December, 2005
Vol. 4, Number 12
The SNS Press E–Zine presents new perspectives for a better future in society, politics, religion, education, self-awareness and human relations.

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A hopeful approach for the future of international relations.

Redirect teen rebellion towards idealism and self improvement.

Read excerpts from unpublished book: Science, Religion and the Search for God —Bridging the Gap.

Poems of society, the human condition, and spiritual discovery.

Our student activities and curriculum materials instill an environmental, cultural, and global perspective, and integrate various academic disciplines.


This Month's Article


Building with one hand, destroying with the other


I am an optimist. I have great faith in the human spirit. People are, in their essence, good, and that essence must be nurtured and allowed to flourish. For me life is not complex, but is complicated by people who seem bent on creating unnecessary obstacles that go against their own principles, against their own self-interest, and against the laws of our natural universe. Solutions to the problems of the world are not mysterious. Many people and thinkers already know how to solve the problems, and the ways and means for doing so already exist. The perversity of human leadership seems, however, to thrive on creating problems and then fighting vigorously to prevent solving them. At the same time, in their ignorance, they feel that they are doing good, blind to the suffering and negative consequences they cause, postponing the realization of human happiness, achievement and world peace.

As 2005 comes to an end, the list of threats to human survival is long and foreboding. An intelligent optimist is not blind to problems, but nevertheless will persistently remind oneself and others that a better life for all is achievable. An optimist will expose how destructive forces are negating the human calling to make our planet a sacred home. This home will be a happy, safe, healthy and prosperous place for all, when humans stop causing unnecessary contradictions to the laws and principles of harmonious living.

Harmony is not the absence of conflict. Rather, it is the balanced reconciliation of the dualities that cause energy to flow and progress to move forward. Conflict is not bad when it brings us to heights of new realizations. It produces the joy of a summit conquered, the joy of creative expression, the joy of solving a problem. Creative conflict which is ever-present in a healthy universe, is based on the interaction and reconciliation of opposites. It is regenerative and prevents stagnation and degeneration. It creates something new and better that never before existed. Destructive conflict, on the other hand, are actions that lack integrity.

Integrity is the balance and integration of motive, means of achieving goals, and ultimate outcome. Here is a simple example of this:

Problem: The high school swim team needs to raise money to travel to swim meets.
Solution 1: The team has a candy sale to raise the money.
Solution 2: The team has a swim-a-thon for which they find sponsors to donate to team members based on the quantity of laps they swim.

Solution 1 lacks integrity because the way the money is raised does not reflect the purpose of the team. There is not harmony between their purpose and the way they reach their goals.

Solution 2 has integrity because the way they solve their problem and reach their goals is congruent with their purpose. Not only will they raise their money, but they will earn the bonus of a more fit team which will make them more successful.

A solution that has integrity has benefits beyond just reaching the short-term goal. On the other hand, a solution that lacks integrity often produces unforeseen negative consequences. When we view politics and relationships in the world today we see leaders building with one hand and destroying with the other. They make policies and promises with high sounding words and slogans like "freedom" and "democracy" that resonate with people's hopes and the good image they have of themselves. Then they use methods which undermine their goals and their image. My own country, the United States, self-proclaimed leader of the "free world," uses methods of war, torture, limitation of human rights, lies and bribery, rejects international treaties on global warming and children's rights, undermines environmental protections and international conventions, favors those who have much and neglets those in need in order to reach its goals. When the United States does this it gives implicit permission to other governments to do the same.

Next month's article will deal with the philosophical basis for integrity - how harmony is achieved and how conflict may result in either good or bad results depending upon human behavior.

© 2005 Richard Sidy

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Archives 2005
Volumn 4
January: "Standing up for Humanity"
February: "The Wake of Disaster" – a poem
March: "Unity in Diversity
April: "Life is Calling"
May: "Entertainment" – a poem
June: "Thought and Imagination" part 1
July: "Thought and Imagination" part 2
August: "Imagination and Healing"
September: "Malice or Neglect? – Lessons of Katrina"
October: "Protecting Children"
November: "Intelligent Design or Evolution?"
December: "Building with one hand, destroying with the other"
Archives 2006
Volumn 5

January: "Conflict, Harmony, and Integrity"
February: "Satyagraha or Soul-force and Political Change"
March: "I Know I'm Not Alone - Wisdom of Michael Franti"
April: "Human Programming and Conflict Part I"
May: "Human Programming and Conflict Part II"
June: "Soccer Diplomacy"
July: "Sustainable Development is Nature's Way
August: "Parallel Universes"
September: "The News is not New"
October: "Legalizing Torture"
November: "Living Without an Enemy"
December: "Fast Food is really Slow Food"

Archives 2007
Volumn 6

January: "State of Fear"
February: Criminal Justice - "The Powerful Over the Weak"
March: "Culture Shock: The Good Life and Survival"
April: "March Madness"
May: "No Child Left Behind" Leaves Many Teachers Behind
June: "Personal Ecology"
July: Criminal Justice - "The Ethic of Custodianship"
August: "Exploring the Mind - part 1"
September: "Exploring the Mind - part 2: The Poetic Mind
October: "How Much Pain Can We Stand?"
November: "When Languages Disappear"
December: "Is it Enough to be Tolerant?"

Archives 2008
Volumn 7

January: "Beyond Ideology: Politics of the Future "
February: "Beyond the Bush Years"
March: "The Imaginary Economy - Part I
April: "The Imaginary Economy - Part II
May: Questions from Prison
June: "iGods and Connectivity"
July: "Energy Independence"
August: "Tribalism and the 2008 Elections
September: "Guilt, Shame and U.S. Justice"
October: "Have We Been Willing Slaves?"
November: "Are We Ready for the Future?"
December: "Are we done learning from pain?"

Archives 2009
Volumn 8

January: "Awakening"
February: "When Sacrifice is no Sacrifice"
March: "The Good New Days"
April: "The Power of Metaphor"
May: "The Conflict of Mythologies"
June: "The Time is Right"
July: "The New Anarchy"
August: "The Art of Living"
September: "Outrage"
October: "Are Women Becoming More Unhappy?

November: "Effect of the manufacturing culture on the American Psyche"
December: Who are the Real Game Changers?

Archives 2010
Volumn 9

January: The Music of Place
February: Earthquakes and Other Awakenings
March: Sense of Place, Sense of Self, Sense of Humanity
April: Why Do People Serve?
May: Decentralizing Food and Energy
June: Beyond Reading and Writing — Ecological literacy
July: Organization or Organism?
August: Fear and Cynicism = “Inter-fear-ance”
September: Are we afraid of our "Better Angels?"
October: Choosing Our Battles
November: Meeting the Need
December: A Living Canvas

Archives 2002: Vol. 1, Numbers 1-12
Read past articles including:
Hope for the Future
Six Part Series on Science and Religion
First Three Parts of the Series on Leadership
Archives 2003: Vol. 2, Numbers 1-12
Read past articles including:
Series on Leadership continued
Avoiding Dictatorship in a Free Society

Art and Politics
Living the Good Life

Teaching Teens
World Peace in Less Than a Month?
Archives 2004: Vol. 3, Numbers 1-12
Read past articles including:
Seven Part Series on Global Consciousness
Is "Liberal" a Dirty Word?
Can Idealism Solve Problems?
Peace on Earth, Goodwill to All
Poetry Diplomacy Science and Religion Teen Help
Archives 2002 Archives 2003 Archives 2004
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