February 18, 2018

Democracy, Media Literacy, Civic Engagement

February 17, 2018

“The Americans are very impressionable people; they see what they want to see. I have a lot of respect for them. I am not upset at all that I ended up on this list. If they want to see the devil, let them see him.”

Russian Oligarch Yevgeny V. Prigozhin, one of 13 Russians indicted by a federal grand jury on Friday, February 16th, 2018, for interfering in the American election.

Full Indictment:

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/02/16/us/politics/document-The-Special-Counsel-s-Indictment-of-the-Internet.html

“Facebook, Twitter and Google have all identified the Internet Research Agency as a prime source of provocative posts on divisive American issues, including race, religion, gun laws and gay rights, particularly during the 2016 presidential election. Facebook found, for example, that the agency had posted 80,000 pieces of content that reached more than 126 million Americans.” [NYTimes]

Tedx Wandsworth/2.8.18

Imagine a world where democracy lives up to its lofty promise… where problems are solved by debate and compromise rather than vitriol and internet trolls. A nice thought isn’t it?” asks Brian Klaas. As a scholar of democracy and authoritarianism, he’s seen fear-and-division politics rising across the world, but says we’re more powerful than we think in reversing this trend. Beyond the uncomfortable stats of our civic shortcomings; he shares moments with those he’s met risking their freedom and their lives for a democratic choice; and offers five concrete ways we can start changing what we don’t like.

Thoughts from Brian Klaas:

Democracies around the world are dying. Remember: Being a citizen is a full time job.

V

O

T

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#2018

People who say, “my vote doesn’t matter”? Wrong.

Politicians pander to those who vote. (Who votes in majority? Older white males.)

Democracies are dying. One man in Russia who was being followed by the secret police told Klaas, “You don’t know how lucky you are.”

“There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says “Morning, boys. How’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes “What the hell is water?”

-David Foster Wallace

We need to remember how powerful we are.

Of the people.

By the people.

For the people.

Ongoing paradox: People are unhappy with the system, but not many do much to understand it…or do anything.

In the midterm election in 2014, 36% of registered voters voted. 64/100 didn’t bother.

In the 2016 presidential election? 60% voted. And the current president was voted in by 30% of the US population. Apathy voted a candidate into the Oval Office.

80,000 people tipped the election…enough to fit into a football stadium.

We get the candidates we deserve.

P  A  R  T  I  C  I  P  A  T  I  O  N

Our collective power to save democracy:

  1. Vote in every election…local and national, because the local candidates become national candidates.

  2. Before the election talk to 10 people before voting.

  3. Be the boss to your politicians; they work for us. Whether they agree with you or not, tell them how you feel.

  4. Reach out to someone who believes completely differently from what you believe. And listen.

  5. Run for office or organize a new political group.

Actions become ripples and those ripples become tsunamis.

Think about it. If women waited for an invitation, we still wouldn’t have the right to vote.

2018 is ours. And the youth? They are activating.

︶⁀°• •° ⁀︶

Go see it. It will give you hope. (Stay until the very final credit rolls.) ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Spiritual Warriors

There is a beautiful Tibetan myth that helps us to accept our sadness as a threshold to all that is life-chaing and lasting. This myth affirs that all spiritual warriors have a broken heart—alas, must have a broken heart—because it is only through the break that the wonder and mysteries of life can enter us.

 

So what does it mean to be a spiritual warrior? It is far from being a soldier, but more the sincerity with which a soul faces itself in a daily way. It is this courage to be authentic that keeps us strong enough to withstand the heartbreak through which enlightenment can occur. And it is by honoring how life comes through us that we get the most out of living, not by keeping ourselves out of the way. The goal is to mix our hands in the earth, not stay to stay clean.

 

I keep breathing deeply through the breaking my heart. In daily ways, we are judged, discounted, and even pitied for glories that only we can affirm. In the end, life is too magnificent and difficult for us to give away our elemental place in the journey.

 

 

At some point in our lives, almost every one of us will have our heart broken. Imagine how different things would be if we paid more attention to this unique emotional pain. Psychologist Guy Winch reveals how recovering from heartbreak starts with a determination to fight our instincts to idealize and search for answers that aren’t there — and offers a toolkit on how to, eventually, move on. Our hearts might sometimes be broken, but we don’t have to break with them.

-Guy Winch, author “How to Fix a Broken Heart”

 

Grace under pressure.

February 16, 2018

“It doesn’t matter what you once believed.”

February 15, 2018

February 14, 2018

A valentine to Elizabeth and Susan.

Remembering their earlier struggles, Anthony closed her letter: “And we, dear old friend, shall move on the next sphere of existence—higher and larger, we cannot fail to believe, and one where women will not be placed in an inferior position, but will be welcomed on a plane of perfect intellectual and spiritual equality.” The sentiment was timelier than anyone expected. Stanton, who had been homebound and in ill health but still publishing commentaries, died before the letter was published on October 26, 1902, two-and-a-half weeks before her birthday.

In her letter, Anthony sounds optimistic, despite her lament that only in death will they experience equality. She seems confident in the suffrage movement’s new leaders. There is a sense that things can only move forward for women.

-Humanities Magazine, by Katy June-Friesen, Volume 35, Number 4

https://www.neh.gov/humanities/2014/julyaugust/feature/old-friends-elizabeth-cady-stanton-and-susan-b-anthony-made-histo

“…surely not alarmed enough.”

February 11, 2018

“Complacency is much more dangerous than fatalism.’

New York Magazine:

There’s a lot of scientific debate about the future of climate change. But have you ever considered the worst case scenario? David Wallace-Wells gives us one terrifying glimpse into the future after consulting experts from various fields.

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/07/climate-change-earth-too-hot-for-humans.html

But no matter how well-informed you are, you are surely not alarmed enough. Over the past decades, our culture has gone apocalyptic with zombie movies and Mad Max dystopias, perhaps the collective result of displaced climate anxiety, and yet when it comes to contemplating real-world warming dangers, we suffer from an incredible failure of imagination. The reasons for that are many: the timid language of scientific probabilities, which the climatologist James Hansen once called “scientific reticence” in a paper chastising scientists for editing their own observations so conscientiously that they failed to communicate how dire the threat really was; the fact that the country is dominated by a group of technocrats who believe any problem can be solved and an opposing culture that doesn’t even see warming as a problem worth addressing; the way that climate denialism has made scientists even more cautious in offering speculative warnings; the simple speed of change and, also, its slowness, such that we are only seeing effects now of warming from decades past; our uncertainty about uncertainty, which the climate writer Naomi Oreskes in particular has suggested stops us from preparing as though anything worse than a median outcome were even possible; the way we assume climate change will hit hardest elsewhere, not everywhere; the smallness (two degrees) and largeness (1.8 trillion tons) and abstractness (400 parts per million) of the numbers; the discomfort of considering a problem that is very difficult, if not impossible, to solve; the altogether incomprehensible scale of that problem, which amounts to the prospect of our own annihilation; simple fear. But aversion arising from fear is a form of denial, too.


To The Best of Our Knowledge:

There’s a lot of scientific debate about the future of climate change. But have you ever considered the worst case scenario? David Wallace-Wells gives us one terrifying glimpse into the future after consulting experts from various fields.

https://www.ttbook.org/interview/how-bad-can-climate-change-really-get


The Call of the Earth
by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee
‘The search for meaning.’

And while many people are working to try to counter this imbalance, most are approaching it with the very same mind-set that has created this predicament. Before we can begin to redeem this crisis, we need to go to the root of our present paradigm—our sense of separation from our environment, the lack of awareness that we are all a part of one interdependent living organism that is our planet. This can be traced to the birth of the scientific era in the Age of Enlightenment and the emergence of Newtonian physics, in which humans were seen as separate from the physical world, which in turn was considered as unfeeling matter, a clockwork mechanism whose workings it was our right and duty to understand and control.

While this attitude has given us the developments of science and technology, it has severed us from any relationship to the environment as a living whole of whose cycles we are a part. We have lost and entirely forgotten any spiritual relationship to life and the planet, a central reality to other cultures for millennia.1 Where for indigenous peoples the world was a sacred, interconnected living whole that cares for us and for which we in turn need to care—our Mother the Earth—for our Western culture it became something to exploit.

But there is an even deeper, and somewhat darker, side to our forgetfulness of the sacred within creation. When our monotheistic religions placed God in heaven they banished the many gods and goddesses of the Earth, of its rivers and mountains. We forgot the ancient wisdom contained in our understanding of the sacred in creation—its rhythms, its meaningful magic. For example, when early Christianity banished paganism and cut down its sacred groves, they forgot about nature devas, the powerful spirits and entities within nature, who understand the deeper patterns and properties of the natural world. Now how can we even begin the work of healing the natural world, of clearing out its toxins and pollutants, of bringing it back into balance, if we do not consciously work with these forces within nature?

Nature is not unfeeling matter; it is full of invisible forces with their own intelligence and deep knowing. We need to reacknowledge the existence of the spiritual world within creation if we are even to begin the real work of bringing the world back into balance. Only then can we regain the wisdom of the shamans who understood how to communicate and work together with the spirit world.2

While there may be a growing awareness that the world forms a single living being—what has been called the Gaia principle—we don’t really understand that this being is also nourished by its soul, the anima mundi—or that we are a part of it, part of a much larger living, sacred being. Sadly, we remain cut off, isolated from this spiritual dimension of life itself. We have forgotten how to nourish or be nourished by the soul of the world….3

We cannot return to the simplicity of an indigenous lifestyle, but we can become aware that what we do and how we are at an individual level affects the global environment, both outer and inner. We can learn how to live in a more sustainable way, not to be drawn into unnecessary materialism.

We can also work to heal the spiritual imbalance in the world. Our individual conscious awareness of the sacred within creation reconnects the split between spirit and matter within our own soul and also within the soul of the world: we are part of the spiritual body of the Earth more than we know.

The crisis we face now is dire, but it is also an opportunity for humanity to reclaim its role as guardian of the planet, to take responsibility for the wonder and mystery of this living, sacred world.

 

Full article:

https://parabola.org/2018/01/10/the-call-of-the-earth-by-llewellyn-vaughan-lee/

‘…let the words be yours, I’m done with mine.’

February 10, 2018

John Perry Barlow, “visionary” internet pioneer, press freedom advocate and Grateful Dead lyricist, has died aged 70. (He died in his sleep.)

‘In addition to his work with the EFF, Barlow co-founded the Freedom of the Press Foundation in 2012, which works to support public interest journalism. He sat on the board of directors, along with whistleblower Edward Snowden and investigative reporter Glenn Greenwald.’ [The Guardian]

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/feb/07/john-perry-barlow-death-internet-pioneer-grateful-dead?CMP=twt_gu

Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir: “This life is fleeting, as we all know – the Muse we serve is not. John had a way of taking life’s most difficult things and framing them as challenges, therefore adventures. He was to be admired for that, even emulated. He’ll live on in the songs we wrote.”

Among the most well-known of his works was the Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, published in 1996.

https://www.eff.org/cyberspace-independence

“In the United States, you have today created a law, the Telecommunications Reform Act, which repudiates your own Constitution and insults the dreams of Jefferson, Washington, Mill, Madison, DeToqueville, and Brandeis. These dreams must now be born anew in us.”

We will create a civilization of the Mind in Cyberspace. May it be more humane and fair than the world your governments have made before.

Davos, Switzerland
February 8, 1996

A list of 25 Principles of Adult Behavior by John Perry Barlow

posted by Jason Kottke, 2.8.18

‘When he was 30, Barlow drew up a list of what he called Principles of Adult Behavior. They are:’

1. Be patient. No matter what.
2. Don’t badmouth: Assign responsibility, not blame. Say nothing of another you wouldn’t say to him.
3. Never assume the motives of others are, to them, less noble than yours are to you.
4. Expand your sense of the possible.
5. Don’t trouble yourself with matters you truly cannot change.
6. Expect no more of anyone than you can deliver yourself.
7. Tolerate ambiguity.
8. Laugh at yourself frequently.
9. Concern yourself with what is right rather than who is right.
10. Never forget that, no matter how certain, you might be wrong.
11. Give up blood sports.
12. Remember that your life belongs to others as well. Don’t risk it frivolously.
13. Never lie to anyone for any reason. (Lies of omission are sometimes exempt.)
14. Learn the needs of those around you and respect them.
15. Avoid the pursuit of happiness. Seek to define your mission and pursue that.
16. Reduce your use of the first personal pronoun.
17. Praise at least as often as you disparage.
18. Admit your errors freely and soon.
19. Become less suspicious of joy.
20. Understand humility.
21. Remember that love forgives everything.
22. Foster dignity.
23. Live memorably.
24. Love yourself.
25. Endure.

Here’s what these principles meant to Barlow:

I don’t expect the perfect attainment of these principles. However, I post them as a standard for my conduct as an adult. Should any of my friends or colleagues catch me violating one of them, bust me.

‘Barlow understood that “new technology could create and empower evil as much as it could create and empower good” and he made a conscious decision to focus on the latter.’

“Nothing to tell now, let the words be yours, I’m done with mine.”

All in with Paulette.

February 7, 2018

My name is Paulette Jordan and I am running to be the next governor of Idaho. 

I was born and raised in the countryside of northern Idaho, where I developed a strong connection to our state’s land and the people who share it. I am a proud member of the Coeur d’Alene tribe. My family, descendants of formidable Head Chiefs of the Great Northwest and Palouse region, taught me the importance of fighting for all people and protecting our natural resources. I have since served in the Idaho House of Representatives and I am a mother to two wonderful sons.
I am running for governor because the future for the next generation of Idahoans is at stake. Too many of our families and neighbors have been left behind.
ogether, we have the power to build a future where all Idahoans receive a high quality public school education. No matter who you are, you should have access to affordable healthcare and the opportunity to earn livable wages without the constant stress of how to make ends meet. I want to revitalize Idaho’s main streets and fix our government to make it more fair, more efficient, and more effective for all Idahoans.
I know what it takes to win tough races and I know a little bit about being an underdog. I was the only Democrat elected to the Idaho House of Representatives in all of Northern Idaho. If we win this race, I’ll be the first Native American governor in the country and the first female governor in Idaho’s history. But this race for governor is bigger than me, and it’s bigger than party politics. It is about the very heart and soul of Idaho: our people, our land, and our future.
I am profoundly honored and grateful for the grassroots support and momentum around my campaign so far and I would love for you to join my team today.
Together, we will restore our state to its original promise: an Idaho by the people and for the people.
Let’s get to work.
Sincerely,
Paulette Jordan
To donate: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/pgannouncement 

One.

February 5, 2018

“True expression rises through us. In this expression, all the conversations and honest sharing that passed through our small tribe(s) over those years permeated (our) consciousness, the way the ocean saturates a sponge. A sponge doesn’t create the water it holds. […] We soak up the deepest meaning from each other and the water of wisdom passes through us.”

-Mark Nepo

“Everything exists as a vibration in time and space. Only the frequencies separates sand from water, soul from dust and me from you. In the boundless order beyond the Universe we are ONE. Only briefly ‘separate’ from each other under the stars, moon and the sun.”

-Super Soul Sunday

Righteousness is not just the private practice of doing good; it sums up the global responsibility of the human community to make sure every human being has what they need, that everyone pursues a fair sense of justice for every other human being, and that everyone lives in right relationship with one another, creation, and God.

[…]

  • …this discovery is life’s real and highest goal. Our supreme purpose in life is not to make a fortune, nor to pursue pleasure, nor to write our name on history, but to discover this spark of the divine that is in our hearts.
  • Last, when we realize this goal, we discover simultaneously that the divinity within ourselves is one and the same in all—all individuals, all creatures, all of life.

God’s passion is justice. . . . As the social form of compassion, justice is about politics [the word “politics” comes from the Greek polis for “city”]. . . . Politics is about the shape and shaping, the structure and structuring, of the city and, by extension, of human communities more generally, ranging from the family to society as a whole. . . . Justice is the political form of compassion, the social form of love, a compassionate justice grounded in God as compassionate.

-Richard Rohr

The Slow Arm of All That Matters

I have fallen through and worked into

a deeper way – one step at a time, one pain

at a time, one grief at a time, one amends at a

time-until the long, slow arm of all that matters

has bowed my estimation of heaven. Now, like a 

heron wairting for the waters to clear, I look for

heaven on earth and wait of for the turbulence to settle.

And I confess, for all the ways we stir things 

up, I can see that though we can stop, life never

stops: the lonely bird crashes into the window

just as the sun disperses my favorite doubt, a 

sudden wind closes your willing heart as the

moment of truth passes between us, and the

damn phone rings as my father is dying. All

these intrusions, majestically unfair, and not of our 

timing. So we spin and drop and catch and land.

And sometimes, we fall onto these little islands of stillness,

like now, from which we are renewed by our kinship

with all and that irrepressible feeling resurrects our want to be here,

to push off again into the untamable stream.

Under all the conflicts and dilemmas we face, we can discover over and over that everything, and everyone, in life is connected.

-Mark Nepo

jai

Feb. 4, 1968

February 4, 2018

“Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve. You don’t have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don’t have to know Einstein’s ‘Theory of Relativity’ to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.”

-MLK

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