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Community and Q&A

A Green Discussion Forum

GBA Editor | Posted in Green Building Techniques on

“Humanity is too clever to survive without wisdom.”

~ E.F Schumacher

There are those on this forum who wish to limit discussion to either the narrow focus of a query or to related “green building” issues, and the editor of this website has become complicit in that censorious behavior.

This is wrong-headed for a number of reasons.

First, it reinforces the “politically-correct” notion that one must never say or do anything which might annoy or alienate another, and one must “sweeten” legitimate criticism with positive reinforcement so as to help pry open minds with a tendency to be closed. Stroking egos to get them to “take their medicine” is a form of public pornography, and it’s disingenuous and disrespectful – treating adults as children. In the green natural world, there are any number of “poisons” which, if taken in proper doses, have a homeopathic effect on dis-ease. They stimulate the body’s own reparative functions. This is quite opposite to modern medicine’s approach to “a spoonful of honey helps the medicine go down”, when the nicely-flavored medicine does little more than temporarily alleviate symptoms and fails to address the underlying systemic problem. Arsenic and cyanide are two of the most powerful natural medicines, but we avoid them out of ignorance and fear – just as we recoil from uncomfortable words and concepts which challenge our prejudices, biases and closely-held beliefs.

Second, “green building” is an ill-defined term that is at least as much marketing (its use is regulated by the FTC) as it is philosophical or programmatic. It originally meant little more than energy-efficiency, and then grew into meaning “doing less environmental harm”, and has often been perceived as conflicting with social, political and economic imperatives. This has led to a rather limited concept of “green” to include only those methods, materials and approaches which are politically, culturally and economically acceptable to a population. Expediency has trumped ecological necessity since at least the start of the Industrial Revolution, if not the Agricultural Revolution. Hence any discussion limited to technical information is far too shallow to truly serve this audience or the world we are hoping to save for our grandchildren.

We are inundated with facts, data and information. Some come to this forum merely for information, and some want to understand the foundational facts or see the data that supports it. Others come for a more comprehensive knowledge of the complex interacting forces which impact the function and durability of the homes we design and build. But precious few come for the wisdom that is necessary in order to appropriately organize those facts, consolidate that data, categorized it into comprehensible information, and contextualized it into usable knowledge. Wisdom doesn’t come from looking outward at the world, but rather from exploring the inner landscape and putting our egos sufficiently to the side to allow the “doors of perception” to open to the greater consciousness of the Universe. This requires a willingness to receive whatever gifts the Universe bestows, regardless of how our limited mind interprets them.

“When I went to the Moon…the presence of divinity became almost palpable and I knew that life in the universe was not just an accident based on random processes. The knowledge came to me directly – noetically. It was knowledge gained through subjective awareness.”

~ Edgar Mitchell, Apollo 14 astronaut and founder in 1973 of the Institute for Noetic Sciences

Third, for “green” to have a truly beneficial meaning in a world whose life-support systems are approaching catastrophic decline, any discussion of “green building” must be as organic as the age-old balanced processes and entities and communities of the natural world. We have created a brown-field world by our hubris in imposing synthetic materials, methods, processes, and communities on an organic, holographic, fractal universe whose innate consciousness and wisdom had brought it safely through these billions of years. To now pretend to reverse that destructive trend by allowing only synthetic and narrow discussion about “green building” is not only an exercise in futility but yet another crime against Creation.

Hence, if this forum – or any “green” discussion – is to have any potential for alleviating and reversing the damage that our self-limited minds and mis-guided egos have wrought on the world, then it must be allowed to range freely and must make room for the homeopathic medicine of radical honesty.

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Replies

  1. James Morgan | | #1

    Yes but.
    I too often feel that the scope of many of these discussions is too narrow, but I feel that it could also get too broad or diffuse. I come to this site to further my understanding of how we can make good shelter for ourselves without in the process destroying the very environment which sustains us. "Each man kills the things he loves" wrote Oscar Wilde, and I have always hoped he was wrong. I have always been impressed, Robert, by both your technical knowledge and by your instinct (for lack of a better word) for the saner solutions among the many that are proposed here. I am also interested in the deeper philosophical issues, but I would be disappointed if those came to dominate the technical discussion. What irony that the prompt for this present thread came from a question on an aspect of insulation performance that is, arguably, so marginal as to be hardly worth discussing.

  2. Dan Kolbert | | #2

    Robert - have you learned anything about construciton from the time you've spent on GBA?

  3. Riversong | | #3

    What irony that the prompt for this present thread came from a question on an aspect of insulation performance that is, arguably, so marginal as to be hardly worth discussing.

    But it is from just such marginally-important questions that a deeper discussion can flow, as it did.

  4. Riversong | | #4

    Dan,

    I'm not sure either what you're asking or why. But it's typical of the tendency here to avoid the most important issues by restraining a philosophical discussion into the narrow technical confines that seem to make people more comfortable.

    However, if we're interested in or involved in "green" building in order to preserve the earth and its biotic community, then we shouldn't be seeking our comfort zone but rather looking to be discomforted.

    So I would ask you: have you learned anything about the deeper meanings of "green" since you've been here?

  5. James Morgan | | #5

    "But it is from just such marginally-important questions that a deeper discussion can flow, as it did."
    Mmm, no it didn't, at least not yet. That was a bunch of intelligent, passionate, committed folks talking right past each other with varying degrees of intensity and emotional investment but with no particular identifiable growth or positive outcome that I can see. I do feel that you, Robert, have a clearer sense of first principles than many here, but so far the "discussion", in the sense of multiple participants participating at that same level, has failed to materialize. Could it be that this is too hard a medium for that to happen? With none of the usual nuances of language - no eye contact, no body language, no conversational give and take - perhaps an intelligent technical exchange is the best we can hope for?

  6. Riversong | | #6

    James,

    You're right about the few named individuals who were actively participating. But, since this is the WWW and there may be hundreds or thousands or millions of lurkers just checking out the flow of words and ideas, or accidentally Googling onto it, it's still worthwhile to try to broadcast some intelligent ideas and "first principles".

    Wise ones have said that it's enough to work for change, without expectation of seeing that change materialize. If I can reach a single soul with the seed of an idea that might later take root, then I've done something worthwhile in my life.

  7. John Klingel | | #7

    "If I can reach a single soul with the seed of an idea that might later take root, then I've done something worthwhile in my life." Well, Riversong, I guess you've done something worthwhile. Good job, kid. I have come here for technical knowledge, and gotten that and more, from a variety of individuals. It is good to see that some folks voice what is beyond our first objective, that being to make a durable, low-input house (I assume that is the goal of most of us, anyway. Sure sounds that way). We do, however, need to ask whether or not the philosophic aspects should be emphasized right here, or better placed into another section or another site. That all depends on the objectives of those who operate the site: What are their goals? Why did they decide to have the site? In what direction to they want it to go? Etc. In the meantime, go ahead an mix the tangible with the not-so-tangible; you've all got MY support for doing so. john, aka Rod Nim.

  8. TJ Elder | | #8

    Robert,

    You were beginning to describe a psychological strategy for influencing without alienating people, and you say the idea is offensive. But are people inspired to change their thinking or behavior when they receive some surprisingly wide-reaching criticism, one of those alienating encounters? A few people will be open minded or self-aware enough to learn positively from that experience, but some will become less likely to revisit those issues ever again. For those people, for the stubborn, a less confrontational exchange could yield some positive influence rather than none or even the reverse, pushing someone away from the conversation or the entire subject. It’s often a matter of choosing words to avoid communicating contempt, and that means predicting what others will interpret as a personal attack rather than saying (as you have) that your heart is pure and their interpretation is beyond your control. I don’t believe this is disingenuous.

    Maybe it’s best to say less and start with a conclusion rather than trying to lay out a philosophical background. The background will lose the audience immediately. The message begins: incremental steps won’t be enough, dramatic change will come sooner or later, here’s how to start. The message should not be: your family is like a plague of grasshoppers.

    Chomsky once said the media could do a better job of discrediting him by giving him more airtime, because the things he says are so shocking that people would think he must be from Pluto. Of course he has influenced and enlightened a lot of people, the kind already inclined to avoid the mainstream. Shock value gets the message across to some people even as it alienates others.

  9. Riversong | | #9

    John (Nimrod),

    Thanks for the support, and for calling me "kid". At 58 and feeling the ravages of time catching up with me, it's nice to hear that others still think of me as a "kid". I guess it's all in which way on the timescale you're looking.

  10. Riversong | | #10

    Thomas Jefferson, you speak like a politician - trying to find the middle ground.

    A few people will be open minded or self-aware enough to learn positively from that experience

    And those are the ones I'm hoping to reach. I cannot reach those who either have their minds locked shut or are so defensive of their indefensible lifestyles that they cannot be reached by any means. And I have no interest in giving such people little babysteps to make them feel better about destroying the world a little slower.

    When I did experiential education and outdoor leadership at Outward Bound (a wonderful program for personal empowerment), I refused to participate in their most lucrative program - the corporate "team-building" program which helped corporate managers do a more effective job at consuming the earth and creating wealth inequality.

    I have never suggested that my "heart is pure". On the contrary, I'm full of contradictions and hypocrisies (in part, because I hold myself to a higher standard). But there is one possession which is the most precious to me and which no one can ever take away (even when I've been imprisoned), and that is my integrity.

    Integrity is one of several paths - it distinguishes itself from the others because it is the right path. . . and the only one upon which you will never get lost.

    ~ M. H. McKee (b. 1859, prospector, barber, rancher of Colorado)

    There is nothing in life more important to me than integrity, which requires that I try to live my truth and speak my truth - regardless of how others choose to respond.

    Each of us is 100% responsible for our actions, including how we respond to the words and actions of others. I choose to accept that responsibility and blame no one for my fate. Most people, however, choose to blame others for their feelings, their reactions and their ill fortune. They choose, in other words, to be victims. They choose to be enslaved. They cannot be freed by others since they hold the key to their own prisons.

    If I were to restrain my truth to avoid disturbing them, I would be an enabler. The primary reason that our culture will not change its ways in time to prevent the end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it, is that the good people among us enable the rest to continue comfortably in their ways by avoiding anything which might disturb their comfort.

  11. 5C8rvfuWev | | #11

    “I have no interest in giving such people little babysteps to make them feel better about destroying the world a little slower.”

    See, there y’go again.

    When people show their irritation at such generalized attacks, I’ve heard you protest that the offense they feel comes from their rejection of your Truth. I hope you will consider another, smaller truth (about which I know much more): there are many learning styles, and people who feel they’ve been damned for questioning the One True Way won’t be putting anything in the collection basket.
    “If I were to restrain my truth to avoid disturbing them, I would be an enabler.”

    Let me rephrase your refusal to reflect the little truth I stated above: ‘If I present my truth in a way that encourages and inspires, I will be a teacher.’

    In the OP, you show disdain for coating medicine with sugar. Okay, but ... isn’t the point to get the medicine down? What is the objective: for the patient to suffer and hate the treatment, or for them to adopt the medicine and, perhaps, be cured?

    Hopefully,
    Joe W

  12. Riversong | | #12

    Joe,

    I think it's much more to the point to say "there YOU go again".

    There is nothing in the statement you quoted - “I have no interest in giving such people little babysteps to make them feel better about destroying the world a little slower.” - that can be construed as an "attack".

    It is a historical fact that the goal of most of the "green" building movement has been to reduce our negative impacts on the earth - not to stop them completely, and certainly not to reverse the damage we've already done. At the first Earth Day, we had only a very inchoate understanding of the scope and extent of the damage that our lifestyle has inflicted upon the global ecosystem. There is now a global scientific consensus that we are catastrophically altering the earth's climate and have initiated the first Great Extinction that has been caused by the deliberate choices and actions of a single species - Homo (non)Sapiens.

    Given today's far more thorough (and yet hardly complete) understanding of the devastation we've wrought on the earth's life support systems and the projected timeline for the multiple self-reinforcing catastrophes, it is a simple truism that incremental improvements in the energy and resource efficiency of our homes can do no more than slow down the destruction. It is like somewhat reducing the speed of the train rushing toward the edge of the abyss - it's a fool's errand.

    That should be a self-evident conclusion to anyone who is willing to look objectively at the facts. So it is not a value judgement, nor can it be construed as an "attack". And yet you (and too many others) continue to perceive the simple statement of scientific truth to be some kind of violence upon your sense of self.

    I can understand why the petroleum corporations would construe such science as an attack on their "right" to make a profit from the exploitation of the earth, and would spend millions of dollars attacking the veracity of the evidence and the conclusions as well as the people (like Al Gore) who propagate the message.

    So the only way I can understand your misconstruing my fact-based statements as "attacks" is that either you feel your "right" to profit from the destruction of the earth has been threatened (other builders in other forums have said as much) or you feel your cherished beliefs or your preferred understanding of the world have been challenged.

    As for "medicine", you also missed the point. If it's the wrong medicine, only temporarily alleviating or masking the symptoms of the underlying problem, then sugar-coating it only increases its market share. Authentic medicine is typically difficult to swallow, as is authentic truth.

    I wear many hats. As Teacher, I share much valuable building science and hygro-thermal engineering information here with dispassionate objectivity. But what we need today more than Teachers, are Prophets - and that's another hat I wear, but it's a role that is never appreciated until it's too late.

    “Men reject their prophets and slay them, but they love their martyrs and honor those whom they have slain”
    - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

    “We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum”
    - Aiden Wilson Tozer (April 21, 1897 - May 12, 1963) was an American Christian pastor, preacher, author, magazine editor, and spiritual mentor

  13. Steve El | | #13

    Some commentators on this forum have said they speak truth to power. Well, that's awesome. But then again, there is "power over" and there is "power with". (See Dreaming the Dark: Magic Sex and Politics).

    It seems completely pointless to stand up to "power over" with yet another form of "power over", yet IMO, that what commenters here do when they jump judgmentally in my face while I am doing my own critical thinking, perhaps more slowly then they would like, and perhaps arriving at a different compromise to function in society than they approve of. I simply do not read these pages because I'm interested in trading the capitalist consumer mass marketing paradigm for a ecologically based polibureau, where someone else is telling me how to judge the technical information that I can judge for myself.

    In addition, I subscribe to the belief that societal catharsis is inevitable, primarily because capitalism requires never ending economic growth, and never ending growth does not exist in any system (except maybe the expansion of the universe). Therefore, if we assume we have already upset the applecart of our historic ecological equilibrium, catharsis will happen, and that is true whether we get in each others faces to impose wisdom or aide one another in recognizing the times that wisdom is handed to us naturally, just as the result of the consequences of choices.

    Now I'm thinking of surviving catharsis. If it is really really really bad, then what? The groups that survive will be the groups that have bonds of cooperation with each other. Some of those groups will be based on power over, and getting in each others face, and telling each other what to think and how to judge the facts around them. Other groups will be based on power with, where we try to strengthen one another and rely on a meaningful decentralization of power.

    Now I'm thinking of the phoneix that rises from the flames. After catharsis a new society will emerge. I am *really* hoping that society is one that values personal discovery and meaningful wisdom learned through natural consequences (power with), as opposed to more of the same power-over type of relations our current paradigm is primarily based on. We reap what we sow. Whether it is Bin laden and Shria law telling me what to think and how to judge my world or a self-described eco-prophet doing the same, it is still power-over. If we don't change that way of dealing with each other, we are doomed to just build a new society that will still have to learn the same lesson later. That is why I want some commenters here to stick to technical discussion, or perhaps include some of their personal sharing about how these ideas effect their personal lives. I don't need anyone to inflict me with power over, thanks very much.

    Twenty some years ago (as part of a BS in Natural Resource Conservation) I was fortunate to do a wilderness education internship with the Hurricane Island Outward Bound School, in a satellite program down in Florida. The program got kids with nasty rap sheets right out of juvie jail, and took 'em into the swampy woods with no rules, where they experienced natural consequences by living them, with staff who would make sure they could put 2 and 2 together to recognize the choices they made and the natural consequences that resulted. Not by telling them what to decide tomorrow, but by debriefing choices THEY already made in the past. The state kept tabs on these kids to check on what percent got the lesson and stayed out of trouble to age 21, and they compared those stats to the boot camp approach, where someone on the outside was yelling at them what to think, what to do, how to be.

    Any guesses which approach taught LASTING wisdom?

    Just a followup.... which teen-parent relationships are more inspiring, the one's where they are ALWAYS arguing and the kid can't wait to get the hell away from home, or the one where the kid actually earns freedom by being shouldered with responsibility of their own success (and failure) in a climate of open discussion?

    =================

    I think all "green building" technical discussion is great and long long overdue. The more important function of these sorts of efforts is, IMO, to work on creating relationships and instilling values about relationships that will carry us through tomorrow. That means "power-with" wisdom, not "power over".

    By all means, speak truth to power. But keep in mind that the way you do that defines what the scope of available alternatives. If you use power over, then the natural conequence is the only possible change that can result will STILL be based on power over, and you can kiss hopes that we learn a new way to relate to the environment good bye.

  14. Riversong | | #14

    Steve,

    You hardly need to lecture me about power structures, since I have been both a practitioner of non-violent direct action and a teacher of non-violence and consensus decision-making for more than 30 years. And, since I've been jailed for my actions, I fully understand what power over means. But I also know that, even though an institution and its functionaries can lock up my body, they have no power over my integrity, my choice to cooperate or not, or my attitude and emotional responses.

    You preach freedom and love, yet your responses to me on your insulation thread were the antithesis of those values and, as you point out, we reap what we sow.

    You also hardly need to instruct me about the value of rehabilitation programs such as my former employer, Voyaguer Outward Bound, operates for adjudicated youth in Florida. But what you fail to recognize is that a significant part of the value of that program and the one I published an article about in 1980 (that Reader's Digest asked to reprint) - the Vision Quest Wagon Train - is that they are based on "tough love" with both limited freedom and strict boundaries around acceptable behavior.

    But the real irony in your post here - one that you still fail to either understand or appreciate - is that I have no "power over" you. I simply state my truth and you choose to respond to it either in a constructive way, or by ignoring it, or in an adolescent self-destructive way. The latter is what you consistently did.

    Those who understand the psycho-social phases of maturation know that the culture of American consumerism, acquisition, ecological destruction, self-interest, greed, and militarism (true power over) is a culture that is stuck in the narcissistic adolescent stage of development and, to some extent, in the childish sandbox mentality of "this is mine - leave it alone or I'll bop you".

    Adolescent people and adolescent cultures are notoriously unable to accept criticism, no matter how deserved or how necessary for their own growth, or to accept responsibility for their own feelings. And such people and cultures almost invariably refuse to hear the simple and obvious truth.

    If one has eyes to see that our culture is a fast-moving train heading toward a cliff, and that the train is loaded with bombs and toxins so that it will not only destroy its passengers but much of life on earth, then that one has a moral obligation to ignore "civility" and speak clearly, loudly and urgently.

    "Many people today don't want honest answers insofar as honest means unpleasant or disturbing, They want a soft answer that turneth away anxiety."

    - Louis Kronenberger, journalist, publisher & professor (1904 -1980)

    Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.

    - George Orwell

    "We have now sunk to a depth at which the restatement of the obvious is the first duty of
    intelligent men."

    - George Orwell

  15. Steve El | | #15

    You can decide on your own that others need to be lectured on relations to the environment, but it is not ok for me to decide on my own that you need to be lectured on relations to each other?

    That's a form of consensus process I am not familiar with. So I have a suggestion. It might get edited by the mods again but here goes anyway.

    As a teacher of nonviolence for 30 years, you are likely aware of Gandhi's approach to Satyagraha, or "Truth Force". This was not merely passively lying down gnashing ones teeth because one lacked the tools to fight back. Instead it was engaging injustice in such a way that the only person that would suffer would be the person doing the non-violence themself. IMO, if you want to do that, then you would be effective ripping Energy Star labels off equipment at big box retail outlets, and going back to do it again despite a court injunction, and then you can share a cell with some Ploughshares people I know. But you don't just receive suffering on your own head. Instead you sometimes slam your judgments onto other's attempts to deal with these issues. When you force your way into that dialogue your messing with them, but not in a way that brings suffering only to yourself.

    Its a very strange form of consensus and nonviolence, in which I also have some experience.

    Maybe neither of us should take it upon ourselves to decide whom needs lecturing, as opposed to friendship walking the path of self discovery?

  16. Riversong | | #16

    In addition to the fundamentally narcissistic nature of our society, which places self-interest and the idol of personal freedom above all other values, there is a curious tendency among even the most "enlightened" among us to wish to ascend above the dirt of the world into the light.

    This is evident not only in the demand for "politically correct" speech - in other words, speech which is so vapid that it offends no one - but also in the "new age" movement toward personal perfection. This wing of the spiritual/progressive movement stipulates that there is only one "correct" way to relate to others - with love and light - and only one way to a higher consciousness: by ascension into the ethereal realms.

    Such practitioners and proselytizers fail to recognize, however, that they are basing their spiritual "progression" on our culture's uni-directional, linear and hierarchical conception of time, space and life.

    For almost the entirely of humanity's life on earth, the cosmos and one's personal and tribal life were understood to be cyclical and relational, both containing and comprising all things, and repeating without beginning or end. It was understood that we are not souls entrapped in the body with a celestial destination, but we are spirits embodied in earth in the eternal now.

    In those holistic and wholesome traditions, spiritual growth occurs by going down not upwards. Since we are particles of the Earth Mother rather than sons and daughters of an all powerful God (talk about power over!), soul retrieval requires a going inward and downward – into the kiva, the death lodge, a cave or pit - into the darkness, rather than the light. In order to grow spiritually, we must allow ourselves to be dirtied with the reality of the earth and to fast from those habits that distract us from seeing the truth that surrounds us.

    We, in the Judeo-Christian tradition fail to either recognize or appreciate that Jesus, the prophet of love, was also a very clever radical non-violent activist and a ruthless defender of truth and justice. When he told the rich that they had about as much chance of getting into heaven as a camel has of passing through the eye of a needle, he was effectively saying they were going to hell. And Jesus didn't politely request that the money lenders leave the temple grounds – he physically threw them out on their arses.

    But we choose to ignore this "inconvenient truth" about the Lord of Love, just as we cannot seem to tolerate those who speak inconvenient truths about our lifestyles, our building practices, or the words we transmit onto these cyber pages.

    As Swami Beyondanama is wont to say: "It's time we stop being children of God and start being adults of God."

  17. Riversong | | #17

    Steve,

    You perhaps forget that Gandhi was not opposed to violence as a method of political revolution, as he thought it preferable to cowardice and indifference.

    If you think I haven't been willing to bring suffering down on my head, you should reread what you posted about me (including the ones that got removed). But no nonviolent activist intends to bring suffering on themselves - they are merely willing to endure it if it should come.

    The greatest living practitioner of non-violence today is Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks who was just given the 2010 Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence award. Sam Adams was the CIA analyst whose intelligence into the actual strength of the Vietnamese resistance was suppressed until Daniel Ellsberg released it as part of the Pentagon Papers.

    Assange is making many people very uncomfortable with his "inconvenient truth". If the truth doesn't make people uncomfortable, it isn't serving its purpose.

    "And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free," - John 8:32

    "One has to speak out and stand up for one's convictions. Inaction at a time of conflagration is inexcusable." - Gandhi

    "Goodness must be joined with knowledge. Mere goodness is not of much use, as I have found in life." - Gandhi

  18. Steve El | | #18

    If that particular story in that particular religion is true, I think it also says he spent three days in the penalty box.

  19. Steve El | | #19

    I agree Gandhi thought violence was slightly less reprehensible than lying down feeling powerless and doing nothing. I SERIOUSLY DISAGREE that you can start with that thought and conclude he endorsed violence. That's just flat wrong. But in any case, that's his opinion. He's just a man, after all.

    What I was trying to say is that BY DESIGN the nonviolent party acting in Gandhi's version of Satyagraha goes out of their way to TRY to bring NO suffering on their opponent. Gandhi's wife's doctor told her to lay off salt and legumes for a year (think about that in 1930 subtropical India for a moment). Gandhi lectured her to do it. He cajoled her to do it. He finally gave up lecturing her and simply went on that diet himself regardless what she did just to prove for her that it could be done. In his autobiography he described it as the sweetest moment of Satyagraha in his life.

    Yeah I made a tactical choice to communicate my kneejerk reaction to the power over way you brandish your judgmentalism. You can sum up my kneejerk reaction with "punch back". Your choice to use power over has natural consequences. My choice in how I responded was a conscious attempt to communicate some of those natural consequences. I wished to hold up a mirror. You said in an earlier post that you write for the benefit of lurkers. That is precisely why I chose to hold up the mirror. In my experience on the front lines, emphasis on educational outreach and recruitment, your method of judgmentalist power over turns away A LOT more people than it pulls in. I use to refer to activists as "Builders" and "Screamers".

    Which do you want to be?

    If some GBA leaves out the hidden cost of something, by all means mention "There is also a hidden cost to (whatever)." If you just leave out references to who said the thing, you can avoid all this grief and instead focus 100% of the benefit on building awareness of the issues you care about.

    But that assumes you want to be a builder, not a finger pointer.

  20. Riversong | | #20

    Steve,

    I have no power over you. Accept responsibility for your inappropriate responses and stop trying to rationalize them. You weren't "holding a mirror" - you were lashing out.

    “See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again
    for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda."
    - George W. Bush - 43rd US President

    "never admit a fault or wrong; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it."
    - Joseph Goebbels, Nazi chief of propaganda

  21. Steve El | | #21

    So I take it you dislike being judgmentally lectured to, and all it does is push you away instead of changing your behavior?

    Wonderful! I have demonstrated what I sought to demonstrate.

    Mission accomplished.

  22. Riversong | | #22

    Mission accomplished.

    Wonderful. Then I can trust that you're done with your dissembling here.

  23. Riversong | | #23

    As the quote with which I opened this thread suggests, we cannot afford cleverness in the absence of wisdom.

    We need fewer wise guys and more wise people.

  24. Riversong | | #24

    I agree Gandhi thought violence was slightly less reprehensible than lying down feeling powerless and doing nothing. I SERIOUSLY DISAGREE that you can start with that thought and conclude he endorsed violence. That's just flat wrong.

    Is it? I do not endorse violence, but I understand - like Gandhi - it's appropriate place in the relief of intolerable oppression or the defense of family.

    It's important that we do not put either Gandhi or Jesus or any other prophet onto a false pedestal. One of the most impressive non-violent activists and social servants of modern time - Doris Day, the founder of the Catholic Worker movement - demanded that she not be put on a pedestal and labeled a "saint", since that would suggest she was somehow different from everyone else and that would be used as an excuse for not living up to her level of ethical integrity.

    "I do believe that, where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence, I would advise violence."

    "I want both the Hindus and Mussalmans [Muslims] to cultivate the cool courage to die without killing. But if one has not that courage, I want him to cultivate the art of killing and being killed rather than, in a cowardly manner, flee from danger."

    "I have, therefore, said more than once....that, if we do not know how to defend ourselves, our women and our places of worship by the force of suffering, i.e., nonviolence, we must, if we are men, be at least able to defend all these by fighting."

    "I have been repeating over and over again that he who cannot protect himself or his nearest and dearest or their honor by non-violently facing death may and ought to do so by violently dealing with the oppressor."

    "Though violence is not lawful, when it is offered in self-defense or for the defense of the defenseless, it is an act of bravery far better than cowardly submission. The latter befits neither man nor woman. Under violence, there are many stages and varieties of bravery. Every man must judge this for himself. No other person can or has the right."

    - Mahatma Gandhi

  25. Riversong | | #25

    I agree Gandhi thought violence was slightly less reprehensible than lying down feeling powerless and doing nothing. I SERIOUSLY DISAGREE that you can start with that thought and conclude he endorsed violence. That's just flat wrong.

    Is it? I do not endorse violence, but I understand - like Gandhi - it's appropriate place in the relief of intolerable oppression or the defense of family.

    It's important that we do not put either Gandhi or Jesus or any other prophet onto a false pedestal. One of the most impressive non-violent activists and social servants of modern time - Doris Day, the founder of the Catholic Worker movement - demanded that she not be put on a pedestal and labeled a "saint", since that would suggest she was somehow different from everyone else and that would be used as an excuse for not living up to her level of ethical integrity.

    "I do believe that, where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence, I would advise violence."

    "I want both the Hindus and Mussalmans [Muslims] to cultivate the cool courage to die without killing. But if one has not that courage, I want him to cultivate the art of killing and being killed rather than, in a cowardly manner, flee from danger."

    "I have, therefore, said more than once....that, if we do not know how to defend ourselves, our women and our places of worship by the force of suffering, i.e., nonviolence, we must, if we are men, be at least able to defend all these by fighting."

    "I have been repeating over and over again that he who cannot protect himself or his nearest and dearest or their honor by non-violently facing death may and ought to do so by violently dealing with the oppressor."

    "Though violence is not lawful, when it is offered in self-defense or for the defense of the defenseless, it is an act of bravery far better than cowardly submission. The latter befits neither man nor woman. Under violence, there are many stages and varieties of bravery. Every man must judge this for himself. No other person can or has the right."

    - Mahatma Gandhi

  26. Steve El | | #26

    Yes, flat wrong. Gandhi went out of his way to distinguish Satyagraha from passive resistance or an option for the weak. On the contrary, he believed it was necessary to cultivate and highest degree of discipline and courage to be Satyagrahi and to train daily even more than the highest trained military. And so, in his vast ocean of writing, there are many places where he writes about what it takes to "fight" to that degree and given the audience he necessarily wrote in terms they could comprehend. If you read the rest of his work and place these remarks in context, he states, over and over and over that violence produces only more violence and the only effective approach for lasting change was Satyagraha. A few quotes lifted out of their broader context and the tale of Christ's whipping up the money changers doesn't turn power over into power with. It just makes it sound like you want to justify getting in people's faces and pointing fingers.

    I *love* the bigger picture being present in these pages. For example, the observation in another thread that spider fiberglass may only be installed by factory certified installers. That's actually an important point to me. I didn't know that. It was beyond the scope of my question but I was glad to learn it. But I didn't need to learn it wrapped up in a negative critique of one of the GBA advisors degree of greenness. Why not get the facts out, and let them speak for themselves?

    So in sum, what I object to is when you point fingers at others at the same time you share such info, or include extreme negativity for anyone that doesn't embrace your view. Would it be possible to set out your plate of cookies without slapping any hands that float around the edges of the table?

  27. Riversong | | #27

    If the emperor has no clothes, someone needs to point it out - even if imperialists and sycophants find it insulting.

  28. Michael Chandler | | #28

    The problem of course is that Spider Fiberglass doesn't need to be installed by a factory certified installer if it's installed behind a scrim in a dry blown-in-batt installation, only if it is installed using the damp spray method that is more expensive and lower R-value. But Robert makes so many claims so vigorously in his posts that it is not worth the aggravation of going through and debating the nuances of the little errors.

    Frankly it seems that global warming is such a huge and present danger that criticizing those who merely follow a different path towards slowing it's approach takes time away from doing the real work.

    No single path is "the solution." We all have different strengths and will put our shoulder to the task in different ways. My way is not wrong, nor is it the only way. It's just the place where I can do the most good with the strengths I have in the years I have left on this planet. If I build three EVHA worthy, Passive house certified, natural homes every year it isn't enough to stop the planet from hurling into chaos, working in the system isn't enough either.

    And we do have a consensus-based definition of what is "Green Building" the ANSI-700 ICC National Green Building Standard. Some may not like what it says but all were invited to send in written comments and to come to Washington DC and sit in that conference room and hash out the words together. It was a long and challenging process as consensus always is and the compromises certainly falls short for everyone who participated in the effort. But we have a broad based consensus definition.

    If you prefer to do "natural building" or Passive House or living home go for it, great, just don't bemoan the alleged lack of a consensus-based third party verifiable definition of "Green Building".

  29. Riversong | | #29

    It was a long and challenging process as consensus always is and the compromises certainly falls short for everyone who participated in the effort. But we have a broad based consensus definition.

    The National Green Building Standard is a trademarked proprietary industry-driven standard that, as you indicate, necessarily involves compromise as does any national standard (just ask organic farmers about national organic farming standards).

    You fundamentally misunderstand consensus, which is an almost spiritual process (developed by the Quakers) that puts individual interests aside to seek the highest good of the community. It does not involve compromise, but rather synthesis and a whole which is greater than and not anticipated by its parts.

    One of the greatest elements of the democratic republic which our Founders imagined is the recognition that the majority is not always right (some would say rarely so), and that there must always be room for the minority voice amidst the noise of collective decision-making.

    The problem with compromise national standards is that they tend to be created by those with the greatest stake in the outcome, not those with the greatest insight or wisdom - much like our political system.

    But, since the catastrophic problems our society has created come not from superficial methods or materials or the lack of "green" points to increase the market value of new homes but rather from the very foundations of our culture - the paradigm by which we live and through which all such standards are derived - no new check-off chart is going to even begin to prevent calamity.

    We are facing the near-term extinction of 1/3 of all species of life on earth (and scientists tend to be overly conservative in their predictions). "Green" McMansions will do nothing to avert or even slow that outcome, since the human population and the global middle class continues to grow exponentially.

    No matter how sweet or "green" the music, fiddling on the deck of the Titanic will not keep it from sinking. We need lifeboats, not nicer homes.

  30. Steve El | | #30

    Amazing. Very first chance that arises out comes not just the statement "the emperor has no clothes" but the finger pointing statement "you idiot can't you see that the emperor has no clothes".

    So much for the hero of change.

  31. Steve El | | #31

    I happen to agree that standards that arise in a capitalist market economy are inherently inadequate to stave off ecological disaster. Their value, in my opinion, is in sowing the seeds of ecological thinking so when disaster does happen the stories that are told are the stories that end with "....and since we now see all these connections we're sure never going to do THAT again!"

  32. Michael Chandler | | #32

    Inherent failings of codes and standards are not news, I agree wholeheartedly that they are not "the solution". But they are a place where we can pull up the bottom.

    Energy Star and the ANSI-700 standard are good entry points for traditional builders that get them away from "silver bullet thinking" (that all they need to do to be green is put in some bamboo flooring, a recycled content counter top and a geothermal heat pump.) Together these programs have, and continue to do more for slowing climate change and saving energy than any of us can do by building a few exceptional buildings a year.

    These programs have gotten lots of folks measuring and scoring their work which helps with on-going improvements and they give buyers and appraisers a way to evaluate homes based on third party verified inspections and documentation rather than just the flashy brochures.

    The rest of my week will be consumed by volunteering at the International Energy Code Hearings where I and many of my friends who are active in fighting global warming will be arguing for tougher energy codes while still seeking flexibility to promote innovation so we don't inadvertently mandate prescriptive items that would work against Passive House and Natural Building. You can find out more at http://www.thirtypercentsolution.org

    Is testifying at code hearings "fiddling on the deck of the Titanic"? Maybe it's more like dragging a bucket off the stern, but it's an action any of us can take if we choose to make a commitment to being part of the solution. And it beats letting the code-minimum builders set our national building agenda.

  33. Steve El | | #33

    And thank you and all your cohorts that volunteer your time to establish standards, spread awareness, and start pulling up the bottom Michael !

  34. Riversong | | #34

    Steve El (who said he had won and was finished here, but who has a personal vendetta to fulfill and wastes his time on this thread rather than actually contributing to the GBA forum):

    That mirror you pretended you were waving, might better be turned back onto yourself. The one who has been doing little more than pointing fingers will then become evident.

  35. Riversong | | #35

    Michael,

    What you've been contributing to the "green" building movement would be wonderful if it weren't based on an entirely fallacious axiom: that there are but two or three options. Either you could let "the code-minimum builders set our national building agenda" or you could build "a few exceptional buildings a year" or do something in the middle by helping to set standards for a higher level of responsible building.

    The problem with this perspective is that it is inside-the-box and either/or thinking which perpetuates the very paradigm that is responsible for the destruction of the biosphere.

    To suggest that the available spectrum of action for a builder is either to continue to do the worst of mass housing production or have an inconsequential impact by building only a few homes which approach authentic green more closely - is based on so many unecological and unquestioned assumptions. These include: that we need to continue exploiting the earth's finite materials to add to the current housing stock, that we really need the size and complexity of today's marketable housing in order to satisfy the basic human need for shelter, that we should be building single-family homes often isolated from community infrastructure and social networks and requiring dependence on the automobile, that there is any legitimacy in profiting from the creation of human shelter or by the "appreciation" of that shelter in the market that is often caused by social investment, that we have any right to own parts of the earth as private property...

    There are so many significant issues outside the box of conventional housing development and the conventional mindset of our current dysfunctional paradigm, that it is quite literally crazy to limit the choices to such a narrow spectrum of options. And it is only within that very narrow spectrum - within a larger socio-political-economic paradigm that has nearly destroyed both the earth and the human spirit - that creating a national standard for incremental improvements in the "greenishness" of buildings can be seen as any kind of "solution".

    The fallacy of most "progressives" is that we only need to do what we've always done but in a better "new and improved" way in order to avoid the calamities brought upon us (and the rest of the earth) by what we've always done. This is the technocratic response to the problems of technology. It is what Einstein labeled as a form of insanity. As he so astutely proclaimed: we cannot solve a problem with the same mindset which created it.

    He also famously said: "There are only two things that are infinite – the universe and man's stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

  36. Michael Chandler | | #36

    Robert

    Thanks for these thoughts. I do see your point. But I look to what actions I as a father and employer and person very much caught in the daily drama of this dysfunctional society that is killing our planet and ask how I can contribute in a way that supports my family and contributes to at least doing less harm and having a positive influence. Tying a rope to my pail and throwing it out behind the Titanic is all I can hope to achieve given my place in the world.

    I agree that the effort often seems (is) futile. that there is in fact no solution. But I can at least put my shoulder to the work. It may be infinitely stupid to even try to slow global climate change given that the core problem is human overpopulation and that war and pestilence are not what I want to promote right now.

    Why do we even bother to contribute here at GBA? For me the answer is that this is the work I love, the alchemy of taking sticks and steel and making a beautiful place to live. The joy of living my passion as a livelihood with fellow craftsmen who actually appreciate the craft and doing a conscientious job. It's what I have to contribute, my bucket dragging in the wake.

  37. Andy Ault, CLC | | #37

    Michael - I think you're selling yourself short about the potential good which comes from building whatever it is that meets YOUR definition of green. Specifically, as a parent, you know just what an amazing amount of information our kids soak-up from their surroundings and observations.

    Some of the actions and comments I see from my kids amaze me. I know they are aware that their Dad does green building and that I do a lo of work for Habitat and groups like Rebuilding Together. I also try to explain why those things are important to me and how I hope they help the “greater good” for them and eventually for their kids and grandkids.

    Then I hear them explain to a friend of theirs what I do for a living (when they don’t realize I’m in ear shot) and they make me sound like some kind of ecological superhero. They hit all the same bullet points that I thought they were ignoring when I explained it to them. They talk about safe structures, healthy air, affordable and sustainable homes for all walks of life, etc., etc. They talk about keeping materials out of landfills and how they recycle and use less packaging for their lunches (which I didn’t even know they were trying to do) and how their friends should try some of these actions.

    And similarly, I also watch the reactions of some of the children of our clients. When they hear “the grownups” talking about forgoing a warming drawer in the new kitchen to make space for a Nature Mill composting bin instead. The mom starts to shut that idea down and then the daughter comes spinning in from the next room and tells her how she HAS to do it and why it’s the “right” thing. And just like that, it’s in the project scope, and the warming drawer is out.

    Point is, we may not be building or remodeling the uber-green homes of perfect design, BUT, we are having an impact on those closest to us through our actions and they are soaking that in and spreading that impact. It’s the axiom of a trickle which leads to a stream, which leads to a river, which leads to an ocean.

    Our actions may not be sufficient in quantity or quality for those with a more severe mindset when it comes to the Earth’s immediate prognosis. And in reality we’d never be able to do enough to meet that level of concern, no one could. But at least we are doing SOMETHING, and we should be proud of that. If we aren’t, then our highly observant little ones will pick up on that vibe too, and then they’ll start to think why bother, if Dad doesn’t believe, why should I?

    So are we perfect? No. Are we ecological superheroes or prophets? No. But are we good guys, trying to do the right thing, and with the right intentions? Hell Yeah! And we should feel good about that and walk with our heads high so that our kids learn from our actions as much as our words.

    ... now if you’ll excuse me, my dog wants his soapbox back ...

  38. Steve El | | #38

    Michael, one of my favorite quotes that is at least attributed to Gandhi (I can't confirm the specific reference) is

    "Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is vitally important that you do it"

  39. Daniel Ernst | | #39

    Robert,

    I disagree that GBA is censoring an open dialogue about deeper issues (by deeper I mean philosophical, beyond technical). This is a wonderful forum, open and free to participants all over the world. But at the foundation of this website is a business, with overhead and labor costs, with servers and databases and custom software. The editors do have the right to moderate the discussion when it becomes unproductive or offensive, or takes a direction they believe could turn away paying customers (and that line is theirs to draw).

    The fact that there are now 37 responses to your original post is proof that GBA is not censorous.

    Contrary to the tone of some of the discussions on GBA, I believe that you have quite a bit in common with the Martin Holladays and Michael Chandlers of the world. And most people visiting this site are trying to move in the right direction, no matter if they are greenhorns or seasoned veterans.

    Jesus may have thrown out the moneychangers (with authority and anger), but he showed great humility toward those who were trying to learn his new ideas. On the night before his trial, he told Peter, "before the cock crows, you will deny me three times." This was an entirely different form of chastisement than he gave to the moneychangers. If you want to call out the modern day moneychangers - Wall Street - I doubt anybody on this forum would disagree! But you could show a different tone toward other participants on this forum.

    To that point, you can be challenging without being offensive. And tone is just as important in written dialogue as it is in a face to face discussion. My mother always told me (and I am still working on this), "It's not what you say, but how you say it." Tone often conveys more meaning than your actually words.

    My brother or friend might call me a jackass, but their tone lets me know that they mean otherwise.

    I appreciate your willing and substantive contributions here. And although your posts are often challenging to my way of thinking, what you have to say is extremely important. I have learned quite a bit from your writing. And I think that you are winning both hearts (well, maybe a few ;-) and minds.

    Green building is one aspect of our lives, but it's surrounded by overlapping issues-what we eat, how we make a living, our material purchases, etc. My point is this: keep digging deeper. You have an audience.

    Regarding your more recent post, you speak of current paradigms, of problems with land ownership, lack of community, automobiles, etc. And I think most people agree in spirit. But how do we negotiate our current situation? That is the question we ask ourselves each day.

    The system we live inside is based on private property and taxes, commodities and profits. How do you propose we get on the right path while living in the modern day world? We need to eat; we need shelter. And as Michael stated, many of us have children to raise and train.

    I know that you have acknowledged that you are still "not there," when it comes to "green building" and sustainable living. And so I ask you, why not? From what I know about your work, certainly you compromise less than most. But what keeps you from operating inside the perfect paradigm?

    Finally, if you haven't seen Joe Bageant's most recent writing, check it out here:

    http://www.joebageant.com/joe/2010/10/algorithms.html#more

    Of particular note, he brings BTUs and heat energy into the discussion when he compares a gallon of gasoline to (2) forty-hour work weeks (roughly a 2,200 calorie / day diet).

    Perhaps we just don't have the evolutionary tools to deal with such an excess of material wealth and cheap energy . . . and we are hard-wired to gather more and more when it's plentiful?

  40. Steve El | | #40

    The thread started with a call to have a wider ranging discussion of what is necessary to build a greener society. At least, I thought that was the purpose. IMO, the PRIMARY thing that really matters is our relations with each other because ultimately our relations to the environment will mirror our relations to each other. I have demonstrated what happens when we get in each others face to cram our own personal understanding of wisdom down someone else's throat. (Thank you Robert for your assistance in proving that alienation, resentment, and no change in behavior is what results.)

    You wanted a consensus based discussion right? This theme is what is of PRIMARY importance to my belief about what it is to be green. It was you who asked for a broader philosophical discussion of what green means, remember.

    IN SUM

    I have applied your own methodology to you with respect to the green issues that matter most to me. From your perspective, either (A) the conversation has taken an unexpected, undesired, and very uncomfortable turn for you or (B) I am merely dissembling.

    Everyone will have to decide that one for themselves. And by posing the question, I have done my best to contribute in the deepest way to the discussion of what green means. Consider it my contribution to GBA

  41. 5C8rvfuWev | | #41

    Reply to Andy Ault,

    You are truly fortunate in your children! And your point, for me, hits the nail squarely on the head. It is one more example of why effective teaching is some of the best work and its value lasts far beyond the moment.

    Joe W

  42. 5C8rvfuWev | | #42

    Response to Michael Chandler:

    You said: "... the answer is that this is the work I love, the alchemy of taking sticks and steel and making a beautiful place to live. The joy of living my passion as a livelihood with fellow craftsmen who actually appreciate the craft and doing a conscientious job."

    I'm one of maybe 3 people on earth who are fans of ArtDeco and you reminded me of a quote I like from one of Le Corbusier's followers. He wrote looking back on the building they did during the Great Depression (a time like ours, except worse): "In 1934, we could go no further down, there was no place to go but up, and so we designed houses were machines of great beauty and hope."

    Regards,
    Joe W

  43. Riversong | | #43

    But are we good guys, trying to do the right thing, and with the right intentions? Hell Yeah! And we should feel good about that and walk with our heads high so that our kids learn from our actions as much as our words.

    Andy,

    Your point about setting a living example for our children is vitally important, but that is why we must consider what example we are really setting. It's easy in this materialistic and greed-based society to act and live a little - or even a lot - more responsibly than most. But is that enough?

    Almost nobody bothers to consider whether acting "better" within a self-destructive paradigm is a lifestyle worth modeling for our children. Good intentions - as we know about the road to Hell - are never enough. Discernment must precede intention, which must precede action.

    If every choice and action is limited by the range options that our society presents to us, then I would argue that they are not nearly enough. Call me a radical, but if we do not go to the root of the problem we will not have any hope of even addressing it, let alone solving it - and surely not within the limited time frame we likely have.

    What you describe as a "severe mindset" is nothing more than the global scientific consensus about climate change, species extinction and deterioration of the earth's life-support systems - built on a rather conservative foundation and almost certainly understating the depth and extent of the crisis (as the scientists seem to be discovering with stunning regularity). And it should be of interest that the scientific consensus mirrors the current wisdom and ancient prophesies of almost all indigenous peoples around the world. The Hopi went to the UN in 1948 and again in 1992 to warn us and plead with us to change direction, and the Tairona of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, the only surviving pre-Columbian people, came out of their isolation in 1990 to give the same warning and plea.

    Steve El, who accuses me of taking Gandhi's words out of context, throws out the thoroughly non-contextual "Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is vitally important that you do it". Of course, Gandhi never meant that anything you do is vitally important - only if you act rightly does the doing have value to the world and become its own reward. What he was really saying, is that we must act in spite of not being able to live into the outcome but for its own sake. Every wise one has said the same. But actions without discernment are the paving stones on the road to Hell.

    The Chinese have a saying that if we don't change direction we're likely to end up where we're heading. Repainting the Hummer green is not enough. We must make a radical turn in our entire way of thinking, being and living on earth. The story we are living has a very bad ending and we're likely in the last chapter. So we must live a different story.

  44. Riversong | | #44

    Jesus may have thrown out the moneychangers (with authority and anger), but he showed great humility toward those who were trying to learn his new ideas.

    I think we mischaracterize and emasculate Jesus to make him more palatable, just as we reduce "green" into a package that will sell. He was humble before his God, but he was a fierce and uncompromising teacher to his followers.

    "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple." - Luke 14:26

    "Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword." - Matthew 10:34

    Jesus loved the oppressed over the powerful, and also those disciples who were willing to completely throw off every part of their lives in order to walk the talk.

    you speak of current paradigms…And I think most people agree in spirit. But how do we negotiate our current situation?...The system we live inside is based on private property and taxes, commodities and profits. How do you propose we get on the right path while living in the modern day world? We need to eat; we need shelter. And…many of us have children to raise and train.

    We are stuck in the current paradigm out of both ignorance (of another way) and fear. We are, in fact, kept imprisoned in this economic paradigm by a deliberately nurtured fear of losing the apparent benefits we've been allowed, which is more material comfort than kings of old could claim and the illusion of personal freedom living lives indebted to the banksters.

    If we understand that private property and taxes and the commodification of the world and profiteering are unethical or unsustainable, then we have a moral obligation to just stop participating. No power structure, no tyrant, no economic system has any power over us except to the extent that we grant our complicity. The single most powerful tool of non-violent action is non-cooperation.

    One of the great peacemakers of the last century, Father Daniel Berrigan, wrote from jail in 1970:

    "We have assumed the name of peacemakers, but we have been, by and large, unwilling to pay any significant price. And because we want the peace with half a heart and half a life and will, the war, of course, continues, because the waging of war, by its nature, is total – but the waging of peace, by our cowardice, is partial. So a whole will and a whole heart and a whole national life bent toward war prevail over the (mere desire for) peace…'Of course, let us have the peace,' we cry, 'but at the same time let us have normalcy, let us lose nothing, let our lives stand intact, let us know neither prison nor ill repute nor disruption of ties.' And because…at all costs – at all costs – our hopes must march on schedule, and because it is unheard of that in the name of peace a sword should fall, disjoining that fine and cunning web that our lives have woven, because it is unheard of that good men should suffer injustice or families be sundered or good repute be lost – because of this we cry peace and cry peace, and there is no peace. There is no peace because the making of peace is at least as costly as the making of war."

    This is the same message that Jesus gave to his followers so many years ago in answer to your question "How do we get on the right path?" - by ignoring your fears and completely surrendering to the path.

  45. Riversong | | #45

    As a stunning example of the kind of economic system we contribute to every time we purchase a consumer commodity or pay interest to the banks for our credit cards, loans and mortgages, this was just reported on Democracy Now:

    While both average and total US wages earned in 2009 dropped for all other income brackets, those in the top bracket - earning more than $50 million a year - saw their income increase five-fold to an average of $500 million, which equaled the combined income of the bottom 19 million workers in the US (one in every eight working men and women).

    At the same time, 1 in every 34 Americans who had earned wages in 2008 saw no income - NONE, zero, zilch - in all of 2009.

    This is, however, not an aberration, but merely the necessary culmination of an economy in which "structural unemployment" and the largest income disparities in the world have been the modus operandi since the days of the Robber Barons.

    And, by the way, since the creation of the private banking consortium called the Federal Reserve in 1913, the buying power of the US dollar has gone from $1.00 to 10 cents because all money comes in the form of debt with interest due to those who do nothing but push buttons and pull strings.

    This is the very foundation of the current societal paradigm, and 99.99% of Americans support it in their daily economic lives.

  46. Riversong | | #46

    Daniel wondered:

    "Perhaps we just don't have the evolutionary tools to deal with such an excess of material wealth and cheap energy . . . and we are hard-wired to gather more and more when it's plentiful?"

    This acquisitive and consumptive behavior is not hardwired, but rather an epi-phenomenon of a progression of civilization that began with the Agricultural Revolution (food surplus, storage, hoarding & exchange and the control of people's ability to eat by those with wealth & power), accelerated with the Industrial Revolution (turning agrarian human beings into wage slaves for the profit of the owners of capital), and made into a universal paradigm by our current global consumer economy.

    In almost all our thinking on such subjects, we fall into the fallacy of believing that "history" began with the Epic of Gilgamesh (which described, by the way, the total deforestation of the Cedars of Lebanon, turning that Eden into a desert) if not much later. But the story of human habitation of the earth began millions of years ago, leaving this modern offshoot we call "civilization" as but a hiccup on the timescale. For almost all of that time, we took only what we needed and acquired no more than we could carry.

    THAT's what we are hardwired for. And it took generations of Madison Avenue conditioning to get us to act otherwise.

    Daniel also mentioned (and linked to) Joe Bageant's latest screed. The Hillbilly Philosopher is one of the deepest and most radically honest thinkers alive today. Here is an excerpt from his article "Algorithms and Red Wine":

    Cheap oil allowed industrial humans to increasingly live on environmental credit for over a century. Now the bill is due and no amount of money can pay it. The calorie, pure heat expenditure as energy, is the only currency in which Mother Nature trades. Period.

    Despite that America produced such thinkers on the subject of living simply as Thoreau, modern hydrocarbon based civilization has driven expectations of material goods and convenience, and the transactions surrounding those expectations, through the stratosphere. Money has abstracted the notion of work to the point where, I dare say, there are not 100,000 people in America who truly understand that, although there are at least a few million trying to understand and liberate themselves.

    I’m gonna take a wild shot here and say that understanding and liberation, come through self-discipline and self-denial, and that it’s nearly impossible for Americans to practice self-discipline. They cannot imagine why self-discipline, and a more ascetic life, becoming less dependent on the faceless machinery of algorithm driven virtual money, is necessarily liberating.

    If there can be a solution at this late stage, and most thinking people seriously doubt there can be a “solution” in the way we have always thought of solutions, it begins with powering down everything we consider to be the economy and our survival. That and population reduction, which nobody wants to discuss in actionable terms. Worse yet, there is no state sanctioned, organized entry level for people who want to power down from the horrific machinery of money. There are too many financial, military and corporate and governmental forces that don’t want to see us power down (because it would spell their death), but rather power up even more. That’s called “a recovery.”

    When viewed from outside the virtual money economy, and from the standpoint of the planet’s caloric economy, probably half of American and European jobs are not only unnecessary, but also terribly destructive, either directly or indirectly. Yet what nation or economic state acknowledges the need for a transition away from jobs that aren't necessary. None, because such an economy could not support the war machines or the transactional financial industries that dominate our needs hierarchy for the benefit of the few. Loaning us money we have already earned, stuffing us with corn syrup. And I won’t even go into the strong possibility that everybody does not need to be employed at all times for the world to keep on turning.

  47. Riversong | | #47

    "Movements are like this. They are grassroots, often underground, and they start with crazy people who are willing to believe in the impossible. Movements never start in corporate offices with executives drawing up a master plan...if we truly want to see the world changed, we must begin as a band of madmen, welcoming other crazy people who want to be a part of something bigger than themselves."

    - Neil Cole

    But, what Neil Cole fails to note, is that all authentic grassroots movements become institutionalized and then mainstreamed in proportion to the degree of general acceptance of their goals and principles. At that point, they lose their revolutionary potential and often become co-opted from the inside by those who wish to make a career out of them and from the outside by the power structure which wishes to "pacify", control, limit or restrain them.

    A truly revolutionary movement must refresh itself regularly (much as Jefferson felt about the American Revolution) by undermining whatever institutions it creates. Jesus, also, tried to incite a revolution of values and refresh the then reified edifice of the Judaic faith, and that scoundrel co-opter Paul instead created another religious institution which became far more corrupt than what it replaced.

    The only bumper sticker I've displayed for the past 20 years is "Subvert the Dominant Paradigm". I've found it odd that almost all young radicals and revolutionaries become conservative as they age (or, rather, become co-opted by the temptations of the mainstream society), while I have become ever more radical with each passing year.

    At least I have Joe Bageant to keep me company ;-)

  48. Steve El | | #48

    I might have missed it, but I don't recall Daniel Berrigan saying "George isn't a REAL anti-war protester and neither are YOU because YOU GUYS keep paying the military portion of your income taxes." He modeled his beliefs, and he wrote about natural consequences of choices (though not in those terms), and then let people find their own way without finger pointing at his partial friends.

  49. Riversong | | #49

    I might have missed it...

    Clearly, you've missed a lot of what people you claim to admire have said and done.

    No one penned a more condemnatory statement of the peace movement than did Daniel Berrigan in 1970. Apparently, you completely missed his message.

  50. Steve El | | #50

    Since you didn't provide a citation and I can't immediately figure out what you refer to, I can't comment, EXCEPT to say that you cited Berrigan in response to my challenging you over pointing fingers and getting in faces instead of just providing information and celebrating people's efforts to apply that info in their lives.

    My point remains....

    show me multiple places where Berrigan told some SPECIFIC anti-war protester that they weren't REALLY peace people because they weren't taking the next step and then we can talk. If you can't then I don't see why Berrigan's way of speaking about issues without pointing specific fingers and living what he preached justifies your point fingers and directly attacking the quality and depth of individual specific peoples green integrity. I love your technical info and the bigger picture you speak for. I also think when you poke people you undo your own otherwise good work.

  51. Riversong | | #51

    Steve,

    I don't know why you would keep bumping this thread to the top of the list simply in order to continue your personal vendetta against me for honestly and substantively challenging you.

    Unlike me, you have contributed nothing substantive or constructive to this forum, but simply persist in your attempts to find a weakness in either my arguments or my philosophy of life.

    Perhaps you might consider a more satisfying hobby, or some more intellectually honest pursuit that serves the world rather than seek to destroy what you cannot either comprehend or tolerate.

  52. Riversong | | #52

    What Steve El (is this his real name or a pseudonym?) describes as "pointing fingers" and "getting into faces" is the simple statement of self-evident truths. Such a truth, which he brings up, is that people who claim to be peacemakers but who pay taxes to fund imperial wars are not only deeply hypocritical but also enablers and, in fact, ethically complicit in the murder and mayhem that is the essential nature of warfare, particularly illegal wars of aggression to secure access to the world's natural resources such as the US has engaged in almost continuously since WWII (70 interventions in 65 years).

    But, of course, those who are guilty of such hypocrisies experience the simple statement of "inconvenient truth" as a poke in the eye, not because of the nature of the statement but because of the knowledge that they have made themselves targets of such truths by their cowardice and misplaced priorities (just as Philip Berrigan stated so eloquently and powerfully).

    A corollary to the inconvenient truth about war taxes, is that those who support the industries that profit from and are protected by the US war machine (such as the petrochemical industry) are also complicit in murder and mayhem, not just upon the environment but upon the men, women and children of the nations who happen to have the resources that we covet and that our lifestyles - and building methodologies - demand.

  53. Steve El | | #53

    I didn't realize the mirror I held up for you to look in would be so effective, Robert.

    Now your latest reason to dismiss everything I said is "personal vendetta", and "no contribution".

    The strange thing to me is that you righteously set forth your laurels as a green moral-authority citing 30 years experience as in consensus process training. In the topic for this post you called for a discussion of the deeper issues that go to the heart of our environmental problems. So I spoke up setting forth my opinion that how we treat the environment is a reflection of how we treat each other, and challenged your way of poking a green finger in others eyes. You could call it a point of process for the vibes keeper if you like. That is my CENTRAL and CORE belief on the topic you yourself started. So if this is consensus how is it that YOU get to unilaterally declare my CENTRAL and CORE belief on the topic you yourself raised as purely irrelevant? You did say you've been teaching others about consensus for 30 years, right?

    It calls to mind another of my favorite sayings: "We teach best what we most need to learn"

  54. Riversong | | #54

    "We teach best what we most need to learn"

    Clearly. Since the only one poking fingers is El Stevo.

    The consensus process requires that we check our egos at the door and seek only the highest good of the community, allowing the voice of truth to be channeled through us and not taking personally either what or how that truth is shared.

    The most powerful truth I heard shared within one of the oldest Quaker meetings for worship in the US some thirty-five years ago came through a wise old woman in response to an internal conflict that generated anger on the part of a member who felt that the words of another were offensive. After the usual long silence, this wisened old woman simply stated: "It takes two for there to be an offense - one to give offense and one to take offense."

    Of course, the deeper unarticulated truth is that some things that are necessary to be said will not be pleasant to hear and will, in fact, disturb the general denial in which we live today and stir unwanted feelings of responsibility or guilt. So, rather than receive those truths to advantage the listener will defend their dystopian life, distorted perceptions, and dysfunctional behaviors by attacking the messenger. This is the almost universal response of those unable to hear self-evident truths - the truths that, if accepted and assimilated, would set us free of our bondage and our corruption. And it is such as those who choose, whether consciously or unconsciously, to "take offense". And it is such as those who consistently insist that all hard truths be sugar-coated if spoken at all, or be better left unsaid.

    And it is those rare few who, unafraid of the misplace opinions of others who choose to walk blindly through life, sleepwalking through the obvious and the necessary, will continue to note that the "sky is falling" when it obviously is and nobody notices and will continue to point to those who wear no clothes while pretending to be enrobed in fine silk.

    Honest words feel like a "poke in the eye" only to those who keep their eyes wide shut.

    "Many people today don't want honest answers insofar as honest means unpleasant or disturbing, They want a soft answer that turneth away anxiety."
    - Louis Kronenberger, journalist, publisher & professor (1904 -1980)

  55. Steve El | | #55

    "the only one poking fingers is El Stevo"

    This whole discussion has been a fascinating study in the debate strategy Karl Rove brought to Washington, which can be summarized as "Claim as your own the best aspects of your opponent, and paint your opponent as the one who is guilty of your own failings".

  56. Steve El | | #56

    PS... I had an afterthought. Your most recent "I'm great" morale-authority story boils down to "If the murder victim doesn't mind, what's the big deal? The whining sissies should just get over it."

  57. Riversong | | #57

    his whole discussion has been a fascinating study in the debate strategy Karl Rove brought to Washington, which can be summarized as "Claim as your own the best aspects of your opponent, and paint your opponent as the one who is guilty of your own failings".

    Couldn't have been better said. You're excellent at wielding the Mighty Mirror, except in your own direction.

    The only problem with Rovian tactics is that, with a population constitutionally unable or unwilling to reflect on their own prejudices and misperceptions, it works to rouse the rabble into a Tea Party that raises the volume sufficiently to drown out sane discussion and tar and feather honest public servants.

    Steve El, however, unlike Rove (who, however misguided at least has a broader purpose) has no purpose on this GBA forum other than attempting to discredit what I have to share.

    This is the definition of a Troll - one who lurks simply to undermine rather than contribute.

  58. Steve El | | #58

    I am not undermining your work for two reasons.

    First, when you are sharing green info and letting people incorporate what they can into their lives I have zero desire to undermine that valuable work of yours. I find those posts refreshing because they really do ask the larger questions. Good for you.

    Second, when you do the same thing, except you TELL them to adopt your views or JUDGE the views previously expressed on an individual level I have no need to undermine your work because the undermining has already taken place, as an inherent natural consequence of the approach you have chosen to take.

    No, I have no desire to undermine the good work you do, and the crummy work you undermine all by yourself, as I keep saying.

  59. Riversong | | #59

    you TELL them to adopt your views or JUDGE the views previously expressed on an individual level I have no need to undermine your work because the undermining has already taken place, as an inherent natural consequence

    This statement, typical of what this relentless Troll has to offer, is so full of fallacies that it hardly bears acknowledging - except for the fact that those fallacies are easily missed by cursory reading.

    Fallacy of Fact:

    Never have I, nor would I, tell anyone how to live their lives (though I will persist in challenging unsustainable or unethical modes of behavior or lifestyle, including building methods and material choices).

    Fallacy of Language:

    Judgement is the primary and proper function of the mind. Another term, which is equally misconstrued, is discrimination - the ability to discriminate between what is good (serves life) and what is bad (undermines life). Because most people engage in poor judgement, clouded judgement, judgement co-opted by the dominant paradigm or judgement used as a weapon rather than as a tool, and because "discrimination" has been colored (pun intended) by the misuse of the mind's abilities, it has become "politically incorrect" to use our primary mental faculty of judgement or discrimination. However, without judgement and discrimination, there is no basis for ethics or a cultural understanding of the difference between right and wrong.

    Appropriate judgement, expressed clearly and unequivocally, is disturbing to those who fail to exercise their own faculty of judgement and discrimination, and so is misperceived or misunderstood as a personal attack – a perception that is nothing more than one's own reaction to the unaccustomed confrontation with logical and ethical judgement. Just as a child may feel punished when his/her parent states that such and such behavior is wrong, an immature adult will similarly feel attacked when an elder names his/her behavior or belief as wrong (i.e. not in the service of life). [Elder, by the way, is a term used both for those whose wisdom has grown with the years as well as – in the Quaker tradition – anyone who acknowledges and admonishes improper behavior on the part of another with the intention of the highest collective good.]

    Fallacy of Interpretation:

    Natural consequences are exactly what the term suggests – the consequences that the natural world provides as a necessary result of one's personal actions. For instance, if one goes hiking up a mountain on a day that starts sunny and mild but runs into cold rain or sleet at the higher elevations and becomes hypothermic – that's a natural consequence.

    This Troll, however, believes that his constant and unremitting barrage of fallacious responses and insubstantial challenges is some form of natural consequence. Apparently, he is sufficiently dissociated that he thinks he's a force of nature rather than merely a misguided man who fails to exhibit either intellectual rigor or intellectual honesty.

    And he's almost certainly deluding himself to think that he's the thorn in my side which he's trying his best to be rather than simply a constant example of the inappropriate use of mental faculties that nature has provided for the service of the common good.

  60. Riversong | | #60

    I am not undermining your work for two reasons.

    You are undermining nothing, but for one reason alone: you don't have the intellectual acumen or integrity to challenge what I have to share.

    you TELL them to adopt your views or JUDGE the views previously expressed on an individual level I have no need to undermine your work because the undermining has already taken place, as an inherent natural consequence

    This statement, typical of what this relentless Troll has to offer, is so full of fallacies that it hardly bears acknowledging - except for the fact that those fallacies are easily missed by cursory reading.

    Fallacy of Fact:

    Never have I, nor would I, tell anyone how to live their lives (though I will persist in challenging unsustainable or unethical modes of behavior or lifestyle, including building methods and material choices).

    Fallacy of Language:

    Judgement is the primary and proper function of the mind. Another term, which is equally misconstrued, is discrimination - the ability to discriminate between what is good (serves life) and what is bad (undermines life). Because most people engage in poor judgement, clouded judgement, judgement co-opted by the dominant paradigm or judgement used as a weapon rather than as a tool, and because "discrimination" has been colored (pun intended) by the misuse of the mind's abilities, it has become "politically incorrect" to use our primary mental faculty of judgement or discrimination. However, without judgement and discrimination, there is no basis for ethics or a cultural understanding of the difference between right and wrong.

    Appropriate judgement, expressed clearly and unequivocally, is disturbing to those who fail to exercise their own faculty of judgement and discrimination, and so is misperceived or misunderstood as a personal attack – a perception that is nothing more than one's own reaction to the unaccustomed confrontation with logical and ethical judgement. Just as a child may feel punished when his/her parent states that such and such behavior is wrong, an immature adult will similarly feel attacked when an elder names his/her behavior or belief as wrong (i.e. not in the service of life). [Elder, by the way, is a term used both for those whose wisdom has grown with the years as well as – in the Quaker tradition – anyone who acknowledges and admonishes improper behavior on the part of another with the intention of the highest collective good.]

    Fallacy of Interpretation:

    Natural consequences are exactly what the term suggests – the consequences that the natural world provides as a necessary result of one's personal actions. For instance, if one goes hiking up a mountain on a day that starts sunny and mild but runs into cold rain or sleet at the higher elevations and becomes hypothermic – that's a natural consequence.

    This Troll, however, believes that his constant and unremitting barrage of fallacious responses and insubstantial challenges is some form of natural consequence. Apparently, he is sufficiently dissociated that he thinks he's a force of nature rather than merely a misguided man who fails to exhibit either intellectual rigor or intellectual honesty.

    And he's almost certainly deluding himself to think that he's the thorn in my side which he's trying his best to be rather than simply a constant example of the inappropriate use of mental faculties that nature has provided for the service of the common good.

  61. Steve El | | #61

    I see you are unable to articulate my thesis. After all, you apparently think that I think my words are a natural consequence of your actions. So long as you believe that, you have no business judging my contribution to GBA in this thread because you don't understand my thesis. You can review my prior posts, where I articulated the natural consequences of your choices. My words are simply pointing some of them out.

  62. Riversong | | #62

    Steve,

    It is you who are unable to articulate any thesis whatsoever, and your motives have been transparent from the start, ever since you began the emotional outbursts on your insulation thread which were so out of bounds that they were removed by the moderator (yes, one of my dispassionate responses was also removed, not because it was out-of-bounds or emotionally laden but for the sake of "balance").

    What you don't understand is that you are doing nothing here but making yourself the pariah to this GBA forum which you previously perceived me to be. I would have been happy to let this thread drop to the bottom of the discussion list, since I made my points clearly, logically, and persuasively many posts ago.

    But your continued and unrelenting adolescent game-playing is keeping this thread at the top of the public page and almost certainly infuriating the moderators and many regular participants who, unlike you, contribute to substantive discussions of building methods and materials.

    If you actually had something constructive to contribute, you would be doing so on the myriad other threads in which I and so many others are participating. But a pathological preoccupation with a personal vendetta combined with insufficient knowledge, experience, expertise and desire to serve this forum drives you to waste everybody's time and patience by prolonging a discussion whose time has passed.

    Many posts ago you did the one thing that could save face: declare victory and withdraw. But your obsession forced you to engage in a "surge campaign" and escalate a one-sided battle you long ago lost in the vain hope that doing more of the same would accomplish what earlier attempts could not.

  63. Steve El | | #63

    I was unaware you were the spokesperson for defending the purity of discussion here at GBA, Robert. In post #1 above I thought you made it very clear the discussion should be free ranging. Your denials notwithstanding you do explicitly say that some people are not really green, and you do see yourself as the righteous authority whipping up the money changers, as you tried to whip me up. Not by providing info for my own judgments but by pushing your judgments on my life. My view is that trying to influence ecological decisions from that self obsessed morale high ground actually preserves the status quo. I am also unwilling to let you heap yourself with morale authorty with unsupported (and I believe incorrect) cites to real heroes or sexy soundbites like nonviolence. Go rip off those Energy Star labels and quietly write about ecology from your prison cell, and I will sing your praises. Meanwhile, I am unwilling to let you preach consensus and nonviolence and demanding that your voice to be heard and then have you slam me into silence.

    So tough. You have not rebutted any of my arguments on the merits, but instead try to change the subject, and toss out crass inflamatory characterizations, and make childish efforts to bait me.

    If you want the thread to fall off of the top charts, stop posting.

    If the moderators wish to delete the thread, that's fine with me. On the other hand, it might be handy to point back to this thread next time there is a green finger in anybody's eye, whether that finger be Roberts or someone else's. I will trust the moderators to decide what's best for the forum. Unless I am mistaken, Robert, you are not one of them.

    Steve El

  64. Riversong | | #64

    OK El, you win.

    You will clearly go to any extreme to sabotage an honest discussion of the deep philosophical issues.

    You are possessed by demons you apparently cannot control.

    This ends here.

  65. Steve El | | #65

    As far as I can see, there hasn't been any discussion. You've tried many gambits to justify getting in people's faces over the extent of green in their personal choices, and as fast as I shoot 'em down you launch another. The latest being being a vague reference either to my psychology or maybe occult demonology. If refusing to see consensus and nonviolence be used as a smokescreen for moralistic bullying means I'm possessed by demons, then I guess I'm proud to call demons my friend.

    Steve El

  66. Steve El | | #66

    This is to #14 from the very top.....
    "since I've been jailed for my actions, I fully understand what power over means."

    I've been waiting for the moment to share the following story, and since Robert has withdrawn I guess I will share it now.

    Some 20 years ago or so, I was fortunate to be able to attend a spring action at a federal facility in the Nevada desert. The nature of the facility is irrelevant to the point of my story so I will leave that out. The point is, there were many thousands of people there, and 3000 of us went over the fence along a two mile stretch of highway. What we attempted to do on the illegal side of the fence is also irrelevant to my story so I'll leave it out as well. The government had contracted with Wackenhut to provide security services, and since they were not law enforcement officers they couldn't place us under arrest. Instead, as they fanned out and rounded us up out there in the desert, they handcuffed us with nylon zip ties and transported us to chainlink holding pens near the facility entrance.

    The fence was very high, and plywood wall separate the men and womens side of the pen. There, we were held like cattle in the stockyard and busses hauled us a long (long) way off to where the county sheriffs were processing people in the airconditioned fairgrounds building.

    So the scene of my story is set.

    You might think that ANYONE who had been apprehended and placed in the pen understands how power over is distinct from power with. Stay tuned for Part 2...... (I'm out of time right now)

  67. steve el | | #67

    Part 2.

    Many of us had worn safety pins in our clothes which the troops hadn't found, and if you don't know, its possible to undo a ziptie with something like a safety pin. So in the holding pen, we all managed to get out of our handcuffs. We still couldn't see over to the women's side. On the mens' side, about half were wandering or sitting about in ones and twos, fairly dispirited and completely disconnected, while the other half were yelling at the guards and mobbing up against the bulging gates, threatening to break them down. The guards of course were deployed with shields and nightsticks and further cordon with weapons. No doubt several of the guards were hoping the lock would give so they'd have an excuse to knock heads around for real.

    Anyway, as a bus pulled up the guards pulled men out of the pen one by one to get on the bus. Why and how they picked me instead of one of the mob is besides the point. They did. I only tell about myself because it brings me to the point of the story. Looking back as I got on the bus I could see the women as well as the men. The women were holding a powerful council, in circle three or four rows deep, one standing at a time to speak. On the men's side I saw a mixture of dejected isolation and the very thing we were supposedly there to protest (underground nuclear bomb testing if you must know).

    It seems that all of us who grew up in the culture of "power over" can go to a rally and get arrested. Just because one was locked up doesn't mean one has any awareness of the power of "power with".

  68. Riversong | | #68

    Apologies to all for returning to keep this thread alive, but Steve El has just provided the perfect example of the outcome of a situation in which people who believe they are protesting the status quo and exemplifying a better way - just like most of what passes for "green" building - are really just acting out what they were programmed to do within the narrow confines of the dominant paradigm, unable to rise to a truly alternative way of being.

    It's not by accident that the women in Steve's nuclear protest group knew instinctively how to create council, have dialogue, treat one another with respect, and use a challenging experience to become more powerful. The men in Steve's group, on the other hand, were isolated, dispirited and angry - acting out the same kind of non-constructive human behavior that they thought they were protesting. Men in our culture, who are conditioned to be independent and "strong" are often much more poorly equipped than woman, who are acculturated to be interdependent and seek strength in relationship, to turn a disempowering experience into a powerful one.

    Clearly, Steve and his cohorts had either not been properly trained in non-violence and consensus or had failed to learn its lessons because their internal programs over-rode the higher way offered to them.

    In contrast, when 6,000 activists trained by me and others in nonviolent direct action and consensus decision-making converged at Seabrook NH in 1978 for what was to be the world's largest non-violent occupation (of the construction site of the Seabrook nuclear reactor), only to arrive to discover that I and the other organizers had at the last minute - due to extreme concerns expressed by the local supporters of the potential for state-instigated violence - made a deal with the NH Attorney General and the Public Service Company of NH (PSNH, the owner of the reactor) to turn the event into a legal rally and then vacate after three days.

    What we had negotiated, however, was to open the site to the public, have the PSNH pay for and provide drinking water and toilets for 12,000 people, guaranty no police harassment or arrests, and make the event into the world's largest alternative energy fair. In just three weeks, we organized speakers (including a young Amory Lovins), musicians (including Pete Seeger and Jackson Browne), organic food and juice booths, and many dozens of alternative energy demonstrations and informational displays. And, in addition to our 6,000 trained activists, we had at least another 6,000 members of the general public bring their families to learn about energy options and enjoy a wonderfully festive fair.

    In spite of the overwhelming success of the event, many of the 6,000 were upset that the core group had negotiated a last minute change for so many who were willing to risk arrest to make a point. But those 6,000 – unlike the men that Steve protested with – sat in their affinity group councils and sent "spokes" to concentric circles of larger councils, and were able to use their training in consensus to arrive at what must have been the world's largest scale experiment in collective decision-making. 6,000 men and women, many of them very angry at their own allies, put aside their egos and agreed to honor the negotiated settlement and leave the site peacefully at the end of the weekend, content that we had made our point in a much more powerful way than by going to jail.

    Another lesson in empowerment in the next post.

  69. Riversong | | #69

    In 1979, thousands protested the launching of the first Trident nuclear submarine (the world's most powerful killing machine) at Electric Boat in Groton CT. 214 of us sat down to block the "celebration" of the launch led by former astronaut and then Senator John Glenn. I had not even planned to be among those committing civil disobedience that day, but I felt invisible and powerful hands on my shoulders literally sitting me down on the sidewalk. Of those 214 who were processed by the police at the site, 13 of us refused - in an act of non-violent non-cooperation - to give our names and addresses and were consequently placed into a police bus and driven to court for arraignment. When we refused to walk into the courtroom, continuing our non-cooperation, the judge was forced to convene court in the bus in order to send us to jail, and we were then bussed more than an hour away to the sate prison in Hartford.

    One courageous woman went alone to the women's correctional facility, while the dozen of us men were processed into the Hartford Correctional Center. Among us were a Catholic priest from NYC, the Protestant Chaplain from U-Mass Amherst, a former nuclear engineer, the son of Daniel Ellsberg who was the editor of the Catholic Worker newspaper, my mentor Chuck Matthei who had been arrested more times than anyone I knew, and myself. We continued to refuse to cooperate with the epitome of a "power-over" system of "justice". We had to be dragged into the prison, had our clothes ripped from our bodies, and those who refused to put on prison garb were dragged naked through the dirty halls and literally thrown into the cells. When we refused to be deloused and take showers, we were put in wheelchairs and pushed into the shower room. Some of us were then put into a cellblock with other non-cooperators and I was placed into a cell with two Hispanic men who at first couldn't understand what I was doing there but then became quite supportive of both my act of conscience and my refusal to be controlled by the power structure.

    Unlike Steve's cohorts in Nevada, we maintained solidarity, spoke together in council when we were able, never let our spirits falter or be cowed by the dehumanization of the prison system, and refused to eat. Of the twelve men, six of us also refused to drink and for six days we maintained our non-cooperation with "power-over" unwilling to voluntarily give our innate power away to others or to the exigencies of the situation. On the sixth day, a doctor was brought into the prison to examine us and – in spite of a judge who threatened to bring us back to his courtroom every week until we relented – we were released onto the street where we immediately called a press conference with all the national media covering our story.

    In contrast to the Nevada test site example, in which activists acted out their baser instincts, we were able to rise to exemplify a higher way of being human and powerful in a dehumanizing and disempowering world.

    Similarly, "green" builders have an opportunity to act out a truly alternative example of how to live both powerfully and responsibly in a world gone mad with personal freedom, profiting from others and the earth, endless escalating consumption and unrelenting personal aggrandizement. But we cannot do that by painting the status quo with a little greenwash. It requires the seeming contradiction of becoming infinitely powerful by humbling ourselves to the level of a blade of (green) grass, as just one small part of a much more magnanimous and magnificent Web-of-Life.

  70. Jesse Thompson | | #70

    Just in case anyone wanders into this cage match looking for some positive big ideas, I'm going to post a link to one of my favorite thinkers, Alex Steffan, talking last year about the why and how of actually building a better world:

    http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/011665.html

  71. Riversong | | #71

    Thank you Jesse for contributing something substantive to this thread. It had been co-opted for ulterior and demonstrably un-green motives.

  72. Riversong | | #72

    Though I must say I do appreciate Steve El offering such perfect examples of what it looks like to espouse values which one does not fully comprehend and hence is unable to manifest in their own life. So, for that contribution to this topic I am grateful.

  73. Riversong | | #73

    I just finished watching the UK movie The Age of Stupid, which stars Pete Postlethwaite as a man living in the devastated future world of 2055, looking at old footage and asking why didn’t we stop climate change when we had the chance?

    I would recommend it as a cautionary tale of what the near future may look like unless we very quickly begin to use our intelligence for the purpose it was intended by a conscious and wise universe.

  74. Steve El | | #74

    I didn't think you'd be able to refrain, Robert, and I certainly agree there was next to no NV training prior to that action.

    Every action I've been around, there's always a debate whether to cooperate with arrest and prosecution. Some insist on noncompliance with the court system saying that by doing so they somehow continue to do good work. No one has shared with me a logically consistent argument in favor of that position. In practice, in my experience of the court non-cooperators suggests there are two more likely explanations and they are:

    1. The usual "state of heart" among courtroom non-cooperators is an attitude of "screw you copper, and you too judge, you despicable lapdog". Notable exceptions are the folks I know who after walking into the courtroom will not rise for the judge, saying they rise for the Lord but not for human authorities.

    2. While the lips might mumble about the good of courtroom noncooperation, the hearts thump with an unspoken assumption and hope that by making prosecutions really inconvenient there's an increased chance of just being let go after a few hours.

    In Attenborough's admittedly fictional account of Gandhi's life Gandhi walks with dignity into a courtroom, and simply says:

    "GANDHI: I have no defense, My Lord. I am guilty as charged. (Then testingly) And if you truly believe in the system of law you administer in my country, you must inflict on me the severest penalty possible."

    now THAT'S power-with

  75. Anonymous | | #75

    What's the word count up to on this 60's leftover hippies thread?!?

    I love all this drama!!!!!!!

    Steve.... you had em .... Robert Yaa need to learn a proper choke hold pal.

    A non mouse

  76. Riversong | | #76

    Clearly, Steve, you've been associating with small-minded, self-serving and spiritually narrow people who pretend, as you do, to understand non-violence and consensus. Most protesters and demonstrators and civil disobedients fall into that kind of conditioned behavior because they have neither the training nor the discipline nor the moral will to act better.

    I've known and demonstrated with hundreds of non-cooperators who acted out of the highest spiritual or ethical convictions, never harbored or allowed to be dominated by ill-feelings towards their adversaries, and never based their choices on what would best serve their own interests (such as early release), but always with the intention of refusing to cooperate with injustice - which is the heart and soul and the most powerful tool of non-violent direct action - regardless of the personal consequences.

    Complete non-cooperation requires the willingness to die for truth and justice, putting service to humanity or the world above personal comfort, security or even life itself. There is a long tradition, in this country and elsewhere, of such Tzadikim (or good souls).

    In the Hebrew mystical tradition from which I come, there is a belief in the Tzadikim Nistarim (hidden righteous ones) or Lamed Vav Tzadikim (36 righteous ones), who justify to God the worth of the human race and prevent our annihilation at His hands. These are the unknown and unnoticed souls who act in service to the highest good. If, in fact, there are at any time 36 such souls alive in the world, then I've had the blessing of knowing many of them, including some of the founders of the Peacemakers (the first militant secular pacifist group in the US whose central practice was refusal to pay war taxes), and some of the principles of the Catholic Worker movement and the Plowshares movement.

    Demanding the most severe sentence is a form of political theater that a soul like Gandhi can get away with because of his worldwide fame and following, knowing that the judge wouldn't dare to inflict such a sentence. That is not "power-with" but Gandhi using his position of influence in a power-over tactic, knowing that it was he who was in control of the outcome. Gandhi was a master of political theater as much as he was a Satyagrahi (truth warrior).

    In the vast number of cases of non-cooperation there is no intention of controlling or manipulating the power structure, but rather the simple refusal to cooperate with a system (such as the police and courts and prisons) whose function is to protect and defend the status quo against those who would challenge it. Demanding that the court do its job is a form of acknowledgement that such a function is legitimate. Few Satyagrahis would accept that position. Paradoxically (and most truths are paradoxical), the willingness to personally suffer for a higher cause often frees the practitioner from suffering, for even when one's body is imprisoned one's mind and soul remains always free.

    This soulful approach to life does not change power-over to power-with, but eliminates the power dynamic entirely, trusting that the real power resides in the Universe (or God or whatever you choose to name it) and we serve best when we relinquish all power. "The meek shall inherit the earth" was not mere metaphor. "He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it." Matthew 10:39.

    The most important spiritual truth of life, and one that few Americans (or other moderns) will ever comprehend, is that real freedom comes only in surrender to a higher consciousness.

  77. Steve El | | #77

    For that act of political theater, he was in fact sentenced to six years, and for a guy that believed it to be theater an amazing percentage of his vast writings are about filling the jails. Hind Swaraj (my favorite) is online. Probably his autobiography too.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    At a certain federal facility on the same day I watched (A) a nun go over the fence and kneel down to pray and (B) a group of Greenpeacers lock themselves together with kryptonite bike locks across the facility access road.

    The nun walked off with the officer when "caught", and was polite and cooperative with her trial (except for the part about standing for the judge). A repeat offender, she was eventually sentenced to several years - three if I remember correctly - in the federal penitentiary.

    The Greenpeacers used as much muscle as possible to try to maintain their bonds, resulting in the application of various levels of physical violence by the officers to break them apart, and then the Greenpeacers went limp to be dragged off, which resulted in at least one officer injuring himself somehow (low back I would guess). None were prosecuted.

    And the award for nonviolent wisdom goes to which team?

    IMO, Team A did more to transform hearts longterm whereas Team B was mainly a chance for some people to act out their need to rebel and the more they did so, the happier the cops became because they had more and more justification (from their rule book) to beat up liberals. Well ok, I suppose the guy with the bad back wasn't that happy. But the rest got a chance to get physical.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++

    "we serve best when we relinquish all power"

    If you believe that to be true, please tell me again how you justify the role you have selected for yourself regarding "green".... you may recall in a prior post you drew a parallel between what you do and the power trip of the wrathful Christ when he whipped up the money changers in the temple?

    Closing, I'd just to like to repeat that I like your ecological views, just not the self righteous judgmental vinegar dressing with which you've tossed them.

    Steve El

  78. Riversong | | #78

    So Gandhi had a goal of filling up the jails and he forced the judge, by the power of his reputation, logic and persuasion (he was a barrister, after all), to help Gandhi succeed in his strategy. Ipso facto, Gandhi manipulated the judge into giving him exactly what he wanted. That's a classic example of power over - cleverly forcing an adversary to create the outcome you desire without the overt use of force and while maintaining an appearance of respect and respectability.

    In the same way, the Freedom Riders and southern lunch counter sitters were, by their quiet presence, forcing the local yahoos to get violent so as to bring national attention to their cause and discredit their adversaries. This is the righteous and strategically-clever use of force, which some call Truth Force, but is none-the-less a form of power-over.

    Gandhi and other practitioners of non-violence don't abjure the use of force, but it is used for a higher and non-selfish purpose. This is the essence of Satyagraha, or Truth Force. Others might call it allowing oneself to be a channel for the Universal Field of Consciousness.

    As for your partially cooperating nun, I'm sure she had a positive effect on others, particularly because she chose not to upset her adversaries by making them feel the natural consequences of their own complicity with injustice (as the one policeman did who injured his back). But she probably did little to upset the status quo, for the most profound acts of non-violence typically upset the participating adversaries but bring a much broader awareness, if not grudging respect, to the cause for which the practitioners chose to act.

    A more profound example of the power of non-violence than the complicity of your nun, however, was offered by the Catholic priest who went to jail with me in CT in 1979. He wore his Roman collar and black garb during the action and into jail, but refused to take them off to exchange for prison clothes. So the head Correctional Officer, unwilling to do the dirty work himself, ordered a "trustee" (a prisoner who has cowtowed to authority enough to earn special privileges and responsibilities) to take off the priestly garments. The poor man tried but, as if a force field was present, could not get his hands to move any closer than a foot from the priest's collar. So an angry CO had to do it for him. If that priest had pleasantly cooperated, like your nun, then the power of Truth Force would never have been revealed to this inmate or to the CO.

    As to my alleged "role" : As one who long ago surrendered to the spirits of the Universe to do their bidding, I have not selected my role but merely accepted my responsibility to act out the role I've been given in this life. It's available to anyone with an open heart to also discover the role that they've been assigned to perform, but it requires a surrendering of the ego and any desire for personal fulfillment and "going to the mountain" to wait in silence until your role is revealed.

    This is the purpose of the cross-cultural ritual of Vision Quest (or Hero's Journey), and it is a process which I've both undertaken and guided other adults and adolescents through. It is the most important ritual of one's life and the one least understood or undertaken by modern culture, which is a large part of the reason we are so spiritually lost and narcissistic.

    If your interpretations weren't so colored by your preconceived (and erroneous) conclusions - which is the definition of prejudice, by the way - it would have been obvious that I was not putting myself at the same level as Jehoshua of Nazareth (his name was never Jesus), since an analogy merely serves to compare one element of two distinct things or phenomena. On the other hand, one of the lessons that Jehoshua came to teach was that we are all sons and daughters of God, each of us holy and capable of miracles (which were common in his day), and each of us capable of the same surrender to a higher purpose and the same clear and righteous judgement against injustice and for the weak and oppressed.

    Similarly, Dorothy Day, the founder of the Catholic Worker and lifelong practitioner of both the works of mercy and non-violent civil disobedience (including to the Church which she loved), would get angry only when someone called her a saint. She was furious at this dismissal since she needed people to understand that every one of us was capable of the same personal sacrifice and personal magnanimity and righteousness which she exemplified. Every one of us was Dorothy Day, just as every one of us is Jehoshua.

    But small minds and starved spirits see a righteous soul, like Dorothy or Jehoshua and see only self-righteousness (as the Scribes and Pharisees certainly did) because they cannot even imagine that anyone might serve selflessly in a world that idolizes personal aggrandizement, and to acknowledge such a person is to cast judgement on one's own life and purpose. So, instead of learning and following, such people crucify the saints and the righteous ones.

    I am glad to carry my cross in order to serve the Universe, but don't imagine that you have the power to nail me to it.

  79. steve El | | #79

    a SHORT and thought provoking comparison between power-with and power-over,

    also known as permaculture vs breaker-culture:

    http://ourpla.net/cgi/pikie?AssumptionsOfPowerWithCulture

  80. Riversong | | #80

    That discussion is about "Assumptions of Power Within Culture". And I think it is fair to say that both sides of the dichotomy are "assumptions" and that they limit themselves to understandings of power within human culture. The author also states his opinion that neither type of power is bad and that they both operate simultaneously.

    However, this limited perspective doesn't even consider, let along explore, the real power of a Universe which created itself and its inherent principles (what some, including the American founding fathers, would call Natural Law) that have established and maintained the inevitability of Life with its inalienable dynamic but sometimes harsh harmony.

    The author also confuses Daniel Quinn's remarkable insight that, while Taker culture insists that ITS WAY is the one right way to live, Leaver culture understands that there is a right way to live but only by surrendering to Natural Law (or to God, as deists would understand it).

    There is a Universal right and wrong (absolute is a term of relativistic culture), which can be clearly perceived by anyone who has surrendered to Natural Law, and right living is simply aligning oneself to The Force (as Luke Skywalker had to learn). Nature and Universal Law is the only real force and the most powerful and inescapable (the basis for "natural consequences"). The Universe doesn't abjure force or judge it, but merely uses it for the sake of Life. Those who do the same are the Truth Warriors and are not afraid to wield their swords in defense of Life (even if New Agers and the "politically correct" are uncomfortable when a sword is unsheathed).

  81. steve El | | #81

    Sure is interesting that I know so much about your credentials, seeing as how you are selflessly serving and the rest of us just idolize personal aggrandizement.

  82. Riversong | | #82

    How about sharing your life story, Steve, so we know who you really are?

    I have nothing to hide and have always been both honest and transparent, but I'm not at all sure that Steve El is even your real name. What are you afraid to reveal?

  83. steve El | | #83

    PS So about that sword wielding thing.....

    I didn't think you really believed that earlier bit about serving best when relinquishing power. You've now struck out on what I call the "house of mirrors" form of debate, a blinding mish mash of inherently contradictory statements.

    =================

    There was this retired nun at a convenant. I forget the order, but they were plain-clothing nuns, and the convenant just looked like a normal house. As the story goes, when the folks from the other religions came by with their literature, this retired nun would answer the door, appearing to be just an elderly woman. She'd be all interested in their shtick and take all their literature and keep them in the kitchen talking as long as she could. When they left, she'd burn their stuff. The idea was that this way she'd keep them busy.

    But I must run now.

    I hope you look a bit deeper into Gandhi, Robert. I think there's a lot more there for you.

    Pax, and before you come after the green splinter in my eye, please get the self aggrandizing board out of your own

  84. Steve El | | #84

    PPPS I should revisit that stuff too. "We teach best what me most need to learn" goes for everybody, me included

  85. Riversong | | #85

    And, by the way, I have no "credentials" nor do I need them. There are no letters after my name and no need to have some one or some "authority" sanction my thoughts or my deeds. I am exactly who I am, and that is defined by the life I've led.

    When Native Americans were asked their name, they would tell the story of their life and the tribe and the history which informed it, for that is who they were. Indigenous peoples would say that the Vision you are given on a Quest has no power until you give it back to your people. That is what initiated people do, once their gifts and purpose has been revealed.

    And even the humble Quakers insist it's a sin to "hide your light under a bushel [basket]", for false modesty serves no one and denies the world your gifts. Gifts are not something we've earned but the strengths we have been given - and the purpose of gifts is to give them forward, to use them to serve Life.

    And that exemplar of non-violence and selflessness, Nelson Mandela, during his presidential inauguration speech, quoted spiritual luminary Marianne Williamson:

    Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
    Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
    It is our light, not our darkness
    That most frightens us.

    We ask ourselves
    Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
    Actually, who are you not to be?
    You are a child of God.

    Your playing small
    Does not serve the world.
    There's nothing enlightened about shrinking
    So that other people won't feel insecure around you.

    We are all meant to shine,
    As children do.
    We were born to make manifest
    The glory of God that is within us.

    It's not just in some of us;
    It's in everyone.

    And as we let our own light shine,
    We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
    As we're liberated from our own fear,
    Our presence automatically liberates others.

  86. Anonymous | | #86

    Robert... a place you are not ready to surrender to yet... you are still earnestly on a path of learning all that one can and then spreading this great "wisdom." The day yet to come for you is truly a day where you finally see and do, surrender and then seek to forget everything you thought you knew.This universe cares not that you exist Robert. And certainly has no need whatsoever for you to learn all or even how to take a bath once a week. You can be an arrogant dinglepus or a great help on this site. Any you that you care to be just doesn't matter. If humans die off.... so! We all die, and the dead feel not. Jesus was an interesting character.... who is now dead. Your next. Me too. But I think Martin may be cloned and live forever running a direct mind link gba.
    A non mouse

  87. Riversong | | #87

    So about that sword wielding thing.....I didn't think you really believed that earlier bit about serving best when relinquishing power.

    If you don't yet understand this simple truth, after having explained it so clearly and in so many ways, there's probably little chance that you ever will (until, that is, you choose to take the blinders off your eyes).

    The Sword of Power, of course, is the power of the Universe that comes through us once we relinquish vain personal power (which is entirely illusory, but is the fuel for the silly games you play here in order to entertain your vanity). So there is not only no contradiction, but this is a logically necessary conclusion once the veil of ignorance is lifted.

    Luke Skywalker learned great skill, but the only power he could wield for good was the power of the Force, which was wielded through him once he surrendered to being a servant (or warrior) of the Universe.

  88. Riversong | | #88

    reformatted:

    So about that sword wielding thing.....I didn't think you really believed that earlier bit about serving best when relinquishing power.

    If you don't yet understand this simple truth, after having explained it so clearly and in so many ways, there's probably little chance that you ever will (until, that is, you choose to take the blinders off your eyes).

    The Sword of Power, of course, is the power of the Universe that comes through us once we relinquish vain personal power (which is entirely illusory, but is the fuel for the silly games you play here in order to entertain your vanity). So there is not only no contradiction, but this is a logically necessary conclusion once the veil of ignorance is lifted.

    Luke Skywalker learned great skill, but the only power he could wield for good was the power of the Force, which was wielded through him once he surrendered to being a servant (or warrior) of the Universe.

  89. Riversong | | #89

    All Anony Mouses will be ignored. Nobody who fails to exhibit the courage of their convictions, by standing by their words, can or will be taken seriously.

    It was only a few generations ago, that a man was measured by whether he "stood by his word".

  90. Steve El | | #90

    It's the "god made me do it" defense. Rev Phelps uses that one also.

  91. Riversong | | #91

    Some aspire to be wise before they die. Some merely to remain wise guys and die having wasted life. How sad for humanity that some would squander their talents rather than use them for the benefit of the whole. And how odd that someone would leave a permanent digital record of their infantile narcissism.

  92. Steve El | | #92

    or their delusions of heavenly grandeur

  93. Riversong | | #93

    If you, Steve, would wake up and wise up enough to realize that you, too, are God then you would stop acting so devilish.

    As Swami Beyondanama wisely states: It's time we stop being children of God and start being adults of God. The Universe can no longer tolerate humanity's arrested development.

  94. Steve El | | #94

    The delusion of heavenly grandeur just got bigger. Now it includes the Horsehead Nebula and globular clusters.

  95. John Brooks | | #95

    GBA is a very open forum and it is rarely moderated or censored.
    There is a very simple rule that is often overlooked by members(myself included)
    "the usual rules of courtesy apply"
    I think it is possible to question and challenge each other without insulting.

    The sad truth is that many people do not post here because they fear the verbal abuse.

    I have sort of gotten used to it and have learned to be Not-So-Nice.

    What is wrong with Courtesy?

    I will also challenge Martin Holladay to be a little more courteous.

    I remember the very first post I ever made (FHB Breaktime).
    The first response was from Martin and he was Not-So-Nice.
    I remember feeling Not-So-Good.

    I think that I have learned a lot from the forums.... including bad behaviour.

  96. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #96

    John,
    My belated apologies, John. My memory is not so good as yours, unfortunately. I'm not sure what I wrote, but I'm sorry if I gave offense.

  97. A non mouse | | #97

    It's fun to have Robert spill his entire life's brain activity in one thread about me me me... Keep going Robert for a few hundred more twenty paragraph posts... yaa haven't covered making clothes from weeds, building an internet from an organic garden, more details on the end times coming in 2012...

    One very curious question; Do the chosen ones have lint in there belly buttons like Mr. Non Mouse?
    A Non Mouse

    note: this post is all in fun!! We all love Robert. Someday he will accept that, know that, and learn to laugh with us at him, and as we do about ourselves.... Green Building is serious business.... well... not every pickin minute is!!!! LOL

  98. Steve El | | #98

    "I think it is possible to question and challenge each other without insulting."

    I quite agree. Unfortunately it requires one to accept that that they themselves choose what they say, accept that they alone are responsible for what they say, and reject the notion that they are merely a conduit for the sword of their god's truth. If one instead believes the latter, they are capable of anything. God made them do it. How dare a moderator to use the delete key on god's words.

    This morning I've been pondering how much Robert is what he claims to hate. I refer to the justification used for allowing our economic paradigm to mess with nature's carrying capacity for our society. The moral authority for that model (capitalism) is partly based on one interpretation of the story of Noah. You know, "go forth, multiply, subdue the earth..." In other words, if our economic policies destory carrying capacity for our society, we can look back and say "We were still right. God made us do it."

  99. Riversong | | #99

    If Steve had any real understanding of GOD (good old divinity, or the divine essence of the Universe, or the Force, or the Quantum Field, or the Zero Point, or the Spirit-in-all-Things, or the Creator and Sustainer), he couldn't possible make such statements.

    God, or the Conscious Universe, is not a Deus ex Machina who benignly or mercilessly intervenes in our lives, controls what we do or what we say. God is not a wise old man on a heavenly throne, or an all-powerful Tyrant throwing lightning bolts down at the sinful. These are all juvenile visions of a felt-power that can be experienced but not understood. "The Tao that can be spoken is not the Tao." "Knowing the Tao is not a matter of knowledge but of experience."

    So when Steve speaks of "your god", he's speaking from that self-limited and juvenile mind that can perceive the Divine only in terms of culturally-propagated images (or idols). There is no "my god", "his god", "their god" that are yet more reasons to differentiate and fight each other over who is right. As I've repeated many times here, honest dialog is never about "who is right" but only about "what is right".

    And the Truth of the Universe is not a proprietary product - it is available to anyone who is willing to let go of preconceptions and juvenile notions and simply open their eyes, ears, mind and heart to the Field that surrounds us at every moment. This is the "voice of the whirlwind" (actual translation from the Hebrew text - not the often mistranslated "voice from within the whirlwind") that Job heard when he achieved enlightenment after his prolonged suffering. This is the voice of the four winds that every Vision Quester hears when they surrender to the force of the Mountain and open themselves up to receive what is waiting for them to hear.

    Our bodies are composed of the same atoms that were created in the Big Bang - we are vessels of the Universe, and our spirits are facets of the Universal Spirit. We are literally spirit enfleshed in earth, and are nodes of the greater Web-of-Life. Collectively, we are God - but woefully unaware because we suffer under the false belief that our being ends at the boundary of our skin. So we act as if we are separate, independent, selfish and egotistical creatures which can do nothing but combat each other - which is nothing more than a way to distract ourselves from the Truth of who we are and the Truth of what the Universe is. We live in a perpetual state of denial because we are addicted to our individualism and our personal freedom. We worship this false idol of personal freedom, and Americans are the most corrupt of humanity because we worship this idol with a greater frenzy and ferocity than any others. And we will destroy creation for the sake of it.

    There is really only one "solution" to the myriad converging irremediable and catastrophic crises that we have wrought upon the Earth - and that is to accept that we are GOD and to start acting like it. In other words, we are as ancient as the Universe, and we need to start acting our age.

  100. Steve El | | #100

    "There is no my god, his god, their god"

    Go try to teach nonviolence in the Gaza Strip for a year and then let's talk

  101. the universe | | #101

    Could someone please change my 8 billion year old diapers?

    I may be developing a rash...

  102. Riversong | | #102

    Yes, Universe, that "rash" is caused by the refusal of the human species to stop spewing its waste (which includes effluent, affluence, and other pollutions as well as wasted lives and wasted intelligence) every where it goes.

    We awakened ones apologize for that but, try as we might to show the Way, there seems to be a culturally-conditioned stubborn refusal on the part of the teeming masses (particularly the ones who think of themselves as "clever" and "progressive" and "green") to grow up and assume responsibility for their choices and actions and lifestyles.

    So, if your diagnosis is that Humanity is but a cancer on the Earth (which it seems determined to be), we fully understand that radical interventions may be necessary to correct this species-specific imbalance and we welcome the treatment. Be aware, however, that our universal insurance policy won't cover these kinds of extreme chemotherapy and radiation treatments since they are "elective" interventions necessitated only by our own self-imposed stupidity.

    Oh well. Some great ones have tried to teach us about karma, but we thought it was an SUV (species underperformance vehicle) and that the Golden Rule meant that "he who has the gold rules". But, yes, we know that "ignorance of Universal Law is no excuse". So please impose the harshest sentence that the Law allows.

  103. Riversong | | #103

    To Steve, who seems to believe that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is about whose God is right:

    That 62-year-old conflict has nothing at all to do with religion, and certainly not about which God is the true God. Perhaps Steve doesn't know that the Jews, the Muslims and the Christians all believe in the same God, though interpreted through some different prophets (while sharing many of them and some holy texts).

    That some extremist Jews are using religion to justify the theft and occupation of another people's land and the continued oppression of the natives (just as early Americans used manifest destiny and the Christianization of the world to rationalize the occupation and theft of Native American territory and the wholesale extermination or conversion and assimilation of those people) does not make this a religious struggle.

    With UN sanction (in part to assist a "final solution" to getting the Jews out of Europe), Zionists (who are secular nationalists, by the way) seized by force a land occupied for thousands of years by indigenous people, using a well-orchestrated strategy of ethic cleansing to drive out the natives and destroy their homes, and then created a system of oppression and second-class citizenship much like the former South Africa, eventually moving the natives into Bantustans and behind separation walls in what Nelson Mandela described as worse than Apartheid.

    The goal from the beginning was to re-create a "greater Israel" comprised of all the lands they had allegedly occupied in biblical times, even through strong evidence published in scientific journals indicates that the Palestinians are likely the descendants of the ancient Hebrews while the Eastern European Zionist Jews are almost certainly converts with no historical claim to anything, including Judaism.

    Just as in South Africa, the Israel-Palestinian conflict is based on extreme racism, with the cloak of religion to sanctify it. "Goyim [non-Jews] were born only to serve us. Without that, they have no place in the world; only to serve the People of Israel," said Rabbi Ovadia Yosef in a sermon in Israel on October 16. Rabbi Yosef is the former Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel and the founder and spiritual leader of the Shas Party, one of the three major components of the current Israeli government. "Why are gentiles needed?" he continued. "They will work, they will plow, they will reap. We will sit like an effendi [master] and eat," he said to some laughter. This statement was covered by no mainstream US media (while the mis-quoted statement of Ahmadinejad about "Israel being wiped from the pages of time" has been published ad nauseum).

    And apparently Steve isn't aware that there are long-standing non-violent activists on both sides of the Israel-Palestinian wall, some of whom work in concert. We don't have to go teach them what they know and do far better than almost any American activist. All we need to do is stop subsidizing the longest-standing act of racist ethnocide in the modern world. Each of us can do that by refusing to pay tribute to Caesar so that he can make the world safe for the petroleum industry which provides the feedstock (soaked in blood) for much of the "green" building movement.

    Oh, and that "go forth and multiply" thing? That was supposedly told to Adam and Eve (Genesis 1:22), not Noah. Noah was told to build a boat to save all the earth's species from total calamity, which is exactly what is needed today. Arks. Lifeboat communities. Not beer cooler castles.

  104. A non mouse | | #104

    beer cooler castles! i may have to run out and copywrite that phrase and register a web page!

    beercoolercastles.com
    owner builder & brewmaster
    a non mouse

  105. A non mouse but alas I am a God | | #105

    Robert, brother God type... you and I are settting out to redo the universe....

    I am the supportive delegater type God and am happy to let you outline our action plan;

    our Godly goal is to reset Earth's humans in say three days... floods and volcanos ok.... no locust this time... not really that effective last time.

    Go to it brother Robert;

    1-
    2-
    3-
    I am thinking we should stick to the decimal system... and have 10 steps in the outline... after all though no one follows the ten commandments we sent down... they sure are well known and come into play daily at the pearly gates! LOL (gotta love LOL why didn't we send down texting eons ago?)
    4-
    5-
    6-
    7-
    8-
    9-
    10-

    finito... my part anyway... gonna drop in at that new beercoolercastles.com headquarters and have me a look see... and maybe sneak a brew from one of the lesser humans whenst not looking. LOL

  106. Lucas Durand | | #106

    Ah, this non mouse can only be AJ Builder. Your quasi-schizophrenic "prose" is unmistakable.

  107. Lucas Durand | | #107

    Ah, this non mouse can only be AJ Builder. Your quasi-schizophrenic "prose" is unmistakable.

  108. Anonymous | | #108

    To be nonviolent you have to be willing to die for truth right?

    In another thread, you did claim to have a business designing homes, and live in a cabin with cfl lighting and high speed internet, right?

    Since you have that business, I assume you are an excellent builder and therefore make a reasonable income, right?

    That means if you report according to IRS rules, you owe federal income tax dollars, right?

    You did preach that "Each of us can do that by refusing to pay tribute to Caesar", right?

    A house is far less important that one's life, right?

    Since you're willing to die for truth certainly you're willing to lose your home for truth, right?

    So that means you don't pay the military portion of your tax dollar and we will eventually see your place auctioned by the IRS on this website, right? http://www.ustreas.gov/auctions/irs/cat_Real7.htm

    Wow. I'm impressed. Not many people have such courage. Good for you. I'd have been VERY disappointed if you turned out to be just another moralistic huckster.

    PS See Genesis Chapter 9

  109. Anonymous | | #109

    BTW, it was an awesome article at
    http://www.vtcommons.org/journal/2005/09/robert-riversong-tax-resistance-american-tradition

    But do you DO it? And if you do it by simply not reporting (which is not a crime) will you pay up if you get caught? Or if you lie on the form (which IS a crime) are you ready to do the time?

  110. Riversong | | #110

    I don't normally respond to anything posted anonymously by cowards, fools and imbeciles...

    But some points raised by God-mouse (aka AJ) are worth clarifying for other readers.

    1) To be non-violent only means to refrain from violence, and for some that might also mean refraining from paying others to engage in violence, such as through income taxes. But to be a non-violent activist, or Truth Warrior (Satyagrahi), requires the willingness and the courage to absorb rather than inflict violence, even to the point of losing one's life for the sake of a noble truth.

    2) I've never claimed to have a business. In fact, I've made a point of saying that I am not a businessman but a tradesman, or one who trades my skill and expertise and time for something of equal value (whether money or potatoes) and charge no markup and make no profit (since profit is a form of un-earned income or theft). As a tradesman who takes only in equal measure to what I give, I don't earn anything resembling a conventional income (though I would consider it a "reasonable" income), and in fact what I earn used to be not considered "income" at all since – as an equal trade – it doesn't increase my wealth. Since I began working in 1969, my average annual earned income has been less than $8,000 (though in the last ten years it's been almost $14,000)

    3) Many legal experts and former IRS agents state unequivocally that there is no law requiring the filing of tax forms, and wages (by the standards of the founders) are not taxable income – only profits, interest and dividends (capital gains) are taxable as income. So I haven't filed tax forms for more than 30 years, and there is no legitimate federal claim on my wages. And certainly, since Thomas Jefferson said that "the rights of conscience are inalienable", there can be no legal claim that would force anyone to pay for that which violates their conscience, such as illegal imperial wars of aggression.

    4) I have always been willing to accept the consequences of my choices and my deeds, have been jailed multiple times for acts of conscience and have always been willing to lose any or all of my physical property. But I also have no interest in giving any material aid or comfort to the taxation-military-industrial-corporate-government-prison-intelligence-terrorism complex, so I don't own a home (not that I could afford one) or land. I own a truck and a lot of tools. At times in the past, I've titled my vehicle to a partner or kept my money out of the bank to make it more difficult to seize. At one time, the IRS had a blanket lien on everything I owned, but never proceeded further.

    5) The IRS used to seize the cars and homes of war-tax resistors, but gave it up. The homes of two of my close friends, who also were war-tax resistors, were seized by the IRS in 1989 and one of them was auctioned a couple of years later after one unsuccessful attempt (blocked by creative counter-organizing). They realized it was a foolish mistake, since the seizure and auction of Randy Kehler's house in Colrain MA instigated an 18-month long 24/7 occupation of the home and then the land (which belonged to a community land trust and had a lease which could not legally be transferred without permission). This occupation, with a changing of the guard every week, brought activists and supporters from all over the country, including the monks and nuns of the Peace Pagoda, Daniel Berrigan, Daniel Ellsberg and many other great souls. And it brought more free national publicity to the war-tax resistance movement than we could have ever afforded to buy.

    The first auction was an embarrassing failure that cost the IRS much more money than they could ever recover, and the second auction brought only a single bid – for the minimum amount of $5400. Not only was this a very costly fiasco for the IRS, including the cost of six federal marshals to arrest Randy Kehler and jail him for six months, but it expanded awareness of the war-tax resistance movement more than years of grass-roots organizing had been able to do.

    For those interested in the rest of this inspiring story, get a copy of the documentary An Act of Conscience, by my friend Robbie Leppzer (http://www.turningtide.com/aoc.htm). I have a cameo appearance in the video, since I was often there and brought my young son to participate and witness this historic occurrence.

  111. Riversong | | #111

    I should add some details to fill out the war-tax resistance story and to connect the dots to an earlier sharing...

    I began protesting the military/industrial complex as part of the National Moratorium Against the War in 1969 (when I was teargassed in DC), and in 1970 I was on network news leading an illegal march in Detroit after the Kent State shootings on my Triumph motorcycle. I volunteered as a peace monitor for that year's march on DC as well.

    I tried to register as a conscientious objector, but had no history or records or testimony to support that, so instead I considered expatriating to Canada. I was not draftable until my 21st birthday in 1973, the last year of the draft lottery, and they came within six numbers of mine to reach the annual quota of bodies to waste in jungle warfare against a people who had never been conquered and had done nothing to us (like the Iraqis and Afghanis) . All I knew was that I was not going to give my body for an illegal and immoral war (as every US war since WWII has been - there have been 70).

    So, when I got arrested in 1979 for blocking the celebration of the launching of the first Trident nuclear submarine, I passed a note out the prison bus and asked someone to mail it to the IRS. I knew at that moment that, if I couldn't give my body, mind or soul to war, neither could I give my hard-earned money. So, from that day forward, I refused to pay war taxes. And that meant paying nothing at all to the IRS, since 50% of anything they get goes to war.

    In 1980, when good ole boy Jimmy Carter reinstated draft registration, I helped organize three NH groups: a chapter of the Committee Against Registration and the Draft (CARD) to organize protests, a draft-counseling group with old Quakers and former combat veterans, and a draft resistance network. As the lead organizer for the latter, I held a press conference on the steps of the Federal Building in Concord NH and, along with five others, signed a billboard-sized statement that read "We, the undersigned, do hereby commit to encourage, aid and abet draft refusers." That was the language of the law which made us felons for helping young men and women refuse to register for the next war. Perhaps our efforts paid off, since the military draft has never been used again. I also burned my draft card in front of the national TV network cameras.

    And, to this day, while I do nothing to encourage the IRS to come looking for me, neither do I refrain from speaking publicly, including on the WWW, about living by the dictates of conscience and how incredibly liberating it is. The government's power over its citizens is based on fear. Once one stops fearing the powers-that-be, they have no control over you and you are truly free.

    I did a lot of organizing in NH and always appreciated the state motto on their license plates: Live Free or Die. It's a good rule to live by. In fact, it's the rule that all green creatures live by.

  112. A non mouse but alas I am a God | | #112

    lucas... how do you feel now... chin up a bit? maybe jutting out even a little... a slight smile crept over you... as you cursered over to the...... post button... and .... let go with abandon.

    Amazing post... for a desciple ... yaa follow the grand universe's plan.. to the tee my fellow godly brother.

    welcome to the club
    a non mouse

    oh... who is this cool aj builder guy... heard he is tall, handsome... clever... one hell of a builder... why I even heard he holds doors for the ladies... shakes hands with politicians... drinks IPAs at bon fires..
    Rumors maybe... must all be true though... don't yaa think?

  113. ROY HARMON | | #113

    If the mind fuel spent on this so called "green blog" could be harnessed somehow, a sort of state could easily be powered. Hope the emissions don't burn their own hole through our ozone.
    Back to work

  114. Steve El | | #114

    Believe it or not, I am learning a great deal about myself primarily by observing my own reactions to the discussion.

    Robert, if you wouldn't mind sharing some more of your life, do you have kids and if so, did they live with you while growing up?

  115. Riversong | | #115

    Mental energy is infinite and can never be depleted or contribute to entropy. However, the way most people use their mental energy leaves a trail of pollution behind.

    What we need to learn to tap into, however, is Zero-Point or Vacuum energy, which is the baseline energy of the Universal Field and the basis for Quantum Theory.

    It is estimated that Zero-Point energy is 110 orders of magnitude greater than the radiant energy at the center of the sun. Harold E. Puthoff, a quantum physicist at the Institute for Advanced Studies at Austin, Texas states there's enough such energy in a coffee-cup sized space to evaporate all Earth's oceans.

    I get nearly that much energy from a coffee cup full of coffee.

  116. Riversong | | #116

    Steve,

    I asked you more than once to tell us your story, your "credentials" (as you put it) for the expertise and knowledge you claim to have and that is the basis for your unremitting barrage of challenges to my experience, expertise, knowledge and wisdom. And share your real name so we can all be on the same footing.

    When you're ready to be open, honest and transparent, then you will have the standing to ask about my life.

  117. a non mouse & a fellow god | | #117

    I was born in a nice litter of fellow godly mice.... growing up we used to tease the resident house cat named tigger. Well that's the start of my story.... more as Steve is pryed open by my fellow god.....
    A non mouse

  118. Steve El | | #118

    It was only a question how children may have fit in your tale of war tax resistance, nothing more. My guess is there were no children and no parental support responsibilities, and so you could have no home of your own and live with whatever friends invite you to camp out. I do not mean that as an insult, I did that very thing myself for several years. (I did not hide from IRS.... I reported accurately by their rules and just sent 1/3 of the check to the local foodbank). But then I fell in love and we wanted very much to raise kids. The desire for children poses challenging questions for war tax resistance, and I was hoping you'd share your insights from that part of your life too.

    If and how we raise our kids is part of what it means to be green isn't it? But I realize it is personal and I certainly respect your privacy if you don't want to go there.

    Steve El

  119. Anonymous | | #119

    I am one of those flies on the wall, the lurker, the hidden, the "coward". The only thing I have to contribute to this is an analogy from a different aspect of life, but something I think is relevant to the discussion.
    It has to do with weight and diabetes, and the process of reversing the situation.

    I was overweight and developed diabetes. A lot of factors contributed, but primarily weight was paramount. To counter my blood sugar quantities I had to adapt a whole new view on what, how and when I ate. Then I had to implement that new found knowledge in a way that was "not too intense" lest I undergo dramatic weight loss. This is the key. The human body works on three different metabolic clocks (think Mayan Calendar), a short cycle, medium cycle and long cycle (or long count). It is necessary for the clocks to be in synch for the effects to be "long lasting and permanent". This is one reason why "bash you over the head- quickie " diets don't work. The gaol was for no more than 1 lb to 1.5lb per week of weight loss.
    The short and medium count metabolic clocks have to "reset" the long term clock in order for the body to recognize the new paradigm. The short clock must first reset the medium clock.
    The short clock works for up to 90 days. The body looks at energy input (food) and asks the question whether this is a longer trend and natural or if it is starvation. The two evoke diametrically opposite results. Based on the short count, the body sets into the medium clock which looks at trends approaching 6 months. if it sees variation from one 90 day cycle to another, it shuts down and reverts to the short count clock. This is why all those 3 month diets don't work for the majority of people.
    If the medium clock sees little variation from one six month cycle to the next, then it establishes that there is a new paradigm for the body's metabolic processes. Now the body firmly sees the change as "permanent" or well learned and establishes a new metabolic rate for the body.
    I have now lost about 40 lbs since symptoms first showed up. But more importantly, I do not rely on insulin and my A1c (long term glucohemaglobin number ) is in the normal range consistently.
    What this has done on the secondary and tertiary levels has been to change the way my family and friends look at and use food. Most importantly, my kids.

    So in conclusion, I think this relates directly to how we look at and implement the knowledge we re-aquire regarding living in balance with the natural world around us. The human body is like a mini ecosystem/earth. It reacts and changes dramatically to abuses incurred, but requires extended diligence to reverse negative results of those abuses.
    Bashing people over the heads with "greenie" knowledge, no matter how "truthful" it may be will convert to a lasting, meaningful change in the "body" of our ecosystem. It took us a while to get into this predicament, it will take a while to get out in a meaningful way.

    Signed;
    Anonymous for now ;-)

  120. Riversong | | #120

    I don't normally respond to anonymous posts and particularly anonymous challenges, which are like someone throwing darts from the shadows so that they cannot be held responsible for what they do or say.

    I thought this thread had "gone to sleep" and I certainly don't know anything about the three metabolic clocks you claim for the human body.

    But you miss the most essential point, which makes your analogy meaningless. If your body was facing immanent annihilation because its habitual diet was suddenly no longer available, it would adapt to an entirely new diet instantly - or it would die.

    The human body and the human spirit are far more adaptable than any of our theories would suggest. People suddenly taken out of their normal lives and thrown into dungeons or concentration camps full of unimaginable horrors are able to adapt and survive and even to grow into a new level of understanding of life. They are able to perform hard physical labor on a starvation diet and to keep their spirits up on a diet utterly devoid of spiritual sustenance.

    The fact on the ground that humanity is now facing is a convergence of geological, climatic, evolutionary, cultural, social, political, and economic crises that has never occurred in the history of the known Universe - and its a web of crises of our own making, caused by an utterly failed and unsustainable paradigm.

    We are on the verge of extinction as a species, and about to take a large part of the web-of-life down with us. We do not have the luxury to "take a while to get out in a meaningful way". And the only reason you - and some others here - continue to perceive my prophetic warnings as "bashing people over the head" is because you are so comfortable in the unquestioned current paradigm, it is so unthinkable that we need to jump ship and either sink or swim (if we haven't prepared some lifeboats), it is so unimaginable that we're really headed for a cliff, that a shout of "there's a fire in this theater and we need to leave NOW" sounds like an imposition on the generalized complacency and willful ignorance.

    When there's a wolf at the door with blood dripping from its fangs, "crying wolf" is the appropriate, rational and compassionate thing to do.

  121. Steve El | | #121

    For the record, ecologically speaking I agree with Robert's prophetic warnings.

    One place we disagree is that I don't think many residents of Krakow profoundly changed their lives when people warned of the rise of fascism. From where I sit, people found it within themselves to survive Auschwitz only once they were plunged into that horror. EXPERIENCE is the best teacher..... as a tool of change, prophecy ranks pretty low on the list.

  122. Riversong | | #122

    It was only a question how children may have fit in your tale of war tax resistance, nothing more. My guess is there were no children and no parental support responsibilities...

    The desire for children poses challenging questions for war tax resistance, and I was hoping you'd share your insights from that part of your life too.

    If and how we raise our kids is part of what it means to be green isn't it?

    And I stopped responding to Steve El, who had been dominating this thread for his own purposes and steadfastly refusing to reveal his own credentials, life story or even his real name. But he touched on some important questions for others who are contemplating a deeper form of resistance to the status quo, and it's even possible that the tone of this last of his posts was more honest and respectful than had been his modus operandi up until then.

    It's quite true that life becomes orders of magnitude more complicated when one decides to have children and raise them within a world of expectations that are neither necessary for their own welfare and maturation or beneficial for the world at large. I once called a "Clearance Committee" (a Quaker council) to help a war-tax resisting couple resolve their differences over their responsibility to their growing children. They decided to divorce and he (the active resister) would move out but stay in the same neighborhood so she wouldn't lose the house and their kids wouldn't lose a parent.

    That man, by the way, was willing to lose his Dentistry license (he was a third generation dentist) rather than support the state's attempts at garnishing his Medicaid reimbursements (many of his patients were poor) to send to the IRS. In spite of harassment by undercover agents, he continued practicing dentistry for 21 years without a license until his mid 70s.

    Another close friend who had his hand-built house seized by the IRS, decided to move out and transfer it to his long-time partner and her handicapped child so they wouldn't lose their home.

    Randy Kehler and Betsy Corner, whose community land trust farmhouse across the street was also seized by the IRS and then auctioned to the lowest (and only) bidder, and whose house became the focus of a 24/7 occupation and protest for 18 months, brought people from all over the nation and world, and became the subject of an excellent documentary, "An Act of Conscience", also struggled with the impact of their resistance on their 11-year-old daughter. They had to move a number of times during the four years it took to resolve the ownership of their beloved home, and they ended up building a new house on part of their old leasehold, deeding it to their mother and their child so it could not be seized again and their daughter would have a secure three-generation home to finish her childhood.

    But Randy Kehler had a long history of standing firm to his conscience. He was one of the few Vietnam war resisters to take his case all the way to the Supreme Court (and then spent 22 months in a federal pen). While he was appealing his case, he gave many public talks about his willingness to be imprisoned for the sake of conscience. At one of those talks another Harvard alum was so moved that he went into the men's room and fell to his knees in tears, knowing that he could no longer resist the voice of his own conscience. That man was Daniel Ellsberg, a Pentagon hawk, who decided then to release what came to be known as the Pentagon Papers, which sparked the turning of the pubic against the war. It is true that one man's act of conscience can change history. And this is a lesson that each of us must take to heart when we ask "But what can one man (or woman) do?"

    I knew very early in my life that I did not want to have children. This was both because I knew that I would likely lead a lifestyle that would make it difficult to raise a family, but even more because I felt it was morally irresponsible to bring children into a world that was so dreadfully overpopulated with humanity, that was so terribly inequitable, that used young men as fodder for illegal wars, and that was destroying the very life support systems which had carried us for billions of years.

    So it's an interesting question whether being truly green (in the sense of contributing to a sustainable world) allows the choice of bringing more children into an overcrowded world. To my mind, being authentically green means doing what is best for the whole rather than what we might desire for ourselves. I honestly believe that most people choose to have children either for consciously selfish reasons or simply because of social or family expectations. I'm sure that for many women there is an innate biological imperative toward mothering. For men, I believe it's far more a cerebral choice.

    In indigenous societies, when the land no longer provided enough sustenance for the tribe, pregnancies were herbally terminated and, in some cultures, the elderly determined that it was their time to die in order for others to live. There is a biological and cultural imperative to limit population for the good of the whole. With animals, nature takes charge of this. With humans, it was a conscious choice to limit births rather than invite starvation. But, in modern culture, private decisions are made for wholly selfish reasons, without regard for the common good. This is unsustainable if not unethical.

    However, in spite of my decision not to breed, the Universe conspired to give me a son, who is now a 30-year-old computer and electronic engineer and an avid outdoorsman. Though it was never easy, I supported my son in every important way a father should, including the one thing that almost no parent gives to their children anymore: a ceremonial, ritual-based rite-of-passage into adulthood. I shared with him my love for the outdoors and taught him to program computers when he was 12. Those gifts became his career and his vocation. But I also brought him to the protests at the Kehler/Corner home and many other such events so that he could learn the importance of resisting the status quo when it does not serve the highest good. I knew that the greatest gift I could give my son was to live with integrity according to a well-informed moral conscience, as it is also the greatest gift I (or anyone) can offer the world.

  123. Riversong | | #123

    EXPERIENCE is the best teacher

    There is an old proverb that "Experience is a poor teacher. It gives you the test first and the lessons later." Of course, experience MAY offer lessons if we survive the experience or take the opportunity to deeply reflect upon it. But dreadfully few actually learn from what they experience unless those experiences are profound, traumatic, or near-death. And those that don't survive the experience or learn from it cannot pass on the lessons to the next seven generations.

    That is why every human society has inculcated teachings into their young so that the same mistakes don't have to be repeated and the lessons can precede and inform experience. And the centrality of story-telling in all stable societies is a form of universal teaching that extends from cradle to grave, because adults need to be regularly reminded of essential truths and occasionally reprimanded for going astray.

    "More and more people are beginning to feel that there must be another way of thinking, perceiving, and acting. And perhaps the beginning of another way of looking at the world is to re-evaluate all of our beliefs. It is, after all, our beliefs that determine what we are, experience, and expect. When we are willing to take a new look at our own beliefs, we then have an opportunity to begin rediscovering who and what we are and to re-determine our true purpose on Earth." - Gerald Jampolsky & Diane Cirincione

    The deeper truth is that our beliefs both limit and determine our experiences, and hence the field of available lessons to be learned. When we are stuck in a limiting and self-destructive belief system, we often need to be shocked out of it. This is like the Zen master who waits until his disciples are deep in thought and then strikes them on the back of the head with a stick in order to jar them out of their habitual thought patterns and into a new way of seeing, believing and experiencing the world. It is what Native American elders call Thunder Teaching.

  124. Steve El | | #124

    If one with a leader self-image refuses to be disagreed with there is something fundamentally dogmatic going on. Go too far to the left, Robert, and you become the right.

  125. Riversong | | #125

    1) I am not a leader in any band. I walk my own path. You walk yours. Some paths, as Don Juan noted, have heart - some do not.

    2) I welcome intelligent and substantiated arguments. You apparently cannot tolerate your arguments being proven fallacious or too narrow to be useful.

    3) I can not "refuse to be disagreed with", since I have no control over what others think. You're free to disagree with me. Everyone has a right to be wrong.

    4) I am neither "left" nor "right". I follow no "ism", have no "dogma". I simply seek the truth where ever it may lead.

  126. Steve El | | #126

    Dogmatic people generally say things like that, and then try to clobber you when you're not looking, if only with words. You're very good at it.

  127. Riversong | | #127

    Steve,

    If you have nothing intelligent to say, it would be more intelligent if you didn't say it.

  128. Anonymous | | #129

    Steve hasn't dominated this thread, you have Mr. Riversong.
    Another few quick examples;
    If a person has been starving, feeding that person a banquet will not only NOT save them, it will kill them more quickly.
    The same goes for a severely dehydrated human being. You cannot just give them copious amounts of water right off the bat, it must be gradual. In all likelihood the kidneys have started to shut down and cannot process the increased toxins now in the bloodstream. This will kill that person just as surely as if he/she was left to die of thirst.
    When people were "liberated" from the concentration camps, they had to be processed, this was to ensure that they were reintroduced to the needed food gradually. But of course you "must" have been there and know all there is to know about that. My father LIVED it, I doubt you can say the same.
    I remain anonymous because I discussed medical information I do not want associated with my name publicly. It was an analogy, but I guess that is lost on you because you already know all there is to know, and of course, have all the PhD's to prove it.

    Steve, thank you for that link to a very interesting article ;-)

    Signed,
    Anonymous at the pillary

  129. Riversong | | #130

    "Anonymous at the pillory",

    If you're at the pillory, it's because you've pilloried yourself but choose to cast blame somewhere else. And, unlike the conventional pillory, which is intended to make the face visible to all who pass by, you have inserted yourself backwards so that no one can know your identity.

    You offered an analogy. I explained how it was a poor and inappropriate analogy. You got upset that I didn't accept your contribution as either valid or pertinent to this discussion. So you respond with wild accusations and absurd statements as well as further elaboration of your inappropriate and off-topic analogies.

    Steve hasn't dominated this thread, you have Mr. Riversong.

    Perhaps you hadn't noticed that this is my thread, my topic, my discussion and my contribution to the dearth of deep green analysis on this forum. It can hardly be said that the original poster has "dominated" his own thread, since that person has both the right and (I would say) the obligation to respond to each contribution.

    I was hoping for a deep discussion with broad participation, but the simple statistical truth is that Steve El, upset that I repeatedly challenged him on his own first thread, came to dominate this thread (41 posts of the 71 that were not mine, which is not far behind my 58 responses) for the sole purpose of trying to annoy me or to catch me in a contradiction or failure of either fact, knowledge or logic (which he has been unable to do).

    And your defensive reply is built upon a complete distortion of the facts, such as your sarcastic assertion that I "already know all there is to know, and of course, have all the PhD's to prove it."

    I have no degrees beyond an Associate in Liberal Arts (with honors) at a community college (though I have attended classes at Harvard, Stanford, U Michigan, Amherst College and elsewhere), and the depth and breadth of my knowledge comes from a lifetime of study and seeking and an unwavering commitment to knowledge and truth (my major was Philosophy and Religion).

    Unlike most, I know what I know and I know the limits of my knowledge. In fact, I was quite explicit that "I certainly don't know anything about the three metabolic clocks you claim for the human body." I don't tread into territory where I am blind.

    Which is more than can be said for self-defined nemesis Steve El, who posts a link to a story which perfectly exemplifies his own situation: "his stupidity protected him from an awareness of his own stupidity" (quote from the article, not my words).

  130. Steve El | | #131

    Robert said, "I was hoping for a deep discussion with broad participation. * * * [T]he original poster ... has both the right and (I would say) the obligation to respond to each contribution."

    If you hope people will come to your birthday party it is generally ineffective to jab each guest in the eye at the door, and irrational to hope for more eager guests to show up.

    BTW.... demagoguery is not soluble in lemon juice.

  131. Riversong | | #132

    I don't have birthday parties because it's narcissistic to celebrate one's self, and my life since childhood has been in service to the greater good (I never liked being celebrated).

    But when I engage in discussion of vitally important topics, I expect those who show up to be mature enough to handle legitimate critique without resorting to defensiveness, ad hominem attacks, or diversionary tactics.

    What concerns me most about humanity's prospects for turning itself away from a paradigm of selfishness, consumption and destruction and towards a sustainable paradigm is, as the Schumacher quote I opened with plainly states, that we are far too clever and woefully lacking in essential wisdom.

    We are a culture in its adolescence, and composed of people who seem determined to remain childish when the times and the circumstances demand a level of both wisdom and maturity of which we have not yet proved capable.

  132. Steve El | | #133

    Robert said:

    "But when I engage in discussion of vitally important topics, I expect those who show up to be mature enough to handle legitimate critique without resorting to defensiveness, ad hominem attacks, or diversionary tactics."

    If you expect that of others, you should model that behavior, but I point to this and some of our other exchanges as evidence that you do the opposite. The subject you wished to discuss is what it will take to build a green society and you demand a free wheeling discussion about that. OK fine. Integrity is one thing that will be required to build a green society. It is my opinion that when I have made (in your words) "legitimate critique" of your commentary, you have replied with (in your words) "defensiveness, ad hominem attacks, or diversionary tactics". I also recall in another thread you denied having any particular anger about these issues. It is my opinion your posts are in fact rife with passive aggression. I could easily be wrong about all of this. Have you ever admitted to being wrong in these pages, or even the possibility that you might be wrong? I must have missed it.

    Anyway, I believe that the single most essential ingredient to creating that steady state and sustainable economy we both wish to see is integrity, and since you are fond of pointing out where you believe others fall short, it is my opinion that with your words I quoted above, you are the pot calling the kettle black.

    Green also requires the ability to let go. Is it possible we can agree to disagree?

  133. Riversong | | #135

    If anyone would like to have a constructive, mature and substantive discussion of the topic of this thread I'd welcome that.

  134. Steve El | | #136

    OK, see post #13 from the top.

  135. Riversong | | #137

    Is it possible we can agree to disagree?

    But that is not what you have been after. You want me to acknowledge - if even tacitly - the validity of your demonstrably fallacious and invalid arguments and positions (each of which I rationally, logically, and factually contradicted). That I will not do – I can not do. Integrity requires, above all, a dedication to truth and the exposing of falsehood - even if it means being vulnerable to attack by those who cannot tolerate having their beliefs and perceptions and opinions challenged.

    And, even though you stated that you could "let this go" because you perceived it as a "pissing match", you continue to demonstrate that your primary raison d'être at GBA is to undermine rather than promote, to attack rather than support, to seek your own advantage rather than seek truth. Until I made a point of the fact that you posted only (and constantly) on my thread and contributed nothing to the broader GBA community, you were doing precisely that. Your motives couldn't have been more transparent.

    As I've stated many times in many ways on this forum and elsewhere, the fundamental reason that our culture is headed toward a cliff is this very focus on ego over ecology. We are a culture that idolizes personal freedom - at the cost of community, ecology, and the intricate balance that is required to maintain the dance of life. We serve ourselves first and the broader community of life – if at all – only with our excess rather than our essence. Why is it that the vast majority of youthful idealists grow into conservative mainstream middle-class people? It's the path of least resistance.

    We believe that everyone has a "right" to an opinion, however fallacious or harmful; and, rather than confronting illegitimate and demonstrably incorrect opinions, beliefs and paradigms, we should simply "agree to disagree" and allow the status quo to continue toward oblivion.

    Opinion:
    1) a belief or judgment that rests on grounds insufficient to produce complete certainty
    2) a personal view, attitude, or appraisal

    Because we have created a primarily personal sphere of life and a consequent ethical relativism which considers all certainty as dogma or demagoguery, we have closed ourselves off from even the possibility of realizing the truth of the Universe – the truth that every simple hunter-gatherer understood instinctively. So we content ourselves with myriad, irreconcilable opinions, based on shaky and shifting ground. And we demand a "right" to them. From whence comes this alleged "right" except from the Church of Ego, from the sandbox mentality of "It's mine and I want it"?

    The goal of everyone truly committed to a sustainable world should be to discover WHAT is right, rather than fight over WHO is right. The world does not exist to serve US. We are here to serve the world. And, in order to realize how best to do that, we must have an unwavering commitment to the search for truth, however much it discomforts our personal opinions.

  136. Riversong | | #138

    For those confused about the context for my last post, by the time I finished constructing it the moderator deleted the previous post by Steve El to which I was responding.

    Unless posts are vulgar or completely off the wall, I believe they should remain as a permanent record of the thoughts of the participants.

  137. Riversong | | #139

    Ignore the last post. Others have been deleted, but not the one I was just referring to.

  138. Steve El | | #140

    I would be satisfied if you would join with me in acknowledging that the other person's view could be completely right, and our own view could be completely wrong, and that most likely the truth lies somewhere in the middle. That would work for me. Just say the word and we can move on. Is that so hard?

  139. Steve El | | #141

    BTW, in his autobiography and Hind Swaraj, Gandhi states that the ability to admit his own view might be completely wrong and his opponents might be completely right and that only God can say for certain.... that is the fundamental underpinning of Gandhian nonviolence. You say you have been teaching about this for 30 years and hanging out with Quaker elders, so this shouldn't be too difficult to do.

  140. Riversong | | #142

    Steve,

    Gandhi is neither my guru nor my exemplar. He taught some valuable lessons which he was not able to fully embrace in his own life. He was, by all accounts, severe if not brutal to his wife and children. His eldest son converted to Islam in an attempt to break away from his father and became an alcoholic from the stress.

    All the world's ethical and religious teachings are based on the premise that there is a fundamental distinction between right and wrong. Science is based on the premise that there is a truth to discover. The attempt to reach an acceptable middle ground is the function of politics, and that middle ground is always mediocre.

    Your relentless attempt to force me to acknowledge mediocrity as acceptable is a perfect example of what you rail against: power over.

    It should have been clear to you a long time ago that you will find no satisfaction here. I have no obligation to, or interest in, mediocrity.

  141. Riversong | | #143

    I am asking Martin once again to remove this entire thread. It is my thread and I have that right.

  142. Steve El | | #144

    I hope the post is NOT deleted for two reasons.

    First, if this thread is deleted, it will no doubt be rehashed all over again in some innocent thread about some innocent building technology.

    Second, Robert asked for a free-wheeling discussion of what it means to be green. I have been answering his call from my understanding of what green means. Robert simply does not like the result.

    Steve El

  143. Riversong | | #145

    I am asking Martin once again to remove this entire thread. It is my thread and I have that right.

    This post will be repeated ad infinitum until Martin honors my request.

  144. Riversong | | #146

    I am asking Martin once again to remove this entire thread. It is my thread and I have that right.

    This post will be repeated ad infinitum until Martin honors my request.

  145. Steve El | | #147

    A while back we were talking about Satyagraha. Use of that term sort of implies that we are talking about the GANDHIAN verison of nonviolence, because it was Gandhi who coined the term to describe his approach to the issue.

    Some years ago, I spent several years intentionally being poor so as to avoid military spending. During that time of my life, I worked in the nonprofit sector for agencies predicated on Gandhian philosophy. Please don't get me wrong... I do not pretend to have made a commitment to Gandhian nonviolence but I do believe that after studying and experimenting with it for four years I have something to say about that subject.

    In one of the prior posts, Robert describes his view of it this way:

    "But to be a non-violent activist, or Truth Warrior (Satyagrahi), requires the willingness and the courage to absorb rather than inflict violence, even to the point of losing one's life for the sake of a noble truth."

    In my opinion this statement is equally true of "passive resistance" as Gandhi used that term also. The two are polar opposites of each other. To be a Satyagraha means embracing that we can NOT know the truth, but should always seek it anyway, and that means fervently loving our opponents and going out of our way to help our opponents NOT be harmed. And that includes trying hard to give our opponent no reason to do violence themself. The key focal point is that since our opponent is also a child of that truth, we should be willing to absorb suffering and should try to relieve any and all suffering on the part of our opponent.

    Passive resistance, on the other hand, is simply not punching the other guy's lights out even though part of you .... perhaps buried way down inside and out of sight ..... would really like to do that. Passive resistance is what folks do when they don't really have any other way to just force their view on the world. In contract, nonviolence (the satyagraha type) seeks to lovingly win your opponent over as a brother or sister by transforming their hearts and minds.

    So I disagree with Roberts characterization that you just don't strike back and take whatever whipping the powers that be care to dish out while spitting in their eye. That's passive resistance, not satyagraha.

    BTW, I can lecture about all this because I really need to learn it myself. I found that I personally have far too much anger in my own personal life to be a very good satyagrahi. Is that a shortcoming? Absolutely. Am I proud that I know this about myself. You bet. Do I also have issues with ego and pride. Indeed. Satyagraha is first and foremost an inner path. I keep stubbing my toe on the first few steps. Maybe if I'm lucky I'll be able to start working on taking the second step before I die.

    Anyway, I just wanted to say that I keep running into groups and actions where people are saying they are doing something "nonviolently", and hardly anyone in the west can really describe what that means when pressed, so I thought I'd share what I got from the four years I spent intensely thinking about this stuff .

  146. Riversong | | #148

    I also have issues with ego and pride

    No Sh*t!

    You might add "hubris" since you adamantly believe that your "studying and experimenting with it [Gandhian nonviolence, to which you admit not being committed] for four years" gives you a deeper understanding than one who has spent 30 years studying it from many different sources (remember Gandhi learned it from Tolstoy and Thoreau) and living it with commitment.

    Gandhi used various terms and various approaches to civil struggle, including ahimsa (which he borrowed from Buddhism and Jainism), satyagraha (or truth force - standing firmly upon one's ideals), civil disobedience and non-cooperation (which often brought violent retaliation), and non resistance or passive or peaceful resistance.

    But even his commitment to these ideals was varied and complex. In a June 1918 leaflet entitled "Appeal for Enlistment", Gandhi wrote "To bring about such a state of things we should have the ability to defend ourselves, that is, the ability to bear arms and to use them...If we want to learn the use of arms with the greatest possible despatch, it is our duty to enlist ourselves in the army."

    And, as noted earlier, Gandhi was unable to be faithful to ahimsa in his personal life, as is true with most of us.

  147. Steve El | | #149

    Yes, the fact that Gandhi had human shortcomings in living his own philosophy is indeed something that keeps me at peace with myself, and is a well spring of courage to keep thinking about the hidden violence of passive resistance as opposed to the joyful and compassionate love of nonviolence. To me he is most inspiring in that he was still trying to figure that out in his own life, right to the end.

  148. Riversong | | #150

    Quotes from Gandhi:

    "Passive resistance is a method of securing rights by personal suffering; it is the reverse of resistance by arms."

    "I claim...that the method of passive resistance...is the clearest and safest, because, if the cause is not true, it is the resisters and they alone who suffer."

    "Jesus Christ, Daniel and Socrates represented the purest form of passive resistance or soul force."

    And, finally:

    "Nonviolence succeeds only when we have a real living faith in God."

  149. Riversong | | #151

    Quote from the wise:

    "Before one speaks, one should be certain of their subject".

  150. Steve El | | #152

    About that last quote..... I quite agree.

    It is at the foundation of the Gandhian concept of satyagraha or nonviolence. If you read more, he continues to say that he equates "God" with "Truth", that every single opponent you will ever face is also a child of that same Truth, and that you yourself can never be 100% absolutely positive that you are 100% right and your opponent is 100% wrong, and for that reason, since your opponent is an equal child of that Truth, you must only engage them with love, in an effort to win over their heart and mind, and accepting suffering only on your own self, and with the humble knowledge that your position, despite a willing to die for conviction, could nonetheless be dead wrong. That's Gandhian satygraha. What you and I have been doing, Robert, is the hidden violence of passive resistance. If you cherry pick his early writings you will miss the distinction he came to draw later in his life.

    Steve El

  151. Steve El | | #153

    Ooops.... we cross posted. My prior post (page 4 post 2) was about for NV to succeed you have to have faith in God.... and Gandhian satyagraha goes from there to behaving in a way that implies admission your opponent might be more right than yourself. I'm not saying I do it, but that's the philosophy.

  152. Riversong | | #154

    You claim to quote the gospel of Gandhi (though it's clear you have little comprehension of his writings - confusing passive resistance with passive aggression) even though you admit to having no commitment to his teachings, and then you try to impost this "gospel" on me by judging me by it (that's power over, by the way) even though I have clearly stated that Gandhi is not my guru but merely one of myriad teachers.

    If the passive resistance of Jesus is what you interpret as "hidden violence" then I am happy to be associated with it.

    And you're quite right that what you've been doing here is passive aggression, though often not very passive at all.

    What I've been doing is confronting the hypocrisy and illegitimacy of the moneylenders in the temple (and the intellectual miscreants on the forum). If you choose to call that a form of aggression, I think you'll find yourself on the wrong side of history, religion and philosophy.

  153. John Brooks | | #155

    (page 4 post 2)

    Steve,
    I don't think there is a reliable way to reference posts by number
    most of us see post numbers that are always changing as new posts are added

  154. Steve El | | #156

    I showed this thread to my wife the other day. John, she laughed at Roy's comment, and Mr. Evil's zip it. Green needs more humor.

  155. Riversong | | #157

    Humor is wonderful, unless it's used as a weapon. The same is true of dialog and disputation.

    What Green needs more than anything else is integrity.

    Now that you've admitted your passive aggression on this thread, perhaps you'll escalate your honesty and admit that your overbearing presence here was inspired by personal pique and motivated by a desire for vengeance - because both those facts have been equally transparent.

  156. Steve El | | #158

    I agree green needs integrity, so I'm having difficulty reconciling your last post with an earlier comment where you said:

    "But when I engage in discussion of vitally important topics, I expect those who show up to be mature enough to handle legitimate critique without resorting to defensiveness, ad hominem attacks, or diversionary tactics."

  157. Steve El | | #159

    Whatever means I have used in my posts, I have never waivered from my purpose in this thread. See prior posts.

  158. Riversong | | #160

    I have never waivered from my purpose in this thread

    Exactly as I stated.

  159. Steve El | | #161

    This post calls to mind Roy's early comment about powering a city with brain power, and buring the ozone. Turn those lights up! We've got the juice to squander below......

    We seem to agree that Gandhi had good things to say about what is green, the subject of this thread.

    Part of the problem understanding Gandhi is early on, the man called his methods "passive resistance". Robert quotes several statements from Gandhi during those earlier days. However, Gandhi later realized that this was ambiguous and confusing, since passive resistance can also refer to defiantly being victimized, completely powerless to do anything but gnash your teeth wishing for half a chance to smash the other guy, but knowing you don't , so just taking your beating with a powerless hatred in your heart.

    Pardon me for going on, but I wanted to illustrate the problem.

    So, eventually Gandhi coined the term "satyagraha" to distinguish his philosophy, and since Robert brought up that word I assume we're both talking about Gandhian nonviolence not some other kind.

    That brings us to the "My Gandhi is bigger than your Gandhi" trap. I'm not interested in that battle, but I feel compelled to voice a different interpretation of Gandhi's work for third parties who may wander by and will hopefully spend a bit of time on their own quest for Gandhi. For the launch point, it is my opinion the core philosophy is captured in the easy to read "Hind Swaraj" (written when Gandhi still used "passive resistance"). The book is online many places including here:

    http://www.mkgandhi.org/swarajya/coverpage.htm

    Of that work, others have said:

    "[I]n its ecological wisdom alone, and in its profound sense that there must be limits to human consumption, wants, and addiction to technological solutions, it remains an enduring and endearing work. Hind Swaraj is _THE_ indispensable work in the Gandhian canon." (emphasis added)

    http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/southasia/History/Gandhi/hind_swar_gandhi.html

    But that's just an opinion held by many, including Gandhi more or less, and your mileage may vary. Since the core of Gandhian philosophy is admitting one's opinions may be 100% wrong, after ratifying the book late in life Gandhi then humorously adds "The reader may balance against this the opinion of a dear friend * * * that it was the production of a fool." [M. K. Gandhi, Segaon, July 14th, 1938]

    So if you go off in search of Gandhi take caution!

    The man wrote so much that is possible to find some quote somewhere to support any position. If you approach it with a predetermined desired outcome you might as well quit now, because the essential Gandhi is a man who was always absolutely certain that he did not know the Truth, but was determined to keep trying to discover it. Even the subtitle of his autobiography reads "The Story of my Experiments with Truth". He is very candid that he tried many things and was often wrong and later had to correct his views.

    So here is where we get into the truly tricky stuff.

    1909 Hind Swaraj was published

    1918-ish Gandhi recruits combatants for the British in WWI

    1938 Gandhi ratifies his 1909 "Hind Swaraj" as still accurate

    The recruitment episode and various stray quotes are often cited by people for the proposition that Gandhian nonviolence is selective. This school of thought argues that Gandhi didn't mean nonviolence all the time, in every circumstance, with no wiggle-room, no matter the who what when why.... Rather, these thinkers argue that Gandhi actually meant that violence is ok when (___________). Unfortunately Gandhi did not leave these thinkers with a checklist of criteria. As a result, these thinkers have to fill in that blank with their own inferences, often based on very short and spinnable excerpts drawn from the ocean of writings by and about Gandhi. This school of thought also tends to ignore that one person can articulate a beautiful ideal and then exhibit human failings and confusion in trying to live it.

    Gandhi was aware of the problem that his writings were inconsistent, may even have run into the "My Gandhi is bigger than your Gandhi" problem during his lifetime. He addressed the issue in 1938:

    "[I]n my search after Truth I have discarded many ideas and learnt many new things... [W]hen anybody finds any inconsistency between any two writings of mine, if he has still faith in my sanity, [they] would do well to choose the later of the two on the same subject."
    Harijan, 29-4-'33, P. 2

    Hind Swaraj holds the essential Gandhi, because after all his experiments and failures and efforts, in 1938 Gandhi still thought Hind Swaraj was captured the essence of nonviolence.

    "[A]fter the stormy thirty years through which I have since passed, I have seen nothing to make me alter the views expounded in it." [M. K. Gandhi, Segaon, July 14th, 1938]

    Quotes from Hind Swaraj relevant here:

    "Passive resistance [later renamed "satyagraha" pr nonviolence] is a method of securing rights by personal suffering, it is the reverse of resistance by arms. When I refuse to do a thing that is repugnant to my conscience, I use soul-force. * * * It involves sacrifice of self. * * * Moreover, if this kind of force is used in a cause that is unjust only the person using, it suffers, he does not make others suffer for his mistakes. Men have before now done many things which were subsequently found to have been wrong. No man can claim that he is absolutely in the right or that particular thing is wrong because he thinks so * * * "

    Green = Truth = power-with = Gandhian nonviolence (though I'm not so sure I agree about the chastity part....)

    A superb essay on applying Gandhi to modern political conflict: http://users.polisci.wisc.edu/avramenko/Methods/Godrej_Gandhi.pdf

    And in closing this little monologue, here's another green statement by Gandhi about nonviolence:

    "The claim to infallibility would thus always be a most dangerous claim to make."

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    In your own quest, may you come closer to the Truth than I.
    Steve El

  160. Steve El | | #162

    All that Gandhi stuff?

    Its all related to my opening post in this thread, about

    green = Power With = green

    I just noticed the link I posted above power-over vs power-with is dead, so you might try this one, if you want to see how Power-With tracks with the my Gandhi monologue above.

    http://www.tomterez.com/Graphics/bbw/powerwithchartbbw.jpg

  161. Riversong | | #163

    Green = Truth = power-with = Gandhian nonviolence (though I'm not so sure I agree about the chastity part....)

    Talk about cherry-picking!

    And talk about dogmatism and absolutism.

    Any mathematical equation can not capture the subtleties, the vagaries, the ambiguities nor the ineffability of deeply spiritual beliefs or practices.

    Equations are the language of fundamentalists and dogmatists, and those whose understanding of the world is shallow and simplistic.

    The last time I gave a talk on "What is Green?" it took me a 45 minutes of prose, poetry, myth, quotes, analogies and metaphor to even suggest its many facets and interwoven complexities.

    One thing of which we can be certain is that anyone who says "Green =" doesn't begin to understand its soul.

  162. Steve El | | #164

    I agree green needs integrity, so I'm having difficulty reconciling your last post with an earlier comment where you said:

    "But when I engage in discussion of vitally important topics, I expect those who show up to be mature enough to handle legitimate critique without resorting to defensiveness, ad hominem attacks, or diversionary tactics."

  163. Riversong | | #165

    Redirected from the Screen Names Thread:

    I am standing by my words that satyagraha aka Gandhian nonviolence requires, at its core, the ever present admission that you might be dead wrong...

    Steve,

    You can stand by your definition of satyagraha or nonviolence or your interpretation of Gandhi's understanding of same, but the word means satya ("truth") and agraha ("insistence", or "holding firmly to"). That is precisely the standard I live by, even if Gandhi did not.

    It is as foolish and morally wrong to pretend humility when you are holding fast to the truth as it is to pretend certainty when you don't know what you're holding.

    And what about that part about denouncing ad hominem attacks?

    You clearly misunderstand the argumentum ad hominem (that is NOT an ad hominem argument, but a statement of fact), and use its assertion in order to avoid arguing substance.

    http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/ad-hominem.html:
    "An Ad Hominem is a general category of fallacies in which a claim or argument is rejected on the basis of some irrelevant fact about the author of or the person presenting the claim or argument."

    [emphasis added]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem:
    "An ad hominem (Latin: "to the man"), also known as argumentum ad hominem, is an attempt to link the validity of a premise to a characteristic or belief of the person advocating the premise.
    The ad hominem is a classic logical fallacy, but it is not always fallacious. For in some instances, questions of personal conduct, character, motives, etc., are legitimate and relevant to the issue. "

    [emphasis added]

    The Ad Hominem Fallacy Fallacy
    http://plover.net/~bonds/adhominem.html

    One of the most widely misused terms on the Net is "ad hominem". It is most often introduced into a discussion by certain delicate types, delicate of personality and mind, whenever their opponents resort to a bit of sarcasm. As soon as the suspicion of an insult appears, they summon the angels of ad hominem to smite down their foes, before ascending to argument heaven in a blaze of sanctimonious glory. They may not have much up top, but by God, they don't need it when they've got ad hominem on their side. It's the secret weapon that delivers them from any argument unscathed.

    In reality, ad hominem is unrelated to sarcasm or personal abuse. Argumentum ad hominem is the logical fallacy of attempting to undermine a speaker's argument by attacking the speaker instead of addressing the argument. The mere presence of a personal attack does not indicate ad hominem: the attack must be used for the purpose of undermining the argument, or otherwise the logical fallacy isn't there. It is not a logical fallacy to attack someone; the fallacy comes from assuming that a personal attack is also necessarily an attack on that person's arguments.

  164. Riversong | | #166

    Redirected from the Screen Names Thread:

    I am standing by my words that satyagraha aka Gandhian nonviolence requires, at its core, the ever present admission that you might be dead wrong...

    Steve,

    You can stand by your definition of satyagraha or nonviolence or your interpretation of Gandhi's understanding of same, but the word means satya ("truth") and agraha ("insistence", or "holding firmly to"). That is precisely the standard I live by, even if Gandhi did not.

    It is as foolish and morally wrong to pretend humility when you are holding fast to the truth as it is to pretend certainty when you don't know what you're holding.

    And what about that part about denouncing ad hominem attacks?

    You clearly misunderstand the argumentum ad hominem (that is NOT an ad hominem argument, but a statement of fact), and use its assertion in order to avoid arguing substance.

    http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/ad-hominem.html:
    "An Ad Hominem is a general category of fallacies in which a claim or argument is rejected on the basis of some irrelevant fact about the author of or the person presenting the claim or argument."

    [emphasis added]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem:
    "An ad hominem (Latin: "to the man"), also known as argumentum ad hominem, is an attempt to link the validity of a premise to a characteristic or belief of the person advocating the premise.
    The ad hominem is a classic logical fallacy, but it is not always fallacious. For in some instances, questions of personal conduct, character, motives, etc., are legitimate and relevant to the issue. "

    [emphasis added]

    The Ad Hominem Fallacy Fallacy
    http://plover.net/~bonds/adhominem.html

    One of the most widely misused terms on the Net is "ad hominem". It is most often introduced into a discussion by certain delicate types, delicate of personality and mind, whenever their opponents resort to a bit of sarcasm. As soon as the suspicion of an insult appears, they summon the angels of ad hominem to smite down their foes, before ascending to argument heaven in a blaze of sanctimonious glory. They may not have much up top, but by God, they don't need it when they've got ad hominem on their side. It's the secret weapon that delivers them from any argument unscathed.

    In reality, ad hominem is unrelated to sarcasm or personal abuse. Argumentum ad hominem is the logical fallacy of attempting to undermine a speaker's argument by attacking the speaker instead of addressing the argument. The mere presence of a personal attack does not indicate ad hominem: the attack must be used for the purpose of undermining the argument, or otherwise the logical fallacy isn't there. It is not a logical fallacy to attack someone; the fallacy comes from assuming that a personal attack is also necessarily an attack on that person's arguments.

  165. ROY HARMON | | #167

    We should create a thread that is as contagious as this one, with an end goal to attain. A results oriented goal that could act as a sponge of green goodness. Perhaps then~ we can all begin to slip out of the constraints of life's mold. Are we working toward a common goal here , or is this a sounding board to talk about future possibilities? Would God smile at our intent, our behavior or our works at this point? Does it really matter? Lets simply go to work together~ even if it hurts a little at first. There are days that I feel blessed without education. Newt ne Newt
    Roy Harmon

  166. Steve El | | #168

    "There are days that I feel blessed without education"

    Roy, you get points for a great sense of humor, I'm still smiling!

    Robert, thank you for clarifying your use of the word "satyagraha". Since it is a term he specifically invented to describe his philosophy of nonviolence I assumed you intended to reference that entire body of thought, but apparently you understand "Truth Force" should be applied in ones life in some other manner. Hopefully when you do your next nonviolence training you TELL people you reject Gandhi's meaning of the word Gandhi coined for Gandhi's philosophy, but have borrowed the word for your own.

    Steve El
    ______________________
    No man can claim that he is absolutely in the right or that particular thing is wrong because he thinks so. The claim to infallibility would thus always be a most dangerous claim to make. (M.K. Gandhi)

  167. Steve El | | #169

    "There are days that I feel blessed without education"

    Roy, you get points for a great sense of humor, I'm still smiling!

    Robert, thank you for clarifying your use of the word "satyagraha". Since it is a term he specifically invented to describe his philosophy of nonviolence I assumed you intended to reference that entire body of thought, but apparently you understand "Truth Force" should be applied in ones life in some other manner. Hopefully when you do your next nonviolence training you TELL people you reject Gandhi's meaning of the word Gandhi coined for Gandhi's philosophy, but have borrowed the word for your own.

    Steve El
    ______________________
    No man can claim that he is absolutely in the right or that particular thing is wrong because he thinks so. The claim to infallibility would thus always be a most dangerous claim to make. (M.K. Gandhi)

  168. Steve El | | #170

    sorry double post

  169. Riversong | | #171

    Only a blind disciple would believe that the world began and ended with the life and thought and practice of a single man. Gandhiji's life was part of a long lineage that began well before he was born and continued long after his demise.

    And a blind disciple who has no commitment to the teachings of his master is hardly one to lecture others about the meaning of words, let alone life, truth or integrity.

  170. Steve El | | #172

    Hey wait a minute.... I am used to your self-contradictions between posts, but in the very same one? I mean you've already said Gandhi isn't your guru and you reject the core of Gandhian nonviolence. So then in the same post you're lecturing about Gandhi's life and then saying one who rejects Gandhi is not one to lecture about him?

    In that "using your real name" thread you said something about wanting to seek peace. We have cleared up the core confusion. You don't mean satyagraha like Gandhi meant satyagraha but in some other way. That's progress, and provides a good opportunity to say for my part I'd welcome that peace overture.

    Steve El

  171. Riversong | | #173

    As you know full well, the only thing I reject is your interpretation of Gandhian non-violence, the core of which is openness, honesty and vulnerability.

    And as you also well know, I was willing to seek peace with the REAL person hiding behind your pseudonym, but you chose to slam the door to that.

    And what I despise and will not tolerate is the intellectual dishonesty which your continue to display in your well-defended anonymity.

    I will take an honest right-wing racist fundamentalist any day over a dissembling "progressive".

  172. ROY HARMON | | #174

    I have a brother named Steve, Could you be my brother? The wrestle in your style kind of reminds me of bouts from days gone by. There is no surrender in getting pinned~ just the end of a long struggle. Perhaps the Gandhian kind of struggle? Simple but confusing~ please give us your real name, have faith that goodness will result.
    I wish that I could communicate with Obama in this realm . I would suggest that he provide the information needed to quench questions about his education and ligitamacy. Until he does this, I'm naturally a little skeptical about his claims and promises~( politics aside).
    My real name is Roy Harmon and I have fallen short many times~ plenty of room for improvement here. Did Gandhi care about what people thought of him or his teachings?

  173. ROY HARMON | | #175

    Truth is as green as it gets.

  174. John Brooks | | #176

    Hey Roy,
    since we are all reflecting on our own not-so-nice behaviour
    LEED Architects are people too
    I have joined in the LEED bashing myself and convinced myself that I am somehow better than "those guys"

  175. Riversong | | #177

    Uh Oh. I stated my preference for an honest right-winger over a dishonest leftie and good-hearted Roy brings up his qualms about Obama's legitimacy (which I assume refers to his citizenship status). I'm sure his educational records are in the public domain and he is without question a very intelligent and highly educated man (as contrasted to the previous president who could hardly earn a passing grade in college and spent most of his time partying).

    I certainly don't want this thread to turn into an Obama rant, but - though I think rather poorly of our president and didn't vote for him - all the nonsense about his birth certificate, his religion, and his "socialist, fascist, islamist" tendencies is the kind of pure rubbish that wing nuts vomited around enough that skeptical and credulous Americans actually believe it.

    Obama did, in fact, produce his birth certificate (which was corroborated by the Hawaii Dept of Health), but Bush did NOT produce any clear records of his attendance at the Alabama Air National Guard (where he requested transfer from Texas) and was, by all accounts, AWOL, and Kerry DID release his military records, including those for the medals he received (which were also received for the same incidents by the Swift Boat Veterans who challenged him).

    So, without taking sides between the two corporatist political oligarchies (because they are but two sides of the same coin), the facts demonstrate that the Republicans and right-wingers are much better at using dysinformation than the Democrats and their leftie supporters. And the American media has done a woefully inadequate job of sorting the wheat from the chaff.

    In fact, what most Americans probably don't know is the the legitimate outrage that fueled the Tea Parties all over the nation was almost entirely co-opted by uber-rich "astroturf" funders.

    "Reports indicate that the Tea Party Movement benefits from millions of dollars from conservative foundations that are derived from wealthy U.S. families and their business interests. It appears that money to organize and implement the Movement flows primarily through two conservative groups: Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks, two "lobbyist-run think tanks" that are "well funded" and that provide the logistics and organizing for the Tea Party movement from coast to coast. Media Matters reported that David Koch of Koch Industries (the largest privately-held energy company in the US) was a co-founder of Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE), the predecessor of FreedomWorks."

    "There’s just one element missing from America’s ostensibly spontaneous and leaderless populist uprising: the Wall Street sugar daddies who are bankrolling it and who have been doing so since well before the “death panel” days.

    Three heavy hitters rule. You’ve heard of one of them, Rupert Murdoch, who owns - among other things - Fox News via it's parent company, NewsCorp. The other two, the brothers David and Charles Koch, are even richer, with a combined wealth exceeded only by that of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett among Americans.

    All three tycoons are the latest incarnation of what the historian Kim Phillips-Fein labeled “Invisible Hands” - those corporate players who have financed the far right ever since the du Pont brothers spawned the American Liberty League in 1934 to bring down F.D.R. with a coup d'etat attempt.

    You can draw a straight line from the Liberty League’s crusade against the New Deal “socialism” of Social Security, the Securities and Exchange Commission and child labor laws, to the John Birch Society/Barry Goldwater assault on J.F.K. and Medicare, to the Koch/Murdoch-backed juggernaut against our “socialist” president."

    And, by the way, it's also a lie that labor unions spend as much as business on political campaigns. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, business and corporate interests accounted 70.8 percent of the total U.S. political contributions in 2007-2008, while only 2.7 percent came from labor. Political Action Committees (PACs) show a similar disparity: 69.5 percent from business, 15.7 percent from labor. The spending in the latest round of national elections will almost certainly show a greater disparity after the Citizens United decision.

  176. Riversong | | #178

    John,

    Speaking of LEED-bashing, when I taught Math for Builders, I used a LEED report as an example of the misuse of statistical information:

    A March 4, 2008 report Energy Performance of LEED for New Construction Buildings stated “for all 121 LEED buildings, the median measured Energy Use Intensity was 24% below the national average for all commercial building stock and for offices, the single most common type, 33% below average.”

    What's wrong with this picture?

    They compared the LEED median to the national mean.

    Also, they compared recent LEED new construction to ALL previous commercial buildings.

    If you eliminate the unrepresentative samples and compare only the recent construction in both data sets then the LEEDS mean is 15% lower, not 24% and the statistical distribution is almost identical.

    The author of this critique, however, was savaged by LEED supporters.

  177. Riversong | | #179

    The attempted fascist (American business) coup d'etat against FDR is also a little known secret of our history (documented in the Congressional Record).

    It started with the Bonus Army march and encampment in DC, which demanded immediate payment (because of the Depression) of a promised demobilization bonus for WWI veterans. What followed made the much later Kent State and Jackson State killings look like a mere scuffle.

    The Bonus Army or Bonus March or Bonus Expeditionary Force was an assemblage of about 20,000 World War I veterans, their families, and other affiliated groups, who demonstrated in Washington, D.C. during the spring and summer of 1932 seeking immediate payment of a "bonus" granted by the Adjusted Service Certificate Law of 1924 for payment in 1945. They were led by Walter W. Waters, a former Army sergeant, and encouraged by an appearance from retired Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler, one of the most popular military figures of the time.

    The marchers were cleared and their camps were destroyed by the 12th Infantry Regiment from Fort Howard, Maryland, and the 3rd Cavalry Regiment under the command of MAJ. George S. Patton from Fort Myer, Virginia, under the overall command of General Douglas MacArthur. The Posse Comitatus Act, prohibiting the U.S. military from being used for general law enforcement purposes in most instances, did not apply to Washington, D.C. because it is one of several pieces of federal property under the direct governance of the U.S. Congress

    Troops carried rifles with unsheathed bayonets and tear gas was sent into the Bonus Army's camps. President Hoover did not want the army to march across the Anacostia River into the protesters' largest encampment, but Douglas MacArthur felt this was a communist attempt to overthrow the government. Hundreds of veterans were injured, several were killed

    By the end of the rout:

    Two veterans were shot and killed.
    An 11 week old baby was in critical condition resulting from shock from gas exposure.
    Two infants died from gas asphyxiation.
    An 11 year old boy was partially blinded by tear gas.
    One bystander was shot in the shoulder.
    One veteran's ear was severed by a Cavalry saber.
    One veteran was stabbed in the hip with a bayonet.
    At least twelve police were injured by the veterans.
    Over 1,000 men, women, and children were exposed to the tear gas, including police, reporters, residents of Washington D.C., and ambulance drivers.

    Purported details of the matter came to light when retired Marine Corps General Smedley Butler testified before a Congressional committee that a group of men had attempted to recruit him to serve as the leader of a plot and to assume and wield power once the coup was successful. Butler testified before the McCormack-Dickstein Committee in 1934 (this is on the Congressional Record). In his testimony, Butler claimed that a group of several men had approached him as part of a plot to overthrow Roosevelt in a military coup. One of the alleged plotters, Gerald MacGuire, vehemently denied any such plot. In their final report, the Congressional committee supported Butler's allegations on the existence of the plot, but no prosecutions or further investigations followed, and the matter was mostly forgotten.

    Some American business leaders, including Wall Street financiers J. P. Morgan, the DuPont interests, Remington Arms, and others, viewed fascism as a viable system to both preserve their interests and end the economic woes of the Depression. Butler said that the Liberty League (funded by the du Pont family, as well as leaders of U.S. Steel, General Motors, General Foods, Standard Oil, Birdseye, Colgate, Heinz Foods, Chase National Bank, and Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company) was behind the coup attempt.

    The conspirators attempted to recruit Butler to lead a coup, promising him an army of 500,000 men for a march on Washington, D.C., $30 million in financial backing, and generous media spin control. “We will start a campaign that the President's health is failing. Everybody can tell that by looking at him, and the dumb American people will fall for it in a second," Butler testified he was told.

    Butler’s testimony was corroborated by a number of people, including Veterans of Foreign Wars commander James E. Van Zandt. "Less than two months" after General Butler warned him, he said "he had been approached by 'agents of Wall Street' to lead a Fascist dictatorship in the United States under the guise of a 'Veterans Organization.' "

    "I spent thirty-three years and four months in active service in the country's most agile military force, the Marines. I served in all ranks from second lieutenant to major general. And during that period I spent most of my time being a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.”
    - Retired Major General Smedley Butler

  178. Steve El | | #180

    Out of respect for our hosts and innocent bystanders I'll give this a rest until after the New Year.

    Steve El
    _______________________
    No man can claim that he is absolutely in the right or that particular thing is wrong because he thinks so. The claim to infallibility would thus always be a most dangerous claim to make. (M.K. Gandhi)

  179. Riversong | | #181

    "Respect"?

    That's the kind of "respect" that the outlaw oppressive state of Israel offers the Palestinians when they agree to a partial short-term moratorium on illegal settlement construction.

    [ My father was an idealistic secular Zionist, I've visited Israel and know that Israel does not represent either the Jewish people or Jewish values, any more than Steve (anonymous) El represents Gandhian non-violence or green values.]

  180. ROY HARMON | | #182

    Robert,
    To date, Obama has not produced even a copy of an original birth certificate, but rather a copy of a reproduced birth certificate. Fact. The Hawaii Dept. of Health does not have an original birth certificate to show. For some reason, his education records are not available either. I don't know why, nor do I really care. The point that I was trying to make is that he has had the opportunity to put the sillyness that you refer to, to rest. At this point he has not. Maybe he doesn't have to, but that still leaves me with questions. Questions of Constitutionality. I haven't liked a party or president or their actions for quite some time.
    I'm just trying to separate the "wheat from the chaff" here so that homes can be built with the resulting straw. Seems like we could all use a day or two of intense hard, productive labor to clear out this web.

  181. Riversong | | #183

    Roy,

    You seem like a nice, thoughtful guy, but you've bought into the X-files about Obama that have been propagated by hatemongers, racists and far right wingnuts.

    The birth certificate fracas is complete nonsense and has been thoroughly put to rest, here:
    http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/birthcertificate.asp
    and here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barack_Obama_citizenship_conspiracy_theories

    Why is it that no other presidential candidate in US history - until we had a black one - has even been questioned about his citizenship, let alone his religion and his commitment to democracy?

    Again, I'm no fan of Obama and did not vote for him. But these kinds of attacks, based on complete fabrications, do nothing but make America the laughing stock of the civilized world and have contributed to the partisan deadlock that we have in Washington.

  182. ROY HARMON | | #184

    John,
    With regard to LEED bashing. I had no idea that there were LEED Architects. I would just like the stuff that I read about it to~ A. make sence. B. be simple or at least easy to understand. I would love for LEED to be an effective tool in my toolbox, as it is, it just doesn't fit. Can't use a tool that doesn't fit your hand. My fear is that mandates regarding residential building requirements will soon follow, as has happened with commercial buildings here in Md. Like big government, I don't believe that the continued developement of regulating forces will better serve the strive to green. I believe that it is our responsability to always question authority, the rule makers or architects if you will, of law. Code is a limiting force law that seems to be in step with our in-effective big government. Simplify

  183. John Brooks | | #185

    Don't get me wrong,
    I am not a LEED fan
    I just think the whole industry is screwed up because there are too many us and thems
    and noboby is working together.

  184. ROY HARMON | | #186

    Robert,
    Thanks for providing me with the info. I have never bought into the far right hype but have only wondered , if the long form original certificate does exist why not break it out and put it to rest.Even a copy of the original long form would do the trick. I guess that I just don't understand why the question is allowed to fester as it has when the truth could end it. The half black thing is an entirely different issue. I choose not to acknowledge those associated with black/white issues. Being Bushwacked did in fact make us the laughing stock of the free world. We can start from scratch to create the good right here if we would only choose to. Far green should prevail !

  185. ROY HARMON | | #187

    Amen John !
    What a novel idea, working together.
    Just think about what might be accomplished if the guy's ( haven't seen the gals posts yet) that contribute regularly to this site figured out a way to work together toward a common goal.
    Wait a minute~ it's already happening with the answers provided for technical questions about building green.
    You're one of the teachers John, Thanks

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