Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Deepak Chopra Provides Insightful Commentary...

From: Deepak Chopra Posted: Friday, September 5th, 2008

Sometimes politics has the uncanny effect of mirroring the national psyche even when nobody intended to do that. This is perfectly illustrated by the rousing effect that Gov. Sarah Palin had on the Republican convention in Minneapolis this week. On the surface, she outdoes former Vice President Dan Quayle as an unlikely choice, given her negligent parochial expertise in the complex affairs of governing. Her state of Alaska has less than 700,000 residents, which reduces the job of governor to the scale of running one-tenth of New York City . By comparison, Rudy Giuliani is a towering international figure. Palin's pluck has been admired, and her forthrightness, but her real appeal goes deeper.

She is the reverse of Barack Obama, in essence his shadow, deriding his idealism and exhorting people to obey their worst impulses. In psychological terms the shadow is that part of the psyche that hides out of sight, countering our aspirations, virtue, and vision with qualities we are ashamed to face: anger, fear, revenge, violence, selfishness, and suspicion of "the other." For millions of Americans, Obama triggers those feelings, but they don't want to express them. He is calling for us to reach for our higher selves, and frankly, that stirs up hidden reactions of an unsavory kind. (Just to be perfectly clear, I am not making a verbal play out of the fact that Sen. Obama is black. The shadow is a metaphor widely in use before his arrival on the scene.)

I recognize that psychological analysis of politics is usually not welcome by the public, but I believe such a perspective can be helpful here to understand Palins message. In her acceptance speech Gov. Palin sent a rousing call to those who want to celebrate their resistance to change and a higher vision.

Look at what she stands for:
  • Small town values -- a denial of America 's global role, a return to petty, small-minded parochialism.
  • Ignorance of world affairs -- a repudiation of the need to repair America 's image abroad.
  • Family values -- a code for walling out anybody who makes a claim for social justice. Such strangers, being outside the family, don't need to be heeded.
  • Rigid stands on guns and abortion -- a scornful repudiation that these issues can be negotiated with those who disagree.
  • Patriotism -- the usual fallback in a failed war.
  • "Reform" -- an italicized term, since in addition to cleaning out corruption and excessive spending, one also throws out anyone who doesn't fit your ideology.
Palin reinforces the overall message of the reactionary right, which has been in play since 1980, that social justice is liberal-radical, that minorities and immigrants, being different from "us" pure American types, can be ignored, that progressivism takes too much effort and globalism is a foreign threat. The radical right marches under the banners of "I'm all right, Jack," and "Why change? Everything's OK as it is." The irony, of course, is that Gov. Palin is a woman and a reactionary at the same time. She can add mom to apple pie on her resume, while blithely reversing forty years of feminist progress. The irony is superficial; there are millions of women who stand on the side of conservatism, however obviously they are voting against their own good. The Republicans have won multiple national elections by raising shadow issues based on fear, rejection, hostility to change, and narrow-mindedness.

Obama's call for higher ideals in politics can't be seen in a vacuum. The shadow is real; it was bound to respond. Not just conservatives possess a shadow -- we all do. So what comes next is a contest between the two forces of progress and inertia. Will the shadow win again, or has its furtive appeal become exhausted? No one can predict. The best thing about Gov. Palin is that she brought this conflict to light, which makes the upcoming debate honest. It would be a shame to elect another Reagan, whose smiling persona was a stalking horse for the reactionary forces that have brought us to the demoralized state we are in. We deserve to see what we are getting, without disguise.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Just another day-in-the-life!

A year! Almost exactly one year since I last scribed words to this blog. I'm a disgrace, at least by Web 2.0 standards. Forgive me oh web gods for I have forsaken you... and so... on with the punishment...

Well, I guess I've been a little busy. Much too much to do in my little private Idaho! Let's see, got divorced (don't worry, it's all good!), sold one business, split another in two and cooked up plans to start a few more in the next year. Still rasing three kids with one off to college in Manhattan. Did some serious sailing, skiing and fishing this year but the photography and guitar playing lost out. I'm trying to get my fingers back in shape by Christmas.

Children continue to excel, excite and amaze me. It's way more fun as they move into adulthood and actually really challenge some of my fatherly missives.... Hey, I look a good argument as much as the next guy, but what a blast when it comes from your own.

Did I mention dating is a little strange when you get in your fifties? I'm having fun but it's not the same as it was in your twenties... I guess I didn't expect it to be, just never "got it" until now. In your twenties, there were never concerns about dating someone twenty years younger, because that would have made them infants. Slightly more problematic in your fifties… living and learning as they say.

Business... Now that's been an interesting topic this year. Time for change and for those that know me, I've never been fearful of that. The biggest problem is changing business in ways that keep it profitable. I made a wholesale resolution to transform my business interests into the Web 2.0 sphere, as much as possible. That meant selling off some interests to make way for new directions. After reading Wikinomics, I can't help but feel our future as business leaders lies more and more in the hands of a collaborative universe. Seeking coopetition instead of competition takes a little more energy to embrace. I have little doubt that it will succeed, it just takes a different perspective and willingness to innovate to make it happen.

Fathom IT, which most people connect me with, is now a Software as a Service vendor. That means we make applications available online for specific business processes that customers rent on a monthly basis. I like to think of it as a continual customer connection now, instead of the usual; once-in-a-while transaction. So, if you know any of my past competitors, or you yourself have invented a unique software application, I'd like to speak to you about purchasing or licensing your intellectual property.

Politics... Hopeful that 2008 is the year of the Dem's and as my last blog noted, Barack Obama, even if a distant second has certainly changed the nature of this campaign so far. His accomplishments in the online world have challenged all the other campaigns to reinvent themselves. Even if not successful, his efforts continually paint a transformed electorate, getting most of their knowledge from the Web space instead of traditional MSM. Now if we can only find a quiet retirement job for Bush, Cheney, et al....

Blogging… Great to see that Jill Miller Zimon stuck to her principals and broke from the Pee Dee and their stuck-in-a-rut-attempt to transform. Too bad they don’t get it; they probably never will. Leadership and innovation are the hardest to change at old-world industries where the fear of losing power overwhelms all decision making. Guess the new guy is the same as the old guy, heh?

I promise no more one year breaks from my blogging duties!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Obama for President?

In Cleveland Heights at the Civic Saturday night, 1,600 people gathered to hear one of the political rising-stars of our country.

Barack was at his usual confident and oratorical best. The Democratic faithful patiently waited thru speeches from the entire Ohio delegation, before Obama spoke and eventually introduced Sherrod Brown.

He did not disappoint. It was apparent why some people think this guy is going places. His passion and articulation is not found in many places, in particular; politics.

But is that enough? As John Balzar mentions in the LA Times today after reviewing Obama's book, Democrats are going to need plans as well as passion if the tide turns our way on Tuesday. From California to Maine, passion will have to formulate actions so as to not end up in the same vacuum of ideas that the Republicans now find themselves.

Through a concerted effort--aligning with the evangelical right as well as the scientific analysis of apportionment--Republicans have mastered control for over ten years nationally and fifteen in Ohio. Not because they had the majority of American opinion on their side (as the last two Presidential elections have demonstrated) but because they were just better politicians. Now that the Democratic machine has figured that out they can no longer can be complacent about the mechanics of politics, let’s hope that they have as much focus on policy tactics as they do on fundraising.

But I suspect the mechanics of politics will not be the future playground. One positive thing I see happening from this past Republican control period; voters get charged up and interested when we send young men and woman off to war as well as when an expanding economy doesn’t put additional money into the hands of working people. Those issues tend to piss regular people off. Pissed off people creates a charged politic atmosphere.

Unfortunately, for the Dem's, they'll need to do something about this pissy feeling the voters have obtained. Passion alone won’t satisfy their hunger. It will take plans and action. If Barack's passion can get aligned with some bold and positive tactics, this country may never have to deal with the likes of a Rev. Ted Haggard or Dick Cheney again. The Republican's will certainly learn the new rules in short time. What will make the Rebublican's more difficult to deal with in the future will be the likes of Ted Flake from Arizona, a hard working, pragmatic and articulate politician. Someone who can speak as well as Obama, and lean to a new center.

In Ohio that means the Dem's need to fix school funding, enabling innovative industries without raising taxes, making higher education affordable and re-tooling our workforces. Nationally it means getting out of Iraq, lowering healthcare costs, resolving the debt crisis and fixing bad trade policies.

I like this Obama guy. He’s bringing a pragmatic and balanced intuition to the national discourse. I don’t know if it’s time for him to be President in 2008, but his time will be coming, that I do not doubt.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

From the Mouths of Babes...

As I am clearly prone to discussions about my offspring, pride and satisfaction notwithstanding, I feel compelled to share with you all the beginning products of a successful insertion into higher education in our great land.

Shannon and I have shared some discussion about socialization in NYC that has her searching for higher meaning. I can't even begin to wonder what her life will be like if she continues to excel like this in the non-social aspects of learning.

I have pilfered to publish here, excerpts from a recent paper Shannon has recently penned entitled: "Orestes a Teacher: In Likeness, Opposed" recently submitted to her English Literature professor, whose consideration is strong enough he intends for it to be published:

...Orestes demonstrates that he truly has ended the curse and provided a brighter future with his words, "We ourselves... will deal with those who break the oath I take" (266). In pledging this oath to Athens, he uses his words to cement a vow, rather than using violence. This contrast between Orestes' enlightened words and the dark, endless, and hopeless, cycle of revenge that has been replaced is important. Words over bloodshed: as soon as Orestes takes this oath, the pain and suffering is ended. This also speaks to how highly Aeschylus values democracy as a method of governance superior to tyranny. Revenge is a primitive urge. When we overcome it by stepping away from using brute force as a problem-solver and begin to use words, discussion, and diplomacy, only then do we characterize ourselves as more highly evolved than animals. Thus, when violence ends, intellectual and spiritual evolution begins...

...The Oresteia, then, can also serve as a more general guideline for happiness among all people. Once we become more aware of the mistakes we make and the lessons we learn from them, there is a brighter future possible for anyone.
Despite my overwhelming amazement that something from my loins, and still at the tender age of 18, could write so powerfully, what I immediately reflected on were the many discussions perpetrated over at BFD surrounding our worst President and his foolish cabinet of advisors who have let pure revenge guide our country into a quagmire that may not be fixed until my child's children are old enough to know better.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Cleveland Fireworks

The clouds parted and the night alighted.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Ken the Madman

Dodd's is the Digital Illuminati of choice store for all things photographic. Ken runs the rental counter on Carnegie and is only sometimes prone to upselling! (Ahem!)

I encountered a wayward glance from Ken whilst testing a new flash unit and couldn't help myself here. I won't mention John Popp's role as I never see him anymore but if you have Mac's and are doing digital processing for still or video, he's your guy.

I know no one asked, but for reference I shoot with a Nikon D2X. Wonderful images. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Do You Live in Cleveland?

That's right. This is an American Bald Eagle. In my backyard last Sunday. That would be about W. 112th and Lake Erie, within site of downtown. Probably only 3 years old as his wing span was at least 6-7ft., but it's not yet acquired a white head.


And below, just yesterday, a beautiful deer who got so comfortable after he ate a good chunk of my foliage, he took a nap. That was until my five-year old and Wheaten Terrier decided to go catch him. Last week we saw a couple of gigantic Turkey Vultures hunting on the shore. I can hear an Owl somewhere in the trees right now but can't catch a glimpse of him.

Can you believe this is Cleveland?

Unfortunately for the deer, he's not in a good place for his health. Can't even imagine what he is doing right now in an urban setting.

It's a funny thing, I drafted a flyer to help sell our house last week and in it I wrote the description: "bucolic Medina woods feel with a view of the skyline." I had no idea how bucolic at the time. Anyone want to buy a house?