Investing money into anything that damages mental health can only result in inefficient performance at every level in society and is therefore un-economic and a waste of resources
It is un-economic to invest money into anything that damages mental health as this can only result in inefficient performance at every level to society and thereby increase costs. Such expenditure hits both the top line and bottom line of economic performance, which can only be bad for business. Modern insights of neuroscience are now providing objective evidence for many of the practices of ancient wisdom. These are as valid in many cases today as they were when they evolved and it is not necessary to couch them in religious or esoteric terms for the mass of people to quickly grasp and apply them. At the core of all this lies the vital insight that human being’s brains consist of both emotional and cognitive systems and the former always have the controlling influence, especially when the individual is exposed to excessive stress. The best way to ensure that our emotional life is calm and in flow is to make sure that in general our fundamental drives (or needs) are met in balance. Developing out of the work of neuroscientists like Joseph LeDoux and psychologists like Maslow, two UK based psychologists, Joe Griffin and Ivan Tyrrell, have developed 9 perspectives of human emotional need that cover all aspects of human existence. These needs cover 3 main realms of life relating to our individual selves, to our relationship to other people and to our connection to life itself. This correlates precisely to the realms of existence explained in many ancient teachings. By understanding this concept of needs, learning how to assess whether one is currently meeting them, and learning how to fill any deficits we can empower everyone everywhere to ensure their emotional lives are intact. In turn, this will naturally free up their intellectual and creative powers, improving their service to humanity and the quality of their lives. This is also the key way individuals can quell their own innate tendency to become addicted to things.
By breaking down human need into these categories people everywhere can start to reflect on them more easily and start to consider how to get them met. They are, in no particular order:
•Security through clear protective emotional and physical boundaries
•Control and autonomy enabling freedom of thought and action
•Social status and self respect
•Private contemplation, reflection and integration of one’s life experience
•Achievement and growth
•Giving and receiving quality attention to and from others
•Sharing intimacy, friendship and emotional warm and love with others who accept you unconditionally even in the bad moments
•To be part of a wider community of people and to provide emotional and physical support, balance and opportunity
•To be connected to a sense of meaning and direction that extends beyond yourself to the widest possible field of life
Human beings are most in flow and their lives in harmony when their rational and emotional systems are working in unity. This is achieved when they can see a clear pattern in their environment that matches their own internal unique pattern of understanding on how to get their needs met. This harmonious ‘pattern match’ between the inner vision and outer reality is what creates the feeling of flow. An individual’s internal pattern needs to take into account all of the above needs in balance. Unfortunately, due to years of poor socialisation, poor parenting, lack of basic psycho-education on mental health, psychological trauma and neurological damage, environmental toxicity, the individual’s perception of their needs is highly distorted. Thus they are often “steering their own ship” completely in the wrong direction, pursuing inappropriate work, unhealthy relationships and joining cults that promise them relief from their resulting suffering.
There is no need to have one single prescription or magic pill that sorts all this out. In fact, with 9 billion people on the planet it is inconceivable that there would be such a thing, though some religious groups will have you believe otherwise. At the core of all religious, spiritual and more ‘scientific’ psychotherapeutic practices are often a similar set of universal principles of mind management operating. The methods all are ways of operating each individuals innate capacities designed by nature to enable the meeting of need. Each individual can be shown a good set of life management skills and given the choice and encouragement of how to combine these into their daily existence for the best result that suits them.
Combined with this understanding there is also a critical need for each individual to awaken to the more toxic aspects of living within the modern financial system so they can be more conscious about finding a way through it. As it stands, all too often the financial system is acting against individual’s mental health as it seeks to keep people in a state of materialism and ignorance, and to focus mainly on the self (the first of the three realms of need) rather than on the community and the connection to wider life.
Mentally Healthy Investment (MHI) ensures that all financial investment is assessed in terms of how well it assist the widest possible meeting of all the above 9 needs in any given community. It is vital to look at investment in terms of mental health and these 9 needs because this is a much more definitive and unarguable basis for efficient spending and all social and environmental benefits will only be achieved if people’s mental health everywhere is given the priority.
This must now become the new measure and assessment tool of how to use money as a useful tool for society instead of a harmful drug. The traditional measure of Gross Domestic Products (GDP) is part of the fundamental problem of the financial system that falsely calls itself a ’service industry’, implying that is trying to help society instead of exploit it. Under the GDP system, we measure success by this crude measure of success. So even where there is clear damage to society and the world it is scored as a success because it costs money to fix the damage, which in turn counts towards the GDP overall score. This completely ignores the social, mental health and environmental damage that is considered an ‘externality’ in the financial accounts and is ignored. What we need is the Gross Mental Health of a nation score – GMH. This needs to replace GDP as soon as possible.
The Campaign for Mentally Healthy Investment calls for the immediate creation of researched qualitative and quantitative measurements that can assess impact across the 9 basic human emotional needs and be incorporated into an internationally recognised GMH score. Investing money is not only a rational process, it is an emotional process. A simple and effective way to measure the mental health benefit of any investment is to conduct an audit on how each individual feels that their needs are met both before, during and after the investment. By collating information on this basis for every single public (and private ) investment, intelligence can be built as to how individual investments perform and then future investment can be adjusted accordingly.