Episode 8: Can we change the system without changing ourselves? A Taoistic perspective with Darpan


October 2nd, 2020

1 hr 21 mins 33 secs

Season 1

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Special Guest

About this Episode

Many times on PGAP we have discussed how critical it is to live in a way that is Ecocentric rather than Anthropocentric. To decolonise our economies and societies so they are living within the laws of nature rather than trying to dominate the natural world.

So what needs to change and how to we facilitate this change? Do we rally against corporations, governments, capitalism and neoliberalism? Or do we need to stop changing the cruel churning world and work to shift our cruel churning minds caught in trauma, language, concepts and judgement? Can one even separate one without the other?

If my observations are correct, these distinctions have been crumbling in recent years. The political left are starting to realise that infighting over diminishing points of different has led to bitterness, resentment and burnout. Meanwhile not a lot has changed – the corporations still call the shots at the relentless expense of the natural world. Activists are looking for other ways. ‘Holistic Activism’, which advocates for collaboration, rather than conflict, is an example of one such movement.

Meanwhile, those in the ‘spirituality movement’ have started to become more politically engaged. (‘Spirituality’ being a - ha ha - broad church but for ease of reference I refer to those who engage in Taoism, Non-Duality, Shamanism and Neo-shamanism, Zen and Buddhism etc.) The response to COVID, particularly from the Victorian state government, has led to a new degree of activism within the community. Some of the same pitfalls that have befallen environmental activists, such as division and clashing over social media, have begun to emerge.

In this episode, I try to make a sense of recent events by talking to Darpan, a wise and incredibly experienced practitioner with decades of experience as a teacher, therapist, councillor, sound healer and facilitator of shamanic retreats. As an active person who has always struggled to sit still, I allow myself to be challenged on Darpan’s perspective that indeed, we CAN’T change the system without changing ourselves. Indeed, the universe is a vastly more complex place than our senses and minds can ever conceptualise - perhaps there is a astral world of spiritual events taking place whether our rationalistic brains like it or not.


For those coming in to here from a system change angle, some of Darpan’s perspectives may be challenging. For those coming here who are fans of Darpan, you may find MY questions to him and my perspectives at the end of the interview uncomfortable. This need not be a bad thing – let this be a test of different perspective coming together to find common ground. If anything, this is the one thing that may get us out of the mess we’re in.

During the Podcast I refer to Alan Watts - the video almost broke me! and the documentaries Esteem, My Octopus Teacher, and Living in the Time of Dying. In my own bias this is essential viewing.

We are also graced by a stunning, beautiful meditative track from Melbourne artist Belinda Wickens entitled ‘She Comes’. Thank you so much for being part of this Podcast Belinda.