What can we do?
Dhafer Youssef & Hüsnü Şenlendirici
‘dance of the invisible dervishes’
“What can we do?” is an attempt to answer the question for myself and perhaps for others “what we can do” in the face of rampant, nearly-unstoppable psychopathological evil taking form in genocide, endless war, total surveillance, advancing militarization, and near-complete totalitarianism.
I apologize for the length of this entry (100 pages). Brevity has never been my strong suit. But I am learning and trying. (Mrs. Blogger brought home from the book store two more books: “Born to Blog” and “Twitter for Dummies”. Mastery of the latter requires brevity and it will also help the former.)
I have broken the piece down into three chunks, and I will provide a summary/abstract follows and is repeated at the conclusion. See the tag cloud above.
The whole thing contains 78 links, seven pdf’s, five videos totaling 19 minutes, and nine pieces of music totaling 93 minutes.
It is an opinion, a POV, a synthesis that contains some thoughts about self-awareness, the use of the metaphor of aikido in communications and relationships, the story about Gurdjieff’s teachers by LeFort, the book “Born to be Good” by Keltner (about the facial muscles and communications, and more), a book by Standage about social media as practiced for two millennia, some thoughts about physicians entailed “Further Prescriptions”, and a book by a physician entitled “Why Us?”.
Indeed, why us?
It is broken into three parts.
Part One, including this summary or abstract, runs about 20 pages and includes the introductory thoughts, a four-page pdf intro to Dacher Keltner’s “Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life”, a 4-page pdf sidebar on verbal aikido and the use of aikido concepts in situations of conflict (and there are other books by Dobson, Heckler, et al), some thoughts on awareness, an intro to LeFanu’s book “Why Us?” and a 15-page pdf of excerpts, some thoughts on conflict, and catharsis, a link to a major article on planetary consciousness, another on native American perspectives, and a short look at my own orientation to mountains.
Part Two focuses on empathy, the concept of wu wei, creativity, contains a 14-page look at my orientation to physicians, has a further focus on children, relationships, society, alignment, leadership, the failure of science in a specific case as noted by a highly-recognized-and-honored scientist, more on face-to-face communication, and a short précis on organizational learning.
Part Three looks at happiness, self-awareness, Heaven, truth, conflict, some further personal expressions on what we can do, a look at Rafael LeFort’s story about his search for the teachers of Gurdjieff (as well as links to articles that have an opposing POV) and an academic paper on the influence of Gurdjieff on noted jazz pianist Keith Jarrett).
What we can do is to keep learning. This comes from LeFort’s story about Gurdjieff and elsewhere.
We can learn about consciousness (see Zimmerman, Burrowes, Le Fanu et al, and consult your own mind).
We can gravitate toward truth, at least our truth.
We can practice alignment.
We can engage in harmony during conflict (see Ueshiba).
We can become better at and practice more frequently the arts and sciences of interaction, encounter, and face-to-face communications (see Keltner).
We can master social media (see the books mentioned above, and others, and Standage).
We can create community (see Corbett).
We can become leaders of our communities, if only through the above steps.
We can teach our truth (see “Architect for Learning”).
We can engage with the dominant mainstream media more effectively, and we can create new media.
We can create.
We can touch people.
We can move people.
We can love.
Comments are welcome through the contact page. I will assemble the best and most articulate, and post them.
What can we do? (Part One)
I awoke one Saturday morning a couple of weeks ago with a lot on my mind.
Perhaps it was remnants of a dream, or more likely the mental dust from having browsed a few books lying around on my bed and bedside table.
Right now, my reading has been somewhat discombobulated; I’m jumping around.
I jump from book to book, and personal problem or encounterto another of a different type, and then back to a book after extended reading on the world wide web.
Sometimes synthesis emerges from this.
I decided I’ll give it a try here.
My biases, I noted to myself, are that I come from
- an autodidactic study of positive/performance psychology with a minor sub-branch in cognitive science that seeks to empower individuals,
- from a lifetime of focus on emergency service, and
- from the combination of those two in teamwork and leadership.
Pressing on the corpus callosum of synthesis: the recent expressions of frustration and despair I’ve seen on the net which join my own.
I speak of Kenny and Noor, specifically, though they are only representative of a much larger group.
“In my travels this week it has been both discouraging and disappointing to find that although there are many willing to talk about what’s going on in Iraq and the Middle East, there are few who understand what is really happening. That’s not to say I have it all correct but most regurgitate the mainstream slop as reality and it means the propaganda is working. A calm mention of false flags and hired deviant Wahhabi terrorists or wars for empire and Israel are met with odd looks. Americans are so slow to catch on and admit they have been deceived. Awareness is a first line defense. Unfortunately it is in short supply.”
Posted by kenny at 12:02 PM
We all ask what is it that we can do….
“Your contribution can be as simple as making changes in your personal life and aligning yourself with right principles and truth. It may be as big as speaking out on important issues and spreading ideas for change.…”
A number of pictures serve as the backdrop; all of them feature children. The best of us think of the children we know and how we can care for them, guide them, nurture them. (How can you not cry when you read of Namous?)
[Shirley Horn sings in the background …. “Why Didn’t I See?”
Earlier, she asked “Where Do You Start?” ]
(Music informs our personal and interpersonal synthesis.)
Israeli airstrike creates a pond in Gaza City
I read about the world and the current turns of events; all I want to do is weep.
Iraq again? I am speechless at what these demons do to work their evil on Russia and China via Iran via Iraq. Iraq was Balkanized for the creation of just such regional wars as we see today ~ all goes according to plan.
I read about the nuclear depopulation programme in place and feel so helpless ~ there is so much to Iraq and DU and Fukushima and Chernobyl ~ it is overwhelming. But, I digress, back to Iraq.
What plan? Any plan. They have created so many stewpots of division and hatred around the globe that there is no shortage of plans to fall back on. Anywhere.
That hatred we work so hard to keep under wraps is giving me a tough time. Hatred is such an easy fix but giving in to hatred means one has given up all hope. It concedes defeat. It is a weakness to be exploited since hatred seems to warp all focus. So I cry a lot it seems. Listen to a lot of music, stare out the window and think. That light at the end of the tunnel seems to get further and further away.
Our losses seem to keep mounting up, like the Canadian Federal Government approving the Enron pipeline this week. Yet they have the nerve to brag about Canada’s environmental record! No one wants this development although it is already far more along than most people are aware. Construction preparation is well underway. It makes me truly want to vomit.
Posted by Noor al Haqiqa at 11:54 PM
All this has, of course, intensified as a result of the events in the Ukraine and the continued and escalated genocidal attacks on the people — especially the children — inside the open-air concentration camp known as Gaza. These are modern-day technological advances on the occupation of Native American lands and the actions at Wounded Knee et al.
The books include Dacher Kelter’s “Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life” [see http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/author/Dacher_Keltner], started in seriousness, with highlighter as bookmark, before I got distracted with having to pack everything and hump it all down a flight of stairs. In my case, a lot of the heavy lifting got done by family. I hit a rut when he got to the part about coding facial displays and understanding the emotional controls through the vagus nerve. I stopped at the the facial muscular vocabulary and the choreography of “smile”, and have yet to tackle the parallel material dealing with “laughter”, “tease”, “touch”, “love”, “compassion”, “awe” and “reverence”.
Because I tend to jump around, I did highlight a small piece on page 226 which read as follows:
Flight/fight tendencies of self-preservation are continually at odds with tendencies to care in the electro-chemical flow of our nervous systems. The content of the mind shifts between the press of self-interest and the push of compassion. The ebb and flow of marriages, families, friends, and workplaces track a dynamic tension between these two great forces — raw self-interest and a devotion of the welfare of the other. The study of emotion is experiencing its own “sympathy breakthrough” thanks to recent studies of compassion, which are revealing this care taking emotion to be built into our nervous systems. The study of this emotion holds new clues about the health of marriages, families, and communities.
I’ve picked Born To Be Good back up now and you can follow along: see the sidebar in pdf format here. Dacher Keltner Jen
Is this a suggestion for the value of face-to-face interaction in a world heavily given to faceless social media? Yes.
How do we encounter people halfway across the globe and who speak a different language?
Is the emerging technology of online collaboration viable?
I’ve all-but-finished Tom Standage’s “Writing on the Wall” [ writing-on-the-wall ], a chronology of media since the days of the Roman Empire; I’m the 20th century and moving toward the 21st. I’m at the part where he describes the development of “webs” of communication among the telegraph operators (foreshadowing “Mr. Tom” and his friends who used listserv mechanisms among computer operators before the Internet was formalized.) [Today you can build a private discussion board for invited guests only or fashion a Twitter network.] There are some good thoughts about the press and the social media which make me, a blogger by choice, reflect. I’ll have to finish his section on radio and its use as a means of propaganda dissemination; today we have podcasting. And I haven’t yet delved into his discussion of television, “the drug of the nation”. But then I already have a degree in communications studies and I have blogged about these for years.
I’ve watched/listened to James Corbett’s podcast/video which promises and delivers free and critical thinking; as a blogger, I’m certainly an alternative and have left the MSM/TV world except as momentary entertainment or glimpse into the world to which I am opposed. [They’re watching us so intensively that we need to keep an eye on them to know what they’re doing, capable of, and planning.]
I’m working on and thinking a lot about verbal aikido, or the application of the lessons of the Shintoism-oriented shaman I know as O Sensei, that little man who took the violence that he found and transformed it into an effective tool of defense and simultaneously a tool of teaching, enlightenment and love.
He reminds me of Derrick Jensen in his transmutation of hate and violence into teaching and activism [see “A Language Older Than Words” et alia].
I write a lot about aikido, not because I progressed far in the discipline but because it fascinates me and I’ve read a lot about it. [I did progress far enough to peer through the rip in the curtain.] Again, see the sidebar on aikido below.
aikido and relationships
I mentioned my fascination with what aikido has to teach us about relationships and the fact that it might inform someone close to me about whom I care deeply (both parties in the conflict) in a short e-mail to a new contact; he’s a fellow who has had significant contact with the world of military intelligence but left it and explored the world of Native Americans.
He sent me
Being Nature’s Mind: Indigenous Ways of Knowing and Planetary Consciousness [ delvingdeeper.org/being.pdf ]as well as a link to his own work:
Napi in the new age (on quantum mechanics and the Native American).
What jump-started this thought process was having leafed through some sections of James Le Fanu’s “Why Us?: How Science Rediscovered The Mystery of Ourselves”:
Le Fanu is an open critic of materialism and Darwinism. He is the author of the controversial book Why Us?: How Science Rediscovered the Mystery of Ourselves, in which he claims that Darwin’s theory of evolution is a materialistic theory that fails to explain consciousness and the experience of the human being. He states that it is not enough to conjure the wonder of the human experience from the study of bones, genes and brains alone. According to a review of his book by the New Scientist, Le Fanu argues for the existence of an immaterial “life force”. Le Fanu is not a creationist and does not argue for God, instead he argues for a non-physical cosmic force which he claims could explain where consciousness originates from; he also claims it may explain many of the other mysteries unexplained by material science.
For more on this book and author, see the sidebar below entitled “Why Should We Be Different?”
Why Should We Be So Different?
I’ve spoken of the need to find or form an association of bloggers — perhaps this feeds into Corbett’s thoughts on alternative media — and Ron said he wanted to know what I’d found, or join in. [He’s already done so with his contributions here.]
James speaks of empaths [I hope I am one] and psychopaths [I’ve met more than a few and hope that I am not one of their peers.].
James says “It is a fundamental mistake to battle your opponent using their weapon of choice”, an interesting variation of the aikido lessons about disarming an opponent.
But how do you disarm an opponent that is armed to the teeth?
The picture is reminiscent of the staves carried by the residents of Worcester County as described in Ray Raphael’s “First American Revolution”.
Taking the weapon away from the opponent:
You must take a position in which you are facing the same direction or “seeing things” the way your opponent does… you must get close to him in order to control him and his weapon.
Compare this to the infiltrative techniques practiced and taught by neoconservative Jewish intellectualism and the theories espoused by Edward Luttwak in his book Coup d’État: A Practical Handbook.
What is the effective counter-move?
If the truest, most honorable warriors were willing to risk their lives to count coup on an opponent without intention of harming that opponent, we can only marvel at the nonviolent psychology and wonder where it might have gone.
Brad J. Bushman published “Does Venting Anger Feed or Extinguish the Flame?” (PSPB, Vol. 28 No. 6, June 2002 724-731) which demonstrates that “catharsis” is not effective in reducing anger or aggressiveness. While expressing emotion is healthy, it does not extinguish the source of the emotion. Learning to kick, punch, or be “powerful” doesn’t deal with the issue causing negative emotion and this study demonstrates that individuals who depend on cathartic behaviors tend to be more reactive in future moments of stress, anxiety, and conflict.
Zimmerman’s treatise on indigenous and Native American spirituality, sent on by Ron, talks about unbridgeable chasms between culture, methods by which we can “finally begin to see into another way of being and other ways of knowing”, and introduces the topic of child-rearing. The hand that rocks the cradle, and the involvement of the village, and other theories not withstanding, Zimmerman, George Lakoff, and Ron approach the issue from the perspective of “dialogue at the meta-level”.
Mary Jane Zimmerman’s goal “is to help readers from any culture begin to become aware of how deeply embedded our cultural modes of perceiving are and how different they may be from those of other cultures. This type of self-reflexive awareness is necessary for true dialogue and can also be facilitated by dialogue.”
“It is now crucial for members of the dominant Western culture to begin to see how current global environmental, social, and political problems have sprung from the Western tendency to think in terms of discrete units and how we have largely lost the ability to see connected, interwoven patterns of motion.”
I’m not going to try to characterize Ron’s perspective. I’ve just begun to get to know and read this fellow and I am struck by the depth of his experience and perception. We share some common experiences and interests, but probably in the way that an apple and a banana both share a peel. I urge you to begin to read his blog. I have much to learn. I also urge you to read Mary Jane Zimmerman’s work on planetary consciousness.
“… everything in the cosmos is connected and that all physical bodies and all minds are expressions of a deeper spiritual essence “(Begay and Maryboy 277)….
“The human is closely related to the mountain because both exist at the center between Mother Earth and Father Sky.”
The Native American and the Taoist — connected through a land bridge— both understand this. The Shintoist Morihei Ueshiba understands this and brings it to the art and discipline of aikido. There’s an understanding of quantum physics buried in all of this too. It is spoken of as “a participatory understanding of reality. If we see the world as a place of gift, where the earth and the beings on the earth are fond of humans and want to help them, we will experience its abundance; we will be able to ‘participate in the conversation of the Gift’.”
My own relationship with mountains includes Greylock and Cadillac. I have chunks of granite and marble from each as desktop talismans. I’ve seen the sunrises and sunsets off both, have camped on or near them, but these are not uncommon experiences. Nor, I hope, are the ones I’ve had throughout New England in moments of deep meditation.
Greylock is one of the rare and southern-most taiga–boreal forests in New England. I spent a decade living in the lower mouth of the glacial cirque at its Western base; that location is hidden, at virtual dead center in the photo. The Taconic range stands behind to the west. The estate belonging to a Rockefeller and her husband and devoted to the genetic betterment of farm livestock sprawled across one of its ridges. [How is is that we are interested in breeding better cows and chickens at the same time we bomb wheat fields?]
The origin of the present name of Greylock and its association with the mountain is unclear. It first appeared in print about 1819, and came into popular use by the 1830s. It may be in reference to its appearance, as it often has a gray cloud, or lock of gray mist upon his head, or in tribute to a legendary Native American chief, Gray Lock. Gray Lock (c. 1670-1750) was a Western Abenaki Missisquoi chief of Woronoco-Pocomtuc ancestry, born near Westfield, Massachusetts. Gray Lock distinguished himself by conducting guerrilla raids into Vermont and western Massachusetts.
Derrick Jensen’s works speak of forging an orientation to and awareness of the indigenous people who once occupied the land you occupy.
The Mahican people were closely associated with this region, and it was easy for a child weaned on “Light in the Forest” to imagine himself a Mahican as he walked, ran and sat in contemplation.
One day when I was about 12, I set on my haunches on the edge of a brook, lost in the thoughts facilitated by the continuous burble of the run-off from the rain forest.
A bobcat came down the to the edge of the stream to drink its fill.
I wasn’t afraid. It looked up at me suddenly when it discovered that I was there too, but I instantly and silently telegraphed a message that I meant it no harm. It turned back to its satiation, and then disappeared as suddenly and quietly as it came.
Years later, I sat with my back against the warm granite shelving of Pemaquid Point and listened to the waves as I basked in the sun. I think the expression “lost in reverie” is appropriate; I was on the way home from a three-day honeymoon trip up the coast of Maine to Acadia and back. I’d shown the future mother/grandmother the loveliness of Mount Desert Island. I still kick myself when I think about the fact that we couldn’t find the way to buy that 10-acre plot of land at the northern-most tip of Somes Sound. But coastal Maine has lots of magic to be found in it, and that afternoon it sent me a message. I’ve written about that moment several times. It was an epiphany.
The message I got in an instant, downloaded at quantum speed, was that I was part of it all, and I was it, and that it was me, and that I was “here” for it, and that it was “here” for me.
“Rupert Ross, a Canadian lawyer who has worked most of his life on the northern reserves in Ontario, also writes about the sensitivity and open attitude required to learn what he calls “pattern-thought,” the ability to take in vast amounts of information from the natural world (70).”
Derrick Jensen has written an entire book on this called “Listening to the Land”, “conversations with environmentalists, theologians, Native Americans, psychologists, and feminists, engaging some of our best minds in an exploration of more peaceful ways to live on Earth.”
Michael Murphy and others have delved deeply into the ways in which the human mind can connect with the cosmos; I think in particular of “In The Zone” and The Future of the Body, “a massive historical and cross-cultural collection of documentation of various occurrences of extraordinary human functioning such as healing, hypnosis, martial arts, yogic techniques, telepathy, clairvoyance, and feats of superhuman strength. Rather than presenting such documentation as scientific proof, he presents it as a body of evidence to motivate further investigation.” [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Murphy_(author) ]
Ron sent me something on remote viewing, too.