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Sep. 1st, 2010

Gandhian Innovations - My interview w/ Frank Aragona

Frank Aragona, host of AgroInnovations podcast. His show does a lot of work to help provide people "in transition" with tools and practical considerations for building a human-scale culture amidst the decay of the modern day.

With Frank's episodes dealing with Gandhian Economics fresh in mind, Frank and I chart new waters together and deal with the touchy subject of emotions, and their relation to the daily struggle of the "spiritual warrior."

The time is now, so is it fear or laziness that is our biggest obstacle?
 

My original intention for this show was to discuss Frank's interview on Gandhian Economics, and while Frank decided to chart a different course, I think it would be helpful to have those interviews he did as a background for this episode, so go straight away to the George Mokray interview on Gandhian Economics, if you please.

Rudolf Steiner's, "Knowledge of Higher Worlds" excerpted as read by Dale Brunsvold:
http://www.rudolfsteineraudio.com/knowledgehigherworlds/knowledgeofhigherworlds.html

East Forest - Water Sign
http://www.eastforest.org/

Tool - The Patient

Excerpt from Rosicrucian Podcast, "Silence"


The Voice of Gandhi on Radio Open Source LINK


3 Principles of Gandhian Economics:

SARVODAYA - SWARAJ - SWADESHI
PILLARS OF A NEW WAY





EPISODE LINK

email the show:
thenextsteppodcast@gmail.com

Vive Le Diet Soap! My interview w/ Doug Lain.

DOUG LAIN.

Host, Diet Soap Podcast.

Editor/Publisher/Madman, Diet Soap 'Zine, for writers and free thinkers(and post-revelation primates).

Revolution, why isn't it happening?

We have a common enemy, it is spectacular and horrific. It sees man, woman, black, white, muslim, jew, young and old as the same- the enemy. A threat. It surrounds us, and we play with it constantly. It is putty in our hands if only we learn to manipulate it. Let us make the world safe for philosophers and the masses. Head and heart.

 

Think for Yourself, Question Authority.

Think for Authority, Question Yourself.

WWW.DIETSOAP.ORG (not dot com)

http://dietsoap.podomatic.com/

Joe Bageant:
http://www.joebageant.com/

Tool, Third Eye(live):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwGBaRCgrag

Ray LaMontagne:
http://www.raylamontagne.com/

-END FILM-


EPISODE LINK

'C' Stands for. . .? My interview with KMO.

In this episode, the first after quite a long break, I mostly interview KMO, host of the C-Realm podcast.

'C' Stand For:
Consciousness
Community
Collapse
Contradiction
Cookie

We discuss many of the themes that KMO covers on the show: the idea of a human-scale community, the disconnection of community in general, personal growth vs. systems change, the notion of collapse, as well as finding a more workable approach.

The C-Realm covers three general topics: the expansion of consciousness through psychedelics and it's relevance, the notion of a technological singularity, and peak oil related issues.

Originally a show devoted to discussing the insanity of the "War on (some) Drugs" and the advent of nano-technology and AI, KMO began searching a new avenue of interest in Peak Oil with such guests as James Howard Kunstler, Dmitri Orlov, and Thomas Homer-Dixon.  Peak Oil is the idea that at some point, now considered by many to have occurred in 2005,  the production in world oil supply will begin peaking in comparison to it's demand, eventually causing a dramatic outcome which would ultimately put the progression of civilization (which is dependent upon fossil fuels) to a grinding halt.  While some people say that it's going to be a sudden collapse situation, others think of it as more of a long descent into a new arrangement for humanity, a humanity which has grown in a particular direction primarily as a result of the rise of science & industry, as well as cheap energy production in the form of crude oil.


While many disagree with the claims of peak oil enthusiasts, the one unchanging aspect of study of the issue is that our society is dependent upon a messy resource that provides us with incredibly cheap energy on the one hand, but under the influence of this energy source we have lost the ability to persist in the face of nature without our powerful aid.  Everything including our clothes, our homes, and our food itself is brought to us almost entirely as a result of our use of this cheap energy source.  The food, grown in large monocultures, requires about 10 calories of energy for every calorie that ends up on our plate.  Those calories are all supplied by our friend, cheap oil.  From the fertilizers (needed as a  result of the ultimate decline in soil quality as a result of the current farming practices) to the production plants, to the trucks that bring the food products across hundreds, sometimes over a thousand miles to get from farm to face.

Whatever your take on peak oil, part of what we do in this episode is cover aspects of this culture that has been emerged as a result of our use of cheap oil.  Is there no better way?

Later in the episode we catch up with KMO and esoteric philosopher, Neil Kramer.  Those two were out on their Transitional Alchemy Couchsurfing Tour, which is now available as a full-on audio experience over at The Cleaver Media site.  If ever these two guys come to your town, be sure to attend the event!


The gamelan background music played throughout was provided by the group, Gong Kebyar


EPISODE LINK

Aug. 25th, 2009

Episode 6 - Wisdom of the Circle

This episode we are talking with Jim Rough, creator of the Wisdom Council process as well as Dynamic Facilitation.  Jim's work focuses on the ways in which society can better come to understandings together using creative group processes that are amazingly unlike anything out there before it.  Here are some notes from the show:



Triangle Organization
– Hierarchical, Pyramidal, Limiting

 

Square Organization – Structural, Contractual, Bureaucratic

 

Circle Organization – Conversational, Dynamic, Open
 

 

The circle process relies on the conversation being in charge.”

 

 

The Circle Organization engages us in collective action and choice creation, but it also relies upon the respect, preservation, and expression of each person's individuality.

 

Unanimity doesn't require conformity but rather, high quality conversations and choice-creation, leading to breakthroughs in group and individual understanding of the issues at hand.

 

 

 

Wisdom Council – Strategy for transitioning aspects of society(home, community, workplace, etc) towards the Circle structure.

 

Three factors of any Wisdom Council:

  • Random Selection

  • Reach Unanimous Perspectives, Disband

  • Ongoing/Recurring

 

Dynamic Facilitation is used, in order to ensure that the process remains on a track the allows for the full fruition of the group.

 

Creative Insight Council – Similar to the Wisdom Council except that the topic is predetermined rather then being developed by the Council as they go.

 

 

At the national level, the results of any council will then become part of the public discourse. Rather then being simple talking points handed out by governmental or corporate interests, council results will be the starting point of public discourse and not the final answer. This will allow for ever more regional aspects of the issues to bubble up to the surface, creating feedback loops throughout all the levels of society engaged in the process.

 

 

Seeing the Big Picture – Heroic Thinking – Turn The World Upside Down Option

 

 

 

 

Do You Want To Do This?


 

 

Center For Wise Democracy

 

Dynamic Facilitation

 

Society's Breakthrough!  by Jim Rough (book)







Jul. 19th, 2009

Episode 4 - The Gathering of the Tribe






"The Quest of the Holy Grail, the Search for the Stone of the Philosophers—by whatever name we choose to call the Great Work—is therefore endless. Success only opens up new avenues of brilliant possibility. Yea, verily, and Amen! the task is tireless and its joys without bounds; for the whole Universe, and all that in it is, what is it but the infinite playground of the Crowned and Conquering Child, of the insatiable, the innocent, the ever-rejoicing Heir of Space and Eternity, whose name is MAN?"
-Frater Perdurabo



This episode features acclaimed author, Charles Eisenstein, on the program with not only an interview but also a reading of his story, A Gathering of the Tribe, read by the author!

While I'd love to pick memorable quotes from the story, I just don't have the time these days to flesh out these notes(or this blog for that matter) as much as I'd like to - not even close.  That is the case in these uncertain times, nothing is true, everything is permitted.

Charles is one of these rare characters I come across who seem to have slipped under my radar, and even when they come up I'm chasing other white rabbits and good leads.  But after a stint on KMO's C-Realm podcast it was apparent to me that what Charles brings to the table is no passing phase in his journey, he is continually engaged in the Great Work.  "A Gathering of the Tribe" was the one essay of his(out of so many that are highly recommended by this dj), that just set me over the edge and had caught me in a unique inner spot that touched upon some of the more abstract aspects of my own personal journey which I have heard very few others even come close to mentioning.

Wrapped in metaphor and clothed with secret dreams, his essay describes in plain words the ineffable impulses and intuitions shared by so many of us on the path of nature/life.  The myth of an advanced race of beings who exist in a world of peace and light is what some may consider borderline new-age/wishful-thinking.  To take such stories literally is to miss so much of the human experience of allowing these stories to imprint on our conscious and unconscious minds and allow whatever alchemy it is to take place that leads the individual ever further along the path of life/nature.  When one switches their interpretation of stories from the literal/actual towards the more metaphorical/mythical, then ALL stories from ALL times take on a new life within the thought life of the individual.  Reality, as it percieved solely through the mind, becomes a much more malleable and open-ended endeavor.  Soon one finds oneself well outside the realm of fixed ideas and dead-certain notions.  Laughter grows from a deep well inside.

When read in the light of literal interpretation, Charles' story can seem overly dreamy and even Messianic, but to those who can pierce the veil of concrete thought and take his story as myth, as metaphor. . .well then a whole new world opens up.  It becomes a story of an entire species in trouble, and the empowerment of the self-selected and self-empowered branches of that species who are waking up to a new dream for the entire race leading away from the short-circuiting our "Death Culture" almost guarantees.  A modern day emergent myth, that of the Helper and/or the Community of Helpers, comes into the thought life of the individual and permeates everything they do there afterwards.

How many minds lay dormant in the active culture who, with only the telling of a simple story or experience of the sublime, may become fully engaged and activated in the process of Life and awaken to a world of people caught in a dream of uber-perpetuating loss of connection to our inner and outer nature.  Completely unware, these ones go about their entire lives never glimpsing the jeweled architechture that is encountered when one steps outside of the realm of the ordinary, and exists - even for just a moment - in a realm of possiblity and trith that many Artists only can point at.  What worlds can we create simply by changing our focus?  What dreams may come true when we believe in them and know they are there for the taking?  How many of us are able to stand alone with the Dream intact and not fade back into the rabble. . .?



Be Like Water, My Friends.






Jun. 1st, 2009

Episode 3 - The Dynamic Helpers


This episode features guest Rosa Zubizaretta, talking about Dynamic Facilitation -  a consensus process designed to generate new choices and expose people to each other's ideas in a way that is not only "safe" for all, but actively seeks to include each and every perspective into it's process.

Rosa works with Jim Rough & Assoc. and also co-wrote, with Tom Atlee, the book The Tao of Democracy.  Tom introduced Rosa to Dynamic Facilitation, and the rest is history, as they say. . .



Dynamic Facilitation Homepage

Rosa's Webpage, Diapraxis.com

     --Link to Dynamic Facilitation Manual, try it!

Center For Wise Democracy






May. 13th, 2009

Episode 2 - The Permablitz of Oz

Permaculture. Permablitz. Permablitz of Oz. Blitz Blizzard. Blizzard of Ozz. Ozzy. That's it, I forgot to play Ozzy in this episode!!!


This episode features an interview with Adam Grubb, a coordinator for the Permablitz network out of Australia. These guys have a very nice system involving bringing permaculture home-practices to people, and also providing a learning experience, social gathering, and all around good time for all who join in! There also is a built in incentive in that if someone attends three blitzes then they have the option of having one done at their own home! People bring food made from local food, others teach techniques and tips using permaculture tek, and everyone is given an opportunity to get some real hands-on experience with this wonderful strategy for garden/landscape design.

Adam and I discuss various aspects of a permablitz event, and we also delve into Transition work which leads naturally to some words said about Peak Oil. Adam helped start the Peak Oil news site, the Energy Bulletin, and he comes primarily from that background in regards his current work. He's a prime example of someone who saw the potential horror that comes as a consequence of our way of life, the horror being the inevitable collapse of said way of life, and instead of becoming even more apathetic or worrisome, he set about to actually take part in creating a positive change. He has gone the extra mile to discover new territory and new ways of interacting with the very world around us in order to co-create new and sustainable possibilities for us all.

Permaculture is the basic design practice that underlines both the permablitz network, and the philosophy underlying Transition work. Permanent Culture and Permanent Agriculture are the two word-contractions that one can extract from the term Permaculture. Spread these memes like the viable heirloom seed they are and get to talking about this stuff with people. It's better then talking about what's on tv!!!

Adam is also Director of Very Edible Gardens. From the VEG website:

"Through our volunteer activites we already dedicate a lot of our waking hours to making the city a more sustainable and edible place to live. Our core motivation in forming VEG was to make a livelihood doing something we believe in: helping to create a healthier, more prosperous and fine flavoured future. With lots of edible folliage in it."

 As mentioned at the start of the show, I was featured guest on KMO's the C-Realm Podcast episode 151.  You can find the permalink here, and the rest of the shows are here.

Also, I read passages from Tom Atlee's pinnacle tome on citizen empowerment, the Tao of Democracy

Apr. 30th, 2009

Episode 1 - Initiating Transition

Well here it is, the first episode of the Next Step Podcast is posted and available!  Let's see where this thing takes us. . .


Les Squires is my guest on this episode.  He manages the online network for the Transition Town Initiative.  Thank you Les for giving me my first interview opportunity!!!

The rest of this episode is yours truly, introducing myself to you the listening audience.


I have a lot to say but I'll keep it for the show, so make sure you're tuning and allowing my feeble attempts at communication to inspire you.  I'm enjoying this project so far and hope that I'm able to follow it wherever it leads me.

If there's anything I missed then please e-mail me with a reminder and I'll edit this post.  In case you need the address it is thenextsteppodcast@gmail.com

Les Squires - Transition Networking

Transition Town Initiative US - Be Inspired, Not Led!

Joe Bageant and his article mentioning "The Hologram"

The C-Realm Podcast w/ KMO - Peak Oil, Singularity, Consciousness, and more!

 
 


Next show due out on 8 May 2009.  Guest is Adam Grubb of Permablitz.  Indeed.

Apr. 20th, 2009

4/20 Newsletter from Tom Atlee(Co-Intelligence Institute)

I thought this was a great article that brings together two great inspirations for me - Tom Atlee's work and the Transition Initiative. 

Tom is adept at exploring many social process endeavors and being very honest about their strengths and weaknesses.  Tom shares my own vision that we cannot stop at just one movement, just one initiative, just one good idea.  We need to constantly be exploring new approaches, and refining old techniques.  We need to constantly strive to re-evaluate our evolution and always question ourselves and each other about what is really the most beneficial situation to involve ourselves in. 

Can Transition become a stale institution in just a few decades?  Not so if my hunch is correct and that there is a large mind-field emerging that will create safe space for such things as Transition and every other movement that comes up with good ideas and that sees results and brings our communities, and ultimately our nations, into harmony and, most importantly of all, co-intelligent living.

Seek Courageously!




Dear friends,

I am amazed at the article below -- not only because it brings the Transition movement <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transition_Towns> into the mainstream New York Times, but because of its breadth of understanding and perspective.

While I share the Transition movement's belief that converging crises present a monumental challenge and opportunity, I also know "there's more to it than that."  In any complex adaptive system like a society, we cannot predict with any certainty what will unfold.  The complexity is too dense and unpredictable "wild cards" are too likely.  What does "being prepared" mean when you don't know what's going to happen?

One of the most remarkable aspects of a self-organizing, resilient system is its mix of redundancy and diversity -- lots of people and organizations serving the same function in different ways.  This mimics the diversity that drives the evolutionary process of natural selection:  Many are called and the most 'fit' are chosen by the dynamics of life.   (This is the underlying life-supporting dynamic of markets.  The destructive nature of modern markets is not that they're competitive, but that they are governed too much by financial capital at the expense of social and natural capital.)

When "business-as-usual" seems to be working, the mainstream (status quo) dominates and alternatives are marginalized on the fringes of society.  When "business-as-usual" begins to bend and crack at the weak points, alternatives begin to expand and spread into the cracks.  When "business-as-usual" collapses, alteratives swarm into what was once "mainstream" space and compete for which will become the next "mainstream."

This is a pattern as old as life, and definitely has its cultural parallels in the rise and fall of empires, businesses, technologies, ideas.

But we are in a radically new era and there is a new possibility:  Among the alternatives being born are initiatives that attempt to embrace a broad spectrum of diverse alternatives WITHIN ONE STORY -- within one cooperative or self-organizing enterprise.  One of the most powerful principles upon which to build such an enterprise is the understanding that resilience COMES FROM diversity and redundancy.  Based on that understanding, such an effort would not push one agenda but rather make space for many approaches to co-exist, thrive, and interact creatively.

The Transition movement is one of the most remarkable of such current experiments.  At its best, it creates space -- often Open Space gatherings <http://www.co-intelligence.org/P-Openspace.html> -- in which EVERYONE working on improving local food security (and other necessary community functions) can learn from each other, coordinate, and create new collaborations.  They don't ALL have to do organic gardening.

And therein lies the dynamic tension which drives the Transition movement to break new ground in social organization.  It invites people to do what they are passionate about, which tends to split people off into groups of like mind, fragmenting the movement.  On the other hand, it invites people into a common vision with a common project of creating a common plan, which tends to bring people together.  This tension between divergence and convergence is apparent within the article below and also in a major Transition Town initiative I recently visited.

Can hippy environmentalists, conservative traditionalists, businesspeople, government officials, lovers of technology and all sorts of ordinary folks work together to help their local communities make a transition from oil-based global growth economies to resilient local economies based on people's connections to each other and the natural world?  There is a natural tendency for many in the consciously alternative environmentalist subculture to split off and do their own thing, for local economics fits comfortably with their back-to-the-land, voluntary simplicity impulses.  On the other hand, the Transition movement is designed to pull diverse people together -- including people from government and business sectors -- so some Transitioners are focusing on that and bewailing the emerging hippy reputation of their movement.

I suspect the Transition movement will succeed to the extent it does the following:
  a.  It holds gatherings that are as ritual-neutral as possible that help people connect in functional groups that actively respect diversity and redundancy even when it seems questionable to them (which the Open Space approach does) AND
  b.  encourages people to create sub-culture clusters WITHIN the movement where like-minded souls can use their familiar rituals, and those who don't want to pray or hold hands or pledge allegiance or work for consensus don't have to, with everyone honoring (or at least tolerating) each other doing their own things in their own groups.
  c.  It actively recruits "bridge builders" and "diplomats" to assist the co-existence and cross-fertilization of different sub-cultures drawn into the movement, and develops such roles as key elements in the Transition program.
  d.  It proudly flaunts its diversity as proof of the importance of its work (see "Circles and Dress Codes" <http://www.co-intelligence.org/S-pcmrchcircle.html> for a story of how the Great Peace March came to use its conservatives and punks together to spotlight their shared concern about nuclear disarmament).
  e.  It provides community activities like well-designed street parties, potlucks or concerts (see the reference to Willie Nelson in the article) to build a mutual sense of common humanity.

And, in the big picture, no matter how inclusive it tries to be, the Transition movement is only one of thousands of efforts operating on different beliefs about our shared Tomorrow.  They are on a leading edge and their rapid expansion suggests there is a hot "market" for working together in the face of challenges.  What other approaches can we try?  The very existence of the Transition movement challenges the rest of us:  How far can we go with the belief that our differences are our greatest strength and using them creatively is our greatest challenge?

Because, whatever happens,
We are All.
In This.
Together.

Coheartedly,
Tom

Apr. 14th, 2009

Launch date announced and upcoming guests.

Hello everyone, just dropping in to say that the first episode will air on Friday, April 24th.  The idea is to release a new episode every month on the New Moon, although that may be subject to change at will.  I have three interviews recorded so far, and the one that will air on episode #1 will be with Les Squires, the guy who runs the online network for Transition US(which is the US extension of the Transition Town Initiative started in England by Rob Hopkins.).  The other two recorded interviews, as of this post, are with Adam Grubb of the permablitz movement in Australia, and also Rosa Zubizaretta on Dynamic Facilitation

Now, I have a couple other interviews that exist as just uncollapsed probability waves, but if I get those done soon then I imagine I will post an episode every two weeks for a while until switching to the monthly model.  You see, the thing is that I have very limited time outside of "job" and family in which I find myself with enough energy to tackle podcast work, and I don't need this show to become another point of stress in my life.  In fact, I hope for this show to become a source of calm and inspiration in my otherwise very hectic and often times banal lifestyle, the norm for many young parents!  The internet sure has given freaks like me the opportunity to "find the others" and share ideas with like minds - all in the interest of changing the world around us.


Salud!




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