Palden Jenkins

Healing the Hurts of Nations

Building a world fit for humans

Palden Jenkins


Contents, intro and biog

Healing the Hurts of Nations

And building a world fit for humans
Palden Jenkins

This is a stream of new perspectives on global questions that bug you and me.

It's an informal and rather visionary 'revision course' of insights into conflict-resolution, development, crisis and the future.

It concerns the psychological, social and historical issues that obstruct and encourage progress, as we face the global issues confronting us.

You probably know all this, but perhaps you haven't put it together this way before, or reconsidered these questions recently.

There are four parts, each made up of a series of short sections or 'chapters' - equivalent to a few pages on paper.

You can work through the site chapter by chapter, online.
Or you can print out each section - this might be easier.

Dedicated to all of you who serve humanity,
to aid, peace and social workers
and to you who simply seek to understand more
about what's going down.

Especially for friends in countries where foreign exchange for buying books is as plenteous as water in a desert.

Palden Jenkins is a veteran of 1960s Liverpool and radical student politics at the London School of Economics. Since then his journey has embraced green and social activism, inner growth and healing, mountaineering, Tibetan Lamas, community process, educational and spiritual ventures, book- and web-publishing, teaching, counselling and humanitarian work in the Middle East. He lives in Glastonbury, England, with his family.

Previous publications:
Living in Time (1986),
The Historical Ephemeris (1991),
The Only Planet of Choice (1993),
Kingfisher Encyclopedia of World History (1999),
Healing the Hurts of Nations (2003),
Map of the Ancient Landscape of Glastonbury (1982 and 2005).

© Copyright Palden Jenkins 2005-08. You may print single copies of this material for personal or small-group use or study, in a spirit of fair play. Larger quantities, commercial or website reproduction - anything more than fair-use quotes - . Thanks. Palden.


Healing the Hurts of Nations
Palden Jenkins

You can work through the site chapter by chapter or click PRINT to print out each section.

Part One: Some Questions

Nations, ethnic groups, culture-clash and reality-systems. How human differences turn into conflict. The value of nations and minorities within today's unfolding globalisation process.

1. Your Passport Please

What are nations for?

2. Insiders and Outsiders

Boundaries, inclusion and exclusion

3. Continents of the Mind

Cultural exchange and conflict

4. The Rationality of Nationality

Identity, tribalism and nationalism

5. Same Planet, Different Worlds

Social solidarity – how it breaks down

Part Two: What's Underneath

Globalisation, civilisation, development and power. How humanity has damaged itself, leading us to our contemporary world situation. The collective unconscious and the emotional landmines buried in its soil.

6. Silk Roads and Ocean Winds

Globalisation's troublesome birth

7. Staterooms and Border Patrols

Civilisation and its discontents

8. The Wounds and Scars of Nations

How we got hurt, way back when

9. In the National Interest

The collective psyche of nations

10. Take Me to your Leader

Power and legitimacy in the real world

11. Where Lies the Power?

Behind business and government

12. Ghosts and Ghouls of Nations

Issues that nations avoid facing

Part Three: Geopolitical Healing

Ways in which the deeper spirit of humanity and the collective unconscious can pull us into resolving the questions of the past and setting the foundations of the future - to some extent, despite ourselves. How fundamental change might actually come.

13. Conscience and Natural Justice

Whispers from the heart of the world

14. That Vision Thing

Hints from humanity's superconscious

15. Owning Up

Untangling conflict

16. Times of Healing

Lifting the pressure on human society

17. Force Majeure

Overriding factors – crisis and revelation

Part Four: What Next?

What we ourselves can do about it all. The 21st Century agenda and some of its key agenda-points. What's in store for the 21st Century. Making the best use of crisis and intense change.

18. Life Purpose

What are we here for?

19. Weapons of Mass-Reconstruction

Playing our part in world change

20. Complementary Diplomacy

Special operations from deep space

21. The Miracle Century

Magic solutions and the power of events

22. A History of the Twenty-First Century

What we might yet go through

23. Getting from Here to There

Some priorities for our century


The power of events. Defining moments.

With today's global media coverage, we're all tuned into today's news very quickly, all together.

One day, I was busy working and the phone rang. A friend says: "Stop what you're doing and switch on the TV immediately. Something's happening. Just do it, right now!". I watched those planes crashing into the Twin Towers and, like everyone, I was flabbergasted.

Immediately I saw implications spreading out from that point in time. It took time to catch up with this unexpected yet strangely inevitable event.

A large rip appeared across reality as most people saw it. A new map had suddenly been placed on top of the old one. A defining moment had taken place. New possibilities wriggled through the cracks.

At defining moments, history's train changes tracks.

"The average person is either victorious or defeated and, depending on that, they become a persecutor or a victim.

These two conditions are prevalent as long as one does not see.

Seeing dispels the illusion of victory, or defeat, or suffering."

don Juan Matus, from A Separate Reality by Carlos Castaneda, 1971.

New York City under seige

Shifting values

Since the Fall of the Wall social tragedies have swept like epidemics through Kurdistan and Iraq, Bosnia, Chechnya, Israel-Palestine, Afghanistan, Rwanda, Somalia, Kosovo, Kashmir, Algeria, East Timor, Congo and Sierra Leone.

World War One - has it ended yet?

As each horror presented itself, the public's tolerance levels shifted an inch each time. Events prodded and scratched at the sensitivities of a busily indifferent world, seeking a response. Something in the collective psyche was saying this has to stop – it's gone far enough.

Though it has all carried on. Nevertheless, values have shifted, year by year, beyond and beneath all considered opinions, preferred ways of seeing things, or the customary earnest media debates.

Events were hitting sensitive spots. A tectonic stratum of deeper undercurrents and values has been shifting, surreptitiously.

This process is interesting. We're in it, right now. Two dissonant realities are playing themselves out within us.

Dissonant realities

One is the 'official line' – the statements, opinions, judgements and explanations we hear on the news, the explanations given us by People Who Know, and conventional ideas and beliefs we all variously subscribe to, even when they contradict our own experience.

The second is a distinctly personal, intuitive sense of reality which evaluates and responds to events with surprisingly little preconceived judgement. It sees things as they are. It bears witness, perceives symbolism, reads off background significances and threads together hidden connections implicit in today's world situations.

It sees through things too. Its observations might be illogical, counter-conventional and even treacherous, but they're very real, and they deeply inform our beliefs, judgements and decisions.

The Russians love their children too. These terrorists do have a point. Perhaps we ought to learn from what's happening. Perhaps there's another way.

Imagery and response

The intuitive, instinctive part of our psyche remembers that 1989 picture of a young man in Beijing, pointing his umbrella at a line of tanks and commanding them to stop – and they did!

The camera pans to an Afghan child with mucky cheeks and clear, penetrating eyes, who has just watched her father being killed.

Then it pans to the eerie funeral of Princess Diana, with its haunting music and silent crowds. The screen splits and we see Mother Theresa's almost-simultaneous funeral in India. Was someone trying to tell us something here? These events touched the hearts of a billion people.

After the earthquake

Then we see insurgents fighting American troops in Falluja, Iraq. But hang on, are these insurgents, terrorists, freedom fighters or ordinary people? And the troops, are they soldiers, terrorists, invaders or also ordinary people?

Such images speak volumes.

Spoken in a language the media, governments and scientists don't usually understand.

The agonising, touching poignancy of shared experiences such as these sinks in and ferments deep down there inside us all.

This worm-like, festering, hardly-conscious data-processing goes on in recesses where we care not to look.

We've been hit and eroded where our defences are weak.

Being 'civilised' and well-trained, we restore normality again, but human evolution keeps edging an inch forward each time.

It keeps on doing this.

Something is going on...

Interests at stake

The issues facing the world today are large-scale and global, and they must be tackled globally.

No one is exempt from this global ferment, even if they seek exemption or take pre-emptive action to ward it off. Not even if they live in the most isolated corners of planet Earth.

Amongst the highest global priorities are the natural environment, world climate, food and resources, population and demographics, disease, inequity, violence and injustice.

Boys awaiting initiation into manhood

Yet progress in these rests on people – what we'll accept, allow or subscribe to.

People in groups, as nations and as masses.

You and me, and billions of us.

The official geopolitical mechanisms through which global issues are thrashed out are nations and transnational organisations such as the UN and big corporations. Some corporations are mightier than nations.

Dragged into all this are we, the people, each and all of us struggling to establish an identity, a niche in the expanding matrix of global society.

Questions of power therefore come up:
- Who decides?
- Who names the game?
- Where are the boundaries?
- Who are we, and who are they?
- Who benefits, who suffers?
- What's the bottom line?

Nations – and tribal memory

Like it or not, we are all identified with one or a few nations – and if you're stateless, you've had it. He's German, she's Thai, and the guy over there is Brazilian.

We belong to other identity-groupings as well: Sunni, Catholic or Shinto, indigenous or immigrant, privileged or poor, female or male, young or old, football-crazy or politically left-wing.

When it comes to the crunch, it's us or them.

This business of identification is an enormous issue in our day. With pressing global issues to sort out, we need to find our common ground, agree on the basics and collaborate – sufficiently, at least, to make significant progress.

The Russian civil war, 1920

Yet we bicker and fight like never before, in startlingly innovative ways. The need to agree and the capacity to agree seem to be pulling in different directions. We're desperately addicted to individuality and distinction – national and sub-group interest.

How nations feel about their place in the world community is influenced by their history. Nations are affected by the after-effects of definitive national events – even if they've long been forgotten or seem irrelevant.

National feelings are shaped by emotionally-rooted memories of foregoing collective experience – victories and defeats, peaks of culture, troughs of hardship, influxes, emigrations, famines, civil wars or social triumphs.

These feelings crop up through the teleprompting agency of poignant current events. Situations have a way of reactivating old memories, associations, anticipations and anxieties.

Theoretically, past happenings are gone and forgotten, yet they lurk there in collective memory. They burp, fart, vomit and even dirty our collective pants, when prompted by circumstance.

What is the point of this national self-preoccupation when climatic extremes, toxic disasters, famine, disease or economic chaos could wipe us out anyway? Why aren't we prioritising new means of working out planetary issues?

The answer hovers around our habitual tendency to disagree.

This is The Big Question. We're all faced with it.

Conflict resolution

World conflicts have their genuine reasons and roots which cannot be overlooked.

Even so, with the world as it is, we cannot afford to indulge in conflict, neither allow its causes to develop too far.

We must find other ways. Conflict obstructs and delays the resolution of vital world issues, diverting attention and resources from greater and wider needs. There is more to life than this.

This site addresses humanity's unconscious, basic, bottom-line feelings, from which conflict and its resolution arise. It rummages around in the heaving globs of fermenting gunk hidden underneath.

This site contains suggestions and perspectives to help clarify how, realistically, we might turn a quagmire into fertile ground, and what we ourselves can individually do toward this.

To figure this out or sharpen it up, it helps to survey the big picture and place ourselves somewhere in it. I hope this site, and the book it's derived from, help you find your location.

Once you've found it, keep it moving, for reality is not a fixed thing, and nowadays it's quite good at backflips and side-swipes.

Palden Jenkins

Palden Jenkins

Palden Jenkins

Brief biography

Born 5th September 1950, Hartfield, Ashdown Forest, Sussex, England. Raised in South Wales (1950s) and Liverpool (1960s).

University at LSE 1968-71 – political awakening. Higher education in the mountains of Wales, 1972-74 – spiritual awakening.

Resident in Sweden (Stockholm and Uppland), 1975-80. Resident in Glastonbury, SW England, from 1981 to today.

Creator of the Glastonbury Camps (1984), the OakDragon Project (1987) and the Hundredth Monkey Project (1995) – three different generations of educational camps.

Author of Living in Time (1986), The Historical Ephemeris (1992), co-author The Only Planet of Choice (1993), writer The Kingfisher Encyclopedia of World History (2000).

Worked as a printer, English language teacher, bookshop manager, counsellor, public speaker, event organiser, book editor and webmaster.

Currently webmaster for Hope Flowers School (Bethlehem), Sir George Trevelyan, Glastonbury Symposium and many other sites. Former webmaster to Jerusalem Peacemakers and the Isle of Avalon (Glastonbury).

Involved over the years with Tibetan lamas, ecological campaigns, community development, education, meditation, inner growth, peace and reconciliation work, history and geopolitics.

Four lovely offspring (Maya '77, Gwen '79, Marieka '89, Tulki '96).


NEXT: Part One

© Copyright Palden Jenkins 2005-08. You may print out single copies of the material on this site for personal or small-group use or study, in a spirit of fair play. Larger quantities, commercial or website reproduction - anything more than fair-use quotes - . Thanks. Palden Jenkins.