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Read excerpts from unpublished book: Science, Religion and the Search for God —Bridging the Gap.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

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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

Archives 2005:
Vol. 4, Numbers 1-12

Read past articles including:
Standing up for Humanity
Unity in Diversity

Thought and Imagination
Imagination and Healing
Lessons of Katrina
Intelligent Design or Evolution

Archives 2006:
Vol. 5, Numbers 1-12

Read past articles including:
Human Programming and Conflict
Non-Violent Political Change
Sustainable Development
Legalizing Torture
Living Without an Enemy
"Fast Food" is really "Slow Food"


Featured Articles about Responsibility, the Future and Consciousness:

Hope for the Future
Series on Leadership
Series on Global Consciousness
World Peace in Less Than a Month?
Can Idealism Solve Problems?
Conflict, Harmony and Integrity
Human Programming and Conflict
Non-violent Political Change
Living Without an Enemy
Protecting Children: Words and Deeds




December, 2008
7, Number 12

This Month's Article

Are we done learning from pain?

Pain is the police of the body. When we have a fever, aches and horrible pain we can't ignore we seek medical help. We have done the same politically, socially and economically for too long. We wait until the system is barely functional or breaks down and then we try and fix the problem. In our personal life and in our relationships we often live by trial and error with highs and lows or the drama and pain of conflict. Society mirrors this human condition.

Such an approach to life ever condemns us to taking remedial actions. These kind of actions are often like trying to push a stalled vehicle out of the mud -- before long we, too, become trapped by the mud, and if we succeed in pushing the vehicle out, it still does not run. Trying to solve problems from the quagmire of the problem produces too many undesirable side effects, like the traps of medications that would make us well, but from which we must take much time and suffering to get out of our system. Current economic bailouts of failed banks and industries is like first aid for a dying patient.

President elect Obama has inherited a country stuck in the mud. Our leaders and our citizens cannot hope to resolve all the systemic breakdowns and quagmires left by the Bush administration and by corporate mismanagement by entering the mud. Obama is faced with a daunting task: to take a society that is finally seeking help because the pain is so acute, but the conditions are so ingrained that the solutions proposed are medicines of last resort for a terminally ill patient. He has come on the scene with the perspective of prevention and working on projects to promote social and economic development, but is constrained by past choices of ignorant leaders and blind followers. Our leaders and our nation, are at the same crisis point one faces with New Year's resolutions or critical needs for a lifestyle change. Solutions that are limited by old habits and by past bad choices don't produce the desired changes in the desired time. Like weight loss programs we must fight an uphill battle with much accumulated weight of the past holding back progress.

Our way out of the current political and economic mess is a revolution of approach to our problems. This is a fundamental psychological revolution that makes us proactive rather than reactive beings. The human organism has been so long programmed by taking action to avoid pain that wisdom has seemed an achievement limited to a few gifted individuals. The good news is that we are finally taking an evolutionary step as a society where we are realizing that the only way to avoid pain is to make plans to solve our problems in the long term and take cooperative actions to achieve them. Our new leadership will soon be in place, but it is up to all citizens to carry out their plans with vigor. We must all become wise, and the conditions are ripe for us to do so.

When we begin to move forward with the idealism and hope that good leadership provides, we will no longer need pain to teach us our needed lessons. Society will become a new school where we learn by conceiving how we want things to be, and then finding the like-minded people to help us realize our plans. We will respect each other and the constructive guidance of our ideals, our core values and our sense of community. The wisdom of collaboration and interdependance will open new avenues for new solutions. We will suddenly recognize the many communities for good that already are in place to solve problems and reduce human and environmental suffering. The opposite of learning from pain is to set goals and then work to reach them. Pain will always be there to teach us when we take a wrong turn or need to pay attention to a problem, but the lesson will not come too late and the pain will not be a punishment. Pain will be recognized as a need that we must focus on, but hopefully as we become wiser we will avoid unnecessary suffering.

© 2008 Richard V. Sidy


Read Related Articles

Beyond Ideology: The Politics of the Future

Moving Forward

Can Idealism Solve Problems?

Living Without an Enemy

World Peace in Less Than a Month?


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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

Diplomacy Help for Teens Science and Religion Poetry Archives
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