Links for the Week: April 4, 2009

BLOG Links for the Week: April 4, 2009

owl chris roth pygmy owl chris roth
owl photos by Chris Roth (thanks to Tree for the link)

Thirty Thoughts in Thirty Minutes: Cassandra/Beth records the twitter-like results of thinking intentionally for thirty minutes. My favourite: “Have I done them justice, these gentle souls who taught me to think and look at a world slowly passing?” I’m going to try this exercise, but I have a suspicion that my thirty most significant thoughts will all be questions.

Joe Bageant’s Cathexis: This cathexis, “the ground zero psychic and emotional attachment to the world that cannot be argued, is beyond ideological challenge because it is called into existence affectively.” Joe explains to three graduating university classes why the artificial media-generated hologram in which we in affluent nations live, inculcated in a now-global “cult of radical consumerism”, precludes such attachment to what is really going on, and why the powers that be want to keep us all in that hologram. Excerpt:

Then just let the world happen to you, like they do in the so-called “passive societies,” instead of trying to happen to it in typical Western fashion. Not trying to “improve” things. Maybe practice milpa agriculture with Mayans on the Guatemalan border, watching corn grow for three months. Fish in a lonely dugout, sun-up to sun-down, in the dying reefs of the Caribbean, with only a meal or two of fish as your reward. Do such things for a month or two.

First you will experience boredom, then comes an internal psychic violence and anger, much like the experience of zazen, or sitting meditation, as the layers of your mind conditioning peel away. Don’t quit, keep at it, endure it, to the end. And when you return you will find that deeply experiencing a non-conditioned reality changes things forever. What you have experienced will animate whatever intellectual life you have developed. Or negate much of it. But in serious, intelligent people, experiencing non-manufactured reality usually gives lifelong meaning and insight to the work. You will have experienced the eternal verities of the world and mankind at ground zero. And you will find that the healthy social structures our well intentioned Western minds seek are already inherent in the psyche of mankind, but imprisoned. And the startling realization that you and I are the unknowing captors.

The Foundations of Collaborative Work: Chris C and Amy have co-developed four “source patterns” that guide effective collaboration (parenthetical commentary is mine):

  1. The source pattern for our understanding of group process is the circle (the circle form governs both the physical layout of the collaborative events and the egalitarian, non-hierarchical nature of the collaboration)
  2. The source pattern for leadership within that process is “hosting” or facilitative (or “holding space“) (allow the group to self-organize, but help that to happen effectively, and prevent power dynamics from interfering with it)
  3. The source pattern for design of process is diverge – emerge – converge (get all ideas/viewpoints articulated and on the table, allow an understanding of all perspectives and how they interrelate to emerge, and then use consensus to achieve agreement on the challenges/objectives and possible approaches to overcoming/achieving them)
  4. The source pattern of our worldview is living systems (problems in social and ecological systems are complex and dynamic, and do not respond to simplistic, deterministic, or mechanistic ‘solutions’)

Rules for Effective Teleconferencing: Nancy updates her own list of teleconferencing hints, to include three from Jessica Lipnack:

  • Make teleconference calls as short as possible, and contrive to shorten them.
  • Always use screen-sharing to give focus to listeners during teleconference calls. [Note: I keep a mindmap constantly “on display” during conference calls, that documents key decisions, learnings, open issues and follow-up action plan items]
  • No e-mailing or browsing while teleconferencing.
Nancy’s own list contains some gems like these:
  • Know the purpose of the call, and be sure that a teleconference is the appropriate medium to achieve it.
  • Identify and fill the key roles (facilitator, greeter, expert presenters, tech person, scribe).
  • Keep the technology as simple as possible, provide call-in details etc. clearly and in advance, and have a backup plan if the technology fails.

GET presentation

Self-Promotion Department:

Creating a Natural Economy: Alternet has published my Open Letter to Workers on the need to create a new bottom-up, responsible, sustainable, community-based economy.

What is a Natural Enterprise?: The video of my presentation at Green Enterprise Toronto is now up.

100 Best Blogs For Those Who Want to Change the World: Aw shucks, I’m on the list.

Another Nobel Economist Says Obama Bailout Doomed: This time it’s Joe Stiglitz saying nationalization would be better. And the G20 summit will fail too.

Just For Fun:

Both Hands — Ani DiFranco — “I’m drawing the story of how hard we tried.”

Too Cool to Fall in Love — Jill Sobule — a cute catchy tune from 1990 with a terrible video; rumour has it the studio insisted the video make it out to be a song about a male love-interest, when it wasn’t (fans can download a full 90-minute concert from her website)

Thoughts for the Week:

From Christopher Morley: “If we discovered that we had only 5 minutes left to say what we wanted to say, every telephone booth in the world would be occupied by people calling other people to stammer that they loved them.” (thanks to Siona for the link)

From Naomi Shihab Nye (thanks to Patti for the link):


Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
“it is I you have been looking for”,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow, or a friend.

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2 Responses to Links for the Week: April 4, 2009

  1. Mike says:

    Dave, are the slides for the Green Enterprise Toronto presentation available? Thanks…

  2. Reto says:

    OMG: Dave, your blog is astounding, hitting the center of my heart. For instance your hint to the patterns of collaborative work or everything related to natural enterprises – exactly where I am standing. Thanks!

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