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Showing posts from February, 2017

Creating Chaos

A very important article in The Guardian analyses the rise of hyper-masculinity and the phenomenon of Angry White Men.  "Sociologist Michael Kimmel is one of the world’s foremost experts on the phenomenon. - His recent research has looked at topics including spree killers (who are overwhelmingly male and white), as well as the relationship between masculinity and political extremism."

In the article there is a report on a study on testosterone where 5 monkeys are observed. The one who rises to the top beats up number 2 and number 2 beats up number 3 - and so it goes down to number 5. 

"So the experiment is: he takes monkey three out of the cage and he shoots him up with testosterone, off the scale, and puts him back in. What do you think happens? When I tell this story my students always guess that he immediately becomes number-one monkey. But that’s not true. What happens is that when he goes back in the cage he still avoids monkeys number one and two – but he beats the …

Wall of Silent Screams

There are times when there is so much bad news it creates a wall of silent screams. Headline after headline supports the ambition of centralized power that holds humanity in a prison of dread and fear. This is more than just a feeling, it is the body's sense that everything created is about to crash. A tsunami coming in slow motion and you know there is nothing you can do to stop it.

More than the threat of fascism it's as though life itself is atomizing into drunken parts. My own body losing muscle, my head unable to think, my fundamental ability to survive lost. Something much larger than politics is invading my universe in a way that I cannot walk through. This can't be explained by the economy. It is an organic response. Should it be ignored or should I try to understand it?

To admit to my own vulnerability is not weak, it's a maturation of my ego, a willingness to move beyond my self interested fantasy to see what is happening outside the bubble. I look for the …

Shake Up the World: Charter for Compassion

It was Mahatma Gandhi who told us that "in a gentle way, each of us has the capacity to shake the world." We are seeing all over the globe that people are making their voices heard.  Often we might not agree with the messages, but don't we as peacemakers have an obligation to listen carefully to what is being said? Is our goal not to respect the right of free speech, to enter into conversation, to resist with respect and caring? Do we not have a bottom line to refer back to as we protest and forge a new path? All sacred texts point to the Golden Rule as a guide for our actions.  We have a number of good articles and illustrations on the Golden Rule on (Charter) our website. A few weeks back during one of our webinar's, the U.S. Civil Rights leader, C.T. Vivian, told us to find our passion, set our goals and work to achieve them. We are definitely in a struggle and as the theologian activist Harvey Cox once told us: "Not to decide, is to decide." If we want …

Some Wise Advice Circulating

Amended Post (especially related to #1 below) found on Be a King's FB page,  However I did find most of this on  Bernice King calls Shadow Banning President Trump.
Some Wise Advice Circulating:  1. Use his name sparingly so as not to detract from the issues. I believe that everyone, regardless of their beliefs, deserves the dignity of being called by their name. However, this is a strategic tactic. While we are so focused on him we are prone to neglect the questionable policies that threaten freedom, justice and fairness advanced by the administration.
2. Remember this is a regime and he's not acting alone;
3. Do not argue with those who support him and his policies--it doesn't work;
4. Focus on his policies, not his appearance and mental state;
5. Keep your message positive; those who oppose peace and justice want the country to be angry and fearful because this is the soil from which their darkest policies will grow;
6. No more helpless/hopeless talk;
7. Support artists …

That's how the light gets in (Cohen)

These four lines have swirled in my head ever since Leonard Cohen died. I am in awe of these simple words and their depth. How each line works by itself and deepens by the presence of what comes before and what after.

Where does that wisdom come from? A crack in our genes? A mystery in the education? The back drop of a civilization where intelligence is shared through public education? Those who see the light creeping through the cracks?

The English speaking world is vast - there are billions who speak this language and yet some of our political stories get more stupid with each decade.

Media had to undergo a lobotomy in unison to fit the expanding fists of the bullies. Media outlets cannot make a profit. Workers cannot earn enough to build the economy with the things they need let alone the things they would wish for. And we are being told that those who are to blame are those who are tied up and whipped again.

Where will we go from here? Breaking apart what does not reveal the ligh…

There's a crack in everything (Cohen)

The crack in everything is what saves us from the ambitions of greedy rulers.

Yes we suffer because of the narcissistic games of those who want everlasting power, who want to keep getting bigger and bigger, who want to die with the satisfaction of conquering the world, forever.

George Orwell's  'boot on the face of humanity forever' is not how demagogues view their ambitions. They cannot see how sick they are, and dependent on the minds and hearts of those whom they control and humiliate.

The crack is what saves us from the ideologies and our vanities that come and go. Even our achievements break at some point.

There's a crack in even the beautiful things that bless us.

Title is from Leonard Cohen's song "Anthem".

Forget your perfect offering (Cohen)

Perfection is a wonderful idea, but we should not strive to be perfect.

Perfection is a social construct. Sometimes we forget to be perfect and we forget we are not perfect. It is a fantasy created to keep us striving.

But it is more often used to make others feel that they have failed. How can a mother be perfect? How can a figure be perfect?

Perfection comes in a bottle, in gift wrap, in a shop window, in a 30 second commercial. It's something beyond our reach but almost attainable. It's a cloud, a drug, an argument, a hummingbird.

Perfection is the trickster laughing at you when you look in the mirror.

Perfection will keep your self-esteem in check. It will nag you with all your failings when you try to sleep at night.

Perfection is a trap.

"Forget your perfect offering" a line from Anthem by Leonard Cohen

Ring the Bells That Still Can Ring (Cohen)

The bells are saying this is humanity. Maybe not the actual bells but the invention and the hands, the arms, the mind and the heart that feel compelled to ring. It has its own language.

You can ring a bell when your loved ones get married because you feel joy that they have chosen a partner.

Or you can ring a bell to alert your tribe to oncoming danger.

Or you can ring about your breaking heart, or despair, or grief.

Or you can ring about justice because you know that justice is right. Or injustice when you know that injustice is wrong.

Or gratitude, because if you are not grateful for anything in your life, then you know your life is broken, and the pain is too much to bear alone. And if that is the case then you can ring about pain.

You don't actually need a bell to do any of this - you can simply speak the words to whomever is close by. How they respond is not your fault and you are not obliged to change them.  You have a stake in this moment, but your are not in charge of it.

The White Man as Political Construct

An infection has come to that political construct known as The White Man. 

Let me be clear that I am not talking of men who are white, I am talking of the expectations and demands of a society that describes him as "White". 

He has been fed hate and violence in media from mainstream to social. The neoliberal economy has cast an invisible fence around him so that his humanity is reduced to whatever serves the bottom line. 

The first fence was constructed centuries ago when he was taught to be 'rational', not rational by questioning the beliefs of his time, but to eschew  his feelings, to be suspicious of love, and to be faithful to the role of defender and warrior. He has been the consistent target of propaganda.

The White Man is not a race or species but a construct that was useful when Europeans invaded other continents such as Africa, Asia Australia and America.  European nations who had a long history of war with each other found a new identity when they discovered ab…

Plan for Healing: a proposal for conversation

Planning is not always effective but it's a good start. Make a plan and update it frequently as you learn more along the way. Begin with a conversation with someone or some people whose ideas you respect, someone whom you admire for whatever they have achieved and how they present themselves in the world.

The conversation could cover these questions or these questions could springboard to other ideas. Be flexible and don't worry about staying on the agenda if the ideas expressed are worth exploring.

1. Write down the most critical symptom that needs to be healed. Your mental health? Relationships in your community? Letters to the editor: are they inclusive or preachy and divisive? Public discussions: are they focused on right and wrong, us against them or do they explore ideas?

2. Where do our opinions and positions come from? How useful are the facts in establishing connections with others?

3. What is it we value in ourselves and our friends? We need to write down these thou…