My World of “Ought to Be”
by Timothy Wilken, MD

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Tuesday, October 01, 2002

Good Morning, elsewhere at SynEarth ...

The Recognition of Human Goodness

There is a societal problem today that underlies and holds in place many other of the more "obvious" problems. This problem can be described as "cynicism." The dictionary defines cynicism as a disbelief in the goodness of humanity. This cynicism is so pervasive that it both fosters and worsens virtually every problem in society. An effective counter to this cynicism is the "inspirational" function of service organizations based on all-volunteer models. Thus the far-reaching contribution of such organizations is not primarily in the obvious services they provide, but rather in their potential for countering today's cynical attitude. As such a public attitude, or paradigm, shifts to the positive, it produces wide-ranging benefits in virtually every area and problem of our society. Such new, all-volunteer organizations have been forming in the past two decades. One of the most experienced and visible of these is the University for the Study of Human Goodness and Creative Group Work.  It is commonly called the University for the Study of Human Goodness and is the sister organization to Human Service Alliance. Both are located on the same campus in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. ... The current paradigm of cynicism is easier to see in retrospect (as are all paradigms) once we have begun to move beyond it and look backward to where we were. This clearer vision occurs whenever something "restores our faith in humanity." Then we can see, in retrospect, that in order for our faith in humanity to have been "restored," it must have been somewhat "diminished" in the first place. Service organizations operating in the all-volunteer and better-than-money-can-buy mode have a unique ability to dispel the existing paradigm. For example, such changes are routinely observed among patrons of the University's service laboratory, California Fresh Buffet. They frequently have the thought—and voice the words—"This place restores my faith in humanity. "For example, only a month after the restaurant was opened, Steve Lawson, a columnist from a local newspaper, ate there and devoted a column to the fact that this experience changed his cynical views about human nature. (10/01/02)


Journey to a New America

Grace Lee Boggs writes: We came together because we recognized that we are in the midst of a great turning, a time that challenges us to reaffirm our human connection and our commitment to social change. Since September 11, it has become increasingly apparent that the Bush administration’s “war on terrorism” is making us more, not less, vulnerable because it is further alienating us from people all over the world. For our own health and safety, we need to love America enough to change it. More than half of the retreat participants were people of color—African Americans, Chicanos, Asian Americans, Native Americans. We/they are the ones who, because of our marginalization and exclusion, have found it hardest over the years to love and own America. For that reason, we are also the ones who have struggled unceasingly to make it worthy of being loved. That is why we came together—to deepen and broaden the struggle to make it, in Langston Hughes’ words, “the land that has never been/and yet must be. Vincent and Rosemary Harding, who worked closely with Martin Luther King Jr. in the 1960s, gave quiet leadership. Since King’s assassination in 1968, the Hardings have been reminding the world that, in the last two years of his life, King was calling for a radical revolution in values and a radical reconstruction of our society. King’s reasons for opposing the Vietnam War against communism can be applied almost verbatim to the current war against terrorism. “Poverty, insecurity, and injustice,” he said, “are the fertile soil in which communism grows. War is not the answer. We must not engage in a negative anti-communism, but rather in a positive thrust for democracy. “Creating a more perfect union,” Vincent Harding explained, “is sacred work, requiring faith and courage. The only way to protect democracy is to advance it. (10/01/02)


Japan-Prime Minister Shuffels Cabinet as Markets Slide

CNN MONEY -- TOKYO, Japan -- Financial markets in Japan have been stunned by the decision to appoint a new top banking regulator in a reshuffle of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's cabinet. The move, in Koizumi's first cabinet shake-up since he came to power in April 2001, sees Economics and Fiscal Policy Minister Heizo Takenaka take over the financial services portfolio from Hakuo Yanagisawa. Monday's reshuffle is being seen as a bid to reaffirm the government's commitment to turn around a decade-old economic slump in Japan. ... Yanagisawa had been criticized for being too timid with the county's depressed banking industry, while Takenaka is a proponent of bold banking reform. (10/01/02)


Ten Secrets for a Successful Group

University of Human Goodness -- 1. See the postive in those around us. 2) Speak Constructively. 3) Be on Time. 4) Be Present. 5) Practice Openess to other's thoughts. 6) Maintain a postive attititude. 7) Look for and find the positive qualities in others. 8) Keep the larger picture and purpose of the group's work in mind. 9) Consciously use the power of thought and visualization, each day. 10) Make a strong, personal commitement to respect, honor, and uphold the work and its purpose. (10/01/02)


Problem/Solution : Fat Embolus Damages Brain/Fat Filter

The New Scientist -- A new ultrasonic device that removes tiny fat droplets from blood should help prevent brain damage after heart surgery. Two thirds of patients undergoing major heart operations suffer some form of mental impairment afterwards, such as a reduced ability to perform mental arithmetic or remember phone numbers. In half of these patients the problems are permanent. The cause is still controversial, but most researchers think that minute fat droplets lodging in the blood vessels of the brain are responsible. It is thought these block the supply of oxygen to tiny clusters of nerve cells. ... The fat comes from tissues damaged when the chest is cut open. It mixes with the patient's blood in the chest cavity. Surgeons recycle this blood by suctioning it from the chest cavity and re-routing it into the circulation. This avoids the risk of infections inherent in using blood bank blood - but the recycled blood also contains the extra fat. "Fat blockages probably form in every organ, but the brain is the most sensitive," says Henrik Jönsson, head of Erysave, a company in Lund, Sweden. Now he and his colleague Thomas Laurell at the Lund Institute of Technology, have developed a device that uses ultrasound to filter the fat from the blood before it is put back into the patient's body. (10/01/02)


I Feel the Need for Speed ! WRONG

New York Times: Technology -- Mr. Schreiner represents an unpleasant new reality for the personal computer industry. For decades it has relied on the certainty that customers have an unquenchable desire for speedier new machines. But computers have reached a point where for the most common home purposes — Web surfing, e-mail and word processing — they are already more than fast enough to suit a typical home user's needs. "I couldn't conceive of a situation with my software applications today where I need a computer with a 2.4 gigahertz Pentium processor," Mr. Schreiner said, referring to one of Intel's fastest new chips. So he decided to make do with his three-year-old Dell PC, with a Pentium III chip only one-fifth as fast, and instead spent his money on more memory, a new digital camera and a CD-ROM burner to store his photos. More than any other time in its 27-year history, the personal computer industry has found itself in a quandary, having to concoct new reasons to persuade the world's 500 million PC owners to replace their existing machines. And the problem goes beyond the computer makers themselves: no new computer generally means no new copy of Microsoft Windows sold, no upgrades to word processing or spreadsheet programs. ... In fact, many others in the industry think it is possible that the next digital cycle, when it repeats itself, may not happen on desktop PC's but in some new device that looks nothing like a computer today. The transition away from the desktop PC is most apparent in the collapsing growth rate of the industry, which had for more than a decade been accustomed to double-digit expansion of sales each year. That bubble burst along with the dot-com collapse in 2001. Amid the prolonged general economic downturn, sales of PC's in the United States show no signs of reviving soon. Gartner estimates that the industry's sales shrank last year by almost 5 percent after growing by 10 percent to 27 percent annually since 1990. This year promises to be just as bleak. (10/01/02)


Worst September Market since the Great Depression

Chart   Chart


Why? Because We Can!

New York Times: Opinion -- Maureen Dowd writes: The Boy Emperor's head hurt. All the oppressive obligations of statecraft were swimming through his brain like hungry koi. He summoned the imperial war tutor to the oval throne. "I'm confused, Wise Rummy," he confessed. "Is the war pre-emptive, preventive or preventable? Is Saddam fissile or fissible? What in creation is counterproliferation? Everything's moving so fast. It's a puzzlement. Why are we mad at Saddam?" "Because he wants to attack our country," the mandarin replied. "Why?" the Boy pressed. "Because we want to attack his country," the tutor said. "Why?" The Boy was insatiable. "Because Saddam tried to destroy your dad." "Why?" "Because your dad tried to destroy Saddam." "Why?" "Because he's evil." "Why?" "Because he's pretending to go along with inspections so he can get bombs." "Why?" "Because we're pretending to go along with inspections so we can bomb." (09/30/02)


6:06:23 AM    

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