Note from Suzanne: After I put up this "What do we Make of Ourselves After September 11" Website in October, 2001, Joe Simonetta, Senior Editor of the World Business Academy, sent me his piece, How to Eliminate Terrorism. I was impressed. Since that time, our email exchange has birthed a wisdom council of sorts, centered around Joe's book, Seven Words That Can Change the World. I have invited various people along the way to read it and chime in.
Conversation from 3/30/02 Update Mailing
Where Michael Moore Political Conversation Picks Up
Conversation from 3/11/02 Update Mailing
Their comments are intertwined with Joe's and mine here:
Copthorne Macdonald, another of our Featured Conversation participants, writes:
Dear Suzanne and Joe,
First let me say how much I enjoyed your book, Joe. I completed my second reading of it yesterday, and am greatly impressed by both your selection of matters on which to focus and the way you distilled their essence into 88 easily-understood pages. It should be an "Oprah book" and I hope it will be. I, too, submitted a review to Amazon.com. It reads:
Humanityís Task, Eloquently and Succinctly PutIf there is anything else I can do to help promote the book, let me know. Itís a winner.
Do you care about yourself, other people, and our planet? Do you want your life to have real meaning and significance? Then read Seven Words That Can Change the World. In it, Joe Simonetta suggests that the starting point for creating a better world is setting aside the religious and political ideologies that separate us, and focusing on our many common interests. He maintains that coming to appreciate the interdependence of humanityís diverse interests would allow us to transcend our divisiveness, address issues that benefit everyone, and explore options for mutual gain. He helps us to see the interconnectedness of everything and the sacredness of our relationship with self, others, and the environment. "Sacredness," he notes, "is not about a Supreme Being. Itís about a way of being." Joe Simonetta has written a short, highly-readable book that focuses on the essentials, presents the essence of that superior "way of being," and gets us on the road to creating a better world.
Iíd like to move now to the e-dialogue that you two have been engaged in, and comment on a couple of the issues raised here. Let me begin with spiritual practices. Joe, I agree completely with your critique of religion-as-purveyor-of-belief-systems. But some religions particularly the Eastern ones offer more than a belief system. As you know from your divinity studies, they also offer various go-see-for-yourself practices. The rationale for these practices is: Donít believe anything. Donít take anything on faith. Run the experiment yourself and see what happens. Practices such as mindfulness meditation allow individuals to investigate first hand their own mental processes, and by quieting the mind and stepping back from the incessant hammering of culture-induced (and religion-induced) ways of interpreting the data of life, allow practitioners to get some fresh perspectives on it.
Iíve been involved with various Eastern practices for 25 years, and teacher after teacher has emphasized exactly what you emphasize: The goal is not to go after something "out there" not some experience of bliss, or anything divorced from life-as-it-really-is but rather to acquire a new appreciation of the here-and-now reality, a new perspective on the same old data of life that all of us experience. We see this expressed by T.S. Eliot in Little Gidding:
We shall not cease from explorationWe also see it in the ten Oxherding Pictures of Zen, where in picture 1 the herdsman heads off on a quest for the ox of clarity about the nature of reality, finds it, and in picture 10 has returned to everyday life, realizing that the truth was there all the time. One commentary about this last picture goes like this:
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And to know the place for the first time.
When the traveller on the Tao reaches his/her goal the 10,000 things are again just as they are, just as they were before entering the gateless gate. Nevertheless he/she is infinitely richer for the experience. Now his/her heart flows with the 10,000 things, ignoring the intoxication of senses and experiencing being MU directly. Everything is MU, MU is "alive", therefore everything is "alive" (or, if you prefer: interdependent and in constant evolution). Everyone is an integral part of the entire cosmos. Impossible (and therefore the attempt is self defeating) to hold oneself apart from this universal process.My point is simply that Eastern practices can be valuable tools in attaining just the sort of perspective on reality that you are advocating. Yes, the searching sometimes goes astray, but if pursued diligently enough for long enough it can, and often does, lead to the same sort of deeply felt clarity about oneness and interconnectedness that you have attained via the particular route that you took. It also appears that you may have had a considerable head start on the path to clarity. In the Introduction to your book you say, "As a child, I was disturbed by the insensitive and unkind ways we humans treat each other. I recognized that the pattern was wrong and unsustainable." Most children donít have that level of moral sensitivity. I certainly didnít. Most people develop it, if at all, after years of life experience and psychological/spiritual development. I say psychological/spiritual because I, like Abraham Maslow and Ken Wilber, see the psychological and spiritual as two ends of a single developmental continuum. (Spiritual, in this context, is just the name given to the advanced psychological.) Development in the early stages of the continuum is fostered by satisfactory family and cultural nurturing and, if necessary, by psychological therapies. Development in the later stages is fostered by spiritual practices.
On another matter: Suzanne, your idea of getting together a small group of transformation-minded people to share their truths, perspectives, and creative juices makes all kinds of sense to me. Some people whose personal development has adequately prepared them will read Joeís book or mine, the light bulb of insight will go on, and they will radically change the way they live. Iím afraid, however, that for the great majority of readers, the reading of any one book will not do it. Personal, corporate, and political behaviors are controlled by deeply-entrenched value hierarchies, and for the behavior to change, the value hierarchy must change. For that to happen, those of us who want to change things are going to have to come up with a whole array of creative measures and initiatives. Synergy within the right group of transformation-minded people has the potential to create some helpful approaches and strategies. We three, and many others in the transformational community, are today beating about the bush of truth. But truth is a very big bush. Like the blind men and the elephant, our individual foci are different ó and no single explanatory schema fully describes the whole. Ken Wilberís phrase "True but partial" comes to mind. His point is that any statement about the way things are, although it may be absolutely true, is inherently partial. There are, in other words, innumerable other truths that even the most attractive and comprehensive schema does not address. Getting together a group of people who share the same transformational values but have a variety of perspectives and backgrounds could not only help educate and empower each other, but with the right creative agenda just might allow us to develop some useful strategies for bringing about change. In Matters of Consequence I talk about the synergistic power of multi-person creativity*, and Iíd sure like to see it applied to humanityís most important issues.
Even unfocused gatherings allow people to get to know each other better, increase trust levels, and raise personal energy levels. But I hope this could be something more. I think the key to accomplishing that is doing a the right kind of advance preparation. Reading each other's materials is part of it, but we also need to decide what we want to accomplish and how we intend to go about it. Maybe we could start by using email and your site, Suzanne, to start listing some of the specific creative challenges which our society faces. Some broad ones that immediately come to mind are:
getting political control back in the hands of ordinary people;Hopefully, as the list grew, one or a few items would rise from the mix and attract us, and some important sub-tasks would become clear. I picture us, in the end, getting together with a fairly specific creative goal in mind, and with each of us having "done our homework" beforehand so that the group effort would be as productive as possible. We would also need to do advance planning about what creativity-stimulating methodology we would use. Try a variation of Doug Hall's approach?* Some other?
getting corporations back to serving society instead of just shareholders;
transforming the present form of economic globalization into a form that helps everyone, everywhere, live comfortable lives and is, at the same time, enviornmentally sustainable;
moving toward a low-consumption steady-state economy that at the same time supports a rich, full, mental and cultural life;
reaching more people with the messages we have already developed ó recruiting more people to the cause, continuing the effort to educate the general population about transformational needs and approaches.
* Edited manuscript, page 195: The second [creativity-stimulating] methodology is the kind that Doug Hall has developed to both a science and a high art. Here, the synergistic interaction of a group of creative people ends up creating higher quality ideas than those same people would be able to create in isolation.7 I have seen it happen. And I have no doubt that if arrangements can be made to bring together small groups of bright, knowledgeable, psychologically mature, ethically grounded, and spiritually aware peopleóin the right environment and with the right focusóexciting ideas for all win and minimum loss ways of doing things will come out of their interaction.How do these thoughts sit with you two?
page 220, note 7 New product ideas is the creative focus of Doug Hallís Eureka! Ranch in Newtown, Ohio. There, employees of large corporations interact with other creative people in a high stimulation environment and come up with ideas having a higher than average probability of success. It is his creative methodology that I find attractive and am suggesting be applied to the very different task of societal transformation. Information about Eureka! Ranch programs is available at http://www.eurekaranch.com/.
Suzanne writes to Cop:
Great to have you plugging in, Cop. And I appreciate all your thoughtfulness and erudition. This email was a delight. This, to me, is just the conversation to be having.
Of course, in "reaching more people with the messages we have already developed...about transformational needs and approaches" things will change. That would be the fundamental objective more and more people in a new way until the paradigm shifts. For how that might come to pass in terms of our personal efforts, I like thinking, at rock bottom, of, let's say, two Christs, or two Buddhas, or one of each collaborating. Were there to be any such configuration on Earth, can you imagine the impact it would make? I've held this picture for a long time as what is conceivable. When you bring the divine into the human, a la Joe's work, why not? So where to from there? How about the goal of all of us participants realizing it's us? This is a piece of work, given the cultural conditioning that creates such a gulf between divine and human, but I sure like working ourselves into this new model. There's a certain sincerity, if you will, that's called for not wild est-like personal cheerleading, but the absolute commitment or recognition of the genuineness of how we live via those seven words. We'd work with each other to eliminate all barriers to being that and seeing that.
Joe responds: When one contemplates living as you suggest, by those seven words, one realizes indeed how powerful they are. To live them (fully) individually requires a personal paradigm shift. As enough people commit to that personal shift, the collective paradigm then shifts. That would give birth to a new culture.You know, I am blessed in having as my main ally this ordinary angel, Kim, who works for me full time and does our Website. We have worked together for 13 years, during which she has matured into this paragon of perfection, which I'd have to qualify as to what perfection consists of, because at some level she's just an everyday person. But I always marvel at how exquisitely she does this everyday thing. Her motives are pure service, she takes consummate responsibility for what happens to her, she never looks to blame anyone for anything, she is content with whatever she is forging in life, she never would hurt anyone and yet has learned to speak for what's right so she is no pushover. To look at her, you would see relationships that have failed, two teenage kids who have had troublesome episodes, some questions you could have about some major choices she's made in the past having to do with responsibility for her kids, horrible pain she's gone through via being victimized. In other words, she's no beatific creature who never lets anything get to her, but she sure has a presence and I don't know anyone who doesn't love her and respect her, and when things get difficult she works with herself at no cost to those around her by diminishment of her execution of responsibilities or in having to baby-sit her. I'm not sure I'm able to do justice to what I think and feel and observe here, but, to me, this is the divine incarnate, and, although she has no swell head about it, and maybe even would want to do a little disagreeing with me about how special she is and who knows there may be deep dark things that she's never told anyone (which would be the conversation to have in this ennobling of one another) but she would know what I'm talking about. So, I have this constant picture of what the world would be like if Christs and Buddhas were here now.
Joe responds: They're here. Now.I think that indeed the output of the exchange I envision, using Joe's book as starting point something I thought was simple enough and universal enough and revolutionary enough to be able to use to forge our connection would be to "develop some useful strategies for bringing about change." What do people like us want to do but to shift the prevailing consciousness, and, as we experience an excitation in an alignment we recognize, my thought was that creative juices would flow in the direction of conspiring for such change. However, I think getting familiar with one another is perhaps enough of a "to do" to begin with and perhaps holding possibilities re goals very lightly, like just noting them rather than any more decisiveness about "what we want to accomplish and how we intend to go about it." I don't take exception to the things you listed, Cop, but wouldn't want to go there yet.
Joe responds:Agreed. It should flow from one step to the next. It will require deliberate effort, such as you have demonstrated, to initiate and sustain the momentum. There must be commitment. The ones for whom this is appropriate will commit. This is a major undertaking. That needs to be understood at the start.However, I do have an advocacy for a meta to-do that I would be comfortable with now. I came to it in a funded conversation project about 10 years ago ago among several hundred "key persons deeply concerned with central issues of human beings and society" (the ICIS Forum: "An Instrument for Human Dialogue on Important Contemporary Issues and Problems and on the Future of Humanity"), which asked participants to identify the root cause of the "world problematique." The consensus was that it was the widening gap between the rich and the poor. Now, that I would be comfortable in identifying as a focus for any group I would be part of. Here's an excerpt from an articulation I made that's one among many angles on solving the situation, that's on my site in a piece called "Figuring Out the New Way Together":
Together, all people count. No one can be left out, from the homeless on our streets to the victims of droughts and war and whatever has created poverty and starvation worldwide. And the obvious place to start to normalize ourselves in a new mutuality is with the wealthy. Exorbitant wealth doesn't belong in a world where there's much suffering. The job of the wealthy would come to be seen as giving as service, not acquisition.
Torie Osborn of the Liberty Hill Foundation, a Los Angeles-based social-change organization, wrote this in a piece entitled, FDR's 4th Freedom has been Forgotten: "In its 1998 annual report, the United Nations Development Program calculated that it would take less than 4% of the combined wealth of the 225 richest individuals in the world to achieve and maintain access to adequate food, safe water, basic education and health care, and adequate sanitation for all people."
Joe responds: The "root cause" is not the gap between the rich and poor. The "root cause" is that which causes this gap. The gap is a symptom of our inability to understand the implications of our interrelatedness. This is a fertile theme to develop. What Torie Osborn articulates is an astonishing fact. One I would deliver from any soapbox. It's hard to believe that it can be true, that only 4% of this wealth could do all these things.Cop, it's tantalizing to think ahead to methodologies, and to goals. Duly noted. Let's collect everything as others weigh in and continue ourselves with what thoughts occur in the interim.
Joe writes to Cop:
Thank you, Cop. Thank you for reading my book, for the very generous review you wrote to Amazon, and for all your fine thoughts. I think that part of the key to unlock our species 'predicament' is captured in the T.S. Eliot piece you cited:
We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And to know the place for the first time.Fortunately, we live at a time in which every day more and more people either know or are beginning "to know the place for the first time." This is likely a consequence of the age in which we live that allows us to disseminate abundant (and truthful) information everywhere instantly. It's also fortunate that we live in this age because it is necessary, crucial in fact (because we are swarming in numbers and our mass destructive behavior is unsustainable), that we know this place for the first time, i.e., that we know and understand the reality in which we exist. However, that knowing, albeit essential, just takes us to the threshold of a small but absolutely necessary evolutionary step, a behavioral modification. One that's going to keep us in the game.
To resolve the kinds of challenges that our society faces, like the ones you listed above, requires that we understand the implications of "the place" in which we exist, i.e., if we wish to have a life that has quality and is sustainable. The "implication" is that it (a quality life) has to be for all, not just a small percentage of elites, i.e., there needs to be economic and environmental justice (as you've outlined). While a small percentage of people understand this implicitly, others know it instinctively, and still many others don't have a clue. Moreover, many people have vested interests in the status quo. There will be enormous resistance to change as there always is. You see a vivid microcosm of it in the mindset and actions of the Bush administration.
What can be done? That's a huge question. Some factors come to mind:
One constraint we face, among others, are the limitations of our species' abilities even as we like to think about our unlimited potential. We homo sapiens are what we are. Moreover, we carry an enormous genetic imprint and cultural programming, both of which affect our behavior. Lots of baggage.In closing, I suspect that what Cop wrote is accurate: "I have no doubt that if arrangements can be made to bring together small groups of bright, knowledgeable, psychologically mature, ethically grounded, and spiritually aware people in the right environment and with the right focus exciting ideas for all win and minimum loss ways of doing things will come out of their interaction."
Cop responds: Absolutely! Highlighting, as many of us see it, the importance of activities that aid psychological/spiritual development.Some are convinced that reconciliation among people, nations, races, and diverse political, economic, and religious ideologies is unattainable and maybe even impossible.
Cop responds: They might in the end be right, but if we assume that at this point, humanity is doomed for sure. The old self-fulfilling prophecy thing. The only sane approach is to assume that reconciliation is possible.There is one thing that cuts through all of that, our survival instinct especially as related to the recognition of common enemies. The fact that historical animosities and divisions vaporize in the face of perceived common enemies may provide an opening. People don't respond to calls for preventative measures. They respond to crises. They abound and are proliferating.
Cop responds: I agree completely. The three of us and many many others see the nature and magnitude of the crises, but the forces of denial are in control of the mainstream media, and that makes it all too easy for many people not to see present circumstances as crises.People seek, recognize, and will support truth, justice, and universal benevolence.
Cop responds: This is increasingly so. History demonstrates that humanity's ethical standards are slowly rising.We are not alone in our perception and concerns. Today, there are legions of transformation-minded people of diverse degrees.
Cop responds: Paul Ray's surveys (Ray and Anderson, The Cultural Creatives) puts it at 50 million people in the US. Other surveys indicate an even higher number in Europe.Change is incremental. Our goals must be realistic and achievable. We are not going to introduce an age of enlightenment but we may be able to slow down or stop our destructive momentum. "We" would contribute to this effort in concert with others who are doing similar work globally. More will come along to continue "the work."
Cop responds: Regarding the realistic and achievable: although the process will take much longer than my lifetime, I think there is real value in articulating a vision of a world, not only as it could be, but in some sense, as it MUST eventually be if civil society is to continue. (In the last part of Matters of Consequence I attempt this.)Little will be accomplished addressing the choir. Most of the action takes place in the corporate and political worlds.
One of those who is doing similar work is Paul Ray. He has observed that most people who share our perspective feel relatively isolated. Few realize how many others feel the same way. A current focus of his is to try to create a cohesive movement by 1. getting the word out that there are literally millions of people who see the world similarly, and 2. creating avenues for coming together and sharing. If you haven't already checked out his web site, you might want to do so: http://www.culturalcreatives.org.
Cop responds: Right. But if I understand you two correctly, you feel that the place to start is the existing choir and people who can be readily induced to join it.
Cop writes to Joe:
Nice, Joe. I do think that there's a recognition and a sigh of relief that would take place if some better model became a real possibility in people's minds. Your statements regarding goals and initial process make sense. As you Suzanne put it:
I think getting familiar with one another is perhaps enough of a "to do" to begin with and perhaps holding possibilities re goals very lightly, like just noting them rather than any more decisiveness about "what we want to accomplish and how we intend to go about it." I don't take exception to the things you listed, Cop, but wouldn't want to go there yet.And you Joe:
Agreed. It should flow from one step to the next. It will require deliberate effort, such as you have demonstrated, to initiate and sustain the momentum. There must be commitment. The ones for whom this is appropriate will commit. This is a major undertaking. That needs to be understood at the start.
Joe writes to Cop:
Re your comments on the "forces of denial" in the mainstream media, I think it goes well beyond that. There's an enormous amount of apathy, disinterest, and ignorance. My response comes from my experience of having run for the U.S. Congress twice and from being Executive Directive of "Pro Earth," a non-profit environmental organization. There are several reasons.
Most people are too busy making a living and dealing with the exigencies of life to have time to delve into these issues into which we are inexplicably drawn (with great passion).You wrote, "Regarding the realistic and achievable...I think there is real value in articulating a vision of a world, not only as it could be, but in some sense, as it MUST eventually be if civil society is to continue." I agree. People are enthusiastically receptive, in my experience. Then again, we have to be careful that we are not only preaching to the choir. It is easy to get into self-delusion. The message, in my view, must be simple, universal, and powerful. And timely and not esoteric. We must essentially say what people already know in their guts. Not only are we challenged to deliver "the message" but it must be done in an entertaining, perhaps mesmerizing, fashion.
Cop responds: And I wouldn't expect that to change. But I also suspect that this group tends to accept the consensus view of reality, and would pretty readily get on board if and when the consensus view changes.The issues are complicated and take great effort to understand. These issues criss cross many disciplines such as business, politics/government, academia, and religion - as well as an endless variety of psychological issues.
People are drugged. Our culture has people intoxicated with consumerism, horribly unhealthy food, and all kinds of substance abuse (prescription drugs, alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, drugs, et al). We've got a lot of sick people running around. People don't understand what it means to be wholesome. It's not something capitalism sells much.
It seems to be our nature to learn our dearest lessons from crises. It's a frightening reality.
Cop responds: Frightening, of course, because by the time the crisis arises it may be impossible to correct the damage.Life is a struggle. Every moment, every kind of life form imaginable is fighting to survive somewhere on this planet. What we are proposing are very elevated ideas.
There is an elite class on this planet that is happy to perpetuate the status quo. In fact, they will resist change vigorously. It's been that way. Something is different now though that provides a window of opportunity: the free flow of information. It's powerful.
Cop responds: I enthusiastically agree. Without the printing press and a fairly rapid mail service the forces behind the American revolution would never have coalesced. The Internet empowers today's change agents with global reach and rapid turnaround. We are blessed to have these tools.Another fact to keep in mind is that something very profound happened in the twentieth century. We went from 1.6 billion to 6.1 billion people. The unique, collective, and damaging impact of this huge human population very seriously accelerates the need for behavorial change.
Re the Cultural Creatives surveys, I have heard that those numbers could be highly inflated.
Suzanne writes to Joe and Cop:
One overarching thought that always is with me is how unaligned "we" are. Over and over, as "we" wrestle with how to reach "them," I am caught short in disappointment at how fraught with opposition our supposedly high minded constituency is. Over and over, I re-focus from the larger outreach to what's in my living room, where I am convinced that the work needs to be done. And I mean the living room in the sense of leadership. There is a preaching to the choir in a whole other configuration that I see now, for instance, in progressive public events that have been going on since 9/11 in L.A. Speakers are eloquent, but everyone in attendance already agrees with them, so I don't think much advancing the action takes place. I just keep coming back to the smallest huddles of the wisest people as where the most important alignment work needs to take place.
Joe responds: I assume you mean that "the most important alignment work" needs to be accomplish as a first step. Once that "alignment" were achieved, the next step would have to be defined. Relative to that next step, I find interesting the concept and oft repeated phrase of "speaking to the choir." This very real understanding begs the question, Why are there "choirs?" Obviously, there are "choirs" because people are drawn into their areas of interest. One of our many challenges is to draw people to our areas of interest and concern without sounding like we want them to join our "club" (as religions typically do). That calls for a message that is broad yet specific, universal yet individual, impassioned yet reasoned, etc.Just one more response to you to has to do with suffering as the prod to transformation to say that indeed, that is the ticket. Just look at our own lives, not necessarily at how mass hardship changes mass opinion. There is an inertia factor, and a big jolt is the most effective way to loosen us from our individual and our collective ways. However, we can't just surrender to that as the only possibility, since our means for self-destruction have developed to the point where a changeful tragedy could wipe out humanity. We are more and more pressured by the realities of our day to try to evoke change without the prod of disaster.
Joe responds: You are correct that we are pressured to evoke change without crises. This observation raises several points.
We already have plenty of crises to cite as examples of the need for fundamental change.You may be familiar with the line, "We are like an airplane flying overhead with someone out on the wing popping rivets one at a time until we crash."
The unprecented scale of our existing problems, our destructive and unsustainable momentum, and the magnitude of the impact of nearly 6.2 billion of us (with an approximate 80 additional million a year), does not give us the luxury of many additional major crises without severe consequences.
The nature of change is complex. It typically occurs as a consequence of varying degrees of crises or foresight. Foresight is preventative and largely painless. Crises can result in change but they are painful and can be terminal.
"'The most important alignment work' needs to be accomplished as a first step." Yes, but not so strictly that it can be separated from the probing for action. It's more that we not overlook that need to become familiar personally, as many high minded projects do, presuming that they can just take off on their great work because everyone would agree about how great it is. I've always found that what some might consider an inordinate amount of energy on preliminaries actually makes the subsequent action fly, both faster than it would have, and, indeed, more successfully. When people know and like each other, it's the best fuel for action.
Joe responds: I agree. I see it as forming a solid foundation upon which to build. The foundation is essential.When you suggest we already have enough crises, that's perhaps not an accurate evaluation in terms of what jars people enough. A weapon of mass destruction sort of thing is a higher order of what actually could be enough in that schema, where it takes something whopping to really make impact.
Joe responds: The difficulty with the problems that we have is that they are insidious and do not become visible until it is very nearly too late. It's the frog in the pot of water that is slowly being brought to a boil. The frog does not jump out because it does not realize that it is getting boiled before it is too late.Maybe what we have will be enough as it plays out if we have time like, for instance, my contention that Enron could be our Watergate. That might do it.
Joe responds: I think there is a good chance that Enron will be as severe, if not moreso, as Watergate. It could provide some openings.I see what your doing going beyond the usual choir. It's educating, really a course on how we were designed and what makes us work. It's the idealism in which America was founded, coming into full flower.
Cop responds to Joe:
Re the Cultural Creatives, I don't think the question of the "real" number can ever be answered because it depends on where one draws the line regarding depth of understanding and commitment, and that is largely unknowable. As I put it in Matters of Consequence (page 108 of the manuscript you should be receiving shortly):
Just what is the quality of our understanding? Although Paul Rayís research indicates that 50 million Americans are attracted to "integral" values, as Ken Wilber has pointed out, this is not the same as possessing fully developed integral consciousness. Wilber referred to "the extensive research" of Graves, Beck, and Cowan, and identified three stages, or "waves," of transrational thinking, which he calls early, middle, and late vision logic. While most of Paul Rayís Cultural Creatives appear to be riding the early "sensitive self" wave, Wilber says that only 1 percent of the population has gone beyond this stage to middle "integrative" thinking and 0.1 percent to late "holistic" thinking. [Introduction to Volume 7 of Ken Wilberís Collected Works (Wilber, 2000a). The Introduction has been available on line. Check: http://www.integralage.org/docs/WilberV7.pdf.] Thus, it seems clear that, although millions of people are now pointed in the right direction, a much smaller number have developed their understanding to the degree needed for the most effective kinds of doing.I'm no expert on surveys, but the report on Ray's 1996 The Integral Culture Survey, done under the auspices of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, discusses his methodology as well as presents the results, so if you're interested you can read it and draw your own conclusions. My present assumption is that there probably are 50 million people who have some level of interest in these matters and some degree of openness to hearing more, but that a very much smaller number have a deep understanding of the issues and a deep level of commitment to doing something about them. It is this first group (however large it may actually be) that is the target readership for Matters of Consequence. I wrote the book to help as many as possible of the first group to become members of the second.
Suzanne writes to Cop:
Cop You are such a treasure, with your encyclopedic knowledge base. As everyone quotes the Ray survey, I'm aware of how it's being accepted in too black and white fashion, and these distinctions you're pointing to are important to be aware of. I think your observations and analysis are very right.
I wonder if Ken Wilber has anything going in the way of assembling the rarified ones or, indeed, what's happening with the Integral Institute, to which he named many people. No one has been able to pull off the think tank of our day, and I wondered if he was going to be the one.
Anything known about an attempt being made by John Petersen at Arlington Institute? Or anything about a traveling political show, a Chautauqua of sorts, from Jim Hightower?
Beverly Russell writes:
I received the Simonetta book. It is very daring, and contains a lot more opinion/philosophy than is on the tape you gave me. I did not realize that although he holds Masters in Divinity from Harvard, he is very brutally anti-religion. I think Joe is right on target for the third millennium. Although I agree with his premise that people following the conventional world religions are diminishing in numbers, unfortunately the people in the corridors of power (i.e. government, corporations, education) generally adhere to the conventional wisdom. Anyway, I still think he is probably the new messiah.
Jim Dreaver, who appears in our 9/11 conversation, Making War Unthinkable, and our Conversations About Being Awake series, writes to Suzanne:
Just finished reading Simonetta's book. An exquisite read. A gem. A more academic, though flowing and easy to read rendering of the kind of stuff I and many others write about. Thank you for the gift. I see why you are in dialogue with him. I look at his picture and bio and he seems like a brother. We even share the army officer and New Zealand histories in common.
About the only thing I would elaborate on is his comment on page 80 that "'Be healthy, be kind, and respect our environment' is not enough for some people. They want specific instructions."
Now, he does go right on to say that masses of how-to info are available, and that is good. I would just say that rather than "some" people, I think it should be "most" people. The fact is, all the truth and wisdom has always been here, espoused in little books and big ones by prophets, teachers, and sages throughout history. I remember Aldous Huxley saying, when asked at the end of his life what final, ultimate advice he had: "Try to be kinder."
I see people in the imaginary audience around Aldous responding with, "That's beautiful, yes, that's what it all boils down to," and then I see others, or hear them, rather the ones who already know this truth, and who have been struggling with it murmuring, "Yes, but HOW do I do that? How can I be kind, when I feel such anger, or fear, or distaste, or whatever?"
So, we need the how-to books, as well. We need those who remind us to be kind, and we need those who teach us how to be kind... Or, rather, how to see and get free of all the stuff that gets in the way of our natural kindness.
Keep up the wonderful work, dear one.
Suzanne responds to Jim:
So glad you were moved. I love this conversation that's developing.
At the heart of the "how to" I know you would espouse is that wonderful "core insight" that you talk about and so effectively guide people to that "radical awakening" that Yukio, whom I've already spoken about to Joe, calls it. That would be a gift you would bring to any gathering we'd have it would be a starting place, to get us all into the same essential awareness.
Jim, I went back to our dialogue, when it was just you and me developing our friendship and speculating about co-creations of ours that could serve much the same purpose as this group effort here. I didn't remember that what we'd exchanged was so rich. Food for Joe and the others am copying this to the so-far active participants. I just pulled a few excerpts to whet their appetites:
JIM: A vision I've held for a long time is getting together with groups of CEO's and other high-level executives and leaders, and sharing the teaching and the Energy with them, showing them how the timeless wisdom can transform their lives, and give them an inner richness no amount of outer success can ever buy. If we start turning CEOs and government leaders onto this, then we'll see even more social change.
SUZANNE: Am mulling over some ideas to focus an exchange between people like you and me, who find it so satisfying to be in touch. What I like about what you're doing is that you are a real person. Not holier than thou. I think God has to come down to something ordinary that we'd feel the connection if we hadn't gotten born into a culture that is so cut off from the sacred. We keep trying to get to this distant holy place, when it's here now. I think you're a great figure to represent that "everyday God" that we all need.
JIM: I think the "democratization of enlightenment" as I like to call it, is the wave of the future.
SUZANNE: I've been thinking hard about putting you with Brian Swimme and Bo Lozoff and a few others, trying to dream up a round table of people I think would be smashing together. Let each one present them self to the others. The thought of Brian's world washing over you and yours over him is thrilling to me. My part would be to take the participants through some crop circle magic.
JIM: When I hear you talk of your dialogue with Brian Swimme, and read the echoes of your ongoing conversation with Lex, it is clear you need a big, expansive, wide-ranging stage to play on, and on which to bring really interesting people together. I like the idea of a group of three or four dynamic minds involved in a conversation, maybe facilitated by you, and then the audience can participate with their questions, comments and sharings
Joe responds to Jim and Suzanne:
Thank you, Suzanne thank you, Jim, for your comments about Seven Words and for your overall observations. For some reason, we who did not know each other very recently are being brought together. That is likely to produce something larger than any one of us is capable of creating individually. Life presents only opportunities. Then, it is our turn. That is the symbiotic interplay between synchronicity and evolution. Each of us has made this happen in our own way. It is a product of our collective energy. It is something that wants to be born. We will make that happen.
Jim replies to Joe:
"We will make that happen..."
Very well said, Joe. I like the emphasis on "we." Seems we (!) could use more of that in this individual freedom loving society of ours. Let the individual I's, all six billion of 'em, flow out of the One we that we are, rather than the other way around. It's a Herculean task, taking on the job of awakening the consciousness of humanity at large, but we've been chosen. Each of us has our own song to sing, our own unique contribution to make. My sense is that the more I acknowledge your beauty and uniqueness, and you mine, the more we create a world of beauty. Or, rather, honor and appreciate the incredible beauty that is always here.
I imagine that is what you mean by the word "sacred." Interestingly, if we change just two letters around, sacred becomes "scared." It is our fear that gets in the way of the sacred. The great irony is that there is absolutely nothing to be afraid of, other than the demons we create.
Joe responds to Jim:
I am grateful for your wisdom and your willingness. I look forward to a continuation of what has been put into motion.
I want to share the following piece with you. One of the lines that I found most compelling is, "Corruption is everywhere, but so is retribution."
Who's a Banana Republic Now?
by Gwynne Dyer
Is corruption a Third World disorder? Not if the French are any guide.
"France is not a banana republic," insisted former prime minister Raymond Barre last year, as the financial scandals surrounding President Jacques Chirac grew ever more damning. "You must not believe that all French politics or that all French politicians are corrupt." But most French people believe exactly that.
Judge Eric Halphen, who spent seven years investigating the French president's alleged crimes, only to have France's highest court rule last October that "the president of the republic cannot be questioned as a witness ... or charged with any infraction," has come to the same conclusion.
Halphen finally quit his job as investigating magistrate two weeks ago. Claiming that he had been bugged and followed, subjected to threats and a sting operation, and obstructed at every turn, he said that in France "political investigations are just like mafia investigations. No one speaks
... People who embezzle huge sums escape all judgement ... but the man who steals a handbag on the metro is not so lucky. He gets six months."
To be fair, former French foreign minister Roland Dumas was sentenced to six months jail last June for receiving kickbacks through his former mistress Christine Deviers-Joncour, the self-described 'whore of the republic', that were worth up to $4 million. They don't all get away. But it is still largely true that in France 'the law is for little people', not for the elite. And the 'little people', remarkably, generally go along with it.
That is certainly the case in Italy, where Prime Minister Enrico Berlusconi has led a counter-offensive against the attempted clean-up of Italian politics by crusading magistrates in the latter 1990s. The 'mani puliti' (clean hands) investigators actually broke the astoundingly corrupt Christian Democratic party, which had dominated Italian politics for forty years, but Berlusconi, who owns or strongly influences all six of Italy's national television channels, has now persuaded many Italians that it was all just a left-wing plot.
Berlusconi deals with the various bribery charges he faces himself by endless delaying actions one case has already expired because it passed the legal deadline before getting to court or by simply changing the law. For example, there is now a proposal to downgrade false accounting (a charge which coincidentally faces his own Mediaset corporation) from a felony to a non-criminal misdemeanour. Italians still vote for him.
Nor is it just some Latin thing. In 2000 Germany watched former Chancellor Helmut Kohl feign memory loss whenever he was asked about illegal campaign contributions to his Christian Democratic party. (He admitted to receiving over $900,000 in 1993-98 alone, but investigators suspected far larger sums.) And Ireland recently went through a two-year drama as a special tribunal examined how Charlie Haughey, four times prime minister, had accumulated a fortune more than a hundred times greater than his highest annual salary.
How does this compare with poor countries in the developing world? It's not as bad as African kleptocracies like Congo under Mobutu or Nigeria under Abacha, where the rulers stole literally billions of dollars. It doesn't even rank with Peru, where Vladimiro Montesinos, for ten years disgraced ex-president Alberto Fujimori's closest adviser, had 2,400 videotapes showing the country's political and business elite accepting bribes.
But even poor democracies with free media like India (where former prime minister Narasimha Rao got a three-year jail sentence for bribery in 2000) sometimes get it right. Corruption is everywhere, but so is retribution. India's defence minister, George Fernandes, had to leave the cabinet last year after an upstart website called tehelka.com sent out journalists disguised as representatives of a fictitious British company seeking an arms contract, and secretly filmed Indian generals, politicians and senior officials accepting large sums of cash from them.
Or take the Philippines, whose people elected a charming scoundrel, Joseph 'Erap' Estrada, to the presidency and then overthrew him last year when his influence-peddling and bribe-taking got too public and too embarrassing. Crime, but also punishment a great deal more punishment than France's President Chirac expects to receive.
The most recent and in some ways the worst of the many scandals that dog Chirac is the revelation that he paid for $350,000 worth of air travel in 1993-95, including private trips to places like New York (by Concorde), Mauritius and Japan for himself, his family, and friends, with brown envelopes stuffed with 500-franc notes delivered to the travel agency by his chauffeur.
The assumption is that this money is part of the kickbacks he received on almost all city construction projects while he was mayor of Paris, but if he is re-elected president this year it will be another five years before anybody can even question him about it. And he probably will win: French voters don't seem upset about it.
On an index devised by the anti-corruption crusaders at Transparency International, the cleanest countries are predictably in northern Europe, from Finland at 9.9 to Britain at 8.3, while the very lowest scores are registered by big, poor countries like Bangladesh, Indonesia and Nigeria. But France gets only 6.7. (The United States gets 7.6).
Many people think there's a simple equation: rich countries are honest, poor ones are corrupt. But it's much more complicated than that. Some cultures secretly despise rip-off artists even when they become the rich and the powerful, as they so often do. Other cultures, however, secretly admire them and let them get away with it.
When you get a sense of how pervasive the villainy is in humanity as a species, it is very discouraging. How can any high minded effort really do very much? And then, you consider the destructive capacity of our weaponry, and you see that it could be just a matter of time before we either wipe out all life on earth, or enough of it to jar the survivors into making needed changes. This is why I have a passion for the crop circles. There is no way on earth that they can be accounted for by human hand. That means there is another intelligence, with capabilities we do not have, making contact with us. I leave it to your imagination to envision the positive results that could come from our realization of the situation, both in giving humanity a vastly expanded playing field in which awe has a good chance to replace avarice, and in who knows what valuable info we might receive to advance our science and technology if we were receptive. It could be the dawning of a whole new age, and it is another of the crimes our government is guilty of that it does not pursue this avenue. However, since the information that will awaken us to the reality of visitation is there for the observing, it is not necessary to have the government's cooperation to get it. All we need is for attention to be paid anyone, even a movie star, that gets scientists to take a serious look, could do the trick. Of course, I have high hopes for our forthcoming film, too may later this year not be too late.
Joe responds to Suzanne:
It is easy to fall prey to a sense of despair, given the villainy and the weaponry. That is why I found the line "Corruption is everywhere, but so is retribution" compelling.
We are a primitive species. The havoc that we cause is astonishing. Besides the intelligence responsible for crop circles, it appears that we have had many visitations by beings with higher intelligence. What are they telling us? They are telling us not destroy this rare "mother planet" that breeds life. To do that requires huge behavioral modifications. What would happen if this alien intelligence allowed itself to be known in some physical form? No doubt, the right wingers would attempt to annihilate it. Whether they would or not, the existence of a form of higher intelligence would shake things up. Yet, one wonders what kinds of changes could occur. Would suddenly there be economic and environmental justice? Would suddenly people destroy the tapes playing in their heads and think differently? It's hard to imagine. What would higher forms of intelligence tell us? Be healthy. Be kind. Respect the environment. Do we need advanced technology to do those things? Not really. We need to change our mind sets. How do we do that?
I think you maybe missed me here. It was a bit disheartening to have the exchange with you ending with your saying, "We need to change our mind sets. How do we do that?" The point of my email was to suggest a way.
To respond to the rest of what you wrote, I'm not talking about meeting any beings. It's conjecture, but I wouldn't expect that. And it's not necessary. The "intelligence" leaves footprints we can read from them that something that thinks and designs and understands us is out there. The realization comes first. Wow! Who can say what that would do? A big shaker, for sure, and we don't have to know more to see how worthwhile it could be for that to occur. That your message would be its message may very well be so, but I suggest there would be much more attention paid were it to come from the great beyond.
Re there being many other sources of great beyondness, generally categorized under UFO, that no doubt is the fact. But the facts of that fact are difficult to tease out, and cannot be done with the kind of certainty that the crop circles afford. Circles are there for all to see and to study, and are so loaded with information that, if you look, you cannot dismiss the fact that we are being signaled. To establish that in the comprehension of humanity is a very real possibility and affords a very big promise.
Sorry to be disheartening. Didn't mean to be. I didn't make myself clear. I think I understand the potential impact that an awareness of another intelligence could have, as you wrote. And I followed you in the potential to replace avarice with awe, as well as the possible scientific and technological advancements that could be realized. And the possibility of a dawning of a new age. When I wrote that we need to change our mind sets, I meant that in a sense we already have all those possibilities here on earth. We should be in awe clearly of what we have now and change our avaricious ways. If we used our resources properly, and stop warring with each other, we could be advancing much more rapidly scientifically and technologically. We can give birth to a "new age" by what we know right now. And I know you understand and agree with all of that. Our current mind set keeps us from advancing in these ways. We agree on that.
What I am saying beyond that though is simply this. Even if we acknowledge the existence of a higher intelligence, I suspect those same individuals, with the mind sets they now have, who in multiple ways are destructive, will continue with the same mind sets and continue to be destructive - regardless of such a startling development as the acknowledgement of the existence of a higher intelligence. I would bet, first off, that given the clear history of the way "these people" think, they would see this remarkable development not as an opportunity but as a threat. That has been the pattern here. You are suggesting that pattern could be changed by an awareness of a higher intelligence. You may be right. I hope that you are.
I just wouldn't go there in terms of pessimistic forecast. Who knows what will happen? Useless to project and disheartening. If I had to debate, I'd point to the incredible happenstance on Diana's death. Who woulda thunk it? When you touch the collective heart and soul, all kinds of heaven can break loose.
And one thing to note about the circles is how benign they are. They are not possessed of the kind of properties that the UFO world abounds with, where the perception could readily be of an enemy. We are not dealing with anything like craft or abductions, where there is something tangible to fight against.
No one would argue with this: "We should be in awe clearly of what we have now and change our avaricious ways. If we used our resources properly, and stop warring with each other, we could be advancing much more rapidly scientifically and technologically. We can give birth to a 'new age' by what we know right now." But, "should?" "If?" "Could?" We are a far cry from the actual wake-up, and the possibility inherent in the circles to bring it about is the point of my communication as we work with normal means as best we can, some abnormal assistance could be a godsend.
Cop writes to Suzanne:
Thank you so much, Suzanne, for introducing me to the Escaping the Matrix piece by Richard K. Moore. I, too, find the metaphor powerful and Moore's analysis highly convincing. Published first in mid-2000, it is anything but dated. I immediately started plugging Bush presidency and post-911 data into Moore's thesis, and as I did became increasingly convinced that his "matrix reality" is useful way of looking at things. A few comments:
I watch television news broadcasts daily. My main sources are the three global news services: CNN, CBC Newsworld, and BBC World. In a single day I will typically watch all three. The differences in what is covered and how it is covered are so revealing. A couple of examples. Bush has recently shifted the US position to be increasingly anti-Arafat and more pro-Isreal. This past weekend both BBC and CBC gave extensive coverage to the decision by more than 100 officers in the Israeli army to no longer serve in the occupied territories because the present rules of engagement require shooting any man, woman or child who picks up a rock, force Palestinians to pick up suspect objects, and mandate other treatment of civilians that they considered unacceptable. I may have missed something, but I saw no coverage of this at all on CNN. While there is a worldwide version of the matrix reality, there are also geographic differences, and CNN's editorial decisions seem designed to ensure that as little as possible runs counter to the American version. Also, last night BBC World aired an item that was quite critical of capitalism itself; nothing like that on CNN!
About actual reality, Moore says, "In reality there is only one significant political agenda these days: the maximization of capital growth through the dismantling of society, the continuing implementation of neoliberalism, and the management of empire." In Matters of Consequence I criticize the outrageous things that George W. did during his first three months in office, but the way he has taken advantage of his support after 911 is even scarier. America (and Canada I might add) are now getting used to reduced human rights being something that's acceptable, and Big Stick American unilateralism is intensifying. One set of reasons for these actions are offered in the media; Moore offers another set. Very interesting, and far from reassuring.
Moore's recipe for dealing with all this:
"In order for the movement to end elite rule and establish livable societies to succeed, it will need to evolve a democratic process, and to use that process to develop a program of consensus reform that harmonizes the interests of its constituencies. In order to be politically victorious, it will need to reach out to all segments of society and become a majority movement. By such means, the democratic process of the movement can become the democratic process of a newly empowered civil society. There is no adequate theory of democracy at present, although there is much to be learned from history and from theory. The movement will need to develop a democratic process as it goes along, and that objective must be pursued as diligently as victory itself. Otherwise some new tyranny will eventually replace the old."
That "reach out to all segments of society" is a key part of Joe's approach too.
Joe writes to Suzanne:
The Matrix article is a very powerful piece and outlines what we are up against. At the end of the piece in the section, "Escaping the Matrix," Moore writes:
"In order for the movement to end elite rule and establish livable societies to succeed, it will need to evolve a democratic process, and to use that process to develop a program of consensus reform that harmonizes the interests of its constituencies. In order to be politically victorious, it will need to reach out to all segments of society and become a majority movement. By such means, the democratic process of the movement can become the democratic process of a newly empowered civil society. There is no adequate theory of democracy at present, although there is much to be learned from history and from theory. The movement will need to develop a democratic process as it goes along, and that objective must be pursued as diligently as victory itself. Otherwise some new tyranny will eventually replace the old."Now re-read pages 21-23 of Seven Words.
Suzanne writes to Jim:
Somebody sent this out, and it seemed like a good parallel to what you're up to:
Zen meditation is a trickily simple affair, for it consists only in watching everything that is happening, including your own thoughts and your breathing, without comment. After a while thinking, or talking to yourself drops away, and you find that there is no 'yourself' other than everything which is going on both inside and outside the skin. Your consciousness, your breathing, and your feelings are all the same process as the wind, the trees growing, the insects buzzing, the water flowing and the distant prattle of the city. All this is a single, many-featured 'happening,' a perpetual now without either past or future, and you are aware of it with the rapt fascination of a child dropping pebbles into a stream. The trick which cannot be forced is to be in this state of consciousness all the time, even when you are filling out tax forms or being angry. -Alan Watts-"The trick" part, at the end, would be the same desired outcome. There's always this wonder for me if who and what I am is in tune with this, or if there's still someplace to get to. The focus on spiritual lack, and the need for "getting it," is so prevalent in our time, that at some level this mundane life I lead doesn't look like "it." However, I feel very attuned to whatever there is that "it" would be. But it never came from any devoted practice, so is there some more refined attunement that practiced people get to that I am missing and should have? If we're talking about Joe's seven words, they are the water I swim in, and the beauty and virtue of the life lived along these lines is clearly the way oneness would be actualized. Can we be impeccable at our relationships to each other and the world and still be in some fundamental lack as far as attunement to spirit is concerned?
Joe responds to Suzanne:
Alan Watts writes at the end of his piece, "The trick which cannot be forced is to be in this state of consciousness all the time, even when you are filling out tax forms or being angry." The point and place of awareness that Alan describes, however achieved (Zen meditation or otherwise), I see not as the ending but the beginning. I agree that the "trick" is to remain "in this state of consciousness all of the time, even when you are filling out tax forms or being angry." But that is the easy part of the "trick." The real challenge is to understand that these things that he mentions like breathing, wind, trees growing, insects buzzing, and water flowing are phenomena that are but fragments, like ourselves, of greater phenomena. The real trick, first, is to understand that by which all these phenomena are sustained; second, to value it; and third, to honor it through behavior. These phenomena dictate behavioral patterns that are imperative, not arbitrary. It is in that understanding and alignment where "nirvana" is found.
Jim responds to Suzanne:
Great quote from Watts, and I liked Joe's response very much. Openness, consciousness, the great unfoldment of Being, these are all words to describe our true nature. The "I" who wants to stay in some "state" all the time, who thinks there should be more to life than what is currently happening, is the impediment. This "I" is just an idea, anyway, a concept which, like a magnet, draws all kinds of preferred beliefs, concepts, and opinions to itself, while repelling all those it does not like.
What I have observed is that I can only know, or see, what I am not. In other words, if I can observe the "I" or "me" thought, which I can, then I cannot be the thought. I am that which is observing.... Which is awareness or consciousness itself. The realization of this brings me back to silent awareness, to the timeless peace and beauty of life unfolding in this very moment.
The more of us that awaken to this peace and beauty, the more healing we will see of our social ills. Of this I am convinced. This is the "someplace" to get to that you speak of, Suzanne. Many people struggle with this one, and there is always the problem of this seeming division between those who seem to or claim to have "found" the truth, and those who haven't.
I think total self-honesty is essential here. When I was still seeking "it" I had many moments when I thought I had found it as I had, for an hour, a day, or a week but then I lost "it" again. Then, one day, the whole thing became clear and I saw that the problem wasn't finding "it," but seeing through what gets in the way...... This "self" that I took myself to be.
I like the way Ramana [Yukio, when I hosted him...ST] put it.... "The only barrier to realization is the belief that we are not realized."
Joe responds to Jim:
I have been in this place of "timeless peace and beauty." I can put myself there and have. For me, however, I have found that place to be more or less an escape. This world, this planet that we call Earth, has never overall been a place of peace and beauty. There are times of peace and there are places of beauty. They come and go. All too often there is anything but peace and beauty. This has been a violent place for 4.56 billion years. Every life form competes with each other for survival. It is an extraordinary spectacle. It results in, among countless other phenomena, great disparities between those who have enormous comfort and those who suffer interminably as Suzanne pointed out. Generally speaking, I do not find our reality to be a pretty picture. We have extraordinary suffering on this planet. Am I missing something here?
Joe puzzling that you would say these things:
"The trick...I see not as the ending but the beginning."
"...the 'trick' is to remain 'in this state of consciousness all of the time, even when you are filling out tax forms or being angry.' But that is the easy part of the 'trick.'"
It makes sense to me that it's the beginning in terms of the life well lived, but how is it the easy part? The point of the quote is that you need the understanding you speak of to impel that mature way of being.
This reminds me, in a way that's related although not quite the same, to something you said before, where I was talking about the root cause of the "world problematique" being the disparity between the rich and the poor. You disagreed, and although I was aware that the disparity is a symptom of a deeper cause, still it wasn't "wrong" to cite that as the prevailing problem. It depends on what strata you speak from. That disparity is pulling the world apart. It's valuable, I think, to recognize that, and then to look for how to fix it, which would lead to the need for a change of consciousness. Obviously, the prevailing consciousness is what supports the unworkability of the prevailing system, but if you never see the threatening nature of how that system works, you'd never be impelled to do anything to change what causes it.
The relationship between these two communications is some dismissal of what shows up in life as worth talking about, while leaping to the elemental need for change. I think it's useful to keep all those things on the table to afford a dimensional configuration in which to grapple with what's going on.
So how about this little worldly do-gooder over here? I wouldn't put myself where you put yourself, Jim which you know I find totally attractive, but it wouldn't occur to me to coach or guide. Am I different from you, or is it just that I've chosen a different career based on the same knowledge base? I find, since 9/11, that I've lost the attraction to tune-ups, where, before, I'd get up in the morning and read "I Am That," to put myself into a God-centered space. Now, I feel riveted to the danger we are in, and my mind is on alert at the same time as I don't feel I've lost anything, or I should be more divinely intoxicated. In fact, when I read the spiritual quote for the day that I get from a list I'm on, from people like Ramana Maharshi and Papa-ji, it all seems preachy and even silly, if I dare to be so irreverent. Here I am, with the hurting world on my plate, and these little reminders come the last couple, for instance, have been Ramesh Balsekar saying, "If you but cease from useless conceptualizing, you will be what you are and what you have always been," and Nisargadatta, from "I Am That," with, "Pain and pleasure, good and bad, right and wrong; these are relative terms and must not be taken absolutely. They are limited and temporary." OK, but, at the time I'm at the computer, I keep thinking, "So what?" Maybe it's an incompatability of the setting but then, I'm not inclined to read these people, whom I used to like so much, at any time now. Any comment?
Jim responds to Suzanne:
You ask if I have any comment on the fact that you are not inclined to read these somewhat preachy spiritual aphorisms in light of the urgent times we live in. You are right about the gap between the rich and the poor but, like Joe (I think this is what he is saying) I see this as a symptom, not cause.
It seems to me that we are in the mess we are in because so many people are not awake to their true nature, and to the underlying interconnectedness of all phenomena, all life. When, out of fear, I cling to my belief that my salvation and safety lie in money, the will of Allah, the mercy of Jesus, of the brotherhood of my homies in the hood, then I am living in a polarized condition. I cling to my pole, you cling to yours. All conflict and disharmony is the result of polarization.
To my way of thinking, only when people stop clinging so tightly to their belief in capitalism, Christianity, Islam, or whatever will we see more harmony in our world... the respect for each other that Joe writes about. People have to grow up and see that their "precious" religion is, in the end, an arbitrary story that somebody made up a long time ago, and that other people have been revising and refining ever since. If they want to believe that theirs is the only "true" story, they have that right. But they cannot be permitted to attack or hurt people who identify with other, opposing stories. We will still need police and military forces to control the extreme elements. Once in a while we may have to go to war.
I agree with the wisdom masters of old, both Eastern and Western, who tell Us that all suffering is the result of ignorance... Identifying with the expressions of awareness beliefs, thoughts, feelings rather than awareness itself. Pure awareness, or consciousness, is common to all. When a group of people come together in silent awareness and presence then, regardless of skin color, nationality, or past religious programming, there is the felt realization that there is, indeed, just one consciousness, one energy call it divine if you wish expressing through the group.
The more of us that wake up to this oneness of being which some call enlightenment, others freedom, mastery, or true self-knowing the less polarization we will encounter in our world, and the more likelihood of finding creative solutions to the very real problems facing us.
If you came to me and asked, "How best can I serve," I would say, "Find a Way to get the message of awakening out." Seems to me that is exactly what you are doing. As a friend of mine might say, "You go, girl!"
Suzanne responds to Jim:
You know, I agree with you. Perhaps my aversion is to the perpetual searching that characterizes this strata of people that we've been engaged with for so long that there is what feels like a pervasive stagnation, where just an occasional person breaks through to a clarity where they start teaching and guiding, and the rest remain passively questing rather than actively serving. Surely, there's a grand awakening going on that vast numbers haven't even heard of yet, so there are always going to be students benefiting from teachings. But, more and more, I personally am put off by the sense that the teaching is preaching, which over and over re-iterates what I would think would already be basic understandings to people who had long since "gotten it." Where are all those people, standing in awareness, looking to what they can do to serve the world? Or even sharing nuances about their awareness, rather than being perennial students of the master teaching? And are the teachers complicit in this, lecturing people instead of rallying the troops? These times, it feels to me, call us to action rather than contemplation us above all people, because we do "get it," and the world is in such need. I am just rambling here, not sure that I'm on target just looking for where my discomfort is coming from. It may be as simple as different strokes for different folks, and I should just be about my business rather than complaining about anyone else's. Or maybe I never did get it, and I should still be questing myself. Whatever, you know, anytime you want to plant yourself in my company, I am very happy it does feel like we are in "it" together, rapping and probing. Come on-a my house any day!
Joe responds to Suzanne and Jim:
Thanks to both of you for your eloquent thoughts. What you wrote, Suzanne, reminds me of a quote, "The end of life is not knowledge, but action." I agree. I am put off by people that go from one class to the next. I have friends that do that. I want to say to them, "Look, it's not that complicated. You understand enough. Just do it."
Jim, I really enjoyed reading how you described the many ways we choose to divide ourselves. If it weren't so absurd, it would be comical. It reminds me of how even very educated people do the same thing in how we divide academic disciplines. I've observed how many of these "erudite" people slowly are beginning to understand that life is interdisciplinary even as they defend their domains.
How dense we are. Life is nudging us toward "the" awakening. People like us, in all humility, are helping to facilitate that. I am grateful to know and be associated with you both, and others everywhere who work similarly.
Jim responds to Suzanne:
You wrote, "Or maybe I never did get it, and I should still be questing myself."
I do not doubt that you have "got" it, Suzanne. Like all of us, you have moments of getting caught up in the drama, I am sure, but you are definitely one of the awakened ones, and please do not deny that in my presence (heh, heh.....). Some of us, however, are destined to play the role of spiritual mentor or guide. That is our gift. Others focus less on individual transformation, and more on bringing the work of transformation to the world at large.
I see you providing a forum, bringing different people, different minds and talents together, as we explore ways to get the message of consciousness, of awakening, out there. How to apply it in practical ways. Myself, I am working on a new book, about leadership from the enlightened perspective. Ever since I trained as an army office, served in Vietnam, and became, briefly, the youngest captain in the New Zealand army (big deal), I have had this interest in leadership. Or perhaps it was the fact that my grandmother was the third woman elected to Parliament in NZ, and my boyhood hero was Winston Churchill, and I always thought I would go into politics. Anyway, I will keep you posted.... and, yes, I would love to come to LA and see you.
Suzanne responds to Jim:
It's so nice how you hold the space, Jim. And without airs. It's very much in some same gestalt as Joe. Just reality at its bottom line, that in a way is nothing, except there is so much static that has come between our simple essence and and our complex lives that it's a big deal to be at zero. As a subjective experience, those T.S. Eliot lines, that have come up before here, always reverberate with me, about gettibg back to where you started from and "knowing that place for the first time."
Suzanne writes to Joe:
Wade Frazier received your book from the publisher and had this to say:
I read Joe's book last week, and I definitely think we have enough in common to where our efforts can complement one another.Wade has just posted the latest in his truth telling series of essays, Trucking, and One Way to Immediately Improve the Lives of Millions, that he says, "presents a way to give more than one million Americans their lives back, and soon. Several million American lives can be affected in the near future, very positively, with little societal cost."
There was a piece in the editorial section of today's Sarasota Herald Tribune, "A Human Quest, In Search of A New Global Ethic," by Paul R. Ehrlich.
"The questions are myriad; the answers barely explored in public."You can see the relevance of this piece to our work.
"We all need to consider how to reinvent ourselves as a large-group animal, with ethics that will enable human beings to cooperate in solving the horrendous environmental and social problems confronting our species."
"It will take more than smart bombs and special forces to secure our future, it will take smart charismatic leaders with special concern for the evolving moral values of society."
Allan Savory, another of our Featured Conversation participants, writes:
Wonders of modern technology, I am writing this late at night while flying over the Pacific en route to Australia.
I received Joe Simonetta's little book from his publisher, for which I must thank you. I read it earlier this evening and thoroughly enjoyed it. I envy his ability to express himself over so profound a matter in such a brief and clear way. Every bit of his book resonated with me and particularly his views on our religions.
I intend on my return to write a brief recommendation on his book and post it to all our members and also will buy a few and send them to friends. During this Australian trip I have to give three keynote addresses to audiences from NSW to Perth and during the discussion periods will suggest people obtain his book.
It is amazing to me how Joe, from such a totally different background, has come up with something that so lines up with my work in the effect it would produce if people adopted his simple practices simple clear and commonsense. I hope one day to have an opportunity to meet him and discuss his thoughts.
What struck me most was that his seven words, if practiced, would have almost exactly the same effect on a person, family or community's life as it would if they made the decisions in their lives holistically. The main differences that I perceive are that his approach is easier, but Holistic Management empowers people to take respect for the environment to a higher level. In addition, the Holistic Management framework enables people at all levels of governance to analyze and formulate policies, diagnose resource management problems and orientate research to people's real needs something that we could not achieve with the seven words alone.
The Holistic Management decision making framework fortifies Joe's simple approach in the area where it is weakest respect for the environment. One has only to look at wilderness areas where everyone is respecting the environment as much as they can with all present mainstream scientific knowledge and note the environment deteriorating to see what I mean.
Also in the realm of governance, Holistic Management policy formation would strengthen Joe's approach. For instance, if one looks at a situation like that in Zimbabwe today where government has moved to reallocate land fairly, it is a mess. That is because they have done it for short term political reasons. However, had they done it for all the right reasons and truly concerned themselves with being caring and fair to all people as well as respecting the environment, the results would have been almost the same over the long term because the land would have kept desertifying and poor land always leads to poor people, social breakdown, blaming, increasing droughts and floods, rising fundamentalism, genocide and war. This is not because people are stupid, but simply because the decision-making framework used by all humans is faulty. Not easy to explain in a few words but I have attempted to do so at some length in my book.
I love the way Joe so effectively makes the point of everything being so interconnected that all is one and how he explains people need to be healthy and kind to others and the environment or suffer the inevitable consequences at some time. I don't think I expressed this as clearly as he did, when I wrote that all humans make decisions in their own self-interest and always will but that when they do so using the holistic framework to determine decisions and actions, that becomes an enlightenned self-interest. In other words they quickly find out that it is their self-interest to be kind as Joe would put it and to manage the environment in a regenerative way. What Joe expressed in such a readable manner I often put to people in a series of statements that I get them to consider you cannot make an economically sound decision unless it is also socially sound. You cannot make a socially sound decision unless it is also environmentally sound. Thus one cannot make any truly sound economic decision unless it is simultaneously socially and environmentally sound both short and long term. To achieve this ideal one has to make the decisions holistically. And as we have experienced, this does lead to that ideal.
I don't want to go on and on although tempted, but you probably see why I say it would be nice to talk with Joe at some stage. I am going to watch with interest the reactions of people who are well versed in Holistic Management when they do read Joe's book.
I imagine you have read Benjamin Barber's book Jihad vs McWorld. Another brilliant and clear writer with a meaningful message. When Barber and others describe what is going on today with our technology driving us as much as the push for corporate profits at all costs, I note the term "spiralling out of control" is used as there clearly is no one at the helm. I had to talk to a group of agricultural leaders recently in California and after my presentation about the two decision-making frameworks we know of the conventional used subconsciously by all humans through all cultures and times and the holistic one we have under development we had a good discussion about where we are going. As I expressed it, all that is happening to us that is said to be spiralling out of control, is the net result of billions of small and large decisions made with the conventional or human decision making framework as well as national and international policies formed with the same framework. No amount of planning or striving to rectify things will come from the same decision making that produced the problems. But I do, like Joe, believe that we will only rectify our problems through billions of small and large decisions being made on a daily basis. In Joe's language with people taking care of their health, being kind and respectful of the environment in my language making decisions holistically which automatically leads to people taking care of their health, being kind but also regenerating the environment. Much as I have thought of the situation we are in I cannot see any other way out but decision by decision by ordinary people and eventually government (all levels) forming policies holistically.
You are no doubt as horrified as I am to see Bush and his military advisors digging the grave of democracy, fairness and justice deeper by the day. More worrying is that his popularity ratings continue to rise which tells us a lot about the level of intelligence and our society and the media what a mess we are building up to.
Suzanne replies to Allan:
Allan This email made me cry. It is so much in the spirit of the intention I had for this dialogue, where I thought that Joe caught the essence of what the others I have invited are doing in their specialized ways and that his book would be a good spine around which we could forge an alliance, the power of which could add up to the small group of thoughtful, committed citizens who could change the world.
I am so moved by your work both your ideas and how you have implemented them and that you are moved by Joe is the best Valentine. I hope the other participants now will check out the rest of our conversation. Of course, if you keep up with what I post on my main page, you'll see how alarming Bush is to me. The latest piece that I've quoted from has this to say:
"His astonishing budget makes sense only if we are planning to use our mighty military in a pseudo-religious quest to create a super-dominant Pax Americana. Bizarre as that sounds, it may be the real framework for Bush's proposed spending orgy. In any case, almost every non-American speaker at the World Economic Forum in New York expressed fear at this specter. Even our own Bill Gates was alarmed at the United States' apparent hubris: 'People who feel the world is tilted against them will spawn the kind of hatred that is very dangerous for all of us.'"That Bush's popularity continues to soar is truly terrifying.
May we find ourselves together before too long...
Joe responds to Allan:
Thank you for taking the time to read my book, Seven Words, and for your generous and interesting comments. It appears that we are of the same mind. I look forward to meeting you in person. I share your horror at the folly of the president and administration currently at the helm of our country. In my view, we could not have worse leadership at so critical a time for our species. Instead of addressing critically pressing issues, they accelerate our destructive momentum with archaic worldviews. This is a reality that I and millions of others suffer daily. There is so much work for us to do. In my gut, I feel that a critical mass of people are aware of the challenges we face. With enlightened leadership, much can and will be accomplished. We must persevere. There will be opportunities and openings I am certain.
Allan responds to Joe:
Thanks for contacting me and let's hope we do actually meet sometime. If ever you have occasion to be going past Albuquerque, do give me a call and see if you can stay with us.
We have just formed an Australian/New Zealand Association of people involved with Holistic Management, and I also ran a Master Workshop for people who have been involved awhile at University of Sydney, Orange. At the opening of the new Association, I had to opportunity to talk and they have filmed it and will send me a transcript, which I will pass on to you as soon as I get it. I think this will interest you as I took Bush and Blair to task for their lack of leadership at a time when the world's democracies and the world are crying out for leadership, and also tried to deal with what Benjamin Barbour referred to as things spiraling out of control on a global scale and how this could be addressed only through grass roots. There is, as Barbour and others point out, no one at the helm, and, as I pointed out, things would get worse if someone was at the helm with our present leadership and policy formation ways!
I referred to your book in the talk and also talked to many people about it. As I only had one copy, only a few folks got the chance to read it while I was there. Paul Griffiths, who is transcribing the talk for me, tried to order many copies of your book to have them handy, but they could only track down one in Australia!
Joe responds to Allan:
Thank you for your very interesting note. I look forward to the transcript of your talk. I agree that things are spiraling out of control. Particularly with the administration that is running this country. They resist precisely what needs to be done. Thank you for mentioning my book in Australia. That is appreciated.
I live in Sarasota, Florida and will be in California in April. I will be speaking in Santa Barbara, Ojai, maybe Ventura, and maybe Los Angeles (where I will visit with Suzanne). It may be possible to come back through Albuquerque, even speak there. I have a Website that describes my talk ("Astonish the World, Tell the Simple Truth") and people's reactions to it. It's the same material that is in my book. My books are also mentioned at my Website. There are many powerful testimonials for Seven Words That Can Change the World, including Suzanne's.
It's good to be in touch with you. I hope we can do some work together.
Suzanne writes to Joe:
I just cleaned out old audio tapes and found the New World Alliance organizing meeting I went to in 1981, with you speaking. Actually a bit startling to hear how little has changed in terms of the world we were trying to fix.
Joe responds to Suzanne:
The New World Alliance! Wow. You were there? That's really amazing. Actually, there has been a lot of change. A lot. That was 21 years ago. Yes, the problems persist and many are worse. The difference is that today we have a widespread awareness about them that didn't exist back then. This is a different time. We are moving closer to a point where some significant shifts can occur. I sense that. And small incremental shifts occur all of the time. Take the response to Seven Words. I don't think it would have gotten the same response twenty years ago as it is getting now. The time is nearing for there to be enough mass to shift the momentum enough to make a difference. Each day more and more join this mass. It's clearly a minority but increasingly a significant one. Remember, it is perseverance, above all, that inevitably wins the day. We have a LOT invested in these efforts. More than can be quantified. In one way or another, I have not stopped since the early eighties.
Just watched the Natural Law video you sent with a couple of friends. You're a great speaker. Wish you were making a run for political office that had a chance. I think you'd wow people. You really deliver and you look great. You are very lovable. Can't wait till we're doing something together. I'll be proud if I'm promoting you.
Joe responds to Suzanne:
Thanks for your comments on the video. That was a great evening. People were really moved. Bob Roth, John Hagelin's press secretary and friend, said it was the finest National Law Party event ever put on. My campaign staff organized it. I had great beautiful people, a solid core of about twenty to twenty-five all of whom I never knew before the campaign. They materialized one after another. When I speak, as in that video, I can reach and move people. In running for office the limitation has always been not having the funds to reach enough people. The experiences and training have been excellent though. Should I get out on the road with Seven Words, I am well prepared. It may be better for me to have the freedom to promote Seven Words (worldwide) than to be in the U.S. Congress which would be restrictive. I'm not sure about that but that is my sense. I look forward to our continued collaboration.
Yes, you probably could have more impact not being in government. Then again, if anyone could get into office not beholden to any narrow interests, my fantasy is that the kind of truth telling you do could propel someone into the highest office, with everyone breathing a huge sigh of relief. Call me naive, but I always wonder why someone like you couldn't be elected, and then turn into one of the great heroes of all time.
I keep thinking you should be familiar with Brian Swimme's work, whether he participates with us or not. I am working on him it's hard to get him to take anything on. But I see such power in you two linking up. I think you would love "The Universe is a Green Dragon." I've just sent out 45 copies, to all the crop circle researchers as part of our follow-up gift for their help on the film. I see Brian as seminal like you are. A way to grasp the whole picture in an impassioned way. I think you said you knew Thomas Berry's stuff, but, although Swimme pays homage to Berry, Berry leaves me cool and Brian ignites me. In person, too he is charismatic on stage and a great love off stage. I'm all out of books, so I got on half.com and bought you a cheapie copy. See what you think.
I agree with you. I know I could be elected under the right circumstances. And I know exactly what I would do in Washington and where I would want to be in a number of years. I live with that knowledge. Life is quite interesting, though. There is a part of me that informs me that if I was "supposed" to be in Congress, I would be there. That may be a rationalization and delusional. The way my life has "worked" is that when something was supposed to happen, it did. There are many examples. My life is an adventure that way. I follow my instincts, do my work, and I am moved in the direction I want to go. I suppose that's pretty conventional. In many ways, I am conventional. But there is a part of me that is anything but conventional. That part is willing to break new and needed ground whatever the cost. So I do what I do. Somehow always there is assistance. It always happens. Usually unexpected. Like you coming along, for example. And the momentum continues. And I live it and watch it. I am in it and detached from it at the same time. But not disinterested, of course. Because for me, it is the outward manifestation of my essence, my reason for being. It's peculiar. It seems to have a power of its own beyond me. There is a symbiotic relationship between it and me. I do what I do. It does what it does. Things happen. They keep happening as long as I do my part. Like Seven Words, out of the blue, getting published, and at the end of this year getting published in China. Always it seems like the next phase falls into place. It sets the foundation for the one that will follow. Always there is advancement. I don't know to where it is going. But it has power. I know that.
All that I have just written sort of poured out of me. It was something that needed to be communicated to you, I feel strongly.
Thank you for sending me Brian's book.
Here's a great speech I'm passing along to my list, that Dennis Kucinich, United States Congressman from Cleveland, Ohio, gave recently: Kucinich Speech in Los Angeles for So. Cal. ADA.
Suzanne responds to Joe:
The Kucinich email says he was the first anti-war Congressperson. Not so. It was Barbara Lee. I went to a fundraiser for her last night the second time we'd met. (I presume you know she was the lone dissenting vote in the House to give Bush unlimited war power.) She is fabulous. What a great President she would make. Not only is she incredibly sharp and so in accord with what we would want and with what we think about our government that I was brought up short about never having heard another politician I felt so simpatico with, but she also really feels like folks. Like we could have gone to the movies together. I was bowled over. I had a great private conversation with her about the need for a change of consciousness, and about your book. She was totally interested and I got to go on and on and give her the whole premise. I told her I was going to send her a tape of your speech for your Senatorial candidacy for the natural Law Party, and I cleared the connection that would actually make sure she got it and watched it. I'll put in a note to ask if she'd like a book.
I was surprised to hear that there were about 60 Congress people in a Progressive Caucus, who think along the same lines as she does. Maybe everybody knows that, but I didn't. Everyone in the Q&A was floundering about what to do how to become an influential force. I suggested that the Caucus enroll us we have no place to rally. She, in fact, has become as much of a rallying force as we have people turn out for her. But there's no follow-up. The gathering ended with a big buzz about that. Felt like a good sowing of seeds.
I sent this in email to Dennis Kucinich:
YES to the speech. But Barbara Lee went first, didn't she? Let you and Barbara and the rest of you in the Progressive Caucus rally the rest of us. No one is doing that. We need a spine to rally round. DO IT!
I have an outstanding Website, which not only posts the best things being written, but supports a dialogue among some of the best writers, looking to how we can change the world. Let me help.
Joe responds to Suzanne:
Very interesting. That sounds wonderful, i.e., your experience with Barbara Lee. SHE sounds wonderful. And the way you felt connected with her. It's very good to hear about the Progressive Caucus. I was unaware of it too. Sounds like something we could get behind and support. Interesting about the video you will send her. Thanks for doing that. You're great.
You're right. We "need a spine to rally round." And many would rally. Build it and they will come.
Sent a tape off to Barbara Lee today. Here's my letter to her:
Rep. Barbara Lee
Barbara Lee for Congress
c/o Applegate Consulting
1901 Avenue of the Stars, Suite 1025
Los Angeles, CA 90067
Hereís the videotape I told you I would send when I saw you at the fundraiser in Pacific Palisades. Itís Joe Simonetta, author of "Seven Words That Can Change the World," giving a speech for his Senatorial candidacy on the 2,000 Natural Law Party ticket. I think you will enjoy his powerful call to a consciousness in which we would create the world that you and I would hold dear.
Iíve been sending you copies of my recent emails, correcting the statement thatís circulating in email accompanying Dennis Kucinichís great speech for ADA, saying that "it makes him the first member of the United States Congress to openly repudiate President Bush's war rationale." Ah well, it presents a chance to send around a correction, where we cheer about you. You are so wonderful. Sometimes it seems too dark to go on (my 9/11 site theconversation.org has the troubling reportage), but you are an encouragement that gives me hope that what you are about can see the light of day.
If you get on theconversation.org, you can read about Joe and his book. If you want him to send you a copy of "Seven Words That Can Change the World," let me know. And let me know anything else I can do.
With appreciation and love,
Edwin Lainhart writes:
Love your site and am looking forward to reading Joe Simonetta's book. I want to suggest another ally for the cause, Congresswoman McKinney from Georgia.
Suzanne replies to Edwin:
I read her piece on Truthout.org, and also her statement, "Congresswoman McKinney Presses for Investigation of Bush Administration Links to 9-11." She must be in the Progressive Caucus, with Barbara Lee. Asonishing laundry list. Why aren't these people creationg a vehicle for us so we can organize? I suggested that to Barbara Lee. Let's all get ourselves in one place.
Joe writes to Cop:
Hi Cop. I'm into your book. I had a couple of other manuscripts I had to read first. I'm approaching the mid-point of Matters of Consequence. It's quite a book. I admire the quantity of knowledge that you command. It's very interesting the way you are building your case. I found the area about business, finance, and politics that I completed tonight particularly interesting. It describes well the mess we are in. I liked the Abraham Lincoln quote:
"I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed. I feel at this moment more anxiety for the safety of my country than ever before, even in the midst of war. God grant that my suspicions may prove groundless." [A 21 November 1864, letter to Col. William F. Elkins, quoted in Shaw, Archer H. 1950. The Lincoln Encyclopedia. New York: Macmillan, p. 40.]and the George Soros quote:
"Corporations do not aim at creating employment; they employ people (as few and as cheaply as possible) to make profits. Health care companies are not in business to save lives; they provide health care to make profits. Oil companies do not seek to protect the environment except to meet regulations or to protect their public image. Full employment, affordable medicine, and a healthy environment may, under certain circumstances, turn out to be the by products of market processes, but such welcome social outcomes cannot be guaranteed by the profit principle alone. The invisible hand cannot adjudicate over interests that do not come under its jurisdiction." [Soros, George. 1998. The Crisis of Global Capitalism: Open Society Endangered. New York: Public Affairs, pp. 205-06.]I look forward to continuing with it. It takes a little longer to read than mine. :-)
Cop responds to Joe:
Glad you're enjoying the book Joe. Yes, a little longer to read than yours! It won't be an Oprah book, but I hope it will be well received by the reviewers, and most importantly, will end up doing some good. I think the Lincoln and Soros quotes command special note because of the legitimacy of the sources. Lincoln still has the "Honest Abe" tell-it-like-it-is aura about him. And when a billionaire capitalist brutally criticizes present day capitalism it's a bit of a wake-up-and-take-note mind warp.
Congratulations to Kim [our Mighty Companions WebDesigner] on a superb job of skillfully and creatively organizing these multiple flows of material. You are pushing the Internet envelope in a really important way. Happy breakthroughs!
Well, that's quite a book you wrote, Cop. Matters of Consequence. Appropriately titled. You've put together an amazing survey and extensive compendium of where we've been, where we are, and to where we need to go. It's a great overview and resource for those who want to participate in the creation of a sustainable world and a quality future. Thank you for such a tremendous accomplishment and for sharing it with me. I look forward to working with you at every opportunity.
Cop responds: Many thanks for the kind and supportive words, Joe. Suzanne once expressed the thought that your book and mine are complementary. I think that's true. I also think there's a lot of congruence in the way you and I see the world. I look forward to working with you, and thanks to Suzanne for all she's doing to help people like us connect.Suzanne, this is off the top of my head. It just occurred to me. Help me develop this if you think it has merit. Why don't we develop a mail piece (email) about Seven Words That Can Change the World and network it? We would include some of the powerful endorsements, like yours, and ask people to forward it to at least five (for example) people. We might include a little of Neale's foreword as well. It would be a proactive way of going direct to the people. If done right, it would cut out the need for a publicist. A publicist typically connects one to some vehicle that eventually reaches the people. With the internet, don't we with our creativity have an opportunity to do the same thing?
Suzanne responds to Joe:
Sounds good. What do we want? Buy the book, of course. But what more? You come and talk is something else. But I wonder what more something that is ongoing and participatory, so that we're starting something, not just selling something. Maybe it's the planting of a new seed as the new story, and we field conversation that comes back, with selective posting so people can read it and feel like they are part of something that's developing.
Joe responds to Suzanne:
These are excellent thoughts. What more do we want?
Much more than selling books. Ongoing. Participatory. Starting something. Yes. Definitely "planting of a new seed as the new story." That's really it. How do we do that? What do we ask of people? How do we challenge people? Do we ask them if they are really interested in change? So many of them say they are disgusted and want change. What are they willing to do for change? "Would you read a 100-page book that can heal the world and connect with others?" "Would you host a meeting in your home to discuss the simple ideas in this book?" "Would you connect to a worldwide group via a website?" "Most important, would you commit to practicing the seven words in this book?"
That's just off the top of my head to continue this dialogue with you. Last night, I went through the testimonials and pulled out some stuff that I think is powerful. (You can see it here.) It could be incorporated into the piece that we create and send out. Just consider it raw material we might use as we develop this idea. I like what we are doing here. It has energy.
I will be in Los Angeles April 14-22. Let's cook something up together for then.
More off the top. Starting at the end of your paragraph. No commitment better the people in this already are such folk. We're just rallying ourselves. Jumping up, I don't like the dare sense of "what are you willing to do for change?" I like the offer of a way to become a force. And then I'd suggest the book as a rallying essence a new articulation we suggest as something that everyone could sense themselves to be part of so of course, read the book. But it's not about selling books, we say that's just a starting point, and we got to our proposal because we had this book and this passion for a new way. And I'd be careful of asking for anything, like hosting a meeting. Rather, I'd lay out a potential scenario that meetings could be held everywhere and ask people what they think. This is an attempt at true democracy, where people, thanks to our technology now, really can co-create. So we put out ideas and possibilities and ask for response. What we'll do is try to coordinate what comes back all new stuff, but why not? We think we can. There are lots of causes and campaigns and petitions we agree with out there, but none are trying to become an organism so it's more than signing or agreeing or educating or informing it's participating in something that is becoming more of itself. All those other things could play with us support us, point to us...as we would to them. Collect all the good causes in one place.
The testimonials are great. Very useful for your trip here, too.
Joe responds to Suzanne:
Hmmmm. This feels good. I am struck by your strengths and how we complement and play off each other. What you have written is very clear, powerful and right on the mark. You are very good at that. You know what needs to be done and the best way to present it. All of the work you have done up until this point has given you and honed those skills. My abilities are slightly different but totally complementary. You bring in the strong feminine aspect and nurturing dimension. You will touch people with the way you suggest they should be approached. I agree with what you wrote. This is a very powerful statement: "This is an attempt at true democracy, where people, thanks to our technology now, really can co-create." This is right on the mark. It defines the opportunity that is presented to us. This is also powerful: "the offer of a way to become a force." People always want to know what they can do. Let's give them something (relatively easy) to do, i.e., understand and spread seven words...just seven words.
This is the time. We have the skills, equipment, and the message. And the audience! Everything is in place. How do you want to proceed? Do you want to compose something? Or is it too soon to do that? Do we need to think more about our overall plan and how we want this to play out? Or maybe we should just keep it very simple, like the book and its message, and just put it out there with very high quality and see if it wants to fly. We may want to get some artistic help in how we present it. Let me know your thoughts. I am eager to move ahead.
Suzanne responds to Joe:
Great reply. Maybe we can make some magic together. No reason not to keep going to get the word out. We'll be awhile back and forth with what to say. My thought would be an email laying out the idea, with attachments about the book. Either you or me should make a pass to start out. Could be both of us and see what appeals use one or the other to edit, or make a combo of interweaving. I don't have strong feelings one way or the other.
Joe responds to Suzanne:
My sense is that you have a good feeling for what needs to be said and the writing skills to draft it. Plus the piece is going to have to be mailed out by you. It would appear too self-serving for me to send it, although I will copy my extensive email list with what you originate. Why don't you compose something and I will provide some feedback. We might want to include somewhere, as a matter of interest, that the book will be published later this year in China.
If we wanted to incorporate music into what we might do in the future let me mention four pieces that I feel are appropriate: "Imagine" by John Lennon; "I Want to Live" by John Denver; "We Are the World" by group of musicians; and the World Anthem (see www.mindshareinstitute.com). I have a connection to this group.
Suzanne responds to Joe:
A possible header: "Rallying All Progressives: Getting it right on the left."
I think I would be careful with that. My reaction to it when I read it is "politics." At one level, of course, I have no problem with politics. But my sense is that is not how we want to set the tone. I think it needs to be more generic. More broad-based. There are people that we would immediately exclude that we don't want to exclude if we started out "progressive" and "left." And we would get branded immediately. I think we need to be more centrist in our message. I have spoken to groups where the politics are mixed and the response still is strong. On page 77 in the book, where I write about "Be kind," I note that it does not matter what one's "political affiliation" is.
I was not notably political before 9/11. After that, the key question for thinking people was, "Why?" But that was of no concern to our administration. We just hit back. As so much intelligence started to flow, with people writing compellingly about things of which most of us were largely unaware, we wised up and saw how causal America was to what had occurred, with policies about who to support and who to attack related to economic interests corporations, oil, the super-rich, government itself in its lust for power. What my America is all about, however, is the land where the sacred, as you define it, is of primary significance the natural way of living cooperatively for the greater good of all. And the champions of that position are the progressives. I don't even think of it as political in any old sense of party politics, where the Democrats, who used to be the party of the people, now are as much the party of the corporations as the Republicans. But progressives are the real champions of the people. They are the protesters about the status quo, that needs a shift of consciousness for people to come out of greed and into caring. They are the ones holding forums, running ads, circulating petitions. So, you have something to harness here, where the passion for change is and where we will be understood, it seems to me. In this day of the threat that exists to our survival, wouldn't everyone to whom we would appeal call themselves progressive? Who else are we appealing to?
The plot is thickening. Jazz Razool (see his Website, Bodymind, for background) was visiting from England, here to do a qigong week in San Francisco (he has a Chinese master in England and the San Francisco teacher is another one). He came via Los Angeles so he could spend time with us. He does fascinating talks at crop circle conferences. He's an astrophysicist who is intent on transforming people thinks he can do it for all of humanity. Feels like a great overlap for us. Jazz will be here at my house while you are here in April.
Here's what I've been telling people in email, preparing for your visit:
I am cooking up a perpetration with Joe Simonetta to try to create a major alignment, the likes of which we lack for call it conscious people, call it progressives, call it cultural creatives, call it those people Jazz Razool postulates we can be, whatever people of goodwill coming together as the world we all want!
Joe responds to Suzanne:
All of this sounds wonderful and on the mark. I feel the beginning of some momentum. I was struck by what you've been writing to people about my visit to Los Angeles. You have described precisely what we are doing. It's a gathering of all these people under an easy, comfortable tent that can hold it all, and then explode like the universe being reborn. I sense that.
I'm very comfortable with the term "progressives." I think it is a good one for us to use. But do you think the word "left" is necessary?
I would not be too hard on the Democrats. A lot of them are fighting the good fight, as you know. Many care deeply. They are caught up in this rat race. The Republicans have an extraordinary amount of money and power. It takes power to stand up to them.
Suzanne responds to Joe:
Some of the Democrats in the Progressive Caucus are great. But the Party is something else again. Don't you think it's lost its way, a la why Nader became the spoilsport?
Don't know if "left" is too troublesome I just like that catchy phrase, "Rallying All Progressives: Getting it right on the left." Let's see...
Allan Savory (see above) writes:
Joe here is a script of the speech I mentioned in which I tried to promote your book. Hope a lot of them buy it; I know some ordered it right away. Just need them to read it and pass on to friends!
Many of these people are already experiencing dramatic reversals of degraded land by using the new framework for decision making, so most of them were very aware of the significance of what I was saying about just having to start a flood in reverse because any other way of bringing about social change just does not seem to work.
Suzanne responds to Allan:
I am so moved every time I read what you have to say. You are so clear and make such perfect sense. And it is shocking that what you speak about, which is vital to our survival, is not understood. Reading your words galvanizes me even more to seek to wake people up. You know, if you take just the smarts in our little configuration of people who have gotten Joe's book, that combined wisdom could be enough to wake up the world. Perhaps each us being moved by the others will spark something of massive proportion. It is worth thinking about, for sure. And very heartening to see, at the end of this marvelous speech, that you suggest people read Joe's book. Maybe, just maybe, we can make a big difference via this alignment we are in together...
I forwarded your speech to Wade Frazier who had this to say:
Very cool. Boy, it has a lot in common with what I am planning on putting out there in the near future. With enough singers, maybe it can become a choir. : - )And physicist and author, Russell Targ, responded with this:
Thanks for the very interesting speech by Allan Savory. He certainly seems to be on the right track. It's important that the right people get to hear his inspiring message.I also sent the speech to David Lorimer, who is among the handful of people I respect most. For years, he headed the Scientific & Medical Network a few thousand of the most forward thinkers in the world. (I have some conversation with him posted on my "Where to From Here?" page.) This is a lovely tribute, Allan. David wrote:
This is an important piece - thanks for sending it. I have sent it on to the International Futures Forum.David also has Joe's book, which he calls "remarkably succinct and well expressed," and he is invited into our conversation.
Joe responds to Allan:
Thank you, Allan. Very nice to hear from you. I noticed you mentioned the Natural Step in your talk. Karl-Henrik Robert of the Natural Step is a Fellow of the World Business Academy.
Your talk was great. It is right on the mark. Thanks for mentioning my book. Particularly in the context you mentioned it and what you said. Greatly appreciated. I look forward to meeting you.
I will be in California approximately April 7 to April 23. I will speak in several places (Santa Barbara, Ojai, Los Angeles).
Suzanne, thanks for your kind comments, and for passing on the speech to others. I have been somewhat swamped with requests for that talk, just from our general conference site so there is a lot of interest out there. By the way, I had not one adverse remark there at the talk or since, so there are people thinking beyond the shallow reporting on television daily.
Let's hope we can build a groundswell as a flood rapidly.
And Joe, Thanks for your message. Now that I see you live in Florida, I will see what I can do to meet, as I am over there periodically.
Went to hear Michael Moore last night (read the new Five Star Piece, Stupid White Men, a Letter from Michael Moore) huge crowd, maybe 1,000 people. He was sensational and like paving the way for you and us. Lila Garrett is the president of Southern California Americans for Democratic Action, which sponsored the event. I fired off this letter to her this morning:
We need a bigger tent like Michael Moore says (he was so great!!!!!). Something beyond right and left, as opposing forces although left as left should be. An ideology big enough to hold all people of goodwill. With the Net, we can create a revolution build it and they will come. This is no time for idle bullshit. We need a revolution.Also, Critt Jarvis, another conversation participant, had just sent Michael Moore a recommendation to link to our Website from his home page the very day I went to see Michael speak. Talk about synchronicity! This could be great good luck!!! You could supply the guts to the frame Michael laid out last night the fit was blaring at me as Moore talked. His book was a couple of weeks at #1 on Amazon after the publisher barely was stopped from shredding it because it was anti American, post 9/11. It will be #3 on New York Times forthcoming best seller list, and #2 the following week. I asked Critt if he wanted your book, and would he tell Moore how good it is if you thought so. I told him that, as I was listening to Moore talk last night, I had goosebumps at how you have the flesh for his bones you would make a sensational pairing. He says he'll get a package to him...
Lila, I want to enroll you. I think I've got it.
I want to expose you to Joe Simonetta. He is articulating the call. He has it just right the message is simple and obvious when you hear it, and it can unite us all. I've got audiotape and videotape. (He's in Florida will be here April 14-21, at the Bodhi Tree on the 21st). Can I come over and play a tape for you? You will love him. LOVE HIM!!! When he speaks, people buy stacks of his gorgeous little book (90 pages) to give as gifts. I sent audiotapes to everyone on my Christmas list I should have put you on the list.
When you hear Joe, you will want to scheme with me have him for a living room soiree, send the book around to the Michael Moores and Dennis Kucinichs of the world, add him to forums, get him exposed to the Progressive Caucus...whatever. (I've already given a videotape to Barbara Lee.) If you want more prep about him, I've been posting conversation about what we're dreaming we can do, with links to more about him and his book, on my Website. I've had some outstanding people read the book, and they chime in. (Arianna Huffington just got a copy.)
You can see in the Net conversation what good fodder Simonetta's book is for making that bigger tent. When am I visiting you? I am excited!!!! You can read his testimonials here...
I can feel the momentum building. We will do this! Looks like there may be some exciting times ahead we need to stay on course.
I read Michael Moore's update re his book. This all sounds great. It's what this country needs. Many people need to have their deepest feelings and suspicions about the Bush administration acknowledged, validated, and to know their heartfelt concerns are shared by millions.
When Seven Words sees the light of day, there may be a similar response from those who have vested interests in our archaic belief systems and don't want change. I expect that to happen. But there will be change. It's unstoppable. The truth can only be suppressed for so long. Then it explodes. In that explosion, it clears the air. It's coming. I can feel it.
Here's what Lila Garrett said back:
Yes, Barbara Lee was the only member of congress to vote against attacking Afghanistan. Dennis Kucinich's speech was first given at SCADA's conference on February 17th. As you know I am president of SCADA. Dennis stayed at my house the night before. He wrote the speech on the morning of the 17th on my computer. I sent it out to the first 150 people. It has since reached thousands. He has had over 10,000 responses. That's how you build a peace movement. Now, with yesterday's L.A. Times headline, "U.S. WORKS UP PLAN FOR USING NUCLEAR ARMS, ...CALLS FOR STRATEGY AGAINST AT LEAST SEVEN NATIONS: China, Russia, Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Libya and Syria..." we had better build that movement fast.Hereís what I wrote back to her:
I believe our planet is more endangered at this moment than ever before in history. If congress doesn't stop Bush immediately, we could be lost.
But all we can do is put blinders on and build that movement. Keep going.
Yes, I'm with you. I spoke to Barbara Lee, suggesting that the Progressive Caucus rally us she said there are no plans to do that. As you hear from everyone at events like the fundraiser for her that I attended, and at the Michael Moore talk, people want something to "do" to rally not just to independently write letters or call their own meetings in their living rooms, which is all that gets suggested. They want something that feels like they are part of it. Juice is needed. You have juice. At any rate, Joe and I wouldn't be thinking to be THE organization what Joe supplies, which is in this book and which he speaks to very compellingly (he'd be a perfect addition to your forums) is a universal "story," which is inclusive rather than divisive, beyond right and left, and beyond where religions go to war with one another. We need that, whatever the auspice that takes an organizing lead. It's the guts of the bigger tent that Michael Moore was talking about, now a missing piece of elemental ideation, where the sacred and the political can mix.She sent this reply to me:
I'll have the publisher send you a book. You can read it in a couple of hours. Do you want a video of his political talk, that I sent to Barbara Lee running for Senate in Florida for the Natural Law Party (because it gave him a platform)?
What's happening with Barbara, Dennis and Michael is so encouraging who they are and what they say and the response they are getting. It feels like the beginning of something at last like Marc Cooper emailed you. It's to build on now, and Simonetta could be part of that. See what you think.
I'm glad to hear about Joe Simonetta and I would be happy to read his book. But you must realize Suzanne, everybody wants to start his own movement and that's what invariably scatters us. I, and probably So. Ca. ADA (the Board will have to vote on it) will work with Rep. Dennis Kucinich as the leader of the new peace movement. He is the head of the Progressive Caucus in Congress, we have a history with him. We publicly broke out the 'permanent war economy=permanent war' concept at our February 17th conference. That is where Kucinich made his speech, and we see him as a natural point around which to rally. This is why I sent the original 150 copies of the speech out on Email. Over 10,000 responses have come to him, and thousands more are trying to clear his mailbox. We're on our way. Let's get on the same path and move together. It's the only way to be effective.Now that she's in play with us, I can't ask her to get the book to Michael Moore until she reads it, it seems to me. Should there be some note with the book about that? Or just keep after her (presuming we haven't got to him ourselves)?
I want to add a little report re what Michael Moore said. His whole talk was framed in the idea that something new was needed, which he called "a bigger tent," to get more people involved. He said it had to use language and frame issues that reach a bigger audience than the existing faction that we are.
Then he devoted a lot of talk to encourage individuals and small groups that they could wield enormous power. He pointed out that only 20% of the population supported the American Revolution, that there were 12 guys with Jesus, that Marx and Engle were two old guys who got together to schmooze, and that Rosa Parks was one woman in the most unlikely town in America. He was like a preacher see that it can happen, forget everybody else, worry about yourself, just start talking to people. Then he gave these delicious examples from his own life, where he got the Elks desegregated when he was 16, and was elected to the School Board when he was 18 (where he got the repressive principal he'd suffered under fired). He said we're letting the rich 1% control the rest of us and we should WAKE Up and ACT!!! Why aren't we using our power and throwing the bastards out? Why aren't we running for office?
Then he talked about some huge percentage of people in Canada owning guns (80% I think), yet there's very little murder. They don't live in fear and they don't lock their doors. Is there something wrong with us?
You might have leapt to your feet and called a meeting right there!!
Your ending to this missive made me laugh. I probably would have done what you wrote. Both of us might have.
I'll have a book sent to her tomorrow. You could tell her that you would also like to get a book to Michael Moore. Perhaps she could facilitate that. It might make her more interested in the book. Who knows?
I see by what you wrote about what he said how the material in the book is appropriate. Let's stay with it. Nothing can compete with perseverance.
You wrote some powerful stuff to Lila: "Joe and I wouldn't be thinking to be THE organization what Joe supplies, which is in this book and which he speaks to very compellingly (he'd be a perfect addition to your forums) is a universal "story," which is inclusive rather than divisive, beyond right and left, and beyond where religions go to war with one another. We need that, whatever the auspice that takes an organizing lead. It's the guts of the bigger tent that Michael Moore was talking about, now a missing piece of elemental ideation, where the sacred and the political can mix."
You really 'said' that well.
We don't want to start a movement. We want to communicate a belief system that transcends all movements.
I suggest you read this piece by Richard Dawkins, Our Big Brains Can Overcome Our Selfish Genes. Here's what I sent out to my mailing list about it:
The concept of sustainability is a familiar one today. Yet, this very concept may be "anti-Darwinian," writes Professor Dawkins, as we are programmed by natural selection, like all animals, to look after the short-term interests of ourselves and our close family and friends. However, our brains, although they too are the products of natural selection, follow rules which are different from those of natural selection. In this piece, you will discover how all these elements come together to give us hope for our collective prospects.
That Big Brains piece brought to mind, in related fashion (i.e. possibilites from our capacity to program ourselves), Brian Swimme writing about "evil from cosmic risk." Have you delved in yet?
Jeff Hutner writes to Suzanne:
Because you are such an expert chronicler of the new patriotism or "new patriots," perhaps you might consider publishing an e-book that people can download free of profiles and writings of the amazing folks you share through your site. Perhaps in this way, their thoughts can become more widely known. In his book, Unleashing The Ideavirus, Seth Godon tells how he gave away his book online until it got so hot it was published interesting twist. Truth is, we need to get this info out, and creating a context for the "new patriotism of dissent" could be a noble service. Maybe a patriots' web broadcast?
I also think these new patriots could sign a declaration calling for people around the world to link arms as a display of solidarity and a visual alternative to the divisive images of the divide-and-conquer mentality currently playing out its shadow on the world. Thanks again for your important work in the world.
Suzanne responds to Jeff:
The site is the book to me. And easy to digest, just by following it although some things are timeless and others are already passť. But do you really think there's another product, a book, that would be worthwhile? I know you and I have the same proclivity all help and alliance appreciated.
An organizing vehicle is in order to turn gadflies into a force. Kucinich says he's doing it on a Website, but, so far, besides his speech and a request for money, there's no organizing I can see. Here's what he says:
"So, we are organizing a whole new approach to create a new political movement in this country. If you want to keep your eyes at our site, which is TheSpiritofFreedom.com we are going to be putting stuff on the Website that talks about organizing. So we are going to help people get organized all around the country in a nonviolent way, in a creative way, in a way which is empowering to people, and which can help people assert their own basic rights as citizens of this country and as citizens of the world, because this is not just about America."Lila Garrett, from Southern California ADA (American's for Democratic Action), says "don't splinter stick together." This is a challenge. Michael Moore and Dennis Kucinich and Barbara Lee are firing us up, just right, but we need the entity to collect ourselves. Joe and I talked about some call to issue, to create his book as the guts I like this, but so much possibility has been floating lately, including people trying to hook me up with Moore, and me sending Lee a video of Joe, which I'm waiting to hear back on. Am looking for a little hook rather than a big independent splat. But am open and thinking...
Joe responds to Suzanne and Jeff:
Books and websites have a built-in limitation, i.e., only one person can read/view them at a time. Also, books, more so than most websites, are time-consuming. Both lack the animation (and entertainment dimension) that most people today have grown accustomed to (to hold their attention).
Live presentations have tremendous impact but they too are limited in that the presenter must go from city to city. It takes forever to get everywhere. TV coverage gives widespread exposure but it's on and then it's over (and usually out of people's minds).
A videotape provides multi-dimensional opportunities. It can go everywhere and be viewed at anytime. It can be dynamic and entertaining. Groups of people can gather together to watch it. A great video may even be better than a gathering of thousands at the Washington Monument...or could lead to such a gathering.
FYI. The following was written by a real estate agent from Florida whom I do not know well. I had no idea he was going to write it. I had sent him a copy of the update on my book and talks that I sent out yesterday.
I want you to know of an upcoming event at Barnes & Noble on April 4th at 7 PM. Joe Simonetta, author of Seven Words That Can Change The World will be the speaker. (You can learn more about Joe and his work at www.joesimonetta.com.)
I know that each of you is a person that considers the consequences of your personal and business actions as they affect the whole. You understand that business practices should not be engaged that strive only for a single bottom line, money, at the cost of life, liberty, health and the environment. I know that each of you regularly take positive action toward making this community and the world a better place. Joe's words are inspiring and will echo some of what you already believe but he will also challenge your thinking a bit more by providing a new perspective on some simple truths.
This is a program not to miss and a book well worth reading. Your individual efforts will be enhanced by integrating his thoughts in to your work with your respective groups; Rotary, Leadership Sarasota, Kiwanis, personal coaching... Do yourself a favor and make it a point to attend!
Suzanne replies to Joe:
This is so wonderful. You are hitting people right. Maybe we'll get lucky and find ourselves in play big time.
I forwarded this on to Barbara Lee, Michael Moore and Dennis Kucinich, saying, "Look!!! Joe Simonetta has the right call!!!! I pray he be included as guts of the new alliance."
The feedback page at Moveon.org, "citizens making a difference," asks, "Do you have any other words of wisdom for us?"
I posted this:
Thanks for asking. What you are up to is all about what's quantifiable stands on issues and support for positions and candidates. What's lacking is some dealing not just with what candidates would do but also with who they are. I've been paying a lot of attention lately to trying to infuse the progressive element with some inspiration for what kind of people we need to be candidates and voters whereby we would do the right thing on all issues. To this end I've been trying to acquaint people like you with the work of Joe Simonetta (who himself has run for political office). There's a conversation with him posted on my site, "Making Sense of These Times." For some brief accolades for him, visit our testimonials page. How about somehow letting us help?
Joe responds to Suzanne:
Thanks. What you suggest is really what needs to happen. It's along the lines of what I wrote in the Preface to Seven Words: "From my seventeen-month nonstop political campaign, I got a good taste of the world of politics. The answers to our problems can never come from that battleground of adversarial self-interest groups. There are larger issues and realities that first must be understood and resolved. Then the political process can be influenced for the benefit of the common good. The 'simple truths' in this book address those larger issues and realities."
Critt Jarvis writes:
[Seven Words] was in my mailbox when I got home last night. Read it cover to cover, effortlessly. It's clear to me the time for this message is now: "At this time in our evolution, this understanding of sacredness is easily within our perception and grasp."
I'm making changes to my site to include the rules that those seven words give us. I also see threads that weave between books, http://www.thurisa.org/page465123.htm, but I can't take time away from work to write and put them on the web.
BTW: there's a whole lot more in that "little" book than three simple rules. Joe, you've written a masterpiece.
Suzanne writes to Joe:
For your bibliography...
As Rabbis Face Facts, Bible Tales are Wilting by Michael Massing, New York Times.
This is awesome. Thank you. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect. For years and years and years, people keep saying that we have advanced so much technologically but we don't seem to advance socially. Of course we don't. Our reality is based on fictitious belief systems. We don't drive around in vehicles that are thousands of years old, so why do we cling to belief systems that are literally thousands of years old? Well of course there are many reasons that explain why we do. These old belief systems have us in a reality that is non-existent. Meanwhile, we don't know how to get along with each other, we destroy our individual health, and the health of the eco-systems out of which we evolved and that enable us to exist. It's time to wake up. And it's beginning. It's beginning. And we are part of that. Once we understand our realty and the implications of our reality, we will understand what is "sacred." We will understand that there is a way to relate that is imperative, not arbitrary. Then, we can begin our civilization.
Once these Bible Tales Are Wilting stories get more widespread, there are going to be a lot of people shopping around for a sensible belief system. No, not the hard core fanatics. They will cling to the nonsense. But many who are on the fence are going to hop off and move towards sensibility. The time has come. We are on the threshold.
[The conversation is continued...]
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Upon this gifted age, in its dark hour,
Rains from the sky a meteoric shower
Of facts...they lie unquestioned, uncombined.
Wisdom enough to leech us of our ill
Is daily spun, but there exists no loom
To weave it into fabric...
-Edna St. Vincent Millay-
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