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

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Monday, April 12, 2004

Timothy Wilken, MDThanks for visiting this website. It has been my pleasure to post articles and essays here for your enjoyment.

This site has been a part of the SynEARTH Network for the past two years. Today, it is time to renew my Radio license for another year, but I realize I simply don't have the time to properly develop and support this site.

So please visit our main page News for a Synergic Earth, or our other websites: Future Positive, CommUnity of Minds, and The Time-binding Trust.

You are also welcome to contact me through the Future Positive Yahoo Group.

Tim’s Sig:

Timothy Wilken, MD

From the SynEARTH Archives:

The Protecting the Future series: 1) Beyond Property, 2) Wealthy Beyond our Dreams, 3) Synergic Trusts - Moving Beyond Property, 4) Trustegrities could change our Future, and 5) Synergic Guardians — Protecting the Future.

The SAFEearth series: 1) Beyond Crime and Punishment, 2) Synergic Containment: Protecting Children, 3) Synergic Containment: Science & Rationale,  4) Synergic Containment: Protecting Community, and 4) Synergic Disarmament: Wisdom, they shouldn't have.

Also see: 1) Aggression and Violence,  2) Evolution of Weaponry,  3) Psychological Effects of Combat, and 4) Necessary Evil. 

A Synergic Future, ORTEGRITY,  GIFTegrity (brief)(PDF)(scientific basis), The Unified Stress Concept, Protecting Humanity ,  Beyond WarTensegrity, What is a Time-binding Trust?, What is a ‘knowing’utility?

BOOK: UnCommon Science - (PDF) Intro—Science 2001  1—Knowing 2001 2—A Limit to Knowing 3—Scientific Mistakes 4—What Do We Know 5—Order (PDF)

BOOK: Crisis: Danger & Opportunity

5:22:20 PM    

Christ Crucified by the Virtues

An Example of Crucifixion by the VirtuesPeter Steinfels writes: Christ Crucified by the Virtues." To contemporary eyes, it is a strange and thought-provoking image, particularly at a moment of impassioned discussions about who was responsible for the death of Jesus. This full-page frontispiece of a 13th-century volume of readings for saints' days shows Jesus being crucified not by Roman soldiers or Jewish authorities or even the sins of humanity — but by virtues.The figure of Jesus, peacefully, almost elegantly slumped on the cross, is familiar. So are the large figures standing on either side of the cross: his mother, Mary, and the apostle John. But who are those smaller female figures with halos? Above the crossbeam, two of them labeled Misericordia (mercy) and Sapientia (wisdom) are hammering nails into Jesus' hands. Below, a figure labeled Obedientia (obedience) is hammering a nail into his feet. Sponsa (bride, symbol of the soul, the church or both) is piercing Jesus' side with a lance, while just beneath his right arm, wearing a crown and floating on a cloud, Fides (faith) holds a chalice to catch the sacred blood. "At some level a very violent as well as lyrical image," said Jeffrey Hamburger, a professor in Harvard University's department of history of art and architecture, who will include this manuscript illustration in "Crown and Veil, the Art of Female Monasticism in the Middle Ages," a major exhibition that will open in Germany next year. Beneath Jesus' left arm, an angel pushes away a figure labeled Synagoga (synagogue). The role of Jewish authorities in the death of Jesus, like the Roman role, may be missing from this picture, but Christianity's claim to have superseded Judaism is not. This image, produced for a convent of Dominican nuns in Regensburg, Germany, is not unique. The motif of the virtues crucifying Jesus had a wide enough currency in the 13th and 14th centuries that dozens of examples survive, in manuscripts, paintings and stained-of examples survive, in manuscripts, paintings and stained-glass windows. The theology behind these images is complex. In giving himself over to death, Jesus was thought to have brought to perfection such virtues as obedience, humility, patience and perseverance. ... It is a commonplace that between the 11th and the 15th centuries, Western Christian piety shifted its focus from the divinity of Jesus to his humanity. Of the earlier period, Giles Constable, a scholar at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, writes, "The cross signified Christ's Second Coming rather than his suffering and death." Christ's body on the cross, he adds, "was always erect, alive, and indifferent to suffering." This was Jesus resurrected and triumphant, king and victor over death rather than its victim. But as the Middle Ages progressed, Jesus' royal crown was replaced by a crown of thorns, Jesus' head dropped to one side, his eyes fell closed, his arms curved under the weight of his dying body. The images are more and more calculated to elicit an emotional response. The pain-racked renditions of Jesus' death on the cross are the counterparts to the glowing presentations of his birth in the manger. Certainly, where once the emphasis was on the deification of humanity by sharing in Christ's divine nature, increasingly the emphasis shifted to sharing in Christ's sufferings and imitating his earthly way of life. (04/12/04)


Time for a Change

Jonathan LashJonathan Lash writes: Despite two decades of international environmental agreements, and great progress in controlling local pollution in some parts of the world, the data show that the health of the natural systems that sustain us -- oceans, the atmosphere, rivers, wetlands -- is declining. Failed international commitments to address global environmental problems have engendered growing cynicism and diminished hope. The threats are real and urgent, but history suggests that the potential for change is real as well. Imagine it is a hundred years ago: 1904. The first automobiles are being sold; the Wright brothers fly at Kitty Hawk; a wire is laid down across the Atlantic. New technologies are reshaping the world. But reading an electronically distributed document like this is unimaginable. People and communities are isolated. Most of the world is under the influence of a handful of colonial powers. Racial and cultural segregation is the norm. For the most part, women cannot vote. The world's first national parks have recently been created. However, most people believe that nature is inexhaustible, and that wilderness unconquered is wasted. In The United States, there is no national legislation and no national park service to protect newly created Yellowstone and Yosemite parks. These things changed. ... The process of change seems to be getting compressed in the global era. As powerful as the globalization of markets has been, the globalization of information may ultimately have the greater impact on our world. Information and ideas flow frictionlessly around the earth in an increasing torrent overwhelming the significance of borders as barriers and diminishing the capacity of governments to control events. We have effectively addressed many of the immediate and obvious problems, those that people could see, touch, smell, and understand. What we are left with are the large-scale, long-term threats of essentially irreversible harm -- extinction, destruction of ecosystems, climate change. Threats that are the consequences of fundamental alterations human activity are causing in the carbon, nitrogen and hydrologic cycles, and the composition of the Earth's biota. One can neither comprehend nor respond to problems on this scale by responding to his immediate place and time. Change requires a shift in perspective and values: A comprehension of systemic rather than anecdotal problems; A sense of responsibility to the future as well as a stake in the present; A commitment to global engagement. But this kind of change is no more profound than the shift in attitudes towards wilderness that occurred 100 years ago. And just like 100 years ago, this kind of adaptive change of values and understanding is the job of our leaders. It is the job of truth tellers and of open minds. It requires vision, courage and tenacity. (04/12/04)


Splender in the Dark

Discover Magazazine -- Scientists have discovered that fish in the ocean glow, gleam, spark, and light up like neon signs. Now they want to know how. ... Fireflies, some earthworms, fungi, and bacteria can do it, and a field full of fireflies with light pulses in sync can be fascinating to watch. But nothing above the sea’s surface compares with the display of light below. Bioluminescence is found in every ocean, in every sea, from surface to seafloor. In the upper 3,200 feet of the ocean, as many as 90 percent of the creatures are bioluminescent, says Laurence Madin, a pioneering marine ecologist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Earth’s most abundant vertebrate, an inch-long fish called the bent-tooth bristlemouth, is bioluminescent. Another, the viperfish, has lighting that looks as if it came from fiber optics at the base of its protruding teeth and at its fins. There is an illuminated lure that arcs out from the top of its head, a light under each eye to help it see, lights on its belly for camouflage, and tinted photophores in a mucous layer along its belly and back. So when startled, the viperfish presents an outline of itself, like a neon sign hung outside a bait shop. Although reported for centuries, bioluminescence is one of the great mysteries of the sea, and scientists are only now asking important questions about it. “What organisms are bioluminescent, and where are they found?” asks Peter Herring, a marine scientist at the Southampton Oceanography Centre in Britain and author of The Biology of the Deep Ocean. What are the characteristics of these emissions, how are they achieved—and, most important to the ecologist, when and why is bioluminescence produced? Herring says we know a good deal about which creatures glow and where they live. But the question of when and why bioluminescence is produced is complicated and can be answered only with more field observations. “That is ultimately the only way we are going to understand what bioluminescence is really for and how important it is to the success of those organisms that have it,” Herring says. “Part of its intrinsic fascination is, of course, that we humans can’t do it.” (04/12/04)


Low Stress Ranching

The New Farm -- Stress-free handling is not only good for the cattle, it has a surprisingly calming effect on the handler, too. ... Dr. Jennifer Lanier, a director of scientific programs for the Humane Society of the United States and a prominent researcher in animal behavior and livestock handling, led the workshop. She has worked closely with Dr. Temple Grandin, the revolutionary figure in animal handling systems design. It’s no surprise that they have found that the pre-slaughter stress of an animal is a significant meat quality indicator. The hormones that are released in response to stress cause tough, dry meat. The meat industry has taken note of this research and Dr. Grandin has influenced significant changes in how animals are handled prior to slaughter. The small group of participants was broadly experienced in animal handling and each had their own nightmare loading story to tell. There were students, extension agents, farmers, and animal researchers, every one looking for a new approach to animal handling. By doing handling exercises with Penn State’s well-trained beef herd, the group learned first hand the inherent difficulties of dealing with prey animals. Our first assignment was to move a group of steers from one holding pen, down an aisle, into a holding tub, through a curved chute, then weigh them on a scale and move them through a squeeze chute. Like several other producers there, as we got started I was saying under my breath that this would be no big deal because Penn State has a handling set-up of which any farmer would be envious. But even after our handling lessons that day, with the “best” equipment, and a group of experienced folks, we still struggled with the chore. We tried for almost an hour to move the herd, and only got about 80 percent of the animals where we wanted them. Dr. Lanier was quick to take advantage of the teachable moment to remind us “it’s not about your facilities, or what you are wearing, it’s about reading the animals." It takes practice—and lots of it—to truly empathize with animals, to assess their temperament, read their stress levels in a given situation, and to change our human behavior to accommodate their natural tendencies. (04/12/04)


Revolutionizing Banana Production

The New Farm -- Three-quarters of all bananas exported from the Dominican Republic are now certified organic. Six years ago, none were. That's the word that comes to mind when speaking with Christoph Meier of Finca Girasol, Inc. It would be difficult to find anyone else who has had such a tremendous impact on the growth of organic agriculture in the Dominican Republic, although it would be equally difficult to get Christoph to take credit for the amazing successes. The numbers are astounding: in 1998, when Christoph arrived in the Dominican Republic to do consulting work for Mercantile Food Company, there were no organic bananas grown for export here. Today, 75 percent of all banana exports leaving this Caribbean nation are organic. To reach the original 61 ha (151 ac) property of Finca Girasol (or 'Sunflower Farm'), you drive an hour and a half southwest from the capital city of Santo Domingo. After the provincial city of Azua, the terrain changes from desert scrub to irrigated tomato, melon, plantain and banana fields fringed with coconut trees. Eight kilometers west of Azua, Finca Girasol looks no different from any other farm along this sun-beaten stretch of asphalt. Other than a small sign with the farm’s name, the only identifiers are the plastic bags protecting the maturing banana bunches from insect damage. ... Organic agriculture as a whole still has a long way to go in the Dominican Republic. The major markets for tropical organic products are thousands of miles away. Events happening in other countries have a greater impact on local production practices than domestic events. Although the Dominican Republic receives tariff protection in Europe through a long-standing arrangement, this is about to change. The World Trade Organization, prompted by Chiquita and the US government, says this is unfair. Soon, small producers like Horizontes Orgánicos will have to compete with large American-owned firms operating from other Central American countries. So where’s the hope? On a practical level, Christoph believes the market for biodynamic bananas has yet to be saturated in Europe. The Meiers' eldest son Kaspar has joined the family business full-time and will bring new energy to meet the coming challenges. On a larger level, Christoph takes hope from the rising anti-globalist movement worldwide. Governments, he says, must begin to understand the essential role of small farms in our societies and develop policies and protections toward that end. (04/12/04)


5:56:21 AM    

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