484 PEOPLE DIED HOMELESS IN THE UK SO FAR THIS YEAR,
BUT DO YOU CARE.
December 18th, 2018: By Daniel K Swan
484 is over twice as many as have died from terrorism across all of Western Europe in the last 8 years.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to wake up on the streets of the world's richest city, home to more multi-millionaires than any other city on Earth, without money in your pocket or a place to stay.
Derryn, 26 years old, has been on the streets of London for over a year now.
I've known Derryn for just over a year. We met in Trafalgar square, where I do my street art. A few months ago I asked Derryn if he would let me tell his story to whoever has ears to hear it. He agreed, so here it is.
I have been on the streets myself, both in the United States where I would drive an hour across the city in my shiney new sports car to sleep near the water gardens of Fort Worth, TX and across the U.K and Europe, where I have cycled the continent twice and recently, last winter, spent three months sleeping on the streets of London and visiting the homeless shelters.
Here are a few learnings from my experiences.
I have been outside, camping and "rough sleeping", but homelessness is a different thing altogether. Homelessness is a perception. A kind of virtual disease. It's one class of person society has formed in their ugly hive minds, and defined as lesser than whatever is deemed the acceptable class. My physical condition when travelling across the continent was exactly the same. My financial worth was actually far less, but my perceived worth profoundly more.
As a "homeless" person one is perceived to be almost at the very bottom of "society", right next to drug addicts and criminals - unless you equate the three as so many do.
I thought it was going to be relatively easy, just walk in there find out what the problem is and come up with a solution. I had no idea.
Two weeks in I was crying in Green Park. Absolutely broken, the lowest point I have experienced in all of my life.
You know there must be something wrong with humans to allow this issue to continue happening.
You know there must be some kind of collective mental disorder, some profound sickness within, that is causing the manifestation of such incomprehensible disparity of wealth as is known to those who care about such things.
You know it intellectually.
It is different to live it.
It is profoundly different, to experience it.
London is a city of 8 million human beings, 16 million metropoliton.
There is no city on planet Earth with a more varied cultural background, a more extensive history, thanks to the British Empire.
That lion headed beast devoured almost 2/3rds of the Earth, and through the wings of the American Eagle went on it's quest to dominate the rest. A hive mind like no other before it, the British brought upon the world the great power of industrialisation - and with it a form of inequality not seen since the height of Egypt. Only this time, the slaves would be "free".
In the "land of the free" individual debt is now at, or 6x the average annual salary. More people are killed every year by police officers, officers of the peace, than were killed by the nations most deadly ever recorded "terrorist" incident - which subsequently produced a total annual spend of over Trillion - the overwhelming majority of which went to just 6 corporations, and their various sub contractors.
So here is the deal. We need to wake up to this beast that is so quickly encircling the world and all its resources, choking the very life from Mother Earth herself. We need to create public spaces in which to gather, rebuild and reorganize our communities - towns and cities. This is the first of such a place, the first of many, and I hope you will join me in building them.
In America I had a very expensive apartment, with a very expensive car, a very nice gym with a very nice pool (two actually) and a very nice yoga studio. I had nice clothes, nice this, nice that. The whole lot was very nice.
My job was nice too. I did whatever I wanted, hardly any "work". Most of the office pretended to work, in reality they had very little to do either since corporations of that size do very little of anything creative or productive. We were the most creative office in the entire company mind you, but still it was a big place and easy to hide. Almost no one really did anything of value. We just pushed buttons and tried to look busy.
I walked into the office each day with a smile toward my friends and co-workers.
A lot of us had nice cars. A few of us drove them fast. My friends drove fastest.
It was a lot of fun. It didn't change anything. Didn't help anyone.
All in all, my corporate life was about as comfortable as one could be in the corporate world.
My existence on this planet was almost completely inconsequential to virtually every human being on Earth, until one day.
The day I met Alan.
Alan is probably the biggest man I have ever met. Physically, he is a very big man. I did not know there was such a thing as the big and tall store until I met Alan. I love Alan, but he's a big boy.
Alan taught me more about life than the past 10 years combined. You see Alan had spent most of his on the street, and 11 in jail. At 34 years old he'd seen a lot more than I ever imagined.
I worked for a U.K company while out in the U.S. on an E-2 investor treaty visa. I was a single kid with a six figure salary and ran about the place without a care in the world. Everything I wanted financially I could have, and I did. I did what I wanted and went wherever I wished to go.
The bureau for investigative journalism released the figures, after an intensive 12 month period recording every homeless death they could across the country, since there has never been an official record of the number of people dying homeless each year, they created x website to detail the story of each individual.
"They want to see how homeless people, like beg for money, basically, and I said 'I don't beg for money'".
"I only do it if I have to do it, not because I want to. It's embarrassing".
"Until you've been on the streets yourself, you will never know what it's like".
Can I get this biometric card, and does it give me citizenship?
Whitfield added that he can't afford to pay for a biometric residence permit or for legal assistance.
Adam says: "If you arrived before 1973, and can show you have not lost your status (through two or more years' absence or criminality), you will be able to obtain a Biometric Residence Permit confirming there is no time limit on your stay.
"However, settlement/indefinite leave to remain is not the same as citizenship.
"If you have held indefinite leave to remain for over 12 months, and have lived legally in the UK for over five years, or three if you are married to a British citizen, and can meet the life and language requirements, amongst other requirements, you should be able to apply to become British.
"This will cost you £1,330 for the application, and the fee is retained if the application is refused."
"Every major religion teaches fundamentally the same things: don't do bad things, don't think bad things, seek what is good, do what is good, be honest, grow in love, learn to forgive, always be humble. If you don't do these things, you'll end up in a bad place. Welcome to that place".
"It's not easy. Nobody wants to be on these streets".
You get judged a lot when you're sleeping down on the ground".
"The hardest thing about being homeless is being homeless. It's a hard world out there."
"People won't understand until they do a day in my shoes."
"There is enough for all we need, but not for all our greed" - Some Guy
The fact that we have allowed society to get to this juncture is a manifestation of our individual denial of responsibility toward ourselves and each other. The truth is, we don't seek truth. We don't live by truth. We don't believe in truth.
Here is truth.
Every human life is eternal, both in the temporal sense and the infinite sense.
What do I mean?
I mean that everyone experiences the fullness of life they are able to experience, no more, no less. This experience, is all that we have. It is, therefore, the eternity of out experience as a being. There are as many eternities as there are individual lives. We are eternal. Life is eternal. Your life is eternal, no matter how long it lasts, it is eternity.
What, therefore, will your eternity be filled with. What will you take with you. What knowledge of self, what experience of beauty, of love, of peace, of joy, of service, of gratitude. Will you come to know yourself as the spiritual children of life itself?
Every major religion teaches fundamentally the same things: don't do bad things, don't think bad things, seek what is good, do what is good, be honest, grow in love, learn to forgive, always be humble. If you don't do these things, you'll end up in a bad place. Welcome to that place.
The other side of those things, is the pathway to a place that has recently come to be known as hell, but formerly known as the underworld or to various different societies as x,y,z.
This is a place of lovelessness, a place of deciet, a place where one feels greater than the other, where hatred reigns over forgiveness, where understanding is in very short supply, and greed is strangling the whole world. The further we persist in these things, the deeper into their manifestation we go. Eventually, as all the dystopian films have been trying to warn us, we would inevitably fall into a bottomless pit. This is not conjecture. This is real, hard, physical truth. This is the spiritual law of the universe, under which we are all bound, until we each become freed by love and truth. When you serve love and truth, truth and love serve you. You go willingly to your death, so that you may bring others to life, and by so doing hopefully change the course of a lost future. Such beings don't just give us what they have, they give us what they are, and they are the way to life. Freedom from all the chains of selfishness, and the gateway to a place of the infinitely selfless self. A spiritual being who picks up his life and lays it down at will. One who can take any form, me or you, Earth or star, ocean or wave, and awaits our awakening or actively invites us toward it. This being is The One, the first and last, the eternal spirit, whom we call our God.
Compare that to the £500M spent on aid for the people of Yemen/Syria.
How can people help someone on the streets?
"Get him in accommodation or a hostel that's as simple as it gets".
What is the worst thing you've experienced recently on the streets?
"Being glassed and having to have surgery on my little finger. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger".
There are a lot of us out here now really struggling with this world, and we're tired of all the ways it's doing us wrong. That strain is only going to get greater, if we don't work together and try to do something about it.
This is my idea, the first part anyway. If you're not going to support it, I hope you have a better one.
"The hardest thing about being homeless is being homeless. It's a hard world out there."
"The thing people don't realize about homeless people is that they need to speak to the homeless person on a level and not pre judge them for being in a sleeping bag."
"Society is so brainwashed that they get consumed by nonsense. People haven't got compassion".
People keep saying "homelessness is a complex issue", but no, it isn't.
You give a person a home, they're not homeless anymore.
You take all the land in a country and say somebody owns it, then charge people for a place to live, then take all the arable land and say someone owns that, then charge people money for food, then say you can't work because you aren't from this country, and give them a stipend that's less than what the average person makes in a day, you've got a problem. A real, life threatening and entirely unnecessary problem, because of some created complexity.
It's not a real problem, like death or being out on the streets without food and shelter and no one willing to give you either unless you have money. That's a real problem. This, is a problem, of perception.
We percieve the value of our economy, of our invented token of value, which itself is worthless, to be greater than that of humanity. We have sold our very heart in exchange for money. Something that cannot hold us, cannot care for us, cannot love us, cannot forgive us, cannot give anything to us beyond what another human being is willing to exchange for it. In fact, all the value of life, which lies in the planet and one another, is hidden by money. Thus, again, this is a problem of perception.
The workers of truth, are here to solve problems of perception.
The percieved value added to society of £40Bn worth of arms spending is greater than the percieved value of protecting every endangered species on the planet despite the never ending choir of experts pointing to imminent worldwide ecological collapse if we continue to do relatively nothing.
Governments and agencies will bost figures higher than the average person can imagine, but as someone who working in the banking industry and sees the truth behind these figures, I can tell you they are nothing compared to what man spends upon defence (X annually, Y in the U.K, Z in Europe) and upon food production (x, Y, Z), Pharma (X,Y,Z), anti terrorism (X,Y,Z) marketting (X,Y,Z) and so on.
The question really is, do you care. Do you really, truly, care.
If you do, you have to stand up, and you have to change the world. One human being at a time, we have to change the broken system in which we have become entangled, by learning to love our neighbour and not our money. If we do this, every single human problem disappears. Every single one. There is not one exception.
Malnutrituon goes away.
Conflicts go away.
Dictatorships go away.
Disparity of wealth goes away.
Ecological damage goes away.
The exercsion of power by the few upon the many goes away.
The end of all human suffering and the beginning of endless human being begins when we begin to truly, actually, fully, love one another. When we respect each other, when we care for each other, when we work with rather than against each other, this world will completely and rapidly change for the good of all. When this happens, we will build a world without the need for corruptible government structures and "supreme" leaders, without corporate entities owning more than half the nations resources, without the concept of human resources but the celebration of human beings, without the need to exchange money for food.
The way we do things today is not just dumb, it is monumentally stupid, and it will take a different kind of attitude and thinking to the one which created to change it. It will take patience, it will take discipline, it will take work, it will take understanding, it will take a lot of people to stand up for what they truly believe in, to live a life of purpose. It will take us all respecting each other's beliefs with the right not to become subject to them. It will take true love, but it only takes a few. A few of us to stand up and say this is not the way it should be, I am not a part of a world which leaves its people on the streets. That's not the world in me, and I will join with those who believe in something better, to take us to (it will take us to) a better place.
You want the world to change, you've got to go out and change it, but where will you go? Here, is the answer.
We're building a place, we as in us and you, the ones who get it, to get away from this world and help build a better one. A fair one. A free one. A beautiful one. A place where there is no profit, but lots of change. A place where everyone is treated with respect, and leaders are the ones we follow, not the ones we fear.
It can't be about me. It has to be about us, about you. It has to be a collective social shift, from the value of money and physical experiences, to the inner experience of being human. The concern for your fellow man, before the judgement. The companion, before the detraction. The giving, before the taking. We have to wake up. We are the key to our collective survival or suffering. It is up to us to make the difference, at every level.
All the powerful people are powerful because we give them that power. The guns they point at us are paid for with our taxes, and built by our labour. We must choose not to waste ourselves building or sustaining war machines. We must choose not to support unethical and unsustainable farming. We must choose not to ignore the suffering of our neighbours, and we must choose to support those who poison our food and steal from far away lands (links). We must choose a better way, we must choose to change.
Without our choices, what have we left.