Radical thinker Rutger Bregman paints a new, more beautiful portrait of humanity.
Optimism is what runs the world, and cynicism only serves as an excuse for the lazy.
A second step is to determine where violence concentrates and who is most at risk.
Violence has always been one of humanity's most serious global challenges. This is because for most of history, we were natural born killers.
Homicide rates around the world, according to UNODC
Image: UNODC<p>The first step to effectively reducing violence by 2030 is to have a clear sense of how it is distributed in time and space. Take the case of lethal violence. There is a misperception that more people die violently in war zones than in countries at peace. While total levels of violence oscillate from year to year, it turns out that the reverse is true. The UN Office for Drugs and Crime <a href="https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/frontpage/2019/July/homicide-kills-far-more-people-than-armed-conflict--says-new-unodc-study.html" target="_blank">estimates</a> that the ratio is roughly 5:1. Put simply, many more people are dying violently as a result of organized and interpersonal crime in countries like Brazil, Colombia and Mexico than in internal conflicts in countries such as Afghanistan, Syria and Yemen. This is not to say that one type of lethal violence is more important than the other, but rather to ensure a more fact-based diagnosis.</p><p>A second step is to determine where violence concentrates and who is most at risk. A considerable proportion of all violence - that is, deaths, injuries and extreme violations - is concentrated in cities. These tendencies are likely to increase steadily given the inexorable urbanization of every region on earth. Cities in Latin America and the Caribbean - already one of the world's <a href="https://www.un.org/development/desa/publications/2018-revision-of-world-urbanization-prospects.html" target="_blank">most urbanized regions</a> - feature some of the highest levels of lethal and non-lethal violence. It is home to <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/most-violent-cities-in-the-world-in-2018-2019-3?r=US&IR=T" target="_blank">43 of the world's 50 most violent cities</a>. Meanwhile, most conflict and terrorist-related deaths <a href="https://ourworldindata.org/terrorism" target="_blank">are concentrated in a handful of countries</a> in Central Asia, the African Sahel, North Africa and the Middle East. Irrespective of where it occurs, young males are most at risk of perpetrating or being victimized, although women and girls experience horrific forms of violence ranging from femicide to rape and abuse.</p><p>The third step is to acknowledge the risk factors that give rise to various types of violence. Although violence is multi-factoral, a number of recurring risks stand out. For example, social and economic inequality is high on the list, as are concentrated poverty, rapid unregulated urbanization, a high level of youth unemployment, and weak security and justice institutions that lead to soaring levels of impunity. Other situational factors loom large, including exposure to narcotics and alcohol and the availability of arms. Many of these factors cluster in urban settings, especially in neighbourhoods exhibiting concentrated disadvantage, social disorganization, and low levels of social cohesion.</p><p>If violence is to be genuinely diminished, it is important to acknowledge its many "hidden" forms that are routinely excluded from the international agenda. Some governments are reluctant to discuss them on the grounds that they are considered an internal domestic matter. For example, there are more than <a href="https://www.prisonstudies.org/sites/default/files/resources/downloads/wppl_12.pdf" target="_blank">10 million people in prisons</a> around the world, a significant proportion of whom are in pre-trial detention and living in inhumane conditions. There are also thousands of people who are missing - "disappeared" - not least union leaders, indigenous rights defenders, human rights activists and journalists.</p><p>The only way to make a serious dent in violence is by acknowledging its full scope and scale together with the factors that drive it. This must be accompanied by sustained investment in reducing the risks and improving the protection of affected areas and populations, and investing in solutions with a positive track record. In the US, for example,<a href="https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2019/09/can-thomas-abts-bleeding-out-curb-gun-violence/596164/" target="_blank"> research suggests</a> that a focus on reducing lethal violence in the 40 cities with the highest rates of homicide could save more than 12,000 lives a year. In Latin America, reducing homicide in just the<a href="https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/central-america-caribbean/2017-03-22/latin-americas-murder-epidemic" target="_blank"> seven most violent countries over the next 10 years</a> would save more than <a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0bhWlpagweqUXRuVTYtMEVIclhrYXEtVHA3cFh3Q2ljTWJ3/view" target="_blank">365,000 lives</a>.</p>
With targeted interventions, especially in cities, hundreds of thousands of lives each year could be saved
Image: Our World in Data<h3>What are our next steps?</h3><p>First, countries and cities should set out<a href="https://www.americasquarterly.org/content/reducing-homicide-brazil-insights-what-works" target="_blank"> violence reduction plans</a> with clear targets and performance indicators over the next decade. Effective data-harvesting systems to track trends, investment in in-house monitoring and analytical capacities to interpret results, routine supervision, ongoing training and professional development, and constant evaluation are all critical. This requires political leaders who are prepared to plan across electoral cycles and business and civil society champions who are willing to invest time, energy and resources to improve their communities.</p><p>Next, governments need to develop comprehensive approaches to preventing and reducing violence. This means investing in prevention - including the risk factors that give rise to violence. It also means building in peace architectures that can channel grievances non-violently. Ideally, governments can combine specific adaptations in policing practice with prevention and protection measures tailored particularly for at-risk places and people - from young out-of-work males to vulnerable women and children. This requires the creation of partnerships across institutional and bureaucratic silos – between state and city authorities, but also across different public entities. Central to success are strong partnerships with universities, research institutes, and businesses that can help identify evidence-based pathways for improvement.</p><h4>What is the Annual Meeting of the Global Future Councils?</h4><p>Another key ingredient of success is staying power. The most successful interventions take time to have a lasting effect. Consider São Paulo, for example, a city that has registered sharp reductions in its murder rate in recent years. Metropolitan<a href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/03/violent-crime-in-sao-paulo-has-dropped-dramatically-this-may-be-why/" target="_blank"> São Paulo's homicide rate fell from 49.2 per 100,000 in 2001 to just 5.5 per 100,000</a> between 2001 and 2018, making it one of the safest large cities in Brazil. In 1991, the city of Medellín in Colombia registered a<a href="https://www.citylab.com/equity/2017/11/where-are-the-worlds-most-fragile-cities/546782/" target="_blank"> homicide rate of 381 per 100,000</a>—among the highest ever recorded anywhere. Today it is 21 per 100,000, below that of Detroit, Baltimore or New Orleans. It is challenging to maintain support given electoral cycles and economic volatility, but when interventions are terminated prematurely, the positive effects typically vanish just as quickly.</p><p>It will take unprecedented global partnerships to reduce violence by 50% over the next 10 years. But there are grounds for optimism. For the first time, the UN and World Bank have united behind <a href="https://www.pathwaysforpeace.org/" target="_blank">a common framework</a> for preventing conflict. UN entities such as the Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the <a href="https://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/violence/global_campaign/en/" target="_blank">World Health Organization (WHO)</a> have made commitments to reduce violence. UN Women has announced a <a href="https://www.un.org/en/spotlight-initiative/" target="_blank">Spotlight Initiative</a> to end violence against women and UNICEF has joined forces with others to advance I<a href="https://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/violence/inspire/en/" target="_blank">NSPIRE strategies</a> to help governments improve safety for all. Another promising initiative is the <a href="https://www.end-violence.org/" target="_blank">global campaign to end violence against children</a>, which has already raised close to $38 million, strengthening the work of 49 partners in at least 37 countries. At the city scale, UN-Habitat is promoting safer cities and a coalition of mayors have launched the <a href="https://www.prnewswire.com/in/news-releases/eleven-cities-and-six-global-partners-around-the-world-pledge-accelerated-actions-towards-the-ambitious-goal-of-halving-urban-violence-by-2030-832787143.html" target="_blank">Peace in Our Cities</a> campaign to localize SDG 16 commitments. Yet much more needs to be done.</p><p>The world has an opportunity to dramatically reduce some of the most egregious forms of violence over the next decade. To do this, we will need the same kind of energy and dedication that was mobilized to eradicate other killers like smallpox. We know what works, and what does not. There is no excuse not to deliver a safer world.</p><p>Reprinted with permission of the <a href="https://www.weforum.org/" target="_blank">World Economic Forum</a>. Read the <a href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/10/most-forms-of-violence-can-be-halved-by-2030-heres-how/" target="_blank">original article</a>.</p>
What makes someone hypersane?
'Hypersanity' is not a common or accepted term. But neither did I make it up. I first came across the concept while training in psychiatry, in The Politics of Experience and the Bird of Paradise (1967) by R D Laing.
The Indian philosopher had a lot to say.
- The Indian philosopher taught that concepts get in the way of observation, and only by ridding yourself of concepts can you experience freedom.
- Reared to be a Theosophist leader, Krishnamurti rejected that system (along with all others) in formulating his outlook.
- His books touch upon topics such as education reform, physics, and meditation.
Why are you here? | J. Krishnamurti<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="cbf2e39d4e703e707be3ce892699a16e"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/b8Zlc4w0a7M?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>"That is the first thing to learn — not to seek. When you seek you are really only window shopping." (<em>Freedom From the Known</em>)</p><p>"It is man's pretense that because he has choice he is free. Freedom is pure observation without direction, without fear of punishment and reward. Freedom is without motive; freedom is not at the end of the evolution of man but lies in the first step of his existence." (Public talk in Ojai, April 1980)</p><p>"If you escape from the battle, you have not understood the battle. The battle is you." (<em>The Awakening of Intelligence</em>)</p><p>"Freedom comes with self-knowledge, when the mind goes above and beyond the hindrances it has created for itself through craving its own security… Freedom is at the beginning, it is not something to be gained at the end." (<em>Education & the Significance of Life</em>)</p><p>"One is never afraid of the unknown; one is afraid to the known coming to an end." (<em>Fearless Soul</em>)</p>
Indian philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti arrived in Sydney, 14 November 1970. Photo credit: Fairfax Media via Getty Images<p><em></em>"Freedom and love go together. Love is not a reaction. If I love you because you love me, that is mere trade, a thing to be bought in the market; it is not love. To love is not to ask anything in return, not even to feel that you are giving something — and it is only such love that can know freedom." (<em>Think on These Things</em>)</p><p>"When we look at what is taking place in the world we begin to understand that there is no outer and inner process; there is only one unitary process, it is a whole, total movement, the inner movement expressing itself as the outer and the outer reacting against the inner… Nobody need tell you how to look. You just look." (<em>Freedom From the Known</em>)</p><p>"Education in the true sense is helping the individual to be mature and free, to flower greatly in love and goodness. That is what we should be interested in, and not in shaping the child according to some idealistic pattern." (<em>Education & the Significance of Life</em>)</p><p>"When you call yourself an Indian or a Muslim or a Christian or a European, or anything else, you are being violent. Do you see why it is violent? Because you are separating yourself from the rest of mankind. When you separate yourself by belief, by nationality, by tradition, it breeds violence. So a man who is seeking to understand violence does not belong to any country, to any religion, to any political party or partial system; he is concerned with the total understanding of mankind." (<em>Krishnamurti: Reflections on the Self</em>)</p><p>"Sacredness is a fetish." (<em>The Awakening of Intelligence</em>)</p><p>--</p><p><span></span><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a> and <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a>.</em></p>