[NetBehaviour] Our long global nightmare is over

Alan Sondheim sondheim at gmail.com
Thu Sep 26 23:55:28 CEST 2019

agree w/ you somewhat, anything of course can happen. FWIW I don't think
Bohmian dialog would save anything, but you might also look at Paul Goodman
(they resonate I think).
Had conversations w/ Bohm at Birkbeck a couple of times in London. He sat
in a high chair, I had a very comfortable one, plush, very low. So it was a
typical hierarchy.
Did I mention my parents introduced his parents to each other? From
Wilkes-Barre; Azure and I went to his old place there, a tv repair shop.
Best, Alan

On Thu, Sep 26, 2019 at 5:14 PM Max Herman <maxnmherman at hotmail.com> wrote:

> I think even the Buddha tried to point out the insufficiency of Buddhism,
> and point us to something else.  Sometimes called "a finger pointing to the
> moon."  Why the moon?
> Impossibility is a difficult something to know for certain.
> Suppose we saw a photograph today of Bishop Tutu kissing the newest baby
> of the British Royal Family.  This photo could mean nothing, something
> good, something bad, or many different things, granted.  Suppose then, not
> knowing what if anything the photo means, the Bishop mentions his book
> about joy -- or gives a signed copy of the book about joy he co-wrote with
> the Dalai Lama -- to the Royal Couple, inscribed to their new child.  Then
> the Prince could mention Parliament's program in mindfulness as it relates
> to the Dalai Lama.  Suppose then the Royal Couple became interested in
> global initiatives around contemplation, mindfulness, peace and
> reconciliation, and interfaith dialogues.  Suppose then also neuroscience
> made significant strides in confirming that meditation (or mindfulness, or
> contemplation, or art-awareness, resting consciousness, different names are
> OK) can dramatically reduce fear and improve creativity, problem-solving,
> mutual respect, communication, and cooperation, by impacting the cognitive
> networks of the brain, at least hypothetically.
> Suppose then, at random in various locations, some people, aware of some
> of the above or not, gathered to have a "Bohmian dialogue," as described in
> David Bohm's book *On Dialogue*, about the book *On Dialogue*.  Bohm
> suggests that such dialogues have never been the norm, but sees no reason
> why they could not occur -- no reason they would be impossible.  He has
> seen them occur among some of the key physicists of the last century, like
> Einstein and Bohr, or not occur as the case may be.  He calls this attitude
> "tactical optimism."  The cost of such dialogues is zero, so there could be
> several or many even if the chances of finding anything new and to the
> purpose are low.  Bohm implies that such dialogues, or information-flows,
> have a special capacity for innovation because they are not predetermined,
> allowing varied, diverse information to circulate in ways never seen before
> and be observed doing so in ways prior observation had not.  Bohm could
> very well be wrong, but facing what we face today it might be worth the
> couple of hours to read his book with a group.
> Suppose then, nothing at all of what I have described happens, except that
> I decide to choose *On Dialogue* as my next nonfiction choice for my
> actual book club, and do that, or, if my next choice is fiction, choose
> *Labyrinths* by Borges.  Maybe I end up choosing neither, and forget I
> ever wrote this email.  Or perhaps, someone has a conversation with someone
> somewhere about Bohm and they call Prince Harry who founds a Dialogue UK
> foundation for the increase and flourishing of mutual understanding among
> all people, nations, and the natural world.  Who am I to say the latter is
> physically impossible?  It may very well be, but I don't feel that I know
> for a fact that it is.  Even as just an act of art I may be entitled to
> "persist in lucid awareness of the absurd."
> Or like Abbey Road says: "seems like years since it's been clear"!  🙂
> ------------------------------
> *From:* NetBehaviour <netbehaviour-bounces at lists.netbehaviour.org> on
> behalf of Alan Sondheim via NetBehaviour <
> netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org>
> *Sent:* Thursday, September 26, 2019 2:25 PM
> *To:* NetBehaviour for networked distributed creativity <
> netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org>
> *Cc:* Alan Sondheim <sondheim at gmail.com>
> *Subject:* Re: [NetBehaviour] Our long global nightmare is over
> I have to say I agree with Gretta here. I don't meditate, but I read
> extensively in Buddhism. There are many Buddhisms, many ways to center
> onself or decenter oneself for that matter.
> Networks are "about" nothing in my view; they're abstract structures which
> are applicable in many ways. There's no goodness or badness in them. The
> networkings of bio-geo-chemical cycles for example has been transformed by
> humans and global warming is violent, people are of course dying, wars and
> refugees are increasing as a result of diminished resources.
> In this sense, I think mindfulness is a problem, not a solution. How we
> handle ourselves and our pain and anxiety is one thing; how we talk about,
> act, protest, demand, petition, act ecologically responsible, etc. is
> another. One doesn't necessarily lead to another. And there's no "new birth
> of genius" that I can see - instead there are strongmen, whole ecosystems
> being destroyed. I am most pessimistic about this, which doesn't stop me as
> Bernard Henri-Levi said years ago, from protesting with every breath, with
> my fist raised in the face of catastrophe, but on a practical level I think
> nothing but ecocides are in our future - and that's a word that, for me,
> implies whole species burned alive, screaming with no help in sight. If we
> don't start at degree zero, we kid ourselves. The nightmare is not over;
> it's just beginning, even though some of us were teaching and talking about
> this all the way back in the early 70s, late 60s. As far as "across all
> nations" is concerned, unfortunately Trump's anti-globalist stance is
> becoming increasingly prevalent. (I think all life is and has always been
> intelligent, and intelligence, culture, goes "all the way down" but that's
> another discussion.
> So I would say, would argue, degree zero, with our backs to the wall.
> Because that's what happens in fires, hurricanes, massacres, refugee camps,
> prisons, floods, iceberg calvings, droughts, wars, epidemics, and so forth;
> I take my lesson from the disappearance of insects. I agree with Gretta
> below, perhaps I think also that individual wellness is vastly overrated; I
> have friends who have been involved heavily with the Tibetan translation
> project, with the Kalachakra, with the Dali Lama, and they had a rabbit
> confined in a coop in their back yard, who finally died, cooped in all
> weathers, and all their meditation in the world didn't review the suffering
> of the animal. They didn't connect; we couldn't connect them. I have no
> hope, which means that every good act that might make a difference is a
> gift.
> But resist!
> Best, Alan
> On Thu, Sep 26, 2019 at 3:57 AM Gretta Louw via NetBehaviour <
> netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org> wrote:
> I enjoyed reading this / hoping for this, though a big part of me is not
> buying the idea that we’ve woken up nor that the nightmare is over.
> I meditate myself (mostly starting out as a coping mechanism that helped
> me deal with anxiety-insomnia), but also see a lot of truth in criticisms
> that the mindfulness obsession of today is very much about relocating angst
> about the state of the world and legitimate discontent with political,
> environmental, and social injustices to tensions going on within the mind
> of the individual. i.e. the system is not broken -> you’re broken. Here’s
> one article I dredged up on short notice but I think not the best one:
> https://theconversation.com/mcmindfulness-buddhism-as-sold-to-you-by-neoliberals-88338
> I think often about a talk I happened to hear by a buddhist meditation
> teacher who explained that he first got into meditation - in the 60s - as a
> way of dealing with his fear of dying while he was protesting the Vietnam
> War. He went on to talk about how people often consider meditating an
> apolitical act, or wonder how ‘just sitting’ can affect change in the
> world. He said meditating is just sitting, but it matters *where* you sit.
> Some morning thoughts…
> take care all,
> Gretta
> On 25. Sep 2019, at 22:52, Max Herman via NetBehaviour <
> netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org> wrote:
> History is indeed a nightmare, but fortunately we have now all woken up!
> Networks are not about technology.  They are about living things, first
> and foremost.  Plants, people, coral reefs, polar bears.  These are the
> real networks of value.
> The purpose of the technology networks is to serve and support the
> life-networks, not to be ends in themselves and certainly not vice-versa.
> Life-networks are both individuals and groups.
> Now that the nightmare is over we can focus on individual wellness via
> mindfulness, natural-intelligence-positive neuroplasticity, and a new birth
> of genius across all nations to save the planet and ourselves.
> It's a great time to be a living intelligence!
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