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Looking for Superman in a World of Clark Kents? Truth, Justice and the American Way

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By Michael Caporale

Truth, Justice & The American Way

trashmouthTruth is an elusive quality, more concept than form. It cannot be held, only embraced.  It supports justice but cannot guarantee it. It is widely believed to be one of the cornerstones of the “American Way” as millions of baby-Boomers who happily watched the Superman TV show of the 1950’s were indoctrinated to believe, but truth is neither uniquely American nor the exclusive commodity of any nation.

Not everyone knows that Diogenes was a real person, instead of some Greek myth. For that matter, you may not even know who Diogenes was.  He roamed Athens at the time of Socrates and Plato in search of an honest man and the truth. Failing to find even one, he originated the philosophical concepts of both cynicism and stoicism. Today, as the relationship of truth, justice and the “American Way” shift in the Age of Trump, we are offered little comfort except perhaps the philosophical practices of Diogenes, neither of which is a solution but a faint panacea. Drugs offer a more certain release from misery and depression, as the record numbers of heroin overdoses attests to.  Yes, the American Way has shifted.

When we think of the American Way we rightly reflect on democracy. When we export democracy around the world, we are exporting the American Way.  The American Way is based on freedom of thought, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, equal rights and justice for all.  This is what we represent to the world, or so we think.  In the many foreign lands where hate rises against us, the spawning grounds for terrorism, the American Way means something quite other, yet we do not seem to understand.  In order to represent it fairly, we must always speak the truth and live the truth—walk the walk. Justice cannot exist without the truth. A just outcome can occur by accident but that is not justice at work.  Justice is less an outcome than a process. To misrepresent truth is to alter the American Way, to give it new meaning.  It short circuits freedom, equality and justice. Today, the American Way is under siege, its meaning shifted to a new reality defined by Trump to reflect the failed practices of the most egregious previous administrations but with a much darker tone, reframed as “Make America Great Again” and which will have nothing but sinister consequences for the American Way.

Lest we have any doubt about the direction the Trump administration will take in shifting the American Way, here’s the most recent quote from Steve Bannon, Chief White house administration strategist for Trump, the man who is his most influential advisor: “Darkness is good.  Dick Cheney, Darth Vader, Satan, that’s power.”

Trump has become the new master of “reality.”  He redefined it as a Reality TV star and now spills its meaning over into the real world of politics with a ready-made and waiting audience. Nothing is true in Reality TV and as fact-checkers have demonstrated about 78% of what is spoken by Trump and his surrogates is easily proved to be false. Should this come as a surprise? In shifting the meaning of “reality” he has shifted the American Way, changing our ability to see the truth.  It’s an old magicians trick—direct your attention to a distraction and then fool you into believing that you just witnessed something quite impossible.  By now we should realize that nothing about this election has been impossible, just magic.

 


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So we must begin by asking “what is truth?” before we can go looking for it.

Facts are to truth as falsehoods are to lies.  One is not necessarily the other, although it can be.  A falsehood is not a lie without  the element of intent. Facts can be spoken without speaking the truth.  A lie can be entirely factual and yet still be a deception.  All this is very confusing and makes it almost impossible to find the truth.  The best liars know that.

Zen is a spiritual concept that is little understood or practiced in our culture. Zen is not linear.  It is indirect.  It is synesthetic not anesthetic. It is not logical in the American way of perception and linear reasoning.  It is a way to understand without pursuing a conclusion based on a linear progression of thought.  It is open to the natural flow of life, becoming a part of all things in the spiritual sense, one with the universe. It does not yield proof, but understanding and I ask you, “which is more important?”  Zen is one way to know the truth, but there are many others. A lie detector is not one of them.

The greatest impediment to knowledge is a belief system.  Like knowledge, truth does not conform to the beliefs of any single group or organization or system. It is universal and exists on its own terms.

It is the mistake of conventional news outlets like CNN to assume that pursuing a policy of “fair and balanced’ coverage produces a more secure democracy.  Not necessarily.  It might in the world of the idealist but in the pragmatic world it gives a solid platform to the pestilent voices of ill will.  It displays and reinforces ideologies that are a sickness infecting the American Way. It normalizes the aberrant and abnormal, establishing falsehood as one of two acceptable equal outcomes. This has to change.

In past times, the voices of dissent took form in popular entertainment.  Authors like DIckens, Swift and Caroll sought to express their ideas through fiction and in that way reveal a truth. In more recent times Hunter Thompson, the master-liar journalist of the twentieth century, elevated lying to an art form by developing a unique style of fake news called Gonzo Journalism. Through the most extreme lies he made the truth easily understood.

However,  the idea of fake news may have sprung from a TV show called “That Was The Week That Was”  and developed into a regular staple of our culture through “Saturday Night Live.”  It clearly evolved from there into shows like “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report” and became for Colin Powell and a nation tired of “fair and balanced news” a real source of important information, often otherwise neglected coverage, and invariably through admitted comedic falsehoods, the undeniable truth.

The arts have always played an important role in revealing the truth, at times like Zen in an indirect way.  They are the safety valve of our culture.  In poetry and song, artists like Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, Paul Simon and scores of others, in songs like “If 6 was 9” or “ I am the Walrus”  or “Absolutely Sweet Marie,” the lyrics of which follow, they have opened our minds to universal truths in the most mysterious ways.

“Well, your railroad gate, you know I just can’t jump it

Sometimes it gets so hard, you see

I’m just sitting here beating on my trumpet

With all these promises you left for me

But where are you tonight, sweet Marie?

Well, I waited for you when I was half sick

Yes, I waited for you when you hated me

Well, I waited for you inside of the frozen traffic

When you knew I had some other place to be

Now, where are you tonight, sweet Marie?

Well, anybody can be just like me, obviously

But then, now again, not too many can be like you, fortunately

Well, six white horses that you did promise

Were fin’lly delivered down to the penitentiary

But to live outside the law, you must be honest

I know you always say that you agree

But where are you tonight, sweet Marie?

Well, I don’t know how it happened

But the riverboat captain, he knows my fate

But ev’rybody else, even yourself

They’re just gonna have to wait

Well, I got the fever down in my pockets

The Persian drunkard, he follows me

Yes, I can take him to your house but I can’t unlock it

You see, you forgot to leave me with the key

Oh, where are you tonight, sweet Marie?

Now, I been in jail when all my mail showed

That a man can’t give his address out to bad company

And now I stand here lookin’ at your yellow railroad

In the ruins of your balcony

Wond’ring where you are tonight, sweet Marie”

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A note from the Publisher

New Report by National Academy of Sciences (USA): Social Media is Hazardous to Your Health

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Why some biologists and ecologists think social media is a risk to humanity

At a time of information overload, when most people can’t decipher truth from fiction, when our world and corporate leaders bow down to the corporate interests that are destroying all life as we know it for their short term personal gains, there are billions of social media accounts attached to mechanisms that continue to amplify misinformation and corporate propaganda. All of this inflicts tremendous damage to all life and our life support systems.

The report is attached below.  In Summary, it states:

Collective behavior provides a framework for understanding how the actions and properties of groups emerge from the way individuals generate and share information. In humans, information flows were initially shaped by natural selection yet are increasingly structured by emerging communication technologies. Our larger, more complex social networks now transfer high-fidelity information over vast distances at low cost. The digital age and the rise of social media have accelerated changes to our social systems, with poorly understood functional consequences. This gap in our knowledge represents a principal challenge to scientific progress, democracy, and actions to address global crises. We argue that the study of collective behavior must rise to a “crisis discipline” just as medicine, conservation, and climate science have, with a focus on providing actionable insight to policymakers and regulators for the stewardship of social systems.

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Editorials

Everything Connects

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For the sake of planetary and personal health, business will have to change.

Special Presentation: Sarah Savory

Our existing systems of media and education provide a limited worldview. This reductionist worldview limits our ability to see and exist in the world properly, effectively and in total health.

For us to truly thrive as a species in harmony with the natural world, we will need to see the world as ONE LIVING BREATHING ORGANISM, and our part and place in the world as a part of this organism.  This will require a shift in our thinking, in our action and in the ways we make our decisions.  This very forward-thinking conversation will clearly identify where we are at, how we arrived at this point, what needs to happen, how we get there, what are the obstacles and how will we overcome these obstacles.  And yes, business will have to change.

As Bucky Fuller said: “Nature is a totally efficient, self-regenerating system. If we discover the laws that govern this system and live synergistically within them, sustainability will follow and humankind will be a success.”

But humans don’t know how to manage the complexities of our world. The increasing social, economic, and ecological disasters we are experiencing across the world are the mounting symptoms of our not considering the whole and managing our societies, economies, and nature in isolation of each other when they are an inseparable whole – no person or nation on earth can have physical or financial stability without ecological health.

Sarah Savory has worked alongside her father, Allan Savory who created the Holistic Management Framework. In this exhilarating conversation, we’ll discover a new and improved decision-making process to enable us to manage and balance the inseparable complexity of human societies, economies, and nature. Remember, we’re all in this together

Sarah Savory

Sarah Savory is the single mother of 2 young children, Luke and Mika. She is the youngest daughter of Allan Savory, world-renowned ecologist and developer of Holistic Management (a decision making process which successfully guides us through the complexity we manage by ensuring simultaneously socially, financially and ecologically sound decisions.)
Sarah is following closely in his footsteps and has become a very successful Holistic Management Consultant and Educator in her own right.
In an effort to simplify the framework, she has written illustrated, educational children’s books on Holistic Management and has also broken new ground by teaching HM as a subject in Zimbabwean schools, with demand for education and educational materials growing rapidly and is now writing the first school curriculum for Holistic Decision Making and Ecological Literacy to be taught as a subject in schools.
She is a part of Africa Centre For Holistic Management’s new training and education team and she is part of a new, global policy task force which is focusing on breaking through in government policy. Sarah and her father recently met with President Mnangagwa to begin talks about working with the Zimbabwean government to develop the first ever agricultural policy using the Holistic Management Framework.
Sarah spends the rest of her time writing articles, giving presentations and being interviewed both locally and internationally.
A personal note from Sarah to our youth – you are the key to the future:
Holistic Management involves introducing people to new scientific insights that will not only help them to better understand the incredibly complex social, economic and ecological connections in nature and how earth’s ecosystems function, but teach a new way of managing which makes sure our decisions flow with the unpredictable, ever-present and constantly changing variables of that complexity.
Managers learn how to make decisions or develop polices in a way that guarantees they never lose sight of the whole picture and the fact that our physical and financial security and stability are intricately connected and entirely dependent on the health of our environment – the only economy that can ultimately sustain any nation is one based on healthy soil and the plant’s ability to turn the sun’s energy into food because everything we use or consume comes from the land.
When it comes to making a change and adapting to new knowledge and thinking, history shows us that most adults and institutions are almost incapable of it. I truly believe the key to the future lies in educating our children, rather than pinning all our hopes on the possibility of “old dogs learning new tricks.”
Let’s give young people the solutions and show them how vital it is to look at the whole picture and to focus on and address root causes instead of symptoms.
If we can have school leavers going off into the world ecologically literate and capable of successfully managing and balancing the unavoidable social, financial and ecological dimensions of their decisions, rather than being stuck as we are now, on a hamster wheel reacting or adapting to the inevitable and increasing symptoms of our current management, they will be proactively making decisions in a new way that will bring about the physical and financial stability we all want, reversing the current problems and preventing any more knock-on symptoms further down the line. When we do that, it will change everything.

Related Stories:

Allan Savory: A holistic management shift is required

Allan Savory: How to effect meaningful transformation to address the global climate crisis.

For a healthier planet, management must change

 

https://mobilized.news/a-timely-message-for-world-leaders-from-holistic-management-pioneer-allan-savory-of-savory-global/

 

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Arts

Chautauquas and Lyceums and TED Talks, oh my!

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Our future is in OUR Hands

We are aiming with Mobilized to create a vibrant forum for ideas.  “Big deal”, you might say, there are already places for that.

Well, you’re not wrong.  There was, in the earliest days of the web, a loose and wild forum called The Well.  The great and powerful Google had as it’s mission the goal of “bringing all the knowledge of the world to every person”… before it pivoted to a new goal of just making money off of what it knows about us.  That change was a real pity.  There have been sites such as Wiser Earth, which aimed to be a global directory of people and non-profit organizations so that collaboration could happen on a larger scale than ever before.  It lasted about two years, sadly; not long enough to create a legacy.  Huffington Post had a good run in its’ early days, sharing ideas widely and helping to boost its’ contributors in the public’s mind.

What’s important to know, is that as of this writing, there is not really a widely recognized forum online or in ‘meat-space’.  There are print publications such as YES! magazine, Tikkun, The Sun Magazine, and The Utne Reader, all of which which reach a population of hundreds thousands.  Great, but their reach could be even more broad, in my humble opinion.  Within social media sites there are plenty of good ‘groups’ but they also don’t reach enough folks outside of their own memberships.

Probably the most popular comparable live events right now are the TED talks, which do serve a valuable purpose.  Sadly, they also tend toward the ‘Gee-Whiz‘ and the ‘Shiny New Buzzword‘ in their contents.  Mobilized really wants to focus on the proven, the existing, and the hidden.  There are already, all over, groups doing wonderful work, but too many of them are laboring in obscurity.

So, how do we do that?  Well to begin with, we’re not trying to be a technology startup.  There is no secret sauce, no fancy algorithm at work here.  Almost all the underlying code behind Mobilized is made with off-the-shelf parts, such as WordPress.  There is zero reason to re-invent the wheel, and frankly the notion that one must do so has tripped up several earlier attempts at building a successful progressive community.  We take the approach of using the tools at hand to build our house.

Secondly, we are going into the future with an eye firmly on the past.  And that leads us to the point of this essay, a look at how America became America.  We can take many lessons from the past.  One of our best ideas as a nation was the Chautauqua movement.   It had it’s heyday from the 1870’s right up until the beginning of World War II.  In part, it helped spawn a Lyceum movement, the Vaudeville traditions in the theater world; and had an effect on the earliest days of the motion-picture industry.  Here’s why it was so popular: the average person, anywhere in the land, could go to a Chautauqua when it came to their town, and engage in spirited discussion with the brightest minds of the day.  It was direct, person-to-person, and offered a mix of local and national ideas and people; presented on a rotating basis.  So ideas could be hashed out and spread rapidly.  And they did.  In no small part due to these two movements, the Robber Barons of the Gilded Age were defeated.  The Great Depression was tackled too, and along the way no less than Susan B. Anthony, Teddy Roosevelt and Mark Twain became huge fans.  No part of society could, or wanted to, ignore the notion that average people could teach other average people.

Mobilized aims to help bring that back into common understanding.  In the present era, there may well be a place for tents and lecturers setting up in farmer’s fields.  There certainly is a crying need for an educational platform that is accessible to the masses.  And now, there exist enough robust tools for us to re-create the ethos of a Chautauqua on the internet.

We, the people, when it really mattered and the stakes were high, collectively taught ourselves how to better ourselves.  Now, in every corner of the world, the stakes are once again pretty high.  It is time for a new Chautauqua movement, and this one will be truly global.  So step right up, come on inside our virtual tent.  Welcome to the show.

 

 

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