"Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark. 
In effect, the people who change our lives the most begin to 
sing to us while we are still in darkness. If we listen to 
their song, we will see the dawning of a new part of ourselves."

Rabindranth Tagore

Existential Intelligence is the sensitivity and capacity to engage questions about human existence – how we got here, whether we have a purpose, and whether there is meaning in Life. Existential intelligence embraces the exploration of aesthetics, philosophy, religion and values like beauty, truth, and goodness. A strong existential intelligence allows human beings to see their place in the big picture, be it in the classroom, community, world, or universe.

First proposed by Howard Gardner, existential intelligence is one of nine theorized intelligences and is considered to be amoral – that is, it and the other eight categories of human intelligence can be used either constructively or destructively.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Creative Governing?

I’ve been in a funk all day and it isn’t just worrying about my sister’s chemotherapy tomorrow. It’s the political climate in this country.

While I am horrified by the gridlock that has occurred because a bunch of extremist (mainly) men (on both sides) refuse to give an inch in the power struggle for our survival as a country (and also as human beings), today I am dismayed by our inability to recognize the absolute necessity of patience in this attempt to rebuild our circumstances. And not only dismayed but Furious when I witness the arrogance pervading EVERYTHING - that if we only had the right person, we would have been further along in this recovery. Jesus! Or maybe Mohammed! Or maybe the Budhha… but in any event, holy shit that we can’t find the patience required to allow the team we elected in 2008 to do the task we set them to do. And that we are so eager to cast them out now, and seek someone new.

No President, Democrat or Republican, could be expected to turn the tide of several generations of abuse, mismanagement and may I add, denial. Yes, I voted for Obama and I still think he’s the right man for the job. But it is discouraging to watch my Democratic colleagues abandon the cause because he couldn’t solve problems fast enough, or to their liking. I thought we were the party of generosity, high ideals and compromise. We’ve made progress. But unfortunately, it is going to take MORE time, and we do need to tighten up our belts a bit. As a self-employed artist with limited health insurance, I am ok with that. I am willing to do my part. But what about big business and government? Where are the cuts that don’t have to affect the average family? Who’s working on that? That's where the gridlock begins.

And I am also willing to take care of those around me. As long as I am talking about dismay, I need to address the insertion of various rightwing Christian dynamics into the national conversation. I don’t really get it. Aren’t we the most prosperous, highly idealistic country in HISTORY? Even if we approve of the separation between church and state, weren’t we founded in agreement with basic Christian teachings? I want to take care of those around me who are less fortunate. It is my PRIVILEGE. As they go, so go I.

Why shouldn’t those of us who have made good lives for ourselves PAY IT FORWARD by supporting our schools, streets, parks and communities through the payment of our taxes?

And on one other note, what about Moderation? We’re a bunch of greedy, self-absorbed, spoiled children, and if no one else is able to rein us in, you can be sure Mother Nature will do so.

Which is even more sobering.


  1. Thanks for the eloquent reflection. Alas, I fear we have become a nation of shallow thinkers who demand instant gratification and can't see much further than 15 minutes out. But then I think about faith (as in the Tagore quote) and it lifts and helps me carry on. Will be sending positive thoughts and prayers for you and your sister tomorrow.

  2. I hope you'll turn that tremendous wealth of energy towards your beautiful work. Adjusting to who we are as a nation in this moment first takes recognition (missing), then adjustment (long time coming) and finally submission (yes, we can get there).
    My sister has her fourth chemo treatment for stage 3 breast cancer next week. The surgery was a dream, the chemo made cancer real. We're functioning under the belief that the surgery removed all of the cancerous cells, the chemo is a safety guard and that we are all moving towards good health in every way. Continue to reach out, having support is important.

  3. Way back in the late 60's a fellow in WDC developed an organization that became known as the Far Right. They gained traction in the political realm using God, abortion, the ERA (anti of course) and feminists. Mind you the leaders and developers of this movement didn't care at all about these issues, only what the issues could do for them as they built their machine. The real objective was gaining control of congress and state legislatures as well so as to empower businesses, build more wealth for those who would be on their side. Lots were and are.
    In the late 70's through early 90's I was what was a political campaign staffer in Iowa and also worked for the ERA and involved in social action.Iowa being the "first in the nation caucus state", the Far Right was very evident here in working their people to get the results they wanted out of the caucuses. And they succeeded.
    Basically, the same people that brought you the mega churches, Jerry Falwell, Phyllis Schafley, Right to Life, the Dobsons, creationism, etc. are they same that created the Tea Party. Anti-immigration is the new buzz over abortion which was losing it fear power.
    So yes, it has been a dismal day. Note that the war(s) was not a topic in this election, nor did the media say much about the millions and millions of bucks poured into this campaign and who was doing the pouring. I'll stop now.............
    Bonnie Samuel

  4. Like the true baseball fan I am, I thought we could miraculously pull it out with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, but it was not to be. I watched Bill White make his concession speech and my heart sank. Too many high issues have stalled and too many flawed but good public servants are now lost. Like her, or not, Barbara Boxer seems one of the few politicians willing to espouse liberalism on this day following election day. I still believe Obama stands to the progressive side, but where else will we find others willing to stand with those of us left of center. Nevertheless, we must continue to search and also to encourage those around us to support candidates who are willing to seek a creative path of governance, willing to compromise when necessary but not without getting something of value back.

  5. Amen Jane & Amen Bonnie.
    I just shake my head; what kind of a world, or a world-view, are we leaving our young??
    All I could say last night, when people during their exit polls where whining about the tide not turning enough & wanting change, was: Obama was elected, not given a magic wand.

  6. So spot on. Wishing your sister well!

  7. as a child of the sixties,amen amen to all the above .
    perhaps shallow breathers have watched tv and bought the lies some of us could hear 40 plus years ago.as a self-employed artist for many decades, i take responsibility for my area .my art is narrative to expand what i am processing and i get feedback and living and joy . we are not at all on the same wavelength of interior develpoment so try to be patient with the young of all ages on a good day.

    willie Nelson came over to Hawaii to do a benefit for Neil Abercrombie , our new Gov. now that was bitchin!
    best to your sister...

    "make art not war" has been one of my motto's into the story i am unfolding for some time . like your essays as food for thought as i work/play in the studio sometimes with NPR station for i am a true believer !

  8. Exactly my thoughts as well. I look at our country from outer space seeing a section of the earth (the US) as a bunch of spoilt bullies arguing about "Mine, "Not Enough" "Us and Them" instead of seeing the earth as our home and recognizing we either stand together, united, seeing those around us in our communities as members of our "family" or perish because of our greed. Sad.

  9. Thank you for articulating so much of what I have been thinking about politics and the state of the nation! I don't understand what rock shelters people who don't or can't worry about making sure the future is secure for their own children and relatives; who espouse religion but don't seem to care about those less fortunate than they are; who don't feel the obligation to mentor the next generation. I hope that when the stress of unemployment and a slow growing economy is relieved, good sense and good stewardship will re-emerge.

  10. Thank you, Jane, for speaking out! Whatever happened to people being able to think? Many people seem to accept whatever is told to them! Completely lacking in skepticism--aha! (there it is again!) Blessings on your sister, her treatment team, the rest of her family and you.

  11. Very well said, and I know many others who feel this way.

  12. I join the chorus above me here! My thoughts exactly, but more eloquently. My thoughts and prayers are with your sister and her extended family and her care givers during her recovery and treatment.

    Oh, and warm up that Hula Hoop!


  13. Thoughts and prayers and {{hugs}} are being sent to your sister and all who love and care for her.

    I guess one of the aspects of the recent elections is that all of the House chairs will be white, old(er) men. I hope that I live long enough to see the white men become the minority and have less power. Unfortunately, they control all of the $$$$$.

  14. I couldn't agree with you more. Since the election results I feel like we are taking huge strides backwards. When is this country going to wake-up!

  15. I am crying so hard at the hatred poured out by the above posts that I cannot say any more.

  16. I don't see or hear hatred in the above posts but appropriate and logical concern. Just because a person disagrees with you or doesn't agree with you does not mean it's hateful in nature. Isn't that the foundation of the US?

    Simply, our country can not be turned around in two years since it did not get to this state in two years. As a country we are sometimes very unrealistic and immature. We want everything now and that can't happen. It's just not possible.

  17. I read all the comments and was in agreement with all of them until I got to LindaD's comment and was shocked. I didn't hear or sense ANY hatred in any of previous posts, I heard people that are worried at how polarized our country is becoming, and how close-minded it's citizens have become. How sad that voicing an opinion in a moderate tone is thought to be pouring out "hatred" simply because it is not the view you share. Shame on you, LindaD--go back to watching Fox news.