Christianity: Aesthetics: Spirituality: Life: Stuart and Moira Gray

Holistic Living: problems and our right to survive
Our lack of concern for holistic living and global warming threatens humanity's right to survive.

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I feel I should write something here, but what? There are many web site far more erudite in this sphere than I and I am not sure that there is a religious perspective on the problem. I can research the use of solar heating, wind turbines, biomass heating, the use of environmentally friendly paints and materials, while considering organic cultivation but this is only one part of the issue. It is relatively easy these days to assess the carbon damage of any of our activities and make changes. Newspapers and web sites are full of it. I changed our car, for example, for a diesel model which gives over 50 m.p.g., increased insulation in the house, installed the latest Grade A windows and central heating boiler, and LED light bulbs, while in the garden we planted over 1,000 trees and hedging, all of which makes for the 'feel good' factor.

Yet there are other dynamics at play. How one votes can seriously affect the issue. How 'Green', for example, are our politicians? Not very. The effects of gaining and holding power are too short termist for any real green revolution to occur. If you know you are in power for a maximum of 5 years then that is the time scale within which to make your mark, set your place in history or your local community. The problem for any ordinary MP is, of course, that he/she is not really free to make a difference. To do that means climbing the ladder of Parliamentary preference to higher office (often by any sycophantic means?) or remain lobby fodder subject to the whips enthusiastic enforcement of the leader's dictates. Where has democracy gone? Our UK 'first past the post' is the only system of its kind left in Europe. Most have proceeded to the more enlightened stage of proportional representation where every vote does count, and in the ensuing battle for supremacy to rule deals have to be made between the competing parties. Here the people, and the MP who represents them, can make that difference.

Life is not an issue of right and wrong, black and white, whether in religion, politics, human relationships, health issues or even ecology. Often compromises are needed. Which is the one true Church, let alone religion? There isn't one. Which political party represents the majority of voters? There isn't one. Given the uniformity of the human gene, which is the ultimate cultural expression of the humanity? There isn't one. Given that we all possess an innate propensity towards wellness, which is the only road to achievement, orthodox or alternative medicine? There isn't one. Now we know Global Warming to be a relative fact, what is the solution, increased technology to reduce carbon emissions or increased taxation to limit the use of carbon emissions? Neither, on its own, is the solution.

The idea of 'first past the post' is and represents such old intransigent thinking. Why, I wonder, were the Welsh and Scottish Assemblies founded upon such enlightened principles as proportional representation while the government of the whole of the UK remains subject to a principle of which even Napoleon would have been proud? The reason is simply the need to obtain and exercise complete power. Unfortunately most politicians are good purely at the exercise of political expediency, the manipulation of power in an ever increasing and vociferous world of power blocks, be they interest groups, multinationals, terrorists, media confrontation, or such physical events as an increase in road deaths or the escape of paedophiles. We live in a world of whoever shouts loudest is heard the most.

Inevitably, in politics, it is the 'surface' attack which yields the most dividends. Votes, or public opinion, is what counts and this is seen purely in terms of tangible, immediate results. Consequently we live in a society dominated by democratic dictatorship where holistic approaches to life are subject to the whims of the political expediency of the few. Reform the National Health Service? Yes, but it must be seen in tangible vote-winning terms, the bricks and mortar of new hospitals, an increase in the number of doctors and nurses. Talk in terms of an increase in alternative whole-life therapies available on the NHS and silence predominates. They do not exist, at least not in our area where we enjoy the most up to date surgery facilities, full of computers, and doctors (!), who administer the most caring mechanical health service one could wish for. Human beings are not like that. We are not simply sets of genes, or chemical imbalances to be manipulated by the administration of other chemicals.

The problem is that holistic living is not big business. There is little money to be made from promoting it. Stress for example, that great curse of modern humanity, is relieved by taking it easy, by working less, by walking, by engaging more with your family, friends and with nature. Not good news for those multinationals who wish us to work harder, to earn more so that we can spend it on the latest gadget or entertainment facility, in fact anything to stop us from what we most need - to think, to develop by listening to our selves (i.e. our subconscious), and in that relaxation to just be. Yet where do we find the primacy of such advice in the NHS? True, I have come across advice about meditation in their sites on the Internet, but not in any Primary Care Trust. Why? Perhaps the answer lies in the 'surface' solutions mentioned earlier. Doctors are now paid by what they administer, conditioned to a certain extent by Government requirements but also by patient expectations. A pill, or referral to a specialist gains brownie points and money and the patient goes away happy. There is not the time at patient interview to go deeply into questions of individual lifestyle and solutions, and then recommend lifeskill training. There are simply no NHS resources to accommodate this, to organise courses in such as meditation or such alternative solutions such as healing. Probably the main problem here is the quality of medical training which often seems to denigrate holistic therapies. Above all I find no course whatsoever in the NHS about mind training, how to make the best of our brains, or how to develop them, not only for our own well-being but also for benefit of the whole of society.

For such solutions we find ourselves at the whim of alternative sources for holistic therapy. Here a minefield exists. There are many charlatans who promise much, often at enormous cost, but deliver little. Here I have confess a bias. After considerable research I have found the only solution, at least for me, is through membership of the Scientific and Medical Network where the debate about our holistic selves is paramount, ongoing and conducted in a rigorous, yet caring, scientific attitude by professionals in all walks of life who really know and care. They are well worth a visit. You can visit their web site through my 'Links' page.

Only when we learn to become and evolve true human characteristics, involving all our senses, physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual, have we any chance of survival through co-operation with and respect for all the species of this wonderful world. Is this, however, a vote winner? I think not - it does not involve big financial or political gain!