Wade’s Journal and Readers’ Comments

In addition to watching Giants’ baseball, most of my free time lately has been devoted to the Residents’ Council at the 200-person complex where I live, Western Park Apartments. Having been recruited to serve as President, it’s been a rewarding and challenging experience. The more I get to know my neighbors, the more I get to like and respect them. Reinvigorating the Council by establishing some new structures that reflect what I’ve learned over the years seems to be working. Prior to our first meeting, an old-timer predicted fifteen participants, but forty came. And the next week we had nineteen at a Coordinating Committee meeting.

Historically, my pattern has been to start a new project and then move on after two years or so. But I’ll be in this apartment for the rest of my life, or most of it. So I may as well make the most of it. With the vibrant community of residents that we have here, I look forward to it.

I’ve also been posting chapters of My Search for Deep Community: An Autobiography to the Web at http://deepcommunity.org. As I go along, I’ll make corrections that have been pointed out to me by readers who’ve sent me comments on the print edition. I hope to step up the pace of posting chapters as I get a handle on Council responsibilities. I also envision a much shorter book eventually, with key moments in my life in chronological order, that I would distribute to the general public, perhaps after finding a publisher.

In My “Ego Trip” I look back on my motivation for writing that autobiography. In addition to the motives that I discuss there, I now realize more clearly that one reason is that I wanted to circulate it on my 70th birthday as a gift to dear friends. And I just wanted the full historical record available, just in case unknown others might find it of interest or value at some point in the future. After all, I was in the midst of a number of historic events. Whether I will be able to afford to make the upcoming, slightly amended version available to the general public remains to be seen, after I learn what it would cost.

David Marshall, a Vive-President at Berrett-Koehler Publishers (BK), replied tomy proposal that BK convene a national working conference on “Changing the System” with the following Facebook post:

Super reader Wade Hudson advocates for a “Changing the System” National Conference in 2015. It’s cool to see such leadership from somebody in our the largest BK stakeholder group: readers. This may fit with three of our five initiatives from our 2014-16 Strategic Plan: Connect with Customers, Build Our Brand, and Commit to Diversity and Inclusion. Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

He also tweeted about it and @BKpub retweeted his tweet.

In addition, Mike Larsen, the literary agent who organizes the San Francisco Writers Conference and the Writing for Change Conference has expressed enthusiasm for the proposal and said that he will inform BK that he and likely some of the volunteers in his network would help with the conference.

These developments are encouraging, but the task is a formidable one. So though BK seems like the ideal sponsor for such an event, I am making no assumptions.

Otherwise, I continue to drive taxi part-time, read some of The New York Timesdaily, and read about half of the articles in The New York Review of Books my favorite publication. Recently, I’ve begun posting to Wade’s Wire reflections on some of the New York Review’s essays that I find most interesting.

In Comments on “It’s All for Your Own Good,” I reflect on the essay’s argument that well-meaning, kind-hearted individuals can undermine others’ self-respect with condescending attitudes and paternalistic practices. As one who has struggled with my own arrogance, it is an issue with which I still struggle. With its comments on Why Nudge? by Cass Sunstein, the review also felt relevant to my situation here at Western Park Apartments, which is owned by Northern California Presbyterian Homes and Services, a church-related non-profit with a noble vision rooted in spirituality.

In Comments on “Divine Fury: A History of Genius,”, I remark on “Wonder Boys,” a thought-provoking review of Divine Fury that explores the nature and history of human consciousness, its relationship with the cosmos, or God, and the notion of “genius.” What is different about the human mind? How did it evolve? What does all that mean about how the universe works? Though I don’t agree with every wrinkle in the piece, the author, Tamsin Shaw, offers me some helpful clues.

I’ve appreciated the following responses to recent posts:

Re: Uber Attacks Taxis

Richard Keene: I’m with you on this.  Seems tech is causing major disruptions everywhere.

Michael Shaughnessy: I would encourage you to edit this and seek publication in a more widely distriibuted source. The personal sharing is appropriate for your weekly entry, but you analysis of the economic situation (in a tighter form)  would be great on Alternet or HuffPo…. Thanks for your work.

Yahya Abdal-Aziz: Much to reflect on, as usual!  If I haven’t said so recently, let me say it again now: Thanks for your writing.  I find it well worth reading and thinking about.

And occasionally very informative; I had no idea of the parlous state of the taxi-driver’s lot in SF until I read your piece below.  I hope you and your colleagues find an effective and speedy resolution of the problem.

And certainly educational: I’d read the phrase, “the tragedy of the commons”, before now, but from its context thinking of it as an historical curiosity, had never bothered to explore its meaning.  I see now how wrong I was, and how relevant this economic phenomenon is today and may well be at any epoch of human history.  It applies, for instance, as an operative cause, to the loss of sovereignty of native peoples worldwide in the face of colonial aggression by the Western powers of the last half-millennium.

But rather than comment on every issue canvassed below, I decided to reply, wanting to let you know this:

You can stop paying for massages; all you need is a willing partner and the knowledge of how to do massage effectively and safely.

That knowledge can come from a good book on massage techniques.  I saw such a book just last week in my local “cheap books” store, for around $14.  Of course, it takes time and practice to become good at massage; but since most of the time you spend doing so includes actually giving the massage, you and your partner can benefit equally.  You’d both probably consider it a good investment of your time.  It also requires some patience and sensitivity of the student, but given these, one can soon learn to become more aware of the texture and condition of the fibres under one’s finger-tips: a requisite skill.

While we were living in Malaysia, my wife and I had the great fortune to learn the basics of “urut jawa”, the Malay deep tissue massage techniques, from a friend and more particularly from his father, a renowned “Tokoh” (master) of the art.  These have stood us in good stead during the last forty-some years, more so as I had a painful condition of the spine which plagued me until I reached my mid-30s.  I believe it was my wife’s constant care that helped it to finally abate to more tolerable levels.  So I’m certainly an advocate for the considered and careful use of massage on medical grounds; but of course its therapeutic benefits are far wider than the physical treatment of disease.

There’s something else I’ve been meaning to say, and will take this opportunity to do so: I think of you often, and wish you all the very best in your efforts to transform both yourself and the wider world.

My best regards,


Re: [wadesmonthly] Recent Posts on Wade’s Wire

Bob Anschuetz: I always find things of interest in your Wire–in the latest, especially, the anecdote about Robin Williams and the 50 recommended essays. That literary genre has always been my own favorite, though the work of particular poets runs a close second. I’m also curious about a matter connected with your own literary output. Have you decided yet what, if anything, you’re going to do further with your book? I’d love to know, as it was the source of my own principal work engagement for almost three months, and I was deeply impressed by its human authenticity: both the honesty of your self-revelation and the seriousness of your commitment to deep community as a way of life and the foundation of effective social activism. I wish you all best in choosing the right course for the book and the right life for yourself.


Re: Many Activists Need An Intervention

Roma Guy: Interesting….regarding listening and hearing from activists you encountered. Their being in motion (act) apparently doesn’t include listening….lots of that around and not only from activists.


Re: Changing the System: A Proposal for a National Conference (10/17/14 Draft)

Clinton McDowell: Received ..always amazed at yer steadfast ,Eal in undertaking this challenge.
Keep on keeping on!

Richard Moore: Here’s my take on a realistic step-by-step plan: Building the new in the shadow of the old

My “Ego Trip”

Shortly before I self-published My Search for Deep Community: An Autobiography, a good, trusted friend told me that the title and cover (which features a head shot of me) did me a disservice because they suggested an “ego trip.” He suggested “Searching for Deep Community” as an alternative title, presumably because it would be less self-centered. His comments bothered me a great deal, so I reflected on them for a few days.

Then I told him, “If others take it as an ego trip, that’s their problem,” and proceeded to publish and distribute some 50 copies, mostly to people I discuss in the book. About 20 readers have given me valuable feedback, most of which has been positive. So I’ve begun posting the book on the Web at http://deepcommunity.org. My plan is to edit the book a bit as I go along, especially in order to correct mistakes that have been pointed out. And eventually I may re-write it considerably, make it much shorter, and try to get it distributed more widely.

But my friend’s comment still bothers me, causes me to reflect on my motives, and prompted me to google the definition of “ego trip,” which is “something done primarily to build one’s self esteem or display one’s splendid qualities.” I acknowledge that my ego would like to be recognized as a “great man” as my mother repeatedly told me I would be. And I’ve long been ambivalent about any recognition given me. But when I told Ajahn Amaro, the Buddhist monk, that I had mixed feelings about the praise I received after serving in Baghdad with the Iraq Peace Team during the U.S. invasion, he told me, “Relax. Accept it like icing on the cake. People want to express their appreciation.” I think his advice was wise. The degree to which I am motivated by my ego is very small compared to my desire to help relieve suffering. I would much prefer to work under a pseudonym with a democratic team of co-equal collaborators who had an enormous, positive impact on the world, with only my close friends knowing that I was involved.

I’m sharing my full life story primarily because I hope doing so will plant some seeds that will contribute to the growth of “deep community,” which I define as a community of individuals who examine themselves deeply, resolve to acknowledge mistakes in order to grow personally and become more effective, work to change national policies that are the root cause of great suffering, and support one another in those efforts. I believe such communities could play an important role in helping to foster the kind of change that we need in this country.

In “A Meditation on Deep Community ,” which I presented to the Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples on July 14, I elaborated on that perspective by stating:

  • Relieving suffering requires addressing root causes, getting deep.
  • Addressing root causes requires correcting national policies that are the source of so much suffering.
  • If we see a child drowning, we don’t tell her to pray. We change her environment.

In “Changing the System: A Proposal for a National Conference,” I reported on my suggesting to Berrett-Koehler (BK) Vice-President David Marshall that BK convene a national working conference focused on these questions:

  1. What is “the system”? How can we best describe and analyze it?
  2. How do we need to change it?
  3. What organizing strategies are needed to build a popular movement pushing for those changes?

Shortly after I posted this proposal, Marshall posted the following on Facebook:

Super reader Wade Hudson advocates for a “Changing the System” National Conference in 2015. It’s cool to see such leadership from somebody in the largest BK stakeholder group: readers. This may fit with three of our five initiatives from our 2014-16 Strategic Plan: Connect with Customers, Build Our Brand, and Commit to Diversity and Inclusion. Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

He also tweeted about it and @BKpub retweeted his tweet.

I am encouraged by that response and am hopeful that BK will pursue a problem-solving collaboration of the sort I proposed.

But I am not making any assumptions. Most political activists don’t take time for personal growth, and most people engaged in personal growth don’t take time for political action. Integrating the personal and the political, my life-long commitment, is not easy. To foster such holistic communities, I believe we need new tools, or formats for meetings, that could be easily replicated and adopted by activists who want to nurture self-development, both their own and that of their fellow activists. Knowing of no such tools that are being used at present, I’ll continue to look for them and encourage others to develop them, as I have with the Movement Strategy Center, the Center for Spirituality and Social Transformation, and others.

In the meantime, I prepare financially for my old age by continuing to drive taxi part-time, am deeply involved with organizing the Residents’ Council in the 170-unit senior-citizen apartment building where I live, and hope to start blogging regularly on essays in the New York Review of Books, while continuing to post chapters to My Search for Deep Community.

I often feel alone with my concerns. But I know there are many others who share a similar perspective. Figuring out how to find each other, connect, and grow our numbers is the dilemma. Hopefully, someday soon, it will happen.

Birthday Reflections 2014

Many thanks to the more than twenty individuals who participated in the July 26 Open House celebration of my 70th birthday and the release of My Search for Deep Community: An Autobiography, as well as the many more who were unable to attend and sent me good wishes.

DSC02109Early on, prior to opening the first box of books, Rev. Glenda Hope offered a prayer of thanksgiving, while I hoped there were no major glitches in the manufacture of the books. There were none.

During the course of the day, most of the well-wishers took a book, along with a note explaining the kind of feedback I’m seeking at this time, and we primarily socialized informally, while occasionally looking at photos from my seven-month sojourn through the Dominican Republic, Arizona, and Lake Tahoe. The spread from Whole Foods Catering was largely scarfed up, as were my homemade split pea soup and sweet potato casserole (with pineapple juice and vanilla).

On three occasions, however, we engaged more formally in three exercises designed to elicit a deeper exchange than what normally occurs at such gatherings. My suggestion that we ask one individual twenty questions in order to get to know that individual more fully was modified to five questions, and seemed to elicit some valuable interaction. A “soul session” that involved people “speaking from the heart” and passing a “talking stone” to recognize the next speaker also led to some interesting conversation. And when some of the participants elaborated on “if you knew me ______” by filling in the blank, some informative personal information was shared. (I had learned that exercise at a Generation Waking Up event, but Phyllis Sakahara told us about a 2010 MTV reality-television show called If You Really Knew Me  that helped nurture empathy in high schools with that approach.)

I felt those three experiments were successful and helped enrich the entire event.

The “if you knew me” exercise made me realize more clearly that a major reason I wrote my autobiography is that I wanted to make it available to anyone who wants to know me more fully.

Late the next night David Marshall, a Berrett-Koehler Publishers (BK) vice-president who participated in the party, offered the following feedback on the book:

I’ve read enough of your book today to know that I recommend that you publish it to a wider audience sometime in the next twelve months, but I believe it needs a fair amount of manuscript shaping. It’s a great read, but the BIG IDEA of the book gets lost in the current structure. …If the goal is for the reader to know everything about you, then all the information you have included in this first version is relevant, but if the goal is to inspire your readers to search and find deep community in their own lives, then I think some of your chapters are extraneous….

Meanwhile, I would like you to consider [self-] publishing the next edition of your book as an Open Book Editions title. This would officially bring you into the BK author community, you will be invited to join the BK Authors Cooperative, which is a wonderful writers community, and as an OBE author, you would be qualified to attend our annual BK Authors Retreat, which I know you would love….

With that approach, BK would help promote the self-published book and if it did well, consider publishing it as one of their forty or so annual titles.

After reflecting on David’s comments, my current inclination is to seek co-authors for another, more focused book. The working title is What We Want: A Commitment to Compassion. The idea is that the co-authors would collectively write the opening chapter, a declaration, and individually write chapters elaborating on why they affirm that declaration. The declaration might invite readers to endorse the declaration, commit to certain initial actions, and pledge to participate in one or more larger projects if and when enough participation is elicited to launch those projects. My current draft of the declaration begins, “Chances are, you want what most people want. We want to:…”

But first I’ll wait for more feedback on My Search for Deep Community.

Among the many wonderful gifts I received at the party was an essay, “In Memoriam: Bob Dylan’s Modern Times” by Stephen Hazan Arnoff in the Spring 2007 Zeek. (Unfortunately I don’t remember who gave it to me; was it you, Dan Brook?) To see a slightly different online version, click here.

That essay’s analysis of Dylan’s work is relevant to the recent charges that Dylan plagiarizes. The piece argues that, as with Dylan, “a creative act in the ancient and medieval world was not an act of invention ex nihilio, but an act of re-imagination.” Dylan’s own comment on the charge of plagiarism was, “Those motherfuckers can go to hell.”

On a different point, the essay begins with a telling comment on apocalyptic thinking:

When Mikhal Gilmore of Rolling Stone asked Bob Dylan about the significance of the release of his album Love and Theft on September 11, 2001, Dylan offered a metaphor capturing the essence of his artistic vision: “I mean, you’re talking to a person that feels like he’s walking around in the ruins of Pompeii all the time. It’s always been that way for one reason or another.”

That quote reflects a stanza from the album:

They say times are hard, if you don’t believe it
You can just follow your nose
It don’t bother me – times are hard everywhere
We’ll just have to see how it goes

It’s no easy task to maintain a Zen-like detachment and avoid being seduced by the latest cable-news feeding frenzy focused on the latest manufactured crisis. For me, it helps to remember the more than 100,000 people who die prematurely every day due to economic oppression. Staying focused on the big picture and not being distracted by particular crises is difficult. But in the long run, facing reality is important.

In the meantime, I can only do what I can do (while taking care of myself).

Transparency and Sensitivity: A Question

Self GiantsDear Subscribers:

On the one hand, I value honesty. On the other hand, however, if one is not careful with how one communicates, honesty can lead to others feeling hurt. I’m sure that on many occasions I’ve contributed to unnecessary suffering by being careless with how I express myself. With my autobiography, I hope to minimize such suffering by taking care when I report on my experiences with people who are still alive.
Following is a new section of the latest draft of the Preface that presents my plan in this regard. I would appreciate your feedback.



As I anticipated, by fully sharing who I am openly and honestly, writing this autobiography has been liberating. The more transparent I am in disclosing myself, the easier I overcome fears associated with being honest. The more I bring secrets out of the closet, the less ashamed I am and the more I accept myself.

This transparent self-examination is also a political statement. Our society teaches us to fear being honest, both with others and with ourselves. From an early age, we learn to stop being spontaneous. Rather, we become secretive in order to gain rewards or avoid punishment. At times, withholding our feelings is necessary, but with most people in the modern world, it seems to me, it becomes a counter-productive habit and we even deceive ourselves. Rather than being authentic, many of us worry too much about what others think of us and modify our behavior to shape their reactions. We manipulate others, who manipulate us. We internalize the judgments of others and beat ourselves up with guilt, shame, and harsh judgments. Due to these dynamics, we fail to develop the self-confidence to be real, which undermines our ability to challenge illegitimate authority.

What we gain by being inauthentic is usually not worth the price we pay. There are exceptions, of course, like when we really need a job and our boss won’t accept honesty. But in general, the more integrity we maintain, the better. As a society the same applies. Suppressing authenticity undermines creativity and productivity.

Younger people may be developing a new culture. The openness reflected in the use of social media like Facebook is an encouraging sign. The value of honesty and “deep friendship” has been affirmed in a number of movies and TV shows recently, which is also heartening. One way or another, it seems to me, we need to learn how to nurture compassionate honesty.

This book aims to set an example that encourages others to honestly examine themselves, including their mistakes, and share their conclusions with others, even if only with a few trusted allies. The willingness and the ability to acknowledge mistakes is essential for growth.

Let us learn how to more frequently be real, stop playing games, remove the masks, shine lights into the dark corners, dig deeper for the truth, and follow our thoughts to their logical conclusion. Let us face reality and accept what we cannot change so we can more effectively change what we can change.


Given these convictions, with this autobiography I tried to be open and transparent in reporting on what has been most important to me in my life, without divulging private information about others that was given to me in confidence. In addition, I’ve refrained from identifying individuals by name when I assumed that they would prefer not to be so identified. And I’ve tried to exclude incidental material that, due to held resentments, I was tempted to include in an effort to settle scores.

Discussing instances of conflict or disappointment concerning people who are still alive is a delicate matter. Even if one aims to be fair and accurate, the individuals involved can object to how the writer characterizes the situation or they can resent the matter being made public. I believe in transparency, but on the other hand, I wanted to be sensitive to the feelings of others and at least give them a chance to review and comment on material about them before it goes public, even if I didn’t identify them by name because in some cases some readers can deduce who I’m talking about even when I don’t name them.

So before making this edition available to the general public, I decided to offer a free copy (until the end of August 2014) to those individuals who are discussed in the book and ask their feedback, including whether or not they approve me distributing it more widely in its current form. I will then reflect on that feedback before deciding how to proceed.

Reflections from Phoenix

DSC01862March 22, 2014

I woke up this morning with a fragment of the dream in which I was immersed as I woke up. I had been trying to get rid of a large, apparently dead, putrid bird in my attic. I finally got some help. I was embarrassed about the situation. I thought to myself that I would justify my neglect by telling them, “I didn’t know it was there,” which was only partly true. I had known it was there but had either neglected it or suppressed the awareness. As it turned out, after they rescued the bird, it was alive.

My take on the dream is that the bird represents my sense of myself as a “community organizer,” my lifelong identity. But lately, my initiatives have not gotten off the ground. The last one that had any success was the Occupy Be the Change Caucus, and that project was only partially successful, at best.

Part of the problem is my age. Soon I will be 70. People respond most strongly to their peers and most of my peers are either dead (Steve Sears, Gil Lopez, Richard Koogle), tired, or set in their ways.

So I resolve to stop beating that dead horse (or dead bird) and stop trying to initiate projects. Rather, I’ll concentrate on writing my autobiography and occasional proposals for action that I will share, while remaining available to participate if and when a strong organizing committee initiates a project that inspires me. If the bird flies, I’ll join the flight.


Being alone back in the States where I speak the language is more difficult than being alone in a country where I don’t speak the language (especially when that country is in the Caribbean and I can hang out on the beach anytime I want). Here my inability to have soulful connections with the people I encounter is more difficult because the potential is more present. It’s like a mirage that vanishes upon approach. When people ask me, “How are you doing?” I may start answering, “Alienated as usual, but I’m getting used to it.”

Except for my frequent conversations with my sister, Mary, and my old friend, Leonard, my online and telephonic communications are few and far between. I reply to emails in kind, and if someone calls me, I’ll call them later. But not much is happening in that regard, which I find curious, for I feel I can be a good friend.

Normally it doesn’t bother me. For one thing, it leaves me with more free time to pursue my other interests. But when the possibility for a deep conversation with someone appears in front of me, I often get butterflies in my stomach. Like when an artist from South Africa who loved the movie “Looking for Sugar Man” appeared for a three-day stay in this two-bedroom apartment where I’m staying. When she was twelve, she adored Rodriguez and knew all the lyrics to his songs. Surely here was a chance for an authentic dialog! But it never happened.

Then, ironically, Friday night, I ended up next to two women from Oakland, a mother and her daughter, and after the game I gave them a tour of Old Town and we experienced a remarkable, inspiring encounter. I cherish my memory of our encounter, which reassured me the path I’m on is valid. After we parted, I came home, went to bed, and slept better than I have in ages.

This afternoon, I’m going to Thai Royal Massage for another unique foot massage, which they provide while the client lies in a recliner, which has inspired me to offer foot massages to people who come to my next housewarming in my refurbished apartment after I return at the end of May!

In the meantime, my top priority will be my autobiography, whose working title now is “Saving the World: My Story.” Being de facto homeless, I plan to wander through Nevada, soak in hot springs, watch the Giants on TV, and play blackjack 2 hours a day to pay for my lodging.


March 25, 2014

I just posted three pieces that feel good to me:

Proposed: A Full Employment Jam, or Working Conference (3/25/14 Draft)
The following proposal for collaboration is presented for consideration by interested parties. At the moment, no one is working to organize this project. It is my hope that individuals and organizations will eventually emerge to convene a process of the sort envisioned here.

Read more.


Proposed: A Holistic Community Network (3/24/14 Draft)

Following is the first draft of a pledge that participants in “holistic growth support groups” might embrace and use to guide their work together. My thought is that if a sizable number of such groups were to form and affiliate with one another in an informal network, it could be the foundation for a deep sense of community.

Read more.


Proposed: A Full Employment Network (3/25/14 Draft)

Economic insecurity leads people to constantly calculate how to survive at the expense of others. It corrupts our culture, fosters social discord, undermines personal authenticity, and leaves individuals in great need of caring communities that truly nurture self-empowerment.

By gathering regularly in small groups with trusted friends, we could support one another in our efforts to become better human beings and more effective activists. In this way, a network of full employment support groups could fulfill unmet personal needs, grow community, and help build a grassroots full employment movement.

Read more.