Review: The Compassionate Instinct–The Science of Human Goodness

5 Star, Civil Society, Communications, Complexity & Resilience, Consciousness & Social IQ, Democracy, Education (General), Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution
Amazon Page
Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary Collection, Unique, Timely, No Notes

December 16, 2009
Dacher Keltner, Jason March, Jeremy Adam Smith
This is a truly extraordinary collection of essays from the magazine Greater Good, a magazine I had no idea existed. The editors have done a tremendous job in selecting 35 essays (click on the cover above to see the Table of Contents and over all I am hugely impressed.

Multiple literatures are in convergences, from the consciousness side to the global brain side to the waging peace side. I arrived at this book from the “beyond genes to culture” side, and list ten other recommended books spanning those literatures at the end of this review.

My notes:

+ 33 authors, 35 essays, drawn from the 2004-2009 timeframe as published in Greater Good, a magazine

+ Herb Alpert Foundation helped make this book possible

+ Three parts to the book: scientific roots; cultivating local goodness; cultivating goodness in society and politics

+ Science stories include evolutionary studies on peacemaking; neuroscientific experiments; and research into hormones like oxytocin that promote trust and generosity, meaning that kindness really is its own reward and that it is contagious

Continue reading “Review: The Compassionate Instinct–The Science of Human Goodness”

Review: Threshold–The Crisis of Western Culture

5 Star, America (Founders, Current Situation), Banks, Fed, Money, & Concentrated Wealth, Capitalism (Good & Bad), Censorship & Denial of Access, Complexity & Catastrophe, Congress (Failure, Reform), Consciousness & Social IQ, Culture, Research, Democracy, Economics, Education (General), Electoral Reform USA, Empire, Sorrows, Hubris, Blowback, Environment (Problems), Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform), Military & Pentagon Power, Misinformation & Propaganda, Nature, Diet, Memetics, Design, Politics, Power (Pathologies & Utilization), Religion & Politics of Religion, Secrecy & Politics of Secrecy, Technology (Bio-Mimicry, Clean), True Cost & Toxicity, Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution, Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized), Water, Energy, Oil, Scarcity
Amazon Page
Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5 stars Five for the Voice, Four for the Substance

December 12, 2009
Thom Hartmann
Thom Hartmann is one of a handful of individuals that I consider to be true guides for the rest of us, and I consider two of his earlier books, Cracking the Code and SCREWED, to have been instrumental in my own transformation from recovering spy to intelligence officer to the public.

The book does cover a lot of ground lightly, but it is coherent, and because it is Thom Hartmann, whose voice is hugely important to all of us, I settle on a five instead of a four. Other books that complement this one include Tom Atlee’s The Tao of Democracy: Using Co-Intelligence to Create a World That Works for All, Jim Rough’s Society’s Breakthrough!: Releasing Essential Wisdom and Virtue in All the People, and The People’s Business: Controlling Corporations and Restoring Democracy.

Here are my notes:

+ Book may be missing pages, mine starts at page xi (Preface) so I am left wondering, what happened to i through x?

+ Book opens with quotes from Einstein and Schweitzer with respect to the urgency of widening our circle of compassion to include ALL living things, and explicitly ALL humanity.

Continue reading “Review: Threshold–The Crisis of Western Culture”

Review: Give Me Liberty–A Handbook for American Revolutionaries

5 Star, America (Anti-America), America (Founders, Current Situation), Censorship & Denial of Access, Consciousness & Social IQ, Corruption, Crime (Government), Culture, Research, Democracy, Electoral Reform USA, Justice (Failure, Reform), Philosophy, Politics, Power (Pathologies & Utilization)
Amazon Page
Amazon Page
5.0 out of 5 stars Major Contribution to Loyal Dissent & True Patriotism
December 10, 2009
The book comes in three parts, the first two by the author, the third a collection of well-chosen pieces by others.

I am totally engaged by the idea that liberty is a state of mind, that America the Beautiful is a state of mind, not to be confused with the Wall Street greed and two-party tyranny that is killing the Republic.

The author has done a moderately good job of reviewing the history, and that which she shares is most valuable. I especially like her quoting Robert F. Kennedy on how each generation must win its own struggle to be free, and later in the book, she cites one of the thousands across the country as observing that we have abdicated our citizenship.

The state of mind theme is carried on in a discussion of the difference between a free society and a fear society, and throughout parts I and II we see documented evidence of how America has become a fear society and how the Global War on Terror (GWOT) has been a virtual seizure of power by quasi-fascist mind-sets who may have the best of intentions but in fact have executed a “paper coup” or as the author also puts it, following a long (LONG) summary of restrictions on everything from permits for free speech to travel to voting rules and regulations, “civic death by a thousand cuts.”

Review DVD: The AMERICAN Ruling Class

5 Star, America (Founders, Current Situation), Banks, Fed, Money, & Concentrated Wealth, Congress (Failure, Reform), Culture, Research, Democracy, Economics, Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform), Justice (Failure, Reform), Leadership, Military & Pentagon Power, Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, Reviews (DVD Only), Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized)
Amazon Page
Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5 stars Truly Remarkable–Provokes & Entertains

December 10, 2009
Robert Altman, James Baker, Bill Bradley, Harold Brown, Hodding Carter, William Coleman, Walter Cronkite, Barabara Ehrenreich, Vartan Gregorian, Robert Hackney, Doug Henwood, Mike Dedavoy, Joseph Nye, Samuel Peabody, John Perkins, Pete Seeger, Lawrence Summers, Arthur Sulzberger, William Taft,  Kurt Vonnegut, Howard Zinn

This DVD is superb and also subversive. I doubt that the “stars” in this movie, particularly James Baker, Bill Bradley, Howard Brown, and Larry Summers, really knew what they were getting into, since their words–and their bland denials–ring so false in this context.

I put the film in while trying to deal with Microsoft’s latest “update” that cost me half the morning, and I recommend it very strongly as a Christmas present or for classrooms and book clubs.

My notes:

+ A Peabody, whose ancestors came on “the boat” and also founded Groton, laments that whereas all the leaders used to pass through Groton, now there is no real “source.” I am reminded of Lee Iacocca’s Where Have All the Leaders Gone?.

+ Hedge fund visits basically boils all ownership in America down to four banks, and later in the film we learn that six multinational control almost all “content.”

Continue reading “Review DVD: The AMERICAN Ruling Class”

Review (Guest) DVD: I.O.U.S.A. DVD on US Bankruptcy

5 Star, America (Founders, Current Situation), Banks, Fed, Money, & Concentrated Wealth, Complexity & Catastrophe, Congress (Failure, Reform), Country/Regional, Culture, Research, Democracy, Economics, Education (General), Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform), Impeachment & Treason, Intelligence (Public), Power (Pathologies & Utilization), Priorities, Public Administration, Reviews (DVD Only)
Amazon Page
Amazon Page

David Walker (Peter G. Peterson Foundation), Bob Bixby (Concord Coalition) Director: Patrick Creadon

Product Description: America is on the brink of a financial meltdown. I.O.U.S.A. boldly examines the rapidly growing national debt and its consequences for the United States. Burdened with an ever-expanding government and military, increased international competition, overextended entitlement programs, and debts to foreign countries that are becoming impossible to honor, America must mend its spendthrift ways or face an economic disaster of epic proportions.   Over 125 minutes of bonus materials, including exclusive interviews with Warren Buffett, Alan Greenspan and others.

Phi Beta Iota:  Walker was Comptroller General and briefed Senate in 2007 on bankruptcy.  He resigned in the 9th year of a 15 year term.  Peterson, his sponsor, is the author of Running on Empty–How the Democratic and Republican Parties Are Bankrupting Our Future and What Americans Can Do About I.

5 stars an outstanding and informative film, April 22, 2009

By Matthew G. Sherwin

I.O.U.S.A. educates people about the very real and very dangerous financial problems our government is facing. The producers of the film pull no punches here and they don’t sugar-coat it; and that was the right thing to do. The way Americans live today is essentially “living for the moment” without thinking of the importance of saving money for a rainy day; and the film goes into great, great detail highlighting that the American government does the same. I will tell you just some of the points made by this movie; although it will seem as if I’ve given it all away I assure you that I haven’t.
Continue reading “Review (Guest) DVD: I.O.U.S.A. DVD on US Bankruptcy”

Review: Holistic Darwinism: Synergy, Cybernetics, and the Bioeconomics of Evolution

6 Star Top 10%, Best Practices in Management, Change & Innovation, Civil Society, Communications, Complexity & Resilience, Consciousness & Social IQ, Culture, Research, Decision-Making & Decision-Support, Democracy, Economics, Education (General), Education (Universities), Environment (Solutions), Future, Games, Models, & Simulations, History, Information Operations, Information Society, Intelligence (Collective & Quantum), Intelligence (Public), Nature, Diet, Memetics, Design, Survival & Sustainment, Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution, Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized)
Amazon Page
Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond 6 Stars–And a Seventh for Accessible Pricing

December 5, 2009
Peter A. Corning
I could spend a lifetime reading and re-reading this book, and each of the cited sources, and not waste the time at all. This is one of the most extraordinary works I have encountered, and while I cannot do it justice, I will summarize it. Four other books that join this one in framing my third and last stage of life:
Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge
Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny
A More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility–Report of the Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change
The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, Revised and Updated 5th Anniversary Edition: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits

Bottom line: Humanity can evolve, must evolve, and the Whole Earth, Co-Evolution concepts that Stewart Brand and others pioneered (not mentioned here), that indigenous people’s everywhere have understood for centuries, are a natural path for us all. We *can* create a prosperous world at peace.

Short version of the book: Synergy is cool again, synergy and self-organization complement each other and are distinct; bioeconomics is hugely important and supports the premise that the whole is larger than the sum of the parts and that interactions and exchanges can and should be done for the whole, “beyond selfishness,” cybernetics rules, information is the space between, and ethics is both a form of cybernetics and a cultural adaptation that helps the whole evolve and persist.

Continue reading “Review: Holistic Darwinism: Synergy, Cybernetics, and the Bioeconomics of Evolution”