Friday, September 24, 2010

LAGRI forum reflections

Posted: 24 September 2010; Updated:

A superb irony! 

Of all the questions that Geoff Rodgers, one of six county council candidates, could have picked at random from the box of 40 or so submitted and qualified questions from town people at the September 12 LAGRI forum in Fuller Lodge, it was mine: 
 How can our community harness the potential creative energy in those who are currently marginalized, dismissed or ignored by other citizens and institutions of this community? [This ignored potential creative energy manifests itself in many ways, including low morale, high suicide rate, anti-establishment rage, conflict between government and citizen groups, etc.]
Not only did Geoff not know the question beforehand, he didn’t know who submitted it, which was me, a personal friend and former employee when he was the LA Schools transportation supervisor several years ago! [His remarks can be viewed on the Pac 8 video of the forum at 56:19 minutes into the program.]

His answer could not have been more to the point in acknowledging the importance of the question. "County councilors are citizens first", he said, "and public servants second." And he would surely be open to concerns from those who have been dismissed, marginalized, ignored or otherwise discounted.

This synchronicity bodes well for the deep democracy process we propose to introduce at the next regular LAGRI planning meeting on October 3. 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The LAGRI Opportunity

Posted: 18 September 2010; Updated: 20 September 2010.  
In reflecting on the turmoil continuously reported in the world, including political, technological and natural catastrophes, as well as religious persecution, I am at the same time aware of centers of light such as Ken Wilber's Integral Life center in Colorado, the Lorian and Yes! foundations in Washington, Esalen in Northern California, Findhorn in northern Scotland, the New Earth Foundation in Arizona, Arnold Mindell's World Work center in Oregon, Kosmos Associates in Massachusetts and other spiritually enlightened centers whose names I do not now recall.

In the face of this chaos and contradiction, I can envision one potential center of light that could have a uniquely symbolic global impact if it could transform its "Bomb Power" legacy into a spiritual transformation. That is the Los Alamos community at large. After all, it was in Los Alamos that the bomb changed the world with the astonishing achievement of the Manhattan Project and its on-going corrupting consequences. Historian Garry Wills' 2010 book
Bomb Power rigorously details this project, its legacy and its continuing global influence. Wouldn't it be wonderful if, instead of continuing corrupting waves of influence, a new kind of influence could radiate from this place?

In his celebrated 1987 book The Different Drum, psychiatrist M. Scott Peck proclaims "In and through community lies the salvation of the world!" He then presents a model of the four stages of community, beginning with "pseudo Community" (stage I), moving into "chaos" (stage II), then "emptying" (stage III) and finally "true community" (stage IV).

When I read physicist/psychologist Arnold Mindell's The Deep Democracy of Open Forums earlier this year and at the same time read Garry Wills' Bomb Power, I realized that Mindell's model presented us in Los Alamos with the methodology to negotiate from stage I community to stage IV.

That's where LAGRI comes in.

At their recent successful Fuller Lodge forum, I witnessed and participated with a small, highly motivated grass-roots group of people, who implemented a promising first step in a vision for improving this community. This is the kind of established group that LA County Councilman Robert Gibson suggested months earlier that our LADDOF (Los Alamos Deep Democracy Open forum) core group find and join. We think we can offer an expansion of LAGRI's mission statement to include the closed forum just successfully presented and explore expanding that inclusion to the deep democracy of
open forums.. This would tap into and utilize the "potential creative energy" of those in this community who feel marginalized, dismissed and ignored.

Our LADDOF approach acknowledges and includes this latter group.

In the coming weeks and months we hope to persuade LAGRI to participate in implementing Mindell's deep democracy methodology and to bring both Mindell and Wills to the first Los Alamos Deep Democracy Open Forum sometime next spring or summer.

I have personally contacted Arnold Mindell about this idea and he is enthusiastic about our laying the ground work that would bring him and his skilled facilitators here. Jim Bradbury of our core group has personally spoken to Garry Wills about this idea, who has also expressed interest. Both these internationally celebrated men are waiting for substantive results and steps to grow the project into something that they can participate in. To have such men keynote a Los Alamos Deep Democracy Open Forum would unquestionalbly capture international media attention.

On September 21, Zhenya said:
You have mentioned a lot of "light centers" around the country and the world, but not one religious institution. Is that deliberate? If so, why?

On September 21, Eugene replied:
Yes, it was deliberate and it applies to all ecclesiastical religious institutions that I know anything about, which includes Christian, Mormon, Jewish and Muslim organized religions. The conflicts and disagreements each has toward and about the others, as well as among themselves, are legion. This is puzzling and ironic. For me this is exemplified by a recent post (July 30, 2010) in my Orthodox Odyssey blog. I cannot help but think of the passage in St. Luke, which seems appropriate here:

And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor, he had sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. (Luke 4:17-19)

This scripture refers to the prophet Esaias, who is acknowledged by all the above mentioned religions.