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Sunday, June 22, 2014

“Schizophrenic Individualism”: Lonely Connection

Children near open sewer
 large slum
Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya 
In search of “Solidarity,” credible kindness
Excerpting, minor editing by Carolyn Bennett

In her article in “Chronicle of a Mess Foretold,” author and journalist Silvia Swinden writes,  “The TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) and TTIP (The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, aka U.S.-EU ‘Free’ Trade Agreement) continue hurtling toward their coveted objective:

…to create the largest “free” trade zone ever seen in the world, in reality the largest U.S. and Multinational Corporations area of total control.

Nation states will be powerless to defend themselves (see Argentina v Vulture funds dress rehearsal in the news this week).

"Shock and Awe"
U.S. in Iraq
“China and Russia [are] negotiating the formation of a bloc to slow down this new advance of predatory capitalism. They are even talking about dropping the dollar as the international exchange currency for oil and for the accumulation of reserves.

“We know how that went when Saddam Hussein (sold Iraq’s oil in Euros) and [Muammar al-] Qaddafi (wanted to establish the Gold Dinar to sell Libya’s oil) went that way.

Anti-U.S. demonstration
in Libya
“So it is not surprising that Russia and China want to look big and powerful (in this case there are WMD [weapons of mass destruction] and they will not be hidden, rather likely they will be shown prominently) if the U.S. begins to make noises about ‘protecting human rights’ or ‘bringing democracy’ to their citizens.

“This advance of the neoliberal agenda was not lost to Silo [Argentine writer, philosopher and founder of the Humanist Movement] who in 1991 wrote his ‘First Letter to my Friends’ …. It is interesting to review it," she says, "not only because of its insights about the history of economic power and violence but also because it contains a fresh point of view about the new sensitivity that is developing and the way, a nonviolent way, it can be the basis for an alternative way … ── through reconstruction of the social fabric carried out by simultaneous personal and social change.”
This is an excerpt from Swinden’s posting of Silo’s 1991 First Letter to my Friends

“History demonstrates that peoples have advanced when they have demanded their rights from the established powers, and that social progress has clearly not been the result of some automatic trickle down’ of the wealth accumulated by one sector of society.… 

 “The regionalization of markets, like the demands for local and ethnic autonomy, underscores the disintegration of the nation state.… Since economic processes reflect human intentions and interests, in light of events, we see nothing to support the belief that those with control over the well-being of humanity are concerned with overcoming the difficulties of others less privileged than themselves.…”

Protests al-Assy Square
 Hama, Syria 2011

hange, Relationships among People

Protests Tahrir Square
Cairo, Egypt 2011

“Our companions at work, school, in sports—even old friends—have all taken on the character of competitors.… 
Never before has the world been so closely interconnected, yet each day individuals experience a more anguishing lack of communication. 
Never before have urban centers been more populous, yet people speak of their ‘loneliness.’ 
 Never before have people needed human warmth so much as now, but any approach to another in a spirit of kindness and help elicits only suspicion.
Algiers, Algeria, 2011
 “This is the predicament to which our hapless people [have] been abandoned, each isolated individual being led to believe in the greatest unhappiness that he or she has something important to lose—an ethereal ‘something’ that is coveted by all the rest of humanity!”

uman Change

“In sharp contrast to other times, so full of empty phrases meant only to garner external recognition ──today people are beginning to find value in humble and deeply felt work, work done not to enhance one’s self-image, but rather to change oneself and bring about change in one’s immediate environment of family, work, and friendship.

“Those who truly care for people do not disdain this work done without fanfare, this work that proves so incomprehensible to those opportunists who were formed in an earlier landscape of leaders and masses—a landscape in which they learned well how to use others to catapult themselves to society’s heights.

“When a person comes to the realization that schizophrenic individualism is a dead end,

…when they openly communicate what they are thinking and what they are doing to everyone they know without the ridiculous fear of not being understood,

…when they approach others not as some anonymous mass but with a real interest in each person,

Protests Jordan
…when they encourage teamwork in both the interchange of ideas and the realization of common projects,

…when they clearly demonstrate the need to spread this task of rebuilding the social fabric that others have destroyed,

Iran 1979
…when they feel that even the most ‘unimportant’ person is of greater human quality than some heartless individual whom circumstance has elevated to what is, for now, the pinnacle of success—

“When all this happens, it is because within this person

destiny has once again begun to speak, the destiny that has moved entire peoples along their best evolutionary path, 

the destiny that has been so many times distorted and so many times forgotten, but is always reencountered in the twists and turns of history.

Arab Spring

Sources and notes

“Chronicle of a mess foretold: TTIP and TPP seen from Silo’s 1991 letter,” posted by Silvia Swinden, June 21, 2014, in Humanism and Spirituality, International, International issues, Nonviolence, http://www.pressenza.com/2014/06/chronicle-mess-foretold-ttip-tpp-seen-silos-1991-letter/

Dr. Silvia Swinden is Pressenza London Bureau Chief, retired Forensic Psychiatrist and Coordinator of the World Centre for Humanist Studies in the United Kingdom. She is also author of From Monkey Sapiens to Homo Intentional: The Phenomenology of the Nonviolent Revolution (Adonis & Abbey, London 2006), http://www.dw.de/swinden-dr-silvia/a-17629952


Argentine writer, philosopher and founder of the Humanist Movement, Silo (pseudonym of Mario Luis Rodríguez Cobos) gave speeches and wrote books, short stories, articles and studies related to politics, society, psychology, spirituality and other topics. His years January 6, 1938 – September 16, 2010, Mendoza, Argentina, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mario_Rodr%C3%ADguez_Cobos


Children near open sewer in Kibera, a large Nairobi, Kenya, slum
Protests (center streaked) in al-Assy Square, Hama (Hamah), central Syria 2011
Protests with flag streamer Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt

Protests (between buildings) Algiers, Algeria


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