29 June 2009

World March for Peace and Nonviolence

From the World March Website:
I Endorse the World March

Because I am in agreement with:

1. nuclear disarmament at a global level;
2. the immediate withdrawal of invading troops from occupied territories
3. the progressive and proportional reduction of conventional weapons
4. the signing of non-aggression treaties between countries
5. the renunciation by governments of the use of war as a means to resolve conflicts

And furthermore, because I reject all forms of violence.
World March for Peace and Nonviolence

22 June 2009

The Human Spirit of Reconciliation

This is from a book of daily wisdom that is composed of statements made by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. It's called "The Path to Tranquility," and is compiled and edited by Renuka Singh.
One aspect of compassion is to respect others' rights and to respect others' views. That is the basis of reconciliation. The human spirit of reconciliation based on compassion is working deep down, whether the person really knows it or not.

Our basic human nature is gentleness; therefore, no matter how much we go through violence and other bad things, ultimately the proper solution is to return to human feeling and affection. So affection or compassion is not only a religious matter, but in our day-to-day life it is quite indispensable.

18 June 2009


I recently got a new computer. It's great. It's so much faster than my old one, which is about 5 years old now. Last night I was up late, enjoying the new processing power. Before going to sleep, I went outside. It was very late at night (or early in the morning.) The air smelled so good. It was like perfume. Amazing. Wonderful! It was like there were flowers everywhere.

Then I thought of my new computer, which was the reason I was up so late. I thought of what it might smell like outside of the factory in China where it was made. What does it smell like, I wonder. I wonder what it smells like inside the factory too, and also in the neighborhoods and homes where people who work in the factory live.

Anyway, I am thankful for the new computer, and I only hope that I can use it for truly beneficial purposes, for the benefit of myself, as well as the benefit of all humankind and the planet. Toward sustainability, health, and reconciliation - in peace - Berd

Six Principles of Nonviolence from MLK

Here are six principles of nonviolence, as espoused by the great Martin Luther King Jr.. I found these principles on the New Mexico Martin Luther King Jr. State Commission website via a link from the National Fellowship of Reconciliation Blog, forpeace.net. :


PRINCIPLE ONE: Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people.

It is active nonviolent resistance to evil.
It is aggressive spirituality, mentally, and emotionally.
It is always persuading the opponent of the righteousness of your cause.
It is only passive in it’s non-aggression towards its enemy.

PRINCIPLE TWO: Nonviolence seeks to win friendship and understanding.

The end result of nonviolence is redemption and reconciliation.
The purpose of nonviolence is the creation of the Beloved Community.

PRINCIPLE THREE: Nonviolence seeks to defeat injustice not people.

Nonviolence recognized that evil doers are also victims, and are not evil people.
The nonviolent resister seeks to defeat evil, not people.

PRINCIPLE FOUR: Nonviolence holds that suffering can educate and transform.

Nonviolence accepts suffering without retaliation.
Nonviolence accepts violence if necessary, but will never inflict it.
Nonviolence willingly accepts the consequences of its acts.
Unearned suffering is redemptive, and has tremendous educational and transforming possibilities.
Suffering has the power to convert the enemy when reason fails.

PRINCIPLE FIVE: Nonviolence chooses love instead of hate.

Nonviolence resists violence of the spirit, as well as of the body.
Nonviolent love is spontaneous, unmotivated, unselfish and creative.
Nonviolent love gives willingly, knowing that the return might be hostility.
Nonviolent love is active, not passive.
Nonviolent love is un-ending in its ability to forgive - in order to restore community.
Nonviolent love does not sink to the level of the hater.
Love for the enemy is how we demonstrate love for ourselves.
Love restores community and resists injustice.
Nonviolence recognizes the fact that all life is interrelated.

PRINCIPLE SIX: Nonviolence believes that the universe is on the side of justice.

The Nonviolent resister had deep faith that justice will eventually win.
Nonviolence believes that God is a God of justice.

link to original: http://www.nmmlksc.com/sixprinciples.html

The one part of this that jumps out at me is the use of the word 'aggressive' in the first principle. I would prefer using the word assertive. Nonviolence is having an assertive spirituality, emotionality, and mentality.

16 June 2009

The Problem of Harmful Economic Activity

[updated 6/17/09:]

Harmful economic activity abounds these days. It ought to be a goal of humanity to eliminate harmful economic activities. Some economic activities are unacceptable. Activities like slavery, or like imperialism - the pursuit of global (economic) hegemony (dominance, conquest, omnipotence, etc..) But some harmful activities are probably less harmful than others. Some harmful economic activities may be part and parcel of human existence. This conversation begs clarification - to clarify what constitutes harmful activities, and what harmful activities might be consensually allowable.

There are different categories of harmful economic activity. All are undesirable, but some are worse than others. There is a hierarchy of harmfulness. But that's not actually the conversation I was pointing at here. What I really want to ask about is who (supposedly) benefits from harmful activities.

What I really want to ask about is how we distribute the products (or "benefits") of harmful economic activities.

What I want to ask is the question of whether or not it is right to reap personal, or private, gain from harmful economic activities. In a society that is largely built around private wealth, where people own and control great swaths of land, where people own and control empires of business and industry, is it right for only a few (privileged people) to gain from socially and environmentally corrosive activities?

What makes more sense is to distribute equitably - amongst all people - the "benefits" resulting from harmful economic activities.

Environmental degradation hurts us all. In an effort to remediate those harms, the economic gain ought to be equitably distributed.

In peace,

War Wastes, War Confines: Peace Conserves, Peace Liberates

Stoploss is one of the horrible policies to come out of the military in relation to imperialism. Stoploss is a backdoor draft that attempts to force and coerce soldiers to stay in the military beyond what ought to be their rightful contractual obligation.

Iraq Veterans Against the War
End Stoploss

Comments (posted to the flickr photo page):

Wayne in Indy says:
If you're a coward, don't join the armed forces like this one did.

^Berd says:
I have the pleasure to report that this young man is not a coward.

In fact - he is a model of courage.

Wayne in Indy says:
He is a model of cowardice.

^Berd says:
Looks like we have different opinions on this one.

So then, why do you think his behavior demonstrates cowardice?

Wayne in Indy says:
When one signs up for military service they are expected to fully understand that, if war comes, they will likely see combat. It's disgusting that, when war does come, some servicemen suddenly get the willies and want out. So, if this character is anti-war, he had no reason to join up in the first place.
Surely it's not that he opposes this particualar war? That's worse. There are only two sides and no middle ground whatsoever. You either support the war against Terrorism or you support Terrorism.
So which of the two is he?

^Berd says:
I don't know Josh's story, but I know him enough to know that he isn't a coward. It takes real courage to stand up and refuse to comply with the military establishment.

A lot of folks signed up to be in the National Guard, thinking that they would protect the USA against invasion - but never dreaming of being sent overseas to fight against an ambiguous enemy in a foreign nation.

Let's look at what is going on in Iraq. It's a guerilla war, an insurgency. To Iraqis, insurgents are freedom fighters - fighting for liberation against imperial occupation.

Terrorism isn't so simple. And the best way to fight terrorism isn't with war and violence. The best way to fight terrorism is with justice, truth, and tolerance of personal differences. Economic imperialism is creating terrorists. It's blowback. It's well documented and well understood. America's foreign and economic policies (global domination, or hegemony) are principle causes of terrorism.

If you're really against terrorism, then it makes sense to be against imperialism too.

Wayne in Indy says:
Terrorism is, by my definition, resistance to American imperialism. It must be destroyed. I don't give a rat's caboose about folks who consider terrorists to be freedom fighters. It just means that they too are terrorists.
"Justice", "truth", and "tolerance" as weapons against "Terror"? Need to come out of that dream world of yours, my dear Berd. Real world don't work that way--never has.
The application of full-scale brute force has been, is, and ever shall be, the ONLY answer.
Resistance to America is a war crime and should be dealt with as such.

^Berd says:
Terrorism defined as resistance to American Imperialism, that's interesting.

You support imperialism. I oppose imperialism. In fact, I resist American imperialism. By your definition, I would be a terrorist.

Might does not make right. America behaving as if it can dictate the ways of the global economy is ridiculous and insane. Empires are born to fail. They are inherently unsustainable. Empires require oppression. People naturally will resist and oppose oppression.

The American Empire is already on its way out. The Empire is on the wane. Inherently unstable, the empire alienates, disenfranchises, and weakens its own foundations all the time. The empire is wholly dependent on a steady supply of cheap energy. Supplies of cheap energy are dwindling.

I could go on and on. But the point here is that being opposed to imperialism is not wrong. Opposition to empire is right. Empire is constricting, restricting, wasteful, oppressive. So (nonviolently) resisting empire is the right action to take.

I am a humanist Wayne. I care about humanity. I want all people to be free. I want a common societal denominator of ecological and economic sustainability.

Empire is an obstacle to peace. Empire is oppression. Empire is environmental degradation. Empire limits freedom. Empire wastes resources. Empire is a blood stain on the fabric of humanity.

Opposition to empire - resistance to empire - that's right and true.

Wayne in Indy says:
I agree that the American Empire is in decline. However I'm hopeful that this decline will be reversed when all the inevitable disasters of of the Obama presidency come home to us--and they will. It took four years of Jimmy Carter to bring us eight of Reagan and four of Bush for twelve years total. Obama is worse than Carter--far worse. A right-wing backlash is inevitable as Americans are rudely awakened by the consequences of the last presidential election.
And cheap energy isn't going anywhere. The planet is producing more oil than we can drill for.
And your dream of "peace" will never come, Berd. Too many people like me out there. Human beings are a predator species. That's what makes us great. The idea of all human beings coming together as one is a nightmare far too horrific for me to even contemplate.

^Berd says:
Dear Wayne, why is the idea of all human beings "coming together as one," or living alongside each other respectfully and peacefully, horrific for you?

It seems to me common sense, and something that resonates with most people, that justice, fairness and equity are universal. I prefer to think that there are no bad people. Sure, some people do bad things. But people only do bad things out of fear, out of misunderstanding, out of being hurt themselves. People hurt each other as a product of being hurt. It's an insane obsession.

I believe that taking an eye for an eye will only leave the whole world blind. How sad would the world be then? I want to live in a world that is full of beautiful light and color - light and color that everyone can see.

Peace will come. Peace is the way. Peace is all around us everyday. Peace comes from within. When enough people carry peace in their hearts, then we will see peace reflected in the institutions, societies and culture around us.

Human beings are versatile, adaptable. That's what makes us great. We never stop learning. The only reason that human beings prey upon each other, and hurt each other in general, is because of misunderstandings and fear. When we wake up to the fact that there is enough for everyone, then we will no longer oppress each other, and put each other down.

The world is changing. A growing chorus is rising up. People know that true security and peace are born out of economic justice and equity. There is enough to go around. There is no scarcity of what we need to live happily. There is enough land, water, food, love and community for everyone.

A world where people live to lift each other up, to support each other in personal and social liberation is not far off.

War is waste. War is prison. War is poison. Peace conserves. Peace liberates. Peace heals.

Another world is possible. A world of peace, truth, justice, and security -- for all.

Wayne in Indy says:
What makes us great is our primitive human nature. We are one of the only (if not the only) predator species that preys even on itself. This, coupled with our complex homo-sapien brain, makes us a truly deadly and has given us sole control of this world. Our continuing to utilize this deadly combination is the very root and reason of our expansion and our technological advancement.
Without these, we are nothing more than glorified plants.

^Berd says:
That's sad.

Wayne in Indy says:
Nothing "sad" about it. We are the Alpha Predator species on this planet and possess the most complex brain in all of nature.
You want to throw it away and embrace peace, love, and kumbayah. Yeech! What a waste.

^Berd says:
Wayne, that's offensive and cruel. I am not so sure that you aren't just trying to test getting a rise out of me. However, it's plain to see that most people would consider your ideas to be hate speech.

Wayne. Humans do not exist on this beautiful planet for the purpose of conquering and subduing. Humans exist on this planet for the purpose of promoting the natural brilliance and beauty. Humans exist as shephards, stewards and protectors. The highest virtue and noblest cause for any human being is to serve the interests of life. To hold up the sanctity of all life, we as human beings are the ultimate arbiters of our fate - and I know that the great majority of us would rather work toward a "heaven on earth," a place where all people have enough, a place where all people take care of each other, a place where all people have the opportunity to prosper, a place where no one lives under oppression.

I know that the far and away great majority of people believe in this vision of a stable, secure, cooperative, peaceful, and harmonious co-exist amongst all the peoples of the one human family... Come join us Wayne. There is plenty of love and community to go around for everyone.

In Peace,

05 June 2009

Will Hall and Dawn Menken Talk About Bullying

the problem of bullying in our culture - a talk with madness radio host Will Hall and Doctor Dawn Menken
Source: www.madnessradio.net
What are the lasting impacts of taunting, teasing, and physical harassment between children? Why are kids who are different singled out and picked on? What can parents do if their children are victims of bullies? Psychotherapist, parent, and process worker Dawn Menken, author of Speak Out! Talking About Love, Sex & Eternity, discusses her work with public schools and families to break the cycle of bullying.

mp3 source: http://www.madnessradio.net/audio/download/143/MadnessRadio-2009-06-02SchoolBullyingDawnMenken.mp3

Source: www.madnessradio.net

02 June 2009

Music Videos

Some music videos to share:

Pink Floyd - Learning to Fly

Gary Jules - Mad World

Emmy Lou Harris - Goodbye (Steve Earl)

Richard Thompson - 1952 Vincent Black Lightning

Joni Mitchell - Free Man in Paris