanent search, in order to complete the initiated acts.

It is clear that sometimes these acts of consciousness are not completed in an object, because sometimes it happens that the object is not found. Then there remains a line of tension. Fortunately, on the other hand. It is because consciousness is not complete that consciousness is dynamic. It is because consciousness is not stopped, completed in an object, that consciousness can set its various mechanisms in motion [1].

By showing the active nature of consciousness that expresses itself through intentionality, we approach the thesis of phenomenology, according to which the world is given to consciousness, creating a reciprocal interrelation between consciousness, which exists because it is part of this world, and the world, which exists because I am conscious of it, both forming a consciousness-world structure. However, the Husserlian concept must be completed by specifying that intentionality is expressing itself through the image and that consciousness essentially intends to transform the world.

Moreover, with the issue of human intentionality, we are moving away from today’s dominant reductionist theses, according to which only physics and chemistry would explain the essence of life and its evolution, reducing everything to matter.

The premises and background of the idea of active consciousness are to be found in the philosopher Frantz Brentano [2], who, at the end of the 19th century, introduced the notion of intentionality as a basic universal descriptive concept [3]. 3] One of his students, Edmond Husserl, further developed the concept and created phenomenology, describing intentionality as a fundamental structure of consciousness (and not only as a psychological phenomenon). Another pupil of Brentano’s, Sigmund Freud, developed the concept of the unconscious at the same time as Husserl, which shows the effervescence that reigned around the subject of consciousness at that time and which was heralding the discoveries to be made from this time onwards about the inner world of the human being [4].

Until then, past experiences were considered to have little impact on the present and even less on the future. Freud’s great contribution was to demonstrate that the contents of the psyche are active, and this was a real revolution for the time. However, it was Husserl who contributed the concept of the active role of consciousness: not only are the contents of consciousness active, but consciousness itself is also active.

New currents in the field of psychology were making their appearance… The winds of renewal were blowing in, while one by one our old idols were falling: no more Binet tests, no more Rorschach psychological diagnoses, no more Ribot, Wundt, Weber and Fechner… Experimental psychology had become a statistical or neurophysiological branch. The Gestaltists had landed on these beaches so far from the high psychology debate. Wertheimer, Koffka and Köhler were synthesised with behaviourism thanks to Tolman and Kantor. Behind all this, we saw a gigantic methodology which, moreover, was influencing the fields of logic, gnoseology and even ethics and aesthetics. It was the Husserlian phenomenological method that had long ago produced its critique of psychologism and transcended Heidegger and the psychology of existence. The psychoanalytic pantheon then collapsed with Sartre’s criticisms of the schema of the unconscious based precisely on the application of phenomenology. In particular, we discussed one of Sartre’s least studied essays, his magnificent Outline of a Theory of the Emotions [5].

The two schools of thought mentioned above obviously entail different research methodologies for resolving violence. Broadly speaking, let us say that one looks to the past and the other to the future. “With phenomenology, we free ourselves from the worlds behind us”, said Nietzsche.

In one case I see violence according to what I interpret and in the other I interpret it according to what I see. In the first case, there is a tension linked to the fact that I start from the interpretation. In the second case, I start describing without explaining, without analysing, without a previous reading grid, which allows a more relaxed approach to the problem, although it is necessary to be as exhaustive as possible in the description of the phenomenon. Moreover, I can observe without noise and see without interpreting, allowing intuitions and inspiration to emerge.

Nor do we appeal to the action of a supposed subconscious or unconscious, or some other epochal myth whose scientific premises are incorrectly formulated. We rely on a psychology of consciousness that admits diverse levels of work and operations of different pre-eminence in each psychic phenomenon, always integrated in the action of a global consciousness [6].

Research on consciousness does not use the concept of the unconscious, but considers the concept of co-presences [7] which, although we do not see them, although we are not aware of them – in the sense of not being aware of them and not in the sense of being unconscious – have a strong influence on our everyday life. Jean Gebser illustrates the phenomenon as follows: “We never see what we have in front of our eyes, without thinking that to the visible side corresponds a side that is not perceived because it is not visible, but indispensable for the whole to exist [8]”.

The co-presences can be unresolved background noises of everyday life, permanent preoccupations, subjects of reflection that occupy the mind, more deeply rooted beliefs whose values dictate life and intervene when one moves away from a certain line of conduct. The formative stage is therefore very important, as beliefs and values are formed at this time and can resurface at any time.

The co-presences may be at the surface, linked to the contexts in which I live, but they may also come from my more distant memory and resurface suddenly and unexpectedly, by association with situations that I am experiencing in the present. Their accumulated emotional and affective charge can be the trigger for great violence. In a conflict between two people, memories linked to the conflict come to the surface and act in co-presence.

Every individual representation is part of a more or less copresent system of representation, which varies according to the conditions of the memory data. In other words, a response to the world elicited by a stimulus has been selected by a field of copresence among many other possible representations. Thus, the co-presence system, in more than one sense, determines the overall behaviour of individuals and human ensembles [9].

9] Research on consciousness shows that it is primarily oriented towards the future. This vision conditions present behaviour and positively and gradually counteracts the burden of past traumas. Reconciliation with a lived situation, for example, aims at rehabilitation for tomorrow. I was able to experience a real integration of difficult experiences from my past by being able to elaborate future projects related to those same painful experiences.

No phenomenon is predetermined, including violence, as Ilya Prigogine demonstrated in his thermodynamics experiments [10]; there are multiple options in any situation and our free will allows us to always have the possibility to choose.

“We are condemned to be free [11]”, says Sartre, for whom, once thrown into this world that we have not chosen, we are responsible for everything we do in it. If we do not choose, we cannot speak of freedom. One cannot reply: “If one chooses to be violent, one is therefore free”, because this freedom, which is granted by eliminating that of the other, is at the origin of an enchainment, in which case one cannot speak of freedom.

In 1960, in a public speech as assistant pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta with his father, Martin Luther King also invoked the notion of choice: “It is not a choice between violence and non-violence; it is a choice between non-violence and non-existence”.

Silo poetically refers to the need to choose in the chapter The Guide to the Inner Path in his book The Inner Look: “… On the inner path you can walk darkened or luminous. Attend to the two paths that open before you. If you allow your being to be thrown into dark regions, your body wins the battle and dominates. Then sensations and appearances of spirits, of forces, of memories will arise. There you descend further and further. There is hatred, revenge, strangeness, possession, jealousy, the desire to remain. If you descend further, you will be overcome by frustration, resentment and all those reveries and desires that have brought ruin and death to humanity. If you push your being in the luminous direction, you will meet resistance and fatigue at every step. This fatigue of ascent has its culprits. Your life weighs, your memories weigh, your past actions impede the ascent. This ascent is difficult because of the action of your body which tends to dominate [12].

[1] Foundations of thinking. The pure form from the psychological point of view, Silo Lecture, Corfu, October 1975, Winged Lion Editions, 2019, p. 21.

[2] Franz Brentano (1838-1917), German philosopher, author of the reference work Psychology from the Empirical Point of View, Ediciones Sígueme, 2020.

[3] La phénoménologie et les fondements des sciences (Phenomenology and the foundations of the sciences), Hermann, 2019, Edmund Husserl, “Founding text of phenomenology. Husserl establishes here the principles and methods that make possible a new science, the pure descriptive science of the structures of consciousness, transcendental phenomenology. Revealing the implicit laws of intentional life and the constitutive power of intentionality” Jean-François Lavigne, specialist in contemporary philosophy, ontology and phenomenology.

[4] The influence of Husserlian phenomenology on the psychological sciences has been considerable, as has Heidegger’s philosophy derived from it. Many authors belong to this current. Almost all of them have been influenced by the phenomenological method of Franz Brentano and Husserl. The works of Jaspers, Merleau-Ponty, Sartre and Binswanger are universally known. As a psychiatric trend, the Third Viennese School of Viktor Frankl joins this trend. The psychological work methods of Ludwig Ammann in his Self-Liberation System are also well known.

[5] Self-Liberation, op. cit., p. 11.

[6] Contributions to Thought, Psychology of the Image, op. cit. p. 54.

[7] Self-Liberation, op. cit., p. 111.

[8] La imagen del hombre y la conciencia, lecture given in 1965 by Jean Gebser (1905-1973), German philosopher and poet, phenomenologist of consciousness, author of Origen y Presente, published in Spanish by Atalanta, 2011.

[9] La modificación del trasfundo psicosocial, Silo Conference, 4 January 1982 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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In Chile, A different and courageous alternative with new ideas and proposals for leadership

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“We are a different, courageous alternative with new ideas and proposals”, Susana López

Nicolás Filipic

(Image by Nicolás Filipic)

A good way to describe Susana Lopez is to read her facebook wall where many former students of this young teacher from Ovalle greet her and remember her. “The teacher taught me the values of honesty and nonviolence. “Aunt Susana always had a space for us, to listen to us and give us advice. “Thanks to the teacher I decided to study law to be able to defend the weakest and those who nobody takes into account”.

And so, hundreds of messages of love, affection and respect for the person who is now running for Congress for the first time.

“It was very difficult for me to make up my mind because of the exposure that a candidacy for national deputy demands, and on top of that, on the ballot paper, I am in the centre and first on the list”, says Susana, laughing at this paradox.

President of the Coquimbo region of the Humanist Party, it was the members of Humanismo in the region who decided to proclaim her, “it is important that people know that this candidacy does not arise, like all the others, in an office in Santiago, but that it is the people of the territory who decide”, she says, affirming that she is not part of any political caste where other candidates run again and again and make a career playing with the hopes of the people.

“It is incredible, but there are candidates from the parties that have shared power over the last thirty years who promise what they have never done before, and then the question arises: how long will people allow themselves to be fooled into voting for them again? That’s why this candidacy makes sense, because we want to be a different, brave alternative with new ideas and proposals.

What are these proposals?

The Law of Political Responsibility, presented by our deputy Laura Rodriguez in 1990, and which was never dealt with, proposes the revocation of the mandate of any authority or elected official who does not fulfil his or her campaign promises within a period of one year.

A Law of Worker Ownership through which all companies that share profits with their workers can have some kind of tax exemption, since we believe that the capital-labour relationship has to be seen from a new perspective where the most important thing is the Human Being and not money.

The creation of an Environmental Social Tribunal, neighbours working together with the judiciary so that those who pollute go to jail, enough of paying fines to continue ruining our ecosystem.

Popular Water Committee to put an end to the plundering of water in our communities and the business of water trucks which is an abuse for our people, especially the peasantry.

We are going to put pressure on the authorities so that we have an oncology centre of excellence in our region, it cannot be that families have to migrate to be able to have cancer treatments, we need political decision to understand that health is a right for the whole country and not only for those who live in Santiago.

We are concerned about violence against women, every day we know of more cases and nobody does anything. We are going to put pressure on the decision makers to create shelters run by women in the main cities of our region.

As I am a teacher and I experience the problems of education on a daily basis, we are going to propose a Law on Education for Nonviolence, where students, parents and teachers are taught tools for conflict resolution through active nonviolence.

The enthusiasm does not wane in Susana who defines herself as an ordinary person, “my father was a taxi driver to Sotaqui, I have always lived the values of work, honesty and love, also good and decent people have the right to get involved in politics and Humanism has a history of coherence and transparency that make it unique”.

This reference has its roots in the fact that the Humanist Party was the first to be legalised in the midst of the dictatorship (1986).

“When I joined the Humanist Party, 15 years ago, I found a proposal that fitted perfectly with what I needed, the idea of simultaneous social and personal change seemed wonderful to me and resonated with me, with the personal work I could recognise my strength and rely on my virtues to remove the suffering look on the bad things that had happened to me”,

“We Humanists were the only ones who marched together with the people without anyone running us off and we were in the assemblies that took place at the time, and we want this support to be translated into votes to be able to change history”, she says with strength and conviction.

“If Pamela Jiles, being the only humanist deputy, was able to turn the tide and achieve the withdrawal of the AFP and with that put food on the table for hundreds of Chilean families, can you imagine what a humanist bench could achieve”, Susana says and says goodbye, walking calmly through the streets handing out flyers and smiles to those who pass by.

The closeness that people feel with Susana is because she is genuine and shows herself as she is, and as a neighbour told her: “it is time for people like you to represent us”.

Source: Pressenza

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Phytotherapy, knowledge and experiences 03- “A path to the deep”.

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(Image by Claudia Mónica García)

We continue sharing from REHUNO Health the series of notes that Horacio Mesón gives us under the title: Phytotherapy, knowledge and experiences. In this third and final installment, the author invites us to delve into the relationship between his passion and knowledge in Phytotherapy with the depths of his inner world and his purpose in life. As Horacio himself tells us at the end of the article: “Phytotherapy is, for me, the best excuse to carry out my Purpose”.

By Horacio Mesón

My garden is small but with little you can do magic. The house is warm, comfortable and simple.

Summer was ending and our grandson Lorenzo had turned three years old. Very lively, sparkling, awake and emotional, with an interesting character when he plants himself.

I thought it was the right time and, in an orderly way, I took him with me to the garden and introduced him to some aromatic plants. First the creepers and then the shrubs. We gently caressed them.

We went from Peperina to Hierba Buena; then the Muña Muña that we collected last spring in the field. The Manzanilla was the one he liked the most.

We came to the Citronella, the first bush, there was rejection. The Pennyroyal more or less. He liked the Lemon Balm, but when we got to the Rosemary he jumped on it. A smile exploded all over his face without laughter and he hugged it. It was just in flower and he caressed its tops, dragging the scent towards him, I think he was imitating me.

Six months went by and he remembers the names of all of them, for him they already have an entity. But with Rosemary the chemistry, the affinity, the compatibility is very great. A bond was established between them as if they had known each other for a long time?

This link also grows between the three of us, it has the depth of my emotional and ancestral memory.

The plants that I came to as a child playing, out of devotion to my grandparents and then out of necessity, showed me in depth a path that I had already begun.

I came to understand with the heart of a city-dweller, that I have a feeling for Pachamama. That Mother-Earth concept, that unique devotion that I dare to call Love or something similar.

I understand that any “Craft and Discipline” faced with the Inner Force, that is to say with everything and without holding anything back, leaves us on the threshold of what is desired.

I understand that along the way one has passed even without method through certain “places” and registers.

That’s why a scheme of forms is required that allows one to precipitate…

There are key questions and tracer questions, directional questions. They help to focus, to concentrate and bring us closer to goodness.

In the service of what are my vocations? In the service of what are these capacities? Why do I do what I do without thinking about it? What is the motive? Is this my purpose? Do I have a plan? If I do, how do I perfect it? Do I want to go further? How far am I willing to give? What is the Valid Action? What is my greatest desire or aspiration?

Ancient dreams come together with the present and the future. The three times act in a permanent dynamic. Sometimes you think things are coming from the past but they are coming from ahead, from what will be. The register is here and now.


(Image Horacio Mesón)

The purpose was designed and deepened in dreams as children and today it detonates feeding on the future, on what is intuited and inspired.

The warm embrace between peers and the meaningful exchange is so necessary.

Valid action is not just an act, it is an achievement of actions guided by the chosen direction and pulled by the future thanks to the Purpose. Connected to the best of oneself.

If there is something natural as a very human virtue it is the action of Giving, this is the original intention.

A Purpose thrown forcefully out into the world and to others is a whirlwind, a cascade and a myriad of valid actions. And yet it does not live or register as a whirlwind, nor as a waterfall.

The greatest desire or aspiration is to be able to help others until the last moment of my life.

Final question: What then is Phytotherapy for me: “it is the best of excuses to carry out my Purpose”.

So much for the author’s words which complete this series of 3 notes on Phytotherapy. If you would like to know more about this knowledge and experience, please contact the author directly: horaciomeson@yahoo.com.ar

REHUNO Health

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Mobilized TV on Free Speech TV  takes a deep look at our world, the consequences of human activity on our planet, and how we can reverse and prevent existing and future crises from occurring. Mobilized reveals life on our planet as a system of systems which all work together for the optimal health of the whole. The show delves into deep conversations with change-makers so people can clearly take concerted actions.

Produced by Steven Jay and hosted by Jeff Van Treese.

Mobilized’s TV series Mobilized TV  premieres on Free Speech TV on Friday, October 15, 2021. All episodes appear:

Fridays 9:30 PM Eastern (USA/Canada)

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