New Renaissance vision – 25 years on

Maybe this year the Davos attendees may actually do something.

I can't believe it!

I recently came across this short unpublished article I wrote towards the end of 1996, reflecting on The Knutsford Lectures 1993-1996 on Visions of a New Renaissance, previously described in this post. It was an ambitious attempt to capture the spirit and outline of the needed New Renaissance, inspired by what the 19 individual speakers had said. The limitations of my perspective and the lack of suitable outlets meant the article was never published.

Discovering this piece led me to consider, what has changed in nearly 25 years. Was the outlined vision valid? Are we any nearer to it? Here’s my brief assessment, against the categories in the Emerging Vision section of the above paper i.e.:

  • Sustainable ecology.
  • Ethical behaviour and social responsibility
  • Local economy and community
  • Appropriate scale and human scale
  • Open science
  • Soul and spirit
  • Love, compassion, nonviolence
  • Holistic views
  • Living philosophy
  • Imagination, inspiration, arts

I…

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Let’s start with self-kindness – be willing to be lazy

I really like this concept which I have at times embraced and striving again to do so in my retirement.

Robby Robin's Journey

When I mused about planning a year-long birthday project focused on kindness in my previous post, fellow blogger Crystal Byers, who writes the inspiring blog Faith + Gratitude = Peace + Hope, suggested that I could always start with self-kindness. Thanks, Crystal, that is precisely what I’ll do.

Self-kindness is a concept that many of us never think about. I’m sure some of us have never even heard the phrase (I raise my hand at this point). But there’s nothing more important. Having thought about this a little since Crystal planted that suggestion in my mind, it strikes me that there should be two parts to the Golden Rule. Along with ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’, we should also admonish ourselves to ‘Do unto yourself as you would do unto others’. If you’re not kind to yourself, you will beat yourself up or…

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Sentimental Old Fools

At 72 I’m with you on this!

Older Eyes

My Dad was not a sentimental man.   Don’t get me wrong … he was a loving husband and father and his love of family showed through in everything he did.   But he wasn’t given to nostalgia or romanticizing about his past.   I don’t remember his crying over memories, good or bad while I was growing up.  That changed as he rolled into his mid-seventies, the very territory I am exploring right now.  He would tear up at the memory of my Mom, who’d passed some years ago.  He’d choke up thinking about his children taking care of him as he aged or when someone said something nice about him.  At one point, my sister and I found a Veteran’s Aid program that allowed him to stay in his assisted living home.  At first he said he didn’t want a handout but when I told him he’d earned it through…

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Rights Versus Responsibilities

Thank you John for a very clear article on the issue and I for one totally agree with your solution and also think it is 100%. Here in Canada we used to have 2 programs, Katimavik and Canada World Youth, that were a boon to many kids just out of high school, one of those being our son, but they were not mandatory. So this combined with the the second alternative would be fantastic.

Aging Capriciously

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We have an epidemic of rights today and a drought of responsibility.  A number of years ago when I was a first-year teacher I had the following experience.  I was teaching at Guadalupe Area Project (GAP), otherwise charitably known as a “dropout school.”  It was mostly a school for students who had been kicked out of the St. Paul Public School System for a variety of reasons.  The school was started and run by a Sister Giovanni.  She was a leader in migrant relations on the West Side of St. Paul.  It was a largely Latino community.  Many of the residents on the West Side were recent immigrants from Mexico or Central America.

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Sister Giovanni believed in giving kids and people a second chance.  She started GAP to help students who were displaced from the public school system.  We had kids of all types and most were not traditional “school…

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The joys in growing old – on reaching the ¾ century mark!

Ah the joys of aging gracefully and I love the expression “doing very little, slowly”.

Robby Robin's Journey

Yes, I’ve done it, I’m made it to 75. Just think, if I’d only made it to 70, I would have left this Earth still naively convinced that the world really was becoming a kinder, more inclusive place. That illusion has certainly been smashed to smithereens in the past 5 years. The reality that humans really are a work in progress, at best excruciatingly slow progress, has become all too real.

It never crossed my mind to post about my own birthday until a few weeks ago, when an article appeared in my news feed reporting on Debra Ferrell, a woman who, when unable to celebrate her 53rd birthday with family because of the pandemic, decided to carry out 53 acts of kindness to strangers instead. That had me sit up and take notice. I hadn’t thought anything about my birthday until then, but suddenly I thought, “Wait a…

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What does “Home” mean to you?

Home– such a double edged sword to a lot of people. As Jane so wisely asks here– where and what is it? I have had many homes in my lifetime and usually never think about it too much other than it is the place where I am loved and accepted and feel “at home”. Normally that is my physical house but it can also be the province of my birth and upbringing when I return and visit family. But for me home is always a welcome space.

Robby Robin's Journey

Yesterday morning two fellow bloggers I read regularly posted quotes about “home” within 30 minutes of each other. They live in very different parts of the U.S., write blog posts on very different topics, and have very different life stories, so it was an intriguing coincidence. I had my first “sit up and take notice” moment when I saw these two quotes and the very different messages being conveyed about the same topic. I had my second “sit up and take notice” moment when I read the comments other readers had contributed about these two very different quotes. In each case, the readers had very different interpretations of the quotes from each other and from how I interpreted them. Of course, that’s part of the fun of blogging and commenting, to learn from each other and share thoughts. But I was still surprised. And I’m still mulling over both quotes…

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