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Mandy Fisher

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Revolution! ... or peaceful protest? What is the best method for change, and why should we be talking about it?

So, you want a revolution.

Is America due for radical change? What changes would you make? How would you go about making them? What methods bring real results?

And finally, what do you believe is the breaking point for revolution/rebellion?

My opinion to come shortly.


Closing Statement from Mandy Fisher

The conversation may be closed, but the topic is only beginning to brew. Thank you all for your comments. Let's continue the conversation, and perhaps we'll find we arrive at a feasible solution.

Until next time...

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    Aug 21 2013: I had a realization this morning.

    It just doesn't work. To replace the current government only results in injecting another, as some of you have said, which may or may not be just as bad, but most certaintly just as controlling (eventually). Revolution is akin to a temper tantrum of a small child. The child is opressed (in the child's view) by something, and thus, explodes in a fit of fury and dismay. The child sometimes gets her way, and sometimes is punished instead. Either way, the temper is subdued, and control is maintained. Illusion of freedom is given temporarly to keep the screaming babe calm, for now.

    The world is so interconnected. A single government is not realvent anymore. The days of killing the king and declaring independence are gone- it's bigger then that. The true puppet masters will never be reached by the people, no matter how angry, or how powerful they may become. Sure, we can make a big mess, kill off half our population, bring chaos and disorder- all in vain. They are excellent housekeepers, and no mess is too big to clean up.

    So, what can we do? I am beginning to think that the only avenue for awakening is to live by example. Peacefully detach one's self from the soceity in which they disagree. Perhaps bring enough people together to purchase a large track of land; creating a community based on a model of happiness, comradery, and sustainability. Show that system works. Lead by example. I think this is the only chance one has to make true difference.
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      Aug 21 2013: This is why millions of people the world over live by the creed articulated by Gandhi: You must be the change you wish to see in the world. They are everywhere you look if you are alert to notice them.
    • W T 100+

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      Aug 21 2013: " I am beginning to think that the only avenue for awakening is to live by example."

      Welcome to the club :)
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        Aug 21 2013: The problem is that there isn't a club. There needs to be one. It's easy for individuals to think that they are the only person who thinks the way we live is wrong, and therefore perhaps they must be the one that is wrong instead.
        As Fritzie says, there are millions of people trying to live by different, peaceful rules. Perhaps tens of millions, perhaps hundreds of millions the world over, detaching (or wanting to detach) from the way in which society, governments and business have become, but how can we know? How can we count them? If it can be demonstrated that there is a significant will for change, that will encourage more people to think about changing and actually doing it. Humans learn by copying.
        So I think we need a club, a badge, a banner, a name, to show that there are people who want a peaceful, empathic alternative. To bring together all the existing individuals and organisations who are working in that direction. We need to be able to shout "I am a part of this!"
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          Aug 21 2013: Well, whatcha waiting for Nigel?

          Let's start one!
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          Aug 21 2013: How about the TED club? I honestly think/feel TED is facilitating, and providing the opportunity we speak of Nigel:>)
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        Aug 22 2013: In reply to Colleen (why only three deep threads?)

        I think that TED is a part of the club. It is a forum for the ideas and debates that provide the inspiration, but does not provide the actions that form the perspiration. Incidentally, it is the best forum I have found that does this. But, there are people who are part of the movement that have never, and probably will never have heard of or have access to TED.
        The Aids worker in central Africa
        The soup kitchen worker in India
        The teenage programmer in their room coding a patch for Linux
        The gardener in Rumania who leaves spare apples from their tree at the gate for passers-by to take.

        There doesn't seem to be a way to use TED to initiate or coordinate real world actions and projects. Another potential thread, but has anyone got any ideas on how a real world project could be initiated from within TED and what might be a suitable project to start with to trial this?
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          Aug 22 2013: I agree Nigel, that there are people who live in a way that is beneficial to the whole, and may not have access to TED, or other obvious ways to connect with other people. There have always been some folks who contribute to the whole, and may never be recognized as a valuable contributor.

          I believe actions which create change are happening on many different levels, and TED provides the opportunity for many people to connect. I have seen several talks and conversations on TED where people from different parts of our world are connecting with various projects.

          One very simply little example is that I know several teachers in different parts of the US, who use John Hunter's talk and "World Peace Game" as a model in their classrooms. I have forwarded talks and conversations to teachers and other professionals who use many of the ideas posted on TED in their educational programs, and I have received links to TED talks from friends as well. In fact, that is how I was connected to TED originally. So, as I said, I think connections are happening on several different levels.
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          Aug 22 2013: The best examples of the use of TED to coordinate people around a single project are the TED prize winners. The most recent is Sugata Mitra's School in the Cloud, which has become the focus of a collaboration involving large numbers of TED attendees and other members of the TED Community. He showed the success of the prototype and people all over the world are launching variations of it and sending him their performance data.

          In terms of center-points of activities on the ground that bring together people into a sort of nexus of communication, evaluation, and scale up, one of the ones I follow is the Poverty Action Lab, launched about a decade ago at MIT but housed in multiple venues since then.

          I don't know whether you know Open IDEO. That is an open forum in which people craft solutions together to a series of problems put forward by organizations that want to crowd-source help. IDEO has policy advisors on hand to assist by raising questions and suggesting areas for further development and elaboration.
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          Aug 23 2013: Here is another convergence opportunity not to miss: http://www.ted.com/pages/prizewinner_bono

          I thought of this when I got my alert today of three ONE meetups in my vicinity. in the next few weeks.
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        Aug 22 2013: Colleen and Fritzie,

        I think I was thinking more in the way of TED not having the sort of collaborative, wikki-type tools that a lot of open source software (and increasingly hardware) projects have to help groups to self-organise projects in the non-virtual world. Hence the feeling that the "club" needed a number of arms, of which TED could be a part. Collaborative tools and methods would be another part and how to make them available are one of the topics I am interested in studying further.


        There are so many crowd/open source forums out there, but it's a question of not seeing the overall contextual wood for the trees that I hope we can address, and show that they are all moving towards similar goals for society. It would be great to bring them all under a uniform banner. This common identification would provide motivation for those already involved, inspiration for those who aren't, and allow each group to share their successful methods whilst learning what doesn't work. Perhaps the club, as well as being a forum, should provide a directory or wikki of shared resources for all of these disparate individuals and organisations. A reason why IDEO could be identified as part of the club, perhaps?

        I am extremely grateful for your feedback on Cynapse. I'm drafting a reply, but with the apparent time zone difference between us you must feel like you are conversing with someone on Mars :-)
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          Aug 22 2013: Actually, the sort of exchanges in which I participate don't require fast responses. It is a strength of the platform for some of us who cannot commit to being present at any particular time and a weakness, I expect, for others that exchanges are not more "real time."

          You don't need to reply to my impressions of Cynapse. I only gave feedback for you to consider. I represent one type of potential participant in "change projects," with lots of personal energy and my own criteria for where I focus the resources I can bring to things. But I don't think I am unique in my criteria.

          Do look at OpenIDEO as one model of collaborative tool.

          I see from your blog you have noticed Yochai Benkler. Clay Shirky is another whose work you might considered and who also appears in TED talks under the topic "collaboration." I particularly recommend his book Here Comes Everybody and for Yochai Benkler his article Coase's Penguin.
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        Aug 22 2013: Fritzie, I was extremely grateful for you taking the time to review Cynapse. I must say that I hadn't appreciated that my mentioning of WikiLeaks and Occupy gave the impression that Cynapse agreed with their confrontational methods. I had intended that referring to them gave an example the level of dissatisfaction with the status quo felt by a wide range of people. I can see that, in the light of recent events, there may be a real fear amongst people if they think that their online activities are monitored and they appear to be associated with "subversive" activities. I wonder how the fear of online surveillance will shape future political debate. I wonder how free the free actually feel. The whole concept of Cynapse is not to engage with the old guard, but to connect with the new. I'll see if I can reword the introduction to clarify this. This is why I needed new eyes to look at it :-).
        Personally, I felt that the detailed investigation of how open source economics resembled anarcho-communism, would be a big turn off fo some people. Mainly because the words "anarchy" and "communism" carry with them a lot of cultural baggage and associations which bear no relation to their literal meanings.
        I also struggled to look for a mechanism for cooperation between believers of different religions, and non-believers.
        I have read Benkler and Shirky. In fact, such a large number of the original sources and authors that I looked at had done TED talks, that I started to think that using these jewel-like precis would be a good way to get across what I was learning quickly. If you think there is a chance that people are not listening, it is usually accepted that less detail is more.
        I was hoping that Cynapse would provide a meeting place for people to help to assemble reference material across this massive front of subjects.e.g.
        Political Philosophy
        Organisational Theory
        Ethics and Empathy
        Religous Philosophy
        Intellectual Property..
        ..the list goes on
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          Aug 22 2013: You are right, of course, that words carry cultural baggage. My reference to Occupy and wikileaks was not a matter of people worrying about being associated with "subversive" activities but only that there may be a natural incompatibility among some problem solving approaches- indeed a possible aversion. You touch on this, potentially, in your referring to the "old guard." I cannot know who you mean to exclude by that label. Is it age that marks the person? Or another qualification? You read Clay Shirky and Yochai Benkler, so you would not seem personally to have an aversion to scholars, but many people drawn to a change-focused organization may believe all scholars are "bought," or that all of some other category are "bought."

          I give this only as an example. Some people feel the same about lawyers, teachers, people who run businesses... Are these rejected?

          I must say the language of the "club" itself does not appeal to me personally, as it reflects on first look that too common in-group and out-group sort of thinking, as your old guard and new guard distinction also may. I would hope that is exactly the sort of labeling or sorting that should be shown the exit, as it is often unproductive- or worse.

          I don't believe many people feel that they are the only ones dissatisfied with various aspects of the status quo. Calling for change has become the norm!

          Generally speaking, and I do not know how old you are, most of us who have worked a long time cooperate day in and day out and elbow to elbow with believers of a variety of faiths as well as non-believers. Fundamental values are widely held in common, and I can easily say in my career I can never remember differences in religious belief as an obstruction to collaboration in solving or working to solve, say, urban problems.

          To put forward a specific example, I would not expect the productivity of the many heads coming together at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to be affected by the religions of the staff
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        Aug 24 2013: Fritzie, I was not implying that people with different religeous beliefs could not cooperate. I was trying to find a form of words to persuade people who think that their form of belief does prevent cooperation. We appear both to be very lucky. I work in a very multi-faith and multi-racial environment. On my desk alone we have at least 4 different belief systems. This is not true everywhere and just a few miles from my home there are still marks on a wall caused by a bomb, planted by people who felt their faith prevented any form of cooperation with others.
        As for age, I am old enough to have been both the first person to hold a newborn child and the last person to hold a dying old person. I am young enough to still think that building sand castles is still a great way to spend your time on a beach :-).
        You provide many examples of the ways in which change is being carried out. You appear reluctant to have these linked as the "club" as this would be divisive, Let me try another way to explain why the club would be a positive move. This is probably going to smash completely through the 2000 character limit, but I hope it helps. I do realise that the more I write, the less likely people are to read it. I wonder to what extent the shape of a TED conversation shapes the conversation, but that is another thread. I'll contine this at the head of the conversation.
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          Aug 24 2013: I am glad you recognize that in most cases of collaborate work, people's religions or lack thereof are entirely irrelevant.

          I think that people on TED will still read a sequence of two clearly written posts but less so once a person strings more than that together, as it may sometimes then seem like a soapbox situation.

          My reluctance about a "club" is that I think we are all in this life together and that considering life that way is a step forward.. I would not choose to reach out my hand preferentially to those who join a club over those who do not. I know that within-club is a familiar model of social interaction. As you write, some people will choose to be in a club, however it is defined, some will choose an isolated stance, and some will continue to try to embrace the whole in their interactions.
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          Aug 25 2013: I have read your string of comments Nigel, and it feels clear that you would like one large group working toward a mission.

          As you say..."This common identification would provide motivation... It would be great to bring them all under a uniform banner. This common identification would provide motivation... So I think we need a club, a badge, a banner, a name, to show that there are people who want a peaceful, empathic alternative. To bring together all the existing individuals and organisations who are working in that direction. We need to be able to shout "I am a part of this!"

          I feel that I can shout "I am a part of this" whenever I feel like shouting it, and I agree with what Fritzie has written...including, and not limited to...."we are all in this life together". Some people will recognize that, and some people will not. I believe that TED is already serving to organize people and providing the forum for sharing ideas.

          Sometimes, when an organization gets too big, it becomes ineffective. Consider the UN, which was formed as a global peacekeeping organization? The organization is obviously ineffective, and in some respects corrupt. Consider the American Cancer fund, Heart fund and Red Cross....all have a very good purpose, and it has been found that money donated to the good cause goes mostly to administrators, and in some cases has been misused.

          Your goal/mission is a noble cause, and it seems to be already happening, even without a club name, badge or banner to identify it:>)
    • Aug 21 2013: I wouldn't say that, precisely.
      There are times where replacing a government most definitely led to improvements. Then again, those are the exceptions that prove the rule...

      What I'm saying is that you should think carefully before trying to topple a government by violence.
      Positive change may or may not be possible, and assessing how realistic it is to implement is precisely the difference between a calculated decision to remove the existing power structure, and as you've put it, a temper tantrum that does more harm than good.

      Of course, in a proper democratic regime, I'd go as far as saying that a violent revolution has a snowball's chance in hell of improving things. Fortunately, those are easier to modify without resorting to violence in the streets.
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      Aug 21 2013: Hi Mandy,

      I'm trying! www.cynapse1000.weebly.com :-)
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        Aug 22 2013: Thanks Nigel! I'll check it out.

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