Begin what? I begin. I have already thus begun a thousand lives.
Whatever today brings, try to make the most of it, making it the best day you can. I hope you will fill the day with many magical moments and grace notes and remember that everywhere, all of us are struggling and striving to do the same. In Emerson’s words we are seeking the divinities that are sitting disguised. Grace notes are multifaceted, rich. They are as scattered as shooting stars, as diverse as the sea and the sky. Some are wise and wonderful; some are intentionally vague and mysterious. Whether they are instructional, specific, questioning, inspiring or just plain fun, pay attention to them and how you react to them each day.
‘In dangerous times like these we have to produce generations of dedicated, courageous, and creative contemplative activists who will join [the conscious collective] to bring radical healing and change to this damaged world, before it’s too late.’
-Fr. Richard Rohr
︶⁀°• •° ⁀︶
“Whatsoever things are true,
Whatsoever things are honest,
Whatsoever things are just,
Whatsoever things are pure,
Whatsoevery things are lovely,
Whatsoever things are of good report:
If there be any virtue,
and if there be any praise,
Think on these things.”
︶⁀°• •° ⁀︶
Thomas Merton…”literally meditated on paper.”
‘But I do have a past to break with, an accumulation of inertia, waste, wrong, foolishness, rot, junk, a great need of clarification of mindfulness, or rather of no mind…a return to genuine practice, right effort, need to push on to the great doubt. Need for the Spirit. Hang on to the clear light!’
New arts, new sciences, new philosophies, better government, and a high civilization wait on our thoughts.
In 2020, let us commit to evaporating patriarchy, power, and greed.
‘The influence of the Feminine is responsible for the growth of the Environmental Movement; for the determination of women in every culture to free themselves from their long oppression and encourage their increased participation to healing both psyche and body. It is reflected in the mountain revulsion for our addiction to war; in the engagement of hundreds of thousands of people in the work of helping both the planet and the victims of oppression. These different channel of influence are creating new perspectives on life, new ways of connection that bring together body, soul, mind and spirit. All this is being accelerations by organizations like Avaaz which now has many millions of subscribers.
The recovery of the Feminine invites a reorientation of consciousness: a receptivity not only to the events occurring in the external world but to the long-ignored voice of the Soul. The activation of the Feminine is helping us to relate to the deep cosmic source of our psychic life and draw up the living waters from those depths. This enormous shift challenges every aspect of our beliefs. It immeasurably deepens and broadens our perspective on our presence on this planet. It gives deeper meaning to our lives. It is changing everything.’
-Anne Baring, The dream of the Cosmos a Quest for the Soul
‘The journey in search of soul is difficult and even dangerous because it requires that we relinquish the certainty of what we think we know and what we have been taught for generations to believe. It means surrendering the desire to be in control and opening ourselves to a quest, a path of discovery. Many myths and fairy tales emphasize the need for surrender and trust in the strange non-rational guidance offered by animals or shamans on the quest. As the hero follows their guidance, so the hedge opens, the way unfolds. Following the guidance and wisdom of the instinct is the royal road into the realm of soul.’
The Dream of the Cosmos is the story of a multi-layered quest to understand the causes of human suffering and to reconnect with a deeper reality than the one we inhabit in this physical dimension of experience. It seeks to answer the questions: “Who are we?” and “Why are we here, on this planet?” [google books]
With remarkable clarity, Greta Gerwig’s adaptation establishes love and its complement, sacrifice, as mutually engaged emotions.
At a pivotal moment in Greta Gerwig’s outstanding new screen adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, the heroine, Jo March, exclaims to Marmee, “Women have minds and they have souls as well as just hearts. They’ve got ambition and they’ve got talent as well as just beauty. I am so sick of people saying that love is just all a woman is fit for. I’m so sick of it! But—I am so lonely.” While firm in its support for Jo’s assertion that women have a broader destiny than romance, Gerwig’s Little Women makes some of its strongest points about the nature of love—its aches, its sacrifices, its disappointments. A visually gorgeous period drama, the film poses a question of eternal relevance: How can a person behave unselfishly without annihilating herself?
Experience continually taught her that love leads us to want to be the best thing we can be in another person’s life, but that that best thing can be far different from what we might desire it to be.
Gerwig’s film is the first of this novel’s many Hollywood adaptations to be a work of art in its own right.
When we are young, our possibilities seem almost limitless. Years pass, and we learn our limitations. Yet a small part of us remains free and unconquered. Tattered but untamed, the spirit of youth survives into our grown selves, and it powers and makes possible our most rewarding triumphs.
-John Matteson, The Atlantic
[John Matteson is the author of Eden’s Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father, which received the Pulitzer Prize for Biography.]
The acting performances are stellar across the board, though the biggest joy of Little Women is Gerwig’s magnificent screenplay.
There is a wild urgency to Greta Gerwig’s Little Women that hardly seems possible for a film based on a 150-year-old book. But such is the magic of combining Louisa May Alcott’s enduring story of those four sisters with Gerwig’s deliciously feisty, evocative and clear-eyed storytelling that makes this Little Women a new classic.
New York Post
This Little Women is of good cheer and lovely ensemble performances. It’s a warm fireplace hearth of a film, albeit one with a tendency to spit out fiery embers.
Drawing on both the classic novel and the writings of Louisa May Alcott, and unfolding as the author’s alter ego, Jo March, reflects back and forth on her fictional life. In writer-director Greta Gerwig’s take, the beloved story of the March sisters—four young women each determined to live life on her own terms—is both timeless and timely. Starring Meryl Streep, Saoirse Ronan, Abby Quinn, Bob Odenkirk, Chris Cooper, Eliza Scanlen, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Laura Dern, and Tracy Letts . Rated PG (135 min)
‘Above all else, Louisa May Alcott was a radical. From an early age, she was an abolitionist. She was also a feminist, committed to never marrying, and loved to pull up her skirts and go for a long run through the woods. Alcott’s father, Bronson Alcott, with whom she was close, was also a radical. He hung out with Transcendentalist poets and used the family home as a stop on the Underground Railroad. He was also a teacher who was disgraced after publishing a book with ideas about education that were a little too innovative.’ -Gillian Brockell
New Year’s Eve 2019.
Hi friends. This is my final post on fb. 2.2 billion people, a third of humanity, log on across the planet every hour, I don’t think Zuck will miss me much. Nonetheless, 17 million Americans have left FB in the last two years because of disinformation and political manipulation. Mark Zuckerberg made an additional $27 billion last year alone; he won’t be changing his behaviors any time soon. He throws all that he does under the free speech/innovation bus. His modus operandi has always been to act first, apologize later. Literal early company motto: ‘Move fast and break things.’ Based on past behaviors and weak rhetoric, I don’t think he has the moral compass to steer a moral path. He doesn’t have the emotional or compassionate intelligence to consider the meaning of truth, the limits of free speech, and the origins of violence. Peter Thiel, a billionaire who sits on his board, is the guy who once wrote democracy was weakened when women received the right to vote. Good guy. Zuckerberg is now at the center of a full-fledged debate about the moral character of Silicon Valley and the conscience of its leaders.
In their opinion piece for January 1st, 2020, Idaho Mountain Express offered their New Year’s resolution for fb and Zuckerberg: “To take legal responsibility for what his platform has wrought by making it a publisher instead of a filthy rich exploiter of unsuspecting Americans.” Right on.
In 1915, Louis Brandeis, the reformer and future Supreme Court Justice, testified before a congressional committee about the dangers of corporations large enough that they could achieve a level of near-sovereignty “so powerful that the ordinary social and industrial forces existing are insufficient to cope with it.” He called this the “curse of bigness.” Tim Wu, a Columbia law-school professor and the author of a forthcoming book inspired by Brandeis’s phrase, said “Today, no sector exemplifies more clearly the threat of bigness to democracy than Big Tech.” He added, “When a concentrated private power has such control over what we see and hear, it has a power that rivals or exceeds that of elected government.”
A healthy market should produce competitors to Facebook that position themselves as ethical alternatives, collecting less data and seeking a smaller share of user attention. Like it or not, Zuckerberg is a gatekeeper. The era when Facebook could learn by doing, and fix the mistakes later, is over. The costs are too high, and idealism is not a defense against negligence.
I’ll miss my connections on this platform, my ol’ radio buds, sorority sisters, our community…I even reconnected with a dear junior high school friend from San Diego. We were 14 years old when we met. I will miss the ease in posting and sharing information. I remain hopeful someone will create a new social media site that will allow us to have a nonaddictive, advertising-free space that guards against foreign influence and disinformation, honoring privacy and our personal data. From Free Press: ‘We must have control over how our personal information is used, and prohibit its use to build systems that oppress, discriminate, disenfranchise and exacerbate segregation.’
I don’t Instagram or engage on WhatsApp…all Zuckerberg. I stay with twitter, where I follow various news organizations and journalists, because owner Jack Dorsey has committed to eliminating political ads and just recently launched a research project called Bluesky, researching decentralized technical standards for social media platforms making it easier to enforce rules against hate speech and other abuses.
The early hope for internet democracy has evaporated into a dystopian space that has weakened our democracy with dangerous disinformation, false political ads and foreign algorithms. We haven’t even begun to deal with ‘deep fake’ video yet, given media in general, the press specifically, have not found a way to authenticate what’s real and what isn’t. This virtual mess is only going to get worse.
In India, the largest market for Facebook’s WhatsApp service, hoaxes have triggered riots, lynchings, and fatal beatings. Local officials resorted to shutting down the Internet sixty-five times last year. In Libya, people took to Facebook to trade weapons, and armed groups relayed the locations of targets for artillery strikes. In Sri Lanka, after a Buddhist mob attacked Muslims this spring over a false rumor, a Presidential adviser said, “The germs are ours, but Facebook is the wind.”
Nowhere has the damage been starker than in Myanmar, where the Rohingya Muslim minority has been subject to brutal killings, gang rapes, and torture. In 2012, around one per cent of the country’s population had access to the Internet. Three years later, that figure had reached twenty-five per cent. Phones often came preloaded with the Facebook app, and Buddhist extremists seeking to inflame ethnic tensions with the Rohingya mastered the art of misinformation.
Beginning in 2013, a series of experts on Myanmar met with Facebook officials to warn them that it was fueling attacks on the genocide. David Madden, an entrepreneur based in Myanmar, delivered a presentation to officials at the Menlo Park headquarters, pointing out that the company was playing a role akin to that of the radio broadcasts that spread hatred during the
In 2011, the company asked the FEC [Federal Election Commission] for an exemption to rules requiring the source of funding for political ads to be disclosed. In filings, a Facebook lawyer argued that the agency “should not stand in the way of innovation.” Another default argument. It became a running joke among employees that Facebook could tilt an election just by choosing where to deploy its “I Voted” button.
The 2016 election was <supposed> to be good for Facebook. That January, fb COO and billionaire Sheryl Sandberg told investors that the election would be “a big deal in terms of ad spend,” comparable to the Super Bowl and the World Cup. According to Borrell Associates, a research and consulting firm, candidates and other political groups were on track to spend $1.4 billion online in the election, up ninefold from four years earlier.
During the campaign, Trump used Facebook to raise two hundred and eighty million dollars. Just days before the election, his team paid for a voter-suppression effort on the platform. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, it targeted three Democratic constituencies—“idealistic white liberals, young women, and African Americans”—sending them videos precisely tailored to discourage them from turning out for Clinton.
***Theresa Hong, the Trump campaign’s digital-content director, later told an interviewer, “Without Facebook we wouldn’t have won.”***
Facebook admits a pro-Trump media outlet used artificial intelligence to create fake people and push conspiracies.
In September of 2017, after Robert Mueller obtained a search warrant, Facebook agreed to give his office an inventory of ads linked to Russia and the details of who had paid for them. In October, Facebook disclosed that Russian operatives had published about eighty thousand posts, reaching a hundred and twenty-six million Americans.
Last year, Facebook spent $11.5 million on lobbying in Washington, ranking it between the American Bankers Association and General Dynamics among top spenders. Money…I mean, power and greed…along with behavior modification technology… pretty much defines how we landed here. FB is the epicenter of persuasive technology.
#2020 is going to be a ride. Buckle up. Stay vigilant. Be proactive consumers of news and information. Take the Pro-Truth pledge. And V O T E. It is imperative we remember our democracy is fragile and it fails without ‘we the people.’ Activist Greta Thunberg wrote today, “This coming decade humanity will decide it’s future. Let’s make it the best one we can. We have to do the impossible. So let’s get started.”
I’ll miss you, my fb friends. Happy New Year. Be safe. Only peace.
[In context of fb’s persuasive behavior modification techniques, my pages will stay active for about 30 days and then evaporate. If I log on anytime during those 30 days post depletion, the pages will re-activate, so I won’t be able to read any comments to my final fb post. Just email me, firstname.lastname@example.org, follow me on twitter, @DayleOhlau, or my website, daylescommunitycafe.com. ♡]