May 20, 2009

a multitude of caring people

"You join a multitude of caring people. No one knows how many groups and organizations are working on the most salient issues of our day: climate change, poverty, deforestation, peace, water, hunger, conservation, human rights, and more. This is the largest movement the world has ever seen. Rather than control, it seeks connection. Rather than dominance, it strives to disperse concentrations of power. Like Mercy Corps, it works behind the scenes and gets the job done. Large as it is, no one knows the true size of this movement. It provides hope, support, and meaning to billions of people in the world. Its clout resides in idea, not in force. It is made up of teachers, children, peasants, businesspeople, rappers, organic farmers, nuns, artists, government workers, fisherfolk, engineers, students, incorrigible writers, weeping Muslims, concerned mothers, poets, doctors without borders, grieving Christians, street musicians, the President of the United States of America, and as the writer David James Duncan would say, the Creator, the One who loves us all in such a huge way."
-Paul Hawken, graduation address at the University of Portland (via)

May 12, 2009

the church needs heritics

seth godin's latest ted talk on tribes is now out, and worth viewing:

in addition my friend, scott, recently reviewed douglas rushkoff's latest book, below are some of the key points he highlighted:
  • self-sufficiency was part of the myth of the self-made man in his private esate, so community property, carpools, or sharing of almost any kind became anathema to the suburban aesthetic 51
  • conformty shouldn't be confused with solidarity. the houses and families within these subdivisions were equal but separate. 61
  • going into debt, distancing ourselves from our neighbors, and striving for conformity became equated with freedom 63
  • the more disconnected people became from one another, the more easily they could be manipulated... and more dependent on central authorities to create both value and meaning  89
  • the invention of the printing press turned reading, lit, and bible study from a group activity to an individual one 92
  • if the oats were bad, you'd know where to find the man responsible. you knew his face... if his oats were bad he's lose more than a customer, for you lived and worked in the same town... had had more at stake than your business. you were more than just one another's customers; you were interdependent members of a community 98
  • christian branding turns a religion based in charity and community into a personal relationship with jesus -- a narcissistic faith mirroring the marketing framework on which it is now based 142
  • kids want to be bill gates or to win american idol without wanting to be sw engineer or caring about singing ... the money & recognition they envision for themselves is utterly disconnected from any real task or creation of value 181
  • adam smith's theories of the market were predicated on the regulating pressures of neighbors and social values 182
  • credit card companies market credit as a lifestyle of choice 183
  • things can feel -- or be made to feel -- novel or revolutionary, even though they still consistute biz as usual 193
  • we'd rather send a donation to a middle east peace fund than engage directly with violence-endorsing extremists at our own place of worship 229
  • the surest path to global change in a highly networked world is to make an extremely local impact that works so well it spreads... shared with or copied by other groups in other communities around the world 235
  • by restoring our connections to real people, places, and values, we'll be less likely to depend on the symbols and brands that have come to substitute for human relationships.
  • the best reason to begin reconnecting with real people, places and value is that it feels good. happiness doesn't com from the top down but from the bottom up.... real people doing real things for one another -- without expectations -- is the very activity that has been systematically extracted from our society 244