A reckoning is inevitable. It will come one of two ways. Soon, as an act of collective awakening, or too late.
It will involve a fundamental shift in our relationships, with each other and with the planet.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Dear Mr. President, pts 1 and 2

(In response to Mr. Obama's ill-conceived scolding of the Progressive base:)

What is inexcusable and irresponsible sir is your having abandoned your stated mission and your most passionate supporters even before you took office. For example putting virtual criminals like Summers in a position of power, like putting oil and gas lobbyists in charge of the EPA, like continuing Bush warmongering and government secrecy. Again, I did not vote for you simply to be the first dark skinned president or for you to be slightly better than Bush. I voted for someone who I imagined would lead us away from an economy based on war, waste and deception and into the light of a sustainable world view. My mistake.

"BUCK UP"? REALLY? We needed you to buck up from day one instead of wasting two years trying to accommodate the right wing fear machine. You have legitimized them when you could have marginalized them. You have settled for health care compromise when you could have created significant change. You continue to ignore the most pressing global issue of the decade because you seem, like Bush and most politicians, to be in the pocket of the moneyed elites. What pressing global issue? If you have to ask, we all are in deeper trouble even than I imagine. The global environmental crisis. If you can't transform an economy organized on principles of war, waste and deception, it will collapse on its own, but by then it will be too late to save civilization.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

On Empathic Thinking

(As posted to AlterNet, in response to an excerpt from Jeremy Rifkin's book on Empathic Civilization)

Rifkin over-hypes the possibilities of Hydrogen, but otherwise presents a great analysis of the evolution of consciousness relative to industrial and communication "ages." I prefer to see this evolution in terms of the human aptitude for flexible thinking. The racist teabag right well illustrates the narrow thinking that the mainstream must transcend if we are to survive, let alone move on. Empathic thinking - the willingness, ability or desire to imagine the world through the experience of others - is very much related, cognitively, to the ability to understand and use irony in particular, and to having a sense of humor in general. It's also related to the ability to question one's own thinking, self-image or world view. It's easy and self-serving for progressives to imagine their position represents a higher level of intelligence, but modesty should not bar this interpretation. There are several "windows" through which to observe and understand the global revolution we face. Rifkin defines more than one. A battle between human fear and ignorance on one hand, and higher consciousness on the other, is equally valid and perhaps more relevant. Higher consciousness is an aptitude for flexible thinking, creativity, irony and humor, though it gets ever harder to take the ironic or sarcastic position on this epochal moment.

Monday, February 15, 2010

"Robin Hood Tax" !! What next?

Following on the heels of the "Climate Debt" concept touted at Copenhagen, now there are talks of a "Bank Tax" and even a "Robin Hood Tax," which would be levied on all currency, derivative and other speculative transactions. For about five years I’ve been promoting a similar but more comprehensive idea, "Total Global Reparation." I base it on a "zero sum" argument. Big picture: total wealth equals total damage. The accumulated wealth of the world must be more or less equal to the total damage to the environment (cheap and stolen resources, "externalities" and pollution), plus the total human exploitation from slavery and cheap labor. These large scale sums can be calculated, as can the cost of environmental reclamation and the implementation of global human rights. The concept of reparation for slavery is bold and fair in principle, but impossible to apply, to either the payers or payees. But once the principle sinks in, and a legalistic model for implementation emerges, “total global reparation” can be seen as not only justifiable and feasible, but essential. See the funny video, or my "rant" page on "economediapolitics."

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


How long will it take for "global bank tax" to turn into "Climate Debt," or for that matter, "Total Global Reparation"?
I wonder.
It occupies my attention.

Arg / Rev / Think: 150 wd.

Our tenuous relationship with the planet embodies a critical state, speeding toward a tipping point. Militarism and consumption, the bases of the U.S. economy, represent the cutting edge of the problem. What seem to be many isolated crises are merging and accelerating, pushing us toward global environmental collapse. A “conceptual emergency” stands between us and a remedy. The sheer momentum of the machine has outstripped our ability to understand or control it. Only when we connect the dots, recognize the pattern and see the big picture will a simple, integrated solution become apparent. It’s time to heed Einstein’s warning: “Our significant problems cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which we created them.”

This paradoxical moment is defined by cognitive dissonance and fierce urgency. A global paradigm shift would suffice. Achieving that shift, in time, will require re-thinking information, democracy and the limits of cognition.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Welcome to the Reckoning Blog

This is the first post. It was fun talking with Nate today about Power and Love and Cognition and Fear and Desire and Curiosity and Knowledge and Information and Exformation and Childhood and History and Technology and Fragmentation. And Republicans.