TOLERANCE

” I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death you right to say it.”                                                                                                                                  –Voltaire

Th capacity to tolerate views of which one disapproves is underpinned by the conviction that this virtue provides an opportunity for testing out ideas and confronting ethical dilemmas.  Interference with individual beliefs and opinions disrupts the creative dynamic of intellectual and moral development of the person and our society.

Tolerance is not a signifier of acceptance and affirmation.  Moreover, the idea that tolerance means not interfering with, or attempting to suppress, beliefs that contradict one’s own sentiments have given way to the idea that tolerance involves not judging other people or their views.  Instead of serving of a way of responding to differences of views, tolerance has become a way of not taking them seriously.

“I am right YOU are wrong, if you disagree with me you are an asshole.”  No individual, group, organization, or country can thrive with this idea of Tolerance!

Tolerance births FREEDOM

 

 

 

 

What If…….

What if …

Love was eternal

I could see you of  tomorrow in your eyes today

I never caused one person a moment of pain

We had the power to mend the deep hurts in one’s heart

Money was not the god of this world

Every child had a mother and father or people who loved the unconditionally

I dared to lose my heart and soul in the service to others

We could understand the soul wrenching effects of lust

We really valued things that matter rather than celebrity or sports

We all understood the gift we are to one another

I begin to know who I really am.\

I see past the illusions that keep me from accepting you as you are!

 

 

 

A THOUGHT

YOU ARE NOT WHO YOU THINK YOU ARE!

Then by what method or process do we come to understanding who we are?

The understanding gained in examining a life itself comes to permeate that life and direct its course. To live an examined life is to make a self-portrait.
The philosophical tradition since Plato has sought to ground ethics by showing that our own well being is served or enhanced by behaving ethically.
We do not want to get committed to any one particular understanding or locked into it. This danger looms larger for writers, in the public’s mind or in their own they have easily can become identified with a particular philosophy that marked out a distinctive view, one that now seems seriously inadequate.
Once having pigeonholed people and figured out what they are saying, we do not welcome new information that would require us to re-understand and reclassify them, and we resent their focusing us to devote fresh energy to this when we have expended more then enough in their direction already!
Once upon a time, philosophy promised more than empty contents of thoughts. “Citizens of Athens,” Socrates asked, “aren’t you ashamed to care so much about making all the money you can and advancing your reputation and prestige, while for TRUTH and WISDOM and the IMPROVEMENT OF YOUR SOULS you have not thought or care?” He spoke of the state of our souls, and showed us the state of his own.The understanding gained in examining a life itself comes to permeate that life and direct its course. To live an examined life is to make a self-portrait.
The philosophical tradition since Plato has sought to ground ethics by showing that our own well being is served or enhanced by behaving ethically.
We do not want to get committed to any one particular understanding or locked into it. This danger looms larger for writers, in the public’s mind or in their own they have easily can become identified with a particular philosophy that marked out a distinctive view, one that now seems seriously inadequate.
Once having pigeonholed people and figured out what they are saying, we do not welcome new information that would require us to re-understand and reclassify them, and we resent their focusing us to devote fresh energy to this when we have expended more then enough in their direction already!
Once upon a time, philosophy promised more than empty contents of thoughts. “Citizens of Athens,” Socrates asked, “aren’t you ashamed to care so much about making all the money you can and advancing your reputation and prestige, while for TRUTH and WISDOM and the IMPROVEMENT OF YOUR SOULS you have not thought or care?” He spoke of the state of our souls, and showed us the state of his own.

EDUCATION IS….

When you ask someone what education is a multitude of answer will come hurtling back at you. With every opinion being “right,” to them.

Having encountered many “ball-less” wonders, or administrators, those who are so enmeshed in the culture and politics of education they lack the courage to actually lead and rely on those higher in the pecking order to decide for them rather than make unpopular decisions. These thoughts are mine and those from Ken Robinson’s Out of Our Minds.

All over the planet, governments are investing vast resources in educational reform.  In the process, policy makers usually narrow the curriculum to emphasize a small group of subjects, tie schools up in a culture of standardized testing and limit the discretion of educators  to make professional judgements about how and what to teach.

These reforms as seen by everyone but policy makers, universities and administrators,are stifling the very skills and qualities that are essential to meet the challenges we face, creativity, cultural understanding, communication collaboration problem solving and behavioral and moral development!

Seldom do I hear administrators raise any questions about the results we are seeing in our schools! It seems politicians and leaders in education ( notice I did not say LEARNING), are led by the economic impact of education or its lack.  Talking to business leaders you will hear them complain that education is not producing the thoughtful, creative, self-confident people THEY so urgently need: people who are literate, numerate, who can analyze information and ideas; who can generate new ideas of their own and help to implement them; who can communicate clearly and work well with other people. They want education to provide such people, but too often they also cling to an unrealistic understanding of today’s educational system in  America.

The challenge now is to transform the education system into something better suited to meet the real need of students, (not businesses) in the 21st. century.  At the center of this transformation is a radically different view of humanity, intelligence and creativity.

“We will not succeed in navigating the complex environment of the future by peering

rear view mirror. To do so, we would have to Out of Our Minds.

I truly desire your thoughts, ideas or any experiences you would like to share!

Thanks

IF

The wee hours of the morning as darkness yet shrouds the fields below my window,  Kipling comes to mind.  Triumph and Disaster both imposters I finally realize are clamoring for my attention, yet IF I can just keep my head….

If

By Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,

And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;

If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings

And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings

And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

To serve your turn long after they are gone,

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

 

The War Against Becoming Yourself

For years the phrase “You are not who you think you are,” has rattled around my brain.  I think I read of it in one of Tolle’s books.  If this phrase is true then who the hell am I? How do I begin to find out and understand the import of this small phrase?  Are there other who could lend a hand and some wisdom concerning this journey of finding out who I am?

I have learned that most of us care little about this  train of thought or little about any train of thought.  As long as they have beer, NFL, movies or some type of entertainment they seem to be content. I AM SURE AS HELL NOT!

In 1787, when the Constitution was drafted, a woman asked Ben Franklin what the founders had given the American people. ” A republic,” he shot back, “if you can keep it.” More than  two centuries later …………..how are we doing?????

Political Illusion

Has never been what it is advertised to be

Has never been what we were told in our youth

The Dark Nature of Man (and Women) creeping into our sacred public forum

Truth is on a holiday

Ethics has left the building

Care for one another is a painted on smile until the lights are turned off

The Age of Reason has abandoned us

The fly over people are screwed, only the coasts matter

Principles are attacked as narrow thinking

Tolerance is one-sided.

Dialogue is DEAD

Differing Opinions have been buried in the earth’s cold embrace

History is subjective, facts now do not matter

Are we doomed

Are we at Civilizations End

Who Will Write the History of The Good

Surely not the POLITICAL CLASS!

The Narrative Illusion

*What is your “narrative?”  If I hear this word one more time I believe my head will explode!  Everyone and everything must have a “narrative” today. Education, politics, Celebrity, Sports, Movies, the list is exhausting.

An image based culture communicates through narratives, pictures,  and pseudo drama.  Scandalous affairs, hurricanes, untimely death, train wrecks…these events play well on the computer screen and television.  International diplomacy, labor union negotiations, and convoluted bailout packages do not yield exciting  personal narratives or stimulating images.  A governor who frequents call girls becomes a huge new story. A politician who proposes serious regulatory reform or advocates curbing wasteful spending is boring. Kings, queens, and emperors once used their court conspiracies to divert their subjects.  Today cinematic, political, and journalistic celebrities  distract us with their personal problems and sports have become, as they were in Nero;s time interchangeable.  In an age of images and entertainment, in an age of instant emotional gratification, we neither seek nor want honesty or reality.  Reality is complicated. Reality is boring. We are incapable or unwilling to handle its confusion.  We ask to be indulged and comforted by clichés, stereotypes, and inspirational messages that tell us  we can be whatever we seek to be, that we live in the greatest country on earth, that we are endowed with superior moral and physical qualities, and that our future will always be glorious  and prosperous, either because of our own attributes or our national character or because we are blessed by God.

In this world, all that matters is the consistency of our belief systems.  The ability to amplify lies, to repeat the and have surrogates repeat them in endless loops of news cycles, gives lies and mythical narratives the aura of uncontested truth.  We become trapped in the linguistic prison of incessant repetition.  We are fed words and phrases like war on terror or pro-life or change, and within these narrow parameters, all complex thought, ambiguity, and self-criticism vanish!

*Chris Hedges

ANCIENT SPIRITUAL WISDOM

ON SOLITUDE

“Solitude is the place of purification and transformation, the place of the great struggle and the great encounter…..the place of our salvation.”

ON SILENCE

“First, silence makes us pilgrims. Secondly, silence guards the fire within.  Thirdly, silence teaches us to speak.”

ON PRAYER

“The pryaer of the heart opens the eyes of our soul to the truth of ourselves as well as to the truth of God.  The prayer of the heart challenges us to hide absolutely nothing.”

*Henri J.M. Nouwen

Illusion of The Good News

In a few years we will celebrate the second millennium of the Christian Era.  But perhaps the question is:  “Will there be anything to celebrate?”  Daily we hear voices wanting to know if we can survive our own destructive nature.

As we see increasing poverty, hunger, the rapid escalation if violence and hatred in many countries including our own, we slowly realize that the world has begun a suicidal path.

It seems that the darkness is thicker then ever, that the powers of evil are more blatantly visible then ever…so what is the “‘Good News” in all of this?

During the last few years I have been wondering what it means to be a minister in such dire circumstances, were few see the Gospel as anything good or offering hope.  What is required of men and women who want to bring light into darkness…”to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty ti captives and to the blind new sight, to set those oppressed free?”  What is required  of a man or woman who is called to enter fully into the turmoil and agony of the times in which we live and speak a word of truth?

In the coming days I will elaborate on this topic.  We will consider Solitude, Silence and The Furnace of Transformation!

The Illusion of Our Greatness

Recently I walked the early morning myst shrouded battlefield of Gettysburg. Silence, like the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier hushed the few of us striving to catch a glimpse of the past and a wisp of the future.  The grass was heavy with dew but our hearts were even heavier and broken for the loss this sacred battlefield inspired.

In the distance one could almost hear. “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all mean are created equal.

Now we are engaged in great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure…………….

OUR GREATNESS LIES NOT

SO MUCH IN BEING ABLE

TO REMAKE THE WORLD,

AS IN BEING ABLE TOO

         REMAKE OURSELVES.-Gandhi

Civil War, WWI, WWII, Korea, Cold War, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq,?????

Can we remake ourselves and long endure?

Walk in Silence

I am finding that I have little to say or add to the conversations that engulf me daily!  I keep my own counsel, having little to add to the dialogue that would enhance or further it.  Most of it is does not need responding to anyway….

I do not need to respond to the thoughts about current entertainment figures, who add little or no value to our culture or who will survive which staged dramatic show.  But ask me how we as a people should learn from one another, why do we not learn from our failures, or why we ignore our failures, then we can share a glass and a meaningful thought or two.

Is there meaning to our brief time together on this planet?  If so how do we make the most of it? Questions like this use to spur people to think, oh damn, there is that word….THINK, the thing that our homes, schools, universities, employment and life was suppose to challenge us to do….IT HAS BECOME A LONELY WORLD FOR ONE TO BE REFLECTIVE AND TAKE THE TIME TO THINK, TO ACT  AND NOT FOLLOW THE BEATEN PATH TRODDEN BY THE MANY BEFORE THEM…

IT SEEMS THE TIME IS QUICKLY COMING THE THERE IS TO BE A PRICE TO PAY……

The Battle Not Seen

A good friend of mine this week withdrew from the field of battle not in defeat, but to regroup and fight another day. She is an exceptional teacher, person and gift to the field of learning.

38 years she has taught in pubic schools. Part time as a Reading Intervention Specialist. Her passion is Reading and kids and watching them succeed and they do consistently! Regardless of testing, testing, and more testing!

She has as we all do battle the forces of medioctiy, incompetence, lack of leadership, no accountability, poor if any planning, abysmal communication.

Currently we rank in the bottom 5% of the state with our all important Test Scores, and have for several years.  The answer….you bet..more Testing and let’s even tie our Teacher Evaluation to our students scores…BRILLIANT.   Even so State Education come quickly and relieve us of this misery with even more incompetant misery as were are sure to be taken over by you as our leaders blindly leads us to the awaiting educational abyss.

Illusions of Technology

Technology has become the structure of our inner most thoughts and feelings.  Online, we fall prey to the illusion of companionship, gathering thousands of Twitter and Facebook friends and confusing tweets and wall posts with authentic communication and relationships. However the constant never ending connections leads us to a new type of solitude.  As technology controls more of our lives, our emotional lives are less vivid and fulfilling. Alone Together by Sherry Turkle is a result of years of research and study exploring lives on the digital world.  It describes new unsettling relationships between friends, lovers, parents and children, and the new instabilities in how we understand privacy, community, intimacy and solitude.

This was brought home to me in a conversation with a friend of mine.  While traveling, he related a story concerning his grandson and his “girlfriend.”  The phone rings and the young man looks to see who the caller is, seeing that it is his girl friend, the young man hangs up and precedes to text her.  My friend is bewildered by this behavior and asks his grandson why he did not just talk with her. His response was, that he did not want deal with all the “drama.”

Do we expect more from technology and less from on another?