Living and thriving through regenerative practices and a sustainable worldview.

Critical Thinking

Gift Economy vs. Gift ECOLOGY

I’ve been exploring the idea of alternative economies recently, and realized that something kept causing friction in me when it came to discussing the idea of a “gift economy”.

I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I knew it had something to do with the idea that a gift economy didn’t seem to be capable of reconciling our evolving, flowing, ebbing needs and gifts.

I know that there are many forms of capital and many forms of alternative economies, but when it came to trying to determine the logistics of how a gift economy would actually provide for everyone, I kept finding myself with an inherent desire to keep some kind of balance sheet to prove its worth and efficacy.

It seemed to me that I must be missing something, or that maybe my intellect was “getting in its own way”, until I came across this article.

From Sharing Economy To Gift Ecology

I think that my cognitive dissonance was being caused by the difference in the actual nature, or definition of, “economy”, and how I and a lot of other people define it or see it operating as a Transactional system.

I personally think of a transactional system as one that inherently maintains a series of checks and balances, in order to meet certain needs. But I think that true Gifting doesn’t keep track. And it is actually unconcerned with meeting needs or numbers. It is an act of selflessness, and nothing more, whether it is received in that spirit, or not. There is no expectation.

In nature, everything provides for everything else, just by being what it is. The outputs of one become the inputs of the other and so on. There are no blance sheets. It is a perfect, almost effortless ecology.

And so, looking at it as a “Gift ECOLOGY”, rather than economy, fixed everything for me by viewing it as a web of relationships, rather than transactions, therefore shifting the actual nature and function of it in my mind.
“Economy reduces value into a few focused dimensions, whereas ecology implies a more intricate interplay of relationships that generate diversified — sometimes immeasurable — value.”

I actually saw a video with a member of the organization publishing this article, and he mentioned how, after Hurricane Katrina, the only things left standing were not houses or building, etc., but old oak trees. This was because they had deep, deep roots, that also intertangled with the deep roots of other oaks, sometimes forming chains as long as a hundred miles. He saw this is an example of a Gift Ecology, where the relationships between the trees created immeasurable value, while asking for nothing in return.

I think that this is really what people long for- a sense of deep, rooted connection, coupled with the meeting of needs, and so I would love to see the idea of a “Gift Ecology” take off and eventually make the word “economy” obsolete.

“The Hidden Life of Soils” card game!

There’s a new card game that shows the connections between Macrofauna, Microfauna, Megafauna, Mesofauna, Plants and Soil, and it looks like a LOT of fun!





Ok, so the macrofauna can be a little… “icky”, but I don’t think kids will care as much as most adults will. (Remember the sand worms from the movie Beetlejuice? Yeah.)
Beetle Larvae

Beetle Larvae

And if you’ve ever seen a tardigrade, you know they kinda look like little eye-less manatees with a “truncated” trunk. (oh look, a pun!)


Awww… he’s actually kinda cute.

It also brings in heavy hitters from the scientific community, including The Microscope, The Auger, Charles Darwin and Peter E. Muller.

It’s like a reunion concert without the drama or high ticket prices.

They’re free, so print the PDF now! Hidden Life of Soils card game.

And while you’re at it, go check out the website- it’s full of great information!

Have fun!

So… why “Resilient Existence”?

The reed that bends does not break...

The name of this blog is a mouthful.
I know it better than anyone when I have to type it into the address bar, ftp server, etc.
But the name is purposeful and has a lot of meaning.

If you look at the right side of this blog, under “RECENT POSTS”, you’ll see the “TOOLBOX”, which is chock-full of awesome tutorials, videos, podcasts and other resources. It’s all there to help you figure things out on your own, do things yourself (DIY) or do things with others(DIT, Do-It-Together)!

In recent years, there has been a subtle undercurrent that I feel has been diluting the solution-driven, permaculturist movement, and the name of this blog also addresses that on some level.

The reed that bends does not break...

The reed that bends does not break…

You see, there are a whole lot of Lone Wolf types out there, who think that the way to address breakdowns in culture and infrastructure is to hole-up, hunker down, create a wall of resistance, and hoard. They might apply this approach to many different situations – a hurricane, new neighbors, or even general overall uncertainty.

I’ve seen the “I’ll protect me and mine” mindset one too many times, and I believe that it creates more problems, because it’s furthering the idea of scarcity and rigidity. Rigidity is not Resilience, but is often mistaken for it, when paired with a huge body of DIY-type knowledge.

But knowledge is not wisdom. And rigidity is not resilience.

The name of this blog is about what it says- “resilience”, and applying it to how we “exist” in the world. But also, if you remove a bunch of the letters, you are left with the word “RESIST”.
It is a reminder that there are a whole lot of options to go through before one must resort to simply resisting. I do believe that resisting has its time and place, but I am of the firm belief that energy flows wherever your attention goes. If you put your attention and energy into resistance, you’re going to meet a wall. If you put your attention and energy into creating alternatives and solutions, you may get better results.

I was once involved with creating a public charter school, and the biggest lesson I learned from that experience was gleaned by watching not the kids, but the parents. I recognized that there was a distinct split into two types of parents. On the one hand, there were the parents who totally believed in the mission of the school and wanted their children to be in an environment that encompassed the ethics, processes, etc. that were our vision. On the other hand, you had parents who were dissatisfied with the local public schools, many having had bad experiences, and just wanted their kids to go “somewhere else” that wasn’t an expensive private school. The first group may have also had bad experiences with other schools, but were more focused on building what they WANTED. The second group was more focused on what they DIDN’T want. It was often this second group that created drama, made it difficult to get through a board meeting, issued unrealistic demands, and in the end, even caused one incident that cost the school tens of thousands of dollars! I realized that this was a prime example of creating what you put your energy into.

So… once again, I’ll just mention that I think resistance can be useful. For instance, I think it is sometimes necessary when being applied to very large scale issues, like civil rights and social justice, when you really need something to give, shift or heave. Resistance can be non-violent and still work – just ask Ghandi or MLK Jr. But we’ve been conditioned to think of resistance as violent, so that is why I think that other options must be used first, even if they are just buying time while we are reflecting and looking ahead to the possibility of perhaps having to use any kind of resistance. The time that it takes for the “other letters to be removed”, is necessary in order to properly assess what is needed and what would be useful.

Hidden within the name of this blog is a reminder to “slow down” and make sure that any resistance will promote resilience rather than rigidity, and also nurture the existence of all, rather than undermine it or create competition.

I hope this makes sense!

Cutural Capital and Other Forms of Exchange

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the different forms of exchange available in the world.

There’s been a lot of noise about Bitcoin in the past year, and the weather is also getting warmer, which finds me at more swap meets, flea markets, etc. where I tend to barter.

But what has really been nagging at me is all the fuss that is always being generated from Facebook, Twitter, and other social media. I started to think about all this fuss as capital.

It seems that a whole lot of people want it, which puts it into the realm of commodity, and any business who has ever looked to promote themselves knows that “buzz” is a form of exchange that converts into financial capital. Hell, Google’s building an empire based on Search Results, a form of this kind of capital. I am personally beginning to think that we could eradicate the national deficit if we were to tax all of the invisible, freely-given capital that we give to Facebook, Google, Twitter, etc. every day in the form of marketable demographic data and intelligence. But I digress.

What has been the most revealing to me, is how individuals are valuing their Facebook “share”. No, not the “Share” button, but actual share, as in, their slice of the Popularity Pie. People are crazy about this shit. Facebook “Likes”, have become a commodity, as people’s self-worth becomes attached to them. This has been steadily growing to the point that it is a widely accepted practice, and I recognize it as another form of social and cultural capital.

A friend recently forwarded the following link to a list I’m on, which started to take the conversation even deeper.

Scientists link selfies to Narcissism, Addiction & Mental illness

As I read, the following sentence jumped out at me:
“The more likes we get on social media sites the happier we feel. Is this sustainable?

I realized that this concept goes back to another conversation I’ve been having in the general permaculture community, regarding economic permaculture initiatives.

If the structure or framework that we are working within is unsustainable (the global economy, perhaps capitalism, depends on your views) , then perhaps continuously trying to implement sustainable initiatives within a larger, unsustainable context is not the way to go. That’s like using “holistic” medicine for lung cancer, but still smoking…

I think it’s the same here, but it is within a cultural framework, rather than economic. Our general culture is unsustainable, hands down. It does not sustain or regenerate our emotional/spiritual/mental/physical/generational health. It has largely become saddled to the idea of profit/gain/resource hoarding. The hoarding of resources can include social “capital”, too (Facebook Friends, Likes, etc.).

It has been my understanding that MANY things can abstractly be considered social capital, or commodities. For example, just as Facebook friends can be thought of as a resource for the ego, gossip can also be considered a form of capital when it is exchanged between people and they receive some social/emotional benefit from it (profit).

The idea of being an “expert” or “know-it-all” in social circles, can also be a form of attempting to hoard or exude authority, which in turn, affects people’s social interactions and is a form of control (profit for the ego). Both of these require more and more information, and at some point it becomes unsustainable. It’s not a loop unless you’re going to gossip about yourself, which I’m betting won’t work very long. ;)

So, the way I see it, since our culture nurtures these behaviors through emphasis on media, ego, disconnection and polarization of views/”other-ness”, and rewards us for doing these things in the short term, we are left with what I think is the greatest re-skilling challenge of all: understanding, using, and developing tools of SELF, and also in/with our families/tribes/communities, to navigate the current culture and transform it into a sustainable/regenerative framework that promotes our health and well-being.

If we remove the need or pressure to stroke ourselves so much, then selfies will just feel pointless.

To me, it seems that it always goes back to Culture in the end. It’s the framework we all are trying to live within, since no man (or woman) is an island.

As if by fate, a few days later the following article tumbled into my Inbox and added another layer to the conversation.

8 Forms of Capital – Ethan Roland, Peak Prosperity Podcast

The section concerning cultural capital in regards to New Orleans and Japan during recent disasters is especially relevant to the discussion. I’ve often observed how Americans will pull together immediately after a disaster (Hurricane Sandy), and when there is a general time frame where things are expected to return to normal (Boston Marathon). However, when the effects of a disaster perpetuate indefinitely (poverty), or there is no help on the way (umm… poverty?), they are more apt to cannibalize each other in some form. It seems directly tied to the idea that we are living in a scarcity model, rather than an abundance model or something else, and I view this as cultural (the idea of “bigger, better, more”, “keeping up with the Jones’”, etc.).

How do we assess our cultural capital as a nation, a globally spreading cultural influence, a planet…?

How do we tie that capital to other forms of currency so that we are receiving regenerative returns in other areas and demonstrating a regenerative abundance model? (emotional, spiritual, social, etc.)

Lessons from Hurricane Sandy: infrastructure and resilience

I’ve been thinking a bit about this whole hurricane thing, and as is often the case, it has turned to more permaculture-related thoughts.

When my grandfather was a boy, he had a little kerosene lamp to light his way to bed every night. You see, they didn’t have electricity yet. During Hurricane Sandy, my mother used this very same lamp to read by and navigate through a darkened house.
I find it amazing that in around just one generation’s time, we’ve gone from having no electricity, to being so UTTERLY dependent upon it.

I recognize that this is largely due to the fact that electricity has been built into our infrastructure. Generally, we don’t put wood-burning stoves in new homes or apartment buildings. We think of fire as a potential hazard, even if we cherish the warmth of a fireplace enough to make electric versions of them.

All of this brings me back to my grandfather. In his childhood, they had a lot less “infrastructure”, but stronger social relationships. I’ve had a lot of discussions about alternative infrastructure, how to strengthen it, getting off the grid “in order to be self-sufficient”, etc.
But none of those are really the same as talking about the idea of infrastructure ITSELF as being a crutch or a potential obstacle to resilience.

Back in the day, my grandfather’s community, in a town next to where I still live, had a very important discussion. These people were very hard-working folks who believed very much in the church as center of community, and in helping your fellow person out. These people also invented the very first insurance company in the U.S., and the idea of “insurance”, and this was almost a scandal inside the church.

Why? Because they recognized that it had the potential to “relieve” folks of the moral responsibility of helping their fellow community members, since insurance would step in and do what had traditionally been done by people: re-build houses after a fire, loan resources, etc. In the end, it was decided that they would only make “insurance” available to “heathens outside of the church”, in order to not make their own people complacent and apathetic. Obviously, the idea grew past those boundaries, and we now have a nationwide epidemic of insurance fraud and a litigious court system. Our good natures are now actually HAMPERED by insurance liability in many cases. Which is exactly the kind of thing that they were worried about. Oops.

My point is this: is infrastructure that is not based in social relationships, but rather, in contracts, actually an impediment to resilience, both physically and morally?

Transitioning through the seasons and pattern recognition

This post is chock-full of stuff, so be forewarned!

I don’t know about you, but this year I’ve been a little “ahead” of the seasons. Maybe it’s the crazy weather, or maybe it’s just the “hurry-up” pace of work, life, technology, etc.
Whatever the reason, I found myself fantasizing about Halloween and apple cider early last month, and although my kale hasn’t even fully invaded my garden yet, I am now looking forward to curling up in layers of blankets and socks, and hibernating with a cup of hot cocoa as snow falls silently outside.
Perhaps I just need a good crisp day of hiking in the autumn foliage to set me right.
With that said, it seems serendipity stuck her foot out and I tripped over this wonderful diagram of the Seasons of Transition.
(click the image to view a larger version)

Diagram of Seasons

Diagram of Seasons

Diagram of Seasons

This diagram actually reminds me a LOT of the 8 Shields model, which allows you to “map many of the phases and relationships occurring in nature, both on a grand scale, and also within the nuances of human learning and culture.”

This includes phases of the day, physical needs, seasons, lifespan, etc. It is an EXCELLENT and very flexible tool for permaculturists who want to map patterns in nature, behavior, and really, just about anything.





The Eight Shields Model:

I’ve used it myself as a guide for mapping the relationships between generational tendencies and Euro-American history, based on the work of Howe & Strauss.  I’ve also used it as an attempt to map our own sentient thought processes and behavior based on the work of David Bohm.
So, as you can tell from the applications, this model is a pretty powerful, useful tool.

8 Handshakes

8 Handshakes

Pattern recognition is a VERY important skill in itself, and there have been tons of really great articles written on its uses in self-sufficiency, the economy, etc.

I would also like to take a moment here to give credit where credit is due. It is my educated guess that all of these models are probably derivative of the Native American use of the “Four Directions”, or “Medicine Wheel”:

Other ancient indigenous cultures used similar models:

Medicine Wheel

Medicine Wheel

YungDrung Bon

YungDrung Bon


Think you have no place to grow? Think again!

I just LOVE when people get creative with growing food!

9 Simple Steps to Sheet Mulching



Nine Simple Steps to Sheet Mulching

  1. Mow or cut your lawn, weeds, or other vegetation right down to the ground.
  2. Plant any crops that will require a large planting hole (including woody plants, perennials in large pots, and large transplants).
  3. Add soil amendments (as determined by your soil test).
  4. Water the whole area thoroughly. You are going to be putting a layer of cardboard or newspaper over it, and rain and irrigation won’t soak through very well until that weed barrier breaks down. Water also helps the decomposition process get going.
  5. If you have compost materials that may contain weed seeds (like fresh manure, leaves, or hay), spread them in layers on the ground. Put a dry, carbonaceous layer of hay or shredded leaves below any manure layer. Avoid thick layers, and make sure to get a good carbon-to-nitrogen ratio just as if you were building a compost pile (see Start with the Soil or other gardening books for details). Water this layer well.
  6. Lay down a weed barrier. I prefer to use large sheets of cardboard from appliance stores, because these last longer and are quicker to lie down. You can use layers of wet newspaper too. Make sure to have a 4- to 6-inch overlap where sheets meet so buried weeds can’t find a route to the surface. If you have already planted crops, or have other preexisting plants, don’t mulch over them. Cut holes in the cardboard to make some breathing space for each plant (or leave some room around each plant when laying newspaper).
  7. Now you can add your weed-free organic materials. I like to keep it simple, and just add a nice layer of compost. You can also do some sheet composting here, alternating layers of nitrogen-rich materials like fresh grass clippings with carbonaceous materials like weed-free straw.
  8. Now you add your final top mulch layer, at least 3 inches thick. Water the whole bed thoroughly once again. Your sheet mulch bed is complete.
  9. You can plant right into your bed if you like. To plant tubers or potted plants, just pull back the top layers until you get to the weed barrier. Cut an X in the cardboard or newspaper. If you are transplanting a large plant, peel back the corners of the X. Throw a double handful of compost in the planting hole and then put in the plant. Pull the layers and top mulch back around the plant, water well, and you’re all set. Planting seeds is easy too. Just pull back the top mulch to the compost layer and plant your seeds. You may want to cut through the weed barrier below first, depending on weed pressure below the barrier. If you are planting seeds, be sure to water regularly, as compost on top of cardboard can dry out quickly.

See that itty-bitty yard space out front?

BAM!! Awesomeness!

Please go visit for more!

Plants communicate with each other by using clicking sounds


Exeter University scientist Monica Gagliano,  along with fellow researchers Stefano Mancuso and Daniel Robert, used powerful acoustic instrumentation which allowed them to hear clicking sounds coming from the roots of corn saplings. They also found that when they suspended the young roots in water and played a continuous noise at 200 Hz – a similar frequency to the clicks – the plants grew towards the source of the sound.

Gagliano and her team concluded that plants are indeed communicating with each other by making clicking sounds that travel easily through soil. It’s thought that, like the methyl jasmonate, these signals are warning of incoming threats…

Read more!

Plants communicate with each other by using clicking sounds

A Disturbing Trend

A snippet from a great piece of writing on permaculture, race, and good intentions. Please click through and read the whole article, it’s a very good read, and is something that I think is not being discussed as much as it should be within the “sustainability” community.


“Over the past few years, I have attended several national, state and local good food conferences at which various non-profit organizations doing work in schools and/or community gardens in urban communities were featured in powerpoint presentations or slide shows.  Invariably, at least one of the images features a group of inner-city Black children posing in a garden or kitchen with one, two or three young white adults, standing with them, smiling broadly…”

The Tree Sisters

Check out this project- The Tree Sisters
And at the heart of all they do, are these wonderful maps!

Map of Five Choices:

Shadow Map:

Re-using plastic bottles for sailing…


History Repeats Itself… the Fourth Turning?

For more than 500 years, four distinct generational types have appeared in Anglo-American history in a fixed order, with ONLY one hiccup in the Civil War Saeculum.

My two cents:
Just when you think things are different, you realize it’s only history repeating again. I am ever fascinated by this study, as it gives a visual representation and coherence to all the little things that we can feel changing in time, and all the things that we instinctively intuit are about to arrive, before they do. It also explains why certain trends seem to “stick” while others don’t, and perhaps why others who study this pattern can more successfully market to the population.
Should we try to break this cycle? Or like nature, is there a season for everything?
Is this just perhaps,  “modern” civilization instinctively seeking to mimic the Medicine Wheel in its own, albeit destructive, form?

From Wikipedia:

“Generations” is the first book by William Strauss and Neil Howe that describes a cyclical theory of history based on repeating generational archetypes. It examines Anglo-American history by dividing it into saecula, or seasonal cycles of history. A saeculum is about 90 years long – the length of a long human life – and is further divided into four “Turnings” that are about 22 years long – as long as the period between birth and adulthood. Children raised during a particular Turning share similar historical and cultural experiences, resulting in distinct generational types. The book suggests that interactions between generations explains why major crises occur roughly every 90 years (e.g. 1773 -1861) and why spiritual awakenings similarly recur halfway between those crises.


According to Howe and Strauss, authors of “Generations”, The Fourth Turning”, just as history molds generations, so do generations mold history. Modern Anglo-American history runs on a two-stroke rhythm. The two strokes are an Awakening and a Crisis.

Awakening. During an Awakening, rising adults are driven by inner zeal to become philosophers, religious pundits, and hippies, thereby alienating children (who see the adult world becoming more chaotic each day) and older generations alike. Civil order comes under attack from a new values regime. Examples of Awakening eras include the Protestant Reformation (1517–1542), the Puritan Awakening (1621–1649), the Great Awakening (1727–1746), the Second Great Awakening (1822–1844), the Third Great Awakening (1886–1908), and the Consciousness Revolution (1964–1984). Seen as a tumultuous time, somewhat echoing a “Crisis”.

Unraveling. An Unraveling is an era of relative peace and prosperity between an Awakening and a Crisis. The most recent Unraveling was seen between The Consciousness Revolution and the time just before September 11 (1985–2001), a time of paradigm shifting. Seen as a positive time, somewhat echoing a “High”.

Crisis. A Crisis is a decisive era of secular upheaval. The values regime propels the replacement of the old civic order with a new one. Wars are waged with apocalyptic finality. Examples of Crisis eras include the Wars of the Roses (1459–1487), the Spanish Armada Crisis (1569–1594), the colonial Glorious Revolution (1675–1704), the American Revolution (1773–1794), the American Civil War (1860–1865), and the twin emergencies of the Great Depression and World War II (1929–1946).

High. A High is an era between a Crisis and an Awakening. The most recent High was seen between World War II and the Consciousness Revolution.

Types of Generations

The four types of generations in their theory are as follows:

Prophet/Idealist. A Prophet (or Idealist) generation is born during a High, spends its rising adult years during an Awakening, spends midlife during an Unraveling, and spends old age in a Crisis. Prophetic leaders have been cerebral and principled, summoners of human sacrifice, wagers of righteous wars. Early in life, few saw combat in uniform; late in life, most come to be revered as much for their words as for their deeds.

Nomad/Reactive. A Nomad (or Reactive) generation is born during an Awakening, spends its rising adult years during an Unraveling, spends midlife during a Crisis, and spends old age in a new High. Nomadic leaders have been cunning, hard-to-fool realists, taciturn warriors who prefer to meet problems and adversaries one-on-one.

Hero/Civic. A Hero (or Civic) generation is born during an Unraveling, spends its rising adult years during a Crisis, spends midlife during a High, and spends old age in an Awakening. Heroic leaders are considered to have been vigorous and rational institution-builders, busy and competent in old age. All of them entering midlife were aggressive advocates of technological progress, economic prosperity, social harmony, and public optimism.

Artist/Adaptive. An Artist (or Adaptive) generation is born during a Crisis, spends its rising adult years in a new High, spends midlife in an Awakening, and spends old age in an Unraveling. Artistic leaders have been advocates of fairness and the politics of inclusion, irrepressible in the wake of failure.

List of Generations

Howe and Strauss characterize generations and their types as follows:

Generation Type Birth years Formative era
Late Medieval Saeculum
Arthurian Generation Hero (Civic) 1433–1460 (27) Unraveling: Retreat from France
Humanist Generation Artist (Adaptive) 1461–1482 (21) Crisis: War of the Roses
Reformation Saeculum (104)
Reformation Generation Prophet (Idealist) 1483–1511 (28) High: Tudor Renaissance
Reprisal Generation Nomad (Reactive) 1512–1540 (28) Awakening: Protestant Reformation
Elizabethan Generation Hero (Civic) 1541–1565 (24) Unraveling: Intolerance and Martyrdom
Parliamentarian Generation Artist (Adaptive) 1566–1587 (21) Crisis: Armada Crisis
New World Saeculum (112)
Puritan Generation Prophet (Idealist) 1588–1617 (29) High: Merrie England
Cavalier Generation Nomad (Reactive) 1618–1647 (29) Awakening: Puritan Awakening
Glorious Generation Hero (Civic) 1648–1673 (25) Unraveling: Religious Intolerance
Enlightenment Generation Artist (Adaptive) 1674–1700 (26) Crisis: King Philip’s War/
Glorious Revolution
Revolutionary Saeculum (90)
Awakening Generation Prophet (Idealist) 1701–1723 (22) High: Augustan Age of Empire
Liberty Generation Nomad (Reactive) 1724–1741 (17) Awakening: Great Awakening
Republican Generation Hero (Civic) 1742–1766 (24) Unraveling: French and Indian War
Compromise Generation Artist (Adaptive) 1767–1791 (24) Crisis: American Revolution
Civil War Saeculum (67)
Transcendental Generation Prophet (Idealist) 1792–1821 (29) High: Era of Good Feeling
Gilded Generation Nomad (Reactive) 1822–1842 (20) Awakening: Transcendental Awakening
Hero (Civic)0
Progressive Generation Artist (Adaptive) 1843–1859 (16) Crisis: American Civil War
Great Power Saeculum (82)
Missionary Generation Prophet (Idealist) 1860–1882 (22) High: Reconstruction/Gilded Age
Lost Generation Nomad (Reactive) 1883–1900 (17) Awakening: Missionary Awakening
G.I. Generation Hero (Civic) 1901–1924 (23) Unraveling: World War I/Prohibition
Silent Generation Artist (Adaptive) 1925–1942 (17) Crisis: Great Depression/World War II
Millennial Saeculum (67+)
(Baby) Boom Generation Prophet (Idealist) 1943–1960 (17) High: Superpower America
13th Generation
(a.k.a. Generation X)
Nomad (Reactive) 1961–1981 (20) Awakening: Consciousness Revolution
Millennial Generation Hero (Civic) 1982–2004 (18) Unraveling: Culture Wars
Homeland Generation Artist (Adaptive) 2001–present (11+) Crisis: Terror Wars

Note (0): According to the above chart, generational types have appeared in Anglo-American history in a fixed order for more than 500 years, with one hiccup in the Civil War Saeculum. The reasons for this is because according to the chart, the Civil War came about ten years too early; the adult generations allowed the worst aspects of their generational personalities to come through; and the Progressives grew up scarred rather than ennobled.

Read more:

Support 'Local Farms, Food and Jobs Act' to help decentralize food system

Sunday, March 11, 2012 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer

(NaturalNews) Federal food policies that distribute billions of taxpayer dollars every year to subsidize the growth of commodity crops like genetically-modified (GM) corn and soy are largely responsible for the dismal state of food quality and health in our nation today. But Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Oh.) have introduced a new bill known as the Local Farms, Food and Jobs Act that would help decentralize the food system and promote diversified, small-scale farming operations capable of meeting the growing demand for clean, fresh, local foods.

At least $12 billion a year is currently allocated to subsidize industrial-scale agriculture systems like pesticide-ridden GM crop mega-farms, and concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) that hold tens of thousands of animals in filth. Meanwhile, only about $100 million a year is allocated to support local food programs that grow and distribute fresh, clean food.

But all this can change with the passage of the Local Farms, Food and Jobs Act, which will provision more money from the Farm Bill for small-scale, organic farmers, and help bring more clean, local food into public school lunchrooms. And since hearings on the 2012 Farm Bill, which will establish federal food policy for the next five years, are already taking place, now is the time to contact your congressmen and urge support for the Local Farms, Food and Jobs Act.

"American consumers want access to healthy, fresh foods and farmers should be able to sell it to them," said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Oh.) about the bill. "Local and regional food systems help the communities where farmers and consumers live growing the economy and creating jobs while improving public health and nutrition."

You can read the entire Local Farms, Food and Jobs Act by visiting:

Investing in local food systems will help reverse the obesity, chronic disease epidemic in America
Obesity, heart disease, and diabetes are among the top chronic conditions that afflict millions of Americans today, many of whom consume a steady diet of corn- and soy-laden processed foods that are artificially inexpensive because of federal food subsidies. And while more and more people are learning the truth about processed foods and seeking out healthy alternatives, federal policies make it difficult for small-scale farmers to earn a living and provide healthy food for their communities.

“For too long, funding provided by the United States’ most far-reaching food and farm legislation has primarily benefited agri-business and large scale industrial-scale commodity farms that aren’t growing food,” writes Kari Hamerschlag on the EWG blog. “Instead, they’re growing ingredients for animal feed, fuel and highly processed food — at a high cost to our nation’s health, environment and rural communities.”

The federal government has no place interfering in agriculture in the first place, but if it is going to redistribute taxpayers’ money into the food system, it needs to promote the systems that lead to improved nutrition and better health — small-scale, diversified farms.

To learn more, visit:

To contact your congressmen and urge support for the Local Farms, Food and Jobs Act, visit:

Sources for this article include:

Holistic Management International – Free Resources to Help You Grow

This is a great website with some good free downloads.
Check it.

HMI is proud to offer a series of packages for our practitioners, students, and supporters. We offer four free download packages: Introduction to Holistic Management, Holistic Financial Planning, Holistic Grazing Planning, and Kids on the Land. Each download packet comes with a Readme inventory file that details the contents and applications of each document. Details on each packet are provided below.

1. Introduction to Holistic Management: This package contains our 130 page Introduction to Holistic Management Manual, a special edition of HMI’s bi-monthly newsletter In Practice, the case study publication A New Environmental Intelligence, a full-sized full color version of the Holistic Management decision model, and a pocket-sized version of the Holistic Management decision model.

2. Holistic Financial Planning: This package contains our 59 page Holistic Financial Planning Manual, a financial planning worksheet, a large-sized annual income and expense worksheet, and a financial monitoring control sheet.

3. Holistic Grazing Planning: This package contains our Holistic Management Grazing Planning Manual, an electronic version of the holistic grazing planning worksheet, a livestock production worksheet, and the Holistic Weed Management worksheet.

4. Kids on the Land: This package includes our 8 page Guide to Starting Kids on the Land and six separate how-to manuals for conducting a Kids on the Land programs. These six manuals are designed by grade-level. The first begins with Kindergarten and they progress sequentially to Grade 5.

Build your own cart from only one sheet of plywood!

Build a homestead Copy Cart By Charles Sanders

“Our homemade Copy Cart has proven to be one of the handiest and most useful tools that I have on the place. In fact, we were using it to haul bales of straw in before it was completely finished. Since its completion, I’ve hauled concrete blocks, some split firewood, old bedding from the chicken house, and some hay bales. Of course, the kids had to have a ride in it as well. “

Brain Wave States & How To Access Them

(DIY meditation! We need to learn how to RELAX…)

The brain produces four main types of brain wave which are shown by EEG readings. Each type of brain wave produces the listed effects at specific frequencies:

Beta Brain Waves (13-30 cycles per second). The fastest, representing the most intense state of alertness. The result of heightened mental activity. Maximum mind power. All five external senses, logical mind, memory from the five senses & logical thinking.

Alpha Brain Waves (8 to 12 cycles per second) This brain wave indicates a relaxed state of mind.. State of relaxed alertness, good for inspiration and learning facts fast. A meditative mind. In this state tap into internal “antenna” like qualities. Visions, powerful ideas, mindless creation of the incredible. Internal feeling & sensations.

Theta Brain Waves (4 to 8 cycles per second) Deep meditation. Deep inward thought. This is associated with life-like imagination. High state of mental concentration. A magical mind. Internal pictures / visualisation. Intuition, inner guidance. Access to unconscious material. Dreaming.

Delta Brain Waves (0.5 to 4 cycles per second) Deep dreamless sleep. Deep relaxation. State of oneness, whole body feeling. Pure being & will.

Studies have shown that learning in Alpha State enhances the performance of students. It also develops the interest of studies in students more than they have ever learned in tense environment. Frequent gaps of 2 to 3 minutes after every 30 minute study period relaxes their minds and the alpha state will prove its efficiency with great ease and fun. But learning is more than just absorbing information, so changing the state of mind to operate Beta, Alpha and Theta is most likely to produce the best learning, cognition and creativity, while also staying in a relaxed state.
Exercises to access the brain wave states

I have developed the exercises below to attain the separate specific brain waves which can then be added together as you desire. All four at once is quite an experience!

Beta brain wave — Become hyper aware of your 5 senses, notice what you can smell, the taste in your mouth, what your hands are touching, become acutely aware of what you hear and see. Having done this you will know that you are in beta due to the intense external input and the total lack of awareness of your body, feelings or sensations.

Alpha brain wave — Try the following exercise first with your eyes open & then repeat it with your eyes closed. Take a deep breath, hold it and notice the sensations as your heart beats three times, relax & breath out — repeat 3X. Breathe in and out slowly to a count of 4, as you do so notice how your body feels —relaxed & warm.

Theta brain wave — do this after the alpha brain wave exercise. Close your eyes and visualise a sacred cup where your heart is (or another object of your choice) hold this picture for several minutes. Breathe in and out slowly.

Delta brain waves — do this after the other exercises, become aware & notice a warm sensation in your heart, now this sensation flow down and then spread out until it fills all of your body — one sensation.
Using CDs to access the brainwave states and improve learning

There several companies who produce CDs for different states normally in combination or for specific purposes e.g. concentration, relaxation, creativity, “Einsteinian like thinking”, etc. These are useful to obtain the desired states when you need to do something but cannot get yourself in the desired state and also to train the brain and body so you can whenever you want to.

The slower the brain frequency the faster the learning. In theta learning can be 1 time and in alpha as much as 20 times to absorb information (see below).
Brain Waves and Age

The table below tells the patterns of brain wave activity across different ages and states of awareness with the number of repetitions required to learn new behaviour patterns.
Age Brain wave Cycles/sec. Usual state for adults No. of repetitions required for new behaviour
14+ Beta 14 – 21 Normal awake Thousands
7 – 14 Alpha 7 – 14 Light sleep, meditation 21 (approx.)
4 – 7 Theta 4 – 7 Sleep, ‘fight or flight’ 1 or 2
0 – 4 Delta 0.5 – 4 Deep sleep -

NB. the repetitions are for new behaviour not information but information is also absorbed quicker in lower brain wave patterns.

From birth to four, babies’ brains operate in the delta state, with brain waves running below 4 cycles per second. In adults, this level of brain wave activity is experienced in the deepest levels of sleep.

From four to seven, children operate in theta state, with brain waves running between four and seven cycles per second. In adults, this level of brain wave activity is experienced during sleep and also during states of fear when the body goes into a ‘fight or flight’ response. This is a powerful level from which to initiate change. In this state, we only need one or two experiences of learning to change behaviour.

From the ages seven to fourteen, we live in the alpha state of seven to fourteen cycles per second. In adults, this is associated with light sleep, meditation, or eyes closed relaxation. At this level effective learning can take place after about 21 repetitions. Practice a new behaviour for 21 consecutive days and that behaviour becomes a habit. Research has shown that strong levels of physical healing can take place when the brain is at 10 cycles per second.

From puberty through adulthood the brain operates in the beta state, 14 – 21 cycles per second. This is experienced in the normal state of eyes open, awake and alert. In this state it may take many thousands of repetitions to learn a new behaviour. To create significant change in our lives at this level takes extensive deal of time and effort. (This section on age comes from )
Brain waves and health

Delta & Theta brain waves are very good for health in general and are normally obtained by sleep but for students or others who work too hard, accessing them at the same time as other brain waves is rejuvenating.

An excess of Delta usually indicates depression, either physical or emotional and sleep problems.

Many researchers have noted a discrepancy between the EEG of subjects with learning disabilities or ADD and normal subjects. Typically, the ADD subjects were characterized by brain activity on the slower end of the frequency spectrum “The most important characteristic is either an excessive amount of theta activity, a lack of beta activity or a combination of these” Lubar, J. F. (1985). EEG biofeedback and learning disabilities. Theory into Practice, 24(2), 106-111
Important Medical Warning

One manufacturer (Brain Sound Studio TM) recommends that the studio and therefore by inference the binaural sounds should not be used by pregnant women, those using a pacemaker, and those who have had or are prone to seizures or are epileptic.

Therefore I recommend that if you have a medical condition or are on medication please print this out and see a Medical Doctor to check if you are at risk before you use any binaural type music.
Specific Brain Frequencies

The information below shows the effects of specific frequencies within each brain wave frequency range:
Delta Brain Waves ( O.5 to 4Hz)

0.5 Hz – Relaxation, helps soothe headaches
0.5 – 1.5 Hz – Pain relief. Endorphin release
0.9 Hz – Euphoric feeling
1 Hz – Well being. Harmony and balance
2.5 Hz – Production of endogenous opiates (pain killers, reduce anxiety)
2.5 Hz – Relieves migraine pain. Produces endogenous opiates
3.4 Hz – Helps achieve restful sleep
3.5 Hz – Feeling of unity with everything. Whole being regeneration
3.9 Hz – Self renewal, enhanced inner awareness
4.0 Hz – Enkephalin release for reduced stress
4.0 Hz – Allows brain to produce enkaphalins, all natural pain killer
4.0 Hz – Full memory scanning. Releases enkephalins
4.0 Hz – Vital for memory and learning. Problem solving, object naming
1 – 3 Hz – Profound relaxation, restorative sleep. Tranquillity and peace
Theta Brain Waves ( 4 to 8 Hz)

4.5 Hz – Brings about Shamanic/Tibetan state of consciousness, Tibetan chants.
4.9 Hz – Induce relaxation and deeper sleep
4.9 Hz – Introspection. Relaxation, meditation
5 Hz – Reduces sleep required. Theta replaces need for extensive dreaming
5.35 Hz – Allows relaxing breathing, free and efficient
5.5 Hz – Inner guidance, intuition
6.5 Hz – Centre of Theta frequency. Activates creative frontal lobe
7.5 Hz – Activates creative thought for art, invention, music. Problem solving
7.5 Hz – Ease of overcoming troublesome issues
7.83 Hz – Schumann earth resonance. Grounding, meditative, Leaves you revitalized
3 – 8 Hz – Deep relaxation, meditation. Lucid dreaming
3 – 8 Hz – Increased memory, focus, creativity
4 – 7 Hz – Profound inner peace, emotional healing. Lowers mental fatigue
4 – 7 Hz – Deep meditation, near-sleep brainwaves.
Alpha brain waves ( 8 to 12Hz)

8- 10 Hz Super-learning new information, memorisation, not comprehension.
8.22 Hz – Associated with the mouth. Brings creativity
10 Hz – Enhanced serotonin release. Mood elevation, arousal, stimulant
10 Hz – Provides relief from lost sleep, improves general mood
10 Hz – Mood elevator. Used to dramatically reduce headaches
10 Hz – Clarity, subconscious correlation. Releases serotonin
11 Hz – Relaxed yet awake state
12 Hz – Centering, mental stability.
11 – 14 Hz – Increased focus and awareness
12 – 14 Hz – Learning frequency, good for absorbing information passively
Beta brain waves ( 13 to 30Hz)

14 Hz – Awakeness, alert. Concentration on tasks, Focusing, vitality.
16 Hz – Bottom of hearing range. Releases oxygen/calcium into cells
12 – 15 Hz – Relaxed focus, improved attentive abilities
13 – 27 Hz – Promotes focused attention toward external stimuli
13 – 30 Hz – Problem solving, conscious thinking
18-24 Hz — Euphoria, can result in headaches, anxiety.

NB. Frequencies in italics cover more than one brain wave frequency range.

The release of endorphins by the delta brainwave can also be achieved by meditation, runners high, breathing exercises, etc

In my opinion the brain waves and the specific frequencies could be used to help explain how many healing techniques work with more research, case studies and relation to other scientific disciplines.
References: and Brain Sound Studio TM
Another site for CDs is
For those who like a challenge the Tibetan Exercise of Paradox creates all four states at once — Cynthia Rose Young Schlosser

An Open Letter to the Occupy Movement: Why We Need Agreements by Starhawk

By Starhawk | Published: November 9, 2011

Alliance of Community Trainers is the training collective I work with.  Here’s our statement to the Occupy movement on questions of violence, nonviolence and strategy:

From the Alliance of Community Trainers, ACT

The Occupy movement has had enormous successes in the short time since September when activists took over a square near Wall Street. It has attracted hundreds of thousands of active participants, spawned occupations in cities and towns all over North America, changed the national dialogue and garnered enormous public support. It’s even, on occasion, gotten good press!

Now we are wrestling with the question that arises again and again in movements for social justice—how to struggle. Do we embrace nonviolence, or a ‘diversity of tactics?’ If we are a nonviolent movement, how do we define nonviolence? Is breaking a window violent?

We write as a trainers’ collective with decades of experience, from the anti-Vietnam protests of the sixties through the strictly nonviolent antinuclear blockades of the seventies, in feminist, environmental and anti-intervention movements and the global justice mobilizations of the late ‘90s and early ‘00s. We embrace many labels, including feminist, anti-racist, eco-feminist and anarchist. We have many times stood shoulder to shoulder with black blocs in the face of the riot cops, and we’ve been tear-gassed, stun-gunned, pepper sprayed, clubbed, and arrested,

While we’ve participated in many actions organized with a diversity of tactics, we do not believe that framework is workable for the Occupy Movement. Setting aside questions of morality or definitions of ‘violence’ and ‘nonviolence’ – for no two people define ‘violence’ in the same way – we ask the question:

What framework can we organize in that will build on our strengths, allow us to grow, embrace a wide diversity of participants, and make a powerful impact on the world?

‘Diversity of tactics’ becomes an easy way to avoid wrestling with questions of strategy and accountability. It lets us off the hook from doing the hard work of debating our positions and coming to agreements about how we want to act together. It becomes a code for ‘anything goes,’ and makes it impossible for our movements to hold anyone accountable for their actions.

The Occupy movement includes people from a broad diversity of backgrounds, life experiences and political philosophies. Some of us want to reform the system and some of us want to tear it down and replace it with something better. Our one great point of agreement is our call for transparency and accountability. We stand against the corrupt institutions that broker power behind closed doors. We call to account the financial manipulators that have bilked billions out of the poor and the middle classes.

Just as we call for accountability and transparency, we ourselves must be accountable and transparent. Some tactics are incompatible with those goals, even if in other situations they might be useful, honorable or appropriate. We can’t be transparent behind masks. We can’t be accountable for actions we run away from. We can’t maintain the security culture necessary for planning and carrying out attacks on property and also maintain the openness that can continue to invite in a true diversity of new people. We can’t make alliances with groups from impacted communities, such as immigrants, if we can’t make agreements about what tactics we will employ in any given action.

The framework that might best serve the Occupy movement is one of strategic nonviolent direct action. Within that framework, Occupy groups would make clear agreements about which tactics to use for a given action. This frame is strategic—it makes no moral judgments about whether or not violence is ever appropriate, it does not demand we commit ourselves to a lifetime of Gandhian pacifism, but it says, ‘This is how we agree to act together at this time.’ It is active, not passive. It seeks to create a dilemma for the opposition, and to dramatize the difference between our values and theirs.

Strategic nonviolent direct action has powerful advantages:

We make agreements about what types of action we will take, and hold one another accountable for keeping them. Making agreements is empowering. If I know what to expect in an action, I can make a choice about whether or not to participate. While we can never know nor control how the police will react, we can make choices about what types of action we stand behind personally and are willing to answer for. We don’t place unwilling people in the position of being held responsible for acts they did not commit and do not support.

In the process of coming to agreements, we listen to each other’s differing viewpoints. We don’t avoid disagreements within our group, but learn to debate freely, passionately, and respectfully.

We organize openly, without fear, because we stand behind our actions. We may break laws in service to the higher laws of conscience. We don’t seek punishment nor admit the right of the system to punish us, but we face the potential consequences for our actions with courage and pride.

Because we organize openly, we can invite new people into our movement and it can continue to grow. As soon as we institute a security culture in the midst of a mass movement, the movement begins to close in upon itself and to shrink.

Holding to a framework of nonviolent direct action does not make us ‘safe.’ We can’t control what the police do and they need no direct provocation to attack us. But it does let us make clear decisions about what kinds of actions we put ourselves at risk for.

Nonviolent direct action creates dilemmas for the opposition, and clearly dramatizes the difference between the corrupt values of the system and the values we stand for. Their institutions enshrine greed while we give away food, offer shelter, treat each person with generosity. They silence dissent while we value every voice. They employ violence to maintain their system while we counter it with the sheer courage of our presence.

Lack of agreements privileges the young over the old, the loud voices over the soft, the fast over the slow, the able-bodied over those with disabilities, the citizen over the immigrant, white folks over people of color, those who can do damage and flee the scene over those who are left to face the consequences.

Lack of agreements and lack of accountability leaves us wide open to provocateurs and agents. Not everyone who wears a mask or breaks a window is a provocateur. Many people clearly believe that property damage is a strong way to challenge the system. And masks have an honorable history from the anti-fascist movement in Germany and the Zapatista movement in Mexico, who said “We wear our masks to be seen.”

But a mask and a lack of clear expectations create a perfect opening for those who do not have the best interests of the movement at heart, for agents and provocateurs who can never be held to account. As well, the fear of provocateurs itself sows suspicion and undercuts our ability to openly organize and grow.

A framework of strategic nonviolent direct action makes it easy to reject provocation. We know what we’ve agreed to—and anyone urging other courses of action can be reminded of those agreements or rejected.

We hold one another accountable not by force or control, ours or the systems, but by the power of our united opinion and our willingness to stand behind, speak for, and act to defend our agreements.

A framework of strategic nonviolent direct action agreements allows us to continue to invite in new people, and to let them make clear choices about what kinds of tactics and actions they are asked to support.

There’s plenty of room in this struggle for a diversity of movements and a diversity of organizing and actions. Some may choose strict Gandhian nonviolence, others may choose fight-back resistance. But for the Occupy movement, strategic nonviolent direct action is a framework that will allow us to grow in diversity and power.

From the Alliance of Community Trainers, ACT


Lisa Fithian

Lauren Ross (or Juniper)

To comment or endorse this statement, got to:

The Occupied Wall Street Journal

The Occupied Wall Street Journal

What Should I Do?: The Basics of Resilience

An 8-part series by Chris Martenson.

"This might be the one protest where, if asked why you were there, you could reply, 'Are you fucking kidding me?' and that would actually be understood."
The Endgame of Occupy Wall Street Is Critical Mass
Posted: 10/6/11 09:37 AM ET

What is surprisingly unique about the Occupy Wall Street demonstration, and supporting actions across the country, is the broad immediate support without an immediately stated objective. With so little coverage and a yet unspecified goal, major unions lent their support, supportive occupations cropped up nationwide, and the numbers in Liberty Park are growing despite NYPD crackdowns.

Unlike anti-war marches, Tea Party gatherings, or other well-worn modes of protest, the notion of an in-person response to Wall Street’s unchecked looting of the economy apparently did not need much explaining. That is because many Americans have been living with painful awareness that their hardships in recent years are related in a myriad of ways to reckless trading, predatory loans, and manifold illegal banking practices, all perpetrated by the same executives still receiving multi-million dollar bonuses whose guilt is trumped by the notion that their companies are Too Big To Fail.

None of these many abuses by financial institutions collectively referred to as Wall Street are new information. It’s not like people just flooded the streets upon hearing that Bank of America is trying to tack on another surcharge, just after laying off over 30,000 employees, just after widespread manipulation of their loan business was deemed not criminal, by their own accord. (No, that move by B of A was just easy pickings for Democrats trying to remember their purpose.)

It’s not like Americans did not wait while the federal government negotiated good-faith interest-free loans to keep huge banks and firms afloat, at the price to taxpayers, many of whom were struggling to stay afloat themselves under variable interest or inflated mortgages foisted upon them by said financial giants. It’s not like financial regulations weren’t proposed to Congress, with larger reforms left by the wayside, and in the final decision by the Federal Reserve on the Durbin Amendment of the Dodd-Frank Finanical Act, credit card companies somehow get to charge more for debit swipes than they had even hoped. Bank lobbyists paid off, in more than one sense.

And, it’s not like President Obama hasn’t trotted out some fine rhetoric of late, angling the ongoing Republican obstructionism to fuel his re-election campaign as it gears up. Yes, it’s math, not class warfare. But, if this were a metaphor of head to head competition between classes — namely, the top 1% Super Rich that owns 40% of the wealth versus the 99% rest of Americans — then Obama would be like a goalie, constantly swarmed by the offensive John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, Eric Cantor, Darrell Issa, bank lobbyists, and Goldman Sachs alumni in his own ranks. The Super Rich Team will continue to score point after point on Obama, because despite his considerable skill set, it’s like he’s playing at the company picnic, and really, you just don’t make your bosses look bad when they underwrite your existence.

Obama is looking for $1 billion to fund his re-election campaign. That may seem extraordinary, but after the disastrous Supreme Court decision Citizens United vs. FEC, it is a given that there will be even more spent against him in anonymous corporate money. Karl Rove’s American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS have announced plans to raise and spend record amounts, over $300 million in outside ads running across the country in the 2012 races.

Obama is not going to get one billion dollars from $5 donations, no matter how many email blasts. Obama and his team have been currying favor like a schoolboy with Wall Street throughout this administration because they are waiting for the pay-off in their campaign coffers. The slap on the wrist following the financial meltdown was more drying their hands like a bathroom attendant so they can get back to work making important deals without consequence.

While the financial meltdown and ensuing bailouts came before Obama, the lack of reform or accountability does not win him any gratitude from either side, it only serves as precedent that selling bundled crap mortgages to old people goes unpunished. In fact, it is richly rewarded. Obama’s deference and endless capital to the banking industry has long made it clear where his priorities are. His jobs plan is well-intentioned, but probably a drop in the bucket and a few years late. For all the bitter clamor over health care reform, it’s quite likely that it will be deemed impermissible by the Supreme Court. Clarence Thomas can’t wait to sit silently through the arguments before he punts our healthcare system back to the wolves that employ his wife, Ginni.

As the crowds grow, this will become Obama’s next oil spill. How long will he let Occupy Wall Street go on before addressing it as more than just a policy point to support his agenda? Many loyalists will defend the intentions and constraints on Obama, but this much is painfully clear: The President must act now. Because if he does not get in front of this parade, it’s about to surpass him.

If Obama really does aspire to be like President Lincoln, then he must recognize that his country is rent apart and it requires a true leader to keep our union from collapsing under debt and looted public services.

Because when people show up at the gates of their oppressor, the response is not: “What do you want? Can you bullet-point it for me?” You know what this is about. Our country has been decimated over the past three years, with continual revelations of financial impropriety, concerted fraud, and executive compensation the amount of a small nation’s GDP. This might be the one protest where, if asked why you were there, you could reply, “Are you fucking kidding me?” and that would actually be understood.

To dispel media misconceptions, here’s what Occupy Wall Street is not: it’s not another Tea Party, a corporate PAC-backed stab at populism consisting of right wing extremists. It’s not just young people in attendance, even though younger generations have more to lose anyway, and many are already crippled with student debt and no job possibilities. (Admittedly, younger people are better suited to sleep in inconvenient places and be fine with that. The kids call this “crashing,” which should not be interpreted as a roughhousing sort of thing.)

Occupy Wall Street is not anti-capitalism. We don’t live in capitalism. Capitalism is supposed to be merit based and left to the market — consumers — to decide where innovation and service is found. What has been foisted on us again and again is not a fair and open market. Massive companies spend huge sums to avoid paying taxes altogether. They then spend money to back politicians that will be friendly to them, in terms of regulations and tax breaks or pressure on rivals. This is a system of massive corporate welfare, where the biggest corporations pay the least to the country that allows them to prosper, while they spend their excess money in hopes of making more money through lower taxes, government jobs, or loosened environmental restrictions. Election cycles ensure ongoing opportunities for candidates to be wooed with money or threatened with ads. The more they spend on the race, the more indebted candidates become to their backers. Those that become elected repay their backers with loose oversight, no-bid contracts, and even accept their donors’ legislation pre-written. We don’t live in capitalism — that’s favoritism.

And most importantly, Occupy Wall Street is not one political party or part of a spectrum. This grassroots movement is fundamentally removed from both parties, because both parties accept vast fortunes from Wall Street to not rain on their parade. The reason abuses have thrived is because of the cost of running for office. Most people’s political persuasion or identity is based on their own sense of what’s just and fair. The nuance of foreign policy or civil liberties is lost when people are losing their homes due to manipulative mortgages from banks that have faced no discipline or reform and have been given federal money to loan to people which they still sit on.

Yet, it will take a political solution to retake our country from the Gollum of Wall Street. There’s no way any of these banks or brokers will willingly accept reform measures, even after taking trillions of taxpayer money following their own colossal fuck-ups. Wall Street execs thrive on extracting more and more profit per sale, and get off on boardroom backstabbing. Do you expect them to respond to people of all types camped outside their offices politely? The only thing they care about is if the market goes down.

Real financial overhaul will only happen if we reclaim our elections. We need real campaign reform, and we need to elect the people who will enact it. We do that through running and winning in primaries, where the party’s pick usually prevails with the most money. We innovate low budget campaign strategies to support candidates not backed by Political Action Committees, fronts for corporate money. We do it through becoming the media and covering these candidates where we live and across the country. And it starts in the streets. Where else is there but the streets?

America was born in the streets. Our first president was sworn in on the steps of Wall Street, where Congress convened for years. The framer’s dream of escaping monarchy is being eclipsed by the wealthiest 1% and their insatiable assault on anything the government provides to the public.

How can we not occupy Wall Street? Wall Street occupies US.

Facebook "going down" on Nov. 5th?

Apparently, the hacktivist group “Anonymous” has issued a press release stating that Facebook will be taken down on Nov. 5th, to protect people’s privacy. My concern is that folks will conveniently just migrate to Google Plus, which launched publicly this week. Is the timing just coincidence, or is there something bigger playing out between rival companies behind the scenes? Hmmm…


Anonymous Wants To Destroy Facebook

By Rosie Gray Tue., Aug. 9 2011 at 11:44 AM
Anonymous, the shady-yet-principled hacktivist group that has previously hacked into Iran’s government emails, the Pentagon, possibly the IMF, News Corp, Anders Breivik’s Twitter account, and much more, has a new target in its crosshairs: Facebook. The hackers have set the date for Facebook’s demise as November 5, 2011. The reason? Ironically, they’re worried about privacy. Full text of their press release after the jump.

DATE: November 5, 2011.TARGET:

Twitter :
Irc.Anonops.Li #OpFaceBook

Attention citizens of the world,

We wish to get your attention, hoping you heed the warnings as follows:
Your medium of communication you all so dearly adore will be destroyed. If you are a willing hacktivist or a guy who just wants to protect the freedom of information then join the cause and kill facebook for the sake of your own privacy.

Facebook has been selling information to government agencies and giving clandestine access to information security firms so that they can spy on people from all around the world. Some of these so-called whitehat infosec firms are working for authoritarian governments, such as those of Egypt and Syria.

Everything you do on Facebook stays on Facebook regardless of your “privacy” settings, and deleting your account is impossible, even if you “delete” your account, all your personal info stays on Facebook and can be recovered at any time. Changing the privacy settings to make your Facebook account more “private” is also a delusion. Facebook knows more about you than your family.….

You cannot hide from the reality in which you, the people of the internet, live in. Facebook is the opposite of the Antisec cause. You are not safe from them nor from any government. One day you will look back on this and realise what we have done here is right, you will thank the rulers of the internet, we are not harming you but saving you.

The riots are underway. It is not a battle over the future of privacy and publicity. It is a battle for choice and informed consent. It’s unfolding because people are being raped, tickled, molested, and confused into doing things where they don’t understand the consequences. Facebook keeps saying that it gives users choices, but that is completely false. It gives users the illusion of and hides the details away from them “for their own good” while they then make millions off of you. When a service is “free,” it really means they’re making money off of you and your information.

Think for a while and prepare for a day that will go down in history. November 5 2011, #opfacebook . Engaged.

This is our world now. We exist without nationality, without religious bias. We have the right to not be surveilled, not be stalked, and not be used for profit. We have the right to not live as slaves.

We are anonymous
We are legion
We do not forgive
We do not forget
Expect us

“Kill Facebook for the sake of your own privacy” — doesn’t that sound strange, coming from people who routinely steal private information as they please? But this echoes the manifesto of a related group, LulzSec, whose nihilistic perspective on the state of the Internet kind of made sense. An excerpt:

Do you think every hacker announces everything they’ve hacked? We certainly haven’t, and we’re damn sure others are playing the silent game. Do you feel safe with your Facebook accounts, your Google Mail accounts, your Skype accounts? What makes you think a hacker isn’t silently sitting inside all of these right now, sniping out individual people, or perhaps selling them off? You are a peon to these people. A toy. A string of characters with a value.This is what you should be fearful of, not us releasing things publicly, but the fact that someone hasn’t released something publicly.

Will Anonymous be able to successfully lay waste to Mark Zuckerberg’s fortress? This is set to be the Internet showdown of the year.

Resilience is not only physical…

but also mental and metaphysical. Here’s an interesting article to wrap your noodle around, and possibly exercise your Trivium skills on.

Free Will and Quantum Clones: How Your Choices Today Affect the Universe at its Origin

By George Musser | September 19, 2011 |

The late philosopher Robert Nozick, talking about the deep question of why there is something rather than nothing, quipped: “Someone who proposes a non-strange answer shows he didn’t understand the question.” So, when Scott Aaronson began a talk three weeks ago by saying it would be “the looniest talk I’ve ever given,” it was a good start. At a conference on the nature of time—a question so deep it’s hard even to formulate as a question—“loony” is high praise indeed. And indeed his talk was rich in ambition and vision. It left physics überblogger Sabine Hossenfelder uncharacteristically lost for words.

As part of his general push to apply theoretical computer science to philosophy, Aaronson has been giving thought to that old favorite of college metaphysics classes and late-night dorm-room bull sessions: free will. Do we have autonomy, or are our choices preordained? Is that a false choice? What does it mean to be free, anyway? For some of Aaronson’s earlier thoughts, see his lecture and blog post. Though hard to summarize, his talk (slides here) can be broken down into two parts.

First, he sought to translate fuzzy notions of free will into a concrete operational definition. He proposed a variation on the Turing Test which he calls the Envelope Argument or Prediction Game: someone poses questions to you and to a computer model of your brain, trying to figure out who’s the human. If a computer, operating deterministically, can reproduce your answers, then you, too, must be operating deterministically and are therefore not truly free. (Here, I use the word “deterministically” in a physicist’s or philosopher’s sense; computer scientists have their own, narrower meaning.) Although the test can never be definitive, the unpredictability of your responses can be quantified by the size of the smallest computer program needed to reproduce those responses. Zeeya Merali gave a nice summary of Aaronson’s proposal at the Foundation Questions Institute blog.

The output of this game, as Aaronson portrayed it, would be a level of confidence for whether your will is free or not. But I think it might be better interpreted as a measure of the amount of free will you have. Last year, quantum physicists Jonathan Barrett and Nicolas Gisin argued that free will is not a binary choice, live free or die, but a power that admits of degree. They proposed to quantify free will using quantum entanglement experiments. Freedom of will enters into these experiments because physicists make a choice about which property of a particle to measure, and the choice affects the outcome. Such experiments are commonly taken as evidence for spooky action at a distance, because your choice can affect the outcome of a measurement made at a distant location. But they can also be interpreted as a probe of free will.

If there are, say, 1000 possible measurements, then complete freedom means you could choose any of the 1000; if your choice were constrained to 500, you would have lost one bit of free will. Interestingly, Barrett and Gisin showed that the loss of even a single bit would explain away spooky action. You wouldn’t need to suppose that your decision somehow leaps across space to influence the particle. Instead, both your choice and the outcome could be prearranged to match. What is surprising is how little advance setup would do the trick. The more you think about this, the more disturbed you should get. Science experiments always presume complete freedom of will; without it, how would we know that some grand conspiracy isn’t manipulating our choices to hide the truth from us?

Back to Aaronson’s talk. After describing his experiment, he posed the question of whether a computer could ever convincingly win the Prediction Game. The trouble is that a crucial step—doing a brain scan to set up the computer model—cannot be done with fidelity. Quantum mechanics forbids you from making a perfect copy of a quantum state—a principle known as the no-cloning theorem. The significance of this depends on how strongly quantum effects operate in the brain. If the mind is mostly classical, then the computer could predict most of your decisions.

Invoking the no-cloning theorem is a clever twist. The theorem derives from the determinism—technically, unitarity—of quantum mechanics. So here we have determinism acting not as the slayer of free will, but as its savior. Quantum mechanics is a theory with a keen sense of irony. In the process of quantum decoherence, to give another example, entanglement is destroyed by… more entanglement.

As fun as Aaronson’s game is, I don’t see it as a test of free will per se. As he admitted, predictable does not mean unfree. Predictability is just one aspect of the problem. In the spirit of inventing variations on the Turing Test, consider the Toddler Test. Ask a toddler something, anything. He or she will say “no.” It is a test that parents will wearily recognize. The answers, by Aaronson’s complexity measure, are completely predictable. But that hardly reflects on the toddler’s freedom; indeed, toddlers play the game precisely to exercise their free will. The Toddler Test shows the limits of predictability, too. Who knows when the toddler will stop playing? If there is anybody in the world who is unpredictable, it is a toddler. What parents would give for a window in their skulls!

Yet no one denies that toddlers are composed of particles that behave according to deterministic laws. So how do you square their free will with those laws? Like cosmologist Sean Carroll, I lean toward what philosophers call compatibilism: I see no contradiction whatsoever between determinism and free will, because they operate at two different levels of reality. Determinism describes the basic laws of physics. Free will describes the behavior of conscious beings. It is an emergent property. Individual particles aren’t free. Nor are they hot, or wet, or alive. Those properties arise from particles’ collective behavior.

To put it differently, we can’t talk about whether you have free will until we can talk about you. The behavior of particles could be completely preordained by the initial conditions of the universe, but that is irrelevant to your decisions. You still need to make them.

What you are is the confluence of countless chains of events that stretch back to the dawn of time. Every decision you make depends on everything you have ever learned and experienced, coming together in your head for the first and only time in the history of the universe. The decision you make is implicit in those influences, but they have never all intersected before. Thus your decision is a unique creative act.

This is why even the slightest violation of free will in a quantum entanglement experiment beggars belief. “Free will” in such an experiment means simply that your choice of what to measure is such a distant cousin of the particle’s behavior that the two have never interacted until now.

This is where we get into the second big point that Aaronson made in his talk, about just how creative an act it was. Even if the influences producing a free choice have never interacted before, they can all be traced to the initial state of the universe. There is always some uncertainty about what that state was; a huge range of possibilities would have led to the universe we see today. But the decision you make resolves some of that uncertainty. It acts as a measurement of those countless influences.

Yet in a deterministic universe, those is no justification for saying that the initial state caused the decision; it is equally valid to say that the decision caused the initial state. After all, physics is reversible. What determinism means is that the state at one time implies the state at all other times. It does not privilege one state over another. Thus your decision, in a very real sense, creates the initial conditions of the universe.

This backward causation, or retrocausality, was the “loony” aspect of Aaronson’s talk. Except there’s nothing loony about it. It is a concept that Einstein’s special theory of relativity made a live possibility. Relativity convinced most physicists that we live in a “block universe” in which past, present, and future are equally real. In that case, there’s no reason to suppose the past influences the future, but not vice-versa. Although their theories shout retrocausality, physicists haven’t fully grappled with the implications yet. It might, for one thing, explain many of the mysteries of quantum mechanics.

In a follow-up email, Aaronson told me that the connection between free will and cosmic initial state was also explored by philosopher Carl Hoefer in a 2002 paper. What Aaronson has done is apply the insights of quantum mechanics. If you can’t clone a quantum state perfectly, you can’t clone yourself perfectly, and if you can’t clone yourself perfectly, you can’t ever be fully simulated on a computer. Each decision you take is yours and yours alone. It is the unique record of some far-flung collection of particles in the early universe. Aaronson wrote, “What quantum mechanics lets you do here, basically, is ensure that the aspects of the initial microstate that are getting resolved with each decision are ‘fresh’ aspects, which haven’t been measured or recorded by anyone else.”

If nothing else, let this reconcile parents to their willful toddlers. Carroll once wrote that every time you break an egg, you are doing observational cosmology. A toddler playing the “no” game goes you one better. Every time the toddler says no, he or she is doing cosmological engineering, helping to shape the initial state of the universe.

Quantum art courtesy of garlandcannon. Slide courtesy of Scott Aaronson.
About the Author: George Musser is an editor at Scientific American. His primary focus is space science, ranging from planets to cosmology. Musser completed his undergraduate studies in electrical engineering and mathematics at Brown University and his graduate studies in planetary science at Cornell University, where he was a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow. Prior to joining Scientific American, Musser served as editor of Mercury magazine and of The Universe in the Classroom tutorial series at the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, a science and science-education nonprofit based in San Francisco. He is also the author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to String Theory. Musser has won numerous awards in his career including the 2010 American Astronomical Society’s Jonathan Eberhart Planetary Sciences Journalism Award. Follow on Twitter @gmusser.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

8 Ways to Take Responsibility for Yourself

on May 22, 2010

8 Ways to Take Responsibility for Yourself.

8 Ways to Take Responsibility for Yourself

Taking true responsibility for yourself gives you back the power to create exactly what you want in your life.

This means that you must take responsibility for your thoughts, words, and actions. 

Taking responsibility for yourself gives you true freedom. By taking responsibility for yourself, and only yourself, you become aware of the true connection between your inner and outer world.  You are the one and only creator of your life. There is no one else to blame for what your life is.  When we take responsibility, we take back control of our experience.  Taking responsible control means that you understand the basic truths of the Universe, and use your understanding of your inner world to create consciously and respectfully through your actions.

The Gift of Responsibility gives you freedom, because it grants you true awareness of your power as a creator.

“A man sooner or later discovers that he is the master-gardener of his soul, the director of his life.”

~ James Allen

  1. Awareness is the first step to understanding that you create everything in your experience.  Every part of your life, good or bad, has a root somewhere within your mind.
  2. The truth can hurt sometimes, but by taking charge of the fact that you are creating your own experience, you can finally take control of what you are inviting into your experience.  Without the Gift of Responsibility, people do not realize that they are the creators of their own experience, and live their lives reacting to the things around them.
  3. To consciously create your life with responsibility, act, don’t react.  You may have heard that one of the definitions of insanity is performing the same action over and over yet expecting different results.  When someone reacts to what is happening around them without realizing that their attention to these things are just drawing more of the same to them, they see the same things, good or bad, repeat themselves over and over again in their lives.
  4. Using the Gift of Responsibility means that you may have to go through a period of change where you admit that you were causing negative or painful experiences to happen to you because of your thoughts and actions.  This can be hard, because we do not want to take responsibility for our lives.  We want to blame others for what is happening to us.  But nothing “just happens” to us, we create our own lives through our thoughts, words, actions and beliefs.
  5. The fear inside of us has been in control for too long.  Freedom is given to those who are aware of what the fear makes them do.  Fear is like a parasite inside of you, and it feels very threatened by the idea of freedom and of living with conscious awareness.  This internal parasite feeds off of drama, judgments, negative emotions and off of your fear of change.  If it can’t get these things out of you, it will have you “attack” other people with your thoughts, words, body language, and even with your physical body to get the energy it needs to survive.  Be aware of this fear parasite as you learn and grow in wisdom and experience.
  6. If you can become aware of how fear uses you to feed itself, you can overcome it by simply being aware. When you become aware of the choices that fear is trying to make for you, you have taken responsibility for yourself, and are one step closer to being completely free.
  7. The cause of our problems is not outside of us. We do not need to wait for anyone or anything to happen to change our lives. The beginning of change always lies within us.  By taking full and complete responsibility for both the roots and the fruits in our lives, we will change our lives for the better. To change the fruits you must change the roots. If you want your life to change and if you want less to complain about, you are going to need to change how you think.
  8. Awareness is the first step to creating change.

When you allow others to be responsible for themselves, you free yourself to work on you.  No need to worry about controlling others, their choices will always be theirs, no matter how much you try to scheme about how to make them do what you want.  There is more than one way to be on this Earth, and who are you to tell other people how to live their lives?

They are responsible, so let them live their own adventure, and you will become more free to live yours.

“I will not surrender responsibility for my life and my actions.”

~ John Enoch Powell