Stan reports on his effort to promote a shift in public attention to and participation within a milieu of “helpfulness”. While I fully commend and support Stan’s effort, his project stimulated a cascade of thought and insights related to “helping”. The following illustrates what happens when nuet is stimulated to output information to Larry’s fingers. This is a record of a flow of ideas, not a crafted essay.
Many persons are unaware that they can be helped, or are even aware of what they may be helped to do. Some may view an offer to help as attempting to manipulate or control. It can be dangerous or inappropriate to help when the assistance is not observed or requested. However, there are times when helping may call for intervention.
MUTUAL AIDE. One of my favorite books, long ago, was Mutual Aide by Peter Kropotkin. Few people know that “anarchism” originated as a means of living with caring mutual governance – but no government (a control organ for the body politic). This perspective was far more dangerous to emergent Capitalism than Communism, and was successfully branded as a call for disorder & violence – nihilism. Their success is evident by the almost total absence of this perspective in any contemporary discourse.
I view helpfulness more as ever present cooperation, where much is accomplished mutually, rather than alone. It also includes the attitude where a person is open to request help or assistance, when it would be beneficial. I seem to want to avoid the term “need” as the core of helpfulness. True needs need to be met, when possible.
SEAFING. The process I have labeled “seafing” does not call for others to do something for you, but to Support, Enable, Augment, and/or Facilitate your doing. Others may seaf you in doing something you could not do alone, mutual aide, but seafing won’t do for you what you could do – and were able to do.
I take an unpopular approach to suffering, in the sense that many persons are suffering as a result of their environmental/societal conditions. If resources are limited, one must chose between alleviating suffering (symptom) or work to remove the causes of the suffering. There are movements and persons whose sole focus is to alleviate suffering and ignore the causes. They are needed, as in the current support of refuges, and I would do nothing to stop this form of helping. But, when “charity” appeases one’s conscience, permitting the cause of suffering to continue, one must wonder. There are belief systems (ideologies) which assert the inevitability of suffering (original sin, for example – or negative karma), and who depend on the continued existence of suffering to give their life meaning.
Most people are not aware of the many opportunities available to them. If you ask a person if they need help, what they ask for may probably not be what would be most beneficial for them. I am not saying that you or I should determine what another might find useful or rewarding, if assisted. But it may be possible to expand their horizons and increase their options to chose.
Recently I encountered online a site where persons listed their NEEDS and ASSETS. Unfortunately I can’t find it. This would be the bare bones of a CrowdHelping app. In my 1975 Mission_2000, I proposed a few societal subsystems; one being the M2A Skills Exchange. I just retrieved that part (which has been on my old COMCAST website that closed) and put it on my blog. It has been quite a while since I read this. In 1975 there were no Personal Computers. This was just off the top of my head, with no consultation. In the Mission_2000 scenario, this first edition (a future history, written as if from the year 2000) would be revised many times by the Mission_2000 Movement in the 25 years.
Mutual aide and quality interpersonal relationships is at the core of the uplift process. Without this the movement won’t succeed. Last month I discovered a scenario I composed in 2013 that I totally forgot I had written. It is a report of a person who had been a member of the uplift movement for 2 years, telling of what those years were like. It may give you a feel of the potential.
I am a person desperately in need of help. My TODO list scrolls many pages. A decade or more ago, an alternative money/exchange system was established in Tucson, and a skills exchange was one of the features of the system. It floundered because of the lack of a large enough initial set of useful skills offered. I had no skills others wanted, except “education”. One suggestion would be a Mutual Aide Network on computers and use of apps. I believe our eeree could be greatly improved.
LATER—– 8/9/2016 12:08 PM From geisterblitz when showering:
WHEN AND HOW IS IT APPROPRIATE OR NOT APPROPRIATE TO HELP?
It is appropriate to manipulate the environments of very young children, for their “best interest” (according to theories about child development). We do the same for severely disabled persons and persons in severe medical crises. Sometimes we need to manipulate the bodies of persons, without their permission. Manipulation is not universally inappropriate.
When might we conclude a person is a “societal child”, not having the appropriate competencies to engage in a situation without causing unacceptable damage? What if the situation doesn’t lead to immediate consequences for the person helped, but may effect others negatively (by your analysis) “down the road”?
There are many situations where it is appropriate to manipulate others; so we can’t take a ideological stance against all manipulation. Yet, who is to decide when and what manipulation is appropriate?
It would be inappropriate to help a serial killer, a child abuser, a terrorist, a dictator, etc. Except, maybe in a limited way as an undercover agent setting them up to be stopped.
It would be inappropriate to help a person bent on self destruction. Assisted suicide is a complex, possible exception.
When is it appropriate to help a person maintain in a situation that is unhealthy for them (from collective analysis), yet they insist on being helped in this way?
When is it appropriate to organize an intervention to break a person from dangerous behavior?
When is it appropriate to create an educational system which will indoctrinate those who engage it?
When it it appropriate to work to change an educational system which doesn’t work (as intended) or has inappropriate objectives?
When is it appropriate to create new social and societal systems with well stated objectives?
When is it appropriate to work to change social and societal systems which are dangerous – such as those supporting increasingly destructive climate change?
When is it appropriate to take the life of another person? [Trolley dilemma, social psych experiment. ]
IS IT APPROPRIATE TO HELP PERSONS OR GROUPS ACHIEVE THEIR OBJECTIVES, WHICH WILL HAVE NEGATIVE IMPACT ON THE COMMONS AND THE FUTURE VIABILITY OF HUMANKIND AND GAIA?
What actions are appropriate to stop actions by persons and societies that threaten the very existence of humankind and severely damage Gaia?
HOW IS IT DETERMINED WHAT ACTIONS ARE APPROPRIATE WHEN KNOWLEDGE IS INCOMPLETE AND PROBABILISTIC?
MUTUAL AIDE = COOPERATING & COORDINATING
Most helping professions focus on helping those with problems, not helping other achieve objectives (personal and social). Most helping professions focus on treating symptoms, not eliminating causes of problems.
Charity, Donations, Contributions, Volunteer Work. When does organized public help give societal decision makers an excuse not to change policy to eliminate the cause of the problems that require help?