Thursday, May 23, 2013

Thoughts and Triggers

All other green campaigns become futile without tackling the economic system and its ideological defenders. Economics is only dismal because there are not enough of us making it our own. Read on and become empowered!

This is the cut line for Molly Scott Cato's blog, Gaian Economics. I'm reading her new book The Bioregional Economy currently and enjoying the depth of her analysis and insights. She has the following photo in a recent blog entry 

which which triggered the thought of an article in Deadline Detroit that featured somewhat different photos of a shipping container from my son, Noah's farm there(click on the link for the story and more photos).

Perhaps needless to say that we each connect thoughts and ideas differently. Just last night during dinner, my bride of nearly 34 years and buddy for nearly 45 and I were discussing plants still needing to go into the garden when I mentioned the gift of red cabbage plants we had received from a dear friend, how her brother makes some tangy sauerkraut but doesn't care for using red cabbage, but then her retrieval of a meal we had a few springs back at a lovely German restaurant in the Shenadoah Valley that served both green and red sauerkraut. How was that meal that we shared triggered in this discussion from her memory and not mine?

Ideas matter and they are important as my last blog that quoted Milton Friedman's take on that sentiment asserts. I've read two particularly powerful essays in the past week that I feel compelled to share. The first is a recent reconsideration from Rebecca Solnit, one of our country's most important writers, in which she reflects on what she was writing about hope a decade ago (it eventually made it into her book from 2005, Hope in the Dark). One of my favorite quotes is torn from those pages and is a slide for a presentation I'm giving later this morning -

I say all this to you because hope is not like a lottery ticket you can sit on the sofa and clutch, feeling lucky. I say this because hope is an ax you break down doors with in an emergency; because hope should shove you out the door, because it will take everything you have to steer the future away from endless war, from the annihilation of the earth’s treasures and the grinding down of the poor and marginal. Hope just means another world might be possible, not promised, not guaranteed. Hope calls for action; action is impossible without hope. At the beginning of his massive 1930s treatise on hope, the German philosopher Ernst Bloch wrote, “The work of this emotion requires people who throw themselves actively into what is becoming, to which they themselves belong.” To hope is to give yourself to the future, and that commitment to the future makes the present inhabitable.

Her piece published  Monday at Tom Dispatch is entitled, What Comes After Hope

is astounding in its power, grace, and insight.

Yesterday, I visited Charles Eisenstein's website and read his most recent essay following on the heals of the Connecticut school shooting. Eisenstein, author of Sacred Economics, is as David Korten has suggested,"one of the up-and-coming great minds of our time."  His The Cycle of Terror is profound in its ability to turn an issue around and look at it from an entirely different orientation. This is clearly a gift Eisenstein has that Korten has acknowledged. To seriously consider Eisenstein's suggestion in this essay is something I'll be reflecting on for many days, weeks, months, years ahead, as I have with his work on economics. But reflection without action won't change much. What are the triggers to action? Must they be as Friedman and others have suggested, a crisis or disaster? I hope not.