Yesterday at the Peach Clubhouse

Yesterday we showed the movie “Bhutan, Gross National Happiness” as a follow-up to “Economics of Happiness.”  Both these movies describe different ways of organizing our lives around community values, but the examples they give are primarily drawn from Eastern cultures.  Another such effort, that is flourishing in the Western world, is the Transition Movement that began in England and has spread rapidly.  Rob Hopkins’ “Transition Handbook” describes the basics of organizing a community around local resources.  This book is available to read at the Peach clubhouse, and you can also find Rob Hopkins on UTube.  We also have Bill McKibben’s book “Deep Economy” in the Peachhouse library, that I think describes a year living outside the Corposystem.

But of course the real reason for the clubhouse is to gather everyone together to bring me ideas – either to add new ones to the idea-pool, or to squeeze out old ideas that I didn’t know were in there.  And yes indeed ideas abounded yesterday.

1- Lots of good input for the new series of podcasts and vidcasts.  What is life?  What do we need to live a good life?  How can we get it, right under the noses of those who are dedicated to destroy the good things we have grown together?  (If you doubt that see the last three paragraphs of Chomsky’s recent article on TomDispatch.)

2- What is the deep meaning of Miyazaki’s latest film “Carried Away?”  I’ve been trying to figure that out ever since I got the thing last year.  Miyazaki’s films always hit you with an important meaning (three of my favorites are Kiki, Grave of the Fireflies, Princess Mononoke) and now I think I have the key to Carried Away and will add it to our Tuesday night schedule, probably in June.  Carried Away is about the weakness of the Corposystem.

3- Why do I get so upset when people bring our popular “aint-it-awful” mantra into the Peach Clubhouse?  Well for one thing, I got the Peach clubhouse as a way to get away from toxic mantras, but — why so upset?    Because I want not even for one moment to support the myth that the Corposystem has the ability to keep from me the really good things that we have grown together in this country.  Ritualized chanting of anything engrains that thing into our subconscious.  We all know that.  Ritual chanting of “we can’t do – – –  “  results in — weakness — and what is worse, it offers up our personal power on the altar of the Corposystem.  This blog and this house are all about our personal responsibility and power – not weakness.

Everybody – please read “Powers of the Weak,” by Elizabeth Janeway.  You can get it for seventeen cents on Amazon.  What a bargain.    And it’s on the shelf at the Peach Clubhouse.  Chapter 11 discusses the first power of the weak.  Disbelief.  Not to believe their propaganda or our cultural acquiesence without first examining all the alternative routes toward the common good.  The second power is in community.  There are plenty more that fly along under the radar.

This afternoon (Friday) at 3 PM, in the meditation room at the Peach Clubhouse, the Brazos Insight Meditation Society will meet for meditation followed by discussion over a cup of green tea.  You don’t have to sit on the floor.  I usually don’t.  But you can.

Tomorrow, Saturday the 23rd, is work day at the Peach Clubhouse.  Goal is to get that workroom cleaned up so we can start making vidcasts.

Next movie is really quite amusing.  Tuesday April 26 at 6 pm, a Dalai Lama Renaissance, in which a group of powerful movers and shakers goes to visit His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, in Dharamsala.  The month of May will be a bit off schedule, because I am going to at least SEE the Dalai Lama in Arkansas.

So the first Tuesday night movie will be on May 3.  The title is “In the Land of the Free,” and it is quite a grim story of three people who have been kept in soliary confinement for most of 30 years each, for because they tried to stand for their civil rights.  More about that later.

Hello Group-110201

Meeting Details

Next Week is the second Thursday of February. We will view a video by Joseph Campbell, and follow up on the theme of compassion for the month. This Thursday we continue the Montsanto project with a video on the precautionary principle, the two warnings issued by Dr. Martha Crouch, and a paper that Donna found (see below). The video in March will be Economics of Happiness produced by Helena Norberg-Hodge of ISEC, and will probably be at our new location in the clubhouse near downtown Bryan. More details on that later.

I will be at the studio every Thursday, working on our group projects, at least by 10 AM. The studio is open on Thursdays to helpers and participates to view videos and discuss. The project this month is based on the movie “David versus Montsanto,” that we aired on January second Thursday, and has been a rich source of material, and addresses all the levels of organization, as well as the precautionary principle, and the legal project in PA that challenged the “personhood” of corporate factory farming in rural neighborhoods. All this lends itself very well to a study plan we will distribute to other groups and educational organizations.

The kind of study plan that I envision follows a problem-solving model that I’ll discuss in Bare Bones Biology 044, to be aired on KEOS during the third week of February and the posted at The audio pre-cast is attached. (Will send later, the email seems to be in a terrible muddle today.)

Our program will discuss the biology, at each level of organization, of whatever we are studying. This is important, because we humans are a biological organism living inside a biological entity, and that fact places strict predictable limits to our problem-solving options. Within these limits, whatever we do not want to violate the needs either of humans or of the ecosystem, as many current actions do, because, if we ignore the limits, our work will not be sustainable into the future. As we consider each level, we discuss the dilemmas that arise because of conflicts among human needs and desires, the health of the ecosystem, the power of the corposystem, and our goal to arrive at a solution that stresses the best of human values.

January with Montsanto:

Independently, we chose the movie David versus Montsanto for our January study, and Marilyn, of our western adjunct is privileged to participate in the UU showing of “The Economics of Happiness,” and Donna found a story in the Winter 2009 issue of UU World (Dinner with Montsanto, Unitarian Universalist World, Page 37, by Michelle Bates Deakin), about a project undertaken by The Rev. Nate Walker of the Philadelphia UU. Rev. Walker’s goal is to inspire Montsanto to adopt a pledge vowing to “do no harm.” Rev. Walker’s sermon on the subject (available on UTube and also on the web site of the church) was sent to the CEO of Montsanto, and they responded.

The short UU World article, with quotes from members of the UU and from some of the top brass from Montsanto, raises a number of questions that fit perfectly into our project. One is that Rev. Walker’s project is directly driven by both the precautionary principle and our need to use methods of compassion whenever possible to resolve our human dilemmas. The other (well, this is personal from a person who has worked in corporations) is that it sounds to me fairly naïve. And as I was thinking along those lines, driving home and listening to I don’t really know what radio program, I heard an interview of an author, a former corporate executive (the title maybe corporate spin??? I couldn’t find it on google.). This man described the modern approach to propaganda in his corporation, and it did remind me of the statements of Montsanto that are quoted in the UU article.

So the question is: How might one address our situation in a way that is more likely to work? And I’m thinking our other video – a report of the attorney, Linzley, from PA, might give us a clue.

Also on the subject of food is the newest report from Lester Brown, who has been gathering data about the condition of the earth for more than 40 years.

See you on Thursday at the studio! ☺