EP21 – The Three Cultural Poisons and Coronavirus Covid-19

I’m Steven Webb your host of Living Deeper Lives. And this is no ordinary podcast, it’s an awesome podcast. I cannot do a podcast without talking about what’s happening in the world right now, with the experience of Facebook and our people. And I want to talk about the three cultural poisons, and how it fits in and how we can, perhaps, turn this around to some kind of gift to ourselves. First I just want to say you know, hope you’re staying safe. Hope you’re doing what you can and what an absolute shitstorm this is.

I’m paralyzed in my chest muscles, I cannot breathe through any of my chest muscles, I breathe through my diaphragm mainly. I do have a problem with heart palpitations, I take tablets for it,. I’m asthmatic and I’m diabetic; these puts me in serious line of fire for this virus, the virus is going to love me. So, I take a deep breath and like others, I’m washing my hands, I’m doing everything I can, and I’m isolating myself. I’m not panicking, well, a little bit panicking, I’m feeling overwhelmed, I’m feeling tired, I cannot stop thinking about it. 

A few months ago, I was thinking maybe I’ll have a heart attack, maybe I won’t be healthy because I don’t eat all that healthy. Now, all that’s gone out the window and I’m thinking this might get me. And I’m a pretty positive thinker, all my life, I’m sure, and I don’t think anybody would say I was a negative thinker. And if you listen to my podcasts, we do live videos or my blogs. But this is quite serious, and I don’t know quite how it’s going to pan out. I’m not an expert, and what is refreshing to see, is so many countries come together, so many leaders in companies that are changing the way they do things. And I think it’s going to be over the next few months, some companies are really going to win where they don’t exploit the people, but they change what they’re doing in order to help people and real leadership, it’s not going to be about making money. It’s going to be about looking after each other, seeing what you can do to keep your workforce busy, seeing what you can do to stay afloat, how you can help in your community. 

It’s not going to be about oh, well we’re going to go under and we’re going to suffer, we need a bailout from the government. And exactly the same with government, the government that really do put the people first and their economy second. I know the economy is important, but because we’re all in this together, we’re all dropping down the ladder of the economy. It’s not like one country’s dropping down, and all the others are going up. So, it’s one of those things, it’s a level playing field, let’s all help each other out, let’s try to help the people out as much as possible. And then we’ve also got the situation of, do we really panic and close everything down and risk the economy and then having it wrong, and then it doesn’t end up as bad is what they say it might do? 

Well, I would rather have that, than I would have it the other way where we gamble. Because the thing is, you can always recover an economy. You cannot recover a loved one; once they’re gone, they’re gone, we can’t go saying, “Oops, we made a mistake.” And, I think that’s the case, and I want to talk about the three cultural poisons. And the three cultural poisons are:

  • Denial
  • Cynicism
  • Hypocrisy. 

I’m going to address each one in order, but first I want to say that this could be a gift, it is here already, you don’t know, you’re going to have this isolation for how long, you might be one of the ones that have to go to work. And if you are, thank you, my heart opens to you, and if there’s any way I can support you, please let me know. And at the end of this podcast, I’m going to tell you what I’m going to do to help people in isolation and you could all sign up and it will be free. You can choose to pay for it or not, but I’m opening up then you choose how much you want to pay for it.

It’s not going to be easy for people two or three weeks, let alone 8,10 weeks in isolation, not seeing each other, we’ve never known anything like that. And even with all the modern technology and Skype and Zoom, and all the other things, we’ve got an abundance of things. We’ve got more music we can ever listen to, more movies, or TV series, we’ve got so much that we can do to entertain ourselves, it doesn’t matter because it’s relative. If you gave somebody, 100 years ago, all these things, they would be fine, but we’ve grown up with these things, so, therefore, they’re nothing special. 

So, isolation, to us, even with all these things, is not going to be easy, it’s going to be really hard. We are used to freedom, we are used to going where we want when we like, we’re not used to being isolated and such like. So, don’t think it’s going to be blessed, because we can talk to our loved ones on Skype. It really is not going to be blessed, it’s going to be bloody lonely, it’s going to be tough, and it’s going to be a long, long time. Each day is going to seem like a week, but what I want to talk about, you can really take advantage of this. Get some books, use them for personal growth.

When I broke my neck, when I was 18, initially, the first two weeks was intensive care. And then after that, I had about six months in bed flat on my back, and I was about 20 feet away from the nurse’s station. So, I would see the other patients coming and going, they were just a few months ahead of me on their rehab. And I was lying flat on my back and every 12 hours or eight hours or something, I’d be turned one way and then turn the other way. The only entertainment I had was the TV, a little portable TV. I looked at it through a mirror above me, because I could not turn my head because my head was attached to four pins that went to my skull on a rope, that dangled off the top of the bed with 15 pounds of weight on top to keep my neck stretched out straight and to stop me moving. And trust me, if I try moving it, it really hurt. So, I didn’t.

It was on the chance that if they stretch the neck out enough, maybe the spinal cord, the swelling might go down, and I might get some feeling of movement back. I did, I got my arms back. I can move my arms, but my hands are still paralyzed, my wrists are very weak. But I had this time in bed where they would come wash me every morning, about half a state I think. And then they would come and do me dinner, and my family would come and stay, and friends would come up and stay. But I had a lot of time to think, I had a lot of timeout, and I think, really that was a gift. If I broke my neck and immediately a couple of weeks later, went loose in a wheelchair to come home, I would not have had the mentality or the mindset to deal with it the way I do. 

So, taking time out. What can we do with this timeout? Read some books, choose a book a week, if you spend an hour a day reading, you could read a book a week. Most books are about five hours read, and I’m dyslexic, I really struggled to read and I can read now, but in most weeks, I’ve just got to be disciplined enough to do it. And there’s normally way too much going on not to do it or to be distracted. So, we’ve got this perfect opportunity. You can go for a walk, don’t hesitate on your walks. Don’t have any contact with people, any more than a hi across the road; of course, check with authorities just in case you’re not allowed to do that. But as far as I know, isolation does not mean actually staying in your room, unless you have the Coronavirus, and that’s a little bit different. 

Check with your local health team to what you’re allowed to do. But exercise, get fit, treat it as your time in the monastery. You know in a monastery they get out of bed at like four o’clock in the morning, it’s optional. You can get out of bed earlier if you want, you sleep on a hard bed, you sit in meditation for hours and hours a day in complete silence. You just walk in complete silence, you have to read, you have to do all these things. And it helps us to grow, and open spiritually, but I want to just end on what I’ve seen recently. And I take a deep humble breath, really on this part, because this will show humans for what we are, our core values, well not so much our core values, but the level of which we are currently at. And these levels go from my life, slightly fantasy thinking which young child to absolutely be in control. 

I want to control the world, I have all the answers, I am right for my country. You know, you’ll recognize that and a couple of leaders at the moment, have recognized that and some of your friends especially some narcissists. And then you have the religion and things like that where you believe, and it’s your group, then, me and my group, me and my house, we have angels, the religious groups and such like, the mafia, Can I put the mafia and a religious group in together? I’m not saying they are the same, but it’s the same thinking in the way of me and my group, gangs. My group have the answers, my group, my culture, it’s where I fit in. I lay down my life for my group. Then you have more of a bigger picture where you love the world and the world is your group, and everybody’s part of this. And I think this Coronavirus, this COVID-19 outbreak will really show us where we stand as individuals and as groups and as businesses. 


So, you’ll have the three cultural poisons, you’ve got denial, which is the first one, the environment is fine, or businesses in this denial. But, we’ll be alright, we don’t have to worry about that, we don’t have to adapt, for they won’t be around in a few months’ time. They’re the ones that just won’t survive, but then as an individual basis, you know, these are the people that oh, it’s just the flu. Don’t worry about it, it happens every year, we don’t have to do anything about it. I’ve got news for them; the world economies don’t lose $3 trillion for just another flu. It is way more than that, you don’t have to be a mathematician, you just have to look at the flu kills 9.1% in the Western world, because of hospital care and vaccinations. It does kill a lot more in third world countries granted, and it kills thousands every year. Yes, but we know about it, it’s something that I take a vaccination for every year, it’s something that I don’t panic about every year because of that. And it’s something that my doctors and everybody knows kind of how to treat. This is different to that. 

So, it’s not the environment, it’s fine. Get out of your denial, move out of that, because that won’t do us any good. In actual fact, it does it worse because you’re probably making the problem worse. “Oh, everything’s fine. I’m going to go to the pub tonight. I’m going to go and meet some of my friends, I’m going to go and have a party, I’m going to go and do other things.” Get out of that one.


Then cynicism. What can I, one person does? Well, I recognize that I really do, and I speak about this on another podcast, I did my camera podcast three or four.  What can I do? One person, you can do a lot, and yes, it does start at arm’s length. Wash your damn hands, don’t be an ego trip about it, don’t be, “Oh, well, I’m clean, anyway, I’ll just do it for 10 seconds.” It doesn’t matter. The point is, wash your fucking hands for Christ’s sake. You don’t know who quite you might pass that on to, you don’t know what point you’re stopping. And you could be the one that touches the one object that the one vulnerable person may touch, or the person that’s going to the vulnerable person next touches it. And you may never know what comes to suffer, what paralyzed what diabetic, what elderly grandma, grandpa that you’ve just passed it on to because you’re too damn stubborn to wash your hands. 

But what can you do as one person? Oh, you can do it all, you can do an awful lot. You can phone friends and say, “Do you need anything? Can I go and get shopping for you and leave it on their doorstep?” You know, this time, give it another six weeks or so people are going to need their grass mowed. They’re going to need shopping picked up, they’re going to need just maybe even the older generation would like to get that car started, every couple of months, maybe you could offer to them. I don’t know, that’s probably a bad idea, they’ll probably think you are neonic or something. No TV right now, write out your plan before you start your podcast, especially on big subjects. But yeah, there’s so many things you can do.

There’s a girl called Emma and Emma has done a little card that you can find online. And it just says, “Hey, I’m so and so. And my number is, I can do this, this and this for you.” There are things that you can do. This is going to show us who we really are. And there’s plenty you can do as one person and even just isolating yourself and staying out of things, that’s doing something, it really is. If you know a nurse or you know a doctor or an emergency services person, or someone, a delivery driver or something like that, send them a thank you card. Send them something that says you appreciate them, because they’ve got to go on the frontline and treat these people. That could be you that could be anybody else, and I wouldn’t like to be doing that right now, so I’m glad they’re doing it. 


Then the third of the three cultural poisons are hypocrisy. ”My behavior is exemplary”, and this is probably the most annoying one of all. I can understand the denial as that’s ignorance, that’s not knowing. I don’t mean ignorance as in an ignorant person, I mean, ignorance as in not knowing, you’re just denying it. Cynicism, I can get that, I really do get that, it’s difficult to know what one person can do. The hypocrisy, wake the damn self-up, wake yourself up. “My behavior is exemplary, nothing to me, I’m all right, I’ve only bought three packets of toilet rolls, I don’t care.”

“I didn’t start this. It’s nothing, I’m still going to go about my business.”

 “Yes, it’s a problem, but I’m perfect.”

 I don’t think there’s many of them around at the moment, but there probably is a few. I think most of us have grown past that. So, look for the gift, look for the gift in this time of difficult circumstances. I don’t know what else to call it, it’s not like a war, but it’s a bigger effort and more fearful than the war. In a war effort, you have certain people that are going into danger zones, which is horrible, and I’m not taking anything away from that. I feel blessed, I don’t live in a time where I’ve ever had to be asked to go to war, or ever been affected by someone directly in the war. But this affects all of us, everybody, from the highest president right down to say the lowest, but every human is important, everyone’s life is important. And I do hear governments, not putting in the same. Well, I feel like they’re not paying the same level to what’s going on to everybody. It’s almost liked the outer layer, not as important and that it just annoys me. If this was children dying, oh boy, you would see a different story. And you would see a different story of a whole lot of the people, you really would. You wouldn’t have this complacency.

So, just a quick recap. Recognize the three cultural poisons, that’s what’s going to damage us most of all at the moment, denial, cynicism, and hypocrisy and recognize what you can do to grow yourself.

And I’ve got this offer for you, and below this podcast and on my page, stephenwebb.com. Below this podcast is a link and if you go to, stillnessinthestorm.com, the top link will take you to a page where you let me know that you want to be in every day. Starting next week on Monday, at 2pm, I’m going to do a live guided meditation, every weekday in Zoom, you don’t have to have your camera on, you don’t have to have your mic on, just turn up. And we’re just going to meditate every day for about 20 minutes, and you’re going to be guided.

You don’t have to be a meditator. It doesn’t matter if you never meditate before, but this is to ground ourselves and not to feel overwhelmed and the overthinking, and the busy people just get in a peacefulness. Because unless we approach it from the ground up and from our hearts, we’re going to really struggle, because you cannot approach this from the mental thinking, because it will just exhaust you. It will overwhelm you and it will drown you. 

So, a reminder, go to stillnessinthestorms.com, let me know that you’re in and I will email you the details and it’s pay what you want, by the way. And, I’m going to use this money to hopefully raise enough money for me to buy a new electric wheelchair because mine is really stuffed, it’s 15 years old now is falling apart. So, that’s what you’ll be funding, if you can pay something towards it. But don’t be put off if you can’t, because I want to help as many people as possible. Take care, I’m Stephen and go to, stillnessinthestorm.com. I love you and thank you for your time being here.


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