Showing posts from 2020

Obviously not accurate, and yet, has a measure of truth.

I like this whimsical sign. Obviously, we're *not* only in need of water and sun.  We need sleep, companionship, mental stimulation and so much.  And we're not houseplants! And yet, I enjoy how this trivial sign is a reminder, too, that in some ways we really need few tangible things to have a good life.  And, also, we do need to manage our complex emotions. Emotions that include anger, fear, sadness, grief are difficult. My hope is that all persons can live in a world spurned  on by more hopeful and loving emotions. My hope is that all persons can live in a world characterized  by less fractured and hurtful emotions. Let's do more to share water, sun and care & compassion, one to another. Toward eupan ~ ~ marty alan michelson, ph.d.

We get better when we own our actions and apologize

We can learn how to be better by studying the habits and practices of peace-able persons, peace-making communities, and by studying what has worked to achieve peace between and among persons, individuals and nations. Cinnie Noble has written books and articles to help persons engage conflict toward reconciliation and peace.   Cinnie Noble founded CINERGY® Coaching and is former social worker and lawyer, Cinnie is a certified mediator (C.Med). At her blog today she shared more than the abbreviated version I'll include below - as you are encouraged to read her presentation fully at her site . The reality is people on the receiving end are not always ready for an apology – we might still be processing our hurt about what was said or done; we might not be otherwise ready to move on; we might consider the behaviour exhibited as unforgivable. Some have heard too many apologies from the other person for the same behaviours, and feel trust has broken down irreparably.  . . . 

Can a Virus Push us to become Better?

The impact of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 are intriguing at many levels. It will be interesting to discern the future impact of this pandemic. It has reshaped the world. A few intriguing studies in the news today include: Some personality types are less likely to cohere to social distancing/social care.  Individuals can negatively impact the future of societies. Fossil Fuels may never recover from the impacts.   (Personally, I think fossil fuels will persist for many decades, simply based on the number of "end-user" needs in the forms of current vehicles on the road.) A single nation, acting with social/government intentional impact, while impacted by SARS-CoV-2 has demonstrated they can "conquer" it.  Good Job New Zealand.  And, it's evident that when people acted with some intention in shut-downs and social-distancing - lives were spared from COVID-19.  Social care and social action can make the world safer, better. We can be better. We need more

Communication, Clarity and Data should inform our Social Transformation

I am sharing a comprehensive website about a social change advocacy program with metrics and data about police issues, police policy, and public political policy with safety issues. Because the website and the data are new to me in recent days, I reserve the right to not agree with nor advocate for *every* *individual* issue. The content data within the site, as well as the quality of graphics/handouts, and the presentation of relevant data is important to our public conversation. We can live in a world where the police don't kill people  by limiting police  interventions , improving community  interactions , and ensuring  accountability . A  comprehensive package  of urgent policy solutions - informed by data, research and human rights principles - can change the way police serve our communities. More at A four-page PDF, with data and their suggested policy changes is at this link . We can be better. We can act better. We ar

Pure Objectivity is impossible . . . and yet

Detached and disconnected objectivity is impossible. We are each shaped by personal, social, family, cultural, contextual, educational, experiential and genetic issues. And yet, it seems likely to me that "to any outside observer" - persons from outside America looking at America  - must objectively ponder how "great" we are as a nation and/or how realistic is the claim of "the American Dream." Viewed from outside America, it is likely that an objective outside observer would think that America is deeply divided, politically unstable, failing to care for the poor, not nurturing the sick, and fraught with true dis-ease and disease with respect to how immigrants and people of colour are (dis)respected and (mis)treated. It's impossible for outsiders to know what America is really like. Even if the killing of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, or the racial profiling of a bird watcher peacefully enjoying the park does lead to systemic change for Ameri

"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


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.
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.

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 d

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 forwa

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

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 th

We do not have to live as if we are alone.

From Wendell Berry's important speech, "It All Turns on Affection" [Millions of people] have entered into the trial of displacement and scattering that we try to dignify as "mobility."   Even so, land and people have suffered together, as invariably they must. Under the rule of industrial economics, the land, our country, has been pillaged for the enrichment, supposedly, of those humans who have claimed the right to own or exploit it without limit. Of the land-community much has been consumed, much has been wasted, almost nothing has flourished.   But this has not been inevitable. We do not have to live as if we are alone. Toward eupan ~ ~ marty alan michelson, ph.d. 

Humans Spread the Virus - Make Good Choices.

SARS-CoV-2 requires a host in order to spread. Humans spread the virus. There is no cure. Hospitals only treat the human bodies response to the virus. We have no idea how the virus will impact bodies that carry the virus in 2 months, 2 years or 20 years. Perhaps, like Measle/Mumps, "once you have it, you won't get it again as your body has antibodies," and yet, we don't know this! Be smart in every possible way available to you. Avoid any non-necessary human interaction. [Clearly, you will live with those in your dorm/apartment/house.] The only way to be vigilant is to assume that the good, kind, well-meaning and loving humans that you know carry the virus and should be treated with respectful distance until humanity "figures this out" - if we figure it out! Humans carry the virus. Humans spread the virus. There is no cure. Toward eupan ~ ~ marty alan michelson, ph.d.

Christian Character from Former Students

Every once in a while I am privileged to engage with a *former* student that I don't see often.  [Nearly every one of my closest friends is a former student, many I engage monthly, though many I only hear from 1x per year or so, especially since I am not on Facebook.] I am often optimistic for the future based on how my former students live and care and love. This past week, as the virus SARS-CoV-2 and sickness COVID-19 has reshaped lives, I happened to be with a former student. This particular student was a ministry student, and (s)he regularly teaches children in a local church, though (s)he works in the Public Sector, for the State Government.  It happens that I was in a State Government office this week where this former student is a Supervisor. It just so happened, too, that in the hours I was on-site, several new mandates came from the State with respect to social-distancing, customer care, and other issues of oversight.  I was able to "watch from a distance"

5 Week Lock Down - MIT Trained physicist & complexity scientist

We need an immediate five-week national lockdown to defeat coronavirus in America Yaneer Bar-Yam, Opinion contributor Published 11:30 a.m. ET March 21, 2020 Locking down the country would reduce infections and allow time for massive testing. There will be staggering human and economic costs if we delay. I am an MIT-trained physicist and complexity scientist who studies pandemics. I have warned about global pandemics due to increasing travel for 15 years. I recommended community based monitoring of symptoms to stop  Ebola in West Africa  in 2014, and it worked. The fastest and even the only way to contain COVID-19 in the United States is a five-week national lockdown. Closing schools, bars and movie theaters are good measures, but not enough. Our relaxed approach to social distancing is insufficient to stop the exponential growth of COVID-19. Until Americans consistently adopt strong social distancing recommendations — a lockdown — the disease will continue to spread expo

Washing Hand - Your Health and Social Health!

I've been alive quite a few years.  And yet, it seems no one ever took a few minutes to teach me how to *properly* wash my hands! To help you: And this, too, which demonstrates that the above method is the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) method.  (If you've never read about Ignaz Sammelweiss, click this! ) Toward eupan ~ ~ marty alan michelson, ph.d.

Greta Thunberg and COVID-19

I have no idea of Greta Thunberg has commented on COVID-19 now that we are in 2020. I've thought many times in the past days about her September 2019 speech whose focus was on Global Climate Change at the United Nations in New York where she said: "You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I'm one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth . How dare you!" (emphasis added) When she delivered her speech I noted her line about money and the "fairy tales of eternal economic growth."  I knew then that she was correct.   Nothing, no thing grows eternally and exponentially.  Living things die.   And, for most things in life there are "seasons" of change and cycles and patterns of expanding/contracting.  Even stone, granite, carbon, at the righ

COVID-19 & Better Metrics for "The Economy"

Two notes on "The Economy" and COVID-19: Note (1) I distinctly remember a particular section of Wendell Berry's novel, Jayber Crow that I read a few years back.  While everything by Berry causes readers to rethink community and social life in many ways, there was one section of the book that stuck with me - and that is when Berry narrates how his books American characters began to realize in the 20th century that "the Economy" is a "thing" and more than a thing, a kind of "person" a kind of "being" that has to be cared for and maintained.  As a single example, from page 275, The Economy no longer wanted the people of Port William to produce, for instance, eggs. It wanted them to eat eggs without producing them. Or, more properly speaking, it wanted them to buy eggs. It didn’t care whether the eggs were eaten or not, so long as they were bought. It didn’t care how fresh they were or how good they were, so long as they were

Kiss more - & touch nothing! ;-)

Quoted from Bill Bryson: For years, Britain operated a research facility called the Common Cold Unit, but it closed in 1989 without ever finding a cure. It did, however, conduct some interesting experiments. In one, a volunteer was fitted with a device that leaked a thin fluid at his nostrils at the same rate that a runny nose would.   The volunteer then socialized with other volunteers, as if at a cocktail party. Unknown to any of them, the fluid contained a dye visible only under ultraviolet light. When that was switched on after they had been mingling for a while, the participants were astounded to discover that the dye was everywhere—on the hands, head, and upper body of every participant and on glasses, doorknobs, sofa cushions, bowls of nuts, you name it.   The average adult touches his face sixteen times an hour, and each of those touches transferred the pretend pathogen from nose to snack bowl to innocent third party to doorknob to innocent fourth party and so on until

COVID-19 ( Coronavirus) & Global Climate Change

Virus and disease are natural parts of the living order. It is sad to recognize that in the same decades that we have "mastered" vaccinations and thousands of people working in teams with Rotary or the Carter Foundation have eliminated  Polio  and  the Guinea Worm , that "we" have given rise to a new virus in COVID-19. While the science is not yet settled on *precisely* how and where the Cornavirus emerged, it seems clear it was from "wet" markets, where unclean animals were caged/sold in Wuhan, China. It seems to me, no "single" person is to blame and instead, "we" as humans are to blame.  And in a few weeks, the spread of a "single" virus - microscopic - has killed thousands, infected hundreds of thousands, and  . . . if my sense is correct, will "live with us" "forever" and will kill millions.  (I predict over 150 million will die in the next few years.  It will spread to "everywhere" hu