Help! I’m Stuck in a Tsunami Blonde Joke

Oh, No, Not Again!

March and April found us back again, sitting shocked, amazed, spellbound, and powerless in front of our TV screens – watching as hundreds of thousands flee their homes and the steaming nuclear reactors.b

Dumbfounded we stared, as crews carried out the Hail Mary procedure of squirting sea water on the nuclear core to try to slow its progress towards a meltdown and the potential contamination of millions of locals, not to the billions across the ocean those of us across the ocean. Then the terrible stories of those who lost everything nightly across our TV screens.

And here I am, having that eerie feeling, hearing that spooky voice that keeps repeating, “It’s happening again, its happening again . . .”

The Art of Helplessly Looking On

Back in September of 2001 we all were glued to our television sets impotently watching the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers burn and collapse to the ground and New Yorkers running from a giant ball of debris growing as it overtook lower Manhattan.

It wasn’t long afterward that we watched as corruption and greed led to the demise of Enron, Arthur Anderson, Countrywide, Jack Abramoff, AIG, and so on – the predictable result of behaviors that were not only dishonest, but criminal. But what could we do?

Then we looked on helplessly as the stock market plummeted toward the abyss created by credit default swaps, ushering in the near total collapse of the global credit markets, and following close on its heels, the boggle boggling multibazillion dollar bailouts and the pain of the so-called “Recession of 2008.”

And here we are now, well into 2011, feeling that feeling of despair as we tune in to the news of millions of hard-working Americans having lost their jobs and homes to the recession. And again we felt helpless. Here’s an interesting little video – Bill Moyers’ take on how all that went down: The epidemic fraud in the Economic Meltdown Video .

Well, we made it through the Almost A Nuclear Meltdown scare, but folks in my neck of the woods are pretty freaked about the radioactive particles wafting our way. What’s next?

Stuck In a Dumb Blonde Joke

Somehow I have the feeling I am stuck in one of those “dumb blonde” jokes:

The Wager

Bob walks into a sports bar around 9:58 pm. He sits down next to a blonde at the bar staring up at the TV. The 10 pm news comes on, and the news crew covering the story of a man on the ledge of a large building preparing to jump.

The blonde looks at Bob and says, “Do you think he’ll jump?”

Bob says, “You know, I bet he’ll jump.”

The blonde replies, “Well, I bet he won’t.”

Bob places a $20 bill on the bar and says, “You’re on!”

Then, just as the blonde places her money on the bar, the guy on the ledge does a swan dive off the building, falling to his death. The blonde is very upset, but willingly hands her $20 to Bob, saying, “Fair’s fair. Here’s your money.”

Bob replies sheepishly, “I have to confess, I cheated. I saw this earlier on the 5 pm news, and so I knew he would jump.”

The blonde replies, “I did too, but didn’t think he’d do it again.”

Bob took the money…

click image for more blond jokes!

Blonde Like Me

How like that blonde we are – being surprised to see the same thing happening again and again, but unable to see that all these shocking events are really the result of a single underlying process at work in our global culture. I believe that until we really confront the real issues and begin to think systemically and examine the root patterns at work here, we are likely to continue to see this parade of tragedies. .

I don’t know what is coming next, but it’s bound to be a doozy. Hang on to your seats, folks!

The Cure for Blondeness

Fortunately this kind of blondeness is curable.

To me, the recent events in the Middle East demonstrate the power we can all have over our lives. I believe technology is a key part of using that power. As we learn to communicate better, the we awaken the intelligence and wisdom we need to free ourselves. We are entering the era of global community now, where time never sleeps and unfathomable amounts of information are at our fingertips.

The time for collaboration around Things That Matter has come. Connecting in a meaningful way with others is best in person. Second best, the information highway is running an ever-closer second. The internet provides an excellent medium for making meaningful connections, and a number of people and organizations have created some excellent centers for connecting and collaborating. I will suggest a few that I think might well help you shift to a mode of thinking that can enable a deeper understanding of what’s going on and offer some very reasonable actions you can take to help change this.

The change we want can come amazingly quickly. As our communication technologies mature, I can see the same vision as Clay Shirky,( consultant, teacher, and writer on the social and economic effects of Internet technologies), alludes to in this fascinating video – why we are on the brink of change, if we will recognize and use it.

The recent peaceful revolts in Tunisia and Egypt demonstrate how effectively cell phones, Facebook, and Twitter can empower even people who live in these relatively deprived and primitive conditions.

I believe there are enough of us who want to change and that we already possess the collective intelligence and wisdom that can set us free. All that is necessary is for us to begin to play our part in the conversation . . . What are we waiting for?

Steps for Recovering Blondes

Below are a few suggestions for getting started. When you arrive at these links, I recommend you read what is online then, and also that  strongly recommend that you actually SUBSCRIBE. These are living sites and subscribing will insure that you will receive future postings. Or you may click RSS ; it will be uploaded to your RSS readers.

Tom Atlee’s Cointelligence Newsletter addresses the fascinating concepts and practices of Collective Intelligence and is a great place to start.

The World Café offers guidance , materials, and online support for free on how to create conversations that matter to your neighborhood, family, and/or workplace. Here’s one of my conversations with Juanita Brown , the co-creator of The World Café, and here is a video I’ve put together about the World Café .

Alan Briskin’s provocative and intelligent book, Collective Wisdom , introduces his readers to that special kind of knowledge and insight that is available only through group and community interaction.

The Collective Wisdom Initiative website was created to help broadcast the emerging field of collective wisdom, its study and practice. It came into being in 2002 with support from the Fetzer Institute .

And here’s a clever little animation Rebel Girl and The Vagina Report , showing the power of collective action.

And, of course, if you are subscribed to my eNewsletter, “ Healing Times ,” or click RSS in my blog site, I will do my best to send you updates. And I invite you to contribute, and to pass this site along to your friends.

The splitting of the atom has changed everything save our mode of thinking and thus we drift towards unparalleled catastrophe .” – Albert Einstein

” If you only knew . . .” – Emmett Miller

New Paradigm Leadership – The Power of Conversation

Adapted from Our Culture On The Couch, Seven Steps to Global Healing

Creating a positive future begins in human conversation. The simplest and most powerful investment any member of a community or an organization may make in renewal is to begin talking with other people as though the answers mattered.

– From Who Will Tell the People? by William Greider

Consider for a moment the importance of conversation. Virtually every action we take is predicated on a conversation. It is so much a part of our experience that we are rarely aware of its true importance. The conversations we engage in with our families, organizations and in all portions of our lives give rise to patterns of behavior. Sometimes these are brief conversations whose effects are short-lived, sometimes the conversations are deep and moving, and their effects are stable and long lasting.

By learning to pay attention to our conversation, and acquiring the skills of good conversation, we bring about ever-greater degrees of coherence. As a result, we obtain a high correlation between what effect we intend to have and the effect we actually get. We must always keep in mind that the future is not somewhere we are going; it is a place we are creating in the now with every thought, word and action.
High quality conversations among individuals and within organizations generate meaningful change. Conversations are an important way to actively participate in creating our world and its future through this process of connecting authentically and appreciatively with each other. As we share knowledge, know-how and creativity, we build relationships. Collaborative conversations between us “neurons” are the synapses of the Global Brain.

The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift. – Albert Einstein

For as long as humanity has lived in family groups, tribes and communities, conversation has been a primary medium for making sense of our world, discovering what we value, and imagining our future. The networks of communication formed the underlying pattern that allowed our ancestors to come together in a meaningful, supportive, sustainable way. Networks form the underlying pattern of all living systems, and human organizations, families, and communities – are living systems.
Wise leaders are becoming increasingly aware of the power of these networks of conversation and their systemic importance as a core process for the large-scale collective learning and transformative change we now need at every level of system.
New Paradigm leaders recognize that essential learning and knowledge sharing occurs through informal relationships and networks of conversation. The new role for today’s leader focuses on convening and hosting collaborative conversations among diverse stakeholders to explore core questions and emerging possibilities. Key skills include being able to create the appropriate architecture of engagement and then asking compelling questions, questions that encourage collective thinking and learning.
As the system connects to itself in diverse and creative ways, Collective Intelligence emerges – we access the wisdom of the whole on behalf of the whole. Often, as we allow our collective wisdom to emerge, we discover that we already have the answers we need.
So, what if, in fact, the future is not some place we are going, but a place we are creating, and that our individual and collective future is being born in the webs of conversation that are alive and breathing right now? This includes the conversations within TEA Party rallies and those taking place in Wall Street boardrooms, and those taking place in your living room. Then the future will be the integrated sum of all these.

What we need are those leaders who can create ways for us to enter conversations around questions that address our shared meanings and values and that honor all participants. Modern communication technologies provide excellent tools for creating the conversations we need to be having. These include Appreciative Inquiry and Open Space Technologies.

The World Café
The approach to facilitating conversation I have used most extensively is represented by The World Café. Originally developed and stewarded by Dr. Juanita Brown and David Isaacs and their associates, is a nonprofit, community-owned venture that is a “conversational process based on a set of integrated design principles that reveal a deeper living network pattern through which we co-evolve our collective future.”
The café model represents an innovative yet simple methodology for gathering groups of 12 or more people together to create conversations about questions that matter. These conversations link and build on each other as people move between groups, cross-pollinate ideas, and discover new insights into the questions or issues that are most important in their life, work or community. As a process, The World Café can evoke and make visible the collective intelligence of any group, thus increasing people’s capacity for effective action in pursuit of common aims.
The deceptively simple principles of café groups are nevertheless powerful. Often when groups get together they are dominated by the talkative people with loud voices, individuality tends to be seen as an impediment, people are busy trying to one-up, recruit, convince, or debate others in the group. Now consider the different kinds of things that can happen when people follow the guidelines of the “Café Etiquette:”

Learn More

Listen to a stimulating discussion between myself and The World Café co-founder, Dr. Juanita Brown on Healing Times Radio . The World Café website provides complete information that will allow you to apply powerful tools for intentionally harnessing the power of conversation for any purpose, business or social. You will discover useful guidance – ways to foster authentic dialogue in which the goal is thinking together to bring forth collective wisdom and create actionable knowledge. And it is free.
At their website, you will also find a way to begin to network with the thousands of other people, groups and organizations who are exploring ways to evoke collective intelligence and link it to effective action in pursuit of common aims.

We Are All Neurons in the Global Brain
In a very real sense, we are all neurons in a global living system, a global brain – and the communications technology we have, from our cell phones to our internet connections forms the axons that connect us across the world with others. Personal computing is giving way to interpersonal computing. Now we can reach across geographic boundaries and access community knowledge bases, including the resource bank of each person’s unique contributions, interests and areas of expertise. In keeping with this, the members of the World Café are currently involved in a pioneering use of a variety of experimental platforms to create the optimal conditions for holding meaningful conversation in an online environment.
Of course, The World Cafe is just one of a number of different approaches to addressing the living network of conversations that is continually evolving as we explore questions that matter with our family, friends, colleagues and community. These invisible webs of dialogue and personal relationships can enable us to learn, create shared purpose, and shape life-affirming futures together. Others include Conversation Cafes , and Open Space . Younger networkers will find Youth for Environmental Sanity (YES!) and Global Youth Action Network quite stimulating. An excellent example of how a community has transformed itself using the principles we are exploring here is revealed at .
We will explore more on leadership and good conversation in future articles here.

______________________________

More Information:

Listen to Dr. Miller and Juanita Brown Ph.D. in conversation on Healing Times Radio!

Video Introduction to The World Cafe , by Emmett Miller MD

Find me in the World Cafe Online Community at: http://www.theworldcafecommunity.org/profile/EmmettMillerMD

Listen to Healing Times Radio the 1st Thursday of the month, 11am-12pm and Rebroadcasts the following Monday 1pm-2pm at OpenMindRadio.com

OR

Subscribe (with iTunes or with web-based podcatchers ) to Healing Times Radio Archives and make sure you don’t miss another show!

Conversations that Matter – Dr. Miller and Juanita Brown on Healing Times Radio

Listen to this interview at the end of this article.


As you probably know from my recent book, Our Culture On The Couch – Seven Steps to Global Healing , I believe the only way out of our current mess is for us to stop being controlled by our world, but to bring forth the leadership potential within each of us.

So, this month we will focus on awakening this leader, on the power of the New Paradigm, and explore the potential of conversation as a transformative tool to leverage personal wisdom and spirit.

Juanita Brown Ph.D. with her partner, David Isaacs is the co-originator of The World Café, a pioneering approach to large scale dialogue and collaborative inquiry being used in corporate, community, government, education, and multi-stakeholder settings around the globe. Hundreds of thousands of people on six continents have experienced the World Café to foster sustainable development, responsible business futures, conflict resol…ution, democratic leadership, and local community engagement around critical issues. Her award-winning book, The World Café: Shaping our Futures through Conversations that Matter, co-authored with her partner David Isaacs and the World Café Community has been translated into 10 languages, and has recently been released in mainland China.

Juanita developed her belief in the power of conversation and community to shape the future through her early years at the Na-Bolom Institute, a center for dialogue and action on indigenous issues and rainforest preservation in Chiapas, Mexico. Juanita was also a key architect in large-scale community development and outreach work with Cesar Chavez and the farm workers movement. She has applied her discoveries about the principles for building engaged communities to the co-evolution of the World Café as social innovation––using both living systems approaches and community development sensibilities to engage a growing global network of multi-generational hosts committed to creating collaborative dialogue and committed action around critical local, national and global issues.

Since 1974, Juanita has collaborated as a strategic thinking partner with senior corporate executives as well as non-profit leaders in the U.S., Latin America, Canada, Europe and the Pacific Rim, advising on large scale change intiatives and creating innovative forums for strategic dialogue around critical organizational and societal issues. Juanita is a Fellow of the World Business Academy and has served as a Senior Affiliate with both the MIT Center for Organizational Learning (now the Society for Organizational Learning) and the Institute for the Future. Her greatest joy, however, is when she finds herself alone in nature on the shores of Tomales Bay, California listening to the loons and seeing the white pelicans floating quietly through the mist.

WHAT IS HEALING TIMES RADIO?
Find out at http://www.drmillerblogs.com/?p=1046

SUBSCRIBE to Healing Times Radio Archives and don’t miss another show!
http://www.drmillerblogs.com/?page_id=814

Other upcoming Dr. Miller Events
http://www.drmillerblogs.com/?page_id=59

Stages of American National Grief

Stages of American National Grief
The progression of stages of national grief is:

  1. Denial < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denial > – “The country is fine.”; “Signs of decline are overblown by unpatriotic people.”
  2. Denial is usually only a temporary defense but while it is operative it is filled with rhetoric like, “Let’s take our country back to the way it was” which is largely a mythological construct of something that never was – a Norman Rockwell view of nationhood.
  3. Anger < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anger > – “Why us? It’s not fair!”; “How can this happen to us?”; “We are the greatest nation ever.” “Who is to blame?”
  4. Once in the second stage, the citizen recognizes that denial cannot continue. Because of anger, the nation is very difficult to care for, think clearly about or to make plans for its future due to feelings of rage. Looking for scapegoats becomes a preoccupation.
  5. Bargaining < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bargaining > – “I will do anything to bring back the memory of what is an ‘exceptional’ nation. “God has established it with a unique destiny and surely he won’t let it die.” “I will pray to the Almighty who founded this country to rescue it from those who are out to destroy it.”
  6. The third stage involves the hope that the demise of the national identity can somehow be postponed or delayed. Usually, the negotiation for an extended life of that which has been known is made with a higher power in exchange for a reformed and ideological pure state. Psychologically, the individual is saying, “I understand that the nation as it has been constructed is dying, but if I could just have more time to live the way it was…”
  7. Depression < > – “I’m so sad, why bother with anything?”; “The nation as I know it is going to die… What’s the point?”; “I miss so much the American myths of a country that used to be, why go on?”
  8. During the fourth stage, the individual begins to understand the certainty of death of the national idea. Because of this, the individual may become silent, refuse to associate with others or read the paper or keep up with the news and spend much of the time grieving. This process allows the person to disconnect oneself from attachments and affection for the underlying myths of what s/he believed to be his or her homeland.
  9. Acceptance < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acceptance > – “It’s going to be okay.”; “I can’t fight it, I may as well prepare for it.”
  10. In this last stage, the citizen begins to come to terms with the mortality of not the nation but the national idea as it has been and begins to think of how the nation might be if it was less absorbed with itself and its excessive individualistic mythology and more concerned with using its assets to fully serve by participating in an international, global understanding of its role. It is the beginning of creativity and new opportunity.

But for now, it seems, we are stuck between rage (TEA Partiers) and helplessness (Liberals)

thanks to Bruce Vincent for this clever bit

They say there are just two kinds of people in the world, those who divide the world into two kinds of people and those who don’t.

As a case in point, the world can be divided into two groups of people: those who see the world as divided neatly into Us vs. Them (Either/Or) – and those who do not.

Those in the camp who do not see the world as Us vs. Them instead see a whole spectrum of information, wisdom, knowledge, and power that comes from the perspective of Both/And.

More specifically, international crises caused by Greece, the banking industry, and BP Oil (to name just a few) have shown us two elemental forces are at work, each represented by its own camp of “true believers.”

Each of these two camps is fueled by a deeper guide/pilot. In Our Culture On the Couch: Seven Steps to Global Healing , I have referred to the side that sees only differentiation, opposites, fragmentation, prejudice, conflict and dis-integration as Violence (with a capital V), and the other side, the one that sees and favors unification, similarities, wholeness, tolerance, cooperation and integration as Love (with a capital L).

The epic struggle between these two elemental forces can be seen everywhere, from the Monsanto brouhaha and the oil spill tragedy in the Gulf ( see the spill superimposed on your city , to that between Israel and the Arab world, to that between the Far Left and the Far Right in our country.

The Far Right tells us this is a world of great danger, that we need to be stern, and to use deadly force and extreme rendition in order to get what we, the “In Crowd,” want, no matter how extravagant, how wasteful, how unfair and unequal. The Far Left often threatens to be foolishly naïve, economically irrespsonsible, tolerant of civil chaos, and would politically empower people in the underclasses, minorities, and welfare queens.

Each has its power base and wages war on the other. The confrontations are often violent, even at the highest levels of government, religion, business and media. (here RFK Jr. speaks to the death of democracy at the hands of media)

This Struggle Is Within Each of Us As Well

We can easily see these forces at war on the global stage, but if we look within, we discover the same conflict within each of us.

This then, is a philosophical struggle, a war of basic beliefs as to the nature of the world. Most of us fail to see the struggle within ourselves, because we have been hypnotized by the media to think that someone else is to blame – that the problem is out there. We have been trained to believe we are helpless as individuals. We have been so brainwashed that we do not even see that we have the ability to change the belief that we are helpless.

Our beliefs are behaviors, just like our thoughts and our emotions. And the truth is if we want to, we can change our beliefs. We don’t have to continue to believe and act according to some outside authority that is telling us to believe and do things that go against the common good. We don’t have to believe that it is OK to be a racist, sexist, and/or a religious bigot. We don’t have to suppress, torture, or even kill those who  have been labeled “Other.”

We can – if we want to – approach others with respect, acknowledgement and willingness to look for mutual values. Moreover, we can work together toward common goals and visions.

In one side of our hearts, we find a distinct set of emotions that are arousing, negative and intense in valence – anxiety, fear, greed, anger – in short, Violence. In this worldview, we see the physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual violence that fills our news reports from locally and around the world. This serves to reinforce the Either/Or core belief.

On the other side of our hearts, if we look within, we see the world through the Both/And perspective that always seeks to open the door to the possibility of tolerance, acceptance and respect. This door leads to the ability to create peace, balance, a profound sense of oneness, and even Love.

The only kind of peace present in the Either/Or paradigm is the temporary calm between wars, arguments and conflicts.  True peace is only achievable when we embrace the Both/And paradigm (which, somewhat paradoxically includes Either/Or). Peace will only happen when we, in my nomenclature, embrace Love (as I have defined it in my book).

Models

Interestingly, those individuals who model this attitude and perspective of Love are those individuals who have devoted some part of their time to meditation, contemplation and more enlightened thought.

They include current-day teachers and masters as well as those we know through the sacred teachings of the major religions – Moses, Jesus, the Buddha, Mohammed, Krishna and others. (Of course, I am careful to point out the dramatic difference between their lifestyles and their words – and reject the distortions promulgated by so many of the religious cults that have disgraced and betrayed their prophets).

It’s the System, Stupid

Unfortunately, it appears that most of the world is choosing to ignore or misinterpret these teachings. Everywhere we see lies and polarization, abuse and Violence. We keep looking for that person or group to blame, but we always fail. This is because the illness we want to cure is systemic – the bad guy is not a person, but the System as a whole – the Matrix.

The shenanigans that took place when we tried to find the cause of the BP oil spill provided a demonstration that would have been laughable, if it were not being played out in terms of the human and environmental suffering the spill is creating in towns along the Gulf Coast. First we are told that 5,000 gallons per day are leaking out. Then a week later that it is actually 10, 000 gallons, then 20,000, and now 60,000 per day!

And who is at fault? BP said it was not their fault, because they had hired the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig and crew, and it was they who screwed up. Deepwater in turn said it was Halliburton that was last working on sealing the well when it blew.

The Republicans say it was Obama’s fault for not being “on the job.” The Democrats say it was the result of Bush Cheney & Co. and their cozy relationship with the oil companies. And defying all logic, Rush Limbaugh blames the environmentalists . Meanwhile, the environmentalists blame us all for the expensive, energy intensive lifestyle we are living.

While finger-pointing and blaming are the staple of the Either/Or Us. vs. Them faction, the reality is that we are all to blame because we are all part of the System.

Partisan Wrangling

Do people really think they are helping anyone but themselves and their special interest group by perpetuating partisan wrangling?

We see the truth. All that saber rattling and foot dragging is just the floor show designed to keep us hypnotized and distracted while the treasury is looted and the middle class is liquidated to the profit of the few and the misery of the many.

Do they think we are blind to the Violence induced by the behaviors of our supposed leaders? How much clearer an example do we need?

One of the clearest examples is the series of events that have culminated in death threats and bricks being thrown through the windows of Congressional Representatives and Senators. Politicians, talk show hosts and insurance company executives may not personally chuck the bricks and make the threatening phone calls, but they are a vital part of the system that is responsible. Yet we seem incapable of seeing this or doing anything about this systemic problem.

History provides an excellent teaching moment. In 1170, Thomas Beckett, archbishop of Canterbury, was murdered by four of King Henry’s knights. Beckett had been in ideological conflict with Henry II, whose frustration reached a climax when he yelled out in fury, “Who will free me from this turbulent priest?”

The knights answered him by their action. Clearly, Henry II never struck a blow or thrust a knife, yet it is clear that he was directly responsible.

How then can we conceptualize, and assign blame, when the bricks and death threats follow closely on the heels of a major politician publishing a map on her website with the hometowns of these members of Congress branded with rifle crosshairs, accompanied by a speech exhorting, “Don’t retreat, reload”? Immediately following her implicit call to Violence, there appeared another webpage urging people to toss bricks through their living room windows. ( click here to learn more )

This is a classic example of the systemic problem that arises strictly from the Us vs. Them paradigm we are using – it is systemic, and it seems no one is willing to take responsibility for it. The politician did not throw bricks. The fellow who put up the Facebook page never, himself, threw any bricks. Those individuals who threw the bricks are unknown. A perfect storm. Terrorism without a perpetrator.

These false prophets and false leaders can remain in power only as long as we are willing to let them. We need to find – and become – leaders who can see and seek wholeness and healing. And we must always be wary of those whose primary agenda is based on making us afraid and polarized. We are all in this boat together – and poking holes in our adversaries’ end of the boat will sink us too.

Change Begins Within

As usual, the changes start within. How well are you doing with avoiding unnecessary judgment, criticism, blame and anger – both toward yourself and toward others?

How can you express more Love in how you treat yourself, your environment, and those in your family, community and workplace? What candidates will you support or vote for? Which corporations will you buy products from?

What you learn from your own personal shift to Love will enable you to better recognize those candidates for leadership who are able to step back from the fray and see the system as a whole.

Only when we elect and become those leaders can we bring forth the creativity – and courage – we need to truly solve our national and global problems. We must not only do this for ourselves, but for the generations to follow.


We have been misled, and now it is time to look within, as presented in Awakening the Leader Within . Helpful in this process is the CD program, Abolish Anxiety Now! , because it is through anxiety and the temporary solutions we are offered that we are controlled by the System. we need to let go the anxiety so we can find the courage to face our problems, not deny them. The skills offered on The Serenity Prayer are useful in learning the balance we need to choose well.

What is the matter with the people in this world? Why can’t they see the very obvious truth, that each of us has value, and that what we share in common with each other is so much greater in importance than the ways we happen to differ? With so many people pointing the way, why don’t they listen, and act accordingly?

I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve had thoughts like those. Eventually it began to dawn on me – the world has been blinded by the propaganda advanced by their so-called leaders. As a result of this blindness we remain ignorant of truths lying right in front of us. [1]

Obama as Antichrist

The current domestic political situation is instructive. If there was ever a time to diligently search for solutions that will benefit us all, it is now. Who in their right mind would aim us in the direction of confusion and misinformation?

Yet there are a significant number of us who choose to believe that President Obama is a closet Muslim and a Nazi: that he wasn’t born in this country, and that he wants to pass a law mandating “death panels.” But this is just a single example of the nonsensical perspective that is nurtured by a certain segment of the media and then becomes a deep belief of all those who cannot see the distortion. But this is just one example.

Why would anyone aim to cultivate such fantasies and live by them?

Caution, Unseen Hand at Work

Perhaps Maynard Keynes’s “unseen hand” is at work here – the unseen hand of the marketplace. Fact is, there is money to be made by publishing information that distorts the world and creates suspicion, paranoia, fear, and conflict. The unseen hand caused to appear hungry, aggressive whose raison d’être is to specifically cater to those of us who are thus ignorant of the truth. After all, there is money to be made in the business of keeping people ignorant, and since “greed is good”. . .

We have not been taught to respect the truth, and the media generated distortion results in our never having an opportunity to even see the truth. We have been pumped full with propaganda and pap. (By the way, breaking with tradition, when I use the term media I mean to refer to all the communication tools and weapons aimed at us by the world we live in.) Our Information Universe is heavily impacted by media in many forms, ranging from our schoolbooks, with their stories of brave Columbus, and self-sacrificing Custer, all the way to today’s increasingly politically pitched news media.

This carefully manufactured blindness has resulted in our being ignorant of important facts because they are invisible to us.

Waking Up to the Media

I gradually began to recognize how deeply our culture has been twisted by our media. Our history books and prayer books, our newspapers and television have all systematically distorted the truth. Facts have been distorted and so has the mode of reasoning by which these factoids are examined and evaluated.

The problem is that not only has our global information system failed to give us the truth about ourselves and the world we live in, it has also not given us the tools we need in order to see the actual solutions that abound all around us. We desperately need to acquire and employ those tools that will enable us to be be certain that the decisions we are making are wise decisions.

To feel secure in the correctness and wisdom of our decisions we must examine the truth impartially, with freedom from prejudice, with an eye free from longing. We do not want our desire to see things a certain way to influence how we are seeing things. At least not too much. We need to strive to understand the truth, and to see more than merely projection of our prejudiced fantasy onto the current situation.

Any attachment to the past distorts our view of the present to some degree. It can be on other way – our present will always be colored to some degree by the past, at least until we have reached a stable state of enlightenment. Wisdom decrees that we reduce this distortion to the minimum, accept that some distortion remains, and then to take the transformational step of looking beyond the distortion. We must turn to a deeper intuition (the Force?), to enable us to sense what is deeper, and to set our journey by that deeper, inner standard, by the deeper essence of the situation, rather than just the situation itself.


[1] Sometimes we even go so far as to imprison those who would shed light on the world, as with the fate of poor Galileo, and those Joe McCarthy’s hearings abused.

Personal Responsibility and Leadership

We have voted in an historic election, and many are hoping that “happy days are here again,” as the government starts responding to our needs and requests. Well, with such observations as those of famed financier George Soros , it is beginning to look more and more as if our communities, businesses, practices, and families are going to find themselves even more “on their own.”

The “financial downturn” is looking more and more like our economic Katrina – and like the unfortunate victims of that storm, we cannot expect the government to step in and solve all the problems it is creating. After all, our state and federal governments are beyond flat busted, and the money they borrow or print is going to come out of our future earnings – which themselves are looking pretty shaky.

Perhaps there are important lessons we can learn from Katrina. One, of course, is that we cannot depend on the disaster-responsiveness of the government. Another comes to us by way of certain population groups in New Orleans that found ways to deal successfully with the challenges presented during in the aftermath of the hurricane. The tightly-knit French-American communities were able to organize a response; they quickly pulled together and pooled its resources, and looked for ways to support each other. How different from the “every man for himself” reaction that the news media brought us in such quantity.

Just as nations, banks, cities, and towns are going bankrupt , it is all but certain that there will be breakdowns at the level of our local communities. What will happen to your neighborhood and mine will then depend on the quality of the leadership available. And the time for the right kind of leadership is now, not after the levees break.

Because we are a democracy, our government is a reflection of the choices we are making. Thus, each one of us bears a certain responsibility, the responsibility to dedicate an appropriate portion of his or her time to seeing to it that the men and women that we allow to take leadership positions in our governments, businesses, and communities are truly leaders – leaders who really understand the true essence of this new paradigm. It is essential to our survival that we go beyond greenwashed temporary fixes. It is your job and mine to make sure that, instead of going for the “fast, fast, fast symptom relief” as offered by our TV commercials, our elected officials will look to the source of these recurring disasters, and treat the system at this deeper level. If we do not do this, we are not being responsible and playing our proper role in the new Distributed Leadership model that coordinates well with New Paradigm thinking.

The Distributed Leadership Meme
Those who understand the concept of Distributed Leadership and are skilled in its application are best equipped to design a new course of action – one that will reflect our shared interests and deeper unity. The goal is to move us toward (whether or not we ever reach it) an “omega point” of harmony and unitive thinking. This process will make available to us the enormous gifts of our collective intelligence and generate momentum toward wholeness and sustainability – survival and “thrival.”

We are now at a time in which we will experience an unprecedented opportunity to select new leadership in all walks of life – government, business, communities – right down to our individual families. It is clear to nearly everyone that it is time for a change, a change that will be reflected at every level of system, from the individual to the global. Our actual survival, and the sustainability of those aspects of our lives that we treasure most, will depend upon our choosing leaders, local and national, who really understand that if we do not learn from history, history will repeat itself – and each time the price goes up.

The Teachings of History
Consider the cost of the Cold War, the Arab Oil Embargo, the suicide bombing of September 11, and now the Financial Meltdown, whose costs are well into the trillions. And the significance of this amount pales in comparison to the human suffering attendant on those events. We are waking up, and none too soon, to the fact that, there is something deeply flawed about how we have organized the dominant institutions on our planet.

September 11 roused us temporarily from our fool’s paradise of “prosperity.” The 3,000 deaths that resulted from those terrorist attacks were tragic, yet no more tragic than the 3,000 babies that starve to death every day, or die from easily curable disease – or the tens of thousands kidnapped into sexual slavery, to die of AIDS after a decade of unthinkable torture. What was different was that these deaths were white Americans, not black or brown Africans or Asians. Suddenly the U.S. began to wake up to the fact that we could no longer believe ourselves as invulnerable as we had once thought. After all, to Americans, bombings had always been something that happened “over there” and that war was just our favorite way of learning geography.

And, after an all-too-brief moment of unity, we watched dumbfounded, as the sense of global oneness and shared tragedy that had New Yorkers smiling at each other degenerated – and we regressed to our unfortunate mean, reverting once again to our usual game of international whack-a-mole – a strategy that history may show us was exactly the wrong one for the time.

I recall my thoughts at the time of the attacks – “What if this vicious act of mass murder was just another symptom of the misguided behavior of our countries and our cultures – simply more recent symptoms of what brought us slavery, the Holocaust, Hiroshima, Stalin, and the Vietnam War?” I decided upon an interesting thought experiment. I would view these behaviors as symptoms, then try to trace them to their deeper source through the application of careful logic and standard scientific procedure.

The Cosmic Healer

So I set out to perform an Einstein-like thought experiment, examining our world from the imagined point of view of an interplanetary physician – a cosmic do-gooder whose job it is to travel through time and space seeking out intelligent life forms that are struggling, like the human community on our own planet, to realize their potential.

There is no question, this patient is suffering physical illness and great anguish. And we are demonstrably headed towards ever more dysfunction and disease as an unavoidable consequence of the dominant ongoing behaviors, thoughts, passions and beliefs held by its most powerful inhabitants. Shouldn’t I want for my planet the same quality of intelligent, wise health care I insist on for my family: shouldn’t our situation to be examined with the honesty, objectivity, and care that would be employed by a physician treating a patient? So, I set out to perform a careful physical and psychological examination of the human culture on this planet. The result is my new book, Culture on the Couch; Seven Steps to Global Healing .

My explorations revealed convincing evidence that the same paradigm Mind-Body practitioners have found vital in producing healing (identity, balance, and integrity) at the individual level also turns out to facilitate healing at the collective level. If you have experienced real healing or a creative breakthrough in your own life, you understand the honesty, faith, and courage it takes. Indications are that we have reached the point at which we need to muster that same kin
d of confidence, commitment, and integrity in our collective behaviors.

The good news is that, collectively, we have all the wisdom and resources we need, and powerful tools for social networking are emerging right now. Accessing them and using them is a wise and powerful thing to do. Such social technologies as The World Café provide powerful methods for creating inviting space, exploring questions that matter, and connecting diverse people and perspectives. Through listening together for patterns and insights, collective knowledge emerges.

Until now, the system that has controlled the information that has been available to us; it has used anxiety and fear to push us to act in ways that are of much more benefit to the rulers, the wealthy, and the party in power, than to the people themselves. But this system actually belongs to us, and if we are willing to use the tools available to us we can begin to discover the incredible possibilities that open up when you begin to develop and evoke personal responsibility.

When we discover how to become truly responsible for our lives, we can choose how we really want to be and what kind of world we want to live in.