For Companies, Organizations & Individuals
One of the most important post-volcano projects we have developed is the Hedonisia Diversity & Free Speech Communication Workshops.
In many business, professional, social, friendly or intimate settings, when we communicate with people from different demographics, it can sometimes feel challenging.
It is often through free and open discussions between people of different groups, where solutions to the many problems facing societies can be found. The Hedonisia approach emphasizes free speech and empowerment rather than a victim-based approach to equality when dealing with issues such as education, sexuality, economics and violence.
These workshops are designed for individuals, small groups, companies or organizations. They teach simple tools for communication that allow people of different races, cultures, genders, identities and ages to communicate with the maximum of free speech combined with personal politeness for individual sensitivities.
Hedonism means to live pleasurably. The workshops are under the Hedonisia brand because conversation between people from different social and demographic groups should be a pleasurable and fun way to learn about each other.
Turning Shit to Sugar - The Volcanic Roots of this Workshop
by Mojo Mustapha
I identify as a First Amendment Liberal. I follow the dictum of American civil rights activist Martin Luther King to not judge by "color of skin but by content of character".
MLK's powerful statement can be applied to politics and religion. As a result, despite being a liberal, atheist and the founder of an ecofeminist community, I have friends who were nice folks with good character but were Trump supporting conservatives.
Their political beliefs might be in my opinion, "bat-shit crazy" but they were good, decent people. I could laugh and have good natured arguments with them. While it is debatable whether these conversations changed anyone's politics, what they did do was humanize the other.
If a "Trumpie" was kind, humorous, generous, honest, hard working and had other markers of good character, I could be their friend. I would debate but never call them racist, sexist or homophobic etc. I never shut down a conversation with accusations of prejudice even though they would say some crazy stuff.
I meet people where they are at and as long as I felt safe, will engage in conversation and can even be friends or good acquaintances with a person who I like but whose politics I don't share. This belief ended up saving my life after the eruption.
Hedonisia Hawaii's Diversity and Free Speech workshops have an intellectual foundation in our pre-volcano mission statement on being a free speech community. The workshops were born after the volcano eruption destroyed Hedonisia and the events which occurred during this period.
After the volcano destroyed the Hedonisia community. I went from being comfortably middle-class to destitute. My liberal friends gave him lots of hugs, empathy and supportive words. Some did give crucial help but many choose to give nice words instead.
What was shocking was the life-changing help I received from my white conservative friends. They may have disliked a lot of what I stood for as a progressive Democrat. But they liked me as a person. Even with the name Mojo Mohammed Mustapha, Trump supporting Republicans gave me crucial support that allowed me to climb out of my post-volcano funk and depression.
I cannot describe what crucial help they gave because that would identify them which is not something I think they would want. The important lesson for me was that while I had been given verbal but not material support by some people who I thought I was close to, conservative Republicans were a crucial lifeline that helped to change my mindset from one of suicidal despair to hope. The help of these right-wingers with an ornery but kind heart shook my mental world.
It is easy to dismiss every Trump supporter as "deplorable" and demonize them as bigots. But "content of character" are shaped by culture, religion or politics but they are not the only influences. I was made aware of this fact in the most tangible way.
There were four other historic events occurring at this time which served to further divide an already bitterly divided country. The #MeToo movement, the killing of George Floyd giving birth the the Black Lives Matter movement, and the rise of Trans ideology. The effects of these societal phenomena were exacerbated during the Covid pandemic.
Coming so soon after the volcano, the pandemic was actually a blessing for me. I had already lost everything and now was in Portland watching America and the world falling apart. I had perspective. I would tell people, "you think armageddon is staying at home and watching TV? Try getting hit by a volcano!"
The big picture seemed increasingly bleak. The rise of fascism and war in the world, the violently divisive politics of America, the home of liberal democracy, were all harbingers of greater societal doom on the horizon.
I used my time in the lockdown to create a communication workshop and book to play a small part in bringing America together again.
With such acrimonious division between the different groups on racial, sexual, and political lines, it can be quite dangerous to speak freely anymore.
For America's problems are not unique. All over the world there is division between different social, racial and gender groups.
This workshop is a small attempt to provide communication tools to help bridge that divide.