Saturday, October 12, 2013

21st Century Political Warfare

At the beginning of the 21st Century, America entered a Crisis Era similar to the 1920s and 1930s.  The run up to the Great Depression matches the financial, political, social and cultural patterns of the first decade of this century.  Similar to the pattern after 1930, from 2010 to 2020, America will continue to experience crisis after crisis.  Every decision will feel like the consequences of making mistake will make matters worse. Every right decision will be quickly forgotten as the next crisis hits us like an ocean wave knocking us off our feet.

A civil crisis in America is building between conservative and liberal policies.  People are taking sides and demanding action.  Violence against the symbols of civilization that was only verbal in the past has migrated to individuals, non-state actors and nation states taking violent action.  The American government is being used to exert more control to protect civilization.

Political Parties

Republican (conservative) political rhetoric is infused with individualism. A Republican America focuses on the origin of sovereign power in the individual and asserts that no government can deprive a minority or individual of their sovereign rights and powers.  Republican political policies are derived from this concept of individualism based on sovereign rights and powers.

Democratic political rhetoric is infused with modern Liberalism.  A Democratic America focuses on the sovereign power of the government and asserts that no minority or individual can be deprived of their rights and powers defined in the Constitution and laws.  Democratic political policies are derived from this concept of liberalism based on the sovereign rights and powers of the government.

A representative democracy, like the United States, permits a transfer of the exercise of sovereignty from the people to the government.  This creates a tension between how much control an individual retains over their life and how much the individual transfers to the government.  Republican and Democratic arguments about policies are based on how to implement each of the conflicting concepts to resolve the dilemma between the individual and government.

Republicans want less government interference in individual decisions. Democrats want less individual interference in government decisions. This dilemma is resolved with each election. The pendulum moves back and forth over time.

Republican Policies

Republican support for individualism has been extended to Corporations.  Republican policies promote less government interference in corporate decisions by extending to them the same rights and powers as citizens under the Constitution.  The pendulum has moved back and forth between lax government controls and tight government controls.  Corporations are increasing their influence over whether individual rights are respected or not.

Democratic Policies

Democratic support for liberalism has been extended to Corporations.  Democratic policies promote a mixed economy and the general welfare of society as a legitimate role of government. Corporate access to substantial resources and political power creates a conflict when they infringe on individual rights and freedom.


Conservative arguments give priority to the sovereign rights of individuals.  Liberal arguments give priority to the sovereign right of government to protect minority and individual rights.

When there is peace and prosperity, liberty and freedom, then individuals have the opportunity to exert their rights and powers without infringing on the rights of others.  In the current Crisis Era, individuals will be forced to subordinate their needs and wants to the sovereignty of the government to protect Civilization.

Sovereignty requires not only the legal right to exercise power, but the actual exercise of such power.  In the current Crisis Era, the US Government has and will continue to expand the legal right to actively exercise power over individuals, non-state actors and other nation states.


What are the consequences of corporations gaining the same rights as citizens and being able to pay to elect politicians that support less interference by government?  When corporations with sufficient resources extend their legal rights and exercise their power, they infringe on the sovereignty of the US Government.

The Republican argument is based on not wanting the government to infringe on the sovereignty of individuals and corporations.  The Democratic argument is based on not wanting individuals and corporations to infringe on the sovereignty of government.  The difference in the boundaries defined by the problem shows the Republican argument has narrow boundaries drawn around individuals and corporations.  The Democratic argument has broad boundaries drawn around everyone and assumes individuals and corporations will act in their own selfish best interests and not in the best interests of society as a whole.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Open Letter to Bill McKibben

To: Bill McKibben,

Thank you for all you and Susan are doing.

My sister and I were on the I-5 bridge, but not in the picture.
I had not been to a demonstration since one after Kent State in 1970 when I was in college.

I have a few comments.

2020 +/- 2 years will be the turning point. A Pearl Harbor like event will catapult America into the climate change global war for survival.

Paraphrasing William Stafford the poet:  justice will take millions of intricate moves.

The largest environmental mobilisation for decades is underway in the UK & USA.  See Huffington Post UK article.

Fossil fuel companies refute the law of cause and effect and laugh at those who warn of the consequences of ignoring feedback loops.

Climate change deniers refute the law of cause and effect. But the feedback loops in nature do not play dice with the world.

There is no uncertainty in the feedback loops in the atmosphere and oceans.
There is no probability to measure in the feedback loops of natural systems of the world.

Climate change deniers, fossil fuel industry and their politicians are modern day isolationists.
They want to draw boundaries that are close, limited and constrained so they do not have to take responsibility for the CO2 molecules burned overseas that change our climate in America.
Modern day isolationists are being successful at delaying America's entry into the war to deal with the consequences of climate change.

Einstein famously is quoted as saying many times, "God does not play dice with the world."
Describing events as random or coincidence assumes that chance and probability have something to do with events in our lives.

We can not ignore cause and effect. Together cause and effect become a feedback loop.
Things do happen for a reason and the reason is called feedback loops.
All activity everywhere occurs within and is controlled by feedback loops.
There are passages in the Bible, Koran, and books of other religions about cause and effect.

When we ignore cause and effect, then we are not following the path that you are advocating.
When we do not understand the feedback loops in natural systems, then we do not understand how to be of service to others.
You understand how to be of service to others and that this is the highest value for any human being to attain.
Your service is part of a feedback loop that makes things happen for a reason, by not ignoring cause and effect.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Psychology is how and why climate change is happening.

If the biggest barriers to fighting climate change are psychological rather than technological, then the solutions might be psychological too.  Strategies that reduce fear and create a sense that we can make a difference today with simple positive action might prove more successful. Moral arguments that emphasize shared values may also prove more effective, since decisions are often based on social interactions and values rather than scientific data.

The psychology of denial concerning climate mitigation measures: evidence from Swiss focus groups, S. Stoll-Kleemann, Tim O'Riordan, Carlo C. Jaeger
Various studies of public opinion regarding the causes and consequences of climate change reveal both a deep reservoir of concern, yet also a muddle over causes, consequences and appropriate policy measures for mitigation. The technique adopted here, namely integrated assessment (IA) focus groups, in which groups of randomly selected individuals in Switzerland looked at models of possible consequences of climate change and questioned specialists as to their accuracy and meaning, revealed a rich assembly of reactions. Respondents were alarmed about the consequences of high-energy futures, and mollified by images of low-energy futures. Yet they also erected a series of psychological barriers to justify why they should not act either individually or through collective institutions to mitigate climate change. From the viewpoint of changing their lifestyles of material comfort and high-energy dependence, they regarded the consequences of possible behavioural shift arising from the need to meet mitigation measures as more daunting. To overcome the dissonance created in their minds they created a number of socio-psychological denial mechanisms. Such mechanisms heightened the costs of shifting away from comfortable lifestyles, set blame on the inaction of others, including governments, and emphasised doubts regarding the immediacy of personal action when the effects of climate change seemed uncertain and far away. These findings suggest that more attention needs to be given to the social and psychological motivations as to why individuals erect barriers to their personal commitment to climate change mitigation, even when professing anxiety over climate futures. Prolonged and progressive packages of information tailored to cultural models or organised belief patterns, coupled to greater community based policy incentives may help to widen the basis of personal and moral responsibility. (2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.)


“...there is a chance that citizens could still lead their governments. Along with more socially minded business, and supportive non-governmental organizations, such a “new democracy” could create a realm of effective climate management for a sustainable millennium.”

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Global Climate Bubble

Based on foresight by Financial Crisis Observatory, humanity in the Anthropocene has already caused a bubble. The global ecological state has shifted due to the increased population affecting ecosystems. The percentage of lightly affected ecosystems has decreased and there is an increased percentage of Earth’s ecosystems that show state shifts. The whole global ecosystem is like a financial or housing price bubble that is going to burst and shift into a new regime. 

The consequences of this graphic are clear. Rather than focusing on the fossil fuel industry, that should be totally shutdown, we should strive to increase productivity, human capital and knowledge in sectors of the economy that produce real value.  This opportunity spreads from the many challenges humanity faces in the 21st Century. I doubt that we will face this reality before a catastrophe overwhelms us, but I have faith at the same time that we will overcome the crisis and come out of this era having faced down our enemy, ourselves, and be determined to improve the Earth’s ecological state to include humanity.

Didier Sornette: How we can predict the next financial crisis
FILMED JUN 2013 • POSTED JUN 2013 • TEDGlobal 2013

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Mom's Place

Slipping through the air with artificial
lights to guide me.  Pulling courage
from spots I place my feet.  Traveling
alone by foot through life. 

Listened to the Governor say, "We need 
to clean up the river to maintain
our sense of place."  This is our place.
Who speaks for any place?

Only a poet?  Each person votes 
with their feet and the decisions they make every day.
What decisions do I make when I write?

Roll me up in a ball with the golden
thread.  Take me on a journey through words
of time and space to Mom's place.

Problem Description

John Locke had a DIY fantasy about the future and a profound influence on the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States. In addition, he defined private property in a way that today we have embed in our Constitutions and laws. Robert Nozick coined the phrase “Lockean Proviso” based on Locke’s Second Treatise of Government, Chapter V, paragraph 33. Many political philosophers have written about this phrase but I am not here to argue philosophy.

Locke envisioned a future of privatized resources from land and water assuming what remained was not depleted so that someone else was deprived of that resource. The Lockean Proviso is true when there is enough left in common for others or the quality is good enough so that others are not deprived of the use of the common resource.

“Nobody could think himself injured by the drinking of another man, though he took a good draught, who had a whole river of the same water left him to quench his thirst. And the case of land and water, where there is enough of both, is perfectly the same.”

The basic human problem of the 21st Century is that we each live a substitute life in our adult mind causing us to behave as if the Lockean Proviso will remain true in the future. We believe we can continue polluting the common land, water and air as if the quantity and quality of those resources were unlimited. An unsustainable world is when the Lockean Proviso is not true.

Growth means there is a surplus. Humans have had a surplus of land, water, air, oil, electricity, food and many other things. We continue to grow, using the surplus, as the demands of the population increase and the number of people increases. Some people use fear, uncertainty and doubt to scare people into thinking there is a limit to growth because of a limit in the surplus of these things. This creates a conflict with our belief that the Lockean Proviso is true.

However there are many examples of renewable resources that can be substituted for resources that might not be available in the future in sufficient quantities. An unsustainable world is not when the quantity element of the Lockean Proviso is not true. An unsustainable world is when the quality of the commons is depleted so that someone in the future is deprived of that resource.

The Lockean Proviso will not be true when the quality of the commons is not good enough so that others are deprived of the use of the common resource. Therefore, a sustainable world is when the quality of the commons is not depleted so that future generations are deprived of that resource.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Meditation and Centering Prayer

The Breath

The heart of Zen is focusing on the breath during meditation. Whether you use the basic sitting meditation (zazen), walking meditation, or many other forms, practicing meditation involves focusing on each inhale and each exhale.  Count each inhale and each exhale. Count to four and then start over, or count to 100 and then backwards. Sitting meditation might be 15 or 20 minutes. A walking meditation might be an hour.

When the mind wanders or thoughts intrude, mindfulness is when we return our attention to counting each breath. Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) scientific research “suggest that participation in MBSR is associated with changes in gray matter concentration in brain regions involved in learning and memory processes, emotion regulation, self-referential processing, and perspective taking.”
Reference: H√∂lzel, Britta K. et. al.  "Mindfulness Practice Leads to Increases in Regional Brain Gray Matter Density." Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging 140.1 (2005): 36-43.

Thomas Keating has helped many Christians discover Christianity's own version of zazen, Centering Prayer. As in Zen, the repetition of a word or phrase can quiet the tumult in our minds and open us to insight and spiritual growth. Basil Pennington, one of the best known proponents of the centering prayer technique, has delineated the guidelines for centering prayer:
  1. Sit comfortably with your eyes closed, relax, and quiet yourself. Be in love and faith to God.
  2. Choose a sacred word that best supports your sincere intention to be in the Lord's presence and open to His divine action within you (i.e. "Jesus", "Lord," "God," "Savior," "Abba," "Divine," "Shalom," "Spirit," "Love," etc.).
  3. Let that word be gently present as your symbol of your sincere intention to be in the Lord's presence and open to His divine action within you. (Thomas Keating advises that the word remain unspoken.)
  4. Whenever you become aware of anything (thoughts, feelings, perceptions, images, associations, etc.), simply return to your sacred word, your anchor.
Reference: M. Basil Pennington (1986), "Centering Prayer: Refining the Rules," "Review for Religious," 45:3, 386-393.

Beginners Mind

The phrase is used in the title of the book Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind by the Zen teacher Shunryu Suzuki. He wrote about the approach to Zen practice: “In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, in the expert's mind there are few.”

Saadat A. Khan suggests that "Beginner's mind embodies the highest emotional qualities such as enthusiasm, creativity, zeal, and optimism. If the reader reflects briefly on the opposites of these qualities, it is clear to see that quality of life requires living with beginner's mind. With beginner's mind, there is boundlessness, limitlessness, an infinite wealth."

Matthew 18:3 NIV
And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

A child has a beginner’s mind. What are the qualities of little children? Enthusiasm, creativity, zeal, optimism, openness, humility, boundless possibilities, eager to learn.

Christianity and Zen encourage living like little children with a beginner’s mind. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Goal 2020 Net Zero

The time has come for each person to act in support of everyone else instead of only their own self-interest.  This means forming a social contract with future generations.  In my remaining lifetime, I choose to change my lifestyle, how I manage my wealth, what I do with my time and money so that I am acting to support a sustainable society.

By 2020, we will be at net zero. That means we will be producing and capturing carbon so that our net contribution to the atmosphere is zero.
  1. reduce our use of electrical energy from non-renewable sources to zero.
  2. manage our money using local financial institutions
  3. use our land to grow as much of our own food as possible
  4. buy locally grown food or grown in Oregon
  5. reduce, reuse and recycle
  6. decrease our waste stream
  7. manage water use to conserve during dry months
Energy: electricity, transportation, purchases

Food: grow or buy local, support global sustainable practices by buying food that meet sustainable criteria.

Transportation: energy efficient, hybrid or electric, future?

Clothes: turn over wardrobe to support sustainable businesses

Legacy:  Use wealth to support the next generation.

Strategic Plan
What are the weaknesses of the current social system, government and capitalist system?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Justice and Sustainability

Feeling stressed about the coming breakdown of society and consequences of climate change on your family?  I'm not a doomsday preparation obsessed survivalist. Surprising that many just regular people are feeling a change in the direction of society. Accepting our feelings and taking action in the present to deal with our own thoughts and our relationships has the best benefit.

I have a deep grief over what we are losing, what we have already lost and feeling anxious about how much we are going to losing in the near future. Life as we have known it is coming to an end.

The primary illusion that needs to be debunked is the multi-national industrial corporation's extractive economy based on privatizing property and making environmental and social costs a public responsibility.

"Apocalypse" from Greek means a lifting of the veil, a disclosure of something hidden, a coming to clarity. Just as we all know that someday we will die and yet still we get out of bed every day, an honest account of planetary reality need not paralyze us.

Justice and sustainability are worth the effort of attempting projects that may fail.

Technological fundamentalism - the quasi-religious belief that the use of advanced technology will save the world - is an empty promise just like other fundamentalist beliefs.

Yes! Magazine, Summer 2013, "Why Radical is the New Normal: Get Apocalyptic" by Robert Jensen, page 25-27.
"Mainstream politicians will continue to protect existing systems of power, corporate executives will continue to maximize profit without concern, and the majority of people will continue to avoid these questions."

I am a husband, father and grandfather with neighbors and family that do not share my values or analysis, yet I continue to fulfill my roles. I am a nerd or geek, or weirdo, or techie person that others confess they don't understand what I am talking about. They especially don't like me talking about the apocalypse in the near future.

What is a clear strategy for promoting justice and sustainability?  Given my lack of access to other people willing to discuss the future in a meaningful way, I am reaching out online to others.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Market Failure

The key assumption to define Market Failure is Pareto Efficiency: the allocation of resources where it is impossible to make any one individual better off without making at least one individual worse off. Pareto efficiency is a minimal notion of efficiency and does not necessarily result in a socially desirable distribution of resources: it makes no statement about equality, or the overall well-being of a society. Pareto Optimal is the state where the total available resource is allocated efficiently.

Market failure is a concept within economic theory describing when the allocation of goods and services by a free market is not efficient. That is, there exists another conceivable outcome where a market participant may be made better-off without making someone else worse-off. (The outcome is not Pareto optimal.)

Economists, especially micro-economists, are often concerned with the causes of market failure and possible means of correction. Such analysis plays an important role in many types of public policy decisions and studies. However, some types of government policy interventions, such as taxes, subsidies, bailouts, wage and price controls, and regulations, including attempts to correct market failure, may also lead to an inefficient allocation of resources, sometimes called government failure. (Wikipedia).

Consider Possible Historic Market Failures and Consequences

The US Constitution was the consequence of a market failure. The capitalism practiced by England was exploiting the colonies. The Declaration of Independence stated the dilemma of whether to remain loyal to England and recognize the authority of the King or to fight for a broader vision of civilization that included the moral principles that were written into the US Constitution. The Revolutionary War resolved the dilemma and the market failure.

Slavery was a market failure. The capitalism practiced by the slave owners was exploiting people and creating inequities between North and South. The conflict between the industrial North and the agricultural South resolved the dilemma and the market failure when the Civil War was won by the North.

After World War I, the major economic powers in Europe caused a market failure in Germany because of the conditions in the peace treaty. This lead to Germany starting World War II that resolved the dilemma created by the market failure of the economic powers in Europe.

Considering Possible Current Market Failure

In each of the three market failures there is a pattern. The evidence in 2013, shows that we are beginning to experience the consequences of another market failure. Each time in the past there was a major migration of people, significant chaos and destruction, and the death of many people. In 2013, we can envision that climate change will result in a significant migration of people, the collapse of governments, civil chaos, destruction and death for many people starting within 10 years.

For decades, vehicles, coal plants and the burning of natural gas by humans have allowed our common atmosphere to become transformed into a threat to civilization.  Energy companies have been allowed to keep costs down by externalizing the waste discharge cost. They have privatized profits and shifted costs for waste and pollutants to society. The failure of the market to account for pollution of our common atmosphere has resulted in a threat to civilization.

The consequences include property damage, loss of property, mass migrations north in Asia and North America, drought causing food shortages, and weak governments collapsing. These will result in wildfires, the spread of disease and death to a billion people across the globe. Just like the three American historic crises listed above, this dilemma will be resolved by a global coalition of civil institutions that create a new set of standards for civilization. Just like the three prior resolutions listed above, by 2030, the world will be organized very differently than it is in 2013.

The Transition to 2030

From about 2020, +/- 2 years, America will become engaged in a global ending of an era and the beginning of a new era. Shutting down the fossil fuel industry, and the mass migration of people because of the consequences of climate change will be a great disruption across the world.

In 2013, we are like the people on Easter Island, when they did not have a regeneration rate high enough to sustain the forest resource necessary for survival on the island. We are not regenerating a sustainable global atmosphere sufficient for survival on the earth. We are allowing the concentration of greenhouse gases to rise too high to sustain civilization as presently structured.


Transcendence happens when practicing inquiry and introspection of dualistic concepts epitomized in Zen Koans that act like an obstacle or wall to insight. Practicing with insight transcends limits, obstacles and denial, and leaps ahead of goals, objectives and strategy. Meditating while focusing on a Zen Koan practices gaining insight into alternatives and goes beyond duality.

Friday, May 31, 2013

The One World Schoolhouse by Salman Khan

Andrew J. Coulson directs the Cato Institute’s Center for Educational Freedom and published a book review of “The One World Schoolhouse” by Salman Khan in the Washington Times on December 11, 2012. In his conclusion he wrote: “The only way for teaching and learning to keep pace with the progress happening all around us is to invite education back into the free-enterprise system that has driven that progress.”

Coulson’s conclusion was built on a series of fallacies and misinformation too numerous to repeat. Coulson makes his living by writing about the blessings of the free-enterprise system. However, he devalues the system of governance that is in a symbiotic relationship with the commercial system he supports. Privatizing the commons is the answer to everything for those who publish articles in support of corporations. After all they have been successful, since John Locke justified private property rights, in claiming land, water and air as commodities and then returning their wastes that pollute the commons for the rest of us and our future generations.

Coulson wants to privatize the common K12 education, that is offered free to anyone at a school. This is something protected by federal, state and local governments for over a century. The only way private enterprise can make a profit in education for K12 is to not serve the neediest of students, the disabled, the students from low income families and others that would drive up the costs and drive down the test scores. Now that Khan Academy has delivered on a free education for anyone, anywhere, Coulson criticizes the change as the worst thing for America, as if it were unpatriotic.

Coulson ignores the rising trend of non-profits and for-profit enterprises with social purposes that have ethical and moral standards unknown to the free-enterprise system where the only measurement is profit and wealth. 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Consequences of Climate Change

As we continue in 2013 to postpone, like we have for decades, the policies that could bring about a sustainable world, the population grows too large, pollution builds too high, resources are drained too much, and a collapse is no longer avoidable.


People need something bigger than themselves, some grand, collective goal worth striving toward. I want to transform from being busy as a single ego on the chaotic surface of flatland, to join a multi-generational team with a social mission aligned to a strategy and tactics.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Market Failure and Foresight

Cascade Systems Society Monthly Meeting
Time: 4:00 to 6:00 (informal conversation at the start, main discussion starts at 4:30)
Place: Harder House, Room 104 (HH is at 10th and Market)

Portland State University

Discussion Leader:  Richard Turnock

Topic: Market Failure and Foresight:  Why systems of survival resolve dilemmas created by market failure and how we can use foresight to anticipate the future.

Problem Statement: The Lockean Proviso is true when there are enough resources left in common for others and the quality of the resources is good enough so that others are not deprived of the use of the common resources. An unsustainable world is when the quality of the commons is depleted so that others are deprived of resources. The goal of a Sustainable World is for the Lockean Proviso to always remain true in the symbiotic relationship between the Guardian and Commercial systems. The RBP [reference behavior pattern] of a Sustainable World would show decreasing depletion of resources from the Commons and decreasing pollution of the Commons. The whole earth is inside the boundaries of the Sustainable World including all the land, water and air. However, our system model is going to focus on the interaction between human organizations and the Commons.

Richard retired not too many years ago after 32 years working for Portland General Electric as nuclear engineer, budget analyst, internal consultant for IT, internal auditor, PR education outreach, and teaching teachers system dynamics.
Education: BS in Engineering Physics from OSU and MBA from PSU; Took SysSc 514 System Dynamics by Dr. Wayne Wakeland. 

Current projects: Assisting author with eBook - “Beyond Connecting the Dots.” 
Blog - MyOpinion.
Wiki with Systems and Sustainability information,
Writing a Memoir
Creating Systems Academy

“Why System Dynamics?” Published by Creative Learning Exchange and listed on my blog

“A New Mental Model of Teaching and Learning”

Global Climate Change Model Development for SysSc 514

Friday, April 26, 2013


When I see you suffering there is nothing I can do. I can not fix the situation. I can not help you feel better about yourself. I am not causing your suffering. Your feelings and emotions are yours to control or not. Your anger and getting mad are behaviors that you can control. I can not. I am not causing your anger. I am not causing you to be mad at me. You are causing your own suffering.

If we exclude everyone else, our relationship begins with you and I. Your self-esteem and my self-esteem are the key to our relationship. Your self-esteem needs constant affirmations. My self-esteem does not. Your self-esteem needs to devalue others and blame others so that you feel good about yourself. My self-esteem does not.

I cause my own suffering. In the present moment, as you hear or read this, you are causing your own suffering. My words are not causing your suffering. I am not causing your suffering.

I am responsible for my own feelings and emotions. In the present moment, as you hear or read this, you are responsible for your own feelings and emotions. I can not control your behavior and you can not dominate me and control my behavior.

Thursday, April 25, 2013


Right now, I am causing my own suffering, in the present moment. I am responsible for my own feelings, emotions and thoughts that cause my suffering right now.

I have control over my own behavior in the present moment. I am responsible for my own feelings, emotions and thoughts, here, right now. I am accountable for managing and controlling my own feelings and thoughts, in the present moment.

I am not responsible for your feelings. I am not the cause of how you feel right now. Being here now, I am not responsible for your feelings, emotions or thoughts, in the present moment.

We are each responsible in the present moment for our own feelings and thoughts about the past. I can not control your behavior anymore than you can control mine.

Your feelings come from your own thinking. Your beliefs and expectations are things you generate and control.

For example, your feelings about past experiences are not my responsibility. I am not accountable for your feelings about your past.

When you respond to me with anger, blame, resistance, withdrawal or compliance, you will likely end up feeling anxious, stressed or depressed.

When you get mad at me, I practice loving-kindness in my mind to manage and control my feelings, emotions and thoughts in the present moment.

I practice non-suffering. Everyday, I have to practice with mindfulness over time to create memories of non-suffering. When I accumulate enough memories of non-suffering, then I can use them in stressful situations.

You are using your memories to cause your own suffering in the present. You have accumulated stressful memories that you are using to make yourself mad in the present.

What would you like to have happen?
How are you going to feel when that happens?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Why Mindfulness?

Over time, practicing mindfulness accumulates memories of a calm relaxed body, and a calm and focused mind. As the level of these mindfulness memories increases over time, their power to influence us in the present increases. For example, if I am in the dentist’s chair getting my crown replaced and having my tooth ground down, my memory of walking meditation on the beach is available to me in the present to maintain a calm and relaxed body, and a calm and focused mind.

Only after months of consistent and dedicated practice did mindfulness accumulate sufficient memories, and condition my body and mind enough for me to be able to use those memories in the present. Prior to practicing mindfulness, I had experienced stressful situations and created memories of my body stimulated by the fight or flight syndrome. My mind and body triggered anxiety attacks by associating past memories with a present situation.

Walking meditation seems to create the strongest memories, and condition my mind and body to be calm and relaxed. The key to any meditation is practicing proper breathing. Using belly breathing to push my stomach out, so that my lungs expand down into that space, allows me to get oxygen into the lower part of my lungs. After months of practice, simply sitting and using proper breathing helps keep me calm.

Close your eyes and imagine an orange in your hand. Feel the orange. Smell the orange. Peel the orange. Smell a slice of orange. Then open your eyes. During the time you were doing that exercise, your taste buds fired because your brain and your tongue remembered what an orange smelled and tasted like. We have accumulated memories of stressful situations and kept reinforcing those memories over time.

The accumulation of memories of stressful situations leads to the mind triggering in the present a reaction to a thought. For example, I had conditioned my body and mind to react to stress so well that I could be laying in bed trying to go to sleep and simply imagine a stressful situation, so that my body would react with twitching muscles and my mind would start having wild thoughts.

Now instead of anxiety attacks, I have meditation attacks. Anticipating a stressful situation, I start to focus on my breathing. If I can, I close my eyes just like when I am practicing sitting meditation. If I need to have my eyes open, I remember practicing walking meditation. After a few breaths, I realize my shoulders muscles are tense so I drop my shoulders and relax my arms and hands. I focus on my breathing. I start my counting (or chant a mantra or both) that I use when I am meditating.

I continue my routine process that I use when I practice sitting meditation. If I can close my eyes, I focus on the backs of my eyelids. I practice this all the time to stop visualizing memories and imaging stressful situations. When my eyes are closed, there is nothing to see. This creates a memory of a calm mind and an empty mind, even though my mind has not stopped working and is full of activity. I keep my mind occupied with paying attention to every inhale and every exhale, and counting every inhale and every exhale. I keep my mind occupied by repeating a phrase with every exhale just before I count that exhale.

Mindfulness happens when my mind wanders, I realize my mind has wandered and I bring my mind back to focus on my breathing, my counting and my mantra.  Over time, practicing mindfulness accumulates memories of bringing my mind back to the present and focusing my mind on my breathing, counting and mantra, so that I can use that skill in stressful situations.  Instead of having an anxiety attack, I have a meditation attack.

Practicing mindfulness accumulates memories that I can use in the present to maintain a calm and relaxed body, and a calm and focused mind.

Friday, April 12, 2013


As corporations continue to focus on keeping profits flowing and accumulating wealth, they will attempt to continue to privatize land and water resources. Without government intervention, the Corporations are designed to privatize all resources and dispose of all wastes in the commons.

Sunday, April 7, 2013


What is the difference between a team player and someone who is not a team player?

Sustaining teamwork over time requires balancing inquiry and advocacy, balancing empathy for others and self-centeredness, and more than twice the positive feedback compared to negative feedback.

You are not a team player, if:

You are self-centered all the time, advocate to control others and always make negative statements, even when you appear to be complimenting someone.

Your self-esteem is very low. You have holes in your ego that you can not fill. You hide all of this behind a facade of confidence, authority and control. You devalue others so you will feel better. You calculate the benefit to cost of relationships so that you receive the most benefit at the least cost.

Your children are being abused by this behavior. Your children have difficulty expressing their feelings to anyone in a healthy way because of your self-centered behavior.

You are unable to have a long-term relationship unless everything is superficial and all the positive affirmations flow toward you. You have many friends giving you positive affirmations to fill your ego holes.

You can not keep a job where you have management authority because you are not a team player. You can not have a long-term marriage because you are not a team player. You can not have a relationship with family members unless they are superficial and the other person gives you positive affirmations all the time.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Dear Diane Ravitch

March 2, 2013

I have been following you on Twitter and reading your blog. Excellent, high quality research and writing. Thank you.

The current effort to reform public education is being criticized by you for the use of standardized testing, privatization of education and politicians making decisions about pedagogy.

The solution is not to develop better tests, but to tear down the No Child Left Behind Law high-stakes standardized testing regime, and use authentic assessments that are organic to the process of real teaching and learning. I believe System Dynamics is the process that meets this requirement. I believe System Dynamics is an inquiry based learning and teaching environment that is also a process for assessing both teachers and students.

I first studied System Dynamics one summer with teachers at a workshop lead by Diana Fisher and her colleagues at Wilson High School in Portland, Oregon. In 1997, I joined the effort to teach teachers and infect the public school system with our processes. That was when I had to really learn System Dynamics in order to teach teachers how to present dynamic modeling to their students. Since then I have spent many hours studying the pedagogy of System Dynamics.

As you have said, the attempt by politicians to quantify learning and teaching in a standardized manner is extremely expensive; takes up weeks and months of time in school; narrows the curriculum; undermines the intrinsic joy of learning; leads to a culture of corruption and cheating; and supports the privatization of public education. As a measure of student learning, standardized tests are a limited instrument. As a measure of teacher effectiveness, they are flawed.

Today, students are tested on what they know from the past and the skills for how to use what they know. System Dynamics enables us to understand why systems work they way they do and develop foresight about the future. I wrote a blog post titled “Why System Dynamics?” that describes a way of reasoning about why System Dynamics is important to public education (see hyperlink below). This article was published in the Creative Learning Exchange newsletter, Winter 2013 ( ) pages 2 and 12.

We need a way to think, learn and communicate about the future. The current public school system does not meet that need when using standardized testing. System Dynamics has a pedagogy and testing regime that meets the needs of teaching and learning as a way to think, learn and communicate about the present and future of systems. Replacing standardized testing by developing an assessment of teaching and learning for teachers and students using System Dynamics would be a key step in the right direction.

From an economic, efficiency, ethical, logical and pedagogy perspective, System Dynamics makes common sense as an improvement to public education. However, the current education reform process does not support using System Dynamics.

What is it going to take to get System Dynamics in K12 Education?

Teachers are beginning to resist giving students standardized tests. States are opting out of the NCLB law. Charter schools are failing.

You are making visible the profit motivated, union busting, misinformation campaign by corporations. There might be an opportunity ahead for System Dynamics to step in and support public education by replacing the standardized test with inquiry based assessments of teachers and students using System Dynamics.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Dear President Obama

An example of a double bind:
A teacher invites a student for a cup of tea. The student sits down in a chair front of a cup of tea on a table. The teacher says, “I will hit you with this stick if you reach for the cup and I will hit you with the stick if you do not reach for the cup. What are you going to do?”

The first step in resolving this dilemma is to become aware of the pattern. We need to step back from the detail of the issues and the specific words.

Republicans, Tea Party members and conservatives, verbally and by voting, hit you with their stick every chance they get. Whether the topic is guns, taxes, spending, jobs or climate change, they are ready to say you are wrong, no matter what you say or do. When you state your messages to the people, they criticize you as if you were not communicating with Congress. When you respond to any criticism by giving more details, using logic or ethical reasoning, by their words and actions Republicans say indirectly or imply that you and the Democratic Party members are lying.

This binding of progressive ideas, so that as a country we can not move forward and resolve the many issues before us, leaves us in a perpetual crisis. This is very stressful for everyone. We can not leave and we can not physically fight. Over time, not being able to deal with our natural “fight or flight” response to stress causes anxiety attacks. The country is experiencing anxiety attacks. As the pressure continues to build, as our anxiety gets worse over time, we might have panic attacks. 

The debt ceiling crisis, the fiscal cliff crisis and now the sequester crisis are all examples of Republicans binding the progressive agenda and causing anxiety attacks for the country and each of us as citizens. The stress is building and the anxiety attacks are coming more frequently. The future might lead to panic attacks.

How to Resolve the Double Bind?

The key to getting out of the double bind dilemma is to take the stick away from the teacher. Using this metaphor and applying this pattern to the Republicans requires insight into the dynamics of the power struggle. What Democrats need to do is alter the pattern. Do something unexpected - stop negotiating with the Republicans and use your executive powers to continue to take action on climate change in a more dramatic way than you have been doing.

What are the assumptions that the Republicans are making to support their words and actions? What are the assumptions that the student is making that keeps him at the table?  We need to peel back the layers of the dilemma by continuing to ask questions about the hidden assumptions, threats and sources of fear in order to alter the pattern.

I can not give you the answers to these questions. You and other Democrats will have to use your insight and figure out what the stick represents in the real world and how to take the stick away from the Republicans. There might be a different stick for each major issue. There might be one giant stick that they use in different ways.

One way to take the stick away from them, that you have already used, is to have VP Binden carry your message to the Senate and have them pass legislation even though the House might not pass it. Keeping your team together and “on message” is difficult but helps in the long run. But these are things you already know about and do.

Validate what you are going to do by creating a double reward situation. No matter what the Republicans and conservatives say or do, Democrats and progressives take a stand on moral principles that is right. Supporting the Voting Rights Act is an example.

What key thing can you and other Democrats do to take the stick away from the Republicans? Who would the Republicans least expect to rise up and disagree with them? Who has not voiced their support for your agenda and, surprisingly, has the power to counter the suppression techniques used by the Republicans?

Republicans use all of the “Five Master Suppression Techniques”:
  • Making Invisible
  • Ridicule
  • Withholding Information
  • Double Bind
  • Shame and Guilt

By ignoring your positive messages, your facts, your details and denying you have any power, Republicans are attempting to make you and the progressive agenda invisible to the public. Your public messages, speaking directly to the people and using social media, are all examples of how to deal with this attempt to make you invisible. Keep taking up the media space, keep yourself involved. Keep making yourself visible to the people.

By their body language and implications, by name calling and descriptions, Republicans continue to ridicule Democratic politicians, their progressive agenda and you. The counter message is to question what they said and ask them if they really meant what they said. You can validate your questions by making sure that you are asking them to behave in a respectful manner. No drama Obama!

The Republicans withhold information, deny facts, ignore cause and effect, and manipulate information to support their agenda. The way to counter this suppression technique is to put all the cards on the table. Keep informing politicians and the people of the details of your plans. Transparency about guns, climate change, taxes, spending, and many other issues counters their mis-information campaign. This is one of the strongest weapons Republicans and conservatives use that creates confusion and delay.

The Double Bind was discussed in detail above.

Shame and guilt are feelings we all have at one time or another. Some of us are more sensitive to feelings of shame and guilt. Republican words and actions are designed to cause people to feel shame and guilt for not agreeing with them, by blaming you for something that you did not cause. For example, by not reducing taxes on the “job creators” you are denying people jobs and unemployment will not go down. You are suppose to feel shame and guilt about this and every other major issue on their agenda. Republicans blame you for unemployment, the debt and the deficit and other issues even though these are not your fault.

This is the most difficult suppression technique to counter. Blame and shame can be described as the total sum of all the preceding suppression techniques.  Shame and guilt are thrown at us externally while the feelings are experienced internally.

The first step is to be aware of these feelings people have, that they are being applied by someone else and it is not our fault. You need to state this in public to the people. You need to state that you are breaking the pattern of the past and we are not going back to the way things were.

Second, you need to be clear about your expectation of positive and healthy relationships based on respect. Keep repeating this message.

Third, you need to set reasonable standards and boundaries. These might be physical boundaries or abstract boundaries. Standards of behavior and standards of honesty.  For example, you might have an issue where you take action on your own, as President, and use your executive powers to direct government actions. The Republicans would then have to cross a clear boundary of separation of powers and everyone would be able to see this.

You are fighting a battle for all of us that has been repeated for hundreds of years. The rich and powerful want to suppress any opposition that would change things for the better for everyone else. The rich and powerful conservatives in America have been using these techniques with more force, as minorities have become the majority, and the white male voters are now a minority.  I am a white male voter, but I am a liberal with beliefs aligned with a progressive agenda that will benefit everyone.

Take Care

Richard Turnock

Summary of Five Master Suppression Techniques

Domination Technique
Counter strategy
Validation Technique
Taking up space
Cards on Table 
Double Bind
Alter The Pattern
Double Reward
Guilt & shame
Manage Self-Talk
Setting Reasonable Standards