Sunday, December 16, 2018

Free Book :: How to Respond to Code of Conduct Reports

How to Respond to Code of Conduct Reports

You can now download a free book detailing how to enforce a code of conduct, “How to Respond to Code of Conduct Reports,” written by Valerie Aurora and Mary Gardiner and edited by Annalee Flower Horne. This comprehensive guide includes:
Basic code of conduct theory
How to prepare to enforce a code of conduct
Step-by-step instructions on how to respond to a report
In-depth discussion of relevant topics
Dozens of real-world examples of responding to reports
Valerie Aurora and Mary Gardiner were the lead authors of the Ada Initiative anti­-harassment policy, which is the basis of thousands of codes of conduct in use today. Valerie has more than 7 years of professional experience writing and implementing codes of conduct for software-related companies, venture capital firms, and non-profits. For more information on code of conduct training and consulting, click here.
The book is available under the CC BY-SA license, allowing free reuse and modification of the materials as long as you credit the authors.
Download here (Kindle, EPUB, PDF)
“Valerie helped us write and adopt a code of conduct that could be a model for our industry as well as a guide for our firm. She is deeply experienced and gave nuanced, direct advice and we look forward to using her book to train our staff.” —Samantha Wong, partner at Blackbird Ventures
“Val was a trusted adviser to us as we planned and practiced responses to Code of Conduct incidents that might arise at conferences or in our open source communities. Her advice was practical and paired with a diverse set of potential scenarios to build confidence, and with it we felt prepared to act in a responsible and orderly way.” —Brandon Philips, co-founder and CTO of CoreOS
“Valerie advised us when creating the code of conduct in Wikimedia’s technical spaces. Her input was invaluable in navigating the challenge of creating a code of conduct that was co-created by our community. Her advice was practical, flexible, and informative, and empowered us to produce a code that represents our communities’ values, has a framework for updates and improvements, and continues to improve the experience of our technical contributors all over the world.” —Moriel Schottlender, Senior Software Engineer, Wikimedia Foundation
Press kit

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Anonymous Stories of Inappropriate Behavior In Tango

Here's the link to share your story, or share with a friend who has a story. Spread the word:

I have a theory that if people can remain anonymous, they are much more inclined to share their stories of inappropriate behavior in tango communities around the U.S. And around the world I suppose. With the goal of everyone hearing the stories, informing themselves, and hopefully informing and driving change in tango communities everywhere. And bearing witness. Supporting this growing number of victims. Someone said, "it's not an epidemic, but one is too many" - it is a known issue in every tango community - there is no doubt about that.

Well, I take that back, it appears there is substantial doubt that it is a problem. Or people just don't give a shit. Or that it's enough of a problem for the community to organize and do anything/something about. This aberrant thinking, group-thinking, which can paralyze a community into inaction. Inaction over many years because they believe it's not the community's place to put in an organizational or policy "structure". They believe the community has no authority to force some policy on teachers and organizers, when they want to be free and independent and autonomous operators under the greater community umbrella, selling their tango "products" to the consumers aka dancers. And making their own policies. Or the community believes that the teachers and organizers have no authority to implement a community-wide safe space policy. Nobody believes anybody has the authority.

A no-win situation. Lose-lose for everyone, especially the victims. Lose-lose for tango. Lose-lose for our souls. For our morality. For our ethics.

No one wants to stand up out of fear. Women don't want to come forward with their stories, justifiably, because they will be attacked, or scorned, or shunned, or not believed. The perpetrators will often be supported over their victims. We've all witnessed this in the news over the past two years. We've witnessed it in our tango communities.

Only one or two, or three or a half-dozen leaders who are chronic/serial offenders can cause a strong undercurrent of long-term discord in a tango community, cause followers to leave the community, cause new dancers not to engage, not to "stick", cause people to boycott milongas and practicas, venues, teachers, and yes, even festivals. If one of those chronic/serial offenders is in a position of authority in the community, and a group within that community continues to protect that individual, with community-level DARVO, it can do real damage to the health and growth of a tango community.

Tango communities fracture over this. Splinter groups form. Private, invitation-only milongas spring forth. The Tango Underground. It's even within the realm of possibility that an entire parallel community could spring up in a small town or large metropolitan area. A parallel universe of tango where safe spaces and codes of conduct are held as paramount principles for all to be mindful of, for teachers to interweave into their classes, and for all to adhere to and talk about. Without fear of reprisals. Without fears of being judged.

A Tango Universe of the dancers, by the dancers, for the dancers.

Note that I say "leaders" to keep it simple, ascribing to the historical male/leader - female/follower in tango. But obviously this works in all directions and all gender identities. Most commonly these incidents are male upon female.

I'm thinking something like the Standing Up For Safer Spaces Tumblr blog, only without the photos.

Here's the link to share your story, or share with a friend who has a story. Spread the word:

I'll be creating a new blog to publish these (with any identifying details redacted), along with resources for creating a safe space / code of conduct / behavioral guidelines policy for your tango community.

The actual stories will be posted over here:

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Queer Tango Article in the Washington Post

Photographer: Bonnie Jo Mount / The Washington Post

Inter/National/Day of Tango

Today, 11th of December, is the National day of Tango in Argentina: during this day, Buenos Aires stops walking and starts dancing.

Every year, hundreds of dancers gather on the famed Avenida de Mayo to put their best foot forward. Traffic comes to a standstill as more than 10 bands perform on stages erected along the avenue to provide a musical backdrop for the Gran Milonga Nacional (the Big National Milonga).

Learn how the dream and determination of one man made this day a reality.

Why December 11 for the National Day of Tango?

The national Day of Tango is a big event in Buenos Aires: people take it to the streets and dance on Avenida de Mayo until the wee hours, milongas are crowded like no other day, TV stations broadcast documentaries about the history of tango, and even the Argentine president visits a milonga and trys a few risque moves (OK, I made this one up). But what’s the story behind this special day?
The national day of tango commemorates the birth of two legends of tango: the immortal legend Carlos Gardel, perhaps the most famous tango singer of all times, and genius orchestra conductor Julio de Caro: both born on Dec. 11th.

The national day of tango is the result of the dream of one Argentine, Ben Molar. In 1965, as he realised Dec. 11 was the birthday of Julio de Caro and Carlos Gardel, he approached the Secretary of Culture of Buenos Aires with a proposal to make this day the ‘day of tango’. Unfortunately, his proposal did not interest anyone, but he continued to push for his idea …. for 11 years!
After 11 years, he threatened the Secretary of Culture of the City to do it by himself and started to plan a massive festival in “Luna Park”, the famous Buenos Aires stadium. He approached Tito Lectoure, Luna Park’s owner, and had the radio, TV and various tango artists lined up for the event. At 2PM on the day of the ultimatum, the decree was finally enacted and the day officially became the Day of Tango in Buenos Aires.
On the first day of tango ever, the festival was attended by about 15,000 spectators, along with famous musicians, journalists and personalities.
The Day of Tango becomes national

Ben Molar decided to build on this momentum to make the Day of Tango a national event, so when the Secretary of Culture asked to organise a “farewell to 1977″ tango party, he bargained that, in return, the Day of Tango would become national. It was accepted on December 23rd of that year. Since then, Dec. 11 is the NATIONAL DAY OF TANGO.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Four Psychological Traits of Sexual Harassers

While most incidents of inappropriate behavior in tango fall into the inadvertent/accidental/unconscious realm, with some in the stupid/creepy unwanted sexual attention realm, fewer in the conscious serial repetitive offenses with multiple women over months or years, and then the more rare, but very serious bona fide sexual harassment.

From Psychology Today -

Ellen Hendriksen, Ph.D.
How to Be Yourself
Four Psychological Traits of Sexual Harassers
What traits make someone prone to sexually harassing others?
Posted Nov 09, 2017

Sexual harassment is as rife as it is revolting. In recent weeks, revelations about sexual harassment and its devastating effects have flooded news and social media feeds. From Kevin Spacey to Harvey Weinstein and many others (and let’s not even get started on Uber), it’s clear and unfortunate that sexual harassment is common. But aside from a few legal-team-filtered statements, we don’t have an insight into the mentality of the accused harassers. What are they thinking when they commit these vile acts?

But before we get into the psychology of sexual harassment, let’s define exactly what we’re talking about. What exactly is sexual harassment?

A common myth is that sexual harassment is just a few notches down from sexual assault but it’s not that simple.

Sexual harassment is uniquely tied to power structures, often in employment and career advancement situations. The perpetrator holds the key to moving onwards and upwards, creating a dilemma for the victim: submit and be exploited or resist and be punished. The victim is placed in an intimidating lose-lose situation without any power or control.

Therefore, sexual harassment can and does run the gamut from demeaning comments to requests for sexual favors to unwanted sexual advances. In addition, it doesn’t always but certainly can include sexual assault, which is any non-consensual or coerced sexual act, including sexual touching.

Harassment is also different than unwanted sexual attention, which consists of unwelcome come-ons and comments that are not primarily designed to demean and intimidate. Think terrible pick-up lines: “I lost my teddy bear, will you sleep with me instead?” from a guy at the bar is unwanted sexual attention, but from your boss, it’s sexual harassment.

To be clear, it’s not only women as victims and men as perpetrators, even though that setup is the vast majority of cases. Of the 13,000 charges of sexual assault logged in 2016 by the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (believed to be just the tip of the iceberg), 83 percent of them were filed by women.

And the women who face sexual harassment by bosses and supervisors aren’t just rising Hollywood starlets or, like Anita Hill, Yale-educated lawyers. They’re everyday people—restaurant workers, clerks, flight attendants, students, health care workers, programmers—whose bosses control scheduling, raises, future promotions, and references.

So who sexually harasses? I dug through the research and found four common characteristics of the (mostly) men who sexually harass (mostly) women.

The Four Characteristics of Sexual Harassers

The Dark Triad
Moral disengagement
Employment in a male-dominated field
Hostile attitudes towards women

Let's explore each a little further.

Characteristic #1: The Dark Triad

With a name like “the Dark Triad,” you can bet this is a doozy of a personality trait. Actually, it’s three in one: narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism.
The first two are probably familiar to you: narcissism is an inflated view of one’s own talents coupled with a lack of empathy and a deep urgency for approval. Narcissists don’t care if you like them, but they do need you to think they’re powerful and worthy of admiration.

Narcissists find a way to justify sexual harassment if they think they’ve been deprived of a sexual experience they “deserve.” They just can’t fathom that someone wouldn’t be interested in the opportunity to get attention from them.

Next, psychopathy revolves around two things: fearless dominance and aggressive impulsivity. In other words, psychopaths are audacious, manipulative exploiters. They too have no empathy but excel at mimicking the correct emotions to exploit their victims.

Psychopaths sexually harass for one reason—because they want to. If the opportunity presents itself (or they create the opportunity), they’ll take full advantage.
Finally, there’s Machiavellianism, named for the Italian Renaissance politician Niccolo Machiavelli. His masterwork, The Prince, describes an unscrupulous, deceitful political philosophy with an eye on long-term goals at any cost.

Combine these three traits and you’re met with a gleeful enthusiasm for exploitation, deception, and manipulation coupled with an indifferent blindness to the feelings of others, all wrapped up nicely with a bow of grandiosity. In other words, a perfect recipe for sexual harassment. Indeed, in a study of almost 2,000 everyday community members, researchers found, unsurprisingly, that each of the Dark Triad characteristics added to a tendency to sexually harass others.

Characteristic #2: Moral disengagement

This is another whopper of a characteristic. Moral disengagement is a slippery slope; a cognitive process by which individuals justify their own corruption and create their own version of reality where moral principles don’t apply to them.
Moral disengagement was first proposed by the psychologist Albert Bandura, who is often referred to as the greatest living psychologist. His theory, as applied to sexual harassment, has several parts:

1. First comes moral justification, or portraying harassment as an acceptable action. Think of Harvey Weinstein’s line, “I came of age in the '60s and '70s when all the rules about behavior and workplaces were different.”

2. Next is euphemistic labeling: Using sanitized terms for naming their behavior, like Bill Cosby’s characterization of his sexual assaults as “rendezvous.”

3. Third is displacement of responsibility, attributing the harassment to outside forces beyond their control, like Weinstein’s “that was the culture then.”

4. There's also advantageous comparison which is the insistence that their behavior could have been worse, and distortion of consequences, where individuals minimize the harm wrought by their actions on the victims.

5. And finally, there are dehumanization and attribution of blame, which respectively eliminate concern for the victim and blame her for the incident. Bill O’Reilly did both of these when he commented that a woman who was raped and killed was “moronic” because she was wearing a miniskirt and a halter top, and that “every predator in the world is gonna pick that up.”

The end result? Harassers have no trouble sleeping at night because, through moral disengagement, they rest assured they did nothing wrong, that their actions were normal and deserved, and that they didn’t cause any harm.

The mind is a tricky thing: we often choose behaviors that match our values, but sometimes, through moral disengagement, we change those values to justify our behavior. This is how sexual harassers can maintain their view of themselves as decent, even morally upstanding people.

Characteristic #3: Employment in a male-dominated field

Sexual harassment is well-documented to be more prevalent in traditionally masculine fields, such as the military, the police force, surgery, finance, and more recently, high tech and the upper echelons of the entertainment industry.

This revelation is nothing new: an old 1989 study of 100 female factory workers found that women who worked as machinists—a male-dominated position—reported being harassed significantly more often than women who worked on the assembly line, which was more gender-equal.

Characteristic #4: Hostile attitudes towards women

Even though psychology is a science, it’s not a totally objective field, in most part because research is done by people, and people respond to and draw conclusions from their culture and the biases of a given place and time. Interestingly, while researching this episode, I found a study on sexual harassment from the early 1980s—almost a decade prior to Anita Hill’s testimony at Clarence Thomas’s confirmation hearings—that stated that most male sexual harassers had no idea that their advances were unwanted or inappropriate. The conclusion was that people who engaged in sexual harassment were simply clueless and infatuated, but now we know better.

The University of Bielefeld in Germany conducted a study in 2012 testing whether harassment was driven by what researchers called a “short term mating orientation,” basically an academic euphemism for love ‘em and leave ‘em—or was driven by something called hostile sexism, and therefore served less as a way to just get sex and more as a way to intimidate and coerce women.

The researchers asked 100 heterosexual male college students to chat online with “Julia,” an attractive 23-year-old woman. With each chat exchange, participants were asked to choose among three different pre-written messages to send to Julia.

The men were also told that this was a memory test and that Julia would later be tested on memory recall. To create an air of competition, they were told that previous studies had found gender differences in the ability to remember.

For each message, the men chose among a joke, a comment, and a neutral statement. Now, some of the exchanges were carefully calibrated to include opportunities to harass. For example, in one combination, the joke was a sexist joke about women in general: “What’s the difference between a woman having her period and a terrorist? With a terrorist, you can negotiate.” It also included a terrible pickup line: “You’re a sweet chocolate and I’ve got the filling for you.” Thankfully, there was also a simple neutral statement: “You seem like a cheerful person.” Participants chose one of the messages to send and then repeated this over 20 different trials.

The results found that the men who were more likely to send the bad pickup lines were also more likely to agree with statements like “sex without love is okay,” or “I would consider having sex with a stranger if it was safe and she was attractive.” Their attitudes mapped onto the “short-term mating orientation.”

Now, those who chose to send the sexist jokes also scored highly on the short-term sexual attitudes questionnaire. But there was more: they scored highly on a questionnaire of hostile sexism, endorsing items like, “Women are too easily offended,” and “The world would be a better place if women supported men more and criticized them less.”

In other words, purely sexual motives predicted unwanted sexual attention but belligerent motives anticipated both unwanted sexual attention and gender harassment. Choosing to send the hostile joke wasn’t about sex at all; it was about creating a disparaging, inhospitable climate for Julia in the context of a competitive atmosphere.

A good litmus test for whether comments are sexist or just a joke is to ask, “Would I say this to a man?” It’s a way to highlight statements that might get defended by a harasser as “harmless fun,” or “What, I can’t even give a compliment?” For instance, a male supervisor wouldn’t tell a man he should smile more, make a pass about the attractiveness of his body, or say, “You don’t have to get all emotional about it.”

To sum it all up, harassment indicates a willingness to exploit and manipulate as a way to maintain or gain power. It demonstrates carelessness toward the victims and aims to “keep them in their place.”

There will likely always be psychopaths and moral disengagement, but hopefully, with all the recent attention given to sexual harassment, more victims and observers will speak up and speak out and sexual harassment will go the way of Harvey Weinstein’s career.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Standing Up For Safer Spaces :: Inappropriate Behavior in Tango

Tumblr blog I ran across in searching for information on developing a safe space policy for tango communities...

Obviously not tango-community specific...but other social dances...

This one strikes a chord:

“I support standing up for safer dance spaces because I have seen people bullied and ostracized by abusers who had more social clout in the community.”

First Post
From arguing when someone says “no” to a dance, to touching someone without their consent, we believe every incident that makes someone uncomfortable deserves to be addressed. We believe that (cis-)sexism, harassment, abuse, and assault are not just an individual problem but a community issue. Many of us have quit attending events or being in spaces that have failed to hear our concerns. We have come together to share our stories with the hope that our communities, including event organizers, will take serious measures to reform the status quo.

We suggest a variety of strategies including:
-listening to and believing survivors
-publicizing and implementing clear and rigorous codes of conduct
-reaching out to people who have expressed concerns
-re-evaluating whether current leadership is adequate or appropriate for addressing safety problems
-establishing a well-trained designated and visible event safety team
-continuing to work to create safer spaces for everyone

Stay tuned for the photos from our first Standing Up For Safer Spaces event!

or the archive

facebook page

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Musicality Part II :: How to get your musicality to flourish

Part II in my musicality the holy grail of tango series is primarily this: Listening to Tango Dance Music - A Beginner's Guide.

Scroll down for some of my original drivel-thought on the flourishing part.

Here's Part I Musicality The Holy Grail of Tango if you missed it.

You might call this one a prequel. Going back to basics. Or rather going to the original, the root/s, the foundations. The genesis of musicality.

The music.

Wow. That's some profound shit there Alex. He says. Self-deprecatingly. (grin)

Sidenote: I found this beginner's guide on, excerpted from Michael Lavocah's "Tango Stories - Musical Secrets"

So, as I pointed out in Part I (parroting what Elizabeth said in her post), it's important to listen to a lot of tango music. The good stuff, not the bad shit. It's also important to have some background into what you are listening to. The structure and the elements and all that musicological jazz.

It's also important to think (hard) about what you are listening to. Sure, yes, just "listen" sometimes, letting the music wash over you and envelope your heart and soul, only engaging your brain by maybe throwing in some astral projection (see Part I). But sometimes do engage your brain, and think about the structure and elements Michael describes. And describe it very well does he. Not sure why I just dropped into Yoda-speak. (grin)

I would add a fifth element to acknowledge/be aware of/think about whilst listening. Another element beyond beat, rhythm, melody, and lyrics.

That fifth element would be emotion. First, the emotion "of" the music. Inside it. Emanating from the instruments, emanating from the musicians through their instruments. The vibrations sent forth across the air, making contact with your ear drums. Next, doing all the primordial things that the miraculous human body and brain does, all of the energetic electro chemical type stuff swirling around your heart and your soul and your being. Eliciting some sort of emotional response, hopefully. Your internal emotional response to the emotionally infused music that was just delivered unto you. You might ask ten different people to describe the emotion(s) "of" a particular song and get ten different answers. Then you might get different responses if you ask about the internal emotions of the listener, or rather their emotional responses. The stuff that wells up inside you when you listen to a really beautiful tango. Your favorite tango. The bubbles that form on the surface of your primordial ooze and then pop, manifesting into righteousness multitudinous itty-bitty thought bubble/clouds that we think when we're emotionally vibrationally energetically stimulated. Whilst dancing. Dancing tango. To good tango music. Dancing tango to good golden-age tango music. The warm and fuzzy shit.

Is there a song that makes you cry every time you listen to it? Or nearly every time? Or even some times? For me it's this one. I don't know why. I don't have any historical or experiential connection to the song. But it gets me nearly every time. It's just so fucking beautiful. And the magnitude of the beauty that the human animal is capable of creating. And the magnitude of the utter destruction of humanity itself, not to mention the destruction of the planet, unleashed by humanity itself. That's what gets me when I listen to this one. I think. Perhaps.

But I digress.

Hell, that one, perhaps, being the fifth, might even be the elusive quinta essencia. The Fifth Element. The Quintessence. Earth, Fire, Water, Air. Tango.

I've written about that before.

Okay, maybe the emotion of tango music isn't actually "THE" Quintessence of Tango.

But maybe it (the emotion of tango) just touches the surface of the concept (of the quintessence of tango).

Like a single candle illuminating a large dark room.

If you've read my blog for any length of time, you'll know that I tend to go round and round and digress all over the place and then gel it down to something in the end. That's what I love about extemporaneous writing disjointed bullshittery. Not knowing the point/conclusion/gist of what I'm writing until I get to the end, and I'm kinda sitting here pondering what I've just written. And then it comes to me. Voilà. I like that.

My point with this one, the point that I didn't realize until I got to the point of writing all the drivel above, is that for your musicality to flourish, there needs to be a direct connection between it and your emotions and the emotion(s) of the music. Think of it as a web of energetic interconnectivity/ed/ness.


Monday, November 19, 2018

Musicality :: The Holy Grail of Tango

The Carina Nebula

So I just ran across this, thanks to my very first original tango teacher, Heather Morrow, high up in the Rocky Mountains in Aspen, Colorado. The link that is. The link at the very bottom of this post. The referenced post is courtesy of Elizabeth Wartluft out of Portland.

Nothing profound here (in her post), but it's a good start. I'll use this post (this here post) as the initial/starting post on a series looking into "musicality". The Holy Grail of Tango.

I like to believe my musicality is pretty good. I'm not sure how it happened though. I'll venture a guess that it's from Elizabeth's #1. I seem to recall a period, early in my tango years, that I decided I would only listen to tango music. That lasted about two years, if memory serves.

I think I've taken a few "musicality" classes at festivals in years gone by. I think I remember them being pretty nebulous. Maybe even arcane. Well hell yeah arcane! Now that I look up the definition. Nebulous AND arcane!!! (hence the nebula photo)

I'm not sure (tango) musicality can be "taught". You have to want it bad. You have to listen to a ton of good tango music. GOOD TANGO MUSIC. NOT THE SHIT THAT MOST DJ'S PLAY. Separating the GOOD SHIT from the BAD SHIT, the GOOD from the BAD and the UGLY SHIT, is a damn good exercise in musicality. If your community's DJ's are playing bad shit, it's likely their musicality sucks. It's likely there's not much good musicality being manifested by the general tango populace of the community. And that, my friends, is some sad shit. Bad tango music will ruin a tango community, and ruin it's dancers.

So listen to good tango music. Watch who you perceive to be good/musical dancers. Leaders, primarily I suppose. Leaders for leaders. Followers for followers.

Listen, watch. Listen, watch. Hyper-awareness whilst listening and watching. Feel the music.

Oh. Another thing I've done and I still do. I transport myself back to the 1940's. Maybe even all the way back to the 1930's. I transport myself back to a milonga, visualize a live orchestra playing, visualize a beautiful piece of architecture, a ballroom or whatever. Visualize the room, the dancers, the music, the cigarette smoke, the smells. I'm not sure you can visualize smells, but you get my drift. (grin) Visualize yourself dancing back then. In the middle of the zeitgeist that created tango. Astral projection is prolly the better word/s.

Oh yeah, and dance. Dance and practice, but to damn good tango music.

Listen, watch, feel, whilst hyper-awareness-isizing yourself. Listen, watch, feel, astrally project, dance.

Do all that shit and the "musicality" will come. It has to steep, absorb, infuse, assimilate...all the way down deep into your DNA. It will take months and years to get it hard-wired into your brain and hard-wired into your tango.

Oh, also - for a later post - we should talk about how much more musical you can be with songs you've heard before. Dancing to a live orchestra, especially to a song you're not familiar with, can be one of the most challenging, uh..."things" to your musicality-ish-ness. Again, a later post.

Anyway that's what I think.

What do y'all think?

My Favorite Quotes

From FB...buried in there never to see the light of day...

❝ For capitalism, accumulation of capital is everything, the Earth and its inhabitants nothing. ❞

“I think the main thing a musician would like to do is give a picture to the listener of the many wonderful things he knows of and senses in the universe.” ~ John Coltrane

Orwell: "A totalitarian state is in effect a theocracy, and its ruling caste, in order to keep its position, has to be thought of as infallible. But since, in practice, no one is infallible, it is frequently necessary to rearrange past events in order to show that this or that mistake was not made, or that this or that imaginary triumph actually happened… Totalitarianism demands, in fact, the continuous alteration of the past, and in the long run probably demands a disbelief in the very existence of objective truth.”

I eschew the notion of being "understood." The psyche cannot be placed in a specimen jar, examined, and comprehended. The vastness and intricacy of others will always be a mystery. How is it even possible to vivisect a dream?

"The difference between a criminal and an outlaw is that while criminals frequently are victims, outlaws never are. Indeed, the first step toward becoming a true outlaw is the refusal to be victimized. All people who live subject to other people's laws are victims. People who break laws out of greed, frustration, or vengeance are victims. People who overturn laws in order to replace them with their own laws are victims. ( I am speaking here of revolutionaries.) We outlaws, however, live beyond the law. We don't merely live beyond the letter of the law-many businessmen, most politicians, and all cops do that-we live beyond the spirit of the law. In a sense, then, we live beyond society. Have we a common goal, that goal is to turn the tables on the 'nature' of society. When we succeed, we raise the exhilaration content of the universe. We even raise it a little bit when we fail.

When war turns whole populations into sleepwalkers, outlaws don't join forces with alarm clocks. Outlaws, like poets, rearrange the nightmare.

The trite mythos of the outlaw; the self-conscious romanticism of the outlaw; the black wardrobe of the outlaw; the fey smile of the outlaw; the tequila of the outlaw and the beans of the outlaw; respectable men sneer and say 'outlaw'; young women palpitate and say 'outlaw'. The outlaw boat sails against the flow; outlaws toilet where badgers toilet. All outlaws are photogenic. 'When freedom is outlawed, only outlaws will be free.' There are outlaw maps that lead to outlaw treasures. Unwilling to wait for mankind to improve, the outlaw lives as if that day were here. Outlaws are can openers in the supermarket of life."

---Tom Robbins, Still Life with Woodpecker

"Freedom doesn't exist if you don't use it." Margaret Heffernan

“We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art, and very often in our art - the art of words.” ~ Ursula Le Guin

A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful implanted in the human soul.” --Johann Wolfgang Goethe

"The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists." -- Hannah Arendt, “The Origins of Totalitarianism” (1951)

Edward P. Abbey
“One final paragraph of advice: do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am – a reluctant enthusiast…a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards.” ~ Edward P Abbey

"A white man and an elderly Native man became pretty good friends, so the white guy decided to ask him: “What do you think about Indian mascots?” The Native elder responded, “Here’s what you’ve got to understand. When you look at black people, you see ghosts of all the slavery and the rapes and the hangings and the chains.

When you look at Jews, you see ghosts of all those bodies piled up in death camps. And those ghosts keep you trying to do the right thing. “But when you look at us you don’t see the ghosts of the little babies with their heads smashed in by rifle butts at the Big Hole, or the old folks dying by the side of the trail on the way to Oklahoma while their families cried and tried to make them comfortable, or the dead mothers at Wounded Knee or the little kids at Sand Creek who were shot for target practice. You don’t see any ghosts at all.

“Instead you see casinos and drunks and junk cars and shacks. “Well, we see those ghosts. And they make our hearts sad and they hurt our little children. And when we try to say something, you tell us, ‘Get over it. This is America. Look at the American dream.’ But as long as you’re calling us Redskins and doing tomahawk chops, we can’t look at the American dream, because those things remind us that we are not real human beings to you. And when people aren’t humans, you can turn them into slaves or kill six million of them or shoot them down with Hotchkiss guns and throw them into mass graves at Wounded Knee. “No, we’re not looking at the American dream. And why should we? We still haven’t woken up from the American nightmare." Chief Guanikeyu. Jatibonicu Taino
(Thanks Ellene Nations.)

"I'm in the camp that believes all poetry is inherently political. I believe aligning yourself with wonder in a time that actively conspires against it is political. Affirming the sanctuary of the psychic life is political."-Kaveh Akbar

“Is it better to out-monster the monster or to be quietly devoured?”
― Friedrich Nietzsche

"There will be rebels. They will live in the shadows. They will be the renegade painters, sculptors, poets, writers, journalists, musicians, actors, dancers, organizers, activists, mystics, intellectuals and other outcasts who are willing to accept personal sacrifice. They will not surrender their integrity, creativity, independence and finally their souls. They will speak the truth. The state will have little tolerance of them. They will be poor. The wider society will be conditioned by mass propaganda to write them off as parasites or traitors. They will keep alive what is left of dignity and freedom. Perhaps one day they will rise up and triumph. But one does not live in poverty and on the margins of society because of the certainty of success. One lives like that because to collaborate with radical evil is to betray all that is good and beautiful. It is to become a captive. It is to give up the moral autonomy that makes us human. The rebels will be our hope."
- c hedges

"Americans are no wiser than the Europeans who saw democracy yield to fascism, Nazism, or communism. Our one advantage is that we might learn from their experience. Now is a good time to do so."

Snyder's a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (which includes former Secretaries of State), and consults on political situations around the globe. He says, "Here are twenty lessons from the twentieth century, adapted to the circumstances of today.

1. Do not obey in advance. Much of the power of authoritarianism is freely given. In times like these, individuals think ahead about what a more repressive government will want, and then start to do it without being asked. You've already done this, haven't you? Stop. Anticipatory obedience teaches authorities what is possible and accelerates unfreedom.

2. Defend an institution. Follow the courts or the media, or a court or a newspaper. Do not speak of "our institutions" unless you are making them yours by acting on their behalf. Institutions don't protect themselves. They go down like dominoes unless each is defended from the beginning.

3. Recall professional ethics. When the leaders of state set a negative example, professional commitments to just practice become much more important. It is hard to break a rule-of-law state without lawyers, and it is hard to have show trials without judges.

4. When listening to politicians, distinguish certain words. Look out for the expansive use of "terrorism" and "extremism." Be alive to the fatal notions of "exception" and "emergency." Be angry about the treacherous use of patriotic vocabulary.

5. Be calm when the unthinkable arrives. When the terrorist attack comes, remember that all authoritarians at all times either await or plan such events in order to consolidate power. Think of the Reichstag fire. The sudden disaster that requires the end of the balance of power, the end of opposition parties, and so on, is the oldest trick in the Hitlerian book. Don't fall for it.

6. Be kind to our language. Avoid pronouncing the phrases everyone else does. Think up your own way of speaking, even if only to convey that thing you think everyone is saying. (Don't use the internet before bed. Charge your gadgets away from your bedroom, and read.) What to read? Perhaps "The Power of the Powerless" by Václav Havel, 1984 by George Orwell, The Captive Mind by Czesław Milosz, The Rebel by Albert Camus, The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt, or Nothing is True and Everything is Possible by Peter Pomerantsev.

7. Stand out. Someone has to. It is easy, in words and deeds, to follow along. It can feel strange to do or say something different. But without that unease, there is no freedom. And the moment you set an example, the spell of the status quo is broken, and others will follow.

8. Believe in truth. To abandon facts is to abandon freedom. If nothing is true, then no one can criticize power, because there is no basis upon which to do so. If nothing is true, then all is spectacle. The biggest wallet pays for the most blinding lights.

9. Investigate. Figure things out for yourself. Spend more time with long articles. Subsidize investigative journalism by subscribing to print media. Realize that some of what is on your screen is there to harm you. Bookmark PropOrNot or other sites that investigate foreign propaganda pushes.

10. Practice corporeal politics. Power wants your body softening in your chair and your emotions dissipating on the screen. Get outside. Put your body in unfamiliar places with unfamiliar people. Make new friends and march with them.

11. Make eye contact and small talk. This is not just polite. It is a way to stay in touch with your surroundings, break down unnecessary social barriers, and come to understand whom you should and should not trust. If we enter a culture of denunciation, you will want to know the psychological landscape of your daily life.

12. Take responsibility for the face of the world. Notice the swastikas and the other signs of hate. Do not look away and do not get used to them. Remove them yourself and set an example for others to do so.

13. Hinder the one-party state. The parties that took over states were once something else. They exploited a historical moment to make political life impossible for their rivals. Vote in local and state elections while you can.

14. Give regularly to good causes, if you can. Pick a charity and set up autopay. Then you will know that you have made a free choice that is supporting civil society helping others doing something good.

15. Establish a private life. Nastier rulers will use what they know about you to push you around. Scrub your computer of malware. Remember that email is skywriting. Consider using alternative forms of the internet, or simply using it less. Have personal exchanges in person. For the same reason, resolve any legal trouble. Authoritarianism works as a blackmail state, looking for the hook on which to hang you. Try not to have too many hooks.

16. Learn from others in other countries. Keep up your friendships abroad, or make new friends abroad. The present difficulties here are an element of a general trend. And no country is going to find a solution by itself. Make sure you and your family have passports.

17. Watch out for the paramilitaries. When the men with guns who have always claimed to be against the system start wearing uniforms and marching around with torches and pictures of a Leader, the end is nigh. When the pro-Leader paramilitary and the official police and military intermingle, the game is over.

18. Be reflective if you must be armed. If you carry a weapon in public service, God bless you and keep you. But know that evils of the past involved policemen and soldiers finding themselves, one day, doing irregular things. Be ready to say no. (If you do not know what this means, contact the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and ask about training in professional ethics.)

19. Be as courageous as you can. If none of us is prepared to die for freedom, then all of us will die in unfreedom.

20. Be a patriot. The incoming president is not. Set a good example of what America means for the generations to come. They will need it."

ETA: Feel free to share, but please copy+ paste into your own status or else it will not be viewable to all of your friends.

Proverbs 11:29

He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind

"The tango is a feeling that is danced. That's why it is not choreographed, though it can have sequences, like all feelings. You can dance love, rage, happiness, pleasure, every mood. The tango is not a dance to demonstrate ability but rather an interpretation of feeling. It is not just moving your feet and posturing. The tango is Argentine, but it belongs to all those who understand its feelings and its codes." -- Cacho Dante

Below are 11 quotes from Kahlil Gibran...

1) “Your daily life is your temple and your religion.”

2) “You talk when you cease to be at peace with your thoughts.”

3) “Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.”

4) “Your children are not your children.

They are sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.

They come through you but not from you.

And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,

For they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls,

For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.”

5) “Some of you say, ‘Joy is greater than sorrow,’ and others say, ‘Nay, sorrow is the greater.’

But I say unto you, they are inseparable. Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.”

6) “You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.”

7) “I love you when you bow in your mosque, kneel in your temple, pray in your church. For you and I are sons of one religion, and it is the spirit.”

8) “No man can reveal to you aught but that which already lies half asleep in the dawning of your knowledge.The teacher who walks in the shadow of the temple, among his followers, gives not of his wisdom but rather of his faith and his lovingness. If he is indeed wise he does not bid you enter the house of his wisdom, but rather leads you to the threshold of your own mind.”

9) “When you love you should not think you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.”

10) “Say not, ‘I have found the truth,’ but rather, ‘I have found a truth.’ Say not, ‘I have found the path of the soul.’ Say rather, ‘I have met the soul walking upon my path.’ For the soul walks upon all paths. The soul walks not upon a line, neither does it grow like a reed. The soul unfolds itself, like a lotus of countless petals.”

11) “Work is love made visible. And if you can’t work with love, but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of the people who work with joy.”

“The major western democracies are moving towards corporatism. Democracy has become a business plan, with a bottom line for every human activity, every dream, every decency, every hope. The main parliamentary parties are now devoted to the same economic policies — socialism for the rich, capitalism for the poor — and the same foreign policy of servility to endless war. This is not democracy. It is to politics what McDonalds is to food.”
― The War You Don't See, a Film by John Pilger

“I hold the most archaic values on earth ... the fertility of the soul, the magic of the animals, the power-vision in solitude.... the love and ecstasy of the dance, the common work of the tribe.” ― Gary Snyder

You can't study the darkness by flooding it with light.
- Edward Abbey

"At an international feminist conference in 1979, the poet Audre Lorde delivered a speech entitled “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House.” In that speech, Lorde, a Black lesbian from a working-class immigrant family, castigated her almost entirely white and affluent audience for remaining rooted in, and continuing to propagate, the fundamental dynamics of the patriarchy: hierarchy, exclusion, racism, classism, homophobia, obliviousness to privilege, failure to embrace diversity. Lorde recognized sexism as being part of a broader, deeply-rooted paradigm that dealt with all forms of difference by establishing hierarchies of dominance, and she saw that genuine, widespread liberation was impossible as long as feminists continued to operate within this paradigm.

“What does it mean,” Lorde said, “when the tools of a racist patriarchy are used to examine the fruits of that same patriarchy? It means that only the most narrow perimeters of change are possible and allowable. […] For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. They may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change.”"

The entire portion quoted above is from Nick Walker's very good essay on neurodiversity, in particular, Autism ( But the Audre Lorde quote could not more succinctly apply to this moment in American history.

Carl Sagan: “I have a foreboding of an America in my children's or grandchildren's time -- when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what's true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness...

The dumbing down of American is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30 second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance” From: The Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

"A leader should always be open to criticism, not silencing dissent. Any leader who does not tolerate criticism from the public is afraid of their dirty hands to be revealed under heavy light. And such a leader is dangerous, because they only feel secure in the darkness. Only a leader who is free from corruption welcomes scrutiny; for scrutiny allows a good leader to be an even greater leader.” Suzy Kassem

Paraphrasing...there are two types of people, jackhammers (in their passions - perhaps one passion for a lifetime), and hummingbirds (in their curiosities of life - flitting around exploring)...if you are the hummingbird type...and feel you can't "find" your passion in patient...go from flower to flower, forest to forest, field to field...cross-pollinating society and the world with your essence/contribution...and you never know, your curiosity may lead you to your passion... ~ Elizabeth Gilbert

“Life is the flower for which love is the honey” ~ Victor Hugo

"If you dont know, and know you dont know, the possibilities are endless. If you dont know, but think you know, there are no possibilities." Sadhguru

'The wound is the place where the light enters you.' - Rumi

Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.

- Louise Erdrich

Once the socialist cultural critic Raymond Williams said that, “To be truly radical is to make hope possible, rather than despair convincing”. Where do you stand on this?

‘Hope’ is not a scientific category. Nor is it a necessary obligation in polemical writing. On the other hand, intellectual honesty is and I try to call it as I see it, however wrongheaded my ideas and analyses may be. I manifestly do believe that we have arrived at a ‘final conflict’ that will decide the survival of a large part of poor humanity over the next half century. Against this future we must fight like the Red Army in the rubble of Stalingrad. Fight with hope, fight without hope, but fight absolutely.

- Mike Davis

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”

― Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad/Roughing It

“One of our people in the Native community said the difference between white people and Indians is that Indian people know they are oppressed but don’t feel powerless. White people don’t feel oppressed, but feel powerless. Deconstruct that disempowerment. Part of the mythology that they’ve been teaching you is that you have no power. Power is not brute force and money; power is in your spirit. Power is in your soul. It is what your ancestors, your old people gave you. Power is in the earth; it is in your relationship to the earth.”
― Winona LaDuke

The teachings on love given by the Buddha are clear, scientific, and applicable… Love, compassion, joy, and equanimity are the very nature of an enlightened person. They are the four aspects of true love within ourselves and within everyone and everything.
– Thich Nhat Hahn

'To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never to forget.'
― Arundhati Roy

“The American fascists are most easily recognized by their deliberate perversion of truth and fact. Their newspapers and propaganda carefully cultivate every fissure of disunity .…They claim to be super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. They demand free enterprise, but are the spokesmen for monopoly and vested interest. Their final objective toward which all their deceit is directed is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjection.”

Vice President Henry A. Wallace, April 9, 1944.

"I define love thus: The will to extend one's self for the purpose of nurturing one's own or another's spiritual growth." (p. 81). "I define evil, then, as the exercise of political power - that is, the imposition of one's will upon others by overt or covert coercion - in order to avoid extending one's self for the purpose of nurturing spiritual growth . . . evil backfires in the big picture of human evolution . . . .Our personal involvement in the fight against evil in the world is one of the ways we grow." - Scott Peck, from "The Road Less Traveled," p. 278-279.

“Defenders of the short-sighted men who in their greed and selfishness will, if permitted, rob our country of half its charm by their reckless extermination of all useful and beautiful wild things sometimes seek to champion them by saying that “the game belongs to the people.” So it does; and not merely to the people now alive, but to the unborn people. The “greatest good for the greatest number” applies to the number within the womb of time, compared to which those now alive form but an insignificant fraction. Our duty to the whole, including the unborn generations, bids us to restrain an unprincipled present-day minority from wasting the heritage of these unborn generations. The movement for the conservation of wildlife and the larger movement for the conservation of all our natural resources are essentially democratic in spirit, purpose, and method.” ~ Theodore Roosevelt

“I hold the most archaic values on earth ... the fertility of the soul, the magic of the animals, the power-vision in solitude.... the love and ecstasy of the dance, the common work of the tribe.” ― Gary Snyder

Out of this war, the greatest since the beginning of history, a new world must be born, a world that would justify the sacrifices offered by humanity. This new world must be a world in which there shall be no exploitation of the weak by the strong, of the good by the evil; where there will be no humiliation of the poor by the violence of the rich; where the products of intellect, science and art will serve society for the betterment and beautification of life, and not the individuals for achieving wealth. this new world shall not be a world of the downtrodden and humiliated, but of free men and free nations, equal in dignity and respect for man.
— Nikola Tesla

"Behind all art is an element of desire. … Love of life, of existence, love of another human being, love of human beings is in some way behind all art — even the most angry, even the darkest, even the most grief-stricken, and even the most embittered art has that element somewhere behind it. Because how could you be so despairing, so embittered, if you had not had something you loved that you lost?" [Adrienne Rich]

"People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances with our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.”
― Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth

"They're all in favor of the unborn. They will do anything for the unborn. But once you're born, you're on your own. Pro-life conservatives are obsessed with the fetus from conception to nine months. After that, they don't want to know about you. They don't want to hear from you. No nothing. No neonatal care, no day care, no head start, no school lunch, no food stamps, no welfare, no nothing. If you're preborn, you're fine; if you're preschool, you're fucked."
--George Carlin

“If you are not in the process of becoming the person you want to be, you are automatically engaged in becoming the person you don't want to be.” - Dale Carnegie

"He who cannot draw upon 3,000 years of learning is living hand to mouth." [Goethe] (via Lewis Lapham/Lapham's Quarterly)

"They make a desolation and they call it peace." [Tacitus]

"Body is purified by water. Ego by tears. Intellect is purified by knowledge. And soul is purified with love." ~ Ali Ibn Abi Talib

"A Klee painting named ‘Angelus Novus’ shows an angel looking as though he is about to move away from something he is fixedly contemplating. His eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing in from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such violence that the angel can no longer close them. This storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress."

Benjamin, Walter. Theses on the Philosophy of History. 1940.

"The path of the spiritual warrior is not soft and sweet. It is not artificially blissful and pretend-forgiving. It is not fearful of divisiveness. It is not afraid of its own shadow. It is not afraid of losing popularity when it speaks its truth. It will not beat around the bush where directness is essential. It has no regard for vested interests that cause suffering. It is benevolent and it is fiery and it is cuttingly honest in its efforts to liberate itself and humanity from the egoic ties that bind. Shunning strong opinions in the name of spirituality is anti-spiritual. Spirituality that is only floaty-soft is a recipe for disaster, allowing all manner of manipulation to run amok. Real spirituality is a quest for truth, in all its forms. Sometimes we find the truth on the meditation cushion, and sometimes we find it in the heart of conflict. May all spiritual warriors rise into fullness. This planet is lost without them." ~Jeff Brown

“Light a candle instead of cursing the darkness.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt

“The great source of both the misery and disorders of human life, seems to arise from over-rating the difference between one permanent situation and another. Avarice over-rates the difference between poverty and riches: ambition, that between a private and a public station: vain-glory, that between obscurity and extensive reputation. The person under the influence of any of those extravagant passions, is not only miserable in his actual situation, but is often disposed to disturb the peace of society, in order to arrive at that which he so foolishly admires. The slightest observation, however, might satisfy him, that, in all the ordinary situations of human life, a well-disposed mind may be equally calm, equally cheerful, and equally contented. Some of those situations may, no doubt, deserve to be preferred to others: but none of them can deserve to be pursued with that passionate ardour which drives us to violate the rules either of prudence or of justice; or to corrupt the future tranquillity of our minds, either by shame from the remembrance of our own folly, or by remorse from the horror of our own injustice.”

― Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments

"The trick is in what one emphasizes. We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves happy. The amount of work is the same." ~Carlos Castaneda

"Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

"I think if you do something and it turns out pretty good, then you should go do something else wonderful, not dwell on it for too long. Just figure out what’s next.”

"When you’re a carpenter making a beautiful chest of drawers, you’re not going to use a piece of plywood on the back, even though it faces the wall and nobody will see it. You’ll know it’s there, so you’re going to use a beautiful piece of wood on the back. For you to sleep well at night, the aesthetic, the quality, has to be carried all the way through.”

Steve Jobs
24 February 1955 − 45October 2011

"Freedom doesn't exist if you don't use it." Margaret Heffernan

"I'm not even an atheist so much as I am an anti-theist; I not only maintain that all religions are versions of the same untruth, but I hold that the influence of churches, and the effect of religious belief, is positively harmful." ~ Christopher Hitchens

"God sends rain for the just, and the un-just." (Unknown)

"I arise in the morning torn between a desire to save the world and a desire to savor the world. This makes it hard to plan the day." E. B White

"I cannot but have Reverence for all that is called life. I cannot avoid compassion for everything that is called life. That is the beginning and foundation of morality." ~Albert Schweitzer

"When living the traditional life you have a good idea where you will be in any decade of your life, once you deviate from that trajectory you have no clue. The freedom is both amazing and a staggering burden when you don't see yourself anywhere in the future." MK Catone

“Nature shrinks as capital grows. The growth of the market cannot solve the very crisis it creates.”
― Vandana Shiva

"Stop waiting. Feel everything. Love achingly. Give impeccably. Let go." ~David Deida

The 2006 movie “Idiocracy” contains the following narrative:

“As the 21st century began, human evolution was at a turning point. Natural selection, the process by which the strongest, the smartest, the fastest, reproduced in greater numbers than the rest, a process which had once favored the noblest traits of man, now began to favor different traits. Most science fiction of the day predicted a future that was more civilized and more intelligent. But as time went on, things seemed to be heading in the opposite direction. A dumbing down. How did this happen? Evolution does not necessarily reward intelligence. With no natural predators to thin the herd, it began to simply reward those who reproduced the most, and left the intelligent to become an endangered species.”

"We are living in a culture entirely hypnotized by the illusion of time, in which the so-called present moment is felt as nothing but an infinitesimal hairline between an all-powerfully causative past and an absorbingly important future. We have no present. Our consciousness is almost completely preoccupied with memory and expectation. We do not realize that there never was, is, nor will be any other experience than present experience. We are therefore out of touch with reality. We confuse the world as talked about, described, and measured with the world which actually is. We are sick with a fascination for the useful tools of names and numbers, of symbols, signs, conceptions and ideas."
[Alan Watts]

"Enlightened leadership is spiritual if we understand spirituality not as some kind of religious dogma or ideology but as the domain of awareness where we experience values like truth, goodness, beauty, love and compassion, and also intuition, creativity, insight and focused attention."
-Deepak Chopra

Democracy is incapable of perseverance. Since it is shared by political parties that rule for one, two, or three years, it is unable to conceive and carry out plans of longer duration. One party annuls the plans and efforts of the other. What is conceived and built by one party today is destroyed by another tomorrow. In a country in which much has to be built, in which building is indeed the primary historical requirement, this disadvantage of democracy constitutes a true danger. It is a situation similar to that which prevails in an establishment where masters are changed every year, each new master bringing in his own plans, ruining what was done by some, and starting new things, which will in turn be destroyed by tomorrow's masters.

Democracy prevents the politician's fulfillment of his obligations to the nation. Even the most well-meaning politician becomes, in a democracy, the slave of his supporters, because either he satisfies their personal interests or they destroy his organization. The politician lives under the tyranny and permanent threat of the electoral bosses. He is placed in a position in which he must choose between the termination of his lifetime work and the satisfaction of the demands of party members. And the politician, given such a choice, opts for the latter. He does so not out of his own pocket, but out of that of the country. He creates jobs, sets up missions, commissions, sinecures—all rostered in the nation's budget— which put increasingly heavy pressures on a tired people. - Corneliu Codreanu

"Few men are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows, the censure of their colleagues, the wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality of those who seek to change a world which yields most painfully to change." - Robert F. Kennedy

The whole structure of society is against the heart; it trains the head, it disciplines the head. It educates the head.

It neglects and ignores the heart because the heart is dangerous phenomenon. The head is a machine. Machines are never rebellious, they cannot be. They simply follow orders. Machines are good that way - they are obedient, hence the church, the state, the parents, everybody is interested in the head. It is convenient for all.

The heart creates inconvenience for the status quo, for established order, for the vested interest.

Head functions through logic. It can be convinced. It can be convinced. It can be made Christian, Hindu, Mohammedan, it can be made communist, fascist, socialist. Anything can be done with the head. You just need a clever system of education, a cunning strategy. Exactly the same as we feed the computers, we feed the head. And whatsoever you feed the head it goes on repeating. It can't make anything new, it is never original.

The heart lives through love, and love can never be conditioned. It is essentially rebellion. One never knows where love will lead you. It is unpredictable, it is spontaneous, it never repeats the old, it always responds to the present moment. The heart lives in the present, the head lives in the past.; hence the head is always traditional, conventional, and the heart is always revolutionary, rebellious. But you can be victorious only through the heart, through love, not through logic.

And the miracle is that when rebel against the crowd psychology, and you become more and more independent, suddenly you start feeling that you are becoming one with the whole, with the universal.


"Not only our pleasure, our joy and our laughter but also our sorrow, pain, grief and tears arise from the brain, and the brain alone, with it we think and understand, see and hear and we discriminate between the ugly and the beautiful, between what is pleasant and what is unpleasant and between good and evil." Hippocrates (circa 460 -377 BC)

Being human is difficult. Becoming human is lifelong process. To be truly human is a gift.
~Abraham Heschel

“They have plundered the world, stripping naked the land in their hunger… they are driven by greed, if their enemy be rich; by ambition, if poor… They ravage, they slaughter, they seize by false pretenses, and all of this they hail as the construction of empire. And when in their wake nothing remains but a desert, they call that peace.”
― Tacitus, The Agricola and the Germania

Where we are in the growth curve may allow a black President, but it has yet to allow an anti-corporate President. Effecting change is a grassroots level activity. If we expect someone else to create the world we want to live in, we will be waiting forever. The sooner we quit looking outside ourselves and our individual lives for validation of change, the sooner everyone will get it because those who are actually living their ideal are such a powerful influence. The idea isn't necessarily to get the politicians on board, the idea is to make them inconsequential." [Mike Rubey, a FB Friend...]

“Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.”
― Frédéric Bastiat, The Law

"I get up every morning determined to both change the world and have one hell of a good time. Sometimes this makes planning my day difficult." ~ E. B. White

“Keep a light, hopeful heart. But ­expect the worst.”
― Joyce Carol Oates

“The poverty of our century is unlike that of any other. It is not, as poverty was before, the result of natural scarcity, but of a set of priorities imposed upon the rest of the world by the rich. Consequently, the modern poor are not pitied...but written off as trash. The twentieth-century consumer economy has produced the first culture for which as beggar is a reminder of nothing.”
― John Berger

"The reality is not that I lack respect for the law; it’s that I have greater respect for justice. Where there is a conflict between the law and the higher moral code that we all share, my loyalty is to that higher moral code" Tim DeChristopher

"The only real failure in life is not to be true to the best one knows." [Buddha]

Dum spīrem, certābō...
[As long as I breathe, I will fight...]

"Still men accept servility in order to acquire wealth; as if they could acquire anything of their own when they cannot even assert that they belong to themselves, or as if anyone could possess under a tyrant a single thing in his own name. Yet they act as if their wealth really belonged to them, and forget that it is they themselves who give the ruler the power to deprive everybody of everything, leaving nothing that anyone can identify as belonging to somebody.” [Etienne De La Boetie, 1548]

"True patriots must be willing to defend their country against their government." [Edward Abbey]

There is no power on earth so worthy of honor in itself, or clothed with rights so sacred, that I would admit its uncontrolled and all-predominant authority. When I see that the right and the means of absolute command are conferred on any power whatever, be it called a people or a king, an aristocracy or a republic, I say there is the germ of tyranny, and I seek to live elsewhere, under other laws. — Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America [1835]

“I’d always believed that a life of quality, enjoyment, and wisdom were my human birthright and would be automatically bestowed upon me as time passed. I never suspected that I would have to learn how to live – that there were specific disciplines and ways of seeing the world I had to master before I could awaken to a simple, happy, uncomplicated life.”
~ Dan Millman

"Extreme wealth is economically inefficient, politically corrosive, socially divisive and environmentally destructive”.
~ Barbara Stocking, CEO, Oxfam

“It's clearly a crisis of two things: of consciousness and conditioning. We have the technological power, the engineering skills to save our planet, to cure disease, to feed the hungry, to end war; But we lack the intellectual vision, the ability to change our minds. We must decondition ourselves from 10,000 years of bad behavior. And, it's not easy.”
― Terence McKenna

“Hell, in my opinion, is never finding your true self and never living your own life or knowing who you are.”
― John Bradshaw, Healing the Shame that Binds You

"In other men most of their life is repressed by the bourgeois structure, their professional, social, and community mores. The artist retains his sensibility; it is the element he needs for his profession. The artist matches his life to his needs and lives by his own design and does not conform to patterns made by others. The artist lives more in harmony with his own character and is closer to freedom and individuality, and therefore integrity."
Anaïs Nin in Diary of Anaïs Nin Volume 5 1947-1955: Vol. 5

"In a free society, those who wield political power fear those over whom the power is wielded: specifically, they harbor a healthy fear of what will happen to them if they abuse that power. But the hallmark of tyranny is that the opposite dynamic prevails: the citizenry fears its government because citizens know that there are no actual, meaningful limits on how power can be exercised. A nation in which liberties are systematically abused - in which limitations on state power are ignored without consequence - is one which gives rise to a climate of fear.

This climate of fear, in turn, leads citizens to refrain from exercising their political rights, especially to refrain from posing meaningful challenges to government authority, because they know the government can act against them without real constraints. This is a more insidious and more effective form of tyranny than overt abridgment of rights: by inducing - intimidating - a citizenry into relinquishing their own rights out of fear, a state can maintain the illusion of freedom while barring any meaningful dissent from or challenge to its power."[unknown]

"If ever a time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin." Samuel Adams, 1776

“Laws and government may be considered in this and indeed in every case as a combination of the rich to oppress the poor, and preserve to themselves the inequality of the goods which would otherwise be soon destroyed by the attacks of the poor, who if not hindered by the government would soon reduce the others to an equality with themselves by open violence.” - Adam Smith

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

Excerpt from the speech "Citizenship In A Republic"

"We must love them both,
Those whose opinions we share,
And those whose opinions we reject.
For both have labored in the search for the truth,
And both have helped us in the finding of it."
-Thomas Aquinas

"Our strategy should be not only to confront empire, but to lay siege to it. To deprive it of oxygen. To shame it. To mock it. With our art, our music, our literature, our stubbornness, our joy, our brilliance, our sheer relentlessness -- and our ability to tell our own stories. Stories that are different from the ones we're being brainwashed to believe." - Arundhati Roy, Confronting Empire.

In the words of Martin Luther King Jr., “Our goal is to create a beloved community and this will require a qualitative change in our souls as well as a quantitative change in our lives.”

“We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.” -Benjamin Franklin

"The present day shows with appalling clarity how little able people are to let the other man's argument count, although this capacity is a fundamental and indispensable condition for any human community. Everyone who proposes to come to terms with himself must reckon with this basic problem. For, to the degree that he does not admit the validity of the other person, he denies the "other" within himself the right to exist -- and visa versa. The capacity for inner dialogue is a touchstone for outer objectivity" - CG Jung, CW 8, par 187

How can I, that girl standing there, my attention fix
On Roman or on Russian or on Spanish politics?
Yet here's a traveled man that knows what he talks about,
And there's a politician that has read and thought,
And maybe what they say is true of war and war's alarms,
But O that I were young again and held her in my arms!
- William Butler Yeats

"I have a foreboding of an America in my children's or grandchildren's time--when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the key manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what's true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness." Carl Sagan, 1987 page 25 of "The Demon-Haunted World"

Invocation -
I honor your gods.
I drink at your well.
I bring an undefended heart
to our meeting place.
I have no cherished outcomes.
I will not negotiate by withholding.
I am not subject to disappointment.
Ralph Blum

"What we Americans go through to pick a president is not only crazy and unnecessary but genuinely abusive. Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent in a craven, cynical effort to stir up hatred and anger on both sides. A decision that in reality takes one or two days of careful research to make is somehow stretched out into a process that involves two years of relentless, suffocating mind-warfare, an onslaught of toxic media messaging directed at liberals, conservatives and everyone in between that by Election Day makes every dinner conversation dangerous and literally divides families." [Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone]

"Let me give you a word of the philosophy of reform. The whole history of the progress of human liberty shows that all concessions yet made to her august claims, have been born of earnest struggle. The conflict has been exciting, agitating, all-absorbing, and for the time being, putting all other tumults to silence. It must do this or it does nothing. If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightening. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters."

"This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, and it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress. In the light of these ideas, Negroes will be hunted at the North, and held and flogged at the South so long as they submit to those devilish outrages, and make no resistance, either moral or physical. Men may not get all they pay for in this world; but they must certainly pay for all they get. If we ever get free from the oppressions and wrongs heaped upon us, we must pay for their removal. We must do this by labor, by suffering, by sacrifice, and if needs be, by our lives and the lives of others."

Frederick Douglass, 1857

"Our own decision to view the universe as dead, as inanimate, as unintelligent permitted us to dissect it, to use it, and to deny its validity outside of human purpose. Now the consequences of living like that is coming back to haunt us." ~Terrence McKenna

"It turns out that equal opportunity and economic empowerment is both morally right and good economics. Why? Because poverty, discrimination, and ignorance restrict growth." --Bill Clinton

"The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him (or her) to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently." Nietzsche

"The quality of American life is an insult to the possibilities of human growth." ~ Susan Sontag

"The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane and intolerable, and so, if he is romantic, he tries to change it. And even if he is not romantic personally he is very apt to spread discontent among those who are." [H.L. Mencken]

"If we make peaceful revolution impossible, we make violent revolution inevitable." [John F. Kennedy]

"Hope is knowing that evil and oppression and injustice will not have the last word." [Bishop Desmond Tutu]

"This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security.” [ Albert Einstein ]

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.' We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." [Marianne Williamson] (A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of "A Course in Miracles", Harper Collins, 1992. From Chapter 7, Section 3) (Quote often mis-attributed to Nelson Mandela...)

"This is how humans lost Paradise. We dream lies. We create the whole dream of humanity, individually and collectively, based on lies."
[ Don Miguel Ruiz "The Voice of Knowledge" (page 8) ]

"We The People are the rightful masters of both Congress and the Courts. Not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert it." [Abraham Lincoln]
(Alex asks, "But what about the President? We're his rightful master, too!")
Interesting "We The People" video:

“The job facing American voters… in the days and years to come is to determine which hearts, minds and souls command those qualities best suited to unify a country rather than further divide it, to heal the wounds of a nation as opposed to aggravate its injuries, and to secure for the next generation a legacy of choices based on informed awareness rather than one of reactions based on unknowing fear.”
[ Aberjhani ]

The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of great moral crises maintain their neutrality. [Dante Alighieri]

When we build, let us think that we build forever. Let it not be for the present delight nor for the present use alone. Let it be such work as our descendants will thank us for; and let us think, as we lay stone on stone, that a time is to come when those stones will be held sacred because or hands have touched them, and that people will say, as they look upon our labor and wrought substance of them, “See! This our parents did for us.”

-John Ruskin

"The tango is a feeling that is danced. That's why it is not choreographed, though it can have sequences, like all feelings. You can dance love, rage, happiness, pleasure, every mood. The tango is not a dance to demonstrate ability but rather an interpretation of feeling. It is not just moving your feet and posturing. The tango is Argentine, but it belongs to all those who understand its feelings and its codes." -- [Cacho Dante]

"The only people for me are the mad ones. The ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow Roman candles, exploding like spiders across the stars..." - Jack Kerouac

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
— Margaret Mead

"Hope is the certain expectation of future glory." [Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy, Paradiso, Cante XXV]

"It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society." - Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895 - 1986)

The world turns in on itself, as a Universe unto itself, in the shape of two human beings...dancing tango. [My bastardization of a quote from 2001 A Space Odyssey]

"You begin saving the world by saving one man at a time; all else is grandiose romanticism or politics." [Charles Bukowski]

"Listen up. And suffer, m*therf#cker, this is the tango."
[Enrique Fernandez - liner notes to Astor Piazzolla's Zero Hour CD...found on Mari's blog...]

"The deepest secret is that life is not a process of discovery, but a process of creation. You are not discovering yourself, but creating yourself anew. Seek, therefore not to find out who you are, seek to determine who you want to be." [Jorge D Rodriquez]

"In everyone there is some longing for humanity's rightful dignity, for moral integrity, for free expression of being and a sense of transcendence over the world of existence. Yet, at the same time, each person is capable, to a greater or lesser degree, of coming to terms with living within the lie." [Vaclav Havel, The Power of the Powerless, Living in Truth]

Not So Big is a sensibility, an attitude about life that is all about right sizing and living in balance. Ultimately, it's never about how much of something we have. Instead it's about the way we engage everything we do. When we really show up in life, instead of rushing from one thing to the next without pause, life is inherently meaningful. That's the way to a truly sustainable future. It starts with each one of us finding balance in our own lives, and that's a Not So Big lesson worth remembering. [Sarah Susanka, FAIA, is a lecturer, architect and author of "The Not So Big House" series, and "The Not So Big Life."]

"What we get is the mood. She doesn't listen to my thoughts, I don't listen to her thoughts, but somehow we communicate the same mood to each other. Marcela and I don't have a personal relationship, we are friends and dancing partners, but our souls communicate, we don't need to talk. So, right now I feel like ...I'm dancing with my ideal, but really, my ideal does not have a face. She's a dream of something I want in real life, but that ideal does not have a face. You know, when you dance tango, you should really put a little bit of your life into it. If you dance your life, you dance better." [Carlos Gavito]

"For those who believe in God, most of the big questions are answered. But for those of us who can't readily accept the God formula, the big answers don't remain stone-written. We adjust to new conditions and discoveries. We are pliable. Love need not be a command nor faith a dictum. I am my own god. We are here to unlearn the teachings of the church, state, and our educational system. We are here to drink beer. We are here to kill war. We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us." [Charles Bukowski]

"To achieve the impossible, it is precisely the unthinkable that must be thought." [Tom Robbins]

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." [Mahatma Ghandi]

"What matters most is how well you walk through the fire." [Charles Bukowski]

"Hope is not a lottery ticket you can sit on the sofa and clutch, feeling lucky. It is an axe you break down doors with in an emergency. Hope should shove you out the door, because it will take everything you have to steer the future away from endless war, from the annihilation of the earth's treasures and the grinding down of the poor and marginal... To hope is to give yourself to the future – and that commitment to the future is what makes the present inhabitable." [Rebecca Solnit]

"We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people." [Martin Luther King, Jr.]

"We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We must remember always that accusation is not proof and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men." [Edward R. Murrow]

"In religion and politics, people's beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue, but have taken them at second hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing." [Mark Twain]

"As citizens of a Democracy, our job doesn't end in the voting booth, it is only just beginning." [Someone Famous]

"Profit should not be the only driver of human innovation." [Raj Patel]

"Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect." [Chief Seattle]

"Any life, no matter how long and complex it may be, is made up of a single moment - the moment in which a man finds out, once and for all, who he is." [Jorge Luis Borges]

"I have this fear that we aren't feeling enough in our culture today . There is this kind of anesthesia in America at the moment. We've lost our sense of outrage, our anger, and our grief about what is going on in our culture right now, what is going on in our country, the atrocities that are going on in our names around the world...they've gone missing, these feelings have gone missing." [Chris Jordan, Photographer]

"It is odd to watch with what feverish ardor the Americans pursue prosperity. Millions of men are all marching together toward the same point on the horizon;
their languages, religions, and mores are different, but they have one common aim. They have been told that fortune is to be found somewhere toward the west, and they hasten to seek it."
[Alexis de Tocqueville Democracy in America, 1835]

"Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats."- [H. L. Mencken]

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men [and women] to do nothing." [Edmund Burke]

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." [John Fitzgerald Kennedy]

"In a functioning democracy the public must have faith that its representatives [understand that they] owe their positions to the people, not to the corporations with the deepest pockets." [Chief Justice John Paul Stevens]

"True patriots must be willing to defend their country against their government..." [Author Edward Abbey]

"If democracy were to be given any meaning, if it were to go beyond the limits of capitalism and nationalism, this would not come, if history were any guide, from the top. It would come through citizen's movements, educating, organizing, agitating, striking, boycotting, demonstrating, threatening those in power with disruption of the stability they needed." [Howard Zinn]