Respite from the tilt toward darkness our planet collectively shares.
Our spiritual compass.
‘It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.’ -Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
[My thesis.-dayle ❀]
From poet Pádraig Ó Tuama:
“Friends, there are many things that crowd your attention. And many things deserve your attention. May you find the space to pay attention to what is important, to feel the feel of feelings, and to find ways to respond with action, care, justice, kindness, time, and whatever else is needed. Beir bua.” [Bring Victory]
Sharing a beautiful curation from journalist and author Dan Rather and his writing partner Elliot Kirschner. They title their compilation, ‘Smile for Saturday’ featured on their ‘Steady’ published on the Substack platform. Subscriptions are open. -dayle
Music has a way of speaking to us, across genres, across performers, and across the years. It is a conversation that builds from what was said before and evolves over time. All these thoughts flooded forth when we discovered a video of the brilliant musician Jon Batiste performing his version of the Beatles song “Blackbird.”
The occasion for the 2016 performance was the 52nd anniversary of the Beatles’ television debut on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” and Batiste was appearing on the very same stage as they had. As many of you likely know, the Ed Sullivan Theater is now home to “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” where Batiste serves as musical director.
Batiste plays “Blackbird” on the piano, whereas the song’s co-writer Paul McCartney (John Lennon shared the writing credit) played his version on the guitar. The musical style also differs, and so does the delivery of the lyrics. But there is a kinship of evocative musicality linking this version to McCartney’s that brought a big smile to our faces. Batiste’s Juilliard-honed abilities as performer and arranger are on full display. So, too, is the genius of the original.
At a time when we are fractured, this song made us feel whole. At a time when we are unmoored, this feels rooted. At a time when we see far too many acts of hate, this feels like a tribute of love.
Left in awe of this performance, we decided to dig a little more into the history of “Blackbird.” And things got even more interesting. It turns out the lineage of the song goes back well before the 1968 White Album on which it first appeared — as in centuries back. “Blackbird” was inspired by Johann Sebastian Bach — more specifically, his famous “Bourrée in E minor.” We will let Sir Paul himself tell you the story.
Bach’s piece was originally written for the lute but has since become a staple for classical guitar. If you are still with us and want to continue this musical journey, here is a performance of the piece on its original instrument.
Through our research we became a bit obsessed with Batiste, his story, and his music. We encourage you to listen to more from this remarkable talent.
‘Innocent bystander.’ Thomas Merton: I am no longer smiling … for I do not think the question of our innocence can be a matter for jesting, and I am no longer certain that it is honorable to stand by as the helpless witness to a cataclysm, with no other hope than to die innocently and by accident, as a nonparticipant. ♀︎
‘For it is necessary that there be a genuine and deep communication between the hearts and minds of men, communication and no the noise of slogans or the repetition of cliches. Genuine communication is becoming more and more difficult, and when speech is in danger of perishing or being perverted in the amplified noise of beasts, it seems to me we should attempt to cry and out to one another and comfort one another with the truth of humanism and reason.’
-Thomas Merton, Seeds of Destruction, 1961
‘When the artificiality of a random number algorithm replaces the surprises of natural richness, we lose something of human life. When we replace the earth with an artificial screen we cut ourselves off to its secret workings. We become so vulnerable in the face of the void that we have to keep filling up our lives with more stuff, including information.
Technology pushes us along as such rapid speeds that the human brain cannot absorb the information sufficiently to process. […] We are increasingly overwhelmed and fragmented…the speed of the machine has now surpassed the speed of thought. The result is ‘great psychic turbulence, opening fractures and fault lines in the collective unconscious.’ For protection, the human nervous system ‘numbs out’ to protect itself from this destructive energy.
Computer technology depends on individual control, preempting relationships of dependency on one another and the earth. […] Artificial intelligence can lend itself to community without commitment and mutuality without responsibility. It can lead to narcissism, self-indulgence, and isolation if it is not used reflectively to further wholeness and unity.’
‘In a culture as throughly marinated in instant gratification and consumer fetishes as ours, one so deeply in bed with consumer capitalism and instructed daily in how best to worship the gods of the latest gadgets that promise to make life easier and quicker and more satisfying. The experience of the dark night is a deep wake up call.
Whether it comes at us from climate change or coronavirus or failures of politicians or the destruction of ideals of democracy or failures of religious promises. There is plenty to grieve. Loss is in the air as the dark night knocks loudly on the doors of our souls. Julian of Norwich and Mechtild…John of the Cross…did not run from it but to learn what it had to teach. It can do the same for us.’
-Matthew Fox, Julian of Norwich: Wisdom in a Time of Pandemic and Beyond, 2020
‘Global consciousness.’ ?
‘Politically Neutral.’ ?
[Twitter descriptions by former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and new Twitter owner Elon Musk.]
Facebook [deleted 12.31.19-dayle] top-performing link posts in one 24-hour period:
The Daily Caller
Terence K Williams
Casey Newton, founder and editor of Platformer, a publication about the intersection of tech of democracy:
‘Elon Musk has not acted like a white knight riding to the rescue of a beloved but underperforming cultural institution. Instead, he has rushed to publicly affirm various half-baked and bad-faith criticisms of the company, all emanating from the right…’
‘What happens in a space with no public safety and no moderation? We deserve better than billionaire-owned social media platforms.’
‘The Internet business model is arson.’ -Jon Stewart
With the possible exception of hockey games, there have been few places in our modern lives where public interactions are supposed to be coarse. If (back when we could, and soon when we can again) you go to the theater, a museum, the mall, a restaurant, the library, school, the supermarket, the park, or yes, even to a movie theater, the management does not tolerate or encourage acting like a jerk.
And then social media arrived.
Social media is a place where the business model depends on some percentage of the crowd acting in unpleasant ways. It draws a crowd. And crowds generate profit.
We’ve created a new default, a default where it’s somehow defensible to be a selfish, short-sighted, anonymous troll. At scale.
Civility has always been enforced by culture, and for the last hundred years, amplified by commerce. We shouldn’t accept anything less than kindness, even if the stock price is at stake. Algorithms. Once you start prioritizing some voices, you become responsible for the tone and noise and disconnection (or possibility, connection and peace of mind) you’ve caused.
The word noosphere means a sphere of the mind, from the Greek nous or mind. It is a provocative idea that influenced many cultural leaders, such as Al Gore.
The idea is that the Earth is not only becoming covered by myriads of grains of thought, but becoming enclosed in a single thinking envelope so as to form a single vast grain of thought on the sidereal scale, the plurality of individual reflections grouping themselves together and reinforcing one another in the act of a single unanimous reflection.
-Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, The Phenomenon of Man, 1959
For trivial matters, it’s efficient and perhaps useful to simply follow a crowd or whatever leader we’ve chosen.
But when it matters, we need to make (and own) our own decisions.
To do that effectively, consider:
Do the reading
Show your work
Avoid voices with a long track record of being wrong
Ask, “and then what happens?”
Ask, “how would that work?”
Ignore people who make a living saying stupid things to attract attention
Follow a path you’re eager and happy to take responsibility for
Be prepared to change your mind when new data arrives
Think hard about who profits and why they want you to believe something
Consider the long-term impact of short-term thinking
None of these steps are easy. This could be why we so often outsource them to someone else.
UnitedStates and 60 Global Partners Launch Declaration for the Future of theInternet
A Declaration for the Future of the Internet
We are united by a belief in the potential of digital technologies to promote con- nectivity, democracy, peace, the rule of law, sustainable development, and the en-
joyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms. As we increasingly work, com- municate, connect, engage, learn, and enjoy leisure time using digital technologies, our reliance on an open, free, global, interoperable, reliable, and secure Internet will continue to
grow. Yet we are also aware of the risks inherent in that reliance and the challenges we face.
We call for a new Declaration for the Future of the Internet that includes all partners who actively support a future for the Internet that is an open, free, global, interoperable, reli- able, and secure. We further affirm our commitment to protecting and respecting human rights online and across the digital ecosystem. Partners in this Declaration intend to work toward an environment that reinforces our democratic systems and promotes active par- ticipation of every citizen in democratic processes, secures and protects individuals’ priva- cy, maintains secure and reliable connectivity, resists efforts to splinter the global Internet, and promotes a free and competitive global economy. Partners in this Declaration invite other partners who share this vision to join us in working together, with civil society and other stakeholders, to affirm guiding principles for our role in the future of the global In- ternet.
Reclaiming the Promise of the Internet
The immense promise that accompanied the development of the Internet stemmed from its design: it is an open “network of networks”, a single interconnected communications system for all of humanity. The stable and secure operation of the Internet’s unique identifier systems have, from the beginning, been governed by a multistakeholder approach to avoid Internet fragmentation, which continues to be an essential part of our vi- sion. For business, entrepreneurs, and the innovation ecosystem as a whole, interconnection promises better access to customers and fairer competition; for artists and creators, new audiences; for everyone, unfettered access to knowledge. With the creation of the Internet came a swell in innovation, vibrant communication, increased cross-border data flows, and market growth—as well as the invention of new digital products and services that now permeate every aspect of our daily lives.
Over the last two decades, however, we have witnessed serious challenges to this vision emerge. Access to the open Internet is limited by some authoritarian governments and online platforms and digital tools are increasingly used to repress freedom of expression and deny other human rights and fundamental freedoms. State-sponsored or condoned malicious behavior is on the rise, including the spread of disinformation and cybercrimes such as ransomware, affecting the security and the resilience of critical infrastructure while holding at risk vital public and private assets. At the same time, countries have erected firewalls and taken other technical measures, such as Internet shutdowns, to restrict access to journalism, information, and services, in ways that are contrary to international human rights commitments and obligations. Concerted or independent actions of some governments and private actors have sought to abuse the openness of Inter- net governance and related processes to advance a closed vision. Moreover, the once decentralized Internet economy has become highly concentrated and many people have legitimate concerns about their privacy and the quantity and security of personal data collected and stored online. Online platforms have enabled an increase in the spread of illegal or harmful content that can threaten the safety of individuals and contribute to radicalization and violence. Disinformation and foreign malign activity is used to sow division and conflict between individuals or groups in society, undermining respect for and protection of human rights and demo- cratic institutions.
We believe we should meet these challenges by working towards a shared vision for the future of the Inter- net that recommits governments and relevant authorities to defending human rights and fostering equitable economic prosperity. We intend to ensure that the use of digital technologies reinforces, not weakens, de- mocracy and respect for human rights; offers opportunities for innovation in the digital ecosystem, including businesses large and small; and, maintains connections between our societies. We intend to work together to protect and fortify the multistakeholder system of Internet governance and to maintain a high level of securi- ty, privacy protection, stability and resilience of the technical infrastructure of the Internet.
We affirm our commitment to promote and sustain an Internet that: is an open, free, global, interoperable, re- liable, and secure and to ensure that the Internet reinforces democratic principles and human rights and fun- damental freedoms; offers opportunities for collaborative research and commerce; is developed, governed, and deployed in an inclusive way so that unserved and underserved communities, particularly those coming online for the first time, can navigate it safely and with personal data privacy and protections in place; and is governed by multistakeholder processes. In short, an Internet that can deliver on the promise of connecting humankind and helping societies and democracies to thrive.
The Internet should operate as a single, decentralized network of networks – with global reach and gov- erned through the multistakeholder approach, whereby governments and relevant authorities partner with academics, civil society, the private sector, technical community and others. Digital technologies reliant on the Internet, will yield the greatest dividends when they operate as an open, free, global, interoperable, re- liable, and secure systems. Digital technologies should be produced, used, and governed in ways that enable trustworthy, free, and fair commerce; avoid unfair discrimination between, and ensure effective choice for, individual users; foster fair competition and encourage innovation; promote and protect human rights; and, foster societies where:
Human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the well-being of all individuals are protected and promoted; All can connect to the Internet, no matter where they are located, including through increased access, affordability, and digital skills; Individuals and businesses can trust the safety and the confidentiality of the digital technologies they use
and that their privacy is protected;
Businesses of all sizes can innovate, compete, and thrive on their merits in a fair and competitive ecosys- tem; Infrastructure is designed to be secure, interoperable, reliable, and sustainable; Technology is used to promote pluralism and freedom of expression, sustainability, inclusive economic growth, and the fight against global climate change.
Principles to promote this Vision
The partners in this Declaration intend to uphold a range of key principles, set out below, regarding the In- ternet and digital technologies; to promote these principles within existing multilateral and multistakeholder fora; to translate these principles into concrete policies and actions; and, work together to promote this vi- sion globally, while respecting each other’s regulatory autonomy within our own jurisdictions and in accor- dance with our respective domestic laws and international legal obligations. These principles are not legally binding but should rather be used as a reference for public policy makers, as well as citizens, businesses, and civil society organizations.
Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms Dedicate ourselves, in conducting and executing our respective domestic authorities, to respect human rights, including as reflected in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as the principles of the rule of law, legitimate purpose, non-arbitrariness, effective oversight, and transparency, both online and offline, and call upon others to do the same. Promote online safety and continue to strengthen our work to combat violence online, including sexual and gender-based violence as well as child sexual exploitation, to make the Internet a safe and secure place for everyone, particularly women, children, and young people. Promote safe and equitable use of the Internet for everyone, without discrimination based on sex, race, color, ethnic, national or social origin, genetic features, language, religion or belief, political or any other opinion, membership of an indigenous population, property, birth, disability, age, gender identity or sex- ual orientation. Reaffirm our commitment that actions taken by governments, authorities, and digital services including online platforms to reduce illegal and harmful content and activities online be consistent with inter- national human rights law, including the right to freedom of expression while encouraging diversity of opinion, and pluralism without fear of censorship, harassment, or intimidation. Protect and respect human rights and fundamental freedoms across the digital ecosystem, while provid- ing access to meaningful remedies for human rights violations and abuses, consistent with international human rights law. Refrain from misusing or abusing the Internet or algorithmic tools or techniques for unlawful surveillance, oppression, and repression that do not align with international human rights principles, including devel- oping social score cards or other mechanisms of domestic social control or pre-crime detention and arrest.
A Global Internet Refrain from government-imposed internet shutdowns or degrading domestic Internet access, either en- tirely or partially. Refrain from blocking or degrading access to lawful content, services, and applications on the Internet, consistent with principles of Net Neutrality subject to applicable law, including international human rights law. Promote our work to realize the benefits of data free flows with trust based on our shared values as like-minded, democratic, open and outward looking partners. Promote cooperation in research and innovation and standard setting, encourage information sharing re- garding security threats through relevant international fora, and reaffirm our commitment to the frame- work of responsible state behavior in cyberspace.
Inclusive and Affordable Access to the Internet Promote affordable, inclusive, and reliable access to the Internet for individuals and businesses where they need it and support efforts to close digital divides around the world to ensure all people of the world are able to benefit from the digital transformation. Support digital literacy, skills acquisition, and development so that individuals can overcome the digital di- vide, participate in the Internet safely, and realize the economic and social potential of the digital economy. Foster greater exposure to diverse cultural and multilingual content, information, and news online. Ex- posure to diverse content online should contribute to pluralistic public discourse, foster greater social and digital inclusion within society, bolster resilience to disinformation and misinformation, and in- crease participation in democratic processes.
Trust in the Digital Ecosystem Work together to combat cybercrime, including cyber-enabled crime, and deter malicious cyber activity. Ensure that government and relevant authorities’ access to personal data is based in law and conducted in accordance with international human rights law. Protect individuals’ privacy, their personal data, the confidentiality of electronic communications and in- formation on end-users’ electronic devices, consistent with the protection of public safety and applicable domestic and international law. Promote the protection of consumers, in particular vulnerable consumers, from online scams and other unfair practices online and from dangerous and unsafe products sold online. Promote and use trustworthy network infrastructure and services suppliers, relying on risk-based assess- ments that include technical and non-technical factors for network security. Refrain from using the Internet to undermine the electoral infrastructure, elections and political pro-
cesses, including through covert information manipulation campaigns.
Support a rules-based global digital economy which fosters trade and contestable and fair online markets so that firms and entrepreneurs can compete on their merits. Cooperate to maximize the enabling effects of technology for combatting climate change and protecting the environment whilst reducing as much as possible the environmental footprint of the Internet and digital technologies.
Multistakeholder Internet Governance Protect and strengthen the multistakeholder system of Internet governance, including the development, deployment, and management of its main technical protocols and other related standards and protocols. Refrain from undermining the technical infrastructure essential to the general availability and integrity of the Internet.
We believe that the principles for the future of the Internet are universal in nature and as such we invite those who share this vision to affirm these principles and join us in the im- plementation of this vision. This Declaration takes into account, and expects to contribute to, existing processes in the UN system, G7, G20, the Organisation for Economic Cooper- ation and Development, the World Trade Organization, and other relevant multilateral and multistakeholder fora, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, Internet Governance Forum, and Freedom Online Coalition. We also welcome partner- ship with the many civil society organizations essential to promoting an open, free, global, interoperable, reliable, and secure Internet, and defending fundamental freedoms and human rights online. Partners in this Declaration intend to consult and work closely with stakeholders in carrying forward this vision.
The Internet has been revolutionary. It provides unprecedented opportunities for people around the world to connect and to express themselves, and continues to transform the global economy, enabling economic opportunities for billions of people. Yet it has also created serious policy challenges. Globally, we are witnessing a trend of rising digital authoritarianism where some states act to repress freedom of expression, censor independent news sites, interfere with elections, promote disinformation, and deny their citizens other human rights. At the same time, millions of people still face barriers to access and cybersecurity risks and threats undermine the trust and reliability of networks.
Democratic governments and other partners are rising to the challenge. Today, the United States with 60 partners from around the globe launched the Declaration for the Future of the Internet. Those endorsing the Declaration include Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cabo Verde, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Estonia, the European Commission, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Maldives, Malta, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Moldova, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, North Macedonia, Palau, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Senegal, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Kingdom, Ukraine, and Uruguay.
This Declaration represents a political commitment among Declaration partners to advance apositive vision for the Internet and digital technologies. It reclaims the promise of the Internet in the face of the global opportunities and challenges presented by the 21st century. It also reaffirms and recommits its partners to a single global Internet – one that is truly open and fosters competition, privacy, and respect for human rights. The Declaration’s principles includecommitments to:
• Protect human rights and fundamental freedoms of all people;
• Promote a global Internet that advances the free flow of information;
• Advance inclusive and affordable connectivity so that all people can benefit from the digital economy;
• Promote trust in the global digital ecosystem, including through protection of privacy; and
• Protect and strengthen the multistakeholder approach to governance that keeps the Internet running for the benefit of all.
In signing this Declaration, the United States and partners will work together to promote this vision and its principles globally, while respecting each other’s regulatory autonomy within our own jurisdictions and in accordance with our respective domestic laws and international legal obligations.
Over the last year, the United States has worked with partners from all over the world – including civil society, industry, academia, and other stakeholders to reaffirm the vision of an open, free, global, interoperable, reliable, and secure Internet and reverse negative trends in this regard. Under this vision, people everywhere will benefit from an Internet that is unified unfragmented; facilitates global communications and commerce; and supports freedom, innovation, education and trust.
A growing group of journalists has cut back on Twitter, or abandoned it entirely Journalists view Twitter as a valuable platform for finding and sharing information, but many say they wish they used it less.
“Many journalists use Twitter to connect with sources they might not otherwise reach; to drive traffic and attention to their published work; to rally support for union drives; and yes, often for fun and frivolity. During the last few months, amid an unprecedented global pandemic and nationwide protests for racial equality, the site has been a valuable platform for journalists assessing the rapidly evolving state of the nation and calling attention to the challenges they face covering it.
But for all the value journalists can extract from Twitter, they can also fall victim to its less savory aspects: engaging in petty squabbles over esoteric issues; fielding bigotry and bad-faith attacks from anonymous users and bots; enduring relentless brain stimulation that can distort perception and distract from more pressing responsibilities.”
Women, people of color and LGBTQ people might be discouraged from entering the field, Bien contends, if they know they’ll have to experience hate speech and physical threats as occupational hazards.
Safety parameters strengthen free speech and invites participation.
“Power Needs Guardrails.”
-Scott Galloway, author and podcaster
“Elon Musk promises to reduce censorship as he buys Twitter
Best of Today
The board of Twitter has agreed to a $44bn (£34.5bn) takeover offer from Elon Musk. The billionaire has promised to reduce censorship on the platform, raising questions about what his approach will mean for the “digital town square”. On Monday he tweeted that he hoped his worst critics would remain on Twitter “because that is what free speech means”. Today’s Nick Robinson speaks to Vivian Schiller, former head of global news at Twitter who is now executive director at the Aspen Institute, and Ross Gerber, friend of Elon Musk and founder of Gerber Kawasaki Wealth Management. (Image credit: Patrick Pleul/Pool via REUTERS)
‘With help from Isaiah Berlin, I wrote about negative freedom of speech, positive freedom of speech, and why Elon Musk types fear a world in which all of us can speak freely and safely.’
Mr. Musk operates from a flawed, if widespread, misapprehension of the free speech issue facing the country. In his vision, what we may, with help from the philosopher Isaiah Berlin, call negative freedom of speech, the freedom to speak without restraint by powerful authorities, is the only freedom of speech. And so freeing Nazis to Nazi, misogynists to bully and harass and doxx and brigade women, even former president Donald Trump to possibly get his Twitter account back. this cuttingof restraints becomes the whole of the project.
But there is also what we may call positive freedom of speech: affirmative steps to create conditions that allow all people to feel and be free to say what they think.
Legally speaking, all American women or people of color or both who were ever talked over in a meeting or denied a book contract or not hired to give their opinion on television enjoy the protections of the First Amendment. The constitutional protection of speech does not, on its own, engender a society in which the chance to be heard is truly abundant and free and equitably distributed. “Freedom for the wolves has often meant death to the sheep” Mr. Berlin once said. This is a point often lost on Americans. Government – or large centralized authority – is one threat to liberty but not the only one. When it comes to speech, what has often kept a great many people from speaking isn’t censorship but the lack of a platform. Social media, including Twitter, came along and promised to change that. But when it became a cesspit of hate and harassment for women and people of color in particular, it began to offer a miserable bargain: You can be free to say what you wish, but your life can be made unrelentingly painful if you so dare.
“With the possible exception of hockey games, there have been few places in our modern lives where public interactions are supposed to be coarse. If (back when we could, and soon when we can again) you go to the theater, a museum, the mall, a restaurant, the library, school, the supermarket, the park, or yes, even to a movie theater, the management does not tolerate or encourage acting like a jerk.
And then social media arrived.
Social media is a place where the business model depends on some percentage of the crowd acting in unpleasant ways. It draws a crowd. And crowds generate profit.
We’ve created a new default, a default where it’s somehow defensible to be a selfish, short-sighted, anonymous troll. At scale.
Civility has always been enforced by culture, and for the last hundred years, amplified by commerce. We shouldn’t accept anything less than kindness, even if the stock price is at stake. DMS has a great point about the algorithm. Once you start prioritizing some voices, you become responsible for the tone and noise and disconnection (or possibility, connection and peace of mind) you’ve caused.”
‘Let’s have less hate and more love.’
Let’s pray he means it. -dayle
Bellingcat staff to benefit from TTI’s expert psychological services.
Trauma Treatment International is to provide psychological support to staff of investigative journalism site Bellingcat, helping them deal with their exposure to violent content.
The collective, which has 20 full-time staff and more than 30 contributors around the world, launched in 2014 to probe a variety of subjects using open source and social media investigation.
These have included the poisoning of MI6 double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, the death of Venezuelan rebel leader Óscar Alberto Pérez, and the attempted murder of Russian politician Alexei Navalny. The group is currently working to gather evidence of war crimes in Ukraine as the conflict continues.
Trauma Treatment International’s CEO Quen Geuter said:
“Bellingcat’s vital investigative work can include dealing with traumatic material like images of injury, death or sexual assault. Staff can also find themselves the subject of online harassment and abuse which can be very disturbing.
“Left unchecked, this exposure can lead to conditions like burnout, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and generalised anxiety. As a trauma-informed organisation, Bellingcat understands that it needs to take a preventative approach to vicarious trauma through help from our experts.”
TTI’s clinical psychologists are experienced in working with trauma caused by exposure to violent content, in particular within the context of human rights infringements. As part of the partnership with Bellingcat, they will lead initial check-ins with 20 staff members to assess their mental wellbeing, and offer advice on coping with workplace stressors.
Staff can then request two further sessions if they feel they need follow-up support, while the clinical team will provide help to anyone showing signs of PTSD or needing additional treatment.
Quen added: “The war in Ukraine is having a negative effect on the mental health of many of us as we watch in horror from the sidelines. For the Bellingcat team-members, who are delving even deeper into the human toll of the war, this impact is far greater.
“The support of our clinical psychologists will be extremely valuable for them, helping to prevent serious mental health challenges from arising in the future.”
Bellingcat senior investigator Nick Waters said: “Bellingcat has never been a single monolithic body, but rather a network of those passionate about holding perpetrators to account. Ultimately we have reached where we are because of the passionate and driven people who look at a story and work out how to get to the bottom of it.
“Bellingcat knows that to keep producing the stories that we’re known for, we need to appropriately support those who investigate them, and as such we’re proud to work with TTI on this subject.”
Eliot Ward Higgins, who previously wrote under the pseudonym Brown Moses, is a British citizen journalist and former blogger, known for using open sources and social media for investigations.
“The chain reaction of evil — hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars — must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.”
—Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
‘Extreme political polarization. Weaponized misinformation. Media incentivized to divide. And growing inequality. Our democratic experiment has seen better days. How do we reimagine it for the betterment of all?
Spiritual thought leader, activist, and political writer Marianne Williamson says it begins with love.’
A statue of St.. Julian of Norwich (c.1342 – c. 1416) in the Norwich Cathedral, England.
She that made all things forlove.
Revelations of Divine Love, written in the 14th century by an anchoress, Julian of Norwich, is remembered today as the first work in the English language written by a woman. She lived the entirely of her life during a pandemic, the bubonic plague, or Black Death.
Wisdom is the mother of all things.
Compassion is rooted in the word, womb. Julian was the first to address Jesus as mother.
Culture and spirituality author Matthew Fox:
A Pandemic is too important to waste.
This pandemic is here to wake jus up. To What? To a “new normal.” One that honors the sacredness of the earth and of all its life forms. One that honors the divine feminine alongside a sacred masculine. One that honors the human body and its basic needs, a long with those of the earth’s body, and on that basis give birth to a new body politic. One that does not put billionaires and the structures that create them on pedestals. And one that does not elect narcissistic politicians who incarnate the very meaning of fatalistic self-hatred by watching hundreds of thousands die with a shrug of the shoulder. Remember? “It is what is it.” 900,000+ have die. (With compassion and leadership, how many more would still be alive?-dayle)
Might I suggest this: maybe Julian of Norwich, and the rich tradition of creation spirituality that she carries in her bones, heart, and mind, from Jesus to Benedict, Hildegard, Francis, Aquinas, Mechtild, and Eckhart…maybe she is the vaccine that is truly needed today.
See the film, confirming what we have become. More reality than satire, and brilliant. -dayle
“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”
-President Dwight D. Eisenhower, January 1961
Biden signs enormous US military budget into law
“Congress allocated about $24 billion more than the Biden administration had requested for the military.”
Marianne Williamson, December 26th, 2021
New Year, Zen Mind
The creative power of doing nothing.
In these days between Christmas and New Year’s, our addled brains can take advantage of the opportunity for a much-needed rest. The most powerful somethings emerge from a space of no-thing; like the empty rice bowl often referred to in Eastern philosophies, it is a space left empty for the Tao to fill. The empty rice bowl is what in Zen Buddhism is referred to as the “beginner’s mind” – when ideas and images from the past are let go, thus making way for synapses and connections in the present that would not otherwise be possible. “Be ye as a little child” is much the same concept, with the consciousness of children so powerful precisely because they have no past to drag along with them. They know that they don’t know, which makes them teachable.
There is a saying often heard in AA: “Your best thinking got you here.” Western civilization might want to look at that. With all the geniuses who have lived among us, all the enlightened philosophies and laws that have been passed, all the think tanks and institutions of higher learning that exist — and yet we’re still inches from the cliff. Western materialism and scientific thinking have not in fact delivered humanity from our worst nightmares; it has relieved us of some of them, to be sure, but it has created others. The naive idealism which led us to believe that external powers would be the saviors of humanity has crashed against the wall of ultimate reality, challenging us now to radically rethink. No matter how smart we are – no matter how scientifically or technologically advanced we are, and no matter how much financial or political power we have – without humility we are misguided, without ethics we are blind, and without love we are doomed.
So what do we do? What trick of the outer world does anyone think is going to save us now?
What’s going to save us is a more evolved state of consciousness – a shift in our thinking that takes us beyond the judgement, blame, fear and and negativity that stand like shadows before the light. In A Course in Miracles it says it’s not our job to seek for love, but to seek within ourselves for all the barriers we hold against its coming. That makes all the difference in the world, because miracles occur naturally as expressions of love. When we withhold love, however, we deflect the miracle.
The only antidote to the myriad crises of our times – the hopelessness, cynicism, anger, and nihilism; the environmental degradation, systemic injustices and possible paths to fascism – is a miracle. It’s an inside rather than an outside shift that will expand our awareness, rearrange circumstances on our behalf, and pave the way for new beginnings. It says in A Course in Miracles that “Miracles are everyone’s right, but purification is necessary first.” What we most need to purify are the thoughts that hold us back.
The most powerful thing we can do between now and New Year’s eve is to clear away our impediments to love. That means doing the work, and the work can be messy and difficult. Who have we not forgiven, including ourselves? What are our character defects that make us obnoxious to others and self-sabotaging to ourselves? What are the tricks we play that keep us small and victimized? Where does our disengagement and complacency make us unconscious participants in the downward trends in our society? Where are we selfish, needy, controlling, angry, arrogant…? You get the picture.
This work done by enough of us on a personal, individual level is the path that will lead to global transformation. Only a critical mass of those who love deeply can counteract the power of those who do not love at all.
Love is the natural intelligence that runs the universe. So where there is love, life works pretty well. Things proceed in alignment with the same intelligence that turns acorns into oak trees and embryos into babies. When love is withhold, the system gets jammed and intelligence malfunctions. It still operates, but in an inverted, diseased way. And only when love returns – through atonement and forgiveness – can nature self-correct. “All hands on deck” is better stated “All minds on deck” right now. Each of us affects the whole, with every thought we think and every action that we take.
No one person, piece of legislation, or action of any kind is going to turn things around now.
Human civilization is a very, very big ship that is heading in the wrong direction;
it will take a massive operation to turn it around. That operation is the collective zeitgeist of our time: billions of people all over the planet now responding to a call that is coming from deep within all of us: to do things a different way, to think and be as we have not thought or been before, to let go the past and let the future be made new. And with love.
That’s a lot of work we have to do over the next week, and nothing will help us do it more than spending enough time doing nothing. In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., “We’re materially passive but we’re spiritually active.”
Advent, which means ‘coming’ in Latin, is typically a season of waiting, listening, and preparing to celebrate the mystery of God with us, Immanuel. It is also a season that challenges our sense of well-BEing. Cultivating a right attitude about the days leading up to the holidays will help us stay true to our authentic self, our true nature as people who have heard the sacred teachings and are walking the path.
[Image: Rolph Gates]
The practice brings awareness of more than our bodies through the asanas…the postures…it attunes us to our thoughts, which in turn shape our attitudes. In our faith-based yoga practice we cultivate an openness to encounter God, Spirit, Gaia–truth & love–infinitely more fulfilling path of h o p e, p e a c e, and l o v e.
-Cindy Senarighi and Heidi Green
By your stumbling, the world is perfected.
“When he sees all beings as equals in suffering or in joy because they are like himself, than man has grown perfect in YOGA.”
If liberation is collective, we need way more work…and awareness.
Image: The Camino de Santiago de Compostela…along the Way.
Those of us who live in privilege due to wealth or ethnicity may not understand interdependence with the collective, with all species, and other. Listen.
Compassion refers to the arising in the heart of the desire to relieve the suffering of all beings. […] It arises from a desire created by the collective suffering of all beings.
Where we have withheld love, we have had to learn to extend love. But if this doesn’t not carry over into the rest of our relationships, nothing of any lasting value will have been gained.
Should you be mistaken, then slowly and with time the natural growth of your inner life will bring you to fuller awareness.
This call to love our neighbor is the foundation for reestablishing and reclaiming the common good, which has fallen into cultural and political—and even religious—neglect.
The zeitgeist of this moment is not so much about the brilliance of any one individual, though certainly our times do not lack for geniuses. It’s more about the strength and power of the group and the genius that emerges from our collective wisdom. This isn’t an age of the soloist but an age of the choir. Soloists have their part to play, yes, but the song belongs to the choir itself.
And we will endure, rise up and triumph too. Somehow we will find a way to make the world a better place. We will repair the earth and learn how to tend to it lovingly. We will put down our arms and find a way to make peace. We will heal ourselves, and heal the earth, and heal each other. We will learn how to live in another kind of way.
May the Beloved use me today.
Love will save the world, but only if we express it. May everything I do today be an expression of God‘s love.
May I be a channel for love today, co-creating with God a more perfect world. With every thought of love, I create a miracle. And every time I withhold love, I deflect one. Today may I only love.
Use my hands and feet,
My words and actions today.
Use who I am and what I do
To help You heal the world.
“In a democracy, power is given not taken. But it is still power. Love, compassion, caring have no use for it. But it is fuel for greed, hostility, jealousy … All power corrupts. Take care which powers you allow a democracy to wield.”
“Happy to be observing a day that reinforces importance of health and replenishes our spirit during such stressful times. It reminds me of Shri Narendra Modi whose passion pushed him to propose this ancient tradition on the calendar.”
Change leads to disappointment if it is not sustained. Transformation is sustained change, and it is achieved through practice.”
“A sustained yoga lifestyle is one that doesn’t fluctuate with the latest trends but is informed by the historic yoga philosophies of peace, no harm, discipline, and contentment.
We need to choose practices that are life affirming rather than draining in order for them to be transformative the practices we choose need to benefit not only our personal lives but our relationship with Gaia and with each other.”
-Cindy Senarighi and Heidi Green
If one knows what the particular disease is there is the possibility of curing it. To know the particular limitation, bondage or hindrance of the mind, and to understand it, one must not condemn it, one must not say it is right or wrong. One must observe it without having an opinion, a prejudice about it, which is extraordinarily difficult because we are brought up to condemn.
“What would it mean to simply acknowledge our behavior without judgment, without denial, without hedging? Right now, in this moment, can you control your habitual responses to experience? Can any of us not be afraid?
As we observe other individuals, companies, political parties, and nations, we tend to bring the same kinds of judgments to bear, expecting different results.”
One love, one heart Let’s join together and a-feel all right One love (hear my plee) One heart Let’s join together and a-feel alright Let’s join together (let’s just trust in the Lord) And a-feel all right (and I will feel alright)
Five years ago in Orland, Florida, one 29-year old man with an automatic military weapon massacred 49 people and wounded 53 more at a gay night club called Pulse.
From the White House on Saturday, June 12, 2021:
In the coming days President Joe Biden will sign a bill designating Pulse Nightclub as a national memorial, enshrining in law what has been true since that terrible day five years ago: Pulse Nightclub is hallowed ground.
We must also acknowledge gun violence’s particular impact on LGBTQ+ communities across our nation. We must drive out hate and inequities that contribute to the epidemic of violence and murder against transgender women – especially transgender women of color. We must create a world in which our LGBTQ+ young people are loved, accepted, and feel safe in living their truth. And the Senate must swiftly pass the Equality Act, legislation that will ensure LGBTQ+ Americans finally have equal protection under law.
In the memory of all of those lost at the Pulse nightclub five years ago, let us continue the work to be a nation at our best – one that recognizes and protects the dignity and safety of every American.
In the name of love.
The Equality Act is in limbo. A lot is at stake for the LGBTQ community, especially our youth.
After its passage in the House in February, the Equality Act (H.R. 5) has one more hurdle before reaching the desk of President Joe Biden — the Senate. If passed, among other things, it will amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes of people protected from discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, education and federally funded programs, and patch holes in current nondiscrimination protections.
-San Diego Union Tribune, Kimberly A. Ahrens
Fr. Richard Rohr:
Love for one another. May we place our hope in what matters and what lasts, trusting in your eternal presence and love. Listen to our hearts’ longings for the healing of our suffering world.
Nonviolence starts when we learn how to love ourselves with compassion. Upon beginning shadow work and looking within myself, I was able to heal old wounds, relearn healthy boundaries and thought patterns. Complete love flows through all we say, do, think, and pray after taking steps of transformation. -Susan C./Center for Action and Contemplation
“Moments as big as years.” Virginia Woolf
A bakery lost a client when it made rainbow Pride cookies. So others bought every item in the shop.
On June 2, Confections, a tiny store in Lufkin, Tex., shared a photo on its Facebook page of heart-shaped rainbow sugar cookies with the caption, “More LOVE. Less hate. Happy Pride to all our LGBTQ friends! All lovers of cookies and happiness are welcome here.”
Within an hour, the small business near the eastern edge of Texas lost dozens of followers on social media. Not long after, a peeved patron canceled an order she had placed for five dozen cookies.
Little did she know, though, that her post would go viral on social media and that the line outside the tiny bakery would stretch for several blocks the following day.
Though the bakery opened at 10 a.m., a crowd had already assembled outside the front door by 8:30 the next morning.
“That line brought me to tears. All those people standing in the rain, waiting so patiently to buy a cookie,” Cooley said. “We just wanted to be inclusive, and it was so heartwarming to see how many people felt the same.” Over the following few days, a steady stream of hundreds of customers arrived to show their support.
“The line just never ended. I had people buying cookies for the person behind them, buying cookies and handing them out to the kids outside. It was beautiful.” Dolder said. “They weren’t going to let this little bakery take a financial hit for showing love and acceptance for the gay community.”
“Mary Magdalene belongs to the great worldwide stream of spiritual awakening and has nothing whatsoever to do with organized religion.
If we are serious about activating Mary Magdalene’s wisdom presence within contemporary Christianity, the first step is to increase her visibility within the liturgy, particularly during Holy Week, where her presence is so crucial to understanding the Paschal Mystery as an act of redeeming ℒℴve.
I would like to see the entire Holy Week liturgy reframed around two parallel anointings…at Bethany and in the garden of the resurrection…which so powerfully convey the energy of transformative love.
Early Easter morning ceremonially enacted, rather than merely read, the gospel account of Mary Magdalene’s visit to the tomb. The basic ceremony, the Visitatio Sepulchri, has been around since the tenth century; it merely needs to be returned to active duty.
Mary Magdalene weaves into one whole cloth those strands that have traditionally been kept so stringently separated: conscious ℒℴve, healing, kenotic surrender, the feminine, singleness, transformation. To touch any part of the this hologram is to invoke all the rest.
We do not know for certain what happened to Mary Magdalene after the resurrection. The gospel bearing her name confirms that her spiritual leadership was honored in a least some circles of early Christianity. She may well have sojourned in France. What we do know for certain is that the fragrance of her presence did not disappear from Christianity. In mysticism and allegory, in art and folklore, in esoteric circles…all veiled, but pointing like a finger at the moon…her mysterious alchemical feminine was kept alive. Now at last, in our own times, it comes above ground again, asking us to awaken yet again to the morning of the resurrection and find ourselves in the garden, awaiting the encounter that can change our institutional hearts.
The imaginal realm is real, and through it you will never be separated from any one or anything you have ever loved, for ℒℴve is the ground in which you live and and move and have your being. This is the message that Mary Magdalene has perennially to bring. This is the message we most need to hear.”
‘In 591 Pope Gregory claimed that Mary of Magdala was a prostitute, a misconception that remains to this day. In 2016 she was named by the Vatican as the apostle of the apostles, their equal.’
-Written by Helen Edmundson and Philippa Goslett. Directed by Garth Davis.
“As someone who watched it twice in 24 hours, ‘Mary Magdalene’ moved me in a way that no previous film about Christianity ever has.
Mary finds a place in the world and a cause in which to place her profound empathy. She was not just any spectator, this telling argues, so much as proof that at the core of Jesus’ teachings is a feminine influence.” -Nick Allen
“Stay passionate and let’s do what we can to lift each other up! Life is so short.”
Escalante, Utah, 1936. Dorthea Lange. Village dwelling.
‘What brings us to tears, will lead us to grace. Our pain is never wasted.’ -Bob Goff
It’s hard for us religious people to hear, but the most persistent violence in human history has been “sacralized violence”—violence that we treated as sacred, but which was, in fact, not. Human beings have found a most effective way to legitimate their instinct toward fear and hatred. They imagine that they are fearing and hating on behalf of something holy and noble: God, religion, truth, morality, their children, or love of country. It takes away all guilt, and one can even think of oneself as representing the moral high ground or being responsible and prudent as a result. It never occurs to most people that they are becoming what they fear and hate.
Release the fear. Then, hate dissolves. What remains? Only love. -dayle
More from Fr Richard:
Simplicity of lifestyle and freedom from the competitive power game, which is where it all begins. It is probably the only way out of the cycle of violence.
I am like one, who sees in dream, and when the dream is gone an impression, set there, remains, but nothing else comes to mind again, since my vision almost entirely fails me, but the sweetness, born from it, still distils, inside my heart.
Ketchum, Idaho. March 27th, 2021
Full Moon/Power Path:
‘…keep your focus on beauty and what is good in your life. Trust your intuition and your heart and always come from a place of compassion and love.’
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
– Martin Luther King Jr.
Here we are heralding the month of March already and marking a full year of living under a global pandemic and integrating new behaviors in response to it. I found myself thinking about “the Ides of March” and the ominous undertones that permeate that phrase from Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesarto a host of calamitous events from history that seem to strengthen a collective unease. Collective unease is something we can relate to in new ways of late. My hope is that we don’t succumb to the strain of what we are living through, but rather that we emerge in this early springtime with renewed sense of purpose.
There is so much complexity before us as we amplify community life on the airwaves. Our organizations strain under the weight of increasing polarization, misinformation, and distrust. That’s why I am reminded of the words of Martin Luther King Jr. in the quote above. In the face of complexity and strain it helps to remember the basics – only light drives out darkness, only love drives out hate. And hopefully, the darkest hour is right before the dawn.
May the Ides of March be smooth sailing for you and may the season we are emerging from show us new ways to serve our communities and take care of each other. Let’s dive in deep to creative endeavors that provide inspiration for reimagining the world we love and the home we all share – our wildly diverse blue and green, spinning and wobbling planet. We have the power of amplification – let’s put it to good use.
Sally Kane, Chief Executive Officer
National Federation of Community Broadcasters
Blessings from the Native American/Indigenous Ministries
of the Episcopal Church
“Come near now, saints of every tribe and clan, come closer, drawn by the flame of our prayers, called by the hearts of your family still here on Earth. You know how much we need you. You know how much these coming days mean to us. Come down from all four sacred directions, elders of every nation, come walking on the air, with your shining faces set toward the shadows, casting hope with every glance, reminding us of your presence, showing us the power of what we pray. Come near to us, you host of goodness and mercy, surround us with your love, and hold us up as we walk the blessing way, the path the Spirit has set before us, the tomorrow that waits for us to discover. Lift us up to ride your wings, that we may raise the banner of light, inviting all of your relatives to sing the hymn of hope, to begin a new dance that will not end, to be like you: unafraid and forever believing.”
I had a little free time last week waiting for the mixes to come back for Man in the Maroon. After six months of the meticulous layering and brushwork that is recording a studio album, I really needed to do something live and warty. This is that.
“What the World Needs Now” was written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David in 1962. I don’t know when I first heard it. A long time ago.
I made this recording because, well first because I like the melody and the chords and the way they fall under your hands with simple voicings. But it’s the philosophy of the song that grabs me most.
What the world needs now is love, sweet actual clear-eyed humble love.
Love as in, forgiveness, tolerance, a little humility, maybe some gratitude, some brotherly or sisterly encouragement. I’m talking about the harder love. Bible verse love. The one about loving your enemy.
Maybe it’s better to substitute enemy for “they who do not think like you.”
Politics are really important to people right now. Fine. It’s an inevitable aspect of the organization of messy humans that we won’t all agree, that some people want more or fewer boundaries or taxes or genders or wild places. But the political appendage is a forked tongue. Division is basic to its nature. Add to the age old tension a current climate rife with bad faith actors and institutional agendas and you have, well you have a pretty tough moment to live in.
I have my own thoughts on how I think society should be arranged, but it’s not where I live. Life is too short, too mysterious to spend it hating my neighbor.
Ideas are what make me excited about being alive. Ideas in books, in history, in the collective repository of recorded human experience, and ideas in the daily realtime interactions I have with the people around me, some of whom think very differently from me. That I can count among my friends conservative churchgoers and transgendered singersongwriters is one of the great joys of my life. I love these people, not in spite of how they think, but because of how they think. Does that make sense?
The day Justice Ginsburg died, I watched that documentary on her life. One moment that glittered like wet grass was when the judge’s colleague expressed her complete incomprehension at Ginsburg’s friendship with fellow Justice, the conservative Antonin Scalia. I thought, and think, Why is that so hard to understand? They both enjoy opera. They respect one another. They are experts at the top of their game.
It’s a bigger essay than this one that could adequately unpack what led us to this, our zeitgeist of universal distrust. But I have a few small things I want to say about it, about the culture of contempt for the Other Side, on both sides.
Contempt is a particularly malevolent form of pride. If I have contempt for you, if I call you evil or stupid, then I am spared the annoying difficulty of actually considering what you have to say. But not only is it a cheap move, it corrodes the gears and anvils and hammers that have for centuries kept the delicate machinery of a free society in working order. Beneath the smug self-assured vitriol of righteous indignation, often expressed in the safe company of the like-minded, who can be counted on to support the statement with likes and RTs, is perhaps a fear throbbing like a tumor that the speaker might not be as right as he thinks he is.
It’s a situation familiar to relationship counselors that a marriage can recover from almost anything, save contempt. Where contempt grows, relationships die. It’s the most pernicious form of social corrosion, whether that’s between two people or two hundred million.
A corollary thought: I was fortunate to grow up in an environment that encouraged critical thinking. Which means, among other things, not to be too sure you know what think you know. I fall short of this all the time, but when I encounter someone who has an idea I think I disagree with, I try to listen to him or her. To actually listen. I try to hear what he has to say and I make an effort in good faith to understand. I think: there is a reason why this person thinks the way he does. He might actually have something valuable to tell me.
Even if I’m not swayed by the argument, my own perspective is likely strengthened, or even slightly modified, from the challenge. Either way I’m better for it, I’m richer for it, and hopefully I come away from the exchange with a deeper understanding of the world and the many different ways people choose to see it.
This kind of exchange has shaped the cultural and intellectual development of the West since at least Plato’s time. It’s rather elegantly described in a little philosophical nugget called the Hegelian dialectic. Thesis, anti-thesis, synthesis.
Across the porch from me is a pumpkin, glowing bright orange in the afternoon sunlight. I now invite it to participate in my quick illustration of the Hegelian dialectic.
Thesis: “Carving pumpkins is a stupid waste of time.”
Anti-thesis: “Okay, but look at this pumpkin. My six year old daughter carved it with me last weekend. She ate a pumpkin seed and barfed on the porch and then laughed about it and it made me laugh too and while we were both laughing the neighbor dog came and licked it up which made us both laugh even harder. And now every time I see the pumpkin I think of that memory. It makes me smile.”
Synthesis: “Okay I get that. Perhaps I could say that carving pumpkins is a stupid waste of time unless undertaken with one’s daughter, in which case its prospect improves considerably.”
Not a scintillating illustration but then again it’s just a pumpkin. My point is, that kind of co-evolving exchange has gone into a wintry hibernation. So many people are very sure of what they know these days, and that’s the part I don’t understand.
It seems to me an intellectually flimsy way to face a world of actual, complicated problems. Unless I am willing to sharpen myself against the whetstone of a different perspective, my confidence is going to break upon contact with the first hard object it encounters. And my argument won’t fare much better. If I can’t bear to listen to a new idea because its very expression represents a threat to my personal safety, I’m destined to live inside a cage of my own making, interacting only with people who think the way I do. Brittleness follows.
What the world needs now is love, sweet love. It needs good faith. It needs people brave enough to listen to someone who thinks differently, without calling her a name. I’m not telling you what to do or how to feel or who to vote for. Maybe I’m inviting you to look into your heart, when no one else is around, and see what’s actually in there. What it tells you.
I look in my own heart and I wonder: to what extent am I culpable for the problems in the world, in my country, neighborhood, family? In my own small way, what can I do about it?
What kind of world do I want to live in? Or at the very least, what kind of person do I want to be in the world in which I live? Am I being him?
I don’t think this was my best piece of writing but I just wanted to get something off my chest. Mostly I just want to lean toward forgiveness and tolerance and civility as much as is possible. I’ve travelled all over the world and I can’t help but love it here. It’s my home. And you want peace in your home.
‘There is only one true flight from the world: it is not an escape from conflict anguish, and suffering, but the flight from dignity and separation, to unity and peace in the love of other [people].’
-Thomas Merton, Seeds of Contemplation
What Dorothy Day called ‘a revolution of the heart’ is blossoming in our streets, where revolutionaries seem confident America can spend less on war and police, make the 1% and corporations pay their fare share and ensure healthcare, living wages, etc., for all. -Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II
Frederick Douglass’ Descendants Deliver His ‘Fourth Of July’ Speech
How can you watch and not weep? 4th of July belongs to all of us. It must.
‘In this short film, five young descendants of Frederick Douglass read and respond to excerpts of his famous speech, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” which asks all of us to consider America’s long history of denying equal rights to Black Americans.’
Douglass Washington Morris II, 20 (he/him) Isidore Dharma Douglass Skinner, 15 (they/their) Zoë Douglass Skinner, 12 (she/her) Alexa Anne Watson, 19 (she/her) Haley Rose Watson, 17 (she/her)
‘Everything happens as if a “STOP! had been given on a planetary level. Of course, it was not this summary and unconscious entity of the infinitely small, the coronavirus, which gave this order. This order seems to emanate from the cosmic movement itself disturbed by the mad dream of the human being to dominate and manipulate Nature.
Everything stopped suddenly for half the countries of the world. This immobility did not fail to reveal to us all the flaws of globalization centered on profit and money. But which of the world’s politicians and leaders will be the ones to see? We are plunged into the blindness of the darkness of our habits of thought and the ideologies of progress, totally out of step with reality. How do you open your eyes to what’s going on? In my opinion, the only solution is the spiritual evolution of the whole of humanity. It alone could take into account all the levels of Reality and the Hidden Third.
It also happens as if a “STOP! had been given on an individual basis. We are suddenly in front of ourselves, before the mystery of our being, thus giving the exceptional opportunity of a spiritual evolution for each of us. This spiritual evolution of each human being conditions that of humanity.
We thus discover that the spiritual underdevelopment of the human being and humanity is the real cause of the crisis that we are going through and that we are going to go through.
But what spirituality is it? It is a radically new, transreligious and transcultural spirituality. Transdisciplinarity offers the tools for the establishment of such a spirituality, based on the community of destiny of all beings on earth. Two thousand years ago, the greatest visionary of all time, Jesus, asked “Love your enemies” (Matthew 5:44).
Without love nothing is possible to act on our destiny.
The world at the time refused such a message and preferred to kill Jesus. Two thousand years later, we are in exactly the same situation, on the brink of self-destruction of the species, a danger increased since by technological development and the immense means of destruction. The anthropocene without spiritual dimension will lead us to the brink of the abyss.
We must make, with great humility, a new pact of partnership with Nature and with all beings on earth – humans, animals, birds, trees, plants. We must stop defiling Nature with our excessive pride and our desire for omnipotence. All war should be declared a crime against humanity and all means of destruction should be destroyed.
All this can be understood as a utopia which goes against the principle of reality.
One possible answer is that of Michel Houellebecq: “I don’t believe in statements like” nothing will ever be the same again “. We will not wake up, after confinement, to a new world; it will be the same, only a little worse ”. If we contemplate the behavior of political leaders and public opinion in this period of crisis, it is to be feared that Michel Houellebecq is right. Politicians are returning to their usual language of mutual hostility and this will cause considerable social tension.
The media bombardment plunges us into an anxiety-provoking climate where, paradoxically, even death takes an abstract dimension: a dead person is just a number in a statistic. Nothing of the suffering of the one who dies, alone, suffocated by the coronavirus, reaches our place. This is glaring evidence of our spiritual underdevelopment.
The hidden hypothesis of Michel Houellebecq’s reasoning is the impossibility that human beings can evolve.
But another solution exists. Man must be born again if he wants to live.
Our task is immense. Let’s try not to be hypnotized by the multitude of doomsayers and apocalyptic thinkers of all kinds who predict the fall of the West and the demise of our world.
The word “Apocalypse” does not mean “end” or “destruction”, but “Revelation”. We are fortunate to have before our eyes, here and now, an extraordinary Revelation which can allow us to access Life and Meaning. I suggest reading, in these difficult times, the extraordinary book of Paule Amblard Saint John – The Apocalypse, illustrated by the tapestry of Angers . Paule Amblard offers us a coherent interpretation of The Apocalypse of John by the necessity of the spiritual evolution of man. The appalling plagues which cross the text of The Apocalypse are, in truth, the torments of the human soul separated from what founds it. The Apocalypse of John is a message of longing and hope.’
 Paule Amblard, Saint Jean – L’Apocalypse, illustrée par la tapisserie d’Angers, Diane de Selliers Éditeur, Paris, 2017.
* Text translated from French by Gerardo del Cerro Santamaria.
Marketers used to have little choice. The only marketing was local. The local neighborhood, the local community.
Mass marketing changed that. Now, the goal was to flip the culture, all at once. Hit records, hit TV shows, products on the end cap at Target and national TV ads to support it all.
With few exceptions, that’s being replaced by a return to clusters.
The cluster might be geographic (they eat different potato chips in Tucscon than they do in Milwaukee) but they’re much more likely to be psychographic instead. What a group of people believe, who they connect with, what they hope for…
The minimal viable audience concept requires that you find your cluster and overwhelm them with delight. Choose the right cluster, show up with the right permission and sufficient magic and generosity and the idea will spread.
We’re all connected, but the future is local.
Footprints might be a fine compass, but they’re not much of a map. That’s on us.
More from Seth:
Mathematicians don’t need to check in with the head of math to find out what the talking points about fractions are this week.
That’s because fractions are fractions. Anyone can choose to do the math, and everyone will find the same truth.
Most of the progress in our culture of the last 200 years has come from using truth as a force for forward motion. Centralized proclamations are not nearly as resilient or effective as the work of countless individuals, aligned in their intention, engaging with the world.
We amplified this organizing principle when we began reporting on progress. If you’re able to encounter not just local truth but the reality as experienced by many others, collated honestly, then progress moves forward exponentially faster.
Show your work.
One of the dangers of our wide-open media culture of the last ten years has been that the signals aren’t getting through the noise.
Loud voices are drowning out useful ones. It’s difficult to determine, sometimes, who is accurately collating and correlating experience and reality and who is simply making stuff up as a way to distract us, to cause confusion and to gain influence.
I’m betting that in the long run, reality wins out. That the practical resilience that comes from experimentation produces more effective forward motion.
In the words attributed to Galileo, “Eppur si muove.”
It pays to curate the incoming, to ignore the noise and to engage with voices that are willing to show their work.
The question arises: is modern man…confused and exhausted by a multitude of words, opinions, doctrines, and slogans…psychologically capable of the clarity and confidence necessary for valid prayer? Is he not so frustrated and deafened by conflicting propagandas that he has lost his capacity for deep and simple trust?
-Life and Holiness
Where men live huddled together without true communication, there seems to be greater sharing and a more genuine communion. But this is not communion, only immersion in the general meaninglessness of countless slogans and cliches related over and over again so that in the end one listens without hearing and responds without thinking. The content din of empty words and machine noises, the endless booming of loudspeakers end by making true communication and true communion almost impossible.
Each individual in the mass in insulated by thick layers of insensibility. He doesn’t hear, he doesn’t think. He does not act, he is pushed. He does not talk, he produces conventional sounds when stimulated by the appropriate noises. he does not think, he secretes cliches.
-New Seeds of Contemplation
Culture and Clichés correspondent Lynn Berger
We’re constantly told to try something new. ‘Innovate, don’t stagnate.’ But doing things two, three or 30 times creates space for reflection – and innovation. And it can even bring unexpected joy.
‘Politicians know that there are votes to be won with an appeal to what is old and familiar. And they know that this message is most effective when it is repeated endlessly: repetition is the foundation beneath propaganda.
So here’s the paradox: in order to appreciate repetition for what it is, we actually need a new sort of attention.
It’s probably impossible to achieve the level of attentiveness we bring to first times the tenth or hundredth time we do something. But it’s entirely feasible to look more attentively at repetition, not to see it as a stumbling block but as a goal in itself. Not as a copy but as a variation. I suspect that the routines and rituals that make up daily life, the “grind” we’ve learned to fear, would feel less like a slap in the face to the zeitgeist, and more like something worthwhile all on its own.
Repetition is the norm: we’re constantly repeating things, whether we want to or not. But there’s a difference between inattentively doing things again and doing things again by choice. Conscious, attentive, deliberate. With the full awareness that this matters just as much, and with the willingness to see, hear and feel different things when you feel, hear and see them again.’
A certain level of fatigue sets in. The media landscape has fragmented so much that consumers can filter their information diet to those outlets that reflect their worldview.
The answer is nothing less than a political terminus after years of economic policies which have degraded democracy.
The decline traces the erosion of the public sphere, and the instrumentalisation of identity by powerful actors unwilling to share their power.
In this new landscape, political choices are loyalties – akin to picking a football team and sticking with it through triumph, relegation and internal scandal. Whether a football team or a president, the avatar gives voice to its supporters’ sense of tribalism.
These impulses may be relatively harmless when confined to sports, but when they are extended to politics, they effectively underwrite authoritarianism.
The term “post-democracy”, coined by political scientist Colin Crouch, describes a state where electoral politics is restricted to a limited number of issues, while the crucial needs of the citizenry are addressed by the private sector. These companies lobby politicians, who may be in hock to them. Corporate agenda enacted by elected representatives might look like ideology – the right to own firearms, for example, or not to pay tax for someone else’s healthcare – but they are in fact determined by commercial interest.
We need an entirely new politics: one that shifts us from an economic to a humanitarian bottom line, from a war economy to a peace economy, from a dirty economy to a clean economy, and from who we’ve been to who we’re ready to be. #repairamerica
Change starts with us as individuals. If one individual becomes more compassionate it will influence others and so we will change the world.