Monday, August 12, 2013

10 Principles Worth Burning...

One of these days (but not this year), I intend to go to Burning Man. For those of you who do not know of it, take a look at the link. For those of you who do, I wonder what your impressions might be. For those of you who have been there...I'd really like to know about your experience.

Many people think Burning Man is simply a giant party in the desert (it is), a collection of 60,000 freaks and hippies out to prove they can out-party the rest of the world combined. I once thought all that myself. But I have looked into things and discovered that at its core, it is something far more than that.

The concept of Burning Man is that of a community, not only while at the festival itself, but throughout the year wherever and however people can live out its principles. And what are these principles?

radical inclusion
radical self-reliance
radical self-expression
communal effort
civic responsibility
leave no trace

Now, it may seem like some of these principles seem a bit selfish, like "radical self-reliance" or "radical self-expression". But look at all 10 Principles as a whole and realize the Gestalt that is present in them. Personally, I believe that a world encompassing these 10 Principles might be a much better place to live in. Granted, that type of idealism might be rather far-fetched, but isn't something worth modeling?

What can we do to make our communities and our world a little more like this?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Most Important Things I Have Ever Been Told (And I Wish I Would Remember Them Every Day)

One from a youth leader when I was in high school,
Two from my dad.

1. The qualities you resent in others are the qualities you resent in yourself.

2. Consider the source.

3. Don't sweat the small stuff and 99% of it is small stuff.

(Wish I could remember these as wisdom mantras every day.)

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Going Green

My last two posts seem to have centered around lists of 10 items, realizations, points of action, whatever you want to call it. You can read them here and here. So in the spirit of this recent fixation on listing things in is the list of the "10 Key Values" of the Green Party. I recently joined the Green Party after years of being a registered independent. This list is not presented here to try to convince you to "Go Green", but simply to demonstrate some viewpoints that could help make our world a place that's better for all of us to live in, plants and animals included. These values and their descriptions are quoted directly from the website linked above.


Every human being deserves a say in the decisions that affect his or her life and should not be subject to the will of another. Therefore, we will work to increase public participation at every level of government and to ensure that our public representatives are fully accountable to the people who elect them. We will also work to create new types of political organizations which expand the process of participatory democracy by directly including citizens in the decision-making process.
All persons should have the rights and opportunity to benefit equally from the resources afforded us by society and the environment. We must consciously confront in ourselves, our organizations, and society at large, barriers such as racism and class oppression, sexism and homophobia, ageism and disability, which act to deny fair treatment and equal justice under the law.
Human societies must operate with the understanding that we are part of nature, not separate from nature.
We must maintain an ecological balance and live within the ecological and resource limits of our communities and our planet. We support a sustainable society which utilizes resources in such a way that future generations will benefit and not suffer from the practices of our generation. To this end we must practice agriculture which replenishes the soil; move to an energy efficient economy; and live in ways that respect the integrity of natural systems.
It is essential that we develop effective alternatives to society's current patterns of violence. We will work to demilitarize, and eliminate weapons of mass destruction, without being naive about the intentions of other governments.
We recognize the need for self-defense and the defense of others who are in helpless situations. We promote non-violent methods to oppose practices and policies with which we disagree, and will guide our actions toward lasting personal, community and global peace.
Centralization of wealth and power contributes to social and economic injustice, environmental destruction, and militarization. Therefore, we support a restructuring of social, political and economic institutions away from a system which is controlled by and mostly benefits the powerful few, to a democratic, less bureaucratic system. Decision-making should, as much as possible, remain at the individual and local level, while assuring that civil rights are protected for all citizens.

Redesign our work structures to encourage employee ownership and workplace democracy. Develop new economic activities and institutions that will allow us to use our new technologies in ways that are humane, freeing, ecological and accountable, and responsive to communities.
Establish some form of basic economic security, open to all.
Move beyond the narrow "job ethic" to new definitions of "work," jobs" and "income" that reflect the changing economy.
Restructure our patterns of income distribution to reflect the wealth created by those outside the formal monetary economy: those who take responsibility for parenting, housekeeping, home gardens, community volunteer work, etc.
Restrict the size and concentrated power of corporations without discouraging superior efficiency or technological innovation.
We have inherited a social system based on male domination of politics and economics. We call for the replacement of the cultural ethics of domination and control with more cooperative ways of interacting that respect differences of opinion and gender. Human values such as equity between the sexes, interpersonal responsibility, and honesty must be developed with moral conscience. We should remember that the process that determines our decisions and actions is just as important as achieving the outcome we want.
We believe it is important to value cultural, ethnic, racial, sexual, religious and spiritual diversity, and to promote the development of respectful relationships across these lines.

We believe that the many diverse elements of society should be reflected in our organizations and decision-making bodies, and we support the leadership of people who have been traditionally closed out of leadership roles. We acknowledge and encourage respect for other life forms than our own and the preservation of biodiversity.

We encourage individuals to act to improve their personal well-being and, at the same time, to enhance ecological balance and social harmony. We seek to join with people and organizations around the world to foster peace, economic justice, and the health of the planet.
Our actions and policies should be motivated by long-term goals. We seek to protect valuable natural resources, safely disposing of or "unmaking" all waste we create, while developing a sustainable economics that does not depend on continual expansion for survival. We must counterbalance the drive for short-term profits by assuring that economic development, new technologies, and fiscal policies are responsible to future generations who will inherit the results of our actions.
Make the quality of life, rather than open-ended economic growth, the focus of future thinking.

A beautiful, healthy, worthy ambition...
what say you?