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Critically acclaimed by some of the world’s top humanitarian, academic, and counter-culture icons, McGill’s Voice of Reason is an illuminating, yet distressing plea for safety and freedom in a world of uncertainty, violence, and liberty lost. (bryantmcgill.com/vor)
"The only hope of transforming the world from the tsunami of violence is for each of us to Become the Change We Wish To See in the World. Bryant McGill shows us the way.”
— Dr. Arun M. Gandhi
Introduction to Voice of Reason by Susaye Greene
I cannot remember a time when I was not in show business. As a youngster, I did commercials in New York City, I experienced the rarefied air of Professional Children’s School, where professional showbiz kids, ballet dancers, singers, actors and musicians could work during the day, and still get their college-preparatory education. Later, the High School of Performing Arts, (which the movie and TV show “Fame” were fashioned after) where I majored in drama, after attending public elementary and junior high schools on Long Island, the major part of normalcy I was to experience in my younger schooldays.
Show business has afforded me the blessing of traveling the world. As a teenager, I saw Italy, Germany, France, England, Scandinavia, Japan, most of South America and almost every city large or small in America. My spirit of revolution was born in the sixties, to the wild guitar strains of Jimi Hendrix, while traveling the world with Ray Charles. My rebellious cry was hewn from reading everything from Malcolm X’s biography to Jack Kerouacs’ road-traveler counter-culture adventures. I met people everywhere, and picked up on world culture. I found my world view; I began to see through the eyes of the world. Even though I will always be at heart an American woman, I became a sister to the world at large and began to see the connective thread that unites all of us as a universal race: the human race, as a necessity of my spirit. From Brazil to Paris, I learned the differences and similarities of so many cultures and I grew into a woman honed by the women’s movement.
I believe women’s issues are important still, though in my mind, there is no longer an in-your-face women’s movement, per se, but I think most of us know things will never be the same since the introduction of the birth control pill. While living in England I became involved in a marvelous English women’s book collective. We read books that promoted equality: non sexist multicultural multi- language children’s books, covering most pertinent subjects, called Letterbox Library. They had a profound effect on me, showing me how women of differing backgrounds could truly and heartily share their views and affect the source of education at the grass roots level. These scholars, mothers, teachers, English, Irish, Jewish, Jamaican, with different upbringings, made me face what the world is with such a broad perspective, through children’s books for all ages. We read baby books to older teenage books. They were sold to schools, and to individuals. They continue their work today and are a great and far-reaching influence in English modern education.
My view of women around the world changed at that time, making me realize how important the woman’s voice is as nurturer, educator, and planner of the future. But it was my own mother who said to me, “You can do anything you choose, be anything you want, reach the stars and learn infinitely.” The grace to accept all people, to share the knowledge of my talent and experience, came from her. She taught me to know the power of my thoughts and that they are mine to wield as powerful actions.
When I met Bryant McGill, it was as if we had always known each other. Being able to see the effect he has on others with his words, opened my eyes to a new way of looking at words and actions. I have seen him go through a great personal change on many levels. But his words continue to ring with such commanding truth, it is impossible to ignore the strength and wisdom coming through him.
His “Voice of Reason” is a bell ringing to the sound of silent screaming: a wake-up call to a generation crying out for help. Without this kind of hue and cry, we may simply erase ourselves out of existence. The rare man who sees with extreme clarity, and peels back the layers of humanity for us to see clearly, is more than a welcome blessing these extraordinary times. Bryant McGill is such a man.
Few have such a daring and bold sense of destiny, and only a few times in our lives are events lined up consciously, to show us what the possibilities of our goodness can be. In these treacherous times, where the fruits of caring are callously cast aside, we ask ourselves, “How can we survive? How can we remain human, let alone optimistic about our future? How can we retain the sweetness of our souls and the innocence of our childhoods?” And especially, “How can we achieve our dreams of peace in the futures of our children?”
The brave spirit of compassion lies just underneath the surface in each of us. Yet, our harsh reality strives to wrest that purity from us. I cannot imagine a more exciting time to live in: a time when our technology exceeds our expectations, and infinite choice lies at our fingertips.
We are told to embrace darkness at every turn, as the “new cool.” Vampires, zombies and other nebulous creatures have seduced their way into our popular culture. Long gone are the days of manners and comportment. The internet has created a hotbed foundation of public opinion, with sometimes vile results: people hide behind false screen names to assume characters who thrive without grace, charm or manners. Bullying has taken on a new level of cruelty; people say anything they like, whether nasty, hurtful, or simply negative. It’s every man for himself, full steam ahead, damn the torpedoes, my world, my opinion, me, me, me.
The ashes of our gentle caring are obliterated for the sake of any evil popularity. What is left, is a hefty bitterness against our fellow man and our worldwide situation.
The simple act of listening is the beginning of change in our lives and the lives of those who have shared in the legacy of disenfranchisement of the spirit, because that act opens the heart to hopeful change.
Reaching out to our fellow human beings takes many forms, but clueing in to the need and the right to be heard is most important, because it takes us out of ourselves and into the essence of others. What child does not need to be heard? Which man or woman does not need to be understood by others? We share the same feelings, when we break it down; we all want the same things out of life: We want to be loved, we want to be safe and happy, cared for, cared about, listened to and understood, we want to be free to choose our lifestyles, whom we love. We all want to be educated and work through our lives with passion and elemental success.
We cannot achieve these things without the simple confidence that comes from living our lives fully aware of others’ needs. We think we stand alone, and many of us have been fooled into thinking we can succeed alone, in our selfish cultures. When we take away the trappings of status and competition, we are left with our simplicity; a race of human beings.
“Voice of Reason” determines and clarifies the goals of humanity, and helps us recognize the way forward. We can do anything we choose with our lives. The consequences of not choosing correctly are enormous.
— Susaye Greene Artist, Activist and former Singer from the Motown Sensation, “The Supremes” Singer and Songwriter for Stevie Wonder and the late Michael Jackson and Ray Charles PREAMBLE
There is something greater than any nation; it is the spirit which created the nation. It is to that spirit which this document speaks. These ideas are dedicated to providing a positive bridge of thought leadership, from the eternal spirit of good, to help the innocent, youthful mind of revolution arrive home safely.
The voice of reason is that mindful and beautiful discourse, speaking for every heart’s simple desire to exist in peace, harmony and cooperation, with our human family members at home and abroad. The voice of reason is immutably intrinsic, and exists as an innate feature of the good conscience, which is whispering to each person, at every moment, and is always speaking for the greater good of all, whether we are listening to it or not. The voice of reason is the beating heart of continuity of justice, reform of corruption, and the revolution of human consciousness, in those sacred and wonderful times of social change and evolution.
Where wise actions are the fruit of life, wise discourse is the pollination. Respectful communication under conflict or opposition is an essential and truly awe-inspiring ability of the modern human being’s newly evolved social sensibility. It involves having the courage to listen carefully and respectfully, and then giving real and heartfelt consideration to what has been communicated. It involves reaching for deeper understanding beyond what was merely said and into what was meant or intended. It involves considering the greater context of the history and experiences that created the need for the discussion, over what may sometimes be years, decades or even centuries. This type of high-order listening is only possible with great intention, humility and magnanimity.
What every person or group wishes to say is important, even when we do not fully understand their message, and even when they do not fully understand their own message. This is because what we are really engaging in is a sharing of ideas, feelings and emotions. We are all thinking and feeling entities and we all have these wonderful and sometimes painful emotions within us, ever reminding us that we feel, that we are alive, that we are involved, and that we are inseparable from the great experience of living. We share profound interconnectedness with our natural and artificial environments, our communities, our created-nations, our institutions and with every person alive and to be born. Yes, we are all one in this great experience of life. What we do to others, we do to ourselves, and so it is essential that we reach for the highest place within ourselves, and afford every soul we encounter the wide and free passage they need to give birth to the dear expressions they feel are important. We must always strive toward our noblest behavior as good listeners by receiving messages with a graceful comportment, showcasing the highest state of respect we can muster. Even as the sometimes flawed, fragile and immature beings that we are, we can encourage and facilitate the mutual, free and respectful exchange of ideas.
The power of the idea is often overlooked, but if you think about it, everything is really an idea. A government, institution, company or even a society is really just an idea. They are constructs, or thought-forms of consensus reality, that only exist because we choose to support them collectively with the human resources of the heart, mind and hand. So make no mistake, there is no battle or engagement with any institution, company or government; it is always an engagement of ideas. Never lose sight of the fact that we are at all times exclusively dealing with ideas, and all ideas in a truly free society should always be open for discussion.
The systems of governance and community we create must hold many elements of life in constant consideration, the highest of which is freedom of the individual to live the life they choose in safety. Of course these considerations go beyond more than mere individualism, because the individual cannot exist outside of the many spheres of the deeply interconnected webs of life, so our solutions must also be organic and holistic. It is tremendously short-sighted when individuals, institutions, communities or other idea- constructs, fail to consider people during all stages of life. It is especially disgraceful when our created society fails to respond to the human indignities of not having our simple needs met, for we are all frail-embodied creatures, who at times suffer through injustice, abuse, illness, pain and misfortune. When a society becomes that insensitive and impotent, those dysfunctional or malignant parts must be engaged, and then transformed or eliminated to make way for more sensible and humane constructs. In other words, those constructs are bad ideas, which must be replaced with better ideas.
Respect is the lifeblood of progress, and the safe harbor of humanity’s great aspiration—that all people have human rights affording them unfettered access to liberty and justice. Respect is that great spirit of good, which creates the beautiful space giving all souls the simple room to breathe. Every blood-soaked patch of soil in the world came from the grotesque attempt to surreptitiously or overtly control others by imposing selfish will over the broad consensus desires for safety and respect, and by failing to recognize universal human commonality. Any act of violence creates resentment and resistance, because humans were meant to be free. This includes passive violence, which is ubiquitous in today’s current world construct we have chosen for ourselves.
One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say. Do not make the mistake of thinking that you have to agree with people and their beliefs to defend them from injustice. Listening is just. Listening is the way. Listening is the beginning. The voice of reason is speaking to us all, and now is the time to listen.
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Bryant McGill is a best-selling author, speaker and activist in the fields of self-development, personal freedom and human rights. He is an iconic personality and cultural critic, whose prolific writings have reached millions of people and appeared in thousands of works by other authors, educators and social leaders. (bryantmcgill.com/about)