Tags >> history
Jan 22
2010

"The Empathic Civilization"

Posted by Bruce Robinson in technology , speaker , Sonoma , sacred , resources , research , religion , peace , Ideas , history , government , environment , energy , community , climate change , author

Bruce Robinson

Empathy, not self-interest, is the core impulse of human nature, according to social analyst Jeremy Rifkin. And that realization may hold the key to successfully responding to the environmental and economic challenges that now confront humanity.

One key to recent scientific research relating to empathy is the discovery of  “mirror neurons,” a finding that originated, Rifkin relates, in a chance encounter during some unreleated experiments with monkeys in an Italian laboratory.

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Jan 13
2010

David Swanson

Posted by Bruce Robinson in war , speaker , rights , politics , peace , media , legislation , journalism , Ideas , history , government , events , Congress , business , author , activism

Bruce Robinson

The founding Fathers saw the U.S. Constitution as a dynamic document that would evolve and change over time. Writer and activist David Swanson believes we’re long overdue in getting to work on that.

In his new book, Daybreak:  Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union, Swanson tracks the gradual accretion of political powers in the office of the presidency—something that has been underway for most of our national history, but which accelerated markedly in the past eight years. In his analysis, that is dangerously undemocratic, but its hardly the only place in our national governance where that is a problem. Another is the U.S. Senate, particularly the convoluted procedural practice of the filibuster, which Swanson would like to see ended.

The calls for impeachment of Dick Cheney or George W. Bush or members of their administration have diminished over the past year, but Swanson notes that leaving office does not remove or even lessen their vulnerability to such charges. And he contends that pursuing impeachment against any of the potentially culpable former officials would serve the further purpose of reasserting the strength of the House of Representatives.

The politics of 2009 were sharply different from the years before, Swanson observes, as much of the activism that had mobilized against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan got caught up in the Obama campaign, and has not yet re-established itself. He speculates that the anti-war effort might actually be more effective today if John McCain had been elected instead.

David Swanson will be speaking at the Glaser Center in Santa Rosa at 7 pm on Wednesday, Jan. 13, hosted by the Progressive Democrats of Sonoma County.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jan 11
2010

"Marx in Soho"

Posted by Bruce Robinson in politics , Petaluma , media , Ideas , history , events , education , economy , author , arts , activism

Bruce Robinson

Karl Marx was an economic and social theorist, and a self-described communist. But one thing he said he was not, was a Marxist.

Jerry Levy is a college professor, a longtime leftist activist and an actor who has been performing Howard Zinn’s Marx in Soho frequently for the past six years. (He's seen in character at the left.) He notes that the play’s central premise places the 19th Century writer and theorist into the present day, giving Marx a platform to comment on contemporary issues.

Although Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin are often linked in connection with the Russian revolution a century ago, Levy says that Lenin is largely ignored throughout Marx in Soho.

Below are photographs of Howard Zinn (left) and the offstage Jerry Levy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jan 07
2010

"The Harvard Psychedelic Club"

Posted by Bruce Robinson in students , speaker , research , religion , protest , politics , peace , medicine , media , law enforcement , journalism , jail , history , events , education , drugs , chemicals , author , activism

Bruce Robinson

Much of the social upheaval of the 1960s can be traced back to four men at Harvard University at the beginning of the decade, contends journalist Don Lattin. His new book, The Harvard Psychedelic Club, does exactly that.

Don LattinDon Lattin, the longtime former religion reporter for the San Francisco chronicle, attributes his choice career path to his own informal psychedelic experimentation as a college student in the early 1970s. He says that experience, which was shared by thousands of his contemporaries, also inspired him to research and write The Harvard Psychedelic Club.

Timothy Leary in San Francisco in 1995, a year before his death.In his book, Lattin gives each of the four main figures an iconic title. Ram Dass (Richard Alpert) is “Seeker,” Houston Smith is “Teacher,” and Andrew Weil, “Healer.” And after some extended deliberation, he settled on calling Leary “Trickster.”

Albert Hoffman, inventor of LSDSwiss chemist Albert Hoffman (right) inadvertently synthesized LSD in 1938, and accidentally became the first person to ingest it in 1944. In the United States, clinical research into the properties and effects of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) did not begin with Leary and Alpert’s Harvard experiments in 1960, Lattn reports, but can be traced back to studies in the previous decade, a project secretly funded by the CIA.

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