John G Bell


Spring '03 - Hill

Final: “Toward Personal Mastery and Shared Vision”

"I have nothing to say... and now I'm going to say it"

John Cage Lecture on Nothing

  1. Harvesting PALOD

A) Impactful Concepts

  1. A time and place for dialogue

I've been interested in, what's probably a cliché by now, a time and place for dialogue. Along these lines, if there's going to be such a thing, that time and place should be part of people's everyday lives, or else there's a disconnect between the ideal and the actual.

Senge spoke of dialogue as being the place where skills are developed that lead to success in discussions. This seems to subordinate dialogue as merely a method of learning the skills for effective group decision making. I started to think even more about dialogue as a process that begins with very small steps and stages due to reading Nickel and Dimed. Instead of a significant event, the start of dialogue is very small and can be in any interaction between people even when there are reasons that it shouldn't work, like hierarchy and agenda. That dialogue is both simpler and more robust than my previous ideas is liberating.

There isn't any power when the chance for dialogue is stripped away. Prohibition against human interaction is a tool of control. It's a tool used to create an authoritarian hierarchy where dissent is treason, punishable by what amounts to a slide down the final inches into a kind of soul death. The time and place for dialogue isn't just a nice idea, it's a dire necessity. It's the safe harbor for humans to be humans together. It's the place where culture is created and practiced. It's the place where human worth is supported by a framework and network of other compassionate humans.

We should start thinking about dialogue and in fact all grassroots resistance skills as something that it is our patriotic duty to learn and teach. Dialogue, consensus and non-violent resistance tools could be part of our societal citizenship training and brought to all aspects of our lives. This is especially true because when it's part of our daily lives it becomes more self-maintaining and sustainable.

  1. Enclaving

We are both connected and disconnected. We can feel connected and feel disconnected, but they coexist at all times. That we feel one way or the other is selective attention. That's the trick of the two brains, the two modes of thought - to say that one is the way things are and that we only "feel" like the other is true when it isn't is running along the outside edge of the circle. The point is that creative tension that comes from both being true at the same time and that neither is more true than the other.

The whole journey is one where if I think of one brain as being the true brain, I fall off the path. Even in the "last" leg of alignment, if I fall off I end up in war or mysticism. However, if I keep the creative tension between them, I have a chance to bring all these gifts to myself and the community.

Dialogue for the sake of dialogue is just normalizing relations without commitment. Dialogue is meaningless that isn't part of a commitment to solidarity, a component to fundamental changes, a commitment to commensality. The commitment that goes with dialogue is not to act as if hierarchy does not exist but rather to work actively from solidarity.

The time, place, ability, willingness and commitment of dialogue is about resisting the societal, cultural and personal forces that attempt to alienate us from each other and also attempt to convince us to beautify the barriers that exist as the status quo.

The project of dialogue within the existing space of one's life is self-maintaining and requires little effort. However, there are cliques and comfort groups that form. To me, this whole project represented the conflict between self and tribe. There's the desire to form a tribe, but the desire to remain an individual. The system of the tribe can have personality and also wishes to define itself as separate but self-consistent, which is a process I've been calling “enclaving.” But there's also individuals that want to define the community by themselves which is a opposing force.

  1. Some people like the Lying Game

So, we're on this whole project to be connected, authentic, compassionate communicators. It's important to remember that there are some people that are not interested in dialogue. They are interested in debate and power over others instead of connection and power with others. There are people who don't want to abide by the Decalogue of Dialogue. There are people who will ignore covenants and take what they can for themselves at the expense of others. Sometimes they even think that they are doing it for the other's good, a twisted kind of community as reflection of themselves. This is the problem presented by the idea of the two brains. There is a need for connectedness and community, but there's also a need to be recognized as an individual which unaddressed will act to dismantle connection.

There are people that have needs that are not met by dialogue and will always move toward debate. It may be that they are so desperate to be heard that they have to demand attention or it may simply be that they have a satisfaction model that provides psychological satisfaction through destruction. There are people that enjoy experiencing or seeing others suffer through dysfunction. After all, pain is the unfortunate root of almost all humor and some people are willing to go blind amusing themselves.

  1. The Elephant Parable

The Elephant Parable is often used to demonstrate the relationship between objective and subjective reality, a metaphor for questions about the nature of knowledge and existence. In this class, we're talking about the way people communicate their experience with others and how this works and doesn't work. Altered versions of the parable, some with new dysfunctions or removed dysfunctions, are used to further illustrate limitations and powers of this process.

Along with everything we've said in class about this parable, it's possible that the elephant decides to make itself known to the blind people, becoming it's own king by redefining the project for itself, after all it's unlikely that the elephant would not have a smell or make sounds. However, even the king doesn't really know it all, although he think that he does. His amusement comes from believing that he sees the elephant more authentically than the blind men and from watching the humorous antics of those that don't see the elephant. The king is amused by the dysfunction he's created for others to muddle through. However, he can't see both sides of the elephant at the same time and fails to realize that the reason the courtiers on the other side of the hall are laughing is not the same reason as his own, but rather because the peasants in town painted a crude representation of the king, with his head in an uncomfortable and rather improbable place, on the elephant's far side. The king mistakenly believes he has the whole truth just as each blind man mistakenly thinks themselves to be a king with an eye on the “real” “elephant.”

  1. Chronology, Spatiality and Compassion

There was a poster on campus that said “Happiness is not something you have. It is something you remember.” This appears to contradict the idea that happiness “is possible only in the present moment.” [PIES p6] This points to a conflict I've had over some of the ideas of Buddhism. I think that it's just as important to be aware of the past, present and future. To isolate one's awareness to only the present seems to be a mistake. In many ways I am what I have done, I am doing the things I do now and I'm moving forward toward a future as aware as I can be of the potentialities that arise for the future from the past modified by my present actions. The idea of the Jungian shadow, or of shame, is that my past can hurt me if I am not willing or able to incorporate those parts of me. My happiness is a combination of a healthy ecology that includes mindfulness and awareness of past, present and future. An ecology of past, present and future spreads my happiness across chronological boundaries.

The idea that “everything holds my happiness” [PIES p8] spreads my happiness across spatial boundaries. This reminds me of the idea of the Fisher King that finds the Grail had been by his side all along. Spreading my happiness across chronological boundaries is an individual process. Spreading my happiness across spatial boundaries is a community process.

The two brains are in the ideas of the “evolutionary tree” and the “interdependent relations.” [PIES p70] The evolutionary tree is the community linking all the parts to a whole. The interdependent relations link each leaf and branch to each other branch as individual entities. The network of interdependence is more than just a link through the trunk, it's the direct connectedness of each twig & leaf independent of the trunk.

However, it's not just the two brains anymore. That something else is the creative tension between the two. For example, I have the need to be compassionate for myself because without it I may tend to become a martyr or codependent. Further, I have the need to have others express compassion for me because without that I may feel that I am taken for granted or I may be come arrogant in rejecting others autonomy. There is however a third kind of compassion. This third compassion is something that is both compassion from within and without.

This third kind of compassion is the creative tension between the two others. I've been thinking of this in terms of how the Sister Helens of the world feel that they have compassion expressed toward them from outside of themselves but not from any other person. Many times this is expressed as ideas of Grace or in a kind of powerful presence and confidence like that in the description of meeting Thich Nhat Hanh from the introduction. This was also in Cultural Creatives when Elizabet Sahtouris says, “A larger intelligent system surrounds us and works for us – call it by any name you chose – if we acknowledge and let it guide us.” [CC p271]

The distinctiveness of this third kind of compassion is that if a Sister Helen was only a brain in a vat, she would still have access to compassion for herself and this third kind of compassion. This kind of connectedness is perhaps the kind of thing meant by the expression “personal relationship with the divine.” There's an aspect of this in the idea of the positive seeds or in the “flower within us” and the expression of transcendent connectedness of having each step we take be like “kissing the Earth” and “every step makes a flower bloom.” [PIES p28,29]

B) Images

  1. Onions for strangers

(reaction to Angela's lecture of 23oct03)

Who is dead? Who is alive?

In the little red school houses of the heart

humanity is sepulchered in mummified corpses

with cosmetic canopic costumes

keeping the dead alive with words

and remembered names

and names keep them alive

We are the disappeared

in the western lands

the west keeps them alive

keeping the names alive with onions

the tears of the alive

over the onions of the dead

Are you dead?

You are my son. You are my stranger

and I remember your name

while you travel in the western lands

and in our hands are onions

offerings for the dead

Who here is dead? Who here is alive?

I am a stranger traveling to the western lands

Remember my name with tear gas and demonstrations

and onions in the hands of strangers

and long deep breaths

so that the tears never stop.

  1. Beautifying the Barriers

This mental image has been dancing in my mind since I heard it. I certainly have spent enough of my time building elaborately decorated barriers, or point out their existence with the graffiti of awareness, tagging them with my thoughts. I have not spent nearly as much time tearing these barriers down, or in modifying the actual structure of the barriers.

  1. Lynching video

I can't get it out of my head. The presentation of this video was a powerful message, but one that I did not need to hear. I have heard this before and hearing it again when I've worked so hard to become more sensitive to the images I expose myself was too much.

It is important to “sustain ourselves by choosing our surroundings carefully and nourishing our awareness in each moment.” [PIES p15] Being exposed to images of extreme pain and suffering is like de Kock's desire “to make his evil real ... because it was real to him.” [HBDTN p40] It should not be necessary for everyone to have equal slices of pain and suffering, it is not that pain and suffering require to be redistributed evenly among the living. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali say, what should be obvious, “Future suffering should be avoided.” In the Radical Christianity presentation, I heard “Go and learn what this means, 'I desire mercy not sacrifice.' For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.” [Matthew 9:12-14]

It is not necessary for the sensitive to be made aware of the pain and suffering in the world. On the contrary, I am already aware of it. I do not need to actually experience pain and suffering to know that it exists or to want to avoid it. I've already made the choice to avoid it and to work within my ability to not create more.

  1. Imaginal discs

The biological story is that the caterpillar eats many times its weight per day, and then when it forms a chrysalis, it goes into the quiescent state. ... At that point, precellular entities called imaginal discs start to form. They're not full fledged cells yet, and when they first appear, the immune system actually wipes them out. So long as the discs are independent and separate, they are snuffed out as if they were foreign bodies. But as the metamorphosis goes on, more and more discs are created, and soon they start coming quicker and faster and clustering together and the immune system just breaks down. At that point, the body of the caterpillar begins to turn to a soupy nutrient fertilizer that nourishes the discs as they grow into full-fledged cells. These cells develop into the body of the butterfly.” Elizabet Sahtouris in Cultural Creatives p266

This is a metaphor for dissent, resistance, enclaving and cultural transformation, but it's a model that doesn't break the cycle of cultures in conflict. If one accepts that the old has to be destroyed in order for the new to exist, then one is caught in a distinctly unsystemic world view and the pendulum will swing back again eventually. There is a chance that instead of trying to exchange riders, we could throw off the yoke of this cultural conflict. The answer may be in recognizing that each social construct has a historicity and a purpose. The cultures of the Cultural Creatives aren't new and they aren't going to go away. Even as the membership changes, the personality of the system remains. If the dominance of one over the others is simply swapped then we've missed a chance for creative tension that may help avoid social upheaval.

C) Quotations

But do you remember the old signs on the bridge? 'Niger don't let the sun set on you here.'” In Timber Country p49

If I were asked what the general attitude is toward the animals we eat, I would say contempt. We treat them badly because we despise them; we despise them because they don't fight back.” The Lives of Animals p58

if you don't respect yourself, then you can't respect your race, then you can't respect another's race” Holler If You Hear Me p53-54

I don't know where I'd go if I lost my job. I don't understand why I can't live here and keep doing what I'm doing. This is me. This is who I am.” Tom Louk in El Dorado

They don't meet. There aren't reasons or opportunities to meet.” Promises

“History is presented to us as entertainment” Gloria in 1st qtr Seminar

“My own plans have plans for me” Slam

“Has anything you've done made your life better?” American History X

“That's an important point of protest but it's got to be organized or it's meaningless. We can't become private revolutionaries. Private revolution only effects you.” Jack O'dell

“Primary threats ... come not from sudden events but from slow, gradual processes” Senge The Fifth Discipline p22

Learning that changes mental models is immensely challenging. It is disorienting. It can be frightnening as we confront cherished beliefs and assumptions. It cannot be done alone. It can occur only within a community of learners.” - Senge The Fifth Discipline p xv

be serious in your own quest” Senge The Fifth Discipline p173

“Someone has to puncture the prevailing fiction that were a 'family' here ... You'd need a lot stronger word then dysfunctional to describe a family where only a few benefit” Ehrenriech Nickel and Dimed p185

“I would like to hold him by the hand, and show him that there is a future and that he can still change.” Gobodo-Madikizela A human being died that night p15

“He wanted his evil to be real to me because it was real to him.” Gobodo-Madikizela A human being died that night p40

“It is a regular game I've played all my life: pretending everything is okay, that I'm strong.” Healing & the mind

“The powerless are constantly cast in the role of educating their oppressors” - Simona Sharoni

“There is wisdom in wheelchairs that is not available to everyone else.” Patrick's nephew Patrick

“What we don't have in common is less important than the important work we have to do together.” Sister Helen's Pax Christi speech

“You have to emancipate yourself from your immorals or live a life of squeamishness.” Mindwalk

“Compassionate conservatism is a fig leaf over the private parts of ruthless capital” Jules Unseld

“Screw the potlucks” The Stranger vol 12 no 19

“I am more complex than any bumper sticker” - Patrick Hill

“When you can hear the incessant hum of the dominant culture's story you step across the invisible threshold.” Cultural Creatives p49

“Once you see the boundaries of your environment, they are no longer the boundaries of your environment” Marshal McLuhan in Cultural Creatives p57

“It was okay with me for it to be true, but I wanted more. I needed to explore how it could be possible.” Mark Youngblood in Cultural Creatives p59

“I recognize myself as a complete being who is connected with the wholeness.” Francisco X. Alarcón in Cultural Creatives p63

“A larger intelligent system surrounds us and works for us – call it by any name you chose – if we acknowledge and let it guide us.” Elizabet Sahtouris in Cultural Creatives p271

“Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.” Thich Nhat Hanh Peace is Every Step p29

“You have been eating notions and words and I want you to eat real bread to wake you up.” Ben Riippi's bible paraphrase

“It is only now that you are fully yourself.” The Power of NOW p266

D) Impactful Experiences

1) The Greenery

The afternoon lunch group, which honestly turned into several groups, was a really bonding experience for me with the class. I've had several discussions about this with other people on campus and they allreact favourably to the idea, desiring their own program to have something similar. While it was part of the normal daily schedule it was well attended and self-maintaining and clearly suggests that there's an inclination toward group activity when time and space is available. However, affinity and cliques formed early and stayed pretty static through the year. I made various attempts to get others to join the table from outside the program, but was mostly unsuccessful. Clearly, there's an element of convenience. Time and space is not self-organizing, but participation in a pre-existing time and space is mostly self-maintaining.

  1. Study Circle on Race

Participation in the Study Circle on Race 1st quarter turns out to have been an essential turning point in bringing the ideas of the class, and serious questions, into the real world. There was a significant confrontation and dysfunction within the circle that was an initial catalyst toward much of the work I did this year. Having the outside work built within the schedule was incredibly useful to creating a real world mirror for the topics of the class.

3) Anonymous Poetry

It's a lot harder to be anonymous than I thought. I put in three contributions to the project because I knew some people were not going to offer theirs. I made the mistake of sending out my work to my small group instead of keeping it to myself. Several other classmates have revealed their work to the class in one way or the other. In a class significantly based on sharing, the prospect of offering anonymous poetry to the class and reading it aloud seemed like a deal breaker for many. This seemed like the beginning of an undercurrent of revolt against the work of the program, but maybe it started earlier than that.

  1. Combined class work

The combined classes was a great experience. To visit the Tacoma campus, share our class with staff and to join together with Angela's program were all great ways to shake up the class. However, more importantly, it was great to have what amounted to an arranged social mixer with other communities of learners. In fact, this is also true of the introduction of guest speakers too. The constant introduction of people and situations outside the program and the comfort of the covenant helped keep the program from becoming completely locked in its own world. Some of this clearly happened anyway, but it helped. I also feel lucky to have met Beverly Brown and had the chance to listen to the presentation by Jack O'dell. Both of these have been significant and powerful influences on my work, if not directly present, throughout the year.

E) Reflections

  1. Peace be unto you

From one of the reflections sent by Nancy Codon:

And the traditional greeting when seeing someone for the first time or when seeing someone you haven't seen in a long time is, "Shalom Aleichem," which means "peace unto you."

The Islamic greeting is: Assalaamu aleykum. I don't know why I never made that connection before. They are so very similar. It seems like so many people are cursed to think they speak different languages. This realization has really stayed with me.

  1. Relephant

Relephant” adj. Having or providing a different perspective on the matter at hand.

  1. Understandards

In the high-tech world there are "standards" (typically called Open Standards) which everyone is supposed to follow and that everyone agrees to and knows about, like how a web page is supposed to be displayed or the way that data is transfered over the Internet. (In fact, the Internet itself is a standard.)

Well, there's always companies that take liberties with the way they implement standards. Either they think they can improve on them, or they are trying to lock our competition, or both, etc ... anyhow, they work on a modified version of the "standard."

This is like the difference between current reality and mental models, or like the difference between espoused theories and theories-in-use. So, there's the "standard" which is what we agree to publicly, but there's an "understandard" which is the modified standard by which we operate and that is the understanding between people "in the know" about how things really work.

So, that's my new word: Understandard, noun, the way things really work as opposed to the way they are officially supposed to work, which is a kind of tribal knowledge, knowledge that is often kept as a secret to maintain power and/or control over those that don't have that knowledge.

  1. Hyena

The hyenas hide in the ruthlessness of their own jungle.

They wait for the compassionate to become complacent

complaining their prey lacks the taste for ruthlessness.

They build a cage with the the bones of the compassionate.

They lay in wait for the vulnerable to become available

because that's just an ideal time to get another free meal.

When there's nothing left, they slip into self-satisfied slumber

muttering to themselves, "It was for their own good."

When the Hyenas have finished eating they wonder why

there's no one left to "lead with vulnerability"

"going along to get along" is just another euphemism

for “hold still while I kill you”

Inviting the Hyenas to the table does not mean setting them free

  1. Violence

I am a driver filled with anger.

I am a dog not sensing.

I am a dog owner not watching.

I am a pedestrian not caring.

I hit something with my car. If only I had realized the pain I'd cause.

I am hit by a car, out of my control. If only I had sensed that I was in danger.

I watched something I love be hurt. If only I had been more responsible.

I continue walking. Why should I care?

I could have been driving more responsibly, and not abused my power.

I could have been more aware, and not been caught up in my own world.

I could have been in more control, and not let this happen.

I could have stopped to help, and not ignored another's pain.

But I'm in pain too and no one helps me.

But I'm vulnerable and that means I won't always see danger.

But I'm never going to control everything and that means I can't stop the pain.

But I'm only able to do so much before it's too much.

  1. Vision and Goals

A) Social and Personal Vision

I am committed to being ready, being and constantly becoming my best and fullest self. I promise to be led by my mind and heart to stand and act for what I believe is true and right. I promise to live fully and participate boldly in the constant process of transforming my world into a more peaceful, compassionate and loving place.

I will combine school, work and play in a way that keeps me healthy. I will learn and share learning with others. I will do work that is important to me. I will play outside more and work to realize when I need to take breaks and care of my body.

My personal space will be filled with things I create. My life is full of sacred space; inside and out.

I desire to be part of a great team with like-minded friends. I feel that together we will be more than each of us individually or would be in combination with anyone else. I am a better, stronger, more connected person because of the people in my life.

My project is to become a balance between the ideas of discussion and dialogue, between the ideas of advocacy and inquiry, between militancy and passivity. I feel it is essential that I work to develop and promote mental and physical places for dialogue. I will participate and promote learning communities in my life to the best of my ability.

B) Progress and Blockages with Dialogue and Compassionate Listening

When interacting with others, I tend to take off and talk about what I want to talk about instead of spending time to really validate what the person I'm talking to has said, especially if I don't want to take the time to hear them. I am very compartmentalized and quick to enclave. Several things came out of my peer evaluations about appearing arrogant or only engaging more on intellectual issues and not so much on my personal feelings.

I'm going to work to intentionally change this for myself and communicate across boundaries where I would normally compartmentalize in my life. This does not mean that I will abandon myself to the mob, but I will work at offering more invitations to dialogue and create shared space. Not only is my own thought “a systemic phenomena” [David Bohm in Senge p240] emergent from dialogue with others, but this process of community learning is “vital to realize the potentials of human experience.” [ibid p242]

I feel scared that I have so far to go before I can be the kind of person I wish I was, but that's a trap. I need to be compassionate with myself about being on the journey instead of being focused on the imaginary conclusion.

C) Lingering Questions

In class we've talked about Chris Hedges work and book War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning. The incident where his speech to a graduating class was interrupted is something important. There are real problems here in that 1) there's a ton of links between PALOD themes and his work and 2) he was booed off the stage. This is merely one example of how there's significant resistance to PALOD ideas.

The region of validity for this resistance is an important subject I think I've tried to answer. If I focus on just one side without working toward creative tension, then someone's going to fight to get back what they think they've lost. Unless the goal is creative tension, then there's going to be a vicious cycle, and a need to step further up the continuum of conflict to get movement.

I have far too fragmented experiences of historical and current dissent and injustice. I had a taste of how the conflicts of this class are very real around the world. Some of the strongest examples of how these PALOD themes relate to current events were made available in the first quarter and in my continued media watch. I feel like there's far more to explore. For example, I feel I need to see these issues from a feminist perspective. The theory books we've read have been white men. The male-female conflict is one way of interpreting the giraffe-jackal conflict and is an example that having a feminist perspective will be valuable. I have not been exposed to much feminist theory or critique and I feel that it is important. I've enrolled in the Dissent, Injustice and the Making of America program in the next year for this purpose. One of the instructors of this program is Jules Unseld who visited our program 2nd quarter and spoke about the history of labor in a feminist perspective.

  1. Gifts to PALOD

A) Program & personal websites

One of my primary gifts to the class is the PALOD website. On this site, I have started to collect tools for those interested to stay in touch with the class and possibly develop connections with other previous PALOD students. There are a variety of web tools on the site already, and I will be able to put more there over time.

While some of my papers will be on the shared site, all are, mostly available already, going to be on my personal website.

B) Reading List

I would like to recommend these books for people in the class interested in going forward with topics that we've covered in PALOD over the last year or things that I've talked about in class. This list includes books that I have on my personal reading list.

Darwin's Lost Theory of Love by David Loye

This book talks about the other half of Darwin's ideas. This is an examination of a third process of evolution which is about “inner self-evolution.” This is a book that appears to examine the tensions between the two brains.

The Chalice and the Blade by Riane Eisler

The metaphor of the chalice and the blade is about the same kind of two brain conflicts expressed in the Safari by the Giraffe-Jackal or Connected-Disconnect, etc ... This is an examination of this kind of conflict in what we have learned of pre-history and how this relates to today's world.

Birth of the Chaordic Age by Dee Hock

This is another look at reorganization from the idea that the chaos and order, competition and cooperation, can coexist. This is one more look into the kind of conflicts and synergy there may be in the creative tension between the two brains. This book might seem challenging because the author is the person responsible for Visa.

The Culture of Fear by Barry Glassner

This author was interviewed by Michael Moore in the movie Bowling for Columbine. The book talks about fear in modern society and asks questions like what is it we fear, why and who benefits from that fear.

The Thin Book of Appreciative Inquiry by Sue Hammond

About viewing change management in a positive way, looking for the things that work in an organization. This is like Senge's idea of focusing on what we want instead of what needs to be fixed.

Blood, Bread and Roses by Judy Grahn

I've been feeling that I needed to have a chance to see the issues that I've been examining in this class from a feminist perspective. The two heavy theory books we've read have been white men. This book by a famous feminist poet and scholar examines ancient myth and menstrual rites to develop a story of the integration of body, mind and soul. The male-female conflict is one way of interpreting the giraffe-jackal conflict and so having a feminist perspective is something that will be valuable. Further, I have not been exposed to much feminist theory or critique and so feel that it is important that I include a book like this. This combined with The Chalice and The Blade will be a good step in this direction.

Ishmael by Daniel Quinn

In the conversations I've had with people over the last two quarters, this book has be mentioned enough times to make me think I should include this in my reading list. I really don't know much about this book excepting that so many people have recommended it, including Robin, that I feel I must include this book in my list of possible readings.

The Systems View of the World: A Holistic Vision for Our Time by Ervin Laszlo

This book was the primary book selected by the International Relations group and is a good book to re-visit the ideas of systems thinking.

Secrets of the Temple by William Greider

I read this book in Economics and Public Policy at Evergreen. This book reflects on many of the systemic problems that were happening during the period when In Timber Country and El Dorado we produced. Not only is it a wonderful expansion on the question of how the timber conflict got framed, but it's primarily a massive examination of the history, purpose and foibles of the Federal Reserve.

The Spiral Dance by Starhawk

A classic work of neopaganism, this book, and some classes in which I've participated this year related to this material, were major influences on the development of The Journey portion of the Safari presentation.

On Dialogue by David Bohm

This is a collection of classic essays about dialogue. The introduction alone is worth the cover price as a great summary of many of the concepts from this program using different words. He was quoted in Senge, and I've borrowed enough of those quotes that I should really read the actual source work.

How to Succeed as an Ensemble by Abram Loft

There was an interview on KUOW with an author of a book on how to be an effective quartet which spoke to a lot of the metaphor of symphony as an example of difference without hierarchy. One example was that a quartet is made up of solo artists that have strong opinions about music, but that as a quartet they have to realize that there's more than one right way to play music. In the interview he talks about how he was going to subtitle the book, but didn't, "Life in a Submarine."

C) Websites


This is one of the best sites I know of for aggregated current events. It has a clear editorial bias, which I happen to share most of the time, so I'm willing to let those shared truths go unquestioned.

The Maze of Murdered Poems

This is a Labyrinth where many of the words in each poem are linked to other poems. There's items from modern poets like Ani Difranco, Judy Grahn and ancient works like fragments from The Decent of Inanna which is many thousand years old. I'd sent this in an e-mail but wanted to bring it back.

  1. Supplemental Amusements

  1. Cursed to believe they speak their own language

"We are cursed to believe that we speak the same language."
Anatol Rapoport Fights, Games and Debates

But we're cursed to think that cats speak their own language when actually they are desperately trying to speak ours.

Owren studies cats for clues about the roots of human speech and says that after 10,000 years of living with people, cats have evolved into con artists, learning what sounds get results and using different meows to manipulate their owners.”

"Cats have evolved after thousands of years of cohabitation with humans to be able to influence the behavior of people by producing sounds that draw our attention," Owren says. "It's not language. It's not like a cat's meow is a word. But rather they are producing sounds that have an auditory impact on humans."

Owren's research didn't look at how cats communicate with other cats, which is somewhat of a mystery, because they seldom meow to each other. It's likely, he says, they learned to meow only to get what they wanted from humans.”,1413,125~1549~1424630,00.html

  1. Hold Still While I Kill You

  1. Answers

You ask so many questions, what answers should I choose?” Tom "T-Bone" Stankus The Existential BluesThere's more than one answer to these questions, pointing me in a crooked line.” The Indigo Girls Closer to FineAsk me no questions, I'll tell you no lies.” - Unknown

  1. Voyager

Tuvok: "Without the darkness, how would we recognize the light? Do not fear your negative thoughts. They are a part of you. They are part of every living being. ... To pretend that it does not exist is to provide an opportunity for it to escape." (ST:V - Cold Fire)

The Doctor: "What you need is some editorial skill in your self-expression. Between impulse and action, there is a realm of good taste begging for your acquaintance." (ST:V – The One)

  1. Why did the chicken cross the road?

Did the chicken really cross the road or did the road move beneath the chicken?”

  1. Philosophy

"My own reaction to men who philosophize is very much like that to men who speak haltingly and play like children . . . it strikes me as ridiculous and unmanly, deserving of a whipping." Callicles in Plato's Gorgias

Philosophy, when superficially studied, excites doubt; when thoroughly explored, it dispels it.” Francis Bacon

"One of the things that we had talked about when we first had the idea of The Matrix was an idea that I believe philosophy and religion and mathematics all try to answer. Which is, a reconciling between a natural world and another world that is perceived by our intellect" The Wachowski Brothers from an online chat about The Matrix

  1. The important things

... as you know, the most important reason for going from one place to another is to see what's in between ... Then one day someone discovered that if you walked as fast as possible and looked at nothing but your shoes you would arrive at your destination much more quickly. Soon everyone was doing it ... No one paid any attention to how things looked, and as they moved faster and faster everything grew uglier and dirtier, and as everything grew uglier and dirtier they moved faster and faster, and at last a strange thing began to happen. Because nobody cared, the city slowly began to disappear.” Norton Juster The Phantom Tollbooth p117-118

  1. It's a trap!” Admiral Akbar in The Return of the Jedi

“Nirvana is the release from the prisons of attachment, above all from the attachment to ideas, including ideas of impermanence, no-self, emptiness, and nirvana. All teachings are offered as skillful means to help us along the path. They are not absolute truth. If we do not know how to use these teachings skillfully, we will be enslaved by them.” Thich Nat Hanh in Thundering Silence p32-33

  1. The heart of the matter

"Despite having spent a decade and a half writing about radical social
movements, I am only just beginning to see what has animated, motivated, and knitted together those gatherings of aggrieved folks. I have come to realize that once we strip radical social movements down to their bare essence and understand the collective desires of people in motion, freedom and love lie at the very heart of the matter." Robin Kelley New Internationalist Nov '02

  1. Rumi”sfeld

"The Unknown"

“As we know,
There are known knowns.
There are things we know we know.
We also know
There are known unknowns.
That is to say
We know there are some things
We do not know.
But there are also unknown unknowns,
The ones we don't know
We don't know.”

Donald Rumsfeld on Feb. 12, 2002, Department of Defense news briefing

(via MSN's Slate)

11) Love the good in others; hate the absence of good in yourself

"So, instead of loving what you think is peace, love others and love god above all. And, instead of hating the people you think are warmongers, hate the appetite and the disorder in your own soul, which are the causes of war. If you love peace, then hate injustice, hate tyranny, hate greed - but hate these things in yourself, not in another." Thomas Merton in The Catholic Worker, Oct-Nov '02

12) Sustainable means less vulnerable too.

"Technologies which are environmentally more sustainable are less prone to being hijacked by those intent on harm. No terrorist is going to make governments tremble by threatening to bomb a wind turbine, or release clouds of compost over our cities." Jonathon Porritt in Resurgence Sept/Oct '02

13) Concentrated Power

"We can either have a situation where we have a small number of people with a huge amount of wealth or we can have a democracy, but we can't have both." Bill Gates Sr, on NOW with Bill Moyers

A small minority had monopolized political power, which gave it access to all other kinds of power and privilege and maintained this vicious system of privilege by equally vicious and immoral methods.” Tutu No Future Without Forgiveness p91

14) Mutual Liberation

If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. But . . . if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together” Lilla Watson, an aboriginal woman living in Australia.

14) "Why Nerds are Unpopular"

"Court hierarchies are another thing entirely. This type of society debases anyone who enters it. There is neither admiration at the bottom, nor noblesse oblige at the top. It's kill or be killed."

"This is the sort of society that gets created by default in American secondary schools. And it happens because these schools have no real purpose beyond keeping the kids all in one place for a certain number of hours each day. What I didn't realize at the time, and in fact didn't realize till very recently, is that the twin horrors of school life, the cruelty and the boredom, both have the same cause."

"If life seems awful to kids, it's neither because hormones are turning you all into monsters (as your parents believe), nor because life actually is awful (as you believe). It's because the adults, who no longer have any economic use for you, have abandoned you to spend years cooped up together with nothing real to do. Any society of that type is awful to live in. Occam's razor says you don't have to look any further to explain why teenage kids are unhappy."

15) Winona LaDuke

You have to engage in a level of activism with which you might not be comfortable because a lack of action now results in the forfeit of the future.”

16) “Free as Air, Free As Water, Free As Knowledge”

This article by Bruce Sterling is talking in 1992 about how Academia, libraries, cultural institutions were under protracted commercial siege. This is incredibly relevant to current events, especially with recent massive changes to FCC rules about media consolidation. Bruce Sterling is an author of several science fiction books, and is known to make public appearances. In fact, it turns out that in the old days William Gibson, author of Neuromancer, would refer people to Bruce Sterling if asked to speak publicly.

17) Cool words from our books

Enantiodromia - to proceed by way of opposites. Like creative tension, or tertium quid.

Anomie - “without law” - Many people use the word “anarchy” to mean chaos, but it literally means “without a leader.” When people who use “anarchy” to mean something other than chaos, they tend to mean both anarchy and anomie. However, they are different.

"Oh, Judge, your damn laws the good people don't need 'em and the bad people don't obey 'em so what use are they?" - Ammon Hennessy quoted by Utah Phillips

Prandial - of or relating to a meal. Originally from a latin word for a late breakfast.