Throughout my career, I have been interested in human behavior, included the many ways we as a humanity inflict suffering on others, ourselves, groups, and whole communities. The culture of society, the social and pathological exploration of this planet, must be witnessed, in order to expand past the darkness. As we explore our shadows, as Carl Jung observed, we move the darkness out from the shadows in order to work with this part of humanity. Enlightenment doesn’t come easy and includes seeing a larger part ourselves and humanity. How could we help people out of the darkness, if we haven’t witnessed, catalogued and experienced it ourselves? What we don’t know about ourselves, we can’t manage, therefore, self-awareness is a key to higher consciousness. So, let’s take a look. We all know about the Holocaust of WWII, a grievous act against humanity, where 6 million Jews were exterminated. However, this wasn’t the first time, there were many times, but one in particular, before WWII, the Ukrainian people of 1932, experienced the “Holodomor," derived from a Ukrainian word which means “to inflict death through starvation,” "to kill by starvation,” also known by many other names, including The Ukrainian Genocide of 1932–1933. This was a man-made famine in Soviet Ukraine that killed an officially estimated 7 to 10 million of their own people. They simply thought they were inferior. [1] During the Holodomor millions of inhabitants of Ukraine, the majority of whom were ethnic Ukrainians, died of starvation in a peacetime catastrophe, unprecedented in the history of the Ukraine. Since 2006, the Holodomor has been recognized by the Ukraine and 15 other countries as a genocide of the Ukrainian people carried out by the Soviet government. There is still a wide spread issue over whether or not Holodomor was a massive failure of policy or a deliberate act of genocide/democide, with the most likely explanation being a combination of both.

This and others have been on my radar since the late 1970s when I became aware of the holocaust and the Holodomor incidents and since then learned that there have unspeakable atrocities throughout our human history. It was at this same time that I became aware of the classic Milgram Experiment, a must in human behavioral psychology. First after watching the TV movie starring William Shatner, “The Tenth Level,” a dramatization of the Milgram Experiment, I was intrigued, and I gave my full attention to the study later in college. Shatner played Stanley Milgram, a psychologist at Yale University, who conducted an experiment focusing on the conflict between obedience to authority and personal conscience. This behavior could be simplified to represent and recognize common occurrences of these behaviors in daily life, but for now let’s look at common global examples of obedience. In this study, Milgram examined justifications for acts of genocide offered by those accused at the World War II, Nuremberg War Criminal trials. Milgram did more than one experiment – he carried out 18 variations of his study to come to his conclusions.[2] This movie was riveting, and I was struck dumbfounded, by the news in my early years of college that he was a real professor and this was a real experiment, which left participants devastated with too much self-awareness.

The study took many forms, but all he did was alter the situation or scenarios to see how this affected obedience. He had a group of paid people during his research, divided into learners and teachers. The teachers were to give the learners a list of words to repeat. Every time the learner missed a question, the teacher was asked to shock the learners with a jolt of electricity from an impressive looking machine. A fake machine, but the learners were paid actors, and gave a real show for the teachers, who believed the machine and learners to be real. The actors screamed and begged them to stop, warning of impending loss of consciousness, etc., but the “authority figure in their white coats” would just say you must continue. “Don’t worry, I’ll take responsibility for the situation.”

Milgram’s experiment resulted in 65% of the population of the participants going all the way in the experiment. That is, they would pull an electric switch to give the full throttle of electric current to the participants who was described as the “learners.” So, about (two-thirds) of participants (i.e. teachers) continued to the highest level of 450 volts. All the participants continued to 300 volts. So much for the Nuremberg trials, this study showed a very dark side of humanity, a human trait that shows throughout our history. Very hard to accept and hear, but it is something that we as a society must recognize. With this recognition, we step to a higher level of our own self-awareness. What? You aren’t joining any experiments any time soon? Stay with me.

Why am I speaking of this now? Well, let me change hats from my old therapy days of pathology to present day, where I now work to raise consciousness and spirituality. Another way to say it is that I work to raise human “awareness of itself.” Anyway, I’d like to shift attention to the situation in Puerto Rico and the aftermath of the storm. [3] Unless you live under a rock, everyone has read the news, seen the data, heard the diatribes from FEMA, from the leadership of this country and all of the reasons given. They say that PR should be on their feet, should be doing XYZ better, should have progressed, should have had a better infrastructure, better electrical grid, should be better off financially and other bazaar thinking. I want to put the financial end to rest up front, because this one is the most absurd, and to remind the reader of the fact that we charge the PR government double the fees for everything they purchase from the USA through an archaic law of the 1920s. The Jones Act is a financial sieve through which money flows in our direction, this could have something to do with their financial plight, but I digress.

Now for a little personal experience of my own recent devastation. I was in an auto accident at the end of July of this year. I have to tell you it was a doozey. I was back ended and sideswiped, it totaled my car, gave me a walking concussion, banged up my legs and the doctor said to take a “few days off.” That shows it wasn’t all “that bad” though it felt that way to me. I did my usual meditation and personal healing and it worked, but it did take something out of me and removed me from some of my things. It destroyed my car, my cell and my iPad. I couldn’t work, I couldn’t think and communication was hard. I took a nap at the end of every afternoon, (haven’t done that since I was 4 years old), couldn’t get through the day without one, and slept all night too. That said, I had a warm bed, good food, plenty of water, which I drank a lot of because stress and anxiety make you need more water. I had cozy puppies on my lap and a husband that came home from work to help me. Yes, and what about it?

Unfortunately, the Puerto Rican and the Virgin Island people have none of that. They have lost everything: their homes, their ability to work, even to get to work if they had a job to get to, electricity (85% have no way to get to the internet, light their homes, etc.). Food and water is scarce, life has no sense of “normalcy” or structure. These are American citizens and after a month they are just getting enough gas to get somewhere for food, water and treatment. Even getting organized is hard under these circumstances. I saw this with my car accident, even figuring things out after trauma is exhausting work and I am well educated, so I have an advantage. Some people lost family, (48 dead and 117 still missing) fear the inability to even get basic medications, oxygen for those who need it…Everyone by now knows the facts. I would say from a therapists’ perspective that a lot of the population is suffering from PTSD. They are suffering and they are told to get up and do something for themselves? If you doubt how hard it is, look in your own backyard where over the past year or two, everyone has been touched by some kind of natural disaster or knows of someone who has been touched. I’m looking at Northern California fires, the hardship there, and we have access to everything we need. Look at Florida my sister said she had no electricity for a couple of days and was “happy to pay a couple of dollars for a cup of ice.” She meant it too, but what if there was no ice to buy or you didn’t have money to buy it if there was ice or ______fill in the blanks. For a few days they had no electricity, no air conditioning, and she was miserable, couldn’t work, etc. Then there is Houston and an onslaught of other natural disasters, global warming? That is another story…

So, what’s a guy or gal to do? First, accept all of your human nature, your humanity: get out of dualistic thinking, of black and white, good and bad thinking. Going back to actor William Shatner and his famous series, Star Trek. Captain James T. Kirk, said in an episode to look at who you are as a humanity, he said, “We are human beings with the blood of a million savage years of history of killing (within our own reptilian brain). We can and must admit that we are barbarians, killers, but we are not going to kill today…Not Today! The duality is of having both the capacity to kill, and the restraint not to kill, “Not today.” [4] This is what we have elevated our consciousness to. Knowledge and awareness that we have Free Will, and choice and we can exercise these competing urgencies, with restraint and compassion, it will keep us a free and healthy society. Do the right thing, chose to help the members of our Puerto Rican brothers and sisters today!.

References & Notes

HOW TO TAKE ACTION? Money always helps, and yes I have sent money and "things," but more is needed. Know who your current state leaders numbers are and make your thoughts known. If they don’t hear from you, they can’t legislate in your favor. I have my representative/congress/senators on at the ready, to share my thoughts and requests for their support on topics that are near and dear to me. So don’t just reframe your thoughts towards a better tomorrow, as in the Law of Attraction. Also, be ready to take action, protest not on the streets but where it makes a difference, through your political channels of leadership: Tell them how you feel, ask them to represent you!

[1] Holodomor millions of inhabitants of Ukraine in 1932, Stats taken from Wikipedia

[2] Stanley Milgram’s Full Study, or see pieces here: Experiment: https://youtu.be/ek4pWJ0_XNo; William Shatner's, Tenth Level, https://youtu.be/h6B8xkwZaZU

[3] puerto-rico-hurricane-updates-situation-power-water-hospitals-2017-10

[4[ Peace or Utter Destruction, Star Trek https://youtu.be/yKmUd0zHW4w

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