Monday, November 12, 2012

The Fourth Turning and the 2012 Election



Reading Neil Howe’s blog posts after the 2012 election (http://blog.lifecourse.com/2012/11/in-the-aftermath-of-12/) and thinking about the transformation taking place at the beginning of the Fourth Turning has helped me develop a strategic perspective of the change in values that has taken place.  While everyone attempts to explain why Obama won and why Romney lost using demographics about minorities, women and young voters, they miss the main point. The 2012 election demonstrated that individual achievement and personal responsibility, championed by conservatives and Republican politicians, has faded to second place behind community values.

Hurricane Sandy gave us a visual of a President concerned about community.  Romney's efforts to look concerned fell flat. Pundits say that Hurricane Sandy helped decide the outcome of the election however it was not the media coverage or Obama acting presidential.  Hurricane Sandy was an example of local, state and federal government acting to protect, rescue and provide services to the community.

To the extent that the Republicans think they can recruit Latinos to their conservative values and win an election, they are wrong. They will not win an election until after the Fourth Turning is completed because the Democrats have locked up the key value now at the top of everyones mind for the next 16 years - community.

As one conservative pundit said in 2009: The campaign that brought Obama into the White House will require the “individual” to be sacrificed on the altar of “community.”  Well, that is a negative way of describing exactly what has happened. However this is a cyclical transformation that will swing back toward individualism after the Fourth Turning. http://www.khouse.org/articles/2009/883/

Sustainability appeals to liberals and Democrats because of the focus on community. Climate change issues lift up the community in terms of jobs, energy independence and economic growth.

In the future, I am thinking that my actions should include engaging my neighbors in community activities that appeal to them. Community solar project - the community contracting for solar energy from panels installed on the roof of the local school.  Disaster preparedness with neighbors pooling our tools and resources to help each other in case of an emergency and not waiting until it happens.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Republican Myths




Individualism

The emphasis by the Republican Party on individual achievement is an example of a legitimizing myth.  Republicans believe individual achievement automatically confers power and authority. Republicans believe their policies are legitimate because their individual achievements confer power and authority over everyone else. Individual success in a business of any size merits respect and legitimizes that person’s social dominance over others. Governor Romney, the Republican candidate for President in 2012, was an example of this myth.

“Republicans emphasize the role of free markets and individual achievement as the primary factors behind economic prosperity. To this end, they favor laissez-faire economics, fiscal conservatism, and the promotion of personal responsibility over welfare programs.”[1]

The focus on personal responsibility and individual achievement produce the illusion of fairness.  The Republican Party legitimizes this myth with their promotion of policies that attack government spending, the national debt and the annual deficit while promoting private investment and commercial enterprise.  Voters are hoping that conservatives will follow through on their promises to restrain government spending, reduce regulation and avoid tax increases.

“It's not just a matter of ideological rigidity but a recognition that at a time of economic stagnation and explosive debt, the nation's best chance for success lies with policies of lower taxes, fewer regulations and reduced spending.”[2]

Taxes and the Economy

“The richest Americans are the least likely to spend extra money they get as a result of a tax cut, and are more likely to save it or invest it offshore. Those on the lower end of the economic spectrum, meanwhile, are the most likely to spend transfer payments they receive from the government.”[3]

Thomas L. Hungerford of the Congressional Research Service, authored a report on taxes and the economy that looked at the economy and tax rates since 1945.[4]

The results of the analysis suggest that changes over the past 65 years in the top marginal tax rate and the top capital gains tax rate do not appear correlated with economic growth. The reduction in the top tax rates appears to be uncorrelated with saving, investment, and productivity growth. The top tax rates appear to have little or no relation to the size of the economic pie.

However, the top tax rate reductions appear to be associated with the increasing concentration of income at the top of the income distribution. As measured by IRS data, the share of income accruing to the top 0.1% of U.S. families increased from 4.2% in 1945 to 12.3% by 2007 before falling to 9.2% due to the 2007-2009 recession. At the same time, the average tax rate paid by the top 0.1% fell from over 50% in 1945 to about 25% in 2009. Tax policy could have a relation to how the economic pie is sliced—lower top tax rates may be associated with greater income disparities.”[4]


  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republican_Party_(United_States)
  2. http://washingtonexaminer.com/election-2012-drawing-the-wrong-conclusions-in-advance/article/2512243#.UJGlZkJqjHg
  3. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/01/congressional-research-service_n_2059156.html
  4. http://www.docstoc.com/docs/134693051/CRS-Report-Top-Tax-Rates




Saturday, October 6, 2012

Romney Lying for the Lord


Lying for the Lord is a Mormon tradition.

Mitt Romney during first Presidential debate said:
"I'm used to people saying something that's not always true, but just keep on repeating it and ultimately hoping I'll believe it."
Romney described exactly what happens in the Mormon faith when members are asked to repeat statements over and over again until they believe them.  He thinks it is OK to say things that aren't true, keep repeating them, and hoping the voters will believe it.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Guardian and Commercial Systems




Tim Gieseke "Apportioning Ecological Values and Costs through Symbiotic Demand." http://prezi.com/tpfaewgz1jie/apportioning-ecological-values-and-costs-through-symbiotic-demand/

From Gieseke's presentation, "The fundamentals of symbiotic demand 1) agriculture producer's respond to policies and market signals......"

The symbiotic relationship between Guardian and Commercial systems is played out in exacting detail. The Guardian elements are in the form of state legislature, state agriculture dept., board of soil and water resources, at the federal level the USDA, and who knows how many other elements of government. The Guardian elements determine the public policy using laws, rules and regulations. The Commercial elements are the owners of the dairy farms and the market they sell into.

This is a great example of the symbiotic relationship between Guardian and Commerce systems. The "symbiotic demand" is defined perfectly by Gieseke. The Guardian intervenes in the Commercial system by creating demand for sustainable products that benefits the Commercial system elements so that they can profit and increase wealth.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Special Person Letter about Grandma

Special Person
by Natalia G.
September 2011
Beginning of 5th Grade


Teacher’s Score:
5 = clear main idea - details supporting are carefully chosen and relevant.
5 = order works well, good intro/conclusion, good transitions in body.

My grandma has been taking care of me for as long as I can remember.  She picks me up from school every Monday and Tuesday. I can talk to her about anything and she’ll always understand. She’s the one who will always be there for me when I want to spend time with her or when I’m not feeling well.  My grandma is a very helpful, caring and generous person.

My grandma is unbelievably helpful. She’ll help me whenever I don’t understand my homework.  Or, when I can’t find something, she automatically finds it for me. If I have any tests at school, she will help me study for them. Whenever my grandma helps me, she always does it with care, she never rushes through it.

My grandma is very caring for the following reasons. She’s always on time to pick me up from school. She will always make sure I get a healthy snack. And, whenever I have a piano concert or soccer game, she will always be there to watch me no-matter-what. On top of all that, she’ll give me almost anything I ask for.

I’ve never seen anyone more generous than my grandma! Whenever she makes cookies, she’ll always let me take home the extras.  Or, for example, whenever she has coins in her purse, she’ll always give them to me to put in my coin collection.  And with her special sewing skills, she’ll sew me tons of things with her favorite pieces of fabric.  My grandma is not overly helpful, generous or caring, she’s just the right amount.

My grandma is so incredible, sometimes I can’t find a good enough way to thank her!  It just seems impossible to think of someone more helpful, generous or caring than my grandma. I really appreciate all that my grandma does for me.  Whenever I get the chance, I always try to be just as nice to her as she is to me. I can’t think of a better gift to have in life than caring, helpful and generous!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Trying To Tell It Like It Is


Trying To Tell It Like It Is
As Baby Boomers age into Elderhood
they have a secret. They can’t tell others,
to understand you have to be old.
Thanks to William Stafford’s words in our ears
and the blessing of time in our hands,
any challenge will sound like a bell.
Our past was spent at work or on the phone
but now all we have are the memories
that our mind plays again and again.
The secret is in the non-action messages of renunciation
Boomers will send and their stillness.
Some will wake at night listening.
The secret comes as each touch over a lifetime
layers a thin understanding again and again,
finally giving a hint of some future conviction.
When you look at Boomers you won’t be able to see
the secret or hear it in their voices but it’s there.
Like a live wire with power inside,
like the art of war or a fantasy.
Boomers have always wanted more than material stuff.
Now they lead with ideals.
Boomers will turn to the Millennials and forge an alliance.
Now, in 2012, we don’t understand why,
but we will.
Inspired by William Stafford’s poem “Trying to Tell It” page 239, “The Way It Is: New and Selected Poems” 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Baby Boomers and Non-Action



Introduction
Tension exists between science predicting disastrous consequences caused by climate change and economists predicting gains in prosperity that guarantee future well being. Consumers, governments and business maintain their traditional viewpoints about how technological innovation and entrepreneurship will fix any problems. For example, advertisements on TV tell us the American goal is to preserve the value of vast reserves of coal as an energy source that requires only a technological fix and we will have clean coal.
The strategies used today are conservative and rely on business-as-usual practices. These strategies preserve the existing economic system and rely on traditional values. These strategies result in three failures that lead to a system collapse:
  1. Failure to anticipate the problem.
  2. When the problem arrives, failure to recognize the problem.
  3. When the problem is recognized, failure of attempting to solve the problem.
  4. When action is taken, failure to actually solve the problem.
Baby Boomers
A poll by Yale University found that seven in 10 Americans believe that “global warming is affecting the weather" and that more than 80 percent of Americans have personally experienced extreme weather or a natural disaster of some sort in the past year." At the same time, Baby Boomers (born 1943-1960) are transitioning into retirement and slowly accepting a lifestyle change.  What do these things have in common?
Boomers are experiencing a loss of position power and action but not transitioning to inactivity. Instead Boomers are seeking and will find their power of participating in society in ways that prior generations did not.  Instead of retiring to a warm climate for leisure time activities, Boomers are going to fulfill their new role in society as the new elders with the power of non-action.
Non-action is not inactivity and not about spending all your time on leisure activities. Boomers with a purpose will engage in non-action activities. An example of non-action is a boycott. Gene Sharp listed 198 non-violent activities that groups use to deal with authority.
Boomers will stay in place instead of moving for retirement.  They will stay connected and anchor themselves near family, friends and community.  Boomers will learn to use the power of renunciation, non-action and non-violence to deal with the failure of government and business to anticipate, recognize, attempt solutions and succeed in solving local and global problems that have catastrophic consequences.



1 Diamond, Jared M. Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. New York: Viking, 2005.


3 "Albert Einstein Institution - Publications - "From Dictatorship to Democracy."  Web. 31 May 2012. http://aeinstein.org/organizations98ce.html

Why Systems Collapse



Tension exists between science predicting disastrous consequences caused by climate change and economists predicting gains in prosperity that guarantee future well being. Consumers, governments and business maintain their traditional viewpoints about how technological innovation and entrepreneurship will fix any problems. For example, advertisements on TV tell us the American goal is to preserve the value of vast reserves of coal as an energy source that requires only a technological fix and we will have clean coal.
The strategies used today are conservative and rely on business-as-usual practices. These strategies preserve the existing economic system and rely on traditional values. These strategies result in three failures that lead to a system collapse:
  1. Failure to anticipate the problem.
  2. When the problem arrives, failure to recognize the problem.
  3. When the problem is recognized, failure of attempting to solve the problem.
  4. When action is taken, failure to actually solve the problem.
 Diamond, Jared M. Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. New York: Viking, 2005.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Education Reform

Matt Farmer of Chicago
Chicago parent takes down Board of Education member and the Mayor of Chicago and basically all education reformers. Don't miss this!
Chicago parent Speaks the truth to power



Saturday, June 2, 2012

Mindfulness


In 21st Century society, we experience situations that make us feel like either running away or fighting.  Stress at work, with family, driving or with people we don’t even know can trigger a reaction and yet we do not have the option of fighting or fleeing. When the Fight or Flight syndrome is not able to function we each have a threshold before the stress begins to affect our our mind works.  We create the Dictator.
There is a Dictator in my mind and we are at war with each other.  The Dictator commands the Fight or Flight syndrome that controls my body chemistry that makes my head buzz, causes nausea, makes my leg muscles twitch and creates negative thoughts. The Dictator uses force and direct action to make my life miserable when I am anxious prior to an event or activity. The Dictator knows that once my system gets started in the wrong direction the feedback loops in my body and my mind will keep making things worse for me until I give up, close my eyes and lay down in a quiet place. Afterwards, I am exhausted and have to take a nap during the daytime and that interferes with my sleep at night.
The Dictator depends on me reacting to my own thoughts and feelings about the past and the future to increase his strength and maintain his control. The Dictator listens to all my conscious thoughts and feelings and my unconscious thoughts and feelings. So the Dictator has information about the secret life I live inside my mind that I do not have.
I will lose if I try a direct approach to stop the Dictator triggering his forces. I can not stop him by using positive affirmations, keeping busy all the time or staying home all the time. Medication works for a short period of time or I have to take them all the time and they have side effects. Medication only makes the Dictator go to sleep for awhile but he is still there.
I can not run away from myself, but I can hide in my house for the rest of my life.  I can not fight the Dictator directly but I can use medication to make him go to sleep, and me too. There are many strategies that people use to cope that do not get rid of the Dictator.
Mindfulness is a strategy that does work over time to defeat the Dictator or at least get him out of power so that he is not in direct control over my mind and body. Instead of a direct approach, mindfulness is non-action (not inactivity).  Instead of keeping busy with activities, mindfulness cultivates stillness. Mindfulness is a strategy that gets information over time from the conscious and unconscious mind that the Dictator could use to trigger an attack and instead practicing mindfulness opens me to experiencing those memories, thoughts, emotions and feelings in the moment to accept them and let go of them.
Non-action has a long and successful history. Non-action is engaging in activities to overthrow a Dictator like what Gene Sharp lists in his book “From Dictatorship to Democracy”. An example is a boycott. In my case, I want to boycott the Dictator forcefully hijacking my body and mind.  To do this, I have to train my body and my mind to not react. I have to cultivate non-action and stillness in my mind and my body.
My mind needs to be still and my body needs to not take action. My conscious and unconscious mind both need to not take action. My legs, arms and internal organs that control my body chemistry need to be still. 
Stillness is the renunciation of the stress-induced reaction of the mind and body to daily activities. Stillness is boycotting the Dictator that decides to release adrenaline and cortisol, to suppress the immune system and send excess energy to muscles.  Stillness is non-action, not inactivity. Each time my mind wanders, I am practicing mindfulness by bringing my mind back to the present moment and my breath.
The daily practice of mindfulness opens us up to experiencing our life in the present moment. The Dictator wants to remain in power and uses past and future thoughts to force the body to react. The practice of mindfulness cultivates stillness that grows over time until we are strong enough to use the power of non-action to defeat the Dictator.  When stressful events happen our response to the memory or anticipation is non-action.  The Dictator has no power over us when he is unable to get the mind and body to react.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Heroes



Only when teamwork and civic trust is reborn in the dire heat of a Fourth Turning can a society again become capable of saving itself.  In that moment, the self becomes fused to the community and everybody becomes a hero.  This is the basic plotline of The Avengers.  It also a good shorthand description of the choices facing America today.”
By Neil Howe

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Your Ground Hog Day



Just like in the movie Ground Hog Day, you wake up every morning in the same exact place, always repeating the same day. No matter what you do to try to change things, you can not get what you want.
In Ground Hog Day, he starts out just trying to fulfill his own desires. Then he begins to move toward fulfilling the needs of others.  Finally, he becomes more and more life-centered and lets go of his desires.
Most of our life is spent living strategies meant to cover up or avoid our own pain of not getting what we want. Our pain is the deep sense of basic alienation that takes the form of feelings we have about ourself.
You like influencing others and being in charge - that’s your personality. When your strategy is to be dominant, persuasive, and motivational at work, you have a structured environment where everyone’s behavior is guided by the organization’s ethical system. When your strategy remains the same even though you are not at work, then your desires take over and you feel the pain of unfulfilled desires.
What is the basic human problem? We live a substitute life. We believe our thoughts are our life. We substitute our believed thoughts for reality. 
Unfortunately, we act on our believed thoughts. We make mistakes because our believed thoughts are not how things actually work.
The practice life is not about expressing or suppressing our thoughts and feelings. The practice life is about experiencing our thoughts and feelings.  By sitting quietly for ten minutes, focusing on our natural breathing, we experience our thoughts and feelings.  We welcome them.  We let them come into our mind, release them and then the next one comes.
In the practice life, we do not express negative emotions and do not suppress emotions.  In the practice life, we experience our emotions.  For example, we sit quietly for ten minutes, focusing on our natural breathing and we welcome our anger.  We feel our anger coming, we experience rising anger, the peak of anger then the anger falls away and we release the anger.  We experienced anger and did no harm to anyone.
The goal is not enlightenment or perfection or never feeling angry or afraid.  The goal is to not live a substitute life of believed thoughts and instead experience our thoughts and emotions and realize that they are not us. Your thoughts and feelings, and your reactions to others are a substitute life. Practice experiencing your thoughts and feelings without expressing or suppressing them.
Every day, practice with thoughts and emotions while sitting quietly and focusing on the natural breath.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

System Dynamics Question Leaders

I am confused about looking at historical events versus designing social systems for future consequences.  I am probably not going to get this exactly correct with the appropriate words but here is a possible response to what Chad Green wrote about. I would rather have system scientists influence public policy over the next 10 years in a way that gets America started on a different path so that future system scientists can use counterfactual questions to show how outcomes might have been worse if America had not taken action prior to 2020.

snip:
"What we need now is system thinkers who are more than willing and able
to ask the tough counterfactual "what if" questions that no one is
asking publicly.

I will call them Question Leaders."

From Wikipedia (edited):
"Counterfactual questions seek to explore history and historical incidents by means of extrapolating a timeline such that certain key historical events did not happen or had an outcome that was different from what did in fact occur. The purpose of this exercise is to ascertain the relative importance of the event, incident or person the counterfactual hypothesis is negating."

Here is what I'm thinking:

For example, a system scientist in the future will be able to explore historical records on global warming to show how America's outcome could have been different or records on fossil fuel resources to show how America fiddled while the resource collapse could have been predicted. Then the system scientist would ascertain the relative importance of key events not happening, such as what is described in the book "Merchants of Doubt" or how a different outcome could have occurred.

The counterfactual hypothesis for global warming might be that America did endorse the Kyoto Treaty and began reducing CO2 emissions, building renewable energy and growing the economy based on non-fossil fuel energy fast enough to avoid catastrophic consequences.

However, Dr. Forrester's message seems to focus on future system scientists designing social systems to mitigate future unintended consequences.  Chad seems to suggest present system scientists might use historical case studies as a learning tool to change the quality of people's mental models now. Maybe combining each into an overall strategy might help system scientists now and in the future.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sustainable World Project Summary



System Dynamics Process
Justification for Sustainability
Guardian and Commercial Ethical Systems
Sustainable World Introduction
Sustainable World Project Plan

Public Schools Blamed for Poverty



Poverty correlates directly with low test scores, poor academic performance and classroom management problems. Schools with high percentages of children receiving free or reduce lunch have low test scores and poor academic performance.
Teachers are being singled out as the cause of low test scores and poor academic performance. Reduced school budgets are being blamed as the cause of poor academic performance. Unions are labeled as a cause of teachers not being incentivized to improve test scores and academic performance.
Schools provide transportation, breakfast and lunch, health care services, special education services and counseling. The staff includes school nurses, librarians, school counselors, school psychologists, occupational therapists, speech pathologist, and special education services.
The services schools provide are overwhelmed by poverty.  Public schools can not perform their intended service to society when society delivers children living in poverty to the school.
The guardians of society are failing in their ethical obligations and allowing an unjust commercial system to leave millions of Americans in poverty.

Stop blaming schools for poverty. 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Poverty and Education in America

The growth of poverty in America impacts all of us, however public schools are being blamed for the consequences of poverty. 
No matter how you define poverty, the number of people in America in poverty has increased over time. Children in poverty have inadequate nutrition and lack access to health care. Over time, children in poverty become adults with health problems.  The consequences of poverty increase the cost of health care for everyone.
The growth of poverty in America impacts all of us. The standards movement, the charter movement, NCLB and all the other anti-pubic school initiatives all claim to want to improve the outcomes for the lowest performing students by holding schools and teachers accountable.  In fact their interventions in the system push change in the wrong direction.  Inequity is increasing as a few students are moved to private, charter and for-profit schools and the majority, the remaining students, get fewer education resources and live in the same poverty conditions.
The public schools are being blamed for the consequences of poverty.  Poverty is the primary reason why students do not do well in public school.  Why isn't there a change to the economic system to decrease the number of children in poverty?  That would decrease inequity in education outcomes, improve nutrition and improve health care for children.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Why System Dynamics?


All systems, everywhere have levels and flows. These are the only two concepts needed to understand why systems work the way they do (Forrester, 1996).
We were taught in school to accumulate knowledge and skills in order to get a job. We define learning as the accumulation of knowledge. We test every child at every grade level to measure their accumulated knowledge. We teach people how to do things so they have a skill in order to get a job.
Public education teaches people what is important to know. Students learn skills so that they know how to do things.  Students are tested on what they know and the skills for how to use what they know. System Dynamics (SD) enables us to understand why systems work they way they do.
Public education involves a way of thinking, learning and communicating that focuses on the past up to the present. Science, math, reading and writing are all focused on knowledge (what) and skills (how) that have been codified into a curriculum. In public education students learn about the past up to the present.
Life is moving fast. We need a way to think, learn and communicate about the future.  The current public school system does not meet that need.
Sustainability education and environmental literacy are focused on students learning more and more about how to do more things.  By conforming to the way the current public education system focuses on what and how, we are asking students to accumulate more and more knowledge about the recent past.  We are asking students to accumulate more and more skills about how things were done in the recent past.
System dynamics is a tool to think, learn and communicate about the future. (Richmond 2010)  With SD, learning is about why systems work they way they do.  What is needed to model a system is accumulated just in time to use in a model.  The knowledge needed about how the parts of a system are related is accumulated just in time to use them in a model.  The understanding needed about why feedback loops in systems tell a story is accumulated just in time to use them in a model.
SD enables us to understand why systems work they way they do.  Politicians and decision makers need to know why systems work the way they do so that they can craft policies that are successful in the future. Policy makers need informed citizens who know why systems work they way they do.
Why do policymakers choose policies that fail? A policy response is rational for decision makers who fail to account for the feedback structure of a system. Only by considering the full feedback structure is the ineffectiveness of a policy revealed. By learning why feedback affects system behavior, small system dynamics models have a crucial role to play in policy making. (Ghaffarzadegan, 2012)
Policy makers fall prey to the “Pull my finger” joke.  They develop a policy that responds to correlations, trends and events believing that they understand the cause like when the finger pull and the sound are close together in space and time. The irony of public policy making is that, without understanding system feedback, what happened in the past will be made worse by a policy response.
Without SD, public education is teaching students to look to the past to make decisions about the future.  The public school system is walking backwards into the future. 
The public school system is the primary obstacle to students using SD.  The entrenched paradigms are the foundation for education institutions that teach what and how from K12 through university doctorate programs.  Educators and students are evaluated based on what they know and how to use what they know.  SD enables us to understand why systems work they way they do.
System dynamics is a tool to think, learn and communicate in a new way so that educators engage student’s mental models. When mental models rely on “Pull my finger” thinking a person is not going to understand feedback. To use SD requires a new way of thinking: Think about levels and flows connected in feedback loops within a closed boundary.
To use SD requires a new definition of learning: Learning is improving the quality of our mental models.(Richmond 2010) The current public school system does not attempt to improve the quality of student’s mental models. 
To use SD requires a new way of communicating: Communicate about why your model works using feedback loops.  This is where qualitative tools like causal loop diagrams and behavior-over-time graphs are used and useful.
Jay Forrester is the founder of System Dynamics. He has said for many years that with the right guidance “students must create their own models and learn from trial and error.” In this way dynamic modeling is learning by doing. “I believe that immersion in such active learning can change mental models.” (Forrester 2009)
Why System Dynamics? System Dynamics enables us to understand why systems work they way they do in order to prepare for the future.
Bibliography
  1. Forrester, Jay W. "System Dynamics and K-12 Teachers." Creative Learning Exchange. 30 May 1996. Web. 11 Feb. 2012. <http://clexchange.org/ftp/documents/Roadmaps/RM1/D-4665-5.pdf>.
  2. Ghaffarzadegan, Navid, John Lyneis, and George P. Richardson. "Why and How Small System Dynamics Models Can Help Policymakers: A Review of Two Public Policy Models." System Dynamics Society. Web. 10 Feb. 2012. <http://www.systemdynamics.org/conferences/2009/proceed/papers/P1388.pdf>.
  3. Richmond, Barry. "Introduction: The Thinking in Systems Thinking- Eight Critical Skills." Ed. Joy Richmond. Tracing Connections: Voices of Systems Thinkers. Lebanon, NH: ISEE Systems, 2010. 3-21. Print.
  4. Forrester, Jay W. "Learning through System Dynamics as Preparation for the 21st Century." Creative Learning Exchange. 2009. Web. 11 Feb. 2012. <http://clexchange.org/ftp/documents/whyk12sd/Y_2009-02LearningThroughSD.pdf>.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Do No Harm

Do no harm.
Do no harm to others - do not express negative emotions.
Do no harm to yourself - do not suppress negative emotions.
Experience your emotions.
Experience your emotions and thoughts without expressing or suppressing negative emotions.
Build capacity to experience emotions by daily practice of mindfulness.
Mindfulness practice is a way to experience thoughts and emotions without expressing or suppressing negative thoughts and emotions.
Over time, daily practice of mindfulness rewires the brain and builds capacity for experience.
Mindfulness is practicing meditation and experiencing thoughts and emotions.
The key is to practice meditation using proper breathing and a mantra, and let your thoughts and feelings rise, peak and fade.
Mindfulness combines practicing meditation and letting your emotions rise, peak and fade.
Practice mindfulness while walking, driving, sitting or doing yoga.
Experience your thoughts and emotions.
Do no harm.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Gas Prices

today speculators account for 64 percent of oil contracts. Real Cause of Rising Gas prices...http://huff.to/A0Q5vw
Robert Reich
Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy, University of California at Berkeley; Author, 'Aftershock'
Why Republicans Aren't Mentioning the Real Cause of Rising Prices at the Gas Pump

Wall street is speculating on gas prices, driving up the price of gas at the pump.
Read Robert Reich in Huffington Post article.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Value-less System

The Chicago Tribune editorial increases distrust, assigns blame and avoids responsibility. The so called "value-added system" for education adds no value, creates more problems and shifts attention away from student- centered learning. Every human services professional knows that beyond a basic salary, pay does not motivate employees over time especially when they are highly educated like teachers. Assigning teachers all the blame for low student performance ignores all the decades of data that show poverty accurately predicts student achievement. Poverty means society is to blame, not individuals. Poverty means people do not have jobs that pay well enough for parents to have the resources to help their children.

"A value-added system will help Illinois educators do a better job identifying and rewarding the most highly effective teachers with, we can hope, markedly higher salaries. The information also can help schools replace educators who simply aren't advancing their students' academic performance."

"Grading teachers, Illinois parents, demand this vital data"
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/editorials/ct-edit-teacher-0303-20120303,0,6644359.story

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

What is the Basic Human Problem?

What is the basic human problem? We live a substitute life.  We believe our thoughts are our life.  We substitute our believed thoughts for reality.  Instead of analyzing all of our thoughts, solving the basic human problem involves living a practice life.  Practice listening to your believed thoughts and labeling them.  Sit quietly for ten minutes when you won’t be interrupted, focus on your natural breath and become aware of your thoughts.  Practice labeling each thought as they enter your mind.  Practice daily as often as you can.
We act on our believed thoughts.  We make mistakes because our believed thoughts are not how things actually work. The practice life is not about expressing or suppressing our thoughts and feelings. The practice life is about experiencing our thoughts and feelings.  By sitting quietly for ten minutes, focusing on our natural breathing, we experience our thoughts and feelings.  We welcome them.  We let them come into our mind, release them and then the next one comes.
Do no harm is a common principle. However people get angry and express their anger, hurting the people closest to them. In the practice life, do not express negative emotions and do not suppress emotions.  In the practice life, we experience our emotions.  For example, we sit quietly for ten minutes, focusing on our natural breathing and we welcome our anger.  We feel our anger coming, we experience rising anger, the peak of anger then the anger falls away and we release the anger.  We experienced anger and did no harm to anyone.
The goal is not enlightenment or perfection or never feeling angry or afraid.  The goal is to not live a substitute life of believed thoughts and instead experience our thoughts and emotions.  Every day, practice with thoughts and emotions while sitting quietly and focusing on the natural breath.
Go to the second entry in this series.




Source: Bayda, Ezra. Being Zen: Bringing Meditation to Life. Boston.: Shambhala, 2002. Print.