A New Ointment to Treat Activist Burnout or The Half-Life of An Anti Nuclear Activist
27th August 2013
Article by Andrew Kishner
reproduced here with kind permission
The blame for the nuclear mess we're in - with increasing chronic disease, mutations and never-before-seen epidemics of disorders - is no longer a few people in charge of setting radiation protection standards or the public relations staff for a nuclear test site. The blame is now everyone. Everyone is protecting this collective mindset (culture).
The half-life of an antinuclear activist is exceedingly short. The reason is a general lack of public interest and support in anti-nuclear causes usually convinces even the most indefatigable of activists to eventually give up. Unfortunately, because of this, anti nuclear causes never achieve much of anything because so many activists eventually consider their efforts as failures and cease their efforts and, as a result, the antinuclear movement suffers from lack of continuity; no one sticks around long enough to pass along knowledge, wisdom, strategies and momentum (akin to spokes in a wheel) to new activists, who in the end have to 'reinvent the wheel.'Meanwhile, the pro-nuclear establishments keep building, refining and getting better at the evil things they do, helped by a class of veteran professional liars, spin-doctors and corrupt scientists who advise and mentor the new classes.
Antinuclear activists must find a way to increase their individual 'half-life,' for their own benefit and the benefit of the movement and the world. Thus, it is important to see this problem in a different light. The problem that antinuclear activists can't see is that
they're trying to help culture adapt to bad things that are happening (that culture is not adjusting to), which is what antinuclear activists do, yet they don't understand this (that is, activism)
doesn't exactly work for their cause. Normal activism doesn't work for antinuclear activism. Usually 'culture' won't resist peoples' demands to have air or water free of chemicals that can lead to significant disease or death. It may take time, but culture will end
up helping people achieve these goals, to ensure the survival of all, or most. Yet there are times when culture does indeed resist peoples' demand for clean forms of sustenance, and many people die for no good reason. This has happened in the nuclear age. Our global culture has been prevented from evolving to adjust to repeated bad things that have happened to it from all things 'nuclear'. As a result, we all
harbor many manmade radioactive elements lodged in our organs and the
toll for this mass biological poisoning has created well more than 60 million cancer victims since the beginning of the nuclear age.
Who did this? The blame for the nuclear mess we're in - with
increasing chronic disease, mutations and never-before-seen epidemics
of disorders - is no longer a few people in charge of setting radiation protection standards or the public relations staff for a nuclear test site. The blame is now everyone. Everyone is protecting
this collective mindset (culture).
When bad things are covered up, denied, or somehow repeatedly
'un-found-out,' individuals, families, societies and even cultures are
prevented from evolving and adopting new rules, mores, behaviors and
preferences to help them better adapt and survive. Culture is our communal tool for adapting, and surviving, as a species. And it is failing us because in the beginning (of the nuclear age) culture was PREVENTED, via lies and coverups, from learning from various
nuclear-caused public health disasters. And now, we're simply perpetuating those lies involuntarily. Antinuclear activists need to see that the whistle or cry or lawsuit or rally won't work as tools for action in their fight alone. Antinuclear activists are fighting against culture. They're fighting against learned collective mindsets and behaviors that aren't adapted to this nuclear threat. These behaviors and mindsets have to be unlearned and the only way it will happen is individually - one person at a time behaving
differently, and then two, then four, then hundreds, then thousands following their lead. If you think of civil rights struggles in the past, it was the
behavioral changes of the many, led by catalysts (such as courageous,
thoughtful leaders who behaved in new and bold ways), that eventually led to positive cultural change.
That's how culture changes and adapts..through the contagion of new
behaviors that enhance the survival of the collective. The problem is we're dealing with a culture that has been through a thousand nuclear accidents yet none of them seemingly harmed anyone and therefore nothing culturally has changed with regards to our reaction to all things 'radioactive' and 'nuclear.' Why? Because there was no
lesson learned. Change was denied. We were hobbled by a coterie of
lying institutions decades ago and this created a nuclear-friendly culture that is its own worst enemy. So, the quandry is this: we can't do the things that culture would react to, i.e., conduct our own studies to refute bad science, steal or obtain classified documents as evidence to prove a coverup exists. Yet there is one thing in our favor: we are immersed in the very medium that needs to change. We
are part of culture. Culture reacts to us...that is why we are made to feel uncomfortable when we tell someone 'Don't go to Japan,' 'Don't eat seafood,' etc... We receive such stock responses from participating members of culture, yet each of those members also lodges a memory of our behavior, concerns and actions. Over time, our unorthodox ways, if repeated across the population, will attract attention. Eventually these behaviors will be questioned for their
value is it good or not good for society?This is what needs to happen.
When an antinuclear activist fails to elicit any response at all, or a highly insignificant one, for their efforts, they need to realize what they're essentially saying to people...which is saying something like the sky is not blue. The activist must see the task in front of them for what it is - to create and foster a catalytic change in an entire
culture. Yet no one person, or group, can do this. It is no small endeavor. When we let frustration and lack of success undermine our efforts, that is a failure in our own thinking. We expect cause and effect. We act, organize, mobilize and campaign, and then we expect *something* to happen! The best we can do is change our behavior,
concerns and actions and allow the world the time it needs to sort out
the ripples of our unorthodoxy in the pond of human thought and
Why is this the best we can do? One reason is it is not part of our
cosmology as Westerners to believe the universe is truly connected, meaning that the universe affects us, 'taps' us to be and do what we are and choose. This is a difficult concept to grasp. We don't attribute the ups and downs of our spiritual mood and physical
well-being to the universe. We wait for science to provide explanations for the vagaries of our beings, and when no explanation is forthcoming, we venture into the bargain bin of religion,
pseudoscience, home-grown cosmology, etc... to make sense of it all.
Yet only the universe has all the answers. Only the universe has the
true rendition of reality. As we grow from infants to elders, we strive to peel the layers of the onion-structured reality one by one to see the true version. But progress on the process of accessing the innermost layers is not up to us. The universe taps us, and chooses what we see and when we see it. That is the way it has to be if the
universe was truly interconnected and dynamic. Every once in a while,
a person or a large group will be a 'hub of connections' in which the person or group will be able to more fully - than before - see the ways of the world and peel away the fog enveloping reality. When, as activists, we see a truth that others can't, it is because we are
charged; as if receiving extra connections in the spiritual wifi
network of the universe. We can't expect others to see what we see.
The reason is we are unique. We are of a unique DNA with an even more
uniqueness as conscious beings.
Gandhi once wrote: "We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do."
An activist needs to consider this. He or she will only find a great well of unhappiness if he (or she) sits waiting for others to act, join, respond or be compelled to see the reality they see, reflected in the merits of a movement they've helped create. To understand why people are apathetic and uninterested, we must engage in psychoanalysis of people and society. And what a waste of time that is! It is like sorting through a clearance rack of odd-colored
egotistical personalities. We ask 'how could someone wear THIS? when we examine ill-fashioned garments at discount shelves. That is what examining the non-reaction of people in our society means...to ask 'how could these people act like this?' Whether in the clothing store or in the cultural studies forum, the answer is simply beyond us. We can leave this task to people with time to waste and find a
happier existence knowing that as we change into a different, more evolved individual, the universe is changing too. It must be changing because something in the universe has caused us to improve ourselves, and something in the universe will respond to our change; in physics, energy cannot simply result in zero impact on the
environment. Impact is experienced.
If we are all connected beings in the universe - one unified organism
- then a small role, our small contributions, must be felt elsewhere
in a positive way. Our changes may belong to a billion-step process
to a new movement or a trillion-step process to a change of consciousness or a magnificent miracle in nature. Who knows! But we need not set as our goal anything other than to be the best person, activist and global citizen we can be.
The universe is all around us, and stretches beyond the computer desk,
village, country and globe. Out there, beyond the dust belts and bizarrely shaped clouds of rotating, spinning matter, there is a god or some supreme being or unified force. We must put our faith in that. We must place our full trust in that being or force regarding this one thing: that our small contributions will be as effective as
fusion everlastingly remains effective in generating heat and plasma in stars, as gravity reliably keeps our planet and all other planets and moons from wandering away into the dark void of space, and as light everywhere is eternally true to its purpose, at illuminating the darkness.