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Showing posts from 2017

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


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…

A Teachable Moment From the Fire Chief

"If you are sitting at the coop gas pump, while tanker is filling the fuel system, don't light a cigarette. If you do and someone gestures not to do that, don't give them the finger and launch into a swearing and threatening tirade against them, especially with your kid in the car. Not only does this make you an extreme moron, but a moron who likely throws his butts out the car window and is also enabling the next generation of morons." Rick D. Jackson

Our whole island is at risk when even one person cannot see the danger in their actions in the middle of a dry hot spell with forests all around us. Our species is in danger when social institutions are unable to convince individuals we are all in this together.


The Wakans cordially invite you to
Elias Wakan: Sculpture (some of the smaller pieces will be up for silent auction)

Naomi Beth Wakan: Books (including her recent title, “Back and Forth”) and her now famous poetry bags.
Time: Sunday, August 27th, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm Place: 3085 Mander Road (first road to the right off Stalker) Refreshments Everyone Welcome (family, friends and house guests are welcome too ) 10% of the sales will go to The Commons This is a free event Info:

Off-islanders, there is good swimming close by.

Naomi Beth Wakan 3085 Mander Rd Gabriola, BC,  V0R 1X7

Defending Democracy: by Russell McNeil

Why I am fighting for the survival of democracy, and why you must too: The Greek idea of democracy and the Roman idea of civitas are not just clever governing principles. They are concepts deeply embedded in - and part of - the natural law of the universe. Defending democracy isn't an option. You and I are required to defend democracy with every fiber of our intellect - even to the death. We have no option here. Read on:

The only stoic commandment (more a direction than a “commandment”) is to “live according to nature.” This means we are directed by nature to exercise virtue-based critical thinking in all that we do. Nature, meaning nature’s law, is the model we follow, because nature’s law is perfect; it is beautiful as all perfect things must be; and, we are drawn to beauty, through an attraction called love; and love brings us to the place where beauty and truth converge. We are drawn to the Law by our love of its beauty. When we get close we behold its truth. As a physicist/sc…

Democracy in Chains

In a recent post (Missing Links) by George Monbiot we learn of how American democracy has been crippled by corporate funded economic theories. 

Papers found by Nancy MacLean at Virginia University after the death of James McGill Buchanan are the subject of her latest book Democracy in Chains: the deep history of the radical right’s stealth plan for America.

Buchanan's theories influenced by the neoliberalism of Friedrich Hayek and Ludwig von Mises,  argued that freedom is the absolute right to use your property however you wish without interference from society, human rights, social justice, and labour laws which are seen as exploiting "men of property on behalf of the undeserving masses." 

Monbiot's post is worth reading for how it reveals the progression from Western democracy and the threat of totalitarian capitalism.

Restless is the Heart of an Exile

From Ascent Aspirations Friday's Poem 

This little town holds
a contained and fragile charm
where my elsewhere-birthed spirit
learns to survive.
My sustaining friends candle it into home
though shadows shimmer in curtained corners.
The land of ancestors buried in hard-won sacred soil
calls out to my waiting bones...
I am forbidden to answer,
grieve for my moment to come
when alien soil covers restless remains
and spirit hovers between
the world that barely embraces me
and the pulsing claim of blood and ligament,
heart, spirit and tribal ties
that scream for my absorption
back into fiery particles that stoked my entity.
Wine cannot placate, bread of other fields seldom satisfies,
a communion I must re-learn.

Katherine L. Gordon
for Trump exiles from America.

Confronting Evil

by Russell McNeil

"Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me." ~ Martin Niemöller

While I appreciate that a few of my friends are supportive of the US President, I have reached the end of my own psychological rope on this. My own personal daily reaction to the outrages of this imbalanced man is visceral. I have tried to understand your points-of-view. But I can no longer tolerate your positions. For me this man is my daily nightmare. I wake every morning and go to the news feeds to see what new desecrations Donald Trump has committed. I am never disappointed.

I do not believe that people are inherently evil. I do believe that the actions that Donald Trump have taken are having evil consequences. I was raised in a religious environment. I was taught the differences between right and wrong. I was taught that bullying defenseless people is wrong. I was taught that words have consequences. I was taught that preying on the weak, the young, the voiceless and…

Torturing Youth is Okay with us?

“More than two-thirds of Canadians feel Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the wrong choice in awarding a $10.5 million settlement to Omar Khadr, according to a new poll by the Angus Reid Institute.” CBC News
But we don’t see the survey questions in this article. How was the poll actually worded? Reading one article might make us believe we are well informed, but how does a single poll actually tell us how people feel?  
“And while the survey shows that a majority of Liberals and New Democrats are opposed to the government's decision, how the numbers compare to previous polling suggests that views on Khadr have hardened over the last decade — and that he remains a divisive figure.”
How can a single poll tell whether Khadr is a divisive figure or not? What information do respondents have to make such a claim? 
The article then switches to a former US special force soldier who was blinded in one eye during the 2002 firefight in Afghanistan involving Khadr.  Of course he would be critica…

Social Currencies

The business of keeping people alive, supporting one another, emergency and  crisis response, food banks, community libraries, child-raising, education, language development, storytelling in all its forms, transport, food production, water, electricity, communication, safe shelter - these are just a few of the capacities that have enabled our species to survive and thrive.  We take these things for granted in first world countries, until they are no longer there.

The people of Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and some Eastern European nations have lost their support systems. Refugees don't give their money away to pirates for a shaky sail in dinghies by choice. When societies are destroyed people become homeless.

No matter how established, cultured, intelligent or wealthy we are today, we are all refugees when the meaning of our life is translated into a single obsession - money.  Salaries, real estate, stocks, markets, jobs, economics, screeching media and weapons of mass destruction.


Units of Power and Other Social Currencies

"Power does not necessarily imply the wish to destroy... (t)he question is why some people use power to destroy." Richard Koenigsberg

The question for me - is why I see everything in the political/economic world as a contest for more and more power?  Who can argue that our obsession with money is not about power?  If you have money you can hire people to do your work for you. You have banks eager to gain more business from you. You can pressure politicians with your lobbies. You can change the mandates of higher learning. You can bring other wealthy people together for global conferences. You can influence the UN and the EU, and since November 2016, you can even destroy America.

So I wish to defend my obsession with how power is destroying our civil societies. I come from a place where family ruled my world. They interpreted reality for me. They measured my worth with their judgemental comments. They told me what my intentions were, what I was thinking, and what I hoped to …

The Best Way to Celebrate Canada Day - Broadbent Institute

by Ed Broadbent from the Broadbent Institute

As Canada Day gifts go, Parliament’s adoption earlier this month of a bill prohibiting discrimination against transgender Canadians and affording them protection against hate crimes stands out. The steady expansion of rights for Canada’s LGBTQ community, which has accelerated since we became the first country outside of Europe to grant equal legal treatment of same sex marriage in 2005, is cause for celebration — for their own sake, but also for what they illustrate. Such changes don’t simply happen of their own accord. They are the outcome of substantial community mobilization and the commitment of talented activists who won’t take “No” for an answer. So much of what makes us proud about Canada is the product of such dedication; and the product, whether explicit or not, of a social democratic engagement to put equality and the good of all first. A quick look at our history makes the point. The decades-long struggle by women finally resulted …

Thoughts on Etiquette - gleaned from Facebook

When Should You Inquire Whether Your Friend is Pregnant?:

The only time we need to ask personal questions, such as: when is the baby due? is this a boy or a girl? are you married? when do you plan to start a family? how much do you earn in a year? ... is when your profession depends upon the answer. If you're a nurse, a doctor, a minister, or a lawyer you might be required to ask those questions - otherwise it's none of your business. This is good to remember then you can avoid embarrassment. And if you are not embarrassed by anything, ask away, so that people know what you are - an innocent who just wants to be friendly but who will likely become lonely. But not to worry - it's not your fault. The blame lies entirely on a culture so obsessed with jobs and the economy, it threw out all conversations about sustainable civil societies.

The Sacred Feminine

The emphasis on the feminine as I experienced it growing up, was in appearance.  Looking gentle not hard. Being dressed well. Ornamenting my appearance with make-up and jewellery. Being soft and yielding.  I internalized these values, admired the beauty of women and strove to be that myself.

My sense of the sacred feminine was uncomfortable with this self-absorption and vanity. My obsession with appearance meant I was creating tension for my growing children. 

Because of the sacrifices my mother and father made,  I grew up believing I had a responsibility to be successful, whatever that meant.

I looked for examples of women who I thought were successful, and questioned what made them successes? Were they honest about their own feelings? Did they listen to others?  Did they emphasize the  value of the group above their own ego?

How is the sacred feminine different from the sacred masculine?  Women and men have different expectations imposed on them, and therefore different challenges. But …