On Saturday 21st January 2017, when 5 million people participated in 670 protests in 75 countries under the banner of The Women’s March, I sat still for six hours, looking into the eyes of a completely-unknown-to-me woman. And I’m glad I did, as I believe this act taught me more about unity and love than any march or protest would. 
 It was in a context of an event organized months ago by an organization that teaches a specific type of yoga that I’ve been practicing for more than two years. The meditation involved special breathing and other yogic techniques, which for the purpose of my message are irrelevant. The main thing is that I didn’t know anything about this woman, except what I could see with my eyes, but I had to trust her to sit close to her face-to-face for hours. 
 I wasn’t afraid of this intimacy with a stranger, as I’ve done similar meditations before (though not for so long) and have enough experience with the technical aspects. My partner has only began doing yoga two months ago, so I imagine it would have been more challenging for her. She was very courageous and strong though and has not given up breathing for a second or moved her eyes away from mine, even though I could see there were a couple of moments, when she looked like she was about to faint. 
 During a break I had a chance to get to know her a little bit: she was from a different country, different social class, had very different life experiences, dreams and problems, had political opinions diametrically opposite to mine and had a totally different way of thinking about life. It’s very likely that if we were to go on the streets to protest about something, we would end up ‘on different sides of the barricades’. 
 However, by the end of the meditation we saw in each other’s eyes – sameness, not difference, unity, not division and love, not hate. To arrive there, both of us were open enough to see and recognize a certain number of each other’s aspects as our own. I summarized them in this simple poem:

In your eyes 

I see fears, which are my fears

I see guilt, which is my guilt

I see shame, which is my shame

I see grief, which is my grief

I see lies, which are my lies

I see illusions, which are my illusions

I see attachments, which are my attachments

I see pain, which is my pain

I see suffering, which is my suffering
As I look on, 

I see strength, which is my strength

I see beauty, which is my beauty

I see power, which is my power

I see love, which is my love

I see truth, which is my truth

I see dreams, which are my dreams

I see awareness, which is my awareness 

I see joy, which is my joy

I see bliss, which is my bliss

Irrespective of our political-social-religious-intellectual identity, as humans we share the same spiritual-emotional dimension and it is there where we should be looking for unity, love and peace. Taking a stance against someone only on political grounds, does not work and divides humanity further. I’m speaking from the personal experience of having participated in a public political debate, which has helped to ‘raise awareness’ of some, but have, overall, added to the political divisions rather than helped to bridge them. 
 I totally agree with Charles Eisenstein, a thinker whom I’ve come across only a couple of weeks ago: Revolution is Love. But it should be genuine, all-inclusive, extending to the whole humanity (or society) and not only to those who have the same beliefs as us. Such love will not arise from writing the word on a placard and marching with it through the streets, even if it can help to highlight our strong need of it. It will only begin to emerge, if we go beyond our own political, social, religious and other identities and make an effort to think about or meditate on those whom we consider as The Other (enemy, opponent, stranger, etc) and recognize that underneath all the masks, we share with them the same human nature. And only from then on, we can begin to engage with them in a political dialogue and dream of an all-inclusive unity, love and peace. 
 There’s been a beautiful wide-spread display of love and respect, sentiment for justice and rights within one socio-political group. Now it’s time to think about how to extend it to all The Others without excluding them.


  “No other vice is so well designed to stunt the free development of a human being as that personal vanity which forces an individual to approach every event and every fellow with the query: ‘What do I get out of this?'”– Alfred Adler, Understanding Human Nature (1927)



If life is the expectation of a triumph,


A striving for recognition and success,


If every step is calculated for profit 


And ‘friends’ are there to serve your interests,


If semblance of things is more important than essence 


And the only concern is what the others think,


If you’ll do anything to gain more power


And often refer to yourself as an ambition fiend,


Then you can be sure that you are ruled by vanity,


Which comes to those struck by an inferiority complex;


Your sense of self is warped, you’ve lost touch with reality 


And the demands of nature have been put to rest.


Despite your energy, activity and go-getting 


You’ll never reach your cherished impossible goal –


To be better and above all other humans –


As real achievement comes to those who serve all.


But you have no genuine feeling for ordinary people:


You are more of a social user than a friend; 


Plus haughtiness can never be a drive of progress,


Even if you conceal it with a modest stand.


So you can stop your useless work and effort now


And instead of approbation seek what you’ve lost –


That thing, which your vice has stunted to the ground 


(Anyone who has experienced it is blessed). 


Your vanity has killed in you the freedom of spirit 


You are ruled by a single question – ‘What can I get?’ 


Such a restrained life has no merit 


One day it will bring out in you a deep regret.


It’s never too late to let your spirit soar 


To be free of having to become someone 


In freedom each moment is a triumph 


And you deserve love just as you are, alone.


Enjoy the flow of experience without dams, 


Build bridges to those ways of being yet unexplored;


Even if it won’t bring you power, world fame or riches, 


You’ll get an authentic fulfilled life – as a final reward.


Glittery Dogma, Laura Roxby @ Saatchi Gallery

You might be an Islamist who wants to deprive Christians of their right to life, a Christian who wants to deny gay people their right to have a family, a democrat who wants to steal from a developing country their right of self-determination, an atheist who wants to take away the right to religious freedom from the faithful. Or you could be someone who’s voting In and thinks that voting Leave is an abomination (or vice versa) and will abhor anyone who votes differently from you. It doesn’t matter WHAT beliefs you hold, it is HOW you hold them which matters and it is this HOW, which ironically unites you with all these other dogmatists, which you so desperately want to differentiate yourself from and fight.
If your “Truth” is so profound and universal, then why are you not holding it with beauty, grace, love and confidence? Why are you clenching it so tensely, aggressively, hatefully, fearfully and sometimes violently, unable to tolerate a different way of being in your vicinity and wanting to deny fundamental rights of anyone who challenges your hardened position? Are you yourself not convinced by the validity of your arguments and so you protect them from scrutiny by attacking? Is it that deep down your faith in the absolute truth of your beliefs is weak and you are scared that a different way of living will challenge and weaken this faith and perhaps destroy it completely? Or is it that your don’t even have a genuine faith in the first place and the true purpose of making your being a seat of dogma is to inflate your ego with self-righteousness, give yourself a justification for expressing your violent aspects of personality and provide a structure and direction to your Self, which is otherwise formless and lost?
Your innermost being seeks to know the Truth, to be right, to be special, to be recognized and to be loved. You share these deep desires with the whole of humanity, which expresses itself in multitude of ways, but still is one. Yet in your genius ignorance you decide that the best way of achieving what you dream of is to only hum your one little song, closing your ears to an abundance of music around you.
Upholding dogma may give you an illusory meaning, help you achieve power, wealth and popularity or just acceptance and recognition amidst your circles, however narrow or wide. Temporarily, you may feel victorious, while indulging in your sanctimoniousness, having denigrated or oppressed The Other, in words or deeds. However, in having chosen a path of dogmatism, you have narrowed down your understanding of a vast creation that surrounds you and you have lost the true quest of the soul, which is to grasp the limitless totality of human existence, the call of which you’ve silenced deep within you, condemning yourself to perpetual disappointment and dissatisfaction.
After Death, physical matter, which was once warm and soft, quickly turns cold and rigid before the stage of decay sets in. Dogmatism is rigidity of the mind and coldness of the heart, when you kill within yourself other possible ways of being. It’s a way of depriving yourself of experiencing Life in all its possibilities, of imposing conditions and limitations on unconditional love for humanity and for yourself as a part of it. It is a mini-death, solidification of a mind, which deep down craves full flexibility, necessary for the comprehension of universal consciousness or, simpler put, the complexity of the world. Not only you are limiting the experience of other humans through judgement, oppression, denigration or even elimination, you are also judging, oppressing, denigrating and eliminating a part of your Higher Self, which is connected to the whole of humanity.
Your sedimented dogmatic position is the hard shell of a crustacean, who underneath is weak and vulnerable to the natural blows of the external environment. Or do you simply lack courage, imagination and curiosity, so you keep yourself within your fortress of beliefs from which you throw arrows at anyone who dares to go beyond your confinement? Do yourself a favour and release yourself from your self-imposed prison. Stop straining those fingers, which have grown stiff and ugly, lay your truth to one side for one moment, explore what lies beyond your self-imposed cognitive shell, feel the fresh air of infinite possibilities and let your unconditional love for them enliven you, and just dream of what you can do with those beautiful hands when they are not clenching.

You may still choose to pick up the same package of beliefs, no one will take away from you what’s truly yours, but do not put a dogmatic wrap around it. See whether you can allow yourself a passionate commitment without use of pejoratives, without fear and aggression. Are you capable of contemplating a potential falsity of what you believe in? Are you able to engage in a dialogue with those who live, love, sleep, pray, vote differently? Please let the beauty of your beliefs, if they really are so brilliant, shine by holding them openly and fearlessly with respect for the Other and with love for humanity as a whole. Because it is this ability to respect others and question or just laugh at yourself, which will save you from joining the ranks of fundamentalists and extremists, who are destroying each other and everyone else in this fragile marvelous world.

What hope for us in a society                                           

where love is measured by retweets and likes, 

Where success is our main anxiety, 

While our leaders fund illegal airstrikes?


Each zeitgeist verges on insanity, 

Induced by advertising and TV;

Our awareness is curbed by vanity

and bliss is revealed in a shopping spree.


We dream of longevity and beauty 

In the midst of global warming and war

Yet each denies their personal duty,

Profit is our drive, so we consume more. 


Urgently we must protest with a “No!” – 

Without change we won’t have long to go. 


We zoom across an azoic landscape, 

Our Moses – an amazing Apple app; 

Our dreams hidden away on an iCloud, 

Our fervent footsteps traced on Google maps. 


The air is smoggy, we’re wearing gas masks,

Designed by an established luxury brand;

High dividend payments are our blessings, 

Our absolution is our bronze self tan. 


We are the only ones remaining here –

Heroes! The final winners of all wars!

No other beings will dare to interfere 

With our last apocalyptic encores.

‘Progressive Capitalism’ was our goal,

Our achievement – the destruction of all. 


I had a nightmare: 

Shaking ground

Unbearable heat 

Deafening sound 

I ran to hide 

Where’s the escape? 

A baby cried

We suffocate 

I saw my brother 

He was throwing shells 

There were no pearls 

They unleashed hell 

How could you do it?

Have you no soul? 

We are both made 

From the same soil

You stole my dreams 

I was called a thief 

In our fields of joy  

You dispersed grief 

I buried our father 

Black ravens croaked 

Our grey-haired mother

On tears choked 

We’re still in a dream 

There’s no way out 

My ears are used 

To the terrible sound 

Of screams 

Of explosions 

Of wails – 

All emotions 

O my brother!!

How can you do it?

Brother against brother

They’ve been through it 

You prayed to their gods

You’ve believed their lies 

Your heart filled with hate  

You wait for a prize 

How can you dream 

As your family dies

Of the blood-soaked gold 

Wake up! Humanity cries! 


It was an ideal British summer festival evening, courtesy of the most desirable star at any outdoors gathering in the Albion – the Sun (the celestial body not the tabloid paper). Though it had already jetted off from the festival grounds, el sol’s rare presence was still felt and seen everywhere – precious warmth was lingering in the air and splashes of crimson and gold turned the sky into an abstract painting you’d actually love having on your wall. Cocooned in the refined luxuries of one of the most middle class festival in Britain, if not the world, a mix of human content were aggregating politely around the main stage, where a hot new folkotronica band were blasting out their experimental sounds. Slightly away from all the action, my six-year-old son and I were sitting cross-legged on the grass, facing each other, while my husband and our 3 year-old daughter went off to get some food.

Having exposed our urbanite children to a day of telluric activities such as stone-carving, basket weaving and bow making, I felt quite satisfied with myself as a parent. Being more used to scooting alongside busy city streets inhaling exhaust fumes, it was a welcome change to see our children run around a quaint village fête environment. We pretty much gave up on trying to see any bands during the day, so that our kids could craft their hearts out and delight in organic ice-creams, while we praised their creative efforts and hovered nearby, away from all the musical fun, ready to attend to their whims. Sometimes being a parent feels like being someone’s slave, only instead of hating your master, you absolutely love them.  At the end of the day, all that was required from my son to continue feeding my self-image of a good parent doing the best for him is to just look happy. When you make sacrifices you need to know they are worth it. Unfortunately, to my disappointment my son’s expression was not as jolly as I would have expected it to be.

I was aware that he must have been quite tired after such a busy day, so I instantly attributed his slightly sad expression to that. I tried to engage him in some fun conversation, but N. wasn’t that responsive. He looked quite pensive and visibly more and more upset. I gave him a hug and asked him what he was thinking and feeling, I was slightly disappointed that he was in a grumpy mood after what we thought was an idyllic day, but such is one of the main laws of parenthood – the more you bend backwards to please your child, the more unsatisfied they seem to be. However, N. wasn’t being a spoilt brat about to throw a tantrum. Feeling stronger in my embrace, he got courage to start expressing his thoughts and this is the general gist of what came of out him:

“Mummy, why are humans so stupid? They are cutting trees, making too many cars, which pollute the air, and making animals extinct! And they are killing each other! They are making wars around the world! Like this we will become extinct too. Like dinosaurs. Why are humans doing it? Why? All humans care about is money and nothing else. They are so stupid. I hate humans.”

I wish I could have told him that he’s just tired and exaggerating and that everything is actually fine and is going to be even better as humanity continues on its glorious path of progress and that he should stop worrying about all of this and have a milkshake instead. For lack of an immediate decent intellectual response, I resorted to an emotional one: I gave him a tight squeeze and told him that I love him, my mind racing for what to say to a new being that I have brought into this completely mad even if beautiful reality.

“You are right, son. Humans are stupid. We are destroying our world, and not only polluting the air and cutting down the trees, which is leading to global warming, but also making our water and food toxic. Yes, we are making many animals extinct, sometimes through destroying their habitats, sometimes, because we like to kill animals for fun. Also we farm animals in cruel conditions often injecting hormones into them and feeding them with parts of themselves and then slaughter them for food, which is ultimately bad not only for the environment but also for us. As you can imagine eating our toxic food and drinking our toxic water and living in our polluted atmosphere is not making us that healthy, which is very convenient for the pharmaceutical industry that makes a lot of money out of our illnesses, feeding us chemicals, which suppress some symptoms but create other problems. Our knowledge of natural healing has practically been eliminated, as medicine, alongside other sciences, is now run by the funding of corporations, which operate within a philosophy of reality that views humans in a very limited way, as biological machines. Not that you get better philosophy taught at school, where education is a carefully-calibrated system of indoctrination, which works alongside media propaganda, to brainwash people and keep them blind to all injustices and hardships in the world. Governmental policy often reflects interests of a small group of people, whose power and wealth are increasing every year, generally at the expense of other people. In the meantime, the rampage for resources continues around the world. Wars are orchestrated on purpose, often using radical extremists within proxy armies, and these wars often kill millions of innocent civilians and force millions of others to migrate in hope for a better living. Movements that rise up to fight these malevolent global powers are demonised and dissolved. Leaders who attempt to address these injustices and crimes are instantly ostracised, ridiculed and vilified with the help of the lackey media. People who attempt to expose the shadow mechanisms of these powers are arrested or detained. And while all of this insanity is going on the majority of people are sleep-walking through their reality, spending most of their lives slaving away for this power structure in order to purchase a lot of unnecessary goods, the want for which is inculcated in them by incessant advertising, while in their spare time they entertain themselves on various screens, obsessing about celebrities and fictional worlds, thereby perpetrating the whole cycle of destruction with their inactivity and ignorance. So yes, son, you are right – humans are stupid and you are right for hating us.”

This is what I may have said to my son, if he wasn’t only a six year old and I didn’t think that already having war and destruction of the environment on his mind is too much for his growing consciousness. I don’t want him to turn into a misanthrope, to be angry and disillusioned. So far, aside from his occasional outburst such as this one, he is a jolly curious passionate character and I want him to continue being excited about life and to have hope. So instead of my hardened realist tirade, I continued hugging him and told him that even though I cannot know for sure, I hope that some humans are not so stupid or are smartening up and waking up and that there will be more and more of these people and that eventually humans will find a way of saving their world, and use their intelligence, emotional and spiritual resources, as well as technology, to clean up their environment, while starting to treat each other and the animals with care and respect. This idealistic response served the job of calming my son down and once my husband and my daughter re-joined us, the tears were dry and we managed to at least partially enjoy our evening within our privileged convivial atmosphere.

This was about nine months ago now, but I keep going back to that day, as a crucial moment in my life, when I felt the deep resonance of the question ‘What legacy will we leave for our children?’ on my own skin. While each emotionally and mentally adjusted parent will always strive to do the best for his/her child, in the context of a global crisis we are facing, it is not enough anymore to focus on the personal welfare (be that of a family or a small group like community or nation) without considering our collective interests as a species.

As this metaphorical festival memory will always remind me, technology has made sure that no paradise on this planet can be shielded from wider world problems. We cannot cocoon ourselves and our children from global issues, as our awareness of them has been expanding exponentially since the invention of the Internet and children get exposed to them at a younger and younger age. Even if we manage to block ourselves and our children off informationally, thereby decreasing the potentially negative psychological affects, we will still be exposed to the consequences of global problems, be that a threat of carcinogenic pollution or the risk of flooding due to global warming or a danger of a terrorist attack.

Our ignorance will not save us from global challenges, it will actually exacerbate the problems further as personal complacency translates to collective complacency, which is precisely what led us to the state that we are in. Driven by personal goals and interests, humans are causing havoc as a whole. Even though humanity has much to celebrate, especially in terms of its artistic, scientific, technological achievements, with all this fanfare we are actually self-destructing as a species, as well as putting other species and our planet under a huge risk.

While exposing the ill-doings of the current world power as well as fighting these powers through civic action, are extremely important elements on the path towards a just and peaceful world, they are not in themselves enough. The roots of the global crisis are deeply embedded in all of us – in our spirituality, philosophy and psychology, that are formed by our education and culture. Anyone who’s interested in changing the trajectory of human development from the destructive path must also look within and examine their own consciousness for memes which have a potential to lead to actions harmful to the wellbeing of all.

Collective interests of humanity are rarely considered during decision-making in the executive boardrooms or governmental headquarters. At best, figures of power act to reflect interests of small groups that sustain their welfare, i.e. shareholders, lobby groups, sponsors. Most of us, even without any power, are still tribal creatures, who prioritise and value our tribes (as long as it satisfies our needs and wants), even if it is done at the expense of the well-being of other tribes. In order to overcome our global crisis, we need to start shifting towards a more transcendental consciousness, where we place our allegiances with humanity at large, rather than with individual groups of our favoured nationality, religion, race, class, etc. This is not a fanciful idealistic position, it’s actually a highly realist pragmatic stance, which we need to adopt, if we want to survive as a species.

Moral relativists argue that we cannot have universal moral truths on which we can all agree, as all ideas of good and evil are relative to social, cultural, historical or personal circumstances. In the context of the current global crisis, surely all humans could agree on one good: saving our planet and our species. However, genuine change is not going to happen overnight, it can take generations. The complexity of the global crisis and the long-term time span of a possible solution can prevent many from wanting to engage in pressing global issues. After all, why give up on our own lives, especially if they happen to be in the first world, for the sake of something, which might or might not happen after we are gone? With good luck, the Earth will still exist by the time our grandchildren grow up, even if it’s going to be more polluted, and there will be fewer varieties of living beings. Why give up on one’s own pursuit of happiness and success, the values which western culture encourages in us above all others, for the sake of abstract seemingly-unachievable universal good?

A prominent US positive psychologist Mihaly Csiksentmihalyi, who dedicated his life to promoting individual happiness via his concept of flow (a highly focused mental creative state), at the peak of his career has argued that “only active and conscious participation in the evolutionary process of humanity can fill our life with meaning and joy”, implying that anyone who’s searching for one’s own individual happiness without taking into account collective human destiny is bound to be disappointed, forever accompanied by a hidden sense of dissatisfaction. He also argued that alongside addressing injustices, fighting oppression, exploitations and inequalities, human beings should work on evolving their own consciousness.

Our genes, culture and personal psychology create a bias in our perception of reality and often make us act in ways, which are harmful to ourselves and others. Once we are able to transcend our own personal immediate interests, dictated to us by genes and memes, and start identifying with the humanity at large, only then we can hope for resolution of world problems. Working on one’s own consciousness, be that through yoga, meditation, reflection, study, self-analysis, etc. can help us weed out parasitic memes. Clear thinking, developing intuition, empathy, wisdom as well as maintaining our creativity will help us create an Evolutionary Self, which will be aligned with our goal of survival on planet Earth.

Once we accept that internalising global issues is not an idealistic stance, but an integral part of our happiness as evolving human beings, which in turn is the necessary aspect of our survival as a species, then we can start dedicating more of our time to raising our own level of awareness about pressing issues, supporting the causes close to our heart, and most importantly thinking very carefully, which leaders we elect.

Questioning and reviewing our own political beliefs is one of the most important steps towards change. (try this political quiz here) Instead of being passive receptors of political memes from our family and culture, we can make a conscious effort to re-educate ourselves on the matters we care about, read radical thinkers and alternative media sources, and then discuss our thoughts with other humans, preferably from a different social/economic/racial/cultural/national group. Today we need cross-everything dialogue, which will expand our awareness, as much as we need socio-political reforms and personal development. The internet and social media can be a source of distraction and procrastination, but also can be an incredible tool for connecting and engaging with other humans from all over the planet.

Expanding one’s own consciousness can only benefit us if we all participate in forming our online collective global consciousness to the best of our abilities, then apply what we learn from it to the real world. All of this is already happening in the digital world (I didn’t lie when I told my then six year old son that some people are waking up and searching for ways to solve global issues), it’s all about whether there will be enough of us within the right time frame with the right knowledge and skills that can make all the difference. If you are not part of this yet, then consider getting involved now. As some modern psychologists have realised, it could be the missing ingredient in our failing happiness project.


A couple of months ago a friend invited me to join the Development Council of a fantastic West London institution that is The Bush Theatre. At that point I had not been to the theatre for almost one year, having been entirely consumed by political journalism into which I was dragged into by the burning need to write about the war in my country, which then led me to other topics like energy wars or media bias and propaganda. In fact, since the beginning of the Ukrainian conflict I have hardly watched or read any fiction at all, as it felt quite pale and irrelevant in comparison to what was going on in the world. So my initial reaction to the invitation was to accept out of respect for my past love for the Bush, but I didn’t have big expectations, knowing nothing about the play, only that it has a catchy title with the F-word in it – F*ck the Polar Bears.

I believe we are often late for things we are not sure of or have an internal conflict about. I was late for the evening, even though I did catch the second half of an enthusiastic introduction speech. Read-throughs are always slightly patchy experiences, as the actors are unfamiliar with the material and the writer still hasn’t polished the play. So I eased in for an hour or so of light under-rehearsed entertainment, which I expected would not move me much. I don’t know why I was so presumptuous, perhaps I’ve been too moved by the events in the real world to care much about anything in fiction. However, against my biased negative expectations, within the first fifteen minutes I started becoming quite hooked.

Basically the play was about a dysfunctional couple – an executive husband, who’s just received a promotion but is having a psychotic episode and a stay-at-home neurotic mother, who’s lost her identity and tries to re-invent herself as a yoga-pilates teacher. Both are trying to get the house of their dreams and to find their daughter’s lost polar bear toy, while dealing with a series of disasters in their current home, a recovering drug addict relative and an environmentally-consious nanny from Iceland, whose activism involves making sure recycling is put into the right bin and the tumble dryer is not used unnecessarily.

The play immediately struck me as extremely well-observed, tightly written, funny and touching. However, most importantly, it was about the issue which I have delved into during the last year and which I consider one of the most important concerns of our day – fracking. (Fracking is the process of drilling and injecting fluid into the ground at high pressure in order to fracture shale rocks to release natural gas inside.)

More specifically, the play was about an energy law, conveniently hidden within the Infrastructure Bill, which was implemented by the UK coalition government on 12th February 2015 and which essentially makes it easier for oil and gas companies to drill under private land. As Green Party MP, Caroline Lucas said, the way the law was drafted ‘made mockery of public concerns about fracking and the democratic process.’

Aside from undermining democracy, the Fracking Bill puts British citizens’ health at risk, it carries the following risks:

• Extra CO2 Emissions: Each gas well requires an average of 400 tanker trucks to carry water and supplies to and from the site.
• High Water Usage: It takes 1-8 million gallons of water to complete each fracturing job.
• Many Chemicals Used: The water brought in is mixed with sand and chemicals to create fracking fluid.Approximately 40,000 gallons of 600 chemicals are used per fracturing, amongst which are known carcinogens:
• Dangerous Carcinogens: lead, uranium, mercury, ethylene glycol, radium, methanol, hydrochloric acid, formaldehyde.
• Water Contamination: During the shale fracturing, methane gas and toxic chemicals leak out from the system and contaminate nearby groundwater. (Methane concentrations are 17 x higher in drinking-water wells near fracturing sites than in normal wells.)
• Health Risks: Contaminated well water is used for drinking water for nearby cities and towns. There have been over 1,000 documented cases of water contamination next to areas of gas drilling as well as cases of sensory, respiratory, and neurological damage due to ingested contaminated water.
• Left Behind: Only 30-50% of the fracturing fluid is recovered, the rest of the toxic fluid is left in the ground and is not biodegradable.
• Atmosphere pollution: The waste fluid is left in open air pits to evaporate, releasing harmful VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) into the atmosphere, creating contaminated air, acid rain, and ground level ozone.
• Summary: In the end, hydraulic fracking produces approximately300,000 barrels of natural gas a day, but at the cost of numerous environmental, safety, and health hazards.

The play itself doesn’t go into so much technical detail, as Tanya Ronder wanted to do something different from what Katie Mitchell did in 2017 at the Royal Court, which was “literally a scientist on stage giving a lecture about it”, but F*ck the Polar Bears has moments, which give a perfect summary of why the dangers of fracking are ignored both by the government and the media:

“SERENA: I take it this law is bad for global warming?


SERENA: Why’s the Government doing it?

GORDON: Money. Shale’s abundant and from British soil… And all their pensions are invested in fossil fuels.

SERENA: Bludndhilde might tell the papers.

GORDON: Well, it’s their pensions too.”

By the end of the play my faith in theatre had been reinvigorated and I totally loved the writer and so when during the post-show drinks the Artistic Director Madani Younis introduced me to the playwright Tanya Ronder, I was instantly drawn to talking with her. Aside from covering the usual female topics such as child rearing and the struggles of parents who are writers or actors, Tanya shared with me her inspirations for writing this play and her process.

First of all, as any normal human would, Tanya considers global warming to be THE issue that our world faces today. However, being a playwright, she didn’t just write a journalistic account of the issue, she needed to put into into the context of human relationships and drama.

She got inspiration for setting it inside the household of one of the gas executives involved in implementing the bill, when she saw a photograph of one of them in a paper, alongside the information on his bonus for that year. As soon as she became conscious of anger and bile rising in her, she decided to challenge herself to go inside his mind, to understand his concerns and ambitions. All in the context that we can relate to – home.

Even though Gordon’s house is more luxurious than majority of other people’s, his emotional drives are familiar to all – wanting to provide a cosy beautiful home for his family, just at a more exaggerated level than most would hope for – with a personal jetty to the river. Humanising people, who are responsible for ruining our future is no small task, but Tanya does it in a believable way, creating a balance between being repelled by and sympathetic towards these people, who are in charge of making these dangerous for the planet decision, but who are still human nonetheless.

Tanya’s main information sources for writing the play were Naomi Klein’s ‘This Changes Everything’ and  George Monbiot’s ‘The Age of Loneliness is Killing Us’, and Tanya thoroughly recommends to read both of these. However, she also did a series of interviews, including one with the British Gas official who told her he had never met a climate change denier in his 15 years of working for the company. This was a surprise, as one would assume that these people would not do what they are doing, if they knew the consequences of their actions. Thus, Tanya reveals the destructive side of human nature – we will carry on doing things, even when we know them to be bad for us.

It is difficult to relay all the interesting information that Tanya has shared with me, but the best thing I would recommend is to go and see the play itself, which is at the Bush Theatre until 24th October. I’ve been to see it three times since then, each time bringing friends along.

The acting is just as excellent as the writing: the leading actress Susan Staley was in LAMDA at the same time as me – she was great back then, but she is brilliant now. Andrew Whipp playing the gas devil is utterly captivating during his breakdown, Jon Foster playing Clarence is a beam of light and humour and Icelandic Salome R Gunnarsdottir is quirky and likeable. The set is equally impressive –  sleek and sexy living room with a rotating environentally-sustainable wood platform, all resting on black laquer floor that looks like oil.

It’s one of these plays, which will definitely stay with you. The last three friends I brought along, couldn’t leave their seats, as they were so struck by what they had seen. (So it’s not just me and my interest in the fracking issue).

Finally, as with all people I find interesting and admirable, I can’t stop talking to Tanya, who kindly answered my more specific questions about the play via email. I’m re-printing her words below, which I hope you will find as relevant and poignant as I do.

Please explain your thinking behind Gordon’s mental breakdown.

Part of the thinking behind Gordon and his psychosis was the belief that people do not get away with it on a personal level.  Of course, the baddies largely run the world, but I mean in the way you can see in that extraordinary documentary, THE ACT OF KILLING, where the horrific, violent past of the protagonist lives on in him.  Haunts him.

Another stimulus was the River God in SPIRITED AWAY – so filled with detritus that he was unrecognizable as a god.  Until the river of rubbish poured out of him and revealed his true nature.

There was also a link between our actions and our environment that I was trying to explore.  When we are tense, our physical surrounding responds; things go wrong, disappear, fuck up, always at the height of our crisis.  Building on this, I liked to play with the belief that the world fights back, will not let us get away with it cost-free.

What about deciding to make Gordon’s brother Clarence a drug addict and a drop out?

As somebody who is following the 12 step programme, Clarence is taking account of his actions, trying, in an ongoing way, to make amends for the damage he caused.  For me, we should all be doing this for our destructive  footprint on the world.

Has writing this play changed your own consciousness in relation to any of the issues explored in the play?

I think the biggest lesson in the research for me was understanding that we cannot move forwards on these issues until we stop putting making more & more money as our priority.

What do you hope the audience would take from your play?

I hope that people might come away thinking more about what they can personally do, i.e. see that we are each the adult  – beyond a certain age, none of us are children – and as adults, we make decisions for the greater good, not for the gratification of our personal greed.  It’s hard to be adult.  I hope audiences might perhaps feel their adulthood more acutely.

What, in your personal opinion, is the role of the playwright in society?

I don’t know about the role of the playwright.  I’ve felt small and inadequate in trying to say what I believe in this tiny arena & don’t, in all honesty, feel optimistic about what I’ve acheived. I think Naomi Klein and the Pope are doing better 🙂  I am reviewing what I feel I can acheive through writing plays.  I’m going to try writing for TV for a while to see if that feels more potent.  Or not.  I will report back!


  It’s been a year since I started this blog. It’s been a year of pain and tears, anger and wrath, despair and fear, lost countries and gained cities, lost friendships and new friendships, death and birth, love and compassion. It’s been a year since my rose-hued (though already stained) worldview crashed, a year of facing the bare harsh reality of the way things work in this beautiful cruel world, a year of peeling off my treasured illusions, one by one. My comforting illusions about living in a morally-superior, humanist liberal society, which respects and cares for human lives around the world. My treasured illusions, which I would still cling to if I could, but which do not stick to me anymore. Almost ironic: living in a market economy, where all imaginable products are on offer, yet there is no glue, which would stick these false comforting beliefs on me anymore. False beliefs, which were growing out of me so easily and so willingly before.

I admit I’ve already had one eye-opening moment in my life (didn’t we all?) – when I protested on the streets, alongside hundreds of thousands of other citizens, against the war in Iraq, but this country, to which I swore my allegiance before God, went into the illegal war anyway, a war which cost millions of innocent lives, a war that no one ever repented for. War criminals lecturing and prospering, warmongers still writing and publishing – blossoming careers everywhere you look. I felt physically sick and disorientated then and devoured Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, George Monbiot and whoever else was critical of the current world order and was selling in the politics section of LSE bookshop. I was reading to make sense of events, to see the bigger picture, to orientate myself in the world and to know where to go next. And the conclusion I came to then after all this reading, after all this education? To escape. Escape from this horrible real world into the world of fiction, because I wasn’t strong enough to live with this brutal reality, to continue making sense of it, to continue tolerating it and interacting with it, to continue being aware of the blood on the hands that feed me and comfort me.

Entertainment. In the world of entertainment it is very easy to be…well, entertained. Even if somewhere far away drones are falling on people’s homes, you are in this cosy cocoon, feeling relaxed and cool. Things around you look good (carefully designed and built by set designers), people are beautiful (thank you, make-up and hair artists), words flowing are witty and/or meaningful (writers, you are the best). It’s all pleasant, enjoyable and fun, just as it is enjoyable and fun for the audience, and so it is easy to forget and ignore. My achievement over the last few years is that I’ve managed several times to participate in the distraction of a few million people from the brutal reality of wars and poverty and injustice. Distracting myself by distracting others. Entertaining while being entertained. And being recognised and admired and pampered for it (when you get to do it). During those years of forgetting, I’d probably spend far longer hours at my psychotherapist’s room, if IT Crowd, The Mighty Boosh and *shameless plug alert* Peep Show didn’t exist. On the whole it’s much cheaper and easier to just laugh things off, than to really look at them critically and begin thinking about how to change them. In fact, distracting people from things that must be changed is the key to maintaining a status quo. Just look at the wages that Hollywood stars get paid to get an idea how much the market values distraction. Distraction is the glue that holds this society together. If not for proper distraction, quality entertainment, we would all be on the streets rioting. That’s it! Now I’ve got it. I can’t be distracted anymore. I was able to before, but now I can’t.

You might not be interested in politics, but politics is always interested in you. For a few years I could easily ignore news , not buy papers and scroll down past political posts of friends, because they didn’t directly concern me and because they were regarding events far away – Middle East, Africa, Asia. Places where human rights are not respected, places that are less developed and more corrupt and, therefore, where wars are inevitable and where democracy must be enforced by more developed peoples like ourselves. Right? Something like that. All you need to live comfortably in a world, where atrocities are initiated, supported or ignored by our governments is just a vague narrative in your head, supported by a few NYTimes/Guardian/Times/Independent/ articles and constant flow of BBC/CNN propaganda about corruption of some dictator somewhere, who (unlike our own benevolent leaders) is hungry for power and wealth, is envious of our good fortune, prosperity and liberated morals and who is actively plotting to annihilate or invade us. The moment this narrative is embedded in our heads and is not questioned by us, the rest of the world can burn down in ashes and all we’ll feel is either indifference or a sense that, even if it looks a bit gory and messy, ultimately it’s for the best, that is for our own personal best, just like our papers tell us. Isn’t this the mindset of the majority of people? Wasn’t this my mindset before?

My maternal grandmother used to say: “There was no Truth, there is no Truth and there will be no Truth and so never endeavour to search for it”. She also dreamt of being an actress. One could think that I unconsciously assimilated her beliefs and desires in the first years of my life, while she was still alive and looking after me, and that this ancestral drive was ultimately stronger than my own personal inner drive, which was to search for the Truth, the drive that led me to start a Philosophy Society in Brighton College (sounds grander than it was – it was just a couple of geeky discussions) and then study it at undergraduate and postgraduate levels at LSE.  At some stage this ancestral drive kicked in, a valve switched in my head and I decided that I had enough of searching for the Truth (in the context of my masters it was the truth about sovereignty, rights, justice and morals), because it didn’t exist, just like my grandmother always said, and instead I went into the world, where Truth is more fluid and one month you can dwell into one Truth and next month, with a new project, into another Truth.

I remember often re-reading these lines in Dostoevsky’s “Notes from the Underground”: “all plain men and men of action are active only because they are dull-witted and mentally undeveloped. How is that to be explained? Why, like this: owing to their arrested mental development they mistake the nearest and secondary causes for primary causes and in this way persuade themselves much more easily and quickly than other people that they have found a firm basis for whatever business they have in hand and, as a result, they are no longer worried, and that is really the main thing. For start being active you must first of all be completely composed in mind and never be in doubt. But how can I, for instance, compose myself? Where am I to find the primary causes to lean against? Where am I to get the basis from? I am constantly exercising my powers of thought and, consequently, every primary cause with me at once draws another one after itself, one still more primary, and so ad infinitum.”

I related to these words in so far as I, like an Underground Man, was unable to pursue any activity in the real world, because I could not sufficiently believe in any activity, because as a thinking person, my mind always found reasons for doubting the rightness of any line of action. This intellectual position of inactivity worked very well with being in a profession, where ultimately I was told what to act. I did not have to commit to any line of action in the real world, yet, unlike the Underground Man, who was isolated from society, I was able to be part of society by acting in a pretend world and being ‘actively inactive’ (not all actors are, many combine their careers with other jobs and activism, but I wasn’t one of those people then).

First they came for Iraqis, and I did not speak out— Because I was not an Iraqi.

Then they came for Libyans, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Lybian.

Then they came for the Syrians, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Syrian.

Then they came for …. East Ukrainians and….

Never in my wildest nightmares have I imagined that the land that I was born in will be bombed and shelled with the support of the West. (Britain begins training Ukrainian soldiers, US increasing non-lethal military aid in Ukraine) I’m now deeply ashamed to admit that I’d probably continue being apolitical had this Ukrainian horror not started. One year ago, on 2nd of June 2014, the Ukrainian Air Force struck central Lugansk (an event which was ignored and misrepresented in western media) killing completely innocent passerbys, mostly women, amongst them Inna Kukuruza, who’s death, captured on mobile phone camera and circulated on the internet on the same day, has struck me to the core and prompted me to start writing this blog, which was just my way to order my thoughts about the events that were unfolding. It was me getting back to searching for the Truth.

I discovered for myself that BBC, which I used to have high trust in, is as biased and propagandistic, if not more so, as many other state medias around the world, that the Ukrainian War, is related to US Energy War, that the Ukrainian government’s tactics of justifying, promoting and starting the ‘anti-terrorist operation’ are similar to the way other countries have initiated and promoted genocide in the past, that international humanitarian organisations are biased and sponsored by warmongers (Human Rights Watch connection to Soros). I also tried to make sense of why East Ukrainian victims are ignored and officially complained to the BBC  for misrepresenting events and received a polite reply, which ultimately changed nothing. Finally, I (very roughly) outlined for how the system works, what’s the problem with the people running them and what is the alternative way of being and resisting.

This was all a personal intellectual endeavour, which helped me to order my own thoughts and calm down my pain and grief. At some stage this blog had over 10,000 views per article and thanks to it, I dipped my toes into the world of journalism with my pieces published in BNE, Russia Insider, New Cold War, Signs of the Times, Global Research Centre for Research on Globalization and OpedNews. I’ve never accepted any payment for any of my work, even when it was offered, and I declined work for any media, which is state-funded. I am very grateful to everyone who’s been reading this blog and supported me and who found it an inspiration to write their own blogs and to join in the international debate. I’ll continue searching for the Truth (even though I’ve paused writing for a while to deal with the illness and death of my father) as an independent thinker and will proudly continue doing what one media expert said of me as a criticism – “to wear my heart on my sleeve”.

On a cold grey London day, when the white thick clouds guard the Sun and melancholy looms in the air, threatening to penetrate into and capture sensitive minds, my own rebelling mind eagerly escapes far away into the past: Kerala, India, 2001.

And as I find myself on the Kovalum beach, my toes dug into soft white sand and the back burning from the scorching Sun, I turn my face not towards the Indian Ocean, to whom I owe much for once dissolving all my accumulated teenage anguish and pain, nor do I turn my gaze towards the Sun, the Burning Giant, to whom I’m also eternally indebted for reviving me many countless times, but I look towards the small fragile figures, hovering by the path, that runs along the coast. It’s in these figures – children of around the same age as my kids – that I seek my salvation on this gloomy morning.

And I’m not drawing out a metaphor, which calls for rejection of pantheism in favor of humanism. No, I openly state that in my life I’d like to make room for both – to find a balance between adoration and love for nature and for humans, and seek the gifts of both reason and of faith. No, what I’m searching for on this Kovalum beach is not an escape amidst abundant nature, which I often miss when in London, but for a particular quality of humanness, way of being, that I’m lacking myself and I believe most of us are lacking.

Looking at these little children, selling Indian handcrafts, produced locally by a company owned by a German millionaire, the capitalist mind, that divides the world into consumers and producers, haves and have-nots with all the associated figures, sees these young souls as an embodiment of nothing but cheap labour: they come from nothing, they have nothing and its this very same nothing that awaits them in the future.

Yet they are shining with the inner glow that you will rarely see in children of a rich megapolis like London – the Sun, brighter than the one in the sky, emanates from their open big bright smiles. In those smiles reflects the sheer joy of being alive, of being and of coming into contact with other beings. They greet you with the utmost openness, that I’ve never seen city kids capable of. Is it Indian friendly culture? Side effect of being brought up in the only socialist state of India, where 99% are literate and there’s basic equality?  Or is it the innocence of childhood unmarked by urban transgressions? Or just a simple fact of growing up close to the elements, the very same ones to which I’m turning my back now? Or combination of all these factors? Who knows. The fact is that their smiles for me are the representation of what we have lost in the West – joy of being, irrespective of what we have, and love and openness towards one another.

These children are now in their late teens and early twenties. Perhaps their brows are marked by adult worries. Perhaps, as one fisherman shared with me back then, as most kids from his picturesque Indian village, they eventually became too concerned with getting money to buy the latest phone or whatever other gadget is trendy in India now, and so they are not happy anymore with whatever little they have. Still. Standing on this shore of 2001, meditating on their happiness of that moment and learning from it, feels like a privilege. I send all my blessings to these beautiful beings wherever they are now, hoping that their inner Suns have not dimmed. And today, despite of whatever satisfaction I may have with the weather, natural or political, I will attempt to share some of their light, which glows brightly from the past all the way into the now, even if it will only be one open smile directed at a passerby, regardless of what party they voted for.