Sunday Open Thread – June 17, 2006

Victoria Sims self-portrait
I’m intrigued at the idea of self-portraits as a means of learning to love and understand yourself better, and perhaps as a means to Let-Self-Change. UK photographer Victoria Sims, whose self-portrait is above, is a master at this.

What I’m thinking about, and planning on writing (and podcasting) about soon:

Grasping at Straws: Figuring out how to make the world a better place. I’ve given up on the ‘free market’, political system reform, social consciousness movements, and technological innovations — these are all part of the problem, and we’re deluding ourselves to think they will be part of the solution. The solution must be bottom-up, community-based, resilient, experimental, collectively self-managed, and infused with love for each other, and oriented to creating ‘working models’. Beyond that, I don’t know, we’re just going to have to make it up as we go along. But we have to get going.

What Happened to the Spirit of the Sixties?: A new generation is now dissecting the phenomenon of the late 1960s and early 1970s, and has concluded that it wasn’t as big a deal as it seemed at the time. I’m not sure sure, and I was there. To understand what that era was about, I think we need to understand what happened to the momentum that it created.

Coming up soon, vignettes #4 and #5.

Blog-Hosted Conversations: Plan is for 30-minute conversations, once a week, on the subject of identifying and acquiring the essential skills and relationships we need to be models of a better way to live, and what those models might look like. Still working on practice podcasts, readings of my own works just to try out the new medium.

I’m psyched, I’m upbeat, I’m happier than I’ve been in decades. But I’m so damned impatient. I need to learn to learn from everyone I meet, every observation, every experience. I need to learn patience, generosity, grace.

What’s the one quality or skill or attribute that you think you most need to acquire in your Let-Self-Change journey?

This entry was posted in Our Culture / Ourselves. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Sunday Open Thread – June 17, 2006

  1. lavonne says:

    “What happened to the Spirit of the Sixties?” I was there too, and I think the steam was knocked out of us by Bobby Kennedy’s assassination. It was just one too many. Haven’t seen the movie “Bobby” yet, but I was at Eugene McCarthy’s campaign headquarters in LA when it happened. We loved Bobby too, even though we wanted our candidate to beat him. After the police riot outside the Democratic National Convention in Chicago a month or two later, the young idealists pretty much folded up our tents and went home. Idealism was dead.I’m glad to see it’s now being resurrected by the looming climate change/peak oil crises. When I first came across your blog a couple of years ago, your essays on civilization’s end left me feeling hopeless at first; not any more. There is a real spirit of hope growing. led me to other efforts, and I joined the 90% Reduction Challenge [ ], where the positivity is positively contagious. I recommend it!

  2. Bharat says:

    “What’s the one quality or skill or attribute that you think you most need to acquire in your Let-Self-Change journey?”Develop a quiet mind. Our mind is constantly in a chatter of thoughts, continiously looking at a present situation through a screen of past knowledge. The past knowledge is ALL your experiences, memories, ideas, beliefs, basically everything **you**. So, our brain, the instrument if you will, is looking at present through a box of all the past conditioning and memory. Is it possible to look at the present without this box interfering in the middle ? A sort of complete deconditioning ? What would it reveal to us ?Iam in the middle of reading perhaps one of the most impactful books of my life — “A wholly different way of living. Dialogs of J.Krishnamurti with Prof Allan Anderson”. I highly recommend it. If anyone is curious to checkout what it’s about, there’s free online copy at ).

  3. Dawn says:

    I am working on feeling gratitude.

  4. Vish Goda says:

    “The solution must be bottom-up, community-based, resilient, experimental, collectively self-managed, and infused with love for each other, and oriented to creating ‘working models'”Dave – you got it right. And here is the good news – the technology is there, the need is urgent, and the people are ready – what with YouTube, MySpace and Facebook? This is the best time, if any, to begin a grass roots movement.

  5. Stephen says:

    “What’s the one quality or skill or attribute that you think you most need to acquire in your Let-Self-Change journey?”For me it’s patience. It’s like when I’m waiting for the bus. As I don’t wear a watch, I don’t know how long until the bus will show up, or how much time will pass until then, but I know that it will show up eventually, just like I know I’ll come around to working through whatever that’s holding up my evolution.

  6. David Parkinson says:

    “What’s the one quality or skill or attribute that you think you most need to acquire in your Let-Self-Change journey?”Mine also is something like “quiet mind”. I have become more and more convinced that the constant rush of sensory stimulation is no accidental companion to the chaos and confusion in our society, but one of its main products and catalysts. I’m trying hard to give myself time to settle my mind and just be. I’ve become a pain in the ass around the house, since deciding a couple months ago that I was no longer interested in TV/video/DVD/YouTube audio/visual “entertainment”, after finally getting tired of the endless nonsense and nerve-jangling crap that I was subjecting myself to. Something in me finally revolted against the tedium of sitting in front of a screen and turning my mind off for a couple hours at a time. Now I read more or listen to music; meaning really listen, as opposed to have music on as the background to other things. What I really need is to set time aside to sit & meditate; but I seem to resist taking that step…

  7. Siona says:

    “What’s the one quality or skill or attribute that you think you most need to acquire in your Let-Self-Change journey?”The willingness to abandon the belief that I can or should be anything, or in any way, different, from what I am.

  8. Richard says:

    Dave, reading your Saturday musings about what you were thinking about writing soon I was struck by a link between, “Figuring out how to make the world a better place” and “What Happened to the Spirit of the Sixties?”One of the definable characteristics of the Sixties was a willingness for people to make it up as they went along in a very open minded and exploratory way. Of course, somethings that came out of this were just plain silly, somethings, however sensible they seemed, just didn’t work,but many more, particularly about the way we relate to one another as human beings, were absorbed into everyday life and their origins forgotten.As Germain Greer wrote in Oz in July 1969: “The political character of the underground is still amorphous, because it is principally a clamour for freedom to move, to test alternative forms of existence to find if they were practicable, and if they were more gratifying, more creative, more positive, than mere endurance under the system”.In other words, we were making it up as we went along.Which as Jane Jacobs has pointed out is the healthy human way of proceeding:”In its very nature, successful economic development has to be open-ended rather than goal orientated, and has to make itself up expediently and empirically as it goes along. For one thing, unforeseeable problems arise. The people who developed agriculture couldn’t foresee soil depletion. The people who developed the automobile couldn’t foresee acid rain. Earlier I defined economic development as a process of continually improvising in a context that makes injecting improvisations into everyday life feasible. We might amplify this by calling development an improvisational drift into unprecedented kinds of work that that carry unprecedented problems, then drifting into improvised solutions, which carry further unprecedented work carrying unprecedented problems …” (Jane Jacobs, “Cities and the Wealth of Nations”, Pelican Books, 1986, pp221-222)So I would suggest a strategy of muddling our way through to making the world a better place is a more plausible strategy than one driven by grand visions and trying to bully the world into conforming to them.

  9. Dave Pollard says:

    Thanks, everyone. This is wonderful stuff, inspiring, thoughtful, valuable. It’s interesting how a kind of ‘community’ has emerged around personal self-change, doing things locally, and experimentation. It’s as if we’re learning that the way to do extraordinary things is through humility.

Comments are closed.