Jan 312012
 

I read the article in “The Daily Beast” – The Path to Victory in November for Barack Obama and the Democrats by Michael Tomasky. One of the comments pointed out that President Obama doesn’t get credit for all the changes that he has made to support America’s recovery and that he doesn’t spend enough time explaining the economic benefits of focusing on fairness to the wage-earners, just the social benefits. Here was my response:

“Yeah, I thought the connection was more intuitively obvious. Perhaps the dots need to be explicitly connected.

When businesses or investors get more money, they tend to take it out of circulation; they save it (Apple is now sitting on about $100 Billion) or buy things like bonds, mutual funds, or other companies. When businesses or private equity firms buy a business, they often take it apart, sell some pieces, and lay off employees as they squeeze operations for fast profit.

When private citizens get more money, they tend to spend it on products and services. This money continues to circulate multiple times as the people they give it to also spend it on products and services. Eventually, companies and/or taxes reduce the circulation. When the government gets more money it also tends to spend it on products and services. There is no truth to “trickle-down economics;” there is only “bubble-up investments.” However, if you let private citizens and progressive governments spend, you stimulate the virtuous cycle of a recirculating self-reinforcing economy.

There is an exception in the case of some conservative governments. Although a war can stimulate the economy through increased manufacturing and payrolls (as in WWII), It can also damage the economy if its costs are funded by printing money (as in Bush’s Iraq/Afghanistan). Plus, at the end of such a war investment, there is no significant tangible domestic benefit such as improved infrastructure.

Thus, President Obama is right to shift the emphasis from the last 30 years’ trend that favors robbing from the wage-earners (who make money by working) and favors making it easier for businesses, banks, and investors to make money from moving money. He is right to shift the emphasis from hoarding the fruits of American’s labors to planting, growing, nurturing, and replanting what we earn in ways that help more people to work and more people to earn more.”

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Sep 262010
 

An Object of Urgency

by David Satterlee

Nigel emerged from the back door of the house with a sense of urgency. He could have walked through the rusted and rotted screening that no longer covered the outer door but he was known for his attention to detail and duty and, having pushed the wood frame open ahead of himself, he now allowed it to bang closed, draw by its spring as he felt drawn to his purpose.

Hurrying to the edge of the porch, old boards yielding and protesting under the tread of his massive bulk, he stood rigidly still, surveying his surroundings. The early sun was burning off the low-lying mist like smoke rising from a wet and lazy leaf fire. Heavy dew still clung to the vegetation. It would wet his feet because he had not put on shoes, but that was of no consequence. Lifting his head at last, assured of no immediate threat, his mind returned to his purpose here, and the agitated old man inside, peering after him expectantly with rheumy eyes.

Nigel had lived here most of his life. He had been born here and knew the area intimately. Everything was in its place and little changed. The predictability of his routine was a constant comfort. He slept when he wanted to, ate when he felt like it, and watched – always alert to any disturbance. His sole duty of consequence was to assure the security of the other occupant of this remote cabin in this secluded corner of this godforsaken wood. Still, he had suddenly become aware that he was in possession of an object that must be removed from the cabin immediately and deposited outside in a place that would not be disturbed.

He could wait no longer. Descending the three steps that separated the residence from the unmown thickets beyond, he advanced down a well-worn path that lead into the woods. The path branched like the limbs of the trees that towered above him. Although almost any of the forking, ever-narrowing tracks would supply a suitable destination and an acceptable repository, he was determined to choose carefully. Despite his anxiety to complete his task, Nigel gave this puzzle his full attention.

He wanted to put this thing as far away from the old man as circumstance made practical, yet still be able to return promptly if summoned. Deer used this branch of the track regularly and it led straight away with no obstruction, allowing Nigel to move briskly at first. He suddenly slowed, somehow sensing the presence of others. Crouching slightly while standing rigidly in place, he quieted his breath, opened all his senses, and let them penetrate his surroundings. A small scrape to his left was out of place. Turning his head slowly to bring the area into view, a brace of six pheasants exploded into flight. Nigel relaxed and moved on without surrendering his accustomed vigilance.

Remembering a small clearing ahead and to his right, Nigel quickened his pace; he had to get rid of this thing soon. Squeezing carefully past a thorny branch, the clearing revealed itself; it would be adequate for his purpose. Deer liked to congregate here and their droppings littered the trampled grass. The thing that he had brought would certainly disturb them and their sense of security here, but Nigel was indifferent to their imminent distress. Squatting close to the fragrant loam, the big dog took a massive dump.

Copyright 2010, 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.

Feb 012010
 

Source: “Authentic Happiness,” Martin E. P. Seligman, Ph.D., Chapter 5

Martin Seligman proposes a formula for happiness: H=S+C+V.

Enduring level of Happiness =
Set range + life Circumstances + factors under Voluntary control

H – Enduring level of Happiness

Enduring happiness is not the same as momentary happiness, which can spring from a wide range of positive, but transient events. Increasing these momentary pleasures have no enduring effect on enduring happiness.

In repeated studies of identical twins, fraternal twins, and adopted children, demonstrate that about half of all personality traits can be attributed to genetic inheritance. While some of these heritable traits are rather firmly fixed, some are remarkably malleable.

S – Set range

Traits which are inherited and more fixed establish a “set range” of what is normal or typical for each person. They define areas that may serve as barriers to increased happiness.

Lottery winners study

A study of major lottery winners found that most returned to their previous levels and styles of happiness within one year. On the other hand, the effect also works in reverse, with people usually recovering after adversity.

Quadriplegia study

Even people who become quadriplegics and experience a period of depression usually recover their more-positive mood within months.

Hedonic Treadmill

The concept of a hedonic treadmill describes people who, like lottery winners, begin to take good things for granted. They can begin seeking greater and greater stimulus events, trying to create the feel of an increased enduring happiness out of repeated transient experiences.

In contrast, severe tragedies such as death of loved ones and produce long-term decreases in happiness.

C – life Circumstances

Changed circumstances can sometimes contribute to enduring happiness.

Impacts of money, marriage, social life, negative emotion, health, education, climate, race, gender, religion.

Intractable poverty and other enduring negative circumstances can directly produce higher levels of unhappiness and depression. However, once a certain level of perceived basic needs are met, improving circumstances no longer reliably produce emotional satisfaction. Security is important to happiness; wealth is not.

Marital satisfaction is clearly related to happiness. However, unhappy people may be less likely to become married or stay married. Satisfying romantic and social relationships are also reliably related to reported happiness. It is still unclear that one causes the other.

The mere existence of unhappy situations and negative emotions does not intrinsically deny a person joy. Women tend to experience greater levels of emotion, both positive and negative, than men. Although they experience twice as much depression as men, they also experience more frequent and more intense positive emotions.

Younger people, evidently often report carefree and youthful “fun” as happiness. A close examination indicates that life satisfaction tends to increase with age while extremes of emotional intensity moderate.

Factors such as education, climate, race, and gender do not directly and reliably correlate with sustained happiness.

The exercise of religious faith, and the social support that it often provides, often removes adherents from certain negative life circumstances. This has a noticeable but not reliable protective effect on happiness. The element of increased hope maybe the most significant beneficial factor: increasing happiness and reducing despair.

Increasing Happiness: The Bottom Line

The most influential effects on long-term happiness include: living in a wealthy democracy; having a satisfying marriage; avoiding events that overtly produce negative emotions; developing a social network; embracing a hopeful spiritual path.

Disappointingly ineffective effects on long-term happiness include: materialistic pursuits beyond basic needs; immoderate pursuit of health; pursuit of advanced education; cosmetic surgery; geographic moves.

Jan 122010
 

Source: “Pursuing Human Strengths,” Martin Bolt, Introduction

“Change” reflects our ability to adjust typical patterns of behavior. The way we think about the ability of ourselves and others to change affects how we think about and judge behavior. Entity theorists believe that our characteristics change very little. They are more willing to make generalized character judgments based on fewer observed behaviors. Incremental theorists believe that we are more able to make desired changes. They are more willing to seek opportunities for and apply themselves toward personal development. An incrementalist would certainly be more likely to make an effort to change.

One’s attitude toward the human potential for change is reflected in the relative importance of ability vs. effort in achieving success or demonstrating intelligence. Albert Einstein sounds like an incrementalist when he is quoted as saying “genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.” If one believes that their characteristics are fixed, they may interpret poor performance on a task means that they are stupid, worthless, or a complete loser. Others are able to interpret failure as the mark of effort and see the need to intensify or redirect their efforts. One path leads to pessimism, learned helplessness, and self-reinforcing failure. The other path leads to optimism, sustained effort, preparation to seize opportunities, and self-reinforcing experience with success.

While positive attitudes and hard work do not guarantee success, they clearly promote it. Lucky breaks , social support, health, and even genetic gifts are important facilitators for many people who are admired as “successful.” The book “Outliers” by Malcom Gladwell makes a fascinating study of opportunistic success. Nonetheless, cultivated attitudes and habits about the potential for change creates an environment that rewards effort toward desired change.

“Parents and teachers can also teach students to relish a challenge. Doing easy tasks is often a waste of time. The fun comes in confronting something difficult and finding strategies that work. Finally, adults should help children value learning more than grades. Too often kids rely on grades to prove their worth. Sure, grades are important. But they are not as significant as learning.” (p. 10)

Dec 222009
 

image Rick Hanson, Ph.D., is a neuropsychologist, co-founder of the Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom

“Hanson and Mendius successfully answer the question: How can you use your mind to strengthen positive brain states and ultimately change your life?

Arguing that our ancestors brains, flooded with adrenaline and cortisol, were wired for survival, the authors reveal how this neurological propensity for high arousal contributes to our present-day chronic illness, depression, and anxiety.

Using Buddhism s eightfold path as a model, they illustrate how meditation and relaxation can change our brain s natural tendencies. Pictures illustrate the brain s functions and practical meditation exercises are found throughout. The authors also discuss the importance of diet and nutritional supplements.

Arguing that our ancestors brains, flooded with adrenaline and cortisol, were wired for survival, the authors reveal how this neurological propensity for high arousal contributes to our present-day chronic illness, depression, and anxiety. Using Buddhism s eightfold path as a model, they illustrate how meditation and relaxation can change our brain s natural tendencies. Pictures illustrate the brain s functions and practical meditation exercises are found throughout. The authors also discuss the importance of diet and nutritional supplements. “

Shop at Amazon for:
Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom
by: Rick Hanson Ph.D.

“A wonderfully comprehensive book. The authors have made it easy to understand how our minds function and how to make changes so that we can live happier, fuller lives.” —Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness

“Solidly grounded in the latest neuroscientific research, and supported by a deep understanding of contemplative practice, this book is accessible, compelling, and profound—a crystallization of practical wisdom!" –Philip David Zelazo, Ph.D., Nancy M. and John E. Lindahl Professor, Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota

“This is simply the best book I have read on why and how we can shape our brains to be peaceful and happy. This is a book that will literally change your brain and your life.” —Jennifer Louden, author of The Woman’s Comfort Book and The Life Organizer

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 302009
 
More Than Money: Questions Every MBA Needs to Answer: Redefining Risk and Reward for a Life of Purpose

Can MBAs, often cast as risk-averse conflicted achievers caught in the MBA trap of "I’ll make money now and then…", find their true happiness and achieve their destiny in the midst of societal and peer pressures?

Absolutely–if you recognize that what you thought were your safest career choices actually may be your riskiest. How so? Your safest choices keep you on your destiny path; your riskiest ones take you away from it.

How do you know? More Than Money offers four questions and twelve principles to keep you on your path and tools to help you measure where you are and what you need to do to fulfill your destiny.

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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