Being Human: the conversation game.

When I was a child I was labelled a ‘bad loser’  when it came to playing games. For me, it was all about winning.  I would take games so seriously that my family would often just ‘let’ me win to keep the peace. Monopoly, especially, brought out my most competitive characteristics. I wanted all the properties and all the hotels and all the cash. Looking back on this, maybe there were more useful things to learn in playing games.

“It’s not the winning, it’s the taking part.” Have you ever heard that phrase? Do you live by it?

What would a game look like if the aim was not to win or be in competition, but to play with other people?  What if the point of a game actually was the ‘taking part’?

So Tea and Tolerance have begun to explore this question. To create a game that is about taking part in conversation: discovering what we each think, feel and want. What kind of world would you like to live in? How can we disagree agreeably? The answer to both these questions takes time, thought and space. How can we create the space and focus for these questions. How can we have more useful conversations?

So we introduce ” Being Human: the Conversation Game.”

It contains 5 sets of cards: questions, quotes and instructions. These are  placed on a tea towel ( the game board) and with ‘teapot’ playing pieces for each player. This is all contained within a tea caddy. There are guidelines and specially devised Play Nicely rules, which help you enjoy the game.

We are embarking on initial design and print over the next two months and hope to have games available later in the year, so watch this space. Follow us on Facebook or email us at teaandtolerance@gmail.com to register your interest in buying the game.

 

A little more explanation of our original conversation model.

When we take our tea trolley to different groups we provide two hosts. People choose if, when and how long they participate. Consent and freedom to choose are key elements.

In practical terms, they choose a teapot or other receptacle and they choose a question, then we invite others to do the same and we all have a conversation ( if we want). One of the hosts will take the role of active’ listener and the other will ‘hold the space’. Between these two hosts, conversations are navigated and gently supported so that listening is maximised and any conflicts or provocations that arises have space to be  heard and not swiftly judged. Part of our ‘Play Nicely’ guidelines: we agree to disagree agreeably.  Each person listens to the other and is curious about the other’s viewpoint. They allow the other their view. This is important in the aims of the game. This enables people to have difficult conversations without shutting other people or themselves down. If we can not talk about it, how do we propose to ever move on?

 

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Summer Tea chats in Leeds

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*Photo taken by Jon Dorsett at John Lewis Store, Leeds ( part of the summer activities programme.)

This weekend Tea and Tolerance visited the John Lewis Store in Leeds and then popped in at the Lingfield Community Hub Retro Fair. It was an amazing weekend. 

Amongst many topics, we talked about the kind of world we would like to live in, and the most important qualities we can have as human beings. Kindness and patience came up as forgotten but very key qualities. Speaking nicely, and being kind were talked about. Could we be kinder and more patient with each other we wondered? Will we? Will you? You decide. We spoke to lots of people of all ages and these are some of their responses to questions they answered…

Do you think before you speak? No. Not as much as I should.

In who’s interest? Sometimes it’s easier not to think about it…sometimes it can be too much and you want to just close the door and shut it out. Once you open your eyes to whats happening in the world you can’t shut them again.

The lack of resources for communities, I mean can you believe that police stations are only open certain days!! What’s that about? That’s not in anyone’s interest.

When people don’t look out for each other.

How does it feel to be wrong? Not being right can be good as it’s how you learn to do something better.

I don’t like it when I get told off – is that getting it wrong?

Where do you belong? I belong with my family. In the pub – having a drink and a nice time with friends. Wherever I feel comfortable and welcome. Wherever I lay my hat…(who sung that song?)

If you had a superpower, what superpower would you have? Patience. All the Super powers in the world!!

If you could change anything, what would you change? Everything. It all needs changing. Where do you start? I would change the school system….as people learn in different ways and that needs to be accounted for or you can cause damage to young people.

* Photographed and drawn by Jon Dorsett for John Lewis Store Leeds as part of the community activities taking place there every weekend this summer.

When do you ask for help? When I need to go to Hospital? Didn’t you just ask me for help to read this question? Oh my god. I did, didn’t I! You’ve really hit on something there with me. That’s deep. This is brilliant!

Not often enough as I don’t like to bother people…(do you mind when people ask you for help?) No not at all it’s a privilege…that’s a good point.

What do you think will happen to our beautiful planet in our lifetime? Well there’s pollution – that’s already happening…and then there’s certain leaders, they are going to change this planet beyond recognition. It’s going to get worse before it gets better!

What is the difference between you and me? We have different skin but we are the same on the inside. Everyone is different and unique but then we are all the same as well. Our finger prints are all different

What inspires you? Everything inspires me: Nature, science, beautiful buildings, nice people, art, talking about exciting ideas.

What floats your boat? Adventure. Gymnastics. Dancing.

What are you grateful for? Friends. My health. Being alive. Sunshine. My kids everyday.

*Photos at Lingfield Living Local and John Lewis Store,Leeds.

What makes you happy? Ice cream in the park on a sunny day. Being with my family.

What stops you in your tracks? Rats. I don’t like them. One came right up to my foot. It was huge.  I was terrified.

What makes you hopeful? Events like these that bring people together and inspire people.

What are you afraid of? Nothing….Spiders!

What makes your blood boil? When someone sets the way things will run and then nobody else sticks to the plan…that does my head in.

Trump!! The state of the world.

People dropping litter – things like that where people don’t show respect.

Why are you here? Like what is my purpose? I try to connect the older ones with the younger ones and vice versa. They don’t always understand each other’s ways of living in the world…I try to help with that.

Do you believe in ghosts? Yes. Some people say when people die they appear like a light in the room. Is that a ghost or just energy? I believe in energy.

No.

Do you believe in Unicorns? Yes! (Performs a little unicorn movement.)

What’s your favourite word? Mermaid. Explore. Ice cream!

How much are you worth? Those two are priceless to me- they mean absolutely everything. ( About his kids) Am I priceless to them too? I guess so.

How does it feel to be vulnerable? In a way, not nice. But it can be really helpful and it happens to everyone at some point. I guess it depends how you handle it.

Can you laugh at yourself? Yes – all the time. I even laugh at my own jokes. You have to laugh don’t you!

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*Photo at Lingfield Living Local ‘Retro” Fair, July 2017.

Article written by Zoe Parker and Lucy Meredith of Tea and Tolerance. Tea and Tolerance is a live art ‘installation’ – a roaming tea trolley brewing up refreshing conversations which go beneath the surface. We support better cohesion, understanding and tolerance within our communities. This weekend was possible thanks to generous funding from John Lewis and Leeds Community Foundation #GiveLoveLeeds fund.

Tea and Tolerance received a Leeds Fund #GiveLoveLeeds Grant, thanks to support of the Fund’s Anchor Partner, John Lewis Leeds. Managed by Leeds Community Foundation, The Leeds Fund creates positive change in the communities of Leeds that need it most by distribributing financial grants and support to community projects across the city.

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Leeds Big Lunch ( & #BIGconversations)

Who was it that said an image is worth a thousand words?

Well I would have to agree in this case. Tea and Tolerance with Eden Communities and The Real Junk Food Project ( and their Fuel for Schools project) outside Leeds Art Gallery ( Victoria Gardens). Lovely conversations and people, and a beautiful scorcher of a day! We were able to test out our new ‘Conversation Picnic” which includes a pack of cards containing questions, instructions and quotations, jam jars and chatterboxes. This all happened on May 26th 12-2pm 2017 – thanks to everyone who came down. Wonderful photographs by Angels of Youth. Feel free to  share your experiences about the day below….

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Tea trolley goes to Forum Central’s Massive Market Place

With over 100 organisations doing stalls & many more attending, this Massive Market Place really was a MASSIVE success.

Well done to Central Forum, Volition (and especially Gill Crawshaw) it was a fun and social day, bringing together an eclectic mix of great organisations who help people in Leeds. We talked with lots of people about lots of things…so here’s a small sample of those conversations…

How much are you worth?

More than I think.

If it was someone else I would say priceless but it’s trickier to say that about me. Feels…boastful? Is it ‘Englishness’ that makes that difficult? My American friend would find it much easier.

We are in a church so I’d have to say that I’m worth dying for (well Jesus thought so anyway).

If you could change anything what would you change?

Sell the riches and give the cash to the poor.

What’s stopping you?

Myself.

Do we have free will?

No of course not. Our hearts beat whether we ‘will’ it or not – same with our lungs and lots of other things. Though we have choices and can choose how we react to any given situation or circumstance.

Who matters most?

God. God matters most. And myself too – I matter. Though I feel like that is one and the same.

What makes you feel good?

Eating with my family.

What is normal?

Not sure. Everyone has their own normal I suppose. What does normal even mean?

Someone google it.

Google says it’s conforming to a standard…

I suppose we are affected by what we read in the papers, on tv. Fake news is a phrase now – that sort of normalises lazy journalism and lying… doesn’t it?

Are we changing the norm or is the norm changing us?

That’s quite a question. I guess if something becomes acceptable or ‘a usual or familiar standard’ then it becomes familiar, it does start to change the ‘norm’. I’ve heard about certain affluent circles of people who normalize child abuse and it makes me think about the way lots of us (me included) normalize eating meat…we know its not good for the environment and it’d be better not to do it, but it tastes good. Oh now that’s a bit contentious isn’t it!

We normalize using mobile phones and other digital devices. I see people sitting together around tables not talking or looking up with their heads in screens. We think digital and the internet has taken us forward but in many ways its taken us way back. The fact that communication devices often stop people communicating is so ironic.

What makes your blood boil?

Disposable society. Littering. Throwing things away because its cheaper or less time to buy another than sort out the one that’s broken or bit old/worn.

What’s it like to be wrong?

I was wrong today actually. I was doing something with a friend and she pointed out to me the error in what I did, and she was right. I thought I’d been thinking of her but I hadn’t I had my own reasons that motivated me. It was good to sort it out actually – so I didn’t mind being wrong.

Awful. I feel so guilty.

It’s difficult until it’s resolved then it’s a relief.

Where do you draw the line?

I guess you know when someone has crossed your line. A neighbor gave unwanted advice to my niece: well I thought that was way over the line because you never interfere in other people’s families. It’s just not your place.I had words with her mother – my niece was very upset.

Comments

You’ve piqued my curiosity. I just had to come over and see what you were doing.
This is great – really gets conversations onto a deeper level.
I’ve really enjoyed this.

Lingfield Living Local Conversation beginnings

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We popped into one of the opening events of Living Local and then a few weeks later joined the craft group, here’s what people in Lingfield had to say…

Who or what has most influenced you in your lifetime? Good question. My mum. She is a person who puts community and other people over personal gain. That influenced me a lot in the career/ ethics I have. Also I spent some time volunteering in Rwanda. That was probably the thing that has most influenced me in my life. My teacher: who told me about sheep and goats. He said that in life you can either follow the crowd (like sheep) or follow your own path ( like goats) and which you choose is up to you.

What is it to love? Big question. Putting someone else’s needs and happiness above your own. Allowing and supporting someone to follow their own path/dreams/desire.

Do you think before you speak? Sometimes I overthink things. Then the words burst out. Sort of one leads to the other. I think a lot then I don’t think at all.

How does it feel to be wrong? I’m never wrong.

Where do you belong? Now that is a deep question…you could take that many ways. The locl. The global. Therese may said that if you are a citizen of everywhere then you are a citizen of nowhere. I don’t like talking politics – but is that right? Does it have to be either or? Can I belong to a place I live in and also belong in other places? Surely we are both? I belong here in Leeds where I live, where I grew up and also in all these other places too.

I belong where there are people that accept me warmly.

Why are you here? I just explained that. How strange to get that question.

How does it feel to be vulnerable? It’s a bit scary and then its empowering. You are sort of like a caterpillar’s metamorphosis into a butterfly. It is a moment of transformation: it seems very scary but afterward you are somewhere new.

What are you afraid of? I’m scared of birds….well anything that flaps actually. Story of the mer cat…   Though that reminds me of what I am really terrified of …which is disappointing people,. Is that sad? I mean you cant control other people’s expectations of you. It’s impossible.

What is the difference between you and me? I think we are all more similar then we are different. I was talking with a Muslim woman and on the outside we look very different and you might, on first glance, think that we would have very little in common. Yet as we spoke, we discovered so many similarities…our circumstances, where we lived and what we did, the problems we were having with our children. Really we had so much in common.

Every person is like a flower, And it would be really boring if every flower looked the same. Same colours same bloom. What is exciting about the flowers is that they are all different. And people are like those flowers in the garden, a myriad of colours and expressions and shapes, and all those differences are complementary.

What’s stopping you? That made me think of today. What is stopping me from singing?

What is your favourite word? A man told me this word once – Discombobulated. I love it. Sounds very clever. What does it mean?

I don’t have a clever word but the Albanian word for hello ‘pershendetje’ which I learnt whilst living in Albania, I discovered later when learning Spanish that the same word in Spanish means ‘little shit’. My friend used to get to me to tell all her friends the Albanian word for hello and of course they would all laugh, because it was a swear word and I didn’t know.

My children sometimes make up words in English, which are translations form words in Spanish. They don’t mean anything in English but I know exactly what they mean by these made up words. I love that.

I like long words but I prefer reading stories in simple language

Do you think before you speak? Mixed thoughts on this: from ‘never – I tell it like it is’; to ‘only when responding to ‘volatile’ people; to ‘I try to’.

What makes you hopeful? Places like this community hub. Seeing acts of cooperation and tolerance within this community.

What inspires you? Jean. Jean inspires us because she is the kindest, nicest person…she’s a little sweetheart. This place. My daughter made the logo – she won the competition at school. Originally it was a crayon drawing. We have it framed at home.

How does it feel to be vulnerable? Not much. My early life was quite harsh and compared to that nothing makes me feel vulnerable.

My car skidded on ice and I swerved off the motorway and then the car wouldn’t start. I felt pretty vulnerable waiting for help.

When do you ask for help? At the last minute usually. Practical help is easier to ask for. There is something about ‘no’ – can someone hear it or say it, when asking for help. The worry being if the person asked says no, then will it hurt; or if I ask, will the person feel burdened by me. I don’t care what people think so I’m not afraid to ask for help.

Why are you here? To support Kate and my friends and community. I wouldn’t say I’m here to make a difference because people come if they want and if they are interested.

 Do you count? Everyone counts. Maybe more people feel like they count at the moment?

If you could change anything, what would you change? The government. No the PM. I’d bring in proportional representation. But who would you put in place of the current PM? I like that old guy with the beard…Corbyn. He seems honest and is for the people. But are the things he wants too good to be true? And can he balance the books? Though the conservatives havn’t done a great job with that have they.

Where do you draw the line? Racism. People think I will agree with them because of what I look like but if I witness racism, I will step in and stop it. They don’t expect that but I don’t care.

Comments:

 

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We need a larger sense of us. What is ‘us’?

Someone said it’s a good sign if you didn’t get around to taking photographs – means you were having a good time.

Feel like bonds were deepened and there was a commonality of thinking across the different people there.

Oh wow! Thats amazing! So glad you came and did that, we have a lot of conversations in the hub, we all talk an awful lot, so its nice to have those conversations directed and recorded. So, so important this work that you are doing, now more than ever.

Who are Tea and Tolerance? We explained about our roots in the York Mosque who invited the EDL in for tea and football. It struck a chord for some residents and they talked about how scary it was a few years ago when that had happened in this community. How police had told them to stay inside but they wanted to carry on as normal and didn’t want to hide.

So great to see everyone together: laughing and smiling. We have so much #moreincommon

Tea and Tolerance has received a Leeds Fund #GiveLoveLeeds Grant, thanks to support of the Fund’s Anchor Partner, John Lewis Leeds. Managed by Leeds Community Foundation, The Leeds Fund creates positive change in the communities of Leeds that need it most by distribributing financial grants and support to community projects across the city.

 

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Time to widen the conversation…?

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Discussion 1 – Handbook for being Human in the 21st Century with MB TB EH JH LM PM ZP & JW

Thanks to generous funding from Arts Council England, we begin researching conversation and being human.  Below are the reflections of 8 artists based in Leeds and Bradford on 27.1.17. We each started with the gathered blogs of the conversations of each event we have taken our project Tea and Tolerance to and 7 proposed chapter titles. The initial proposal being to write a Handbook for being Human in the 21st century.

Is it a book? A process?… an adventure?
Who have we worked with?
Where is it going? – to parliament? As a manifesto for humankind?

Cards FOR Humanity (rather than ‘against’)

MANIFESTO – or a journal / workbook / actions / tools: what am I gonna do? What next?

It’s all talk… Create a tool-kit to prompt conversation / a series of tasks and blank pages (Kindness Advent Calendar; Random Acts of Kindness..?)

A LAUNCHPAD to SOMEWHERE ELSE?

Where is the warmth..? The Story… The development of T&T… COntextUalisation.

WHO IS IT FOR? And WHAT IS IT FOR? Accessibility…

Is social change necessary? YOU might think so – but what if most people just want to ‘get along’, fall in love… ‘I’m not looking for a New England…’
Who should I be cross with, and what do people want? Will there be a WW3? Will we do it all over again?… But the reality is: people died, a lot of people…

Who is to blame, and how do we evolve? How do we all have conversations / empathy and compassion with and for  people who do not share your world view. What if I am ‘their ‘ HITLER?

Who’s in & Who’s out? How do you make room for everybody? Who explains POLITICS to you? What does it all mean?

In a no (WO)MANS land – from our exclusive little ‘bubbles’…. crafting cultural / social experiences…

POLITICS is a privilege – what about ‘just surviving’???

Are we just wanking off? Who is to blame for all the wanking?

If SHIFT is going to happen… what do we do? Who do we talk with? And how?
A need to recognize spheres of influence…? Meaning – for whom?

DON’T TELL ME HOW TO BE GOOD.

YOU CAN ONLY ASK GOOD QUESTIONS… Questions to bridge boundaries… Bridging gaps.

Making assumptions? Fulfilling expectations? What DOES it MEAN? (Define / determine – unravel terms together to develop a shared understanding…)

A need to strip language back, develop definitions, get out of our BOXES of assumptions – what does the word Fascist / Nazi mean. Define it. Together. There are massive gulfs between people – even in families…

HOW DO WE HAVE THE CONVERSATION?

QUESTION FROM BASIC PRINCIPLES: Use a battering ram or develop a curiosity tool…?

DIALOGUE. Where and how are we similar? Let’s not start by knowing that the other is definitely wrong. Stop filling in the gaps in conversation. Stop being so fucking clever.

LISTEN
Establish lexicon (words we understand) with each other.
CURIOUSNESS
Stop pitting people against each other & blaming….
LISTEN
Stop being binary. Evolve your multiplicity.
Create ‘Safe’ space to be FIERCE
RADICAL HONESTY – build toward a place where this can take place…

WHAT are the LAYERS, and HOW do they FUNCTION in the development of creating that ‘Safe Place’?

LAYERS of CHOICES
BE CURIOUS – who knows everything?
LISTEN very very CAREFULLY…
FIND yourself in a group of people who are able to hold their tongues…
SPEAK… maybe.
BREATHE
This is an enquiry – we will work it out together…
WITH OUR PASSION…

HOW DO WE ASK & WHAT ARE THE RIGHT QUESTIONS?

Book? App? Social media? Multi-platform? Multiple access routes in…

[When do I feel alone? What do I go to? Someone’s thought. But how do I go on? Blank pages. Need a space to feed back into…]

Activities to create position of an imagined and distant point of view… One person’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter.

How do we avoid dominant voices? REFLECT / BREATHE

PRIVILEGE. CIS / TRANS / HOW DO WE INCLUDE PEOPLE IF THEY ARE NOT VOCAL?

CHECK IN – with each other along the way.
WHAT IS YOUR LANGUAGE (plain speaking).
REFLECT UPON HOW YOU ARE DOING
MOMENTS of COMPULSORY NOTHING.
RULES & REGS.

SPACE – and How does a conversation work?
Clumsily – that’s life! Justification of positions / or Evolution of ideas or concepts….

CURIOSITY BINGO!

WHAT DO YOU MEAN? (When, if ever, do we land on the same page?)
(Where is the route map that takes me from here to There…?)

What are the core questions – and how do we speak: converse, converge & transform…

TIME PLACE PROCESS
CARTOGRAPHY

At the crossroads where all the ghosts, futures and present converge… Where the decision has to be made as regards the next step… In the moment?

A tool-kit for guided conversations.
{note from Lucy to remember the Naughty Virgin Mary?}???
WHAT IS LISTENING? Re-creation of the T&T model / way of evolving and developing conversation…

A TOOL-KIT to build with…
(What is the game and how does it work?)
Game of Equality… or Equity…
What are the rules?
How do we do tolerance?

Where are you stuck in your life? Need spaces to speak on particular issues…

EVERYBODY IS AMAZING AREN’T THEY?
(Termites and shouters)
What will make it all better?

TIME LIMITS: game mechanisms; open spaces; creating frameworks…

[Social Engineering] / T&T FIGHT CLUB…

Who are you? Will you share it with me?

FURTHER / ONWARD THINKING:

Part 1: Tea & Tolerance: Re-establishing the Art of Conversation.

I think this is what i/we came to as a conclusion… to create something that is the right balance… of instructions, rules, options and strategies (maybe even a few statements & suggestions, games and aides) that helps people to really enjoy each others company whilst evolving meaningful dialogue with each other.

To be calm becomes a kind revolutionary act…

Ten Principles of Wealth and Power

 

Levels of Inequality is unprecedented in these times. INEQUALITY exists because a small amount of people the 0.01% have EXTREME WEALTH. Five years ago about 300 owned more than 50% of the wealth of the rest of the humans on the planet. This is now down to 62  people in the world, who have individual net worth’s between 3bn and 75bn ( perhaps more) They own multiple properties, corporations, even  islands…this SUPER-WEALTH is HIGHLY NEGATIVE on SOCIETY asa  whole because it has a corrosive effect on DEMOCRACY.

Below are my notes on and thoughts that occurred in response to watching Requiem of the American Dream by Noam Chomsky. REQUIEM is a potent reminder that power ultimately rests in the hands of the governed – and is required viewing for all who maintain hope in a shared stake in the future.

TEN  PRINCIPLES OF CONCENTRATION OF WEALTH AND POWER: THE VICIOUS CYCLE

1.REDUCE DEMOCRACY
2.SHAPE IDEOLOGY
3.RE-DESIGN THE ECONOMY
4.SHIFT THE BURDEN TO THE MASSES
5.ATTACK SOLIDARITY
6.RUN THE REGULATORS
7.ENGINEER ELECTIONS
8.KEEP THE RABBLE IN LINE
9.MANUFACTURE CONSENT
10.MARGINALIZE THE POPULATION

Who owns the Society? CLASS – who gives the orders? Who follows them

1.REDUCE DEMOCRACY

“Protect the minority of the opulent and the wealthy”
The system is set up to prevent democracy in any meaningful way as the major sectors of society THE MEDIA COMMERCE and PRODUCTION are all controlled / ruled by the richest people and to ensure their continued wealth.their aim is to reduce democracy or to reduce inequality so that business doesn’t lose control of society.

2. SHAPE IDEOLOGY

There has been a business offensive since the 1970’s as previously passive and obedient citizens were organising and taking an interest in politics ( ACTIVISM) – This is a CONTROL of resources even if that means manipulating people. The general population must be subdued and  the young indoctrinated. Our thoughts are literally shaped by business and governments.

3.RE-DESIGN THE ECONOMY

Increased role of the financial institutions. By 2007 it made 40% of corporate profits. Banks make half their profits by moving money around with trickery. There is no evidence that they are doing anything of value to the economy. That is FINANCIALISATION ( the process by which financial organisations increase in influence and size) and OFF SHORING of trades ( moving trading overseas).
Policy is designed to increase insecurity.

The aim is to create GREATER WORKER INSECURITY becaause Insecure people are easy to CONTROL

4. SHIFT THE BURDEN

Shift the burden of paying for society to masses and away from the 0.01%
Democracy is mainly a myth in our societies. This is more of a PLUTOCRACY ( a few RULE the many ) than a DEMOCRACY ( the many people rule the many).
Anti-British anti-American, identifying and targeting anyone negatively because of their race, beliefs, religion, these are TOTALITARIAN IDEAS ( think tyrant ruler and subservient people) expressions are NOT democratic. Reagan and Thatcher vilified unions with these terms. We see a similar thing today with CORBYN and the media representation.

5.ATTACK SOLIDARITY

SOLIDARITY is dangerous. Solidarity is the principle of public services – Education, Housing, NHS, Social Security.
They are fundamentally about sympathy and caring for other people.
The rule says CARE only for YOURSELF and NOT other people.
There has to be a concerted effort to DESTROY solidarity. If you want to destroy something first thing you do is DE-FUND it. That’s a standard technique for privatising something.
So to attack solidarity you must severely attack public services.

6.RUN THE REGULATORS

This is called ‘regulatory capture’. The businesses being regulated is in fact running the regulators. Bank lobbyists are writing the laws of financial regulation. They are TOO BIG TO FAIL – they have the time and money to campaign for what matters to them. Do you? We bailed out the banks – with few repercussions. Many of the richest people and companies increased their wealth in this time, while most otehr people lost over 44% of their wealth. Yet no help for poor people when they need bailing out – they are demonised This is NEO-LIBERALISM. By the way there is the opposite rule for the poor. Deregulation is closely linked to financial crashes.

7.ENGINEER ELECTIONS

Is it all rigged?
Concentration of wealth yields concentration of political power. Money is a form of free speech ( since 1970’s). Business, commerce, media have a MASSIVE amount of POWER and control over policies and therefore politicians – this influence is a massive attack on democracy. Phrases such as “The people have spoken..” probably engineered by very well paid experts and are, by their very design, undemocratic. Who actually spoke and for whom?

8.KEEP THE RABBLE IN LINE

Unions provide a barrier to corporate dominance. Unions are a democratising force and so to keep people in line you must ATTACK the unions. When a population is strong enough the politicians listen. In a plutocracy you must OPPRESS the rising masses. A very small percentage of people are currently in a union. Is that an accident or engineered? Elites in US hate unions so strongly that the fundamental core of labour rights ( the right to form unions) has never been ratified.How do unions fair in the UK? Thatcher damaged them greatly. Zero hours contracts.

9.MANUFACTURE CONSENT

A CIRCUS. A DISTRACTION.– trapping people in consumption and in the belief that they need the next gadget, fashion item or diet pill to be happy. This is no accident but deliberate. The general population are DISTRACTED with superfluous things. Think of the endless advertising campaigns for christmas, valentines, easter…all a promise to our aspirations to be happy, healthy and loved. Can we only get these things with their products? Do we even want these things? Landfill. More profit for corporations and suffocating “consumption  clogging up our systems.

“The public must be put in their place”

Turn the person into the perfect system of consumption. The point is to create UNINFORMED CONSUMERS who make IRRATIONAL CHOICES. Spectators not participants and so those people are no trouble and easy to control.
This happens in elections and referendums. An uninformed electorate – who make irrational choices – often against their own interests.
A DEMOCRATIC system would encourage INFORMED CONSUMERS to make RATIONAL CHOICES.

10.MARGINALISE THE POPULATION

Make people HATE and FEAR each other and only look out for them selves – No constructive action. recognised in unfocused anger and an attack on the vulnerable.
POLICY will be the shadow cast by business over society.
“ALL FOR MYSELF NOTHING FOR ANYONE ELSE”
This leads to UGLY greed. A GLOBAL SOCIETY going unchecked based on these principles will lead to the MASS DESTRUCTION of human beings.

If we want democracy we need a participatory and democratising CONTROL of MEDIA COMMERCE and PRODUCTION

So what are the OPPOSITE PRINCIPLES?? My thinking so far…

1.STRENGTHEN and protect DEMOCRACY 

2.ALLOW OWN IDEOLOGY – BE INFORMED and QUESTION EVERYTHING so what we think is our own critical thoughts not what someone else has told us.

3.THE ECONOMY – decrease the power of financial institutions over governments and communities. 

4.SHIFT THE BURDEN To those who have the capacity, wealth and power ( if people have the capacity to do more then let them embrace supporting society in that way – how can that option feel pleasurable, exciting, inviting?).

5.PROTECT and INCREASE SOLIDARITY – Stand up for others. Stand with not against. Support Each other. Empathy. 

6.REGULATIONS – regulate with a range of people who have a stake – i.e. communities, people from all social positions, cultures, genders etc who all have a stake to hold in the regulating. Listen and be sensible and individual. Be fair to what benefits the whole and harms the fewest, not what make the most money/ profit. Remember the other economic costs and values – time, social, environmental

7.LIMIT FINANCE ALLOWED IN ELECTIONS – create mechanisms that give each person more of a fair chance to have their voice count. Care about each person’s voice. Learn to listen and seek out the voiceless.

8.FREE THE RABBLE
9.ALLOW INFORMED RATIONAL CHOICE/REDUCE CONSUMERISM – don’t ‘put’ anyone anywhere – allow them to choose. Allow views especially those you don’t agree with to exist.

10.COLLECTIVISM – EMPOWER THE MANY – responsibility and contribution of every human within local and global communities. LOVE and be BRAVE

Links – http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/magazine/forandagainstchomsky

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_positions_of_Noam_Chomskyhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_positions_of_Noam_Chomsky

And of course, the above is just my interpretation and understanding of the film / principles within  – written by Zoe Parker

https://www.currentaffairs.org/2016/12/thousand-ways-to-misrepresent-noam-chomsky

Live Art Bistro: Compass Cafe Takeover

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Tea & Tolerance

Explore a Handbook for Being Human in the 21st Century

LIVE ART BISTRO : COMPASS CAFÉ TAKEOVER

A set of precarious & dynamic multiplicities to be explored through conversation and creativity;
Seeking ways and means to affect some sort of transformation in the world;
Fabricating contexts for people of all persuasions to collaborate:
Engaging
Playing
Eating
Dancing
Talking
… with an occasional nap, and a lot of LOVE

Conversations between Death (+…Hope)

Life After death? Does this affect the way you live each day? Is suicide the Hope in Death?

Hope – everyone needs hope. Is it the pathway to purpose or fulfilment? We all want to be fulfilled. Doing good for others? Is there fulfilment in this? Or does altruism without personal gain exist?

“Maybe there is no hope because we will all die” (Emily Dickinson). BUT that isn’t what most people behave. They behave as though they will live forever. They all seem to have hope that it will be better – this is just wishful or hopeful thinking.

We all feel invincible and perhaps this is a blissful failing…
BUT it can be optimistic that we are a part of the development of the human race. Perhaps humans ought always to challenge beliefs and help society change so we can progress (BUT what is HELPING society? – there seem to me many different opinions on this subject).

Perfect when you are content with the outcome – Inspired by the idea that we can actually make a difference for a better future.
The only promise in LIFE is DEATH. Yin and Yang (Hope and Death) You need the balance. Death encourages Hope.

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An alternative to Maslow’s Theory of ( Human) Needs.
(not in a particular order/ lateral layout/ each point equal)
Safe space to make mistakes
Nourishment – practical, physical, emotional, spiritual
Delight and Joy
Space
Celebration and happiness
Purpose and growth
Thriving
Encouragement
Other people
Time to ourselves, and with others and to do the things we want to do.

PERFECTION-ism Discuss   

Perfectionism can be an impediment. Perfect for humanity is being kind, compassionate, sharing and tolerant. Is it your best? It is a construct of society. Does it allow us to be ourselves? Is it impossible to attain?

Perfection is in the simple things. Nobody has a perfect existence, rich or poor. YET do we think everyone else has a perfect life (or more perfect than ours…). Perfect is connected to what others think of us. It makes me think about embracing my flaws because perfection is in-authentic and nothing is perfect.

When you are perfect…is it all over? “Shoot for the moon, even if you miss, you’ ll land in the stars”. Always strive for more and make sure it’s for the greater good.

RACE

We are one. Are we one? Human Race or Human Kind?
Where will my future be as a black person in this world?
…and as a woman?

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Could more unite us than divide us? We are entitled to pay for the transgressions of previous generations. This is our legacy and this is our future and we will change the world!

SEX and GENDER

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(What’s it like to be you?)
Practicality of clothing that is gender specific. I say be less practical,
In whose shoes?

What are the most important qualities in being human? Humour, kindness, compassion, reason.

Can we bring up our children without gender?
Where do I find happiness? Food, training with my friend, friends, dancing, nature, animals…

WHAT KIND OF WORLD WOULD YOU LIKE TO LIVE IN?

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Strive for equality – in the REAL sense of the word. A world that is a home for everyone, A world where education is available to everyone. A race for humanity. All nations. All colours. All Religions (or no religions) All countries. Living in peace, all loving each other and all learning to fly.

A world where assessments take the form of conversation – much more fulfilling.
Tolerant. Understanding and full of compassion
Where EVERYONE’s contribution is recognised.
Listen with interest, not just waiting to reply, understand why people believe what they believe and educate not humiliate.
Philosophers or Politicians?
Where people are informed. Is everyone biased? Can anyone be truly objective?
Educate children in politics ( and philosophy)
Need to engage 16-18 year olds and educate them so they are ready to change the world. Don’t let anyone fall through the gaps.
It is important to know people are human. We need to show our vulnerabilities without fear that someone will use that against us. Abusing people’s vulnerabilities is modern life and modern politics.
LESS SOCIAL MEDIA Social media is harmful and damaging to the brain, the algorithms create bubbles / echo chambers and it has been proven to make people feel more lonely and isolated. It is a fake world where we all aspire to an unachievable life.

IS IT NOW? + HOW?

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How do we move on?

Laurie Anderson said:

1. Have no fear.
2. Get a good bullshit detector.
3. Be tender.

Find the source of the fear. What is the source of the fear?
Caring for myself is not an indulgence, it is self preservation and THAT IS a radical act of political warfare.
Radical Softness
What stops you in your tracks?
Leonard Cohen’s voice.
Acts of kindness.
Be serious but don’t take yourself too seriously

WHAT NEEDS TO CHANGE?
We need to inspire tpeople.
Get out of our comfort zones. The best way to be authentic is reveal your own flaws – be vulnerable.
Listen – seek to understand.
We need to be a generation who looks at the bigger picture. Stay HOPE-full not Hopeless. Sticks to our beliefs and plans and be receptive to change.
Be able to adapt
We have a responsibility to the human race
Social media and how we use it is a responsibility – are we part of the money making machine of large corporations (advertising) on social media. Are we being seduced by algorithmic echo chambers?
Fake news arms facebook the corporation to manipulate the truth. ‘Drip feeding’ us – Is the system rigged?
We need a more diverse way of interconnecting – different groups, different ages, we can all learn and thrive with each other.
Be wary of the misinformation from the media. There is media bias – what we read on facebook in our ‘feed’ and in papers, hear on tv or radio has bias.
http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/cover_story/2016/01/how_facebook_s_news_feed_algorithm_works.html
Be informed.
Saturated by consumerism – is it good for our mental health? Could we consume less on the planet?
Ideas for future:
Chalk questions on the streets – like BRIGGATE, Leeds.
Reduce our TIME on facebook/social media and critically QUESTION everything we are told.
Are we changing the ’norm’ or is the ‘norm’ changing us?
Values and privilege – learn from others. We have a lot to learn from someone else’s opinion and perspective.
We can use the power of two feet – a great story about a university that didn’t ban Katy Hopkins but instead students bought up all the tickets and then when Katy walked in, they walked out. What else can we do that protests in this way?

POTENTIAL QUESTIONS TO ADD TO THE TEA TROLLEY AFTER TODAY?
Is consumerism good for your mental health?
Are you changing the norm or is the norm changing you?
What’s it like to be you?
Are you seduced by algorithmic echo chambers?
What are your responsibilities to humankind?
Where will the future be for black people in this world?
Is the system rigged? What would you change?
How do we move on?

 

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Intergenerational engagement…

Always trying to understand the others point of view… with LOVE, we HOPE…

WHY ARE YOU HERE?

This event took place on 13th November 2016 at Live Art Bistro as part of Compass Festival‘s Live Art Cafe Takeover. Much appreciation to Tess Hornsby-Smith and Leeds University Students ( OUT THERE CHALLENGE), Institute for Crazy Dancing ( and their hope and death installation) all the dedicated artists who helped run the cafe at LAB and all the people who participated.

Love Arts Conversations – Tea Trolleys and Mental Health.

ae589a003c96730024f6869e994f8375imagesTea and Tolerance has hosted the tea trolley at Love Arts Festival for the past three years. It is an amazing thing to be part of – celebrating people and raising awareness about creativity and mental health.  And as we were unraveling, arranging and preparing pots and questions in readiness for conversations at Leeds City Museums, a short clip of wonder woman and her familiar theme tune blasted out…

Now this was part of the final  rehearsals for a play and I wondered about wonder woman and mental health. And I thought about my memories of that character and all her fascinating contradictions. Was she a Feminist inspiration or failure? With whips to bind men in chains – was she a sexual fetishist or empowering protector? And perhaps,  like her character, like our language, like our culture, it’s a fitting image for Love Arts conversations, offering a potential of creative contradictory and yet still powerful individuals.

How do we use language?

As a weapon, to ‘other’ and categorise people… a lot of words are outdated and we say those words sometimes with very little awareness of what we are saying.

It can be adversarial.

Language can be used to shock as well and get people to listen. A TED talk used it to wake the audience up to actually listen…I think someone like Antony Robbins did that?

I use swearing in my performance poetry. They don’t expect an older woman that looks like me to say the things I do and talk about gender the way I do.

In our family we had to develop our own language. If you hear voices and have to deal with that within a family then you need ways to talk about it. Traditional language doesn’t necessarily offer that.

What is going on?

Well I’m here interviewing people about mental health for a journalist assignment. This is just the start of the research actually. What is going on! – that’s the question I ask myself when I hear the latest news.

Do you have the right to end your own life?

Of course. How do we know if someone wants to end their life if they are no longer capable of choosing. People deserve quality of life and the right to decide when there is no quality for them to end it.

What does Culture mean to you?

Culture is a big subject. Might be easier to answer what isn’t Culture? Almost everything is culture. Culture is people.

Nature perhaps is the only thing that isn’t culture.

Though culture is affected by nature and nature by culture – species become extinct, geographies erode with the ‘help’ of cultures. Like a hurricane will have a big affect on the cultures it hits.

 Love Arts Conversation is a festival-flavoured conference. The idea behind the Love Arts Conversation is to get people talking about the arts, creativity and mental health and took place this year on October 19th at Leeds City Museum.

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