Mod+ 280. KEN JORDAN OF REALITY SANDWICH ON CONSCIOUSNESS CULTURE

Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by Alex, Jul 1, 2015.

  1. Alex

    Alex New

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    HIPPIES STARTED IT, NEW AGERS KEPT IT GOING, WHAT’S NEXT FOR CONSCIOUSNESS CULTURE?
    280. Psychedelics are part of the culture change.
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    POSTED ON JUL 1 IN CONSCIOUSNESS SCIENCE | COMMENTS

    They may shun religious dogma, and scientific dogma too, but Ken Jordan of Reality Sandwich has tapped into a group that’s restarting the consciousness culture revolution.


    Interview with Ken Jordan co-founder of Reality Sandwich on consciousness revolution and its impact on culture.

    Click here to listen on YouTube
     
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  2. It is not universal or geographical. Some people are some are not.


    I agree, stay out of politics, focus on individual transformation. When enough individuals are transformed, the politics will take care of itself. When you try to mix politics and spirituality the politics veers off out of control and people who have different political views become "not spiritual" and then "evil" and then your spirituality gets perverted for political purposes.


    There are other ways to have spiritually transforming experiences:
     
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  3. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    Alex's question at the end of the interview:

    Are we in the middle of of a consciousness culture shift, or is it just more navel gazing by, e.g. Internet groups interested in the topic? Is it primarily a Western phenomenon that in the overall scheme of things doesn't make much difference?
     
  4. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    Are we in the middle of of a consciousness culture shift, or is it just more navel gazing by, e.g. Internet groups interested in the topic? Is it primarily a Western phenomenon that in the overall scheme of things doesn't make much difference?

    An interesting discussion, Alex, and it and your question raised a number of thoughts for me:

    1. Civilisations come and go, but they leave behind them influences that are long lasting and which historians love to analyse and try to pin down. Here in the West, some think we're engaged in acts of cultural suicide: in Europe, this refers to things like the influx of many people from foreign cultures, and that's often seen in a negative light. There surely are some negatives for us native people, but on the other hand, they're not so negative from the viewpoint of immigrants.

    I often wonder if there isn't the outworking of some kind of master plan beyond our comprehension in all of this: some kind of transcendent value in creating societies with admixtures of religious and cultural communities. I mean, in my area of the UK, I can travel just a couple of miles and see people from many different countries who belong to many different religions/no religion (though there may be spirituality) at all. People who have accepted the fact of, say, homosexual relationships, are mixing with people who are wholly antithetical to them. The thing holding it all together at the moment is the legal system, which is a legacy of Western society. It will be interesting to see what kind of society eventually emerges from all this cultural diversity.

    IMO, it will either prove disastrous and lead to civil war, or to some new equilibrium in which there is a better balance between man's spiritual and secular nature: maybe this latter is the essence of the plan, but still, our capacity to screw things up knows no bounds.

    2. Stir into the melting pot the Internet--which may be merely making people more aware than ever of the fact that there are many others who feel as they do about spirituality, rather than evidencing an actual increase in interest--and we are, for sure, living in interesting times.

    That something is happening, facilitated by technological advance, which is influencing people both East and West, is, I feel, undeniable. A recent TV programme in the UK filmed the lives of tribal goat traders in Africa, and yet even there, they are using mobile phones. Same thing with animist populations all over the world, whether it's Siberian nomads or Amazonians: they're all concerned about whether they have access to a clear signal. It's long been said that everyone affects everyone else, but never has technology been more in tune with that sentiment.

    3. I feel that Ken Jordan has fallen into error of conflating spirituality with environmentalism, which latter may be one of the things co-opting him into views that often are inimical to spirituality. Green proponents are as frequently materialists wedded to a scientistic world view, as they are purportedly anti-materialist. They may actually be pushing ideas that cause great human suffering, all the while seeing themselves as the saviours of the world.

    Greens live in a perpetual state of fear, greatly underestimating the resilience of life, which has been around for millions of years and survived far worse conditions than anything human beings have been able to throw at it. It seems that the fear of eternal damnation resulting from our actions has been replaced by that of species (including human) annihilation resulting from them. There must always be something to feel guilty about, and greens don't connect the dots and see that they are often behaving in the same way as fundamental religionists.

    There is so much happening at the moment: so many conflicting cross-currents. This has probably always been the case, but never has it been so noticeable or rapid. Spirituality is a very personal thing: it always happens one case at a time. If there is to be a major paradigm shift, I don't feel it's going to be the result of a conscious movement: movements are always contaminated by cultural elements of one kind or another, and always subject to manipulation by the powers that be. There probably won't be any politics associated with it: just a critical mass of experiencers that can catalyse change by the fact of what their experience has done for them.
     
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  5. Mr Opti

    Mr Opti New

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    Interesting show. Thanks. I like the way the new Skeptiko (2.0? 3.0?) has been heading.

    I've been listening to the show for a couple of years. A month or so ago, I started reading forum threads, and now I've gathered enough courage to write something for the first time. (Not really sure what I am afraid of, though).

    When I was younger, I was really occupied with finding out what is true. Objectively true. Now I think that this is not really possible. For instance - my worldview (theory, perspective) will influence my actions and therefore be able to be more or less constructive/destructive (I take the stance that whatever leads to more empathy is constructive and whatever leads to more fear is destructive). I think this is pretty much in line with Ken Jordans statement: "If you don’t take your wins and accept them frankly for the victories that they are, you’re really impoverishing your own sense of what kind of change is possible": To some extent, my world view might easily become a self fulfilling prophecy.

    So as I see it, my world view needs to be based on the two following aspects:
    * What theory fit's with empirical data? (the truth aspect)
    * What theory will have fruitful consequenses? (the function aspect)
    I've at least come to the conclusion that whenever I omit one of these aspects, I feel really frustrated...

    The idea that there is a large scale consciousness shift definitely fits the function requirements for me. If it fits the truth requirements is harder to answer, and might to some extent depend on what we focus on. To some degree I agree with Michael Larkin above, concerning the green movement. Although I feel like it's a over simplified view of the matter. I agree that much of it can be based in fear, but much of it can be based on a sincere wish to live a more responsible, sustainable way. I have several friends that have gone through a process of downshifting. I think this is a beautiful way of living what you believe in (like the famous Gandhi quote: "Be the change you want to see"). This is not done through a top down organization (I don't think it can be), but through many individual processes ("heart-by-heart cultural level").
    In many ways I think that there are large systems that often make these kinds of movements more difficult. Downshifting, for example, involves stepping out of (to some degree at least) the monetary system. This is hard to do, since it effects so many parts of our lives, but a necessary thing in order to be able to downshift. And there seems to be problems almost always when a grass-root-phenomenon becomes more organized...

    One way of seeing this that is an attempt to avoid navel-gazing is the view that Jeremy Rifkin is taking. I don't agree with him in everything he says, but I find his perspective on history, through the lenses of evolving empathy, both constructive and quite reasonable: (there are many shorter speaches/texts as well...)

    And although I'm always a bit skeptical of the ways large scale systems work, I am quite certain that a cultural system can either make it more difficult or more easy to accomplish some kind of large scale consioussness shift, and here I believe we can live our lives more in line with the systems and processes that we believe are constructive, and in that way maybe encourage others to do the same.
    So maybe I believe that an even more important question than "Is there a large scale consciousness shift happening now?" is "Can I do something to facilitate the happening of a large scale consciousness shift?"

    Thanks for a stimulating and thought provoking show.
     
  6. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    I don't like what the green movement has become - it isn't spiritual, it is control freak, and it sure isn't green.

    My green priorities are:

    1) Stop the spread of nuclear weapons, and hopefully eliminate them at some stage.
    2) Somehow persuade people not to overpopulate the planet.
    3) Stop destroying the forests.
    4) Stop other unnecessary waste - such as food waste.
    5) Stop real pollution (not CO2).

    The 'climate change' movement is a scam, as can be seen for a number of obvious reasons:

    1) The supposed problem used to be called 'Global warming', but after about 1 decade of no warming at all, someone devised the utterly vague concept of climate change to salvage the idiocy!
    2) The scare is based on various tricks, such as not mentioning the Antarctic (where ice has reached new record levels) but only mentioning the Arctic, where ice levels fell for a while, but have risen back more recently.
    3) The sheer science is crap! I mean, what possible sense is there in measuring 'global temperatures' with a set of thermometers that can't possibly resolve the tiny differences in temperature that are being discussed? Furthermore, from time to time one of these measuring stations stops sending data, and the missing data is synthesised by computer!
    4) How can we ignore the temperature changes over recent history, and the variations in CO2 over the earth in prehistory? Why, given that, would we even expect the temperature record to be totally steady.

    CO2 is not a pollutant, it is vital for plants to survive

    The green movement seems to have seduced by the fact that it can cosy up to governments.

    I maybe have a little sympathy with the idea that awareness of consciousness issues has risen in recent times, but it is amazing how easily such movements can be lead astray - I share a lot of Alex's caution on this.

    Too much of the talk seemed to be about politics.

    I had huge hopes for President Obama, but I have become greatly disappointed.

    1) He has really bought into the 'climate change' scam - I mean doesn't he ever worry that the scientific organisations that advise him, take billions every year to 'study' the danger, and that might just sway their advice? If he just asked for a list of tricky questions and tried them on his advisors.......

    2) I am very concerned about the pointless deterioration in East-West relations. The US/EU interfered massively in the Ukraine to destabilise the former president, who had been properly elected. Now the country is in a real mess, and the West wants to blame it all on President Putin.

    3) Although initially he seemed to get it that the US had destabilised the Middle East, he went and attacked Libya (along with Britain), and now we have a totally failed state with still more territory for IS to gobble up. After Vietnam, Iran (putting the Shah in power), Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. wouldn't you think the message would be clear?

    David
     
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  7. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    Welcome, Mr. Opti. Don't be afraid. If you make considered contributions like this, whether or not they're agreed with, you've nothing to fear.:)
     
  8. Mr Opti

    Mr Opti New

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    Thank you, Michael :)

    David: I agree pretty much with your view on climate change and green priorities (not really sure about no 2), although I would like to add a couple of priorities:
    6) treating sentient beings with respect.
    7) using resources in a sustainable way

    The "green movement" is such an incredibly large movement that it is hard to talk about it as a coherent thing. But I will mention two aspects where I believe there is a connection to consciousness shift (at least for individuals).

    I might be wrong, but my feeling is that more people in the west are vegetarians today, than say 20 years ago. That certainly is true in Sweden, where I live. I also believe that a substantial number of those people have stopped eating meat at least partly because they don't want to support the suffering of animals in factory-like meat farming (or that they don't want to take someones life just to get food, when food can be obtained without killing an animal). In that sense the spreading of a vegetarian diet can be a sign of evolving empathy (and thus spirituality, as I see it). I'm not saying that you cannot be spiritually evolved as a meat eater, just that vegetarianism (and veganism) can be a natural expression of spiritual growth for some people.

    Another part of the of the green movement that I believe is constructive (and might well be another sign of evolving spirituality) is people living in a simpler way with less money (a trend sometimes called downshifting). I don't see how this could be used by people looking for power or money...
     
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  9. Mr Opti

    Mr Opti New

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    I would very much like to believe this.
     
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  10. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    You have a point. But we should perhaps remember that it isn't just Greens who are fed up with over-materialistic values. And, that the luxury of having the option to downsize is currently limited to comparatively few in developed societies. Lots more people are struggling to attain a decent standard of life in the first place, and a number of Greens, whilst ostensibly sympathising with them, seem not to realise how much harm their politicking is doing them. It's often a case of selective insensitivity to the majority of humanity.
     
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  11. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    I take your point about being a vegetarian - my partner is (except that she eats fish), so I probably eat less meat than is normal, but I am not vegetarian. One tricky issue here, is that the demonisation of saturated fat seems to be coming to an end - another great scientific cause that ultimately rested on sand (look up the controversy over Ancel Keys). Unfortunately most saturated fat comes from animal sources.

    I do think a lot of people are tending to use resources in a less profligate way. Not buying something because you don't need it makes entirely good sense. However the concept of sustainability can be a bit slippery. For example, I suspect the whole climate change scam was encouraged because at the time it was thought that fossil fuels were in short supply. It now seems there are far more available - particularly gas.

    Most Green mistakes are ultimately scientific mistakes, and you will find endless discussion on this forum about the shortcomings of modern science - both in relation to consciousness and more widely - something that interests me. The more I read about this subject, the shakier my view of modern science becomes. For example, if you have the technology to detect pico-gram amounts of pollutants, you can try to correlate those with all sorts of effects in animals or humans. Problems happen if you trawl for such effects - so you measure 100 pico-level pollutants and run statistical correlations against 100 problematic conditions in organisms exposed to them. The problem is that this will throw up false positives. The best procedure is to use any such correlations only as clues, and collect fresh data to confirm any correlation - but it is clear this is often not followed (look up Bonferroni's Principle for more details). I think this mistake is fuelling a lot of claims that minute levels of this and that are harmful. To make it worse, scientists can make a name for themselves with such a claim.

    David
     
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  12. Mr Opti

    Mr Opti New

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    I would say that the saturated fat issue, is a health issue (it can be tricky if you are vegetarian for the sake of your health). The connection I was talking about is being a vegetarian because of an ethical stance. And I don't see how the saturated fat is relevant to that.

    If there is plenty of gas available (I wasn't aware of that - can you provide me with a link?) so much that we aren't going to run out of it, then using it is sustainable, the way I see it. (Unless it pollutes nature in a damaging way)
    But still. Without getting into detail, the need for endless economic growth, leading to a highly consumerist way of life, with limited resources, seems to me to be utterly incompatible. And our way of living (in the west) don't generally fit well with a natural cycle (producing-consuming-creating a waste pile). And all system changes toward something like natural cycles are good, in my opinion. We need to look at ourselves as part of nature, and not above it with the right to use it like we wish.

    I think I actually agree with you regarding the ills of science, and that's an issue that interests me a lot as well, but I don't see how that comes into this discussion. Do you for example doubt the extinction rates that are being put forth from conventional science (I'm talking about those looking back up to this point in history, and not the ones trying to predict the future)? And if Alex is right in that we don't understand how nature works at a larger scale (we certainly have a lot to learn), then should that not result in being more cautious? Mimicking nature in putting forth systems that work as or within natural cycles would be a less risky way for us to proceed.

    As for the idea that many materialists are involved in some sort of green movement, I don't see that as a big problem. I think Ken Jordan is spot on when he says:
    "There is connection with people working with plant medicin and folks who are interested in meditation practices and folks who are interested in, you know, new forms of social governance that are far more egalitarian and alternatives to traditional forms of currency. Frankly, you see that when you start to go deeper into consciousness and it awakens you to your interconnection with all that there is, you understand your sense of responibility, taking care of the universe that you have been born into."
    That is probably happening more at the being level than at the thinking level (if that split makes sense to you). And I think that an atheist taking care of his/her surroundings is as beautiful as a theist doing the same. The world view of a person doesn't take away the value of the actions. Love is love.
     
  13. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    True, but it is an illustration of the peculiar way science deals with the truth. I was talking about the fact that the ethical and health issues seemed to coincide for a long time, but now that is less clear.
    http://www.eia.gov/naturalgas/crudeoilreserves/

    This issue as to how polluting various technologies are, is always controversial, and the greens don't want the World to switch to gas.

    It is important to remember that if countries switch to an inadequate/intermittent power supply, a lot of people will die of cold in winter.
    Well IMHO this is where population control is vital - I mean, the more people there are to feed, the more of everything has to be extracted. Remember that if we returned to the days before the industrial revolution, that would only work with a vastly smaller population.
    I have become really wary of all science - particularly when it is banging a drum that will lead to more money and research! Obviously I can't comment on every environmental/scientific issue, but once you realise the tricks that science will play, you start to become wary of it all. I wish that scientists who want to subject any of these issues should avoid campaigning or appearing on TV completely. That way there is less conflict of interest.

    Let's take an example from a different area to depoliticise the discussion. This book - written by a British GP, Malcolm Kendrick - illustrates all the ways data is bent to justify ever higher spending on pharmaceuticals.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Doctoring-Data-medical-advice-nonsense-ebook/dp/B00TCG3X4S

    It is very cheap, and something of an eye-opener.

    One example from there, a statement was made that if 10,000,000 people over a certain age were prescribed statins, 50000 lives would be 'saved'. This sounds impressive at first sight, until you realise it means that 0.5% of people taking statins would actually benefit (Kendrick doesn't even accept that statins have any benefit for those who have not already suffered a stroke/heart attack), and many many more will suffer side effects - as I discovered the hard way!

    I would imagine the number one way to maintain biodiversity would be to stop cutting down the forests - you don't need a lot of scientific study to reach that conclusion! Checking population growth would also help, because people need somewhere to live, and grow their crops. They aren't as greedy as the multinationals, but more people=more land cleared.

    I am all for people exploring the connection between plants and consciousness - I think the fact that indigenous people can discover these plants from their dreams is quite extraordinary. I mean what is the chance of people just sampling plants from the forest, and discovering the mixture which is Ayahuasca - not to mention many other medicinal herbs. Random sampling of tropical plants would probably be pretty deadly!

    David
     
  14. David Eire

    David Eire New

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    Interesting discussion.

    I was surprised to hear Alex express the sceptical deniers line on the issue of anthropogenic poisoning and disruption of the biosphere.
    I share his criticisms of the carbon taxes scam....and the hopelessly muddied and partisan squabbles over CO2 and global warming.
    But I was surprised he does not seem to distinguish the CO2 tax scam from the real issues of anthropogenic poisoning and disruption of the biosphere.

    The notion he expressed that what is happening today is the same as what happened in the 17th century with the Plymouth Colony etc is absurd.
    The impact of our globalised industrial consumer civilisation is nothing like what the Plymouth Colony did.
    What we are doing today is on a completely different scale on every vector we are aware of.
    Human civilisation is a geological scale force
    The scientific evidence about the oceans and the soils and the water tables etc is immense and irrefutable in my view.
     
  15. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    What extinction rates? I'd check out this article:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/01/04/where-are-the-corpses/

    for a challenge to the notion that there are many extinctions going on at the moment. It's a longish article, but well worth reading if you have the time.
    The problem with the precautionary principle is that it works both ways. There are great risks in hastily implementing inappropriate responses to non-issues. Global warming has been discussed here and elsewhere ad nauseam and I don't have time to go over old ground. I can only suggest that you research the other side of the issue and keep an open mind.
     
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  16. Mr Opti

    Mr Opti New

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    To David Bailey:

    I've been trying to highlighting some quotes from your text (like you did with mine), but I can't seem to get that to work, so I've re-written this post this way instead...

    Thank you for the link to the gas resources.

    As for the biodiversity issue:
    I think you have a good point about the deforestation.

    About the pharmaceuticals...
    Big money often is a problem, and that definitely applies to the pharmaceutical industry. Sorry about your consequences with the medicine. I'm not really that interested in making this a political discussion, either. I would much rather discuss whether or not there is (or at least is the possibility of) a large scale consciousness shift.

    Concerning checking poulation growth, I'm not totally with you here, but since I don't want to make this discussion more political, I'll just leave it at that.

    Seems really cool with dreams leading to the discovery of ayahuasca.
    The whole plant intelligence thing is a bit mind-boggling to me, but I like it :)

    I think that Ken Jordan is talking about something much larger and more important than the green movement. I think he's saying that a personal consciousness shift is followed by increased empathy and a wish to be responsible. As I quoted before: "Frankly, you see that when you start to go deeper into consciousness and it awakens you to your interconnection with all that there is, you understand your sense of responsibility, taking care of the universe that you have been born into."
    From that point of view some of that empathy may be expressed in different kinds of environmental issues, but it can well be expressed in other ways as well. And the parts of the green movement that aren't an expression of this empathy simply are not part of the consciousness shift.

    On the historical cultural scale I think Jeremy Rifkin paints this picture of spiritual growth (although I don't think he would use those words) pretty clearly. According to him big societal changes in history are accompanied with changes in communication technology that help people to extend their empathy spheres. Roughly: gatherer/hunter societies care about the own tribe (those that are within shouting distance). Some 10 000 years ago agricultural societies start to pop up around earth accompanied with development of writing. With the writing comes the big world religions and people start to care about those who believe the same way. Later the book printing presses are followed by the national states (people start to care about those that live in the same larger geographical area). The telegraph/telephone is connected to the development of psychology (people being able to understand the connection between other peoples past and how they act, leading to more tolerance). And now for the first time in history, with the internet, we have the chance to express empathy on a global scale.
    This might be somewhat over simplified, but I find the over all idea quite intriguing. And since Alex questions the cultural transformation in this interview, I think it is relevant to point out that there might be tangible historical data pointing in this direction.
     
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  17. Mr Opti

    Mr Opti New

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    Thanks for the link. I'll check it up.

    Ok. Then I know your stance on the precautionary principle. I don't completely agree, but that's okey with me. I don't want this to be a discussion about the state of the environment, but much rather a discussion about the possibility/reality of a consciousness shift on a larger scale.
     
  18. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    I suspect you may not be able to post quotes and links for your first few posts. Hopefully, that ability will kick in soon.
    Fair enough, and I totally agree about avoiding the politics. I too find interesting the idea that for major technological changes, there are accompanying cultural ones. I suppose the development of modern science during the Enlightenment could be something similar: it led to the arising of a scientific community supported by government (mind you, there's evidence that that has now got out of hand and promotes the intrusion of politics into science).

    I have this simple faith that God didn't make the world so that we could screw everything up: the Lord will provide, as they say. The pessimism associated with environmentalism is very damaging, I feel, and as much an expression of hubris as anything.
     
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  19. alkhemst

    alkhemst New

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    For me the notion of needing population control because of finite resources is a cop out, not to mention a view without much empathy. The reason its a cop out is there's no lack of viable solutions that would allow people and the land they occupy to thrive.

    Permaculture and farming practices like holistic management (Allan Savory) do wonders with renewing the land and bringing it to a state of resource abundance. We hardly utilise all the thousands of uses of hemp as another example.

    So the idea of sustainability is in some ways backwards as it implies there just isn't enough to go around, but if we used just a fraction of pre-existent knowledge that's already tried and tested on a small scale, such as I've just outlined, we would be able to scale this up and our earth in just a few years could support an even larger population and have plenty left over.

    However, most of the models we currently use like our economic models are based on scarcity which means any model or practice that reveals the reality of abundance in our world is a direct threat. The "green movement" where notions of sustainability derive, is grounded on this idea of scarcity too. It also pushes this communistic concept of sacrifice for "the greater good" and so has a lack of empathy that underlies it also.

    This just invites angry people to find some justifiable ideology to stand behind to vent and so we see a lot of angry animal liberationists, angry vegans, angry greenies and many of these people also promote Marxist philosophy, which in my view is very anti-humanistic. I'm not putting a sweeping statement here and saying all those in these movements lack empathy, but that it invites these types into it and as a whole I feel they do more harm than good.
     
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  20. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    Well said, sir!:)
     

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