Saturday, November 14, 2015

Conceptually BRIDGING MASLOW's Hierarchy of [ HUMAN ] Needs to HUMAN BIOLOGY

Conceptually BRIDGING MASLOW's Hierarchy of [ HUMAN ] Needs to HUMAN BIOLOGY

While Maslow's hierarchy does seem to map fairly directly to human biology, and, while he seems to be on the right track logically, still, yet, socially, his phraseology leaves much to be desired.  

Below, is a simplified map/matrix to relate HUMAN BIOLOGY with MASLOW's TERMS from "Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs". While the tripartite brain model is correctly criticized as simplistic and nonreflective of the vastly detailed current understanding of the physiological, neurological, bio-chemical, neurochemical, and energetic complexities of human biology, it serves the present purposes, here, as described, above.  The COMPLEMENTARY CATEGORIZATION / ELABORATION serve simply to connect conceptually to MASLOW's TERMS and to bridge them to HUMAN BIOLOGY.

Allowing for generational & cultural learning & evolution which has occurred, to some degree, since the time of Maslow's writings in the 1940's & 1950's, we, now, must evolve his (& our) phraseology accordingly to not be so cold, sharp, abrupt, and dismissive of the essential spiritual humanity of the victims of previous society which had to struggle in its development prior to the availability of the benefit of the genius of Master Maslow and his benificent works he has so ungraciously bestowed upon planet Earth and its inhabitants. Sincerely.

How he could have read the exemplars he cited and extracted only the components he required to support his logical construct while leaving behind the grand universal human spirit and love of humanity each so boldly wore on their sleeves challenges comprehension.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs is a theory in psychology proposed by Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper "A Theory of Human Motivation" in Psychological Review.[2] Maslow subsequently extended the idea to include his observations of humans' innate curiosity. His theories parallel many other theories of human developmental psychology, some of which focus on describing the stages of growth in humans. Maslow used the terms "physiological", "safety", "belongingness" and "love", "esteem", "self-actualization", and "self-transcendence" to describe the pattern that human motivations generally move through. 
Maslow studied what he called exemplary people such as Albert Einstein, Jane Addams, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Frederick Douglass rather than mentally ill or neurotic people, writing that "the study of crippled, stunted, immature, and unhealthy specimens can yield only a cripple psychology and a cripple philosophy."[3] Maslow studied the healthiest 1% of the college student population.[4] 
Maslow's theory was fully expressed in his 1954 book Motivation and Personality.[5] The hierarchy remains a very popular framework in sociology research, management training[6] and secondary and higher psychology instruction.
(Wikipedia, Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, 111415)

It might occur to one, upon speculation, also considering the traumatic early-Twentieth Century time period during which Maslow was born, raised, lived, and worked, that this may well have induced a sort of compassion burnout or self-protective compassion shield which de-emphasizes the natural emotions from deeply & keenly observing so much human experience, especially during that time.

While one can only speculate as to Maslow's motivations, internally, we know, externally, he shared deep expressions for a better framework for understanding of humanity, by humanity, and for humanity.

We also know we can do better.  We owe it to Maslow and to ourselves to develop and share the best of humanity, by humanity, and for humanity. 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

What is Missing from the 2016 Presidential Race?

[ NOTE:  Any TRUE democratic leader who has been serving for a while can fill this bill.  I supported Bernie Sanders in 2016 and will in 2020.  I wrote this when Joe Biden was considering entering the 2016 race which would have split the establishment Democrats.  Joe Biden is a true democratic leader as is Bernie Sanders.  Bernie is the choice of those who represent the future of the Democratic Party and America! Joe, whether as a candidate or as a former Vice-President, will be right there with us helping us stand up and fight back for America and humanity! We, the people, are all in this together!]

What is missing from the 2016 Presidential Race?  

Unifying, inspiring, uplifting leadership and vision!

What is missing is a candidate who is a true witness to history...

...who has ascended to the highest elected offices...
...yet, who has remained deeply rooted in his working class background...

...who is a proven leader with international experience...
...yet, who has never lost his common touch...

...who has grappled with complex legislation and policy issues...
...yet, who has never lost faith in the American promise and the American people...

What is missing is a candidate who does not shrink from the gravity of this moment in history...

...who has the intellectual gravitas to grapple with the complexities of people, politics, and planet...
...yet, who understands that lasting solutions must be built from the ground up by hand by common people with common sense and common decency...

...who has spent decades challenging the system from the inside and working within it to make it better...
...yet, who knows that when systems exceed their limits, the opportunity exists for great democratic progress for humanity...

What is missing is a candidate who will lead a real honest national conversation...

...who will stand up and say...

America, we need to talk!

America IS great!

America always has been great!

America always will be great!

America is greater when we are unified!

America is greater when we listen to each other!

America is greater when we work together!

America is less great when we are divided against ourselves!

America is less great when we yell at each other!

America is less great when we fight for personal and partisan gain at the expense of the common good!

America, we need to talk!

We need to talk because we cannot act when we are so violently divided!

There should always be healthy differences and healthy debates!

America, our differences and our debates are not healthy!

We need to talk so we can find out what we agree on!

As we build common ground, we can stand on solid ground!

When we stand together and pull together, we can do anything!

Archimedes said, "Give me a lever and a place to stand and I will move the world."

We have to reach back for the American spirit of the American revolution and call on the best of the old!

We have to gather at kitchen tables, schools, town halls, churches, pubs, taverns, and living rooms and find what we agree on!

Less and less, though, do we have time for gathering together with neighbors, AND, we need a place to collect our work as citizens and watch as our common progress grows!

For this, we must make full use of technology to build a civic infrastructure and call on the best of the new!

Democracy 2.0 is an idea whose time has come and we need our young people to help us make it a reality for our common future!

Justice Louis Brandeis said, "In a democracy, citizen is the highest office."

We need a civic infrastructure where every person can register their own views and their own priorities and work together with their fellow citizens to build common ground!

As that common ground builds, we can take common action and move America forward and make America greater than ever!

America's greatest challenges lie before us.  

Americans will not be divided by small mean greedy parasites!

Americans will face our challenges, and, together, we, the people, will enjoy America's greatest days ever!

The American spirit 

is the high and noble 

human spirit 

famously expressed in the poem by Emma Lazarus 

engraved on the pedestal of 

the Statue of Liberty,

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she

With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Lead Pipe Syndrome

Lead Pipe Syndrome

It is known, by some, as Lead Pipe Syndrome, in the traumatizing world of childhood lead-poisoning.

As in, “it’s a ‘lead-pipe’ cinch!” Let’s just spell it all right out just as one’s brains might well spill out when hit with a lead pipe.
cinch | sin(t)SH/ | noun | 1. informal |
an extremely easy task.
“the program was a cinch to use”
synonyms: an easy task, child’s play, a snap, a walkover, nothing;
informal: a piece of cake, a picnic, a breeze, kids’ stuff, a cakewalk, a pushover,duck soup, a walk in the park
It was an all-too-common catch phrase in old TV shows – harkening back to a darker more violent time far beyond the dim fuzzy black & white & gray mists of history.

Stop talking about it as if it is commonplace and expected and condoned and eventually it will wither away, right?

It’s a start and it’s worth a try. Is progress really so slow? Evidently.

But, we have made, at least, some progress, haven’t we? It seems we do not hear, “it’s a ‘lead-pipe’ cinch!”, anymore, at least not as much. It seems we do not hear of people being “brained” with lead-pipes, anymore, at least not as much. For one thing, there are fewer lead pipes available to those who might ever do such a thing.

Similarly, there is not as much lead-paint since it has been banned since the 1970s so it is mostly a problem in old housing stock where old paint is worn off and collects on floors inside and the ground outside – where babies and toddlers crawl, toddle, and touch everything and put everything in their mouths.

When it is safely encapsulated under layers of new, lead-free, low VOC paint it cannot harm anyone – “lead-safe”, as it is called (safe-enough … let sleeping dogs lie).

Yet, there, it remains, lurking NOT like some late-night cheese-ball villain waiting to attack innocent, unsuspecting victims.

“NOT like” because THIS IS A REAL VILLAIN waiting to attack innocent, unsuspecting victims!

When it escapes – on its own or with the aid of an ignorant uncaring accomplice or an unwitting dupe – it will attack!

It could escape via the friction surfaces of a window or a door or the drawers of an old piece of furniture – unused for years and now getting overused by an active busy exploring young innocent human being just getting started on their adventurous learning journey here on planet Earth.

It could escape via the sanding of some young, excited, hurried, parents busily readying or improving their apartment or house for their young family.

It could escape via the sanding of some young, excited, hurried, worker/landlord busily readying or improving an apartment or house for a young family.

It could escape via the sanding of some not-necessarily-so-young, not-necessarily-so-excited, yet quite-hurried-and-greedy-and-thoroughly-ignorant-and-devoid-of-care worker/landlord busily “readying” or “improving” an apartment or house for a young tenant family of renters and future renters.

It could escape via the friction of the wind and sand and rain and time from the old flaking paint on the outside of a house onto to ground where children will play and breath in the lead-filled dust and gather it on their hands and help to spread it around for other children to ingest – quite happily and innocently.

God’s will? Guess again! Too obvious! Guess again! Right! Ignorance and Chaos incarnate! Very good! Ignorance and Chaos incarnate – yet invisible – locking arms and spinning wildly creating a torrent of tiny lead atoms like so many BB’s and ball-bearings and shotgun beads launched silently into the lives and, ultimately, into the blood streams, bones, nerves, and brains of our youngest, poorest, most innocent and vulnerable.

They depend upon the adults to create safe homes, schools, and play areas.

They grow up and, as adults, they depend upon the community to make and to enforce laws to create safe homes, schools, and play areas.

Well now we know. Some know better than others. But now we, as a collective society, know. No more excuses. Somewhere someone should have known and should have prevented every single case of childhood lead poisoning.

Well now we will pay.

And we have been paying.

We pay through higher insurance rates for those who were covered – both health and liability insurance rates are higher.

We pay through higher medical bills to pay for those who were not covered.

We pay through higher property tax bills for special needs school programs for lead-poisoned children – diagnosed and undiagnosed.

We pay through higher costs for the countless social & economic effects of lead-poisoned children – diagnosed and undiagnosed.

We pay by having all that Ignorance and Chaos propagated and spread virulently via the infected children whose health and lives have been threatened.

Some parents find out their child is lead-poisoned when it is too late to do much of anything – most damage happens when very young:  in utero (a fetus is lead-poisoned by their lead-poisoned mother), a baby who is breast-fed can be lead-poisoned by breast milk, babies, toddlers, etc.are most exposed to environmental lead in the home and most absorptive when growing so fast).

The “lucky ones” find out relatively quickly when their child(ren) are young.

Lead Pipe Syndrome is the overwhelming shock of learning that your child(ren) have been lead-poisoned.

Lead Pipe Syndrome is the overwhelming shock of learning that your child(ren) have been lead-poisoned by you – or your ignorance and your failure to prevent it and to protect them.

Lead Pipe Syndrome is the overwhelming shock of learning that you do not have time to process your guilt.

Lead Pipe Syndrome is the overwhelming shock of learning that you have to leave your home – leave everything behind – and get your babies out of the place where you lead-poisoned them! (…losing a home is among the most traumatic experiences a human being can experience all by itself…)

Lead Pipe Syndrome is the overwhelming shock of learning that you have to find a new home for your babies – one in which you will not lead-poison them, this time.

Lead Pipe Syndrome is the overwhelming shock of learning that you have to learn a lot of new and complicated information.

Lead Pipe Syndrome is the overwhelming shock of learning just how much new information you would need to process when the good doctor hands you a thick heavy book with THE latest “OFFICIAL” medical literature on childhood lead-poisoning treatment protocols.

Lead Pipe Syndrome is the overwhelming shock of learning that you, now, must gently but firmly guide your babies through a rigorous and tightly-scheduled treatment regime of nutrition and medicine to draw out the lead-poison that has already been absorbed by your babies’ bodies and to prevent the lead-poison that is in their system from being absorbed.

Lead Pipe Syndrome is the overwhelming shock of learning that, when you got deep into the medical literature and learned about childhood lead-poisoning and why the treatment regime is so tightly scheduled and rigorous, only then would you realize, you had gotten your brain back.

Lead Pipe Syndrome is the overwhelming shock of learning how much gratitude you are feeling toward the good doctor because, knowingly or not, by respecting you and informing you about your babies’ medical treatment and the role you must play for it to be effective, the good doctor also gave you back your brain.

Lead Pipe Syndrome is the overwhelming shock of learning that you will have to wait months or years to have an idea of what degree of success you might hope for with your babies’ treatment.

Lead Pipe Syndrome is the overwhelming shock of learning that even if the degree of success is near complete long-term, you will carry this with you for life.

Lead Pipe Syndrome is the overwhelming shock of learning that you had no idea and there are other innocent parents and babies out there right now who have no idea and we can tell them! Someone has to tell them! I can tell them! Is anyone else telling them? Maybe not. Nobody told me! I can tell them! I have to tell them! It has to start somewhere and there must be someone else out there! I will find them and they will find me!

“Never doubt that a small number of dedicated people can change the world – indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” -Margaret Mead, right?!? …yeah…

Lead Pipe Syndrome is the overwhelming shock of learning that you are in no condition to change the world – you’re lucky to keep up with changing diapers.

Lead Pipe Syndrome is the overwhelming shock of learning that you still have to try to do something.

Lead Pipe Syndrome is the overwhelming shock of learning that there are a whole lot of people with a whole lot of money invested in the way things are and they play hardball and nobody is going risk losing their jobs to bring the change necessary to truly & completely solve this problem and stop anyone else’s baby from being lead-poisoned ever, again!

Lead Pipe Syndrome is the overwhelming shock of learning that – forget about pesticide, BPA, and, most of all, forget about replacing the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976.

Lead Pipe Syndrome is the overwhelming shock of learning that even if you can get laws changed here and there, getting them enforced and adjudicated is another matter.

Lead Pipe Syndrome is the overwhelming shock of learning that you can get building codes changed, you can get federal and state disclosures mandated, but you want us to actually hire code enforcement professionals and actually pay them to actually enforce the codes?!? Huh! Well, maybe we will study that if ignoring it doesn’t work perfectly well.

Lead Pipe Syndrome is the overwhelming shock of learning that … this could go on forever…

Until we start doing things differently, we cannot expect different results.

We cannot expect the traumatized to organize sustainably.

We can hope the traumatized can grieve and heal.

Who, then, does the tasks of organizing the work for change?

When trauma strikes, tasks have to happen and they have to happen quickly.

In the immediacy of the trauma, fight or flight kicks in and we either take action or take flight, as appropriate.

Then, we go through some level of shock. Then, we crash. Then, we pick up the pieces. Then, we grieve. Then, we heal. Then, we get on with our lives.

When trauma strikes, unless it is a purely random accident, it is a manifestation of the need for change … a consequence of a failure or a series of failures coming to its inevitable fruition in a particular event.

When trauma strikes, who knows better the need to act to prevent this from happening to someone else than a victim to whom it has happened?

Can some community organizer come along and fully do and say what needs to be done and said absent the impetus and depth and resonance of real experience?

Certainly, we cannot demand a trauma victim to do more than they can. It is purely up to the individual in their own situation. One knows if one can or cannot.

When one cannot, we can only hope, then, for a community organizer to come along and do and say what needs to be done and said as best they can.

Certainly, we cannot leave it to those whose failure upon compounded failure year after year, decade after decade when they either could not or would not see the problem or could not or would not bother themselves to disturb their comfortable career!

Who then? Trauma creates a vacuum. Either people are physically gone or they are socially and emotionally absent. Their absence creates a vacuum. Power abhors a vacuum. Who will fill that vacuum? How will they fill that vacuum?

In many ways, this is the history of humanity. Same story, different century … different millennium.

Do we really need huge crises to react to and stampede us like a herd? NO!

Why, then, is that the most prevalent dynamic?

I submit, it is nurture (BAD: neglect) and culture (BAD: vulture) rather than nature and biology.  Our hardware is fine. Our software (operating system & apps) needs an upgrade.

Is there a Millennial in the house?  …a Generation Z? (aka: “digital natives”)… wait! …the drums!  …the “digital natives” are restless! …good thing they’re on our side!

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Credit is due to the truly courageous human beings whose true stories inspired this piece.  They carry on bearing a very heavy burden. One hopes, the more we learn of true human tragedies, the more we can learn to be proactive in preventing them in the future.

Thursday, July 9, 2015


Lincoln was adamantly against "Wage Slavery". I think history bears out his concerns! freely paraphrase Rousseau... 

Humanity is born "free" but is everywhere in chains ... of "Wage Slavery" ... attached to iron balls of learned helplessness ... behind walls of transgenerational trauma

We are free to quit and to starve and to die ... traumatized & homeless.  That is a fool's freedom ... a victim's freedom.  That is not true freedom. That is not human freedom.

We do not earn enough to pay enough to purchase our freedom to get truly free. 

The key to freedom, though, is cooperation - NOT money!  

We do not learn enough to cooperate enough to organize enough to TAKE THE FREEDOM THAT IS OURS BY BIRTHRIGHT OF OUR HUMANITY to get truly free!

If we can cooperatively organize, together, then we can gain & create & make resources & options available to us via cooperation which will never be available to most people via the moneyist system which binds us tight, limits our growth & development, and limits our options. 

Our learned helplessness is our invisible fence. 

When you strip away all the fancy words and ideological crap and BS Revolutionary Messaging ( @RevMsg ), what DOES NOT lie ... what DOES NOT change, is POWER!

"It becomes a contest of power: those who have money and those who have people. We have nothing but people." - SAUL ALINSKY

"We must hang together or we will surely hang separately." - Benjamin Franklin

"When bad men combine [form corporations], the good must associate. [COOPERATE!]" - Edmund Burke 

"All that is required for evil to triumph, is for good people to do nothing." - Edmund Burke

"As Benjamin Franklin wrote, 'In free governments the rulers are the servants and the people their superiors and sovereigns.' The ultimate powers in a society, therefore, rest in the people themselves, and they should exercise those powers, either directly or through representatives, in every way they are competent and that is practicable." - THOMAS JEFFERSON (quoting Benjamin Franklin)

Friday, July 3, 2015

Eleanor Roosevelt UN Speech on Universal Human Rights

"Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? 

In small places, close to home - so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world.

Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm, or office where he works.

 Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination.

Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. 

Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world."
In Our Hands” (1958 speech delivered on the tenth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
First adopted in 1948, Eleanor Roosevelt called the Universal Declaration of Human Rights her greatest achievement.  

Oh, yes!  There was another Roosevelt who also did some work on human rights...

We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. Necessitous men are not free men. People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.

In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all – regardless of station, race, or creed. Among these are:
  • The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the Nation;
  • The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;
  • The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;
  • The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;
  • The right of every family to a decent home;
  • The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
  • The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;
  • The right to a good education.
All of these rights spell security. And after this war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being.

America's own rightful place in the world depends in large part upon how fully these and similar rights have been carried into practice for our citizens. For unless there is security here at home there cannot be lasting peace in the world

Complete text available at The American Presidency Project at UC Santa Barbara.
From WIKIpedia:
Roosevelt's January 11 address was delivered via radio, due to the President's illness at the time. During the last portion dealing with the Second Bill of Rights, he asked news cameras to come in and begin filming for later broadcast. This footage was believed lost until it was uncovered in 2008 in South Carolina by Michael Moore while researching for the film Capitalism: A Love Story.

The footage shows Roosevelt's Second Bill of Rights address in its entirety, as well as a shot of the Five Rights printed on a sheet of paper.[2]

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Talkin' 'bout a (R)Evolution!

Talkin' 'bout a (R)Evolution!

Seems like anything else is "just another campaign"!

By Ed Democracy
May 2015

That's the thing about campaigns - at some point the power of BS wears off, people wake up & sober up & either you had what it took to win or you didn't.

Bernie, of course, will have all the standard minimal machinations required of getting on the ballot & winning.  Minimal - as in clearing the bar in a pole vault.  This is not a race for President of the Recreation Society at the old folks home.  This is Olympic "pol" vaulting! This is a BIG, BIG, BIG JOB all by itself! Reaching & mobilizing millions of unorganized registered Democrats to actually & effectively participate in party caucuses & primaries (where state convention delegates get elected), THEN, to actually & effectively participate in state conventions (where national delegates are elected), THEN, to actually & effectively participate in the national convention (where party nominees are elected), THIS, is a long, long, long slog!

BUT, doesn’t there need to be more than that?  By comparison, "just" getting nominated & elected is the "easy" part!  Just governing under "normal" circumstances is a Herculian challenge.  To talk about running a (R)Evolution WHILE governing, in this day & age, at the same time is the business of fools (court jesters), gods, and real-deal TRUE small-d democratic revolutionary leaders the likes of which has yet to appear and prove themselves on the face of the Earth.  The closest we have seen is the American Revolution.  Even then, it was a different world.  A miraculous constellation of players & circumstances aligned to effect a highly unlikely result.  Today, we have a much smaller, faster, and extremely volatile world.

We, the people, cannot afford to play around!  We, the people, need a real-deal small-d democratic revolution of humanity, by humanity, and for humanity!  We, the people, need deep systemic change!  Not incremental (excremental BS) "change", not reform, but, whole new systems of a scale & scope which can only be called: (R)Evolution!

Is there any real chance of success if this is "just another campaign" for the Democratic Party nomination which fancies itself a "revolution".

Simply in terms of "the expectations game": "do not underestimate me" + "the revolution is coming" = CRANK expectations HIGH.

There had better be more of a plan than this:

...get the pissed off masses HIGH on CRANK and JOLT them to life long enough to take the White House and then, if we miraculously make it that far, we will figure the rest out later from the Oval Office.

To mount a successful true democratic revolution we will have to mobilize the grassroots insurgent democratic wing of the Democratic Party to seize the party for the people.

While we are getting Bernie nominated & elected, we must also begin a complete overhaul of the party to fully & thoroughly democratize it by developing it into a 50-state, 200,000 precinct infrastructure of democracy & community empowerment - everyday democracy for everyday people.


The medium is the message. IF the message is "REVOLUTION of the people, by the people, and for the people" AND, YET, the medium is the same old story of MEDIA, MONEY, & MUNDANE campaign, THEN, you have DISSONANCE ... the OPPOSITE of RESONANCE!

Bernie ENERGIZES because his words have the ring of truth! His words have RESONANCE with our EXPERIENCE of what is wrong and what we need to do to right it!

Yet, to MOBILIZE & ORGANIZE will require - more than words - ACTIONS which have RESONANCE with the MESSAGE and the ultimate achievement & sustainability of the objective: VICTORY in a DEMOCRATIC REVOLUTION of the people, by the people, and for the people!

"The medium is the message." - Marshall McLuhan

The most important office in a democracy is the office of citizen.”

"It becomes a contest of power: those who have money and those who have people. We have nothing but people." - SAUL ALINSKY


  • - common people, common sense, common decency - an American Evolution of a civil civic commons!

To win the general election, will require a BIG, BIG, BIG TENT!

Every single human being who believes in HUMANITY - republicans, independents, greens, black panthers, gray panthers, millennials (they have that really fast space ship, right? The Millennial Falcon...), comedians, libertarians, librarians, rotarians, Jesse Venturians, plumbers (they have "Joe the Plumber" & kitchen sinks), and, last, but, not least, democrats - ALL must unite to defeat the mean-machine!

"When evil men combine, the good must associate." - Edmund Burke

Burke is considered the philosophical founder of conservatism, AND, yet, he was a relative & supporter of Nano Nagle - a pioneer of education for poor Catholic children in Ireland in defiance of the English Penal Laws which as he described those laws: "Their declared object was to reduce the Catholics in Ireland to a miserable populace, without property, without estimation, without education." Because of their steadfast dedication to education, their family was not allowed by the English to keep their vast land holdings.

While we would not ask middle-class conservatives to risk losing their land in order to help the poor, the mean-machine is trying to take it anyway! So, they should join us in the BIG, BIG, BIG TENT!

Seems like anything else is "just another campaign"! Talkin' 'bout a (R)Evolution!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Power, Organization and Community: The Complex Components of Compassion

Power, Organization and Community:
The Complex Components of Compassion

Compassion is not derived only from emotion. Compassion can be derived from logic. In fact, unless compassion is understood both emotionally and logically, it cannot be sustained. Logic and emotion must have compassion for each other. Logic and emotion must love and understand each other. Logic and emotion are biological components of human anatomy. In some people logic is more developed. In others emotion is more developed. In still others it is nearly evenly balanced.

Why should this be important for people who are thinking about the relationship between the individual and the community? I can give three reasons. First, compassion, in the philosophical tradition, is a central bridge between the individual and the community; it is conceived of as our species' way of hooking the interests of others to our own personal goods. ... Second, some modern theories - liberal and individualist moral theories in particular - have treated compassion as an irrational force in human affairs, one that is likely to mislead or distract us when we are trying to think well about social policy. ... Third, this simple opposition between emotion and reason has also been invoked by communitarian critics of liberalism, who have suggested that if we are to make room for sentiments such as compassion, which do not seem to be much honored in liberal theory, this will mean basing political judgment upon a force that is affective rather than cognitive, instinctual rather than concerned with judgment and thought. ... If we want a compassionate community, we can have one without sacrificing the Enlightenment's commitment to reason and reflection - because compassion is a certain sort of reasoning. (Nussbaum (1):28)

To keep reason and emotion in constant opposition in the individual will cause the individual to be conflicted and divided against itself. A community of such individuals will inevitably be divided against itself. A divided community is a conquered community. A conquered community is, by definition, powerless.

Power is at the heart of compassion. When one finds oneself in a context which calls for compassion, power is invariably a factor in the context. "[D]ifferences in class, race, gender, wealth, and power do affect the extent to which the sense of helplessness governs the daily course of one's life." (Nussbaum (1):45) I submit that the essential difference between pity and compassion is the effect on one's balance of power. Pity is a false emotion which exacerbates a loss of power while compassion is a true emotion which restores power. In discussing Nietzsche's anti-pity, Stoic argument, "against cruelty and in favor of self-command," Martha Nussbaum writes that, a "suffering person whom one respects will, if an enemy, be regarded with admiration for the fortitude with which he bears his suffering; if a friend, he will be regarded with a delicate respect for his pride and a concern for his ability [or power] to continue creating himself." (Nussbaum (2):150) A potential target of compassion finds oneself facing a significant threat to one's balance of power. A potential source of compassion seeks to help the target regain one's balance of power.

An individual finds oneself in a context. No individual exists purely qua individual. "Man is by nature a political animal." (Aristotle, Politics, c.343 B.C.E.) Even a hermit depends upon nature. Likewise, it is impossible to achieve a pure community with absolute uniformity and synchronization of all members. Even if the difference is only being one individual as opposed to another individual. There is still a distinction between individual number 8 and individual number 9 even if the difference is only in serialization. To be a true individual requires a true community.

Man is by nature a social animal; an individual who is unsocial naturally and not accidentally is either beneath our notice or more than human. Society is something in nature that precedes the individual. Anyone who either cannot lead the common life or is so self-sufficient as not to need to, and therefore does not partake of society, is either a beast or a god. (Aristotle, Politics, c.343 B.C.E.)
Only another can offer one a different perspective on oneself and, hence, opportunity for growth. Only another can help to create novelty in one's context. Only novelty can create choices. Only choices can create power. An individual must choose from among choices oneself. In so doing one defines oneself. One can only define oneself in a community.

A true community requires organization. A true community is composed of true individuals. A false community composed of false individuals is not sustainable. False individuals cannot think independently of the community. True individuals can think independently and as a group. An assortment of individuals independent of a group approximates chaos (the many). Order (oneness) can be imposed from the top down or from the bottom up. Order is organization or complexity. In biology, the more complex the organism, the more energy it can contain and the longer it can maintain itself. (Garrison:304) The most harmonious is a self-organizing, stable, chaotic system. This would be considered a "middle-out" system versus "top-down" or "bottom-up". These systems are said to exhibit negative entropy. Entropy is a measure of inefficiency. It indicates how likely a system is to dissipate or maintain energy. Negative entropy represents a gain of energy generated from within.

Community is simply the biological, human organization of groups of humans. Other species exhibit degrees of communal behavior -- wolves, lions, dolphins, whales, etc.. -- but, here, we are concerned only with human community. Community can be considered from the local to the global levels. Energy, or power, is generated by individuals and either dissipates or is collected and held by community. An individual has only a finite capacity or potential to store power. However, a community can store power greater than the sum of the power of its parts. If power is not collected at one level of community then it dissipates and is collected in the next nearest community it encounters.

When a given community fails to collect power, another community gains access to that power and the resultant differential in power increases the probability of actualization of that power by one community against the other. One must consider the various degrees of community in various contexts. In the state of nature, one is closest to the elements and other species. A small group of humans in the wilds constitutes one degree of community. A minimal degree. Each member carries a larger portion of the overall load of maintaining a community. For example, if one member is careless and cuts oneself or breaks one's leg the rest of the community must decide whether to carry the individual and to care for the individual. This slows the community down and poses a threat to the community by possibly attracting predators to the smell of blood. The negligence of the individual threatens the entire community. They become more vulnerable to either elements, predators, or other communities of humans. It is possible that by bearing the risk of carrying this negligent individual, the community benefits from the mutual commitment to each other forged by this effort. However, they must weigh the risk against the potential benefit.

As communities establish themselves against the elements and predator species, the only internal threats are from negligent individuals or groups of individuals. The only external threats are from other human communities. There may be conflicts over resources or direct physical conflict. The strength and cohesion of one community versus another depend upon its organization and maximization of resources -- human and material. Internally, conflicts may occur over various issues. The greater the disparity of power from group to group the less stable the overall community and the more vulnerable it is to attack from without.

Any discussion of submitting to the risks of life's vicissitudes and opening oneself up emotionally to human relationships (Nussbaum (1):43) only becomes viable in the cave (the community) where the women waited with the children for the men to return from hunting sabertooth tigers and woolly mammoths. This possibility of humanity or compassion can only take place in community. The hunters in the wilds cannot afford to risk humanity and compassion except in very limited and controlled measure. Perhaps anyone - male, female, or other - when faced with a context which is potentially emotionally overwhelming and paralyzing and is forced to suspend social emotion and engage in an instinctual, animal, fight or flight mode of operating.

Yet, community is not possible without compassion. Compassion can only take place in a protected context. Ironically, at least at one point in human development, compassion in some humans posed a threat to community and compassion in others. Some humans had to move from worlds where compassion meant life to worlds where compassion meant death and back again. Somehow sense had to be made of this. It seems that to this day this same confused dynamic is yet to be resolved. For some, the comfort of compassion and the safety of society represent a baited trap. Nietzsche seemed torn between the wildness of our animal nature and the compassion of our mammalian nature. He struggled mightily against the biological and social pressures to abandon our animal nature in favor of our compassionate nature.

Lacking external enemies and resistances, and confined within an oppressive narrowness and regularity, man began rending, persecuting, terrifying himself, like a wild beast hurling itself against the bars of its cage. This languisher, devoured by nostalgia for the desert, who had to turn himself into an adventure, a torture chamber, an insecure and dangerous wilderness-this fool, this pining and desperate prisoner, became the inventor of "bad conscience." Also the generator of the greatest and most disastrous maladies, of which humanity has not to this day been cured: his sickness of himself, brought on by the violent severance from his animal past, by his sudden leap and fall into new layers and conditions of existence, by his declaration of war against the old instincts that had hitherto been the foundation of his power, his joy, and his awesomeness. (GM II:XVI)

To his credit, he had the courage to wrestle with this problem in his cerebral cortex, the uniquely human section of the brain. In this sense, and, no doubt, many others, Nietzsche was Human, All Too Human. The cerebral cortex is the seat of both creativity and of reason. This human part of the brain is where problem-solving takes place. (Restak:417) To be human is to be a creator, a problem-solver, compassionate, and an animal. Additionally, to be human is to be communal. To be compassionate is to recognize this fact. Noone can transcend oneself without the community of others, not even Nietzsche. For the individual to transcend, the community must transcend. This requires organization. It is a major logistical problem to get the community across the bridge of transcendence.

It is also a major psychological problem to get the community across the bridge of transcendence. One way people adapt to suffering is internalization of oppression. By accepting one's suffering as inevitable, one learns to live with suffering. One eventually forgets that one's context is to be transcended.

Suffering and deprivation are usually not ennobling or educative; they more often brutalize or corrupt perception. In particular, they often produce adaptive responses that deny the importance of the suffering; such adaptive responses are especially likely to arise when the deprivation is connected to oppression and hierarchy, and taught as proper through religious and cultural practices. (Nussbaum (1):32)

To reverse this requires organization and community. To introduce new information, new experience, and new culture cannot be established or sustained without organization and community. Absent this, other parts of community will prevail which have the power, organization, and community to sustain themselves and the ability to impose themselves on weaker communities.

The members of the weaker community may have long ago lost the concept of having the power to organize itself and create itself. Worst of all, whole new slave communities can be created by master communities. The master community can dominate the slave community by creating it upon an entirely blank slate. The slave community is thus made entirely dependent upon the master community. As power dissipates from the slave community to the master community so does the humanity and the compassion. Members of the slave community are reduced to their animal natures. Basic needs drive the culture of the slave community -- hunger, thirst, shelter, sex -- basic instincts. Internally, the slaves live in the animal base of the brain where fight or flight instincts, aggression, territoriality, and the willingness to follow leaders blindly also reside. Externally, the slaves live in a herd, corralled as it were. If the herd stampedes it could kill the masters directly, but the herd is only reactive and cannot control and direct its own stampede. The masters would starve without the herd to prey upon. Hence, the masters and the slaves are codependent.

According to Harold Lasswell in Power and Personality, there are five basic human needs: survival, security, social, self-esteem, and self-realization. (Lasswell) Maximum love and understanding of oneself require all needs to be fully met. Compassion requires love and understanding of oneself and others. The five basic needs can be grouped to reflect the basic biological structure and development of individuals and of society as a whole. An individual can be said to consist of three essential elements: animal, mammalian, and human. The animal element corresponds to survival and security needs. The mammalian element corresponds to social needs. The human element corresponds to self-esteem and self-realization needs. Similarly, power relates to survival and security needs; organization relates to security and social needs; community relates to social, self-esteem, and self-realization needs. The relationship between master and slave is inherently about power. Similarly, the ability of the creator type to create oneself and one's context is a function of power. If master, slave, and creator are the three essential classes of society, then power is the essential factor in social dynamics since each of these classes can be defined as a particular power dynamic within the overall social context.

Power manifests itself in three essential forms: numbers, organization, and resources. A community is a collection of a number of individuals organized into a set of classes around a set of values and decision-making procedures which determines the macrocontext for the flow of power and resources. The decisions of individual members of the community determines the microcontext for the flow of power and resources. The level of power of an individual or group of individuals is a major factor in predicting the likelihood of that individual or group of individuals becoming a potential target of compassion. Other factors, such as natural disasters, would fall essentially at a constant level over all classes of individuals. That is, "the difference between the vulnerabilities common to all human beings and those constructed for the powerless by the empowered." (Nussbaum (1):41) Without power, organization and community -- the complex components of compassion -- one is simply naked, alone, and at the mercy of nature and predators.


Nietzsche, Friedrich. The Birth of Tragedy and The Genealogy of Morals. Trans. Francis Golffing. New York: Anchor Books, 1956.

Nussbaum (1), Martha. "Compassion: The Basic Social Emotion," Social Philosophy and Policy. Cambridge University Press (UK). Winter, 1996. Pp. 27-58.

Nussbaum (2), Martha. "Pity and Mercy Nietzsche's Stoicism," Nietzsche. Genealogy, Morality: Essays on Nietzsche's Genealogy of Morals. Ed. Richard Schact. University of California Press, 1994. Pp. 139-167.

Restak, Richard. The Brain: The Last Frontier. New York: Warner Books, 1979.

Lasswell, Harold D.. Power and Personality. New York: The Viking Press, 1969.

Garrison, Tom. Oceanography: An Invitation to Marine Science. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Co., 1996.