Toxic Cultural Choices

The problem is that we live in a culture where winning is more important than life itself. There are probably a lot more people who don’t care that much about winning than those who do, but they don’t have a chance to participate in a good game. When they try, they are labelled losers. Shark bait. It’s better to just back off and let the sharks chew on each other, responding to make-believe crises they can pretend to resolve and ignoring the real ones that are actually impossible to deal with in a win-lose cultural setting.

A wisdom culture would find a way for people to work together in behalf of reality solutions.

We have only negative options. We can jump in and swim with the sharks. That means basically that we must spend our time fighting against fighting. Against (or for) war, rape, special interests taking over the school system. Whatever, it’s all a dominance game in which everyone is fighting for or against something, pretending somehow they will save us all from fighting if they fight hard enough.

Or not. In which case the outcome might be worse.

We don’t have the option to jump in and build a wisdom culture where people actually talk among themselves. And listen. sf020916bs

And you know what really gets me about this? There are actually people who wonder why our children so often function by bullying each other.

Power of Knowledge

“They’re living in their own bubble and they think everyone else is living in the same bubble.” Roger Simon, C-Span, Afterwords podcast 090225


That is so true. It’s why we should travel (not tour, live)  outside our own culture — or go to school away from home — so we can learn to understand that other people are living in bubbles that are different from ours. So we can grow the power to communicate with and thus influence other people.

It seems as though we prefer instead to play, using our politicians as though they were game cocks, literally or figuratively yelling at each other, each from within his own bubble, and we are the audience, throwing our dice and thoroughly enjoying the flying feathers. And so what is the flow of power in this scenario? Around and around and around. The power goes nowhere – is never used to actually solve any problem; in fact, the more problems we create, the more fun we can have.  Feathers flying; not much else happening.  In this scenario, the power of the people is co-opted by the politicians, and the power of knowledge is tossed aside as we never learn anything from anyone else.

Real power to influence other people comes from listening to them, so that we can work together to actually solve real problems.

T Shirt


A day after Obama’s call to use our huge national power to make things better, I spent the morning reading the political news, as required by my current podcasting course, and I am very discouraged.

If the reporters think this whole thing is nothing more than a game — well all I can say this morning is that as a scientist I know that it is real and it is about lives and about suffering, and we could be doing better using the power of our brains to do something more useful than just diddle around playing games.

James Lovelock, British scientist, speaking on the BBC Today show, understands very clearly what is happening, and he isn’t discouraged.  But he seems to think everyone else is as rational as he is, and I know some people don’t even care to listen to the facts of life on this earth.

If you won’t listen to the facts, if you think opinions are the same as facts, then you hardly have any power at all to cope with real, immutable facts.

To Change or Not to Change

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always got.”

I don’t know who first said that, but it seems to be true in its essence. If we do not want always  the same old problems wrapped in a bright new package, I suggest we should examine very carefully what we have always done. If some of those practices caused or contributed to our present problems, maybe we should consider changing them.

The policy of forever growth in a world that cannot grow forever.

The belief that winning is always best, even when the losers suffer.

The belief that debate is better than discussion.

I suppose debating is part of our win/lose game. But really, does anyone ever win a debate?   The “winner” goes on to greater triumphs.   The loser leaves, plots for 20 years against the winner and eventually then he wins.  Meanwhile,  nobody sets about the work of fixing whatever was the problem they were debating about.

Does that sound like the way congress is addressing the stimulus package?  Just another way to show who has the most power.

Power to do what?  Power to win or power to solve problems?