Are we moving towards pleasure or trying to escape pain?

December 6, 2021

I sense with all that is happening in the world we are approaching a tipping point in the history of humanity.

Globally reflecting on where the world is at and the challenges it faces, reflecting on the politics across the countries and reflecting on how the covid19 pandemic is impacting every single aspect of daily life, I sense we are moving into two tribes – one tribe is and always has been moving towards pleasure and the other tribe is trying to escape pain.

The tribe moving towards pleasure are aware they are focused on moving towards pleasure – pleasure in the daily life, pleasure in their work whatever shape that may take, pleasure in their home life. They value their health and wellbeing. They value calm. They value happy. They flow daily at a high level of freedom, joy and empowerment. They care for their environment and the environment more generally. They aligned through head brain creativity, heart brain compassion and gut brain courage. Their autonomic nervous system is in perfect balance through the parasympathetic and sympathetic branches of in their inner being. They live their lives at optimal levels of productivity. They live through their highest values. They are eco-sustainable in most aspects of their daily life. They are in effect karmically and ecologically constructive.

The challenge for humanity is that those trying to escape pain are not aware they are trying to escape pain in much of their daily life. Their senses are illogical, they focus on the negative in most aspects of daily life, they do not value their health and wellbeing, they over-eat and over-drink to dull their pain and their emotions and their thoughts. They are in constant over-drive focused on escaping their reality through quick, cheap and what they believe to be easy solutions. They feel powerless, they feel insecure and they feel rage, hatred and jealousy. They are deeply misaligned through head brain creativity, heart brain compassion and gut brain courage. Their head brain creativity is focused on the negative and their gut brain courage is in fight or flight mode – more to the fight end of the scale. Their autonomic nervous system is in constant over-drive, possibly through inherited family trauma or as a result of a dysfunctional upbringing. They are a volcano waiting to explode. They are in effect karmically and ecologically destructive.

And so we have a frame through which to understand the dynamics of Trumpian politics and what is evolving in Europe. We have a way of understanding Brexit and what is happening in the United Kingdom (which is far from united due to lack of political leadership). And we have a way of understanding what is happening in Australia and in New Zealand.

Wise leaders seeking to achieve wise outcomes understand the above. They understand human behaviours, they understand what energises people to make the choices they make and they understand the role values play in people’s daily lives.

They also possibly apply the framework below:

Issues and challenges viewed through the lens of:


– is it ethical?

– is it moral?

– is it human rights informed?

– is it fit for purpose?

– is it value for money?

– does it meet and serve the needs of the people/ communities?


I believe any politician, any leader, worthy of being consider a leader should have the above bullet points front and centre of their decision-making approach.

Sadly some do not even seem to understand ethics or morals.

Some seem to diss the role of human rights.

And some have minimal regard for value for money and for ensuring their choices meet and serve the needs of the people/ communities they lead.

And people accept these choices and these decisions.

The standard you walk past is the standard you accept.

We can allow our ethics, our morals, our respect for each other’s human rights waste away.

Or we can make wiser choices in the knowledge that all the good that happens in the world is achieved through ethical, moral, human rights informed, fit for purpose, value for money policy design and delivery that meets and serves the needs of the people and the communities in which they live.

Understanding our unconscious biases and our blocks or cognitive dissonances can empower us to make wiser choices.

Ignoring these biases and blocks will prove counter-productive and in effect we might as well bang our heads against the wall – we might realise the misalignment between our thoughts, our language, our behaviours – we might even begin to take responsibility for what is happening in the world.