Author Topic: Jay's talk 10-5-18  (Read 354 times)

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Offline Suzanne Meeks

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Jay's talk 10-5-18
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2018, 02:51:26 PM »
ONE meeting 10-5-18
Jay Jacobs's talk on how to diagnose health/disease of a society

     Is our society healthy?  How would we know?
     Jay Jacobs presented a method for determining this (he discussed the same topic at the recent OACC).   He said requirements for a healthy society are surprisingly similar to those for a healthy person.
    A person operates mentally (thoughts), emotionally (feelings), and physically (actions).  Thoughts have the goal of generating understanding; this requires truth and freedom.  Emotions are the expression of feelings; their goal is safety and comfort.  This requires trust in something or someone.     
     Our bodies are sustained physically by the flow of energy (air, water, food) through them, Jay said.  When that stops, the body dies and disintegrates.
     Society is similar, but with functions institutionalized.  The societal parallel of thought is culture; institutions like religion, arts, education, and journalism are designed to help provide understanding.  Again, truth and freedom are essential for the function of these institutions.
     Collective feelings of safety and comfort are provided by laws that specify our rights and responsibilities.  However, if it works for some and not others, trust is missing and society's operation is unhealthy. 
     Society's "body" is its economy and ecology.  Money was invented to facilitate trade; it's a society's "blood," moving commodities throughout the society.
     Jay said society's health went off the rails when money became an object in itself, not just a means to acquire necessities.  Once needs are met, he noted, those with extra money could buy the newspaper and put their own articles in, or a Congressman to pass their own laws. 
     He said the popular view of Christianity, which he termed "separation theology" -- the idea that God is separate from creation -- plays into the money/power problem:  "For religion to be profitable, you have to be afraid you'll go to hell."    (Jay recommended Sufi-style theology:  "There is no God -- there is only God."  He said that despite the popular Christian view, Jesus actually said the same kind of thing:  "Whatever you do to the least of these ... you do to me." ) 
     Today, the eight wealthiest people own as much as half the people on the planet, he said; "It's like all your blood going to your left foot.  It disables the other organs.  If this were your body, you'd be looking at amputations."
     With this imbalance, he said, our society is not only unhealthy -- it's dying.  "If we can redeem truth, freedom, and equality, maybe we can pull out of it," he said.  But it's doomed if we keep giving money as much power as it now has. --Suzanne Meeks