MICHAEL DOHERTY The I-CHING: Why The World Is In Crisis

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Hi there, welcome back to Kelly Martin Speaks. I’m your host Kelly Martin and this is episode 102. 

Firstly, my apologies for not doing an episode last week, unfortunately my computer died, I spent a lot of time attending to it and then in the end I had to get a new computer.

This weeks, however, I make up for that with an interview with Michael Doherty, my best friend and author and teacher of the ancient Chinese philosophy the I-CHING. I have interviewed him in the past HERE if you want to listen to an earlier episode.

I’m going to do a slightly shorter version of the transcript, but most of it is below, I hope you enjoy listening or reading all about Michael’s thoughts on the current crisis we now find ourselves in, along with the pandemic, riots, the collective shadow and so much more.

KELLY Hi Michael, welcome back to the podcast, it’s been quite some time since we last did one together. How are you today?

MICHAEL Hi there, Kelly. I’m doing good and it’s nice to be back on your podcast. I hope you’re well, too.

KELLY Now, those of you who may have missed an earlier podcast. I interviewed Michael about the I-CHING an ancient Chinese philosophy. Michael’s the author of ‘The I-Ching – A Unique Interpretation of the Book of Changes’ And has a good 80 years of life under his belt with a lot of wisdom and experience. I often call him my wise yoda friend because he gives me the often simple advice when I am having an emotional meltdown, wisdom like ‘You can’t change it so just accept it’ That’s the sort of wisdom isn’t it Michael? The kind that drives me potty, but is often correct…

MICHAEL Yeah, I know it drives you potty. I’ve learned over time to at least try to save my comments for when you’ve recovered from meltdown. It’s more effective when I do that, and you’re less likely to cause me physical harm.


As for the comments themselves, in my long and eventful life, I’ve learned the hard way, that wanting things to be different is a recipe for suffering.

And getting upset about ’What Is’ is frankly insane. For example, if you’re stuck in traffic, the traffic will clear when it clears, and not a moment before. If getting upset would clear it, I’d be the first to get angry. But this would only damage me, it wouldn’t clear the traffic.

You see, the secret is, and don’t tell anyone, the traffic doesn’t care.

Now, I have to be honest with you here, I’m not always the wise guy. I do react at times, but I know that when I do, I will suffer.

KELLY And would you say that now, more than ever, we need to accept what is?

MICHAEL Yes. Absolutely. The world is facing some very difficult situations and problems right now. It would help immensely if people could accept ‘What Is’. If we could face the reality of the situation, and stop wanting it to be different, we could possibly come up with some solutions. But it’s not going to be easy.

The Pandemic, Political Divisions, Racial Divisions, Chaos and Culture War

barcelona riots

KELLY As we’ve both talked in person about life right now, when many people are struggling at this time. We’ve got the pandemic, political division, racial divisions, chaos and what seems to be a culture war taking place, we seem to be at a critical point in history. With your 80 years of experience, what do you think could happen over the next year or more Michael? And how do you feel the I-CHING could help us relate to these big changes?

MICHAEL Ah!! Two big questions. I’ll try to give my perspective and perhaps even the perspective of the I Ching.

The world‘s in turmoil. You said that we seem to be at a critical point in history. I totally agree. I think that the pandemic, and especially the lockdowns around the world, have allowed previously suppressed deep feelings of resentment and anger to boil to the surface. It’s been like a pressure cooker, with the valve tied down and now it’s exploding.

I think the main problem is fear. People fear for their jobs, their homes, their families, their friends, and deep down, they also fear their own deaths. What this has brought to the surface is they feel that they are no longer in control of their lives, but the truth is, they never were, it just seemed as if they were, because things didn’t change much from one week to the next, from one year to the next. The same distractions as always.

But there’s no point in trying to change people’s reactions with rational argument. We’re not dealing with rational reactions. They come from childhood experiences when they weren’t in control. They’re very much like childhood tantrums and hissy fits.

You asked, ‘What do I think could happen over the next year or more’.

I think it could get very scary. We certainly haven’t seen the last of this Covid-19 disease and I fully expect that there’ll be a second wave probably in the winter during the flu season. If this means another lockdown, then all hell will break loose, and I think that many people will just refuse to follow the instructions.

In the United States, the President may declare Martial Law to control the population, but that will mean American troops facing civilians who will be armed, many with automatic weapons, especially in the South.

The US population is just over 300 million but they own nearly 400 million guns.

As an interesting aside, if Donald Trump declared Martial Law, this would suspend the constitution and there would be no election until Martial Law was lifted – by Donald Trump.  Just saying.

In the UK, we are fortunate that generally the public are not armed, but that doesn’t mean that there won’t still be violence.

As for the pandemic I also fear that the death toll around the world will be astronomical, especially in the Third World, where many lack even basic medical care.

As for the I Ching, this is an ancient book of wisdom which teaches us how to respond to situations to get the best results, and in my I Ching book, I focus on the dangers of allowing our egos to be in control. The ego is very self-centred and wants it all and wants it now. The I Ching shows us ways to allow life to unfold, without our interference, and that by doing this, we can achieve peace within, whatever is going on in the world outside.

It’s very simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

The World Shadow


KELLY Now, I’ve talked about embracing the shadow in my blog posts and podcast episodes and how right now lockdown is bringing a lot to the surface, what sort of shadows do you feel are rising right now for people and the world at large?

MICHAEL I am convinced that everyone of us is capable of the most evil actions, especially against our fellow humans. We see it all round the world. It’s not just in other people, it’s in all of us. Most people would say that they wouldn’t kill another human being, and they probably believe it. However, a parent would steal, or even kill to protect their child. It’s a survival instinct. Yes, most of the time, it’s buried deep in the unconscious mind, but trust me, if push comes to shove, this survival instinct takes over.

The problem is that these unconscious drives are suppressed, as if they didn’t exist, and this makes them more powerful. If we can delve into our own minds and face these demons, and accept them as part of being human, they lose a lot of their power over us.

But the current situation is releasing them in their raw state, without the recognition and understanding, and that’s when they are the most dangerous.

KELLY how do you feel people on an individual level can cope with the collective shadow and the personal shadow challenges that they may be feeling?

MICHAEL I’m glad you raised the idea of the collective shadow because it’s different from the personal shadow. People in groups will behave differently from when they’re on their own. Think of the protests and riots that we’ve seen recently. These are not a number of individual people gathered together. They become a group and their personal values and ethics just disappear, because these people form what is essentially a collective, a hive, which is now a single entity with its own rules of behaviour. This has been studied extensively, these group dynamics, how people behave enmasse.

KELLY do you think the world is going through this right now?

MICHAEL I think there are two ways of looking at this. One is a practical explanation and the other is more spiritual.

As far as the practical explanation is concerned, I believe that the path we’re on is not sustainable. One of the problems is capitalism, which, strangely is probably the best way of running the world, provided that there are checks and balances, and that it is accountable to the people, who after all, are the ones who actually produce the wealth. But sadly, there is an elite who control the system and we’ve seen many examples of this elite syphoning the wealth from the workers and the poor to give to the already disgustingly rich.

And then there’s globalism, where we export jobs to the Far East for example, to countries with very low wages, poor safety regulations, in fact, almost no regulations to protect the very people who produce the goods. Many of the things we import via these supply chains are provided using child slave labour, for example the precious metals used in our technology, our smart phones, computers etc are mined using child slave labour, especially in Africa.

But then think about the clothes and trainers we wear, made in sweatshops, often employing children as slave labour. And yes, I’m as guilty as the next person of taking advantage of cheap goods.

But these supply chains which bring these goods back to the west are very fragile. Just think of the lockdown in China, which completely cut our supply chains.

And then, of course, there’s the military/industrial complex with its endless wars, but that topic would take far too long for this interview.

We must also keep in mind that we are at the start of this pandemic. Typically they last between one and two years. There have been other similar viruses over the past 100 years, each producing a pandemic, but the worst was the H1N1 virus, in 1918 to 1920, causing the Swine Flu also known as Spanish Flu. It infected about 500 million people causing the deaths of an estimated 50 million. And the Covid-19 virus seems to be much more dangerous.

You can check out more about the effect of the corona virus on my website – themichaelfiles.com.

As for the more spiritual explanation, this virus could be seen as a necessary clearing out of the old in order to make space for the new. Many believe that there are higher beings who will only allow this craziness to go so far before they intervene.

I hope that’s true, but I’m not sure.

Preferred Outcome?

KELLY know you’re not big on labelling anything as good or bad, only life happening, but if you had a preferred outcome or shift to take place out of all this chaos and change, what would you personally prefer to see happen?

MICHAEL I would like to see a change from globalism to localism, where we eat local seasonal foods, where we manufacture goods in our own countries and also set up controls on capitalism that would ensure more equal levels of wealth and prosperity.

In 2014, in a Ted talk, Nick Hanauer, a billionaire entrepreneur, warned other billionaires and plutocrats that unless they do something about the growing gap between the rich and the poor, that “the pitchforks are coming.”

If we don’t do this or something similar, then I believe that western civilisation is doomed. This will be very difficult, perhaps impossible, and I’m not holding my breath.

KELLY How are you coping with all of this as an individual, do you have bad days like the rest of us?

MICHAEL Yes of course I have bad days, but fewer than in the past. I know the solution to bad days, but I don’t always follow my own advice. I suppose that if I did, I would become intolerable.

KELLY (Laughter) Yes, as the saying goes, we teach what we need to learn. Thank you so much Michael, this has been an enlightening conversation, as always. Is there anything you would like to share with our listeners on how to ride the current wave we are in? And where can people follow you if they want to?

MICHAEL There’s no easy answer, but if we can accept that we have little or no control over these events, then perhaps people could do as I do, which is to try to step back and be an observer.

You can find more about me and my thinking, and my book at my website – themichaelfiles.com.

That’s great, thanks again Michael.

Thanks for listening to this episode of Kelly Martin Speaks

If you have a question or topic you are struggling with and would like me to answer on an upcoming podcast episode, please get in touch. Your name will be confidential. EMAIL me at kellymartinspeaks@gmail.com or message me on Facebook via my page Kelly Martin Speaks.

And don’t forget, if you feel that others are passing you by and ‘The Not Good Enough’ voice is screaming loudly, pop by kellymartin.uk to find out all about my books, including Book 1 ‘When Everyone Shines but You’

You can also support my channel via my podcast page on my website kellymartinspeaks.co.uk via Paypal or buy me a coffee via ko-fi.

Until next time…bye for now


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Kelly Martin
Kelly Martin

Kelly Martin, author of ‘When Everyone Shines But You’ is a dedicated writer and blogger who fearlessly explores life’s deepest questions. Faced with a decade of profound anxiety and grief following the loss of her father and her best friend Michael, Kelly embarked on a transformative journey guided by mindfulness, and she hasn’t looked back since. Through her insightful writing, engaging podcasts, and inspiring You Tube channel Kelly empowers others to unearth the hidden treasures within their pain, embracing the profound truth that they are ‘enough’ exactly as they are.

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