Archetype in Action Organization
- Parent Category: Politics & Rhetoric
- Category: Words Matter
- Created on 28 February 2015
- Last Updated on 28 February 2015
- Published on 28 February 2015
- Written by Skip Conover
- Hits: 197
“The vice is different in each writer, unique and new in the new situation of the age…. It is always recognizable, vehement and primitive.”
Elias Canetti, The Conscience of Words, P. 4
This is a story about storytelling. Stories are how we learn and pass information down the generations. As a species, we educate our young this way. In the end, if we live long enough, we are all storytellers. We assume the archetype of wise woman or wise man, and try to pass what we have learned to the next generation.
“In the beginning was the Word, and
The Word was with God,
And the Word was God.”
John 1:1 The Holy Bible
Words are the fundamental capability setting human beings apart from any other creatures, because they allow abstract thinking. As ink on a paper or black pixels on a white pixel background, they are insignificant by themselves, but as symbols of human culture, human attainments, and human failings over millennia, they immortalize the human story.
Next year, no one will remember a great ape that died in the jungles of Africa last week, nor the dead bird you found on your lawn this morning, but 2,600-4,000 years after Abraham human beings are still killing one another over his story and its meaning. [Genesis 22:1-13 ] Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all point to his story as the origin of their faith. All because of words passed from one person to another since his time.
The Rabbi and the Marine have felt called to say that the meaning of Abraham’s vision was the wisdom that human beings should stop human sacrifice in their religious observations. And yet, many still sacrifice their children every day in the form of wars and barbarism, in the vain and misguided belief that their interpretation of the story is the only right one.
In fact, all interpretations of words are correct in the sense that they are psychic facts within the minds of readers, but how, why, and if they should be brought into the physical world is a matter of personal morality.
Every writer redefines the world and in so doing seeks to make a small difference in how the world is perceived by others. The Feminist points to the hypocrisy of patriarchy, and tells us the way ½ the world sees the other ½ of the world needs to change if we are to find peace. The Dreamer guides us to the depths of our souls to help us see who we are and how we can be all we can be. The Revolutionary highlights the stories others tell thru film, while pointing to why we should all take their message into ourselves as the next piece of our education about our species; what it means, where it’s going, and why it is here now.
Some months ago The New York Times reported that the total information taken in by an British man in the 15th Century was no more than is contained in a single edition of The Sunday New York Times today. We are awash in information, but turning that information into human intelligence is the key to the survival of our species. Select well!
Nobel Laureate Elias Canetti wrote:
“But there are three attributes suitable for the representative writer ….
“A writer is original, or he is not a writer. He is original in a very deep and simple way, through that which we have called his vice…. His vice drives him to exhaust the world, something that no one else could do for him. Immediacy and inexhaustibility, the two characteristics that people have always demanded of the genius and that he always has, are the offspring of this vice.
“The second characteristic that one must demand of the representative writer today is an earnest desire to sum up his age, an urge for universality, un-intimidated by any single task, ignoring nothing, forgetting nothing, omitting nothing, making nothing easy for himself.
“The third demand one has to make on a writer would be that he stand against his time…. If he forgets his opposition, he has become an apostate, the way an entire nation abandoned its god in earlier, religious times.”
Elias Canetti, The Conscience of Words, Pp. 4-6
You may think that just because specific essays are linked to the title, that those titles apply to specific people, but they do not. Four of the descriptions apply to 2 of the writers highlighted, and three of the descriptions apply to the other three. Other titles considered for this story, which would have been as apt were:
The Scholar, the Architect, the Teacher, the Politico, and the Businessman
The Wiseman, the Witch, the Wisewoman, the Wizard, and the Magician
Holy Man, Anarchist, Crone, Socialist and Progressive
Jew, Secular, Christian, Atheist, and Buddhist
- Parent Category: Tools to Change Society
- Category: Literature
- Created on 27 February 2015
- Last Updated on 27 February 2015
- Published on 27 February 2015
- Written by Meltem Arikan
- Hits: 328
Crying always inside,
women’s tears are cried out
Words scattered beyond reach
hopelessness engulfs you
Bodies and beyond bodies
subject to pain
To be woman is torment
To be woman is crime
Feel no shame
On with talking
On with judging
Holding women down
with ingenious rules
conscience and empathy supplanting
İf I wasn’t cried out I could cry out
Somebody might hear my voice
Cascading rip the silence
Meltem Arıkan is a Turkish novelist and playwright. Her fourth novel Yeter Tenimi Acıtmayın (Stop Hurting My Flesh) was banned in early 2004 by the Committee to Protect the Minors from Obscene Publications, with the accusation of "Writing about the non-existing incest fact in Turkey, attempting to disturb the Turkish family order with a feminist approach.” The ban was lifted after two months and Arıkan has been awarded with “Freedom of Idea and Statement Prize 2004” by the Turkish Publishers’ Association. She published her 9th novel in 2009. Stop Hurting My Flesh was recently republished in Turkish and will be published in English in 2013.
- Parent Category: Tools to Change Society
- Category: Religion & Spiritual Practices
- Created on 25 February 2015
- Last Updated on 25 February 2015
- Published on 25 February 2015
- Written by Skip Conover
- Hits: 415
Author Stephen Fuchs has written a book that can bring world peace, if only every Christian, Muslim and Jew would read it. It wouldn’t be necessary for them to agree with him, but only read the narratives as he explains them. All would be changed for the better.
Rabbi Fuchs has spent a scholarly lifetime studying and teaching The Holy Bible, and particularly the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, which are the first books of what Christians call The Old Testament, Jews call the Torah, and Muslims consider Holy texts. His insights on their meaning to our lives and world peace provide a powerful roadmap for how we can get to where we need to be as a species, without centuries more of bloodshed.
The attention getter jumps out at the reader in the second paragraph of Chapter I:
“No, the Genesis Creation story is not good science. It is not bad science. It is not science at all. It is an exquisitely instructive religious poem.” P. 3
Of course, there are many followers of all three Abrahamic religions who would jump on this statement as apostasy, but it is nonetheless an objective truth, that has provided humanity with great meaning since the beginning of consciousness. Of course, no other creature has enough brainpower to know God, but we humans can. And we do know that when a story has lasted and been passed down from generation to generation for thousands of years it must contain a kernel of truth, whether or not that truth is metaphorical.
The godlike power of man to shape our environment and our societies is another feature of Rabbi Fuchs’ Creation story.
"The crucial question the Creation story asks us is how will we use it? Will we apply the talents we possess for good, or for ill? The choice is ours, and the responsibility is ours as well.” P. 4
Abraham’s vision was that he could sacrifice a ram rather than his beloved son Isaac, and yet none of our societies has learned the lesson. All of our societies are still sacrificing our children every year to rigid concepts about religion, which miss the valuable points made by Rabbi Fuchs.
Rabbi Fuchs gives me new hope for Israel, when he explains that the meaning of the word itself is “one who struggles with God.” I have faced this struggle my entire life. The stories of the Bible were all very nice, and the weekly visit to church was mysteriously comforting, but I never got it—the meaning of God and the value of stories written in a book that originated more than 3,500 years ago. I spoke to many pastors over the years, and it is clear to me now that they never got it either—they were just going through the motions.
Rabbi Fuchs obviously gets it! His comforting interpretations bring religion into the 21st Century, and give the Bible new meaning, which many will appreciate. He even provides incentive for atheists to read the Bible, if only to understand the moral precepts that have been passed down to us through the ages.
The role of women is another important aspect of the What’s in It for Me? in that it demonstrates that through the ages, from the time of Exodus, women have assumed an equal and often more important role than men in the preservation of society. Understanding how and why women’s equality is in the very structure and content of our earliest religious writings will benefit us all. Yes, there are many patriarchal power brokers, who insist that women are inferior, but they cannot carry the future of God’s plan with them.
What’s in It for Me? is a quick and easy read. I completed it in just a few hours of one day. If everyone who reads this would do the same, then the world will inevitably begin to change for the better from that effort alone. We cannot keep killing one another over rigid interpretations of a book written in the early Iron Age.
As Rabbi Fuchs rightly observes, we are the only species who can find iron in the earth, smelt it into steel and convert it into either surgical instruments or weapons of war. It is only we who can assume the responsibility of deciding what to do with this apocalyptic power. In order to do that sensibly, we must understand what God really intended, and that is not always in black and white and printed on a page, but in the interpretations we give the words. Each of us must decide for ourselves. The meaning of The Bible for us will only be understood when we know what is in it in the first place.
Rabbi Stephen Fuchs graduated from Hamilton College in Clinton, New York. Post graduation, he earned a Masters Degree in Hebrew Letters, a graduate certificate in Jewish Communal Service, and was ordained a Rabbi at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 1992, he received a Doctor of Ministry degree in biblical interpretation at Vanderbilt University Divinity School, Nashville, Tennessee. In March 1999, he was awarded a Doctor of Divinity Degree, Honoris Causa, from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York.
- Parent Category: Tools to Change Society
- Category: Political Activism
- Created on 21 February 2015
- Last Updated on 21 February 2015
- Published on 21 February 2015
- Written by Michael Berkowitz
- Hits: 7156
Over the last half century, the Bush family has emerged as an American political dynasty. The family has produced Congressmen, Senators, Governors of two of our largest states and two Presidents. As the 2016 Presidential campaign starts to gear up, there is the possibility of yet another Bush candidacy and Presidency. So it is instructive to see how the family has operated in and out of office around questions economic.
Long before and well into when the Bush name was associated with public office holding, Bushes were involved in another great American institution of trust and development - banks. Indeed the Bush family made its fortune through involvement with banks and financial institutions.
The family, of course, grew their wealth through many endeavors, including oil and real estate. There was a joke that former President George W. Bush woke up on third base and thought that he had hit a triple. But that old canard is a disservice and an understatement since it doesn't take into account that the Bushes owned not only a baseball team, the Texas Rangers, but also the stadium, as well as much of the surrounding real estate. As Nicholas Kristof writes in the New York Times, summarizing the local law owners suit against the Bushes and their partners, "Essentially, Mr. Bush and the owners group he led bullied and misled the city into raising taxes to build a $200 million stadium that in effect would be handed over to the Rangers. As part of the deal, the city would even confiscate land from private owners so that the Rangers could engage in real estate speculation."
George Herbert Walker, one of the family fortune founders and President George W. Bush's great grandfather, came from a Maryland family of slave owners and traders. He became a businessman and international banker whose deep pockets and connections helped him organize the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair, rebuild New York's Madison Square Garden and construct Baltimore's Belmont Race Track. Walker helped financier Averill Harriman build Brown Brothers investment banking firm and set up and direct the Union Banking Corporation, among other lucrative ventures.
Prescott Bush, son of Walker's daughter, father of 41st President George H.W. Bush and grandfather of 43rd President George W. Bush, succeeded as director of both Brown Brothers and Union Banking Corporation. It was these deep pockets that helped German steel magnate Fritz Thyssen plan and fund the rise of Adolph Hitler.
Prescott Bush was so industrious that he continued to assist Adolf Hitler through his Union Banking Corporation even after World War II had been declared and the U.S. had entered the war to fight the very country which the Bushes continued to do business with and helped fund.
Of course there were some sore winners and spoil sports who thought the Bushes should be prosecuted. In October of 1942, the United States government seized Bush's bank under the Trading with the Enemy Act. The assets were held until the war's conclusion. According to the U.S. Alien Property Custodian, since 1939 the steel and mining companies that Prescott Bush was involved with "have been in possession of and have been operated by the German government and have undoubtedly been of considerable assistance to that country's war effort. It seemed that UBC had been caught red-handed operating an American shell company for the Thyssen family, Hitler's financiers, 8 months after the U.S. had gone to war with Germany.
Like his father Prescott before him and his son George W after him, George Herbert Walker Bush used his father's financial industry connections to advance himself. He worked for a subsidiary of Brown Brothers Harriman. With these connections and this support, he then started up two Texas oil companies. George H.W. Bush soon shifted his drilling to Washington, D.C. He served in Congress, as an Ambassador and Director of the Central Intelligence Agency where he made further international connections.
After serving as Reagan's Vice President for two terms, G.H.W. Bush defeated Governor Michael Dukakis to become the 41st President of the U.S. His largely undistinguished Presidency was notable for invasions of Panama, Grenada and the First Gulf War and most importantly a crushing economic recession and the Savings and Loan Scandal in which another son Neil was heavily involved.
The U.S. Office of Thrift Supervision determined that Neil Bush had engaged in numerous breaches of fiduciary duties. Most troublesome was that he had been involved in multiple conflicts of interest, including approving of $100 million in bad loans to two of his business partners. A large donor to the Republican Party was able to help contribute funds to defray Neil's legal defense.
Fortunately, financial success turned for Neil during his brother George W.'s presidency when he received millions of dollars in consulting fees from companies ranging from high tech to toothpaste. Even Reverend Sun Myung Moon befriended Neil, taking him on his world peace wide tour where Neil endorsed Reverend Moon and his work. . . before Reverend Moon's indictment, conviction and imprisonment for income tax evasion.
The Presidency of George W. Bush, Neil's brother and George H.W. Bush's son, was more notorious than notable for its impact on the banks and financial markets. George W presided over the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression eighty years before. Two questionable wars, two huge tax cuts which primarily benefited the rich and mismanagement of the budget and national economy produced dire results. Over three hundred banks closed, 2.6 million jobs were lost, over 1.5 homes were foreclosed, the stock markets lost 37% of their value and household incomes and the country's GDP plunged.
Even the most dramatic tragedy of George W. Bush's Presidency, 9/11, sheds light on the Bush family's unique economic experience. The Bush family's business ties to the Saudis, primarily through oil, are quite well known. George H.W. Bush through his succession of offices built relationships and investments with the Royal House.
The Saudis even invested in George W's first business venture the oil company Arbusto. In his book "House of Bush, House of Saudi: The Secret Relationship Between the World's Two Most Powerful Dynastie," Carl Unger traced $1.4 billion in Saudi investments and contracts into companies which the Bush Family and their allies held prominent positions, including the high profile Carlyle Group and Halliburton, the chief beneficiaries of Afghan and Iraq War military contracts. Chief Saudi financial operative and long term Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar, famously pictured exchanging kisses with George W. Bush was such a close friend that Bush joked that he was actually a Bush Family member.
So it was no wonder, though still unsettling, that immediately after the 9/11 attack, with the Twin Towers still smoldering and all air traffic in the US grounded, George W. Bush authorized the special air evacuation from the US to Saudi Arabia of 140 Saudi high ranking members of the Royal House of Saud, including 24 members of the bin Laden Family. The bin Ladins, as relations to Osama bin Ladin, may have provided useful information on the attack and its perpetrator. US government investigators were critical of Bush's unilateral actions. Given the closeness and mutual interests of the two families, perhaps this favorite treatment is one of the lesser surprises of George W. Bush's failed Presidency.
Now, after a slow, uneven national economic recovery, another Bush is contemplating running for the Presidency. Jeb Bush, son of President George H.W.Bush and brother of President George W. Bush, has formed a committee to explore the possibility of his candidacy.
Jeb's qualifications for the highest office in U.S. are quite diverse. Like other Bushes, he has experience both direct and indirect in financial industries and related fields. As someone who proclaimed at his career's outset I want to be very wealthy, he had concrete ideas on how to actualize his goals. He worked in the international division of Texas Commerce Bank for which he was sent to Venezula to manage a branch and became a Vice President. His many jobs in sales included work for a mobile phone company, being minority owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars, selling fire equipment to Alaska oil pipelines and water pumps in Nigeria, and serving as a lobbying the Reagan-Bush Administration for his various companies.
When it was time for him to enter politics, it was appropriate that he did so with his appointment as Secretary of Commerce for the State of Florida. As Governor of Florida, he reduced the size of the state government by 6.6%, vetoed $2 billion in new spending, refused to raise taxes to improve education, ended affirmative action admissions at state universities and cut such education projects as homework help and web-based high school texts.
After two terms as governor, Bush stepped down. But his interest in the financial industry persisted. In August of 2007, he joined the investment bank Lehman Brothers as an adviser in its private equity group. Unfortunately, that very month, the bank was hit hard by the failures in the real estate market. It had to close its subprime lender BNC Mortgage, lay off 1200 financial workers and take millions in after tax charges. The very next year Lehman Brothers collapsed, filing for bankruptcy and being acquired by Barclays another bank where Jeb Bush served as advisor. His intimate knowledge of these problems led him to be a strong supporter of the much criticized, poorly regulated Wall Street bailout (Troubled Asset Relief Program) hastily conceived by his brother the President.
Certainly Jeb Bush's Presidential Exploratory Committee will want to consider these experiences as he embarks down the road toward nomination. They may also want to draw on the rich, complex history of his predecessors . . . men who honed their economic fortunes even as they worked in public office. For generations, Bush family members have gained valuable experience in these industries. Whether it was from Slavery, WWII, the Savings and Loan Scandals, the Afghan and Iraqi Wars or the Great Recession . . . through war and peace, conflicts and conflicts of interest, the Bush family has always prospered.
But through time, at every turn, where family fortunes and national well being led in different directions, Bush family values prevailed. Do we really want to turn to this dynasty once again to lead our country?
Michael Berkowitz has worked on various political and social movements from Civil Rights in the South to the recent Recall in Wisconsin. He was a senior manager in San Francisco's Planning Department and a Planning Consultant for 12 years to the Government of China (PRC). He was a Planning Commissioner for the City of Berkeley and a Business Agent and Organizer for Service Employees International. He holds Masters degrees in History from both Stanford and Yale.
- Parent Category: Tools to Change Society
- Category: Political Activism
- Created on 20 February 2015
- Last Updated on 20 February 2015
- Published on 20 February 2015
- Written by Nozomi Hayase
- Hits: 388
By Nozomi Hayase
19 February, 2015
Recently, Greece's radical leftist party Syriza claimed victory in their national election. The party vowed to break ties with the European Central bank and roll back the EU's neoliberal economic agenda. True to their word, they are already implementing some of those changes. From the birthplace of democracy, excitement is spreading across Europe and revitalizing the hope that real change may still be possible through the electoral arena.
The news from Greece also energized progressive circles in America. For many, the question arises: Can this rebirth of democracy happen in the U.S.? After Obama's absolute betrayal of his promised “hope and change”, the Occupy Movement began in lower Manhattan as a response to the rigged system that has been creating economic inequality approaching the level of feudalism.
This was an awakening to a broken system of checks and balances and it pushed people outside of the electoral arena to find solutions to these problems. Yet, by 2012, with massive coordinated police brutality around the nation, the demise of Occupy became apparent and the movement lost momentum. Now it seems that the Greeks are doing what it appears Occupy intended to do and failed. What about Americans?
The recent wave of whistleblowers from Chelsea Manning to Edward Snowden exposed the wrongdoing perpetrated by the U.S. government against its own people and around the world. The NSA mass surveillance alone indicates a massive constitutional crisis. The rot at the top is becoming increasingly undeniable as the public's distrust of elected officials and the system itself deepens. One can only hope that the 2012 Obama campaign was the last sock puppet trick that the corporate masters could pull in this lesser of the two evils game.
Poll after poll shows most Americans now despise the two party political charade to the point that 60% are open to the idea of a third party candidate for 2016. After being fooled by oligarchic manipulation