Thursday, January 29, 2009

Google harnesses the world's ideas for good.

Helping the World.

Google has used its access to a World Audience to generate ideas for making the world a better place.

That can't be bad.

Google's Project 10tothe100

~ marty alan michelson, ph.d.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Non-Violence for all, from now until forever. Is it possible?

“People try nonviolence for a week, and when it ‘doesn’t work,’ they go back to violence, which hasn’t worked for centuries.”

—Theodore Roszak

The quote listed above is starkly tragic. Tragic in its truth.

Our mimetic desire - our rivalry - or desire for more and more and more and that which the other possesses ultimately dispossesses us of our own lives and our own peace.

Violence comes so naturally to us. But, it so naturally consumes us, as well.

Early in the narrative of stories in the Bible, Cain acts in violence to dispossess Abel. When I teach from the text (in Genesis 4), I express to my students that at some level this is the “first story” of “life in the real world.” Whatever or wherever “Eden” “was” in Genesis 1-3, it is presented as a protected place. In the first story of life separated from Eden, Cain’s destruction of his brother – fratricide – demonstrates that the earliest persons in this tradition – the earliest humans in the “real world” of life – choose violence.

The Biblical story and the history of persons spread across the globe narrate again and again and again how one person or one people group or one nation violently dispossess another person, people, or nation – and violence continually tears at the seams of human history.

Could we give nonviolence a chance, for a century? What would it take to narrate it to persons in our world? Can we educate toward nonviolence? Can we enculturate toward nonviolence? Can we empower and enliven peace?

Seeking to find that way towards eupan.

~ marty alan michelson, ph.d.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Death Penalty still brings death . . .

Death Penalty Abolition

An execution vigil is planned to pray for the life of Darwin Demond Brown and his victims on January 22 at 5:30 pm in front of the Oklahoma Governor's Mansion (820 NE 23rd). The gathering is a peaceful protest to acknowledge that every life is valuable and that capital punishment is not a healthy alternative in our society.

~ marty alan michelson, ph.d.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The NEW YORKER and International Justice Mission

The New Yorker has just published an excellent piece on Gary Haugen and the International Justice Mission.

And here:

And here:

And here:

More justice for more people brings eupan.

~ marty alan michelson, ph.d.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

National Geographic commissioned Universal Declaration

In the December 2008 issue of National Geographic I viewed an intriguing presentation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights - which just turned "60." Certainly something every person committed to eupan should review.

Links to the National Geographic commissioned presentation, by Oliver Uberti, can be found in below.

The image I am presenting is Oliver Uberti's orginal that has been edited by a person who highlighted portions for their own purposes.

I am certain all images are copyright Oliver Uberti and/or National Geographic.

Check it out here:

And here:

It would be nice if the Declaration could find fulfillment in our world soon.

Eupan is committed to working toward its fulfillment - for eupan.

~ marty alan michelson, ph.d

Saturday, January 17, 2009

This blog is not a tree . . .

On my immediate "reading" list is the following title: Cradle to Cradle.

The book looks and feels like a book - but it is not a traditional book, since, for example, you can freely read it in the rain! It reinvents the idea of books in a different way than the Kindle Wireless Reader or other e-platforms for book-reading.

Pages 5 and 6 of the book offer this:

"This book is not a tree."

"It is printed on a synthetic "paper" and bound into a book format developed by innovative book packager Charles Melcher of Melcher Media. Unlike the paper with which we are familiar, it does not use any wood pulp or cotton fiber but is made from plastic resins and inorganic fillers. This material is not only waterproof, extremely durable, and (in many localities) recyclable by conventional means; it is also a prototype for the book as a "technical nutrient," that is, as a product that can be broken down and circulated infinitely in industrial cycles— made and remade as "paper" or other products."

"The tree, among the finest of nature's creations, plays a crucial and multifaceted role in our interdependent ecosystem. As such, it has been an important model and metaphor for our thinking, as you will discover. But also as such, it is not a fitting resource to use in producing so humble and transient a substance as paper. The use of an alternative material expresses our intention to evolve away from the use of wood fibers for paper as we seek more effective solutions. It represents one step toward a radically different approach to designing and producing the objects we use and enjoy, an emerging movement we see as the next industrial revolution. This revolution is founded on nature's surprisingly effective design principles, on human creativity and prosperity, and on respect, fair play, and goodwill. It has the power to transform both industry and environmentalism as we know them."

More on the subject when I have had time to finish reading!

It seems to be a solid example of changing the way we think about buying (in this case, books) while still being consumers, but in a way that does not take an extended toll on the environment.

More about the book here:

More about the idea of living and consuming in the C2C format here:

~ marty alan michelson, ph.d.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Are we system(at)ically imprisoned to violence?

I had intended to spend a few moments today commenting on the forthcoming inauguration of our new U.S. President, Barack Obama. While I am excited for his leadership, I am leery of power brokers in politics, because the proverb of history seems true. "Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely." Further, promises do not guarantee actions. And, even President Obama's best hopes and intentions will be framed within a political system of persons and power and nations that will undoubtedly frustrate any goals he may have.

But I digress . . . .

I had intended to blog about "Gitmo" or Guantanamo Bay and the President's reported intentions to close it quickly after his inauguration. (I realize sometime soon I need to learn how to include links in these blog posts - I will learn.)

I had intended to offer some reflection on the "system" of incarceration generally, prisons, "correctional facilities." I had intended to take some time reviewing material I am generally aware of - have read in the past - but would explore further - from Jeremy Bentham's Panopticon to Michel Foucault's Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison.

It seems to me that inherent in the "systems" of imprisonment are patterns of violence - and certainly the corrupt systems of imprisonment evidence exceeding violence.

But, I am distracted this morning.

The headlines of today (January 14, 2009) report that after nearly a decade of violent attempts to kill him! - Osama Bin Laden is still alive and advocating violent action against Israel. And, some persons in Lebanon join from north of Israel bombing sites in Israel - it appears joining in the volley of efforts coming from south of Israel in the area of Gaza. Israel violently retaliates, unquestionably killing the "perpetrators" of the violence in their own violence, while also killing and injuring thousands of innocents.




The violence of Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden - bring death.

The violence of campaigns against terrorist organizations - brings death.

The violence of Governments - brings death.

The violence of incarceration (so called "just" and certainly unjust) - bring death.

The violence of a volley of rockets - brings death.

The violence of retaliation - brings death.

When and how can we learn to unmask the myth(s) of violence and bring good to all?

Is it possible that we are ourselves part of systems of violence that, perhaps - unknowingly - imprison us. Is this the only way? Can we not think in other ways?

We must find better ways if not the most excellent way.

Our death depends upon it.

~ marty alan michelson, ph.d.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Possible Logos / Images for Eupan . . . in development

In no particular order/rank:





Thanks to L.V. for the great thoughts and contributions!

~ marty alan michelson, ph.d.

Friday, January 9, 2009

My daily reading

My daily reading includes the blog of "Bikehiker" the Reverend John Hay, Jr.

I've requested permission to share his words here. Gil Bailie has done work with the ideas of Rene Girard, which have been central in my formative thought in dissertation work. But, I can not match the clarity of poetic skill that John Hay, Jr. demonstrates.

Here, with permission, Bikehiker.

Friday, January 09, 2009
Once again, "justifiable" retaliatory violence vainly imposes its deathly will

NEW SITUATION, OLD STORY. Last January, Kenya erupted in a convulsion of ethnic violence. This January, Israel attempts to quash--"once and for all"--rocket attacks launched by Hamas from Gaza. Never mind that hundreds of innocents have perished. And the wars and suicide bombings in Afghanistan and Iraq continue with no end in sight. Each snuffed-out life cries out in testimony. I share the following reflection out of my appreciation Gil Baillie's book Violence Unveiled and in my confidence that nonviolence is the certain path into a grace-full future.

We've turned a corner
from which we can't retreat:
We've seen ourselves
and all other human beings
as individuals, each with
infinite soul and worth.

What Jesus opened up
and the Enlightenment recovered
cannot now be stuffed back
in the box for the sake of
countering chaos or controlling
this unruly leader or that
unwieldy populace.

You are as important as me.
They are as valuable as we.
Though some try not to believe,
self-evident truth reveals
the image of the Creator
stamped on us all.

Still, armies amass and weapons
strike with a surgical precision
that nonetheless snuff out
individual lives of suspected
and unsuspecting alike.

War is a relic of antiquity,
a hold-over from an age
when all were expendable
for the sake of the whole,
when the victor's ballad
was written in the blood
of friend and foe, a symphony
soured by its disregard
for the value of one.

When one mattered less
as one, when one mattered
more as a thing, a tool, a pawn--
however patriotically proclaimed--
war could be waged eye for eye
and tooth for tooth.

But the Cross closed that chapter
and Resurrection opened the next--
when one suffered for all and
redeemed the life of even one,
when one life burst forth with
love to grace every last one.

And each life was lifted beyond
the pale of mere existence;
the simplest, the lowest, the basest
was exalted and restored--
never to be cast aside or again
undistinguished in the masses.

And even though we demand
blood vengeance in the face
of our own losses, vengeance
no longer satisfies the heart;
though justice be done, justice
no longer is served.

In our killing, we surely
poison our own souls; living,
we slowly die by our own sword.
Our warring seeds the earth
with a billion broken particles
that cry out each to God.

But God would hear--
and will surely respond--
if but one in a billion
called out to heaven.
It is in one and for one
God turns the universe.

Dare we lay our weapons down
while others still breathe
a deathly past? Unless we do,
we shall not live the future
into which we are drawn,
nor make it possible for others.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Starting small . . . .

I was sharing with a new student the "vision" behind the Eupan Global Initiative. Admittedly, like most agencies, consortiums, or groups, we have started small. We may never grow into anything "big."

I talked to the student about two (of several) websites I frequent often.

Those websites are associated with Sojourners and the Israel-Palestine Center for Research and Information.

Sojourners developed from student conversations in the early 1970s and IPCRI emerged with the late 1980s Intifada. Both are now "large" "agencies" that advocate in significant ways.

Will the Eupan Global Initiative ever grow "as big" as Sojourners or IPCRI?

Well, quite frankly, I have no idea. But, I don't really care. If we can effect "good" for even a few - and inspire "good" for all - we will have done something.

Ghandi once said: “We are constantly being astonished at the amazing discoveries in the field of violence. But I maintain that far more undreamt of and seemingly impossible discoveries will be made in the field of nonviolence.”

My hope is that Eupan will inspire our dreams in the field of nonviolence.

~ marty alan michelson, ph.d.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Psychology of Peace

I've been asked to sit in on a special seminar this Spring semester, including readings on the Psychology of Peace. This is being coordinated by a fellow faculty member at SNU who is a Ph.D. in psychology. The professor has has been working with others in our local community (OKC area) to allow for conversation among various faith traditions - our local Interfaith Alliance.

I look forward to learning more about this area of study!

I wish I could apply the psychology of peace to the current outburst of violence in Israel/Gaza! Having spent many weeks in this area of the world, I long for and pray for their peace - may good be extended for all!

So much to learn, so many books to read, and so few hours in the day! =)

~ marty alan michelson, ph.d.

Friday, January 2, 2009

2009 Progress

As we move into 2009, I am happy to announce that the Eupan Global Initiative is making progress!

We have a scheduled meeting of the current Board of Advisors today, January 2nd, 2009.

LV has been working on creating a logo for Eupan - cool ideas already working with guns and their violence being transformed to olive branches of peace!

Plans for the immediate New Year will include an Open Meeting for any persons in the Oklahoma City Area to participate with us in viewing and responding to the Laura Waters Hinson Film "as we forgive." Dates, Times, and Location to be announced though it is expected that the event will be hosted in coordination with the Southern Nazarene University School of Theology and Ministry, likely in the S.T. Ludwig Religion Building located on campus.

Peace ~

~ marty alan michelson, ph.d.