Jul 252012
 

I got a lot of interesting reactions today, sitting with a “Christie Vilsack for Congress” sign while about ten thousand bicycle-across-Iowa folks peddled past my front yard in a small, rural town.

RAGBRAI stands for “[Des Moines] Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa.” This is not a competition. It’s just thousands of people out for up to seven days in our insane summer heat, enjoying the camaraderie of “the oldest, largest and longest bicycle touring event in the world.” Christie Vilsack is Iowa’s former First Lady and a Democrat running for the U.S. Congress in Iowa’s  4th District. She is opposing Republican incumbent Steve King, an “outspoken conservative who is a nationwide favorite of tea party activists.” My little town of Dayton, Iowa (population 837) is half-way through today’s 84-mile segment.

Today was a microcosm of the liberal ideals of community, fellowship, and social involvement. My 1880’s “workman’s Victorian” house was right on the route, just after the downtown events that included food concessions, a live band, and a dunking tank. As the bicyclists accelerated down a 1-block incline and past me, in my wheelchair by the curb with a political sign, I still had plenty of interactions.

Also, because my house fronts Main Street with a shade-tree-packed double lot, dozens of riders at a time stopped to take a break before heading down the long and hot road to Lehigh. My wife, Dianna, sent out a mostly-full pan of yesterday’s brownies. Everybody was so incredulous and thankful that she went back inside, cranked up her oven and made an additional five dozen large Snicker doodle cookies from scratch.

On the street, most riders smiled and waved or added a “good morning.” I figure I got a fair ration of exercise just sitting and waving back. Until the worst of the afternoon sun started taking its toll, most of these folks were having fun and were in an expansive and gregarious mood. You can’t have much of a conversation, passing by at 12 miles per hour, but you can share your good will and wave or call out a “good morning,” “hey,” “great hat,” or “thank-you” as appropriate to the moment.

Only four people in the six hours I was out were negative. It was nothing too strong – just an occasional “Obama is a socialist” or “I hope she loses.” It seemed fair enough; I was actually expecting more. Maybe this crowd was composed, more than usual, of people whose mommas had taught them that “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” You got to where you could see the people who glanced at the sign, clenched their jaw, and just starred sternly and unhappily ahead as they rolled by.

On the other hand, I got a LOT of approving finger-points, thumb-ups, smiles, “thank-yous,” and bell rings. I used to have a bell on my bike in the 1950s but this was unexpected at first. Two dings signal approval and come with a big smile. I liked to respond with a big wave, a big smile, and my own loud “thank-you.”

As the day wore on, there were even more thank-yous tossed my way. The expressions seemed more general than political. Having just enjoyed a church hospitality tent, a cold beer, and/or a dunk in a big water tank, the riders seemed to be taking me as an unexpected final representative of the city’s welcoming spirit as they headed out and onward. They seemed grateful to have someone to let know that they had been treated well and that they appreciated it.

I had a few short political conversations with the people taking a break under my trees. I wanted to stay low-key and didn’t shout out “Vote for Vilsack” or any such thing. Still, when you talk to someone in the grass, the sign suggests an obvious topic.

While I was passing out the first batch of fresh cookies and offering the last one on the pan, the fellow glanced at my sign and then asked, “I’m a Republican. Is it still okay to take it?” I just smiled and let him in on the secret, “Of course. Democrats believe that ‘we’re all in this together,’ that we’re all neighbors, and that we should all care about each other.” Maybe I shouldn’t have rubbed it in so pointedly, but he took his cookie, rolled his eyes, moaned a little, and told me to be sure to tell my wife that they were really, really good.

When the next batch of cookies came out, I took up where I’d left off. The next fellow under the tree, having had some time to think about the situation, took his snicker doodle, turned to the first fellow and said, “This is the kind of thing we’re thinking about when you call us socialists.”

As the day went on, the goodness of community just kept on as well. And, I’m not just patting myself on the back for getting out the water hose or fetching the kitchen trash can (which seemed to be particularly appreciated). People helped each other change punctured inner tubes. Someone made a detour to the first-aid station to get help for a stranger who had been weakened by the heat. People were at ease getting to know each other, telling stories, and exchanging ideas without getting cranky.

I’ve heard Christy Vilsack speak. She likes to tell a story about a small town where she lived. There was a well-used intersection that didn’t have stop or yield signs in any direction. She appreciated that neighbors just slowed down, took in the situation, and waved one or the other on through. Like most stories, it holds meaning and recommends future behavior. Such a story reflects on where her heart is and how she would govern.

I grieve for those who only care to look out for just themselves and for those they see as part of a limited “us.” However, I take heart on days like this, where so many people open an inclusive heart, accepting that we are all neighbors worthy of respect, concern, and support. What kind of candidate do you want representing you? What kind of representative will you vote for?

© 2012, David Satterlee

Jul 112012
 

This morning, one of our neighbors dropped off a clipping about Harry Truman. We had been discussing presidents after my column mentioning FDR. The piece was complimentary and praised President Truman especially for his modesty and humility after retiring back to his home in Independence, Missouri.

I have to tell you that I have a soft spot for Harry and Bess. I was raised across the river from Independence in Liberty, Missouri. How about those city names for symbolism? (Then again Peculiar and Normal are city names in Missouri. Go figure.) Kansas City still embraces “Give ‘em Hell Harry” as a beloved native son.

Anyway, the clipping mentioned his few personal assets including Bess’ house, an Army pension, and a special allowance granted by Congress. He did not “enjoy” Secret Service protection after leaving the White House. Harry declined corporate positions saying, “You don’t want me. You want the office of the President, and that doesn’t belong to me. It belongs to the American people and it’s not for sale.” Of course, this would be a great place to take a pot shot at the corporate interests that seem intent on buying power and influence in our government, and putting one of their own where he can sign their regressive legislation into law,  but that would be out of place and beneath me, so I won’t mention it here.

In balance, the clipping seemed to be a nostalgia piece for simpler, kinder, and gentler times. I like the comfortable, warm memories of earlier days that it invoked. That was a time when people knew what to expect, every man stood on his own two feet and was often too proud to take charity and too quiet to talk about his service in the Great War. Except, it wasn’t exactly like that at all. World War II killed an estimated 50-70 million people – over 2.5% of the world’s population. About 416,800 US servicemen gave their lives. It was a dangerous, disruptive, and complicated time.

Our current president is getting a lot of flak for personally authorizing selective drone attacks on targeted individuals (and any anyone in a twenty-foot radius.) The United States fire-bombed entire cities during World War II and President Truman personally authorized nuclear weapons over two large cities. Our current president is getting a lot of flak for limited support of other economies. President Truman signed the Marshall Plan to help rebuild seventeen countries of Western and Southern Europe. Our current president is getting a lot of flak for getting a law passed letting our gay and lesbian sons and daughters serve in the military. President Truman signed an Executive Order forcibly integrating the armed forces, letting our black neighbors serve their country.

The fact is that we now live in especially complicated and difficult times. And, I for one, am proud to support our current president – a complex man of family and community, yet gifted with courage, intelligence, vision, and the capacity to inspire us to nurture the goodness that we all hold and the empathy to care about our neighbors.

© 2012, David Satterlee

Mar 082012
 

I found a relatively new poster at open.salon.com. http://open.salon.com/blog/not2late4 She writes with thoughtful passion about ways that she has had to face and reason about controversial situations. It turns out that I was the first one to “favorite” her and we exchanged several messages. She was distressed by the strong anger that one her articles had provoked and was considering withdrawing from the site. I hope that she will carry on.

Dear Kat,
People who write like you do are really annoying. This is actually a good thing. Don’t worry about it. Keep it up. Perfect your art. I got a bumper sticker for my wife’s car that said, “Well behaved women seldom make history.” Margaret Mead is quoted as saying, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”  You may also draw more encouragement from http://herestothecrazyones.com/ As an award-winning elementary school teacher, my wife always kept the quote prominently framed on a wall … at student’s eye level.

If you read some of my stuff posted at SocioDynamics.org (some of which is cross-posted at open.salon) you will see that I have been wrestling with the questions of why some people are persistently fearful, angry, ignorant, or bigoted. I’ve found many answers in the science of psychosocial development. Unfortunately, the answers point to the fact that, in sequential developmental stages, there will just be things that many people can’t understand yet. And, they will dislike you intensely for discussing those things.

Introducing a new idea is, for them, like bringing a new cat into the house. There is no, hello-how-do-you-do. There is just reflexive hissing, arched backs, and hair on end. But, in time, it (usually) settles down to shared naps in the sunny spot on the floor. If there is hope for cats, there is hope for the public discourse of ideas… and maybe even all of humanity.

Mar 022012
 

When did they decide that, because I’m a “liberal” that I like taxes? Hell, no! I don’t like taxes at all. But, here’s the difference. I know that I like what my taxes get for me.

I like my public library and the first responders who came when I needed them. I like free public schools, the teachers that inspired me, and the gifted teacher that my wife used to be. I like highways and bridges and reservoirs. I like clean water and clean air and fewer potholes.

I know that I don’t like having to do every fool thing for myself. I like the rule of law that says some gang can’t just waltz into my house, shoot me in the head, and take whatever they want. Granted, it sometimes happens, but not very often, and there are consequences.

So, not being stupid, I don’t want no government. I don’t want to “reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub” [Grover Norquist]. I want better government — government that is open, transparent, and efficient. I want regulations that help keep things fair and balanced. I want protections from toxic waste dumps, exploitation of children, and exorbitant banking fees.

How bad is it? I enjoyed the colorful description offered by the author of “Are We Too Dumb for Democracy?” – “Our democratic government is like a college grad’s first apartment. There’s crap everywhere, no one picks anything up, and there’s a slow-motion decay of apathy, carelessness, and confusion.” Plenty of fixing to do.

It gets worse. Our government is showing signs of becoming self-destructive. For instance, the willingness of House Republicans to default on our debts. They also refuse to vote on legislative ideas that they had previously endorsed because,this time,it came from the White House.

I have run across startling metaphors for this self-destructive trend:

  • “Circular firing squad”
  • “Has the Republican Party become a death cult? “
  • “…it certainly looks and sounds like a suicide pact has secretly been signed”
  • “…refuse to grab the lifeline that President Barack Obama threw them”
  • Scott Brown… drank the Kool-Aid, Jonestown-style

To the GOP: Lead, follow, or get out of the way. And, tear up your signed no-new-taxes pledges of allegiance to Grover Norquist.

To the DCCC: If you want a clear board to play on, run an every-state, every-district, everything-you-can-tilt campaign. We will help, but it will help to show us the danger. Like the Republicans, we get more excited when we feel the adrenaline of fear. It’s not pretty. It’s not what we’re about. But, you know I’m right.

To everybody else: Please spend time getting broadly informed. Don’t just parrot someone else’s talking points. Find out how it all works together so that we can all work together. Figure out what new problems will appear as unintended consequences of your favorite policy ideas. Now you’re getting ready. Get involved. Get results.

Sep 302010
 

Grandma’s Precious Things

by David Satterlee

I always love when Grandma comes
to visit with us here.
It’s like a special holiday
to have my Grandma near.

I like it when she reads to me
while sitting on her lap.
I like it when she sings a song
to me before my nap.

And so one day I told my Mom
it didn’t seem too fair
that Grandma only came to us
but we’d not visit there.

“Why can’t we go to Grandma’s house?
I really want to know.
I like when she comes over here
because I love her so.”

=====================

My Mama looked real funny and
she sat me on a chair.
I wondered what was wrong that she
had made me sit right there.

She frowned again and looked at me
while thinking what to say.
I’m really glad she smiled at last
and talked to me that day.

“I know you love your Grandma and
I know she loves you too.
She loves to come and see us and
she loves to visit you.

“But Grandma’s place is different than
our house where children play.
She has a lot of precious things
that you might hurt some day.

======================

“You’ll break her chickens made of glass
and all her precious things.
You’ll tear the pages in her books
and try on all her rings.

“You’ll run around your Grandma’s house
and jump on all her chairs.
You’ll slide on all her little rugs
and bump down all her stairs.

“You’ll open all her closets up
and try on all her clothes.
You’ll use her pretty table cloth
to wipe your drippy nose.

“You’ll run around pretending that
you’re flying in the air.
You’ll make her yellow tabby cat
go hide beneath the chair.”

======================

It made me sad to think about
the things that mother said.
I almost felt like crying as
I laid there in my bed.

I really wouldn’t want to break
my Grandma’s precious stuff.
I only want to visit her
and wouldn’t play too rough.

I’d only play with just the things
that Grandma let me touch.
I truly would be quiet there
and not make noise so much.

The rules are sometimes different when
you’re in another place.
If only they would let me go
I wouldn’t run and chase.

======================

So when I woke tomorrow I
would tell my mother that
I promised to be careful and
leave stuff where it was at.

I’d try to be more thoughtful and
I’d walk instead of run.
I’d talk instead of shouting but
I still could have some fun.

I’d ask to see her pictures of
the places she had been.
I’d listen to her stories of
our family way back when.

And so it really happened that
we got into the car
and went to visit Grandma’s house.
It wasn’t very far.

=======================

My Grandma smiled and said that she
was glad that we were there.
She said that she had baked a batch
of cookies we could share.

I mostly looked but didn’t touch
but that was really hard.
So once or twice they told me I
should go play in the yard.

When I came in I had to wipe
my feet upon a mat.
She let me jump from just two steps
and pet the yellow cat.

She told me stories of the time
when Mother had been small;
before the time that I was born
and wasn’t here at all.

======================

Of course she hugged and kissed me and
she told she would care
about how I was growing and
that I was welcome there.

She said that she had noticed that
I didn’t tease the cat
and that I paid attention to
the place where I was at.

“But you,” she said, “mean more to me
than any fancy thing.
I’m grateful for your visit and
you make my old heart sing.

“I want you to remember though
that when the day is through,
of all the things I care about,
my precious thing is you.”

 

Copyright 2004, David Satterlee

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License, which essentially says that you are free to share the work under the conditions that you attribute it fully, do not use it for commercial purposes, and do not alter it.

Dec 022009
 

Source: Good Reads

image_thumb[2]Dan’s articles on business and technology appear in many publications, including The New York Times, Harvard Business Review, Fast Company, and Wired, where he is a contributing editor. He has provided analysis of business trends on CNN, CNBC, ABC, NPR, and other networks. Dan also speaks to corporations, associations, universities and educators about economic transformation and the new workplace.
A free agent himself, Dan held his last real job in the White House, where he served from 1995 to 1997 as chief speechwriter to Vice President Al Gore. He also worked as an aide to U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich and in other positions in politics and government.
He is a graduate of Northwestern University and Yale Law School. To his lasting joy, he has never practiced law.

“Dan Pink takes what most of us already know about what motivates us to perform and puts it in terms that are easily applied to our daily lives. In short, if we exist without autonomy, mastery and purpose, we’re discontented. And often, extrinsic rewards backfire – instead of encouraging us to look for creative solutions, we’re herded down a predictable path that takes us away from a state of flow and leaves our world a little less fun and a lot more "flat". If you’re a team leader who wants to encourage team members to learn and grow – or are curious about what motivates us – this is a good source.”

Source: Amazon Editorial Reviews

  • “My favorite business book.” Thomas L Friedman, author of The World Is Flat
  • "Pink’s analysis–and new model–of motivation offers tremendous insight into our deepest nature."
    -Publishers Weekly
  • "Important reading…an integral addition to a growing body of literature that argues for a radical shift in how businesses operate."
    -Kirkus
  • "Drive is the rare book that will get you to think and inspire you to act. Pink makes a strong, science-based case for rethinking motivation–and then provides the tools you need to transform your life."
    -Dr. Mehmet Oz, co-author of YOU: The Owners Manual

 

Shop at Amazon for:
Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
by: Daniel H. Pink

 

Nov 232009
 

imageSource: Integral Institute – Scholars

Sean Esbjörn-Hargens, PhD,  is an Associate Professor and Program Director of both the Integral Psychology and Integral Theory programs at John F. Kennedy University in Pleasant Hill, California. He is Co-Director of the Integral Ecology Center at Integral Institute and the Executive Editor of Journal of Integral Theory and Practice. Sean is a leading scholar-practitioner in Integral Studies.

Source: Integral+Life Contributors

Sean Esbjörn-Hargens Ph.D. is an associate professor and founding Chair of the Integral Theory Program at John F. Kennedy University in Pleasant Hill, California. He is founding Director of the Integral Research Center, which supports graduate and post-graduate mixed methods research. In addition, he is the founding Executive Editor of the Journal of Integral Theory and Practice. Recently, he co-founded and co-organized the biennial Integral Theory Conference.

Sean is a leading scholar-practitioner in integral theory. He has worked cloesly with Ken Wilber for a decade operationalizing the integral (AQAL) model in multiple contexts. He is a founding member of Integral Institute and currently serves as their Vice President of Applications and Research. He is currently the most published author applying the integral model to a variety of topics: education, sustainable development, ecology, research, intersubjectivity, science and religion, consciousness studies, and play. He has just completed writing a 800-page book with environmental philosopher Michael Zimmerman: Integral Ecology: Uniting Multiple Perspectives on the Natural World. Currently, he is co-editing an anthology on integral education and editing an anthology on integral theory.

Sean Esbjörn-Hargens Ph.D. emerged out of the rocky shores of the Pacific Northwest and harbors a deep and committed passion to the articulation of an Integral Ecology. Having grown up in the crossfire of lumber and salmon industries battling environmental regulation, Sean is acquainted with the many nuances that surround controversial environmental issues that involve the clash of divergent worldviews and perspectives. In particular, Sean is concerned with promoting environmental awareness and exploring the intersection of ecological sustainability, cultural preservation, and spiritual transformation. He has spent much of his adult life as a backpack and sea kayaking guide for an outdoor program serving young adults. Having lived and worked overseas in Asia and Africa for many years Sean brings an important global perspective to his Integral work.

Sean is Co-director and a founding member of the Integral Ecology Center at Integral Institute and has been doing research in environmental philosophy and sustainable development for over a decade. He is currently collaborating on a book with Michael Zimmerman about Integral Ecology. In addition, Sean wears a number of other Integral hats at Integral Institute. He is a Lead Seminar Trainer for Nature as Transformative Path, which presents an Integral approach to nature mysticism through a variety of Integrally designed personal practices. He is Executive Editor of the newly established academic journal AQAL: Journal of Integral Theory and Practice, which began Spring 2006 (www.aqaljournal.org). Sean has served as a consultant to I-I helping to establish partnerships with John F. Kennedy University and Fielding Graduate University who offer accredited certificate and MA programs based on the Integral model.

Sean is also an Associate Professor in the Integral Studies Department and Program Director of Integral Psychology at John F. Kennedy University in Pleasant Hill, California. At JFKU, Sean teaches courses in consciousness, culture, and ecology. JFKU is the only place in the world where an individual can get a residential MA degree from an accredited university that is explicitly based on Ken Wilber’s Integral Model.

Sean lives at Sea Frog Haven—five-acres of redwoods just north of San Francisco with his wife Vipassana and their three cats and dog. Both he and his wife are Tibetan Buddhist (Shangpa Kagyu linage) practitioners and work with A. H. Almaas in the Diamond Approach. In addition, Sean engages an Integral Ecological Practice for personal transformation.

Written work:

Sean is a leading scholar-practitioner in Integral Studies. He is currently the most published author applying the Integral model to a variety of topics. He has published integral explorations on the topics of education, sustainable development, ecology, intersubjectivity, science and religion, consciousness studies, and play. His articles have appeared in academic journals such as the Journal of Consciousness Studies, Journal of Bhutan Studies, World Futures, ReVision, Constructivism in the Human Sciences Journal of Humanistic Psychology, and AQAL. He co-edited Ken Wilber’s recent book The Simple Feeling of Being and has just completed writing a 600 page book with environmental philosopher Michael Zimmerman: Integral Ecology: Uniting Multiple Perspectives on the Natural World.

Sean Esbjörn-Hargens Article at Wikipedia

Media Presentations at Integral+Life

Integral Ecology Uniting Multiple Perspectives on the Natural World

Sean Esbjorn-Hargens and Ken Wilber

 John F. Kennedy University Transforming Lives. Changing the World.

Sean Esbjorn-Hargens

 A Comprehensive Approach to Today’s Planetary Issues An Overview of Integral Ecology

 Sean Esbjorn-Hargens and Michael Zimmerman

 An All-Inclusive Framework for the 21st Century An Overview of Integral Theory

Sean Esbjorn-Hargens

  Today there is a bewildering diversity of views on ecology and the natural environment. With more than a hundred ecological schools of thought and methodologies—and scientists, economists, religious leaders, activists, and others often taking completely different stances on the issues—how can we come to agreement to solve our toughest environmental problems? In response to this pressing need, Integral Ecology unites the valuable insights from multiple perspectives into a comprehensive theoretical framework—one that can be put to use right now. Real-life applications of integral ecology are examined, including work with marine fisheries in Hawaii, strategies of eco-activists to protect Canada’s Great Bear Rainforest, and a study of community development in El Salvador.
   

Publications coming:

Esbjörn-Hargens, S. (Ed.) (in press). Integral Theory in Action: Applied, Theoretical, and Critical Perspectives on the AQAL Model. Albany, NY: SUNY.

Esbjörn-Hargens, S. (in process). Living Integral: Cultivating Multi-dimensional Awareness in Daily Life. New York: Random House/Integral Books.

Esbjörn-Hargens, S. (in process). Integral Theory: An Approach to Everything. New York: Random House/Integral Books.

Esbjörn-Hargens, S. (Ed.) (in process). Humanity’s First Planetary Crisis: Why We Need an Integral Approach to Climate Change.

Find more resources at:

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