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Simple Living

Why We Cannot Save the World

This article is an attempt to respond to those who say they see me as a defeatist, a ‘doomer’, a dogmatically negative person. I have described myself of late as a joyful pessimist, and will try to explain why. This article draws on various theories about complexity, and the phenomenological philosophies of several writers, poets, […]

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What Does Presence Look Like?

Since my retirement, I’ve been attempting to practice being more present. One of the obstacles, I’ve discovered, is that I’m not entirely sure what presence ‘looks’ or ‘feels’ like. I think meditation is a worthwhile practice, but it doesn’t quite capture the full sense of ‘being present’ — that rare and remarkable feeling of being […]

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Preparing for the Unimaginable

One of the lessons of Nassim Taleb’s The Black Swan is that the events that have caused the greatest changes (and collectively most of the substantive change) to our civilization and our way of life were completely unexpected, unpredictable “black swan” events. His new book argues that rather than trying to plan and prepare for […]

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Gangsters and Banksters

The Occupy movement has focused public attention on the vast and growing disparity of wealth and power in the US, and increasingly in other affluent nations. You’ve all seen the statistics — essentially all of the increase in real wealth and income over the last 40 years has accrued to less than 1% of citizens, […]

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The End of Strategy

I spent much of my professional career developing and implementing Strategic Plans. The hardest part of this was that most people didn’t (and still don’t) know what ‘strategy’ is: the choice among alternative courses of action, not the determination of goals and objectives. It’s about how, not about what. Most of the ‘strategic’ plans I […]

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Transition and the Collapse Scenario

For the last year or so I’ve been involved with our local Transition Initiative, and have communicated with many members of Transition initiatives around the world. Several of my articles on Transition-related topics have been published by web sites (like Energy Bulletin) that focus on how we can cope with emerging energy, ecological and economic […]

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If You Don’t Like Your Story, Can You Create a New One?

For most of my life, I have struggled intermittently with depression (the Noonday Demon), and anxiety (its Accomplice). And in my practice to become more present, I have been trying to better understand, recognize and articulate strong negative emotions that come up for me from time to time, and which sometimes propel me into depression, […]

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There’s Something Happening Here

Some things I’ve noticed lately: The NYT, and the few other mainstream media that still have a shred of credibility remaining, have recently been filled with Op Eds and editorials urging various powers (corporations, Obama administration, Supreme Court) to do (or not do) things. But these urgings have an increasing tone of hopeless wishful thinking, […]

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Not Present

So it’s another year, and one year since I first read Ran Prieur’s warning that when you have, at last, the time and opportunity and freedom to do nothing, nothing is all you will want to do, and you may then remain depressed for a long time before you finally discover and realize what you, […]

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Will You and Your Community Survive Collapse?

What I came up with was a list of 65 abilities (diagrammed above) that tended to fall into five main types: Knowledge: Acquired information that is essential context for understanding how the world works and how we might do things better. Innate Capacities: Inherent abilities, aptitudes we’re born with (evolution has selected these qualities for […]

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