Posted in Education, Musings, Sci-fi starters

Animal Wisdom

Fright Futures – Bright Futures

8 June 2019

Jon Rudy

 

To continue with my series of what it would look like to imagine a bright future (rather than a dystopian one) I offer another story starter called Animal Wisdom. Imagine a world where wisdom was EVERYWHERE and our living, breathing friends in the animal kingdom had a special ability to share the deepest secrets of the universe to help us find our way.

 

 Animal Wisdom

The ability to communicate with animals had been something that Jessica had kept as a closely guarded secret for the first few years of her life. From her earliest memories she knew what her dog, Rusty, was thinking. From protecting her from traffic as a toddler to the unease she read from Rusty’s demeanor toward untrustworthy people, Jessica seemed to have a natural animal connection that extended way beyond her pets. Jessica remembered the first time she communicated an intention to a spider that had inadvertently bungie jumped from the ceiling, to dangle in front of her face. Rather than panic, she calmly set the intention to assist the spider in finding a more appropriate venue to spin a web. Quick compliance and cooperation between the two resulted in a violence free encounter and a spider-free home.

 

Animals trusted her partly because Jessica was able to respect the animals for their inherent nature and needs. Jessica became the bridge to communicate the intentions of the humans who were frustrated with the inability to make their needs known to the animal kingdom. As Jessica developed her abilities and shared her insights, people of all persuasions sought her out to ‘solve’ animal conflicts ranging from ground hogs digging up gardens, to an agitated and confused orca that threatened tourist boats.

 

Jessica was not the only one who woke up to latent gift of hearing the subtle voices of the natural world just outside the urban jungle. The new discipline of ‘Human/Animal Mediation’ turn out to be the biggest field of study for the incoming class of 2045 in Liberal Arts Colleges . . . 

 

Posted in Crazy Ideas for Peace, Musings, Sci-fi starters

Quantum Connections

Fright Futures – Bright Futures

25 May 2019

Jon Rudy

 

To continue with my series of what it would look like to imagine a bright future (rather than a dystopian one) I offer a story starter called Quantum Connections.  Thinking about how all things are unified at the atomic level, I imagine what it would be like for human consciousness to be fully immersed in knowing that love is the space between the atoms. So, here are the first paragraphs in that story . . .

 

Quantum Connections

All things are connected. By mid century this truism had worked its way into the psyche of most people on the planet. Something known by every other living thing, the bipeds with supposed higher order thinking had finally come to accept what every other physical manifestation – from the rocks to trees to warm blooded creatures – had known and embodied from the core of their molecular structure . . . everything is one.

 

As homo sapiens began to re-order their existence (political, social and economic) around the reality that all things are intimately interconnected, happiness began to become a ubiquitous byproduct. The realization that, even at the level of the quark, each thing is intertwined with every other in the universe…as with a spider web in jiggling one thread resonates throughout the whole net . . . brought a sense of responsibility and agency to humanity as never before.

 

In his lab, Matt a quantum physicist, accepted this reality as he pondered the next iteration of interconnection. He had recently discovered that it was possible to impress a field of gratitude upon a crystalline structure and have that temper every digital bit that passed through the clock circuit of microprocessors. The result?  Artificial Intelligence (AI) with timing from these care modulated networks now embodied a level of compassion that insured their decisions were based on the greatest golden path for the highest common good. Matt begin to dream about how compassionate AI might be possible to heal the planet from the excesses of industrialization and domination systems of the past centuries . . .

 

 

Posted in Crazy Ideas for Peace, Education, End of Enemy, Human Security, Imagine, Musings, Sci-fi starters

Fright Futures – Bright Futures

The human race is the only species (that we know of) that is capable of imaging its own frightening demise in such technicolor detail. In fact, looking at most science fiction produced today, a dystopian future where the world has been shredded by war, scorched by nukes and/or dominated by cruel and vicious despots is the norm. Science fiction tells us what the future will look like in some jolting ways. Author Arthur C. Clarke predicted satellites in geo-sync orbit decades before that became reality(1). Isaac Asmov wrote about the 3 laws of robotics as ways to keep robots (think AI) serving humanity instead of the other way around. (2) Kim Stanley Robinson wrote of how mars was colonized with the cycle of power, domination and war predictably following. (3)  This last one has yet to play out although it is clear we will colonize mars . . .

 

Does it have to be this way? What I suggest is that sci-fi writers have a huge role to play in helping humanity imagine that we will ‘get it right’ in terms of bright, happy futures filled with dignity for ALL. In this blog series I will suggest paragraph book starts with ideas that could be expanded upon to imagine a bright future on this planet. Here goes with my first Bright Future sci-fi starter. . .

 

 

The Cost of Denial

By the mid-2020s it became clear that the political cost of climate change denying made running untenable. In fact, in the 2024 presidential elections, not a single candidate in any of the 6 parties who fielded a congressional candidate had a record of silence, if not outright denial, of the so called ‘climate debate’ at the turn of the century. Such was the tsunami of unanimous demand from the populace for leadership to act!

 

(1) https://www.wired.com/2011/05/0525arthur-c-clarke-proposes-geostationary-satellites/

(2)  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Laws_of_Robotics

(3) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_trilogy

Image from Wikimedia commons: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Robot-clip-art-book-covers-feJCV3-clipart.png

Posted in Crazy Ideas for Peace, Musings

From the United Nations to the United Biosphere

From the United Nations to the United Biosphere

Jonathan Rudy

Peacemaker in Residence @ Elizabethtown College

17 July 2018

 

All things are connected.” This is a mantra I have been repeating and exploring ever since I heard it for the first time in 1984. Indeed, my very own definition of peacebuilding, arising out of my 30+ years of international work, includes at its foundation a re-connecting. So, in a time when our problems as a human species transcend boundaries of nation state, ethnicity, tribe and family, it is time to innovate like all things are connected.

 

To solve the wicked problems of war, famine, disease and the impacts of climate change, it is imperative to develop a new consciousness of how all things are connected. An expanded human consciousness that sees all people as siblings might not even be a large enough to make sense of and respond to our current plight. Humans have to develop a biospheric consciousness.

 

Nearly every liberal arts college in the US and Canada has a Political Science department whose broad task is to prepare the next generation of leaders for engaging in the political space for the wielding of power. But the definitions of ‘political’ imply the human centric differentiations drawn through social and partisan groupings that included power blocks, borders, boundaries and alliances.

 

What we need is a Bio-litical (Biolitical) Science department in our higher education institutions. This degree would teach the next generation of leaders how to wield power for the largest greater common good that is based on an awareness of the connection rather than differentiation and boundaried nature of all things. A progression in thinking would be the formation of the United Biospheric (UB), a forum that would bring all things to a table of consensus for the common good for all. What would it mean for earth, water, air, and fire, along with species of plants and animals, to have an equal say at the UB? What would a UB Security Council look like or would having developed this forum give an unprecedented level of security only dreamed about today? What new listening skills would humans need to develop to even be able to hear the concerns of, say, fire within our biosphere yet alone honor and respect fire as an equal member of the UB?

 

The first tasks for humans would be to dismantle our species-centric thinking that pervades, at least in the Western World, the actions of humans. Fortunately for those of us with enlightenment and Eurocentric cosmologies, we don’t have to reinvent this. Many indigenous cosmologies already have pieces of this understanding.

Posted in Afghanistan, Economics and Peace, Human Security, Musings

The Myth of Security: Why We Need to Place People Before Guns

The Myth of Security: Why We Need to Place People Before Guns on the Global Partners for the Prevention of Armed Conflict web site:  Link

 

(The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Alliance for Peacebuilding or Elizabethtown College)
Posted in Afghanistan, Crazy Ideas for Peace, End of Enemy, Musings

Meeting in shadow and light

Meeting in shadow and light

Jonathan Rudy
Kabul Afghanistan 2011

 

We do meet for a moment,

my war waging compatriots,

and I.

 

In the blink of an eye they pass overhead,

a liquid shadow, casting a strobe like effect

from their Blackhawk rotor blades.

 

It is the occultation of light that connects us.

 

The outline of the helicopter,

here and gone,

for that one instant we merge,

inhabit the same space.

 

Why does it have to be the darkness,

cast over my small compound space

for the briefest of time,

which brings us to together?

 

How is it that we can be one in the light?

Posted in Human Security, Mindanao Peacebuilding Institute, Musings, Philippines, Uncategorized

Shaping the World

The Republic of Bendora is an island nation surrounded by lesser islands like Renbel, Kula, Papua New Guinea, Australia, Laos and Canada to name a few. Fictitious of course, Bendora is the name of one of the case study scenarios we used in the Mindanao Peacebuilding Institute (MPI) Human Centered Security course. Our training design was  hands-on and used made-up scenarios with real-world challenges. Newly designed to help those seeking to reframe security paradigms in their countries, this course tasked work groups to use conflict analysis and mapping skills. One starting assumption in Human Security include that nations are most secure when the needs of people (freedom from fear, freedom from want and respect for dignity) are the reference points.

This year at MPI we had a major delegation from the Ministry of National Unity, Reconciliation, and Peace in the Solomon Islands. During group work participants from five other countries tackled the Bendoran security issues which included clan tensions, an earthquake, outside meddling by foreign powers and weak governance.  I observed that, in the minds of the participants, Bendora was imagined as an island nation among many other islands. The Bendoran mapping exercise proved the truism that our world is shaped by our perspective.

 

Sitting daily beside the sea for three meals a day, our MPI venue on the Philippine Island of Mindanao provided a tactile reminder of our geographic location. I have often thought about how the environment around us is but one influence that shapes our perception and experience. These filters, when applied unconsciously, are often a detriment to building peace. I wonder if art is the best medium to reveal hidden perspectives and once exposed these biases can be harnessed for peace. That was certainly the case for Bendora revealing its island nature.

Posted in Education, Human Security, Mentoring, Musings, Uncategorized

The Term “Warrior”

I want to address an apparent incongruity in the diagram in my last post. Thank you, Amy, for bringing this up. In previous posts on “The End of Enemy”, I have advocated for reimagining language that supports and reinforces peace. The use of the word “warrior” in my onion diagram may seem like a contradiction in terms when harnessed with a nonviolent model. As someone deeply committed to peacebuilding and nonviolent change I have come to terms with this word warrior. So in my thinking I have already rehabilitated the word but made a leap of logic in so doing. Let me elaborate on my thinking.

 

I am convinced that the role of a warrior is a masculine archetypical stage of formation. This is the life stage where mountains are climbed, rivers forded and dragonssacred_stone are slain. This is passionate kinetic energy focused on external struggles and even sacrifice. However, if it is not shaped and molded by elder wisdom, and grounded with the nurture of deep connection, it can easily perpetrate violence, death and destruction. This is the imbalance we see in the world today. The gift, in all the pain of the struggle for water protection in North Dakota, is balance returning to the earth and all her relations. The unity we see at the Standing Rock Camp is evidence of that.

 

What I see in the #NoDAPL Movement is the Lakota Sioux Tribe and indeed all First Nations tribes struggling for dignity and respect for treaties they have honored but the government as not.  It is a struggle for acknowledgement that the United States has waged genocide against them. In all of this I see elders reaffirming that the struggle will be waged nonviolently. THIS is shaping the warrior energy into activism, peaceful means of protecting water and protesting the pipeline which has desecrated their sacred sites. One of the Water Protector Camps is called the Red Warrior Camp. The #NoDAPL movement is redefining the word warrior within the context of a nonviolent struggle and I deeply honor that.

 

Standing Rock Sioux Chairman David Archambault II on remaining nonviolent

Geronimo Hotshots Using Firefighting within the warrior tradition

Sacred Stone Camp FAQ (including questions about the Red Warrior Camp)

Red Warriors act and speak

Posted in Afghanistan, Crazy Ideas for Peace, End of Enemy, Human Security, Musings

End of Enemy Series

4. Creating Reality
I have been intrigued by the question of how much of our world we create in our own minds. This question was made really clear on the streets of Kabul and rural north of Afghanistan. This journal entry from: 24 Oct 2012…posted to a student on the topic of culture on the Etown Blackboard Discussion Board…

 

This past weekend I experieJon speaking to Dist 9 mediatorsnced the hospitality of the people of northern Afghanistan. I felt safe, cared for and the warm welcome of a people who have an ancient culture. Yet just at arm’s length away were the vehicles of war from my own nation, on edge for fear of being shot at. They were at war. How can our two realities exist within the same space-time continuum? What is the difference between me in my host’s Toyota Corolla enjoying the beauty of rural Afghanistan and my compatriots in their Armored Personnel Carrier who see danger behind every rock?

 

Could it be that the language we use helps create reality? If you have not done so already, check out the Handbook on Human Security: A Civil-Military-Police Curriculum* that was recently written by Lisa Schirch and co-published by Alliance for Peacebuilding, Kroc Institute and Global Partnership for the PreContrasting languagevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC). On page 146 is a chart comparing and contrasting State and Human security terminology. On the one hand the ‘other’ is an enemy, criminal or perpetrator. On the other hand the ‘other’ is a more neutral term; stakeholder. A stakeholder is someone to engage, hear a story from and who has an interest in what happens. Stakeholders, being such a generic term, begs questions about who, what, when, where, why and how. The other 3 terms, enemy, criminal and perpetrator denote a precast, prejudged role with no room for story or depth.

 

*Schirch, Lisa. Handbook on Human Security: A Civil-Military-Police Curriculum. The Hague, The Netherlands: Alliance for Peacebuilding, GPPAC, Kroc Institute, March 2016. P. 146