One vital contribution to the debate of modern economic crisis, is the decades of advances in neuroscience and recent developments in psychology pointing to the fundamental importance of emotional health as the key driver of all human activity. There is now a clear scientific understanding of how human emotional needs drive human behaviour and that the "machine" that constitutes the human body and mind has evolved to constantly seek to meet these needs. In short emotions drive the whole show. People set up situations to modulate their emotions all the time. As Joseph LeDoux explains in his book "The Emotional Brain", "While conscious control over emotions is weak, emotions can flood consciousness. This is so because the wiring of the brain at this point in our evolutionary history is such that connections from the emotional systems to the cognitive systems are stronger than connections from the cognitive systems to the emotional systems".
A society based on emotional well being is the society we need to now focus on creating and this emotional well being can be clearly defined. Urgent and widely disseminated and accessible information about the primary importance of emotional needs being met in balance is the truth that modern science based Psychology is showing us, particularly the school of psychotherapy called Human Givens led by Joe Griffin and Ivan Tyrrell. This is not a matter of subjective opinion, nor political debate. It is a scientific fact. Any economic or political policy that is not informed by this fact and seeking directly to meet in balance human emotional needs of the widest possible number of people is simply going to cause immense social damage and cost.
We need to reframe all cost benefit analysis and recode our government computer models in the light of the efficacy of meeting human emotional needs. Where emotional needs are met in balance it is far more likely that the excesses of materialism, avarice and selfishness will be avoided naturally as the general state of human consciousness will be calm. Our society is placing individuals in a constant state of high emotional arousal in order to drive the consumerism that lies at the heart of its economy. Across the globe in so called modern industrial societies psychological disorders are on the increase in an epidemic of human stress resulting from excessive emotional arousal designed to fuel consumption at all costs. It is humanity's vain attempt to fill the void and alleviate its stress by focusing on money as a panacea for its ills that is being taken advantage of by unscrupulous forces in ever-greater doses of social exploitation and grinding financial inequality.
The primary way out of this conundrum is the widespread dissemination to ordinary people of straightforward methods by which they can take direct responsibility for ensuring their own emotional needs are met in balance. This will, person by person, reduce the stress that is fuelling the crisis of modern civilisation and re introduce a basis of wisdom and compassion in economic decision-making. Of course institutional reform based on this same understanding is imperative too, however vested interest are powerful blocks to institutional change and in the final analysis all lasting social change begins and ends in the hearts and minds of ordinary people. In fact the digitisation of money and widespread dissemination of fiat currency systems provide humanity with an amazing opportunity.
Though currently the systems are being used as mechanisms of social control and exploitation these same tools could be put to much more effective use if individuals can take control of monetary policy. Alternative monetary schemes that create democratic localised monetary policy solutions have a place however we probably don’t need to create new systems. A few tweaks of the computer code can change the dynamics of the international systems we already have. The core issue has never been the systems really but the need for people to discover a new currency of emotional wealth. With the revelations of modern neuroscience being translated into language the ordinary person in the street can understand we are about to witness a revolution in understanding of happiness as important as Einstein was to physics. This need not be as slow as it sounds. Not everyone need be convinced. A significant and unified minority will suffice. It’s already happening. At last we know the truth – Emotions drive thoughts – not the other way around! – Like the revelation that the world is no longer flat, life will never be the same again.
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