Are we sinking into a pond of our own excrement?

I'm amazed at the fear that we have created in our society and the way that it knows at us, rotting to the core of who we are as humans. If we don't change course I worry that we will sink ever further into the brown stuff.

So what brings about this maudlin melancholy? Can we build a positive future by changing our mindset?

I've been reading a few things latterly in various places, that highlight the malaise. Crime is, at least in the UK, still pretty rare, sure there are hotspots and places where its relatively better, or worse. We have a chance of being murdered that is less than 0.0012%pa and mostly those crimes are committed by those who know us, For rape the statistics are 0.023%pa yet we fear a stranger in the dark. Thousands of chance encounters affected by fear of an extremely unlikely outcome. (Of course if the worst did happen the effects would be massive)

Newspapers, of course, over report these things; they like to, it sells. But it changes opinion.

We fit locks to protect our houses from burglary, but mostly we only ever use them to lock ourselves in. As a child we simply didn't lock the house, often it was left open overnight or for parts of the day with nobody home. It just wasn't an issue. The burglary rate now isn't that dramatically different to then, but our reaction to the risk is dramatically different.

What impact does our constant determination to lock and protect everything from everyone instil in the brains of our children, are we making them think like people in a free and safe society, or programming distrust and fear?

Here is an example of how it all fails. I notice increasingly the habit of lorry drivers to open the back doors of their trucks if they are leaving then overnight without stock. Seems sensible on the surface to tell the thieves that stealing the trailer would be less rewarding, but of course it also tells them by implication that the ones with shut doors do have contents.

Almost everyone is trustworthy and honest. By recognising and rewarding that through our own trust and honesty we make it a more likely behaviour and move towards a safer world. Fearing everyone that appears in front of us, demanding ID, assuming the worst, demanding proof that they can be trusted, forgetting that to them we too are a stranger, just breeds more mistrust and more hatred.

That route leads in the exact opposite direction to the one that we, in my opinion, should be taking. It's time to question our distrust, question what we fear and whether it is real or imagined, and were we don't know choose to imagine a trusting safe world, rather than imagining a crime ridden unsafe one.

How could you move in the opposite direction?, how could you be remarkably trusting and build a better future?. Apple, so often leaders in this, recently allowed shoppers to purchase items with their iPhone, Pick it up scan it, agree to pay, walk out.

When i talked to a store manager about it he said:
"We trust our customers, the vast majority are honest, and wouldn't walk out without paying, and that's what we have found. Our natural shrinkage (euphemism for shoplifting) rates have fallen since we introduced the app and trusted people to do the right thing"

For me that sums it up. I want a safer world, I think we do that by being more open, more trusting, more welcoming of strangers and less fearful of minuscule risk.

Who is with me?

William Buist
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Art Hutchinson

garygarburator-666183

Are we sinking into a pond of our own excrement?

Fear in itself is self destructive, the thought of more Police anywhere in the world is not the answer. Here in Canada not a week goes by about another case of police abuse. Houses, cars or any other buildings or machines, if a person wants in or to take it away they are going to. I agree with Sadie, put your trust in Jesus. Since becoming a Christian and putting my full trust in Jesus I live stress free, and we all know stress is one of the biggest killers known. I am not saying you have to be a Christian to trust, either way, Christan or not without trust we will always live in fear and it will forever rule our lives.

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Fred Rutgers

fredrutgers-186363

Are we sinking into a pond of our own excrement?

I overheared a few Germans recently.... We are sinking, We are sinking! The other person said on the radio... What are you thinking about? Fred

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T├śny Hine

tonyhine-94555

Are we sinking into a pond of our own excrement?

The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined

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Nigel Temple

nigeltemple-8153

Are we sinking into a pond of our own excrement?

"Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering." Yoda (Star Wars)

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Binh Zientek

binhzientek-480250

Are we sinking into a pond of our own excrement?

Hear hear William! I think the newspapers are guilty of raising our fears through their pessimistic features. When I read the papers it feels as though the world is falling apart, our banks are all crooks, and we are facing financial meltdown. Or there are killers behind every road! It is a crazy way to live and not how I was raised at all. Too much fear is paralysing, so lets praise people when they do something good.

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Richard J Francis

richardfrancis1-363696

Corruption and political correctness...

..aren't the whole problem - but they've made our society worse (as they have for centuries). Any society is only as good as the values that underpin it. In the UK people have been increasingly frightened to act independently for fear of breaching enforced codes or holy grails. On top - we've seen corruption escalate from covert to just plain overt. Too many people value the wrong things often, for the wrong reasons and it leads to the wrong results. The John Terry case in the media being a prime example. A high profile figure, idolised by many youngsters, wealthy & influencial, and not held to account for behaviour that was (is) truly atrocious and shameful - mainly due to the engagement of expensive lawyers. It's 5 mins to midnight. Much work to do..

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Danielle de Valera

daniellede-valera-668759

Are we sinking into a pond of our own excrement?

William, I haven't the time, unfortunately, to read all the comments in this thread, but simply dealing with the blog itself, which I found myself thinking about last night, I'd like to say that what you propose would work in a society where there are no mentally ill, no poor, no jobless, no drug addicts and no psychopaths. The fact that 'almost everyone is honest' means that some are not, and that some, though in the minority, can cause a lot of distress to a lot of people. I think it is wise to be cautious, but it needs to come from a loving stance and a desire to help the people one meets.

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Michael Heaney

michaelheaney-53285

It's reassuring that murder and rape are front page news

The media focus mainly on the exceptional rather than the routine - because what is new or rare or unique is what is considered newsworthy - Precisely because it is a rare event It does not always have to be bad news - it just has to be rare Millions celebrate Queens Jubilee Painting sells for 25 million British Tennis player makes it to the final at Wimbledon These events are reported in the news- not because they are bad news - but because they are rare or unique. But Teenager walks into shop, pays for his purchases,is given the correct change and says "Thanks". Woman safely walks home alone after a night out with her friends. Young child cycles all the way to school and home again Pensioner puts flowers on her dead husband's grave and sits in the sun on a park bench. These do not make the headlines because they are commonplace events. They are not news. As long as horrific murders and bank robberies make the front page, then we are safe in our beds And just a moment's thought would demonstrate this to be true. But sometimes we extrapolate from the particular to the general - and introduce errors in our thinking Any firearm shooting raises a storm of alarm in the UK. Its an every day event in the USA and barely gets any public attention - unless there is some new "story angle" that can make it different from all the other commonplace shootings.

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Gordon Wheaton

gordonwheaton-294525

Are we sinking into a pond of our own excrement?

Good blog William. I certainly agree Regards Gordon

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Nick Dewey

nicholasdewey-97331

Are we sinking into a pond of our own excrement?

If the educational system (WORLDWIDE) taught introspection and all about emotions, then the world would get better. But we don't have that at all. We also need to have a safer economy, which we don't have. We need to have stable life path which we don't have. The educational system needs to be geared to teaching people about diet, nutrition, exercise and sleep. How to have a healthy diet and the art of having a healthy life for mental and physical health. We don't have that. So HOW in the name of God are we to have a safer world? WE CANT. Accept it.

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Jeff Mowatt

jeffmowatt-232748

Are we sinking into a pond of our own excrement?

Thomas, I don't know. Someone on another discussion forum said recently that we live in an age of The Spectacle which leads people to grow desensitised to the needs of others. We may convince and reassure ourselves that all we see is a scam. From the experience of Beslan a leap of faith was followed by feedback and confirmation. Today we just have so many demands for a leap of faith.

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Jeff Mowatt

jeffmowatt-232748

Are we sinking into a pond of our own excrement?

Not long ago, prompted by a man struggling in East Africa I blogged a few thoughts about tackling poverty through trust. it proves very had to find in this case, as today I'm being asked again for funds for a sack of beans and a sack of rice. What had been possible, through 'crowdfunding' in 2004, would no longer work

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Jeff Mowatt

jeffmowatt-232748

Are we sinking into a pond of our own excrement?

Trust begins with first trusting and when asked recently about our work, I was asked for 3 tips for others starting in change making business. I was alluding to Lao Tzu and direct experience on the matter of trust. Place compassion and integrity ahead of celebrity. Offer trust even after it proves misplaced. Walk more than talk. I was dismayed recently, that in spite of all the rhetoric from government, we now have 1 million hungry children and that an organisation like Remploy is obliged to chose half its factories.

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Beth Burgess

bethburgess2-672944

Are we sinking into a pond of our own excrement?

It's called 'Mean World Syndrome' - I have studied it, and yes it is all down to the media. The world is becoming more and more prurient, nosy and bad-newsy. Everyone blames the media, the media says it's human nature to want to know the worst of the world- it's what we are interested in. Interestingly, actually humans may be wired to look for the positive things in life. I saw documentary not long ago that did testing on people, asking them to estimate the risk of certain things happening to them. Subjects tended to overestimate the odds of something positive happening (like winning the lottery) and underestimated the odds of something negative happening (getting various illnesses etc). After the test, they were given the correct statistics for the likelihhod of the events. A short while later, they were tested again - with the SAME questions - and the subjects STILL overestimated the likelihood of positive events and underestimated the likelihod of negative things happening to them. Interesting...

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Georgina Lester

georginalester

Are we sinking into a pond of our own excrement?

I am completely with you on this William. It is at times hard to change this perspective especially if we have had bad experiences. I think that the fact that we are feeling a lack of trust is perhaps a sign that we are feeling stressed. It is perhaps a symptom of a lack of feeling secure, perhaps for other reasons entirely, but if we want a safer world, then we have to behave as if we are already there. I stopped watching the news and reading newspapers years ago, precisely for this reason. I did not want to be subjected to the effects of mind-manipulating tactics used by editors and broadcasters who over-sensationalised stories to up the ratings. My feeling is that people can become so easily affected and potentially addicted to tragedy which gives them good reasons for not being all that they really can be. I LOVE Apple's attitude and would love to see that develop and grow. I do think that we need a balanced approach though. Realistic education and sensible grounded awareness of the devious tactics that some scam/con artists and shop-lifters will use is needed at times. I have experienced some very clever tactics used by some incredibly innocent looking women who have managed to walk out of stores with several thousands of pounds worth of luxury clothing. in hindsight, we could have prevented the losses without becoming overly ridiculous with security. In some instances, we did prevent them getting away with it.

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George Wallace

georgewallace1-619875

Are we sinking into a pond of our own excrement?

I used to live in a village where no one locked their doors and every one talked to each other. It was great we had lots of friends and fun. Now a days its a silent society with people with their ear phones and talking on their mobile phones. I do sometimes wonder if some people actually are talking to some one. I regularly have major problems out running with people suddenly stopping to answer their mobile. Even worse is the people who are texting and walking they drive you mad since they are wandering all over the pavement.

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Angus Whitton

anguswhitton-88567

We're sinking in other's excrement

William, I think too much resource is 'spent' on the effect - without enough allocation to eliminating the cause. We have a world full of unwanted children, some damaged beyond repair and many now grown up and replicating the problem. I'd like to see a benign dictator put in charge of the UK for 20 years... and just be allowed to get on with the job. However, I fear that you are missing out huge chunks of relevant history, it was not so long ago that opiates were freely available without prescription for the rich, child prostitution was rife and gin shops numbered in the hundreds of thousands for the poor. Illegitimacy was at record levels and children were put to work from age 8 and sometimes sold for 'entertainment'. Paedophiles, crooked lawyers, crooked bankers and politicians were rife and the clergy readily took their tithe from the poor in exchange for some religious mumblings about how they would gain in the next world. More recently - WW2 saw gangs of organised looters posing as rescuers and emptying houses during air-raids and let's not forget the black marketeers prevalent in that period. One other thing that has not changed - is that the rich and influential are still more able to avoid justice than the poor... Angus

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Robert Craven

robert-craven-22343

Are we sinking into a pond of our own excrement?

Aside from the news - there is a feeling that things are starting to unwind out there: banks, institutions, businesses...

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Steve Hall

stevehall3-99768

Are we sinking into a pond of our own excrement?

For me that sums it up. I want a safer world, I think we do that by being more open, more trusting, more welcoming of strangers and less fearful of minuscule risk. ON THE BUTTON! (No more to comment as it would detract from this!)

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Sadie Murray

sadiemurray-275058

Are we sinking into a pond of our own excrement?

"I want a safer world, I think we do that by being more open, more trusting, more welcoming of strangers and less fearful of minuscule risk. Who is with me?" AMEN Brother William!! :-) Today, mistrust is carefully taught at an early age. Children are told not to talk to strangers a/k/a "stranger/danger"...and indeed it has become a self-fulfilling prophecy of "Fear". On a personal note, I believe "Fear" is the single most destructive emotion. It leads to evil actions and prevents you from enjoying and exploring everything in this beautiful world! As a Christian, we are directed to "love" one another and therefore I often think that "Heaven" could be God's world without Fear! ;-) What a concept.

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Andreas Wiedow

andreas_wiedow

Are we sinking into a pond of our own excrement?

@ Who is with me? What a timely blog headline during lunch time. Having said that I am not with you.

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