Sunday Open Thread: November 11, 2007

distracted by love
Brooklyn graffiti, source unknown, via Crossroads Dispatches

What I’m Thinking of Writing (and Podcasting) About Soon:

What I Know About Love: Most of which I’ve learned in the last month.

Coping With the Strategy Paradox: I met recently with Michael Raynor, who wrote The Strategy Paradox. He’s now looking at what else we can do to deal with this paradox, and he poked some holes in my argument that what we need is resilience, not planning.

The Evolving Role of the Information Professional: Since I listed the five major ‘products’ of my new employer, some people have suggested that this list might define the new role of the information professional in all sorts of organizations.

Why We Need a Public Persona:The journey to know yourself is the first step towards understanding how the world works and becoming truly yourself, which is necessary before you can make the world a little better. As de Mello said, this journey is mostly about getting rid of the everybody-else stuff that has become attached to us as part of our social conditioning, and getting rid of this stuff is perhaps what ee cummings meant when he said the hardest thing is to be nobody-but-yourself when the world is relentlessly trying to make you everybody-else. From birth, we pick up all this everybody-else stuff that clings to us and changes us, muddies us. We are rewarded by society for doing so. I find the ‘figments of reality’ thesis helpful in this hard work — realizing that our minds are nothing more than problem-detection systems evolved by the organs of our bodies for their purposes, not ‘ours’. That ‘we’ are, each ‘one’ of us, a collective, a complicity. What makes it so hard is that becoming nobody-but-yourself opens you up to accusations of being anti-social, weird, self-preoccupied, arrogant etc. So we end up, I think, having to adopt a public persona that is, to some extent, not genuine, not ‘us’ at all. That’s hard. How can we make this public persona as thin and transparent as possible? This is a follow-up to my recent article on how how we look affects who we perceive ourselves to be.

Gangs and the Malleability of Human Ethics: Observers of the now decade-long intractable genocides and civil wars in Darfur, Somalia, Chad, Zaire and other African nations describe the same gang phenomena repeated endlessly: Men horrifically tortured and slaughtered, women systematically and repeatedly raped, children kidnapped and forced into slavery and military duty, animals and other resources stolen, and villages burned to the ground. What is it about human nature that so many can perpetrate such atrocities for so long without remorse?

Vignette #7

Blog-Hosted Conversation #4: Inevitably, my fourth podcast will be about love and/or Intentional Community. Not sure who it will be with, yet.

Possible Open Thread Question:

What do you know about love?

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3 Responses to Sunday Open Thread: November 11, 2007

  1. Jon Husband says:

    What I know about love is that my feelings of it are not limited to one person, or my immediate family, but are available to me with respect to anyone who engages with me and does not give me any reasons not to love them (and even that I can get beyond if I work at getting more conscious about practicing compassion when obstacles appear).

  2. Theresa says:

    If you are looking for some extra reading on gang psychology I would suggest Laurens VanDerPost’s “NIght of the New Moon” or “The Seed & the Sower”. Also, you can find online an original thinker on the subject from the 19th century: as well there is the German author Elias Canetti, his most famous book “Crowds & Power” has an excellent chapter on the behavior of humans in “packs” (as opposed to their behavior in crowds which he sees as a thing with a life of its own that wants to keep growing and growing). Canetti’s book is harder to find but VanDerPost book is much shorter and probably easier to find. About the question: What I know about love is that it comes from God, or if you like, from “a renewable resource.” You can give it away and feel depleted if its not returned, but you can get more of it if you know where to look. God, the original recycling expert.

  3. Theresa says:

    Sorry about that long link. The link goes to the book “Extraordinarily Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds”

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