Thursday, November 27

Culture Hack: The "Counter-Pamphlet"

I created a fun culture hack recently that I like to call my "counter-pamphlet".
Basically, it's a pamphlet I give to people who give me pamphlets.

My counter-pamphlet is a single page of text that I have printed out, folded up, and placed in my pocket ready to give to crazy street preachers, charity street canvassers, and others who want to stop and discuss their perspective of the world with me.

It goes something like this:

Thank you leaflet-giver / street canvasser / religious nutter for stopping me in the street. Before you engage me in any further conversation please read the following information with as much of your attention as you expected me to read / listen to your ideas. 
To sit idly by in a life of comfort as half of the world suffers on scraps is deeply irresponsible to our humanity. Too many people today have swallowed the horrible pill of not caring for others. Their inability to empathise can even poison them as human beings to such a degree that they can no longer see their own heartlessness. 
The ones that haven't lost all of their humanity often try to assuage their first-world guilt by throwing loose change at organizations like World Vision, Unicef, Amnesty International, Greenpeace and others, as if donating to these charities will actually end hunger, end poverty and save the planet. 
As irresponsible as it is to ignore the world's majority who are worse off than ourselves, on the same token, to offer a symptomatic solution to a systemic problem is unreasonable. 
How can Greenpeace save the planet when those in power continue to prioritise, and be influenced by, the parts of the economy that are destroying the planet? 
How can Feed The Children or Unicef end child hunger when third-world countries continue to be crippled by first-world trade tactics
And how does it affect people when they see their well-meaning charities and organizations only being able to address the symptoms of a problem and not its cause? It makes them see injustice throughout the world as too entrenched, as systemic - which it is - but it also makes these people give up on trying to make a difference. They will eventually throw their hands in the air, declare the problems all too difficult and soon give up on caring altogether. This then worsens these systemic problems by allowing them to become even more entrenched. It's a vicious cycle and it's gaining momentum, but it is not a catch-22. There is a way out. 
Right now all of humanity remains divided- because there is currently no way for us to operate as a single entity. Without the ability to act as one we are left only to serve our individual needs. As a species, this makes us the equivalent of a virus. So while our individual selves continue depleting precious resources in order to survive our overall number increases marching us ever closer to killing our relationship with the planet, like a cancer. This is a terrible scenario to find ourselves in, but our core problem is that we have no form of collective decision-making to stop ourselves from doing this.
We aren't yet one planet, but we can come together. 
Rather than let our global decisions be directed by chance, or worse, by an unelected few, let us instead decide our own fate by choice- a democratic choice. Let the people of the world decide what we want by allowing every human adult a vote in a people's global parliament. With such a powerful mechanism we would be able to very literally choose how we want the world to be. Any majority decision by a global parliament would be the official voice of the world's population and no country or corporation, regardless of its size, could outrank that. 
But if you've never heard of a global parliament before then there's a lot of work still to be done and I believe your time could be better spent promoting the unification of the planet- a systemic solution - rather than continuing to promote one of a number of symptomatic solutions provided by well-meaning charities and charitable institutions. But please don't misunderstand that. I believe what you're doing is both kind-hearted and shows great integrity, but consider this: If we could successfully unite the world's people we could solve the problem of [whatever issue you're concerned enough to stop me about] faster than if we leave the world divided. 
What's a better use of your time? 
Alright... maybe I'm asking too much from you to completely jump on board with this idea. How about I meet you in the middle? 
Imagine if all charitable organizations including your own could continue to promote their separate causes, but each one doing so through the idea of a world parliament so that these issues that are important to them may have the chance to appear on the ballot of a world-wide people's referendum. If the entire world's population officially endorsed their cause it would give that charitable institution much more power and freedom to properly achieve their goals. And so if all these charitable organizations combined their messages to support the creation of a global parliament this could help literally everyone make a very real and very positive difference to the world. I hope this idea appeals to you. If it does, simply let your organization know. You can also find out more at

I use this PDF version to print out and stick in my pocket.

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