Creating Flourishing Change Agents

I dropped into a lunch a few days ago at the Tellus Institute in Boston to discuss an essay that is due to be published in their series on the Global Transition Initiative. The essay points to some little known passages in Karl Marx’s works, which illustrate his awareness of connections between the economic and the natural worlds, and of what he called the “metabolic rift” that capitalistic production would cause in the latter. Very interesting, but more universal than his critique suggests. All material forms of production burden the earth’s resources. He made what is obvious today, observing the very much smaller levels of production at his time. I… Read More

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This Site Has Been Renamed

I have changed the title of this website as you can see. The url remains the same. *Flourishing By Design* is the theme of the story I am now telling. Although I have been correcting myself for quite a while, “sustainability” remains present in my past work. Going forward, I intend to stick with flourishing as the goal. As I have written, without a clear vision of the future we want, the concept and implementation of sustainability tend to keep the status quo in place. Ironically, the very use of sustainability arose because powerful, concerned people grew wary of the status quo and sought to change it by applying new… Read More

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Need I Comment?

A periodic post about the silliness of corporate behavior and of the media that report on it. This morning a story from the Huffington post about 9 company’s programs to combat climate change. Any similar story that included automobile companies is not worth reading. H&M sells short-lived clothing made under questionable conditions; Mars sells products that make people obese; and so on. See for yourself at this link. Headlines like this, 9 Companies That Are Changing Their Habits To Save Our Planet, usually distort the story that follows.

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Explanation, Belief, and Reality

This essay is motivated by a class studying the origins of psychotherapy that I began today, where we are looking back to Mesmer and others who were associated with what we might call today: miraculous cures. The discussion found itself involved with important ideas about belief, reality, science, religion, and so on. I came home with a very unsettled mind and, as I usually do to put it in order, sat down and began to write about these various topics. I have discussed parts of this in my books and blog posts. The most direct connection is to the assertion that unsustainability is, in large part, an unintended consequence of… Read More

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The Amazing New Thing

Today Apple announced its new products. As I read about them, I remembered a very funny cartoon from a recent New York Times Magazine (May 1, 2015) called “The Amazing New Thing.” I copied the first panel, but you will have to follow this [link](http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/03/magazine/the-amazing-new-thing.html) to see it all. If you didn’t see it, it is definitely worth a click on the link.

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Celebrating My New Year

The Jewish High Holydays begin next week. It is always a time for reflection and rebirth. Its traditions have many messages that I encourage everyone, not just Jews, to think about. My stepdaughter sent me a link to a very thoughtful message about the meaning of these days. I encourage all of my followers to read it. It is completely consistent with and illustrates my own views of what it means to be a human being. The experience of life comes from how we care in all the circumstances we find ourselves for reasons not of our doing. (Mosaic by Marc Chagall)

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Troubling Situations; Simplistic Solutions

The workplace is getting a lot of news coverage these days. Most of it, at least what I tend to read, is bad news for those that spend much of their time there. In the last week or so, I have read about the inhumane practices at Amazon, polls showing that 90 percent of workers across the globe are dissatisfied, making friends at work is waning, and, lastly, rather than rising to their level of incompetence (Peter principle), workers are rising, only to become miserable. At 80+, I do not experience any of this directly, so am forced to comment vicariously in my prose. But it is not only these… Read More

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Getting Realistic about Romanticism

Again teeing off of a [column](http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/04/opinion/david-brooks-the-new-romantics-in-the-computer-age.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=opinion-c-col-left-region&region=opinion-c-col-left-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-left-region&_r=0) by David Brooks. Today Brooks argues that, in the face of competition by ever-growing cognitive-like capabilities of computers, humans need to hone their “romantic” skills. For him, “The romantic tries as much as possible to ground his or her life in purer love that transforms — making him or her more inspired, creative and dedicated, and therefore better able to live as a modern instantiation of some ideal.” Strange use of this word, but, in any case, here is his main thesis. > Ironically, technological forces may be driving some of the romantic rebirth. As Geoff Colvin points out in his book “Humans Are… Read More

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No Flourishing in the Workplace

I spotted a column in the NYTimes by one of my favorites, Barry Schwartz, a psychology Professor at Swarthmore College. He is, perhaps, best known for his critical work on choice; he argues that too much choice is not good for human beings in his articles on “[The Tyranny of Choice](http://www.swarthmore.edu/SocSci/bschwar1/Sci.Amer.pdf).” The [NYTimes article](http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/30/opinion/sunday/rethinking-work.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=opinion-c-col-right-region&region=opinion-c-col-right-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-right-region&_r=0) I will discuss is about disaffection in the workplace. I found the opening is quite shocking. His cut on the Gallup data may be a bit too harsh, but the implications are deeply troubling in any case. > HOW satisfied are we with our jobs? > > Gallup regularly polls workers around the world to find… Read More

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