New Clear Vision

constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted
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Collective Rites of Passage

May 31, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Guest Author, Politics

Revolution of Values, or Values for the Revolution?

by Robert Riversong

It has been said that God (good old divinity) is always whispering in our ears. If we do not hear the voice, it becomes a shout. And if we ignore the shout, we get hit over the head. There is so much din in our ever-accelerating culture that the quiet voice has been all but drowned out. For Job, it required the “voice of the whirlwind” (not the commonly mistranslated “voice in the whirlwind”) to wake him. For many of us, it has required the thundering collapse of the World Trade towers, the angry shout of Katrina, the jack-boot stomp of expanding empire and diminishing liberties or the perfect storm of peak oil, climate change, species extinction and ecological devastation to awaken us from our hypnotic trance, our sleep-walking to the edge of the cliff.

But what we seem to agree upon — those of us seeking a way out of the madness — is that the “old story” no longer supports our deepest needs nor any hope for a sustainable world, that we are in a state of Koyaanisquatsi, the Hopi word for “life out of balance.” “Yes, we did produce a near perfect Republic,” said Thomas Jefferson. “But will they keep it, or will they, in the enjoyment of plenty, lose the memory of freedom? Material abundance without character is the surest way to destruction.” (more…)

One Year and Counting…

December 30, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Ecology, Economy, Politics

Still Cultivating a ‘New Clear Vision’ for 2012, and Beyond

When we started this blog a year ago, there were already signs that the year to come (now the year past) was going to be potentially revolutionary. A lingering economic crisis, the realization of perpetual warfare, the mainstream media’s increasing rightward slide, rapidly worsening environ-mental conditions, and the beginnings of mass mobilizations were already in evidence as 2010 drew to a close. Still, the spectrum of events launched in 2011 was nothing short of miraculous, from the Arab Spring to Occupy; and while much remains to be done, there is also much to be optimistic about. (more…)

Occupational Therapy

October 06, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Ecology, Economy, Politics, Randall Amster

Americans Finally Join the Wave of Healthy Global Protest

by Randall Amster

“Hello, you’ve reached the people of the United States of America. We’re away from our desks right now, and perhaps for good — so instead of leaving a message for us, we encourage you to take your messages directly to the halls of power for their consideration. If you require immediate assistance, do not ask the agents of governments or corporations, but organize in your own communities instead. For directory assistance, get out in the streets and talk to others concerned about the direction of the nation and world. To be connected to an operator, follow the protest signs and/or the smell of teargas in the financial districts across the country. And if you should become disconnected … we are very happy to welcome you home to the movement!”

Our “interesting times” just got much more interesting. Is it actually possible that the “sleeping giant” that is the American people is finally beginning to join the rest of the world and show a genuine pulse? To be sure, we’ve been pretty well shell-shocked on these shores in the new millennium, and overall we’ve been less directly impacted by the ongoing effects of “The Age of Austerity, Degradation, and Warfare” than many others. Our lives of relative privilege in the U.S. also mean that we have farther to fall, and indeed many are finally feeling the fuller brunt of the crisis. Is it too late? Definitely not. Do we need to act immediately? Unquestionably, yes. (more…)

The Unfolding Universe

September 21, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Ecology, Politics, Winslow Myers

Who Are We? Where Are We? Where Are We Going?

by Winslow Myers

One way to say where we are is that the human population has become so pervasive on the Earth that it is rapidly shutting down the viability of the living systems that support us. Species are going extinct at ever more rapid rates. Because of the effects of our human presence, the Earth is coming to the end of a 65 million year explosion of life and diversity, the era geologists call the Cenozoic, an era that began with the demise of the dinosaurs. That is very hard for us to get our minds around, distracted as we are by other issues in the foreground of our attention — terrorism, presidential politics, the growing divide between rich and poor. (more…)

Moving the Paradigm

September 15, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Ecology, Economy, Peter Bergel

From Growth and Domination to Sustainability and Cooperation

by Peter Bergel

On Tuesday night a reported 100,000 Americans joined Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz for a national conversation about breaking the partisan gridlock in Washington, DC. It was another great example of the growing willingness of ordinary people to reclaim their power from those to whom they have delegated it, only to see it abused.

Schultz was a suitable leader for this conversation because he had recently organized CEOs from more than a hundred companies to halt contributions to U.S. political campaigns until DC office holders stop their political wrangling and behave in a financially responsible manner. He also encouraged those who joined him to spend their money to stimulate growth in their own industries. (more…)

A New Great Awakening?

August 23, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Ecology, Economy, Politics, Winslow Myers

Finding Good News Amidst the ‘Windy Militant Trash’

by Winslow Myers

The brilliance of the “Mad Men” television series lies in the crackerjack acting and script, but even more in the way the series dramatizes the paradigm shift of American women from gross subjugation to rough equality. In an early episode, protagonist Don Draper reluctantly allows his wife to consult a (male) psychiatrist, and then calls the doctor, who casually violates confidentiality. The series explains much about how the males of my generation often haplessly misunderstood or deliberately ignored the autonomous subjectivity of females.

This begs two questions: what blindnesses operating in the present cultural moment might be illuminated by talented scriptwriters as they look back from the perspective of 2040? And second, what is the vision that orients us as we work to ensure that there will be a future to look back from in 2040? (more…)

Down, But Not Out

July 11, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Culture, Ecology, Economy, Peter Bergel

What is to be Done?

by Peter Bergel

Recently my email brought two items on the same day which, when I put them together, seemed like a strong message for Independence Day — and beyond.

The first was a New York Times article (reprinted in The PeaceWorker on June 16) about how a British firm is preparing to bring appropriate technology to the U.S. to “do well by doing good” in the area of conserving energy. The second was the graph showing the one area where the U.S. really is number one.

I Have a Dream…

What if — I thought — after 9/11 we had decided to revenge ourselves not on Afghans and Iraqis who had done us no harm, but on Saudi Arabia, from which country the 9/11 attackers actually hailed? What if — assuming you don’t buy the “capture the terrorists” justification for the U.S. attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq — we had decided to choose a different tool than war to defend our energy supply?

We could have spent some portion of the difference between the 2001 military budget of approximately $350 billion annually and today’s military budget of $700+ billion on developing a domestic green energy supply. (more…)