Motivations, Connections, Responsibility
EUDEMONY: a measure of the more preferred state of affairs; the commodity that the control system tends to optimize. The eudemony concern is one of values, of stating what is worth optimizing; in short, eudemony is a category of outcomes that indicate we are enhancing the quality of life.
— Stafford Beer, Platforms for Change, p. 159
This is a collection of of politically oriented items and sites which I hope will be useful to some of us, because I think it is time, really way past time to be active in determining how the human race proceeds into the future. We should be and can be conscious forces in evolution. One of the most potent routes for that is political work, where individuals influence decision makers to do the right thing. Knowing what is right is not a trivial matter, so we need to study, and to try for an understanding of the world that will make for good decisions now, leading to a better future.
- Try this, for example: Simpol (making simultaneous policy) invites citizens around the world to use our votes in a powerful new way to encourage governments to cooperate to solve global problems - problems like global warming, financial market regulation, environmental destruction, war, and social injustice.
- Knowledge alone is not enough, and political work requires sophisticated understanding of social communication. George Lakoff explains the importance of knowing your values and framing the debate.
- Planetary Whole System Design Science is a paper by Dr. Jose A. Arguelles, Director Galactic Research Institute, Foundation for the Law of Time, a far-thinking group with Global Survival in mind.
Robert Wright suggests the Internet is weaving the human race into a superorganism in a New York Times Opinionator article titled,
With Liberty and Connectivity for All.He might be interested to learn there is more than the Internet pulling in this direction.
- An understanding of framing and language goes a long way, but we also need to educate our perceptions. Look at this postcard for an example of what I mean.
An interview with Robert Reich samples his ideas on practical political action in
Reason: Why Liberals Will Win the Battle for America.
- And Lee Iacocca, the Chrysler Corp. CEO who led the company out of bankruptcy, speaks his mind on leaders gone missing in America.
For some serious informational reading, try Kenneth S. Deffeyes,
Crude oil is much too valuable to be burned as a fuelat Beyond Oil, and if you read German, there’s a wonderful collection of hints for personal practice in a changing energy world at Optikur. (It’s a combination commercial and educational site.)
Indian novelist Arundhati Roy spoke in Porto Alegre, Brazil in January, 2003, on
Confronting Empire.Google her, it’s worthwhile.
We often say,
Think positive.Eunice Brock walks the talk in Shandong Province, encouraging China to outdo herself in her commitment to a positive, peaceful future.
- Could we use Mind Power to heal the earth?
- By chance, I found a page of beautiful quotations under ethics in a hierarchy of Canadian Mind Products.
- On the anniversary of 9/11 in 2006, at the WTT site, Keith Olberman delivered a scathing commentary on the Bush administration’s failures of leadership.
- And in 2002, as the Bush administration was beating the drums of war, there were some voices of sanity, most notably Barack Obama’s speech opposing a dumb war that would distract us from truly necessary battles against ignorance and intolerance, corruption and greed, poverty and despair.
Estelle Myers writes about the unbalanced view most modern societies have of our world. Women, half the human population, are devalued and that is just the beginning:
Fresh air, clean oceans, forests, wild life,a pollution free environment, even mother’s milk! None have any value until manufactured, according to the United Nations System of National Accounts, they are worthless. (Waring, 1988, Counting for Nothing) They are not even a factor in the economic world pie. Whereas, the military, the despoilers and those who destroy the natural resources, who use and abuse Mother Earth, the drug barons, all have end products that are traded, all are part of the Gross National Product of nations of the world.
- Global Citizens for Peace envisions the creation and restoration of a sustainable home on this planet. Peace is the necessary condition for creative work. Check out the quotes.
In his blog about the Science of Consciousness Michael Cecil intimates what the forces arrayed against real peace are in a
Nightmare Scenariofor what he calls the spatialized consciousness.
- There are practical things to do, for example, targeting the scourge of cluster munitions that, like land mines, live on to kill mostly civilians, e.g., farmers and children at play. StopClusterMutions.org provides information to focus on divestment from companies that make them and financial institutions that fund this egregious work.
- The costs of continuing failure to recognize and accept our responsibilities as the premier intelligence on the earth show in the climatalogical future we bequeath. Scroll through the paper or at least scan the graphs for quick insight.
And what might we actually DO or do differently in light of the evidence we are interconnected. I’m thinking about applications because that, ultimately, will be what matters.
Other GCP pages provide links to Scholarly and Professional resources, and excellent Newsletters. In addition we have a page that touches on the Philosophical sources and intuitions that give deeper meaning to our work. And there’s also our main list of links to others with similar ideas about the point of global consciousness. We would appreciate an email if you encounter a broken link or wish to recommend a site.
Sometimes it seems our leaders in politics and commerce act in a latter day manifestation of the stance taken by Louis XV. His last words were
apres moi l’deluge, (
after me, the deluge). It is our task and our responsibility to the future to re-educate ourselves, to overcome this terrible egocentrism.
At present most men still merely understand strength, the key and symbol of violence in its most primitive and savage form of war.
But let the time come, as come it will, when the masses will realize that the true human successes are those which triumph over the mysteries of matter and of life. At that moment a decisive hour will sound for mankind, when the spirit of discovery absorbs all the momentum contained in the spirit of war.
— Teilhard de Chardin, Building the Earth
Whenever you advise a ruler in the way of Tao, Counsel him not to use force to conquer the universe. For this would only cause resistance. Thorn bushes spring up wherever the army has passed. Lean years follow in the wake of a great war. Just do what needs to be done. Never take advantage of power. Achieve results, but never glory in them. Achieve results, but never boast. Achieve results, but never be proud. Achieve results, because this is the natural way. Achieve results, but not through violence. Force is followed by loss of strength. This is not the way of Tao. That which goes against the Tao comes to an early end. — Tao Te Ching, Chapter 30
War is the means by which Americans learn geography.
— Ambrose Bierce
An acidic quote, but it stimulates a perspective that is all too rare: It points to the mismatch of humane ideals and agressive acts by America the Beautiful.
Is it possible that a few rich men — a small class of men — have persuaded a million poor men to attack and attempt to destroy another million men as poor as they, so that the rich may be richer still?
They told them that this brutal war was the destiny of the race. It was for the glory of the emperor; it was for the honour of the state; it was for their king and country. False — false as hell! They make war to capture markets by murder, raw materials by rape. They find it cheaper to steal than to exchange, easier to butcher than to buy. This is the secret of war. It is the secret of all wars: profit.
Business. Profit. Blood money.
Threaten a reduction on the profit of their money, and the beast in them awakens with a snarl. They become as ruthless as savages, brutal as madmen, remorseless as executioners.
Dr. Norman Bethune, 1939, from his essay Wounds.
America’s economic and political elites [are] even more reactive to a new ideological formulation than to any specific political program. Those elites understand as well as we at Tikkun (Jan/Feb 2009) do that the current system depends on ideological obeisance at the altar of individualism, materialism, and competitiveness. The current system depends on the goal ofprogressunderstood as the accumulation of goods, rather than as the improvement of our quality of life or the development of our soul and our capacities to be loving and generous.
— Michael Lerner
Of the great literary religions of this world — Judaism, Christianity, Islam — many have noted that its fanatics, among other things, are people who simply do not understand the poetry of their own traditions. It’s as if God had shown them — through their allusive literature — the interplay of mayflies and their shadows upon a wall of evening sandstone, and all they can see are bugs on a rock. They miss the invitation to find their own way through the sorrow and beauty of the images to a spiritual perspective whose energy, always, is love. Instead, their response is to fortify the rock and make proscriptions concerning the bugs.
— John Landretti, Orion, Jan/Feb 2009
The rule in our society is that while those who kill once make wretched a single person are severely punished, those (heads of state, inventors, manufacturers) who are responsible for the death, mutilation or general wretchedness of thousands or millions are rewarded with fame, riches and prizes... If you are going to rob, rob big; if you’re going to kill, kill big.
— Philip Slater
Come the millennium, month 12, In the home of greatest power,
The village idiot will come forth to be acclaimed the leader.
— Nostradamus, 1555 AD
I like to believe that people in the long run are going to do more to promote peace than our governments.
Indeed, I think that people want peace so much that one of these days governments had better get out of the way and let them have it.
— Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969)
Snowflakes are one of nature’s most fragile things, but just look what they can do when they stick together.
— Vista M. Kelly
There are some bright lights shining on the immorality that seems so pervasive in government now in the 21st century. Here is a sharply focused piece called War and Morality by a defender of the free capitalist economy and opponent of the central state, its wars and its socialism, Lew Rockwell.
Managing Water Hyacinths
Water hyacinths bloomed out of control in West and Centra Africa, and no amount of modern herbicides or poisons did any good.
Then a few people tried cleverness instead of force. Dried water hyacinth makes a superb bed for growing mushrooms. The mushrooms, sold across the region,are particularly rich in potassium, magnesium, iodine, and calcium,and the system is small and cheap, perfect for microfinance schemes that give peasants small loans. Meanwhile, the cultivation of mushrooms breaks up the cellulose in the water hyacinth, leaving a medium perfect for raising earthworns, who in turn produce a high-quality humus that can be used instesd of synthetic fertilizer. Chickens feed on the worms, providing eggs, and chicken droppings supply the biogas digester, which in turn reduces the need to cut trees for firewood. Any hyacinth left over can be fed to cattle, whose manure goes right back on the fields.
from Deep Economy by Bill McKibben
I want to take some space for my own thoughts on these issues. This will expose some of my biases, but I will have to accept that as the cost of speaking for some issues that are in my opinion terribly important, yet are given too little of our fragmented attention.
Every moment in time for each conscious person is a moment in which he or she can choose evolution over regression — to engage in growth toward our highest potentials, or to slide back to our gross animal roots. The destiny of human beings is to use our astonishing abstracting capability and our consequent creative capacity for conscious evolution. I am convinced that we are on the cusp of that stage in our civilization, but we are paused at the threshold. Our fearful reactive unconscious retains its grip.
A quote from Pramila Jayapal, Puget Sound:
After 9/11, human empathy quickly gave way to fear, driven by the divisive question: What must we do to make ‘us’ safe from ‘them’? It was uncomfortable — even unpatriotic — to see the disaster as an opportunity to question whether America’s approach to the world played any role in precipitating the terrorist attacks, or to reexamine our power and how we use it. Instead, we let politicians appropriate that moment of great possibility and lead us backward rather than forward. Our nation became one governed by fear, and so we are confronted with false choices between protecting core human rights — justice, equality, due process — and protecting national security.
Why do we accept a leadership that is not as good as our vision of what this country might be? Most Americans believe in honor and decency and have a faith that our country is a beacon of progress toward freedom. How can we complacently allow our government to turn our sons and daughters who have volunteered to protect us into the instrument of death of tens of thousands (estimates range to over 100,000) innocent Iraqi men, women, and children? We cannot be comfortable with language that disappears these human beings by calling them
collateral damage. And, closer to home, how can we accept the misguided political will that has killed nearly 2000 (October 2005) of our volunteers, and maimed and wounded so many more?
Of every tax dollar paid in the USA, more than 50 cents goes to pay for past, present and future military expenses. The budget of the Department of Defense for 2005 alone is nearly $500 billion. Imagine the world if smart people in our leadership would figure out how to spend that money more constructively — even if it meant reducing stockholder yields.
If our world were shrunk to a village of 100 people: 34 would earn less than $1 a day; 70 would be unable to read; 56 would lack access to basic sanitation. One would have a college education; 7 would have access to the Internet.
— Peter Karoff of the Philanthropic Initiative
Politics and education, and public discourse ... the movies, the news, the advertizing genius — these are the tools we can choose, any time, to use for movement in the direction we must go before we die. Let’s keep that in mind, envision the application of all these powerful tools toward a healthy and prosperous, sane world. Buckminster Fuller said there is plenty for all, plenty for twice as many of us. It only requires thoughtful, intentional, intelligent organization. David James Duncan, like George Lakoff, lays out the framing problem in another metaphor:
Fundamentalists have hijacked the language of religion and defamed it, and it will take conscious effort toreopeneach word’s true history, nuance and depth. Holy words need stewardship as surely as do gardens, orchards or ecosystems. When lovingly tended, such words surround us with spaciousness and mystery the way a sacred grove surrounds us with peace and oxygenated air. But when we abandon our holy words and fail to replace them, we end up living in a spiritual clearcut.
(From an article in Orion Online)
Duncan reminds us, as Mark Twain pointed out over a century ago, the only truly prominent community that fundamentalists have so far established in any world, real or imaginary, is hell.
In a culture like ours, one sometimes forgets the power of a poet’s words. Here is an open letter from the poet Sharon Olds to Laura Bush declining the invitation to read and speak at the National Book Critics Circle Award in Washington, DC. Sharon Olds is one of the most widely read and critically acclaimed poets living in America today. Read to the end of the letter to experience her restrained, chilling eloquence.
To Laura Bush
First Lady, The White House
Dear Mrs. Bush,
I am writing to let you know why I am not able to accept your kind invitation to give a presentation at the National Book Festival on September 24, or to attend your dinner at the Library of Congress or the breakfast at the White House.
In one way, it’s a very appealing invitation. The idea of speaking at a festival attended by 85,000 people is inspiring! The possibility of finding new readers is exciting for a poet in personal terms, and in terms of the desire that poetry serve its constituents—all of us who need the pleasure, and the inner and outer news, it delivers. And the concept of a community of readers and writers has long been dear to my heart. As a professor of creative writing in the graduate school of a major university, I have had the chance to be a part of some magnificent outreach writing workshops in which our students have become teachers. Over the years, they have taught in a variety of settings: a women’s prison, several New York City public high schools, an oncology ward for children. Our initial program, at a 900-bed state hospital for the severely physically challenged, has been running now for twenty years, creating along the way lasting friendships between young MFA candidates and their students — long-term residents at the hospital who, in their humor, courage and wisdom, become our teachers.
When you have witnessed someone non-speaking and almost nonmoving spell out, with a toe, on a big plastic alphabet chart, letter by letter, his new poem, you have experienced, close up, the passion and essentialness of writing. When you have held up a small cardboard alphabet card for a writer who is completely non-speaking and nonmoving (except for the eyes), and pointed first to the A, then the B, then C, then D, until you get to the first letter of the first word of the first line of the poem she has been composing in her head all week, and she lifts her eyes when that letter is touched to say yes, you feel with a fresh immediacy the human drive for creation, self-expression, accuracy, honesty and wit — and the importance of writing, which celebrates the value of each person’s unique story and song.
So the prospect of a festival of books seemed wonderful to me. I thought of the opportunity to talk about how to start up an outreach program. I thought of the chance to sell some books, sign some books and meet some of the citizens of Washington, DC. I thought that I could try to find a way, even as your guest, with respect, to speak about my deep feeling that we should not have invaded Iraq, and to declare my belief that the wish to invade another culture and another country — with the resultant loss of life and limb for our brave soldiers, and for the noncombatants in their home terrain — did not come out of our democracy but was instead a decision madeat the topand forced on the people by distorted language, and by untruths.
I hoped to express the fear that we have begun to live in the shadows of tyranny and religious chauvinism — the opposites of the liberty, tolerance and diversity our nation aspires to. I tried to see my way clear to attend the festival in order to bear witness — as an American who loves her country and its principles and its writing — against this undeclared and devastating war. But I could not face the idea of breaking bread with you. I knew that if I sat down to eat with you, it would feel to me as if I were condoning what I see to be the wild, highhanded actions of the Bush Administration. What kept coming to the fore of my mind was that I would be taking food from the hand of the First Lady who represents the Administration that unleashed this war andextraordinary rendition:flying people to other countries where they will be tortured for us.
So many Americans who had felt pride in our country now feel anguish and shame, for the current regime of blood, wounds and fire. I thought of the clean linens at your table, the shining knives and the flames of the candles, and I could not stomach it.
Response to a note on a mid-November morning, wishing the good will could prevail.
There are so many steps and motions in the direction of peace communities, or peace departments, or peace meditations ... that I sometimes think it may be possible for the idea and ideal of peace to take root and grow large and strong enough to overtake the money power that is the reason arms manufacture and war materials continue to cast the fogs of war and the shadow of death on us all. No business compares to bomb making for the combined effects of uncontrolled expense/profits of production and complete materiel expendability. Thus, those who will be rich will support war. In the old days they even would fight. No more; now they send our brothers and sisters from the edges of America, the poor hills and valleys everywhere. And that is why the young men from the edges of France are angry — at some level they know and they resent their role as unwilling wielders and expendable targets for the weapons of war.
- Magicians Everywhere is a poem by my friend John Bing. He looks more deeply than most of us do into noisy public proclamations. He’s asking if we can rescue soul and spirit from those speechifying devils.
- Wage Peace Campaign by the American Friends Service Committee brings compassion to the fore. Their Wage Peace Movie is a poignant plea to stop the devastation and the ongoing and unnecessary loss of life in Iraq. The AFSC provides ways for you to help.
- Buy BLue is a concerted effort to educate the public on making informed buying decisions as a consumer. We identify businesses which support our ideals and spotlight their dedication to progressive politics.
Indymedia Victoria presents a powerful (but difficult and complicated) metaphor of balance, seeking to redress an unnatural and unhealthy yang-assertor dominance in our culture and put the yin back into the
tao of community.
- Bushflash has politically oriented cartoons, movies, and materials intended to make us think about replacing President Bush.
Leonardo Dicaprio has, among other items, a strong message he calls
Global Warningintended to educate about the disastrous effects we humans have on the earth, and urges us to get our act together, and soon.
The Cluetrain Manifesto
A powerful global conversation has begun. Through the Internet, people are discovering and inventing new ways to share relevant knowledge with blinding speed.
- Young Rebels lists dozens of points we must consider about human life if we hope to live long and prosper. Organized curiously backwards in 46 brief, thoughtful discussions of where we really are.
- Imagine Peace on Earth is an activist site, examining education, the military, industry, and politics, proposing transformations for life.
- Other links oriented to humane values and actions are available. There are many other interesting sites we might offer here, and as we note them, perhaps because of your suggestions to GCP, we will update.
- And just for laughs — or maybe for our very best bet — you can check out a good humored way of looking at all this.