Posts Tagged ‘Military’

Soft power, Feminine Power and Mayan Prophecies

Friday, February 28th, 2014

I have been asked to chair a round table discussion at the World Forum of Cultures to be held in Shanghai June 18th and 19th this year.  The topic is soft power, a topic which ties together much of my recent thinking and exemplifies the relationship between my novels, the Mayan calendar, feminine power, the possibility that the human species may survive to experience the twenty second century, and what changes in human behavior that survival might require. More details after the conference in June, but I thought I would share my proposed introduction to the discussion with you to give you a sense of what I feel the discussion should entail.

 

Soft power, Feminine Power and Mayan Prophecies

 

This roundtable discussion is intended to provide information and perspective for those interested in creating a positive world that is sustainable and joyful for as many human beings as possible without resorting to military, economic, political, or coercive means to change human behavior. (more…)

SOFTPOWER

Friday, February 14th, 2014

I was not aware of the concept of soft power until this weekend when I was having lunch with my good friend and colleague Dr. Ervin Laszlo who quite nonchalantly told me, “Well, I just heard from the World Cultural Forum of China and this year’s conference will be on soft power. The conference will be held in Shanghai on June 12. Hope you can speak on this topic and get at least another eight to ten prominent speakers to join us.”

With this task before me was clear I needed to do some research on the concept of soft power. Soft power is the ability to make powerful impact on society not by aggressive or coercive means but by cultural or “soft” influence. At a time when military might is increasingly less effective in coercing others to act in ways that are compatible with American goals and concerns, I find this concept quit appealing. We may as a nation spend billions of dollars daily protecting ourselves from terrorist activities, but does this hard power of drones and military initiatives really achieve the goal of a safe world that allows the development of a free and equitable world society? Unfortunately, the answer is clearly no. We can kill Osama Bin Laden and other terrorists, but ultimately killing alone will not wipe out terrorists or the conditions under which terrorism thrives. (more…)

SECURITY

Monday, December 30th, 2013

We are living in a world in which security is becoming more and more expensive. If we add up the costs of our military, TSA, CISCO_Security_Istana_01Homeland Security, police, prison guards, NSA, FBI, CIA, and private corporate security firms throughout America, I am sure we are spending trillions of dollars on keeping ourselves safe. And strangely, I do not  think people feel safer today than they did fifty years ago when the amount of money being spent on security was much less. Consider, too, that this much more being spent is not just in actual dollars but in percentage of our gross national productivity as well.

One of the aspects about security that is most troubling is that nothing is actually produced in economic terms.  I value my time and it has always bothered me that billions of work hours are lost going through security lines at airports and elsewhere. Those hours are never returned and can never be converted to productive use of time. More damaging yet is that the herding of people, all of whom are assumed potential threats until proven otherwise, is often demeaning and creates a culture of submission in what we hope is still the home of the brave and the land of the free. (more…)

Reflection

Friday, July 5th, 2013

3126514711_3d46b56ff0_bHolidays are great times for reflection. Where have we been, where are we going, where were we last year or five years ago on this date? Who were we with? Why were we with them? Was it with family? Was it a happy time, a time of transition, or both?

My central thoughts every July 4th turn to gratitude. Gratitude not just to the men and women in the military who too often have had to make the ultimate sacrifice to protect the American way of life, but also to the brilliant founders of our country.  Jefferson, Madison, Franklin, Washington, and the others, were not just military minds but true visionaries who created a system of government that was unique when created and which has, despite many challenges, remained the most vibrant form of government in the history of the world. Democracy is far from perfect, and with the increasing ability of special interests to buy control of the legislative and administrative branches we seem to be moving far from true representative democracy. And yet we the people still rule and we actually can start using the modern technology of the Internet, computer tablets, and smart phones to more strongly and effectively voice public opinion and share important information.  We have the choice to do so and will is up to us.  So part of my suggested reflection on this long holiday weekend is that we each commit to making a difference and engaging in proactive activities that will contribute to a better world. (more…)

DEATH AND TAXES

Friday, April 12th, 2013

As we approach the final day to file federal income taxes for 2012, I am reminded of the famous adage that the only two things that cannot be avoided are death and taxes. Of course you can avoid taxes for a while though you may end up in jail. Death, postpone maybe, but it will get you in the end.

I used to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars annually in taxes and think how my taxes alone were paying for a bomb that might be dropped in the Middle East killing people I had never met. I never felt good about my lack of control over the way my tax dollars were being spent.  I love America and believe in the concept of taxes, especially for public services such as bridges and roads which enhance life for all of us. I am less sanguine about the efficiency of our police, prisons, and even educational expenditures, many of which seem poorly organized and wasteful. I am much less confident about our military expenditures and often feel that our efforts are less about protecting the American way of life than protecting the interests of big oil and other corporations with vested foreign interests. (more…)