Saturday, November 25, 2017

From the Beginning

It was five years ago today I transferred my meanderings since the mid 90s into this blog. 246 blog entries preceded this one with another dozen or so that never got past the draft stage. Probably many of the 246 should have stayed as drafts. So the occasion caused me to go back and look at what I must have been thinking then. Surprisingly, I believe it's still pertinent.(see below)

The number of visits to my blog is slightly north of 75,000 or an average of 300 per entry. But the vast majority of entries are way under that average. The blog entry that received the most views has been the one I did in May of 2016 that received almost 2,000 reads - For What It's Worth that delved into the role of sports in our culture. But I believe all these numbers are inflated by Russian hackers. While the MUSE has not visited as often in 2017, I'll continue to share some interesting insights and possibilities as I come across them in case they can help you make sense of your own place in this quickly changing time. Thanks to all those folks who pass on a supportive note or a challenging question now and then. This all helps me think out loud, which is really what this blog allows me to do.

Post-Thanksgiving Hunches November 25, 2012


What is possible in a world that changes at amazing speed? From the cells in our body to decisions made in hallowed halls of government to the shift of winds and just the smallest chance of who you meet when, the future is highly uncertain.These young people pictured above I saw last summer in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso have all kinds of possibilities when they slide out of the womb, pre-wired. But simply because of where they are born, grow up and live, those possibilities are quite different from my own.

That being stated it is also clear that despite the constraints of poverty and  access to  fewer opportunities, they can be loved and cherished by their kin and neighbors as much if not more than those raised in more affluent surroundings. They may well learn more easily than I how we humans are dependent upon the natural world and intrinsically part of it. They may better appreciate and savor the power of relationships to sustain and to develop our possibilities. 

But what does it say of our time, that despite the vast storehouses of knowledge acquired and passed on, despite our great riches, we see more people fighting for the basics to survive, while some are so wealthy they spend more on a meal than the entire annual food budget for others? If we were starting for scratch, would we construct a system that grows the gulf between the haves and the have-nots, while simultaneously unraveling the ecosystems that sustain life? I don't think so. Yet the evidence for growing inequality and ecological decline is stunning. Just as stunning is the paucity of discussion, let alone action, to address the system rules that are accelerating the growing disparity of opportunity for both current and future generations.

Having an idea that something is 'possible' is the first and necessary step towards making it happen. If we convince ourselves that something is not possible, we all but guarantee that prophecy. Each of us, regardless of where, is born with great possibility that can be fed, nurtured, awakened to or 'enabled' by the family, the environment, and the social-political-economic systems that we create. A just world should not only allow each person to develop their capabilities (Amartya Sen, Nobel laureate), but it should strive to create the conditions that enable that development,  not at the expense of others or the natural world that provides life's essentials, or the possibility of future generations to develop their own capabilities.

If we were to design a system to do that from scratch, what might it look like? It certainly wouldn't be the one that have driven us to an 'inequality cliff'. This feeble blog will be attempting to share 'hunches' of how we might recalibrate our fundamental human systems (social, political, economic) to move us all closer to a human family where everyone gets a fair chance to develop their capabilities while living in balance with our natural world and the ecosystems that sustain us. These are simply meant as reasonable 'possibilities' - not guaranteed, not certain, but possible. I will borrow rapaciously from others I bump into along the journey -- those that shed a new light or provide a different angle or perspective, that might have us see a possibility previously blind to us. The recent understandings pervading the sciences of the 'emergent' properties of so much we cannot yet fathom in this complex universe, might offer us some humility that much more is possible than we have been led to believe.

I sense very deeply, incredible possibilities to become a better human family than we have been to date. As Martin Luther King, Jr. noted: "The arc of the moral universe is long,but it bends towards justice." I believe in that possibility, but our current dominant (social, political, and economic) systems need some changing if we plan to get there. Let's consider the possibilities.