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David Brooks on How to Roll Back Fanaticism

"In fact, the most powerful answer to fanaticism is modesty. Modesty is an epistemology directly opposed to the conspiracy mongering mind-set. It means having the courage to understand that the world is too complicated to fit into one political belief system. It means understanding there are no easy answers or malevolent conspiracies that can explain the big political questions or the existential problems. Progress is not made by crushing some swarm of malevolent foes; it’s made by finding balance between competing truths — between freedom and security, diversity and solidarity. There’s always going to be counter-evidence and mystery. There is no final arrangement that will end conflict, just endless searching and adjustment."  David Brooks, New York Times
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Whitman, Emerson and Thoreau died in America.
Four boys escaped Lejac and froze to death on the lake near home.
The army in Uzbekistan executed children as an example.
We are not really toilet trained. We are trained to believe we are.
I have learned how to scream
with my mouth closed.

from Infinite Power, Ekstasis 2016

The Ubiquitous Nature of Power

(Re-blogged from March 5, 2014, August 11, 2016, and February 27, 2017)

Why would previously elected governments cut services that would ultimately harm the economy when they build their campaigns on the economy?

Why are essential services that intervene in crises before they reach their ultimate social cost being underfunded or shut down?

Why does the corporate media in its news and entertainment programs promote an image of our world as greed-driven, macho, and violent while all the serious discussions around how to effectively deal with the problems are slotted in the back pages or late night shows?

Why has so much hatred been directed towards those who love or pray differently and why has so much contempt for the poor and marginalized been inflamed and so little done to alleviate the misery?

Why have our governments failed to care for the environment upon which our future health and wealth depend?

At first these may seem like separate issues but to me, they are all connected in o…

Hate Never Makes Us Great

When men and women support movements of hate, such as white supremacists, anti-immigrant groups, the Nazi's of the 1930's, the Spanish Inquisition of the 15th Century, and witch-hunts all over the world - is that because we are desperately trying to shake off the feeling that we are redundant?

Is the absolute focus on the economy a sign that humanity has been replaced by a mathematical construct?

Is the invention of endless enemies really about culling a species that has over-populated the earth and the reason we can't deal with our own part in climate change because we cannot face the notion we are culpable for the problems we created?
What I'm talking about here is that mass of  a privileged humanity who have not had to prove themselves in any public way but who understand that "we" are included in the narrative.   The ones who spend a lot of time thinking about right and wrong but whose survival is not dependant on making the moral choice. The ones who ar…

How to Fight Terrorism

Again my heart goes out to the people who have lost loved ones in the violence done by white supremacists, religious extremists and all those who are convinced they have identified the true enemy. My heart goes out to first responders who will be traumatized by the images of destruction. It is outrageous that so few  can  destroy so many. The appetite for revenge is primal but revenge will not solve this problem.

So how can we fight that instinct to keep blowing up the blown apart?  Invest in peaceful, healing initiatives that make violence redundant.

1. Invest in mental health services to give those at risk the help they need before their illness isolates them from society.

2. Re-establish the primary needs of people - shelter, nutritious food, education, living wages and time for family.

3. Support families by providing health services, family planning, women's reproductive education.

4. Sex education that covers the real experiences of young men and women on top of the scienti…

The End of Patriarchy is the End of Life

Richard Koenigsberg posted on Facebook yesterday, that he warned us a year ago with the image of Trump "Smiling about the idea of killing hundreds-of-thousands of people. And the COWARDLY PSYCHIATRISTS refuse to say he is mentally ill. This is ALL HE WANTED TO DO FROM THE BEGINNING: destroy. This is all he is CAPABLE OF... in order to "go down in history" you have to KILL A LOT OF PEOPLE (Hitler, Mao, Stalin)."

In order for patriarchy to succeed, it had to kill more efficiently than the nine months gestation it took for a woman to give birth.  So the craft of war was born and became more than simply defending territory. It became the ritualized erasure of our human nature for the sake of centralized power. Civilizations built on myths of great conquerors. Histories about the exploits of the greatest killers. Inventions of race, religious ideology and ritual that transformed the teachings of thoughtful prophets into crusades. Endless games of winning and losing.

Men w…

Recalibrating the System

System is the word I use to describe that collection of values and habits that form our society. We could call it - the world, truth, reality, democracy or capitalism - but whatever we call it we must engage with it. 
It isn’t always fair. The system seems to be indifferent towards our needs and wishes but we are not free of it until we die. Anger, love, hate, indifference, are some of the emotions we feel but we learn to adjust our responses for the least pain possible. 

Sometimes we will not submit and we find ways to change the system by talking, listening and planning to recalibrate. This is the politics that rarely gets covered publicly, although there are voices quick to claim failure or success at the end of all our work.
This post reflects on some of the initial stages of making changes. 
Examine Anger
Anger is a natural response to feeling threatened. Injustice, racism, phobia tow…