[unrev-II] More thoughts on the current situation Fwd: Re: [announce] horror

From: Jack Park (jackpark@thinkalong.com)
Date: Thu Sep 13 2001 - 08:20:39 PDT

  • Next message: Jack Park: "[unrev-II] Fwd: Re: [announce] "What goes around, comes around.""

    We are seeing some interesting thoughts role around these days. Too bad we
    don't have an up-and-running DKR to collect all this stuff and analyze it...

    >From: Paul Werbos <pwerbos@nsf.gov>
    >Subject: Re: [announce] horror
    >Sender: owner-announce@isss.org
    > >The concept of "prayer" includes the notion of the ability to appeal to an
    > >absolute authority. It implies an exclusive, or privileged relationship
    > >with that authority, which in turn implies special approval of the behavior
    > >of the individual who enjoys such a relationship. Whether one is praying
    > >for jihad, or for the end to jihad, one is participating in the same
    > >systemic behavior that has a divisive effect, and bolsters, with the
    > >feeling of special access to authoritative approval, the us-against-them
    > >attitude that perpetuates conflict everywhere on our planet.
    > >
    > >I plead with the systems community to move our discourse into a more
    > >neutral context. Each of us may pray as we will, in the privacy of our own
    > >minds. But in our public utterances, let us leverage the adaptive power of
    >The real horror in this situation (in my personal opinion) is not with what
    >happened but with
    >what may happen. A critical role of systems theory, in the broadest sense,
    >is to evaluate the
    >larger future implications and possibilities -- and solutions, in some sense.
    >In the past, many people have proposed, as a possible solution, that all
    >conversations between
    >more than one person should exclude all reference to any dimension of life
    >or emotion which cannot
    >be formulated in operational terms -- objective, value free propositions
    >which clearly do not invoke any sort of controversial
    >concept such as religion, prayer, meditation, intuition, and so on.
    >I would argue that the intense support of this possible solution is one of
    >the many important causes behind what we are
    >seeing in the Middle East. More precisely, there are many people in that
    >area who fear that the driving economic power of the West
    >is committed to imposing that sort of tyrannical rule on the entire culture
    >of the world -- gradually and gently, for the most part,
    >but in a relentless, inexorable way. They fear that the tides of history
    >will wash over them and destroy them completely, if they do not
    >invoke some sort of desperate response, based on some combination of
    >catharsis and violence which comes from outside
    >the world of the trends which are threatening them.
    >There is some real irony here. George Bush himself comes from an
    >assertively pastoral state, Texas (OK, it's cows instead of sheep, but big
    >which has asserted its own independence in many ways for many years...
    >which has a staunchly religious culture.. and was himself elected in great
    >as a reaction against a culture viewed as too cosmpolitan, secular and
    >corrupt... As with Aghanistan, the rest of the world views his pastoral
    >origins with skepticism because of fear that they have sold out too much to
    >oil millionaires.. and it is curious to see people on TV interviews
    >proposing that the people of such a pastoral land should be eradicated
    >because of how much they have sold out to the wrong
    >oil millionaires.
    >Yet... what CAN be done? What scenarios exist for things not to become
    >immeasurably worse?
    >It may well be that greater clarity WITHIN the spiritual consciousness of
    >the Islamic world is the only
    >hope that exists for a scenario in which the human race continues to exist
    >beyond a relatively limited time
    >interval. At least, that is my personal view. Should such views be
    >inherently nondiscussable? Should there
    >be no place at all where one can discuss dynamic models of human evolution
    >in which vector variables
    >like "spiritual consciousness" can have an important causal role? If
    >everyone agrees that such models are absurd,
    >then there would be a basis for their being absolutely nondiscussable. But
    >what is there is a chance that
    >understanding such dynamics is in fact central to our survival, after the
    >In any case, my intuition suggests that there are realistic scenarios or
    >paths to Armageddon here both on the left and on the right --
    >either by allowing the Osama bin Laden phenomenon to grow unchecked, like a
    >cancer, or by provoking much greater conflict between
    >the Islamic world and the West. Either one would take us to a kind of
    >"stage 4" dynamical system, where the rules change and
    >the probability of total human extinction is much greater than at present.
    >If the Islamic world itself takes a leadership role
    >in truly appreciating the level of evil which has taken hold here, and the
    >need to root it out by themselves becoming
    >true forceful spiritual leaders... maybe calling on US airpower or
    >forensic science on occasion, but always in a subordinate role...
    >then perhaps we can avoid those extremes. It is regrettable that we in the
    >West have not engaged in so much deep dialogue with
    >Pakistan and Iran as we should have, in recent years... and one may argue
    >that the need for such a dialogue, with
    >recognition of the spiritual dimensions of that dialogue, is one of the
    >real needs here.
    >I am often a strong advocate and developer of technology... but there are
    >times when technology is not the prime
    >Again, these are just personal opinions. But somehow there should be some
    >place for discussion of such issues...
    >Best of luck... to us all...
    > Paul W.
    >P.S. Of course there are also many causal variables which we cannot change
    >at this time. I still remember the moment,
    >during the Presidentiual debates, when Gore suddenly said "Make no
    >mistake... we stand by Israel." Maybe that was
    >when we went from stage 1 to stage 2. I do hope that I have not made such
    >an unintended misleading statement myself'
    >here in this email... but c'est la vie. I just hope it won't become a case
    >of "c'etait la vie."

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