October 7, 2007
When one does not know how to convince, one oppresses; in all power relations among governors and governed, as ability declines, usurpation increases. ~Madame de Stael
The question is, on a national/world and on a personal/workplace level: How do we assist those in power in gaining ability–or failing that, how do we make sure that those who gain power are skillful? My observation is that most of the powerful people who lack skill also lack humility, have little self-awareness of the need to develop.
So it seems our most important task must be advancing those who do have ability, somehow renewing the respect for learning and wisdom, supporting those who lead and reach, even if they should fail. We need leaders with vision and courage, not just a will to power. And we need to give them room to be human beings, tolerating the imperfections we all have. Which is worse: Clinton and a little sexual misconduct, or Bush and the slaughtering of thousands of innocents?
September 3, 2007
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there. ~Rumi
How polarized the human family seems to me. Where are the places we can come together to talk as living, loving beings, transcending the IDEAS of wrong and right? Public libraries could be one of those places; liberal religious communities could be another. Privately, meditation helps us connect with all that is, to sense our place in the interdependent web of all existence. And I am convinced it is only this awareness that will save the world. If we know the world is us, we are less likely to participate in harmful practices.
Is it enough to radiate peace as individuals, or must we work toward peace with others? How do we best create or discover fields in which to meet?
August 31, 2007
Now I can look at you in peace; I don’t eat you anymore. ~Franz Kafka, admiring fish in an aquarium
Sam is not here to cook, and I have eaten salad for my last two meals. (Yes, it did have a little ham on it!) But I think I could become a vegetarian without much effort. Not only is it healthy, it helps save resources. I’m not sure about the ethics of eating animals, since plants are also living things. What makes them less sacred?
Next week at the beach (yipppeee!) I plan to read Frances Lappe’s Diet for a Small Planet. What would or did compel you to become a vegetarian?
August 18, 2007
Always do right; this will gratify some people and astonish the rest. ~Mark Twain
It is better to suffer wrong than to do it, and happier to be sometimes cheated than not to trust. ~Samuel Johnson
Would that the simple maxim, that honesty is the best policy, might be laid to heart; that a sense of the true aim of life might elevate the tone of politics and trade till public and private honor become identical. ~Margaret Fuller
Lately I seem to find myself in the position of being the “conscience” in the group–uncomfortable to say the least, (especially for others), but dang it, I am going to be authentic and as ethical and honest as I can possibly be regardless of the culture in which I find myself. While it doesn’t make friends and influence people, it’s the right thing to do. Hence, my distaste for politics, where appearance and rhetoric are the important things, and honesty and authenticity are secondary at best. In a political world, how do people balance personal integrity with political effectiveness? Is it possible?