Destination…?

There have been times during my journey when I believe hearing the word “enlighten” or any of its’ various forms, just one more time, shall make me scream.

I’ve also come to the conclusion that “Enlightenment” now sells nearly as many goods and services (or perhaps more) as sex does.

That said, I will share with you Matthew Taylor’s 21st Century Enlightenment, anyways!

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Quick and easy, Mr. Taylor puts forth easy-to-understand concepts that shift our perspectives, open our hearts and minds to a new vision of where we can go and asks, “What, exactly, Is Progress?”

Some of my favorite ideas from his speech:

  • Learning to have relationships with our reactions, rather than be captive of them.   Being willing to move away from our tendency to make “Right” or “True” that which is familiar and “Wrong” or “False” that which is merely strange.
  • Modern Society is based on Three Logics –
    • Scientific and Technological Progress – If something can be designed and developed, it should be.
    • Market Logic – If something can be sold, it ought to be.
    • Bureaucracy Logic – The Rules come before and above the Ends
    • Devoid of Ethical Reasoning, these Logics are limited by their indifference to substantive concern for the collective good.
  • We should acknowledge the healthy activity of Public Disagreement and move away from the unhealthy activity of Public Disparagement.

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But what really caught my little database building, love of logical thinking mind, was the following:

“Rationality can tell us best how to get from A to Z, but without Ethical Reasoning, we cannot discuss where Z should be.    What we aim for can be as Important to our Well-Being as what we achieve.”

In closing, he quotes anthropologist, Margaret Mead:

“Never doubt a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.  Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Way to go Mr. Taylor!   I’m with you!

See Mr. Taylor’s Full Lecture

A New Look at Education

I usually just post my thoughts and leave you to your own devices  – but today, I’m ardently asking for 15 minutes of your time (reading my post time + watching the clip)

I’ve been dissatisfied with the focus of our educational systems and cultural obsession with higher education for a long time.

Not that I doubt the sincerity, dedication and perseverance of those who work in our educational system.  Nor do I question knowledge being important and  I believe everyone deserves access to knowledge.

I just see how much we are losing in talent and productivity given our current way of doing things.  Many Kids ARE left behind – true creativity and pure brilliance is often disregarded, squandered on the useless and plain pushed aside in our society –  where individuality  is cramped by systems based on conformity and standards for measuring “intelligence” are woefully narrow in scope.

Thankfully, I no longer have to figure out how to explain my gazillion observations to you.

Sir Ken Robinson, via his RSA lecture, Changing Education Paradigms has said it all. ( And in a much more positive way than I probably would have!)

If you are a parent, student, teacher or healthcare provider, I’m Begging You to take 11 minutes and 14 seconds out of your day to watch the above clip.

If you wonder why education is failing, why drop-out rates are increasing, and question why ADHD has become a modern phenomena, here ya go.

School administrator, business owner, stay-at-home mommy – I don’t care who you are, Please Watch.

And I’m asking you to do your part in spreading the word!

Thank You!

Feed, Nourish and Protect

Late summer and early fall mean I’m really busy with food.   Fruit to dry, storerooms rearranged to accommodate new supplies and freezers prepared to store this year’s bounty of meat and poultry keep me hopping from July through November.

Cooler weather also means a return to my favorite cooking venue – The Crockpot.

Although I’ve finally found some viable chilled soup recipes for summer, winter  remains my favorite time to cook.   Nothing calms me or brings greater joy than to move about the house accompanied by the smell of simmering soup and raising bread.

(Adding artificial heat to an already hot day makes me cranky…)

And while I like to eat good and have learned how necessary good nutrition is to my health and well-being, I really don’t like spending all day, everyday, in the kitchen.

There are so many other grand adventures to partake in!

So, the Crockpot is my best friend.

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I’ve spent the last few years immersing myself in the subject of food – sources, how it’s grown, how it’s prepared, how to get the greatest nutrition out of your food choices.

I’ve also immersed myself in research of how we heal – what promotes healing and what doesn’t – what works and why.

Food is more than just a way to feed our tummy.    Done properly, food nourishes our soul, both during preparation and ingestion.   And purchased properly, our food choices contribute to our local resiliency and  protects our local economies.

Sorry, but you just can’t get that kind of bang for your buck outta 4 for $5 frozen dinners.

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At some point in my own journey through healing and food, I started wondering how much healing value comes from the actual food and how much is a return of the energy we have invested in food.    May sound nuts, but if you follow quantum physics, mind/body research or studies regarding the placebo effect, then you would be pondering this thought, too.

Though my ears have not heard this phrase for over 3 years, my mind can still conjure up my Dad’s voice, intoning:

“Thank you for this food;  bless it to the nourishment of our bodies and bless the hands that prepared it.”

He didn’t leave out anyone in the chain of what put good food in front of him.

Reminds me of various practices in hunter/gatherer cultures – the before hunting dance/prayer – the after hunting dance/prayer – the small tokens offered to the various gods recognized as being responsible for us living and eating for one more day.

Stories of  guests honored by food – first dibs and they were expected to take the choicest, largest portion.

Food was a big deal and honored.

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What if focused, peaceful intent actually changes the benefits of the energy you ingest?   What If?!?

Then a leisurely 15 minutes spent chopping veggies and slicing meat in the morning to be dumped into simmering home-made broth, when I’m well-rested and still wildly enthusiastic about the fact I woke up (again) means the soup I start for supper is so super loaded with nutrition, my family should look like the Incredibles by now.

It surely has to have more nutrition than the frozen pizza I slap in the oven after returning home late, with my mind still off in the never-never land of cranky bosses, uncompleted projects and moron drivers.   I’m convinced that’s one of the top reasons why ‘fast food’ doesn’t satisfy us as it should.  I didn’t ‘super-inject’ it with Good Intent!

According to some ancient cultural practices and modern medicine, my family’s digestion processes work better too, when I’m in a good mood at the supper table…

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Taken a step further, if I do happen to think about who made the frozen pizza, I don’t put out peaceful intent.

I understand that frozen pizza was probably compiled by either a machine or some poor minimum wage factory worker who wonders when a machine will replace him/her.    I also think about the commodity system, how farmers, ranchers and dairymen get less than the cost of production for their wares and how even with subsidies, that one pizza represents a world where small family farms can’t compete, monoculture mindset reigns and super companies have a five-year plan of patenting and owning all the food seed in the world.  I also think about how much money goes to those who process, package and transport the food and how much goes to the people who actually grew/raised it.

(It’s very skewed – if you don’t believe me, and you live in eastern Colorado, then ask any of your neighboring wheat farmers what they get per bushel of wheat from the wholesale broker, when it has, gasp, sprouted and then go to your local “Health Nut” food store and see what you pay for wheat grass or sprouted wheat flour)

On the other hand, when I make soup, and think about how it traveled to me, I put out lots of good energy:

I’m thankful for the wheat farmer, the rancher and the two 4-h girls who are willing to raise an extra pig for me.   I think about friends and neighbors who called or emailed and said, “Help!   I got a bumper crop of (insert veggie/fruit).  Come get some!”    I think of them, their life, their children and I feel such a warm glow of gratitude for all they do for me.

I think about my local Farmer’s Market and how much I enjoy wandering up and down the aisles, buying veggies that were cared for by the hands that are now giving me my change.

It’s just two completely different states of mind – solely dependent on what I choose to prepare for supper.

Even if you don’t buy into the whole ‘divine matrix and intention theory’,  ya gotta admit, having peaceful thoughts while fixing supper has its’ advantages.

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I’d like to see a Real Food revolution.   I’d like to have it be the main topic of conversation anywhere I go.   Where to find it, purchase it.   How to store, preserve, properly prepare it.   I would like to see the  mainstream media headlines splashed with bio’s about those who raise, care and produce Real Food.

Won’t happen anytime soon – I can’t even imagine, “nightclub”, “drugs” and “local farmer” ever being in the same headline.

Nobody wants to read about the rancher who gets up at 2:00 a.m. and checks her herd, because cows and heifers have this funny way of doing things – they like to go into labor whenever a good blizzard moves in…Every rancher knows this and they choose to remove themselves from comfort, just in case that first-time momma runs into some snags….

When will that be seen as hero status in our culture?

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Becoming a Real Foodie means more than just ‘eating good’.   It’s impossible to enter that world and not take the journey from your individual survival all the way up to the health of the biosphere.

During his RSA lecture, Empathic Civilisation, Jeremy Rifkin states,

“All economics depend on photosynthesis.”

He’s right, ya know.

And your Food Choices Really Are That Important!

End of the Free Market

Caught your eye and heart with that title, didn’t I?

I’m fresh out of entering Ian Bremmer’s world, “End of the Free Market” via the RSA website.

I visit RSA often.  I’m drawn there for the same reason a friend is drawn to their local Unitarian church:

“These folks have more questions than they do answers.”

In spite of my ‘need-to-know’ personality, I am comforted and feel safe in the presence of those who ask hard questions and openly admit, “Not sure what, exactly, the solution is, but here’s my thoughts on the matter….”

Simply because I always feel safer around rational souls than I do around fanatics…even when the rational disagree with me and the fanatical hold the same views I do.

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Mr. Bremmer takes 20 minutes to expound his opinions on the ‘happy medium’ between Open Market and State Capitalism.   I like him.  Here’s some clips:

  • It’s not popular right now to talk about Open Markets and State Capitalism.
  • Large corporations have more freedom in the U.S. via lobbying congress than anywhere else in the world.
  • ‘Bubbles burst’ but no one wants to the first one off
  • There are going to be hard conversations to be had in the coming years regarding the subjects of Free Market and State Capitalism
  • G20 results in many productive, substantive conversations on the side, but in the end, they are not going to accomplish anything.

Now you know why I like him.

Oh, you don’t?  Well, line up his clips alongside my beliefs:

  • I love talking about issues that either bore or tick off others
  • Big Corporations have immense political power
  • I think focusing on ‘wealth and success’ is a large contributor to our current woes
  • I like hard conversations.  They broaden my perspective and knowledge base
  • Committees consisting of more than 1 person rarely, if ever, get anything accomplished

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In all fairness, Mr. Bremmer said some things that made me uncomfortable.   And some things that sent me to Wikipedia to get educated on, because I had no clue what the word or phrase meant.

But in the end, I give his talk 2 thumbs up, all because of one line I’ll paraphrase for you:

“The Free Market isn’t the overwhelming good bet it used to be, but that’s still where I’ll place mine.”

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Because we can only interpret new information within the context of our own previous experience, you may disagree with my valuation.   You may hear, “Obama Lover” and cry foul.

You may hear a lot of things that sound like he’s calling for actions you ardently oppose.

But I promise you, he’ll make you question what you thought you knew…

I Think, Therefore…

… I am confused.

A recent message from a friend put the fact that I think too much at the forefront of my thoughts.

Again.

Thanks, really.

Current teachings regarding spiritual enlightenment and aware living are heavily into touting “Peace through Silencing the Mind.”

Some recommend meditation in odd physical poses to gain quiet Nirvana.

Others propose staring at an object and being ‘present’ to its’ being without labeling or defining it.

Still others advise there is no way to shut up your mind, you just have to let it do its job and be very selective of when you will actually pay attention to it.

Over-the-counter medications are there for those of us who like short cuts to not-thinking via deep, drug-induced sleep.

All different paths to reach one goal:

A quiet mind.

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I like Eugene A. Nida’s commentary of our current society’s inclination to think too much.

In Customs and Cultures, he points out that indigenous, primitive cultures isolated from modern civilization do not consist of lower intelligence individuals incapable of deep and critical thought – rather, they are comprised of individuals who have not been exposed to as many choices and varieties of information.

This results in less personal angst and a ‘child like faith’ of those who live simply and in seclusion -vs. the personal struggle and never-ending skepticism of the educated and sophisticated believer.

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I was also recently led to the lecture, The Paradox of Choice, presented by Professor Renata Salecl to the Royal Society for Arts, Manufacture and Commerce. (RSA)

She takes an in-depth view at the harm caused to the individual in a society comprised of unlimited information and choices.

And the ludicrousness of societies in which choices, which really aren’t choices at all, proliferate. (Signing  a paper saying you freely choose to register for Military Service, when in fact you are required by law to do so is one example she gives.)

Her take on the matter is not really focused on how we think too much, but how society based on personal choice is both liberating and detrimental at the same time.

Liberating, because you have access to information and endless choices.

Detrimental, because if your life doesn’t go well, there is no one to blame but the person who made choices…i.e. yourself.

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In our society, we are inundated with an endless stream of information, advice and choices.

Therefore, we think a lot.

For our own survival, we must analyze and choose from an almost endless array of options.

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C’mon, show of hands… Who heard this line during their childhood:

“What, in heavens name, were you thinking?”

How many of you actually dared to reply:

“About having fun with no thoughts of the consequences…”

Big no-no.   Growing into a responsible, productive citizen means you are to continually think about the consequences of your actions.

See how we’re surrounded by conditioning to think, only to be later told we do it to much?

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As usual, no conclusions or answers, just some questions regarding just how we’ve ended up in the shape we’re in….

I just rented the DVD series, Ascent of Man from the library…. maybe it will have some information regarding where, exactly, the “off” switch is in my grey matter…

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