Meditation for Thursday of Week 48 in the season of Harvest and Celebration

Pacing

A frenetic pace cannot be sustained for long. A snail’s pace is rarely productive.

I can read quickly but some works pack many ideas into a few words while others present simple images that are best absorbed quickly. A trip to the museum will reveal many people taking a few seconds to pause and “consider” a masterwork, the intricacies of which cannot be absorbed in such a short time. A chief failing in our political system today is the demand that complex issues be fully considered in a sound bite; presidential debates have become farcical, with the candidates being expected to debate a dozen or more complex issues in sixty or ninety minutes, the amount of time a true debate would devote to one issue.

After thousands of years of history, humans developed science a few centuries ago. That science has advanced geometrically in recent decades.

For thousands of years, economies were local. A little less than two centuries ago, they began to become national, the nation itself having expanded its reach in most places. That phase of national economics, under which the economic edifice of the industrial revolution was built, lasted approximately 150 years. It has now been replaced by the phase of global economics, a phase that will endure unless new technologies allow a return to local or regional economies. During the phase of national economies and the industrial revolution, complex systems of finance and industry were established; many of them have become obsolete, and with their obsolescence has come the obsolescence of entire sectors of the old economy. Millions of people are already starving in the underdeveloped world. Unless we can adjust ourselves to the pace of change in our technologically advanced world, the same thing is likely to happen in the developed world.

The pace of life in this new world has not reached an equilibrium. Nations, societies and cultures have not agreed on norms and rules, as previous generations did in mandating a forty-hour workweek. In the United States, the disagreement has become especially bitter and ideological. Old assumptions may no longer make sense but many people cling to them anyway. Where this leads remains to be seen.

My father, who grew up plowing fields with a team of horses, left an indelible impression on me with one simple comment: “Never overwork your horses.” Each of us faces a choice about the pace of our lives. We are challenged to find a balance that is both productive and sustainable. We have little guidance from the economic order, which is changing too rapidly for anyone to make much sense of it. But we do have some guidance from within. If we have good values and are honest and self-empathetic, then at least we can find a pace at which we can function and be happy, assuming that the economic and political sea around us does not engulf us.

Real

Technical and Analytical Readings

On the importance of finding a healthy balance between encouraging our children to achieve their potential and maintaining room to breathe and enjoy life:

Imaginary

Visual Arts

Music: Composers, artists, and major works

The bossa nova

Stan Getz: bossa nova period:

Antônio Carlos Jobim:

João Gilberto:

Cannonball Adderly:

Eliane Elias:

Funk

Some of Grant Green’s funk albums convey a similar sense of pacing to that often found in bossa nova. Be cool.

Other jazz albums:

This Is Our Story

A religion of values and Ethics, driven by love and compassion, informed by science and reason.

PART ONE: OUR STORY

First ingredient: Distinctions. What is the core and essence of being human? What is contentment, or kindliness, or Love? What is gentleness, or service, or enthusiasm, or courage? If you follow the links, you see at a glance what these concepts mean.

PART TWO: ANALYSIS

This site would be incomplete without an analytical framework. After you have digested a few of the examples, feel free to explore the ideas behind the model. I would be remiss if I did not give credit to my inspiration for this work: the Human Faith Project of Calvin Chatlos, M.D. His demonstration of a model for Human Faith began my exploration of this subject matter.

A RELIGION OF VALUES

A baby first begins to learn about the world by experiencing it. A room may be warm or cool. The baby learns that distinction. As a toddler, the child may strike her head with a rag doll, and see that it is soft; then strike her head with a wooden block, and see that it is hard. Love is a distinction: she loves me, or she doesn’t love me. This is true of every human value:

justice, humility, wisdom, courage . . . every single one of them.

This site is dedicated to exploring those distinctions. It is based on a model of values that you can read about on the “About” page. However, the best way to learn about what is in here is the same as the baby’s way of learning about the world: open the pages, and see what happens.

ants organic action machines

Octavio Ocampo, Forever Always

Jacek Yerka, House over the Waterfall

Norman Rockwell, Carefree Days Ahead

WHAT YOU WILL SEE HERE

When you open www.thisisourstory.net, you will see a human value identified at the top of the page. The value changes daily. These values are designed to follow the seasons of the year.

You will also see an overview of the value, or subject for the day, and then two columns of materials.

The left-side column presents true narratives, which include biographies, memoirs, histories, documentary films and the like; and also technical and analytical writings.

The right-side columns presents the work of the human imagination: fictional novels and stories, music, visual art, poetry and fictional film.

Each entry is presented to help identify the value. Open some of the links and experience our human story, again. It belongs to us all, and each of us is a part of it.

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