Questions LO30140

From: BARRy Mallis (
Date: 04/28/03

Replying to LO30128 --


You proffer a wonderful set of questions in LO30128. Here are my personal

I was satisfied to see the downfall of Saddam's regime. Having studied
closely the years of Stalin's misanthropy, I saw that tyranny's demise as
an essential positive.

The means justified the ends, but these "means" are far from having played
their course. Herein resides my greatest ambivalence. Tens of centuries
of indigenous culture without much reference to the baby republic that is
the United States cannot osmose pluralism. Differing speeds of cultural
generation and degeneration (as ths case may be -- you choose)have created
a chasm between that which one finds in these United States and that which
one discerns in that region on tribes and religions. Despite any
protestations to the contrary, George Bush and his closest advisors have
not exhibited sensitivity to this issue.

It used to be some fifty years ago,I think, that countries such as the
U.S. could make ill-founded statements about the world and democracy, and
not cause much disturbance by them. Time went by. New lines were drawn.
Communication channels were created, then naturally warped and filtered.
Learning took place in isolation, if at all, when it came to APPRECIATING
other cultures.

Over time, the U.S., listening to itself over and over, came to believe
its one-size-fits-all pronouncements. "Culture" was exported and
seemingly accepted, further evidence that what we in this country had
conjured was dynamic, transferable and 'right'.

But ignorance, that greatest of filters, worked both ways. Not only did
Americans become self-righteous through ignorance of what lay beneath
other cultural surfaces, societies elsewhere were treated to sterotypical
distortions about Americans. The results of "unfettered ignorance" live
on with us today.

And I don't personally see forces marshalled to change humanity's
slip-slidding into greater despair. U.S. soldiers acquitted themselves
very well. They learned as they went. Some actually learned, I think.
The uncoiled springs of resentment continue to release, though; their
tension was increased over many long, horrible years. And some not so

I like very Andrew's quote from Donella Meadows, may she rest in peace:
"-If you have no idea where to get your purpose, you can listen to the
universe and do its will, which is a lot better informed than your will."
I have always ebleived in some universal sound that we hear when we
listen. But filters remain in place over our ears, everywhere.

Five years ago I was guided through a metal fabrication plant in the city
of Tver, in Russia. The general manager and I walked the catwalks high
above the plant floor, which was relatively quet for lack of orders. He
pointed to enormous steel beams which defined the building's structure,
and focused my attention on gigantic steel springs at the junctions of the
girders. "Those," he said to me, "those are meant to help the building
withstand the atomic blasts from your [U.S.] bombs." Everyone was
prepared for that eventuality. We all thought it was coming." Stunning.

Do you think that our relative proximity on this small planet, John,
brings closer the small number of voices who believe in another form of
human interaction, something different from how humans have behaved for
millenia? Are we capable, despite so little learning from the past, of
such change?

There. You have a few of my thoughts.


Barry Mallis
The Organizational Trainer
Keene, New Hampshire, U.S.A.


BARRy Mallis <>

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