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Read excerpts from unpublished book: Science, Religion and the Search for God —Bridging the Gap.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




May, 2008
7, Number 5

This Month's Article

Questions from Prison

I recently received a letter from a prisoner incarcerated in an Arizona State prison who is reading my book World Diplomacy. In his letter he asks questions relating to the issues that are dominating the American consciousness during the campaign for President. This month’s article includes my responses to some of his questions:

Q: Reading World Diplomacy and thinking about our current environmental issues, some questions come to mind. Do you think any of the American candidates for Presidential office have sufficient qualities of diplomacy as you interpret them?

World Diplomacy is based upon spiritual principles of right relationships between people and with nature. Until very recently, animal consciousness, which stems from fear and survival instincts, dominates many people’s lives. These forces create a tribal identity among people leading to prejudice and selfishness. It’s all about the struggle for power and domination in our world — survival of the fittest. It’s like the prison culture that you experience, but without razor wire. It pervades much of the anxiety we sense in the general public during times of crisis and uncertainty, and to the present day it largely governs world politics. Most wars are the result of ethnic, religious or ideological competition, and competition for natural resources and territory. On the other hand, spiritual consciousness is based on cooperation and a sense of interdependence and unity. As we listen to the candidates for President it is helpful to evaluate what they are appealing to in our personal and national character. We must listen to their words and thereby discern the principles that underlie their thinking and decision-making.

Q: If you perceive the candidates as lacking the diplomatic qualities as you write about, who do you think should be accountable for leading American individuals towards true unity and freedom?

The politicians are frequently the last to manifest spiritual consciousness because in the culture of political power, their success is based on controlling people so they gain their allegiance. Ultimately, it is the individual who is accountable for the type of leaders we have. As long as the mass consciousness does not evolve beyond tribal instincts, we will continue to have the kind of so-called “leaders” in the world that we currently have, who appeal to our fears, prejudices and selfishness. When our politicians respond to economic recession by giving a tax rebate, or respond to high gas prices by suggesting a holiday from gas tax, they are appealing to our short-term interests instead of finding long-term solutions that will eliminate the problems. Americans, instead of welcoming these crumbs, should be indignant about these insults to our intelligence, and the lack of concern for our long-term well-being. Freedom and unity have to come from individual consciousness that is no longer manipulated by selfish or divisive appeals that aim to pacify or flatter us.

Q: I’m curious because I hear little from these candidates, or from most media sources, about the kinds of positive solutions such as I read in your book, for leading individuals towards a better lifestyle. Why do you think that is?

The good news is that people are finally waking up. The Obama candidacy, whether successful or not, is creating a national discussion and self-examination. The way that his opponents are attacking him in the media is stimulating some kind of thoughtful introspection because the stakes for our future are so high and his candidacy is so unprecedented. I feel the current political process is working to the extent that it is creating questioning. People are no longer easily accepting the “answers” that the pundits and advertisers are feeding us. Inasmuch as people think for themselves they will start to make better choices.

If the Obama candidacy is successful and he becomes our president, that will send a huge message to the world. Not only will it signal a rejection of the selfish and fearful policies of the last eight years, but also the symbolism will be tremendous. I can’t imagine a greater stimulus to the healing of our relations with the rest of the non-European world than to elect an American president of color with the name “Barack Obama” and to have descendants of former slaves living in the White House! If the American people take this step that signals a willingness to move out of their habitual comfort zone, this will further indicate a psychological change that may lead to the ability to change lifestyles that contribute to environmental pollution and global warming.

Q: Are our government officials and media purposely limiting the amount of intelligence and freedom — especially spiritual freedom — from the people by not encouraging messages like yours?

I think that the greatest service the Bush administration accomplished was to make people skeptical about the words and motives of politicians. When we are fed lies for a long time and suffer as a consequence, then we become more questioning and more doubtful. As we become more doubtful, we tend to think more objectively, and then to trust our own opinions more. We become more willing to go against “conventional wisdom” and habitual thinking. Real “freedom” is mental and spiritual freedom.

I am basically optimistic about the ability of people to come to decisions that are in the best interests of themselves and others, when nurtured in an open and questioning environment and in the spirit of community. Many will eventually realize that they experience true freedom when they are able to think for themselves without fear. Government and media cannot suppress true freedom, because it is spiritual. Many great ones experienced that freedom even in prison: Socrates, Mandela, Ghandi, and King are examples.

Note: Please contact SNS Press if you would like us to send any complimentary copies of our books to people in prisons.

© 2008 Richard V. Sidy

Read Related Articles

Criminal Justice: The Powerful Over the Weak

Criminal Justice: The Ethic of Custodianship

World Diplomacy: Series on Leadership

World Diplomacy: Introduction

Beyond Ideology — Politics of the Future

Beyond the Bush Years

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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

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