Barry Schwartz on our loss of wisdom

Excellent TED talk I got to watch over the weekend on the “loss of wisdom” in society that, in part, led to the collapse of the economic system.

He begins by focusing on Barack Obama’s appeal to our sense of virtue, rather than material things nor our call to rely on and trust the state. A great talk – well worth the time to watch…


Kiva is a micro-financier that allows individuals like us to provide the finance [via Seth Godin]. This is what I’ve been looking for in an aid program to support. Just need to check out the credentials of the organisation before I sign up. But looks good so far.

Donna Mulhearn

On the weekend I was privileged to hear Donna Mulhearn speak on Iraq, among other things. I’d heard some of the things she mentioned in her talk, although hearing a first-person account always has a big impact, as opposed to hearing about something third-hand via the net. However, Ang, who was there as well, was really quite taken aback – what Donna had to say was not the kind of thing you heard in the news.

We were both quite moved by the experience. It really made me question whether or not I was actually doing enough, whether my choices for action were sufficient, what more I could realistically do (with other life challenges in the mix). We can only do so much, of course, and I have to find that balance. But it is challenging in the face of such a plain description of the situation in Iraq to not overcommit.

There were two points in the discussion where the role of the media came up. One participant said “this isn’t something that we’re being told about” – in reference to the mainstream media. I felt compelled to point out that these stories were being told, but through the internet instead. Donna concurred and went on to discuss how the situation in Iraq is largely “old news” in the eyes of the media.

The second reference was when another participant was seriously questioning why the ABC and SBS weren’t covering the story more closely. I have lots of thoughts on why, but no time to explore them today. Suffice to say I was saddened by the lack of comprehension in the audience as to how problematic reliance on mainstream media is.

One suggestion that was made for peaceful, non-violent action: shift focus from protesting the government and shine the spotlight on our media agencies that are ignoring some core parts of the story in favour of more sensationalist angles. The suggestion was to protest outside a major news agency to ask for Donna’s story to be told. I’m not sure it would work, but it’s certainly an interesting take.

If you can, check out the stories at Donna’s site, along with her extensive collection of links. And if you get a chance to hear her talk, I would thoroughly recommend it.

One of those days…

Sean laments how inconsequential our actions can sometimes feel. The day that Sean wrote that I think we must have been riding the same wave, so I started a short rant about how I deal with those kind of days. Of course, it turned into a long rant (surprise, surprise).


What kind of moment?

I read this the other day, and save the url to post here, but only “rediscovered” the link today (somebody pointed to it in the first place, but I can’t remember who). Definitely worth a read…

Think about this beautiful, contiguous moment unfolding everywhere across it, and everything happening to us all in it. What kind of moment do you want it to be?

Holding one’s own

RLP: “And he had lived such a life that no one knew what the smile meant. Perhaps he smiled because it was all true. Many in the room hoped so. Or perhaps he smiled because nothing was true, but he had lived so fully and well that his life stood against nothingness and held its own.”

Small World

Florida State University Powers of Ten.

“View the Milky Way at 10 million light years from the Earth. Then move through space towards the Earth in successive orders of magnitude until you reach a tall oak tree just outside the buildings of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Tallahassee, Florida. After that, begin to move from the actual size of a leaf into a microscopic world that reveals leaf cell walls, the cell nucleus, chromatin, DNA and finally, into the subatomic universe of electrons and protons.”