Mutualist Philosophy; Brownout;Power of Prayer, Meditation & Mindfulness….Just Saying….

September 19, 2015        Andrew Chernoff


Much has happened, is happening and will happen  in the world of yesterday, today and tomorrow.

I continue to listen, watch, and think about yesterday, today and tomorrow, and how much of it can affect our ability to be and stay engaged in what we do; how it affects personal, emotional, mental  and physical wellbeing.

I have come across a few people with thoughts I believe offer a window into yesterday,  today and tomorrows world.

First, from Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (15 January 1809 – 19 January 1865) was a French politician and the founder of mutualist philosophy.

In The General idea of the Revolution 1851 Proudhon urged a “society without authority.” In a subchapter called “What is Government?” he wrote:

To be GOVERNED is to be watched, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, regulated, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, checked, estimated, valued, censured, commanded, by creatures who have neither the right nor the wisdom nor the virtue to do so. To be GOVERNED is to be at every operation, at every transaction noted, registered, counted, taxed, stamped, measured, numbered, assessed, licensed, authorized, admonished, prevented, forbidden, reformed, corrected, punished. It is, under pretext of public utility, and in the name of the general interest, to be place[d] under contribution, drilled, fleeced, exploited, monopolized, extorted from, squeezed, hoaxed, robbed; then, at the slightest resistance, the first word of complaint, to be repressed, fined, vilified, harassed, hunted down, abused, clubbed, disarmed, bound, choked, imprisoned, judged, condemned, shot, deported, sacrificed, sold, betrayed; and to crown all, mocked, ridiculed, derided, outraged, dishonored. That is government; that is its justice; that is its morality.[29]

If you have been keeping up with the news on the internet, television, newspapers, radio and social media, you may or may not be able to relate to the above quote. Thanks to and for the information.

Things that are happening in the communities, regions, provinces/states, countries that we live in can make us laugh, bring us joy, make us think, bring us down, make us cry, shock, bring anger and other kinds of emotion. The same as we view the rest of the world through our forms of media or on personal visits.

Everywhere we are, everywhere we go, there is a form of authority. That authority does not have to be a government per se.  It can be:

: the power to give orders or make decisions : the power or right to direct or control someone or something

: the confident quality of someone who knows a lot about something or who is respected or obeyed by other people

: a quality that makes something seem true or real

Over the centuries, people have seen the results of  “authority” on human lives and world history. Obviously just as we human beings…. authority is corrupt from imperfection because human beings are not perfect  and the concept of try and try again has just not worked.  Getting it right one hundred per cent of the time, all the time just is not possible with human beings.

And of course tomorrow, we  will continue to strive for that attainable……. that up to now has been unattainable…… heaven on earth…..because, well, some “authority” or “authorities”  just can not be happy or satisfied…..and of course it will be just within striking distance (whatever that means)…..but of course always out of reach.

Second, brownout. Yes, you read it right….brownout.

While “burnout” is a psychological condition in which a person routinely feels physically and emotionally exhausted, is cynical and critical of him or herself and others, and works less efficiently than usual,   “brownout” is characterized by people suffering a drop in energy levels, motivation and job satisfaction,  a loss of interest and a feeling of “giving up” or failure. If not diagnosed or dealt with, could lead to the more serious “burnout” condition.

According to, Are you suffering from ‘brownout’?,

The idea of burnout at work has been with us for decades. But recently, executive coaches and business psychologists have started talking about “brownout”, which is a sort of junior sibling. Staff affected by brownout become disengaged, demotivated and lose interest in their jobs.

As the name suggests, brownout is not as serious as burnout, but it is much more prevalent. The US coaching firm Corporate Balance Concepts recently looked at 1,000 executives: it estimated that five per cent of them suffered from burnout while 40 per cent suffered from brownout. Brownout can be fairly mild and is usually reversible, but in the long term can cause serious problems.

Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Michael E Kibler, the CEO of Corporate Balance Concepts cited a chief executive who talked of being so overwhelmed by work that, “Sometimes… I find myself actually hoping I’ll have a heart attack. At least it would be an honourable way out.”

The more usual symptoms of brownout tend to be disengagement, discontent, and lethargy. You’ll turn up for work (and may even put in very long hours) but your heart isn’t in it. “You’re not interested in new ideas, you’re not proactive and you’re less communicative and sociable,” says Sir Cary Cooper, professor of organisational psychology and health at Manchester Business School. “You’ll use any excuse to not show up. A cold becomes flu.”

It’s not just work either. Brownout will often spill over into your home life. You could become withdrawn and passive aggressive. Rather than wanting to read with your children and talk to your wife, you’ll flop in front of the TV and be sullen and indifferent to those around you.

Ten signs you’re experiencing brownout
  1. You work long hours, but without any real interest in your job. The work itself is a dull slog and lacks intellectual challenge or stimulation.
  2. You feel as if you never really finish tasks. There’s always more to do.
  3. You no longer know where your career is going and don’t make important decisions.
  4. You contribute the minimum in meetings and have little interest in new suggestions. You’re the person who pours cold water on other people’s ideas.
  5. You’ll use any excuse not to show up. A headache becomes a migraine and a cold is always flu.
  6. You check emails when you get up in the morning and in bed before you to sleep. You are glued to your smartphone on holidays, on weekends and even during social occasions.
  7. Physically you’ve started to suffer. You’re out of shape, you eat junk food, you don’t get enough sleep and you’ve given up exercising.
  8. You’ve lost your sense of humour and tend towards passive aggressiveness and surliness. If anyone (in work or outside) asks you how things are going, you tend to snap or answer in monosyllables.
  9. Family life is no longer what it once was. You come home late to watch TV and show little interest in your spouse and children. Friendships have withered on the vine and outside interests have been forgotten.
  10. You don’t hate your boss, but they’re moody and unpredictable. You never know whether they’ll like or hate a given piece of work.

So much can affect people both at work and away from the work environment in our non-work lives and relationships. Sometimes it sneaks up on us and other times it hits us between the eyes.

Third, the power of prayer, meditation and mindfulness.

Prayer can be a form of religious practice, may be either individual or communal and take place in public or in private. It may involve the use of words, song or complete silence. When language is used, prayer may take the form of a hymn, incantation, formal creedal statement, or a spontaneous utterance in the praying person. There are different forms of prayer such as petitionary prayer, prayers of supplication, thanksgiving, and praise. Prayer may be directed towards a deity, spirit, deceased person, or lofty idea, for the purpose of worshipping, requesting guidance, requesting assistance, confessing transgressions (sins) or to express one’s thoughts and emotions. Thus, people pray for many reasons such as personal benefit or for the sake of others.

Meditation is a practice in which an individual trains the mind or induces a mode of consciousness, either to realize some benefit or for the mind to simply acknowledge its content without becoming identified with that content,[1] or as an end in itself.[2]

The term meditation refers to a broad variety of practices that includes techniques designed to promote relaxation, build internal energy or life force (qi, ki, prana, etc.) and develop compassion,[3] love, patience, generosity and forgiveness. A particularly ambitious form of meditation aims at effortlessly sustained single-pointed concentration[4] meant to enable its practitioner to enjoy an indestructible sense of well-being while engaging in any life activity.

Mindfulness is the intentional, accepting and non-judgmental focus of one’s attention on the emotions, thoughts and sensations occurring in the present moment,[1] which can be trained by meditational practices that are described in detail in the Buddhist tradition.

The term “mindfulness” is derived from the Pali-term sati[2] which is an essential element of Buddhist practice, including vipassana, satipaṭṭhāna and anapanasati. It has been popularized in the West by Jon Kabat-Zinn with his mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program.[3] Mindfulness is also an attribute of consciousness long believed to promote well-being.[4] Large population-based surveys have indicated that the construct of mindfulness is strongly correlated with well-being and perceived health.[5][6] Studies have also shown that rumination and worry contribute to mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety,[7][8] and that mindfulness-based interventions are effective in the reduction of both rumination and worry.[9][7]           

I leave you with a prayer that is well known in different forms. The prayer is the Serenity Prayer by American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr[1][2] (1892–1971).

Use it as a prayer……meditate on it…..or in your desire to be more mindful….keep it in mind.

The most well-known form of the prayer attributed to Niebuhr is a late version, as it includes a reference to grace not found before 1951:[1]    

God, give me grace to accept with serenity                                                              The things that cannot be changed,                                                                    Courage to change the things                                                                                      Which should be changed,                                                                                                 And the Wisdom to distinguish                                                                                      The one from the other.                                                                                                   Living one day at a time,                                                                                            Enjoying one moment at a time,                                                                         Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,                                                       Taking, as Jesus did,                                                                                                                This sinful world as it is,                                                                                                        Not as I would have it,                                                                                                 Trusting that You will make all things right,                                                                  If I surrender to Your will,                                                                                                       So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,                                                        And supremely happy with You forever in the next.
Or you can use Calgon to get away and escape…….
Just saying…..