Monday, 24 February 2014

A brief history of me - How I became a Poet and other experiential 'NONSENSE' (with some facts too!)


 Photo taken from The Liberty Beacon

Disclaimer

First off I want to preface this article with a disclaimer. All of the views expressed herein are my own and in no way reflect the views of any organisations I’m currently affiliated with, have worked for in the past or may be mentioned in this document. This is my understanding of the true nature of the corporate machine and it’s based on my own personal experience of multi-national organisations and institutions as well as my own subsequent research. It is my opinion and I make no claims beyond the fact I am, in this instance, an informed and qualified observer.

Career History

I grew up in Ireland, moving around a lot due to my Dads work as an Engineer. When I was 13 our family was forced to relocate to Saudi Arabia, the result of the 1980’s recession in Ireland. Much of the 4 years based there was spent by me shuttling back and forth to a small mixed boarding school in Cork, Ireland where I completed my Leaving Certificate in 1988. That same year my parents left the Middle East and relocated again, this time to Southampton, England where I attended King Edward VI School and completed my A-levels. I later went on to study at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland during which time my family relocated once more, to Weybridge in Surrey, England. Whilst taking time to study Mathematics, Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence. I eventually qualified from Edinburgh with a BSc. in Civil Engineering in 1997.

My first job after graduating was a poorly defined casual position as an in-house technical support cum recruitment consultant for an employment agency in Croydon. I loved the chaotic freedom of it and they paid me for the privilege. Six months later I began a so called ‘proper job’ working in Hampshire selling construction materials, which I loved less, before landing a choice position at Pfizer Global Research & Development. After 9 months I was promoted to the position of Candidate IT Manager which required me to handle a broad spectrum of technical data, information systems and knowledge management, programs, projects and challenges for several drug development teams concurrently across a range of therapeutic specialisations. In 2004 I left Pfizer and began a period of work for a management consultancy in Canterbury. In this company I initially started out as an IT project manager but was later required to become a management consultant to which I reluctantly agreed and they proceeded to contract me out to organisations like BP, The Carbon Trust and Cantor Fitzgerald. At times I would be working within my specialisation; at others I would be flying by the seat of my pants pretending to be a specialist in a number of fields in which I felt, and was, completely unqualified.

I'm sorry to say I was treated appallingly by that organisation and I eventually resigned my position as a management consultant. After a brief stint in business development for a close friends start-up I decided to return to my homeland of Ireland and take a few years out. I eventually decided to try working in the regular professions once more and landed a wonderful position as a Project Manager/Producer for a mobile/computer gaming company which was to be short lived due to a corporate takeover and finally I completed a very short stint as a recruitment consultant prior to making a conscious decision to retire my conventional career at 36 years of age. This seems to me wholly appropriate as a recruitment consultancy was where my apparently respectable career of orthodox employment began and so too was it a meaningful place for it to conclude.

As a result of my experiences throughout an allegedly successful career, I became extremely dispassionate and disillusioned with life and the corporate environment in particular and decided to attempt to do my own thing, in my own time, in my own way. I was to eventually set up my own company called Ability Consulting for the purposes scouting talent and helping people realise their full potential on an initially not for profit basis. I have yet to take one penny from this enterprise although I do have plans to convert this into an entity that will one day entirely support and repay me with a comfortable standard of living for a full and happy life. I have since become a writer, poet, performer, creative producer and have returned to university to study for a Masters in the field of Psychology.

Introduction

Having provided a brief overview of my career history I would now like to dig into the meat of my story. Permit me to introduce you during a very naive and happy period, early in my career. At a time prior to becoming quite so cynical and exposed to the levels of corporate manipulation, corruption and deceit I was to eventually encounter. A time long before realising, that in serving the multinational corporate machine, we do a disservice not only to our humanity but to our sense of well-being and to the very planet herself. I was to learn first-hand that the current model of corporate capitalism (which I beleive is slowly changing) is neither unique nor particular to individual organisations. Although many organisations do try to maintain this facade through their seductive internal propaganda that the corps of which many of you are a part 'is the best possible place to work'. Perhaps you have encountered the suggestion that 'you shouldn't leave, you'll never have it so good', I can assure you this is perfidious rubbish. The model is quite standardised across the entire global corporate network.

A model that actively rewards the creation and magnification of problems, both perceived and real. Which then encourages the withholding of solutions to those problems thus causing, potentially significant and often unnecessary, suffering for human beings and society at large. Then, with the timing correct and the moment most profitable, the previously engineered solutions are rolled out to a heros fanfare and provided for some considerable profit. All of these insidious strategies are rewarded handsomely, from not only the private sector but also from the public purse, and repeated consistently by the very multinational corporate instruments and agencies who are complicit in generating and fabricating the conditions required to cause the problems in the first place. Our worlds super-national systems tend to reward those who are most deceitful and destructive. It therefore encourages devastatingly disfunctional behaviors which do little to serve humanity or the planet upon which we depend. This simple fact needs to be addressed by us all, or our apparently advanced and civilised society will likely continue to fracture under the stress and will eventually fail, collapsing under the weight of its own bullshit.

I would like to share with you, some of my own personal experiences in order to draw attention to some fundamental truths as well as to share some fundamental illusions which we as a society cling to in order to avoid having to face our uncomfortable collective truth. The truth that we are in a deluded cycle of destructive narcissistic behaviours. I will suggest reasons why it is so very important for human society collectively to begin to apply the proverbial breaks to the multinational machine. So we may address, as a global family of beings all of whom inhabit the same finite planetary space, why it seems to be that we continue to choose such a potentially catastrophic path. Join me as I start my story, roughly nine months into my position as a hot shot information technology executive, with the world famous creator of Viagra and presently the number one pharmaceutical company on the planet, Pfizer.


And so I begins....

The term 'candidate' in pharmaceutical circles means a drug in development with the potential to become a marketable product. As a Candidate IT Manager I was the primary point of contact for pretty much anything to do with the data needs of the drug being developed, from information management to technology provision. In developing any pharmaceutical, or publicly sanctioned drug, management of the candidate information and its data is critical as it is this information that is used to convince the various governmental agencies (and by proxy the majority of the people) of the world that a product is necessary, effective and safe for consumption by human beings. If the quality or substance of the data is in any way suspect or inadequate the company stands to lose hundreds if not thousands of millions of dollars in research and development costs. In my capacity as a CITM I was eventually managing a portfolio of work with a development value well in excess of $2Bn, with sales projections many orders of magnitude beyond that.

I started at Pfizer not long after Viagra (Sildenafil) was released to the world (1998). Its a little known fact that Sildenafil was actually discovered completely by accident. Researchers had been investigating its properties for use with heart disease when many of the test subjects started to report some 'exciting', and not altogether unwanted, side effects. Spirits were high within the company generally as it was believed that this candidate was as sure-fire a blockbuster product as one could hope for. As it turned out Viagra, while successful, was not quite the immediate blockbuster they had anticipated. In 1998, its first year of sales it fell short of blockbuster status generating a mere $788 million for the company although that figure did continue to rise and in year two it achieved the $1Bn figure required to be considered a blockbuster drug. In 1999, with the share price running at some $119 per share, the company announced a 3 for 1 stock split resulting in a $39 share price. The markets began to get excited briefly as investors scrambled to get a piece of the more reasonably priced stock. The post-split share price peaked not long after I joined them at $49 in July 2000. Just to be clear, I am not suggesting the share price peaking and my joining are in any way linked. Especially in light of the fact that the share price then continued to slide until July 2010 when you could pick up a share in Pfizer for a mere $14.29.

In 2012 Pfizer earned $2Bn from Viagra sales, representing a mere 3.5% of the company’s total revenues, making it the companies’ 6th bestselling drug. Pfizer’s EU patent on Viagra expired in June 2013 and the Israeli company Teva now sells a cheaper generic version of the product globally. Although in the United States Pfizer was successful in extending its patents and Teva has been prevented from marketing its generic product there until Dec 2017. It will also continue to pay royalties to Pfizer until April 2020. I should also point out Pfizer’s discovery of Viagra is not a cure for impotence it merely provides an effective albeit temporary work around. It did however single-handedly create, a completely new and lucrative social therapeutic market as well as introducing the terms erectile and sexual dysfunction to the global consciousness.

When I first started at Pfizer in 2000, there was a sense that it was soon to become the largest pharmaceutical company on the planet, which it did eventually succeed in doing, not through selling Viagra necessarily, or any other product for that matter, but through the subsequent acquisition of Warner Lambert (in 2000) and Pharmacia (in 2003). I worked at Pfizer for several years during this period. Incidentally it was as a direct result of Pfizer’s acquisitions and mergers that the share price began to collapse. Gradually over time the company and global markets generally began to realise that, in Pharmacia particularly, Pfizer had been sold a kipper.

 
by Heidi N. Moore of The Wall Street Journal

The lofty goal to become number one would turn out to have a price tag considerably greater than the roughly $150Bn spent on purchasing those companies alone. An additional hidden cost was paid unwittingly by the very people who had worked so hard to develop and grow all three organisations. It was these people in particular who would eventually bear the brunt by suffering the consequences of a foolhardy quest for an impotent crown. Pfizer’s goal to become the biggest, most outstanding, kid on the pharmaceutical block was arguably more the result of hubristic ego than well balanced and measured business acumen. I think it worth noting this change in ambition occurred around the same time company leader William C. Steer Jr abdicated his position as CEO to Hank A. McKinnell Jr.

During my time at Pfizer four new drugs were released to market. Geodon® (ziprasidone hydrochloride), a new antipsychotic for the treatment of schizophrenia. Vfend® (voriconazole), an orally and intravenously administered antifungal indicated for treatment of serious fungal infections. Relpax® (eletriptan HBr), a medication developed specifically for the treatment of migraines. Caduet® (amlodipine besylate and atorvastatin calcium), the first single pill that treats both high blood pressure and high cholesterol. I was directly involved with the development and bringing to market of the first three of these products as well as working on several more candidates in the earlier stages of their development life cycle.

Peculiar cracks and disturbing patterns

During the course of my career, as an executive of one sort or another, and particularly after my time as a management consultant, which began in 2004, I became increasingly conflicted about the work I had, and was being tasked, to do. It appeared to be the same at every multinational organisation I worked for. Much of the work was questionable and at times it was clearly unethical, but confidentiality agreements continue to prevent me from talking freely about the most dubious and polemic undertakings I was handed. In short to ensure company and personal goals were aligned and successfully delivered I was expected to engage in morally ambiguous assignments, schema and scenarios. I wonder how many people reading this will have had a similar experience and recognise what I describe?

Please don't misunderstand me for I wish to be very clear about my experience of multi-national behemoths. With the exception of a very few sociopaths, nearly every single person I worked with inside these organisations was bright, talented, conscientious, personable, hardworking and morally upstanding. Yet despite this when coming together into highly motivated groups or teams we would consider doing whatever was necessary for the candidate or project to succeed, even if that meant bending the rules a little (or a lot). After many years of slowly waking up to what multi-national organisations actually are I started to consider certain ambiguities and as  a result reveal some hidden truths.

For example why, while presenting themselves as transparent, do multi-nationals insist on such iron clad cultures of confidential secrecy? Which led me to the truth that, multi-nationals must operate in such a way in order to compete with each other successfully. The trouble is this sort of environment always tends eventually towards insidious and deceitful behaviours in order to either get ahead or stay ahead of the competition.

I began to have serious doubts about my role and purpose as a corporate executive. The fact that my monthly company card expenses claims would upon occasion exceed sixty thousand pounds sterling while I was paid an annual salary considerably less is testament to the extravagant strangeness and culture of exploitative excess within some of the largest multinational outfits that operate within our modern socio-economic and cultural ecosystem.

Picture lifted from Post on 12160

In the interests of clarity, once again, I want to make it absolutely clear that it is not my intention to single out any one organisation, because in my experience, this phenomenon is common across all multinational organisations. All of them competing and necessarily playing the same game, attempting to outdo, consume and succeed each other. Which invariably and inevitably leads to the play becoming dirty. Some organisations are considerably better at concealing this than others. It was only later I started to understand just how I was being and had been used and exploited by many of my multinational employers. Encouraged and at times compelled to manage or partake in projects that I realised had the potential to, and in some cases certainly would, eventually cause harm both to people and to the planet. All of it done in the interests of narcissistic advancement and serving non-living, sociopathic corporate entities hungry for profits, regardless of the costs. These entities are the true apocalyptic undead portrayed and reflected in so many artistic creations such as the computer games and films we see today. Yet as a society we continue to remain ignorant or unconscious of the fact that as a species our best and brightest are being consumed and assimilated Borg-like into the ranks of the multinational corporate machine. These realisations began to affect my health and motivation to succeed in the world, particularly as a corporate executive. I decided that I needed to stop, take stock and ultimately change course and that is exactly what I have been trying my best to do for the past several years. It’s not an easy thing to do, to disconnect and separate from the difficult business of difficult business.

It became quite clear to me that profit at all costs, even if that cost was human life, was the defining principle by which any and all multinational organisations ultimately operate. Regardless of industry be it energy provision, wealth generation or health care if there was even the slightest hint that the corporate entities bottom line was threatened, human beings would suffer. In fact it seems to me that the largest corporate entities can only sustain themselves through the gross exploitation of human resources and capital. Ironically perhaps, and considering the industries in which I had been employed, the suffering metered out and endured by the human peoples of the planet always results in a withering of personal energy, wealth or health. Occasionally one even finds that all three are taxed to the very point of lethargy, poverty and/or death. Be it through personal disempowerment, downsizing processes or the testing and sale of unsafe products. The multinational monster will always extract its pound of flesh and it cares not how it gets it.

Corporate systems and structures were never originally envisioned or developed with the intention that they could or would ever wield more power and influence than national governments. A corporatocracy does not equal a democracy and there are now very few places (if any) on the planet that enjoy a truly democratic State (although this too does appear to be changing in regards to the internet and peoples access to parlimenary petitions). With great power comes great responsibility yet unlike democratically elected governments, multinational organisations have no need of a mandate from the people and so are not accountable to the people therefore act in their own interests and do as they please. They have no borders and few boundaries yet can still be found lobbying politicians in every country, greasing palms in attempts to reduce what little regulation still remains and within which they might be contained and restrained. Unscrupulous individuals and power hungry corporate leaders throughout history have certainly reshaped the original corporate model into the modern regulation light framework it is today. Corporate structures were initially designed to protect both people and their creativity within a framework of national governance in order to allow human ideas and potential to flourish, grow and manifest into reality. This is no longer the case.

 
Painting 'Small Government', taken from the Youtube video Corpocracy by Michael D'Antuono

Unfortunately once a corporation becomes a borderless, boundary-less, do-whatever-it-likes multinational, an entity with the capacity to generate more profit than the combined GDP of all the countries in which it’s several regional headquarters reside, it no longer protects and the tail certainly does begin to wag the dog. For in this instance the only way such an entity can grow is to discreetly consume and exploit. Although as evidenced by recent globally calamitous economically catastrophic events, the consumption and exploitation is no longer necessarily discreet. Thus the largest companies become increasingly psychopathic and by necessity become a sort of hydratic vampiric leech. A many headed creature that on the surface presents itself as charming; of good character and intelligence; with little sign of irrational thinking or delusions; yet devoid of remorse, shame or any apparent awareness of the damage it leaves in its wake; A creature lacking empathy, emotion or feeling and thus it is a beast that is extremely hard to stop or put down for it seeks continual growth and advancement at any cost. It must sustain itself and can therefore only exploit and feed off humanity and the very planet itself. Human beings, it seems, allow this state of affairs to continue for at least two reasons. Firstly, as a result of our current culture of secrecy and confidentiality, private interests are always served at the expense of the general good. The true nature of the beast is very rarely allowed to filter out (see exceptions such as Edward Snowdon). And secondly as a collective society we still remain largely unconvinced that excessive profit and corporate confidentiality is a bad thing. Profit itsef is nethier good nor bad it merely is. It is what people and organisations choose to do or, more importantly, to not do with those profits that causes the problems.

What is Profit exactly? Well if you clicked on the previous link you will have seen that profit is defined as 'the monetary surplus left to a producer or employer after deducting wages, rent, cost of raw materials, etc.' So profit is a surplus of money made by a company after paying all of its bills. Now, what is Money?, I am almost certain that anyone reading this will already know that money is defined as 'a particular form or denomination of currency'. What many people will not know is that money is a representative form of energy! Whenever you output energy by doing work you generally expect to receive something of equal value in return. It doesn't have to be money per say, maybe you engage in voluntary work to receive a sence of emotional well being for example. Regardless, everyone of us alive today use money as and agreed medium of exchange to facilitate a transactional flow of energy from one person, place or thing to another. I do work for you, hopefully you will then say 'thank you', and repay me for my efforts with money. By spending and earning money we are effectively exchanging energy, or currency, and this flow of energy from one place to another is called circulation. So just as electricity flows through wires and it's called current, money flows through human or corporate exchange and we call it the circulation of currency.

Now consider the following, you're driving along in your car, which is fuelled by electricity, petrol or gasoline. The petrol contains the energy, in liquid form, that makes the car do the work to get you from one place to another. What happens if the fuel line gets blocked? Well clearly the car is going to stop being able to function properly and you can no longer get to where you were hoping to go. We all know that right? If the flow of energy becomes blocked or stops flowing as it should the engine fails to work as intended. So what would you expect to happen to the world’s economics systems if the flow of currency was to somehow become dammed or blocked? The economic system would of course stop functioning as it should. If the blockage was not somehow addressed and eventually corrected we can only expect it to fail. The biggest financial problem we have in the world today is the fact that massive multi-national entities are making so much profit that it becomes impossible for them or their owners, the so called elite 1%, to spend enough of it in a timely fashion to ensure that economic systems remain healthy. Instead the insanely wealthy owners of these companies store it up in personal bank accounts creating damnable dams that prevent currencies from flowing and circulating as they should. What the 1% are essentially doing is sitting on top of piles and piles of energy that is then no longer available to drive the economic systems of the planet. These highly successful individuals, inadvertently create blockages that then prevent currency from doing it's job, which is to flow. 

This is entirely the reason for the global economic collapse of 2008 and probably every other economic collapse in history. Although people like to over complicate things to make themselves look clever and many so called 'experts' will look to assign blame elsewhere. The truth is that the excessive profits of the largest multi-nationals and wealthiest people are unable to be spent back into the system in a timely fashion and this causes massive problems for everyone. It's not such a difficult problem to find a solution for now really is it? Rolling out the solution might prove a bit more difficult because people and corporations like to sit on top of piles of money as it gives them a sense of security and a way to measure their success. In the world today we largely measure success by the size of someones bank account and that is an extremely unwise and dangerous measure to use. 

Success should be measured not by the size of the dam but by the amount of energy and the subsequent benefits which that energy, or in this case money, produces for the masses. Both for society and for the planet herself. The most astute and wise amongst us already know this and are trying to do something about it. I suspect Bill Gates knows this and it is probably the real reason behind why he was inspired to give away some $28Bn in an attempt to eradicate polio from the planet. Regardless of whether or not I am correct about Bills rationale, reasoning or wisdom you now also know the true nature of our financial problem, so the question then becomes, are you in a position to do something about it? More importantly, will you?

Right now our political leaders often, if not always, take their advice from corporate behemoths in the guise of 'independent experts' and corporate consultants. These corporate consultants being, as they are, a perceived 'authority' on whatever subject they happen to be consulted. I used to be one of those consultants and whilst I never worked within the public sector myself I did have colleagues who had. I was regularly sent into situations for which I was completely unqualified.  The rate which the consultancy I worked for charged our clients for my service was anything from £1000 - £1500 per day (I was paid a salary considerably less, amounting to some £125 per day). The consultancy fees were generally paid without question and I was never sufficiently tested or challenged as to my credentials although I was terrified that someone eventually might. I was amazed that nobody ever exposed the fraud, instead the clients just appeared to trust my company was providing them the best possible person for the job. That may in truth have been the case for in hindsight it is possible that all the key players including, or maybe especially, the client were in on the scam. My job was very rarely to be an expert nor was it to ever critisise or particularly question the clients logic but to instead appear agreeably profesional. To sit, listen, observe and learn as quickly as I could before subsequently regurgitating what I had heard, in my own words. My function was to then agree that they were doing it, whatever it was, correctly and applaud their wisdom and insight. Essentially my role was to be a compliant yes man, to assure the client that their logic and approach was sound and if nessesary to sign off on whatever it was that they were doing or planning to do.

There were a countless number of times where I found myself in situations where I had absolutely no idea whatsoever what on earth the the people who I joined in meetings were on about. Three letter acronyms and jargon are two of the most important things you must absolutely brush up on ahead of time before going into an unfamiliar field as a management consultant. I wasn't particularly well qualified in anything other than IT, Project and Change Management, but as it turns out when your a management consultant that doesn't really matter at all. I reckon a solid half of the roles with which I was engaged to fulfil internally or contracted out to a multi-national by my firm had little to nothing to do with any of my specialities. My actual job in these instances was to act, which suited me pretty well due to my extensive background in school plays and amatuer dramatics (Just to clarify, I'm being sarcastic). I must have been better in the workplace than on the stage however because they kept giving me jobs I knew nothing about. Its actually not that hard to do, to pretend to be a specialist in something you are not while surrounded by people who actually are specialists in whatever it is that they do.

For a start specialists tend to be nerds. Not nessesarily the quiet bespectakled spotty sort, who are actually pretty cool and in vouge these days. No the type of specilaist nerds I'm refering to are the type of people who are so into what they do they just have to let everyone know just how clever they are. I'm sure you know the sort, they're the ones who like to talk far more than they listen. There are usually one or two in every corporate meeting and if your really lucky you'll get three or four if thats the case your effectively on a busmans holiday. Nobody listens to anyone else particularly well because they think they know everything and they are all sharing so much knowledge and information about what they know it's like you struck the jackpot or something.

I reckon anyone who can speak reasonably well could pull off being a management consultant and I am 100% serious when I say that. All that is required is a decent suit, actually you don't even need that these days, just a pair of trousers and an expensive looking shirt you picked up in a charity shop for 3 quid would be fine. The key requirement is having the ability to portray an air of authoritative confidence and to only speak when questioned directly. When asked a question you don't know the answer to you say something like 'I don't have the data in front of me at present, let me get back to you on that one.' or 'The responsibility for that has been delegated to X, I'll need to speak to them before being able to confim Y, I want to make absolutely sure I'm giving you the most upto date and accurate information'  both of which are fairly standard management consultantancy responses when one is in the process of a large scale internal panic attack and attempting to conceal the very real and all too common human truth, which is essentially that very few of us have got the foggiest idea what the hell is happening or why its happening ever. So few people, it seems to me, are actually brave enough to just admit they don't know whats going on that most are reasonably well versed in coming up with a good excuse or a subtle distraction. The vast majority of corporate workers are therefore  very well able to blag some bullshit or tell barefaced lies.

Of course lying and deceit is only ever likely to cause the client, and his or her company as a whole, problems down the line but by that time you'll be well out of there and nobody will be sure who was to blame. This usually starts infighting amongs the permanent members of staff and political manuvering. In some case you might even be lucky enough to have caused a major disaster with your smoke and mirrors strategy or in exceptional cases a catastrophic failure, thats a good thing too by the way. Why? Well, beacuse as soon as the shit has hit the fan you'll be getting a chargeable phone call where you'll be asked for your input in order to solve the problem. In all likelihood, and especially if you are any sort of a management consultant worth your salt, that conversation will then lead to a two or three week contract to sort out the problem because nobody internally is willing to take responsibility and say for certain what went wrong. Everybody involved, most especially those closest to the problem, have a tendency to go into panic mode and so their priority shifts to covering their own ass and finger pointing. They usually start looking for management consultants to resolve these sorts of issues at this stage. As you already have a familiarity with their systems and processes, due to your earlier involvement, you'll certainly be at the top of the recommended consultants list. Contracts such as these should be worth anywhere in the region of five to ten grand per week for your company, more if the problem is time critical and you have to be 'pulled' off another job. If this happens expect some sort of pay rise or promotion. That never happened on my projects. I made sure what I did was correct first time out. I also made some fundamental mistakes regarding my projects coming in on budget or even worse under budget and ahead of schedule. As a result I was a bit of a liability for my company, I guess I was just a bit too slow on the uptake. Ah well what can you do, I'm my own worst enemy sometimes.

It's the perfect job in many ways and if it wasn't for the following two facts I would probably be an exceptionally well off business exec now instead of a truth seeking Poet. Firstly, I am extremely uncomfortable being decietful and secondly, I'm actually quite good at fixing things as opposed to breaking them. Actually there is a third thing, now I put my mind to it, I have a tendency to be too efficient. All three of these qualities are a disaster for an aspiring management consultant so if you have any ambitions in that direction sort yourself out sooner rather than later and learn from my mistakes. As a management consultant you are only ever out of your depth in so far as you don't have enough suitable responses for not knowing your arse from your elbow. One or two should cover it for most situations, five or six if under sustained fire from management less if there is a nerd in the room and lets face it there's nearly always a nerd in a room full of managers. Although in reality those guys probably know even less than you. So there you have it, there really is nothing to worry about!

Actually that's not entirely true there are people you should try to avoid like the plague. Company leaders are usually fine because they are personable and chatty, older members of staff have generally lost the will to give a shit. So long as you don't interfere with them they are unlikely to interfere with you but there are two sorts of characters to be on your guard for at all times. The Psychopath and the the Ambitious Zealot. Psychopaths are nasty, they have no empathy and are relentless they don't give a shit what anyone thinks and showing human emotion of any sort is likely to lead them to conclude you are weak. Psychopaths won't nessesarily expose you but they have a tendency to compromise, own and then use you for personal advancement. Best to avoid when at all possible.

Finally theres the ambitious zealot. This particular type of coorporate twat is generally sharp and quite often on the look out for an oppertunity to shaft outsiders. They don't especially like management consultants because they are seen by the ambitious zealot as taking away potential oppertunities to further their own progression. They don't like their work to be outsourced and can rarely see the point in it. They are often loyal to authority and usually trying to impress authority figures. They will expose you in a heart beat. They are usually young, smart and capable unlike the majority of people, they do know their arse from their elbow. They usually have a chip on their shoulder because they are too intelligent for their own good and will, in most cases, have come up against a manager who feels threatened by them and so they will have been treated unfairly at some point. It is also very highly likely that they will have read Richard Bransons book, The Vigin Way, and so they are especially good at listening and are actually able to hear what is being said. They are adept at critical thinking and will happily engage this skill to figure out that that your talking shite and thus adding nothing of real value to the conversation. They are more than happy to sit back and let someone else do talking because they have figured out that thats the best way to understand whats being said. They are perfect management consultant material so if they are onto you have a word with your boss and get him to poach the zealot with some ridiculous salary, bonuses and a dental plan. If you mange to execute this sort of head hunting manouver you can expect a bonus for finding a new staff member with inside information and you'll be back into 'nothing to worry about' ville in no time. Actually now I think about it, I'm pretty sure I just described myself there! Anyway I've gone way off point, time to get back on track and get some more of that chip off my shoulder.

The management consultancy for which I was working were, at the time, shirt sponsors for a very well loved and quite famous English football club of superb character and reputation. It was a bit of a coo for our CEO and he was thrilled, He had been a life long supporter of the club in question and for his company to be so affiliated with a highly respectable football club was the perfect somkescreen. Plus there were prek like meeting the players a corporate boc for entertaining clients and occasional use of the pitch for team building events. Despite this or maybe because management consultancies with too many scruples do not tend to be very successful, we were contacted by the CEO of an unfeasibly massive and unpleasantly infamous online gambling and gaming outfit based in a country far far away. My CEO was actually a reasonably decent and personable bloke but this tool I was being whored out to was as a C*nt and as such he shall remain nameless, along with his organisation. Primarily for reasons of preserving confidentiality but more importantly to ensure my own personal integrity and well being are maintained! I have no interest in some coroprate gangster tracking me down and asking whether or not I want to say hello to his little friend. I'm not sure what that even means but I'm assuming it's probably not his penis. Even if it was his penis I certainly wouldn't want to have to say hello to it. Even if it is likely to be safer option. Eeurghh! perish the thought...

I used to play rugby union (badly) but I know practically nothing about football. There were so many, far better qualified and considerably more suitable consultants within the firm who absolutely loved football and would have certainly sold all their grandmothers jewelry along with her dignity in a shot to secure this particular assignment. They would have also, in all likelihood, produced a much better report than I could ever have. Why my consultancy chose me for the job over any of them I couldn't fathom. I did my best to point out I was definitly not the man for the job. From what I could gather the Boss himself had personally selected me for the position and when you get hand picked by the man at the top you just do what you're told. I guess the fact that clients business was online was enough of a match for me to be considered the 'golden boy' (or sacrificial lamb depending upon your point of view) to be sent out into the world of football stadia and sports stars. On further consideration I think it far more likely that by this point I was considered expendeable!

The brief was to find a Premier or 1st Division football club whose sponsorship contract was up for renewal. One that this fabulously cash rich and tech savvy betting shop could sponsor and offload a few million quid on. The job itself wasn't too bad as I got to work offsite for most of it and spent a lot of time talking to Premiership football club executives and administrators. Primarily about whether or not they would be interested in being sponsored by our client, who as it goes were waving many millions of pounds at 'anyone who would have 'em's' general direction. I felt for sure it would be an easy sell. The thing that surprised me most at the time is that practically none of the clubs were interested in being assosiated in anyway with that particular client. This despitie the fact that in investigating and researching the financial histories of the clubs the only one that seemed to be making any money at all was Manchester United and that was only because Sky television was paying them lots for their football rights. Maybe there are some bastions of corporate integiry after all although in thinking this through further this is just more evidence to support my hypothisis that organisations contained within a national boundary are not a problem for the world, while multinationals need to be confronted and corrected. I never really established what the resistance was to taking on a gambling sector sponsor. By my logic I would have expected gambling and football to have been a good fit but then, as previously mentioned, I never had any interest in football and so II didn't really care at the time. I suspect it was to to with not wanting to be involved with money laundering but then what do I know? Nothing about football is the answer!

The true nature of my role as a management consultant was more often to flatter and make clients feel great about themselves. To agree with whatever approach they thought was best. It was certainly never to undermine or critisise how a client might choose to conduct either themselves or their business. with the benfit of growing a bit older and becoming ever slightly more wise that I had been while employed at the consultancy firm I now understand the game that was being played. Corporate clients are very rarely interested in some howshot management consultant coming in to pour cold water over their plans which might make them look stupid. They are interested in only a couple of things. Primarily they are most concerned about covering their asses. Having me in the building to nod politely and sign off on what he was doing meant that he could then go to his boss and report that the 'independent expert' had approved his logic and process. The second thing they are interested in is making sure that he manages to over spend his budget so he'll have a case to go to his senior executive and ask for more money next year. The third thing they are interested in is their performance review. By following best practice and have someone like me approve of everything they are doing they have a better chance of getting a pay rise. A management consultant fulfills all three of these requirements very well. The clients boss is pretty much interested in the same things but in a slightly different way regarding ass covergea he is primarily concerned with having an external scapegoat to divest him or herself of any real responsibility in the event that anything fails catastrophically. I do of course generalise somewhat but thats essentially it as far as characters to support or concern you.

I was also expected to generate new contracts by whatever means nessesary which I must admit I was very bad at because I couldn't bring myself to actually create problems. I'm a problem solver not a problem maker although my management consultancy at the time might disagree, it's a mute point however as the consultancy I had to resign from apparently have a policy of never giving people references. More likely they just didn't want to give me a reference but I couldn't in good conscience do involve myself in unscrupulous action in full awareness of the probem that was being created and the true motives that drive a competitive business. It's basically a game of shaft or get shafted unless you're a director or happen to have something of unique value that none else can provide. In which case what are you doing working within someone elses organisation? Set up your own business and make some real money! it's good at the top, everybody smiles at you, well at least most of the time they do.

The one time I refused to sign off a piece of work I had been personally responsible for. I was chastened and made to suffer for my insubordination. I was subjected to unfair critisism and despite having received excellent performance reviews from every one of my clients and most of my peers that company refused to acknoledge my plaudits in my performance and peer reviews. My advancement was obstructed, my pay was frozen and my bonuses were withheld. I was eventually forced to resign.

Because I had refused to sign off on the online tool which I was tasked with customise to ensure a secure collaborative environment, rather than the open collobaoritive environment which it had been designed to be, they got my manager to sign off on it instead. I had tried my best but was unable to make it secure because I did not have access to the source code. All I could do was tweak some basic security settings and because the tool was designed to be an open the available systems settings were nowhere near sufficient. The manager who signed off on it knew this because I had told him what I needed to do the job properly. Because it was impossible for us to get access to this as the product was not our own and the company were only interested in profit and the potential for mor work the company happily mis-sold their biggest and most important client a piece of Swiss chesee for an enormous amount of money. BP then unwittingly used a tool that did not meet their security requirements to facilitate and enable their senior management executives to manage their entire organisation. As far as I knew BP were completely unaware that it could be infiltrated by anyone within their organisation with knowledge that the tool was in existance and so where to look and a basic knowledge of IT administration. including other management consultannts. Can you imagine the power and advantage access to that kind of information would have given to a management consultancy? To be able to peek and pry into the most confidential affairs and decision making processes of the the senior executive! One would hope that BP's internal IT guys might have spotted the vunerabilities but as the seem to have outsourced the provision and management of it entirely entirely to us and they had started using it well before I was to eventually resign I doubt anyone internal gave it more than a cursory glance, although maybe they did and were happy for people to be able to see. The BP directorate might still use that tool to this day but I doubt it, for it was customised by me and sold to them over 10 years ago. It's fair to say that nobody probably knew of the existance of that tool except the company I worked for and so BP probably had nothing to worry about. Not my problem any more anyway.

One other thing that did irk me particularly about that management consultancy. There was once a case where something untoward happened involving one of the junior consultants. She was very beautiful, one of those absolute head turners and seemed reasonably good at her job too although I never worked with her directly for long enough to form a complete picture. Anyway there was some scandal I think. One of the first things I learned in business consulting was to never dip your nib in the clients proverbial inkwell because it always comes back to bite you in the ass. Although that analogy doesn't really work for female consultants so she probably never got that particular guidance. Anyway they needed to get rid of her for whatever reason and so the without even blinking an eye they marched into the IT support guys offices where I was having a chat with my mates and instructed the administrators to open up the server logs so some of the directors could take a look through all her private messages sent from the office using her own personal email account. Its technically illegal, I understand it to be a breach of the data protection act and her right to privicy but other than that I never saw them breach any other confidential systems to save their ass or generate an unfair advantage so they could stay ahead of the cometition. Even though the shafted me royally in the end I still liked all of the directors in that company although I would never trust them ever again because of how they treated me. I was expecting to receive a £12k bonus to which I was fully entitled due to my contract but the director in charge of me explained that bonuses are given to staff to keep them in the company not to people who are about to leave. I could see his point and choose to keep my bridges in place rather than sue for all the good that has done me. I beleive in Karma you see and expect they will eventually get their just rewards as I will eventually get mine. Better not to interfere with karmic that debt thing in my opinion.

Society generally takes their cues from their elected leadership because we generally hope that they are acting in the public interest. Politicians take thier cues from the polls and moods of the society at large. Politicians also however, base thier decisions on the advice of what they believe to be qualified experts or the leaders of industry and this makes sence to a point. But when the advisors have a vested interest in deceiving the private sector unhelpful conflicts of interest and very serious societal problems begin to manifest for the public more generally. It's the direct consequence of being conditioned to obey and not challenge authority figures. A trickle down effect from our top down hierarchical structures we've grown to rely on so absolutely and we've been training our children to fit into these structures for quite some time now.

It's quite amazing that given the right conditions most people will go so far as to murder a fellow human being if they perceive the authority next to them is respobsible, qualified and instructing them to do so for the greater good. People repeatedly prove this to be the case in experiements even though the authority is an actor and they know there is a possibility that they will surely be held accountable for the death of a completely innocent stranger. If you don't believe that is possible, I invite you to watch The Milgram Experiment and discover the truth for yourself.

I hope in writing this article I am contributing, in some way, to raising general awareness regarding the actual human cost of allowing these multi-national entities such unrestrained growth. For eventually the monsters will need to feed again, it is merely a question of when. What I am suggesting, if it isn't yet completely clear, is that it is long past the time when we should address these problems and correct this behavior. Overwhelmingly multi-national organisations they are not acting in humanities interest and they will continue to deceive and destroy everything we hold dear if we do not address the power they weild over us and our politicians.

Once more for clarity I stress not all corporations are undesirable, it's the multi-headed, multi-national variety that has too much power and is using it in ways that do not benefit the majority. As individuals we can happily choose to serve corporations, industry and the public sector and benefit from doing so but as a global collective of human beings, it is the global corporate industrio-politico complex that needs to serve us. At present we are generally exploited. Multi-nationals see humanity, more or less, as fodder for growth. Essentially we are their food. We consume their products and they, in return, consume our energy, our environment and our Selves. If humanity could recognise this collectively it might be able to take corrective action and change the rules of the corporate game. Profit should not be the primary decision making criteria in the multi-national corporate board room as it might be in the national corporate board room. Planetary and human well being must be the primary concern. If we allow entities to operate on a global scale they must be forced to be concerned with global welfare. No multi-national organisation should be allowed to act soley to profit for themselves with complete confidentiality and close to no accountability. If we cannot figure out how to make that happen, then those multi-national organisations should be broken down and deconstructed so that they may only operate within a national framework. Not to do so is to invite disaster.

 A change of focus onto Rational Management and Creative Consultants

Many will be familiar with the achetype and caricature of the immaculately turned out management consultant entrusted with client objectives, such as to rebrand an organisation, for example the Royal Mail into Consignia, or to streamline and optimise business process methods and/or systems. What many people may not be so familiar is that many of these business operatives are simultaneously being tasked, to covertly identify and exploit those same systems and processes for weakness, and if none can be found to begin actively working towards engineering some. The consulting butterfly having flapped its wings then awaits some type of catastrophic system failure, although any type of failure or disruption will normally do. At the most appropriate moment, usually the moment of managements greatest confusion and panic, the subreptitious butterfly then calmly flutters into the fray. Holding aloft his unscrupulously crafted solution for a modestly extravagant fee.

Best practice in all corporate sectors it seems, as management consultants are found in every corporate nook and crannie plying their trade, is to first stumble upon or develop a solution. Then, with solution identified, to actively engineer the appropriate problem, or at the very least to create the perception of a problem which, until this point, never actually existed. For what use a solution without an appropriate problem to resolve? This global strategy is occasionally referred to by management consultancies as ever greening ones client, although consultancy jargon has a tendency towards fluidity and thus may change quickly and often. For the management consultancy it's about extending existing contracts, generating new ones and trying to engender the perception that without them the client is at terrible risk. As I hope is now clear to see, the complete opposite is, in fact, true. For the management consultant its about being loyal to his master and keeping his job. My advice, having been a management consultant, would be to never ever trust a management consultant. For regardless of how wonderful and capable they appear to be initially, they will eventually find themselves compromised and at odds with your best interests.

Maybe I am naïve in my belief that the underlying principles of business and politics were developed in a time when trust and honourable practice were considerably more prevalent that they are today. A time some number decades or centuries prior to the BBC 2 broadcast of award winning film maker, Alan Curtis' "The Trap - What happened to our dreams of freedom (2007)". An insightful documentary that takes an intelligent look at how a few false assumptions, arising from the Cold War, combined with human psychology, a faith in unimpeachable market dynamics and the paranoid schizophrenic game theory of mathematical genius John Forbes Nash, Jr have resulted in a fractured, deluded and paranoid society. Curtis makes a very convincing case for why things have become increasingly mechanistic and lacking in the human qualities and virtues. If you are at all interested in trying to understand why society appears to be so very broken right now watch this first episode of 'The Trap'.


It saddens me to confirm, based on my own experience of working within multinationals, that large sections of modern business practice, where once people considered a longer, broader and more principled perspective, have indeed been replaced by short term self-interest, corruption and deceit. It's for many of the reasons outlined above, but more specifically for a single reason I reveal later, that you will be hard pressed to find the word ‘Cure’ in pretty much any of the largest pharmaceutical companies mission statements. Although they may claim that ’your life is our lifes work’ that punchy sound bite is true but for all the wrong reasons. Of the top 20 multinationals currently only 3 mention the word within their mission statements and corporate objectives. I would suggest however that none of them has ever produced an actual cure for anything. To actually seek a cure for illness or disease would risk shrinking the healthcare markets and thus result in smaller profits. Increasing the level of human health unfortunately runs contrary, at present, to developing a larger marketplace in which to sell medical devices and drugs for profit.

Instead of curing disease and illness, our current system of heath care actually extends and invents completely new therapeutic areas where none ever existed. The fields of sexual dysfunction and the rapidly swelling field of mental disorder are but two fields that provide ample evidence of this. Just look at how much, the psychiatrists handbook, the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), has grown since it was introduced in 1952. DSM I was 130 pages and contained 106 mental disorders. DSM 5, released in 2012 a mere 60 years later, has some 947 pages and claims to have revealed or reclassified almost three times as many completely new categories of mental disorder. We now have in excess of 300 mental maladies and 3 times as many ways to convince someone they are mentally defective or abnormal and thus should consume pills to correct the perception of an undesirable human state of being.


I am not saying here that there is no mental disorder because we clearly do have many people who suffer. What I am saying is, I am very skeptical that there are any new mental diseases and disorders which have appeared, that were not there at the dawn of man. Human beings have always suffered through life; we have merely defined many more categories of human suffering, labeled them disorders and thus significantly increased the number of revenue streams which multinational conglomerates can legitimately exploit. The father of modern psychiatry himself, Dr. Sigmund Freud, in his lecture on the dissection of the psychical personality said the following.
"I am now prepared to hear you ask me scornfully whether our ego-psychology comes down to nothing more than taking commonly used abstractions literally and in a crude sense, and transforming them from concepts into things - by which not much would be gained. To this I would reply that in ego-psychology it will be difficult to escape what is universally known; it will rather be a question of new ways of looking at things and new ways of arranging them than of new discoveries. So hold to your contemptuous criticism for the time being and await further explanations."
Well Dr Freud, to you I do reply, it has been some 80 years so I hope you can permit some well overdue contemptuous criticism, for time it seems is proving you incorrect. Psychiatry and corporations, pharmaceutical corporations in particular, can demonstrably be shown to have gained enormously in their ability to reshape and transform concepts into things. It might well have been difficult in 1933 to escape what is universally known but somehow today, despite all our science and technology, it seems to be increasingly easy to do so. I do grant however that it most certainly is more a question of reclassification than of any actual new discoveries. I can't help but wonder just how much Freud would turn in his grave to discover the extent of unnecessary drug pushing, incarceration and other similar human rights abuses which are now common place and carried out in apparent reference to the Tome referred to as the DSM. It is my firm opinion that the entire field of psychiatric medicine has been hijacked by corporations seeking to subvert its potential for healing the sick into a deceitful and manipulative industry for power, profit and control of the individual.


 
(Watch Professor of Psychology, Jeffrey A. Schalers' CCHR acceptance speech

It’s an extraordinary thing, and no less so peculiar when one realises that in all this time the field of Psychiatry still has no clear understanding, definition or model for human mental health. They tend to see the world only in terms of mental disturbance and distress. Which I suggest says far more about psychiatry and psychiatrists own personal states of consciousness than the patients it and they claim to treat. I can assure you it never feels like a treat for long being subjected to the attentions and judgments of psychiatry. It is a seriously disturbing state of affairs when, by reference to this document of disgrace we call the DSM, literally every single person on the planet can be diagnosed as having a mental disorder but not one of us can be diagnosed or should I say characterised and judged to be in good mental order. As a result of the DSM guidance document, no responsible Psychiatrist can ever honestly say they have ever cured a patient of a mental disorder and none that I have ever spoken to or observed has ever made such a claim, which prompts the question, ‘Doctor, if you are unable to cure people their maladies, then what exactly is your purpose?’

We don't typically expect so much of our doctors of course, although in light of the sheer magnitude of misleading marketing and PR manipulations the collective psyche of the general population is subjected to, one may be forgiven for expecting such a high standard. The marketing campaign presently appearing on London underground trains, 'donate to cure cancer faster', springs to mind. This is an example of a deceit that plays upon and feeds into people’s false assumptions and sense of security. Misleading marketing such as this leads people to infer that we can and will eventually cure cancer. Which, while a noble and lofty ambition, we have been at for quite some time now and short of re-programming our very genetic makeup doesn't look very likely to happen. All such propaganda and misinformation, slipped passively as it is into our collective consciousness, serves to contribute to a misleading impression regarding the limits of what can and cannot be achieved by science and technology alone. One should certainly be forgiven for having such unwavering faith in the ability of our apparent scientific sophistication and technological achievement to work the miracles of a prophet such as Jesus Christ. For the illusions pushed by the multinationals of today certainly do border on comparable with the God Delusions pushed by the religious institutions and suffered by the masses during the Middle Ages.



The simple truth of the matter is, despite all the pills, potions and products regardless of the millions and billions of pounds or many thousands of years available in which to come up with a solution, Science still can't cure the common cold. Nor would I suggest it ever will or that we should ever want it to for catching a cold is intrinsic to the human condition and experience. Unpleasant as it might be it is a necessary process that is part and parcel and required by our quite amazing immune system to learn to deal with alien pathogens and invaders. If we never caught a cold our bodies would be less able to deal with and survive the environment.

The answer to the hypothetical question posed to psychiatric doctors three paragraphs above is of course that we turn to doctors and healthcare professionals, not to be cured of our disease and ailments but, for relief. For at some level I suspect we all inherently know the only real cure to the human condition is to cease being human and that is not a particularly satisfactory nor desirable solution. The reason we need doctors is not to be cured but to be heard, to be held and to be supported through those difficult periods of maladies, symptoms and suffering. As a species, human beings need disease; we need it to evolve and grow stronger, to cull the flock every now and again as necessary. We need it to fully experience life and learn to deal with all its hardships and pleasures. We need it to balance nature through sickness, healing and growth. The truth of the matter is that there are no cures there is merely experience. Sickness and disease will never and should never be completely irradiated for the consequences would be unthinkable. Sickness can only ever be managed and worked through. I’m sorry if that sounds depressing but it’s just how life is, I suggest you accept it and move on. Try not to dwell on the negative but do be aware of the truth.


Dis-ruption, Dis-ease and Dis-order are fundamental to human existence and experience. We cannot get away from this fact. Entropy is always at work moving everything from an ordered state into dis-order. Nothing remains Easy or comfortable for long or we would become bored. It is a natural part of the human condition to struggle against these things and they serve to provide us with experience. They teach us to learn and grow into fully rounded creative and passionate individuals. Large sections of society seem content to continue lying to themselves and being misled by multinationals about their true nature, all it would seem, for the sake of profit.

The relatively recent trend, over the last half century or so, by profit orientated health-care multinationals and affiliated organisations to define, create and invent new categories of human disturbance, disorder and dysfunction to sell products and medications discovered purely by accident is troubling. Not least because nobody actually understands how or why most of these drugs work nor what they actually do. In prescribing drugs for people suffering a perceived psychiatric disorder we can with no surety point to a specific medication and know that it will relieve a person’s symptoms. The prescription process is complete hit and miss, and often causes a considerable increase in patients suffering before relief is experienced. Furthermore as human living systems we still don't fully appreciate or understand the placebo effect.

The placebo effect is a phenomenon which consistently results in people recovering from both subjective psychological disturbances and objective pathological diseases and it can be reliably measured. In fact one of the main goals of pharmaceutical clinical trials is to establish if the drug candidate can outperform the placebo effect, if not it fails. The truth is that consciousness underlies the whole system of living and human experience and our subjective beliefs play a far larger role than very many in the rationalistic scientific community are willing to give credit. Belief is subjective and cannot be reliably measured and as a scientist, if it can't be measured the instinctive response is to discredit or shun it. In very much the same way that religious institutions used to vilify and deny science, science now tends to reciprocate for pretty much all subjective phenomena, which by very definition fall outside of the objective position maintained by science.

It is my firm understanding and belief that, as both individuals and as a collective society, our honestly held beliefs do, in fact, create our reality. I’m fully aware such a self-referential and subjective statement is likely to drive many scientists berserk, however this belief holds true for me and my personal experience of it. I completely accept for others it will be false, for this is not their honestly held belief and I do remind everyone to beware of false prophets. There are however many people beyond myself for whom this belief is honestly held and true. This is a philosophy that needs no place of worship, no central power, it is completely humanistic and within the reach of anyone who wishes to have it. For God, however you define it, is both within and without us all, in just the same manner that God is out-with and in-with us all. It doesn't really matter how you play with, cut up or dissect it because if it’s true for you it will always point towards the same thing and you will ultimately feel comfortable with it. You need no books or films, guides or gurus to follow (although they can help you get there too) you just accept one single empowering principle. But equally it makes no difference if you would rather not accept anything at all. For....

Whatever you honestly believe, does create your reality

....it really is as simple as that.

That being said however, if you do need or would like some definitions to get you started I have some of my own to share. Although, I really do stress, I don't recommend believing anyone other than your own sense of 'Does this sound or feel right for me?'. The only reason I am sharing it here (because it is kind of personal to me) is because it snuck out of me during an interview on the last radio programme I featured on. Its already escaped into the public domain so I might as well write it down now too. Try not to over think it, see if you can feel it in your body instead.

So....what happened was this. I woke up one morning, a couple of months ago, with a question in my head. I dismissed it pretty quickly because the question was 'What is GOD?' and for me that word is quite imprecise and therefore a little redundant. What I mean by that is, everyone has their own particular interpretation of it, coloured by their own personal experience. It’s so completely subjective, what possible use could it be to have an answer and even if there was an answer how reliable would it even be anyway? So I put it out of my head, or so I'd thought. A couple of hours later I was in the shower and got hit with a definition I didn't even know I was looking for. The definition is as follows, but remember don't believe anyone or anything except your own instincts for the chances are its complete and absolute, nonsense.


What I am about to say is true, but it is also not true and so it is confusing. What I am about to describe contains a paradox and yet there is no paradox depending upon the observers point of view. It is a paradox because as human beings we occupy a very particular position or space, which is also a point of intersection. This particular place is the intersection between the objective external world and our particular and highly subjective internal worlds. With that said here is a definition of GOD.

Objectively God, with a capital G, is your environment. It is everything external to you, from rocks and trees to birds and bees and consciousness. It is everything beyond you and extends on and into infinity. Subjectively you are the environment and therefore you are god, with a small g, to everything within you, from atoms and molecules to cells and bacteria and consciousness. That is with the exception of the paradox. Because not only is God, with a capital G, out with (without) you, God is also within (in with) you and so infinity is observed and realised within a finite universal space. (Not dissimilar to a Mobius strip, although probably more accurately described in the Zeroth Dimension.) This goes beyond three dimensional reality into the matrix that is the quantum. As an entity you the flesh and blood human being are merely an interface, a boundary condition, a division between the external and internal worlds that you occupy and that occupy you. GOD (all caps) is the entirety of everything. Be kind to your environment and everything within your environment. Be kind to yourself and everything within yourself and in doing so you honour and respect GOD and you will have a heavenly experience. Do the opposite and you will experience life as hellish. As above so below and as we sow so slow below we plant the seed and feel'd the needs of our brethren.

It matters not the arguments regarding what is true and what is false, whether believer or non-believer, light or dark. For as long as there are believers, regardless of what they believe, their beliefs create their realities and thus a self-fulfilling assertion is asserted. It is therefore critically important, as a global community of people, that we wake up to the truth of the illusions and false beliefs cast upon us by the unliving corporate behemoths and their representative entities. Failing to do so can only result in our reality becoming 'less than', shrinking to an exanimate mechanical waste-land, a place fit only for machines and the drones that operate them. A space increasingly devoid of beauty, vitality and, lets face it, humanity. Is any of this ringing any bells yet? It isn't hard to find evidence of this wherever or whenever one looks for it. So why do we keep on doing the corporate masters bidding? Does anybody really want this? Well clearly somebody does want this or it wouldn't be this way. It's just a question of what kind of Body is doing the wanting and so I strongly suggest moving out of the fear body and into the love body


Therapeutic industries which seek to convince us that human disorders or dysfunctions are unnecessary and avoidable through appropriate use of expensive medicines are not truly focused on caring for and healing people who have a disease or illness, for that’s a rather small market. They are in fact targeting the entire human population because that is where the profit is. Multinational organisations don’t actually care about the sick and vulnerable. The people in those organisations do but the bottom line is that the corporate construct is in it solely for power, profit and the advancement of its own covert aim games and gains. Unfortunately many of the executives, doctors and psychiatrists involved are complicit in this role-play because it validates and defines them professionally within a limited and well defined reality. It's therefore comfortable; it keeps them busy, respected and well paid. I want to clarify again once more that on an individual level I generally only ever meet kind, considerate and caring professionals, but when those same people begin to represent the interests of global corporate institutions, those values can very often and very easily be placed away.

So why it is so easy for us to park our personal values in favour of an authority we perceive to be above us? As it turns out this is well understood and has been demonstrated and repeated many times in experiments such as the Stanford Prison experiment and the Milgram experiment. These are largely psychological phenomena that are very likely to occur in all living creatures given the right circumstances and environmental conditions. Those circumstances and environmental conditions are being created every single day, by the very organisations and systems that claim to be supporting, helping and protecting us. They are not helping and they are not protecting us. They are in fact profiting from and repressing us and we as a society of human beings are complicit in our ignorance of this. For we remain convinced of the deceits and afraid of the consequences should we try to go our own way. But as Freud himself said, At the outset of the very same lecture mentioned several paragraphs earlier,
"Symptoms are derived from the repressed, they are, as it were, its representatives before the ego; but the repressed is foreign territory to the ego - internal foreign territory - just as reality (if you will forgive the unusual expression) is external foreign territory. The path led from symptoms to the unconscious, to the life of the instincts, to sexuality; and it was then that psycho-analysis was met by the brilliant objection that human beings are not merely sexual creatures but have nobler and higher impulses as well. It might have been added that, exalted by their consciousness of these higher impulses, they often assume the right to think nonsense and to neglect facts."
And so in one deft stroke some explanations are revealed. For in using repression to generate symptoms the corporations responsible can, in theory, profit indefinitely. In cleverly causing the confusing landscape of dis-ease, dis-satisfaction, dis-illusionment, dis-tress and dis-comfort and then providing the sugary drinks, foods, pills and potions, tonics and elixirs that give some relief from their symptoms, whilst at the same time creating new additional symptoms, and doing little to address the underlying issues, the multinationals are assured their fee and repeat business. It’s a great business model but a terrible deal for humans. Freud also reveals that whatever is repressed is foreign territory to the ego, and by that he means unknown to us. So a seriously beneficial consequence, of keeping people unaware and disconnected from their internal world, is that people will remain completely oblivious to the fact they are being purposefully repressed to produce symptoms that require solutions manufactured and peddled by the very organisations doing the repressing. Most of us don't want to know what’s going on in the world, let alone within ourselves. Does hearing any of this have any emotional impact on you at all? even just the tiniest little bit or anger or resentment? because it should and if it doesn't it probably means you are under the corporate spell of dispassion and therefore disconnected within yourself. People are being intentionally exploited on a massive scale as a result of this simple quirk of human nature. I would seriously suggest people begin to take an interest in and start exploring their inner space. For in the same way the external world can be a frightening and unfamiliar place at first, once you have the bearings down its not so bad and can be really quite extraordinarily beautiful and enlightening.


Is it becoming clear yet the motivations of those most in the know? Those illuminated ones that broadly understand the human animal and understand how to harvest us? Through continued distraction and applied repression the majority of the human beings on the planet seem content, happy even, to give up on their potential in order to comply with their masters. For however long humans are kept focused entirely on their external worlds, required to do a job, to pay a mortgage, to raise a family, to provide more capital (kiddies), a connection between that which is being repressed and the symptoms that therefore manifest cannot easily be fathomed or uncovered. It’s a wonderfully practical and practially fool proof self-regulating system of exploitation. Well, so long as you're the know and happen to be on the side of the corporate repressors at any rate. It's not so great if you're like the majority and considered to be human capital to be kept in a regulated state of repression, without even being aware of the fact that its being done to you intentionally, for a very specific purpose. To profit from you, by stripping you of your full potential, and only you can do anything about it. Nobody else can save your sorry ass, all I can do it draw your attention to it. But there is good news! You can become aware and do something about it!

The question then becomes, would you actually care to know that you had been to thoroughly fooled and abused in such a manner? I mean, if you don't even know how badly you are being taken advantage of then it's hardly an issue, Right? You'll won't miss what you never realised you had anyway, yeah? And if we don't know any better then there's absolutely nothing to worry about, yehgetmeh? Although if you knew this was happening to your children too. That they were been taken advantage of by the very same exploitative elite, do you think you might want do something then? Start to look within, its facinating in there and its not hard to do. Let go your fear and free your mind, the body and spirit will follow.....

Me Canyoning in New Zealand

In 2008 I finally decided to stop complying with the unpleasant demands being made of me. I decided to go my own way. I have no idea how this will ultimately turn out and it hasn't always been an easy route so far but I am at present as happy and fulfilled as I have ever been at any time in my life. The decision to turn away from the corporate machine resulted in my eventual resignation from management consultancy and a return to Ireland to live a quiet and modest life in 2006. During this time I had a brief stint as a recruitment consultant and also as a producer for a computer game company called Upstart Games where I again found myself working with some of the biggest hitters on the planet. Companies such as Sony, Disney, Konmai and Capcom, although this time I was on the outside looking in, it felt like the best job I had ever had. Upstart games were a young, lively and excitable company and at 34 I was the oldest permanent member of staff. I really enjoyed that job and there was so much potential for the company to grow over the long term into a very beneficial and rewarding enterprise. It was to be unfortunately short lived due to a semi hostile take-over by a Multinational Media company called Sun 3C PLC, a Chinese firm who stripped the assets and dissolved the company roughly a year after I had joined. Everyone lost something that day, something more than just their jobs and I once again understood this as being for the sake of some ill perceived short term profit at the expense of the general good.


By fortuitous coincidence shortly after that experience, I was due to spend three weeks in New Zealand for a family wedding. Rather than cancel the trip, for fear of financial concerns, I decided to do the opposite and take advantage of becoming unemployed. I doubled my stay in New Zealand to six weeks, hired a campervan and resolved to travel the entire length of both Islands by road. In the mean time I was hired by a recruitment agency next door as they wanted to try and expand into the IT recruitment sector. I took the position making it very clear I was going to be taking a 6 week vacation within a month of starting. The agency agreed that this would be fine and I started to once again encounter large multinational companies. Trying to place candidates (people this time) in suitable employment and trying to fill positions for some of the largest corporations with headquarters in Ireland, I was reasonably successful considering I was starting pretty much from scratch.

Shambhala Retreat and Guesthouse, 1234 Takaka-Collingwood Highway, Golden Bay, New Zealand

During my travels in New Zealand I started to follow the synchronicities which lead to me having a deeply subjective experiential encounter within myself that was the precursor to a massive life change. That past life regression was to be the catalyst for a phenomenal change in direction for me and some three years later a significant creative transformation happened. On my return from New Zealand I discovered that the recruitment consultancy had changed their minds and no longer wanted to risk expanding into new territory and I found I was once again unemployed. At this point, with some frustration, I made a conscious decision to stop wearing suits and working for organisations dealing with massive multinationals. I spent a lot of time going for walks, swimming, chilling out, and socialising. I found other people like me who I spent time with to explore a side of myself I didn’t even know existed. A creative side which had rarely, if ever, been allowed adequate expression within the current scientific, orderly and rationalist paradigm we know as our materialistic capitalist society. A paradigm which, until the 27th of March 2010, was all I really knew experientially.

These days I like to wander into the world and be spontaneous, I perform poetry in the streets and people look at me bewildered, I like to test the status quo. I occasionally ask young people questions about their own creativity. ‘What do you do to express yourself creatively?’ I sometimes ask, to which the overwhelming response is ‘I don’t know, I’m not really creative at all or I don’t do anything creative’. I wonder if that’s because they are just young or is it because we don’t value or teach creativity adequately in our present mode of society.


Poe RedTree plying the streets and perfroming The Solar System Revealed

I am at present an unwaged performance poet, creative writer, producer, filmographer, Documenter, philosopher and am undertaking a Masters in psychotherapy. I could not do this alone as I need the support of family and friends to lead a happy balanced existence. I wish to offer myself as a creative and healing prospect to the world. This in direct contrast to the occasionally destructive and damaging prospect I was offering by remaining complicit with the multinational firms who are guided by one single over-riding principle, to make profit at any cost. Unfortunately, as we have seen, that cost is a sacrifice of human potential. I have not been paid for my work in years yet I am as happy now as I have been at any time in my life and considerably more fulfilled than when I was being exploited by a series of multinational monstrosities. There are solutions to all the problems I have outlined and identified here. Yet I tend to find most people are too busy trying to keep up with their mortgages and themselves to be interested in exploring solutions that might improve things. I may write further on the subject and, despite potential appearances to the contrary, I do remain an optimist for I foresee a better time ahead where people grow to become aware of the consequences of their actions and they work towards the betterment of human experience rather than trying to exploit each other for short term gains.

Thanks for taking the time to read to the end of this massive missive, I hope sharing my experiences and opinions might be of some help to you on your own journey back into yourself. Good luck and God bless, and do let me know how you're getting on with it :)

With the very best wishes and intentions,
Steve the Poe RedTree P

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