New Clear Vision

constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted
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Homage to Mother-Work

March 06, 2014 By: NCVeditor Category: Economy, Family, Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez

Bringing Home the ‘Bacon’ and Frying It Up in the Pan…

by Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez

The theme of last Saturday’s opening night event at the Berkshire Festival of Women WritersOut of the Mouths of Babes: An Evening of Mothers Reading to Others, was “What do mothers make?”

The answers provided by the evening’s presenters — all women at various stages of their lives — were various, but there was a common theme: mothers make families, mothers make relationships, mothers make community.

Historically, in most societies this has been the primary role given to women — to serve as the emotional heart of families, to make the meals and make the homes that lead to strong, centered communities.

These days, in American society at least, women are expected to do all this and also be successful in their professional lives.  Only the wealthiest American families can afford to have a stay-at-home parent.

In most households I know, especially among people at mid-life or younger, both parents are working hard at their jobs and also trying to sustain a healthy home life.  And in most families I know, it still falls disproportionately to women to keep those home fires banked and burning bright. (more…)

Standing Strong

December 17, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Current Events, Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez

Uniting Around the Finest Values of Human Life

by Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez

Just as people in places like the Maldives, Bangladesh and Pakistan may have shook their heads at the cluelessness of Americans who suddenly woke up to climate change when Sandy came to town, people living in hot spots of violence around the world now have every right to be shaking their heads at the collective American refusal to see and understand how, in the wake of the Newtown massacre, we are much to blame for our own misery.

The U.S. is the largest arms manufacturer and exporter in the world.  We have by far the largest military.  We are also by far the most heavily armed civilian population in the world, with some 300 million guns circulating among our population of about 300 million people.  Americans, we need to acknowledge that collectively, as a nation, we have been responsible for hundreds, and probably thousands of deaths of children worldwide through the weapons we sell abroad.

There is not a conflict in the world today that has not been fueled by American weaponry. (more…)

Rude Awakening

December 13, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Ecology, Jan Lundberg

When and How Will Gaia Take Action?

by Jan Lundberg

When one looks at a blueish star twinkling beyond some silhouetted living leaves in the sky, the beauty and wonder of the natural world speaks to us: this existence we witness as conscious beings is an amazing accomplishment of life on this lucky outpost of the Universe.

Our splendid reverie transforms to a jarring, ongoing realization that hits us first as a rude awakening.  Reluctantly, we acknowledge this new era of unraveling and lethal chaos.  Typically alone in our contemplation of the tumbling health of our Earth, we graduate to a profound level of despair and near disbelief.

As happy bloggers and dime-a-dozen philosophers, we strive to keep on top of our fast-changing tenure on the Third Stone from the Sun.  In keeping with this imperative, together as readers of this biocentric column we now confront — drum roll here — the “Gaia Stamp-Out-Human-Plague? Survey.”  The sole question offered in this study was complex or simple, depending on the respondent:  Why isn’t Gaia acting to put the destroyer species, Homo Sapiens Sapiens, into its place, or perhaps boot it off the planet?  Or has she indeed started to do this? (more…)

Occupy Asteroids?

April 26, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Ecology, Economy, Randall Amster

To Boldly Share What No One Has Shared Before

by Randall Amster

Sometimes the news reads like a cross between a corporate promotional campaign gone haywire and a rejected science fiction B-movie script. The announcement this week of an asteroid mining venture — backed by Google executives, the Perot Group, and James Cameron, among others — is precisely the sort of item that conjures both absurdity and horror in its full implications. Like rubberneckers passing a highway pileup, let’s take a closer look because we just can’t help doing so…

The company, called Planetary Resources, Inc., intends to mine 100 or more near-Earth asteroids for resources including water and various precious metals. Space resources are “just so valuable” and “really are the low-hanging fruit of the solar system,” co-founder and co-chairman Eric Anderson told SPACE.com. The idea is to generate resources in space sufficient to impel additional colonization efforts, creating a network of veritable “in-space gas stations” to fuel ongoing and expanding operations. (more…)

The Spiritual Jackpot

December 15, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Ecology, Economy, Robert C. Koehler

Transforming Western Culture with Indigenous Consciousness

by Robert C. Koehler

The topic was “Indians of the Midwest” and the professor was knowledgeable and conveyed serious respect for Native culture, but something kept gnawing at me as she talked.

There are two types of Indian stereotypes, she said — the negative (the ignorant savage, the abductor of white women, etc.) and the romantic (woo-woo, New Agey, let’s play Indian, “go ’Skins!”) — and left it at that, implying, OK, if you are non-Native, the best attitude to strike is a certain respectful distance, neither denigrating the culture nor seizing hold of it like an idiot. If you want more, attend lectures and look at the artifacts on display behind glass cases, but DO NOT TOUCH. (more…)

Bringing Purpose to Bear

September 06, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, David Krieger, Politics

Abolish Nuclear Weapons, Before They Abolish Us

by David Krieger

Recently, a friend sent me a copy of Admiral Hyman Rickover’s 1982 Morgenthau Memorial Lecture.  The lecture, given under the auspices of the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, was entitled, “Thoughts on Man’s Purpose in Life.”  In the lecture, Rickover, who died in 1986 but remains widely respected for his role in building the US nuclear navy, spoke of “some basic principles of existence, propounded by thinkers through the ages….”  Among these, he focused on responsibility, perseverance, excellence, creativity and courage, and he called for these to be “wedded to intellectual growth and development.”

I agree with the admiral on his choice of principles to give purpose to one’s life.  If one can live by these principles, his or her life is likely to be purposeful.  Yet, I think that Admiral Rickover missed an important point, which is: what one does with one’s life matters.  Rickover chose to focus his professional activities on the development of a nuclear navy.  In the questions following his speech, he was asked: “How can we equate nuclear weapons and warfare with moral and ethical values?” (more…)