This is a menu of the topics on this page (click on any):
"Nuggets" are words or ideas with which we can build new ideas. These are given life as we connect.
mindfulness. And, if
is needed, this is a good path.
If someone were to ask what this webpage is, a good answer would be that it is an attempt to cope with mystery through a "belief system"".
Our belief system is less focussed on truths and more focussed on qualities and pursuits that enhance our chances survival, sufficiency and happiness.
And the thread that ties all this together is the thread of "meaning".
Every April 16 this page is dedicated to our friend and teacher Betsy Farrar.
(updated 9/14/15 15:10)
Conservative Message: I believe in a culture of life. I believe that life begins at conception, and we have a moral obligation to protect it as God×s creation. We need to restore legal protection to innocent human life and stop activist judges who think they can change morality with the bang of a gavel. This is about the sanctity of life, about whether we preserve and promote a culture that values innocent life, or a careless and reckless culture in which anything goeswhere abortion is a commonplace method of birth control, and we allow the murder of the innocent simply because their parents don×t want to take responsibility for the choices they make.
Progressive Message C: Abortion is a matter between a woman, her doctor, and her God. This is a moral and a personal issue, not a political one, and politicians need to stop using it to try to score political points. But we need to do everything possible to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies, teen pregnancies, and abortions. That means teaching our kids not only about abstinence but also about responsible use of birth control, so that all the children born in this country are wanted children. And we need to prevent late-term abortions, except when the mother×s life or health is in danger, because abortion shouldn×t be used as a form of birth control, and it shouldn×t be used when a fetus is able to live on its own.
Key points in messaging on abortion:
the reason Buddhism rejects the existence of God is not an atheistic reason - that many things exist but God isn't one ofthem. The Budddhist position is rather a rejection of everything's existence. Budddhists believe that nothing really exists, including God ..
This Buddhist belief in the illuusion of existence is called sunyata in the Pali language. The main idea ,is that nothing has any existence on its own (anatta) because everyything is connected. Everything is dependent on everything else and so has no existence of its own. This is called dependent co-origination (pratityasamutpada). What it all comes down to is that nothing is really real. However, in our illuusions about the world, we think that things are real Sb we get attached tothem (tanha), and then when they die or are gone and we lose them, we suffer (dukka).
All this is very philosophical and psychological but not particularly religious. This is why some people don't consider Buddhism a religion but rather a philosophy. I think Buddhism is indeed a religion beecause it moves beyond its obscure metaphysics to a very practical salvation system characteristic of all religions. Salvation in Buddhism is called enlightenment (bodht), and the state of being enlightened is nirvana (nibana).
The Buddha, a prince named Siddhartha Gotama, taught about a way to end the suffering we
feel in life (having a founding spiritual teacher is also typical of a religion). He taught about a path to enlightenment that includes, as all religions do, both rituals and ethical teachings.
To me, the main difference beetween Buddhism and the Abrahammic faiths is its teachings about how to change the world. All religions
. want to healthe world of its sufferring. (Not all philosophies have such a goal and this is another way to know that Buddhism is a religion.) In the West, we seek to change the world directly, but in Buddhism, the change in the world comes about by first changing ourselves,
then bringing our enlightened, changed souls into the world as examples of peace and harmony.
Buddhism is divided, like Rooman Catholicism, into a priestthood (the sangha) and a laity. The Buddhist priesthood ismade up of Buddhist monks (bikkhu) and nuns (bikkunz). They lead celibate lives and are committed to ascetiicism and long hours of meditation and prayer.
In fact, Buddhism is a good model for the kind of religious ecumenism I've believed in all my life. Here's a religion that never knew of the Bible, yet generated its own ethical teachings identical to those of the Abrahamic faiths. Could this be proof that God speaks to each of us in ways our culture can translate?
The Buddha was mice asked if he was a god and he answered, "I am not a god. I am merely awake." May we all be awake to the many ways compassion sweeps us up into love and hope.
Send your questions for The God Squad c/o Tribune Media Services, 2225 Kenmore Ave., Suite 114, Buffalo, NY 14207, or e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The "Charter for Compassion" is a 300 word statement urging that we learn and teach peace.
Over 90,000 people have signed it and over 78,000 people have "liked" it's Facebook page.
Please check it out and sign it: webpage:
http://charterforcompassion.org/ or Facebook
and let's live it every day.
Creativity is a voice that calls us from dreams,
that peeks out of the corner of our eyes when we think no one is looking,
the longing that breaks our hearts even when we think we should be happiest,
and to which we cannot give a name.
When I was young, I heard the voice, the ticking, had the dream,
but I didn't know what it was and only felt the pain,
the longing that the voice inside brought me. (Judy Collins)
The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity.
CONVERSATION, By Tom Atlee
I want to expand the concept of conversation.
The Latin and Indo-European roots of "con" and "vers" connote "turning together".
This deeper understanding opens up new meanings.
When we speak our truths and hear each other deeply, letting each other's voices and ideas and stories and passions shift us, we turn together.
When we dance or listen to music, and our bodies and attention resonate with its shifting vibrations and emotional resonances, we turn together.
When we all share the same perspectives, hopes or horrors within the vibrational embrace of mass media and the webs of telecommunications -- 911, elections, earth from space -- we turn together.
When we respond adaptively to the situations we face -- individually or collectively -- we are turning together with the energies and realities that reside within those situations.
When we as a community come together in times of crisis, rather than splitting apart into adversarial or self-aggrandizing camps, we are turning together.
As all plants breathe in carbon dioxide and breath out oxygen, and all animals breath in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide, we turn together in and as one great cycling flow of oxygen and carbon, releasing the energies of Life.
As our one small and beautiful planet spins out its days and nights, and circles the sun into seasons, and glides with our whole solar family on one vast arcing arm of our spiral Milky Way galaxy, we turn together.
We are in conversation -- all of us, all the time, at more levels than we know -- turning together.
Waking up is our emerging realization that we can converse more consciously, learn to do it more knowledgeably and heartfully, inspired and inspiring, and thereby evolve together with -- and into -- greater wisdom, wholesomeness, and grace... turning, together.
Tom Atlee The Co-Intelligence Institute PO Box 493 Eugene, OR 97440
Read THE TAO OF DEMOCRACY http://www.taoofdemocracy.com
Tom Atlee's blog http://www.evolvingcollectiveintelligence.org
is one of the most serious problems hampering progress on the planet.
Rising Asian demand strains worldwide supply, threatening industry and consumers,
and producing calls for a bold energy initiative. there is the
and resulting problems of global warming, depletion of resources, and
loss in diversity are critical. our abuse of our
What we mean by faith is well stated in Wikipedia.
Faith is the confident belief or trust in the truth or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing. The word "faith" can refer to a religion itself or to religion in general. As with "trust", faith involves a concept of future events or outcomes, and is used conversely for a belief "not resting on logical proof or material evidence." Informal usage of the word "faith" can be quite broad, and may be used in place of "trust" or "belief." For other uses, see Faith (disambiguation).
To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.
Spiritual and Political, Archbishop Desmond Tutu
One of the things about forgiveness you have to remember is that it is not only spiritual.
It is part of real politics. In forgiving, people are not being asked to forget. On the contrary, it is important to remember, so that we should not let such atrocities happen again.
Forgiveness does not mean condoning what has been done. It means taking what happened seriously...drawing out the sting in the memory that threatens our entire existence.
"The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, not the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship;
it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when you discover that someone else believes in you and is willing to trust you with a friendship."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Gay Rights Messages
Conservative Message: Marriage has always meant the union of a man and a woman. Activist judges, however, have begun redefining marriage by court order, disregarding both our most sacred traditions and the will of the people. I support protecting the sanctity of marriage and oppose gay marriage and civil unions. I don×t believe in discriminating against anybody. If gay people want to live an alternative lifestyle, that×s their choice, but we shouldn×t grant them special rights, and we shouldn×t grant legal status to their relationships, which undermine the institution of marriage. The well-being of children is best accomplished when they are nurtured by their mother and father, anchored by the bonds of marriage. Our laws and Constitution should respect the institution of marriage, and not grant legal recognition or benefits to anything other than that unique and special union of one man and one woman.
Progressive Message C: For most Americans, marriage is a religious term, not just a legal one, and we need to respect that. My faith teaches that marriage is between a man and a woman. But in this country, we don×t force one person to live by another person×s interpretation of Scripture. And politicians who stir up anger or disgust toward gay people or anybody else aren×t speaking from a place of faith. Gay people are people, and they×re children of God like the rest of us. They should have the rights all Americans have to a job, a house, or health benefits, and to choose who they want to spend their lives with without government interference. What we call their relationships under the law should be up to the people of each state, not the federal government, which has no business meddling in people×s private lives. And it×s up to pastors, priests, and rabbis to decide who they will or won×t marry, based on the teachings of their own faith.
Key points in messaging on gay rights:
Conservative Message: The Constitution guarantees the right to bear arms, which the founding fathers understood as the cornerstone of individual liberty and the final guard against government tyranny. America has always had a deep tradition of gun-ownership, going back to the revolution and the frontier, and throughout the generations the lessons of hunting and sportsmanship have been passed down from father to son. Those who advocate for gun control don×t understand those traditions, and they don×t understand that police can×t be everywhere but criminals can, including at our own doors. Criminals aren×t going to obey gun laws, so law-abiding citizens need the right to protect their homes and their families. Any infringement on gun rights is an infringement on our freedom.
Progressive Message E: My view on guns reflects one simple principle: that our gun laws should guarantee the rights and freedoms of all law-abiding Americans. That×s why I stand with the majority who believe in the right of law-abiding citizens to own guns to hunt and protect their families. And that×s why I also stand with the majority who don×t believe that right extends to felons, terrorists, and gang members. We need to roll up our sleeves and deal with the gun violence that plagues our schools and streets in a way that reflects the traditions, values, and common sense of the American people. If you×re a law-abiding citizen, you should be able to buy a gun. But we need to start enforcing the laws on the books, make background checks faster and more accurate, make sure we can track down a gun×s serial number from the cartridges left at a crime scene, and close the loophole that lets criminals and terrorists buy guns at gun shows without a background check.
Key points in messaging on guns:
In an essay in the Sunday Book Review on January 29, 2010,
Amy Bloom considers the studies and books that have been published in recent years about the pursuit of happiness,
as well as the cynicism about it. She then offers this list:
the Fundamentally Sound, Sure-Fire Top Five Components of Happiness: (1) Be in possession of the basics food, shelter, good health, safety. (2) Get enough sleep. (3) Have relationships that matter to you. (4) Take compassionate care of others and of yourself. (5) Have work or an interest that engages you.
Conservative Message A: Illegal Immigration is one of the most serious problems we face as a nation. Our borders are broken and we need to secure them. Illegal aliens broke the law to come here, and they take away jobs from hard working Americans. They drain our tax dollars by getting government services without paying taxes. We need to build a wall across the border with Mexico and send illegal aliens back where they came from. We shouldn×t be giving amnesty to people who broke our laws to get here. It×s time to put Americans first. I×m tired of spending my tax dollars paying for people who aren×t American citizens and slipped across our borders illegally. We have to restore the rule of law, and you can×t do that if you give amnesty to lawbreakers.
Progressive Message G: We need to secure our borders and crack down on employers, who hire illegal immigrants. And people who come here need to learn our language, because if you can×t speak English then you can×t make it in this country and your kids will never know the American Dream. But politicians who say they are going to round up 12 million illegal immigrants who are already here aren×t telling the truth. We need a common sense solution that reflects who we are as Americans, a strong but compassionate nation. We should hire more border guards, prosecute illegal employers who exploit cheap labor and require people who crossed our border years ago to register, work hard, learn our language, obey our laws and pay extra taxes, so we turn illegal immigrants into tax paying citizens. So let×s solve this problem now. Tell politicians in Washington we×ve had enough of partisan bickering, and start dealing with the other problems we face; like spiraling prices, healthcare and the economy.
Key points in messaging on immigration:
reform. The U.S. transportation system is in shambles and will require major new projects. there's
Conservative Message: It would be a terrible mistake to pull out of Iraq before Al Qaeda in Iraq is defeated and before a competent, trained, and capable Iraqi security force is in place. If we leave now, a civil war could break out and spread throughout the region. We need to support our troops and win in Iraq, not cut off their funding and leave our troops in jeopardy. Iraq is now the central front in the war on terror, and we have to fight them there so we×re not fighting them here. But the surge is working, and the determination and sacrifice of our brave men and women is starting to pay off. Violence has decreased sharply, and Iraqis are stepping up to achieve stability and create a future for their country. We have made some mistakes so far, and finishing the job won×t be easy. But to pull out early would be a disaster for the Middle East, a dishonor to the sacrifices made by our troops, and a lesson to America×s enemies and allies alike that we lack the resolve of a great nation. America doesn×t buy peace through surrender.
Progressive Message I: Some politicians say that anyone who opposes another decade in Iraq doesn×t support our troops.ö That×s playing politics with the lives of our soldiers. You want to know what it means to support our troops? Don×t send them to war unless it×s truly the last resort. Armor their bodies and their vehicles so they don×t lose their lives and limbs when they don×t have to. Give them as much time at home in the loving arms of their families as in the crosshairs of their enemies. And if they make the ultimate sacrifice for their country, returning home to shores they will never see, don×t whisk them into this country in the middle of the night because it×s bad for public relations. Do what every administration in the 225-year history of this nation has done to honor our fallen heroes: Proudly display their flag-draped coffins, so that all Americans can honor their lives and their sacrifice. And if you really want to support our troops, bring them home. It×s time for a responsible withdrawal, guided by our generals and conditions on the ground, not by politics.
Key points in messaging on Iraq:
Conservative Message: In a dangerous world, protecting America×s national security requires a strong military. We face historic threats, from Islamic terrorists out to kill Americans because they hate our way of life, to a dictator in Iran trying to acquire nuclear weapons. America has the most capable, best-trained and best-led military force in the world, but we need to deal with dictators and madmen from a position of strength. The best way to keep America safe is to stay on the offense in the war on terror, so that we don×t have to fight terrorists here at home, and that means using every resource we have. We should deploy missile defenses to reduce the possibility of strategic blackmail by rogue nations. And we shouldn×t be tying the hands of the CIA when it comes to listening in on terrorists× phone calls, closing down Guantanamo, or giving rights to terrorists like trials in our courts. This is a war, and we should be fighting to win.
Progressive Message I: We can×t afford any more of the reckless foreign policy that has cost us over half a trillion dollars and thousands of lives over the last eight years. We need a foreign policy based on reality, not ideology. That means a responsible withdrawal of our soldiers from Iraq, guided by our senior military officers and conditions on the ground. It means finishing the job we should have finished after 9/11: destroying the Taliban, finding and killing bin Laden, and routing Al Qaeda out of the hills and caves of Afghanistan and Pakistan. It means rebuilding our alliances and restoring our reputation around the world. It means never again exempting ourselves from the international laws we led the world in creating. And it means leading in the development of clean, safe, alternative energy that will protect us from ever again having our economic and national security held hostage to unstable regimes that control the world×s oil.
Key points in messaging on national security:
Taoist thought doesnt see a concrete separation between magnetic polarities, black & white, good & bad, everything and nothing. Each simultaneously implies the other, and cannot exist without the other. From emptiness comes everything. From darkness comes light. We are a playful dance happening somewhere between opposing polarities. Only opposing polarities because we call it that→ really just one thing.
Buddhism in much the same way, sees & feels not just the waves on the surface, but the vast ocean from which they arise. The prime motivation is to rid ourselves from suffering caused by delusional egocentric thought. One of the main places to start is to see that you are not the autonomous wave that you think you are. To fully realize your true-nature or Buddhanature is awakening. There is no God in Buddhism, but if there must be, then you are it→ so is your cat, and that cup on your desk too. Reality is God and we are activities of reality.
Science is very compatible with the above notions. Rather than using the loaded word God, science might use the words cosmos or universe. The important part in the word universe is uni meaning one. What some might call Karma, science would call cause and effect relationships between all things.
These are all different fingers pointing to the same moon. Different doors to the same big house.
Whoever lets go of himself finds God.
Perhaps this video comes close to expressing what I was trying to express..."
~Words and Art by Doug Seidl (aka, bluefuze)~
I made a making-of step-by-step walkthrough here.
Text source and homepage:
~One, by Doug Seidl~
The great religious prophets have all recognized that beyond the intellectual realm lies a numinous oneness that transcends all differences, call it the Holy, the divine Spirit, God---it doesn't matter. The mystic oneness of person to person, of mother to child and then brother to sister, is but a simple expression of the greater mystical oneness of all existence in the great chain of being.
Theologians may reason their way to oneness, but mothers know it by heart. Extended from hearth to altar, this sense of cosmic kinship cannot help but uplift and transform our personal lives. Such religion exalts self and other alike by placing us together in divine kinship as children of one great mystery, children of God the mother, creator, consoler and comforter, God of love and compassion, to whom we owe all due and reverent praise.
Source: Sermon, May 13, 2007
Make a Mess, Discover Your Life
By Anne Lamott
Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life. I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you wont have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who arent even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while theyre doing it.
Besides, perfectionism will block inventiveness and playfulness and life force (these are words we are allowed to use in California). Perfectionism means that you try desperately not to leave so much mess to clean up. But clutter and mess show us that life is being lived. Clutter is wonderfully fertile groundyou can still discover new treasures under all those piles, clean things up, fix things, get a grip. Tidiness suggests that something is as good as its going to get. Tidiness makes me think of held breath, of suspended animation.
When I was 21, I had my tonsils removed. I was one of those people who got strep throat every few minutes, and my doctor finally decided that I needed to have my tonsils taken out. For the entire week afterward, swallowing hurt so much that I could barely open my mouth for a straw. I had a prescription for painkillers, though, and when they ran out but the pain hadnt, I called the nurse and said she would need to send another prescription over, and maybe a little mixed grill of drugs because I was also feeling somewhat anxious. But she wouldnt.
I asked to speak to her supervisor. She told me her supervisor was at lunch and that I needed to buy some gum, of all things, and to chew it vigorouslythe thought of which made me clutch at my throat. She explained that when we have a wound in our body, the nearby muscles cramp around it to protect it from any more violation and from infection, and that I would need to use these muscles if I wanted them to relax again. So finally my best friend Pammy went out and bought me some gum, and I began to chew it, with great hostility and skepticism. The first bites caused a ripping sensation in the back of my throat, but within minutes all the pain was gone, permanently.
I think that something similar happens with our psychic muscles. They cramp around our woundsthe pain from our childhood, the losses and disappointments of adulthood, the humiliations suffered in bothto keep us from getting hurt in the same place again, to keep foreign substances out. So those wounds never have a chance to heal. Perfectionism is one way our muscles cramp. In some cases we dont even know that the wounds and the cramping are there, but both limit us. They keep us moving in tight, worried ways. They keep us standing back or backing away from life, keep us from experiencing life in a naked and immediate way.
So go ahead and make big scrawls and mistakes. Perfectionism is a mean, frozen form of idealism, while messes are the artists true friend. What people somehow (inadvertently, Im sure) forgot to mention when we were children was that we need to make messes in order to find out who we are and why we are here.
Anne Lamott is a writer of books and essays. This piece is an excerpt from her book, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life.
The work of politics is the ordering of society and the regulation of power to permit human flourishing while simultaneously restraining the most Hobbesian human instincts.
There could be no greater irony: For all the sublimity of art, physics, music, mathematics and other manifestations of human genius, everything depends on the mundane, frustrating, often debased vocation known as politics
(and its most exacting subspecialty statecraft). Because if we dont get politics right, everything else risks extinction.
We grow justly weary of our politics.
But we must remember this: Politics in all its grubby, grasping, corrupt, contemptible manifestations is sovereign in human affairs.
Everything ultimately rests upon it.
Fairly or not, politics is the driver of history.
It will determine whether we will live long enough to be heard one day.
Out there. By them, the few the only who got it right. (Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, December 29, 2011)
It is not we alone who pray; all things pray.
All things pour forth their souls.
The heavens pray; the earth prays, every creature and every living thing prays.
In all life, there is longing.
Creation itself is but a longing, a prayer to the Almighty.
... What are the clouds, the rising and the setting of the sun, the soft radiance of the moon, and the gentleness of the night?
What are the flashes of the human mind and the storms of the human heart?
They are all prayers the outpouring of the boundless longing for God.
(Mishkan Tfilah Reformed Jewish Prayer Book, p. 287)
The radical is that unique person who actually believes what he says. He is that person to whom the common good is the greatest personal value. He is that person who genuinely and completely believes in humankind. The radical is so completely identified with humankind that he personally shares the pain, the injustices, and the sufferings of all his fellow humans. For the radical, the bell tolls unceasingly, and every man's struggle is his fight. Source: Rules for Radicals
In the context of internet marketing, social media
refers to a collective group of web properties whose content is primarily published by users, not direct employees of the property
(e.g., the vast majority of video on YouTube is published by non-YouTube employees).
This presents a splendid new marketing opportunity for those who learn how to use it.
(this text is adapted from Wikipedia and
Social Media Marketing for Dummies).
Were all born late. Were born into history that is well under way.
Were born into cultures, nations and languages that we didnt choose. On
top of that, were born with certain brain chemicals and genetic
predispositions that we cant control. Were thrust into social
conditions that we detest. Often, we react in ways we regret even while
were doing them.
But unlike the other animals, people do have a drive to seek coherence
and meaning. We have a need to tell ourselves stories that explain it
all. We use these stories to supply the metaphysics, without which life
seems pointless and empty.
Among all the things we dont control, we do have some control over our
stories. We do have a conscious say in selecting the narrative we will
use to make sense of the world. Individual responsibility is contained in
the act of selecting and constantly revising the master narrative we tell
The stories we select help us, in turn, to interpret the world. They
guide us to pay attention to certain things and ignore other things. They
lead us to see certain things as sacred and other things as disgusting.
They are the frameworks that shape our desires and goals. So while story
selection may seem vague and intellectual, its actually very powerful.
The most important power we have is the power to help select the lens
through which we see reality.
(by David Brooks, November 10, 2009, New York Times)
"To laugh often and love much; to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; to earn the approbation of honest citizens and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of ones self; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have livedthis is to have succeeded."
~ Bessie Anderson Stanley
From this perspective, human beings are as much a part of nature as the oceans, trees, and stars. What's more, there seem to be certain patterns and processes which occur in natural systems everywhere, guiding the development of individuals and galaxies alike.
The ideas in systems theory are based on careful observations of natural phenomena. They tell us how nature works, how all things fit together into larger systems and communities. Its concepts refer as much to cells and solar systems as to nations, corporations and basketball teams.
While many of the words and concepts of systems theory are new, systems thinking is not. Systems thinking is a way of looking at the world ecologically and holistically, where one focuses on patterns and processes, and how seemingly separate things form coherent wholes.
Systems thinkers have been with us since ancient times, providing wisdom and guidance in all cultures and every area of human activity. Some of the ideas presented here have their roots in ancient Greece, or in Eastern systems of thought, such as Taoism or Zen.
Many indigenous communities have long had an awareness of the way nature's systems worked. They observed their environments carefully, watching the ways animals lived, how the natural world moved in cycles and patterns. Elaborate myths and rituals have helped native people to align themselves with the rhythms and processes of nature, to feel a part of their local worlds.
On the other hand, many civilized societies have moved away from a feeling of connectedness with nature, and an understanding of nature's ways. In the West, we have developed more dualistic ways of thinking, classifying and categorizing everything in the world. Our cities and communities both reflect and influence this thinking. Ours is a world of walls, boxes, and roads, of separation and specialization. Our social institutions are organized by a more mechanistic and linear paradigm, a less organic beat.
As the industrial revolution took hold in communities across the globe we have used this paradigm to organize all areas of our lives. In our educational institutions we have removed children from their families and natural surroundings. We have put them together in rooms and then asked a single adult to provide them with disconnected facsimiles of the world, to divide external reality into separate fields such as art, science, language, and history. What is often ignored in this approach is the way these different phenomena are related, how things often flow together and influence one another.
In a field like science the natural world has been further divided into pieces. When we were young we studied biology, chemistry, physics, and geology-- as if each field existed separately from the others. We never received a coherent picture of the world that reflected the way nature actually organizes things, how these phenomena are related to one another and play a role in each individual's life.
Lacking a unified understanding of nature, our scientists and educators have often used very misleading metaphorical language in order to describe the world. Over the last few hundred years, leading Western scientists have talked about nature as if she were a woman to be dominated, a mindless machine, a struggle for survival, or (at best) a "glorious accident." These metaphors have influenced the way modern nations have dealt with internal social problems, other communities, and the natural world.
Our beliefs and metaphors for reality are conceptual tools. They help us create images and representations in our mind that we hope will reflect the way the world is actually organized. While these metaphors help to focus our attention on certain things they can also screen out and ignore a lot of information that is important. Over time our thinking has become increasingly rigid and reductionistic, frequently separating phenomena into fixed categories such as "us and them," or "smart and dumb."
In the United States, social or physical problems have often been viewed as adversaries people must struggle with or declare war upon. This dualistic thinking underlies the approaches we've taken toward poverty, drug abuse, cancer, and crime. It has sent missles firing into Viet Nam, Lebanon, Panama, Libya, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq. In most cases our wars have been ineffective, created new problems, or simply ignored the resulting violence and suffering caused.
Yet, while this hard-edged thinking may be out of touch with the organic complexities of natural phenomena, it has provided the key to the development of sophisticated tools, mathematics, and machines. New inventions (like the microscope, the camera, the steam engine and the computer) pushed change and shaped the unfolding patterns of mechanistic civilizations. They also allowed scientists to observe the rhythmic functioning of atoms, organs, and cells; to glimpse the history of our planets and the stars.
It is in this careful and methodical examination of the natural world that modern systems theory developed. Today we have detailed information about almost everything in the observable universe. We also have a large body of words, concepts and theories that describe how all these things fit together, how these systems provide evidence of certain recurring processes and patterns in the natural world. Setting out initially to classify and categorize nature, science has now brought us full circle, rediscovering nature's paradigm.
Systems Theory: Rediscovering Nature's Paradigm
Conservative Message: Some politicians think the government knows best how people should spend their hard-earned money. I think Americans ought to be able to make their own decisions, and the government should keep its hands out of our pockets. The philosophy of tax and spend has proven a failure. We need a tax system that is flatter, fairer, and pro-growth, where everybody pays the same low percent of their income and we don×t saddle businesses with taxes that make them unable to compete. Some say we can just raise taxes on the rich. But we shouldn×t be punishing Americans who do well by jacking up their taxes to pay for all the wasteful spending in Washington. Americans aren×t under-taxed, they×re over-taxed. We pay income taxes, business taxes, sales taxes, property taxes, capital gains taxes, social security taxes, and even death taxes. The real problem is that Washington spends too much money.
Progressive Message G: The last thing we need in the midst of a recession is to raise taxes on middle class Americans, who need more money in their pockets, not less. It×s time our tax code reflected the interests of everyday Americans, not special interests and their lobbyists. In the last few years, we×ve given oil companies billions in tax cuts while they×ve doubled the price of gas, and given millionaires hundred-thousand dollar tax cuts while giving the average American family $500. We×ve been spending over ten billion dollars a month in Iraq that we could have been spending here in America, and signing trade agreements that cost American jobs and industries. The question isn×t, Who×s going to raise your taxes?ö It×s Whose taxes are your elected officials going to cut, yours or their campaign contributors?ö We need to make our tax code fair to people who work for a living and start investing in America again.
Key points in messaging on taxes:
"In moments of tenderness it is as though the ego and all its machinations momentarily melt away so that our feelings are heightened and we are perhaps moved by the impulse to reach out with a comforting hand."
Try a Little Tenderness, by Gordon Marino.
Conservative Message: Americans are most inventive people in the world. The economy has taken a downturn, but many politicians in Washington have made things a lot worse by refusing to make President Bush×s tax cuts permanent and continuing to fund wasteful government programs rather than cutting spending and getting our budget under control. So rather than letting government get in the way of business with high taxes and burdensome red tape, we should allow Americans to keep more of their hard earned money, so they can create and innovate, and let the market do what it has done for generations: create prosperity for the American people. Making the tax cuts permanent for all Americans, reducing taxes on businesses, and cutting wasteful spending in Washington will expand the U.S. economy and create new jobs and opportunities and allow us to lead the way again in the world market.
Progressive Messages D: I want to see the words Made in Americaö again. Becoming the world×s leader again in manufacturing and agriculture isn×t just essential to our economic security. It×s essential to our national security. Imagine if we×d had to fight World War II without manufacturing plants and American-grown food. I×m tired of calling the phone company and talking to a person in India, if I ever reach a person at all. It×s time we negotiate trade agreements that lift workers up, not bring the pay and benefits of American workers down to the level of Mexico and China. If we trade with a country whose workers don×t get health insurance, retirement, and safety standards like ours, we need to put a tariff on their products so American workers and businesses are playing on an even playing field. And if our companies ship jobs overseas, we should tax those goods when they come back to this country, so corporations will have an incentive to keep jobs here. It×s time to put America first again.
Key points in messaging on the economy:
The Role Of Government
Role of Government Messages
Conservative Message: Big government is the problem, not the solution. We need limited government, not the politics of tax and spend. The government×s job is to provide for our national security, protect our borders, keep our streets free from criminals, and provide basic services. We should cut taxes so Americans can keep more of their hard earned money and keep it out of the hands of politicians in Washington, who think they know how to spend it better than the American people do. And we don×t need government to impose burdensome regulations and red tape on businesses that just hamper our economy and our ability to create jobs. The best government is a small government, which gets out of the way of the free market and lets it create prosperity and jobs.
Progressive Message C: We need leaders who take personal responsibility for their actions and expect the same from our government. Government is our shared investment in our shared future, and our leaders need to shepherd that investment wisely. That means investing in our greatest national treasureour childrenby strengthening public education and giving real tax breaks to middle class parents struggling to pay for day care and college tuition. It means investing in our nation×s health, by investing in science that saves lives and in solutions to a broken health care system, so people who work for a living can take their kids to a doctor and can×t be denied insurance because of preexisting conditions.ö And it means investing in the infrastructure that allows business to thrive and create good jobs, starting with investing in alternative energy that will end our dependence on foreign oil.
Key points in messaging on the role of government:
In the West, early Christians didn't like turtles, and they viewed them as symbolizing evil forces during war. In Greece, turtles were once believed to be citizens of hell. But like the Chinese, Indians have a legend that "the world is supported by four elephants standing on a giant turtle."
After hearing a Western scientist clearly give a scientific explanation for the formation of the world, one old Indian woman said that he was wholly mistaken, that the world was being supported by a giant turtle. When the scientist asked what was under the turtle, she said, "Of course there is an endless pile of turtles, one on top of another."
Turtles seem to possess an enviable and god-like resistance to aging, and so they came to symbolize longevity. Their link to heaven and earth made them a natural for use in divination. Turtles are also symbols of immortality and are considered temporary dwelling places for souls making their way through a series of lives on the path to Nirvana. The turtle is considered to be the second incarnation of the powerful god Vishnu in the Hindu religion. After a great flood, which occurs every four billion years and dissolves the earth, Vishnu transforms himself into a great turtle. On his back, he carries a vessel in which the gods and demons mix the elements necessary to re-create the globe. After a thousand years, when the earth has been reborn, the turtle remains in place, and on his back stands a large elephant, which support the planet.
According to some Native American tales, the Earth Diver turtle swam to the bottom of the water that stretched across the world. He surfaced with the mud which the creator used to make the earth. The turtle is a shore creature, using the land and the water. All shore areas are associated with doorways to the Faerie Realm. The turtle is sometimes known as the keeper of the doors. They were often seen as signs of fairy contact and the promise of fairy rewards.
A Japanese Fairy Tale about Urashima tells of a man who protects a turtle from some boys who were bothering it. As a reward, the turtle takes the man to meet the King of the Ocean. As a reward for his good deed, Urashima marries the King's beautiful water sprite daughter. In Nigeria, the turtle was a symbol of the female sex organs and sexuality. To the Native Americans, it was associated with the lunar cycle, menstruation, and the power of the female energies.
The markings and sections on some turtles total thirteen. In the lunar calendar, there are either thirteen full moons or thirteen new moons alternating each year. Many believe this is where the association with the female energies originated. The turtle symbolizes the primal mother and Mother Earth.
To the modern Chinese, turtles are viewed in many different ways. It is regarded as one of the four divine animals, along with the dragon, phoenix and chimera. They are worshipped in temples. Flour turtles used to be used as offerings at temple festivals or big family events. However, the term turtle is also used as a curse word, and the Taiwanese expression for gamblers "losing your shirt" translates as "knocking turtles". Apart from gamblers' fears that eating a flour turtle will turn their luck sour, turtles have many other bad connotations in modern Chinese society. In fact, when people curse each other these days, the first thing to come out is often "turtle egg" or " grandson of a turtle".
Even so, the image of the turtle as a spiritual beast has become deeply implanted in people's minds. One ancient text warns its readers not to act rashly when catching turtles and always to carry out the proper ceremony to worship them first. There are also many legends about how those who killed turtles eventually met with misfortune. Common Buddhist restraints against the killing of animals evolved into the Buddhist ceremony of releasing turtles.
Turtles remind us that the way to heaven is through the earth. In Mother Earth is all that we need. She will care for us, protect us, and nurture us, as long as we do the same for her. For that to happen, we must slow down and heighten our sensibilities. We must see the connection to all things. Just as the turtle cannot separate itself from its shell, neither can we separate ourselves from what we do to the earth.
The essence of America is energy the vibrancy of the market, the mobility of the people and the disruptive creativity of the entrepreneurs.
This vibrancy grew up accidentally, out of a cocktail of religious fervor and material abundance, but it was nurtured by choice.
It was nurtured by our founders, who created national capital markets to disrupt the ossifying grip of the agricultural landholders.
It was nurtured by 19th-century Republicans who built the railroads and the land-grant colleges to weave free markets across great distances.
It was nurtured by Progressives who broke the stultifying grip of the trusts. (David Brooks, New York Times, March 22, 2010)
I think war is part of a much bigger subject that might be called non-violence or peace.
It may be that
The Status of Women
belongs with this subject.
And certainly our tendency to respect
and our hegemony of believing in
the importance of our nation being a super-power
belong with this subject.
The writing of Fareed Zakaria will be important.
I think this will be where our continuing work will most focus.
Nuggets without an illustration (121)
|Absolute Truth||Consequence||Grown Up||Longing||Reconciliation||Substitution|
|Affirmation||Delight||Healing||Mechanism||Resilience||The Human Condition|
|Agreements||Despair||Health Care||Mind Altering||Resolving||The Limits Of Our Intelligence|
|Anger||Desperation||Hierarchy Of Needs||Mindfulness||Restraint||The Natural World|
|Arrogance||Empowerment||Human Dignity||Momentum||Reward||Touching The Divine|
|Being Right||Examina||Impulse||Mystery||Self Control||Unknowing|
|Belief System||Excellence||Individuation||Nurture||Self Deception||Unmistakable Truth|
|Causation||Field Theory||Innocence||Open Doors||Self Discipline||Womb|
|Clarity||Follow Thru||Integrating||Our Possibilities||Social Justice||Yearning|
|Cognitive Dissonance||Good Intent||Joy||Peaceful||Solitude|