Monthly Archives: September 2010

Big Brother is looking through you

This article in the Christian Science Monitor should have us all up-in-arms.  In the name of security, the government is radiating Americans without our knowledge. What ever happened to search warrants and probable cause. The Bill of Rights and the rest of the Constitution are in tatters. — t.h.g.

‘Feds radiating Americans’? Mobile X-ray vans hit US streets

Toddler Focus Group

This is cute. One of the best commercials I’ve seen.

How to defuse the population bomb

Here is another TED video in which Hans Rosling “explains why ending poverty – over the coming decades – is crucial to stop population growth. Only by raising the living standards of the poorest, in an environmentally-friendly way, will population growth stop at 9 billion people in 2050.”

The Progressive’s Guide To Raising Hell by Jamie Court

Watch this three minute video for some ideas on how you can change things.

Crowd Accelerated Innovation

I’ve been giving a great deal of thought to how humans might achieve the levels of sharing, cooperation, and organization that are needed to address the global mega-crisis that threatens civilization and our very survival as a species.

It is evident that web-based video is developing to the point where it can become a revolutionary force in communications and information sharing. This TED lecture highlights what it is doing right now to enhance creativity and realize the potential of group intelligence.  This is only one aspect of the power of the crowd when it has the necessary information, motivation, and common purpose.   — t.h.g.

Jesus really is back

Thanks to Jan Phillips for this report. — t.h.g.

Jon Stewart Interviews Jesus

I woke up last night to the sound of laughing and realized I’d fallen
asleep with the TV on. It was 3 AM and I knew it was Jon Stewart but I
had to fumble around for my glasses to see who his guest was.
Unbelievable! It was Jesus, in his robe and all. His nose was bigger
than I thought, his skin a lot darker, but his eyes were more piercing
than I’d ever imagined. It was like light came out instead of going
into them.

John was making some joke about both of them being Jews and Jesus,
after laughing harder than I thought he would, said quite seriously to
Jon, “Yeah, that’s one of the weirdest things, isn’t it? How could they
forget that?”

Jon was all over him with questions from the daily news. What was his
take on the whole Mosque/Ground Zero fiasco? Jesus said he’d seen some
newscasts on the story and couldn’t believe the drama and fear it was
bringing up. “They want to build a public building for prayer,
education and community gathering. That’s a good thing. A better thing
perhaps, would be the construction of an interfaith building, There’s
room for everyone, and it’s these distinctions between religions that’s
causing all the problems in the first place.”

Jon looked incredulous. “An interfaith building??”

“Yes, a multi-tasking mosque, with a synagogue, chapel and meditation
hall in it. A building where people of different faiths come together
to make a better world together. That’s the point of religion right?
It’s not about doctrine. It’s a plan for action, an opportunity to be a
bigger force for good. Religion is just the map. Faith is the real
adventure.”

“I don’t know….” said Stewart, making one of those funny mouth
movements he does after hearing a strange idea.

Jesus pipes in, “What could be better in that spot than a building that
represents, by its very structure, a coming together, a new vision that
goes beyond religious borders? It’s like taking a good idea and making
it great. The real prophets of the day know this. Where are their
voices? Why aren’t you interviewing them?”

“Hmm, I thought I was,” says Stewart, tapping his pencil on the desk.

“You know why you have border issues here? Because you believe the
borders are real, like they MEAN something. Muslin against Christian,
Mexican against American, Republican against Democrat-all those borders
are made up. You put up walls to defend your ideas-and not even your
OWN, but ideas passed down to you from someone else-and then you make
other people look like demons. It’s no wonder this country is in a
state of collapse. You don’t even get it how connected you are. You’re
like five fingers on a hand who think they’re separate and make up
reasons why not to get along.”

Jon sat there with his mouth open.

“You’re like children playing war games. You spend all your time, all
your energy attacking the “other side” instead of realizing you need to
bridge the two sides in order to get across to a higher level  of
thinking. Even news shows are at war. Look at how you make fun of FOX.
What light does that add to the world? All the time you could be giving
to real visionaries, all the ways you could be role-modeling good
behavior, showing the audience how it really WORKS to bring great and
opposing minds together, and you sit there poking fun at another
station. That’s really enlightened, isn’t it?”

This was the first time I’d ever seen Jon Stewart speechless. He looked
like an embarrassed 6th grader. No pencil tapping now. More like a
puppy with his tail between his legs.

“What in the world are you people doing? The ones who call themselves
“religious” are often the most immature, the most judgmental and
intolerant. What is THAT about? That’s exactly the opposite of what
every religion teaches. And I mean EVERY religion,”
Jesus said, as he looked away from Stewart and spoke right to the
camera.

“All the religions say two basic things,” he said, holding up his
fingers in a peace sign.
“First, there is no distance between you and this one you call God. God
is the creative force behind all things. It’s invisible, but you are
the manifestation of it. I’m telling you, the Sistine Chapel should
have been a mirror.”

The audience laughs, but Stewart stares into those deep eyes of the
Nazarene.

He goes on, ” You are the eyes, the hands, the feet of that creative
force. That energy is in you. It’s called your breath.” He holds up his
index finger and taps on it a few times. “That’s the first thing. Don’t
think there’s some man out there pulling strings. Grow up. This
civilization-if you can call it that-is YOUR creation. This earth, it
is not a bunch of resources to be exploited. It is not to be owned. It
is your mother, the womb that you sprang from. You are its
consciousness, its neural cells. The whole earth is the organism that
you belong to. You did not come down to earth, you came up from earth,
as I did. Its well-being is in your hands. Can you be proud of what
you’re doing? Are you going to be the ones who kill it off, after all
that talk about pro-life?”

Jesus was getting a little worked up, like that day he stormed through
the temple turning over the merchants’ tables. Jon cut to a commercial,
“And we’ll be right back to hear the 2nd basic thing from our guest
tonight, ladies and gentlemen, the Jewish prophet Jesus of Nazareth.
Stay tuned…”

They were laughing about something when they returned from the
commercial, Jesus stretched out in his chair with his long lanky legs
covered by his tunic, his sandaled feet hidden under the desk.

“OK,” Jon says, “You were saying there were two things. Let me see if I
got this right. There’s no bearded guy up there on a cloud. That God we
talk about and fight over is the creative force inside us and around
us? It’s invisible and we’re like….(a long pause) its shadow?”

“Not exactly,” says Jesus. We’re like the physical form of the same
energy. The ice cube version of water or steam. Same elements,
different form. The sea and the iceberg. You’re all icebergs in the Sea
of God,” he said, half-laughing at his own quaint metaphor. “But the
problem is you don’t realize that underneath it all, you’re all
connected. There’s just one big iceberg with a lot of tips. The truth
is, you’re Creation continuing the co-creation of Itself.”

“Oh my,” says Stewart. “Let’s leave that discussion to Bill Moyers,
What about number two? What’s the number two thing we’re supposed to
know?”

Jesus holds up his two fingers again, tapping the tip of his middle
finger. The camera zoomed in so closely on him I could see a scar on
his forehead. “It’s not so much what you need to know-that’s part of
the problem, all these peoples’ belief systems. That’s what gets you in
trouble. No one has to believe in me to get to heaven. A…there is no
heaven to get to and B, it’s not what you believe but how you act that
matters. If anyone learned anything from reading that Bible they should
have picked up that one. There’s 3000 references to helping the poor in
there.  But let me get back…”

“Yes,” says Stewart. “The second thing..”

“The second thing is this: forget everything you ever learned in any
holy book and just treat everyone like a brother and a sister. I mean
that literally. If it were your brother coming across the border…your
sister with cancer and no health care….your child unable to get an
education….your mother with no food in her house. And even further,
your brother who was gay or hated gays, your sister who was a corrupt
politician, your brother who bombed an abortion clinic, your sister who
got an abortion. What does it look like to love unconditionally? To
bridge differences, to come together over what we can agree on? Can you
get through one day without thinking you’re better or less than
another? That’s the thing to strive for. That is living faithfully.”

“But…but…” says Stewart. “What about the Tea Partyers, the
terrorists, what about Fox News and hate crimes?”

“If you think they are so different from you, be the opposite of what
you think they are and enact that powerfully in the world. Don’t focus
on who’s wrong. Just be a greater force for good.”

“Not focus on who’s wrong? How could I do my show?”

“Exactly. Remember what Gandhi said? Be the change you want to see in
the world?”

“Sure. I have that quotation on my refrigerator.”

“Well, it’s time to take it further. You’re evolving as a people.
You’ve come through the Dark Ages, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance,
the wrongly named Period of Enlightenment. You’re now in the
Information Age. You are growing your consciousness. In the physical
world, you have Olympic marathon trainers who run 10 miles or more a
day. They spend every waking hour in training, eating the right foods,
researching the right clothing and equipment, working out, following a
discipline. And in the metaphysical world, the spiritual world, you
have people doing the same-they are your mystics and prophets-engaging
in spiritual practice, accelerating their wisdom, expanding their
consciousness, transcending judgment and radiating love into the world.
You might be in that category.,.”

Stewart does one of his choking, ahem things, putting his hand over his
mouth. “Out of the question,” he says frankly. “I thrive on judgment.”

“Good to know yourself. You’re all evolving at different rates. In the
fall, when you look at a maple tree, you see leaves that are green,
yellow, orange and red. They don’t all change at the same time. And
that’s what makes life exciting. You all know different things. That’s
why you need each other. Like that guy Ken Wilbur said, “You’re all
right, only partly so.”

Stewart nods his head in agreement, tapping his pencil on the table
again.

“But back to Gandhi. I agree with what he said, but I’ll say it a
different way, just to shake things up a bit, which I love to do. By
the way, it’d make a great bumper sticker:
Be the God you want to see in the world.”

“Oh-oh, sounds blasphemous to me,” says Stewart.

“You know as well as I do, every good idea starts out as a blasphemy.”

“OK, great, we’re out of time,” says Stewart, as the camera swings over
for a shot of the audience. They’re all standing, some crying and
laughing at the same time, the most incredible look of collective awe
I’ve ever seen. And Jesus walks over like Jay Leno and starts shaking
hands with them. What a night!”

Jan Phillips
http://www.janphillips.com/
September 3, 2010 -May happiness prevail…

The future of the internet: the counter-revolution has begun

The internet is not what it used to be, and much of what we have come to cherish in the linked generation is at risk. Here’s an excerpt from a recent Economist article.

First, governments are increasingly reasserting their sovereignty. Recently several countries have demanded that their law-enforcement agencies have access to e-mails sent from BlackBerry smart-phones. This week India, which had threatened to cut off BlackBerry service at the end of August, granted RIM, the device’s maker, an extra two months while authorities consider the firm’s proposal to comply. However, it has also said that it is going after other communication-service providers, notably Google and Skype.

Second, big IT companies are building their own digital territories, where they set the rules and control or limit connections to other parts of the internet. Third, network owners would like to treat different types of traffic differently, in effect creating faster and slower lanes on the internet.

You can read the complete article here.