As the first of potentially multiple follow-ups to a previous post about the book On Tyranny by Yale University history professor Timothy Snyder, here is a link to an excerpted interview with Mr. Snyder you might find illuminating.
While a follow-up piece around Tim Snyder’s book On Tyranny was planned for this week, given the tragedy unfolding in the Houston area (and the general tragedy occurring in the U.S. in general), perhaps we should pause and give thanks for some instances of Good and the people who initiated them.
Acts of Gratitude
Get out your stamps, postcards, and sparkle markers for some gratitude mail. (more…)
I am only one, but still I am one.
I cannot do everything, but still I can do something;
I will not refuse to do the something I can do.
~ Helen Keller
Help! We Need Help!
Who is “We”? We is you, me, all of us. In particular, part of our community living in the Houston, Texas area is in need of assistance, now and in the near future. As of Tuesday, August 29, the hurricane might make land fall again on Wednesday in Louisiana. With heavy rain and possible tornadoes expected, more folks might be in need. Reach out and help create the community many of us want to believe in. Here are some opportunities. (more…)
The tragic events last week in Charlottesville, Virginia stand as a reminder that the actions of some of us express staunch opposition to what we might call Good. Steve Tanner, writing under the umbrella of 500 Pens: an anti-hate news project, offers an annotated list of thoughtful actions we might take when confronting hate in EveryDayLife. In Mr. Tanner’s own words:
By arming ourselves with a solid understanding of best practices, we can all be ready to respond properly — and safely — when acts of hate unfold before our eyes. Every situation is unique, but the following list is meant to serve as a guide for how to best respond to acts of hatred and bigotry. ~Steve Tanner
His brief list of suggestions includes the following.
- Draw Attention Away From Hateful Protests and Demonstrations
- Do Not Engage with the Attackers
- Focus on Protecting the Attacked Person
- Alert the Police and Other Authorities When Appropriate
- Prepare in Advance
Food for thought: Consider the principle of the “golden rule” which appears in some form in almost all major religions and which forms the basis of Good to which this blog often refers. Does a “hate stance” espoused by a group seeking to exclude others fall within the definition of a golden rule-type Good? (Do not answer too quickly. This so-called golden rule is not the same as “live and let live”.)
For example, a white supremacist might be perfectly willing to live in peace as long as non-white folks (and in some cases Jews) live elsewhere. While some hate groups essentially preach genocide, others simply do not want to have to deal with others they do not considers to be “us”. Is this a non-Good stance? What are the criteria for Good? How can we effectively express Good—treating others as we wish to be treated—in a pluralistic society? Perhaps the deeper question is this: What are the requirements for a pluralistic society sustaining itself within the idea of Good? What does freedom look like in such a context?
We know from neuroscience that most thought is unconscious, carried out by neural circuitry. In Metaphors We Live By, Mark Johnson and I showed that much of that unconscious thought is metaphorical, and further, that we often live our lives according to those metaphors.
So says George Lakoff, neuroscientist and linguist. Mr. Lakoff recently posted an article in which he presents his take on the nature and implications of a primary metaphor driving the person currently occupying the oval office. Mr. Lakoff’s central premise is that POTUS 2017 operates according to the assumption “the president is the nation”. The “meaning” of the phrase itself, out of context, presents very little significance. However, the true meaning of such a metaphor only appears in the expressed attitudes and behaviors that ensue from it. Assuming the Lakoff depiction is accurate, an important question arises: how might a person who suddenly finds himself in the most power office in the world behave as a result of the validation offered by the new found title “President of the United States”? (more…)
Remember the seekingGood teaser about the crowdfunding endeavor for WikiTribune, a new evidence-based journalistic initiative launched by Jimmy Wales (one of the founders of wikipedia)? The group behind WikiTribune reached their funding goal and has entered the next phase of the project. Take a peek here if you would like a more general update on what is going on with WikiTribune.
Make no mistake about it – enlightenment is a destructive process. It has nothing to do with becoming better or being happier. Enlightenment is the crumbling away of untruth. It’s seeing through the facade of pretense. It’s the complete eradication of everything we imagined to be true. ~ Adyashanti
Naomi Klein: “The worst is yet to come!”
What happens when disaster strikes? What do we do when all normalcy ceases? To whom do we turn when events like the recent Manchester bombing, the Paris attack or events like those on the morning of September 11th, 2001 in New York occur? In her new book, No is Not Enough, activist and author Naomi Klein encourages us to be prepared for such disasters—which she calls “shock” events—not so much for the event itself but for likely actions by the U.S. government in the wake of these occurrences.
In the video below, Amy Goodman of DemocracyNow! interviews Naomi Klein about her book and the general proposal that in the wake of a cataclysmic event, the U.S. government is likely to invoke a series of actions designed to tighten control of the general public. Under the guise of national security relative to a shock event, the government is likely to suspend civil liberties, human rights and the right to privacy. (Part 2 of the interview begins at approximately the 2:20 minute mark and lasts about 15 minutes). In addition to the usual question and answer format, the interview presents a video within the video. In the internal video, produced by the Intercept, Naomi describes a five step preparedness toolkit. She urges us to anticipate inevitable crises, at which times we need to be prepared to mobilize rather than comply with the government’s attempts to contain us—to keep us in our homes, for instance, “for our own safety”. We need to be mindful of the history of the previous U.S. government’s uncharacteristically freedom-destroying responses such as internment of Japanese-Americans during WWI, deportation of Mexicans and Mexican-Americans in the early 1930’s and abandonment of freed slaves in the wake of the Civil War. (more…)