From Wade: April 8, 2024

Reader’s Comments

Re: Hypocrisy
Eva Paterson:
3/31 – It’s also tragic and disheartening 

4/4 – Looks like Biden may be finally standing up to the right-wing folks in Israel

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Re: [fromwade] Mutual Empowerment, April 2024

“Humans are torn between fear and anger on the one hand and trust and love on the other.”

Dan Brook:

It is easier to exploit fear and anger than to inspire trust and love. Authoritarian leaders, generals, advertisers, media, clergy, coaches, et al. know this well, whether they know about our negativity bias or not. Remember “if it bleeds, it leads”? If we miss the saber tooth tiger stalking us, we may lose our lives, but if we miss the juicy fruit tree, we’ll still survive that loss. Therefore, our evolutionary biology has taught us, perhaps even hardwired us, to react to fear more because it can be more practical on a basic existential level. Overcoming this negativity bias takes more energy and consciousness; it’s an uphill trek where we can hopefully get a better view, though probably with more sweat and sore feet.

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Re: Editor’s Report – 3/18/24

Kathy Labriola:

Hi Wade,

I have read your most recent post to the list, but I am not clear how it is in any way a response to my email or my comments. And I think it would be a terrible mistake for Biden to step aside now from running for re-election, since an incumbent always has an edge over a new candidate, and there are no other candidates that would have the level of support he has among Democrats and the potential for undecided voters to vote for him rather than Trump.+++++

Re: Americans Pay a High Price for the GOP’s Fiscal Irresponsibility, by Dan Brook:

Republicans keep wasting our money on their ideological boondoggles that are typically unsuccessful and do nothing to help real people.

A Personal and Social Change Survey

Some time ago, I circulated “A Personal and Social Change Survey” and recently posted a report on the responses.  Nine individuals responded helpfully, which I appreciate. 

Overall, the respondents appreciated the values affirmed on the Compassionate Humanity Community website and supported the general drift of the corrective actions presented. Receiving this support is heartening. 

The responses to the open-ended questions were rich. You may want to read them closely and absorb the insights you find helpful. The report is here

FromWade

Taking Away a Social Safety Net

Is This What Happens When You Build a Real Social Safety Net, Then Take It Away?
By Bryce Covert

It’s a riddle that economists have struggled to decipher. The U.S. economy seems robust on paper, yet Americans are dissatisfied with it. But hardly anyone seems to have paid much attention to the whirlwind experience we just lived through: We built a real social safety net in the United States and then abruptly ripped it apart.

Take unemployment insurance….

Many told Dr. Michener about having to hustle harder for work, and she told me that the word “struggle” comes up over and over again in the researchers’ interviews. Americans have less sense of security, she said, “that you’re going to be OK and you’re going to be taken care of should the worst-case scenario befall you.”

The disillusionment this creates is incredibly harmful. Yes, if people feel pessimistic about the economy, it may very well swing the election away from President Biden. But it’s bigger than just this election. Even if somehow the experience of losing benefits doesn’t diminish political participation, it’s a lost opportunity for the government to continue demonstrating to Americans that it can make their lives better. That draws people into democracy and strengthens it. The worst — and more likely — case is that it turns them off.

“There were a lot of things across many programs that changed and made people’s lives better, and so many of those things have been pulled back,” Dr. Michener said. “We’d have to think people are idiots not to notice that.”

[read more]

Spinoza and “God”

What he denies is that God exists as a being or intelligence separate from the rest of the universe…. Spinoza’s argument is disconcertingly simple. God is “a being absolutely infinite,” and the idea of infinity “involves no negation”: it would be contradictory to say that there is some quality an infinite being does not possess or some space it does not occupy…. If God exists, then he must be absolutely everywhere; not even our own bodies and minds can be separate from him.
Baruch Spinoza and the Art of Thinking in Dangerous Times

social-emotional learning

  • How one school is centering social-emotional learning

    At Valor Collegiate Academy in Nashville, helping students thrive personally and academically through a weekly social-emotional learning practice called Circle is central to their values. The school encourages students to share what’s going on in their lives and to accept support, creating a community of care. According to one student, “It’s half-way between a group therapy session and an AA meeting.” (read more) [posted in Social/Education] On PBS Newshour here.

FromWade Readers’ Comments

Larry Walker:
This group (Social Permaculture) seems to be aligned with what you are doing. [MY NOTE: “Social Permaculture” is the praxis of permaculture methodology applied to social relationships.] (Larry’s email included the following.)

 In India, pioneers from 16 countries — ranging from billionaires to folks whose life’s possessions fit into a backpack — flew in for our Gandhi 3.0 retreat, to nuance that throughline from me-centered transactions to we-centered relationships to us-centered emergence….  If, however, the personal, interpersonal and systemic designs start to harmonize, the laddership hypothesis is that the collective emergence of that ecosystem bends its arc towards greater compassion…. how do we differentiate inner voice from ego voice?… How, ultimately, do we throw a better party and build a new paradigm?  (read more)

Wade Lee Hudson:

Thanks for the heads up. I added “permaculture” and “social permaculture” to my website to-do list. I do see considerable alignment. However, this report says nothing about “domination” or “mutual support.”

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Re: New Introduction”

Dan Brook:

One thing that the recent flare-up in the Middle East taught me, or rather reminded me, is that many people who want a fairer world, besides lacking nuance, also exhibit selective kindness, that is, being kind to one’s “us” and too often being unkind to one’s “them”. And it happens in our treatment of animals as much as in our treatment of fellow humans.

Wade: Indeed. Well put. Thanks.

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Dan Brook:

Re: “A Little Hole in the Global Left: Israel, Gaza, and Humanity, by Dan Brook. “I have been terribly disappointed in so much of the American and global Left that is so reflexively anti-Israel that they don’t care about [Hamas goals and violence]…”

Criticize Israel when appropriate, but in this case, start with criticizing Hamas for its homicidal desires and murderous rampage. This is not meant to excuse occupation, but to contextualize it…. I strongly oppose occupation and injustice — Israeli, American, Russian, Chinese, English, French, and otherwise

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Yahya Abdal-Aziz:

Your essay “Does “the System” exist? is a very clear explication of your thinking.  I now have probably the clearest understanding of your concept that I’ve had in years.  Thank you for writing and sharing it!

As a once (and forever) systems analyst, I’ve been thinking in “system” terms for most of my life.  However, the use of the term “system” in philosophical, political and social theory can have quite different connotations than it does as a tool of business and information technology!  Somehow, I’ve come to feel that the former (“social science”) fields’ use is more laden with moral value judgments than the latter (“business engineering”), which is, on the contrary, more concerned with objective and measurable facts … and this is, doubtless, an unwarranted bias.

All that my experience really shows is this: that some things are easier to measure meaningfully than others …  Which of course I already understood, when during my studies and teaching, I encountered the fun task of devising appropriate measurement scales for psychological traits. (Including in the ’70s, a protracted, bemused and ultimately unsuccessful exploration of what kind of mathematics might support the concept of “latent variables”.)  Humility, it seems, is a lesson that I am doomed to repeat, until – one day, I hope – it sticks!

Meanwhile, I have your fruitful analysis of the existing Top-Down System – and its contra-positive, the fabulous Bottom-Up System – as tools to help guide my thinking toward better ways of living and thriving together.  Thanks again!

Wade: Especially considering your extensive experience with systems thinking, your comments hearten me considerably

Re: New Homepage and Preface

Yahya Abdal-Aziz:

More analytical questions, then – if you will:

  1. Which form (structure, format) better supports collaboration?
  2. Would some other structure work even better than either “book” or “encyclopaedia”?
  3. Supposing we were to design such a structure (as if from scratch!), what would our design goals be?

Wade:

Good questions. Do you want to offer answers?

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Yahya Abdal-Aziz:

This was worth the read, and a bit of thinking about. It also links other articles on aspects of anger, which I may spend some time exploring.

Three Reasons Why You Need Anger.”

While anger gets a bad rap, studies suggest it can help us achieve difficult goals, if used wisely.

By Jill Suttie

Anger is not usually a pleasant feeling. When we feel we’ve been wronged—by, say, a slow driver or a boss or a noisy neighbor—our heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature go up, preparing us to confront the challenge. While releasing that tension may feel good in the moment, the aftereffects can be harsh….

Excellent article from a superb project, the Greater Good Science Center. I added it to Daily Reflections and my to-do list for addition to the CHC site.

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Randy Thomas:

Remembering Mary’s MagnificatPoetry is one form of creative expression. In this our age, we need a diversity of creative words and inspiring images to change the current narrative. Poetry, prose, essays,plays, novels, rational analysis, dialogue and synthesis, art, music, Nature’s wisdom, astrophysics, cosmology, technology,

Ways of healing, integrating, and collaborative efforts of mutual empowerment to co-create more whole life affirming,sustaining  emerging and evolving relationships. I appreciate your essays as words and meaning to better relate and understand this creative movement and potential to manifest and transform ourselves , systems, structures ,processes, in our world.

Wade: Peace. And thanks for suggesting “Mutual Empowerment” as the title for the newsletter and sharing with me the distinction between embodied and disembodied spirituality. 

Rhonda Magee:

GOOD MORNING TO YOU

Rhonda sharing reflections – and a song! – onstage at “Wisdom and A.I,” hosted by Wisdom 2.0, October 30, 2023

Warm greetings to you. As we move into this new year, like many of you, I have been reflecting on how to make the most of this life, given all the challenges we face.

One thing seems certain: the times are calling – loudly – for greater capacity to hold together, as one, the things that appear to be separate, to make connections and common cause among things that appear different, or even seem to be opposed or opposite. Thinking of this, I am reminded that Martin Luther King, Jr. and Thich Nhat Hahn agreed that doing so is an aspect of what they each, from their very different cultures, religious commitments and social justice locations, referred to as “Beloved Community.” As I’ve discussed in prior presentations, being Beloved Community today is an invitation to each of us to make this ideal real in our own life and times.

Of course, doing so is hard. I lean into practices that support us in the moment-to-moment work of cultivating a kind of grounded hope. This year, I’m focusing on sharing ways of deepening the roots of our wellbeing in support of this work, offering practices for moving through shadow and light, joy and pain in our own and in others’ experiences. I’m exploring more ways of deepening our ability to hold space for complexity and change, both individually, and in our relationships with others.

I look forward to re-energizing our resources together and joining with you again in beloved community in the coming weeks.

Book Cover Order a copy of
THE INNER WORK OF RACIAL JUSTICE here.

Links:

Listen now and reflect with Rhonda on the theme of “Being Beloved Community in a Time of Polarization.” (Dharma talk delivered by Rhonda V. Magee at the San Francisco Zen Center on January 14, 2023.)

https://www.sfzc.org/teachings/dharma-talks/being-beloved-community-time-polarization

And make a plan now to join Rhonda on March 17, 2024 at 10 am Pacific Time/11 am Mountain Time for reflections on the theme, “Leading with Clarity, Courage and Compassion.” Hosted by the Upaya Zen Center. For information and registration, visit:

https://www.upaya.org/program/gathering-dharma-with-hoshi-rhonda-v-magee-online-2024/

Wade:
Thanks for sharing. Great work. Carry it on.

The Good Life

“Today’s future-positive writers critique our economies while largely seeming to ignore that anything might be amiss in our private lives,” writes Kristen Ghodsee. Even our most ambitious visions of utopia tend to focus on outcomes that can be achieved through public policy — things like abundant clean energy or liberation from employment — while ignoring many of the aspects of our lives that matter to us the most: how we live, raise our children, and tend to our most meaningful relationships.

Everyday Utopia: What 2,000 Years of Wild Experiments Can Teach Us About the Good Life

Immigration: ChatGPT

January 15

Immigration: ChatGPT

Dear ChatGPT: Assuming widespread agreement, in 800 words or less, how can the U.S. best fix its immigration problem?

ChatGPT

Addressing the U.S. immigration system requires a multifaceted approach, balancing the need for security, economic growth, humanitarian responsibilities, and the preservation of America’s core values as a nation of immigrants. Here’s a comprehensive plan, within 800 words, to address the issue:

Read More

How Politics Got So Polarized

The Robbers Cave experiment suggests another way out. After having nudged the Eagles and the Rattlers toward conflict, the researchers wanted to see if they could be nudged back. They brought the boys together for a variety of peaceable activities. One day, for example, they arranged for the two groups to meet up in the mess hall for lunch. The result was a food fight. Since “contact situations” weren’t working, the researchers moved on to what they called “superordinate goals.” They staged a series of crises—a water shortage, a supply-truck breakdown—that could be resolved only if the boys coöperated. Dealing with these manufactured emergencies made the groups a lot friendlier toward each another, to the point where, on the trip back to Oklahoma City, the Rattlers used five dollars they’d won from the bean-collecting contest to treat the Eagles to malteds.

Could “superordinate goals” help depolarize America? There would seem to be no shortage of crises for the two parties to work together on. The hitch, of course, is that they’d first need to agree on what these are.

Hands of Peace

Hands of Peace empowers American, Israeli, and Palestinian youth to become agents of change.
Our Mission

At Hands of Peace, we share these common values:

  • We believe the future depends on the leadership, education and actions of the next generation.
  • We believe global connections are learning connections.
  • We believe the way to create impactful and lasting change in society is through cultivating young leaders who are committed to serving their communities.
  • We believe in positive peace that goes beyond the absence of violence and builds constructive attitudes and systems that foster equality, freedom and justice.
  • We believe all people deserve self-determination and basic human rights.
  • We believe in the same freedoms for all, including freedom of expression, freedom from discrimination, freedom of movement, freedom from fear and violence, and freedom from oppression.
  • We believe the existing conditions among Israelis and Palestinians are unacceptable and there must be an urgent, non-violent end to occupation that leads to safety and security for all.

[read more]

The Holy Thursday Revolution

  • The Holy Thursday Revolution, Beatrice Bruteau

    “Drawing from a wide range of disciplines Bruteau presents a unifying vision of a world that must move from…domination to one of equality and sharing… Presents [jesus’] two teaching events of Holy Thursday — Footwashing and Holy Communion — as entry gates into a new way of living and loving in a world of domination, power, and separation.”