‘He’s the Universal Soldier, and he really is to blame…’

One for Remembrance Day…

<a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=to5d4p4aYiQ&amp;feature">http://youtube.com/watch?v=to5d4p4aYiQ&amp;feature</a>

Turkeys narrowly reject anti-Christmas motion

From NewsBiscuit

353-tukeysThe Turkeys of England have narrowly rejected a motion that promised to replace old-fashioned Christmas carnage with a bright, death-free 21st century future, due to strong opposition from traditional wings of the shed.review smartphone android

‘I’m not a self-hating turkey,’ said a retired bird from Ipswich and member of the Cage of Lay-it-ere, ‘but my mother taught me to know my place. We were told as eggs we could do anything we liked – accountant, racing driver, you name it – as long as we accepted that, one day, we would end up lying on our backs, feet behind our ears with a carrot up our arse, waiting for Gas Mark 5. I truly believe that if God had meant us to fly, he wouldn’t have invented basting, sprouts, cranberry sauce or the big glass oven shelf.’

Senior flock leaders voted overwhelmingly in favour of plans to replace the annual ritual of humiliation and carnage with a more vegetarian rite, but were narrowly beaten by representatives of the rank-and-filed beaks. Some opposing the idea believed it to be their ordained role in life to be ceremonially slaughtered and trussed up, while others felt the decision could not be made without consulting all poultry currently destined for the dining table, including turkeys within the fold who lived way, way outside the fold.

‘As English Turkeys we clearly can’t fly in the face of Italian chickens and Greek geese, or those very important birds, whatever they’re called, from Africa, or they might come over here and humiliate us by demanding to be eaten,’ gobbled an old black-feathered Turkey wearing a festive Italian chicken costume to emphasise how ridiculous all these foreign views might be.

However, the non-Turkey world has reinforced its stance that turkeys are ripe for the eating. ‘They’re just sitting ducks as far as I’m concerned’ said a metropole. ‘And no, I can’t pretend to have tried to understand their point of view or seen with my own eyes what they’re on about by visiting one of their Norfolk sheds. Not even the big pointy one in the middle of Norwich’

Steve Jobs Stanford University Commencement Address

Yesterday I posted up several quotes from Steve Jobs. One of them was taken from an address to students at Stanford University, which is worth reading in its entirety:

The text of the Commencement address at Stanford University by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, delivered on June 12, 2005.

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That’s it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then
stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really
quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed
college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption.
She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates,
so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer
and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last
minute that they really wanted a girl.

So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of
the night asking: “We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want
him?”They said: “Of course.” My biological mother later found out that
my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had
never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final
adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents
promised that I would someday go to college.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college
that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class
parents’ savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six
months, I couldn’t see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to
do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it
out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved
their entire life.

So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It
was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best
decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking
the required classes that didn’t interest me, and begin dropping in on
the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn’t all romantic. I didn’t have a dorm room, so I slept on the
floor in friends’rooms, I returned Coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits
to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every
Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I
loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity
and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one
example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy
instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every
label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I
had dropped out and didn’t have to take the normal classes, I decided
to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about
serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space
between different letter combinations, about what makes great
typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in
a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life.
But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh
computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac.
It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never
dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never
had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since
Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no personal computer
would have them.

If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this
calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful
typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the
dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very
clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only
connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots
will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something
– your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never
let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

My second story is about love and loss.

I was lucky– I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I
started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and
in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a
$2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our
finest creation – the Macintosh – a year earlier, and I had just
turned 30. And then I got fired.

How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew
we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company
with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our
visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling
out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I
was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire
adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn’t know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had
let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down – that I had
dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David
Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly.
I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away
from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me – I still
loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one
bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to
start over.

I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple
was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness
of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner
again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the
most creative periods of my life.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another
company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the world’s first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple’s current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I’m pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn’t been
fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the
patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick.
Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going
was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And
that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers.

Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way
to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the
only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found
it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart,
you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it
just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking
until you find it. Don’t settle.

My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live
each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be
right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33
years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If
today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about
to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve
ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because
almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear
of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the
face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that
you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of
thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is
no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in
the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn’t
even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost
certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect
to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go
home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor’s code for prepare
to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you’d
have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to
make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as
possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a
biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my
stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got
a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there,
told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors
started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of
pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and
I’m fine now.

This was the closest I’ve been to facing death, and I hope its the
closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can
now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a
useful but purely intellectual concept:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want
to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No
one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is
very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change
agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the
new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually
become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is
quite true.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.
Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of
other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown
out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to
follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you
truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole
Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was
created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo
Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the
late 1960’s, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it
was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was
sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came
along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great
notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth
Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final
issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of
their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road,
the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so
adventurous. Beneath it were the words: “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.”
It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay
Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you
graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Thank you all very much.

___________

Thank you, Steve. Rest in peace.

Steve Jobs 1955 – 2011

Some thoughts from a man whose vision has influenced my life more than any other.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

“Almost everything–all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure–these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart…

 

Something Bigger than Life is Trying to Work Through Us

This is the first in a series of posts from and related to the The Global Consciousness Project

Something Bigger than Life is Trying to Work Through Us

By Tom Atlee

More and more, I feel called to talk about crises, as creatively and usefully as I can.

Clearly crises are coming, some are very much here. Once reserved for the fringes, crisis talk has gone mainstream. We aren’t talking “apocalyptic extremists” anymore. We’re talking the respected chief economist of the International Energy Agency saying we’ll be feeling serious economic impact from peak oil in the immediate future . We just had four exhausting days of over 100 degree temperatures in my hometown of Eugene, Oregon — and new reports say that the humongous Greenland ice sheet is going to melt, regardless, more than doubling estimates of sea level rise . A scientist friend faulted me for having a few ounces of fish each day for breakfast — which I do for a cardiovascular condition — because the oceans are dying …

We can no longer act as if such information is merely the hope- curdling pessimism of doom-and-gloomers. It is now our daily news. But listening to it presents a quandry: On the one hand, it feels increasingly odd to proceed with life as usual in the face of it. On the other hand, what exactly are we supposed to do about it?

The more I delve into the situations we face, the less I see clear or easy answers. However, in this challenging process I am coming to realize a few things.

One of the big ones: To the extent our anguish over the coming crises is a cry for no disruption in our lives — and that is certainly part of my own anguish — I suspect we will not find ANY answers, because our business-as-usual patterns are so closely tied to the destructive systems at work on our planet. Nothing we do to change our small lives within the business-as-usual systems will change that disturbing fact. Only changing those systems will.

But changing a system is a gigantic, long-term undertaking. More immediate issues confront us. For example: once we face the fact that business-as-usual is not an answer, a logical next step is to prepare. But…

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO PREPARE?

I consider the options most often talked about in crisis-conscious preparation circles.

There is the option of personal material preparation — of stocking up, gardening, investing in gold, figuring out where to move, and so on. These are all useful as far as they go, but when we think them through, they just don’t go far enough. Other people fleeing adjacent areas of hardship would likely seek security of their own in whatever island of security we’ve managed to create. If they are welcomed, they would likely overwhelm our supplies. If they are turned away, some will try to take what we have.

We can prepare our communities, but the same holds true there. I do believe that resilient sustainable communities are part of the future, and are a top priority for our creative energy (see Transition Towns ). But what about the community next door? What about the migrants from afar, whose lives have been shattered?

Nowadays it seems to me like there is nothing to prepare except the world. For most of us, that seems too big. (As bright spots on the horizon, however, Transition Towns and related initiatives are making a valiant attempt to do exactly that, from the ground up.)

Of course, since we co-create our own suffering in our minds, we can develop psycho-spiritual practices that enable us personally to fully experience disruption and pain without actually experiencing much SUFFERING. There are ample tools for that, from meditation to belief- changing practices.

Although such practices help us productively engage with WHATEVER happens, reliance on them can also beg the question of what is happening in the larger world, and what it means for who we humans are together in the Great Story of Life.

IN SEARCH OF BIG-PICTURE TRANSFORMATION

The above paragraphs explore the sort of thoughts that come to me when I think of saving me and mine. Oddly enough, they don’t excite my life energy. What does energize me — and it is a calling filled with struggles, aliveness, and the most remarkable people I’ve ever met — is to center my life on serving that transformation of the world that is crying to happen THROUGH the crises that are emerging around us.

When I look at the big picture, I get the sense that we are part of something larger that is “trying to happen.” What I do with my life is a symptom, a sign of particular energies that are blowing in the wind. When I seek my own salvation — and extend it to everyone seeking their own salvation — it seems to me a symptom of The Whole coming apart, breaking into fragments that think they can survive alone. When I seek the transformation of The Whole — the whole society, the whole culture, the whole world — it feels like a symptom of the whole of humanity seeking to heal into something new, feeling its way into a future that is more wholesome.

It feels like none of it is really about me. It is about the whole, the whole of life, the thrust and intelligence of evolution working its way through time, through me, through you, through us all and our world.

BEING PART OF THE BIG STORY

In these times of daunting emerging crises, some truths that most potently shape my life are these:

The Big Bang is our awesome primal ancestor. We are its children, its legacy. Its energy is ours, whether we know it or not.

We are the hydrogen dew of the Universal Beginning that was then forged in red giant stars and exploding supernovae to become every atom of our bodies and our world.

For billions of years, we’ve been flowing with every other particle in the universal river of stardust on an exquisite, unlikely, painful, magical, and infinitely creative Journey into the lives and worlds that we live in and are, today.

Over and over, I forget this awesome truth in my seemingly ordinary everyday life. Then over and over I remember it: Truly a miracle is unfolding within and around me, moment to moment, hidden by the camouflage of business-as-usual.

But for better and worse, you and I are on the verge of business-as- usual tearing itself apart before our very eyes, revealing the raw truth of evolution here and now in our time, in our place, in our hearts and minds. Evolution always speeds up in the verges, the edges, the crises, the between-worlds spaces where anything can happen….

And we, on that edge, are speeding toward a whole new identity, a whole new Story of who we are and what we are about.

Today we ARE the 13.7 billion year evolutionary adventure dreaming of becoming conscious of itself — of becoming knowingly choiceful — able to evolve by aware understanding, will, and caring. If we awaken, evolution will awaken.

If we do this thing, everything will be different, and we will be saved. All together. As a new world.

CRISES ARE DOORWAYS THAT LOOK LIKE HURRICANES

Hidden by our institutionalized not-see-ism, the crises that are coming are being co-created moment-to-moment by our collective consciousness, our technologies, our social systems, simply by doing what they were designed to do. These co-created crises are magnificent in their complexity, their challenge, and their perfect fit for our evolutionary awakening, which is underway even as you read this. They call us to look in the mirror of evolution and see ourselves clearly, to look at how we have set up our world. They call us to step out of the box — for the box is burning! — and to transform ourselves and our world by wise choice, creating the path as we walk it.

There is no waiting. There are no spectators. We are It. Our collective systems are what It is about, and we are All Doing It.

Our emerging crises are a call to become wiser, collectively — to become the deep collective wisdom and monumental creativity of evolution, itself, becoming conscious through us.

To become evolution is to see the vastness of the Story we are living, a Story of deep time stretching back through chains of shape- shifting ancestors — back through families, through tribes, through animals and plants… back, back through bacteria, molten earth, stars, galaxies, elemental particles — back to the infinitely potent Great Radiance that birthed the universe as an Adventure, as a Family, as All Our Relations, as Us.

To become evolution is to realize that within the depths of the emergent Now reside the potent traces of Everything That Ever Was, shaping our next steps. Everything That Ever Was is within and around us, calling us urgently to awaken to what is trying to be born through us. It’s Voice — the Voice of Tomorrow — the Voice of the Whole — is in every one of us.

To become evolution is to wake and know in every cell that our still- adolescent human awareness, which arose out of evolution, is creating problems it cannot solve without transforming itself. It is to know that we, collectively, are BOTH that adolescent awareness AND its transformation.

To become evolution is to wake up to deeper and deeper awareness that our still-adolescent social systems — especially our political, governmental, economic, energy, technological, and information systems — all of which arose out of evolution — are creating problems they cannot solve without transforming themselves and each other — and to KNOW in every cell that they can’t do that without our active, conscious participation. And that that is our calling at this evolutionary moment.

To become evolution is to wake up to the reality that we are participants in everything alive and in control of nothing alive. To become evolution is thus to strive to learn how to be engaged, wise, creative awake partners with each other, with the world in which we live, and with the conditions of our time. Crisis is opportunity on the winds of dangers that can stupify OR awaken us. Crisis is the dangerous breaking of glass that opens locked windows of opportunity that require perceptiveness and courage to move through, with care.

To become evolution is to say “We are Life, I am Life, itself, finding ways to live, ways that work for and nurture Life. This task is what Life is all about, now and forever. We are All. In This. Together.”

Such big declarations, so much easier said than done. But such is the Story that makes meaning in my own life right now, in the midst of emerging crises. My efforts, your efforts, are part of the human story waking up to find its new proper place in the Universe Story. Our efforts are not about us. They are not even about winning or losing, succeeding or failing. They are about the great Unfolding, which we ARE.

A FEW GUIDANCES

For some years I have been passionate about exploring evolutionary dynamics that can be used to change social systems. In that exploration, Peggy Holman and I stumbled on the idea that evolution is about diverse entities interacting in nurturing and challenging contexts to create and sustain new forms of elegantly simple complexity. Each aspect of this definition now informs my life.

As evolution waking up, I feel called….

* I feel called to learn more about how to use our differences and our challenges creatively, not simply as problems to avoid or solve, but as signs of new life pushing to emerge — and as invitations into a new, more whole tomorrow.

* I feel called to learn and practice potent forms of interaction — especially conversational and economic interactions — that nurture deep aliveness and lead to breakthrough. I feel called to notice — in my life and the world — and to respond creatively to those interactions that generate frustration, violence, and breakdown.

* I feel called to notice the role of contexts, and not take them for granted. They so easily become invisible background, but they are SO extremely important. For example: spaces, histories, intentions, worldviews, social systems, timing, the quality of conversation — all these are potent contexts. They shape who and how we are and what is possible. They offer “nonlinear leverage” for evolutionary work. I feel called to attend to these and to work with other evolutionaries to shape and weave new contexts into a wisdom culture, mindful of their power. The contexts we shape will shape what happens to our children, to the Seventh Generation after them, and to the children of all species.

* I feel called to seek the deepest, most elegant and inclusive simplicity on the other side of complexity. I see that the shallow simplicities on this side of complexity — the oversimplifications that don’t acknowledge, welcome, and “digest” the full diversity and nuances of who we are and what we face — are killing us and our world. I dream of weaving ourselves into new forms of alive organic complexity that are a simple, straightforward joy to be dancing in…

I would not give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity, but I would give my life for the simplicity on the other side of complexity. – Oliver Wendell Holmes

CRISIS INVITES US, THEN PUSHES US

I have seen all this over the last few years. We are thoroughly dependent on systems that are destroying us and our world. The very designs and beliefs that make them powerful and toxic are the designs and beliefs that, once transformed, will make us new. “We have it in our power to begin the world over again,” said Thomas Paine in another crisis era. “The birth of a new world is at hand.”

I see clearly that the longer we delay needed changes, the more demanding they will be. The more we delay them, the less resources we will have to do them. The demands on our lives from these truths will be increasingly profound and revolutionary. Because evolution, like water behind a dam, knows where all the cracks are, and is working on them right now with increasing intensity.

Not changing is not an option any more. How soon we consciously change — and how open we are to the Call of the Whole in and around us as we do it — will make the difference.

I have seen so clearly that all this is not about us as individuals. It is not about issues and candidates. It is not about good guys and bad guys. It IS about the larger motions we make together, and the cultures and systems that shape those motions.

Our individual suffering, our fear, our successes are meaningless transient eddies in the current of Life — unless they are part of shifting those larger motions, those cultures and systems, the Direction of the River.

The meaning of life — at least of my life — is increasingly tied to all this — to this waking into conscious evolution with others so that the Profound Possibility that is Larger than Life can happen through us with sacred beauty.

What is your role in this awakening from our dream of business-as-usual in Time, so that the remarkable experiment called human consciousness and civilization will not vanish, but thrive to greater heights, and be a blessing for the world?

___________

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