“Take good advice, make sure it is good advice, then do it your way.”
Vidal Sasson

The Element

Kevin Spacey on Storytelling, Artistic Excellence and … Business


An excellent talk:

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Journalism needs to find purpose again


From To make journalism harder, slower, less secure:

“Journalism almost has to be brought closer to activism to stand a chance of prevailing in its current struggle with the state.”

I don’t know if activism is a correct word but Journalism, like so many other domains, is being re-challenged to once again find relevant purpose. The reason that the NSA seems to have an upper hand (for the time being) is that it has already been repurposed – it is already firmly entrenched in its new purpose – giving it a head start over journalism. Journalism is simply late to the game. Maybe this is because journalism was too busy clinging on to the familiar past when the technological revolution first prompted it to evolve? The NSA seems to be more demanding!?

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Drunvalo Melchizedek


This is the person often mentioned in Bob Frissell’s book:

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Bruce Schneier: Trust, Security, Privacy, Society


An excellent talk … except I felt he was too gracious and careful with his hosts:

In the end he speaks of hard-power turning into soft-power … got me thinking about femininity.
And also mentions that organic-food is a kind of defensive strategy against unhealthy food … loved that … continuing to feed my unwritten post on organic.

via Fred Wilson

Also from Bruche Schneier (came to me a day later) The Public-Private Surveillance Partnership via Matt Mullenweg

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This Shitty World is Pregnant with Another


From Shining Eyes:

“We’re here because for the first time we can feel the new way of being beating in our veins. Eduardo Galeano said this shitty world is pregnant with another. I can taste it. I can feel it. I can even say that I’ve seen it.”

via Dan MaQuillan and Nick Marsh

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Legitimizing via Science


From this article about Johnson & Masters work in sexuality:

“And they legitimised it in a way by making it scientific.”

An interesting point-of-reference to the demise of intellect itself into social patterns as a dominant means of acceptance.


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Unveiling the Myth of Patents as an Attack on The Commons


taken from Steve Jobs Didn’t Build That:

” … The American patent system is based on what Gar Alperovitz calls “the hero inventor” ideology, the belief that one man or woman working diligently and independently on a project drives innovation by upending the status quo.

… The implications of this ideology are important for capitalism as a system … The history of attribution, then, is largely the history of arbitrarily choosing one of many inventors and showering him with praise and wealth.

Innovators, in addition to standing up on the shoulders of giants, rarely work alone … Invention appears in significant part to be a social, not an individual, phenomenon.

… today intellectual property is our commons, information is our commons …

Thus American patent law is designed not to promote innovation, but rather stifle it, by allowing one individual to profit at the expense of society …

Rather than promoting innovation, patents allow for capitalists to monopolize public research and knowledge for private gain … Just like the oil barons of Saudi Arabia who build their regimes by exploiting their country’s vast natural resources, the tech barons of America build their wealth by exploiting a vast intellectual heritage that is not theirs to take.”

… and then there is this interesting story … one way to fight back against software patents

both via Albert Wenger


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Jeffrey Sachs on John F. Kennedy and his Quest For Peace


Finally, after all the short media appearances, a new talk by Jeffrey Sachs about his new book. As the first commenter noted this talk is, if nothing else, an excellent history lesson. Also I enjoy time and again hearing an academic and economist such as Jeffrey Sachs bring it all back to morality:

Following are a few thoughts and reflections that came to me as I watched the talk:

Create Space

The most concrete and actionable knowledge that shimmered for me was the idea of creating a space for making decisions (which if I remember correctly Kennedy picked up from a military strategist). This is a theme I often encounter in my own life, in my Yoga practices and as a Yoga teacher. How to stick a wedge into the default flow of consciousness so that there can be time to be present, to reflect … and to make decisions.

I believe this advice is precious because it is also a (the?) most practical tool in opening a door for morality to reappear in our lives.

Peace is Not Enough

I wish I had written a post that has long been on my mind about organic food so I could link to it – but I haven’t yet so I’ll just say briefly what it would be about.. I am not a fan of the idea of organic farming/gardening … I am actually against it, often times much like I am against traditional (chemically infused) farming/gardening.

Organic farming methods are a negative definition – they are about not using chemical pesticides and herbicides. They are not about doing what’s right but about avoiding what is wrong. It is “right” only in the face of a “wrong” it is trying to correct. Farming needs to go beyond organic and to do that it has to have something to work towards, to aspire to. My aspirations have come to rest on an idea of healthy soils that improve with every growing season. Organic farming can be as destructive towards soils as traditional farming. However when healthy soils are at heart, organic produce is a natural and obvious result – nothing to brag about really.

As Jeffrey Sachs was speaking of peace I thought of my birth-country Israel and Egypt and the middle-east. Israel and Egypt have had a peace agreement for decades and in all that time it has been fragile, always under threat by the shifty political winds of the entire region.

A thought came to me that peace, like organic,  is not a high enough aspiration … it isn’t a sustainable aspiration … it fades too quickly. Peace is mostly “not being at war” – another negative definition … like organic. It does not give something to strive towards. If you can imagine a future of “not being at war” with an enemy, try imagining what you can do together. That should you on a farther reaching trajectory than not being enemies.


For many years I vehemently rejected the idea of being a parent. At one time when I asked my father about this he answered something along the lines of “survival of the human race”. That answer didn’t work for me. I wasn’t (still am not) too impressed by the human race, so I can’t really see why it’s survival is so important.

Jeffrey Sachs brought up this same theme “survival of the human race” in his closing remarks (in answering a question from the audience). This continues my previous point … survival is simply not enough (at least not for me). I was born into and indoctrinated into this view that life is about survival. I reject it – if survival was all there was, I would not see a point in getting up in the morning (and for some years I did not see a point in getting up in the morning). I believe there is more to aspire to and that survival is only justified when it serves a higher purpose. Without that purpose survival is a defeating, pointless and uphill effort.

Were There Sane Voices?

I would like to ask Jeffrey Sachs and his research assistant if their research shows that during the period in question there were also sane, reasonable, moral voices in or in the vicinity of government. If there were, what prevented them from being heard, from achieving dominance? Why do we fall prey to stupidity, narrow-mindedness, rigidness and immorality – which si pretty much where we are today?

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Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros


So soft, simple, minimal, full, complete, delicate, men, women, male, female, together, moving in, moving out, listening, speaking, unimportant … music …

Man on fire, I don’t wanna pray, Child, Mother …

… and then, in the interview, he mentioned Ojai … sent a shiver down my spine

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How Lightning is Born


Fascinating … lightning is a result of an intense connection of the elements:

via Chris Hadfield

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Who Killed the Electric Car?


Two years ago when we purchased our car (given where we live we needed a 4×4) and we wondered if there are 4×4 electric cars out there … and couldn’t find any. Little did I know that not only have they already existed byt they had also been un-existed:

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Doug Engelbart


I’d never heard of Doug Engelbart (and that’s a pitty) until after he departed from his body on June 2. His visionary talk about computing from 1968 is mind blowing. Two things struck me … one, the obvious, is the vision he had and the way he brought it to it life. The second was how he had also (inadvertently?) planted the seeds of the a major shortcoming of user experience – the technical/engineering approach that trumps the emotional aspects of human life. 45 years later and I still don’t use a computing device to make a shopping list – pen and paper still works much better for me. MAYBE (

Anyways, fantastic talk:

Doug Engelbart 1968 Demonstration from Nathan Garrett on Vimeo.

via Albert Wenger

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In effect, shareholder value is obsolete


From The Origin Of ‘The World’s Dumbest Idea’: Milton Friedman:

“No popular idea ever has a single origin. But the idea that the sole purpose of a firm is to make money for its shareholders got going in a major way with an article by Milton Friedman in the New York Times on September 13, 1970.

… Friedman’s article was ferocious. Any business executives who pursued a goal other than making money were, he said, “unwitting pup­pets of the intellectual forces that have been undermining the basis of a free society these past decades.” They were guilty of “analytical looseness and lack of rigor”.

… The success of the article was not because the arguments were sound or powerful, but rather because people desperately wanted to believe … The idea of focusing totally on making money, and forgetting about any concerns for employees, customers or society seemed like a promising avenue worth exploring, regardless of the argumentation.

… to ensure that the firms would focus solely on making money for the shareholders, firms should turn the executives into major shareholders, by affording them generous compensation in the form of stock.

… Sadly, as often happens with bad ideas that make some people a lot of money, shareholder value caught on and became the conventional wisdom.

… Politics also lent support.

… So for a time, it looked as though the magic of shareholder value was working. But once the financial tricks that were used to support it were uncovered, the underlying reality became apparent.

The shareholder value theory thus failed even on its own narrow terms: making money … In the period of shareholder capitalism since 1976, executive compensation has exploded while corporate performance declined.

… Not everyone agreed with the shareholder value theory, even in the early years. … Quaker Oats president Kenneth Mason, writing in Business Week, declared Friedman’s profits-are-everything philosophy “a dreary and demeaning view of the role of business and business leaders in our society… Making a profit is no more the purpose of a corporation than getting enough to eat is the purpose of life. Getting enough to eat is a requirement of life; life’s purpose, one would hope, is somewhat broader and more challenging. Likewise with business and profit.”

In effect, shareholder value is obsolete.

via Matt Mullenweg

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Adrift: A Story of Fog


stunning, beautiful, awesome, inspiring … relief

Adrift from Simon Christen on Vimeo.

via Raymond

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I have mixed feelings about the talk … it is too vague for what I consider to be an important subject domain. The story at the end makes up for it:

via David Korten

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When they laugh at my misfortunes


A different kind of voice speaking about disenchantment and Africa.

Bayo Akomolafe: We Will Tell Our Stories from The Economics of Happiness on Vimeo.

I feel similarly about Romania. Romania is much further (then Africa) down the road of enchantment by the western offerings … so it has a lot more to gain through disenchantment and re-enchantment with its own unique nature.

This video arrived as a gift from @charleseisenstein

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Nothing in this book is true but its exactly how things are


I think I read Nothing in this book is true but its exactly how things are by Bob Frissell for the first time over 10 years ago. It was pointed out to me by Shin’ar – an aromatherapist who literally came into my life when she opened a clinic 20 meters from where I was living (she would also become Andreea’s first formative teacher). It was and continues to be a really strange book – my initial experience of it was that is was too far fetched and yet I could NOT put it down – I don’t think I’ve read any other book faster than this one. A long time ago I loaned it to someone and it never came back to me.

A few months ago Andreea attended two workshops of Theta-Healing. Before the second workshop she arranged for me to meet with their teacher – also Andrea (a single “e”-d one). Our hour together was a very pleasant and precious meeting and though she introduced me to Theta-Healing (I am not attracted to it). At the end of the meeting Andrea and I exchanged book recommendations. My recommendation to her was “Nothing in this book is true …”. When I got home I searched for her recommendation and put it on my wishlist.

Then a couple of months ago Andreea (my double “e”-d one) ordered a couple of books and asked me I wanted to add anything to the order. I reviewed my wishlist but couldn’t find anything of immediate interest. Most of the books on my list are of an educational nature – they are about learning to work with and live in different aspects of nature – and I am taking a much needed break from learning. As I reviewed my wishlist I came across Andrea’s recommendation, explored it some more and did not feel attracted to it. However I did remember my recommendation to her and decided to bring home another copy of “Nothing in this book is true … “. I explicitly told Andreea that I wanted it to be here though I wasn’t immediately interested in reading it.

When it arrived it sat around for a few weeks until I picked it up. As before the book felt bizzare (even more so then the first time I read it) and again I couldn’t put it down. Also, even though I explicitly “remembered” the book it felt like a completely new book to me this time around. This may be partially explained by it being a revised 15th edition, but I believe that it is more a reflection of the journey of change I have been on since first reading it.

This time I added another dimension to the reading of the first half of the book. The book is filled with references to controversial (as in: did or did not take place) events. As I read the first half-or-so of the book I did a lot of online-searching in an attempt to learn more about the references mentioned in it. It was an amazing experience since I could neither corroborate or disprove (or at least discount) any of the events. I could not bring a peaceful resolution about them to my mind. As I did this I realized the awkward truthfulness of the book’s title.

The book also provided me with two distinct experiences. The first two-thirds felt very esoteric … far fetched … almost but not quite too far fetched. It challenged me and opened up possibilities that did not exist before. And though to my mind these possibilities may not exist at all they leave behind enough questioning to leave my mind vitally engaged. They give hope of a larger context that can make sense when the one I am living in does not.

The last third of the book provided me with an embracing peace. I felt that the words written in it were coming out of my mouth. I felt connected – related to another being in a special way. Though I have been blessed with a few precious relationships in this life – this connection felt special because of the written words – because of a shared description of an intimate experience.

Also, the last third of the book is filled with the expression “heaven on earth” which is literally the meaning of Bhudeva – the name we have given to the place-on-earth where we decided to make our home together.

There were a few things in the book which felt strangely aligned with my life. The first one being a period from 1972 to 1974 which I will call (to avoid going into details about the book) a “period of protection”. I was born in this window of time. My birth was difficult and life challenging experience for both my mother and me … both of us alive as I write these words.

The second one was the first Iraq war in 1991 – which according to the author was a unique event due to the immense unity around the world against one man. I was drafted into the army (having at the time lived as an ~18 year old male in Israel) shortly before the war began. It began as I was doing my basic training. My military career was very shortly lived, it was a last straw on my camel’s back and it triggered an emotional collapse which had been brewing for many years. I was discharged after a couple of months and that marked the beginning of an end – a period of disintegration of my life – one that culminated in a period of depression and a kind of rebirthing. At first I took on an aggressive and cynical personality. The depression marked a collapse of an old story and the personality that emerged was vehemently trying to fight off the world which continued to make intrusive moved against me.

Which brings me to the 3rd point of alignment. Bob Frissell (the author) in describing his own personal story of awakening mentions the age of 26 as a point of transition (not just for him) and so it was for me. My own transition-of-26 did not seem to be one of mindful consciousness. I was well into a successful-by-social-standards career yet I was beginning to feel an emptiness-of-purpose. At the time it was manifesting as an unhealthy body. I would mostly sit in offices activating my mind and my body began to deteriorate. I recall experiencing a stiff neck and back and I wondering what, given that I was feeling this way at the age of 26, it would be like when I actually got older. That’s when I began a search that would ultimately bring me to Yoga.

The last point of alignment brings me to the present time. It is a Sunday morning and I have just completed the book for the second time. I will indulge in this one quote of a quote from the book:

“To the few who know of this event and what is occurring all around us, a wisdom is transferred, and a peaceful state of being becomes their inheritance, for they know the awesom truth. In the midst of chaos, war, starvation, plagues, environmental crises, and moral breakdown that we are all experiencing here on Earth today at the end of this cycle, they understand the transition and know no fear. This fearless state is the secret to transformation that for millions of years has always followed this sacred cosmic event.

On one level, this means that spiritually the female will now have her turn to lead mankind (womankind)into the New Light. And eventually, this female spiritual light will permeate the entire range of human experience from female leaders in business and religion to female heads of state. By 2012-2013 this female spiritual light will become so strong as to become obvious to all and will continue to grow for thousands of years.

Yesterday (June 22, 2013) I drove Andreea to the city with a car packed full of her things. She has rented an apartment in the city that will serve both as a clinic and as a 2nd home for her. This is another transition on our shared journey.

Life (the last two years) at Bhudeva have been both extremely fruitful and extremely stressful. It has illuminated both our togetherness and our separateness. While I have surrendered into the physical life of earth and nature Andreea is levitating into a different existence (one that appears ungrounded to my eyes here at Bhudeva). As spiritual beings our journey is shared. As human beings we are currently on two different paths. As spiritual beings we experience a clear and shared higher purpose and unrelenting mutual support. As human beings we have experienced tension (tapas). Life at Bhudeva has made this undeniably clear.

Yesterday, leaving Andreea at her apartment was our second parting this week. The first was when she got on the bus on Monday to go to the city to look for an apartment (she found the apartment the next day). I drove her to the bus station in the village and watched as she got on the bus. As the bus drove away a wave of emotion arose in me and wet my eyes.

The emotion took me back to 10 or so years ago when, after struggling with Israeli society for the right to create a life together, we parted ways in Cyprus. We went there(to Cyprus!) to “get married” in the eyes of Israeli law so that we could (hopefully) continue making a life together in Israel without Andreea existing as an “illegal alien” (at the time, a police force was formed in Israel to hunt down and deport the “likes of her”). We arrived separately – Andreea had to first go to Romania to get her papers in order – so I flew in from Israel and she flew in from Romania. “The wedding” took 40 minutes, including 20 minutes driving and a few minutes waiting for our turn. We were there for 3 nights after which we had to go our own separate ways again – she to Romania, I to Israel (where I would then file papers asking to be “legally reunited” with her). I left first (my flight was earlier then hers), we said goodbye and I got into a taxi and drove to the airport in tears. I felt torn away from us. The same kind of tears and emotions appeared when her bus drove away this week. In Cyprus We did not know when we would see each other again (since Andreea left Israel as an illegal citizen and was black-listed accordingly). Yet we parted with a knowledge that this parting is on our path of togetherness. Such is the parting taking place now.

Andreea has been on an awakened path of purposeful fullfilment since we’ve arrived in Romania. She is blossoming into a being-of-light. As a birth-keeper she is assisting in birthing other beings-of-light into the world. As a care-giver she is caring for and nurturing light in other women. She is, after many years of searching, immersed in deep, intimate and purposeful relationships with other women with whom she can go places that were not for me to go with her. I also feel a need to point out that Andreea is the gateway for money in our life, of all the things we do, it is ultimately in her hands to meet the world around us and engage with it in exchange (which will be much easier and more available to her in the city!).

I want and need a period of quiet, undisturbed stability to regather. I look forward to a period of quiet, simple flow and stillness. Over the past two years I have gone through feelings of resentment, frustration, anger and betrayal. The more I am able to make some sense of what is actually happening the more those feelings have turned from demanding to nurturing. There is little bit of fear – but its a very little bit and doesn’t have much grip. My nature seems to have a deep aroma of recurring aloneness to it.

Ultimately this transition seems to be about us moving together into better alignment with our differing needs and natures. I feel blessed that we are able to find agility and flexibility that allow us to bend together without breaking. I feel blessed that our life circumstances provide us with the freedom to explore as diversly as we do. We are both facing a new unknown, we are both relieved, we are both together and, today, we are also both sad.

These are the closing words of the book:

“We appear to be heading for a level of existence that is beyond our ability to even imagine: the universe is being recalled; we are going home”

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Homeless in Romania


Sam is an American that has been living in Romania for many years. We crossed paths (and met in person) while Andreea & I were renting an apartment in Cluj Napoca before moving out to Bhudeva. He is a unique character who has a unique perspective on Romania because (a) he didn’t grow up in Romania (his perspective is aligned with the values and cultural norms of a modern western world) and (b) because he now lives in Romania (which is a far cry, for better and worse, from a ‘modern western world’).

Sam is an excellent writer and story teller and from what I’ve seen so far his story-telling abilities do cross-over to the video format with which he has been exploring for a while. He has touched extensively on the subject of Gypsies in Romania in many engaging posts on his website. My perspective is usually slightly different then his because he lives in a city and I live in a village. In typical Romanian village settings there is more integration due to the more natural (=close to nature) settings of village life (Gypsies are bigtime outdoor folk). His depiction of the Gypsy story from a Romanian and a wider European perspective is well told.

He has recently launched a Kickstarter to complete editing and publishing a movie about Gypsies in Romania:

The story of Gypsies exposes cultural attitudes and prejudices that are present in many personal (between people) and social (between ethnic groups and countries) views. Such attitudes (what is culture, what is progress, what is criminal, what is education, what is money, what is quality of life, etc.) often go unchallenged within homogenous groups because there are agreed underlying (often unspoken) agreements into which most members are indoctrinated. Gypsy culture challenges many of these attitudes. But more importantly it challenges how different attitudes (to those accepted in a given culture) are met (within a given culture). Many cultures like to pride themselves on being open, tolerant and inclusive … until they are put to the test by meeting and living alongside people who are different, people who challenge the norms, people who are not inclined to conform to the norms – in this case gypsies.

Robert Pirsig, in his book Lila, describes a fascinating relationship between Native American Indian culture and American culture:

“The new intellectualism of the 20’s argued that if there are principles for right social conduct they are to be discovered by social experiment …

… intellectuals became excited about anthropology in the hope that the field would provide facts upon which to base new scientific rules … Here in this country, American Indians were suddenly revived as models of primitive communal virtue …

The moral values that were replacing the old European Victorian ones were the moral values of American Indians: kindness to children,maximum freedom, openness of speech, love of simplicity,affinity for nature. Without any real awareness of where the new morals were coming from, the whole country was moving in a direction that it felt was right.

The western movie was another example of this change, showing Indian values which had become cowboy values which had become 20th century all-American values. Everyone knew the cowboys of the silver screen had little to do with their actual counterparts, but it didn’t matter. It was the values, not the historical accuracy,that counted.”

A similar and amusing parallel can be witnessed in modern day Romania where Romanians look down at Gypsies and then on one of their holidays (don’t remember which one – I think it’s something around New Years) Romanian girls love to dress up like Gypsies (who typically wear colorful, shiny, flower decorated, happy clothes). The cultures of Native American Indians have, for the most part, been trampled by modern American society. Gypsy culture has not yet been trampled. It continues to shout out in the face of modern European western culture and it refuses to bend. It takes its own slow and stubborn (excellent qualities in the face of todays ubiquitous fast and uninhibited) path, mingles where it can (such as village life) and collides (sometimes as a criminal elements) where it can’t.

The natural response of modern western European society is either racist (rejection) or colonial (taming and control) – both extreme and intolerant in their own way. The Gypsy situation highlights these extremeties and brings them to the surface – and Sam does an excellent job of depicting this aspect of the story. I hope this comes across in the movie … because I believe there are precious lessons to learn about cultural evolution from this story … and this is something many cultures can benefit from.

So if you are interested in this unique perspective that Sam has revealed then please consider donating to the project and spreading the word about it:

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The PRISM Thing


As I was reading throgh this article about the surveillance drama in the USA these thoughts flowed through me:

There is really very little quality information available (see the PRISM details matter).

The huge data-storage facility being built by the NSA or CIA or what not … casts a dark shadow over all possible doubts … if they are preparing to store so much information then they are going to collect (and are probably already in the process of collecting) so much information.

Speaking of “they” … I believe that at some level “they” are right to want this information … it probably does help them play their part in the failing security story we are living in.

Speaking of security … if “they” were to surrender their ambitions and scale back “their” surveillance” how understanding and forgiving would “we” towards “them” when the next “shocking” terrorist attacks take place?

There seems to be a fashion of “we” complaining about “them” … but very little that “we” are willing to do/change/give-up so that we need less of “them” and what “they” do.

It is up to “we” to change our world views, to create a better story of security (or maybe even a story that goes way beyond security?) … until “we” do “they” will continue to service “we” and “we” will continue to complain about “them” doing the job “we” ask “them” to do …

Maybe this self-inflicted drama is a (granted twisted) door to an opportunity for change … maybe the enemy from “within” a society is more negotiable then an enemey from “outside” a society. Maybe if “we and them” can be transformed into an “us” within the USA and its western allied countries … then maybe we’ll be able to export that capability to transform to other, more remote cultures and countries?

Sounds like “we” have stumbled onto a precious enemy … ourselves.


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We don’t completely control …


As flooding continues in mainaland Europe I continue to be amused by the “authorities responses”:

“We should accept that we humans should be humble, that even in the 21st century we don’t completely control nature – that is one lesson from this situation.”

Nature is not for us to control … and it seems that “we humans” are still in dire need of more lessons to make that perfectly clear to us. No fortifications (built at the expense of nature) can hold back nature. We are welcome to live with nature, we will not be allowed to subjugate it. We still have quite a learning curve ahead of us when it comes to humility.

The lowest places belong to water. Houses and roads should be built in higher places. While it may have been sensible for civilization to develop alongside water-ways it is just as sensible to realize that we need to improve on that historical pattern of evolution.

I was just thinking yesterday about gravity. Gravity is a force of nature that we cannot deny – we learn to live with it, we have to … and ultimately it works for us in many ways .. in fact so much so that we take it for granted. Other forces of nature are not quite as demanding of us … they are more inviting. It is up to us to either accept their invitations or resist them … and to live with the consequences of our choices.

I realize that the idea of relocating cities may sound crazy but history has shown that it is possible. We were able to rebuild cities that were practically destroyed during wars. It is possible, just hard for us to accept. If more people migrate from cities to rural living then future cities may also be smaller … and since villages are smaller – they may be easier to redesign/relocate.

Or we can leave things as they are, continue to press nature to support our way of life. To then get struck by nature as it tries to assimilate our demands of it. And then feed on the drama of the consequences of our choices … and look for ways to further alienate ourselves from nature (by placing even more stress on it) … until we lose the battle … because nature isn’t going anywhere anytime soon … we may be:

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