Help! I’m Stuck in a Tsunami Blonde Joke

Oh, No, Not Again!

March and April found us back again, sitting shocked, amazed, spellbound, and powerless in front of our TV screens – watching as hundreds of thousands flee their homes and the steaming nuclear reactors.b

Dumbfounded we stared, as crews carried out the Hail Mary procedure of squirting sea water on the nuclear core to try to slow its progress towards a meltdown and the potential contamination of millions of locals, not to the billions across the ocean those of us across the ocean. Then the terrible stories of those who lost everything nightly across our TV screens.

And here I am, having that eerie feeling, hearing that spooky voice that keeps repeating, “It’s happening again, its happening again . . .”

The Art of Helplessly Looking On

Back in September of 2001 we all were glued to our television sets impotently watching the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers burn and collapse to the ground and New Yorkers running from a giant ball of debris growing as it overtook lower Manhattan.

It wasn’t long afterward that we watched as corruption and greed led to the demise of Enron, Arthur Anderson, Countrywide, Jack Abramoff, AIG, and so on – the predictable result of behaviors that were not only dishonest, but criminal. But what could we do?

Then we looked on helplessly as the stock market plummeted toward the abyss created by credit default swaps, ushering in the near total collapse of the global credit markets, and following close on its heels, the boggle boggling multibazillion dollar bailouts and the pain of the so-called “Recession of 2008.”

And here we are now, well into 2011, feeling that feeling of despair as we tune in to the news of millions of hard-working Americans having lost their jobs and homes to the recession. And again we felt helpless. Here’s an interesting little video – Bill Moyers’ take on how all that went down: The epidemic fraud in the Economic Meltdown Video.

Well, we made it through the Almost A Nuclear Meltdown scare, but folks in my neck of the woods are pretty freaked about the radioactive particles wafting our way. What’s next?

Stuck In a Dumb Blonde Joke

Somehow I have the feeling I am stuck in one of those “dumb blonde” jokes:

The Wager

Bob walks into a sports bar around 9:58 pm. He sits down next to a blonde at the bar staring up at the TV. The 10 pm news comes on, and the news crew covering the story of a man on the ledge of a large building preparing to jump.

The blonde looks at Bob and says, “Do you think he’ll jump?”

Bob says, “You know, I bet he’ll jump.”

The blonde replies, “Well, I bet he won’t.”

Bob places a $20 bill on the bar and says, “You’re on!”

Then, just as the blonde places her money on the bar, the guy on the ledge does a swan dive off the building, falling to his death. The blonde is very upset, but willingly hands her $20 to Bob, saying, “Fair’s fair. Here’s your money.”

Bob replies sheepishly, “I have to confess, I cheated. I saw this earlier on the 5 pm news, and so I knew he would jump.”

The blonde replies, “I did too, but didn’t think he’d do it again.”

Bob took the money…

Blonde Like Me

How like that blonde we are – being surprised to see the same thing happening again and again, but unable to see that all these shocking events are really the result of a single underlying process at work in our global culture. I believe that until we really confront the real issues and begin to think systemically and examine the root patterns at work here, we are likely to continue to see this parade of tragedies. .

I don’t know what is coming next, but it’s bound to be a doozy. Hang on to your seats, folks!

The Cure for Blondeness

Fortunately this kind of blondeness is curable.

To me, the recent events in the Middle East demonstrate the power we can all have over our lives. I believe technology is a key part of using that power. As we learn to communicate better, the we awaken the intelligence and wisdom we need to free ourselves. We are entering the era of global community now, where time never sleeps and unfathomable amounts of information are at our fingertips.

The time for collaboration around Things That Matter has come. Connecting in a meaningful way with others is best in person. Second best, the information highway is running an ever-closer second. The internet provides an excellent medium for making meaningful connections, and a number of people and organizations have created some excellent centers for connecting and collaborating. I will suggest a few that I think might well help you shift to a mode of thinking that can enable a deeper understanding of what’s going on and offer some very reasonable actions you can take to help change this.

The change we want can come amazingly quickly. As our communication technologies mature, I can see the same vision as Clay Shirky,( consultant, teacher, and writer on the social and economic effects of Internet technologies), alludes to in this fascinating video – why we are on the brink of change, if we will recognize and use it.

The recent peaceful revolts in Tunisia and Egypt demonstrate how effectively cell phones, Facebook, and Twitter can empower even people who live in these relatively deprived and primitive conditions.

I believe there are enough of us who want to change and that we already possess the collective intelligence and wisdom that can set us free. All that is necessary is for us to begin to play our part in the conversation . . . What are we waiting for?

Steps for Recovering Blondes

Below are a few suggestions for getting started. When you arrive at these links, I recommend you read what is online then, and also that  strongly recommend that you actually SUBSCRIBE. These are living sites and subscribing will insure that you will receive future postings. Or you may click RSS; it will be uploaded to your RSS readers.

Tom Atlee’s Cointelligence Newsletter addresses the fascinating concepts and practices of Collective Intelligence and is a great place to start.

The World Café offers guidance, materials, and online support for free on how to create conversations that matter to your neighborhood, family, and/or workplace. Here’s one of my conversations with Juanita Brown, the co-creator of The World Café, and here is a video I’ve put together about the World Café.

Alan Briskin’s provocative and intelligent book, Collective Wisdom, introduces his readers to that special kind of knowledge and insight that is available only through group and community interaction.

The Collective Wisdom Initiative website was created to help broadcast the emerging field of collective wisdom, its study and practice. It came into being in 2002 with support from the Fetzer Institute.

And here’s a clever little animation Rebel Girl and The Vagina Report, showing the power of collective action.

And, of course, if you are subscribed to my eNewsletter, “Healing Times,” or click RSS in my blog site, I will do my best to send you updates. And I invite you to contribute, and to pass this site along to your friends.

The splitting of the atom has changed everything save our mode of thinking and thus we drift towards unparalleled catastrophe.” – Albert Einstein

” If you only knew . . .” – Emmett Miller


  1. Speaking of Einstein quotes, his message to posterity:

    “Dear Posterity: If you have not become more just, more peaceful, and in general more sensible than we are (or were) today, then may the Devil take you! Respectfully expressing his opinion with this devout hope is (or was) your Albert Einstein” [Princeton, May 4, 1936. Message to posterity written on parchment and placed in an airtight metal box in the cornerstone of the Schuster publishing house (today Simon and Schuster) in New York. Einstein Archive 51-788](From my online quotes collection..I was going to send my extra copy of the Einstein quotes to you Dr. Miller but seem to have misplaced it.. 🙁 ]

    But yes, Stuck in a joke (or nightmare, but “joke” is less depressing) is right, Dr. Miller! Or stuck in old way of thinking, as you also suggest. We can add: Exxon Valdez disaster; BP oil disaster; Katrina which was not just a natural hurricane but also due to human policies and decisions, and on and on!

    We cannot lose hope or we lose almost everything..But that said, keeping our eyes open we can see that as inspiring as the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia were, they are not the ‘victory’ the media suggests. We have military rule in Egypt. The military who supported Mubarak and may have had as much (or more) than he in supporting the police brutality against the protesters, is about to put him on trial, maybe even executing him, hoping that will let them off the hook…and they will probably get away with it. Criminals putting one of their own, on trial. If the people don’t stay involved, they will (at best) get another U.S.-backed “Strongman” only not quite as directly authoritarian; with more subtle repression as in the so-called “democracy” that is U.S. backed to our south (Mexico). It’s still a step forward, a big step forward, of course. Just like when Apartheid fell and they still were in the grip of neo-liberal policies even under the replacement government, and massive poverty and economic exploitation…but it was still a huge step to at least get rid of Apartheid. But one cannot declare victory and go back to sleepwalking, or Einstein’s “unparalleled catastrophe” may well materialize with the assault on our livable planet compounding the usual “man’s in humanity towards man” as they used to say, a more gender neutral version would be “humanity’s inhumanity towards humanity” which truly is ironic sounding, isn’t it?

    Most ill unlike Mubarak and Bin Laden do not have one human face, but are more amorphous and vague, like neoliberalism, materialism, obsession with competition over cooperation, and the elevation of maximizing profit over human needs (and short-term profit over survival even). Thus when climate heats up and there is less ice in the Arctic, what do our industries do? They salivate to exploit the easier shipping lanes and areas with less ice, to drill for MORE oil to burn, which will cause more warming of the arctic, exposing more formerly frozen areas to easier exploitation, a feedback loop that for which ‘irony’ is not strong enough a term!

    To end on a positive note, I was prompted by the indirect reference to “Black Like Me” to google John Howard Griffin who wrote the book by that name..turns out as a teenager soldier during WWII he helped smuggle Jewish children to safety..I had not known that. A man who truly understood the meaning of “we are all One”


  2. One last quote from that Einstein quotations book I’ve misplaced my spare copy of.. this quote is truly among my favorite by him, his message to youth:

    “O Youth: Do you know that yours is not the first generation to yearn
    for a life full of beauty and freedom? Do you know that all your
    ancestors have felt the same as you do – and fell victim to trouble
    and hatred? Do you know also that your fervent wishes can only find
    fulfillment if you succeed in attaining a love and an understanding of
    people, and animals, and plants, and stars, so that every joy becomes
    your joy and every pain your pain?”

    [Alas the spare copy I was going to mail to you as gift, Dr. Miller, I can’t for you and any interested readers, I’m putting a link under “Website” to the Princeton University Press page with it. I think they are not for profit(?) so hopefully that’s ok w/you]

    [“Written in I. Stern’s autograph album in Caputh, Germany, 1932, quoted in Dukas and Hoffmann, Albert Einstein, the Human Side, p. 129” cited on pp 285-286 of The New Quotable Einstein, Princeton University Press]

  3. Thanks for your thought-provoking words.
    Yes, although the potential is enormous, will we choose to realize it? will the Egyptians or Tunisians? Creating a successful social/cultural structure is difficult indeed. We take the Declaration of Independence for granted – but not everyone really understands it or realizes the importance of letting it inform our lives.
    Humanity’s Inhumanity to Humanity indeed!
    I look forward to your sending me the Einstein Quotes. I will send you mine too.
    How unfortunate atheists are, they can’t even pray. The rest of the world should be praying that humankind awakens and that we will, “find
    fulfillment if you succeed in attaining a love and an understanding of
    people, and animals, and plants, and stars, so that every joy becomes
    your joy and every pain your pain?”

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