Scilla Elworthy on the I, We, World

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Scilla Elworthy (seen above with Desmond Tutu) is a serial paradigm shifter. Thrice nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, she has been at the heart of world changing organisations from The Oxford Research Group, to Peace Direct, The Elders and now Rising Women Rising World. In each she has championed the integration of the I, We, World that The Alternative UK sees as the natural organising principle of any new politics. 

Rather than try to capture Scilla's work in a single blog, we will be featuring her regularly. Here is a blog from her latest project which describes a new approach to integrated health which could, well, change the world. 

"Imagine world where we looked at health from an integral perspective, where we had achieved a positive shift in our thinking  – from health and wellbeing as a mere physical notion to taking account of the whole person – body, mind, spirit and soul.  

Imagine health care systems designed to answer the question: ‘what does it take for a human being to flourish?’ 

Imagine if our medical and health practitioners were rewarded according to how many of their patients were healthy, as is the case in China, as opposed to the present western system that rewards sickness. 

This would entail seeing disease as dis-ease, and working to heal and restore a person to their wholeness – physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. 

It would require an evolutionary step and a breakthrough in consciousness across the medical and pharmaceutical sectors, shifting from a business model to a systemic one that prioritises people, purpose and planet over profit. 

Imagine a system where investment in healthcare shifted from emphasis on ever more expensive reactive treatment using pharmaceutical drugs to treat symptoms, to a massive emphasis on prevention of the causes of disease. 

This would include teaching children and adults about the necessity of exercise and healthy diet for the prevention of obesity and many cardio-vascular diseases, encouraging the growing taboo on smoking, the use of herbal infusions and natural antibiotics for the prevention and treatment of bacterial infections, and extending the approval and use of age-old systemic medical treatments such as acupuncture, homeopathy and chiropractic. 

In building a world that works for all, massive effort would be invested in ensuring that the basics are taken care of for all. This means that every person would have access to the foundational elements that are critical to our survival: clean air to breathe, drinkable water, sufficient food for sustenance, shelter for protection, and an environment safe from harm. 

It would also mean access to low cost drugs where necessary, and methodical information on, and access to contraception, since the planet is not capable of supporting our present population. 

In the case of mental health and well-being, what might it be like if each person were respected for their difference, welcomed for their unique value and saw themselves as a contributor to their family, community and the wider world? 

What if emotionally they experienced connection with a profound sense of belonging instead of isolation and inequality? 

What if each person had access to support in alleviating suffering and training in mental and spiritual development for inner resilience and effective action? Such training would ensure practices and rituals that naturally expand self awareness and consciousness. 

If we imagine a world where each person recognises the interrelationship between their personal sustainability and that of the earth, then we can conceive that both could flourish, and a destructive and out-dated system can be replaced by one that values the miracle of life."