New Clear Vision

constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted
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Growing Up

April 21, 2014 By: NCVeditor Category: Ecology, Robert C. Koehler

Living in Partnership with Mother Earth

by Robert C. Koehler

Okay, humankind, it’s time to grow up, and I see a good way to start: Change the wording of Genesis 1:26. Change one word.

I recently quoted that Bible verse in a column about the increasing velocity of climate change: “And God said . . . let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air,” etc. Dominion! Nature belongs to us, to suck dry and toss away. And thus we moved out of the circle of life and became its conquerors, an attitude at the core of the Agricultural Revolution and the rise of civilization. The momentum of this attitude is still driving us. We don’t know how to stop, even though most people now grasp that we’re wrecking the environmental commons that sustains life. (more…)

The Beloved Community

November 29, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Culture, Randall Amster, Windy Cooler

Strengthening the Ties that Bind in an Era of Alienation

by Randall Amster and Windy Cooler

As we move into the winter of 2012, the days are getting shorter and the sociopolitical realities put before us seem, in some ways, to be darkening by the minute. How is it that we do not know how to live in the world, in those ways that have sustained and advanced the human experiment for eons? Today we have reactionary, regressive policies masking as “progress,” replacing the reciprocal bonds of authentic community with the wafer-thin ties of social networking and, in the process, turning our alienation and dysfunction into a nouveau spectacle. During the recent Israeli assault on Gaza, for example, a reporter for the Jerusalem Post actually asked residents in fear for their children’s lives if anyone could give an interview about how the shrieking sirens were affecting pets. It is so taboo to speak of what really matters with the people who matter that we have to be encouraged to do so. (more…)

My Fellow Americans

November 26, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Ecology, Politics, Winslow Myers

Words for a No-Bull Presidential Inauguration

by Winslow Myers

My fellow citizens, I have just sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic, but what does that mean? Our earth has become so small, national economies so interdependent, global ecological problems so transcendent of nationality, that it would be an abdication of my leadership responsibilities to pretend otherwise. A new world has dawned, within which the United States must begin to honestly redefine its interests.

After 60-plus years of believing that we have maintained the peace by means of our overwhelming nuclear strength, we are confronted with a series of paradoxes that cannot be resolved merely by increasing that strength. The very meaning of “strength” has totally changed.  Even a small number of our nuclear weapons, or those of any other nation for that matter, cannot be detonated without raising enough dust and soot into the atmosphere to fatally affect world agriculture for a decade. (more…)

Life Beyond War

May 28, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Ecology, Politics, Winslow Myers

Exploring the Dimensions of Genuine ‘Security’

by Winslow Myers

The vision and possible shape of a world beyond war has modified since the lessening of superpower tensions between the United States and the now long-departed U.S.S.R. In the late 1980s, hopes for a peaceful world primarily involved the successful abolition of nuclear weapons. As Jonathan Schell has written, while inadvertent nuclear war is more probable than ever before, nuclear abolition begins to look relatively easy in the context of emerging global environmental challenges. Nuclear weapons themselves have become one more of our many ecological problems: even a small regional nuclear exchange could fatally affect agricultural production worldwide over decades, cancelling out the security benefits for any nation of possessing these weapons.

Glaciers melt and mean temperatures rise year by year. At what point do officials distracted by mutual nuclear threats start to take in the bigger picture — that the real “existential threat” to their security might be, say, the unleashing of an irreversible cycle in the thawing of methane gas presently frozen within the Arctic tundra, gas that could dangerously accelerate global warming trends? (more…)

Toward a New Dream

February 29, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Economy, Politics, Winslow Myers

Overcoming the Trance of Separation

by Winslow Myers

The biggest challenges we face all have their root cause in an artificial separation — between nations, races, religions, classes, between political parties, between humans and the living ecosystem upon which we depend for life — even between our heads and @ taosinstitute.nethearts. Such apparent separations represent a kind of global neurosis for which one antidote is what Buddhist philosopher Thich Nhat Hanh calls “interbeing” — the recognition of our deep interdependence.

The paradigm of separation narrows the possibilities of international relations down to a few false choices between appeasement and destructive competition. Iran, ignoring the difficult circumstances that brought Israel to birth, asserts that a Zionist nation has no right to exist. Israel understandably sees Iran as an existential threat. Both the U.S. and Israel are considering preemptive war. Whether the Iranians build nuclear weapons or not, it would hardly be unexpected for them to give it some thought, seeing as the U.S. and Israel between them possess thousands. Meanwhile Iran’s threat to close the Straits of Hormuz if they are attacked confirms their distance from “interbeing.” They would only shoot themselves in the foot by reducing the flow of their own oil to China. (more…)

The Personal Is Political

January 27, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Family, Politics, Windy Cooler

What’s Alinsky Got to Do with It?

by Windy Cooler

This Sunday, at the Friends Meeting I attend, I shared a long, rambling account of my personal soap opera, which is what I call it, my life, my relationships, when I am not willing to be vulnerable about it all, but I still need to vent, and well, my reality, when I am, when I am willing to share.

Short non-vulnerable version: there is a divorce, there is another long-term romantic relationship gone bad, so bad in fact I have begun describing my feelings around it as a “deranged ghost that lives outside of my body” as I search and search myself for any truth to which I can hold — to hang my feelings of love — then there are are things like a diagnoses of PTSD, which I suffer from, and for good reason, and my struggling to finish a degree program in which I am writing a thesis on solidarity behavior while I struggle with a general grumpiness about solidarity in my life and the unnerving prevalence of a philosophy of personal liberation in our culture that says, wrongly, it is actually a philosophy of community. (more…)


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