Category Archives: Travelosophy

Choose Conscience

choose-peace-through-conscience

Peace Mural, Belfast, N. Ireland (2004). Archive photo by JJM.

When faced with difficult choices, especially amongst bad options, conscience can always show the way. Needless to say, what the planet needs right now, more than ever, is a return to conscience. Conscience lends itself to a variety of peaceful solutions.

Moral relativity does not fit well into the realm of a well developed and active conscience. Conscience intuitively knows the difference between right and wrong. What is appropriate or correct within a given context or what is not. What is creative and what is destructive. What is life-giving and what is life-killing. What is nurturing and what is eroding. What is authentically (not superficially) progressive and what is truly regressive.

Not all situations call for distinctions to be made, but when they do, a healthy conscience would normally step in automatically. Of course, conscience interacts with ethics, etiquette, morality, religion and other frameworks for rules of conduct, but personal conscience can and does act autonomously, and will override externally imposed morality, where necessary. As long as conscience is maintained, conscience is the only inner guiding system which has almost full  independence and autonomy. It is independent from the ego-self and the group-self and it is autonomous in prompting one to correct one’s course.

Conscience will override questionable morals and will adjust approaches and actions accordingly. Conscience is an autonomous guidance system within, whereas morals depend on customs and norms without. The more relative morals become in a society as a whole, the more consciousness dims collectively and the more unconscious society becomes as a group. It is during such times that inner conscience is especially needed to guide individuals.

Only a very small percentage of individuals are born without any conscience at all – and they are considered to be “disabled” (psychologically), meaning that they don’t have the full range of emotions and feelings that would usually be accessible to the average person. They are also unlikely to ever develop (a) conscience. Other than these exceptions, conscience holds much more universality than ethics or morals do, and therefore we would be much better off aspiring to universal conscience than universal morals or ethics. A healthy conscience leads to expanded consciousness on an individual level, which is expressed on a universal level.

The small percentage of conscience-less (without conscience) individuals we find in society are naturally the proverbial  “foxes” as described in the Chicken Little fable (See Parts 5 & 7) and we find them in all walks of life. However, there is a significant percentage of average individuals who eventually revert to similar behaviors after having lost (or given up) their consciences as they went along. Very often a conscious decision was made to do so, in order to gain certain advantages. The nature of conscience itself does not allow for it to be given up unconsciously, so the suppression of conscience is certainly a conscious process initially and subsequently the decision is swiftly put out of mind and henceforth avoided at all costs.

If the majority of individuals in a society learn to suppress their conscience – to the extent that a general moral relativity sets in – and once the virtues of conscience are lost by adults in general, they are unlikely to be instilled, cultivated or strengthened within children either. When a society has more “foxes” than “chickens”, parasitism, prejudice, projection, exploitation, bigotry, double standards, hypocrisy, abuse of power, corruption and the active destruction of old value systems ensue and a general regression leading to potential repression sets in. A strong accompanying feature of such a scenario is often decadence.

It has been determined that historically mass decadence (and sometimes war) has almost always preceded the collapse of civilizations. In other words, the idea of the destruction of values on the basis of them being “old fashioned” or “conservative” in order to facilitate decadence (boundary-less living) often have unintended consequences, because all systems need structure in order to function, externally and (importantly) internally – structure being what value systems are meant to provide in societies and civilizations. No limits, no restrictions, no boundaries, means no structure, which results in a vacuum. In a big enough vacuum, collapse is inevitable.

Therefore, going forward, decisions and choices based on conscience may be the only available tool to rescue (individuals in) a declining civilization from internal (and external) collapse. Conscience can save individuals, and in the present-day context, the world.

By Jean-Jacques M

Originally published at gypsycafe.org


Happy-Go-Lucky Faster

fried-grey-matter-2

It’s All Theatre

Tabloid press, reality TV, TV talk shows, social networking and, perhaps, increasingly also, modern-day politics have all got something in common – they contain similar ingredients to those found in soap operas. A trademark of soap opera is that the less exemplary elements of human behaviour are exaggerated and dramatised for effect. A hallmark of the tabloid press is the use of emotional and sensational language which draws readers into the drama.

Gossip and the lives of others had always been of interest to people, but tabloids converted sideshows into the main show. This growing preoccupation spread into other mediums, too, and eventually it went well beyond the lives of only the officially rich and famous. Despite, perhaps, a few protestations to the contrary, those designated as celebrities hardly shy away from being in the limelight. As the saying goes: “All publicity is good publicity”, and over time being famous has taken on major significance in modern societies.

By introducing “real-life” elements into the mix, reality TV took the soap opera concept a step further. Selected members of the public could now become famous, too. They would brush shoulders with genuine celebrities and, just like them, have large audiences observe and follow their every move. Taking a cue, perhaps, from soap opera, participants could spice up and dramatise their actions and activities for effect, bringing greater audiences and improved ratings with regard to the shows and themselves.

In these shows, participants were becoming adept at promoting themselves by sometimes being outrageous, controversial or provocative. Audiences were lapping it up and learning from it, too. Reality TV was hugely popular for its novelty value at first but, in due course, the concept influenced and was blended in with various other genres. Some of these shows, at least to a small extent, contain(ed) educational elements such as the celebrity chefs series. A particular type of TV talk show – which came to be known as “Trash TV” – preceded reality TV by a couple of decades already and was based on outrage creation and stirring up animosity amongst participants.

Initially, as with the tabloid genre which slowly spread around the world, not everyone considered the depiction of the lowest common denominator on television as being optimum entertainment. Many viewers actively avoided soap opera, trash TV and reality TV. The majority of professionals preferred to continue reading their broadsheets and magazines. Likewise, discerning television viewers continued to opt for quality TV programmes. On the other hand, more than enough readers and viewers were becoming eager consumers of dramatised and sensationalised entertainment and news media.

That humans have always been intrigued by the weird, the outlandish and the obscure is not in doubt, and an apt analogy would be that the modern-day version of “freak shows” increasingly came to town in some of these shows on a screen and in a newspaper near you. In the press, the tabloid media formula continued to spread and, eventually, even organisations once-known as conservative and well-established news publications adopted the model or blended it in.

Tabloid newspapers had already been using “tabloid headlines” for decades to prompt people to buy the paper. The “tabloid language” used in news content contained special “tabloid vocabulary” (short, emotional and ambiguous key words) to create intrigue which draws readers into the emotional drama. These days, online tabloid-style headlines are referred to as “click-bait”.

Read Further

By Jean-Jacques M

Full article is published at gypsycafe.org

Download Pdf: Full Article (12 Pages)

Copyright © 2016 · All Rights Reserved · Gypsy Café


The Yin and Yang of Spirituality

The Rights of Every Child

The Yin and Yang of Spirituality

Carl Jung is famous for having brought the concept of working on shadow elements within the psyche into Western psychotherapy, although the process of self-therapy, self-transformation and psychic self-evaluation with subsequent spiritual elevation is indeed a very ancient practice. Advanced practice was perhaps considered to be found mainly in the realm of shamanism, priesthood and other high level spiritual roles. However, ancient civilizations and cultures integrated the identifying and processing of shadow characteristics also into their general spiritual and cosmological belief systems, but we find that these aspects are often not featured in popular spirituality today.

By having become relatively unconscious of the depth and nature of the individual shadow (which, according to Carl Jung, is a back-door to the collective shadow), behaviours and tendencies related to it have become more socially accepted. Unfortunately, the commercialization of spirituality means  that the positive, pleasant and easy elements of being spiritual are usually focused upon. The deeper, underlying issues often remain unexplored, so the necessary (challenging) transformation processes are not always engaged with and the shadow elements remain active or are only temporarily resolved. This means that modern forms of spirituality often serve predominantly as spiritual entertainment or forms of escapism without reaching its full potential.

Perhaps if we had been paying more attention to the collective shadow elements within our societies (as a priority) since the end of the Second World War, as Carl Jung had strongly suggested, we may have been more prepared for some of the crises we are experiencing at present and those yet to come. However, as Jung also said: large portions of society remain blissfully unaware of how world peace and stability hang on a fine thread (then and now). We have never been this connected as a species in our entire history and so distracted at the same time, mostly by choice.

The awareness that all citizens of the world are responsible for contributing towards world peace and maintaining it is somehow lacking. We are living in one of the most prosperous periods in time in the history of the world, but with the developed world far ahead. In terms of power and influence, countries which possess the most of it, carry the highest responsibility. With power comes responsibility and it is the duty of the citizens of powerful countries to remind their politicians and leaders of the responsibility to act peacefully for the greater good of humanity, not least because virtually all powerful nations put themselves forward as democratic and peace-loving.

On a personal level: Dr Jung explained in a documentary interview, Matter of Heart, that we are all uniquely born with certain characteristics and attributes within a certain historical and cultural context. That means that we each have a personal responsibility to reach the highest state possible as an individual person within that context. By doing so we participate fully and play our part to the best of our ability as individual elements within the large organism that is humanity, in the theatre of life and the universe.

The very first step towards this process is having respect for yourself (your Self, not your ego) and that process starts within. The nature of that respect is respect for your higher-self and that higher self can take a third person view to approaching and resolving internal and external conflicts. The advantage of the third person view is that almost everything can be viewed as “theatre”, (but) with a proactive, problem solving objective in mind. In other words, the spectator is observing in order to learn how to improve, adjust, or resolve his or her own approach or behaviour by comparing with what is being observed. Without taking the third person point of view, what is being observed is often copied instead of transcended.

The higher-self is beyond the ego and has a much wider perspective and expanded vision. By living our lives from that position we are the closest we can get to non-duality on a permanent basis. A person who is peaceful within, will shun conflict. A person who comes from the heart, won’t have the heart to harm another – and will motivate others not to do so either. Those who have maintained (and have respect for) their own traditions and values within their own communities and countries, will have respect for other nations and groups who have likewise maintained theirs within their own countries or regions.

A tradition-less, value-less, culture-less world is a world with sails falling in the winds, a world drifting without an anchor. It is a destabilized world with no direction, no heart and no spirit. It is a world without a stable core, without balance, with the balance within missing.  That balance within the world can only be found within each individual person. The more balanced all of us become, the more balanced the world outside will be. Respect from a higher-self point of view contains natural humility, without a sense of superiority or a feeling of being exceptional. We are all equal, but different. We are all unique with special gifts to offer humanity in humility. We are different, but equal – the idea of having to be the same to be equal is a fallacy.

Mutual respect amongst nations is the bedrock of international peace and stability, but it relies on everyone participating equally. Similarly, for democracy to work a respect for its institutions is required. Over and above that, democracy relies on a certain level of moral responsibility and conscience-based ethics being present within those that ascribe or commit to it and it naturally relies on a basic understanding of what democracy means in the first place.

Within the framework of international cooperation and conflict resolution, in a balanced world, nations who come from histories of dominance would do their best to refrain from returning to or repeating such history – and take the High Road. Nations, cultures or groups with histories of having been harmed or persecuted or wronged, would refrain from enacting retribution or turning to the same methods as those who have harmed them – and take the High Road. This of course is a tall order, but when we observe and learn from the theatre of history, taking the high road is the only road which will lead to genuine progress and spirituality, as opposed to a false sense of progress (“progressiveness”) to the disadvantage of others and at the cost of perpetuating the cycle of violence indefinitely.

By considering the rights of children, within the context of various conflict zones around the world and also within our own societies in relation to what they are exposed to, we may be able to reflect on how far we have drifted away from our claims of being humanitarian, peace-loving, democratic and a force for good. Perhaps it is time for all peace-loving peoples to request their governments to kindly de-escalate all tensions which could potentially lead to major conflicts and the harming of civilians and children. We owe it to the future of a stable and balanced world. We owe it to the future of our children and to their children’s children. Not least, we owe it  to our higher-selves and the legacy that we leave behind.

“The human being who starts by withdrawing his own shadow from his neighbor is doing work of immense, immediate political and social importance.” – Carl Jung (as quoted by Sir Laurence v.d. Post)

Photo by JJM: Mural, Belfast, N. Ireland (2005).

By Jean-Jacques M.

Also see: Shift Of The Stages

This article was originally posted at GypsyCafé.org

© 2016. All Rights Reserved.


Inca Trail Highlights

The Classic Inca Trail
Peru, South America
Parts 1 & 2

Inca Trail View 5

Llactapata (aka Patallacta) – originally used for crop production and storage. Elevation: 2840m.

Winay Wayna

Wiñay Wayna – In Inca times this site was the last rest and cleansing point before arrival at Machu Piccu. Elevation: 2650m

Part 1 – Read More and View 17 Pictures

Part 2 – Read More and View 17 Pictures

The Classic Inca Trail – January 2016
Photography by Jean-Jacques M
Copyright © 2016 – All Rights Reserved – Gypsy Café


Exploring Easter Island – Day 5 (Part 1)

After ascending the opposite side of the crater I was rewarded with an exhilarating view of the lake, as well as the valley behind me. I took my time to take it all in, with sunshine filtering through the clouds from time to time.

After ascending the opposite side of the crater I was rewarded with an exhilarating view of the lake, as well as the valley behind me. I took my time to take it all in, with sunshine filtering through the clouds from time to time.

I woke up at about 3am and something was amiss. It was quiet outside. The stormy weather had died down. This could just be a lull I thought, but what if it holds? I reset my alarm and went back to sleep, holding thumbs.

I was up early. It was still dark, but everything seemed calm outside. The owner of the B&B had a full-time tenant who worked at Rano Rarako and I was hoping to get a lift with him, with the aim to hike from there right around the north coast.

Considering the forecast I knew it was a bit ambitious, but at the very least I would get to see the inside of the crater behind the quarry at Rano Raraku, which I didn’t see the day before.

READ MORE & VIEW 12 IMAGES

Exploring Easter Island
Photographs and text by Jean-Jacques M.
Copyright © 2015 – All Rights Reserved – Gypsy Café


Santiago Street Art de Chile

Santiago Street Art, Chile, June 2015.

Santiago Street Art (1), Chile, June 2015.

Santiago de Chile Street Art. Photography by Jean-Jacques M.

VIEW 12 PICTURES


Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved. Gypsy Café.


Montevideo Murals

Street Scene Mural, Montevideo, Uruguay. Photograph by Jean-Jacques M

“My Neighbourhood”, Mural, Barrio Cordón, Uruguay, March 2015.

Street art is big in Montevideo, with interesting styles. Here are a couple of examples which I took pictures of recently in one of the older neighbourhoods of the city, Cordón.

– Jean-Jacques

Murals, Montevideo, Uruguay, March 2015
Photographed by Jean-Jacques M. (Pentax K50).
Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved. Gypsy Café

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