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THE USE AND ABUSE OF POWER
The Sage Versus the Psychopath
CLEMENT BLAKESLEE, B.A., M.A., M.Sc.
Retired public affairs broadcaster, political journalist, human resources consultant, native affairs advocate, social science academic, and environmental advocate.
FIVE FUNDAMENTAL REALMS OF REALITY REFERENCES
1. The Book of the Cosmos: Imagining the Universe from Heraclitus to Hawking by Dennis Richard Danielson (Da Capo Press, 2001) Overview: What is the cosmos? How did it come into being? How are we related to it, and what is our place in it? The Book of the Cosmos assembles for the first time in one volume the great minds of the Western world who have considered these questions from biblical times to the present. It is a book of many authors —Aristotle, Ptolemy, Copernicus, and Galileo are here, of course, in all their genius, but so are Edgar Allan Poe, Annie Jump Cannon (a "human computer" and lyrical classifier of stars), and Sir Martin Rees, who proposes an "ensemble of universes" of which ours happens to be among the most interesting. In these pages the universe is made and unmade in a variety of configurations; it spins along on superstrings, teems with intelligent life, and could end without warning. The Book of the Cosmos provides a thrilling read to set the heart racing and the mind soaring. 2. The First Stargazers: An Introduction to the Origins of Astronomy by James Cornell (The Athlone Press, May 1, 1981) 3. The Cambridge Concise History of Astronomy by Michael Hoskin (Cambridge University Press, 1999)
Overview: Astronomy is one of the oldest sciences, and one which has repeatedly led to fundamental changes in our view of the world. This book covers the history of our study of the cosmos from prehistory to a survey of modern astronomy and astrophysics. It does not attempt to cover everything, but deliberately concentrates on the important themes and topics, including stellar astronomy in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries—the source of many important concepts in modern astronomy—and the Copernican revolution, which led to the challenge of ancient authorities in many areas other than astronomy. This is an essential text for students of the history of science and for students of astronomy who require a historical background to their studies. 4. The Hole in the Universe: How Scientists Peered Over the Edge of Emptiness by K. C. Cole (Harcourt Trade Publishers, 2001) Overview: Once again, acclaimed science writer K. C. Cole brings the arcane and academic down to the level of armchair scientists in The Hole in the Universe, an entertaining and edifying search for nothing at all. Open the newspaper on any given day and you will read of a newly discovered planet, star, and so on. Yet scientists and mathematicians have spent generations searching the far reaches of the universe for that one elusive state — nothingness. Although this may sound like a simple task, every time the absolute void appears within reach, something new is discovered in its place: a black hole, an undulating string, an additional dimension of space or time—even another universe. A fascinating and literary tour de force, The Hole in the Universe is a virtual romp into the unknown that you never knew wasn't there. 5. The Magic Furnace: The Search for the Origins of Atoms by Marcus Chown (Oxford University Press, 2001) Overview: "Every breath you take contains atoms forged in the blistering furnaces deep inside stars. Every flower you pick contains atoms blasted into space by stellar explosions that blazed brighter than a billion suns." Thus begins The Magic Furnace, an eloquent, extraordinary account of how scientists unravelled the mystery of atoms, and helped to explain the dawn of life itself. The historic search for atoms and their stellar origins is truly one of the greatest detective stories of science. In effect, it offers two epics intertwined: the birth of atoms in the Big Bang and the evolution of stars and how they work. Neither could be told without the other, for the stars contain the key to unlocking the secret of atoms, and the atoms the solution to the secret of the stars. Marcus Chown leads readers through the major theories and experiments that propelled the search for atomic understanding, with engaging characterizations of the major
atomic thinkers—from Democritus in ancient Greece to Binning and Rohrer in twentieth-century New York. He clarifies the science, explaining with enthusiasm the sequence of breakthroughs that proved the existence of atoms as the "alphabet of nature" and the discovery of subatomic particles and atomic energy potential. From there, he engagingly chronicles the leaps of insight that eventually revealed the elements, the universe, our world, and ourselves to be a product of two ultimate furnaces: the explosion of the Big Bang and the interior of stars such as supernovae and red giants. Chown successfully makes these massive concepts accessible for students, professionals, and science enthusiasts. His story sheds light on all of us, for in essence, we are all stardust. 6. The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life by P. C. W. Davies (Simon & Schuster, 2000) Overview: How and where did life begin? Is it a chemical fluke, unique to Earth, or the product of intriguingly biofriendly laws governing the entire universe? In his latest far-reaching book, The Fifth Miracle, internationally acclaimed physicist and writer Paul Davies confronts one of science's great outstanding mysteries —the origin of life. Davies shows how new research hints that the crucible of life lay deep within Earth's hot crust, and not in a "warm little pond," as first suggested by Charles Darwin. Bizarre microbes discovered dwelling in the underworld and around submarine volcanic vents are thought to be living fossils. This discovery has transformed scientists' expectations for life on Mars and elsewhere in the universe. Davies stresses the key role that the bombardment of the planets by giant comets and asteroids has played in the origin and evolution of life, arguing that these "deep impacts" delivered the raw material for biology, but also kept life confined to its subterranean haven for millions of years. Recently, scientists have uncovered tantalizing clues that life may have existed and may still exist—elsewhere in the universe. The Fifth Miracle recounts the discovery in Antarctica of a meteorite from Mars (ALH84001) that may contain traces of life. Three and a half billion years ago, Mars resembled Earth. It was warm and wet and could have supported primitive organisms. Davies believes that the red planet may still harbour microbes in thermally heated rocks deep below the Martian permafrost. He goes on to describe a still more startling scenario: If life once existed on Mars, might it have originated there and traveled to Earth inside meteorites blasted into space by cosmic impacts? Conversely, did life spread from Earth to Mars? Could microbes have journeyed even farther afield inside comets? Davies builds on the latest scientific discoveries and theories to address the larger question: What, exactly, is life? Davies shows that the living call is an information-processing system that uses a sophisticated mathematical code, and he argues that the secret of life lies not with exotic chemistry but with the emergence of information-based complexity. He then goes on to ask: Is life the inevitable by-product of physical laws, as many scientists maintain, or an almost miraculous accident? Are we alone in the universe, or will life emerge on all Earthlike planets? And if there is life elsewhere in the universe, is it preordained to evolve toward greater complexity and intelligence? On the answers to these deep questions hinges the ultimate purpose of mankind —who we are and what our place might be in the unfolding drama of the cosmos. 7. The Secret Life of Dust: From the Cosmos to the Kitchen Counter, the Big Consequences of Little Things by Hannah Holmes (John Wiley and Sons Ltd, 2003) Overview: Some see dust as dull and useless stuff. But in the hands of author Hannah Holmes, it becomes a dazzling and mysterious force; Dust, we discover, built the planet we walk upon. And it tinkers with the weather and spices the air we breathe. Billions of tons of it rise annually into the air—the dust of deserts and forgotten kings mixing with volcanic ash, sea salt, leaf fragments, scales from butterfly wings, shreds of T-shirts, and fireplace soot. Eventually, though, all this dust must settle. The story of restless dust begins among exploding stars, then treks through the dinosaur beds of the Gobi Desert, drills into Antarctic glaciers, filters living dusts from the wind, and probes the dark underbelly of the living-room couch. Along the way, Holmes introduces a delightful cast of characters—the scientists who study dust. Some investigate its dark side: how it killed off dinosaurs and how its industrial descendents are killing us today. Others sample the shower of Saharan dust
that nourishes Caribbean jungles, or venture into the microscopic jungle of the bedroom carpet. Like The Secret Life of Dust, however, all of them unveil the mayhem and magic wrought by little things.
1. Earth: The Biography by Iain Steward, John Lynch (National Geographic Society, 2008)
Overview: After four and a half billion years, our planet is approaching old age —the perfect time to look back on an extraordinary life. In Earth: The Biography, renowned science writers Iain Steward and John Lynch use groundbreaking imagery and the latest scientific discoveries to tell the epic story of Earth‘s birth, life stages, and distant future demise. Each chapter examines one of the five essential forces—meteor impacts, plate tectonics, the ocean, the atmosphere, and ice—that drive and shape our planet and determine its destiny. New imaging techniques and spectacular graphics combine to reveal hitherto hidden information about these forces, depicting them in action today as they keep the Earth alive and going back in time to show how cataclysmic events played roles in the planet‘s development. More than 200 full-color photographs and illustrations present the familiar in a striking new light, while the authors‘ straightforward style brings an engaging clarity to advanced scientific concepts. The National Geographic Channel television series to which Earth: The Biography is the companion volume is expected to reach a viewership of 100 million people. A timely publication as our planet adapts to a warming climate, this accessible, authoritative, and richly visual exploration is a valuable home reference for every family. 2. Earth: An Intimate History by Richard A. Fortey (Vintage Books, reprint edition, 2005)
Overview: In Earth, the acclaimed author of Trilobite! and Life takes us on a grand tour of the earth‘s physical past, showing how the history of plate tectonics is etched in the landscape around us. Beginning with Mt. Vesuvius, whose eruption in Roman times helped spark the science of geology, and ending in a lab in the West of England where mathematical models and lab experiments replace direct observation, Richard Fortey tells us what the present says about ancient geologic processes. He shows how plate tectonics came to rule the geophysical landscape and how the evidence is written in the hills and in the stones. And in the process, he takes us on a wonderful journey around the globe to visit some of the most fascinating and intriguing spots on the planet. 3. Gaia: a new look at life on earth by James Lovelock (Oxford University Press, 3rd Edition, reissued, 2000) Overview: In this classic work that continues to inspire its many readers, James Lovelock deftly explains his idea that life on earth functions as a single organism. Written for the non-scientist, Gaia is a journey through time and space in search of evidence with which to support a new and radically different model of our planet. In contrast to conventional belief that living matter is passive in the face of threats to its existence, the book explores the hypothesis that the earth's living matter—air, ocean, and land surfaces—forms a complex system that has the capacity to keep the Earth a fit place for life. Since Gaia was first published, many of Jim Lovelock's predictions have come true, and his theory has become a hotly argued topic in scientific circles. Here, in a new Preface, Lovelock outlines his present state of the debate. 4. The Ancestor's Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution by Richard Dawkins, Yan Wong (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, reprint edition, 2005) Overview: With unparalleled wit, clarity, and intelligence, Richard Dawkins, one of the world's most renowned evolutionary biologists, has introduced countless readers to the wonders of science in works such as The Selfish Gene. Now, in The Ancestor's Tale, Dawkins offers a masterwork: an exhilarating reverse tour through evolution, from present-day humans back to the microbial beginnings of life four billion years ago. Throughout the journey Dawkins spins entertaining, insightful stories and sheds light on topics such as speciation, sexual selection, and
extinction. The Ancestor's Tale is at once an essential education in evolutionary theory and a riveting read.
5. Flotsametrics and the Floating World: How One Man's Obsession with Runaway Sneakers and Rubber Ducks Revolutionized Ocean Science by Curtis Ebbesmeyer, Eric Scigliano (HarperCollins, 2009) Overview: Pioneering oceanographer Curtis Ebbesmeyer unravels the mystery of marine currents, uncovers the astonishing story of flotsam, and changes the world's view of trash, the ocean, and our global environment. Curtis Ebbesmeyer is no ordinary scientist. He's been a consulting oceanographer for multinational firms and a lead scientist on international research expeditions, but he's never held a conventional academic appointment. He seized the world's imagination as no other scientist could when he and his worldwide network of beachcomber volunteers traced the ocean's currents using thousands of sneakers and plastic bath toys spilled from storm-tossed freighters. Now, for the first time, Ebbesmeyer tells the story of his lifelong struggle to solve the sea's mysteries while sharing his most surprising discoveries. He recounts how flotsam has changed the course of history-leading Viking mariners to safe harbours, Columbus to the New World, and Japan to open up to the West—and how it may even have made the origin of life possible. He chases icebergs and floating islands; investigates ocean mysteries from ghost ships to a spate of washed-up severed feet on Canadian beaches; and explores the enormous floating "garbage patches" and waste-heaped "junk beaches" that collect the flotsam and jetsam of industrial society. Finally, Ebbesmeyer reveals the rhythmic and harmonic order in the vast oceanic currents called gyres—"the heartbeat of the world "—and the threats that global warming and disintegrating plastic waste pose to the seas . . . and to us. 6. The end of evolution: dinosaurs, mass extinction and biodiversity by Peter Ward (Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1995) Overview: A controversial account of the complex issues surrounding the three mass extinctions found in the geological record. The author concludes that the most recent extinction which began at the end of the last Ice Age is directly caused by humans. 7. The Weather Makers: How Man Is Changing the Climate and What It Means for Life on Earth by Tim Flannery (Grove Press, reprint edition, 2006) Overview: An international best seller embraced and endorsed by policy makers, scientists, writers and energy industry executives from around the world, Tim Flannery‘s The Weather Makers contributed in bringing the topic of global warming to national prominence. For the first time, a scientist provided an accessible and comprehensive account of the history, current status, and future impact of climate change, writing what has been acclaimed by reviewers everywhere as the definitive book on global warming. With one out of every five living things on this planet committed to extinction by the levels of greenhouse gases that will accumulate in the next few decades, we are reaching a global climatic tipping point. The Weather Makers is both an urgent warning and a call to arms, outlining the history of climate change, how it will unfold over the next century, and what we can do to prevent a cataclysmic future. Originally somewhat of a global warming sceptic, Tim Flannery spent several years researching the topic and offers a connect-the- dots approach for a reading public who has received patchy or misleading information on the subject. Pulling on his expertise as a scientist to discuss climate change from a historical perspective, Flannery also explains how climate change is interconnected across the planet. This edition includes a new afterword by the author.
1. The cooperative gene: how Mendel's demon explains the evolution of complex beings by Mark Ridley (Free Press, 2001) Overview: Why isn't all life pond-scum? Why are there multimillion-celled, long-lived monsters like us, built from tens of thousands of cooperating genes? Mark Ridley presents a new explanation of how complex large life forms like ourselves came to exist, showing that the answer to the greatest mystery of evolution for modern science is not the selfish gene; it is the cooperative gene. In this thought-provoking book, Ridley breaks down how two major biological hurdles had to be overcome in order to allow living complexity to evolve: the proliferation of genes and gene-selfishness. Because complex life has more genes than simple life, the increase
in gene numbers poses a particular problem for complex beings. The more genes, the more chance for copying error; it is far easier to make a mistake copying the Bible than it is copying an advertising slogan. To add to the difficulty, Darwin's concept of natural selection encourages genes that look out for themselves, selfish genes that could easily evolve to sabotage the development of complex life forms. By retracing the history of life on our planet—from the initial wobbly, replicating molecules, through microbes, worms, and flies, and on to humans— Ridley reveals how life evolved as a series of steps to manage error and to coerce genes to cooperate within each body. Like a benign and unseen hand—what Ridley calls "Mendel's Demon"—the combination of these strategies enacts Austrian monk Gregor Mendel's fundamental laws of inheritance. This demon offers startling new perspectives on issues from curing AIDS, the origins of sex and gender, and cloning, to the genetics of angels. Indeed, if we are ever to understand the biology of other planets, we will need more than Darwin; we will need to understand how Mendel's Demon made the cooperative gene into the fundamental element of life. What does the cooperative gene tell us about our future? With genetic technology burgeoning around the world, we must ask whether life will evolve to be even more complex than we already are. Human beings, Ridley concludes, may be near the limit of the possible, at least for earthly genetic mechanisms. But in the future, new genetic and reproductive biosystems could allow our descendants to increase their gene numbers and therefore their complexity. This process, he speculates, could lead to the evolution of life forms far stranger and more interesting than anything humanly discovered or imagined so far. Written with uncommon energy, force, and clarity, The Cooperative Gene is essential reading for anyone wishing to see behind the headlines of our genetic age. It is an eye-opening invitation to the biotech adventure humanity has already embarked upon. 2. Dr. Tatiana’s sex advice to all creation by Olivia Judson (Metropolitan Books, 2002)
Overview: A sex guide for all living things and a hilarious natural history in the form of letters to and answersfrom the preeminent sexpert in all creation. Dr. Tatiana's Sex Advice to All Creation is a unique guidebook to sex. It reveals, for example, when necrophilia is acceptable and who should commit bestiality with whom. It discloses the best time to have a sex change, how to have a virgin birth, and when to eat your lover. It also advises on more mundane matters —such as male pregnancy and the joys of a detachable penis. Entertaining, funny, and marvellously illuminating, the book comprises letters from all creatures worried about their bizarre sex lives to the wise Dr. Tatiana, the only sex columnist in creation with a prodigious knowledge of evolutionary biology. Fusing natural history with advice to the lovelorn, blending wit and rigor, she is able to reassure her anxious correspondents that although the acts they describe might sound appalling and unnatural, they are all perfectly normal—so long as you are not a human. In the process, she explains the science behind it all, from Darwin's theory of sexual selection to why sexual reproduction exists at all. Applying human standards to the natural world, in the end she reveals the wonders of both. 3. The Female Animal by Irene Elia (H. Holt, 1988)
Overview: Examines the sexual lives and behavioural traits of the female of all species, arguing that the embryo of most mammals is pre-programmed female, that individuation for mothering purposes among females is a relatively recent development, and that selection for mothering traits is linked to intelligence. 4. The Presence of the Past by Rupert Sheldrake (Harpercollins (P), reprint edition, 1989)
Overview: This book develops the revolutionary theory that behaviour and social systems are not only governed by immutable and mechanistic laws, which is the traditional viewpoint, but also by habits transmitted by nature‘s inherent memory. Rupert Sheldrake also wrote A New Science of Life. 5. The Design of Animal Communication by Marc D. Hauser, Mark Konishi (MIT Press, reprint edition, 2003) Overview: When animals, including humans, communicate, they convey information and express their perceptions of the world. Because different organisms are able to produce and perceive different signals, the animal world contains a diversity of communication systems. Based on the approach laid out in the 1950s by Nobel laureate Nikolaas Tinbergen, this book looks at animal communication from the four perspectives of mechanisms, ontogeny, function, and phylogeny.
On Intelligence by Jeff Hawkins, Sandra Blakeslee (Times Books, 2004)
Overview: From the inventor of the PalmPilot comes a new and compelling theory of intelligence, brain function, and the future of intelligent machines. Jeff Hawkins, the man who created the PalmPilot, Treo smart phone, and other handheld devices, has reshaped our relationship to computers. Now he stands ready to revolutionize both neuroscience and computing in one stroke, with a new understanding of intelligence itself. Hawkins develops a powerful theory of how the human brain works, explaining why computers are not intelligent and how, based on this new theory, we can finally build intelligent machines. The brain is not a computer, but a memory system that stores experiences in a way that reflects the true structure of the world, remembering sequences of events and their nested relationships and making predictions based on those memories. It is this memory-prediction system that forms the basis of intelligence, perception, creativity, and even consciousness. In an engaging style that will captivate audiences from the merely curious to the professional scientist, Hawkins shows how a clear understanding of how the brain works will make it possible for us to build intelligent machines, in silicon, that will exceed our human ability in surprising ways. Written with acclaimed science writer Sandra Blakeslee, On Intelligence promises to completely transfigure the possibilities of the technology age. It is a landmark book in its scope and clarity. 7. Nature via nurture: genes, experience, and what makes us human by Matt Ridley (HarperCollins, 2003) Overview: Following his highly praised and bestselling book Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters, Matt Ridley has written a brilliant and profound book about the roots of human behaviour. Nature via Nurture explores the complex and endlessly intriguing question of what makes us who we are. In February 2001 it was announced that the human genome contains not 100,000 genes, as originally postulated, but only 30,000. This startling revision led some scientists to conclude that there are simply not enough human genes to account for all the different ways people behave: we must be made by nurture, not nature. Yet again biology was to be stretched on the Procrustean bed of the nature-nurture debate. Matt Ridley argues that the emerging truth is far more interesting than this myth. Nurture depends on genes, too, and genes need nurture. Genes not only predetermine the broad structure of the brain, they also absorb formative experiences, react to social cues, and even run memory. They are consequences as well as causes of the will. Published fifty years after the discovery of the double helix of DNA, Nature via Nurture chronicles a revolution in our understanding of genes. Ridley recounts the hundred years' war between the partisans of nature and nurture to explain how this paradoxical creature, the human being, can be simultaneously free- willed and motivated by instinct and culture. Nature via Nurture is an enthralling, up-to-the-minute account of how genes build brains to absorb experience.
1. The prehistory of the mind: the cognitive origins of art, religion and science by Steven J. Mithen (Thames and Hudson, 1999) Overview: On the way to showing how the world of our ancient ancestors shaped our modern modular mind, Mithen shares one provocative insight after another as he answers a series of fascinating questions. 2. The Phenomenon of Man by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (HarperCollins, 1975)
Overview: Pierre Teilhard De Chardin was one of the most distinguished thinkers and scientists of our time. He fits into no familiar category for he was at once a biologist and a palaeontologist of world renown, and also a
Jesuit priest. He applied his whole life, his tremendous intellect and his great spiritual faith to building a philosophy that would reconcile Christian theology with the scientific theory of evolution, to relate the facts of religious experience to those of natural science. The Phenomenon of Man, the first of his writings to appear in America, Pierre Teilhard's most important book and contains the quintessence of his thought. When published in France it was the best-selling nonfiction book of the year. 3. Peripheral Visions: Learning Along the Way by Mary Catherine Bateson (HarperCollins Publishers, 1994) Overview: The author of Composing a Life provides a thought-provoking study of the art of learning that explains how a continuation of the learning process throughout a lifetime adds pleasure and understanding to human life and helps ensure the future. 4. A passion for wisdom: a very brief history of philosophy by Robert C. Solomon, Kathleen M. Higgins (Oxford University Press US, 1998) Overview: Readers eager to acquire a basic familiarity with the history of philosophy but intimidated by the task will find in A Passion for Wisdom a lively, accessible, and highly enjoyable tour of the world's great ideas. Here, Robert Solomon and Kathleen Higgins tell the story of philosophy's development with great clarity and refreshing wit. The authors begin with the most ancient religious beliefs of the east and west and bring us right up to the feminist and multicultural philosophies of the present. Along the way, they highlight major philosophers, from Plato and the Buddha to William James and Simone de Beauvoir, and explore major categories, from metaphysics and ethics to politics and logic. The book is enlivened as well by telling anecdotes and sparkling quotations. Among many memorable observations, we're treated to Thomas Hobbes' assessment that life is "nasty, brutish, and short" and Hegel's description of Napoleon as "world history on horseback." Engaging, comprehensive, and delightfully written, A Passion for Wisdom is a splendid introduction to an intellectual tradition that reaches back over three thousand years. 5. The Dream of Reason: A History of Philosophy from the Greeks to the Renaissance by Anthony Gottlieb (W. W. Norton & Company, reprint edition, 2002) Overview: In this landmark new study of Western thought, Gottlieb approaches philosophy through its primary sources, questions many pieces of conventional wisdom, and explains his findings with clarity. From the preSocratic philosophers, Plato, and Aristotle to Renaissance visionaries like Erasmus, ―philosophy‖ emerges here as a phenomenon unconfined by any one principle. 6. Ingenious Pursuits: Building the Scientific Revolution by Lisa Jardine (Nan A. Talese, 1999)
Overview: The author of the critically acclaimed Worldly Goods presents a thoughtful reassessment of the Renaissance in terms of its influence on the history of science, relating the era's imaginative, artistic endeavours to the creative inspiration behind the scientific discoveries of the period. 7. Exuberance: The Passion for Life by Kay R. Jamison (A.A. Knopf, 2004)
Overview: The author of the bestselling An Unquiet Mind—and internationally renowned authority on mood disorders—now gives us something wonderfully different: an exploration of exuberance and how it fuels our most important creative and scientific achievements. John Muir‘s lifelong passion to save America‘s wild places, Wilson Bentley‘s legendary obsession to record for posterity the beauty of individual snowflakes, the boundless scientific curiosity behind Watson and Crick‘s discovery of DNA, sea lions that surf and porcupines that dance —Kay Redfield Jamison shows how these and many more examples both human and animal define the nature of exuberance, and how this exuberance relates to intellectual searching, risk-taking, creativity, and survival itself. She examines the hereditary predisposition to exuberance; the role of the brain chemical dopamine; the connection between positive moods and psychological
resilience; and the differences between exuberance and mania. She delves into some of the phenomena of exuberance—the contagiousness of laughter, the giddiness of new love, the intoxicating effects of music and of religious ecstasy—while also addressing the dangerous desire to simulate exuberance by using drugs or alcohol. In a fascinating and intimate coda to the rest of the book, renowned scientists, writers, and politicians share their thoughts on the forms and role of exuberance in their own lives. Original, inspiring, authoritative, Exuberance brims with the very energy and passion that it celebrates.
1. Shamanism: an expanded view of reality by Shirley J. Nicholson (Quest Books, 2nd Edition, 1987)
Overview: Essays discuss ancient cultures, magic, modern shamanism, healing, dreams, ESP, prayer pipes, mysticism, alchemy, and the future of shamanism. 2. The Great Transformation: The Beginning of Our Religious Traditions by Karen Armstrong (Random House of Canada, 2007) Overview: From one of the world‘s leading writers on religion and the highly acclaimed author of the bestselling A History of God, The Battle for God and The Spiral Staircase, comes a major new work: a chronicle of one of the most important intellectual revolutions in world history and its relevance to our own time. In one astonishing, short period—the ninth century BCE—the peoples of four distinct regions of the civilized world created the religious and philosophical traditions that have continued to nourish humanity into the present day: Confucianism and Daoism in China; Hinduism and Buddhism in India; monotheism in Israel; and philosophical rationalism in Greece. Historians call this the Axial Age because of its central importance to humanity‘s spi ritual development. Now, Karen Armstrong traces the rise and development of this transformative moment in history, examining the brilliant contributions to these traditions made by such figures as the Buddha, Socrates, Confucius and Ezekiel. Armstrong makes clear that despite some differences of emphasis, there was remarkable consensus among these religions and philosophies: each insisted on the primacy of compassion over hatred and violence. She illuminates what this ―family‖ resemblance reveals about the religious impulse and quest of humankind. And she goes beyond spiritual archaeology, delving into the ways in which these Axial Age beliefs can present an instructive and thought-provoking challenge to the ways we think about and practice religion today. A revelation of humankind‘s early shared imperatives, yearnings and inspired solutions—as salutary as it is fascinating. 3. Huston Smith: Essays on World Religion by Huston Smith, M. Darrol Bryant (Paragon House, 1995)
Overview: In this challenging and provocative collection of 19 essays on comparative philosophy, religion and culture, one of the foremost thinkers of our time provides his most insightful and important reflections on the state of humans' spiritual life. 4. States of Grace: The Recovery of Meaning in the Postmodern Age by Charlene Spretnak (HarperOne, 1991) Overview: Shares the views of the Buddha on the nature of mind, native American spirituality on our relationship with nature, Goddess spirituality on the sacredness of the body, and Judaism, Christianity, and Islam on social justice. 5. Gaia and God: An Ecofeminist Theology of Earth Healing by Rosemary Radford Ruether (HarperSanFrancisco, reprint edition, 1994) Overview: Internationally acclaimed author and teacher Rosemary Radford Ruether presents a sweeping ecofeminist theology that illuminates a path toward "earth-healing"--a whole relationship between men and women, communities and nations. 6. The greening of faith: God, the environment, and the good life by John Edward Carroll, Paul T. Brockelman, Mary Westfall (UPNE, 1997) Overview: No one argues that continuing depredation of our environment threatens our planet and our existence on it, but conflict arises in finding a solution to the problem. Suggesting that the panacea offered by science and
technology is too narrow, 15 philosophers, theologians, and environmentalists argue for a response to ecology that recognizes the tools of science but includes a more spiritual approach-one with a more humanistic, holistic view based on inherent reverence toward the natural world. Writers whose orientations range from Buddhism to evangelical Christianity to Catholicism to Native American beliefs explore ways to achieve this paradigm shift and suggest that "the environment is not only a spiritual issue, but the spiritual issue of our time."
7. Belonging to the universe: explorations on the frontiers of science and spirituality by Fritjof Capra, David Steindl-Rast, Thomas Matus Overview: In this remarkable work, bestselling author Capra and Steindl-Rast, a Benedictine monk renown for making fresh sense of Christian faith, share insights into how science and religion seek to make us at home in the universe. A remarkably compatible view of the universe.
DEFINITION OF NOESPHERE
The word ―noetic‖ comes from Greek νοητικός, for ―intellective or of the intellect‖ (ultimately derived from the  Greek word νοῦς, noûs, is ―intellect, higher mind, thought‖). It is associated with the direct knowing or intuition of noesis. Noetic meaning having the ability to understand. In the Philokalia noetic is used as a translation of  νοητικός ―intellectual‖. ―Noetic theory‖ is a branch of philosophy concerned with the study of mind and intuition. Among its principal purposes one can mention the study of non-rational ways of knowing and how they relate to reason; it also refers to the study of relationships between human and divine intuition. That is why noetic theory often had very close links with metaphysics. In the Western tradition and Arab philosophy noetic theory was strongly influenced by the theories of philosophers such as Anaxagoras, Plato and Aristotle. In modern dictionaries, ―noetic‖ is often defined as meaning ―intellect,‖ whereas "noesis" is translated as ―insight‖ or ―intellection.‖ This practice derives from medieval theologians and philosophers who used the Latin word ―intellectus‖ - but for them, this typically meant what we today would call ―intuition.‖ 1. OED entries ―noetic‖ -adjective relating to mental activity or the intellect. ORIGIN Greek from Greek noetos (νοητός) ―intellectual‖ and nous - noun 1 Brit. informal practical intelligence. 2 Philosophy the mind or intellect. — ORIGIN Greek, ―mind, intelligence‖. 2. The Philokalia Volume Four Palmer, G.E.H; Sherrard; Ware, Kallistos (Timothy) Publisher Faber and Faber ISBN 0-571-19382-X from glossary noetic pg. 433. noetic (νοητικός - noeticos): that which belongs to or is characteristic of the intellect (q.v.). See also intellection. Source: Wikipedia: Noetic Consciousness no•et•ic: From the Greek noēsis / noētikos, meaning inner wisdom, direct knowing, or subjective understanding. sci•ence: Systems of acquiring knowledge that use observation, experimentation, and replication to describe and explain natural phenomena. no•et•ic sci•ences: A multidisciplinary field that brings objective scientific tools and techniques together with subjective inner knowing to study the full range of human experiences. For centuries, philosophers from Plato forward have used the term noetic to refer to experiences that pioneering psychologist William James (1902) described as: …states of insight into depths of truth unplumbed by the discursive intellect. They are illumin ations, revelations, full of significance and importance, all inarticulate though they remain; and as a rule they carry with them a curious sense of authority. The term noetic sciences was first coined in 1973 when the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) was founded by Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell, who two years earlier became the sixth man to walk on the moon. Ironically, it was the trip back home that Mitchell recalls most, during which he felt a profound sense of universal connectedness—what he later described as a samadhi experience. In Mitchell‘s own words, ―The presence of divinity became almost palpable, and I knew that life in the universe was not just an accident based on random processes. . . .The knowledge came to me directly.‖ It led him to conclude that reality is more complex, subtle, and mysterious than conventional science had led him to believe. Perhaps a deeper understanding of consciousness (inner space) could lead to a new and expanded understanding of reality in which objective and subjective, outer and inner, are understood as co-equal aspects of the miracle of being. It was this intersection of knowledge systems that led Dr. Mitchell to launch the interdisciplinary field of noetic sciences. Source: Institute of Noetic Sciences
From Knowledge to Wisdom
Central to a noetic exploration is the use of particular knowledge banks as currently understood. I have selected nine knowledges which I regard as particularly important: 1. Paleanthropology. An interdisciplinary (paleontology, physical anthropology, ethnobotany, molecular biology and mineralogy) approach to understanding the earliest manifestations of humankind physically, socially, and by indirect evidence, culturally. 2. Archaeology. The study of prehistory in all corners of the world and throughout a considerable span of time before human beings invented writing and related forms of communication. 3. History. An evolution from the type of historical record typified by Heroditis and Tacitus, which relied on verbal traditions and such sources as accounts of travellers not always verifiable. Evolving to such contemporary historians as Toynbee, Roberts, and Landes, the rigour of scholarship is applied to today's system of history, requiring evidence, verification, and proof that historical material will stand up over time. 4. Cultural Anthropology. Cultural anthropology is as much an exploration of the human mind and the web of culture created by the human mind, as it is an analysis of macro and micro social systems including exploring peasant societies, urban life, and wide range of humanity around the globe. 5. Political Economy. A field of economic analysis invented by the British approximately 200 years ago. It provides a means to relate economic institution with political institutions. 6. Geography. Geography is a "descriptive science dealing with the surface of the earth, its divisions into continents and countries, and the climate, plants, animals, natural resources, inhabitants and industries of the various divisions" (Friend & Guralnik, 1957, p. 605). It straddles areas of physical science as well as areas of social science. 7. Environmental Studies. Environmental studies cover ways in which human activities interact with other forms of life. The issues raised by scientific work relevant to environmental problems are central to a grand strategy for survival for the entire planet. 8. Health Sciences. It is a broad concept, which includes more than medicine. It deals with the overall health of the entire population. As with many knowledges, the health sciences are in wide-ranging and fundamental upheaval. 9. Formal Education (kindergarten to advanced degree). Education is "the process of training and developing the knowledge, skill, mind, character, etc., especially by formal schooling; teaching; training" (Friend & Guralnik, 1957, p. 461). A grand strategy for survival through investment in human capital is the central business of formal education. The following books are particularly useful in exploring the manner in which wisdom emerges from knowledge. http://books.google.ca/books?id=uUOdAQAACAAJ&dq
From Knowledge to Wisdom by Nicholas Maxwell (Pentire Press, 2007)
From Knowledge to Wisdom argues that there is an urgent need, for both intellectual and humanitarian reasons, to bring about a revolution in science and the humanities. The outcome would be a kind of academic inquiry rationally devoted to helping humanity learn how to create a better world. The basic intellectual aim of inquiry would be to seek and promote wisdom - wisdom being the capacity to realize what is of value in life for oneself and others, thus including knowledge and technological know -how, but much else besides. * "There are altogether too many symptoms of malaise in our science-based society for Nicholas Maxwell's diagnosis to be ignored." Professor Christopher Longuet -Higgins, Nature. * "a strong effort is needed if one is to stand back and clearly state the objections to the whole enormous tangle of misconceptions which surround the notion of science to-day. Maxwell has made that effort in this powerful, profound and important book." Dr. Mary Midgley, University Quarterly. * "The essential idea is really so simple, so transparently right ... It is a profound book, refreshingly unpretentious, and deserves to be read, refined and implemented." Dr. Stewart Richards, Annals of Science. This second edition is revised throughout, has additional material and three new chapters.
The Dream of Reason: A History of Philosophy from the Greeks to the Renaissance by Anthony Gottlieb (W. W. Norton & Company, 2002)
Already a classic in its first year of publication, this landmark study of Western thought takes a fresh look at the writings of the great thinkers of classic philosophy and questions many pieces of conventional wisdom. The book invites comparison with Bertrand Russell's monumental History of Western Philosophy, "but Gottlieb's book is less idiosyncratic and based on more recent scholarship" (Colin McGinn, Los Angeles Times). A New York Times Notable Book, a Los Angeles Times Best Book, and a Times Literary Supplement Best Book of 2001.
Return to Reason by Stephen Edelston Toulmin (Harvard University Press, 2001)
The turmoil and brutality of the twentieth century have made it increasingly difficult to maintain faith in the ability of reason to fashion a stable and peaceful world. After the ravages of global conflict and a Cold War that divided the world's loyalties, how are we to master our doubts and face the twenty-first century with hope? In Return to Reason, Stephen Toulmin argues that the potential for reason to improve our lives has been hampered by a serious imbalance in our pursuit of knowledge. The centuries -old dominance of rationality, a mathematical mode of reasoning modeled on theory and universal certainties, has diminished the value of reasonableness, a system of humane judgments based on personal experience and practice. To this day, academic disciplines such as economics and professions such as law and medicine often value expert knowledge and abstract models above the testimony of diverse cultures and the practical experience of individuals. Now, at the beginning of a new century, Toulmin sums up a lifetime of distinguished work and issues a powerful call to redress the balance between rationality and reasonableness. His vision does not reject the valuable fruits of science and technology, but requires awareness of the human consequences of our discoveries. Toulmin argues for the need to confront the challenge of an uncertain and unpredictable world, not with inflexible ideologies and abstract theories, but by returning to a more humane and compassionate form of reason, one that accepts the diversity and complexity that is human nature as an essential beginning for all intellectual inquiry.
A Passion for Wisdom by Robert C. Solomon, Kathleen M. Higgins (Oxford University Press US, 1998
Readers eager to acquire a basic familiarity with the history of philosophy but intimidated by the task will find in A Passion for Wisdom a lively, accessible, and highly enjoyable tour of the world's great ideas. Here, Robert Solomon and Kathleen Higgins tell the story of philosophy's development with great clarity and refreshing wit. The authors begin with the most ancient religious beliefs of the east and west and bring us right up to the feminist and multicultural philosophies of the present. Along the way, they highlight major philosophers, from Plato and the Buddha to William James and Simone de Beauvoir, and explore major categories, from metaphysics and ethics to politics and logic. The book is enlivened as well by telling anecdotes and sparkling quotations. Among many memorable observations, we're treated to Thomas Hobbes' assessment that life is "nasty, brutish, and short" and Hegel's description of Napoleon as "world history on horseback." Engaging, comprehensive, and delightfully written, A Passion for Wisdom is a splendid introduction to an intellectual tradition that reaches back over three thousand years.
MIND AS METAPHOR: THE ESSENCE OF HUMAN CULTURE
There is a false distinction that has plagued Western culture for centuries, if not for millennia, dealing with the dichotomy between that which is metaphoric and that which is literal. In our common-sense traditions we are sure that some words and some ideas represent reality in a literal meaning in that there is no doubt about the connection between the object and the idea. Ordinary language philosophy has provided a twentieth-century academic justification for this point of view. The corollary to this idea is that some words and some ideas represent reality only as metaphor. That is, the connection between the object and the idea is an indirect, symbolic connection. The colour black in China has a very different symbolic significance than the same colour has in Canada. The maple leaf in Canada possesses a very different symbolic charge than it would have in China. There are those who would see some passages in the Bible as a careful recounting of point-by-point events while others would regard the same passages as an allegorical lesson. Disputes over biblical interpretation can give real poignancy to the distinction between literal and metaphoric accounts. However, the world of mathematics can provide a more objective look at this distinction. Algebraicformulasarenotandcannotbealiteralrenderingoftheobjective environment. Even arithmeticcalculationsofanaccountantarenotandcannotbealiteralrepresentation of the environment. These systems are culturally agreed upon systems of symbols that are by their nature arbitrary and conventional and therefore utterly without literal representation. If symbols lack widespread conventional understanding, then they seem esoteric or, if you will, metaphoric. If an individual is highly innovative, then by definition this person is introducing symbolic references that have not established a high level of group acceptance and understanding. The issue here is not a distinction between the literalness of ideas and the metaphoric nature of ideas but rather the nature of acceptance of symbolic reference points. The argument boils down to this point: the human mind operates in terms of symbols—new and old. The symbolic content of the mind is therefore a metaphoric representation of external objects and events. Therefore mind is metaphor and there is no distinction between literal representation and metaphoric representation. There may be distinctions at the symbolic level between the simple and the complex, the generally accepted and innovative, the routine and the bizarre, and many other such distinctions. Yet all remains metaphor. This point becomes important in the way training is done in any organization or certainly in the implications for organizational development. Often in training the technique of role-play is used. The technique has been used for countless years with widespread acceptance. However, there is a danger in the technique in that it can become cliché-ridden and extremely predictable. On the other hand, if improvisational dramatic techniques are introduced, by its nature innovation occurs and the process becomes less predictable. The process of improvisation seems to some as metaphorical or allegorical when, in fact, the real issue is that it is innovative. Innovation gives freshness to a process because the individuals involved must engage in establishing commonality of meaning and agreement regarding symbols. The innovative process of improvisation theatre elevates role-play to a symbolically richer process. Many would argue that the symbolically richer process provides a more creative climate for learning, which can result in more effective training. The same point can be made regarding the process of brainstorming. Hanging charts on the wall and allowing people to make lists on those charts often is highly conventional and extremely predictable. Regardless of the situation, the same old words and the same old lists can occur over and over. The predictability of the process drastically diminishes the effectiveness of time spent doing it. Utility is lost in predictability.
However, if the group is encouraged to consciously and deliberately engage in a synectic approach then predictability is exchanged for innovation. That is, the persons involved are encouraged to use metaphor in the process, which means that the connection between symbols and events becomes more removed. The freshness of the symbolic content necessitates a mental process of reaching for understanding and groping for mutuality that may emerge. This deliberate use of metaphor breaks the process of literalmindedness and conventionality. If trainers accept the idea that mind is metaphor and they consciously use the metaphoric potential of group interaction then innovation can occur. Utility is enhanced at the expense of predictability. There are some hazards in deliberately and purposefully using innovative techniques for purposes of organizational development or even of training. Many people are afraid of exposure or afraid of rejection. Such people believe they can protect themselves from these fears by routine, predictable behaviour. Consequently, the demand for innovation precipitates exposure and leaves the issue of acceptance more than a little open. Those who govern their lives by fear do feel precarious in the midst of innovative processes. However, if an organization governs its internal dynamics through the shared fear of its members then that organization runs the risk of sterility and complacency.
PART 1 SAGE VERSUS PSYCHOPATH
Part 1 – Sage Versus Psychopath
Section 1 - The Human Quest: A Relentless Confusion
For 200,000 years, since the emergence of homo sapiens, humankind has been plagued by pervasive confusion, that is: How do individuals or social groupings distinguish between that which is dangerously fraudulent from that which is transcendentally miraculous? The rise and fall of civilizations have been for thousands of years plagued by this essential confusion. Destructive dictators and even some religious leaders have achieved success through the propagation of dangerous fraud. Fortunately humankind has also generated great sages who, in their presence, exemplify that which is transcendentally miraculous. Today's world is as plagued by psychopaths who gain great following as well as social movements led by sages. These two realities have many examples historically and currently. Hopefully this website will aid in providing tools for understanding and identifying ideas and persons who are either sagely or psychopathic. The interplay of the noetic and biotic realms are currently in the forefront of academic and scientific investigation. The literature is rich with ideas and profound insights are being generated by a wide range of subject areas. After 200,000 years, humanity may be ready to understand the difference between magic and science, between psychopath and sage, between fraud and miracle, and between that which is richly spiritual from that which is destructively anti-social. In the following months, I look forward to the human quest in action in a rich and vibrant fashion.
This document attempts to delineate those characteristics of the human mind which are creative, constructive and generative from those which are negative, destructive and predatory.
Leadership: Two Critical Dimensions
My Native mother often offered the observation, which clearly demonstrated her view of those in authority or, if you will, people with leadership. "What you don't see is most of what you get." Although this observation is harsh, it shows a reality about leadership experienced by ordinary people. Leadership can be deceptive and exploitive. This style of leadership is common enough to warrant a clear and descriptive label. Exploitive leadership is a label I choose to use for those persons who deal with their own constituency in deceptive, manipulative, and ruthless self-serving strategies. It is the self-serving aspect of such leadership which can prove to be destructive and diverting. One of the mysteries of human existence surrounds problems of exploitive leaders. Why do ordinary intelligent people allow themselves to be led by self-serving leaders? We see destructive, exploitive leaders abroad and at home. They can acquire leadership at the national or local level. This mystery may never be answered; however, there is an alternative style of leadership. Fortunately, the human quest is blessed by leaders who focus on constructive and creative forces within the human community. Such leaders are responsible leaders. Responsibility in leadership is dramatically opposite of the characteristics of exploitive leaders. The essence of a responsible leader means giving of yourself in a generous and generative style. Leadership involves privilege, although a responsible leader acknowledges that with privilege comes responsibility. The health of any organization—small or large—depends on responsible leadership. The power of the human spirit and the vitality of the individual mind is cultivated and enriched by responsible leaders. Through careful measuring, responsible leaders can facilitate systematic investment in human resources. This investment in social capital is by far the most important investment, which can be made at all levels of society from neighbourhood to nation. The following graphic represents the points made above.
Part 1 – Sage Versus Psychopath Section 2 – Generative Insights
2.1 The Sages Code: Twelve Transformative Noetic Essentials
I am developing a curriculum based on the 12 points listed below. I envision this course to be the core philosophy regarding the positive personal potentials vis-a-vis a noetic approach to human life. Any comments or suggestions would be appreciated. 1. Play 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. Wonder Gratitude Beauty Joy Optimism Reason Purpose Harmony Compassion Generosity Spirituality
Play: A Serious Puzzle
The first item in my list of twelve transformative noetic essentials is the notion of play. I find play to be a difficult essential to define. Commonly, much is included in play such as ruthlessly competitive sports, aggressively pursued games, and activities which involve struggles for dominance or deceptive activities. For me play is a pursuit which lacks obsessive agendas or tightly structured strategies. For me play is a condition of delight involving a number of people or even solo enjoyment of nature. Fun and relaxation are the essentials of play; a delight in the common place and an intuitive appreciation of social warmth and natural wonders. I could only generate a short list of books supporting this notion. I would appreciate additional suggestions.
- The Spell of the Sensuous, by David Abram - Music Lesson, by Victor L. Wooten - The Hand, by Frank R. Wilson
Wonder: How, Why
Wonder is the number two transformative noetic essential in my list of twelve. Wonder is a quality of the human condition which drives the curiosity which expands human culture. This curiosity can be cosmic in nature or deeply personal. I have chosen a literature base for wonder, which explores the miraculous and the mysterious from cosmology to consciousness. I am listing five diverse books which if read in sequence explores the full dimension of human curiosity. And they are: - The Fifth Miracle, by Paul Davies - Nature Via Nurture, by Matt Ridley - The Ape and Sushi Master, by Frans de Waal - Peripheral Visions, by Mary Catherine Bateson - Spectrum of Consciousness, by Ken Wilber
Gratitude: A Self-Vitalizing Essential
Gratitude is the third in my list of twelve transformative noetic essentials. Western culture, through its Christian traditions, has through the century confused the concept of gratitude with bargaining, pleading, triumphalism and an array of negative baggage. I am attempting in this offering to approach gratitude in a self-vitalizing and multi-dimensional mental, emotional profile. I have created a graphic entitled Seven Mental/Emotional Polarities to give shape to my understanding of gratitude. Gratitude is the culmination of emotional insight and enlightened comprehension regarding gratitude as the ultimate self-vitalizing mental/emotional profile.
Seven Mental/Emotional Polarities Self-Poisoning Profile Anger Fear Ignorance Self-Doubt Resentment Guilt Greed Self- Vitalizing Profile Self-Awareness Self-Confidence Enlightenment Self-Esteem Joy Tranquility Gratitude
The list of five books approach this subject with the above points in mind. They give depth and perspective to my graphic. - Doubt and Certainty, by Tony Rothman and George Sudarshan - Becoming Animal, by David Abram - A Passion for the Possible, by Jean Houston - Emotional Intelligence, by Daniel Goleman - My Stroke of Insight, by Jill Bolte Taylor
Beauty Will Save the World
Recently, I entered twelve transformative noetic essentials as a base configuration for a course on the transformative dimensions of the noetic realm. The fourth item in the list is beauty. That concept does stir fundamental and crucial notions about the human condition. Writers such as David Abram and Oliver Sacks, beautifully explore the interplay of noetic and biotic forces. Frequently the terms biosphere and noesphere are used to express the same idea as the biotic and noetic realm. A powerful Russian literary tradition evoked by Fyodor Dostoyevsky and reinvigorated by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, proclaims the transformative power of beauty and beauty's ultimate capacity to be a force of salvation for human kind. I invite contributions to this discussion.
Joy – Happiness
Number five in my list of twelve transformative noetic essentials is the notion of joy. Joy, happiness, exuberance are conceptually intertwined as a state of being. Unfortunately, this noetic essential is easily sabotaged by hidden angers and crippling fears. Obsessions and ephemeral guilt are likewise poisonous to joy. If these negative emotions can be flushed from your consciousness, then joy can be released in a tide of healing and buoyant noetic transformations. I have selected five particularly valuable books for developing and understanding of joy, happiness, exuberance. I would recommend these books be read in the order in which they are presented for the sake of continuity. - Dancing In The Streets, by Barbara Ehrenreich - The Geography of Bliss, by Eric Weiner - The Happiness Hypothesis, by Jonathan Haidt - Happy for No Reason, by Marci Shimoff - Exuberance, by Kay Redfield Jamison
Optimism: Hope, Creativity, and Positive Intuition
In my profile of twelve transformative noetic essentials, number six is Optimism. Without doubt, one of the most healing and generative forces possessed by the human mind is the capacity for optimism. Optimism suffuses creativity, hope, and positive awareness. Learning to use subconscious resources for maximizing the transformative power of optimism is crucial. The list of books presented below provide a wealth of insight for creatively using the subconscious mind. The eight books, when read in sequence, move from subconscious resources to active and concrete everyday behaviour. - How To Enjoy Your Life In Spite of It All, by Ken Keyes, Jr. - Peace Is Every Step, by Thich Nhat Hanh - The Knack of Using Your Subconscious Mind, by John K. Williams
- Your Maximum Mind, by Herbert Benson - The Act of Creation, by ARthur Koestler - Treat Yourself to Life, by Raymond Charles Barker - Head First, by Norman Cousins - Positive Living and Health, by The Editors of Prevention Magazine
Reason: Logic, Empiricism, Science, Knowledge, Wisdom
Number seven in my list of transformative noetic essentials is Reason.I have connected reason with such intellectual pursuits as logic, and wisdom. All of these interwoven ideas listed in the title are supportive of the human quest for cultural enrichment and technical accomplishments.Reason needs to be appreciated as a historical dynamic as well as an epistemological accomplishment. The noetic realm is energized by reason and constuctively builds civilization. The eight books listed below, when read in sequence, explores reason and the corollary concepts mentioned in the title. Many more books could be added to the list, yet these eight are extraordinarily brilliant and thorough. - The Dream of Reason, by Anthony Gottlieb - Ingenious Pursuits, by Lisa Jardine - Science, Order, and Creativity, by David Bohm and F. David Peat - Return to Reason, by Stephen Toulmin - Towards a New World View, by Russel E. Di Carlo - Intellectual Capital, by Thomas A. Stewart - From Knowledge to Wisdomm by Nicholas Maxwell - A Passion for Wisdom, by Robert C. Solomon and Kathleen M Higgins
Purpose – Leadership
The eighth transformative noetic essential I have listed as Purpose. It seems reasonable to me to link purpose with leadership. All human endeavours, whether small scale personal matters, or massive scale national issues, are all fed in a healthy state by creative purpose and constructive leadership. I have selected seven books relevant to this topic which I will list in a sequence for building a coherent approach to purpose and leadership. - The Power of Four, by Joseph Marshall III - Making Waves and Riding the Currents, by Charles Halpern - Leading with Kindness, by William Baker and Michael O'Malley - Leadership and the New Science, by Margaret Wheatley - Managing for the Future, by Peter Drucker - Microtrends, by Mark Penn - The Black Swan, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Harmony: From the Personal to the Global
For at least two and a half millennia, Taoism has energized Oriental culture with the theme of harmony vis-a-vis humanity with nature vis-a-vis the personal with the communal. In recent generations, western intellectuals have borrowed from the east to enrich the west. This process has been troubled with the cross currents of war and civil disturbances of every kind. Now more than ever the west needs to ingest harmony as an ethos and build personal as well as communal life on the energy of harmony. The books listed below build on this line of thought, from the personal to the global. - Man's Search for Meaning, by Viktor E. Frankl
- Love Is Letting Go of Fear, by Gerald G. Jampolsky - No Boundary, by Ken Wilber - The Roots of Coincidence, by Arthur Koestler - The Phenomenon of Man, by Teilhard de Chardin - The Book of Balance and Harmony, by Thomas Cleary - Tao Te Ching, by Lao Tzu - Speeches That Changed the World (Jesus of Nazareth, Mohandas K. Ghandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. (I have a dream)), by Simon Sebag Montefiore - Civil Society in Question, by Jamie Swift
Compassion: Empathy, Civility, Respect, and Tolerance
In my list of twelve noetic transformative essentials, compassion is number ten. For untold centuries, Buddhism has focused on compassion as a central theme . For well over a century, western thought has been borrowing from eastern philosophical streams. Recently, compassion has become a mainstream line of social analysis and even scientific research. Many concepts are woven together related to compassion. I believe compassion is the most active perception of such ideas, however, there are more passive conceptions such as tolerance. I have chosen seven books which develop this line of thought in North American culture. If read in sequence as presented, these seven books provide a powerful shift in the view of the human condition with potential salvational implications for the future. - Born for Love, by Maia Szalavitz and Bruce Perry - Born to be Good, by Dacher Keltner - The Age of Empathy, by Frans de Waal - The Empathic Civilization, by Jeremy Rifkin
- Wired to Care, by Dev Patnaik - A Paradise Built in Hell, by Rebecca Solnit - The Moral Landscape, by Sam Harris
Generosity: A Necessary Essential for the Successful Evolution of the
No essential in the noetic realm (noosphere) is more crucial than generosity. Humanity is hard wired for sharing as a necessary condition for human survival from the origins of homo sapiens over 100,000 years ago to the civilized order of contemporary urban life. The literature base chosen for this essential consists of 4 anthropologists, 2 economists and 3 historians of religion. Whether the subject is paleoanthropology or massive nation states, all authors chosen provide powerful arguments for the role of generosity as the essential necessary for human survival in any environmental or organizational context. The previous essential, compassion, linked with this essential, generosity, characterize the caring and sharing necessary to the noetic realm even though many scientists may fail to appreciate this reality. Without sharing and caring there is no humanity. - Origins, by Richard E. Leaky - Women's Work, by Elizabeth Wayland Barber - When God Was a Women, by Merlin Stone - The Way of the Shaman, by Michael Harner - The Spirit of Shamanism, by Roger N. Walsh - A Seat at the Table, by Huston Smith - The Invisible Heart, by Nancy Folbre - Systems of Survival, by Jane Jacobs
- Buddha, by Karen Armstrong
Spirituality: The Interplay of the Human Mind and the Divine Realm
Spirituality, the twelfth and last of the transformative noetic essentials, is a realm of inquiry which brings the entire profile into focus. This noetic essential stimulates an inquiry into five of the most important questions which need to be addressed by any civilization. 1) What is the nature of the cosmos? 2) What is a truly healthy relationship with the environment? 3) What is a generative and vital ethical framework for any civil order? 4) What is an intuitive and insightful understanding of oneself? 5) How does the human mind engage with the metaphysical dimensions of mind with the mystical essence of spirit? The twelve books presented below attempt answers in an organic and multidimensional manner to these fundamental questions. The interplay of science and religion, and a rich understanding of history as well as a thorough appreciation for cultural anthropology, help to conclude this profile in a thoughtful and clarifying manner. - The 5th Miracle, by Paul Davies - The Physics of Immortality, by Frank J. Tipler - Belonging to the Universe, by Fritjof Capra & David Steindl-Rast - The Great Transformation, by Karen Armstrong - Gnosis, by Kurt Rudolph - Essays on World Religion, by Huston Smith - Shamanism, by Shirley Nicholson
- States of Grace, by Charlene Spretnak - Peace, Love & Healing, by Bernie S. Siegel - Gaia & God, by Rosemary Radford Ruether - An Altar in the World, by Barbara Brown Taylor - The Best Buddhist Writing, by Melvin McLeod
2.2 Personal Action – Pragmatic Philosophy
The four items in this package are intended to give a rich resource base for discussion groups, formal or informal. Across North America discussion groups are forming around the problem of bringing the philosophy into everyday life. Socrates advocated this approach two thousand four hundred years ago, and the need now is greater than ever.
Socrate's Cafe: Refinement of Ethics, Expansion of Insight, Enrichment of Wisdom (Part 1)
Socrates Cafe: A Fresh Taste of Philosophy by Christopher Phillips (W. W. Norton & Company, 2002) Description: A modern-day Socrates takes to the road to bring philosophy back to the people. Journalistturned-philosopher Christopher Phillips is on a mission: to revive the love of questions that Socrates once inspired in ancient Athens. With great charisma and optimism, he travels around the country, gathering people to participate in Socrates cafes in bookstores, senior centers, elementary schools and universities, and prisons. In this accessible, lively account, Phillips recalls what led him to start his itinerant program and recreates some of the most invigorating sessions. Harvard psychiatrist Robert Coles praises the "morally energetic and introspective exchanges with children and adults from all walks of life," which come to reveal sometimes surprising, often profound reflections on the meaning of love, friendship, work, growing old, and other large questions of life. Phillips also draws from his own academic background to introduce us to the thought of philosophers through the ages. Socrates Cafe is an engaging blend of philosophy and storytelling. A Passion for Wisdom: A Very Brief History of Philosophy by Robert C. Solomon, Kathleen M. Higgins (Oxford University Press US, 1998) Description: Readers eager to acquire a basic familiarity with the history of philosophy but intimidated by the task will find in A Passion for Wisdom a lively, accessible, and highly enjoyable tour of the world's great ideas. Here, Robert Solomon and Kathleen Higgins tell the story of philosophy's development with great clarity and refreshing wit. The authors begin with the most ancient religious beliefs of the east and west and bring us right up to the feminist and multicultural philosophies of the present. Along the way, they highlight major philosophers, from Plato and the Buddha to William James and Simone de Beauvoir, and explore major categories, from metaphysics and ethics to politics and logic. The book is enlivened as well by telling anecdotes and sparkling quotations. Among many memorable observations, we're treated to Thomas Hobbes' assessment that life is "nasty, brutish, and short" and Hegel's description of Napoleon as "world history on horseback." Engaging, comprehensive, and delightfully written, A Passion for Wisdom is a splendid introduction to an intellectual tradition that reaches back over three thousand years. Pigs at the Trough: How Corporate Greed and Political Corruption are Undermining America by
Arianna Huffington (Random House of Canada, 2003) Description: Who filled the trough? Who set the table at the banquet of greed? How has it been possible for corporate pigs to gorge themselves on grossly inflated pay packages and heaping helpings of stock options while the average American struggles to make do with their leftovers? Provocative political commentator Arianna Huffington yanks back the curtain on the unholy alliance of CEOs, politicians, lobbyists, and Wall Street bankers who have shown a brutal disregard for those in the office cubicles and on the factory floors. As she puts it: ―The economic game is not supposed to be rigged like some shady ring toss on a carnival midway.‖ Yet it has been, allowing corporate crooks to bilk the public out of trillions of dollars, magically making our pensions and 401(k)s disappear and walking away with astronomical payouts and absurdly lavish perksfor-life. The media have put their fingers on pieces of the sordid puzzle, but Pigs at the Trough presents the whole ugly picture of what‘s really going on for the first time—a blistering, wickedly witty portrait of exactly how and why the worst and the greediest are running American business and government into the ground. Tyco‘s Dennis Kozlowski, Adelphia‘s John Rigas, and the Three Horsemen of the Enron Apocalypse— Ken Lay, Jeff Skilling, and Andrew Fastow—are not just a few bad apples. They are manifestations of a megatrend in corporate leadership—the rise of a callous and avaricious mind-set that is wildly out of whack with the core values of the average American. WorldCom, Enron, Adelphia, Tyco, AOL, Xerox, Merrill Lynch, and the other scandals are only the tip of the tip of the corruption iceberg. Making the case that our public watchdogs have become little more than obedient lapdogs, unwilling to bite the corporate hand that feeds them, Arianna Huffington turns the spotlight on the tough reforms we must demand from Washington. We need, she argues, to go way beyond the lame Corporate Responsibility Act if we are to stop the voracious corporate predators from eating away at the very foundations of our democracy. Devastatingly funny and powerfully indicting, Pigs at the Trough is a rousing call to arms and a must-read for all those who are outraged by the scandalous state of corporate America. Dark Age Ahead by Jane Jacobs (Random House of Canada, 2005)
Description: A dark age is a culture's dead end. In North America, for example, we live in a virtual graveyard of lost and destroyed aboriginal cultures. In this powerful and provocative book, renowned author Jane Jacobs argues convincingly that we face the coming of our own dark age. Throughout history, there have been many more dark ages than the one that occurred between the fall of the Roman Empire and the dawn of the Renaissance. Ten thousand years ago, our ancestors went from hunter-gatherers to farmers and, along the way, lost almost all memory of what existed before. Now we stand at another monumental crossroads, as agrarianism gives way to a technology-based future. How do we make this shift without losing the culture we hold dear —and without falling behind other nations that successfully master the transition? First we must concede that things are awry. Jacobs identifies five central pillars of our society that show serious signs of decay: community and family; higher education; science and technology; governmental representation; and self-regulation of the learned professions. These are the elements we depend on to stand firm—but Jacobs maintains that they are in the process of becoming irrelevant. If that happens, we will no longer recognize ourselves. The good news is that the downward movement can be reversed. Japan avoided cultural defeat by retaining a strong hold on history and preservation during war, besiegement, and occupation. Ireland nearly lost all native language during the devastations of famine and colonialism, but managed to renew its culture through the steadfast determination of its citizens. Jacobs assures us that the same can happen here—if only we recognize the signs of decline in time. Dark Age Ahead is not only the crowning achievement of Jane Jacob's career but one of the most important works of our time. It is a warning that, if heeded, could save our very way of life. Zeno and the Tortoise: How to Think Like a Philosopher by Nicholas Fearn (Grove Press, 2002) Description: For those who don't know the difference between Lucretius's spear and Hume's fork, Zeno and the Tortoise explains not just who each philosopher was and what he thought, but exactly how he came to think in the way he did. Nicholas Fearn presents philosophy as a collection of tools—the tricks of a trade that, in the end, might just be all tricks, each to be fruitfully applied to a variety of everyday predicaments. In a witty and engaging style that incorporates everything from Sting to cell phones to Bill Gates, Fearn demystifies the ways of thought that have shaped and inspired humanity—among many others, the Socratic method, Descartes's use of doubt, Bentham's theory of utilitarianism, Rousseau's social contract, and, of course, the concept of common sense. Along the way, there are fascinating
biographical snippets about the philosophers themselves: the story of Thales falling down a well while studying the stars, and of Socrates being told by a face-reader that his was the face of a monster who was capable of any crime. Written in twenty-five short chapters, each readable during the journey to work, Zeno and the Tortoise is the ideal course in intellectual self-defense. Acute, often irreverent, but always authoritative, this is a unique introduction to the ideas that have shaped us all.
Socrates’ Cafe: Refinement of Ethics, Expansion of Insight, Enrichment of Wisdom (Part 2)
Infinite Life: Seven Virtues for Living Well by Robert Thurman (Souvenir Press Limited, 2006) Description: In Infinite Life, Columbia University professor and bestselling author Robert Thurman invites us to examine our assumptions about living and dying and to take into account the possibility that not only are our lives not meaningless, they have tremendous impact. He asks us to consider that instead of having one shot to get it right for either oblivion or eternity, we might indeed have an infinite past and future. And if that is the case, if we are evolving over infinite time, then every action in our lives has infinite consequences for ourselves and others. Therefore, we must take responsibility in the present for our actions and their effects—we must live our immortality now. But balanced against that tremendous responsibility is the opportunity for a life of infinite joy, infinite connection with other beings, and infinite power to do good. There is no escaping the facts that our thoughts create actions and that our actions affect others around us in ways we cannot see or predict. The ripples of every impulse last long after we are gone. Following the ancient teachings of the Buddha, Infinite Life introduces seven Buddhist virtues for carefully reconstructing body and mind in order to reduce the negative consequences and cultivate the positive in our lives. Thurman shows us how to let go of our rigid sense of "self" and experience full satisfaction with ourselves, others, and our world. He invites us to take responsibility for our actions and their consequences while reveling in the knowledge that our lives are truly infinite. Infinite Life is the ultimate guidebook to understanding our place in the universe and realizing how we can personally succeed while helping others. A History of God: The 4000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam by Karen Armstrong (Random House of Canada, 1994) Description: Why does God exist? How have the three dominant monotheistic religions —Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—shaped and altered the conception of God? How have these religions influenced each other? In this stunningly intelligent book, Karen Armstrong, one of Britain's foremost commentators on religious affairs, traces the history of how men and women have perceived and experienced God, from the time of Abraham to the present. The epic story begins with the Jews' gradual transformation of pagan idol worship in Babylon into true
monotheism—a concept previously unknown in the world. Christianity and Islam both rose on the foundation of this revolutionary idea, but these religions refashioned "the one God" to suit the social and political needs of their followers. From classical philosophy and medieval mysticism to the Reformation, the Enlightenment, and the modern age of skepticism, Karen Armstrong performs the near miracle of distilling the intellectual history of monotheism into one superbly readable volume, destined to take its place as a classic. Belonging to the Universe: Explorations on the Frontiers of Science and Spirituality by Fritjof Capra, David Steindl-Rast, Thomas Matus (HarperSanFrancisco, 1992) Description: In this remarkable work, bestselling author Capra and Steindl-Rast, a Benedictine monk renown for making fresh sense of Christian faith, share insights into how science and religion seek to make us at home in the universe. A remarkably compatible view of the universe. The Phenomenon of Man by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (Harper Colophon, 1975) Description: Pierre Teilhard De Chardin was one of the most distinguished thinkers and scientists of our time. He fits into no familiar category for he was at once a biologist and a paleontologist of world renown, and also a Jesuit priest. He applied his whole life, his tremendous intellect and his great spiritual faith to building a philosophy that would reconcile Christian theology with the scientific theory of evolution, to relate the facts of religious experience to those of natural science. The Phenomenon of Man, the first of his writings to appear in America, Pierre Teilhard's most important book and contains the quintessence of his thought. When published in France it was the best-selling nonfiction book of the year. The World We Want: Virtue, Vice, and the Good Citizen by Mark Kingwell (Viking Books, 2000) Description: More and more, as the globe turns into a billboard for corporate propagation, the nature of citizenship is becoming skewed. For the cellphone-brandishing inhabitants of a world carved up into markets and territories determined by production and consumption, transcending the traditional boundaries of nation-states, what does it mean to be a citizen? In The World We Want, Mark Kingwell explores the idea of citizenship in the current post-national context, arguing that old ideas of civic belonging, historically tied to blood, belief, and law, need to be reconceived. What happens to political responsibility in an age of fractured identities, global monoculture, and
crumbling civic nationalism? How do we make sense of a situation where the uniform spread of cola, television, and market rationalism is accompanied by resurgent ethnic hatreds? Kingwell traces the idea of citizenship from its roots in ancient Greece to the contemporary realities of consumerism and cultural banality. It is these voices from the past that provide the much needed context for the conflicts and confusions of the present day. It is obvious that we cannot simply adopt past models of citizenship that are heavily based on exclusion and nationalism, but Kingwell argues that it is too early to give up on citizenship altogether. We need a new model of citizenship, he writes, one based on participation as opposed to bloodline, constitution, or religion—one that will give voice and structure to our longing to be part of something larger than we are. Adventures of Ideas by Alfred North Whitehead (Free Press, 1967) Description: The title of this book, Adventure of Ideas, bears two meanings, both applicable to the subject-matter. One meaning is the effect of certain ideas in promoting the slow drift of mankind towards civilization. This is the Adventure of Ideas in the history of mankind. The other meaning is the author's adventure in framing a speculative scheme of ideas which shall be explanatory of the historical adventure. The book is in fact a study of the concept of civilization, and an endeavour to understand how it is that civilized beings arise. One point, emphasized throughout, is the importance of Adventure for the promotion and preservation of civilization. Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings, 1972-1977 by Michel Foucault, Colin Gordon (Random House of Canada, 1980) Description: Michel Foucault has become famous for a series of books that have permanently altered our understanding of many institutions of Western society. He analyzed mental institutions in the remarkable Madness and Civilization; hospitals in The Birth of the Clinic; prisons in Discipline and Punish; and schools and families in The History of Sexuality. But the general reader as well as the specialist is apt to miss the consistent purposes that lay behind these difficult individual studies, thus losing sight of the broad social vision and political aims that unified them. Now, in this superb set of essays and interviews, Foucault has provided a much-needed guide to Foucault. These pieces, ranging over the entire spectrum of his concerns, enabled Foucault, in his most
intimate and accessible voice, to interpret the conclusions of his research in each area and to demonstrate the contribution of each to the magnificent—and terrifying—portrait of society that he was patiently compiling. For, as Foucault shows, what he was always describing was the nature of power in society; not the conventional treatment of power that concentrates on powerful individuals and repressive institutions, but the much more pervasive and insidious mechanisms by which power "reaches into the very grain of individuals, touches their bodies and inserts itself into their actions and attitudes, their discourses, learning processes and everyday lives." Foucault's investigations of prisons, schools, barracks, hospitals, factories, cities, lodgings, families, and other organized forms of social life are each a segment of one of the most astonishing intellectual enterprises of all time—and, as this book proves, one which possesses profound implications for understanding the social control of our bodies and our minds.
Part 1 – Sage Versus Psychopath Section 3 – The Pervasive Psychopath
Key Symptoms of Psychopathy
Excerpted from Without Conscience by Robert D.Hare, PhD
glib and superficial egocentric and grandiose lack of remorse or guilt lack of empathy deceitful and manipulative shallow emotions
impulsive poor behavior controls need for excitement lack of responsibility early behavior problems adult antisocial behavior
Recently, an ex-con offered me his opinion of the Psychopathy Checklist: he wasn't too impressed! Now middle-aged, he had spent much of his early adult life in prison, where he was once diagnosed as a psychopath. Here are his responses: • • • • • • • • • • Glib and superficial—"What is negative about articulation skills?" Egocentric and grandiose—"How can I attain something if I don't reach high?" Lack of empathy—"Empathy toward an enemy is a sign of weakness." Deceitful and manipulative— "Why be truthful to the enemy? All of us are manipulative to some degree. Isn't positive manipulation common?" Shallow emotions—"Anger can lead to being labeled a psychopath." Impulsive—"Can be associated with creativity, living in the now, being spontaneous and free." Poor behavioral controls— "Violent and aggressive outbursts may be a defensive mechanism, a false front, a tool for survival in a jungle." Weed for excitement—"Courage to reject the routine, monotonous, or uninteresting. Living on the edge, doing things that are risky, exciting, challenging, living life to its fullest, being alive rather than dull, boring, and almost dead." Lack of responsibility—"Shouldn't focus on human weaknesses that are common." Early behavior problems and adult antisocial behavior – ―is a criminal record reflective of badness or nonconfonformity?‖
Interestingly, he had nothing to say about lack of remorse or guilt.
The Sociopath’s Code
Excerpted from Robert Greene, The 48 Laws of Power Since the dawn of academic writing over three millenia ago, in both east and west, sages have wrestled with the problem of power. Virtue is seen as the positive use of power and sin is often seen as the negative use of power. Human society appears to be plagued with the inability to differentiate the sage from the psychopath as leader. For my purposes I find the term psychopath and sociopath as interchangeable terms, although many academics would argue vehemently about significant differences between the two terms. The 48 Laws of Power generated by Robert Green is offered as a neutral analysis of power acquisition. However, I see these 48 Laws as a brilliant delineation of the personality profile best described as sociopathic. I intend to develop the discussion of the use and abuse of power in a more extensive manner in Part 2 and Part 3. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. Never outshine the master... Never put too much trust in friends; learn how to use enemies. Conceal your intentions. Always say less than necessary. So much depends on reputation. Guard it with your life. Court attention at all costs. Get others to do the work for you, but always take the credit. Make other people come to you; use bait if necessary. Win through your actions, never through argument. Infection: avoid the unhappy and unlucky. Learn to keep people dependent on you. Use selective honesty and generosity to disarm your victim. When asking for help, appeal to people's self-interests, never to their mercy or gratitude. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. Pose as a friend, work as a spy. Crush your enemy totally. Use absence to increase respect and honor. Keep others in suspended terror: cultivate an air of unpredictability. Do not build fortresses to protect yourself. Isolation is dangerous.
19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48.
Know who you're dealing with; do not offend the wrong person. Do not commit to anyone. Play a sucker to catch a sucker: play dumber than your mark. Use the surrender tactic: transform weakness into power. Concentrate your forces. Play the perfect courtier. Re-create yourself. Keep your hands clean. Play on people's need to believe to create a cultlike following. Enter action with boldness. Plan all the way to the end. Make your accomplishments seem effortless. Control the options: get others to play with the cards you deal. Play to people's fantasies. Discover each man's thumbscrew. Be royal in your fashion: act like a king to be treated like one. Master the art of timing. Disdain things you cannot have: Ignoring them is the best revenge. Create compelling spectacles. Think as you like but behave like others. Stir up waters to catch fish. Despise the free lunch. Avoid stepping into a great man's shoes. Strike the shepherd and the sheep will scatter. Work on the hearts and minds of others. Disarm and infuriate with the mirror effect. Preach the need for change, but never reform too much at once. Never appear perfect. Do not go past the mark you aimed for; in victory, learn when to stop. Assume formlessness.
THIRTEEN RULES FOR DEALING WITH SOCIOPATHS IN EVERYDAY LIFE
Excerpted from The Sociopath Next Door, by Martha Stout 1. The first rule involves the bitter pill of accepting that some people literally have no conscience. These people do not often look like Charles Manson or a Ferengi bartender. They look like us. 2. In a contest between your instincts and what is implied by role a person has taken on—educator, doctor, leader, animal lover, humanist, parent—go with your instincts. Whether you want to be or not, you are a constant observer of human behaviour, and your unfiltered impressions though alarming and seemingly outlandish, may well help you out if you will let them. Your best self understands without being told, that impressive and moral-sounding labels do not bestow conscience on anyone who did not have it to begin with. 3. When considering a new relationship of any kind, practice the Rule of Threes regarding the claims and promises a person makes, and the responsibilities he or she has. Make the Rule of Threes your personal policy. One lie, one broken promise, or a single neglected responsibility may be a misunderstanding instead. Two may involve a serious mistake. But three lies says you're dealing with a liar, and deceit is the linchpin of conscienceless behavior. Cut your losses and get out as soon as you can. Leaving, though it may be hard, will be easier now than later, and less costly. Do not give your money, your work, your secrets, or your affection to a three-timer. Your valuable gifts will be wasted. 4. Question authority. Once again—trust your own instincts and anxieties, especially those concerning people who claim that dominating others, violence, war, or some other violation of your conscience is the grand solution to some problem. Do this even when, or especially when, everyone around you has completely stopped questioning authority. Recite to yourself what Stanley Milgram taught us about obedience: At least six out of ten people will blindly obey to the bitter end an official-looking authority in their midst.The good news is that having social support makes people somewhat more likely to challenge authority. Encourage those around you to question, too. 5. Suspect flattery. Compliments are lovely, especially when they are sincere. In contrast, flattery is extreme and appeals to our egos in unrealistic ways. It is the material of counterfeit charm, and nearly always involves an intent to manipulate. Manipulation through flattery is sometimes innocuous and sometimes sinister. Peek over your massaged ego and remember to suspect flattery. This "flattery rule" applies on an individual basis, and also at the level of groups and even whole nations. Throughout all of human history and to the present, the call to war has included the flattering claim that one's own forces are about to accomplish a victory that will change the world for the better, a triumph that is morally laudable, justified by its humane outcome, unique in human endeavor, righteous, and worthy of enormous gratitude. Since we began to record the human story, all of our major wars have been framed in this way, on all sides of the conflict, and in all languages the adjective most often applied to the word war is holy. An argument can easily be made that humanity will have peace when nations of people are at last able to see through this masterful flattery. Just as an individual pumped up on the flattery of a manipulator is likely to behave in foolish ways, exaggerated patriotism that is flattery-fueled is a dangerous thing. 6. If necessary, redefine your concept of respect.
Too often, we mistake fear for respect, and the more fearful we are of someone, the more we view him or her as deserving of our respect. I have a spotted Bengal cat who was named Muscle Man by my daughter when she was a toddler, because OR even as a kitten he looked like a professional wrestler. Grown now, he is much larger than most other domestic cats. His formidable claws resemble those of his Asian leopard-cat ancestors, but by temperament, he is gentle and peace-loving. My neighbour has a little calico who visits. Evidently, the calico's predatory charisma is huge, and she is brilliant at directing the evil eye at other cats. Whenever she is within fifty feet, Muscle Man, all fifteen pounds of him to her seven, cringes and crouches in fear and feline deference. Muscle Man is a splendid cat. He is warm and loving, and he is close to my heart. Nonetheless, I would like to believe that some of his reactions are more primitive than mine, I hope I do not mistake fear for respect, because to do so would be to ensure my own victimization. Let us use our big human brains to overpower our animal tendency to bow to predators, so we can disentangle the reflexive confusion of anxiety and awe. In a perfect world, human respect would be an automatic reaction only to those who are strong, kind, and morally courageous. The person who profits from frightening you is not likely to be any of these. The resolve to keep respect separate from fear is even more crucial for groups and nations. The politician, small or lofty, who menaces the people with frequent reminders of the possibility of crime, violence, or terrorism, and who then uses their magnified fear to gain allegiance, is more likely to be a successful con artist than a legitimate leader. This too has been true throughout human history. 7. Do not join the game. Intrigue is a sociopath's tool. Resist the temptation to compete with a seductive sociopath, to outsmart him, psy- choanalyze, or even banter with him. In addition to reducing yourself to his level, you would be distracting yourself from what is really important, which is to protect yourself. 8. The best way to protect yourself from a sociopath is to avoid him, to refuse any kind of contact or communication. Psychologists do not usually like to recommend avoidance, but in this case, I make a very deliberate exception. The only truly effective method for dealing with a sociopath you have identified is to disallow him or her from your life altogether. Sociopaths live completely outside of the social contract, and therefore to include them in relationships or other social arrangements is perilous. Begin this exclusion of them in the context of your own relationships and social life. You will not hurt anyone's feelings. Strange as it seems, and though they may try to pretend otherwise, sociopaths do not have any such feelings to hurt. You may never be able to make your family and friends understand why you are avoiding a particular individual. Sociopathy is surprisingly difficult to see, and even harder to explain. Avoid him anyway. If total avoidance is impossible, make plans to come as close as you can to the goal of total avoidance. 9. Question your tendency to pity too easily. Respect should be reserved for the kind and the morally courageous. Pity is another socially valuable response, and it should be reserved for innocent people who are in genuine pain or who have fallen on misfortune. If, instead, you find yourself often pitying someone who consistently hurts you or other people, and who actively campaigns for your sympathy, the chances are close to 100 percent that you are dealing with a sociopath. Related to this—I recommend that you severely challenge your need to be polite in absolutely all situations. For normal adults in our culture, being what we think of as "civilized" is like a reflex, and often we find ourselves being automatically decorous even when someone has enraged us, repeatedly lied to us, or figuratively stabbed us in the back. Sociopaths take huge advantage of this automatic courtesy in exploitive situations. Do not be afraid to be unsmiling and calmly to the point. Do not try to redeem the unredeemable. Second (third, fourth, and fifth) chances are for people who possess conscience. If you are dealing with a person who has no conscience, know how to swallow hard and cut your losses.
At some point, most of us need to learn the important, if disappointing, life lesson that, no matter how good our intentions, we cannot control the behaviour —let alone the character structures—of other people. Learn this fact of human life, and avoid the irony of getting caught up in the same ambition he has—to control. If you do not desire control, but instead want to help people, then help only those who truly want to be helped. I think you will find this does not include the person who has no conscience. The sociopath's behaviour is not your fault, not in any way whatsoever. It is also not your mission. Your mission is your own life. 11. Never agree, out of pity or for any other reason, to help a sociopath conceal his or her true character. "Please don't tell," often spoken tearfully and with great gnashing of teeth, is the trademark plea of thieves, child abusers—and sociopaths. Do not listen to this siren song. Other people deserve to be warned more than sociopaths deserve to have you keep their secrets. If someone without conscience insists that you "owe" him or her, recall what you are about to read here: "You owe me" has been the standard line of sociopaths for thousands of years, quite literally, and is still so. It is what Rasputin told the empress of Russia. It is what Hannah's father implied to her after her eye-opening conversation with him at the prison. We tend to experience "You owe me" as a compelling claim, but it is simply not true. Do not listen. Also, ignore the one that goes, "You are just like me." You are not. 12. Defend your psyche. Do not allow someone without conscience, or even a string of such people, to convince you that humanity is a failure. Most human beings do possess conscience. Most human beings are able to love. Living well is the best revenge.
PART 2 USE AND ABUSE OF POWER: A PURVASIVE NOETIC STRUGGLE
Bhagavad-gita is the essence of India‘s Vedic wisdom and one of the great spiritual and philosophical classics of the world. It comes to us in the form of a battlefield dialogue between Lord Sri Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and Arjuna, His intimate friend and devotee, whom He instructs in the science of self-realization. The perennial philosophy of the Gita has intrigued the philosophical mind of man, both Eastern and Western, for millenniums. Henry David Thoreau wrote that in relation to Bhagavad-gita, ―our modern world and its literature seem puny and trivial.‖ This translation and commentary os the work of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the world‘s most distinguished scholar and teacher of Vedic religion and philosophy and the latest representative in a line of succession, originating with Lord Krsna, through which Vedic knowledge is transmitted. Whereas other translations, reflecting the attitudes of their authors, have obscured the essential message of the Gita, Srila Prabhupada‘s highly readable English translation and commentary, being loyal to the intended meaning of the gita, gives a clear and illuminating understanding. With a full translation, authoritative commentary, thorough index and fifty-five magnificent, full-color paintings especially commissioned to illustrate the text, Bhagavad-gita As It Is brings to life the ancient yet contemporary message of Bhagavad-gita.
His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada was born in 1896 in Calcutta, India. He first met his spiritual master, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami, in Calcutta in 1922. Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, a prominent devotional scholar and the founder of sixty-four branches of Gaudiya Mathas (Vedic institutes), liked this educated young man and convinced him to dedicate his life to teaching Vedic knowledge in the Western world. Srila Prabhupada became his student, and eleven years later (1933) at Allahabad, he became his formally initiated disciple. At their first meeting, in 1922, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura requested Srila Prabhupada to broadcast Vedic knowledge through the English language. In the years that followed, Srila Prabhupada wrote a commentary on the Bhagavad-gita and in 1944, without assistance, started an English fortnightly magazine. Recognizing Srila Prabhupada's philosophical learning and devotion, the Gaudiya Vaisnava Society honored him in 1947 with the title "Bhaktivedanta." In 1950, at the age of fifty-four, Srila Prabhupada retired from married life, and four years later he adopted the vanaprastha (retired) order to devote more time to his studies and writing. Srila Prabhupada traveled to the holy city of Vrndavana, where he lived in very humble circumstances in the historic medieval temple of Radha-Damodara.
There he engaged for several years in deep study and writing. He accepted the renounced order of life (sannyasa) in 1959. At Radha-Damodara, Srila Prabhupada began work on his life's masterpiece: a multivolume translation and commentary on the 18,000-verse Srimad-Bhagavatam (Bhagavata Purana). He also wrote Easy Journey to Other Planets. After publishing three volumes of Bhagavatam, Srila Prabhupada came to the United States, in 1965, to fulfill the mission of his spiritual master. Since that time, His Divine Grace has written over sixty volumes of authoritative translations, commentaries and summary studies of the philosophical and religious classics of India. In 1965, when he first arrived by freighter in New York City, Srila Prabhupada was practically penniless. It was after almost a year of great difficulty that he established the International Society for Krishna Consciousness in July of 1966. Under his careful guidance, the Society has grew within a decade to a worldwide confederation of almost one hundred asramas, schools, temples, institutes and farm communities. In 1968, Srila Prabhupada created New Vrndavana, an experimental Vedic community in the hills of West Virginia. Inspired by the success of New Vrndavana, then a thriving farm community of more than one thousand acres, his students founded several similar communities in the United States and abroad.
In 1972, His Divine Grace introduced the Vedic system of primary and secondary education in the West by founding the Gurukula school in Dallas, Texas. The school began with three children in 1972, and by the beginning of 1975 the enrollment had grown to one hundred fifty. Srila Prabhupada also inspired the construction of a large international center at Sridhama Mayapur in West Bengal, India, which is also the site for a planned Institute of Vedic Studies. A similar project is the magnificent Krsna-Balarama Temple and International Guest House in Vrndavana, India. These are centers where Westerners can live to gain firsthand experience of Vedic culture. Srila Prabhupada's most significant contribution, however, is his books. Highly respected by the academic community for their authoritativeness, depth and clarity, they are used as standard textbooks in numerous college courses. His writings have been translated into eleven languages. The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, established in 1972 exclusively to publish the works of His Divine Grace, has thus become the world's largest publisher of books in the field of Indian religion and philosophy. In the last ten years of his life, in spite of his advanced age, Srila Prabhupada circled the globe twelve times on lecture tours that have took him to six continents. In spite of such a vigorous schedule, Srila Prabhupada continued to write prolifically. His writings constitute a veritable library of Vedic philosophy, religion, literature and culture. Srila Prabhupada left us a veritable library of Vedic philosophy and culture. Highly respected by scholars for their authority, depth, and clarity, his books are used at colleges and universities around the world.
The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust publishes his works in over 50 languages.
Why Socrates Died
Socrates‘ trial and death together form an iconic moment in Western civilization. In 399 BCE, the great philosopher stood before an Athenian jury on serious charges: impiety and ―subverting the young men of the city.‖ The picture we have of it—created by his immediate followers, Plato and Xenophon, and perpetuated in countless works of literature and art ever since—is of a noble man putting his lips to the poisonous cup of hemlock, sentenced to death in a fit of folly by an ancient Athenian democracy already fighting for its own life. But an icon, an image, is not reality, and time has transmuted so many of the facts into historical fable. Aware of these myths, Robin Waterfield has examined the actual Greek sources and presents here a new Socrates, in which he separates the legend from the man himself. As Waterfield recounts the story, the charges of impiety and corrupting the youth of Athens were already enough for a death sentence, but the prosecutors accused him of more. They asserted that Socrates was not just an atheist and the guru of a weird sect but also an elitist who surrounded himself with politically undesirable characters and had mentored those responsible for defeat in the Peloponnesian War. Their claims were not without substance, for Plato and Xenophon, among Socrates‘ closest companions, had idolized him as students, while Alcibiades, the hawkish and notoriously self-serving general, had brought Athens to the brink of military disaster. In fact, as Waterfield perceptively shows through an engrossing historical narrative, there was a great deal of truth, from an Athenian perspective, in these charges. The trial was, in part, a response to troubled times—Athens was reeling from a catastrophic war and undergoing turbulent social changes—and Socrates‘ companions were unfortunately direct representatives of these troubles. Their words and actions, judiciously sifted and placed in proper context, not only serve to portray Socrates as a flesh-and-blood historical figure but also provide a good lens through which to explore both the trial and the general history of the period. Ultimately, the study of these events and principal figures allows us to finally strip away the veneer that has for so long denied us glimpses of the real Socrates. Why Socrates Died is an illuminating, authoritative account of not only one of the defining periods of Western civilization but also of one of its most defining figures. http://www.amazon.com/Why-Socrates-Died-Dispelling-Myths/dp/0393065278
Robin Waterfield, in Why Socrates Died, has his moments of unbridled creation. For instance, with an attractive flourish, he creates, from hints and later writings, a putative text of one of the prosecution speeches at Socrates's trial in 399BC. If we had the real document, many mysteries from more than two millennia ago would be solved. It is a mark of the clarity, confident arguing and good sense of Waterfield known for his translations of Plato and Herodotus as well as a previous historical work of non-fiction, Xenophon's Retreat - that the version he invents reads so plausibly at the climax of his book. It is almost impossible to overestimate the historical importance of the trial and execution of Socrates. Plato more or less invented philosophy as we know it in the wake of, and because of, his teacher's death. As Emily Wilson wrote in her excellent book The Death of Socrates, "the only death of comparable importance in our history is that of Jesus". Wilson's work is primarily concerned with Socrates's posthumous career as (variously) martyr, hero, villain and saint. By contrast, Waterfield's book (and the two make good companion pieces) is an investigation into the reasons he was killed. These reasons, on the face of it, are opaque. What harm did Socrates ever do anybody? Famously, he was a philosopher who never wrote anything; he refused money for his teachings; and he took no active
part in politics. All he did was wander around Athens talking to people. For admirers of Athens's radical democracy, his execution remains a traumatic subject. How could a society that championed free speech condemn an apparently innocent 70-year-old? The charges against him were of not acknowledging the city's gods; of introducing new gods; and of corrupting the young men of Athens. But what precisely did that all mean? The charge of introducing new gods seems particularly peculiar - true, Socrates talked of his daimonion, the little voice in his head that guided his actions, but that hardly seems worthy of the death penalty. Equally, Socrates emerges from Plato and Xenophon's writings as perfectly observant of conventional religious ritual. (His dying wish, according to Plato, was that a cock be sacrificed to Asclepius - to which mysterious injunction we shall return.) Which leaves us with the corrupting of the young. The cleverness of Waterfield's richly told and enjoyable book is that he uses the death of Socrates as a way of introducing a wonderfully full picture of Athens in the fifth century. His contention is that to understand Socrates's demise we need to understand the city - its legal system, its politics, its generation of rich, clever young-men-in-a-hurry, its aristocratic culture of late-night partying, and, in particular, its war. In as clear an exegesis of the Peloponnesian war as the general reader will find, Waterfield builds up a cogent picture of a power-hungry, restless democracy that came under unbearable stress through its exhausting war with Sparta, and put itself at the mercy of ambitious, often unscrupulous politicians - not least among them Alciabiades: fashion icon, sexually voracious bon vivant, national traitor, mercurial military commander. The most important reason Socrates was condemned, argues Waterfield, was his association with this young generation of controversial men such as Alciabiades. He skilfully draws out Socrates's probable anti-democratic leanings in his vivid description of the brutal oligarchic revolutions that engulfed the city in 411 and 404. Critias, one of the most bloody figures of that second coup, was a pupil of Socrates. In 399, the philosopher was unfinished business; a sore on the face of the restored democracy. That is why, argues Waterfield, he had to die. And the cock sacrificed to Asclepius? Waterfield's intriguing theory is that the gesture relates to Socrates's offering himself as a scapegoat, a sort of self-sacrifice to heal the wounds of the bruised city-state. But no doubt someone will be along soon to overturn that particular house of cards. http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/feb/28/why-socrates-died-robin-waterfield
Imagine yourself as a conscientious citizen, voter and juror in a brilliant Greek city-state that pioneered a precious but vulnerable system of direct democracy. After a series of ruinous wars with regional rivals, the threat of oligarchy has raised its arrogant head again. Even outright tyranny looked likely before a sort of military junta was ousted a few years ago, and your sacred liberties and laws restored. Then a strange case comes to court: an elderly maverick of a teacher is accused of undermining the core values of your beloved city. Much of his "philosophy" strikes you as mystical mumbo-jumbo, corrupted by the dark arts of the spin doctor. This gadfly prefers aristocracy to democracy. He even had an affair with a dangerous would-be dictator. This blatant elitist also loves to insult your religious customs, though the city asks for little except discretion and respect. So this unpatriotic troublemaker mocks your freedom and beliefs, and cosies up to strutting bully-boys in an upper-crust gay clique that you tolerate but can hardly admire. Would you vote for the death penalty? You know it takes the gentlest form imaginable: a slow drift into endless sleep after downing a cup of hemlock. The execution of Socrates in Athens in 399BC has generated almost as much post-mortem fury as the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth. In Socrates' case, the dialogues of his pupil Plato – more novels-of-ideas than trustworthy documents – set the pattern of outrage and elegy. Robin Waterfield's erudite but deeply
engaging book takes a historian's scalpel to the myths. Richly detailed, briskly written, it fills in the bloodstained background of Athens around 400BC: the enervating wars with Sparta, the brutal regime of the "Thirty Tyrants", the fatal political charisma of Socrates' ex-lover and pupil, Alcibiades. Even if your vote would still have let the sceptic dodge the poison, you grasp the purpose of the prosecution case. History defeats hindsight. http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/reviews/why-socrates-died-by-robin--waterfield1653244.html
Robin Waterfield was born in 1952. He graduated from Manchester University in 1974 and went on to research ancient Greek philosophy at King's College, Cambridge. He has been a university lecturer (at Newcastle upon Tyne and St Andrews), and a copy-editor and a commissioning editor for Penguin Books. In between, and currently, he makes a living as a self-employed writer and consultant editor. His publications range from academic articles to children's fiction. He has translated various Greek philosophical texts, including several for the Penguin Classics: Xenophon's Conversations With Socrates, Plutarch's Essays, Plato's Philebus and Theaetetus and (in Plato's Early Socratic Dialogues) Hippias Major, Hippias Minor and Euthydemus.
Suetonius The Twelve Caesars
Not much is known about the life of Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus. He was probably born in A.D. 69 — the famous 'year of four Emperors' — when his father, a Roman knight, served as a colonel in a regular legion and took part in the Battle of Baetricum. From the letters of Suetonius's close friend Pliny the Younger we learn that he practised briefly at the bar, avoided political life, and became chief secretary to the Emperor Hadrian (A.D. 117-138). The historian Spartianus records that he was one of several Palace officials, including the Guards Commander, whom Hadrian, when he returned from Britain, dismissed for behaving indiscreetly with the Empress Sabina. Suetonius seems to have lived to a good age. The titles of his books are recorded as follows: The Twelve Caesars; Royal Biographies; Lives of Famous Whores; Roman Manners and Customs; The Roman Year; Roman Festivals; Roman Dress; Greek Games; Offices of State; Cicero's Republic; The Physical Defects of Mankind; Methods of Reckoning Time; An Essay on Nature; Greek Objurgations; Grammatical Problems; Critical Signs Used in Books. But apart from fragments of his Illustrious Writers, which include short biographies of Virgil, Horace, and Lucan, the only extant book is The Twelve Caesars, the most fascinating and richest of all Latin histories. http://www.ourcivilisation.com/smartboard/shop/suetnius/about.htm
It will perhaps be gratifying for many people to know that a book written almost 2000 years ago still contains within it the themes that make a more modern book rise to the top of a best seller list. Suetonius‘ famous work has within it all the elements that would make an author of today very very rich. We have palace gossip, mixed with murder, sex and incest combined with politics and history to make a juicy read. What of course makes this work very interesting, is that it isn‘t a novel. Rather it‘s a work of biography by a man who lived not many decades after the first of the Roman emperors described and who remembers the later ones from his childhood (his father served in the legions of Emperor Otho. Suetonius describes the twelve emperors who followed the collapse of the Roman Republic towards the end, of what we would call the first millennium. His writing doesn‘t criticise too much, he‘s ―deadpan‖ (borrowing a word from the introduction by Michael Grant) and lets his description of the events and activities colour your perception of the particular emperor. In fact it‘s easy to fall into a sort of ―1066 and all that‖ attitude – Good Emperor, Bad Emperor etc. The first thing that strikes you – apart from the readability (a mark of an excellent translation) and the similarities to modern writing – is that Roman life was brutal and brutality was part of life. You may be surprised by the readiness with which life was sacrificed, or with which rape, assault and incest became part of ruling class life, but this surely is the reality of a society based on the economy of slavery. When humans are the base commodity of your social system, life becomes very meaningless. The second thing that I noticed, was the way that religion and ―mysticism‖ where part of every day life. Note this turn of phrase here: ―At last, after nearly fourteen years of Nero’s misrule, the earth rid herself of him‖ or note how, with every emperor described, Suetonius describes the signs and portents that marked their career. Here is his description of the omens predicting Claudius‘ death, they ―included the rise of a long-haired star, known as a comet, lightning that struck his father’s tomb and an
unusual mortality among magistrates of all ranks.‖ Suetonius is never mocking or critical of these omens. He describes them in as much detail, and with as much importance as the description he gives of the physical characteristics of the emperors or the outcome of their battles. For him, such prophecies are part of reality, and not myth. Reports of an eagle landing when a particular child was born may be for us a myth after years of retelling. For Suetonius it was reality. If you are looking for the day to day realities of Roman life, you won‘t find it here. This is history from above. But Suetonius had access, at least for a while, to some of the most important archives of Imperial Rome. He describes powerful leaders, with unlimited powers of life and death, with followers who hung an their every word, who believed that they had a special connection to the Gods. In this context alone, his writings describe a world that has now disappeared, but which bears an uncanny resemblance to our own. http://resolutereader.blogspot.com/2005/10/suetonius-twelve-caesars.html
Little is known about Suetonius‘s (swee-TOH-nee-uhs) life. The few details are learned mostly from Pliny the Younger‘s Epistulae (97-109 c.e., books 1-9; c. 113 c.e., book 10; The Letters, 1748). Suetonius practiced law in Rome but abandoned this occupation to write. He traveled to Bithynia with Pliny the Younger. The emperors Trajan and Hadrian appointed him to governmental posts. These offices within the palace gave him access to private documents of the Julio-Claudian emperors, which he employed in his biographies. Suetonius, among others, was dismissed from his position by Hadrian because of an offense to the empress Sabina Vibia (122 c.e.). Suetonius‘s surviving works include biographies of the Caesars and of famo us men, including poets. His De vita Caesarum (c.120 c.e.; History of the Twelve Caesars, 1606) contains biographies of Julius Caesar and eleven emperors from Augustus to Domitian. The organization of these biographies is thematic rather than chronological. Suetonius records each emperor‘s birth, early life, accomplishments, personal traits, and death. He often includes lengthy quotations from original sources. His inclusion of scandalous detail made him popular. Suetonius also wrote the De viris illustribus urbis Romeo (106-113 c.e.; The Lives of Illustrious Romans, 1693), which included biographies of poets, philosophers, and historians. Only a few of these biographies have survived. http://www.enotes.com/suetonius-salem/suetonius
Machiavelli‘s ideas contained in The Prince are relatively straight forward, as he strove to provide practical, easily understood advice to Lorenzo De‘Medici, to whom the book is dedicated. He did not write The Prince for literary acknowledgement but alternatively wrote it to prove his proficiency on government in the western world and to offer advice on how to gain power and keep it efficient. Machiavelli strongly believed in the requirement of a strong leader in order to maintain domination for the benefit of citizens and not for individual advancement. One of the main questions discussed in the book ―is it better for a Prince to be loved or feared?‖ Machiavelli‘s short answer is that it would be preferable to be loved and feared; however the two simply can‘t exist together. As a result, he says that it would be best to be feared and not loved. It is better to be feared then loved because as a leader it is your responsibility is to control and run the state and Machiavelli feels that to do so you need complete obedience from your people. Machiavelli does not believe in cruelty and he only warrants it for military use. This is because he believes that if you have a good military then you will have good laws. One of his most famous quotes helps explain this theory, ―the presence of sound military forces indicates the presence of sound laws.‖ Although the author believes it is better to be feared than loved, he recognized that a leader cannot be hated or it will lead to his downfall. Machiavelli advises that Princes should avoid being hated or despised, as the people‘s allegiance is a better defense than building a fortress. http://www.online-literature.com/machiavelli/prince/
There are two good reasons to read Machiavelli's classic, "The Prince." First, so you'll know what everyone is referring to when you come across the adjective "machiavellian" in news stories or other media. This adjective has become so commonplace (and overused) it is almost a cliche. Also, most who use it have never read this letter from Machiavelli, a Rennaisance courtier to his Prince (written from prison), but they insist on peppering writings with this noun turned adjective so much that as a matter of clearly understanding what is meant by the term, famiality with this brief treatise is helpful. Second, this book does describe most (not all) power situations very well. From politics to corporations to most settings where advancement, influence and control exist, Machiavelli's observations and rules apply. You will also discover that Machiavelli was not as evil as he is understood to be in popular thought. What he was doing was describing the rules of the game that have existed and always will exist for many situations involving selfish humans in competition. Machiavelli's rules are neither good nor bad in themselves -- they describe a process. What is good or bad is how those who master Machiavelli's rules use their power and position, in a society that tempers actions according to law and basic Judeo-Christian principals. When those principals do not exist (as in Nazi Germany, the Middle Ages or under Communism, or by those who refuse to live by these constraints), Machiavelli's rules take on their demonic and evil cloak; usually because they serve demonic and evil ends. In societies where positive constraints exist, for example the U.S. political system, Machiavellian behavior can produce excellent results. A good example involves Abraham Lincoln, whose ambition led him to use every legitimate trick and stragety to master (and remove) political opponents. His mastery of Machiavellian behavior constrained by the US political system allowed him to save the Union and end slavery. To fully appreciate the modern lessons that can be taken from this writing, one must translate Medieval sensibilites to their contemporary counterparts. The casual way in which Machiavelli discusses the need to kill opponents was necessary to those who wished to be princes 500 years ago. Today, of course, "killing" is translated as rendering less powerful, or taking an opponent out of the game. What does one get from this book? It is a roadmap with insights and lessons about how to 1) get ahead of
others to attain power; and 2) maintain and expand one's power in the face of others who would usurp one who is in a desirable position. This book is about ruthlessness and putting the attainment of goals ahead of any other consideration. Plenty of maxims that are also tossed about frequently in media are to be found in Machiavelli's book: "the end justifies the means," "it is better to be feared than loved," "if you fight the prince, kill the prince" to name a few. It is essential reading to anyone who would be in a competitive environment and hope to advance, if for no other reason than many of one's competitors operate by Machiavelli's dictums (which arise out of human instinct and selfishness). One does not have to operate according to Machaivelli's code -- many examples of alturism and "pluck and luck" exist to defeat any claim that Machiavelli's road map is essential for success. However, human nature and human history deliver far more examples of ruthless self-interest (Machiavellianism) behind success in power situations. Is Machiavellianism bad? Not in and of itself. Remember, one must translate the Middle Age ethos to current practices -- there usually isn't blood spilled as a result of today's Machiavellian duels, just power and positon. Most political and business leaders are at least partly Machiavellian. The trick is using one's power to good ends. Thus, even though Lincoln and all of our presidents were Machiavellian in their climb to the White House, some of them did darn good work there. The same is true for business leaders. Jack Welch (GE), Bill Gates (Microsoft), anyone who advances past the first few rungs of the corporate ladder or dominates markets at the expense of competitors is using Machiavelli's dictums. The trick of a just and good society is to set the bounds by which power can be attained and exercised so that good and benefits will flow from those who are able to "claw their way to the top." To summarize, read this book if you want to 1) truly understand when the adjective "Machiavelli" is used to describe people and 2) understand the rules by which most people navigate their way to power. http://www.amazon.com/Prince-Bantam-Classics-Niccolo-Machiavelli/dp/0553212788
Niccolo Machiavelli was born on May 3, 1469, in Florence, Italy. He eventually became a man who lived his life for politics and patriotism. Right now, however, he is associated with corrupt, totalitarian government. The reason for this is a small pamphlet he wrote called The Prince to gain influence with the ruling Medici family in Florence. The political genius of Niccolo Machiavelli was overshadowed by the reputation that was unfairly given to him because of a misunderstanding of his views on politics. Machiavelli's life was very interesting. He lived a nondescript childhood in Florence, and his main political experience in his youth was watching Savanarola from afar. Soon after Savanarola was executed, Machiavelli entered the Florentine government as a secretary. His position quickly rose, however, and was soon engaging in diplomatic missions. He met many of the important politicians of the day, such as the Pope and the King of France, but none had more impact on him than a prince of the Papal States, Cesare Borgia. Borgia was a cunning, cruel man, very much like the one portrayed in The Prince. Machiavelli did not truly like Borgia's policies, but he thought that with a ruler like Borgia the Florentines could unite Italy, which was Machiavelli's goal throughout his life. Unfortunately for Machiavelli, he was dismissed from office when the Medici came to rule Florence and the Republic was overthrown. The lack of a job forced him to switch to writing about politics instead of being active. His diplomatic missions were his last official government positions. When Machiavelli lost his office, he desperately wanted to return to politics. He tried to gain the favor of the Medici by writing a book of what he thought were the Medici's goals and dedicating it to them. And so The Prince was written for that purpose. Unfortunately, the Medici didn't agree with what the book said, so he was out of a job. But when the public saw the book, they were outraged. The people wondered how cruel a man could be to think evil thoughts like the ones in The Prince, and this would come back to haunt
him when he was alive and dead. However, if the people wanted to know what Machiavelli really stood for, they should have read his "Discourses on Livy", which explain his full political philosophy. But not enough people had and have, and so the legacy of The Prince continues to define Machiavelli to the general public. A few years later the Medici were kicked out of Florence. The republic was re-established, and Machiavelli ran to retake the office he had left so many years ago. But the reputation that The Prince had established made people think his philosophy was like the Medici, so he was not elected. And here the sharp downhill of his life began. His health began to fail him, and he died months later, in 1527. Machiavelli had been unfairly attacked all of his life because of a bad reputation. But it only got worse after he died. He was continually blasted for his "support" of corrupt ruling. In fact, Machiavellian now means corrupt government. Only recently has his true personality come to light. The world must change it's vision of the cold, uncaring Machiavelli to the correct view of a patriot and a political genius. http://www.ctbw.com/lubman.htm
Otto von Bismarck and Imperial Germany: A Historical Assessment
Since the previous edition of this book was published in 1972, historical research on Bismarck has not only grown rapidly but has changed direction as well. Its focus had formerly ventured on the man and his statecraft. That is, scholars had tended to stress the formative experiences in Bismarck‘s life, his transformation from a conservative landowner into a gifted politician, his diplomatic skill in achieving German unification, his strategies and goals as the leading statesman of Europe, and his methods and purposes as the chancellor of the empire he had created. But more recently attention has shifted from the man to the times in which he lived, from politics and diplomacy to economics and society, from warfare to urbanization, from foreign alliances to the growth of industry, and from changes in international relations to changes in the standard of living. In short, a far-reaching alteration in scholarly interest and emphasis has taken place. I have tried to reflect that alteration in this third edition of the book. My strong feeling is that it would be a mistake to omit entirely the work of those great scholars who had once dominated the arena of Bismarck scholarship. To deal with Germany in the second half of the nineteenth century without talking about the Iron Chancellor would be like putting on a performance of Hamlet without the Prince of Denmark. But I have also included selections that mirror the newer insights and perceptions, selections on growth of capitalism in Central Europe, for example, on the reinforcement of an old authoritarian tradition, on the fostering of a new military aggressiveness, and on the agonizing question of whether in some way Bismarck‘s statecraft foreshadowed and facilitated Hitler‘s. I hope that I have succeeded in at least suggesting the scope and nature of these more recent scholarly interests.
Bismarck was responsible for transforming a collection of small German states into the German empire, and was its first chancellor. Otto Eduard Leopold von Bismarck was born into an aristocratic family at Schönhausen, northwest of Berlin, on 1 April 1815. He attended a prestigious school in Berlin followed by the University of Göttingen. He then entered the Prussian civil service but was bored by his job and in 1838 resigned. For nearly a decade, he helped his father manage the family estates. In 1847, Bismarck married Johanna von Puttkamer, who provided him with stability. It was a year of significant change in his life, when he also embraced the Christian tradition of Lutheranism, and began his political career in the Prussian legislature, where he gained a reputation as an ultra-conservative royalist. In 1851, King Frederick Wilhelm IV appointed Bismarck as Prussian representative to the German Confederation. He then served as ambassador to Russia and France. In 1862, he returned to Prussia and was appointed prime minister by the new king, Wilhelm I. Bismarck was now determined to unite the German states into a single empire, with Prussia at its core. With Austrian support, he used the expanded Prussian army to capture the provinces of Schleswig and Holstein from Denmark. He then escalated a quarrel with Austria and its German allies over the administration of these provinces into a war, in which Prussia was the victor. Prussia then annexed further territory in Germany. Unable to persuade the southern German states to join with his North German Confederation, he provoked hostilities with France as a way of uniting the German states together. The German victory in the Franco-Prussian War won over the southern German states, and in 1871 they agreed to join a
German empire. Wilhelm I of Prussia became emperor. As 'chancellor' of the new Germany, Bismarck concentrated on building a powerful state with a unified national identity. One of his targets was the Catholic Church, which he believed had too much influence, particularly in southern Germany. He also worked to prevent the spread of socialism, partly by introducing health insurance and pensions. Abroad, Bismarck aimed to make the German empire the most powerful in Europe. In 1879, he negotiated an alliance with Austria-Hungary to counteract France and Russia. Italy later joined the alliance. To avoid alienating Britain, Bismarck arranged the two Mediterranean Agreements of 1887, designed to preserve the status quo against a Russian threat. In 1890, Bismarck resigned after disagreeing with the new emperor, Wilhelm II. He retired to his estate near Hamburg and died there on 30 July 1898.
Ways of Warriors Codes of Kings
Here is a concise and user-friendly presentation of the ancient Chinese principles of leadership and strategy in the words of the masters themselves. Thomas Cleary has put together this collection of gems of wisdom from six of the great classics, including excerpts from his best-selling translation of The Art of War and other lesser-known but insightful texts. Written originally for rulers and generals, these Taoist-influenced texts contain wisdom that is universally applicable to all kinds of human interaction even today, in business, government, and interpersonal relationships.
I recently re-read this book and Donald G. Krause's The Book of Five Rings for Executives and will now share my current reactions to what Thomas Cleary characterizes as "lessons in leadership from the Chinese classics" he has selected: Master Wei Lao, The Book of Three Strategies, The Book of Six Strategies, The Warrior Code of the Charioteers, Wu Qi's Art of War, and Sun Tzu's Art of War. In his brilliant Introduction, Cleary notes that the rise of modern China on the international scene "has stimulated increased interest in Chinese civilization, particularly in the strategic and tactical lore so prized in the fields of statecraft, military affairs, and commerce." What Cleary offers is an anthology of selections translated from several famous works of classical Chinese strategic lore. "All are about human potential, for better or worse." Of special interest to me is how Cleary organized the material. Rather than merely provide the six primary texts in sequence, he wisely chose brief excerpts from them that speak to a specific topic or issue. For example, from Wu Qi's Art of War, advice as to "When to Avoid Conflict" with opponents who possess six advantages, such as having help readily available from neighbors all around and assistance from large countries. "If you do not match up to an enemy in these [six] respects, avoid them unhesitatingly." When I first read this anthology in 1999, I did not fully appreciate the relevance and value of at least material that - at that time -- seemed simplistic. I was wrong. I now view each of the brief excerpts as a "nugget" of insight concerning some aspect of the process by which to formulate and then implement an appropriate leadership strategy or tactic to achieve a desired objective. Although Sun Tzu's Art of War remains the best known and most frequently read source among the six that Cleary includes, all of the other five also offer much of interest and value. (I am unqualified to suggest the nature and extent of influence between and among the six.) Yes, their authors anchored their observations and admonitions in the context of military competition and, yes, there is always a danger of forcing correlations with commerce competition 2,000-2,500 years later. Clearly does not make that mistake because, I suspect, he trusts his reader to determine for herself or himself the relevance of each excerpt to the modern business world. Presumably many of those who read this book will be encouraged to read all or some of the primary sources (i.e. Master Wei Lao, The Book of Three Strategies, The Book of Six Strategies, The Warrior Code of the Charioteers, Wu Qi's Art of War, and Sun Tzu's Art of War) as well as Machiavelli's The Prince and/or Carl von Clausewitz's On War. I also high recommend several other books that Thomas Cleary has written, notably Mastering the Art of War, The Book of Leadership and Strategy, and Zen Lessons: The Art of Leadership. With regard to this last source, I conclude with one of my favorite passages from Lao-Tzu's Tao Te Ching: Learn from the people
Plan with the people Begin with what they have Build on what they know Of the best leaders When the task is accomplished The people will remark We have done it ourselves. http://www.amazon.com/Warriors-Codes-Kings-Thomas-Cleary/dp/1570625697
Sun Tzu originally named Sun Wu and also called Chang Qing, authored The Art of War in the sixth century BC. This military strategy book became one of the most influential books of war and Sun Tzu became well known as not only a military strategist but also a realist in international relations theory. There are no exact records of Sun Tzu's birth or death. The only known records of his life were from a biography written in the 2nd century BC by a historian named Sima Qian. Sun Tzu is believed to have been born in 544 BC under the name Sun Wu, possibly in the state of Qi in ancient China. His family were members of the shi, an ancient class of landless aristocrats who lost their land during the Spring and Autumn Period of territorial consolidation. During Sun Tzu's time, most shi travelled as academic scholars, but Sun Tzu decided to work as a mercenary. After working throughout the country, the ruling king, King Helu of Wu, hired Sun Tzu as a general in 512 BC. Sun Tzu consequently authored The Art of War, which, at the time was named Sun Tzu based on the custom to name a work after its author. Sun Tzu's military strategy soon became legendary and he even proved his knowledge by training battalions of previously untrained female soldiers. Sun Tzu gave control of each battalion to King Helu's concubines. After they disobeyed orders and laughed at him, Sun Tzu executed two of the concubines, per military law, and finished his training with a powerful team with exceptional leadership skills. At the time of Sun Tzu's generalship, the kingdom of Wu was considered a semi-barbaric state and incapable of military regulation or cultural power. After Sun Tzu took control, however, the military in Wu went on to conquer the state of Chu, the most powerful state in the Spring and Autumn Period in Chinese history. After the defeat of Chu, Sun Tzu disappeared, wanting a quiet, peaceful life as opposed to one of constant conflict. His teachings, however, went on to influence not only military strategies, but also martial arts in both armed and unarmed combat. In fact, his teaching known as Bing Fa became the basis for most Asian martial arts. Historians argue that Sun Tzu's work did not advocate war but, instead, told of strategies to employ should conflict arise. In fact, according to historians, Sun Tzu's philosophies were more about how to avoid war while still maintaining control over an enemy in tight situations rather than war itself.
Although there are no confirmations that the two met, Sun Tzu lived during the time of Confucius and may have been influenced by the man's work. It's estimated that Sun Tzu died in 496 BC in the state of Wu. http://www.woopidoo.com/biography/sun-tzu/index.htm
The Power Elite
First published in 1956, The Power Elite stands as a contemporary classic of social science and social criticism. C. Wright Mills examines and critiques the organization of power in the United States, calling attention to three firmly interlocked prongs of power: the military, corporate, and political elite. The Power Elite can be read as a good account of what was taking place in America at the time it was written, but its underlying question of whether America is as democratic in practice as it is in theory continues to matter very much today. What The Power Elite informed readers of in 1956 was how much the organization of power in America had changed during their lifetimes, and Alan Wolfe's astute afterword to this new edition brings us up to date, illustrating how much more has changed since then. Wolfe sorts out what is helpful in Mills' book and which of his predictions have not come to bear, laying out the radical changes in American capitalism, from intense global competition and the collapse of communism to rapid technological transformations and ever changing consumer tastes. The Power Elite has stimulated generations of readers to think about the kind of society they have and the kind of society they might want, and deserves to be read by every new generation http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/222863.The_Power_Elite
"The powers of ordinary men are circumscribed by the everyday worlds in which they live, yet even in these rounds of job, family and neighborhood they often seem driven by forces they can neither understand nor govern." The opening sentence of "The Power Elite," by C. Wright Mills, seems unremarkable, even bland. But when the book was first published 50 years ago last month, it exploded into a culture riddled with existential anxiety and political fear. Mills — a broad-shouldered, motorcycle-riding anarchist from Texas who taught sociology at Columbia — argued that the "sociological key" to American uneasiness could be found not in the mysteries of the unconscious or in the battle against Communism, but in the overorganization of society. At the pinnacle of the government, the military and the corporations, a small group of men made the decisions that reverberated "into each and every cranny" of American life. "Insofar as national events are decided," Mills wrote, "the power elite are those who decide them." His argument met with criticism from all sides. "I look forward to the time when Mr. Mills hands back his prophet's robes and settles down to being a sociologist again," Arthur Schlesinger Jr. wrote in The New York Post. Adolf Berle, writing in the Book Review, said that while the book contained "an uncomfortable degree of truth," Mills presented "an angry cartoon, not a serious picture." Liberals could not believe a book about power in America said so little about the Supreme Court, while conservatives attacked it as leftist psychopathology ("sociological mumbo jumbo," Time said). The Soviets translated it in 1959, but decided it was pro-American. "Although Mills expresses a skeptical and critical attitude toward bourgeois liberalism and its society of power," said the introduction to the Russian translation, "his hopes and sympathies undoubtedly remain on its side." Even so, "The Power Elite" found an eclectic audience at home and abroad. Fidel Castro and Che Guevara debated the book in the mountains of the Sierra Maestra. Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir published excerpts in their radical journal, Les Temps Modernes. In the United States, Mills
received hundreds of letters from Protestant clergymen, professors and students, pacificists and soldiers. This note came from an Army private stationed in San Francisco: "I genuinely appreciate reading in print ideas I have thought about some time ago. At that time, they seemed to me so different that I didn't tell anyone." In the aftermath of the global riots of 1968, the C.I.A. identified Mills as one of the most influential New Left intellectuals in the world, though he had been dead for six years. The historical value of "The Power Elite" seems assured. It was the first book to offer a serious model of power that accounted for the secretive agencies of national security. Mills saw the postideological "postmodern epoch" (as he would later call it) at its inception, and his book remains a founding text in the continuing demand for democratically responsible political leadership — a demand echoed and amplified across the decades in books like Christopher Lasch's "Revolt of the Elites" (1995), Kevin Phillips's "Wealth and Democracy" (2002), Chalmers Johnson's "Sorrows of Empire" (2004) and Thomas Frank's "What's the Matter With Kansas?" (2004). Much of "The Power Elite" was a tough-talking polemic against the "romantic pluralism" embedded in the prevailing theory of American politics. The separation of powers in the Constitution, the story went, repelled the natural tendency of power to concentrate, while political parties and voluntary societies organized the clash of interests, laying the people's representatives open to the influence of public opinion. This "theory of balance" still applied to the "middle levels of power," Mills wrote. But the society it envisioned had been eclipsed. For the first time in history, he argued, the territories of the United States made up a self-conscious mass society. If the economy had once been a multitude of locally or regionally rooted, (more or less) equal units of production, it now answered to the needs of a few hundred corporations. If the government had once been a patchwork of states held together by Congress, it now answered to the initiatives of a strong executive. If the military had once been a militia system resistant to the discipline of permanent training, it now consumed half the national budget, and seated its admirals and generals in the biggest office building in the world. The "awesome means of power" enthroned upon these monopolies of production, administration and violence included the power to prevent issues and ideas from reaching Congress in the first place. Most Americans still believed the ebb and flow of public opinion guided political affairs. "But now we must recognize this description as a set of images out of a fairy tale," Mills wrote. "They are not adequate even as an approximate model of how the American system of power works." The small groups of men standing at the head of the three monopolies represented a new kind of elite, whose character and conduct mirrored the antidemocratic ethos of their institutions. The corporations recruited from the business schools, and conceived executive training programs that demanded strict conformity. The military selected generals and admirals from the service academies, and inculcated "the caste feeling" by segregating them from the associational life of the country. Less and less did local apprenticeships serve as a passport to the government's executive chambers. Of the appointees in the Eisenhower administration, Mills found that a record number had never stood for election at any level. Above the apparent balance of powers, Mills said, "an intricate set of overlapping cliques" shared in "decisions having at least national consequences." Rather than operating in secret, the same kinds of men — who traded opinions in the same churches, clubs and schools — took turns in the same jobs. Mills pointed to the personnel traffic among the Pentagon, the White House and the corporations. The nation's three top policy positions — secretary of state, treasury and defense — were occupied by former corporate executives. The president was a general. Mills could not answer many of the most important questions he raised. How did the power elite make its decisions? He did not know. Did its members cause their roles to be created, or step into roles already created? He could not say. Around what interests did they cohere? He asserted a "coincidence of interest" partially organized around "a permanent war establishment," but he did little more than assert it.
Most of the time, he said, the power elite did not cohere at all. "This instituted elite is frequently in some tension: it comes together only on certain coinciding points and only on certain occasions of 'crisis.' " Although he urged his readers to scrutinize the commanding power of decision, his book did not scrutinize any decisions. These ambiguities have kept "The Power Elite" vulnerable to the charge of conspiracy-mongering. In a recent essay in Playboy called "Who Rules America?" Arthur Schlesinger Jr. repeated his earlier skepticism about Mills's argument, calling it "a sophisticated version of the American nightmare." Alan Wolfe, in a 2000 afterword, pointed out that while Mills got much about the self-enriching ways of the corporate elite right, his vision of complacent American capitalism did not anticipate the competitive dynamics of our global economy. And of late we have seen that "occasions of crisis" do not necessarily serve to unify the generals with the politicians. Yet "The Power Elite" abounds with questions that still trouble us today. Can a strong democracy coexist with the amoral ethos of corporate elites? And can public argument have democratic meaning in the age of national security? The trend in foreign affairs, Mills argued, was for a militarized executive branch to bypass the United Nations, while Congress was left with little more than the power to express "general confidence, or the lack of it." Policy tended to be announced as doctrine, which was then sold to the public via the media. Career diplomats in the State Department believed they could not truthfully report intelligence. Meanwhile official secrecy steadily expanded its reach. "For the first time in American history, men in authority are talking about an 'emergency' without a foreseeable end," Mills wrote in a sentence that remains as powerful and unsettling as it was 50 years ago. "Such men as these are crackpot realists: in the name of realism they have constructed a paranoid reality all their own." http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/14/books/review/14summers.html?pagewanted=all
The 48 Laws of Power
Cunning, instructive, and amoral, this controversial bestseller distills 3,000 years of the history of power into 48 well-explicated laws. Law 1: Never Outshine the Master. Law 3: Conceal Your Intentions. Law 7: Get Others to Do the Work for You, but Always Take the Credit. Law 15: Crush Your Enemy Totally. Law 33: Discover Each Man''s Thumbscrew. These are the laws of power in their unvarnished essence?the philosophies of Machiavelli (The Prince), Sun-tzu (The Art of War), Carl von Clausewitz, Talleyrand, the great seducer Casanova, con man Yellow Kid Weil, and other legendary thinkers and schemers. They teach prudence, stealth, mastery of one''s emotions, the art of deception, and the total absence of mercy. Like it or not, all have practical applications in real life. Each law is illustrated with examples of observance or transgression drawn from history and featuring such famous figures as Queen Elizabeth I, Henry Kissinger, Mao, Alfred Hitchcock, P.T. Barnum, Haile Selassie, Catherine the Great, and Socrates. Convincing, practical, sometimes shocking, this book will fascinate anyone interested in gaining, observing, or defending against ultimate control. http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/48-Laws-Of-Power-Robert-Greene-Joost-Elffers/9780140280197item.html
HALF a millennium ago, Florentine philosopher Niccolo Machiavelli tried to codify "the nature of power". His scholarly disquisition Il Principe - The Prince - was subsequently denounced as the devil's work. Variously banned and burned, it has nevertheless survived as a classic guide for power strategists, while its author's name has become enshrined in dictionaries as a synonym for "cunning, amoral and opportunistic". It's moot whether the latest entrant in the "secrets of power" lists will linger linguistically, but American author Robert Greene has aroused some passion with his recently released book, The 48 Laws of Power (Hodder). For Greene, a graduate of classic studies and "a dedicated history nut", the exercise began as a plus ca change fascination. He was inspired, he says, by the "behind the arras-stabbing antics" he witnessed while working in "the scheming world" of the Fabrika art school in Venice in 1995. The naked ploys for ascendancy he saw there were, he realised, exactly those that had been played out throughout history. So he decided to trawl the histories of both the powers behind the throne and the powers that be (or have been) to compile his compendium, which he modestly describes as "the ultimate encyclopedia on the subject". He canvassed the classic writings on power of the past 3000 years from ancient Asia to modern America, studying en route noble Romans, Renaissance princes and a colossal cast of Chinese emperors, generals and courtiers. "After analysing the actions of hundreds of historical figures, I deduced certain laws that were timeless and definitive."
The 48 Laws of Power is a classy package - the layout design by Jost Effers (responsible for producing the bestselling The Secret Language of Relationships and Play with Your Food) is chicly stylish, with catchy epigrams and examples red-typed in the margins. Each law is a section unto itself, with a catchy, user-friendly title - "Pose as a friend, work as a spy" or "Get others to do the work for you, but always take the credit". There are laws of strategy ("Always make the opponent come to you"), of warnings against dangerous behavior ("Never outshine the Master"), and on how to use seduction and deception. And each is elucidated in four ways: how to use it correctly, how not to, key aspects of the law, and when not
to apply it. Illustrations are drawn from the courts of modern and ancient Europe, Africa and Asia, and devious and ingenious strategies are culled from noted powermongers of the Brutus, Metternich, Tallyrand, Bismarck, Kissinger, Haile Selassie and Bourbon monarchs ilk, as well as from the excellent adventures of various con kings. So what gives? Is this book a power tool or a power trip? Is Greene a new kind of power broker into power sharing, or is the exercise more a power drive to create a power base? The unequivocal answer to both is probably "all of the above". Reviewers have certainly been confused, split between opting for the jocular and going for the jugular. The book's chatty "amorality" offended many on the moral right after its American release late last year. "But generally it has been surprisingly well received," says Greene. "Too much so, really - I'd have preferred more controversy, I enjoy debating the disenchanted." Among the latter count Newsweek's Jerry Adler, who sniped that Greene has "produced one of the best arguments since the New Testament for humility and obscurity". Or Business Week, which intoned that "the (book's) moral advice adds up to a grim portrait of a ruthless, duplicitous universe". Or Kirkus Review, which thundered that it was an "antiBook of Virtues (whose) laws boil down to being "selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible." Some have seized on apparent contradictions as proof of an I Ching-like each-way bet: how does "Court attention at all cost" align with "Behave like others", or "Be frugal with flattery" tally with "You can never be too obsequious"? Greene is perfectly sanguine. "All the great writers on power and strategy, from Sun Tzu to Machiavelli, have emphasised the need for constant adaptability and the changing of tactics. At some junctures in your rise to the top you need to court attention, at others you must do all you can to blend in. There's no contradiction because the laws are not a formula. In fact Law 48, Assume Formlessness, advocates complete fluidity. Only those who are na�ve or inept at power are frightened of contradicting themselves." As many critics have responded with "this will change your life" enthusiasm. In Britain, where it was published in January, PM Tony Blair has been cited as a disciple. As for the Kirkus attack, Greene used the Internet to accuse its reviewer of playing "one of the oldest power tricks in the book - attacking it for what it isn't." Power, like life, defies easy answers, he wrote. "(My) book is about the essence of power, not a discourse on the need for virtue, or the lack of ethics in our world. Those who ... deny that power games permeate our world are often the most adept players, critics most definitely included." And those who find the book too strong, he added, "prefer to believe that people generally have good and noble intentions. Any hint the world is otherwise makes them nervous and jumpy. They would rather censor the realist and Machiavellians among us, for the truth is far too dangerous." On the surface, Greene allows, his book might seem cynical but "if you read it closely you'll see I'm personally uncommitted". And there's "an ironic edge, which too many appear to have overlooked". For him, Concentrate your Forces (Law 23) is the most personally relevant edict, "or at least it is this week," he laughs. "But I have learned that the single-mindedness of a Napoleon or a Lenin is the only way to achieve something significant." Take him as the proof. This 450-page tome has "brought about all these great, great changes to my life". For one thing, he now shares "a big house with a cat and garden" in Los Angeles' relatively silvertail suburb of Silverlake with his girlfriend of eight years, Anna Biller (to whom the book is dedicated). They moved in together only in the past year after seven years in Santa Monica as "close neighbours living in apartments a block apart". (Obviously not a man of precipitate personal action, I suggest. "Ah, but I've proved I'm not a commitment phobe," he counters.) He's also learnt Law 4 well - Always say less than is necessary. In fact he's the archetypal 20th century media massager, keen to surf the waves of public fame yet still guard the right to personal reserve. His
own life and career apparently conform to Law 25: "Recreate yourself." The book's cover blurb claims the 39-year-old author was "an editor at Esquire" magazine. Waspish American reviewers determined this meant "sometime editorial assistant", not quite the same prestige. "Also a playwright" allegedly translated as a decade's work in Hollywood without cracking it for a script production. The few personal details he will allow are these: He is a history buff, he's lived in London, Paris, New York and Hollywood, this is his first book although "I have been writing forever" and he is now completing his second, Seduction, an historic investigation of the psychological, physical and political elements of enticement. Has the book helped him? Powerfully so. "Before I wrote it, I was toiling away as a mid-level writer. Suddenly life has opened up in strange ways. I learnt from my research and from the book. And I realised just how many mistakes I had made in my career. I used to talk too much for one thing - I'm doing it again here aren't I? - but I have learnt to hold my tongue and conceal my intentions (Law 3) when I need to." I could suggest his book is the perfect exploitation of Law 27: "Play on people's needs to believe to create a cultlike following". But that would be too cynical. 48 Laws is actually a seductive if episodic narrative there's a hint of Castiglione, an anchoring of Machiavelli, wrapped in campfire-cosy sharings of wisdom. And the Dale Carnegie meets Carlos Castenada overtones are reined in with enough millennial scepticism to quell guruship. Is it a valuable resource? If I were to play by the rules, I'd pan it mercilessly. Why should potential opponents get a break? http://users.tpg.com.au/waldrenm/power.html
Greene was born in 1959 to a Jewish family in Los Angeles. He attended University of California, Berkeley and graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a B.A in classical studies. Before becoming a best-selling author, he worked as an editor and writer for several magazines, including Esquire, and as a Hollywood movie writer His first book was the 1998 The 48 Laws of Power. The book was immediately successful, selling more than 1 million copies in the US. His subsequent books shared similar success, including The Art of Seduction and The 33 Strategies of War. He also works as a consultant to several business executives, and joined the American Apparel board of directors in 2007.. He currently lives and works in Los Angeles. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Greene_(American_author)
The Sociopath Next Door
Who is the devil you know? Is it your lying, cheating ex-husband? Your sadistic high school gym teacher? Your boss who loves to humiliate people in meetings? The colleague who stole your idea and passed it off as her own? In the pages of The Sociopath Next Door, you will realize that your ex was not just misunderstood. He's a sociopath. And your boss, teacher, and colleague? They may be sociopaths too. We are accustomed to think of sociopaths as violent criminals, but in The Sociopath Next Door, Harvard psychologist Martha Stout reveals that a shocking 4 percent of ordinary people —one in twenty-five—has an often undetected mental disorder, the chief symptom of which is that that person possesses no conscience. He or she has no ability whatsoever to feel shame, guilt, or remorse. One in twenty-five everyday Americans, therefore, is secretly a sociopath. They could be your colleague, your neighbor, even family. And they can do literally anything at all and feel absolutely no guilt. How do we recognize the remorseless? One of their chief characteristics is a kind of glow or charisma that makes sociopaths more charming or interesting than the other people around them. They're more spontaneous, more intense, more complex, or even sexier than everyone else, making them tricky to identify and leaving us easily seduced. Fundamentally, sociopaths are different because they cannot love. Sociopaths learn early on to show sham emotion, but underneath they are indifferent to others' suffering. They live to dominate and thrill to win. The fact is, we all almost certainly know at least one or more sociopaths already. Part of the urgency in reading The Sociopath Next Door is the moment when we suddenly recognize that someone we know— someone we worked for, or were involved with, or voted for —is a sociopath. But what do we do with that knowledge? To arm us against the sociopath, Dr. Stout teaches us to question authority, suspect flattery, and beware the pity play. Above all, she writes, when a sociopath is beckoning, do not join the game. It is the ruthless versus the rest of us, and The Sociopath Next Door will show you how to recognize and defeat the devil you know.
Stout says that as many as 4% of the population are conscienceless sociopaths who have no empathy or affectionate feelings for humans or animals. As Stout (The Myth of Sanity) explains, a sociopath is defined as someone who displays at least three of seven distinguishing characteristics, such as deceitfulness, impulsivity and a lack of remorse. Such people often have a superficial charm, which they exercise ruthlessly in order to get what they want. Stout argues that the development of sociopathy is due half to genetics and half to nongenetic influences that have not been clearly identified. The author offers three examples of such people, including Skip, the handsome, brilliant, superrich boy who enjoyed stabbing bullfrogs near his family's summer home, and Doreen, who lied about her credentials to get work at a psychiatric institute, manipulated her colleagues and, most cruelly, a patient. Dramatic as these tales are, they are composites, and while Stout is a good writer and her exploration of sociopaths can be arresting, this book occasionally appeals to readers' paranoia, as the book's title and its guidelines for dealing with sociopaths indicate. http://www.amazon.ca/Sociopath-Next-Martha-Stout-Ph-D/dp/076791581X
Martha Stout, Ph.D., is an American psychologist and author. She completed her professional training in psychology at the McLean Psychiatric Hospital. She served as an instructor on the faculty of the Harvard Medical School for over twenty-five years, and served as part of the graduate faculty of The New School, the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology, and Wellesley College. She has written several books on psychology that appeal to the popular market. In her most popular book, The Sociopath Next Door: The Ruthless Versus the Rest of Us, she advises developing an awareness of the nature of anti-social behavior in order to avoid becoming its victim and proposes thirteen rules as self-help guidelines to assessing relationships and behavior for these characteristics, as well as offering advice on handling situations when one encounters the behavior. Dr. Stout currently is in private practice as a clinical psychologist in Boston and resides in Cape Ann, Massachusetts. http://www.experienceproject.com/profile/author/Martha-Stout/6315
Most people are both repelled and intrigued by the images of cold-blooded, conscienceless murderers that increasingly populate our movies, television programs, and newspaper headlines. With their flagrant criminal violation of society's rules, serial killers like Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy are among the most dramatic examples of the psychopath. Individuals with this personality disorder are fully aware of the consequences of their actions and know the difference between right and wrong, yet they are terrifyingly self-centered, remorseless, and unable to care about the feelings of others. Perhaps most frightening, they often seem completely normal to unsuspecting targets--and they do not always ply their trade by killing. Presenting a compelling portrait of these dangerous men and women based on 25 years of distinguished scientific research, Dr. Robert D. Hare vividly describes a world of con artists, hustlers, rapists, and other predators who charm, lie, and manipulate their way through life. Are psychopaths mad, or simply bad? How can they be recognized? And how can we protect ourselves? This book provides solid information and surprising insights for anyone seeking to understand this devastating condition. http://www.experienceproject.com/profile/author/Martha-Stout/6315
A fascinating, if terrifying, look at psychopaths: the often charming, glib, sane-seeming people who rape and murder--and rip- off S&Ls--without a second's thought because they utterly lack the emotions that add up to the defining human characteristic of conscience. Hare (Psychology/University of British Columbia) gives thumbnail sketches of one psychopath after another--from John Wayne Gacy, the serial murderer who liked to entertain children as ``Pogo the Clown,'' to mere kids who torture and kill not only animals but other children. The author isolates the essential traits of the psychopath by using a ``psychopath checklist,'' a system of assessment he's devised during ten years of clinical practice with psychopaths in Canadian prisons. Again and again, Hare's rating system has verified a definition devised in 1941 by psychologist Hervey Cleckley, who concluded that psychopaths lack all personal values: ``It is impossible for [the psychopath] to take even a slight interest in the tragedy or joy or the striving of humanity as presented in serious literature or art,'' Cleckley wrote. ``He is also indifferent to all these matters in life itself.'' Hare cites provocative new evidence that the brain function of psychopaths may differ from that of normal adults: It seems that the speech of psychopaths is controlled by both hemispheres rather than by just the left, as is typical. In addition, ``neither side of the [psychopath's brain] is typical in the processes of emotion.'' While all the implications of psychopathic brain function remain unclear, Hare makes a strong case for the view that psychopaths are born, not made--and that, crucially, little can be done to unmake them. While advocating the firm training of psychopaths to consider rationally the outcome of their actions- -substituting head for heart--the author warns that denying the incorrigible nature of these cold, calculating beings will allow even more of them to prey on society. A chilling, eye-opening report--and a call to action. https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/robert-d-hare/without-conscience/
Robert Hare is Emeritus Professor of Psychology, University of British Columbia, where he has taught and conducted research for more than four decades, and President of Darkstone Research Group Ltd., a forensic research and consulting firm. He has devoted most of his academic career to the investigation of psychopathy, its nature, assessment, and implications for mental health and criminal justice. He is the author of several books, including Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us, and more than one hundred scientific articles on psychopathy. He is the developer of the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R) and a co-author of its derivatives, the Psychopathy Checklist:
Screening Version, the Psychopathy Checklist: Youth Version, the Antisocial Process Screening Device, and the P-Scan (for use in law enforcement). He consults with law enforcement, including the FBI and the RCMP, sits on the Research Advisory Board of the new FBI Child Abduction and Serial Murder Investigative Resources Center (CASMIRC), and is a member of the FBI Serial Murder Working Group. He also was a member of the Advisory Panel established by Her Majesty‘s Prison Service to develop new programs for the treatment of psychopathic offenders. His current research on psychopathy includes assessment issues, developmental factors, neurobiological correlates, risk for recidivism and violence, and the development (with S. Wong) of new treatment and management strategies for psychopathic offenders (Guidelines for a Psychopathy Treatment Program). He and Paul Babiak have extended the theory and research on psychopathy to the business and corporate world, with the development of the BScan-360, a 360º instrument used to screen for psychopathic traits and behaviors, and a book, Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go To Work. He lectures widely on psychopathy and on the use and misuse of the PCL-R in the mental health and criminal justice systems. Among his most recent awards are the Silver Medal of the Queen Sophia Center in Spain; the Canadian Psychological Association Award for Distinguished Applications of Psychology; the American Academy of Forensic Psychology Award for Distinguished Applications to the Field of Forensic Psychology; the Isaac Ray Award presented by the American Psychiatric Association and the American Academy of Psychiatry and Law for Outstanding Contributions to Forensic Psychiatry and Psychiatric Jurisprudence; the B. Jaye Anno Award for Excellence in Communication, presented by the National Commission on Correctional Health Care; the Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the Society for the Scientific Study of Psychopathy; the CPA Award for Distinguished Contributions to the International Advancement of Psychology; the CPA Donald O. Hebb Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychology as a Science, and the Order of Canada. He is an Affiliate Member of the International Criminal Investigative Analysis Fellowship. http://www.hare.org/welcome/bio.html
Day of Empire
Historians have debated the rise and fall of empires for centuries. To date, however, no one has studied the far rarer phenomenon of hyperpowers—those few societies that amassed such extraordinary military and economic might that they essentially dominated the world. Now, in this sweeping history of globally dominant empires, bestselling author Amy Chua explains how hyperpowers rise and why they fall. In a series of brilliantly focused chapters, Chua examines history‘s hyperpowers—Persia, Rome, Tang China, the Mongols, the Dutch, the British, and the United States — and reveals the reasons behind their success, as well as the roots of their ultimate demise. Chua‘s unprecedented study reveals a fascinating historical pattern. For all their differences, she argu es, every one of these world-dominant powers was, at least by the standards of its time, extraordinarily pluralistic and tolerant. Each one succeeded by harnessing the skills and energies of individuals from very different backgrounds, and by attracting and exploiting highly talented groups that were excluded in other societies. Thus Rome allowed Africans, Spaniards, and Gauls alike to rise to the highest echelons of power, while the ―barbarian‖ Mongols conquered their vast domains only because they practic ed an ethnic and religious tolerance unheard of in their time. In contrast, Nazi Germany and imperial Japan, while wielding great power, failed to attain global dominance as a direct result of their racial and religious intolerance. But Chua also uncovers a great historical irony: in virtually every instance, multicultural tolerance eventually sowed the seeds of decline, and diversity became a liability, triggering conflict, hatred, and violence. The United States is the quintessential example of a power that rose to global dominance through tolerance and diversity. The secret to America‘s success has always been its unsurpassed ability to attract enterprising immigrants. Today, however, concerns about outsourcing and uncontrolled illegal immigration are producing a backlash against our tradition of cultural openness. Has America finally reached a ―tipping point‖? Have we gone too far in the direction of diversity and tolerance to maintain cohesion and unity? Will we be overtaken by rising powers like China, the EU or even India? Chua shows why American power may have already exceeded its limits and why it may be in our interest to retreat from our go-it-alone approach and promote a new multilateralism in both domestic and foreign affairs. http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/295894.Day_of_Empire
The emperor Claudius thought about the dynamics of imperial ingestion. He reminded the Roman Senate that the founder Romulus would ―both fight against and naturalize a people on the same day.‖ Claudius argued that the Gauls, by logical extension, could be accepted into the Senate because ―they no longer wear trousers‖ — that is, they could be counted on to come to work wearing the Roman toga and thus to have effectively become Romans. The great Mughal emperor Akbar flourished by practicing a similar ―strategic tolerance‖ — which included what Amy Chua in ―Day of Empire‖ calls ―multicultural copulation.‖ A Muslim himself, the emperor intermarried widely: ―By the time of Akbar‘s death, he had more than 300 wives, including Rajputs, Afghans, princesses from South Indian kingdoms, Turks, Persians and even two Christian women of Portuguese descent.‖ Chua argues that all of the world-dominant powers in history — among them, Achaemenid Persia, imperial Rome, Tang Dynasty China, the Mongol empire, the Dutch commercial empire of the 17th century, the British Empire and hegemonic America — prospered by a strategy of tolerance and inclusion,
the embrace (and exploitation) of diversity and difference. It‘s not always an easy case to make. Genghis Khan used his victims‘ corpses as moat -fill; he is credited with the memorably barbaric definition of happiness — ―to crush your enemies ... and hear the lamentation of their women.‖ But as Chua says, ―relative tolerance‖ is what counts. Having savored the lamentations of the women, Genghis Khan ―embraced ethnic diversity,‖ decreed religious freedom and drew into his service ―the most talented and useful individuals of all his conquered populations.‖ The death of empire, in Chua‘s thesis — the Kryptonite that vitiates a superpower — is intolerance and exclusivity, an insistence on racial ―purity‖ or religious orthodoxy. Chua wonders how different 20th century history might have been if Hitler had been a tolerant and accommodating conqueror. ―By murdering millions of conquered subjects and hundreds of thousands of German citizens,‖ she observes, ―the Nazis deprived themselves of incalculable manpower and human capital. ... Germany lost an array of brilliant scientists, including Albert Einstein, Theodore von Karman, Eugene Wigner, Leo Szilard, Hans Bethe, Edward Teller and Lise Meitner, many of whom went on to play an integral role in the construction of the world‘s first atomic bomb, which the United States used to win the war.‖ It was history‘s most spectacular example of shooting oneself in the foot. Further unintended consequences of doctrinaire malice: In 1478, the Inquisition, decreed by papal bull, ended an era of relative tolerance in Spain. In 1492, Ferdinand and Isabella gave Jews the choice of either converting to Catholism or leaving. Ten years later, the Muslims of Castile were ordered to convert or emigrate. ―The Spanish monarchy had officially embraced intolerance,‖ Chua writes, ―and for an empire hoping to rise in global pre-eminence, this was a staggeringly bad move.‖ Chua, the John Duff Jr. professor of law at Yale Law School, unfolds an agreeably plausible case with clarity and insistent simplification, like a lawyer pacing before the jury box, hitting the same points (tolerance, diversity, inclusion) for emphasis as she clicks off centuries and civilizations. Always in the back of her mind is the drama of America. Chua‘s larger historical preoccupations, as she suggests, arise from her own biography. Her Chinese parents came to the United States from the Philippines, where they had grown up and lived under Japanese occupation. When Douglas MacArthur returned in 1945, ―my father remembers running after American jeeps, cheering wildly, as U.S. troops tossed out free cans of Spam.‖ The Chua family bec ame a handsome enactment of the American dream and a dramatization of Chua‘s greatness -throughinclusion thesis. Leon O. Chua attended M.I.T. on a scholarship and as an electrical engineer helped to develop chaos theory; he became known as the ―father of nonlinear circuit theory and cellular neural networks.‖ Among the Chuas, the pronoun ―we‖ was a bicultural portmanteau — it meant both ―we Han Chinese‖ and ―we Americans.‖ Her father told Amy — when she was 4! — ―You will marry a non-Chinese over my dead body.‖ She married a Jewish American. ―Today, my father and my husband are the best of friends.‖ Her children speak English and Mandarin. ―This book is a tribute to America‘s tolerance,‖ Chua writes. It is also intended as a warning against empire building — ―the use of America‘s world-dominant military abroad to achieve regime change and remake other nations by imposing American-style institutions.‖ Still, the obverse of Santayana‘s famous line — that those who do not learn from the past are condemned to repeat it — is an equally powerful cliché: generals always fight the last war. In other words, those who learn too much from the past may be condemned to be surprised if the world stumbles onto an entirely new way of doing things. After Hiroshima, for example, the calculus of war among the powers was changed forever: the past might, in fact, become useless in making decisions about nuclear weapons. Few would quarrel with Chua‘s absorbing PowerPoint presentation, her shrewd and happy argument that a generous policy of tolerance and inclusion leads on to success and prosperity. Or with her somewhat
more intricate (or circular?) case that even the most embracingly inclusive empires eventually disintegrate because they lack ―glue‖ — an overarching political identity to give coherence to the whole. But in the 21st century, ―empire‖ and ―superpower‖ and ―hyperpower‖ are te rms that may require rethinking. They suggest boundaries, borders — even as they connote the expansion of territory and influence. But most of the powerful forces, good and evil, of our new century are borderless, globalized — the almost unimpeded global flow of information (images, ideas, news, music, movies, emotions, hatreds), products, commodities, capital, environmental pollution, climate change and terrorism. Perhaps, eventually, nuclear terrorism. In such a world, an idea (a rage, a grievance, a difference of cultural perspective) may create a superpower without borders, using a cave in Afghanistan or Pakistan as its Pentagon. And in the new politics and metaphysics of the globalized globe, the problem of the toleration of intolerance — the toleration of evil intentions or atavistic tribal or sectarian angers that now may come armed with advanced technology, including nukes — becomes the sharpest dilemma of responsible power. It may no longer be enough to refer the toleration of intolerance to the First Amendment. The world‘s uneasily dominant hyperpower, the United States, finds itself now (partly through its own incompetence and lack of foresight) in the lobster trap of Iraq: no exit. Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction. But suppose that he had had them. Would it then have been right — necessary — for the hyperpower, or someone else, to invade Iraq? An old argument, now congealed into partisan rhetoric. But what will be the responsibilities of the United Nations, or the United States, or China, or the European Union, or any other emerging hyperpower, when — as will undoubtedly happen — some monster-autocrat or some gang of theological throwbacks come along who really do have nuclear or chemical or biological weapons? Empire is a very big word — a Newtonian word, so to speak — in a world that has grown abruptly small and susceptible now to a physics that is new and strange. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/18/books/review/morrow.html
Amy Chua is best known for being the author of the controversial book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, which is a memoir about her strict parenting style. The following is a biography about her. Chua was born in Champaign, Illinois in 1962. Her parents were Chinese immigrants who were graduate students. Her father is Leon Ong Chua, an Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences professor at the University of California, Berkeley. He is also known as the father of nonlinear circuit theory, cellular neural networks, and discovered the memristor. Chua was raised as a Roman Catholic and grew up in West Lafayette, Indiana. When she was eight years old, her family moved to Berkeley, California when her father became a professor at UC Berkeley. She eventually graduated from El Cerrito High School in 1980. She is the eldest of the four children in her family. Her sisters are Michelle, Katrin, and then Cynthia (Cindy). Katrin is a physician and a professor at Stanford University School of Medicine. Cindy was born with Down Syndrome and has two International Special Olympics gold medals in swimming. She attended Harvard College and graduated magna cum laude with an A.B. in Economics in 1984. She got her J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1987. While she was in Harvard Law School, Chua was the executive editor of the Harvard Law Review. After graduating, she became a clerk for the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit for Chief Judge Patricia M. Wald. She continued on to practice law with the Wall Street firm Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton. She worked
there as the corporate law associate for four years and managed international transactions throughout Asia, Europe, and Latin America. In 1994, she became a professor at the Duke University Faculty of Law. Chua moved her family to North Carolina afterward. She eventually joined the Yale Law School faculty in 2001 because her husband was teaching there as well. She is currently the John M. Duff, Jr. Professor of Law at Yale Law School. Chua's first book is World on Fire: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability (2003) which became a New York Times bestseller. It was also selected as one of the Best Books of 2003 in both The Economist and the U.K.'s Guardian. She maintained her success with her second book, Day of Empire: How Hyperpowers Rise to Global Dominance – and Why They Fall (2007). Her most recent book is Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother (2011). It is a memoir about her experience in raising her biracial daughters in two cultures as an Asian American parent. The book mentions about her being a tiger mother, which is a term used to describe Asian parents who have an authoritarian approach in child rearing. Amy Chua is currently teaching at Yale Law School. She specializes in the areas of contracts, law and development, international business transactions, and law and globalization. She has received Yale Law School's ―Best Teaching‖ award. She currently lives with her husband, Jed Rubenfeld, and her two daughters, Sophia and Louisa (―Lulu‖), in New Haven, Connecticut. Chua's husband is Jewish and has stated that their children can speak Chinese and have been raised Jewish. http://www.asianamericannation.com/amy-chua.html
The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers
Kennedy argues that the strength of a Great Power can be properly measured only relative to other powers, and he provides a straightforward and persuasively argued thesis: Great Power ascendancy (over the long term or in specific conflicts) correlates strongly to available resources and economic durability; military overstretch and a concomitant relative decline are the consistent threat facing powers whose ambitions and security requirements are greater than their resource base can provide for (summarized on pages 438–9). Throughout the book he reiterates his early statement (page 71): "Military and naval endeavors may not always have been the raison d'être of the new nations-states, but it certainly was their most expensive and pressing activity", and it remains such until the power's decline. He concludes that declining countries can experience greater difficulties in balancing their preferences for guns, butter and investments. Kennedy states his theory in the second paragraph of the introduction as follows. The "military conflict" referred to in the book's subtitle is therefore always examined in the context of "economic change." The triumph of any one Great Power in this period, or the collapse of another, has usually been the consequence of lengthy fighting by its armed forces; but it has also been the consequences of the more or less efficient utilization of the state's productive economic resources in wartime, and, further in the background, of the way in which that state's economy had been rising or falling, relative to the other leading nations, in the decades preceding the actual conflict. For that reason, how a Great Power's position steadily alters in peacetime is as important to this study as how it fights in wartime. Kennedy adds on the same page. The relative strengths of the leading nations in world affairs never remain constant, principally because of the uneven rate of growth among different societies and of the technological and organizational breakthroughs which bring a greater advantage to one society than to another. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Rise_and_Fall_of_the_Great_Powers
The idea that we can learn from history is one professional historians usually abjure. They leave it to politicians to pluck apparent analogies - Munich, Sarajevo - from the past, and consider it a point of honor to demonstrate how inappropriate they are. They let political scientists discern and explain regularities and patterns in the past, and hold happily aloof from the methodological controversies that invariably ensue. They distance themselves from the exceptional prophets, like Arnold Toynbee, who emerge from their own ranks. They prefer to emphasize the uniqueness of past events, the different value systems of past societies, the need to purge oneself from contemporary preoccupations before studying the past, and they claim no more than that history can give us a sense of balance and perspective, making us, in Jacob Burckhardt's words, ''not clever for next time, but wise forever.'' Paul Kennedy of Yale University has broken ranks with his colleagues. In a work of almost Toynbeean sweep he describes a pattern of past development that is not only directly relevant to our times but is clearly intended to be read by policy makers, particularly American policy makers. ''The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers'' is, as Mr. Kennedy states, a book that can be read on at least two levels. On the one hand it presents a clearly defined and closely reasoned thesis explaining the subject matter of the title why nations rise and fall, and why the process is still continuing. On the other, in order to provide the data for his thesis, Mr. Kennedy gives a clearly written and fairly uncontentious history of the rise and fall of Europe and its empires and the confrontation between the superpowers which had followed. He unashamedly endorses the view of the German historian Leopold von Ranke that history is fundamentally
about high politics, and that politicians will be better at their jobs if they understand the historical processes of which they form part. He expands his thesis in the introduction and epilogue. It can be easily summarized: The more states increase their power, the larger the proportion of their resources they devote to maintaining it. If too large a proportion of national resources is diverted to military purposes, this in the long run leads to a weakening of power. The capacity to sustain a conflict with a comparable state or coalition of states ultimately depends on economic strength; but states apparently at the zenith of their political power are usually already in a condition of comparative economic decline, and the United States is no exception to this rule. Power can be maintained only by a prudent balance between the creation of wealth and military expenditure, and great powers in decline almost always hasten their demise by shifting expenditure from the former to the latter. Spain, the Netherlands, France and Britain did exactly that. Now it is the turn of the Soviet Union and the United States. THE over-extension of American commitments and the baroque gigantism of the American defense budget have been a matter of such general concern over the last few years that Mr. Kennedy may be accused of the fault against which historians warn their pupils: seeing the past through the perspective of the present. It is none the less true that contemporary concerns often alert us to aspects of the past that previous historians have overlooked; and indeed it is this very accumulation of perspectives that keeps the past continuously alive. In the hands of a political pamphleteer seeking evidence to prove a case such an approach is a corruption of history, but when a scholar as careful and learned as Mr. Kennedy is prompted by contemporary issues to re-examine the great processes of the past, the result can only be an enhancement of our historical understanding and a fresh enlightenment of the problems of our own time. Further, when the study is written as simply and attractively as this work is, its publication may have a great and beneficent impact. It is to be hoped that Mr. Kennedy's will have one, at a potentially decisive moment in America's history. Mr. Kennedy clearly sets out his pattern of over-extension and decline. At the beginning of the 16th century, Spain, the first European great power, inherited vast commitments in Europe and overseas. In spite of the excellence of Spain's armed forces, defending those commitments involved expenditure on a scale that could not be met from Spain's own mismanaged resources (like the American people today, the Spanish possessing classes refused to tax themselves to pay for their empire) and had to be met by an ultimately lethal mixture of deficit budgeting and inflation. Spain's preponderance lasted as long as it did only because her principal adversary, France, mismanaged her resources even more badly. By the end of the 17th century, however, France had developed a system of bureaucratic and military management that enabled her to exploit her economic resources to such military effect that it required a coalition of all other European powers to prevent her establishing a permanant hegemony over the continent. Then France in her turn became overextended, her economy unable to support increasingly expensive regular armed forces, until her participation in the American Revolutionary War created the bankruptcy that led to the French Revolution. French wars in the 25 years following that were simply huge plundering expeditions that had to pay for themselves. France's major adversary was England, and England's strength lay not in her military but in her economic capabilities. A virtuous circle was built up throughout the 18th century; a powerful trading system engendered the credit necessary to pay for a navy that protected and extended that trading system and destroyed those of adversaries. Simultaneously England was able to build up the capital to finance the pioneering in industrial technology that was to give her a lead over her nearest rivals lasting more than half a century. It was this process, combined with skillful political management, that enabled Great Britain to emerge from the Napoleonic Wars as by far the most powerful country in the world - despite her minimal military contribution to the wars, at least to those on land. But by the end of the 19th century Britain had lost her economic lead, saw herself increasingly threatened, and was having to devote increasing resources to the navy on which her ascendancy rested.
These resources were drawn largely from the pockets of those, especially the landed classes, who were best able to afford it; but when British ascendancy was tested by the rising power of Germany in a prolonged war, it could be maintained only by a huge increase in both internal and external indebtedness and by the liquidation of substantial overseas assets. Only the support of the United States made possible the allied victory in World War I. Once that support was withdrawn, Britain found that she could not possibly pay for the control and protection of her extended imperial possessions. The decision taken in 1939 to increase defense expenditure to a size commensurate with her political responsibilities bankrupted her within 18 months. Britain's ascendancy had in fact been maintained not only by her economic power but by the political skill with which her elites had maintained domestic consensus at home and found necessary allies abroad. Mr. Kennedy's stress on political skill is important, since it keeps his thesis from being crudely determinist. It was the absence of shrewd political leadership that was so fatal to post-Bismarckian Germany. Bismarck and his contemporaries created a political structure that ena-bled the Germans economically and politically to dominate the continent. But it was a structure that from the outset failed to create consensus at home, and in the hands of Bismarck's maladroit successors it was perceived as a threat by all Germany's neighbors. An economic determinist writing in 1890 might have predicted that, given Germany's economic strength, her hegemony of Europe was inevitable and that she would emerge in the 20th century as a world power on the level of the United States. That she failed to achieve this manifest destiny but instead led the continent into two utterly destructive wars, can be attributed only to appalling political mismanagement. Germany's combination of economic strength and military effectiveness would have been enough, in World War I, to defeat her European adversaries, had she not deliberately provoked the hostility of the United States, a power against whose economic strength she had no hope of prevailing in a long struggle. Defeat in World War I still left Germany the strongest economic power on the European continent. But her crash rearmament program in the 1930's equipped her only for a series of ad hoc campaigns for which, like Napoleon before her, she made her defeated enemies pay. Not until 1942 did she begin seriously to mobilize her economic resources, and by then it was too late; she was now faced by two adversaries, the Soviet Union and the United States, whose strength far outclassed her own. There was nothing foreordained about the failure of Germany's bid for world power; her leaders simply failed to play the excellent cards history placed in her hands. That, also, provides a lesson for the present. The United States emerged as supreme from the two world wars as Britain had from the Napoleonic wars, her economy stimulated rather than debilitated by the conflict. That supremacy, like Britain's before, was temporary and relative, created by the eclipse of old competitors and the only gradual emergence of new ones. But while that supremacy lasted, the United States assumed a range of global commitments about which, in Mr. Kennedy's words, ''Louis XIV or Palmerston would have felt a little nervous.'' BY now, European, Soviet and Japanese recovery, together with the slower emergence of the People's Republic of China, has gradually reduced American ascendancy to that of primus inter pares at best; and, like other great powers in the past, in order to preserve her hegemonial status the United States has felt it necessary to allocate an increasing share of her resources to defense expenditure. Now she finds herself in the position of Spain and France before her. Unwilling to defray the costs of empire by an equitable system of domestic taxation, she has tried to pay for it by a combination of deficit financing and external indebtedness which in her case threatens the stability of the whole free-market system. And as was the case with Hapsburg Spain, she preserves her ascendancy only because the condition of her major adversary is even worse. Unlike Toynbee or Spengler, Mr. Kennedy does not conclude that the West is doomed to cyclical decay. Indeed at one level his whole work is a paean for the free-market competitive system which produced not only the armaments but the enterprise that the United States inherited in such abundant measure from a Europe that had used it to overwhelm more sluggish empires and conquer the world. What the United States needs, he concludes, is the wisdom to recognize its problem, the will to come to terms with it, and
the kind of political skills that in the past have enabled lesser powers to maximize their advantages and minimize their defects. He is not, it must be said, optimistic about the capacity of the American political system over the long term to engender such virtues in its leaders. The thought indeed obtrudes itself, in the aftermath of the Washington summit, that if the Soviet leadership were to prove better able to develop such qualities and operate more skillfully in an increasingly multipolar world, the outlook for the United States would be bleak. No amount of defense expenditure could then save it from the consequences of that unhappy isolation into which so many great powers have found themselves driven in the past and from which they have emerged, chastened and defeated, as second- or third-rank powers. There are lessons to be learned from the past at a profounder level than those of Munich or Sarajevo, and the American leadership would do well to heed them. NOT BY BATTLE ALONE As a doctoral candidate at Oxford University two decades ago, Paul Kennedy studied great-power strategy under one of Britain's most distinguished military scholars, Sir. Basil Liddell Hart. But he still felt that something was missing. 'It seemed to me that a large number of things couldn't be explained by what happened on the battlefield alone,'' Mr. Kennedy said in a telephone interview from Washington, where he was attending a conference. ''The importance of economics seemed to me to have been much undervalued by military and diplomatic historians.'' In his new book, ''The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers,'' Mr. Kennedy, who is the Dilworth Professor of History at Yale University, explores the connections between economic and military strength across 500 years of world history. His thesis carries him even beyond the boundaries of history itself, into what he admits is an 'experimental'' application of historical analysis to current events. ''What I was finding in my historical researches,'' he said, ''was that, by looking at various economic indices, you could detect the rise and fall of different powers in the system. When they started losing their economic competitiveness, there was an earnest debate about how to restore it -- how to make yoruself strong and productive as you were two or three decades earlier. There were distinct echoes of the arguments that were occuring in the United States in the late 1970's and 1980's. There were also distinct echoes in the political responses,'' he noted. ''There is a very characteristic rightwing, patriotic response which says we aren't really declining, we've just lost our will. Or that we have to get back to old standards, to reassert the virtues which made us great.'' '''Us'' could be either Edwardian Britain talking about Victorian Britain or the Spain of Olivares talking back to the Spain of Phililp II, or it could be Ronald Reagan's America, looking back nostalgicaly to the Eisenhower years. - Mark A. Uhlig http://www.nytimes.com/books/98/12/06/specials/kennedy-powers.html
Paul Kennedy, the J. Richardson Dilworth Professor of History, Director of International Security Studies at Yale, and Distinguished Fellow of the Brady-Johnson Program in Grand Strategy, coordinates the ISS programs funded by the Smith Richardson Foundation. He is internationally known for his writings and commentaries on global political, economic, and strategic issues. Born in June 1945 in the northern English town of Wallsend, Northumberland, he obtained his BA at Newcastle University and his DPhil at the University of Oxford. He is a former Fellow of the Institute for
Advanced Studies, Princeton University, and of the Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung, Bonn. He holds many honorary degrees, and is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, the American Philosophical Society, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was made Commander of the Order of the British Empire (C.B.E.) in 2000 for services to History and elected a Fellow of the British Academy in June 2003. He is on the editorial board of numerous scholarly journals and writes for The New York Times, The Atlantic, and many foreign-language newspapers and magazines. His monthly column on current global issues is distributed worldwide by the Los Angeles Times Syndicate/Tribune Media Services. He is the author or editor of nineteen books, including The Rise of the Anglo-German Antagonism, The War Plans of the Great Powers, The Realities Behind Diplomacy, and Preparing for the Twenty-First Century. His best-known work is The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers (Random House), which provoked an intense debate on its publication in 1988 and has been translated into over twenty languages. In 1991, he edited a collection entitled Grand Strategies in War and Peace. He helped draft the Ford Foundation-sponsored report issued in 1995, The United Nations in Its Second Half-Century, which was prepared for the fiftieth anniversary of the UN. His latest book, The Parliament of Man: The Past, Present and Future of the United Nations, was published in 2006 by Random House. http://www.yale.edu/history/faculty/kennedy.html
The Power of Gold
Over the centuries, gold had stirred the passions for power and glory, for beauty and security, and even for immortality. No other object has commanded so much veneration over such a long period of time. The most striking feature of this long history is that gold led most of the protagonists in the drama into the ditch. Gold had them, rather than the other way around. Power and passion begin with the magical, religious, and artistic qualities of gold. As the story progresses from primitive uses to the invention of coinage and the transformation of gold into money and the gold standard, gold speaks more loudly of power as it acquires increasing importance as money. Ultimately, the book confronts the future of gold, in a world where gold has been relegated to the periphery of global finance. Along the way, we meet Moses and Midas, Croesus and Crassus, Byzantine emperors and humble miners, unscrupulous moneyers and ransomed kings, Francisco Pizzaro and Benvenuto Cellini, Charlemange and Charles de Gaulle, Richard I and Richard Nixon, Asian monarchs and Arab potentates, Isaac Newton and Winston Churchill, David Ricardo and John Maynard Keynes, and the Forty-Niners and the speculators who pushed gold to $850 an ounce in 1980. It has been an icon for greed and an emblem of rectitude, as well as a vehicle for vanity and a badge of power that has shaped the destiny of humanity through the ages. In the end, this story is a morality tale. The pursuit of eternity will not be satisfied by gold, or by anything else we choose to rpelace gold. Gold as an end in itself is meaningless. Hoarding does not create wealth. Gold makes sense only as a means to an end; to beautify, to adorn, to exchange for what we want and need. http://www.amazon.com/The-Power-Gold-Peter-Bernstein/dp/0375416099
Bernstein (Against the Odds, 1996, etc.) returns with this engaging tale of golden dreams and grand delusions. After a brief but wry prologue (―we yearn for gold and yawn at steel‖) the author whisks us back to Biblical times and there begins his chronological tour of mines and mints, of alchemy and macroeconomics. People, he reveals, used gold for adornment long before they used it for money (the first gold coins were fashioned around 700 B.C.), and it was the legendary Croesus who transformed precious metals into ―the ultimate standards of wealth and money.‖ With a truly masterfu l grasp of economic history, Bernstein guides us through culture after culture, showing how the passion for gold both animated and destroyed. Among the most affecting sections is his account of Pizarro‘s destruction of the Inca. Bernstein offers, as well, the stories of Marco Polo and Kublai Khan (―Asia turned out to be a sponge for gold and silver‖); he rehearses the little-known career of Sir Isaac Newton as Warden of the Mint (and asserts that Newton‘s failed career reveals how ―[e]conomics is evidently a lot more difficult than physics‖). He re-tells the stories of the California and Klondike gold rushes (the latter, he claims, was ―relatively unimportant in the long history of gold‖). Most chilling are his repeated observations that adherence to the gold standard is part of the ―grand illusion of gold‖—that it is a serious error to fail to ―comprehend the difference between useless metal and real wealth.‖ The chapters dealing with modern and contemporary economic history are understandably more complicated and demanding. A mine of information for lovers of bezants, florins, dinars and ducats—and for those who wonder how a shiny metal came to decorate, then dominate, the world.
Peter L. Bernstein is president of Peter L. Bernstein, Inc., an investment consultant firm he founded in 1973, after managing individual and institutional portfolios. He is the author of nine books on economics and finance, including the bestselling "Capital Ideas: The Improbable Origins of Modern Wall Street," "Again the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk," and "The Power of Gold: The History of an Obsession." He has lectured widely throughout the U.S. and abroad, and has received the highest honors from his peers in the investment profession. http://www.thestreet.com/author/1112903/PeterBernstein/all.html
The Winner-Take-All Society
Disney chairman Michael Eisner topped the 1993 Business Week chart of America's highest-paid executives, his $203 million in earnings roughly 10,000 times that of the lowest paid Disney employee. During the last two decades, the top one percent of U.S. earners captured more than 40 percent of the country's total earnings growth, one of the largest shifts any society has endured without a revolution or military defeat. Robert H. Frank and Philip J. Cook argue that behind this shift lies the spread of "winnertake-all markets"—markets in which small differences in performance give rise to enormous differences in reward. Long familiar in sports and entertainment, this payoff pattern has increasingly permeated law, finance, fashion, publishing, and other fields. The result: in addition to the growing gap between rich and poor, we see important professions like teaching and engineering in aching need of more talent. This relentless emphasis on coming out on top—the best-selling book, the blockbuster film, the Super Bowl winner—has molded our discourse in ways that many find deeply troubling. http://us.penguingroup.com/nf/Book/BookDisplay/0,,9780140259957,00.html
An unsettling report from two economists on how new competitive forces are impacting Americans' social, business, and ethical lives. According to the Frank (Cornell Univ.; Passions Within Reason, 1988) and Cook (Duke Univ.), winner-take-all markets have two major characteristics: reward by relative rather than absolute performance and concentration of rewards in the hands of few top performers. In other words, these markets have rewarded winners disproportionately compared with runners-up, despite sometimes infinitesimal differences in outcomes (e.g., although Mary Lou Retton won her Olympic gold medal by only a slim margin, she went on to years of Wheaties endorsements, while the name of her rival is barely recalled). Although there are some benefits to these markets, they have widened the gulf between rich and poor, channeled citizens away from their natural talents and into less socially beneficial but potentially lucrative tasks, and even led to greater concentration of the best students into elite institutions. In recent years, winner-take-all imperatives have spread from professional sports and the performing arts to other sectors of the economy, including publishing, where the midlist book is being crowded out at the expense of the next blockbuster; law and investment banking, fields that lure flocks of college graduates looking for fast lucre; and even management. Frank and Cook ably explain the forces (e.g., global competition and technology) that have upped the competitive ante and raised the stakes so much that contestants will continually strive to maintain an advantage. To their credit, the authors urge changes in reward structures rather than direct regulations of career choices, though some of their proposals (e.g., loser paying in tort cases) might worsen the growing inequality that they cite as a result of winner- take-all markets. A thoughtful analysis of how today's haves and have-nots got this way. https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/robert-h-frank/the-winner-take-all-society/
Professor Frank is a monthly contributor to the "Economic Scene" column in The New York Times. Until 2001, he was the Goldwin Smith Professor of Economics, Ethics, and Public Policy in Cornell's College of Arts and Sciences. He has also served as a Peace Corps volunteer in rural Nepal, chief economist for the Civil Aeronautics Board, fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, and was professor of American Civilization at l'Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris. Frank's books include Choosing the Right Pond, Passions within Reason, Microeconomics and Behavior, Luxury Fever, and What Price the Moral High Ground? The Winner-Take-All Society, co-authored with Philip Cook, was named a Notable Book of the Year by The New York Times, and was included in BusinessWeek's list of the ten best books for 1995. Frank holds a BS in mathematics from the Georgia
Institute of Technology, an MA in statistics from UC Berkeley and a PhD in economics, also from UC Berkeley. http://www.johnson.cornell.edu/Faculty-And-Research/Profile.aspx?id=rhf3 Philip J. Cook is ITT/Sanford Professor of Public Policy and Professor of Economics and Sociology at Duke University. He served as director and chair of Duke‘s Sanford Institute of Public Policy from 1985 89, and again from 1997-99. Cook is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and an honorary Fellow in the American Society of Criminology. In 2001 he was elected to membership in the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. Cook joined the Duke faculty in 1973 after earning his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley. He has served as consultant to the U.S. Department of Justice (Criminal Division) and to the U.S. Department of Treasury (Enforcement Division). He has served in a variety of capacities with the National Academy of Sciences, including membership on expert panels dealing with alcohol-abuse prevention, violence, school shootings, underage drinking, and the deterrent effect of the death penalty. He serves as vice chair of the National Research Council‘s Committee on Law and Justice. Cook's primary focus at the moment is the economics of crime. He is co-director of the NBER Work Group on the Economics of Crime, and co-editor of a new NBER volume on crime prevention. Much of his recent research has dealt with the private role in crime prevention. He also has several projects under way in the area of truancy prevention. Over much of his career, one strand of Cook‘s research concerns the prevention of alcohol-related problems through restrictions on alcohol availability. An early article was the first to demonstrate persuasively that alcohol taxes have a direct effect on the death rate of heavy drinkers, and subsequent research demonstrated the moderate efficacy of minimum-purchase-age laws in preventing fatal crashes. Together with Michael J. Moore, he focused on the effects of beer taxes on youthful drinking and the consequences thereof, finding that more restrictive policies result in lower rates of abuse, higher college graduation rates and lower crime rates. His new book on the subject is Paying the Tab: The Costs and Benefits of Alcohol Control, (Princeton University Press, 2007). A second strand has concerned the costs and consequences of the widespread availability of guns, and what might be done about it. His book (with Jens Ludwig), Gun Violence: The Real Costs (Oxford University Press, 2000), develops and applies a framework for assessing costs that is grounded in economic theory and is quite at odds with the traditional ―Cost of Injury‖ framework. Ludwig and Cook are also the editors of Evaluating Gun Policy (Brookings Institution Press, 2003). Cook has also co-authored two other books: with Charles Clotfelter on state lotteries (Selling Hope: State Lotteries in America, Harvard University Press , 1989), and with Robert H. Frank on the causes and consequences of the growing inequality of earnings ( The Winner-Take-All Society, The Free Press, 1995). The Winner-Take-All Society was named a ―Notable Book of the Year, 1995‖ by the New York Times Book Review. http://fds.duke.edu/db/Sanford/cook
The Conservative Nanny State
Economist Dean Baker debunks the myth that conservatives favor the market over government intervention. In fact, conservatives rely on a range of ―nanny state‖ policies that ensure the rich get richer while leaving most Americans worse off. It‘s time for the rules to change. Sound economic policy should harness the market in ways that produce desirable social outcomes – decent wages, good jobs and affordable health care. http://deanbaker.net/index.php/home/books/the-conservative-nanny-state
Review by Thom Hartmann It would be difficult to exaggerate the importance of "The Conservative Nanny State" by Dean Baker, a macroeconomist with a PhD in economics from the University of Michigan and co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, DC. It's brilliant, encompassing some of the most important and relevant economic issues of our day. It's easy to read - at 108 pages and written with a comfortable average-guy style. It's shocking in that dozens of times - at least dozens - you'll slap your forehead and say out loud, "I never understood that!" or "I knew something like this was happening but never knew how they got away with it!!" or "Oh, my God, this is criminal what these rich cons are doing!!!." The table of contents gives you a good sense of what's included in The Conservative Nanny State: • Doctors and Dishwashers: How the Nanny State Creates Good Jobs for Those at the Top • The Workers are Getting Uppity: Call In the Fed! • The Secret of High CEO Pay and Other Mysteries of the Corporation • Bill Gates' Welfare Mom: How Government Patent and Copyright Monopolies Enrich the Rich and Distort the Economy • Mommy, Joey Owes Me Money: How Bankruptcy Laws Are Bailing Out the Rich • The Rigged Legal Deck: Torts and Takings (The Nanny State Only Gives) • Small Business Babies • Taxes: It's Not Your Money • Don't Make Big Business Compete Against Government Bureaucrats In the preface, Baker points out how language has been used by conservatives to turn our semantic world upside down: "The key flaw in the stance that most progressives have taken on economic issues is that they have accepted a framing whereby conservatives are assumed to support market outcomes, while progressives want to rely on the government. This framing leads progressives to futilely lash out against markets, rather than examining the factors that lead to undesirable market outcomes. The market is just a tool, and in fact a very useful one. It makes no more sense to lash out against markets than to lash out against the wheel. "The reality is that conservatives have been quite actively using the power of the government to shape market outcomes in ways that redistribute income upward. However, conservatives have been clever enough to not own up to their role in this process, pretending all along that everything is just the natural working of the market. And, progressives have been foolish enough to go along with this view."
In the introduction, Baker adds: "Political debates in the United States are routinely framed as a battle between conservatives who favor market outcomes, whatever they may be, against liberals who prefer government intervention to ensure that families have decent standards-of-living. This description of the two poles is inaccurate; both conservatives and liberals want government intervention. The difference between them is the goal of government intervention, and the fact that conservatives are smart enough to conceal their dependence on the government." While liberals want government to make things more fair, enhance democracy, and protect the commons, Baker shows how conservatives want to government to reset the rules of the games of business to favor the hyper-rich, reduce the possibility of democratic participation by We The People, and steal the commons for themselves. They cynically talk about "free markets" while working to make markets as unfree as possible. Examples include the limited liability corporation - a creation of government, not the market - and patent and copyright laws that have turned folks like Bill Gates and big drug company CEOs into what Baker refers to as "Welfare Moms." He lays out how conservatives have both historically and recently rigged bankruptcy laws to favor themselves and screw working people, and are working hard to eliminate any protections average folks may have left in either the markets or the courts against corporate malfeasance. One of the most interesting points Baker makes is how the truly rich and the hyper-rich have co-opted the merely-upper-middle-class to promote the worldview that supports their lifestyle and transfers wealth from workers to owners. Thus the "influencers" in society - from TV and radio personalities to college professors to syndicated columnists - find themselves in a situation where if they want to stay at the top of the bottom, they have to side with those at the top of the top and promote a mythology that does far more for Paris Hilton than for Joe Sixpack. "From 1980 to 2005 the economy grew by more than 120 percent. Productivity, the amount of goods and services produced in an average hour of work, rose by almost 70 percent. Yet the wage for a typical worker changed little over this period, after adjusting for inflation. Furthermore, workers had far less security at the end of this period than the beginning, as access to health insurance and pension coverage dwindled, and layoffs and downsizing became standard practices. In short, most workers saw few gains from a quarter century of economic growth. "But the last 25 years have not been bad news for everyone. Workers with college degrees, and especially workers with advanced degrees like doctors, lawyers, and accountants, have fared quite well over this period. These workers have experienced large gains in wages and living standards since 1980. The wage for a worker at the cutoff for the top 5 percent of wage-earners rose by more than 40 percent between 1980 and 2001. Those at the cutoff for the top 1.0 percent saw their wages increase by almost 75 percent over this period.1 The average doctor in the country now earns more than $180,000 a year.2 A minimum wage earner has to put in 2 days of work to pay for an hour of his doctor's time. (After adding in the overhead fees for operating the doctor's office, the minimum wage earner would have to work even longer.) "While doctors, lawyers, and accountants don't pull down the same money as corporate CEOs or the Bill Gates types, their success is hugely important in sustaining the conservative nanny state. If the only people doing well in the current economy were a tiny strata of super-rich corporate heads and high-tech entrepreneurs, there would be little political support for sustaining the system. Since the list of winners also includes the most educated segment of society, it creates a much more sustainable system. In addition to being a much broader segment of the population (5-10 percent as opposed to 0.5 percent), this group of highly educated workers includes the people who write news stories and editorial columns, teach college classes, and shape much of what passes for political debate in the country. The fact that these people benefit from the conservative nanny state vastly strengthens its hold." Walking the reader, step-by-illustrated-step through the primary economic fallacies of our time, Baker
concludes his book with this sterling call to action: In addition to being essential for the effective design of government policy, reframing the debate is also crucial for the prospects for political success. The basic point is very simple: if progressives argue their positions using a script written by conservatives, then we lose. If we argu e about ―free trade'agreements, which have as one of their primary purposes increasing patent and copyright protection, then we start with a huge disadvantage. Even worse, progressives will sometimes talk about restricting drug patents (as in requiring compulsory licensing for essential medicines) as a form of interference with the free market. The hearts of the nanny state conservatives must be filled with joy when they hear their own rhetoric spouted passionately from the mouths of their political opponents. "The nanny state conservatives have largely been running the political show in the United States over the last quarter century. This is due in part to the fact that the liberal/progressive opposition has been so incredibly confused in trying to lay out an alternative framework. At the moment, there is nothing on the table that passes the laugh test in either its policy coherence or political appeal. "In order to have any hope at succeeding, we will have to move beyond the political framing of the nanny state conservatives. Many people have become comfortable with the framing ―we like the government, they like the market,'but it is both wrong and politically ineffective. If liberals/progressives insist on adhering to this framework, then they guarantee themselves continuing failure in the national political debate. This framing would be fine if the point is to simply show up and be the perennial losers of national politics, but if the point is to actually change the world in a way that makes it better for the bulk of the population, then we must be prepared to move beyond the ideology of the conservative nanny state." http://www.thomhartmann.com/buzzflash/nanny-state
Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, is the author of The United States Since 1980" (Cambridge University Press); Social Security: The Phony Crisis (with Mark Weisbrot); "The Benefits of Full Employment" (with Jared Bernstein); "Getting Prices Right: The Battle Over the Consumer Price Index;" and "The Conservative Nanny State: How the Wealthy Use the Government to Stay Rich and Get Richer." He appears frequently on TV and radio programs, including CNN, CBS News, PBS NewsHour, and National Public Radio. His blog, Beat the Press, features commentary on economic reporting. He received his B.A. from Swarthmore College and his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Michigan. http://www.politico.com/arena/bio/dean_baker.html
Understanding Power: The Indespensable Chomsky
Noam Chomsky is universally accepted as one of the preeminent public intellectuals of the modern era. Over the past thirty years, broadly diverse audiences have gathered to attend his sold-out lectures. Now, in Understanding Power, Peter Mitchell and John Schoeffel have assembled the best of Chomsky's recent talks on the past, present, and future of the politics of power. In a series of enlightening and wideranging discussions, all published here for the first time, Chomsky radically reinterprets the events of the past three decades, covering topics from foreign policy during Vietnam to the decline of welfare under the Clinton administration. And as he elucidates the connection between America's imperialistic foreign policy and the decline of domestic social services, Chomsky also discerns the necessary steps to take toward social change. With an eye to political activism and the media's role in popular struggle, as well as U.S. foreign and domestic policy, Understanding Power offers a sweeping critique of the world around us and is definitive Chomsky. Characterized by Chomsky's accessible and informative style, this is the ideal book for those new to his work as well as for those who have been listening for years. http://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Power-The-Indispensable-Chomsky/dp/1565847032
Understanding Power is a collection of edited interviews, presentations and discussions that Noam Chomsky has had with activists and community groups over the ten year period from 1989-99. Put together in question and answer format and covering topics ranging from globalisation, activist strategies, and the media, Understanding Power is an accessible, even essential, read for all those concerned with how the very few use structures of power to maintain their grip on the majority of people across the globe. Chomsky has been the recipient of much gushing praise for his analysis of power structures and their corroding impact on the development of a truly democratic society. The New York Times describes him as "arguably the most important intellectual alive." Quite funny then that the NY Times has no less than 38 separate entries in the book's index, which cite examples of deliberate misreporting and convenient omissions, in its role of 'informing' the public. It is Chomsky's demystifying of deliberately intellectualised arguments, backed up with a serious amount of supporting facts and plain common sense that makes this collection important and readily digestible. Much of the discussions are based on the continuing oppression of many of the world's peoples. The historical context of old style imperialism, neoliberalism and the war industry are explored as is the media's increasingly important role in maintaining the status quo. American and European foreign policies are stripped to their hypocritical core in great detail. The left does not escape Chomsky's attention. He rejects the idea of an elitist Vanguard Party with the "capacity to lead the stupid masses towards some future they're too dumb to understand themselves...The same guys that were Stalinist thugs of the former Soviet Union are now running banks and are enthusiastic free marketeers, praising the US." Marxism as an applicable theory is dismissed. "We don't discuss Einsteinism or Planckism." They "had somethings to say, some right and absorbed into science, some wrong and later improved on...if you set up the idea of Marxism, youíve already abandoned rationality." He describes the form of libertarian socialism practised in Barcelona in the late 1930's as "about as high a level as human beings have reached in trying to reach libertarian principles, which In my view are the right ones" Repeatedly Chomsky returns to the need for organised resistance to all forms of undemocratic power, and provokes the reader to empower themselves to help "build a movement that is truly democratic, to provoke reform and ferment the opportunity for revolution." By highlighting the achievements made by the
sacrifice and collective work of many, against seemingly overwhelming odds this book may just get you to stop shouting at the TV, shift your ass and get organised. http://www.blackstarreview.com/rev-0154.html
Avram Noam Chomsky (born December 7, 1928) is the Institute Professor Emeritus of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Professor Chomsky is credited with the creation of the theory of generative grammar, often considered the most significant contribution to the field of theoretical linguistics of the 20th century. He also helped spark the cognitive revolution in psychology through the examination of BF Skinner's Verbal Behavior, which challenged the behaviorist approach to the study of mind and language dominant in the 1950s. His naturalistic approach to the study of language has also affected the philosophy of language and mind. He is also credited with the establishment of the so-called Chomsky hierarchy, a classification of formal languages in terms of their generative power. Ensuremmans with his linguistics, the work of Chomsky is also known for his political activism and for his criticism of the foreign policy of the United States and other governments. Chomsky describes himself as a libertarian socialist, a sympathizer of anarcho-syndicalism (he is a member of the IWW), often regarded as an important intellectual Figure at the left edge of American politics. In The Humanities Citation Index between 1980 and 1992 Chomsky was cited as a source more often than any living scholar, and the eighth most cited source overall.
The Better Angels of Our Nature
We‘ve all had the experience of reading about a bloody war or shocking crime and asking, ―What is the world coming to?‖ But we seldom ask, ―How bad was the world in the past?‖ In this startling new book, the bestselling cognitive scientist Steven Pinker shows that the world of the past was much worse. With the help of more than a hundred graphs and maps, Pinker presents some astonishing numbers. Tribal warfare was nine times as deadly as war and genocide in the 20th century. The murder rate of Medieval Europe was more than thirty times what it is today. Slavery, sadistic punishments, and frivolous executions were unexceptionable features of life for millennia, then suddenly were targeted for abolition. Wars between developed countries have vanished, and even in the developing world, wars kill a fraction of the people they did a few decades ago. Rape, battering, hate crimes, deadly riots, child abuse, cruelty to animals—all substantially down. How could this have happened, if human nature has not changed? What led people to stop sacrificing children, stabbing each other at the dinner table, or burning cats and disemboweling criminals as forms of popular entertainment? The key to explaining the decline of violence, Pinker argues, is to understand the inner demons that incline us toward violence (such as revenge, sadism, and tribalism) and the better angels that steer us away. Thanks to the spread of government, literacy, trade, and cosmopolitanism, we increasingly control our impulses, empathize with others, bargain rather than plunder, debunk toxic ideologies, and deploy our powers of reason to reduce the temptations of violence. With the panache and intellectual zeal that have made his earlier books international bestsellers and literary classics, Pinker will force you to rethink your deepest beliefs about progress, modernity, and human nature. This gripping book is sure to be among the most debated of the century so far.
When you heard that a gunman had slaughtered scores of Norwegian teenagers on a holiday island earlier this summer, did you think that here was another symptom of our sick and violent world? So did I, until I read Steven Pinker's brilliant, mind-altering book about the decline of violence. Pinker does not deny that individual human beings are capable of the most appalling acts of savagery. But the test of our propensity for violence is how the rest of us respond. Once it would have been basic human instinct to react to violence on this scale with more violence. But where were the reprisals, the mob rampages, the demands for the torture and killing of the perpetrator? Instead, the Norwegian people responded with remarkable compassion and restraint: love-bombing instead of real bombing. What happened in Norway this summer showed just how peace-loving we have become. Pinker thinks that most of what we believe about violence is wrong. To convince us he sets himself two tasks. First, to demonstrate that the past was a far nastier place than we might have imagined. Second, that the present is far nicer than we might have noticed. So to start with we get a litany of horrors from ancient and not-so-ancient history: a catalogue of the unspeakable things that human beings have traditionally been willing to do to each other. This is slightly overdone, since anyone who thinks that, say, medieval Europe was a friendly, peaceable place can't have thought about it very much. Still, it is hard not to be occasionally struck dumb by just how horrible people used to be. The image I can't get out of my head is of a hollow brass cow used for roasting people alive. Its mouth was left open so that their screams would sound like the cow was mooing, adding to the amusement of onlookers. The real fascination of this book is how we got from being a species that enjoyed the spectacle of roasting each other alive to one that believes child-killers have the same rights as everyone else. As Pinker shows, it is both a long story and a relatively recent one. The first thing that had to happen was the move from a nomadic, hunter-gatherer existence (where your chances of meeting a violent end could be as high as 50:50) to settled communities. The trouble was that early governments showed themselves at least as capable of cruelty as anyone else: most of the truly horrific instruments of torture Pinker
describes were designed and employed by servants of the state. As the 17th-century philosopher John Locke remarked of the escape from the state of nature to so-called civilisation: why run away from polecats only to be devoured by lions? So the next thing that had to happen was the state had to be properly civilised. This took place over the course of what we have come to call the enlightenment, thanks in part to philosophers such as Locke. In both private and public life – covering everything from table manners to bills of rights – the means were found to restrain our worst instincts. Slowly, painfully, but ultimately successfully torture was outlawed, slavery was abolished, democracy became established and people discovered that they could rely on the state to protect them. Yet the enlightenment has acquired something of a bad name. Why? The answer is simply put: the 20th century, surely the most appallingly violent of them all, scarred by total war, genocide and other mass killings on an almost unimaginable scale. All those table manners and bills of rights didn't prevent the Holocaust, did they? At the heart of this book is Pinker's careful, compelling account of why the 20th century does not invalidate his thesis that violence is in a long decline. He makes his case in three ways. First, with a multitude of tables and charts he shows that our view of the century is coloured by presentism: we think it's the worst simply because it's the most recent and we know more about it. If we had equivalent coverage of the whole of human history (how many books have been published about the second world war compared to, say, the Mongol conquests of the 13th century?) we would see that all of it has been scarred by mass slaughters, some of them proportionately even worse than the horrors of the past hundred years. Second, Pinker argues that the violence of the 20th century is best understood as a series of random spasms rather than part of a trend. The two world wars were essentially freak events, driven by contingency and in some cases lunacy: a bit like the killings on Utøya magnified a millionfold. They do not reflect the default condition of mankind. The evidence for this is the third part of Pinker's case: look at what has happened since 1945, as the world has become immeasurably more peaceful on almost every count. Of course, there have been horrors (Mao, Pol Pot) but no one can doubt that the arrow has been pointing away from the violence of the first half of the 20th century, not back towards more of it. Pinker calls the post-1945 period "the long peace". But the real surprise is what he calls "the short peace", which corresponds to the 20 years since the end of the cold war. I am one of those who like to believe that the idea of 1989 as some fundamental turning point in human history is absurd: the world is just as dangerous as it has always been. But Pinker shows that for most people in most ways it has become much less dangerous. There have not just been fewer wars, but in the wars there have been many fewer people have died. Terrorism is down, not up. All sorts of disadvantaged groups – women, children, ethnic minorities, even animals – are much less likely to be victims of violence across many parts of the world, and the trend is spreading. Part of the reason we fail to notice this picture is that it is so pervasive: we are more aware of violence simply because we have become so unused to it. At the outset Pinker calls the story he has to tell "maybe the most important thing that has ever happened in human history". That depends. If you told a medieval peasant that all the horsemen of the apocalypse that blighted his (and even more so her) life would be vanquished by the 21st century – famine and disease as well as war and violence – it might be the first two that seemed the real miracles (as well as being responsible for saving many more lives). Some peasants (though here perhaps more the hims than the hers) might also feel a little ambivalent about the decline of violence. Human aggression, unlike famine and disease, is not just some capricious act of God. It is part of who we are. Giving it up might leave even a victimised peasant feeling a little diminished. Pinker accepts we have not abolished violence in the way that we have abolished smallpox. In the final section of the book he moves from history to evolutionary psychology to show that human beings are always torn between their inner demons and their better angels. What decides us between them is not virtue or vice but strategic calculation. We resort to violence when violence seems the better bet. We resist it when it seems riskier than the alternative. That's why violence can be self-reinforcing – as in the
tit-for-tat world of the hunter-gatherers – but it's also why peace can be self-reinforcing – as in the lovebomb world we inhabit now. Pinker is adamant that we should not be complacent about the decline of violence: the inner demons are still there. But neither should we be fatalistic: as things stand, our better angels are a truer reflection of who we are. What might change that? As I was reading this book I was repeatedly reminded of two novels. One is Lord of the Flies, an earlier generation's definitive allegory of the violence lurking in us all. Pinker's book makes Golding's vision look dated: there is no state of nature bubbling away beneath the surface of civilised man, notwithstanding all the hysterical nonsense that has been uttered about the recent riots (which were, for riots, remarkably unviolent). The other novel is Cormac McCarthy's The Road, this generation's definitive allegory of how it could all go wrong. McCarthy pictures a world in which some random future spasm (perhaps an environmental catastrophe) leaves us all unhinged and lets the inner demons loose. Does our gradual move away from violence towards civility leave us better or worse equipped to deal with the next great calamity when it comes? No one can know, and Pinker does not pretend to provide an answer. But in the meantime, everyone should read this astonishing book. http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/sep/22/better-angels-steven-pinker-review
It is unusual for the subtitle of a book to undersell it, but Steven Pinker‘s ―Better Angels of Our Nature‖ tells us much more than why violence has declined. Pinker, a professor of psychology at Harvard who first became widely known as the author of ―The Language Instinct,‖ addresses some of the biggest questions we can ask: Are human beings essentially good or bad? Has the past century witnessed moral progress or a moral collapse? Do we have grounds for being optimistic about the future? If that sounds like a book you would want to read, wait, there‘s more. In 800 information-packed pages, Pinker also discusses a host of more specific issues. Here is a sample: What do we owe to the Enlightenment? Is there a link between the human rights movement and the campaign for animal rights? Why are homicide rates higher in the southerly states of this country than in northern ones? Are aggressive tendencies heritable? Could declines in violence in particular societies be attributed to genetic change among its members? How does a president‘s I.Q. correlate with the number of battle deaths in wars in which the United States is involved? Are we getting smarter? Is a smarter world a better world? In seeking answers to these questions Pinker draws on recent research in history, psychology, cognitive science, economics and sociology. Nor is he afraid to venture into deep philosophical waters, like the role of reason in ethics and whether, without appealing to religion, some ethical views can be grounded in reason and others cannot be. The central thesis of ―Better Angels‖ is that our era is less violent, less cruel and more peaceful than any previous period of human existence. The decline in violence holds for violence in the family, in neighborhoods, between tribes and between states. People living now are less likely to meet a violent death, or to suffer from violence or cruelty at the hands of others, than people living in any previous century. Pinker assumes that many of his readers will be skeptical of this claim, so he spends six substantial chapters documenting it. That may sound like a hard slog, but for anyone interested in understanding human nature, the material is engrossing, and when the going gets heavy, Pinker knows how to lighten it with ironic comments and a touch of humor. Pinker begins with studies of the causes of death in different eras and peoples. Some studies are based on skeletons found at archaeological sites; averaging their results suggests that 15 percent of prehistoric humans met a violent death at the hands of another person. Research into contemporary or recent hunter-gatherer societies yields a remarkably similarly average, while another cluster of studies of prestate societies that include some horticulture has an even higher rate of violent death. In contrast, among
state societies, the most violent appears to have been Aztec Mexico, in which 5 percent of people were killed by others. In Europe, even during the bloodiest periods — the 17th century and the first half of the 20th —- deaths in war were around 3 percent. The data vindicates Hobbes‘s basic insight, that without a state, life is likely to be ―nasty, brutish and short.‖ In contrast, a state monopoly on the legitimate use of force reduces violence and makes everyone living under that monopoly better off than they would otherwise have been. Pinker calls this the ―pacification process.‖ It‘s not only deaths in war, but murder, too, that is declining over the long term. Even those tribal peoples extolled by anthropologists as especially ―gentle,‖ like the Semai of Malaysia, the Kung of the Kalahari and the Central Arctic Inuit, turn out to have murder rates that are, relative to population, comparable to those of Detroit. In Europe, your chance of being murdered is now less than one-tenth, and in some countries only one-fiftieth, of what it would have been if you had lived 500 years ago. American rates, too, have fallen steeply over the past two or three centuries. Pinker sees this decline as part of the ―civilizing process,‖ a term he borrows from the sociologist Norbert Elias, who attributes it to the consolidation of the power of the state above feudal loyalties, and to the effect of the spread of commerce. (Consistent with this view, Pinker argues that at least part of the reason for the regional differences in American homicide rates is that people in the South are less likely to accept the state‘s monopoly on force. Instead, a tradition of self-help justice and a ―culture of honor‖ sanctions retaliation when one is insulted or mistreated. Statistics bear this out — the higher homicide rate in the South is due to quarrels that turn lethal, not to more killings during armed robberies — and experiments show that even today Southerners respond more strongly to insults than Northerners.) During the Enlightenment, in 17th-and 18th-century Europe and countries under European influence, another important change occurred. People began to look askance at forms of violence that had previously been taken for granted: slavery, torture, despotism, dueling and extreme forms of cruel punishment. Voices even began to be raised against cruelty to animals. Pinker refers to this as the ―humanitarian revolution.‖ Against the background of Europe‘s relatively peaceful period after 1815, the first half of the 20th century seems like a sharp drop into an unprecedented moral abyss. But in the 13th century, the brutal Mongol conquests caused the deaths of an estimated 40 million people — not so far from the 55 million who died in the Second World War — in a world with only one-seventh the population of the mid-20th century. The Mongols rounded up and massacred their victims in cold blood, just as the Nazis did, though they had only battle-axes instead of guns and gas chambers. A longer perspective enables us to see that the crimes of Hitler and Stalin were, sadly, less novel than we thought. Since 1945, we have seen a new phenomenon known as the ―long peace‖: for 66 years now, the great powers, and developed nations in general, have not fought wars against one another. More recently, since the end of the cold war, a broader ―new peace‖ appears to have taken hold. It is not, of course, an absolute peace, but there has been a decline in all kinds of organized conflicts, including civil wars, genocides, repression and terrorism. Pinker admits that followers of our news media will have particular difficulty in believing this, but as always, he produces statistics to back up his assertions. The final trend Pinker discusses is the ―rights revolution,‖ the revulsion against violence inflicted on ethnic minorities, women, children, homosexuals and animals that has developed over the past half-century. Pinker is not, of course, arguing that these movements have achieved their goals, but he reminds us how far we have come in a relatively short time from the days when lynchings were commonplace in the South; domestic violence was tolerated to such a degree that a 1950s ad could show a husband with his wife over his knees, spanking her for failing to buy the right brand of coffee; and Pinker, then a young research assistant working under the direction of a professor in an animal behavior lab, tortured a rat to death. (Pinker now considers this ―the worst thing I have ever done.‖ In 1975 it wasn‘t uncommon.) What caused these beneficial trends? That question poses a special challenge to an author who has consistently argued against the view that humans are blank slates on which culture and education draws
our character, good or evil. There has hardly been time for the changes to have a basis in genetic evolution. (Pinker considers this possibility, and dismisses it.) So don‘t the trends that Pinker chronicles prove that our nature is more the product of our culture than our biology? That way of putting it assumes a simplistic nature-nurture dichotomy. In books like ―How the Mind Works,‖ ―The Blank Slate‖ and ―The Stuff of Thought,‖ Pinker has argued that evolution shaped the basic design of our brain, and hence our cognitive and emotional faculties. This process has given us propensities to violence — our ―inner demons‖ as well as ―the better angels of our nature‖ (Abraham Lincoln‘s words) — that incline us to be peaceful and cooperative. Our material circumstances, along with cultural inputs, determine whether the demons or the angels have the upper hand. Other large-scale trends have paralleled the decline in violence and cruelty, but it is not easy to sort out cause and effect here. Are factors like better government, greater prosperity, health, education, trade and improvements in the status of women the cause or the effect of the decline in violence and cruelty? If we can find out, we may be able to preserve and extend the peaceful and better world in which we live. So in two chapters on human psychology, Pinker does his best to discover what has restrained our inner demons and unleashed our better angels, and then in a final chapter, draws his conclusions. Those conclusions are not always what one might expect. Yes, as already noted, the state monopoly on force is important, and the spread of commerce creates incentives for cooperation and against violent conflict. The empowerment of women does, Pinker argues, exercise a pacifying influence, and the world would be more peaceful if women were in charge. But he also thinks that the invention of printing, and the development of a cosmopolitan ―Republic of Letters‖ in the 17th and 18th centuries helped to spread ideas that led to the humanitarian revolution. That was pushed further in the 19th century by popular novels like ―Uncle Tom‘s Cabin‖ and ―Oliver Twist‖ that, by encouraging readers to put themselves in the position of someone very different from themselves, expanded the sphere of our moral concern. To readers familiar with the literature in evolutionary psychology and its tendency to denigrate the role reason plays in human behavior, the most striking aspect of Pinker‘s account is that the last of his ―better angels‖ is reason. Here he draws on a metaphor I used in my 1981 book ―The Expanding Circle.‖ To indicate that reason can take us to places that we might not expect to reach, I wrote of an ―escalator of reason‖ that can take us to a vantage point from which we see that our own interests are similar to, and from the point of view of the universe do not matter more than, the interests of others. Pinker quotes this passage, and then goes on to develop the argument much more thoroughly than I ever did. (Disclosure: Pinker wrote an endorsement for a recent reissue of ―The Expanding Circle.‖) Pinker‘s claim that reason is an important factor in the trends he has described relies in part on the ―Flynn effect‖ — the remarkable finding by the philosopher James Flynn that ever since I.Q. tests were first administered, the scores achieved by those taking the test have been rising. The average I.Q. is, by definition, 100; but to achieve that result, raw test scores have to be standardized. If the average teenager today could go back in time and take an I.Q. test from 1910, he or she would have an I.Q. of 130, which would be better than 98 percent of those taking the test then. Nor is it easy to attribute this rise to improved education, because the aspects of the tests on which scores have risen most do not require a good vocabulary or even mathematical ability, but instead test powers of abstract reasoning. One theory is that we have gotten better at I.Q. tests because we live in a more symbol-rich environment. Flynn himself thinks that the spread of the scientific mode of reasoning has played a role. Pinker argues that enhanced powers of reasoning give us the ability to detach ourselves from our immediate experience and from our personal or parochial perspective, and frame our ideas in more abstract, universal terms. This in turn leads to better moral commitments, including avoiding violence. It is just this kind of reasoning ability that has improved during the 20th century. He therefore suggests that the 20th century has seen a ―moral Flynn effect, in which an accelerating escalator of reason carried us away from impulses that lead to violence‖ and that this lies behind the long peace, the new peace, and the rights revolution. Among the wide range of evidence he produces in support of that argument is the tidbit that since 1946, there has been a negative correlation between an Am erican president‘s I.Q. and
the number of battle deaths in wars involving the United States. Reason also, Pinker suggests, moves us away from forms of morality more likely to lead to violence, and toward moral advances that, while not eschewing the use of force altogether, restrict it to the uses necessary to improve social welfare, like utilitarian reforms of the savage punishments given to criminals in earlier times. For reason does, Pinker holds, point to a particular kind of morality. We prefer life to death, and happiness to suffering, and we understand that we live in a world in which others can make a difference to whether we live well or die miserably. Therefore we will want to tell others that they should not hurt us, and in doing so we commit ourselves to the idea that we should not hurt them. (Pinker quotes a famous sentence from the 18th-century philosopher William Godwin: ―What magic is there in the pronoun ‗my‘ that should justify us in overturning the decisions of impartial truth?‖) That morali ty can be grounded in some commitment to treating others as we would like them to treat us is an ancient idea, expressed in the golden rule and in similar thoughts in the moral traditions of many other civilizations, but Pinker is surely right to say that the escalator of reason leads us to it. It is this kind of moral thinking, Pinker points out, that helps us escape traps like the Cuban missile crisis, which, if the fate of the world had been in the hands of leaders under the sway of a different kind of morality — one dominated by ideas of honor and the importance of not backing down — might have been the end of the human story. Fortunately Kennedy and Khrushchev understood the trap they were in and did what was necessary to avoid disaster. ―The Better Angels of Our Nature‖ is a supremely important book. To have command of so much research, spread across so many different fields, is a masterly achievement. Pinker convincingly demonstrates that there has been a dramatic decline in violence, and he is persuasive about the causes of that decline. But what of the future? Our improved understanding of violence, of which Pinker‘s book is an example, can be a valuable tool to maintain peace and reduce crime, but other factors are in play. Pinker is an optimist, but he knows that there is no guarantee that the trends he has documented will continue. Faced with suggestions that the present relatively peaceful period is going to be blown apart by a ―clash of civilizations‖ with Islam, by nuclear terrorism, by war with Iran or wars resulting from climate change, he gives reasons for thinking that we have a good chance of avoiding such conflicts, but no more than a good chance. If he had been able to see, before his book went to press, a study published in Nature as recently as August of this year, he might have been less sanguine about maintaining peace despite widespread climate change. Solomon Hsiang and colleagues at Columbia University used data from the past half-century to show that in tropical regions, the risk of a new civil conflict doubles during El Niño years (when temperatures are hotter than usual and there is less rainfall). If that finding is correct, then a warming world could mean the end of the relatively peaceful era in which we are now living.
Steven Pinker is Peter de Florez Professor of Psychology in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a MacVicar Faculty Fellow. He is one of the world′s leading experts on language and the mind. His research on visual cognition and on the psychology of language has received the Troland Award from the National Academy of Sciences and two prizes from the American Psychological Association. He has also received five awards for his popular science books The Language Instinct and How the Mind Works, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His most recent book, The Blank Slate, explores the idea of human nature and its moral, emotional and political colorings. He is an associate editor of Cognition and serves on many professional panels, including the Scientific Advisory Panel of a NOVA television series on evolution. Pinker also writes frequently in The New York Times, Time, Slate and The New Yorker. A native of Montreal, he has served for one year each on the faculties of Harvard and Stanford universities before moving to MIT in 1982. He earned his bachelor′s and his Ph.D. in psychology at Harvard University. http://www.milkeninstitute.org/events/events.taf?function=show&cat=allconf&EventID=GC03&SPID=905& level1=speakers&level2=bio
The Empathetic Civilization
In this sweeping new interpretation of the history of civilization, bestselling author Jeremy Rifkin looks at the evolution of empathy and the profound ways that it has shaped our journey — and will likely determine our fate as a species. The Empathic Civilization examines the radical new view of human nature that is emerging in the biological and cognitive sciences, and creating controversy in intellectual circles, the business community, and government. Recent discoveries in brain science and child development are forcing us to rethink the long-held belief that human beings are, by nature, aggressive, materialistic, utilitarian, and self-interested. The dawning realization that we are a fundamentally empathic species has profound and far-reaching consequences for society. Building on these new understandings of human nature, Rifkin takes us on a never-before-told journey. He chronicles the dramatic story of the development of human empathy from the rise of the first great theological civilizations to the ideological age that dominated the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and the psychological era that characterized much of the twentieth century. Viewing economic history from an empathic lens, Rifkin uncovers rich strands of the human narrative that lay previously hidden. The result is a new social tapestry — The Empathic Civilization — woven from a wide range of fields including literature and the arts, theology, philosophy, anthropology, sociology, political science, psychology, and communication theory. The author argues that at the very core of the human story is the paradoxical relationship between empathy and entropy. He observes that at various times in history new energy regimes have converged with new communication revolutions, creating ever more complex societies. More technologically advanced cultures, in turn, have brought together more diverse people, heightened empathic sensitivity, and expanded human consciousness. But these increasingly complicated milieus require extensive energy use and speed us toward resource depletion. The irony is that our growing empathic awareness has been made possible by an ever-greater consumption of the Earth‘s energy and other resources, resulting in a dramatic deterioration of the health of the planet. We now face the bittersweet prospect, says Rifkin, of approaching global empathy in a highly energyintensive, interconnected world, riding on the back of an escalating entropy that now threatens catastrophic climate change and our very existence. Resolving the empathy/entropy paradox, according to Rifkin, is the critical test of our species‘ ability to survive and flourish on Earth in the future. This will necessitate a fundamental rethinking of our economic and social models. Rifkin describes the emergence of a new economic system — the Third Industrial Revolution — that is ushering in an era of ―distributed capitalism‖ and the beginning of biosphere consciousness. We are on the cusp, he contends, of an epic shift into a ―climax‖ global economy and a fundamental repositioning of human life on the planet. The author challenges us to think about what may be the most important question facing humanity: can we reach global empathy in time to avoid the collapse of civilization and save the Earth?
Whoever hacked into the emails at the University of East Anglia fired the opening salvo in a new kind of dirty war. The Copenhagen conference met on the basis that dealing with global warming was in everyone's interest. The idea that nearly 200 countries could reach meaningful decisions was always unreal, but the meeting's collapse reflected a more fundamental reality. Environmentalists have always assumed that the threat of disaster will bring about an era of global cooperation. In reality, climate change is triggering another round of geopolitical conflict. Limiting the use of fossil fuels may be essential if disaster is to be avoided, but countries that in different ways rely heavily on these fuels for their prosperity – such as Russia and Saudi Arabia, China and the US – were never going to accept the strict carbon curbs that the EU and others demanded. How much the leaked emails contributed to the breakdown of the summit is unclear, but the effect has been to let those countries, along with the rest of the world, off the hook. The undermining effect on climate science looks like being long-lasting and profound. "Climategate" was an exercise in postmodern cyber-warfare – a move in a larger conflict that environmentalists show little sign of understanding. In The Empathic Civilization, Jeremy Rifkin suggests that the whole of history is a struggle between the polar forces of empathy and entropy. "There is, I believe, a grand paradox to human history. At the heart of the human saga is a catch-22 – a contradiction of extraordinary significance – that has accompanied our species, if not from the very beginning, then at least from the time our ancestors began their slow metamorphosis from archaic to civilised beings thousands of years before Christ." The catch-22 is that, as civilisation has extended the reach of empathy beyond the family and the tribe until it covers all of humankind, the expanding infrastructure of industry and transport has needed ever larger inputs of energy, increasing entropy and wrecking the planet. Moving from hunting and gathering to farming, and then to industrial production, enabled humans to interact with one another as never before, but this increasing interconnection involved depleting the planet, a process that is reaching a climax just as civilisation is becoming planet-wide for the first time. "Our rush to universal empathic connectivity," Rifkin writes, "is running up against a rapidly accelerating entropic juggernaut in the form of climate change and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction." How can this deadly collision be averted? The answer appears to be straightforward: by developing "biosphere consciousness". "Only by concerted action that establishes a collective sense of affiliation with the entire biosphere will we have a chance to ensure our future." In other words, a transformation of consciousness can save humanity from self-destruction. It is hardly a new story. How often have we heard environmentalists exclaim that the alternatives facing the world are radical transformation or total catastrophe? The trouble is that their analysis of the environmental crisis is extremely shallow. Climate change is not mainly the work of sinister corporate interests and weak-kneed or corrupt politicians. It is a direct result of the energy-intensive civilisation in which the affluent part of humankind lives, and which the rest very much wants to join. While humans are more interdependent than ever before, they are at the same time destabilising the planet. Reining in corporate interests and chivvying politicians to be greener do nothing to resolve this fundamental contradiction. Where Rifkin departs from the standard green line is in grasping that all of humanity is caught in a trap, but he seems convinced that, provided human empathy continues to expand, the trap can be sprung
without too much difficulty. Rifkin's difficulties start with the claim – in itself quite plausible – that the environmental crisis is a catch-22. Joseph Heller's darkly brilliant satire derives its power from the insight that there are dilemmas from which there is no escape: if you are sane enough to ask to be declared unfit to fly on dangerous missions, then you are fit to fly. The essence of any catch-22 is that there is no way out, but Rifkin shrinks from this cruel logic, with the result that his argument verges on incoherence. How could human empathy possibly defeat the force of entropy, an irreversible physical process? Does Rifkin believe an increase in altruism can lead to the repeal of the second law of thermodynamics? His practical proposals for dealing with the climate crisis are disappointingly conventional – massive investment in renewable energy and the like – and, in line with standard green thinking, he never explains how a human population of 7 billion, rising to 9 or 10 billion over the next 50 years, can be supported by a mixture of solar panels and hydrogen-powered fuel cells. Stewart Brand's recent Whole Earth Discipline, which argues that coping with environmental breakdown will necessitate making the most of demonised technologies such as nuclear energy and GM food, is more realistic as well as more visionary. Most of The Empathic Civilization is not in fact concerned with the practical task of coping with the mess humans have made of the planet. Instead it is devoted to defending Rifkin's view that humans are essentially empathic animals, whose benign qualities have not been fully manifested throughout most of their history. "Wanton widespread violence has not been the norm in human history," Rifkin writes, looking back wistfully on the "tranquil agricultural life that existed for thousands of years" before the "megamachine" of property and government disrupted humankind's natural innocence. One need not be a hardened cynic to find this Rousseauesque tale implausible. Humans may be more moved by empathy than is sometimes allowed, but empathy for the feelings of others is not only expressed in compassion. It is equally the basis of cruelty, a trait that is also distinctively human. For all its inordinate length, The Empathic Civilization fails to substantiate its central thesis. The innate sociability of human beings is a fact, but it does not follow that they are likely to cooperate in dealing with environmental crisis. The impact of climate change is rather to intensify human conflict. As global warming accelerates, natural resources such as arable land and water become scarcer, and competition to control them will be acute and pervasive. At the same time, those whose power and wealth come from fossil fuels will do anything they can to promote "climate scepticism". This is where the leaked emails come in. With global warming fuelling a resurgence of geopolitical tensions, climate science has become a weapon in a war of disinformation. Whatever lapses in intellectual probity they might reveal, the messages are being used to obscure a mass of evidence showing that anthropogenic climate change is real, and may be occurring more rapidly than previously believed. It is still possible to frame an intelligent response to the threat, but first we need to recognise that the climate has become a battleground. Empathy won't save us. http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/mar/13/empathetic-civilization-jeremy-rifkin-climate
Jeremy Rifkin is the author of 'The Third Industrial Revolution' and 'The Empathic Civilization: The Race to Global Consciousness in a World in Crisis'. Mr. Rifkin has been an advisor to the European Union since 2002. In that capacity, he is the principle architect of the Third Industrial Revolution long-term economic sustainability plan to address the triple challenge of the global economic crisis, energy security, and climate change. The Third Industrial Revolution was formally endorsed by the European Parliament in 2007 and is now being implemented by various agencies within the European Commission as well as in the 27 member-states. Mr. Rifkin is also the founder and chairperson of the Third Industrial Revolution Global CEO Business
Roundtable, comprised of 100 of the world‘s leading renewable energy companies, construction companies, architectural firms, real estate companies, IT companies, power and utility companies, and transport and logistics companies. Mr. Rifkin‘s global economic development team is the largest of its kind in the world and is working with cities, regions, and national governments to develop master plans to transition their economies into post- carbon Third Industrial Revolution infrastructures. Mr. Rifkin is a senior lecturer at the Wharton School‘s Executive Education Program at the University of Pennsylvania—the world‘s #1 ranked business school—where he instructs CEOs and senior management on transitioning their business operations into sustainable Third Industrial Revolution economies. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeremy-rifkin
The Idea of Justice
Social justice: an ideal, forever beyond our grasp; or one of many practical possibilities? More than a matter of intellectual discourse, the idea of justice plays a real role in how —and how well—people live. And in this book the distinguished scholar Amartya Sen offers a powerful critique of the theory of social justice that, in its grip on social and political thinking, has long left practical realities far behind. The transcendental theory of justice, the subject of Sen‘s analysis, flourished in the Enli ghtenment and has proponents among some of the most distinguished philosophers of our day; it is concerned with identifying perfectly just social arrangements, defining the nature of the perfectly just society. The approach Sen favors, on the other hand, focuses on the comparative judgments of what is ―more‖ or ―less‖ just, and on the comparative merits of the different societies that actually emerge from certain institutions and social interactions. At the heart of Sen‘s argument is a respect for reasoned differences in our understanding of what a ―just society‖ really is. People of different persuasions—for example, utilitarians, economic egalitarians, labor right theorists, no--nonsense libertarians—might each reasonably see a clear and straightforward resolution to questions of justice; and yet, these clear and straightforward resolutions would be completely different. In light of this, Sen argues for a comparative perspective on justice that can guide us in the choice between alternatives that we inevitably face. http://www.amazon.com/The-Idea-Justice-Amartya-Sen/dp/0674036131
Take three kids and a flute. Anne says the flute should be given to her because she is the only one who knows how to play it. Bob says the flute should be handed to him as he is so poor he has no toys to play with. Carla says the flute is hers because it is the fruit of her own labour. How do we decide between these three legitimate claims? There are no institutional arrangements that can help us resolve this dispute in a universally accepted just manner. Conceptions of what constitutes a "just society", argues the Nobel Prize-winning economist and philosopher Amartya Sen in this majestic book, will not help us decide who should have the flute. A onedimensional notion of reason is not much help either, for it does not provide us with a feasible method of arriving at a choice. What really enables us to resolve the dispute between the three children is the value we attach to the pursuit of human fulfilment, removal of poverty, and the entitlement to enjoy the products of one's own labour. Who gets the flute depends on your philosophy of justice. Bob, the poorest, will have the immediate support of the economic egalitarian. The libertarian would opt for Carla. The utilitarian hedonist will bicker a bit but will eventually settle for Anne because she will get the maximum pleasure, as she can actually play the instrument. While all three decisions are based on rational arguments and correct within their own perspective, they lead to totally different resolutions. Thus justice is not a monolithic ideal but a pluralistic notion with many dimensions. Yet Western philosophers have seen justice largely in singular, utopian terms. Hobbes, Locke and Kant, for example, wove their notions of justice around an imaginary "social contract" between the citizens and the state. A "just society" is produced through perfectly just state institutions and social arrangements and the right behaviour of the citizens.
Sen identifies two serious problems with this "arrangement focussed" approach. First, there is no reasoned agreement on the nature of a "just society". Second, how would we actually recognise a "just society" if we saw one? Without some framework of comparison it is not possible to identify the ideal we need to pursue. Furthermore, this approach is of no help in resolving basic issues of injustice. How would you reason, for example, that slavery was an intolerable injustice in a framework that concerned itself with right institutions and right behaviour? How would we ensure that well-established and cheaply producible drugs were available to the poor patients of Aids in developing countries? When faced with stark injustice, the contractual approach turns out to be both redundant and unfeasible. Much of Sen's criticism is directed towards the liberal philosopher John Rawls, whose 1971 book, A Theory of Justice, has acquired the status of a classic. Sen's gentle and polite deconstruction of Rawls shows him to be rather shallow and irrelevant. Rawls's approach, based on specific institutions that firmly anchor society, demand a single, explicit resolution to the principle of justice. Stalin had similar ideas. Rawls is not just authoritarian but also elitist and Eurocentric. Just as Mill had excluded "the backward nations", women and children from his Essay on Liberty, Rawls openly acknowledges that the world's poor have no place in his theory of justice. Indeed, the very "idea of global justice" is dismissed by Rawls and his cohorts as totally irrelevant. Moreover, the kind of "reasonable person" needed to produce a just society is found only in democratic, Western societies. Given the limitations of Rawls's theory of justice, why has he been turned into a demi-god? Sen does not tackle this question. But a viable answer is provided by the classical Muslim philosopher al-Razi, who declared that "the acquisition of knowledge and the practice of justice" go hand in hand. Justice acquires meaning and relevance, al-Razi argued, within socially conscious epistemologies. The opposite is equally true. Theories of justice that exclude, by definition, the poor or issues of global injustices only perpetuate injustice. The main function of Rawls's theory of justice, it seems, is to maintain the status quo, where injustice is not just simply a part of the system, but the system itself. That's exactly why he is force-fed to students of social sciences. Sen's alternative is a realisation-focused approach to justice which concentrates on the real behaviour of people and its actual outcomes. Taking a cue from "social choice theory", he wants us to focus on removing injustices on which we can all rationally agree. There is nothing we can do about people dying of starvation beyond anyone's control. But we can choose to do something about injustices that emerge from a conscious "design of those wanting to bring about that outcome". I see two problems with this. The "we" who choose must include those who consciously perpetuate injustice in the first place – ruthless corporations, hedge-fund managers and the like. Moreover, design need not be conscious. It can, for example, be unconsciously intrinsic in the theory itself. Indeed, theory does sometimes serve as an instrument of injustice. Think of free-market capitalism, along with its theoretical underpinnings, including the mathematical modelling of sub-prime derivatives, where huge profits for the few are produced from the misery of others. To do something about the injustices perpetuated by the dominant model of economy, we need to tackle the tyranny of the discipline of economics itself. Reading The Idea of Justice is like attending a master class in practical reasoning. You can't help noticing you are engaging with a great, deeply pluralistic, mind. There were times, however, when I felt a bit unfulfilled. For example, we are temptingly informed that classical Sanskrit has two words for justice: niti, organisational propriety and behavioural correctness; and nyaya, which stands for realised justice. In the Indian context, the role of the institutions, rules and organisations have to be assessed in the broader and more inclusive perspective of the world as it actually emerges. We are also told of Mughal Emperor
Akbar's idea that justice should be based on rational endeavour. But this is not elaborated. I also wanted to see some comparatively material on Islamic, Chinese and Latin American ideas on justice. But these quibbles apart, this is a monumental work. "When people across the world agitate to get more global justice", Sen writes, "they are not clamouring for some kind of 'minimal humanitarianism"'. They are sensible enough to know that a "perfectly just" world is a utopian dream. All they want is "the elimination of some outrageously unjust arrangement to enhance global justice". http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/reviews/book-of-the-week-the-idea-of-justice-byamartya-sen-1774900.html
Humans are often misled by abstract nouns of their own making, and sometimes the bamboozlement can last centuries or more. Because one can say the word "justice", one might conclude that a singular thing or essence called "justice" actually exists. And so one could spend a life trying to figure out what this abstract animal called "justice" really is, and fail to pay much attention to problems of justice in the world. The eminent professor and Nobel laureate Amartya Sen has chosen for his deeply interesting synthesis of political philosophy, economics and "social choice theory" a title that might at first appear rather bland, but it is holding two opposing ideas in a kind of dynamic stasis. Half the implication is indeed that it is possible to spend too much time on justice-as-a-mere-idea. But the other half is an insistence that justicethe-idea could be re-engineered to work better as a basis for "practical reasoning", such that it might improve the world. For Schopenhauer, injustice was the analytically primary term: justice was merely the absence of injustice. (There seems to be a primordial sense of injustice: animal researchers have observed chimpanzees and capuchin monkeys showing a keen sense of when treats are distributedly unfairly.) Schopenhauer does not make an appearance in this book, but Sen's approach is arguably Schopenhauerian to this extent: "[A] theory of justice that can serve as the basis of practical reasoning," he writes, "must include ways of judging how to reduce injustice and advance justice, rather than aiming only at the characterisation of perfectly just societies." This might seem obvious to some. Aid workers, lawyers, or humanitarian NGOs might understandably have little time for perfectionist justice-talk as they go about their business. Sen argues that philosophy could help, were it not that too much talk of justice in modern political philosophy has, by contrast, been concerned with interrogating an otherworldly ideal of the perfectly just society constructed ab ovo. His main target in this tradition is John Rawls, who published his monumental A Theory of Justice in 1975. Sen calls Rawls's method "transcendental institutionism", in contrast to his own "comparative" approach. By "comparative", Sen means first that we can compare the justice of two different situations, X and Y, without needing a perfect theory of justice, and we can also make good use of partial rankings: if X is better than Y and Z, we can choose X without waiting to know which of Y or Z is better. Secondly, the term "comparative" acknowledges that different reasonable principles of justice exist, which Sen illustrates with a beautiful parable. Suppose three children are quarrelling over a flute. Anna says she is the only one who can play the flute, so obviously we should give it to her. But then Bob says that he is the only child who has no toys at all, so surely he ought at least to have a flute to play with? Suddenly the question does not look so easy. And finally Carla points out that she spent months actually making the flute. So who should get it? For Sen, any theory of justice must begin in recognition of such clashing principles. The contrast between "transcendental" and "comparative" theories is just one of the clarifying and useful distinctions that Sen goes on to draw, in a long argument that can at times seem slow-moving, and perhaps generously repetitive, but is also enlivened with many asides of twinkling humour. Thinkers of all political hues agree that justice means equality of some kind – the question is: equality of what? Sen's preferred answer appears to be equality of freedom: though he warns, near the end of the book, of the
quixotic nature of any attempt to translate all possible values into one commensurable measure, he does do this to some extent himself: "sustainable development" becomes "sustainable freedom", and a defence of the idea of human rights near the end of the book essentially translates rights into freedoms too. Sen is exquisitely civilised in his disagreements with other thinkers, even while he is elegantly trashing whole schools of economic and social thought. He dismisses reliance on GDP as a measure of "the enhancement of inanimate objects of convenience"; and notes that the use of income as a comparative measure of wellbeing is flawed because there are differences in the rates at which people can convert wealth into other things. (This latter point is an example of his insistence that justice-thinking must take account of the lives people can actually lead, rather than the static bureaucratic situations in which they are placed.) Refreshingly, his terms of reference are not limited to western politics: he borrows an illuminating distinction from classical Indian thought, and demolishes the prejudice that democracy, if understood broadly as government by public reasoning, is an exclusively western tradition. The very inclusiveness and generosity of Sen's thinking might invite criticism on the basis that his "capacious theory" is indeed so capacious, so concerned to be "open" rather than "closed", that there is nothing that could not, with a little tweaking, fit in it. The less a theory excludes, the more work is left up to the post-theoretical "practical reasoning". But Sen provides enough brilliant examples of such reasoning (with regard to famine, disability, disease and so on) that this comes to seem, on balance, a virtue. A second, tougher criticism might point to the apparent assumption throughout that the argument is essentially taking place between well-meaning liberals. He writes: "To argue that we do not really owe anything to others who are not in our neighbourhood, even though it would be very virtuous if we were to be kind and charitable to them, would make the limits of our obligations very narrow indeed." For Sen, that appears to suffice as a dismissal, on the grounds of implausibility, of such a view; yet it appears to be the principle behind Republican efforts to stymie universal healthcare in the US, or Conservative hopes to offload more social provision on to charities. Perhaps, then, Sen's magisterial summation of his thought suffers from an excess of niceness; but this is surely preferable to its opposite. There is something quietly inspiring about his final chapter on the increasing reach and quality of "global reasoning", via institutions and less formal methods, which for him already constitute a kind of global democracy in embryo, and he ends on a delicately pitched note of calm optimism: "The general pursuit of justice might be hard to eradicate in human society." We can hope so.
Noble-prize winning economist Amartya Sen is regarded as one of the world's foremost thinkers in the field of famine, poverty, social choice and welfare economics. His ground-breaking work has not only been academically influential, but has also had a profound impact on the formation of development policy worldwide. Born in 1933 in Santiniketan, India, he was given his christian name by Rabindranath Tagore, India's first ever Nobel laureate and a close family friend. He was educated at Presidency College, Calcutta, and then at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he earned a BA in 1956, and a PhD in 1959. He has since held positions at universities around the world, including Calcutta, Delhi, Oxford, Berkley, Harvard and the London School of Economics. In 1997 he returned to Cambridge as Master of Trinity College, a post he held until 2004. As a young man Sen was deeply affected by the violence that followed the 1947 partition of India - and in particular the effect that violence had on the poorest members of society - and, also, by the great Bengal famine of 1943 in which almost three million people died.
These two catastrophes proved the catalyst for a lifetime's interest in, and study of the economics of poverty and famine. He has published numerous highly influential books and articles, including the seminal "Poverty and Famines: An Essay on Entitlement and Deprivation" (1981) in which he proposed the radical - and now widely accepted - theory that famine occurs not because of a lack of food, but rather because of inequalities built into the mechanisms of distributing food. In recognition of his work he was awarded the 1998 Nobel Prize for Economics, the first welfare economist to be thus honored. He has since used some of the prize money to establish the Pratichi Trust to promote primary education in India. He has been married three times, and is currently Professor of Economics and Philosophy at Harvard University. http://www.principalvoices.com/voices/amartya-sen-bio.html
The Power of Ethical Management
Ethics in business is the most urgent problem facing America today. Now two of the best-selling authors of our time, Kenneth Blanchard and Norman Vincent Peale, join forces to meet this crisis head-on in this vitally important new book. The Power of Ethical Management proves you don't have to cheat to win. It shows today's managers how to bring integrity back to the workplace. It gives hard-hitting, practical, ethical strategies that build profits, productivity, and long-term success. From a straightforward three-step Ethics Check that helps you evaluate any action or decision, to the "Five P's" of ethical behavior that will clarify your purpose and your goals, The Power of Ethical Management gives you an immensely useful set of tools. These can be put to work right away to enhance the performance of your business and to enrich the quality of your life. The Power of Ethical Management is no theoretical treatise; Peale and Blanchard speak from their own enormous and unique experience, They reveal the nuts and bolts, practical strategies for ethical decisions that will show you why integrity pays. http://www.amazon.com/Power-Ethical-Management-Norman-Peale/dp/0688070620
Managers and business owners are increasingly facing decisions that have ethical implications. There is a struggle to make the "right" decisions at the same time as making decisions to improve productivity and profitability. The right decision and the profitable one are not always the same. More and more often, we are all faced with dealing with people who live from a different set of standards than we do. This is not only in business, either. It happens everywhere - people who want to get ahead at any cost; people who are willing to cheat others for their own gain; people who lie. The list goes on. However, you can choose to live your life in integrity regardless of the actions of others. You can choose to set a new standard and become a model for other people. Kenneth Blanchard and Norman Vincent Peale wrote a book titled, The Power of Ethical Management, in 1988. It is a powerful lesson on choices managers can make to change how they work with people. Managers and business owners are making decisions every minute of every day. Usually those decisions impact at least one other person AND often the decisions present an ethical dilemma. According to Blanchard and Peale, there are 3 questions to ask yourself when making decisions if you want to know you're making an ethical decision: 1. Is it legal? Will you be violating a law or company policy? 2. Is it balanced? Is it fair to every one involved both short-term and long-term? Does it promote win/win relationships? 3. How will it make you feel about yourself? Would you feel good if your decision were published in the newspaper? Would you want your family to know about it? They have also defined 5 principles of ethical power for individuals: purpose, pride, patience, persistence
and perspective. This book is a must read for managers and business owners and any body who wants to be more impactive and stay in alignment with their own values. Business ethics is considered to be an oxymoron by most people. You have it in your power to change that perspective by becoming a model of the principles of ethical management. One person can make a difference. That one person could be YOU! http://wakeupandlive.us/Ethical_Management.htm
Ken Blanchard is one of the most influential management experts of the past century. Among his many awards are Amazon.com's hall of fame for being one their 25 best-selling authors of all-time, The HRD hall of fame from Training magazine and the Golden-Gavel award from Toastmasters International. His books have sold over 18 million copies worldwide and spawned a set of Ken Blanchard videos by the same names including Whale Done, Gung Ho, The Bob Knowlton Story and Leadership and the One Minute Manager. Ken Blanchard's teachings are full of compassion, sincerity and wisdom. He is a master-storyteller and his videos are at once riveting and information packed. The lessons on leadership Ken imparts the wisdom - catch people doing some right. Focus on the positive, rather than the negative. Ken was born and raised in the New York area and received his masters from Colgate University and his PHD from Cornell.
Best known for his book The Power of Positive Thinking, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale became a pioneer in the self-improvement industry, helping millions to believe in themselves and achieve success and happiness by harnessing the power of positive thinking coupled with positive action. His bestselling book, The Power of Positive Thinking, is one of the top selling books of the twentieth century. Norman Vincent Peale was born on May 31st, 1898 in Bowersville, OH. In addition to being senior minister of the Marble Collegiate Church in New York City, he was also a prominent author, lecturer, columnist, radio and TV commentator, and editor and co-publisher (with his wife) of "Guideposts" magazine. His sermons were delivered weekly to over 4,000 people and mailed to an additional 500,000 people worldwide. Dr. Peale was the recipient of many awards throughout his long and illustrious career, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom. His philosophy and books are based largely on his pioneering work with the Religio-Psychiatric Clinic of the American Foundation of Religion and Psychiatry, of which he was president. He was married to his wife, Ruth, for more than 60 years. They had three children. Norman Vincent Peale died on Christmas Eve, 1993 at the age of 95. Dr. Peale tackled the day to day problems that are relevant for everyone, then presented dynamic formulas for working through and dealing with those problems by changing our thinking process and tapping into our faith. One of the most widely read inspirational authors of all time, he has helped millions of people to develop increased quality of life and happiness. http://www.mindperk.com/PealeBio.htm
Leading With Kindness
A new definition of "kindness" for business leaders who want to accomplish true organizational greatness. By now, many leaders have realized that when it comes to business, nice guys often finish first. Oldfashioned images of corporate callousness and greed have been replaced by a gentler, more human conception of great leadership. But how does one define "kindness" in the context of business? And what is the best way to "use" this deceptively complex notion as a guiding principle to lead an organization successfully into the future? Far from presenting a naive idea of kindness, this eye-opening book identifies the surprising attributes successful "kind" leaders share. Readers will learn how they can use kindness to:- motivate employees, committee members, and others- recognize unique talents while nurturing all employees- establish a supportive environment- spur continuous organizational growthadapt to change- stimulate calculated "stretch" and risk-taking- prepare the next generation of leaders. This realistic book shows leaders how they can use sincerity, honesty, and respect for the good of their organizations. http://books.google.ca/books/about/Leading_With_Kindness.html?id=d66J6gnavS4C&redir_esc=y
By William Baker, PhD In business, we hate bullies but we also lionize them. Just think of Donald Trump's The Apprentice, which has grown into an international franchise. Nobody wants to work for so-called "bully bosses," but a lot of us secretly believe they are the most effective managers. Yet the latest research in management and even in biology shows that bullies fail as leaders in the long run, and, contrary to popular belief, nice guys finish first. Back when I was getting my PhD in the 1960s, industrial psychology was still evolving away from grim ideas like Skinner's box, which sought to apply ratinthe- maze-style behaviorism to the workplace. It was the dawn of Gestalt, which argued that people and organizations were best viewed as more than the sum of their parts. These new theories confirmed my intuition, and later my experiences as a manager in the media business, where I was responsible for motivating creative people to produce radio and television shows. As president of Westinghouse Television (now CBS), I was in charge of several thousand employees. There, and later as president of the nation's premiere PBS station, I learned how to rally people around principles, not just profits. At every turn in my long career, I found that being open, kind and respectful with the people who worked for me never failed to be the silver bullet of successful management, even in the toughest situations. Especially in the toughest situations. In 2008, I partnered with Michael O'Malley, PhD (WRC '78; GRS '78, psychology), a business book author, former editor at Yale University Press and current business-and human resources consultant. We wrote Leading with Kindness, which showed through research and highprofile, real-world examples that kind leadership was most effective. The book also was adapted into a PBS show of the same name, which featured interviews with managers at Google, Pitney Bowes and the Juilliard School, among others. It is tough to encapsulate kind leadership, but here is a paragraph from the book that comes close: "The purpose isn't to protect or shelter employees from hard decisions, troublesome issues or setbacks but to inspire trial, perseverance and personal growth.
pockets of levity and fun, the real mission of a true leader is to build a whole, fully functioning person who takes responsibility for his or her actions and values the welfare of the entire group. Kind leadership, then, isn't for the faint hearted who shun conflict or bury bad news in order to preserve a swell of fellow feeling. It isn't for those who mistake camaraderie for productive community action. Kindness makes others stronger; paternalism weakens. Kindness builds a reservoir of resilience and self-confidence, enabling people to think big and to believe in what they are capable of accomplishing." After Leading with Kindness came out, it seemed like our ideas were on the verge of getting into the drinking water. Then the global economy melted down, and people got scared. Some managers panicked and grew harsher, and employees, it seems, were willing to take the abuse just to keep their jobs. But things are changing. Kind management is popping up everywhere, from the press (see "Nice Guys Finish First," by David Brooks, The New York Times) to business schools (see "Teamwork Can Outdo Brilliance," by Bill Taylor, Harvard Business Review). The latest philosophical thinking (see The Honor Code, by Princeton philosopher Kwami Appiah) and the latest in neuroscience (see Born to be Good, by Dacher Keltner) confirm the core principles of kind leadership. Before glassdoor.com comes out with another list of the meanest bosses (they also do one for the nicest), it is time for managers everywhere to realize that, to get America moving in the 21st century economy, we need to let go of ideas that don't work anymore. Putting open, honest and kind relationships on top of the agenda for America's work force is a great start. William Baker, Phd (ADL '66; GRS '68, '72, communication sciences) is president emeritus of WNET, PBS New York Flagship stations, distinguished professor of media and entertainment at the IESE Business School in Barcelona, Spain, and university professor at the Graduate School of Education at Fordham University in New York. http://www.case.edu/think/voice/kindness.html
William Franklin Baker (born September 20, 1942) is an American television executive and media personality. He is Executive in Residence at Columbia University School of Business, Journalist in Residence at Fordham University and the Claudio Aquaviva Chair at the Graduate School of Education, and President Emeritus of Educational Broadcasting Corporation, parent company of WNET-TV (Channel Thirteen) and WLIW-TV (Channel 21), where he served for 20 years as Chief Executive Officer. He has been called an icon of public television for producing some of the industry‘s most respected and popular [ ] programs, citation needed including Charlie Rose, Bill Moyers Journal, Nature, Cyberchase, and Great Performances. In 2008, he was appointed as a senior research fellow at the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations at Harvard University. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_F._Baker_(television) Michael O‘Malley, Ph.D., is a social psychologist and management consultant who has coached some of the world‘s largest companies. He is currently the executive editor for business, economics, and law at Yale University Press and an adjunct professor at Columbia Business School. He has been an avid beekeeper since 2002. He lives in New Haven, Connecticut. http://thewisdomofbees.com/author/biography
PART 3 TRENDS AND PERSPECTIVES
One Market Under God
At no other moment in American history have the values of business and the corporation been more nakedly and arrogantly in the ascendant. In One Market Under God, social critic Thomas Frank examines the morphing of the language of American democracy into the cant and jargon of the marketplace. Combining popular intellectual history with a survey of recent business culture, Frank traces an idea he calls "market populism"-the notion that markets are, in some transcendent way, identifiable with democracy and the will of the people. The belief that any criticism of things as they are is elitist can be seen in management literature, where downsizing and ceaseless, chaotic change are celebrated as victories for democracy; in advertising, where an endless array of brands seek to position themselves as symbols of authenticity and rebellion; on Wall Street, where the stock market is identified as the domain of the small investor and common man; in newspaper publishing, where the vogue for focus-group-guided "civic journalism" is eroding journalistic independence and initiative; and in the right-wing politics of the 1990s and the popular social theories of George Gilder, Lester Thurow, and Thomas Friedman. Frank's counterattack against the onslaught of market propaganda is mounted with the weapons of common sense, a genius for useful ridicule, and the older American values of economic justice and political democracy. Lucid and intellectually probing, One Market Under God is tinged with anger, betrayal, and a certain hope for the future. http://www.powells.com/biblio/17-9780385495035-0
There is something heroic, these days, about starting a little magazine. It suggests a reckless faith that amid all the conglomerate babble and virtual chat, you might still find an audience simply through the strength of ideas and the rhythm of writing. Thomas Frank began editing The Baffler, a close-typed, self-funding, somewhat infrequent quarterly in 1988, from his home in Chicago. The magazine, which looked a little like something Tom Paine might have thumbed through by guttering candlelight, was the least fashionable of all possible things in America: a sustained, highly literate critique of the home-grown success story that was the New Economy, and the attendant nonsenses of the 'consumer revolution'. Frank's take on market-led efficiencies was in some ways enshrined in his notes of guidance to potential contributors: 'No poetry... no faxes or emails... be prepared, in some cases, not to receive a response for months.' Still, in the dozen years since he began, he has honed his arguments about the state of the corporate soul to the extent that he is now expertly prepared to take on multinational all comers (along with the militia wing of their communications departments). This book is, as a result, both a dazzling manifesto for the ragtag anticapitalist movement and an unassailable counterpoint to the smugness of the prevailing share-option élite. By casting the recent past into quasi-historical terms, Frank examines the forces that have shaped our technological economy. He imagines a future generation looking back on the Nineties as the decade in which, for a handful of silver, Americans - and much of the rest of the developed world - destroyed 'the middle-class republic that [their] ancestors spent decades building... millions found themselves trapped in casual jobs with no benefits, but our shares did OK. A good education for our kids ascended out of our reach, but our position in Cisco paid off; our neighbourhoods collapsed and our industries decamped... we frittered away what
little workplace power we had managed to achieve. Convinced that the internet "changed everything", we signed away some of our most basic rights as citizens.' Along the way, he skewers, with a seductive mixture of wit and polemic, in particular the 'bullshit on wheels' of the management industry - based on 'anecdotes that prove nothing, of patently wrong syllogisms, of meaningless diagrams and homemade master narratives' - and the absurdist hypocrisy of the new, 'cool' plutocrats: 'chatting with the guys in the band and working on their poetry in Starbucks... abjuring stodgy ties and suits for 24/7 casual' while all the time building and protecting personal wealth on a previously unimaginable scale. This is a voice - informed, angry, egalitarian - that has not often been heard in 'the American conversation' - as Tina Brown has it - for a couple of decades (20 years in which 10 per cent of the American population have come to own 70 per cent of the wealth, in which free market philosophy has assumed the trappings of fundamentalist religion, and in which executive compensation has grown, on average, to a staggering 475 times the amount paid to employees). Frank is tormented by the implications of such figures. Unlike many commentators on the e-revolution, he refuses to be seduced into 'starstruck wonderment' at these sweater-wearing, hamburger-munching masters of the universe and the 'high quality of sex and luxuries they enjoy'. He holds a pin up to the Nasdaq bubble; he questions the received wisdom that all Americans can live lives 'pursuing percentage'; and his close reading of the history we have been sold reveals the precise, insidious ways in which unions became branded conservative and regressive forces, and the 'credential-hungry' executive class on their MBA programmes a force for progression. The triumph of this book is that it achieves all of this without ever straying beyond concrete example into fanciful polemic. Frank listens to the lies told in the name of branding at an ad planners' convention on Madison Avenue (braving the tattooed and goateed and pierced 'agents of change' in a flannel suit and sensible shoes); and he commits himself to the unenviable task of practical crit-ing the self-help 'wisdom' of business school philosophers, purveyors of the CEO's new clothes. Mired, as a result, in the tortured euphemisms - 'delayering' and 'outsourcing', 're-engineering' and 'disintermediating' - of 'change management', he holds the following truth to be self-evident: 'That the singlemost important point one needs to know to understand corporate thought in the Nineties [was that] top managers were enriched in proportion to the amount of power and security that workers lost.' As Tom Peters might have said, Thomas Frank steps outside the box in order to push the envelope into a cocked hat. http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2001/feb/04/society.politics
Thomas Frank was born in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1965, and lived with his family in the suburbs of that city for eighteen years. He graduated from Shawnee Mission East High School in Prairie Village, Kansas, in 1983. He went to the University of Kansas for one year, before transferring to the University of Virginia in 1984, graduating from the latter in 1987. The next year, he and some of his undergraduate friends launched THE BAFFLER magazine, a journal of cultural criticism, which he edits to this day. In 1988 Frank began studying American history at the University of Chicago, from which he received a PhD in 1994. His dissertation later became THE CONQUEST OF COOL (University of Chicago Press, 1997), a book about the infatuation of certain branches of industry with counterculture in the 1960s. Frank has contributed to publications like HARPER'S magazine, THE NATION, IN THESE TIMES, THE CHICAGO READER, and LE MONDE DIPLOMATIQUE. He wrote about strikes in Illinois and Michigan, the alarming power of what he called the "culture trust," the many corporate uses of the imagery of rebellion, and the rise of a new breed of hipster businessman. Interest in this last subject led him to write ONE MARKET UNDER GOD, a study of an idea that he called "market populism" — the notion that free
markets do the will of the people — and its various manifestations among politicians, on Wall Street, in management theory, and elsewhere in American life. Frank has also edited two anthologies of essays from THE BAFFLER: COMMODIFY YOUR DISSENT (coedited with Matt Weiland) and BOOB JUBILEE (coedited with David Mulcahey). The title of the latter refers to the "New Economy" madness of the 1990s. http://www.pbs.org/now/politics/frank.html
Hot, Flat, and Crowded
Thomas L. Friedman‘s phenomenal number-one bestseller The World Is Flat has helped millions of readers to see the world in a new way. In his brilliant, essential new book, Friedman takes a fresh and provocative look at two of the biggest challenges we face today: America‘s surprising los s of focus and national purpose since 9/11; and the global environmental crisis, which is affecting everything from food to fuel to forests. In this groundbreaking account of where we stand now, he shows us how the solutions to these two big problems are linked–how we can restore the world and revive America at the same time. Friedman explains how global warming, rapidly growing populations, and the astonishing expansion of the world‘s middle class through globalization have produced a planet that is ―hot, flat, and crowded.‖ Already the earth is being affected in ways that threaten to make it dangerously unstable. In just a few years, it will be too late to fix things–unless the United States steps up now and takes the lead in a worldwide effort to replace our wasteful, inefficient energy practices with a strategy for clean energy, energy efficiency, and conservation that Friedman calls Code Green. This is a great challenge, Friedman explains, but also a great opportunity, and one that America cannot afford to miss. Not only is American leadership the key to the healing of the earth; it is also our best strategy for the renewal of America. In vivid, entertaining chapters, Friedman makes it clear that the green revolution we need is like no revolution the world has seen. It will be the biggest innovation project in American history; it will be hard, not easy; and it will change everything from what you put into your car to what you see on your electric bill. But the payoff for America will be more than just cleaner air. It will inspire Americans to something we haven‘t seen in a long time–nation-building in America–by summoning the intelligence, creativity, boldness, and concern for the common good that are our nation‘s greatest natural resources. Hot, Flat, and Crowded is classic Thomas L. Friedman: fearless, incisive, forward-looking, and rich in surprising common sense about the challenge–and the promise–of the future. http://thewaterbrothers.ca/archives/1464
Like it or not, we need Tom Friedman. The peripatetic columnist has made himself a major interpreter of the confusing world we inhabit. He travels to the farthest reaches, interviews everyone from peasants to chief executives and expresses big ideas in clear and memorable prose. While pettifogging academics (a select few of whom he favors) complain that his catchy phrases and anecdotes sometimes obscure deeper analysis, by and large Friedman gets the big issues right. Almost a decade ago, in The Lexus and the Olive Tree, he celebrated the arrival of "globalization." Three years ago, in The World is Flat, he warned that borders, oceans and distance no longer protect us from the information revolution that is leveling the global economic playing field and relocating our jobs. Now he updates and expands this diagnosis by showing how population growth, climate change and the expansion of the world's middle class are producing a planet that is "hot, flat, and crowded." Unchecked, these trends will produce dangerous instability; but Friedman remains guardedly optimistic that we can stave off this nightmare, particularly if the United States changes its wasteful energy habits. In this important book, Friedman says we can survive, even prosper, by going green.
Of course, rousing a full-bellied nation, groggy from decades of energy overconsumption, is no small task. As the current election debate reminds us, the United States has proven inept at developing a serious energy strategy. Our approach, says one expert quoted by Friedman, is "the sum of all lobbies"; we have energy politics rather than energy policy. In the aftermath of 9/11, George W. Bush ignored calls by Friedman and others for a "USA Patriot Tax" of $1 per gallon on gasoline. Instead, the president offered tax cuts and urged us to shop. Rather than stimulating the economy to move toward fuel-efficient vehicles and renewable energy, we became more dependent on China to finance our deficit and Saudi Arabia to fill our gas tanks. Americans wound up paying even more for gas in 2008, but we enabled OPEC to be the tax collector instead of using the revenues ourselves. Friedman calls this a "No Mullah Left Behind" policy and quotes former CIA director Jim Woolsey: "We are funding the rope for the hanging of ourselves." Friedman believes we need to become "green hawks," turning conservation and cleaner energy into a winning strategy in many different arenas, including the military. ("Nothing," he writes, "will make you a believer in distributed solar power faster than having responsibility for trucking fuel across Iraq.") We should stop defining our current era as "post-Cold War," he says, and see it as an "Energy-Climate Era" marked by five major problems: growing demand for scarcer supplies, massive transfer of wealth to petrodictators, disruptive climate change, poor have-nots falling behind, and an accelerating loss of biodiversity. A green strategy is not simply about generating electric power, it is a new way of generating national power. Incremental change will not be enough. The three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning writer for the New York Times scoffs at the kind of magazine articles that list "205 Easy Ways to Save the Earth." In the 1990s, global carbon dioxide emissions rose 1.1 percent annually, and many nations (not including the United States) signed the Kyoto Protocol to try to curb those emissions. But from 2000 to 2006, growth in CO2emissions tripled to 3 percent per year. Friedman cites an estimate by Royal Dutch Shell that it typically takes 25 years for a new form of energy to capture 1 percent of the world market. Shell predicts that if we do things right, renewable energy will provide 30 percent of global needs by 2050, but fossil fuels will still provide 55 percent. Friedman says we need to do better than that. "Carbon neutral" is not ambitious enough; companies and institutions should seek a "carbon advantage" over rivals. This will require innovations in clean energy; greater energy efficiency (including the use of information technology to create smart grids and smart buildings); and a new ethic of conservation. Friedman argues that rather than costing too much, such initiatives can create investment opportunities, new jobs and global leadership for the U.S. economy. Here one wishes he had provided more evidence from some of the pettifogging academic economists. Friedman is skeptical of treaties, and he argues that "a truly green America would be more valuable than fifty Kyoto Protocols. Emulation is always more effective than compulsion." He makes a good case that "outgreening" other countries would contribute to America's soft power as well as our hard power. "We are still the city on the hill for many Chinese," he notes, "even though they hate what we've done at times at the top of the hill." But the problem of China could overshadow what we do at home. In 2007, China surpassed the United States as the world's leading emitter of carbon dioxide. Chinese argue that on a per capita basis each of their citizens is responsible for only one-fifth the emissions of an American, and that developing countries should not have to cut back until they reach rich countries' CO2levels. This is a formula for global disaster. As Friedman says, "Mother Nature isn't into fair. All she knows is hard science and raw math." China uses coal, a particularly CO2-intensive fuel, for 70 percent of its commercial energy supply, while coal accounts for a third of America's total energy. China builds more than one new coal-fired power plant each week. Coal is cheap and widely available in China, which is important as the country scrambles for energy resources to keep its many energy-intensive industries running. But Friedman does not deal with the issue of cleaner coal in China, and no amount of renewable energy in America will solve the problem. At the rate China is growing, a Chinese switch to renewables will come too late.
What can the United States do about this security threat? The bombs, bullets and embargos of traditional security policy are irrelevant. A 2007 report from the International Energy Agency urged a cooperative approach to helping China and India become more energy efficient. In other words, to promote our own security, the United States and other rich countries may have to forge a partnership with China, India and others to develop a full range of creative ideas, technologies and policies to prevent dangerous climate change. This requires a reframing of what we think of as national security and a more inclusive strategy than we have had in the past. If we finally move in that direction, Friedman will deserve some of the credit. ·
Thomas L. Friedman won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, his third Pulitzer for The New York Times. He became the paper‘s foreign-affairs Op-Ed columnist in 1995. Previously, he served as chief economic correspondent in the Washington bureau and before that he was the chief White House correspondent. In 2005, Mr. Friedman was elected as a member of the Pulitzer Prize Board. Mr. Friedman joined The Times in 1981 and was appointed Beirut bureau chief in 1982. In 1984 Mr. Friedman was transferred from Beirut to Jerusalem, where he served as Israel bureau chief until 1988. Mr. Friedman was awarded the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for international reporting (from Lebanon) and the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for international reporting (from Israel).
Mr. Friedman is the author of ―From Beirut to Jerusalem,‖ which won both the National Book Award and the Overseas Press Club Award in 1989. ―The Lexus and the Olive Tree‖ was the winner of the 2000 Overseas Press Club Award for best non-fiction book on foreign policy. His 2002 book ―Longitudes and Attitudes: Exploring the World After September 11‖ consists of columns he published about the attacks. ―The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century,‖ issued in April 2005 and updated in 2006 and 2007, received the inaugural Goldman Sachs/Financial Times Business Book of the Year Award. ―Hot, Flat, and Crowded‖ was published in 2008, and a paperback edition was issued a year later. His sixth and most recent book, ―That Used to Be Us: How American Fell Behind in the World We Invented and How We Can Come Back,‖ co-written with Michael Mandelbaum, was released in September 2011. Born in Minneapolis on July 20, 1953, Mr. Friedman received a B.A. degree in Mediterranean studies from Brandeis University in 1975. In 1978 he received a Master of Philosophy degree in Modern Middle East studies from Oxford. Mr. Friedman is married and has two daughters. http://topics.nytimes.com/top/opinion/editorialsandoped/oped/columnists/thomaslfriedman/index.html
No one has benefited more from the political changes of the 1990s than international organized crime. Within the space of just three or four years, the world's great crime syndicates have joined in a planet-wide criminal consortium unlike any in history. A Pax Mafiosa has emerged— an agreement to avoid conflict, devise common strategy, and exploit the planet peaceably together—linking the American and Sicilian mafias, Russian organized crime, the Chinese Triads, the Japanese Yakuza, and Colombia's cocaine cartels. It threatens the liberty, security, and political integrity of the U.S., Europe, and all free societies. For these giants of the underworld, the creation of the European Community in Western Europe and the collapse of the Soviet Empire in the east have erased borders and made the commerce of crime easier than ever. In Thieves' World, outstanding international investigative reporter Claire Sterling traces the stunning advance of this global criminal enterprise since 1990: the proliferation of its criminal interests and growth of its investment capital to a quarter of a trillion dollars, its deepening penetration of worldwide money markets, its spreading powers of blackmail and corruption, and its alarming colonization of Western Europe and America. Above all, Claire Sterling describes the great shift of worldwide criminal attention to eastern Europe and Russia, showing how a country covering a sixth of the earth's land mass has been taken captive by the mafias of the world in partnership with Russian criminals, looting the nation systematically, crippling its economic capacity, contaminating its body politic, and suffocating its political will—all at enormous peril to the West.
For a brief shining moment in recent history, when the Berlin Wall was tumbling and the Evil Empire was crumbling, some people actually wondered aloud what it would be like to live in a world without bad guys: What will John Le Carre and Tom Clancy write about now that they don't have the KGB to kick around anymore? No problem, Claire Sterling seems to say in "Thieves' World": We've got plenty of bogymen to worry about. Indeed, she raises the alarm about "a borderless criminal underground" that amounts to nothing less than "a worldwide emergency," a vast conspiracy of crime that ranges from old-fashioned drug dealing and money laundering to more exotic scams such as trafficking in contraband caviar and stolen plutonium. "Organized crime was transformed when the Soviet Empire crashed," Sterling writes. "As the old geopolitical frontiers fell away, the big crime syndicates drew together, put an end to wars over turf, and declared a \o7 pax mafiosa\f7 ." Sterling's beat, so to speak, has been the threat of international terrorism, a threat that is still very much with us. But now she stakes out a new and even scarier turf--the all-pervasive, all-threatening world of organized crime.
"We have . . . to realize," she writes, "that the Mafia and its confederates are the ultimate terrorists of our time." "Thieves' World" is raw material for at least two or three Clancy or Le Carre novels. Sterling exposes what she regards as a spider's web of criminal linkages between Russia and the criminal world--"the Colombian cartels, the Sicilian Mafia, the Chinese Triads, and the Japanese Yakuza," all of which poured into Russia and Eastern Europe even as the red flag was being struck and a brave new world was opening up. What's truly new about the crime wave, Sterling insists, is the fact that the older criminal syndicates have joined forces with the so-called thieves' world of Eastern Europe and Russia. According to Sterling, the term describes a cabal of criminal cohorts--"thieves within the code," as they are known in Russian idiom-that dates back about three centuries. Only now Russian mobsters are armed with Kalashnikovs, they drive stolen Mercedeses and BMWs, and they're peddling pocket-size nuclear weapons. With drumbeat urgency, harum-scarum prose and lots of juicy quotes, Sterling evokes an international conspiracy that surpasses the old communist one that we used to fret about in the good old days. She names names, recounts horror stories of greed and violence, and reveals more dirty little secrets than we can count, all in a kind of savvy rap that comes from spending a lot of time with cops and their "informants." For example, Sterling declares the Caribbean island of Aruba to be "the world's first independent mafia state." She quotes a Drug Enforcement Administration agent on the failure of the much-touted war on the drug cartels of South America: "Colombia is \o7 gone\f7 ." And she explains that money laundering is now the biggest export industry of the Russian mafia: "The entire ex-Soviet bloc had become an enormous washing machine for dirty money." And if their criminal exploits were not daunting enough, Sterling insists that the Russian mafia and its allies are virtually invulnerable. "For all the colossal wealth they are draining out of Russia and everywhere in the ex-Soviet commonwealth, these consummate criminals are never caught," she writes. "Indeed, the more they take, the more they appear to be protected--\o7 cosseted\f7 --at the highest government levels."
At moments, there is a certain Chicken Little quality to Sterling's book: "Nothing in history," she writes in a characteristic moment of high anxiety, "compares to this cancer consuming the largest country in the world." But the sheer accumulation of detail in "Thieves' World," the knowing quality of Sterling's parade of horribles, begin to raise the familiar sense of paranoia that once tinged our perceptions of Russia. "You people don't know our mafia yet," a Russian cop observes. "You will, you will." http://articles.latimes.com/1994-08-10/news/ls-25437_1_organized-crime
Claire Sterling (October 21, 1919 - June 17, 1995), born Claire Neikind in Queens, New York, was an American author and journalist whose work focused on crime, political assassination, and terrorism. Her theories on Soviet bloc involvement in international terrorism and the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II, presented in The Terror Network and The Time of the Assassins, respectively, were politically influential and controversial.
Sterling earned a bachelor's degree in economics at Brooklyn College, worked as a union organizer, and was briefly member of the Young Communist League. After receiving a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University in 1945, she became the Rome correspondent of "a fly-by-night American news agency."When it folded, she joined The Reporter, which she wrote for until it ceased publication in 1968. Sterling began writing her first book after losing her job at The Reporter; it was published in 1969. She also wrote for various newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Washington Post and Reader's Digest. She married Thomas Sterling, a novelist, in 1951. After spending their honeymoon in Italy the two moved there, living in Rome and Cortona, Tuscany, for several decades. They had two children. She died of cancer at age 75, in a hospital in Arezzo, Italy. Sterling's first book revisited the 1948 death of Jan Masaryk, the Czechoslovak foreign minister, which she blamed on Soviet or Czechoslovak Stalinists. More controversial were her books The Terror Network (1981) and The Time of the Assassins (1984). In the former book, which was translated into 22 languages, she claimed that Soviet Union was a major source of backing behind terrorist groupings around the world. The book was read and appreciated by Alexander Haig and William Casey, but its arguments were dismissed by the CIA's Soviet analysts. Sterling was the first to claim (in a September 1982 article in Reader's Digest) that the 1981 assassination attempt on Pope John II had been ordered by the Bulgarian Secret Service, a theory that became known as the "Bulgarian Connection."The Time of the Assassins dealt with the assassination attempt and advanced this theory. Her last two books dealt with the Sicilian Mafia and post-Communist globalized organized crime, respectively. Books: Our Goal Was Palestine (1946) (a 20-page pamphlet, published under her maiden name) The Masaryk Case (1969) The Terror Network (1981) The Time of the Assassins (1984) Octopus: The Long Reach of the International Sicilian Mafia (1990) Thieves' World: The Threat of the New Global Network of Organized Crime (1994) (published in the UK as Crime Without Frontiers)
Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt
Two years ago, Pulitzer Prize winner Chris Hedges and award-winning cartoonist and journalist Joe Sacco set out to take a look at the sacrifice zones, those areas in America that have been offered up for exploitation in the name of profit, progress, and technological advancement. They wanted to show in words and drawings what life looks like in places where the marketplace rules without constraints, where human beings and the natural world are used and then discarded to maximize profit. Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt is the searing account of their travels. The book starts in the western plains, where Native Americans were sacrificed in the giddy race for land and empire. It moves to the old manufacturing centers and coal fields that fueled the industrial revolution, but now lie depleted and in decay. It follows the steady downward spiral of American labor into the nation's produce fields and ends in Zuccotti Park where a new generation revolts against a corporate state that has handed to the young an economic, political, cultural and environmental catastrophe. http://www.amazon.com/Days-Destruction-Revolt-Chris-Hedges/dp/1568586434
This book is a collaboration between Chris Hedges and Joe Sacco, showing us daily life in four centers of 21st-century American poverty. Hedges‘ contribution — a combination of reportage and commentary — is in a long tradition of literary journalism. Sacco‘s is the sort of graphic art popularized by Art Spiegelman in ―Maus.‖ Both writers have decades of experience as correspondents in war zones, but in ―Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt‖ they turn their attention to the bombed -out and collapsed areas of their own country. Sacco‘s sections are uniformly brilliant. The tone is controlled, the writing smart, the narration neutral; we are allowed to draw our own conclusions. Hedges sees this book as a call to revolution, and as with most works in which the author‘s philosophical and political beliefs are aired in an unfiltered manner, a lot of what you appreciate about Hedges‘ writing will depend on how closely you identify with his politics. From my point of view — and perhaps I could be accused of not being political enough — this is unfortunate. This is an important book. But it is at its best when simply presenting the facts. Anyone who grew up near a postindustrial area — who has seen a middle-class town become a pocket of destitution — will not find any one chapter in this book too shocking. What is shocking is the degree to which this depth of poverty is found everywhere, from rural Indian reservations to near-slave conditions in Florida tomato fields. These are not pleasant stories. They are the very sort of thing we all prefer to forget so that we can focus on our daily lives, and this makes it all the more important that they are recorded. The first chapter opens with a sketch of life on the Pine Ridge Lakota reservation in South Dakota. As it follows the lives of various people on the reservation, weaving between history and personal narration, we see the rise of the American Indian Movement (AIM), its eventual collapse and how people today have learned to live with the -consequences. Hedges‘ rage here is palpable, as is his sympathy with his subjects, and occasionally the tone gets a little strident. But as the book continues, the polemics fade. The second chapter brings us into Camden, N.J., telling the story of its decline and abandonment by the powers that be; the third chapter does the same for West Virginia, focusing on coal mining‘s economic, social and environmental effects. The fourth chapter, which covers human slavery in the Florida tomato fields, is the most shocking.
The book‘s final chapter takes place in New York City, at the center of the Occupy Wall Street movement. -Hedges believes this was a turning point in American history, and there is an insider feel, something almost Woodstockian in the tone. Hedges‘ take is that the seeds of a revolution were sown i n Zuccotti Park, but those who saw the events from the outside might be more reminded of the protests against the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in the late 1990s and early 2000s. By the end of this book, I found myself preferring Sacco. Maybe even more so than in his other work, he allows characters and situations to speak for themselves. If you are a close reader, his point of view is clear, but it is controlled in such a way that you are allowed to disagree with him. Hedges is a serious writer and thinker, and as in his seminal work, ―War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning,‖ he is brilliant at depicting human life at the extremes of existence — from war to grinding poverty — and explaining the effects on the human psyche. But if in that book he was more like a teacher, in this one he is high priest. We‘re given little room to form our own opinions. ―There are no excuses left,‖ he says in the final chapter. ―Either you join the revolt or you stand on the wrong side of history.‖ How you react to being ordered to join the revolt will determine a lot of what you think about this book. If you‘re a believer, it will all be fuel for the fire, but the people who would learn the most from these stories will very likely have trouble getting past the first pages. I couldn‘t help wondering about conservative friends of mine, their children and other folks who might have read this book if the tone had been less strident. But maybe that is the problem with all calls to revolution: You hear them only if you want to. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/19/books/review/days-of-destruction-days-of-revolt.html?_r=0
Why is Chris Hedges smiling? Check out the author's photograph on the inside back cover of his latest book, "Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt," and you'll see a real smile — warm, relaxed, even joyful — on the usually dour and angry Hedges. The solution to the smile's origin won't be found in his last few books, which are a fool-proof corrective to any good mood. Here is Hedges, perhaps this country's leading progressive political journalist, on America: The America we celebrate is an illusion. America...is so diminished as to be unrecognizable. On our ruling elite: When our rotten financial system with its trillions in worthless assets implode and our imperial wars end in humiliation and defeat, the power elite will be exposed as being as helpless, and as self-deluded, as the rest of us. On our environmental future: Welcome to the new experience of human existence, in which rooting around for grubs on islands in northern latitudes is the prerequisite for survival. Nothing but pessimism will be found in the first four sections of Days of Destruction, which is a unique hybrid of investigative journalism, graphic novel and polemic. Along with his collaborator, cartoonist Joe Sacco, Hedges examines four " 'sacrifice zones,' those areas in the country that have been offered up for exploitation in the name of profit, progress, and technological advancement." In the first section, Hedges visits the bleak Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, one of the poorest ZIP codes in the country, where unemployment is over 50 percent and alcoholism as high as 80 percent. Hedges recounts the stories of individuals on the reservation, stories full of sexual abuse, homelessness, imprisonment and self-destructiveness. He contextualizes these bleak testimonies against the backdrop of Pine Ridge's hopeless narrative and the story of the Indian Wars. Hedges sees in General Custer,
whose Last Stand occurred several hundred miles from Pine Ridge, a precursor of the modern celebrity culture and the worship of the self. In Camden, N.J., Hedges visits a once-thriving manufacturing center devastated by the closing of factories. Bankrupt Camden, which is the poorest and most dangerous city in the country, is used as a dumping ground for toxic waste and is exploited by politicians for whom poverty is a lucrative business. For Hedges, Camden's gutting is a consequence of the logic of globalization, and its fate will soon be all of ours, "as corporations 'harvest' what is left of the nation for short-term profit and leave behind wreckage and environmental disaster." Exploitation and environmental disaster is the theme of the section set in Welch, W.V.a., which looks at the violent history of union organizing in the coal industry and the environmental consequences of surface mining. Like Jared Diamond, whose influential "Collapse" finds parallels between our society and other societies that self-imploded, Hedges sees the devastations of surface mining as similar to the depletion of natural resources by the inhabitants of Easter Island. In Immokalee, Fla., Hedges looks at the stories of migrant farm workers, illegal immigrants who pick citrus, lettuce and tomatoes. He recounts the history of slavery and servitude in Florida, including the fascinating, little-known story of the wars between the U.S. Army and small bands of Seminole Indians and escaped slaves in the early 19th century. Depressing stuff, all of it, so where does that smile come from? It might originate in the deep respect and affection Hedges feels for his collaborator. Sacco, who combines cartoons with direct reportage and has published graphic novels about Bosnia and Palestine, is an innovative and fearless artist who shares Hedges' politics and his compulsion to confront the worst humanity has to offer. Hedges, who was a war correspondent for 20 years, has written vividly about the addictiveness of war's horrible thrills, and it is not too much of a stretch to say that, along with a deeply felt desire for social justice, it is a similar compulsion to dwell on (and in) the worst that motivates him. But the source for that smile is revealed in the final chapter, which looks at the Occupy movement in New York City. In the Occupy movement, of which he has been an active part, Hedges finds, for the first time, real hope. In the nonviolent and nonhierarchical bands of people who make up the movement, Hedges sees the same spirit that, as a foreign correspondent, he witnessed among protesters in East Germany and Romania and Czechoslovakia, the same spirit that tore down the Berlin Wall and toppled communist regimes. About America, he accurately notes that, "A society is in serious trouble when its political pariahs have at the core of their demands a return to law." But only in allying himself with the political pariahs of the Occupy movement, who have no interest in working within the existing political system, can Hedges discover hope for change. It is all the more profound because it is the hope of the natural pessimist.
Chris Hedges was a foreign correspondent for nearly two decades for The New
York Times, The Dallas Morning News, The Christian Science Monitor and National Public Radio. He was a member of the team that won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting for The New York Times coverage of global terrorism, and he received the 2002 Amnesty International Global Award for Human Rights Journalism. Hedges is the author of the bestseller American Fascists and National Book Critics Circle finalist for War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning. He is a Senior Fellow at The Nation Institute and a Lannan Literary Fellow and has taught at Columbia University, New York University and Princeton University. http://authors.simonandschuster.ca/Chris-Hedges/21025518/biography
Joe Sacco, one of the world's greatest cartoonists, is widely hailed as the creator of war reportage comics. He is the author of, among other books, Palestine, which received the American Book Award, and Safe Area: Goražde, which won the Eisner Award and was named a New York Times notable book and Time magazine's best comic book of 2000. Hisbooks have been translated into fourteen languages and his comics reporting has appeared in Details, The New York Times Magazine, Time, Harper's and the Guardian. He lives in Portland, Oregon. http://www.randomhouse.com.au/authors/joe-sacco.aspx
The Culture of Control
The past 30 years have seen vast changes in our attitudes toward crime. More and more of us live in gated communities; prison populations have skyrocketed; and issues such as racial profiling, community policing, and "zero-tolerance" policies dominate the headlines. How is it that our response to crime and our sense of criminal justice has come to be so dramatically reconfigured? David Garland charts the changes in crime and criminal justice in America and Britain over the past twenty-five years, showing how they have been shaped by two underlying social forces: the distinctive social organization of late modernity and the neoconservative politics that came to dominate the United States and the United Kingdom in the 1980s. Garland explains how the new policies of crime and punishment, welfare and security—and the changing class, race, and gender relations that underpin them —are linked to the fundamental problems of governing contemporary societies, as states, corporations, and private citizens grapple with a volatile economy and a culture that combines expanded personal freedom with relaxed social controls. It is the risky, unfixed character of modern life that underlies our accelerating concern with control and crime control in particular. It is not just crime that has changed; society has changed as well, and this transformation has reshaped criminological thought, public policy, and the cultural meaning of crime and criminals. David Garland's The Culture of Control offers a brilliant guide to this process and its stillreverberating consequences. http://www.press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/C/bo4092002.html
With the publication of The Culture of Control David Garland has once again demonstrated why he is one of today‘s pre-eminent Criminologists. The author‘s goal is to present a ‗history of the present‘ of penological developments in the United States and Britain during the ‗late modern‘ period. Through meticulous attention to detail reminiscent of Michel Foucault and through a plethora of examples expertly used to buoy his claims, Garland has masterfully achieved his objective. Written in very accessible prose, Garland‘s latest contribution deserves, and no doubt will receive, a wide readership. The Culture of Control presents a complex argument about the rise of a schizophrenic crime control complex that Garland argues is characteristic of late modern penality. In highlighting how justice policies on both sides of the Atlantic took their contemporary shape, Garland‘s book makes a significant contribution to debates on the rise of punitiveness in contemporary Western nations (Beckett 1997, Newburn 2002, Simon 2001), the contradictory nature of 21st century justice policy (O‘Malley 1999) and the political interests knotted within this process (Hogeveen and Smandych 2001, Campbell, Dufresne and Maclure 2001, Goldson 2002). Garland‘s interrogation of the nuances distinguishing contemporary crime control poli cy from those that dominated for most of the 20th century is easily one of the most ambitious and comprehensive to date. Throughout the book Garland is careful not to argue that the changes he sees in late 20th century American and British justice policy signal the end of modernity and the blossoming of post modernity. Instead, he suggests that recent crime control initiatives on both sides of the Atlantic represent a ‗reconfigured complex of interlocking structures and strategies that are themselves compo sed of old and new elements, the old revised and reoriented by a new operation context‘ (23). Recent developments in penality, however, are marked in sharp contrast with post WW II programmes. Distinguished by a commitment to community based solutions to the crime problem, rehabilitating offenders, indeterminate sentences and creating tailor made solutions to each deviant‘s unique qualities, Garland argues that ‗penal welfarism‘ that characterized criminal justice practice from the 1890s to the 1970s has be en increasingly dismantled. As a result of significant societal and economic changes, Garland suggests that the new politics of crime control are socially and culturally conditioned and have become increasingly more expressive and instrumental (139). He suggests that contemporary justice policy is bifurcated by an adaptive strategy characterized by community partnership and a sovereign state strategy that stresses
coercive control of offenders. According to Garland this divide emerged when high crime rates became normal, the rehabilitative ideal fell out of favour, and the penal welfare complex failed to protect the public from the risks associated with crime (141). Garland argues that in contrast to ‗penal welfarism,‘ contemporary crime control policy can be distinguished by the (re)emergence of punitive sanctions and expressive justice, the return of the victim, and the politicization of crime issues. One of Garland‘s most remarkable observations concerns the reinvention of the prison. Suggesting that Western nations possess high rates of imprisonment seems pedestrian. However, this was not always the case. Within the post-war penal welfare justice complex prisons were in many ways considered schools for crime, counterproductive, and a last resort. Garland explains that significant governmental effort was ‗expended on the task of creating alternatives to incarceration and encouraging sentencers to use them‘ (14). For most of the twentieth century a secular shift away from carceral punishment was evident. This trend is no longer observable in contemporary American and British penality where record numbers of offenders are currently being locked up. Although Garland focuses exclusively on the United States and Britain, parallels can be drawn to the Canadian experience. Arguably, these trends are much more pronounced in the two countries Garland has studied. Nevertheless, Canada, too, has placed greater emphasis on the prison as a solution to deviance and downloaded responsibility for crime control onto the community. The effects of ‗late modern‘ penality, however, were observable much later in this country than in the U.S. and Britain and are particularly obvious in the juvenile justice field. In recent years several scholars have presented evidence that Canada‘s incarceration rate for young offenders (Québec is an exception) now rivals, if not exceeds, American rates (Sprott 2001, Sprott and Snyder 2000). At the same time, Canada‘s recently enacted Youth Criminal Justice Act places a premium on community based programmes like restorative justice and diversion. In addition, the Federal Government has ear marked $206 million spread over three years to encourage the development and implementation of community based crime control strategies for young offenders. Linking developments in the United States and Britain allows Garland to demonstrate the dissemination of crime control strategies and penological developments cross culturally. Doing so also opens his analysis to criticism. While reading the book I was continually distracted by a lack of any consistent discussion of differences in crime control strategies between the two nations. Greater attention to the gross overrepresentation of minority populations in prisons across the United States would have been beneficial in this regard. The visibly different and politically powerless continue to make up the class of offender who most often feels the justice system‘s sting, yet the author does not fully engage with this characteristic feature of late modern penality. In addition, Garland glosses over how contemporary criminal justice policy differentially effect women and men. Lest I cut short the due importance this work is warranted, I hesitate to paint it as a book about penology or Criminology for that matter. No doubt scholars across other disciplines (i.e. Sociology, Political Science, and Philosophy) will find something of value in Garland‘s work. Given its accessibility and importance, this book is recommended to anyone who has an interest in the intersections between crime, its control, and society. http://www.cjsonline.ca/reviews/control.html
Born in Dundee, Scotland in 1955, he attended Rosebank Primary School and Harris Academy. In 1977 he graduated from the University of Edinburgh School of Law with an LLB (First Class Honours) and, the following year, from Sheffield University with a postgraduate MA in Criminology. He obtained his PhD from the University of Edinburgh in Socio-Legal Studies in 1984. From 1979 until 1997 he taught at the University of Edinburgh‘s Centre for Law and Society where he was first a Lecturer, then a Reader, and finally the holder of a Personal Chair in Penology. He has held visiting positions at Leuven University, Belgium and the University of California, Berkeley; was a Shelby Cullom Davis Fellow in Princeton University‘s history department, and was a Visiting Global Professor in NYU Law School‘s Global Law program. Garland was the founding editor of the international, interdisciplinary journal Punishment & Society. He edited the collection Mass Imprisonment: Social Causes and Consequences (2001) and, with Richard Sparks, he co-edited Criminology and Social Theory (2000). He is the author of an award-winning series of books on punishment and social control - Punishment and Welfare: A History of Penal Strategies (1985), Punishment and Modern Society: A Study in Social Theory (1990); The Culture of Control: Crime
and Social Order in Contemporary Society (2001) and Peculiar Institution: America's Death Penalty in an Age of Abolition (2010) - as well as a number of articles on the history and character of criminology. In addition, he has written on such topics as postmodernism, governmentality, risk, moral panics, and the concept of culture. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, a Fellow of the American Society of Criminology, and a Fellow-Designate of the Center of Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in Stanford, CA. and the recipient of both the Sellin-Glueck Award (1993) and the Edwin H. Sutherland Award (2012) of the American Society of Criminology. In 2006 he was selected for a Guggenheim Fellowship to support his research on capital punishment and American society. In 2009 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the Free University of Brussels. He is currently writing a short sociological introduction to the Welfare State and continuing his research on the American penal state. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_W._Garland
Rich Media Poor Democracy
Robert McChesney argues that the media, far from providing a bedrock for freedom and democracy, have become a significant antidemocratic force in the United States and, to varying degrees, worldwide. Rich Media, Poor Democracy addresses the corporate media explosion and the corresponding implosion of public life that characterizes our times. Challenging the assumption that a society drenched in commercial information "choices" is ipso facto a democratic one, McChesney argues that the major beneficiaries of the so-called Information Age are wealthy investors, advertisers, and a handful of enormous media, computer, and telecommunications corporations. This concentrated corporate control, McChesney maintains, is disastrous for any notion of participatory democracy. Combining unprecedented detail on current events with historical sweep, McChesney chronicles the waves of media mergers and acquisitions in the late 1990s. He reviews the corrupt and secretive enactment of public policies surrounding the Internet, digital television, and public broadcasting. He also addresses the gradual and ominous adaptation of the First Amendment ("freedom of the press") as a means of shielding corporate media power and the wealthy. Rich Media, Poor Democracy exposes several myths about the media—in particular, that the market compels media firms to "give the people what they want"— that limit the ability of citizens to grasp the real nature and logic of the media system. If we value our democracy, McChesney warns, we must organize politically to restructure the media in order to affirm their connection to democracy. http://www.press.uillinois.edu/books/catalog/22qxm7kq9780252024481.html
IMAGINE that 95% of the American people refused to permit advertising into their homes by way of radio or television, saying they did not want their homes to become ―salesrooms.‖ That‘s how things stood at the start of the broadcasting era in the late 1920s. Today we are so accustomed to a constant diet of commercial messages we can‘t imagine things could be done differently. We are inundated with trivial drivel that too often passes for ―news,‖ but we are unknowingly starved for real information. Robert W. McChesney can imagine things being different. A research associate professor in the Institute of Communications Research and the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, McChesney lays a powerful foundation in Rich Media, Poor Democracy for his plausible thesis that this nation is perilously close to no longer being a democracy. Instead, says McChesney, what we now have is a hypercommercialized society that is controlled by big business and big money, with little real power in the voting booth because the candidates we have to choose from got on the ballot thanks to contributions from the power elite, and are thus already part of what McChesney calls an oligarchy--government by a dominant class or clique. How did this come to pass? Back in the late 1920s the public was becoming aware of the potential of radio--whose airwaves, McChesney never lets us forget, are owned by the U.S. government in trust for the people. The education community back then saw radio as a great opportunity to inform and uplift the people. But they were not
politically skilled, and their lobbying efforts were no match for those of the burgeoning radio industry, which convinced the government that privatization was the way to go. The idea of radio as a public service fell by the wayside, its death confirmed with the passage of the Communications Act of 1934. During that same period, the British Broadcasting Corporation and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, both created with the intent of public service, were established. The U.S. has never had a comparable public media system. McChesney shows that our pathetically funded public radio and public television have never been able to do the job they were intended to do, and in fact are now such pallid ghosts they might as well not exist at all. These are strong statements. The optimistic reader will think, ―Oh, come on, now! Things aren‘t all that bad!‖ And then will read on, and find out that yes, indeed, they are. And the resolute McChesney makes sure the reader can‘t think he‘s making things up; he backs up his facts and assertions with over 100 pages of footnote references. Here are some gleanings from Rich Media, Poor Democracy: The trend toward global media conglomerates is escalating, with fewer than a dozen transnational firms dominating the market already. When only a few firms dominate a market, they can cut back output, eliminate staff, charge higher prices, and earn bigger profits. The firms absorb potential competitors or related businesses to solidify their positions. New players find it difficult or impossible to muscle in on the established Big Guys. This process has been going on since the 1940s, but back then there were separate oligopolies for radio, television, newspapers, book or magazine publishing, music theater, and movies. Now these industries have blended, and have been added into conglomerations of businesses. This can result in potential conflicts of editorial interest--as well as opportunities for cross-pollination of products for maximum profitability. Six firms now dominate the movie industry; a half-a-dozen major chains control a large portion of newspaper publishing (with mergers now including the trend of ―clustering,‖ as with The Sun owning Patuxent Publishing, among other local print media ventures). Seven companies dominate book publishing; five music groups control 87% of the U.S. market; and six cable companies have divied up that industry. And, since the Telecommunications Act of 1996 loosened up ownership restrictions on radio stations (among other astonishing give-aways the public has heard little about--but who would tell them?), over half the country‘s 11,000 stations have changed ownership i n the past three years, and there have been over 1,000 mergers of radio firms. Not only that, but the advertising industry has been busily consolidating, so it can get the best deals for its global-reach clients--deals unattainable by smaller clients who might want to compete. McChesney shows how the biggest companies can maximize profits through ―vertical integration‖ --not only producing the media product, but distributing it through its subsidiaries. You know--produce a record, and then make sure it‘s played frequently on your radio stations, or position your movie prominently in your own video store. Not to mention ―horizontal integration,‖ where you sell licenses to use sounds and images of ―characters‖ created by one of your companies to other companies. And then there are the paid ―product placements‖ in radio, TV, and now internet spots, so the public can‘t get away from commercial messages. Heck, there are even advertisements in textbooks now. And don‘t forget Channel One in the schools, offering up hefty doses of advertisements in return for ―current events‖ broadcasts.
Some might say, ―So what? Isn‘t making profit good for everybody?‖ McChesney shows how such ―neoliberal thinking‖--the idea that the free market should be allowed to grow unfettered--should have nothing to do with something as important as informing the public. In the midst of all the hype, essential news stories may never be reported. Sure, we get plenty of news about sports, business, celebrities, and so on. Talk shows are cheap to produce, so we get plenty of them, too. But what about investigative journalism? What about telling the truth despite the risk of a slander or libel suit? Well, that could put a kink in the bottom line, couldn‘t it? McChesney (and others, like Ben Bagdikian) believe professional journalists are seriously compromised in the current media environment. ―To avoid the controversy associated with determining what is a legitimate news story,‖ McChesney asserts, ―professional journalism relies upon official sources as the basis for stories.‖ Further, there seems to have to be a ―news hook‖--some timely event--before our media will delve into public issues. And then there‘s a tendency of the dominant media to ignore stories that go against the power structure in this country--questioning the military budget, for example, or investigating back-scratching relationships in the military-industrial complex, or reporting on national security issues. McChesney notes that too often, when a journalist does get to publish a story on such topics, there is a lack of follow-up coverage, so the story drops out of sight. Focusing on stories that are cheap to produce, like celebrity profiles, accidents, and crime reports, bring the biggest profits while avoiding risk and expense. Coverage of international news, which is relatively expensive, has declined from 45% of network TV news coverage in the early 1970s to only 13.5% in 1995. But the number of crime stories on those programs tripled from 1990-92 to 1993-96. Another trend is globalization of the media, due to economies of scale. McChesney acknowledges this can be a progressive force in nations that previously had censored or limited media, but he points out that the industry‘s profit-making juggernaut prevents the media moguls from ―rocking the boat‖ and potentially jeopardizing their standing with the host nations‘ powers -that-be--just as is the case right here at home. McChesney says we can forget about the idea of requiring radio and television networks to provide free airtime for our political candidates. Their lobbyists claim they already perform ample public service under the terms of their licenses and cannot be expected to forego lucrative political advertising. This pretty much guarantees the best-funded candidates will win. Will the Internet save us? At first it looked as if the Internet could be a counterbalance to commercial media interests, but McChesney offers ample evidence to show how, through such maneuvers as developing expensively-promoted portals and buying topmost positions on Internet search engines, the big guys are corralling the new medium, just as they did the airwaves. Less-well-funded independent media sources and alternative information can eventually expect to be marginalized in cyberspace just like everywhere else. But at least the public has ready access to them--for the moment, at least. McChesney notes that the Internet, like many other technological advances we take for granted, was developed at taxpayer expense. ―The university scientists who designed the architecture of the Internet did so with the explicit intent to create an open and egalitarian communication environment,‖ writes McChesney. ―They had a vision of a noncommercial sharing community of scholars and, eventually, all citizens of the world. It was to be a public utility.‖
But the Internet has been turned over to the private sector. The saturation of advertisements on prime sites shows how quickly the Internet is being transformed into yet another vehicle for commercialism. Already, the trend is to blend commercial and editorial material so the hapless user can‘t escape advertisers at a given site. By the time McChesney lays out his devastating case that the public is being poorly served by the country‘s profit-hungry media industry--which is, in turn, typically owned by megacorporations with broad interests to protect--the reader despairs that anything can be changed for the better. McChesney calls on activists (overworked, stressed, and often at odds with each other) and unions (dwindling and suffering from infighting and sometimes collusion with management) to cobble together their own alternative media on a greater scale than now exists, or else push the federal government to beef up public radio and television. You find yourself thinking, ―Yeah, right, that‘s really going to happen.‖ The opportunity to bring about change will more probably occur when the next wave of media arrives. McChesney gives us an interesting preview of possible options coming our way, and warns that these new forms of communication will likewise become the province of commercial interests with their focus on commercialism. ―The key factor is to exercise public participation before an unplanned commercial system becomes entrenched,‖ he writes. This, of course, would require a concerted effort by an informed, activist public.... Too bad.
Robert W. McChesney is the Founder, President and Board Chairman of Free Press, "a national nonpartisan organization working to increase informed public participation in crucial media policy debates, and to generate policies that will produce a more competitive and public interest-oriented media system with a strong nonprofit and noncommercial sector." McChesney is a Professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and author or editor of eight books, including the award-winning TELECOMMUNICATIONS, MASS MEDIA, AND DEMOCRACY: THE BATTLE FOR THE CONTROL OF U.S. BROADCASTING, 1928-1935, CORPORATE MEDIA AND THE THREAT TO DEMOCRACY, and, with Edward S. Herman, THE GLOBAL MEDIA: THE NEW MISSIONARIES OF CORPORATE CAPITALISM. McChesney's most recent books are multiple awardwinning RICH MEDIA, POOR DEMOCRACY: COMMUNICATION POLITICS IN DUBIOUS TIMES and, with John Nichols, OUR MEDIA, NOT THEIRS: THE DEMOCRATIC STRUGGLE AGAINST CORPORATE MEDIA, THE BIG PICTURE: UNDERSTANDING MEDIA THROUGH POLITICAL ECONOMY, and his most recent, THE PROBLEM OF THE MEDIA: U.S. COMMUNICATIONS POLITICS IN THE 21ST CENTURY. His work concentrates on the history and political economy of communication, emphasizing the role media play in democratic and capitalist societies. McChesney is presently at work on his ninth and tenth books including written with John Bellamy Foster to be published in 2003 by Monthly Review Press. McChesney also hosts the MEDIA MATTERS weekly radio program every Sunday afternoon on WILL-AM radio. http://www.pbs.org/now/politics/mcchesney.html
The Anarchist in the Library
From Napster to Total Information Awareness to flash mobs, the debate over information technology in our lives has revolved around a single question: How closely do we want cyberspace to resemble the real world? Siva Vaidhyanathan enters this debate with a seminal insight: While we've been busy debating how to make cyberspace imitate the world, the world has been busy imitating cyberspace. More and more of our social, political, and religious activities are modeling themselves after the World Wide Web.Vaidhyanathan tells us the key information structure of our time, and the key import from cyberspace into the world, is the "peer-to-peer network." Peer-to-peer networks have always existed--but with the rise of electronic communication, they are suddenly coming into their own. And they are drawing the outlines of a battle for information that will determine much of the culture and politics of our century, affecting everything from society to terrorism, from religion to the latest social fads. The Anarchist in the Library is a radically original look at how this battle defines one of the major fault lines of twenty-first-century civilization. http://www.amazon.ca/The-Anarchist-Library-Between-Crashing/dp/0465089844
Basically, the book puts the information battles relating to culture and copyright into a broader context, ranging from Parisian enlightenment cafes through the latest copyright battles to the Zapatistas and Falun Gong. Unlike many recent books that deal with these issues, Siva doesn't approach them from a legal perspective so much as from a political/cultural/media theory basis. But don't let that scare you, the book is as readable as it is wide-ranging. At its most basic level, The Anarchist in the Library is about control of information, both cultural and political. As Siva says in the last chapter, "This book was supposed to be about entertainment - the battle over control of digital music, text, and video ... But as I researched this new project, the world shifted beneath my feet ... My concerns moved to the regulation and control of all sorts of information, much of it cultural, much of it political." Thus, throughout the book, Siva contrasts two very different regimes of information control: oligarchy and anarchy. Oligarchy we are all familiar with. It is the traditional, centralized control of information by the few. It is the system that, for the most part, we all grew up with and continues to be the default today. On the other hand, we've all heard of anarchy, but most of us aren't familiar with its deeper meanings and history. Siva helps us to understand anarchy as a serious positive political philosophy, something more than merely a reaction to oligarchy. To his credit, however, Siva fully endorses neither position. His is a course of moderation, avoiding the excesses and pitfalls of both sides. The other theme that runs throughout the book is that of cynicism. Here Siva contrasts the civically engaged cynicism of the Greek philosopher Diogenes of Sinope, with the narcissistic cynicism of Seinfeld's George Costanza. Why cynicism? In Siva's words, "What could be a more ideal environment for a cynic than cyberspace...?" The question, however, is whether and how we can promote the responsible and humane cynicism of Diogenes vs. the shallow, rude and selfish cynicism of Costanza. Of course, it sort of depends on how you define rude. To make a point, Diogenes once masturbated in the market square. Says Siva, with tongue in cheek but also a valid point, "And nothing represents the overall nature and substance of the Internet better than masturbating in the marketplace."
Diogenes' zealous humanity is also an especially important consideration of Siva's. Whenever possible, Siva emphasizes consideration of the humane over cold theory. It is this concern with the humane, I think, that draws Siva from engaging with Metallica's issues with P2P to questions of terrorism and networks. Framed by these themes, Siva proceeds to dig through the many information control issues that have come to the fore these past few years or so. He starts with Peer-to-Peer, of course, and moves through many of the issues constantly showing up in "Your Rights Online" such as MP3s, DeCSS, the broadcast flag, the Phantom Edit and many, many others. The path is not random, however; Siva is demonstrating the reactions between oligarchic control and anarchic response in the creation of culture, and that culture requires, even demands, some anarchy in order to thrive. From this point, Siva begins to leave the world of digital rights and begins to explore other means of controlling information and culture, such as the subtle, sometimes nearly invisible assumptions made by many international institutions through trade policy and market regulations. The book also discusses how information and cultural controls (such as the PATRIOT Act) grow out of security concerns and fear. At this point in the book, some readers who might have been nodding along in agreement so far may begin to disagree with some of the points Siva makes, as he takes on the WTO riots, "TechnoLibertarianism," and the war in Iraq. But the book is no thoughtless, radical polemic; it seeks a moderate, well-articulated and researched middle ground. In the end, Siva's moderation is demonstrated as he concludes that there are seldom easy answers in a world where control of information and culture is sometimes necessary. Without giving specific answers, Siva argues for approaching problems from a particular perspective: with engaged, humane cynicism and a commitment to civic republicanism, both within and without our borders. It is a perspective well worth reading about. [Full disclosure: I've met Siva a couple of times at conferences and corresponded with him by email on occasion. I would consider him a friend in the fight against copyright maximalism.] http://yro.slashdot.org/story/04/07/22/175237/the-anarchist-in-the-library
Siva Vaidhyanathan is a cultural historian and media scholar, and is currently the Robertson Professor in Media Studies at the University of Virginia. From 1999 through the summer of 2007 he worked in the Department of Culture and Communication at New York University. Vaidhyanathan is a frequent contributor on media and cultural issues in various periodicals including the Chronicle of Higher Education, New York Times Magazine, The Nation, and Salon.com, and he maintains a blog, www.googlizationofeverything.com. He is a frequent contributor to National Public Radio and to MSNBC.COM and has appeared in a segment of "The Daily Show" with Jon Stewart. Vaidhyanathan is a fellow of the New York Institute for the Humanities and the Institute for the Future of the Book. In 2011 he was appointed chair of UVA's Department of Media Studies. In March 2002, Library Journal cited Vaidhyanathan among its ―Movers & Shakers‖ in the library field. In the feature story, Vaidhyanathan lauded librarians for being ―on the front lines of copyright battles‖ and for being ―the custodians of our information and cultural commons.‖ In November 2004 the Chronicle of Higher Education called Vaidhyanathan ―one of academe‘s best-known scholars of intellectual property and its role in contemporary culture.‖ He has testified as an expert before the U.S. Copyright Office on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
He is noted for opposing the Google Books scanning project on copyright grounds. He has published the opinion that the project poses a danger for the doctrine of fair use, because the fair use claims are arguably so excessive that it may cause judicial limitation of that right. Vaidhyanathan was born in Buffalo, N.Y., and attended the University of Texas at Austin, earning both a B.A. in history and a Ph.D. in American studies. http://www.law.virginia.edu/lawweb/faculty.nsf/prfhpbw/sv2r
The World We Want
More and more, as the globe turns into a billboard for corporate propagation, the nature of citizenship is becoming skewed. For the cellphone-brandishing inhabitants of a world carved up into markets and territories determined by production and consumption, transcending the traditional boundaries of nationstates, what does it mean to be a citizen? In The World We Want Mark Kingwell explores the idea of citizenship in the current post-national context, arguing that old ideas of civic belonging, historically tied to blood, belief and law, need to be reconceived. What happens to political responsibility in an age of fractured identities, global monoculture, and crumbling civic nationalism? How do we make sense of a situation where the uniform spread of cola, television and market rationalism is accompanied by resurgent ethnic hatreds? Kingwell traces the idea of citizenship from its roots in ancient Greece to the contemporary realities of consumerism and cultural banality. It is these voices from the past that provide the much-needed context for the conflicts and confusions of the present day. It is obvious that we cannot simply adopt past models of citizenship that are heavily based on exclusion and nationalism, but Kingwell argues that it is too early to give up on citizenship altogether. We need a new model of citizenship, he writes, one based on participation as opposed to bloodline, constitution or religion -- one that will give voice and structure to our longing to be part of something larger than we are.
Mark Kingwell's latest publication, The World We Want: Virtue, Vice, and the Good Citizen, serves to elaborate his views on justice and civility presented in his earlier work, A Civil Tongue. These notions are connected with values of friendship, activism, duty, and reason; all are ingredients in Kingwell's masterrecipe for citizenship in what he sees as a post-nationalist world. The author assembles ideas from past lectures, articles, conference workshops, and colloquia to amass a grand scheme for civil society. He delivers an argument for a new kind of citizenship that is not based on old definitions involving belonging through blood, beliefs, and law, but rather on political action and duty to fellow world-citizens. There are three historical time-frames that Kingwell draws on for the elements of nationhood. First, Kingwell looks to Ancient Greece and evaluates Socrates' values of belonging and duty to a public sphere which led up to his eventual choice of death over exile. The second era Kingwell underlines is Renaissance France: specifically, the nature of a friendship between Montaigne and de la Botie, exemplary of the essence of civil duty and loyalty. Finally, the author discusses World War II Europe, where Kingwell uses the case study of Walter Benjamin to understand the importance of critical thought as a form of belonging for a man who was stateless and a member only of the "republic of letters … when membership mattered a great deal" (p. 140). For these three individuals, the virtue of critical thought and the ability to voice it in public spaces (as well as through the written word) was the single most valuable right in life. As such, these case studies provide an excellent argument for the centrality of media in civil society. However, Kingwell also warns that it is through the misuse of media (as a commodity and an agent of consumerism) and a resulting false sense of freedom t hat our understanding and valuation of citizenship is corroded; indeed, culture begins to break down a long with the individual. Action and duty are replaced by empty complacency and a bad habit of coasting on consumerist comfort: "The evil of banality is cultural as well as political, and indeed the two forms are related. What is evil about mass culture is not simply its immense reach and apparently unopposable force, but its relentless downward drag on the rich possibilities of media and performance" (p. 62). In lyrical prose, Kingwell begins by outlining the three dominant nuclei of past views of citizenship . He maintains that these forms of citizenship are not sufficient for the needs of today, and argues f or a
political nucleus for citizenship. This political drive behind civic belonging is perpetuated by action and participation - it is this which he explores throughout his book: what makes people participate. With this question in mind, Kingwell examines friendship, duty, expression, justice, politeness, humanity, and even history itself. Just as these characteristics create community and culture, they also, by extension, create political participation. It is with the help of his three chosen case studies and the particular time frames that surround them that Kingwell has the opportunity to assess the above-mentioned variables in greater detail. First let us return to the nuclei of the three past views of citizenship. These, according to Kingwell, were blood, religion, and jurisprudence: The oldest models of civic belonging are forms of virtual racism, tribal fear given a political formulation. Later they were based on adherence to a body of civic and, usually, religious nostrums: they we re fluently ideological, but no less exclusive. More lately still, democratic states have adopted a mo del of citizenship based on neither blood nor conviction but on procedural exercise and access to a bo dy of rights - a constitutional notion of belonging, in other words, that matched the open-ended and liberal ideals of the emerging capitalist West. None of these three historical models - the models based in blood, belief, or law - has been complete in its attempted domination of the po litical realm. (p. 12) This political realm is not sharply defined for Kingwell. It is not merely the traditional definition of political in which citizens take an interest in who is representing them, and vote according ly. The political is inextricably tied in with other realms such as culture and community. In terms of citizenship, Kingwell is clear in his description of this link: "An action-oriented conception of citizenship is, first and foremost, engaged with other people in the creation of shared social spac es and in the discourse that such spaces make possible. Through participation and conversation, we rep roduce our social meanings through time: that is what culture is" (p. 172). In this quote, the n otion of public sphere is what combines the spheres of culture and politics: public expression of the essence of being human, and a sense that this expression is contributing to the greater good of the civil society. In the last section of the book, Kingwell combines all of the ingredients that the previous chapters h ad measured out so carefully before his reader. He concludes with a grand, optimistic, and visionary p lea for the adoption of his transnational goal: perhaps not an immediate change of direction, but at l east a shifting of mental gears to accommodate new responsibilities we should face as citizens. As Kingwell is not only a political and cultural theorist, but also a professor of philosophy and a po pular academic, his tone is conversational and informal. He addresses his readers directly and writes as though he is standing in the room, lecturing. The work in general is fluid and coherent, although i t is in fact an accumulation of different articles and talks given over the course of a half-dozen yea rs. The cases he presents as evidence for his argument are convincing. However, while I do not dispute Kingwell's use of his case study of Michel Eyquem de Montaigne as an example of the personal at tributes of citizens, I find myself wondering about his claims that the friendship he discussed betwee n Montaigne and de la Botie is somehow rarer than the substantial, long-standing, platonic friends hip-loves that we find in our own lives. Furthermore, while I see the need to discuss the importance o f friendship within the context of citizenship, I would not have placed as much emphasis on this eleme nt as perhaps on the element of the public sphere, civic duty, and harnessing of media. This latter element of civil society is an interesting one in Kingwell's book, and might have be en even further elaborated. Kingwell himself sees the primary importance of technology and media withi n our lives. "Technology no longer arises, as it did for first-generation Marxists, as an issue of the mode of production: the developmental level of the machines used to make goods. Now technology is both more important and less discernible: it has become part of us on a deeper level" (p. 186 ). Use of media is a "forgotten civil right" (p. 187) which enables us to act out citizens hip. He speaks of techno-political issues that are misinterpreted, so that when people speak of better access to hardware they are not aware of the underlying discourse: the need for "greater access to the human software of literacy" (p. 187). Indeed, Kingwell's three case studies fit beautifully with the theme of the primary importance of media in civil society. This theme is evi dent in at least two levels in the historical examples given: the individuals in
question hold high re gard for the media they use (consider Benjamin, who values his text more than his life) just as they d eliberate on the dangers and uses that media assume in our lives. Kingwell's arguments follow logically and the conclusions drawn from these steps are convincing in many ways. However, I asked myself, what if one were to reverse the order of the steps of Kingwell& rsquo;s argument? Would the conclusions drawn be as persuasive? This may be an unfair test to impose o n any logical work, just as it would be impossible to reverse the order of steps in a scientific exper iment and to expect the same result. Nonetheless, I would like to continue along this line because it does present a problem, a small wrinkle, in a work which, at the end of the day, must be looked at not in stages but in its totality. The wrinkle lies in the case study of Socrates. If one blends all of the responsibilities of citizensh ip into one, then citizenship is based on a sense of community - duty to the fellow citizen, fri endship, and sense of justice. It follows that without such feelings for other individuals, the re is no citizenship. Thus, it is unclear how Kingwell comes to terms with Socrates' stubborn ch oice of death over exile. I in no way wish to intimate that Socrates lived out erroneous decisions, bu t it seems like Kingwell's logic is questionable when he claims that Benjamin "failed &hel lip; to complete his life" (p. 196), whereas Socrates' choice to end his life is viewed as noble and just-minded. While the notion that Socrates felt such a duty to his nation that he was will ing to die under its hand is a romantic one, Kingwell himself points out that Socrates left friends an d even a wife behind. Perhaps women were not citizens in the civic ideal of Socrates, but it seems ama zing to justify leaving a wife who, as a new widow in a patriarchal society, would be disadvantaged by her status; and yet to feel imbued with such a sense of justice and duty to fellow citizens that one feels compelled to walk away from life. This leads me to another problematic aspect of Kingwell's book. For all his magnanimous transnat ional citizenship ideals, Kingwell does not sufficiently explain how it is that a unified politico-cul tural citizenship can be achieved in a world with so many cultural and political time zones; there are many different political dialectics in this world, and just as many cultural differences. Under those circumstances, I am not convinced that finding enough common ground from which to use politics as a s pringboard for citizenship would be as simple as Kingwell suggests. It is clear that Kingwell is worki ng from the assumption that there is a pan-global homogeneity in political thought. These criticisms aside, Kingwell's book effectively ties together historical conceptions of citi zenship and public sphere, as well as several critical theorists' stances on communications. It is certainly refreshing to read a positive philosophy that is based on action, an invigorating battle cry, a call to arms. In view of this author's capacity for rhythmic prose, silent crescendos, an d remarkable cadencial points, I shall leave him the last word. Aux armes, citoyens. Nowadays we must be more aware than ever of the things that separate us, that no single picture of cit izenship will do. But that otherness itself, and an awareness of how it is tied up with the fate of nu merous others, might be precisely the thing that connects us most acutely. (p. 189) http://www.cjc-online.ca/index.php/journal/article/view/1225/1194
Philosopher and critic Mark Kingwell is the author of seven previous books, including the national bestsellers Better Living and The World We Want; also, most recently Catch & Release: Trout Fishing and the Meaning of Life. Currently professor of philosophy at the University of Toronto, he is a contributing editor of Harper's Magazine and a frequent contributor to Queen's Quarterly, Toro, and The Globe and Mail, among others. He has won many awards for his writing, including the 1996 Spitz Prize for political theory and the 2002 National Magazine Award for essays. Nothing for Granted is based on his work as a political columnist for the National Post between 2000 and 2003. http://www.penguin.ca/nf/Author/AuthorPage/0,,1000033906,00.html
Development as Freedom
Development as Freedomis a general exposition of the economic ideas and analyses of Amartya Sen, winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Economic Science. This brilliant and indispensable treatise compellingly analyzes the nature of contemporary economic development from the perspective of human freedom. Freedom, Sen persuasively argues, is at once the ultimate goal of economic life and the most efficient means of realizing general welfare. It is a good to be enjoyed by the world's entire population. Drawing on moral and political philosophy and technical economic analysis, this work gives the nonspecialist reader powerful access to Sen's paradigm-altering vision and vividly shows how he, in the words of the Nobel Prize committee, has both "restored an ethical dimension to the discussion of economic problems" and "opened up new fields of study for subsequent generations of researchers." To a world divided between those who fear the ruthlessness of the free market under prevailing conditions of global capitalism and those who fear the terror of authoritarian states that stifle indi- vidual liberty as well as initiative,Development as Freedompresents a necessary intellectual and moral framework of analysis and scrutiny. By rigorously addressing one of the largest questions of all-"What is the relation between our economic wealth and our ability to live as we would like?"--Sen allows economics once again, as it did in the time of Adam Smith, to address the social basis of individual wellbeing and freedom. He also confronts the human dilemma that "despite unprecedented increases in overall opulence, the contemporary world denies elementary freedoms to vast numbers--perhaps even the majority--of people." This is a landmark work that shows how in individual human freedom--the exclusive possession, Sen shows, of no particular nation, region or historical, intellectual or religious tradition--lies the capacity for political participation, economic development and social progress. http://books.google.ca/books/about/Development_as_freedom.html?id=G2W4AAAAIAAJ&redir_esc=y
What is a developed country? According to Sen, development should be measured by how much freedom a country has since without freedom people cannot make the choices that allow them to help themselves and others. He defines freedom as an interdependent bundle of: 1) political freedom and civil rights, 2) economic freedom including opportunities to get credit, 3) social opportunities: arrangements for health care, education, and other social services, 4) transparency guarantees, by which Sen means interactions with others, including the government, are characterized by a mutual understanding of what is offered and what to expect, 5) protective security, in which Sen includes unemployment benefits, famine and emergency relief, and general safety nets. Respect for Local Decisions By defining the level of development by how much the country has, Sen largely sidesteps a value judgment of what it means specifically to be a developed country – this isn‘t the usual laundry list of Western institutions. It‘s a bold statement – he gives the example of a hypothetical community deciding whether to disband their current traditions and increase lifespans. Sen states he would leave it up to the community and if they decide on shorter lifespans, in the full-freedom environment he imagines, this is perfectly consistent with the action of a fully developed country (although Sen doesn‘t think anyone should have to chose between life and death – this is the reason for freedom 3). This also is an example of the inherent interrelatedness of Sen‘s five freedoms – the community requires political freedom to discuss the issues, come to a conclusion and have it seen as legitimate, with social opportunities and education for people to engage in such a discussion. Crucial Interrelatedness of the Freedoms Sen is quite adamant that these five freedoms be implemented together and he makes an explicit case
against the ―Lee Thesis‖ – that economic growth must be secured in a developing country before other rights (such as political and civil rights) are granted. This is an important question among developing countries who see Singapore‘s success as the model to follow. Sen notes that it is an unsettled empirical question whether or not authoritarian regimes produce greater economic growth, but he argues two points: that people‘s welfare can be addressed best through a more democratic system (for which he sees education, health, security as requisite) since people are able to bring their needs to the fore; and that democratic accountability provides incentives for leaders to deal with issues of broad impact such as famines or natural catastrophes. His main example of the second point is that there has never been a famine under a democratic regime – it is not clear to me that this isn‘t due to reasons other than the incentives of elected leaders (such as greater economic liberty), but whether or not there is a correlation is something the data can tell. Sen notes that democracies provide protective security and transparency (freedoms four and five) and this is a mechanism through which to avert things like the Asian currency crisis of 1997. Democratic governments also have issues with transparency but this seems to me an example of how democracy avoids really bad decisions even though it might not make the optimal choices. Danny Hillis explained why this is the case in his article How Democracy Works. Choosing not to Choose (Revisited) Sen reasons that since no tradition of suppressing individual communication exists, this freedom as not open to removal via community consensus. Sen also seems to assume that people won‘t vote away their right to vote. He doesn‘t deal with this possibility explicitly but this is what Lee Kuan Yew was afraid of – communists gaining power and being able to implement an authoritarian communist regime. Sen‘s book was written in 1999 and doesn‘t mention Islam or development in the Middle Eastern context, so he never grapples with the issues like the rise of Shari‘a Law in developing countries such as Somalia. I blogged about the paradox of voting out democracy in Choosing not to Choose in the context of the proposed repeal of the ban on headscarves in Turkish universities and the removal of the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) in Somalia in 2006. I suspect Sen‘s prescription in Turkey would be to let the local government decide on the legality of headscarves in universities (thus the ban would be repealed), and implement all five forms of freedom in Somalia and thus explicitly reject an authority like the UIC. The Internet Sen doesn‘t mention the internet but what is fascinating is that communication te chnologies are accelerating the adoption of at least some of Sen‘s 5 freedoms, particularly where the internet is creating a new mechanism for free speech and political liberty that is nontrivial for governments to control. The internet seems poised to grant such rights directly, and can indirectly bring improvements to positive rights such as education and transparency (see for example MAPLight.org and The Transparent Federal Budget Project). Effective mechanisms for voices to be heard and issues to be raised are implicit in Sen‘s analysis. What Exactly is Sen Suggesting We Measure? Sen subjects his proposed path to development, immediately maximizing the amount of freedoms 1 through 5, to some empirical scrutiny throughout the text but he doesn‘t touch on how exactly to measure how far freedom has progressed. He suggests longevity, health care, education are important factors and I assume he would include freedom of speech, openness of the media, security, and government corruption metrics but these are notoriously hard to define and measure (and measuring longevity actually runs counter to Sen‘s example of the hypothetical community above… but Sen strongly rejects the argument that local culture can permit abridgment of any of his 5 freedoms, particularly the notion that some cultures are simply suited to authoritarian rule). The World Bank compiles a statistical measurement of the rule of law, corruption, freedom of speech and others, that gets close to some of the components in Sen‘s definition of freedom. This also opens the question of what is appropriate to measure when defining freedom. And whether it is possible to have meaningful metrics for concepts like the rule of law or democracy. Sen eschews two common ways of thinking about development: 1) that aid goes to passive recipients and 2) that increasing wealth is the primary means by which development occurs. His motivation seems
to come from a deep respect for subjective valuation: the individual‘s autonomy and responsibility in decision making. https://blogs.law.harvard.edu/idblog/2008/03/18/book-review-development-as-freedom-by-amartya-sen/
Amartya Sen is Thomas W. Lamont University Professor, and Professor of Economics and Philosophy, at Harvard University and was until 2004 the Master of Trinity College, Cambridge. He is also Senior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows. Earlier on he was Professor of Economics at Jadavpur University Calcutta, the Delhi School of Economics, and the London School of Economics, and Drummond Professor of Political Economy at Oxford University. Amartya Sen has served as President of the Econometric Society, the American Economic Association, the Indian Economic Association, and the International Economic Association. He was formerly Honorary President of OXFAM and is now its Honorary Advisor. His research has ranged over social choice theory, economic theory, ethics and political philosophy, welfare economics, theory of measurement, decision theory, development economics, public health, and gender studies. Amartya Sen‘s books have been translated into more than thirty languages, and include Choice of Techniques (1960), Collective Choice and Social Welfare (1970), Choice, Welfare and Measurement (1982), Commodities and Capabilities (1987), The Standard of Living (1987), Development as Freedom (1999), Identity and Violence: The Illusion of Destiny (2006) and The Idea of Justice (2009). Among the awards he has received are the ―Bharat Ratna‖ (the highest honour awarded by the President of India); the Agnelli International Prize in Ethics; the Edinburgh Medal; the Brazilian Ordem do Merito Cientifico; the Eisenhower Medal; Honorary Companion of Honour (UK); the George C. Marshall Award (US); the National Humanities Medal (US); and the Nobel Prize in Economics. http://scholar.harvard.edu/sen/biocv
The Encyclopedia of Leadership
Quick summaries and skill development worksheets for 130 of the most important leadership theories and techniques. A comprehensive guide to the most important and influential leadership principles, theories, tools and techniques in the organizational world, The Encyclopedia of Leadership will help bring you up to speed on many familiar leadership models by modern ‗gurus.‘ Featuring ideas by ,John Kotter Charles Handy, Peter Senge, David Ulrich, Ken Blanchard, Peter Drucker, and many others, The Encyclopedia of Leadership summarizes each key idea in one page, then provides a worksheet to help put the idea into practice. The worksheet can be photocopied for yourself or downloaded from the Web and customized to meet the needs of your organization's leadership training program. Designed for busy leaders, trainers, consultants, educators, and coaches, The Encyclopedia of Leadership makes it possible to quickly find brief summaries of any important leadership idea including: * the basic competencies and practices of successful leaders * finding the best leadership technique for the situation * leading groups and teams * designing productive organizations coaching and supporting the success of others, and much more. Summarizing the thinking of hundreds of great leadership thinkers, The Encyclopedia of Leadership is an important reference book for everyone involved in leadership and leadership training. The first desk reference of its kind, the Encyclopedia of Leadership summarizes more than 130 of the most useful leadership ideas, and techniques from the world‘s greatest leadership authorities and presents them in one accessible handbook. Covering the most important issues facing today‘s leaders, each entry has been carefully selected for its enduring quality and time-tested usefulness. The Encyclopedia features the most useful, regularly used ‗tools of the leadership trade,‘ condensed into quick and easy ‗bites.‘ In addition, each entry in the encyclopedia includes a reproducible worksheet to make it easy to apply the technique to your leadership situation —or to use in a leadership training program. Worksheets include: * personal effectiveness tools for your own personal leadership role * coaching mentoring tools to work with others to increase their effectiveness * training tools for leadership development * group/team leadership tools. Each worksheet can be photocopied or downloaded from the Web and customized to meet the needs of your organization. Also included is bibliographic information for readers who want to learn more about each leadership idea. Packed with evaluation questionnaires, graphics, and checklists, The Encyclopedia of Leadership makes it easy to quickly understand and implement the leadership idea that's right for your organization. http://www.amazon.ca/The-Encyclopedia-Leadership-Practical-Techniques/dp/productdescription/0071363084
A lot of tools / templates are provided to meet our daily use. Besides, they are very useful and esay to read. It's really an 'encyclopedia of leadership. http://www.amazon.com/The-Encyclopedia-Leadership-Practical-Techniques/dp/0071363084
Murray Hiebert has over twenty years experience as an international consultant. He also manages an internationally successful workshop for professional experts called Consulting Skills for Professionals. Bruce Klatt is a senior partner in Murphy Klatt Consulting, Inc. Specializing in accountability and alignment,strategic alliancing and organizational effectiveness.
What if you could improve your performance in the areas that seem to be most at odds with each other work and life beyond work - at the same time? Most of us assume it can't be done. But contrary to the conventional wisdom, the different domains of our lives don't have to compete in a zero-sum game. However, managing them takes real leadership skill. Adapted from author Stew Friedman's popular Wharton School course, Total Leadership will help you identify your core values - what's fundamentally important to you - and make them come alive in your everyday actions at work, at home, in your community, and within yourself. By improving these areas of life simultaneously, you'll get more done with less stress. Friedman's approach has been pressure-tested by years of working with people at every level of experience, in companies large and small. His step-by-step instruction, engaging examples, and more than thirty hands-on tools will help you create sustainable change and achieve higher levels of performance in all parts of your life. Total Leadership offers a compelling new framework that enables you to: # Be real: Act with authenticity by clarifying what's importantâ¿¢ Be whole: Act with integrity by respecting the whole person # Be innovative: Act with creativity by experimenting to find new solutions # Gain greater clarity of purpose, accomplish more at work, and feel more connected to the people and causes that matter most to you. Leadership can - and indeed must - be learned. But first you've got to choose to lead. If you're going to make a difference, thinking of yourself as a leader will make it more likely that your legacy - not your fantasy, but the real impact of your life, today and in the long run - is the one you really want. http://www.ebook3000.com/Total-Leadership_132016.html
Total Leadership is a self-help book for leaders. Drawing his theories from a primarily collaborative management ideology, Stewart Friedman designs the book as a set of exercises with specific steps to analyze oneself and reform to become a better leader in all four domains of life: work, home, community, and self. Friedman coins this way of viewing and cultivating leadership as a system of ―Four-Way Wins.‖ He combines two seemingly opp osing fields—the study of leadership and the study of how to create harmony between the different parts of life—and proves they are actually intrinsically linked. You must be a leader in all aspects of your life to become a great leader. Friedman says that leadership can and must be learned, and he lays out a strict plan to learn it. Within the system of ―Four-Way Wins,‖ Friedman gives three categories in which to improve. The first section is about ―being real,‖ which means acting with authenticity. In th e Total Leadership plan, you begin by writing the story of your leadership vision for the next fifteen years. Then, you list your core values, which aren‘t meant to change through the program but rather give you grounding on your journey to better leadership. Finally, you must define your four domains, their relative importance, and to what degree they currently conflict or harmonize. In the second section, Friedman teaches ―being whole,‖ or acting with integrity. To be whole, you must arrange you domains so they work coherently. Friedman says that most people‘s domains are almost entirely separate circles in conflict, but after achieving four-way wins, the domains are more like rings of a tree stacked on one another in harmony. Next, you must identify your ―key stakeholders,‖ those in your work, home, and community that have a stake in your future. Friedman instructs readers to hold interviews with their stakeholders to compare expectations and discuss positive change. This can open your eyes to the needs of yourself and your stakeholders to allow better and more focused delegation of time. Friedman asserts that alignment of work and life should not be about a time bind but rather the quality of time spent. You must see your life as a system which functions cyclically and reciprocally. Improvement in one domain will increase satisfaction and performance directly in that domain and
indirectly in the others. The third and final section focuses on ―being innovative,‖ or learning to act with creativity. Based on the lessons and perspectives learned through the first sections, readers design experiments to encourage four-way wins in their lives. This inspires creativity, leadership, and even further self-reflection. This practice in thinking as a total leader sets the stage for the same level of thought and purpose for the rest of life. Friedman‘s ideas seem to stem from the best (or worst depending on perspective) of many different management theories. However, the central idea of enriching the lives of employees in order to better your organization screams collaborative management point of view in the vein of Mary Parker Follet. ―Your organization is your employees,‖ Friedman says. In a more Management by Objectives (MBO) state of mind, Friedman strongly supports short-term goals and evaluations throughout the Total Leadership program. He includes many charts and questionnaires designed to help readers visualize and analyze their progress. In experiments, readers must outline action and results metrics to keep track of their results. He even gives a time frame for many of the activities —roughly four months to complete the entire ―journey‖— as well as expected percent increases of satisfaction, performance and monetary gains. And of course, there‘s a touch of Total Quality Management (TQM) theory in the mix. He proposes that productivity at work will increase if leaders can harnesses their knowledge and re-set corporate goals to meet a higher standard of excellence. This kind of total leader will be able to perform faster and spend more focused time at work due to quality increases in all domains of life. Total Leadership is a book about enriching yourself, your work, your home, and your community. Friedman begins the book with a prologue about how having a child changed his leadership perspective. He also introduces readers to many older people who have been in the management field for a long time, completed his program, and improved their lives. Although his exercises could be completed by PR students, they probably wouldn‘t be as relatable for a college-age student who hasn‘t entered the workforce and doesn‘t have a family of her own. However, I could relate very closely with the feeling of conflicting expectations from my stakeholders. College students have a lot on their plate too, and I think learning to manage time in a way that harmonizes the domains of life would help students feel more fulfilled later on. Friedman has a Web site for the book (totalleadership.org) where potential readers could get a taste of what he has to offer before purchasing the book and committing to the journey to become a total leader. http://www.teachingpr.org/management_book_reviews/2009/03/total-leadership-by-stewart-dfriedman.html
Stewart D. Friedman is the founding director of Wharton School‘s Leadership Program and its Work/Life integration Project, and is former head of Ford Motor‘s Leadership Development Center. Friedman has worked with executives, managers, and community leaders to strengthen their leadership skills and enrich their lives. Friedman is the author of numerous books and articles, including Work and Family — Allies or Enemies? (Oxford University Press, 2000). His most recent book is Total Leadership (Harvard Business Review Press, 2008), a blueprint for how to perform well as a leader not by trading off your work, your home, your community, and your private self — but by finding mutual value among all four. In 2008 Total Leadership made the 800-CEO-READ Top 10 list of best business books published that year. Friedman is also author of the article ―Be a Better Leader, Have a Richer Life‖ (Harvard Business Review, April 2008), and also frequently blogs for HBR.org. http://hbr.org/authors/friedman
Born to be Good
In an even sunnier spirit, his book‘s yellow cover is bright enough to suggest the have -a-nice-day emoticon. But there‘s nothing saccharine about the author or his thesis. Mr. Keltner , a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, has devoted himself to studying the social functions of emotion. And his emphasis is on those positive emotions that, even now, remain relatively unexplored and trivialized. He is a former student of Paul Ekman, the behavioral scientist who in the 1970s developed a system of coding facial muscles and determining what their movements really mean. (One measure of the popular appeal of Dr. Ekman‘s research is that it is the basis for a new Fox dramatic series, ―Lie to Me.‖) Although these studies can be traced back to Charles Darwin‘s descriptions of emotional expressions in our own and other species (to be perplexed, Darwin observed, is to scratch the head and rub the eyes), they have seldom been given much weight. There is no high seriousness to Mr. Keltner‘s approach, either. He uses a broad range of jokey, playful examples to illustrate an intriguing central thesis: that laughing, blushing, touching, teasing, loving, empathizing and other not-very-scientific-seeming subjects can be methodically analyzed in terms of their importance to our survival. ―We are wired for good,‖ he declares. ―Born to Be Good‖ is the first mainstream book from a writer whose earlier e xperience has been in textbook and magazine writing. (Mr. Keltner is director of the Greater Good Science Center and an editor of Greater Good Magazine.) But it‘s a bright, entertaining book that need not strain for liveliness or charm. In ways that suggest Mr. Keltner must be a highly amusing teacher (and a generous one, since he so freely credits students and colleagues who played roles in laboratory experiments), this book identifies the adaptive benefits of each emotion, thumbs its nose at the hardhearted (Ayn Rand, Machiavelli) and makes its case for the biological functions served by physical expressiveness. There are elements of social science, neuroscience, clinical psychology and cheerleading to Mr. Keltner‘s methods. The big problem with his approach is contextual: once this book establishes that touching, for instance, is a physiological way of encouraging cooperative behavior or that embarrassment is a way to deflect combat, it is content to rest there — too content. Beyond arguing that a better understanding of these shared emotions can lead to a more fulfilling life, Mr. Keltner does not connect more dangerous and destructive behaviors to states of bliss. However, he is someone who has spent time with the Dalai Lama (as described in the chapter on awe), who gives a Zen spin to his maxims and declares the desire to honor this book‘s insights as well as articulate them. So his readers may need no persuading that living a meaningful life is its own reward. ―Born to Be Good‖ is full of illustrations (volunteers making funny faces, showing us Duchenne smiles and many other revealing expressions), anecdotes and even one-liners. While acknowledging that we are more apt to remember bad things than good ones, Mr. Keltner writes that ―it‘s a wonder any of us ever go back to a high school reunion.‖ He describes the look of defiance as the expressions of ―my daughters when asked to leave a play date,‖ and he tests the difference between moral and visceral judgment with a story about a man and a chicken dinner. It‘s easy to see why that last story, which is best not paraphrased here, is a big hit in the classroom. ―Born to Be Good‖ suggests that while expanding the relatively new field of affective science, Mr. Keltner is ready and eager to conduct all manner of experiments, whether they are whoopee-cushion silly or challengingly serious. In the serious vein, and as a good example of interest he generates here, he writes of being offered yearbook photographs from the Mills Longitudinal Study by Ravenna Helson, the Berkeley colleague who began that study more than 40 years ago. Could Mr. Keltner use yearbook portraits circa 1960 to analyze facial warmth and predict which graduates were more satisfied with their lives?
Among the challenges posed by that opportunity: How can something as mobile as a smile be assessed in still photographs? Are women with warm smiles treated better than stonier-looking ones? How can beauty be differentiated from kindness? And is the smile more a measure of eagerness to please than of inner contentment? Mr. Keltner covers broad, interesting territory on his way to the conclusion that sincere smiling, regard for others, trust, cooperation and kindness can demonstrably enhance our lives. Dacher Keltner sports a big grin in the photograph that accompanies ―Born to Be Good.‖ It‘s not just any big grin. All authors are liable to be self-conscious in posing for book-jacket portraits, but this writer has more reason than most to perfect the fine points. He knows the difference between Duchenne and nonDuchenne smiles: one crinkles the orbicularis oculi muscles and the other does not. One is genuine and shows in the eyes; the other mostly involves the mouth and looks merely polite. Mr. Keltner has made sure that his smile falls on the right side of that distinction, and that it‘s Duchenne all the way. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/19/books/19masl.html
If humans are indeed motivated by self-interest, as Adam Smith famously concluded, then what are we to make of the prevalence of emotions like compassion, modesty, and awe in social groups as disparate as the isolated inhabitants of New Guinea and the crowded creatures of New York? Berkeley social psychologists Dacher Keltner argues that the secret to happiness lies in a ‗jen‗ ratio (the balance of good and evil in your life) and demonstrates the simplest of touches and the slightest of smiles are encoded signals of our innate capacity to engage with others in cooperative communities. By turns personal, informative, amusing, and instructive, Born to Be Good continues Darwin‘s little -known work on human emotions and shows that survival is actually a matter of who is the kindest.
Dr. Keltner is a Professor of Psychology and the Director of Greater Good Science Center. He received his Ph.D. in Social Psychology from Stanford University in 1989. In 1992, after completing a postdoctorate at UCSF with Paul Ekman, he took his first academic job, at the University of WisconsinMadison. He then returned to Berkeley‘s Psychology Department in 1996, where he is now a full professor. Dr. Keltner‘s research focuses on two time-honored questions: A first is the biological and evolutionary origins of human goodness, with a special concentration on compassion, awe, love, and beauty; a second is the study of power, status and social class, and the nature of moral intuitions. Dr. Keltner has also researched human facial expressions. A study he is particularly well known for is the ―Duchenne smile,‖ which distinguishes genuine smiles from fake ones. In an examination of 141 Mills College senior yearbook photos, Dr. Keltner found that women whose smiles were rated as genuine experienced more happiness and positive connections—even 30 years later. Dr. Keltner is the coauthor of two best-selling textbooks, one on human emotion, the other on social psychology, as well as Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life, published in January 2009. He has published over 100 scientific articles, has written for the New York Times Magazine, the London Times, and Utne Reader, and has received numerous national prizes and grants for his research. His research has been covered in Time, Newsweek, the New York Times, on the BBC, CNN, and NPR, and
in many other outlets. Dr. Keltner also serves as coeditor of the Greater Good Science Center‘s online magazine, Greater Good. He lives in Berkeley with his wife, an alumna of Berkeley, and their two daughters. Awards and Credentials 3. Utne Reader selected Dr. Keltner as one of its 50 visionaries for 2008 4. WIRED magazine recently rated Dr. Keltner's podcasts from his course Emotion as one of the five best educational downloads 5. Outstanding Teacher, Division of Social Sciences, University of California Templeton Positive Psychology Outstanding Contribution to Research, 2000 http://www.pbs.org/thisemotionallife/node/162/bio/print
The Book of Balance and Harmony
The Book of Balance and Harmony is a renowned anthology of writing by a thirteenth-century master of the Complete Reality School of Taoism, a movement begun around the turn of the first millennium CE whose aim was a return to the purity of Taoism's original principles and practices. This classic collection, compiled by one of the master's disciples, is still very much in use by the Taoist adepts of China today. Its serves as a compendium of the teaching of the Complete Reality School, both in theory and in practice, employing a rich variety of literary forms, including essays, dialogues, poetry, and song. The writings herein condense the essences of the Chinese religious traditions of Taoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism into an alchemical elixir teaching Vitality, Energy, and Spirit—the "three treasures" of Taoism that promise mental and physical well-being.
This book gave me moments of real stunned silence. Some of the explanations of spiritual matters are quite interesting. the real thrust of this book is practicing stillness and holding the root. quieting the mind and passions to let the Dao manifest itself. it's presentation is quite elegant, simple, and powerful. It might occasionally seem cryptic if you are not used to reading this kind of thing, but compared to many other medieval Taoist texts available in english translation this one is pretty accessible of particular note is a grading of paths in one section of the book. It goes from low grade false paths (the details of which are quite disgusting) to adjunct paths which can help one but not take you all the way, up to the high grade sublime stuff. quite the presentation. I would recommend this book to anyone with a genuine interest in Taoism, but if you are looking for secret esoteric techniques and detailed chi gung instructions like those found in certain pop Taoist instruction manuals, you will not find them here. What you will find is very subtle and deep discussions that go straight to the heart of spiritual matters without getting hung up on techniques and secret methodologies. Also, this book is a product of reformed Quanzhen Taoism, which sought to end the sectarian friction with Confucian and Buddhist traditions, so you will find discussion of these matters as well. For someone who is also interested in Buddhism and wants to compare it with Taoism this will give added interest. a real Taoist classic, worth reading more than once for sure. We have allot to thank Cleary for. http://www.amazon.ca/Book-Balance-Harmony-Taoist-Handbook/dp/1590300777
Cleary "got into Buddhism... in [his] teens", and was driven to research Buddhist texts because he "wanted to learn". He usually translates texts that are not yet available in English; however, he has made some exceptions for books he felt had English translations that were "too limited," such as Sun Tzu's The Art of War. Cleary received a PhD in East Asian Languages and Civilizations from Harvard University, but has had minimal involvement with the academic world, claiming that "there is too much oppression in a university setting," and that he wants "to stay independent and reach those who who
want to learn directly through [his] books." He reserves some praise for his alma mater, though; "a good thing about Harvard was language training was done by native teachers. You did not find that everywhere." Cleary's first publication, with his brother J.C. Cleary was the translation of the Zen koan collection, The Blue Cliff Record (ISBN 1-59030-232-X). Cleary also translated the monumental Avatamsaka Sutra (Huayan Jing / Flower Ornament Scripture). Cleary's most widely disseminated translation has been of the Chinese classic The Art of War (Sunzi Bingfa) by Sun Tzu. Another major translation is of the commentaries of the 18th century Taoist sage Liu Yiming, who clearly explains the often impenetrable metaphoric coding of the main Taoist texts dealing with the transformation of consciousness and the fusion of the human mind with the Mind of the Tao. In 2000, Cleary's various translations of Taoist texts were collected into 4 volumes by Shambhala Publications as The Taoist Classics. Following the success of these publications, a five volume collection of Buddhist translations was collected as Classics of Buddhism and Zen Cleary's recent translation of the [ ] [ ] Qur'an has been praised by Muslims who know English who? and Arabic. citation needed Another outstanding translation from the Muslim wisdom tradition is Living and Dying with Grace. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Cleary
Peace is Every Step
In the rush of modern life, we tend to lose touch with the peace that is available in each moment. Worldrenowned Zen master, spiritual leader, and author Thich Nhat Hanh shows us how to make positive use of the very situations that usually pressure and antagonize us. For him a ringing telephone can be a signal to call us back to our true selves. Dirty dishes, red lights, and traffic jams are spiritual friends on the path to "mindfulness"—the process of keeping our consciousness alive to our present experience and reality. The most profound satisfactions, the deepest feelings of joy and completeness lie as close at hand as our next aware breath and the smile we can form right now. Lucidly and beautifully written, Peace Is Every Step contains commentaries and meditations, personal anecdotes and stories from Nhat Hanh's experiences as a peace activist, teacher, and community leader. It begins where the reader already is—in the kitchen, office, driving a car, walking a part—and shows how deep meditative presence is available now. Nhat Hanh provides exercises to increase our awareness of our own body and mind through conscious breathing, which can bring immediate joy and peace. Nhat Hanh also shows how to be aware of relationships with others and of the world around us, its beauty and also its pollution and injustices. the deceptively simple practices of Peace Is Every Step encourage the reader to work for peace in the world as he or she continues to work on sustaining inner peace by turning the "mindless" into the mindful. http://books.google.ca/books/about/Peace_is_every_step.html?id=ia4nSWj3zCUC
Tending roses is a Form of meditation if you put your attention into it. And putting your attention into the present moment is the essence of meditation practice. It is self-defeating to go to the trouble of raising roses only to let your mind wander away to thoughts of other things. And if you let your attention stray from He precise conditions of the present moment, your roses will rip your flesh. Like meditation, peace might be something Far less esoteric than has been portrayed. "The path of mindfulness in everyday life" means that you can truly make yourself and those around you happier and more peaceful by remembering to smile when you wake up in the morning, by noticing when you inhale and exhale, by Feeling the dishwater on your hands. Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist monk interrupted his education at Princeton and Columbia in 1963 to return to his native Vietham, where he helped lead the Buddhist antiwar movement. When he returned to the US to talk about the sufFering of his people, he was convincing enough to move Martin Luther King, Jr. to nominate him for the 1967 Nobel Peace Prize. He set up the Buddhist Peace Delegation to the Paris Peace Talks in 1969. After the war, in 1973, he was refused permission to return home; since then he has lived in France and America, working with refugees, writing, publishing, and lecturing. Here's your chance to learn a powerful spiritual practice from a living bodhisattva. It's simple. You can do it while riding the subway, answering the telephone, or turning your compost. Telephone Meditation The telephone is very convenient, but we can be tyrannized by it. We may find its ring disturbing or feel interrupted by too many calls. When we talk on the phone, we may forget that we are talking on the telephone, wasting precious time (and money). Often we talk about things that are not that important. How many times have we received our phone bill and winced at the amount of it? The telephone bell creates in us a kind of vibration, and maybe some anxiety: "Who is calling? Is it good news or bed news?" Yet some force in us pulls us to the phone and we cannot resist. We are victims of our own telephone. I recommend that the next time you hear the phone ring, just stay where you are, breathe in and out consciously, smile to yourself, and recite this verse: "Listen, listen. This wonderful sound brings me back
to my true self." When the bell rings for the second time, you can repeat the verse, and your smile will be even more solid. When you smile, the muscles of your face relax, and your tension quickly vanishes. You can afford to practice breathing and smiling like this, because if the person calling has something important to say, she will certainly wait for at least three rings. When the phone rings for the third time, you can continue to practice breathing and smiling, as you walk to the phone slowly, with all your sovereignty. You are your own master. You know that you are smiling not only for your own sake, but also for the sake of the other person. If you are irritated or angry, the other person will receive your negativity. But because you have been breathing consciously and smiling, you are dwelling in mindfulness, and when you pick up the phone, how fortunate for the person calling you! http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1510/is_n82/ai_15297742/
Thich Nhat Hanh, or Thay (teacher in Vietnamese), as his friends and students call him, is a worldrenowned writer, spiritual leader, scholar, poet, peace activist, and Buddhist monk. He was born in Vietnam in 1926 and became a monk at the age of sixteen. After founding a Buddhist learning center in South Vietnam, he came to America in the 1960s to study and teach. However, during the Vietnam War, he returned to his homeland and become a pioneer of "engaged Buddhism," which melds meditative practices with active nonviolent civil disobedience. He founded a peace magazine, worked unstintingly for reconciliation between North and South Vietnam, lobbied world leaders to put an end to the conflict, set up relief organizations to rebuild destroyed villages, and started the School of Youth for Social Service. These incredible good works inspired Martin Luther King, Jr., to nominate him for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1967. When he was 40, Thich Nhat Hanh was banned from Vietnam by both the non-Communist and Communist governments for his role in undermining the war effort and speaking out against the violence that was destroying the lives and liberties of his people. Into the 1970s, he was still involved with rescue missions for Vietnamese trying to escape political oppression. He led a Buddhist delegation to the Paris peace talks that helped establish a new relationship between Vietnam and the United States. In 1982, he founded Plum Village in southwestern France, a Buddhist retreat center and monastic community where he teaches the art of mindful living. Since then he has conducted retreats around the world for American Vietnam War veterans, psychotherapists, artists, environmental activists, and children. He also teaches, writes, gardens, and works to help refugees worldwide at Green Mountain Dharma Center in Vermont and Deer Park Monastery in Escondido, California. There is a simple elegance to the spiritual teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh that shines through every one of his books. He gracefully conveys the beauty of essential Buddhist teachings. He is a master of the art of mindful living and staying in the present moment. His practice of engaged Buddhism has led to the transformation of many people‘s consciousness, and his writings on dealing with anger and violence are very concrete, recommending specific practices to undertake in our families and communities. Another of his core teachings — being peace in this conflicted world — has led many to new respect for their enemies and a firmer resolve to bring about reconciliation in our tattered world. Our practice of everyday spirituality has been enriched by the use of Thich Nhat Hanh's gathas — mindfulness verses said during daily activities, such as when opening a window, brushing your teeth, hearing a bell, washing the dishes, and throwing out the garbage. Thousands have followed his instructions for walking meditation and found it a way of connecting to the Earth and their neighbors. Thich Nhat Hanh speaks to people of all religious backgrounds and has been a bridge builder in interfaith encounters. http://www.spiritualityandpractice.com/teachers/teachers.php?id=107
Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life
One of the most original thinkers on the role of religion in the modern world—author of such acclaimed books as A History of God, Islam, and Buddha—now gives us an impassioned and practical book that can help us make the world a more compassionate place. Karen Armstrong believes that while compassion is intrinsic in all human beings, each of us needs to work diligently to cultivate and expand our capacity for compassion. Here, in this straightforward, thoughtful, and thought-provoking book, she sets out a program that can lead us toward a more compassionate life. The twelve steps Armstrong suggests begin with ―Learn About Compassion‖ and close with ―Love Your Enemies.‖ In between, she takes up ―compassion for yourself,‖ mindfulness, suffering, sympathetic joy, the limits of our knowledge of others, and ―concern for everybody.‖ She suggests concrete ways of enhancing our compassion and putting it into action in our everyday lives, and provides, as well, a reading list to encourage us to ―hear one another‘s narratives.‖ Throughout, Armstrong makes clear that a compassionate life is not a matter of only heart or mind but a deliberate and often life-altering commingling of the two. http://www.amazon.com/Twelve-Steps-Compassionate-Borzoi-Books/dp/0307595595
It feels irreverent, if not actually blasphemous, to question a work by Karen Armstrong. Since her book A History of God was published in 1993, she has established herself as a historian of religion of magisterial authority. A one-woman industry on the subject, she has produced a string of texts that have been marked not only by their depth of research and understanding, but by their wisdom and sanity. This has been particularly important at a time when religious warfare has broken out with all the old bitterness but is being waged with new and more destructive weapons. She has positioned herself as an independent mediator who interprets religion with considerable intelligence to its cultured despisers, while at the same time taking on religion's angry warriors, who often appear to be ignorant of the theological subtleties of the faiths they claim to be championing. If we can talk about an Armstrong project, there seem to be two main planks in its platform, both of them built solidly into her new book. The first is her concept of mythos as opposed to logos as the language of religion. Logos is factual, scientific knowledge, whereas mythos is "an attempt to express some of the more elusive aspects of life that cannot easily be expressed in logical, discursive speech". For instance, she discusses the Greek myth of Demeter, goddess of harvest and grain, and her daughter, Persephone. She says that to ask the Greeks whether there was any historical basis to the myth would be obtuse. The evidence for the truth of the myth was the way the world came to birth in the spring after the death of winter. I agree that the Demeter story is a proper myth, one that uses narrative to express a timeless truth. The same would be true of the myth of the Garden of Eden, a story not about an aboriginal couple who pinched an apple, but about the enduring existence of human discontent. Any intelligent reader gets a myth, the way they get a Steve Bell cartoon in the Guardian. But what about the resurrection? Christians think that this is not a myth in the Armstrong sense of a timeless truth encapsulated in a story, but is an actual event – Jesus got up and got out of the tomb – one of whose purposes is to assure us of our own life after death. Whatever you make of the Christian claim,
it resists any attempt to turn the resurrection into a myth in the sense of that word as used by Armstrong. I think it's a myth in the way she describes, but the church does not. This is why I think Armstrong's myth project has about it a whiff of the disingenuous. It is the way she and I and many others hold on to the great scriptural tropes, but it is not how the church's official teachers hold them: the Pope, for example, would clearly dismiss it as an error or a heresy. I don't fault her for holding out this lifeline for people who want to hold on to Christianity without buying its awkward supernatural claims, but it is not how the church understands things. The second plank in her platform is that compassion is, as it were, the distilled essence of the world's great religions. She is an immensely compassionate human being and has recently initiated a charter for compassion in order, as she puts it in the preface to this book, to "restore compassion to the heart of religious and moral life … At a time when religions are widely assumed to be at loggerheads, it would also show that … on this we are all in agreement …". Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life is both a manifesto and a self-help manual. As a manifesto, it promotes her campaign to place compassion at the heart of religion; as a manual modelled on the 12-step programme of Alcoholics Anonymous, it offers exercises aimed at increasing our own compassion. It would make a brilliant guide for leaders of retreats and workshops on the compassionate life, and as a repository of digested wisdom from the world's religions I cannot recommend it too highly. But is she correct in suggesting that, au fond, the essence of the main religions boils down to compassion? It is probably correct where Buddhism is concerned and it is from Buddhism that her best insights and examples come. I think she is on shakier ground when she applies it to Christianity and Islam. Christianity and Islam are redemption religions, not wisdom religions. They exist to secure life in the world to come for their followers and any guidance they offer on living in this world is always with a view to its impact on the next. This radically compromises the purity of their compassion agenda. Let me offer one example to prove my point. At a meeting of primates of the Anglican communion, I was accused by one archbishop of filling Hell with homosexuals, because I was giving them permission to commit acts that would guarantee them an eternity of punishment, for no sodomite can enter Heaven. My worldly compassion for gay people, my campaign to furnish them with the same sexual rights as straight people, was actually a kind of cruelty. The price of their fleeting pleasures in this world would be an eternity of punishment in the next. I can think of other examples from other moral spheres where an attempt to act compassionately towards certain categories of sufferers runs counter to Christianity's doctrinal certainties. The point at issue here is whether Christianity, as it presently understands itself, is a religion whose central value is compassion. If the answer is yes, it can only be what we might describe as eschatological compassion, because the church's doctrinal certainties and their corresponding prohibitions do not feel like compassion to those who are on their receiving end down here. They say justice delayed is justice denied. The same must be true of compassion. Richard Holloway was bishop of Edinburgh 1986-2000 and is the author of Between the Monster and the Saint (Canongate) http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/dec/19/12-steps-compassionate-life-review
Karen Armstrong is one of the best known and most popular writers on religion today. She has authored twelve books, including the best-seller A History of God, and created a six-part documentary television series in England on the life of Saint Paul. At age seventeen she took vows of chastity and poverty, and entered the Roman Catholic order of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus. Seven years later she left the
convent and in 1982 published her first book, Through the Narrow Gate, which chronicles her life as a nun. Shortly thereafter she published a second autobiographical book about the religious life, Beginning the World. Ms. Armstrong studied at Oxford University, where she read literature and wrote a doctoral thesis that was subsequently rejected by an external examiner and which prompted her departure from academia. She took a position teaching English at a girls' school for several years, and is presently teaching Christianity at London's Leo Baeck College for the Study of Judaism. Armstrong's achievements as an independent scholar focusing on the three great monotheistic religions, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, have earned her a reputation as a major contributor to interfaith understanding and respect. Her books on Islam and Muhammed have given many Westerners their first clear and unbiased insight into the history and teachings of this great tradition and its prophet. With the recent publication of a biography of Buddha, she is extending her reach into the East and offering readers another accessible, if unconventional, account of one of the most influential religious teachers of all time.
A Passion for Wisdom
When the Ancient Greek philosopher, Pythagoras, was asked if he was a wise man, he humbly replied, ―No, I am only a lover of wisdom.‖ This love of wisdom has been central to the philosophical enterprise for thousands of years, inspiring some of the most dazzling and daring achievements of the human intellect and providing the very basis for how we understand the world. Now, readers eager to acquire a basic familiarity with the history of philosophy but intimidated by the task will find in A Passion for Wisdom: A Very Brief History of Philosophy a lively, accessible, and highly enjoyable tour of the world‘s greatest ideas. Without simplifying their subject, Robert Solomon and Kathleen Higgins tell the story of philosophy‘s great development with great clarity and refreshing wit. The brevity of their study, in fact, allows readers to see more clearly the connections and divergences between philosophers, as well as the way ideas change, reappear, and evolve over time. The authors begin with the most ancient religious beliefs and bring us right up to the feminist and multicultural philosophies of the present. Along the way, major philosophers are highlighted, from Plato and Aquinas to William James and Simone deBeauvoir, and major categories explored, from metaphysics and ethics to politics and logic. We also see the evolution of enduring ideas – how, for example, the value of subjective experience is treated in Augustine, Luther, Descartes, and Kierkegaard; how the idea of dynamic change appears in the work of Heraclitus, Darwin, Hegel, and Nietzsche.; and how the recurring dichotomies between faith and reason, belief and skepticism, and mysticism and empiricism occupy philosophers from one generation to the next. Solomon and Higgins make clear the many ways philosophers have argued with, borrowed from, and built on each other‘s ideas throughout the ages. We see Francis Bacon rejecting the Aristotelian dogma, the impact of Buddhism on Schopenhauer, and the influence of Hume and Rousseau on the monumental philosophy of Imanuel Kant. The book is enlivened as well by telling anecdotes and sparkling quotations. We‘re treated to Thomas Hobbes‘ assessment – ―Life is nasty, brutish, and short,‖ Hegel‘s description of Napoleon as ―world history on horseback,‖ Schopenhauer‘s assertion that Art allows us a ―Sabbath from the penal servitude of willing,‖ and many other memorable and provocative observations. Accessible, comprehensive, and delightfully written, A Passion for Wisdom is a splendid introduction to an intellectual tradition that reaches back over three thousand years. More than that, it is a much needed reminder of the power inherent in humanity‘s wonder before the world.
This is a "concise version" of Solomon and Higgins's A Short History of Philosophy (1996) which wasn't all that short at 329 pages--well, for a history of philosophy actually it was kind of short. As the authors point out, a "short" history of philosophy (in German) by Hans Joachim Storig, runs to 750 pages, and Bertrand Russell's famous popular opus from 1945, A History of Philosophy was 895 pages long. What the authors have done here is to distill the essence of their larger book, mostly by judiciously pruning. The result is a witty, pithy and very well edited introduction for almost anybody interested in knowing what philosophy is all about. Speaking of Russell, the authors's treatment of him is characteristically sly: Noting that Russell turned his attention to more worldly matters after his youth (and the Principia Mathematica), they add that "he wrote an elegant and impassioned autobiography, conclusively documenting his political commitments, his love of philosophy, and what we might politely call his love of love. He also declared--as the First World War had clearly shown--that 'the world is horrible.' Formal philosophy, by comparison, seemed both a refuge and a waste of time." (p. 115) Solomon and Higgins cover Eastern philosophy (which many Western books do not), and they bring us up to the postmodern era, although they scrupulously avoid discussing philosophers still living--a wise
decision no doubt since most of us are still trying to cope with what happen to philosophy after the logical positivists got a hold of it early in the 20th century. Solomon and Higgins also address religious philosophy, which again is right, especially when you consider that most of Western philosophy since the Greeks has been strongly influenced by Christian values and ideas--and of course, the Eastern "philosophies" from the Vedas, the Buddha, Lao Tzu, etc., cannot really be separated from religion. It is good to compare this to Russell's best-selling opus since Solomon and Higgins do very well exactly what Russell did very well, that is make philosophy interesting and even exciting for the general reader; and like Russell they write with unusual clarity. Unlike Russell however they refrain (mostly) from taking sides in the various philosophic disputes and they don't reveal who their favorites are. I guess I could say that Russell's approach was a critical one as he found fault with many of the icons of philosophy, even--or perhaps especially--Plato, whereas Solomon and Higgins try for a more descriptive and informative approach. I love Russell. He was a delight to me when I first read him as a teenager, but I must say that the approach of Solomon and Higgins is the more judicious. Philosophy is like history in this respect. We cannot adequately critique the ideas of today because we are so completely immersed in them that we have no real objectivity. As the authors put it so very well on page 113, "Philosophy is never isolated or immune from its time and place, no matter how abstract it may be or however 'eternal' or 'untimely' it may declare itself. Philosophy may be prophetic, it can be nostalgic, or it can act as a mirror, a reflection of a culture. But more often than not, it expresses in abstract terms the ideals and aspirations of society." This follows their observation that Nietzsche had predicted the horrible wars of the 20th century. Their treatment of Nietzsche (and virtually all of the philosophers) is generous although there is just the slightest hint that his ideas may have been in some part responsible for the rise of the kind of mentality exhibited by the Nazis. They recall Nietzsche's "incredible suggestion that human beings...[are] nothing but a bridge between the ape and the Ubermensch ('superman')" Personally, I am not a big fan of Nietzsche; nonetheless it is striking to consider that he may be exactly right: the science of the 21st century may fuse us with our machines, and through genetic engineering allow us to become something "more" than human. The book is in three parts, Part I: "Is There Ultimate Truth?"; Part II: "Faith and Reason"; and Part III: "From Modernity to Postmodernism." I think this is just perfect. The search for what is true and/or to what extent we can know what is true is at the very heart of the philosophic urge. And the struggle between faith and reason rages on today as it has since before the Greeks. And what we have experienced in our lifetimes is the rise of postmodernism which is a serious critique of the self-satisfied modernity that grew out of the Enlightenment. I guess what I like best about this book is a sense that it is a return to the kind of philosophy that I loved as a young man. As the authors put it, while they are excited "by the bewildering variety of ideas" that we have today in philosophy, they are "at the same time...disturbed by the fact that the old ideal of philosophy, as a search for wisdom rather than a peculiar professional skill or a merely clever game, has gotten lost." (p. 128) This book brings some of the excitement back. http://www.amazon.com/Passion-Wisdom-Brief-History-Philosophy/dp/0195112091
Robert C. Solomon is the Quincy Lee Centennial Professor of Business and Philosophy and Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Texas, Austin. His books include A Short History of Philosophy, A Passion for Wisdom, and The Joy of Philosophy, all published by Oxford University Press.
Robert C. Solomon (b. 1942) was born in Detroit, Michigan, and his father was a lawyer, his mother, an artist. After earning a B.A. (1963) at the University of Pennsylvania, he moved to the University of Michigan for an M.A. (1965) and Ph.D. (1967). He has held several teaching positions at such schools as Princeton University, the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of Pittsburgh. In 1972, he moved to the University of Texas at Austin. His many books include The Passions (1976), Love: Emotion, Myth, and Metaphor (1981), Above the Bottom Line: An Introduction to Business Ethics (with Kristine R. Hansen) (1983), A Passion for Justice (1990), and About Love: Reinventing Romance for Our Times (1988). He is also a published songwriter. http://www.infidels.org/kiosk/author633.html Kathleen Marie Higgins (born 1954) is Professor of Philosophy at The University of Texas at Austin where she has been teaching for over 20 years. She earned her B.A. in music from the University of Missouri at Kansas City and completed her graduate work in philosophy at Yale University, receiving her M.A., M.Phil, and Ph.D. Professor Higgins has taught at the University of California, Riverside, and she is a regular visiting professor at the University of Auckland. She has also held appointments as Resident Scholar at the Rockefeller Foundation‘s Bellagio Study and Conference Center (1993) and as a Visiting Fellow of the Australian National University Philosophy Department and the Canberra School of Music (1997). She also received an Alumni Achievement Award from the Conservatory of Music at the University of Missouri– Kansas City (1999). She was married to Professor Robert C. Solomon. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kathleen_Higgins
From Knowledge to Wisdom
From Knowledge to Wisdom argues that there is an urgent need, for both intellectual and humanitarian reasons, to bring about a revolution in science and the humanities. The outcome would be a kind of academic inquiry rationally devoted to helping humanity learn how to create a better world. Instead of giving priority to solving problems of knowledge, as at present, academia would devote itself to helping us solve our immense, current global problems – climate change, war, poverty, population growth, pollution of sea, earth and air, destruction of natural habitats and rapid extinction of species, proliferation of armaments, conventional, chemical, biological and nuclear, tyranny and injustice. The basic intellectual aim of inquiry would be to seek and promote wisdom – wisdom being the capacity to realize what is of value in life for oneself and others, thus including knowledge and technological know-how, but much else besides. This second edition has been revised throughout, has additional material, a new introduction and three new chapters. http://www.pentirepress.plus.com/
This book is the work on an unashamed idealist; but it is none the worse for that. The author is a philosopher of science who holds the plain man's view that philosophy should be a guide to life, not just a cure for intellectual headaches. He believes, and argues with passion and conviction, that the abysmal failure of science to free society from poverty, hunger and fear is due to a fatal flaw in the accepted aim of scientific endeavour - the acquistion and extension of knowledge ...The philosophy of wisdom commends itself, furthermore, not only to the heart but to the head: it gives science and scholarship a proper place in the human social order. . . Nicholas Maxwell has breached the conventions of philosophical writing by using, with intent, such loaded words as 'wisdom', 'suffering' and 'love'. 'That which is of value in existence, associated with human life, is inconceivably, unimaginably, richly diverse in character.' What an un-academic proposition to flow from the pen of a lecturer in the philosophy of science; but what a condemnation of the academic outlook, that this should be so. Maxwell is advocating nothing less than a revolution (based on reason, not on religious or Marxist doctrine) in our intellectual goals and methods of inquiry ... There are altogether too many symptoms of malaise in our science-based society for Nicholas Maxwell's diagnosis to be ignored. http://www.nick-maxwell.demon.co.uk/Reviews.htm
I have devoted much of my working life to arguing that we need to bring about a revolution in academia so that it promotes wisdom and does not just acquire knowledge. I have published five books on this theme: What‘s Wrong With Science? (Bran's Head Books, 1976), From Knowledge to Wisdom (Blackwell, 1984; 2nd edition, Pentire Press, 2007), The Comprehensibility of the Universe (Oxford University Press, 1998), The Human World in the Physical Universe (Rowman and Littlefield, 2001) and Is Science Neurotic? (Imperial College Press, December 2004). I have also contributed to a number of other books, and have published numerous papers in science and philosophy journals on problems that range from consciousness to quantum theory. For nearly thirty years I taught philosophy of science at University College London, where I am now Emeritus Reader in Philosophy of Science. On 3rd February 2009 a book is to be published devoted to my work, edited by Leemon McHenry, called Science and the Pursuit of Wisdom (Ontos Verlag). My website URL, where more information about my life and work may be found, is: www.nick-maxwell.demon.co.uk http://ucl.academia.edu/NicholasMaxwell
One World, Ready or Not
In "One World, Ready or Not, " a national bestseller, Wiliam Greider focuses his incomparable reportorial skills on exposing the myths and the realities of the global ecnomy in terms of human struggle. Drawing on in-depth investigations and interviews with factory workers, corporate CEOs, economists and government officials around the world, he contends that the global economy is sowing "creative destruction" everywhere: while making possible great accumulations of wealth, it is also reviving forms of human exploitation that characterized industry one hundred years ago. Greider warns that if the system isn't reformed it will threaten not only our middle-class lifestyles but also social peace in rich and poor countries alike. http://www.amazon.com/One-World-Ready-Not-Capitalism/dp/0684835541
Most thinking Americans, and even some investment bankers, get wind of events in today's global economy and aren't sure what it all means. If you've been baffled by the whirlwind but haven't known where to begin, I wish I could say that William Greider's new jeremiad, ''One World, Ready or Not,'' is the one book you'll need. But it's only half of it. The truth is there won't be another book this year that grapples more ambitiously with the big picture in political economy -- or which fluctuates so maddeningly between brilliance and fallacy in its analysis. Mr. Greider, the populist critic (and onetime David Stockman confessor) who writes for Rolling Stone, predicts an almost apocalyptic reckoning if upheavals in commerce, finance and societies worldwide go unchecked. The problem is that for all his impressive reporting, imaginative syntheses and moral conviction, Mr. Greider's economics are often sloppy or worse. The result is a paradox. Usually books like this feature compelling diagnoses followed by lame cures. Here, though Mr. Greider mischaracterizes many of our troubles, he's full of important ideas about what we should do about them. It's hard to do summary justice to Mr. Greider's many-layered argument, but here goes. We live at the dawn of a new age, in which technology has brought transport, communications and computing costs low enough to make production and capital flows truly global. Governments, heeding the Wall Street types who control the terms of public borrowing (and who benefit most from globalization), have pushed the process along through deregulation. While global integration brings undeniable marvels and progress (Islamic women get bank accounts thanks to Motorola's training; British homeowners get cheaper mortgages thanks to George Soros's war on the pound), it also brings social havoc and power that is accountable to no one (Islamic men ask what happened; Brits ask who elected Mr. Soros anyway). If this sounds a little like the creative destruction of capitalism and its discontents, it is. But Mr. Greider goes farther. New features of global capitalism, he argues, will bring unparalleled inequality and exploitation. The coming power of new computer chips makes job losses from automation look piddling. Worldwide competition drags wages in advanced nations down toward those of the poorest countries. Capital, answerable only to itself, seeks maximum returns, regardless of the dislocations its sudden flight brings or the chaos its burst speculative bubbles can shower. As poor nations race to get into the industrial game and rich ones innovate to stay ahead, the globe is flooded with chronic overproduction, sure to bring mass plant closings and unemployment. With labor unorganized or suppressed, inhuman treatment becomes routine.
Worse, Mr. Greider says, there's no obvious fixer. At the dawn of this century, a time of similar abuse, governments could step in with minimum wage, child labor and workplace safety laws that saved rampant capitalism from itself (and the states from bidding against one another to get jobs). No international authority exists that can similarly temper the global market's excesses. Instead, governments everywhere are in retreat, unable to appease angry constituents yet scaling back services, tax bases and safety nets to lure multinationals and keep bond traders happy. All in all, Mr. Greider concludes, it's a recipe for social meltdown and financial disaster, unless we reverse our unthinking deference to the dictates of global business and capital, and fast. While spinning out this cataclysmic vision, Mr. Greider's rich reporting brings the global economic beast to life in all its splendor and horror. The biggest assembly plant in the world -- a hundred acres of Boeing engineering miracles under one giant roof -- inspires awe at human ingenuity; girls locked and killed inside a tinderbox Thai sweatshop prompt revulsion at human indifference. Mr. Greider shows the perpetual ambiguity of events from the global citizen's point of view: when Boeing transfers production to China in exchange for access to its market, Mr. Greider is torn between lamenting the loss of good American jobs and cheering the Chinese, for whom plane building offers a path out of poverty. He also denounces the hypocrisy of global elites, like financiers who preach the virtues of free markets 364 days a year, until Mexico collapses and they need a little ''big government'' to bail out their bad bets. But while the social concerns raised by Mr. Greider's reporting are surely valid, his almost Marxist prophecies of doom flow from some basic economic confusions. His contention, for example, that wages here will inexorably fall to third-world levels ignores the fact that American workers are still far more productive than their counterparts (and thus can earn far more without pricing American goods out of world markets). For all the talk of globalization, moreover, tradable goods account for only one-fifth of our economy. If you're a textile worker in South Carolina, yes, you're in trouble; but most workers' wage woes have more to do with getting United States productivity moving even higher and the premium new technologies place on having greater skills. In addition, while certain industries, like steel, see new factories mysteriously financed even in the face of existing surplus, there's little evidence of the global supply glut Mr. Greider repeatedly stresses. If he were right, we'd expect Depression-era rates of unemployment, plummeting prices and stock markets, and very low interest rates, thanks to the savings surplus that would accompany underconsumption. We have none of these. Similar fallacies mar Mr. Greider's views on many other issues, from trade deficits and the economy's growth potential to the structure of demand and the causes and cures of our Great Depression. Readers otherwise sympathetic to Mr. Greider's ambitious project will learn to bleep over them. But economists (whose role as the arbiters of much public debate Mr. Greider regrets) will seize on these errors to dimiss the book outright. That's a mistake. You don't need to agree we're facing apocalypse soon to know we're facing spiraling unfairness already, or to admit that Mr. Greider's right when he says all whose Christmas list included Asian-made toys are probably complicit in exploiting the weak. Indeed, his moral passion is a rebuke to the petty obsessions of many modern economists, and a tonic for today's fainthearted debates. Mr. Greider rightly calls on governments to moderate (not derail) the pace of this latest industrial revolution and push the global system toward more equitable outcomes. This means refusing to yield a society's destiny to multinationals or financiers unfettered by social obligation. He'd restore some controls on capital flows; tax wealth more heavily while slashing payroll levies that punish work; ask trading nations to honor labor rights or face tariffs; and subsidize low-wage employment to assure a decent life for those not equipped to thrive in the high-tech age. A new commitment to ''lifting the bottom'' is Mr. Greider's sensible answer to the downward pressures the global economy brings. Like James Fallows and Clyde V. Prestowitz Jr. before him, Mr. Greider urges American elites to wake up and pursue a Japanese model of national interest, rather than cling to pretty trade theories that sanction
the loss of major industries. He'd renew Louis O. Kelso and Senator Russell B. Long's worthy efforts to increase employee ownership, steps that might let market incentives triumph while making everyman a capitalist. And his plea for our best minds to fashion a new ideology for a world now truly indivisible (''global humanism,'' he tentatively calls it) is inspiring. Many of Mr. Greider's proposals -- such as transaction taxes to damp currency speculation, and labor agreements in trade deals -- would take multilateral action to work, no small feat. And some of his tics, like his endless Fed-bashing, are off base. But challenges like Mr. Greider's to establishment nostrums and powerful inteests are rare. In a season when politicians seem determined to make no large plans, Mr. Greider's ideas deserve wide debate. They made me question many of my assumptions. Given the choice between economists with little passion for justice and progressive journalists like Mr. Greider with little patience for economics, it's the latter who stand the best chance of pointing us to a brighter world. http://www.nytimes.com/books/97/01/19/reviews/970119.19millert.html
Greider takes on a daunting task in this book: explaining the global economy. He talks about the huge global oversupply of production capacity, forcing companies on a never-ending search for more markets for their goods. He explores the downward pressure on wages, causing companies to move from country to country looking for the lowest wages to pay their workers. On the subject of airplanes, for example, China, the world's largest single market, is requiring a piece of the technology to make airplanes as a condition of any airplane purchase; the same sort of thing is happening in other industries. When a corporation moves into a new country, government suppression of labor unions, violently, if necessary, is usually part of the bargain. The author also explores a whole host of other issues: currency speculation, the bond market, government deficits, globalization from the worker's point of view among them. Greider does a great job explaining concepts that may be unfamiliar to most Americans. This is not an easy book to read, but in these days of global economic turmoil, this book is required reading. http://deadtreesreviewarchive.blogspot.ca/2012/06/one-world-ready-or-not.html
William Greider is the bestselling author of five previous books, including One World, Ready or Not (on the global economy), Who Will Tell the People (on American politics), and Secrets of the Temple (on the Federal Reserve). A reporter for forty years, he has written for The Washington Post and Rolling Stone and has been an on-air correspondent for six Frontline documentaries on PBS. Currently the national affairs correspondent for The Nation, he lives in Washington, D.C. http://authors.simonandschuster.ca/William-Greider/1092623/biography