A Holiday Syzygy

This year our traditional Thanksgiving coincides with the first day of Chanukah. It is a rare event when the Julian and Hebrew calendars coincide. It will come again in 2070 or so, and then not for a very long time. Not only do the two holidays coincide, but share common roots. Both are celebrations of thanks for the gifts we have had bestowed upon us. The Jewish tradition celebrates a miracle that occurred when the ancient Temple was repatriated, and its rescuers wanted to rekindle the Eternal light. Only a day’s worth of oil remained, so a party was sent to obtain a fresh supply some days away. Miraculously the… Read More

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By The Numbers

Central to flourishing is the recovery of being–what it means to be human. In many ways we are the same as other animals. We need food and shelter to survive. We have offspring to keep the species going. But the comparison soon stops, as we have language allowing us to coordinate our actions with others of our species. Language enables up to act intentionally as the result of cognitive processes greater than almost all other species. Whales and dolphins may share some of this capability with us, but it is very rare among the animals. We can invent words to describe what we encounter through our senses. Over time, we… Read More

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Correction to the Book

I received an email from a reader who noted that I omitted one of the key players from Interface Carpet’s “Dream Team.” See page 124-125. I left out Karl-Henrik Robert, the founder of The Natural Step (TNS). Interface used the Natural Step in developing their program.

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The Power of Idleness

One of my colleagues on the Case Western project I have written about here sent me this quote. It is most relevant to this blog and to my writings about flourishing. One of the essential domains of care in my taxonomy is that of idleness/leisure. Here is a good explanation as to why it is explicit in the scheme. Being and Doing The fact that our being necessarily demands to be expressed in action should not lead us to believe that as soon as we stop acting we cease to exist. We do not live merely to “do something” – no matter what. We do not live more fully merely… Read More

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Mindless Consumption and the Media

The electronic news media has been suffering a continuing decline for some time. A typical half-hour show has only about fifty percent news (if it can be called that) and the rest is advertising. I tend to watch the ABC national news whenever I turn on the TV around dinner time. I haven’t taken a stopwatch to time each segment, but I estimate that there is less than 15 minutes of good hard news. There are nightly specials, like “Made in America” or “Real Money” and a few others that I cannot name even after watching them. These are followed by two or three spots under the rubric of “Instant… Read More

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Struggling to Keep Our Humaness Going

I read an interesting [article](http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/11/10/learning-how-to-die-in-the-anthropocene/?emc=eta1&_r=1&) in today’s NYTimes about life in the Anthropocene, our emerging geologic era. The I found the headline, “Learning How to Die in the Anthropocene;” compelling. In the previous era, the Holocene, the forces of nature dominated the planetary system. There were many fluctuations during this, perhaps 100,000 year-long, period of our Planet’s history, but nature’s forces were in control and relatively well behaved. The steadiness of this era promoted an explosion in species evolution, including that of our own species, Homo sapiens. But now human activities are competing with nature for control. We have begun to see many more extreme events that wreak increasingly costly… Read More

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Spirituality and Flourishing

I am finding it harder and harder to come up with topics for this blog, but I am still working on it. Today, I am going to use some materials I prepared for an online class I am teaching. It compresses the sequence I gave previously over two years into a 10-week course and generally follows my first book, Sustainability by Design. In putting this course together, I now recognize, as I have written, that I got quite a few things wrong, some important and some not. I have tried to correct my use of sustainability and flourishing in this blog in recent posts; tonight I am going to write… Read More

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