Sorry about being out of touch. Hope everyone is having happy holidays.
Things are changing very fast in the world, and a lot of my time has been spent just keeping up. I get material from lots of sources, and I post the useful items to my facebook page, typically with commentary. Several people share items on from there, and sometimes interesting discussion threads emerge. You might find this news feed useful, and you can comment to me via email rather than exposing yourself on facebook, if you prefer.
As regards general news sources, the Russia Today youtube channel seems to be far-and-away the best thing going, featuring intelligent discussions among well-informed people. It covers stories from all over the world and it’s very transparent: the RT interviewers have definite points of view, and they’re open about it. A broad range of viewpoints are invited in, and the candor of the exchanges is refreshing, compared to the sterility of programmed Western media and pundits.
RT’s detractors characterize it as a ‘Russian propaganda channel’, but the most biting critiques of Western policy come from Westerners, who are featured on RT or interviewed there. RT gives voice to Western viewpoints that aren’t welcome in the Western mainstream. RT recognizes that they live under the shadow of a propaganda label, and their chosen strategy is to be as open and honest as possible, as a defense. Their coverage of Russian viewpoints is of course good, and it’s fascinating to keep up with Putin, who is a deep thinker, and very open about the problems he faces, his analysis, and his strategy. So unlike our teleprompter-reading, PR-limited, Western puppet officials.
Meanwhile I keep trying to find ways to help get a transformational movement started. The historical conditions are favorable; we just need to find the right seed, the right cultural meme, that can spread virally.
My Swiss friend, Chris Zumbrunn, sees things much the same way I do, and we’ve been working together over the past few years in the search for such a seed. As I reported at the time, we convened workshops in St Imier in 2012 and 2013, exploring the meaning of democracy, different ways of bringing about change, and different ways of bringing people together. We used Dynamic Facilitation in these workshops, and it was very effective in helping us dig deeper into the issues.
My own follow-up to these workshops involved writing: my reports to you, a model of self-governance, and a proposal for a co-op-based movement. Chris’ follow-up has been more interesting: he’s moved into action. Our third workshop, last month, was convened at ‘La Decentrale’, a property that we might characterize as ‘liberated movement territory’.
Chris got together with some like-minded people in Switzerland (all DF enthusiasts), they formed an Association, and they pooled their resources to give the Association some start-up funding. The mission of the Association is to buy properties, and make them available for use by projects that show transformational potential. The same group of people also set up a Cooperative, whose mission is to help develop and nurture such projects, and to encourage ‘high quality conversation’ among promising projects. La Decentrale is the the Association’s first property, and the Cooperative’s first base of operations.
Chris invited me over in November, and I spent two weeks there, getting to know the people, and engaging in several days of workshops. Some workshops were about the overall project vision, and some were about the immediate start-up problems that must be dealt with, so that La Decentrale can pursue the mission of the Cooperative in earnest. We also discussed a first project to focus on, involving the building of community in the Mt Soleil area. There happens to be an urgent community issue in the works, presenting an opportunity to bring people together around that issue, building consensus and community by means of ‘high quality conversations’.
We don’t know exactly what kind of cultural seed has the potential to go viral, but we know it has something to do with building real community, with grassroots self-organization – and it has to do with including all voices, and creating solutions together that work for everyone – which is what we mean by ‘high quality conversation’.
Experimentation is the right thing to do, when you’re exploring how various principles can be combined together to produce a desired result. The Association and Cooperative are set up to promote experimentation along promising lines. We need to put together a good crowd-sourcing appeal, to expedite this experimental process.
When in Switzerland I also met with Martin Rausch, who is working on a promising film project, a documentary – The Blindspot. Blindspot (I imagine they’ll find a better title) is about high quality conversation, and the wisdom that can be found among ordinary people when they engage in that kind of conversation. I’ve reviewed the footage the team has shot so far, and I found it to be very impressive, as regards both technical quality and quality of content. They’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes time for editing.
The interviews they’ve done so far were recorded in Asheville, North Carolina. A Wisdom Council was convened there and also a training workshop in Dynamic Facilitation. The interviews capture the excitement and inspiration that emerged from these two events. As with previous Wisdom Councils, there was a great deal of excitement about the potential for building a sense of community, a We the People consciousness, by means of high quality conversations. In this case, however, the people interviewed are unusually articulate, and the interviews are very effective at communicating the spirit of We the People empowerment.
I don’t part with a penny easily, but I made a substantial contribution to the Blindspot crowd-sourcing fund. I have that much faith in the potential of this documentary, and the ability of the Blindspot team to do a top-quality job. If you click here you can read about the project and the team, and if you’re so inclined you too can make a contribution.
One of the outcomes in Asheville is that a group of people emerged who have the intention to carry on with the work, to pursue the awakening of We the People consciousness in Asheville. Asheville was already a process-savvy community, and I see considerable promise in the energy that emerged from these recent events. Perhaps Asheville can become the viral seed we’re looking for. In order for that to happen, however, they will need to solve a problem that has befuddled earlier comparable initiatives.
That problem is how to get the community as a whole to pay attention to the initiative, to feel a sense of engagement with the conversations taking place, whether they be Wisdom Councils or whatever. The Asheville folks are planning to convene a series of Wisdom Councils, involving different constituencies, in an effort to spread a sense of engagement. This has been tried earlier, however, and it didn’t succeed in capturing the attention of the communities involved. Each event generated good energy, but there wasn’t any building up of energy as the series progressed.
In Asheville I hope they are able to solve this problem, to find a way to build energy, and scale of engagement, as their series of events unfold. I’ve got some ideas myself about this, based on lessons learned from earlier initiatives, and I’ve got feelers out to establish contact with the folks in Asheville.
Meanwhile, my work on science topics has been on hold. I did however submit a proposal to give a talk at next summer’s Thunderbolts conference, on the Electric Universe. The Thunderbolts community seems to spend most of their energy trying to prove to the world that their model is correct, leaving little energy to explore the implications of the model – what the model can tell us about the nature of the universe, and the effect of electrical forces upon the Earth.
In my proposed talk, I explore the way in which electrical currents flow through and around galaxy clusters, galaxies, stars, and planets. The solar system, and the Earth, are connected to a circuit that is also connected to many stars, to the galactic center, and to whatever the circuit is connected to that powers our galaxy.
I then bring in the phenomena of plasma discharge events, such as nova, super nova, pulsars, star-birth episodes, etc. Such events are always occurring somewhere in the universe, and every such event occurs on some circuit, sending a voltage surge down that circuit. The universe is not only a web of electricity, it’s a pulsating web. It’s currents are noisy, subject to voltage spikes of widely varying intensities, occurring over widely-varying time scales.
I then argue that it was such a voltage spike, from a major discharge event in our galaxy, that brought about the end of the last ice age. It is a discharge event that recurs approximately every 100,000 years, and the duration of a typical voltage spike is approximately 10,000 years, giving us our inter-glacial periods.
From there I argue that climate is an entirely electrical phenomenon, with the Sun’s radiation providing a constant base temperature. I show charts of the long-term temperature record, and point out that the only thing we see there are spikes, of widely varying intensity, and which typically recur on a semi-regular basis. This is exactly what you’d expect to see, if you had a long-term voltmeter record of the current reaching us from the Sun. I then present a model of how electricity heats the Earth.
I almost forgot, there’s one more theme I develop in the talk. That has to do with the ‘Thunderbolts of the Gods’ – cataclysmic discharge events, mega lightning bolts sparking between planets. Events that have come down to us in myths and symbols all around the world, and which were recorded in petroglyphs all around the world. I argue that the voltage spike that ended the ice age brought us an episode – while the spike was rising – of such electrical activity.
I close the talk with a heads-up. As we begin our rapid descent to the next ice age, the rapidly falling voltage level might be just as cataclysmic as was the earlier rapid rise. Consider, a tsunami does just as much damage when the water recedes, as it does when the water surges ashore. Wouldn’t it be the same for an electrical surge? If so, we’ll see dramatic evidence well within the next thousand years, perhaps in the next few hundred.
I think this would make for a good talk, and there are great images available, that make it all easy to understand. I don’t know if they’ll accept it however. For one thing, they may already have a full schedule booked. And I don’t have any relevant scientific qualifications; I’m simply telling them what they could have figured out for themselves, based on what they already know. Finally, some of the points I make challenge some of the conclusions they’ve reached in their research community, conclusions that they have built theories upon. We’ll see, fingers crossed.
that’s all folks,
from isle woebegone,