Saturday, May 2, 2020

"The rich get richer . . . "

U.S. President Andrew Jackson stated in 1832: 

when the laws undertake... to make the rich richer and the potent more powerful, the humble members of society... have a right to complain of the injustice to their Government.

Prior to this, the Poet Percy Shelley wrote in 1821:

The rich have become richer, and the poor have become poorer; and the vessel of the State is driven between the Scylla and Charybdis of anarchy and despotism.

How and why Rich people are rich and Poor people are poor is complex in various ways.  And yet, it is true for many who are poor that they do not get the "simple uplift" they need in a month, or a few months - or at crucial junctures that give them the extra dollars they need to "start" on the path to greater financial independence or success.

The following story is from an author/book not familiar to me from fiction I do not read. Though, when I read it online today it captured a glimpse of the "$50" that a person/family might need to transpose their lived reality for years into the future.  From author Sir Terry Pratchet, in Men At Arms.

"The reason that the rich were so rich, [Captain Samuel] Vimes reasoned, was because they managed to spend less money." 
"Take boots, for example. He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of OK for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars. Those were the kind of boots Vimes always bought, and wore until the soles were so thin that he could tell where he was . . . on a foggy night by the feel of the cobbles." 
"But the thing was that good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that'd still be keeping his feet dry in ten years' time, while the poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet." 
"This was the Captain Samuel Vimes 'Boots' theory of socioeconomic unfairness."


Let's work toward a world where all persons are rich enough for good shoes, healthy food, safe shelter, health-care needs and caring neighborhoods.


Toward eupan ~

~ marty alan michelson, ph.d. 

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Influence

It is hard to "change" a person.

Ultimately, each person has to choose to change themselves.

Though - we can have influence.

The word influence derives from the latin:

in - into
fluere -  to flow

Water that cascades over rock, with enough time, will "influence" a change in the rock - making rough edges smooth or carving a channel for the water's journey downstream.




My hope is that we will each learn better ways to "flow into" the lives of others - setting up patterns of behavior and habits that influence each of us to be more caring, loving and compassionate with all of Creation.






My hope is that we will have influence to help persons change themselves in ways that better reflect solidarity, kindness and mutual care for all living things.



Toward eupan ~

~ marty alan michelson, ph.d.



Monday, April 27, 2020

The etymology of the world companion derives from two latin words: 

com - with

panis - bread

Companions are those who eat bread together - in the journey of life along the road - or in the quiet of one's tent, apartment, condominium or home.




May we learn better how to share our bread one with another as we develop companions in life's journey.

May we become better companions.


Toward eupan ~

~ marty alan michelson, ph.d.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

What will this Great Disruption create


We are all discerning SARS-CoV-2 differently.

It seems "those" who "previously" leaned into dystopian futures and apocalyptic fear are reading this Great Disruption as fulfillment of their concerns.

Alongside that, those who hope for changes in a better situation for the world with Climate Change and care of one another and care of Creation are positing that this Great Disruption might be a "tipping point" that helps us toward a better future.

I'll cast my "vote" for the hope that in this Great Disruption we'll "see ourselves" better as agents of mutual care in the world.

I hope we'll discern our interconnection and our need to care for one another - no matter our creed, skin colour.

I hope we'll make a more equitable and caring and compassionate world with greater dignity for every job/occupation and for all children, for anyone aged, for widows, orphans, immigrants and those who are (or feel) far off.

I do hope.

I do hope this disruption will resort and resettle us to be better - with a better world for all.

We can work for this reality.

We can shape the future. 

We can make a difference.


Toward eupan ~

~ marty alan michelson, ph.d.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

The Great Disruption

It's impossible to predict the future.

This has always been true.

It feels yet more true in light of SARS-CoV-2.

And yet, I wonder if we'll potentially come to know this as The Great Disruption.  It is that, even if we don't apply the label.

"Everything" is shifting for us - I think more than we know.  In transportation, education, energy, medicine, housing, employment, uses of technology and more. 

It's also such an urgently difficult time for many.  I know several personal friends and professional colleagues and family members who have lost jobs, been displaced, been locked down - and a few will never get their jobs back.  A few may lose homes - become forced to move - becoming exiles in future weeks.

This single article was quite impactful to me, of too many articles/blogs I'm discerning: "This Is Hard For Everyone. It’s Even Harder For Parents Who Don’t Make Much Money. By Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux." 

I hope we find our way forward in caring ways.  This is hard for everyone.

It's harder for some.  And, even as we are each impacted, some of us must "do more" to help others and to prepare for a better future.

Toward eupan ~

~ marty alan michelson, ph.d.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Will we do better? Jennifer Browdy excerpt

Excerpted from Jennifer Browdy Blog:

Will humans seize the potential of this corona-induced “time-out” to move towards “conscious evolution”?

For some time I’ve been writing with grief and shame about the way humans, particularly my Euro-descended people, have been battering our beautiful Earth. I have been not only a bystander to the violence, but complicit as well—burning fossil fuels, consuming food and products produced in violence. 
I sit in judgment on myself, and shame myself for all the ways I have not done enough to stand up to the prevailing culture, every single day. 
 . . . 
Past episodes of climate disruption on Earth have been caused suddenly by seemingly external, random events—a meteor hitting the Earth, a volcano erupting. 
Human-induced climate change, accompanied by deforestation, the acidification of the oceans and the rapid decline of all species on Earth, is not happening overnight, but it is happening very quickly in geologic time. As Mother Earth seeks to reestablish her steady state, optimum for bringing forth and nourishing life, those who can’t adapt to current conditions will have to give way to those who can, just as the Dinosaurs long ago succumbed and made way for the Mammals. 
. . .
It’s hard to say right now what the longterm effects of the pandemic will be. Will we become ever more fearful, technologized and controlling? Or will we seize the opening of this worldwide “time-out” to begin to envision and create a harmonious, non-violent relationship with our Mother Earth?
In 2020 we can’t use the excuse that we don’t know how to improve conditions for current life forms on Earth, humans included. 
We know how to limit population; how to create regenerative agriculture; how to deploy renewable energy; how to develop social systems that maximize and reward the creation of quality of life for the majority. We are so smart. We know how to do this.
In 2020, there is no more time to waste. The urgency is real and present. If those alive don’t get into a right relationship with Mother Earth, she will do it for us—without rancor, without shame or blame, but with the efficiency borne of millions of years of ceaseless rebalancing. 
This may be the first time in history that a species has had the luxury of a brief window of time to actively adjust in order to change course and avoid a lemming-like dive over the cliff. 
We have the possibility of “conscious evolution,” now. 
Will we take it?   

Friday, March 27, 2020

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front
by Wendell Berry

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion — put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go. Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

“Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front” from The Country of Marriage, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc1973. Also published by Counterpoint Press in The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry, 1999; The Mad Farmer Poems, 2008; New Collected Poems, 2012.