Category Archives: Essays

Essays

Monica Lewinski – Compassion

Alexandra Schwartz Article
New Yorker on Lewinski TED Talk

New Yorker Magazine writer Alexandra Schwartz at first questioned, as may of us did, Monica Lewenski’s premise that cyber bullying represents a deficiency of compassion. But her article takes you through her own process of coming to appreciate what Ms. Lewinski is saying.

Personally, I think the deficiency is far more pervasive, and is certainly not limited to the internet.  Recent headlines have told of the excesses of college fraternities and many of the comments by those involved have revealed an astounding ignorance of what has made their exploits so sensational. From inside their self-centered world view they fail to see the problem.

If such attitudes are the norm among tribes of fraternity brothers at Ivy League colleges, is it any wonder that in later life they become CEOs and Investment Bankers who see no problem in dismissing social and societal damage as “externalities?”  Should we be surprised that they have no shame about gaming the political system by essentially bribing politicians with campaign support?

I suggest that we are living in an addictive, psychopathic society that has perverted the ideals of democracy. Our lack of compassion for large segments of our citizenry both present and future accounts for our lack of stewardship for the planet, and for the health of our own society. Could the rise of right and left-wing extremist groups, fundamentalist cults, and other aberrations be a consequence of narcissistic Americans dismissing compassion as wimpy and naive? If not psychopathic, how do you explain the opportunistic political exploitation of these wing-nuts?

Monica Lewinski is pointing to just one of the many glaring examples that support my assertion. God Bless Save America!

Fear

For about 10 seconds our conversation was impossible. Two Navy jets on final approach to the US Naval Station just a couple of miles from where we are camped made a deafening roar that it was impossible to talk over. “The sound of freedom,” Mark declared after they passed.

That sentiment has provided me with a lot of food for thought over the last several days. It’s is emblematic of the widely held belief that our overwhelming military strength alone is capable of safeguarding our freedoms. Although I recognize our need for strength, I question the scale of our military and the focus. Russia and China together spend half what we do each year. I think a great deal more than military power is required to keep us free. In fact I’m coming to believe that the greatest enemies toward freedom lie within our own society. Continue reading Fear

RSAnimate

The RSA website is fascinating.  Chock full of great reading and visual material, it is one of those web destinations that you will want to bookmark and spend some time browsing.  But the jewel of the RSA experience won’t be found on the front page (TheRSA.org) it’s tucked away here.

These YouTube videos are actually essays read aloud and accompanied by the drawings of what is known as a “graphic recorder.”  As the narrator reads, an illustrator draws.  Time-lapse techniques allow the white board drawing to keep pace with the words, and the overall effect is both entertaining and an aid to grasping and retaining the content. Check out the samples below …

Re-Imagining Work – ‎The Truth About Dishonesty – ‎The Divided Brain – ‎Videos

Conspiracy Thinking

More than a half century ago, when I was a teen, I enjoyed reading science fiction. It was the 1950s and reports of flying saucer sightings regularly hit the news. Tabloids carried accounts of alien abductions. The movies and fiction writers exploited the public’s interest and produced all manner of fanciful entertainment that speculated about what it would be like if space aliens were among us.  There was a TV comedy staring a Martian.  Not surprisingly, there was a fringe of believers who speculated that aliens had secretly taken over the US Government. Continue reading Conspiracy Thinking

Honest Gil

What Can We Do?

Is American Democracy Hopeless?

The most expensive Senate campaign ever is underway in Kentucky. Millions will be spent, most of which is coming from outside of the state.  It’s an outrage, and a demonstration of the dysfunctional campaign finance system that has corrupted our democratic process.  Polling shows that over 90% of Americans think we should get the big money out of politics, but few people see much hope of that actually happening. Continue reading Honest Gil