Cartoonist Tom Toles shows us this year’s scariest Hallowe’en costume. Thanks to my daughter Tiffany for the link.
The Power of Place: My friend Amy Lenzo is working on a four-woman project called The Power of Place with the Collective Wisdom Initiative to discover ‘transformational’ meeting places, where collaborative work just works better. Bowen Island, which is the first such place that comes to mind for me, is already on their map. Their plan is to identify the principles and practices that make such space work (a kind of pattern language exercise) and then see if they can be extended to create such places virtually. Brilliant project! If you have thoughts on this, post your comments to CWI. Specifically they want to know:
Being Poor: Three years ago John Scalzi wrote an extraordinary (and suddenly timely) article about the agony of poverty, and what it means, every day, to your sense of hope and self-esteem. Thanks to my Alaskan friend Chris Lott for the link.
The Most Radical Thing You Can Do: The most radical thing you can do, says Rebecca Solnit in Orion, quoting Gary Snyder, is stay home. Live there, create work there, connect there, build new bottom-up authentic community there. Stop driving and flying and running away and make things work right where you are. It’s your right, and your responsibility.
Silence Like Scouring Sand: Also from Orion, Kathleen Dean Moore writes a lovely article on the attempt to make some places free from all human noise. Just listen:
How shall I describe the beauty of this place? Itís an open glade, like the nave of a cathedral, carpeted in deep green moss and deer ferns. There are huckleberry bushes, their bare green branches standing in the rosy litter of their own fallen leaves. The bunchberry leaves have turned red, but the wood sorrel is intensely green. From the forest floor, the columns of the trees rise impossibly high, closing at last in a vaulted green ceiling. Everything glitters with scattering rain. Even the air twinkles, as if it were champagne.
And what do I hear? A tiny lispóa bushtit maybe. Tick, tap, pock of waterdrops, different sounds for every surface they strike. I hear a drop of water pop when it hits a maple leaf forty feet way. There is the faraway rustle of the river. Time passes, unmeasured. Then the quiet is filled with the clatter of a bald eagle, a sound like stones shaken in a tin pot. Sitting on his heels in the damp moss, Gordon grins, but doesnít speak.
Next to him, almost hidden under the log, is a small metal canister. This is the Jar of Quiet Thoughts. Gordon put it here, an invitation to people who visit One Square Inch to record their responses to the silence. I open the jar and pull out crumpled scraps of paper. Many wrote of love. One couple came here to be married, a person came to pray, another found deep connection here, in the call of a thrush. Others wrote of wonder, to hear the voices of the deep quiet. I realize that One Square Inch has become a sacred placeósilence has made it so. Quiet is a kind of reverence.
A small wind shakes a huckleberry bush. A crow calls from the crown of an alder. A hemlock needle falls on my shoulder, and I turn, astonished to have heard it land.
…But They Still Don’t Get It: Bush economist Greg Mankiw admits that the IMF and other deniers of the possibility of another Great Depression on the horizon are oblivious to the 1929 patterns forming, and the lessons of history. I’ve asserted, for the record, that I think such a depression is still a couple of decades off, though we’re going to have some grim times ahead before then. What astounds me are the dreamers who still expect the economy to bottom out, turn around, and resume perpetual growth imminently.
Shrinking Our Way to Survival: New research shows that, to achieve CO2 reductions needed to avert climate catastrophe, we need to shrink the global economy by between 1 and 3 1/2 percent every year through 2050. The recent contraction in affluent nations, if we embraced it instead of panicking over it, could move us along that path, provided (and this is a huge ‘provided’) the rich and powerful (who received almost all the incremental wealth in the last 40 years), do most of the shrinking over the next 40, and restore some level of equity to our society and economy.
Canada Dumps Toxic Asbestos in Struggling Nations: Canada remains the only affluent nation that still hasn’t banned the use and export of asbestos, which has horrific health consequences for both producers and users, and the right-wing Canadian minority government is working hand in glove with the asbestos industry this week to keep it that way. Shameful. Thanks to Graham Clark for the link.
The Law, American Style: So let me get this straight: The “tough on crime” Bush administration supports “three strikes” laws allowing repeat offenders to be imprisoned for life, and supports capital punishment for a host of crimes, but if they, in their absolute discretion, decide that something in the law (like a prohibition on torture or extraordinary rendition) is not to their liking they just need to write a “signing statement” exempting themselves from it. So the President, charged with upholding the law, is above the law, and the constitution doesn’t apply to him. “The Bush administration has informed Congress that it is bypassing a law intended to forbid political interference with reports to lawmakers by the Department of Homeland Security.” Can someone explain to me why for that reason alone this whole regime is not in jail?
Credit Default Swaps: 55 Trillion Dollar Time Bomb: Even the head of the SEC says the completely unregulated CDS market has played a big role in the collapse of financial markets, and could yet undo the trillion dollar patch we’ve placed on the wound, unless it’s properly regulated, and fast. And even Alan Greenspan is now basically admitting that “self-regulated” markets are unregulated, rogue markets, a colossal failure of policy and political will, and a catastrophic mistake.
Just for Fun: Two wonderful and inspiring and lovingly crafted songs on YouTube. From the UK’s Imogen Heap, the wonderful anti-procrastination song Headlock. And (thanks Patti for the link) from Tracy Chapman, the romantic and moving song The Promise.
What is Doubt? Each of us is like a planet. There’s the crust, which seems eternal. We are confident about who we are. If you ask, we can readily describe our current state. I know my answers to so many questions, as do you. What was your father like? Do you believe in God? Who’s your best friend? What do you want? Your answers are your current topography, seemingly permanent, but deceptively so. Because under that face of easy response, there is another You. And this wordless Being moves just as the instant moves; it presses upward without explanation, fluid and wordless, until the resisting consciousness has no choice but to give way.
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Archive by Category
My Bio, Contact Info, Signature PostsAbout the Author (2023)
--- My Best 200 Posts, 2003-22 by category, from newest to oldest ---
Hope — On the Balance of Probabilities
The Caste War for the Dregs
Recuperation, Accommodation, Resilience
How Do We Teach the Critical Skills
Collapse Not Apocalypse
'Making Sense of the World' Reading List
Notes From the Rising Dark
What is Exponential Decay
Collapse: Slowly Then Suddenly
Slouching Towards Bethlehem
Making Sense of Who We Are
What Would Net-Zero Emissions Look Like?
Post Collapse with Michael Dowd (video)
Why Economic Collapse Will Precede Climate Collapse
Being Adaptable: A Reminder List
A Culture of Fear
What Will It Take?
A Future Without Us
Dean Walker Interview (video)
The Mushroom at the End of the World
What Would It Take To Live Sustainably?
The New Political Map (Poster)
Complexity and Collapse
Requiem for a Species
What a Desolated Earth Looks Like
If We Had a Better Story...
Giving Up on Environmentalism
The Hard Part is Finding People Who Care
The Dark & Gathering Sameness of the World
The End of Philosophy
A Short History of Progress
The Boiling Frog
Our Culture / Ourselves:
A CoVid-19 Recap
What It Means to be Human
A Culture Built on Wrong Models
Our Unique Capacity for Hatred
Not Meant to Govern Each Other
The Humanist Trap
Amazing What People Get Used To
My Reluctant Misanthropy
The Dawn of Everything
Why Misinformation Doesn't Work
The Lab-Leak Hypothesis
The Right to Die
CoVid-19: Go for Zero
The Process of Self-Organization
The Tragic Spread of Misinformation
A Better Way to Work
The Needs of the Moment
Ask Yourself This
What to Believe Now?
Conversation & Silence
The Language of Our Eyes
May I Ask a Question?
Cultural Acedia: When We Can No Longer Care
Several Short Sentences About Learning
Why I Don't Want to Hear Your Story
A Harvest of Myths
The Qualities of a Great Story
The Trouble With Stories
A Model of Identity & Community
Not Ready to Do What's Needed
A Culture of Dependence
So What's Next
Ten Things to Do When You're Feeling Hopeless
No Use to the World Broken
Living in Another World
Does Language Restrict What We Can Think?
The Value of Conversation Manifesto Nobody Knows Anything
If I Only Had 37 Days
The Only Life We Know
A Long Way Down
No Noble Savages
Figments of Reality
Too Far Ahead
Learning From Nature
The Rogue Animal
How the World Really Works:
Making Sense of Scents
An Age of Wonder
The Truth About Ukraine
The Supply Chain Problem
The Promise of Dialogue
Too Dumb to Take Care of Ourselves
Republicans Slide Into Fascism
All the Things I Was Wrong About
Several Short Sentences About Sharks
How Change Happens
What's the Best Possible Outcome?
The Perpetual Growth Machine
We Make Zero
How Long We've Been Around (graphic)
If You Wanted to Sabotage the Elections
Collective Intelligence & Complexity
Ten Things I Wish I'd Learned Earlier
The Problem With Systems
Against Hope (Video)
The Admission of Necessary Ignorance
Several Short Sentences About Jellyfish
Loren Eiseley, in Verse
A Synopsis of 'Finding the Sweet Spot'
Learning from Indigenous Cultures
The Gift Economy
The Job of the Media
The Wal-Mart Dilemma
The Illusion of the Separate Self, and Free Will:
No Free Will, No Freedom
The Other Side of 'No Me'
This Body Takes Me For a Walk
The Only One Who Really Knew Me
No Free Will — Fightin' Words
The Paradox of the Self
A Radical Non-Duality FAQ
What We Think We Know
Bark Bark Bark Bark Bark Bark Bark
Healing From Ourselves
The Entanglement Hypothesis
Nothing Needs to Happen
Nothing to Say About This
What I Wanted to Believe
A Continuous Reassemblage of Meaning
No Choice But to Misbehave
What's Apparently Happening
A Different Kind of Animal
Did Early Humans Have Selves?
Nothing On Offer Here
Even Simpler and More Hopeless Than That
How Our Bodies Sense the World
What Happens in Vagus
We Have No Choice
Never Comfortable in the Skin of Self
Letting Go of the Story of Me
All There Is, Is This
A Theory of No Mind
Mindful Wanderings (Reflections) (Archive)
A Prayer to No One
Frogs' Hollow (Short Story)
We Do What We Do (Poem)
Negative Assertions (Poem)
Reminder (Short Story)
A Canadian Sorry (Satire)
Under No Illusions (Short Story)
The Ever-Stranger (Poem)
The Fortune Teller (Short Story)
Non-Duality Dude (Play)
Your Self: An Owner's Manual (Satire)
All the Things I Thought I Knew (Short Story)
On the Shoulders of Giants (Short Story)
Calling the Cage Freedom (Short Story)
Only This (Poem)
The Other Extinction (Short Story)
Disruption (Short Story)
A Thought-Less Experiment (Poem)
Speaking Grosbeak (Short Story)
The Only Way There (Short Story)
The Wild Man (Short Story)
Flywheel (Short Story)
The Opposite of Presence (Satire)
How to Make Love Last (Poem)
The Horses' Bodies (Poem)
Distracted (Short Story)
Worse, Still (Poem)
A Conversation (Short Story)
Farewell to Albion (Poem)
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