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April 16, 2004


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Do I really need to haul my shame-based feets out into the light of the Public Square for a mere walkabout?

I sure hope there's a decent tour guide.


BMO - Shame-based feats? As opposed to values based philanthropy? The tour bus is filling up. Give me your penny and you can be included. We will run through the better part of town. I will point out the celebrities. We can watch the Charity Ball, with our noses pressed to the glass, until the guards shoo us away. Democracy is not what it was, BMO, but it would be worse, like a plutocracy, theocracy, tyranny. At least here we can have our own weblog and talk among ourselves, in the presence of our betters.


Not my feats. My feets. As in my feets too big. My feets with which I walk, asleep.

Bill Clinton was misquoted. He actually said, 'I feel your shame.' In other words, 'trust me, your feats stink.' Feats as in deeds.

I'm collecting some beer empties now. I should net a penny or two. At least. Perhaps ten cents.

Can democracy turn on a dime? Or should I save that dime and buy some odor-eaters?


Waking is OK, but you also have to had some wherewithall. A bunch of nobodies waking up gets us nowhere. It will just alienate the Higher Ups, and they may cut off our rations. We need leaders to step forward from various foundations. $18 billion a year in grants, from COF Foundations alone, but who will lead us against the forces of WB? That we might be free, not as markets are free only, but as a people with political liberty and a voice that is heard? Maybe we should go back to sleep. Tell Peter to wake us when its over.


But it is over. Long ago.

Does anyone believe any of us lives in a democracy? If so why then the talk of emergent democracy?

That 'free hand' is up our backs. And we're mouthing and repeating the stagnant lines from memos and opeds and yes Tutor! sitcoms.

The market is at once the public square, the church, and the state. There is no separation.

That's why I wonder if any leader(s) can emerge. What character can be so singular? So bland, so holy and so powerful.

And it's fine to talk about edges and voices and chatter and circles and noise and the vertical top down hirearchies meeting the horizonatally org'd bottom up types in a lateral holigraphic matix, but it strikes me that something has to be destroyed or torn down before the new Open City can be built.


Self interest is one of the foundations of political liberty. I'm wondering if liberty isn't one of the enemies here. If the liberation of the self hasn't come to some sort of logical conclusion. If we aren't trapped by our collective selves.

Giving is more than self denial, it is as you suggest, an affirmation of self. That giving is as natural as taking. That the two go hand in hand.

But what of that 'free hand'. Who's hand is that? The Hand of the Self?

Maybe it's the Self that needs to be destroyed. Before the heightening. Didn't Jesus go off into the desert for a period of time, essentially to destroy his Self?

Phil C

Self-abnegation, Christian humility, "brokenness and surrender." To empty ourselves of vanity and pride that we might be filled with the holy spirit, or the muse, or the voice of our literary and moral traditions. Peter Karoff speaks eloquently of these at http:www.tpi.org, under Karoff Corner. He too, as you are, and I am and so many are, is looking for "fit language," a voice that expresses his thinking, carries forward a tradition, and rallies what remains. As against that are those for whom philanthropy is a job, one career or "personal developmet" strategy among others, a tool or technique, or an investment against a measurable return.

Yes - a sojurn in the wilderness - confusion as "be-wilderment." I suspect that most know that we need a renovation of the spirit, and that those who speak out first will seem like wild eyed prophets and be dismissed. So, there is an air, I think, of waiting, of expectancy.

A great opportunity for a philanthorpic visionary to fund, or convene or provoke a cultural tipping point. Won't take much.

Peter is out there. Let's see who rallies.

Idyote Villagae

Pressing noses to the glass? I am in. There better be some nicely dressed ladies in there. You guys should stop talking this nonsense cause I don't want my rations cut off and my old lady would not like that. Demos cratos or Demons Cretins, as long as my lady keeps me warm at night and there is still milk for the babies I am not rocking this Ship of Fools.


"I am not rocking this Ship of Fools" - a whole life story in one line. Mine, I think.

Idyote Villagae

OK. Sorry. You did scare me with those Rations. Anyway, Tradition? Wait. What century are you from? Didn't Fiddler on the Roof kill Tradition? And aren't we in the version 7.4 of the Post Modernity here? The latest version abolished Consequences of one's actions. Especially those Bold Actions a la Enron. We would have to first restore Consequences. That's what's missing from the Language of Democracy. Noone gets a shaft any more. Everbody just hires a Great Lawyer and Puff. All Consequences vanish.

Same with Stupidity. Once there used to be consequences of one's stupidity. Today the more stupid you are the more successful you can become. I can sign up for that. All I need now is that "Free Hand" to hold me up high and I will be her puppet.


Believe me, I do understand. See http://www.wealthbondage.com for a running satiric commentary. The question I would ask with Peter is, do you think we could do better? Part of it has to be, in my opinion, the public pillory, and Lord knows, I do enjoy that role, of the public beadle. But beyond that, can we join with one another, to create a less jaded sense of democracy. I am the last to suggest we give vice and folly a free pass. I will deal with that elsewhere, with great relish. But can we do better?

I have just now gotten done deleting several satiric posts. Hard to forbear. It is dispiriting when a man picks your pocket of its last $20 and then as philanthropist tips you a dime. We are suffocating under the injustice of wealth without conscience, or consequence. But I hope we who see through that, and even some who don't, can create here an open space where little seeds of something better can take root.

You sound like a good recruit, Mr. Idyot. Hope follows action, sometimes.

Idyote Villagae

As to this this recruiting business. I was once recruited to dismantle the architectual jewel of Western Democracy. They called it Structrues of Participation in a Society. We took it apart piece by piece. There are still plans for it in Washington D.C. somewhere. They said they were going to build a new Structure in its place but the public funding was never appropriated for it. Anyway, the place was sold. Private money stepped in and they buit an Entertainment Complex, complete with the Mall, skating rink, Cinemas, coffee shops and all those fun rides. They said this way there will be more people participating, especially on the weekends and major public hollidays. It was part of revitalizing Democracy project cause people just didn't want to come there any more and sit and talk and think and argue and make culture even if it was free to participate. In the end they said we needed to attract more people. They did some marketing studies and came up with this Entertainement Zone. Fun for the entire family. People just come to be entertained. Spend some quality time with their family since there is so little of it during the week. One has to work. You know they started charging money to have fun in this place.


If "Action is hard in a society where trust is in short supply and cynicism is pervasive" as Peter observes and "society has a decreasing sense of relationship to the whole" as he points a symptom then where are the questions that point to the probable cause of these?

Are there any Detectives in the house? There has to be a probable cause for the widespread Sleewalking. If the Butler didn't do it then who? and what is the probable cause?


Self Reliance emanating from a statement like "You can't count on anybody. You have to count on yourself' is perhaps a sign of a Pathology of American Democracy. How can you ever create any Partnership with that kind of thinking?

Det. Ingravallo

K! There is no single cause, only a multipilicity of causes like the sixteen winds of a cyclonic depression.

tom matrullo

He too, as you are, and I am and so many are, is looking for "fit language," a voice that expresses his thinking, carries forward a tradition, and rallies what remains.

Any such language, to be "fit," would need to rise out of an unflinching recognition of the violence, division and complexity of the world it seeks to reconcile and-or lead.

Some fit languages have proven all too capable of offering an elixer of purpose in place of the difficult labor of political practice.

Somehow suggesting Latin American dictators, whose first dictations carved out new languages to create the illusion of unity atop pedestals of tongue-tied fear.



We are all looking for the 'Fit Language' but it shall not be. Beware of what Joseph Conrad said "Give me the right word and the right accent and I will move the world". The world will move with the right language but will it move us close to each other? Can the 'right words and accent' ever be a substitute for Commitment even if poorly stated?


Here is the reference I forgot to included in the post above


I spent 10 hours today in a class on estate, business and charitable planning for the wealthy ($3-5 mil and up) taught by, arguably, our company's best advisor and Frank Mirabello, Harvard trained estate tax JD, written up under Phil's Rolodex. There has never been a better time or place to be rich. Estate tax is slipping away. Power and wealth rise in an exhuberant fountain to those at the top. Moeny flows offshore as do jobs. With wealth comes honor and privilge and positions on the boards of cultural institutions and in public office. Sleepwalkers? Yes, but ebullient, often, convinced of their wisdom and lively.

All day I have thought of the cubicle slaves and the poor here and abroad, lower on the value chain, the worker bees.

And the question I ask is who will awken first? Those with most to lose? Or those whose numbers are greatest? And where will real leaders emerge? At the top in these closed interlocked circles of wealth, or in the flatlands of the internet, where we are all "peer to peer"? Not I think, at the top, nor at the edges, but at the hubs, nodes, and crossroads where our conversations converge.

Some of the very best people I know are heirs, or self made wealthy. Some of the most idealistic, generous, and selfless.

Can we awaken one another, shake one another awake? Partner and capitalize on the energies that are emergent in this system?

Leadership is not delegated authority, can't be equated with money. Leadership means speaking not just to people, but becoming their voice, so that something speaks through the leader, as it once did through, say, Martin Luther King or his mentor, Jesus. Or through Blake, Havel, Brodsky.

Out of these conversations at the crossroads, at the hub or the nub, comes a new way of thinking, talking, a new "we," one that includes the sleepwalkers both at the top and at the edges, until we move forward together towards goals we have hashed out in open discussion as peers - however much our circumstances may differ, no matter who reports to whom on Company Time.

"The wealthy are saying nothing," here on this site, so far. Shocked perhaps at the animus and anger- at how they have failed us as stewards. But that will change. For we are citizens, all of us, in this together. And the animus will give way to solidarity as we capitalize on each other's strengths to achieve shared goals for our own generation those who follow. The world cannot go on like this. The internal pressure is too great. A great awakening will happen. Into hope or catastrophe.


Thanks for thinking of us, the cubicle dwellers, who don't have 10 hours a day to attend places where we might be advised by the best. Had we had such an access to advice we might not have had to spend a lifetime in a cubicle land.

Knowledge is not power. Knowledge is free but access to it is scarce. Access is Power. Access to advice is a scarce resource like Capital. Money is not Power. Access to Money is. The rich are not powerful because they have Money but because they have access.

"The wealthy are saying nothing" - perhaps because they don't see yet that their greatest strenght is not Accumulation of Money but their Capacity to Access Money. Access for themselves and the community that matters to them. I would advise them to wake up and see it. More importantly the community needs to wake up to see their Wealthy as access, as a resource for mutual dreams. Perhaps this is what's missing from the Lanauge of Philantropy



Acces, yes, and connections, and relationships. Money flows through that, but the pipes are relationships. Mutuality implies mutual giving. How can you reciprocate with somethone who has more knowledge, access, money, power, and influence? You can give gratitude and praise and good will, as well as your work effort. Not much, pal. So why would the upper stratum want mutuality with you, when time is scarce and they can cultivate Neil Bush instead?

The Social Contract might be the answer, because without a minimal mutuality all bets are off. You know that, have lived it, in Poland.

Waking up is dangerous because the dreams end. If we were to sit in a circle and renegotiate an inclusive social contract, how might it differ from the hierarchies into which we have evolved?

"Time out - Move on, folks! Mall is open...."


Thanks Phil.

To answer your thought "So why would the upper stratum want mutuality with you" I shall freely reach now for my favorite distinction when talking about the Social Contract, which is the "Prisoner's Dillema" and broadly to the "Non Cooperative Games Theory". Tada!!! Stay tuned when I have more time to rap about it.

Applied to the Social Agreement (or Contract) that we call Community the Prisoner's move better be 'Cooperate' and not 'Defect'.

We have Haves and HaveNots in this game of Prisoner's Dilleman. Should Haves cooperate with HaveNots? That depends on the strenght of the Agreement they both vowe to uphold. The more permeated their lives are with the Agreement-Community them more of a subjective chance there is that both sides will Cooperate in the game for the mutual results. If however our Agreement is not explicitly stated, strenghtened, reinforced then you bet I will defect and so will they. This now is seen in the fabric of society. The Haves are defecting in droves (yes, a subjective view of HaveNots) and HaveNots are defecting in droves (perhaps a subjective view of Haves). Since both "Prisoners" are defecting from Agreement since it's the Dominant Strategy each one gets the short end of a stick. The Dillema then becomes how to restore the Agreement-Community so we can give up knee jerk reaction of a Dominant Strategy. Pretty simple, isn't it?

Waking up is dangerous because it requires for a Player to Give Up a "Dominant Strategy" game and go for Cooperation. Fear takes hold because we don't know if the other guy is willing to do the same. I guess its easy to see it being on the side of HaveNots dwelling in a cubicleland. My Dominant Strategy moves are: Resent them. Steal from them. Belittle them and better yet Be Them. Being Rich then would solve all my problems. Thus the "Prisoner's Dillema" game becomes a pathological drive Sleepwalk onself from beign a HaveNot to a Have player. I wonder if the Rich know that this game is going on.

At last let me state the obvious Nash's Equilibirum.

"When everyone’s playing their best move to everyone else’s best move, no one’s going to move."

If I was a total asshole HaveNot then to ensure that no moves take place I would say "Your move, Rich Fuckers!"

And noone would move. There you are. An Equilibrium. And We all get to continue Sleepwalking.
Good night!


Of course the above is a simple idiotic example of game theory with a poetic licence. It seems to be also that the rich are better positioned to play the game. They can win by simply not playing at all. I think Heinrich Selten talked about this.


Opps. sorry that was Reinhard Selten.
I found a link:


Thanks, K! Game theory and the social contract, very good. How do we recreate such a contract except through give and take, learning reciprocity rather than contempt, indifference, or resentment. Hope to keep the conversation going in a duet with Peter. He is having much the same conversation, on the same topic, with same paper among the "Haves" and there we listen in, silent and unwilling or unable to interrupt since our perspective would "Shake the Frame" o the discourse. Very much look forward to the moment when Peter's immediate audience and mine acknowledge one another's existence, and meet on the ground of open conversation, warily at first, and then as civic friends. No defectors.

Jon Husband

Look at what I found whilst walking around Berlin. bmo says 'lose the Self`

K! sez the rich selves know they are better off, and have or will take their ball and go home any time they damn well want to.

And me ... I just walk around in amazement at how interesting Berlin is, and how well it seems to work compared to North American cities, and how sensible and social everyone is, and then remember what went on here and in this part of the world from 1915 to 1945.

Whether or not we or others can catalyze (how presumptuous!) or participate in a Great Awakening, what seems crystal-clear to me is that there is great peril and danger about. Unless Francis Fukuyama was right about The End of History, I don´t think there´s any way the current circus can stay in town.

Something´s gotta give, and no doubt History will find her way again to showing us why she is such a good teacher. The rich enjoy their sense of difference - I can´t help but feel there must be a price paid ata deeper level for that feeling og enjoyment of specialness.


Dare I suggest that not only 9/11, but also Oaklahoma city were acts of defection on the part of the HaveNots directed at the Haves?

What doesn't work for me in this, at least in the 9/11 case is that the leader inspiring this action is a child of priviledge himself. I don't believe that he is motivated by religious piety and/or solidarity with the disaffected community he recruits from and inspires any more than I believe the same for Jerry Falwell or any other leaders of the religious right.


Hi Jon. It was great to meet you in Paris. And now you are in Berlin. The city of Death, Murder and Carnival.


Jon, what I was suggesting really was that both sides in a game The Haves and HaveNots "will take their ball and go home any time they damn well want to". That's a state of Sleepwalking. No one makes a move. There is a lot of talking, arguing, showing off once force but no action to continue playing the game of life. Stagnation takes place since both sides are not engaged in exploring the Agreement that makes them community. The Rich and The Poor have the same commitments. Life, Liberty and pursuit of Happiness. One needs to create Relationships and Partnerships to pursue these. Both sides need to look at making a move. This site is an attempt. Let's work it.


Reminds me of the ball hockey we use to play as kids. There was a public park that divided a very rich section from the very poor section of the City in which I grew up. In the summer when the ice was out We, the Idle Youth, both Rich and Poor, and Idle for very different reasons, would gather in the middle of the day. In the beginning We - The Poor, being superior physical specimens and with far more reason to salvage a degree of pride wherever we could - would clobber their sorry asses. After a while this got boring. Eventually we would toss our sticks into the middle of a circle and randomly toss them out. Then it got fun.

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