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Restorative Justice and the Quickening Pace of Change

Restorative Justice and the Quickening Pace of Change | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

A lot of my work at Georgia Conflict Center has lately been focused on restorative practices. In courthouses, schools, and at our office I have attended meetings, been on conference calls, submitted funding requests, and explained to various stakeholders what we hope to accomplish. We have achieved a lot in the last year or so, including funding for some of our operations and support from the court, schools and state juvenile officials. Everywhere we go there are principals, teachers, judges, probation officers, attorneys and private citizens who say our work is important and needs to be done.

 

In my mind, I have had an image for awhile now of a machine, in pieces, in front of me, waiting to be put together. I look at all the pieces, but don’t really know where to start, and I seem to be explaining what we want to do over and over. I imagine that I don’t have an instruction manual.

The other day, I saw a post by my friend and mentor Dominic Barter. Along with many others he has been developing Restorative Circles in Brazil for nearly 20 years, and helping to support others around the world seeking to create their own restorative approaches to conflict. This isn’t an easy task when the dominant systems we live in are based on retribution and punishment.

 

“Where the logic of restorative systems is not yet self evident it takes conscious thought and investment or appropriation of resources to set them up. Setting up a social system against the grain of presumed thinking is swimming against the current.” He goes on to say that 80 percent of our energy is spent just staying still, working to not be overwhelmed by the retributive systems that are so prevalent they have the illusion of being our natural state.

 

I realized on reading the post where my energy was going. It isn’t that progress is slow, or that we are wasting our efforts. Instead, we are working to set up a system within and alongside an existing system, and the fruits of that labor aren’t easy to measure or even see. Lessons from my earlier training have begun to resurface, especially about the steps needed to begin the work.

 

I do, in fact, have the instruction manual, and it tells me not to rush this work, but instead remember that it is a collaborative process. Remembering this has let me relax, at least a little bit, and the space created by relaxing has allowed me to remember two things. One is to identify sources of power in a system and engage them. This we have done, and have found cooperation and a desire to help. The second is to find where the restorative flame is alive and work to support and strengthen it. We haveseen this flame in judges, victim advocates and people of the community.

 

These two steps are taking us a long way towards creating a system that reflects the values of our community. This work will happen when we pay attention to all of the voices involved and address their concerns. It is happening, and maybe faster than I have realized.

 

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Rebecca Wilkins's curator insight, July 31, 2015 12:09 AM

Our district has spent a lot of funding and time over the past year to implement restorative justice at the secondary level.  Elementary is next.

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Why Empathy is Declining Among Students and What We Can Do

Why Empathy is Declining Among Students and What We Can Do | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
Reports show that emotional intelligence-and specifically empathy-is spiraling downward in kids. Today we look at why empathy is declining among students.
Jim Manske's insight:

Imagine the effect of sharing more quality connection time with kids:  ask them, "what went well today?"; "what are you grateful for"; "what interests you about your favorite subjects"; "what did you accomplish today that you feel proud about?"'; "Did you hear any good jokes today?"; "What did you enjoy today?"

 

And, imagine the effect of your empathic presence when things don't go well, when your child feels bored, when they feel overwhelmed, sad and/or regretful....

 

How can you model the empathy you would like to see in your kids?

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Jim Manske's comment, February 22, 2013 6:15 PM
I am curious about what spelling mistake you are seeing....
Liz Read's comment, February 23, 2013 5:19 AM
'You're' instead of 'Your' on all the headings in the original article. It's a stonker!
Linda Brefeld's comment, February 23, 2013 10:26 AM
I notice that when I try to start up a conversation...maybe ask too many questions ... that if I talk about what is important to me this will bring the person to speak about their live.
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In Under Three Minutes, Hans Rosling Visualizes the Incredible Progress of the “Developing World”

In Under Three Minutes, Hans Rosling Visualizes the Incredible Progress of the “Developing World” | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
Hans Rosling knows how to make a concise, powerful point. His mastery of statistics and visual aids doesn't hurt.
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The Heart is a Guide: Genevieve Douglass

The Heart is a Guide: Genevieve Douglass | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

Valentine’s Day is upon us, the time of chocolate and red hearts. This association of love and hearts got me wondering. What do we know about the heart and positive emotion?

 

Positive Emotion and Cardiovascular Health

Studies have found associations between positive emotions and improved immune function, lower risk of diabetes, lower risk of hypertension, and increased lifespan. But only in the past few years have researchers studied the relationship between positive emotion and cardiovascular disease in healthy subjects.

 

Karina W. Davidson and colleagues found that higher levels of positive affect were protective against 10-year incident coronary heart disease. In 1995, trained nurses interviewed 1,739 Nova Scotians with no prior history of heart disease. These interviews were videotaped and then coded for positive affect, defined as a combination of smiling during the interview and positive responses to questions about affect. Later, looking at ten years of health data, they found a 22% coronary artery disease risk reduction for a difference of one point of positive affect on a 5-point scale.

 

This is in line with work by Barbara Fredrickson and Robert Levenson. In 1998, they found that participants who smiled spontaneously were able to relieve their hearts more quickly of cardiovascular changes brought on by watching a sad film.

 

“Let my soul smile through my heart and my heart smile through my eyes, that I may scatter rich smiles in sad hearts.” ~ Parahahansa Yogananda

 

In a 2012 review of the research on psychological well-being and cardiovascular disease, Boehm and Kubzansky report that “optimism is most robustly associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular events.” They also found that cardiovascular health was more consistently associated with hedonic well-being than eudaimonic well-being. Hedonic well-being is usually measured with scales of life satisfaction, levels of positive and negative emotion, and happiness, whereas eudiamonic well-being typically involves measurements of purpose in life, personal growth, self-acceptance, autonomy, and environmental mastery. The authors suggest that this disparity may come from scarcity of research on eudaimonic well-being and heart health.

 

While these findings only show associations and not a causal link, it doesn’t mean there isn’t one. Countless intervention studies have shown that stress and depressive symptoms can be reduced with increased positive emotion and increased optimism, which gives reason to think that positive interventions could also affect cardiovascular health. Cardiac vagal tone is one physiological measure that is already being used in positive intervention research.

 

Cardiac Vagal Tone

 

It is very important to generate a good attitude, a good heart, as much as possible. From this, happiness in both the short term and the long term for both yourself and others will come.” ~ Dalai Lama

 

Jonathan Haidt has described the feeling of elevation as a warm, tingly feeling in the chest. Dacher Keltner suggests that this is due to the massive number of oxytocin receptors in the vagus nerve, which wraps around the heart and other internal organs and serves as a key component of the parasympathetic nervous system maintaining the resting state of internal systems.

 

Hearts together

 

The functioning of the vagus nerve, “which regulates heart rate in response to safety and interest,” according to Bethany Kok, can be measured with vagal tone. Vagal tone is a measure of variability in heart rate associated with respiratory patterns. Kok and Barbara Fredrickson have found that vagal tone and positive emotions seem to influence each other in a reciprocal, upward spiral fashion over time. High vagal tone has been associated with greater positive emotionality, optimism, and emotion regulation. People that already have high vagal tones show greater gains over time from experiencing positive emotions.

 

In a recent experiment, Kok and colleagues specifically looked at how social connection might affect vagal tone. Participants attended a one-hour class on loving-kindness meditation weekly for six weeks. Loving kindness meditation involves cultivating feelings of love and compassion for the self and others.

 

For 61 days, participants reported how much time they participated in meditation or spiritual activities, they rated their emotions for the day, and they rated how connected they felt in three social interactions of the day. Their vagal tone was tested before and after the intervention.

 

Participants who had strong baseline vagal tone showed higher increases in positive emotion over the course of the study. Greater positive emotions was associated with individuals seeing themselves as more socially connected, and as positive emotion and social connection increased, so did vagal tone. In sum, Kok and colleagues found that positive emotions, positive social connections, and physical health all influence each other.

 

Awareness of Heartbeat

 

“The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched, they must be felt within the heart.” ~ Helen Keller

 

Also fascinating is some new research on the awareness of heartbeat. Back in the late 1990s, Barbara Fredrickson investigated body image. She posited that poor internal awareness as measured by awareness of heartbeat was the result of self-objectification. Some new research has come out supporting this claim.

 

Calm heart, inner awareness

 

Vivien Ainley and Manos Tsakiris explored how awareness of heartbeat might relate to body image. The researchers asked 50 female students between the ages of 19 to 26 to count their heartbeats by listening to their bodies. They then were asked to rate themselves on the objectification test developed by Barbara Fredrickson’s team 1998, in which participants ranked 5 body attributes and 5 competence attributes (e.g., energy, strength) in importance to their physical self-concept. The results showed that women who have more internal awareness of their bodies tend to think of their bodies less as objects than women who are less internally aware. From my own standpoint, internal awareness might fall into a mindfulness category, while less objectification might be akin to self-compassion.

 

In a 2011 experiment, researchers found a different way of connecting the inner and outer awareness of the body. They asked people to count their heart beats to determine their interoceptive awareness, and then determined their external body awareness by showing a rubber hand being touched as the participant’s own unseen hand is touched. Those who were less affected by the touching of the hand tended to have more accurate awareness of their heart.

 

Altogether, this research is telling us that the heart is an important organ in our emotions and our self-awareness. I’m looking forward to seeing how this research unfolds. Considering how frequently the heart and emotions are mentioned together in a sentence, I’d be very surprised if there wasn’t a lot of truth to it. Maybe seeing little heart-shaped candies and red roses everywhere this week can remind us to see things a little more optimistically and to check in with our own heart beats. I’ll leave you with a quotation.

 

“Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart … Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.” ~ Carl Jung

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Exonerated Inmate Seeks End to Maryland Death Penalty: Scott Shane

Exonerated Inmate Seeks End to Maryland Death Penalty: Scott Shane | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
Kirk Noble Bloodsworth, the nation’s first death row inmate exonerated by DNA, is pressing to end capital punishment in Maryland, the state that sought his execution.
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101-Year-Old Woman Woke Up at Own Funeral

101-Year-Old Woman Woke Up at Own Funeral | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

One hundred and one years on the planet isn't enough for Peng Xiuhua. The centenarian from a Chinese village "died" after a stumble but woke up at her own funeral: When the coffin was ready the next day, Peng was carefully wrapped in a cloak. However, the moment people laid her in the coffin, at about 3:00p.m., she suddenly opened her eyes and smilingly said, "Hello, there."

 

Bystanders were dumbfounded and could not believe their eyes and ears until they saw the old woman as hale and cheerful as ever before.

 

The villagers continued their preparations for a true treat, yet they were no longer arranging a funeral, but instead a celebration of Peng's longevity.

 
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America's Real Criminal Element~Lead! :Kevin Drum

America's Real Criminal Element~Lead!  :Kevin Drum | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

Gasoline lead may explain as much as 90 percent of the rise and fall of violent crime over the past half century."

 

Experts often suggest that crime resembles an epidemic. But what kind? Karl Smith, a professor of public economics and government at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, has a good rule of thumb for categorizing epidemics: If it spreads along lines of communication, he says, the cause is information. Think Bieber Fever. If it travels along major transportation routes, the cause is microbial. Think influenza. If it spreads out like a fan, the cause is an insect. Think malaria. But if it's everywhere, all at once—as both the rise of crime in the '60s and '70s and the fall of crime in the '90s seemed to be—the cause is a molecule.

 

A molecule? That sounds crazy. What molecule could be responsible for a steep and sudden decline in violent crime?

 

Well, here's one possibility: Pb(CH2CH3)4.

 

IN 1994, RICK NEVIN WAS A CONSULTANT working for the US Department of Housing and Urban Development on the costs and benefits of removing lead paint from old houses. This has been a topic of intense study because of the growing body of research linking lead exposure in small children with a whole raft of complications later in life, including lower IQ, hyperactivity, behavioral problems, and learning disabilities.

 

But as Nevin was working on that assignment, his client suggested they might be missing something. A recent study had suggested a link between childhood lead exposure and juvenile delinquency later on. Maybe reducing lead exposure had an effect on violent crime too?

 

That tip took Nevin in a different direction. The biggest source of lead in the postwar era, it turns out, wasn't paint. It was leaded gasoline. And if you chart the rise and fall of atmospheric lead caused by the rise and fall of leaded gasoline consumption, you get a pretty simple upside-down U: Lead emissions from tailpipes rose steadily from the early '40s through the early '70s, nearly quadrupling over that period. Then, as unleaded gasoline began to replace leaded gasoline, emissions plummeted.

 

Intriguingly, violent crime rates followed the same upside-down U pattern. The only thing different was the time period: Crime rates rose dramatically in the '60s through the '80s, and then began dropping steadily starting in the early '90s. The two curves looked eerily identical, but were offset by about 20 years.

 

So Nevin dove in further, digging up detailed data on lead emissions and crime rates to see if the similarity of the curves was as good as it seemed. It turned out to be even better: In a 2000 paper (PDF) he concluded that if you add a lag time of 23 years, lead emissions from automobiles explain 90 percent of the variation in violent crime in America. Toddlers who ingested high levels of lead in the '40s and '50s really were more likely to become violent criminals in the '60s, '70s, and '80s.

 

And with that we have our molecule: tetraethyl lead, the gasoline additive invented by General Motors in the 1920s to prevent knocking and pinging in high-performance engines. As auto sales boomed after World War II, and drivers in powerful new cars increasingly asked service station attendants to "fill 'er up with ethyl," they were unwittingly creating a crime wave two decades later.

 

It was an exciting conjecture, and it prompted an immediate wave of…nothing. Nevin's paper was almost completely ignored, and in one sense it's easy to see why—Nevin is an economist, not a criminologist, and his paper was published in Environmental Research, not a journal with a big readership in the criminology community. What's more, a single correlation between two curves isn't all that impressive, econometrically speaking. Sales of vinyl LPs rose in the postwar period too, and then declined in the '80s and '90s. Lots of things follow a pattern like that. So no matter how good the fit, if you only have a single correlation it might just be a coincidence. You need to do something more to establish causality.

 

As it turns out, however, a few hundred miles north someone was doing just that. In the late '90s, Jessica Wolpaw Reyes was a graduate student at Harvard casting around for a dissertation topic that eventually became a study she published in 2007 as a public health policy professor at Amherst. "I learned about lead because I was pregnant and living in old housing in Harvard Square," she told me, and after attending a talk where futureFreakonomics star Levitt outlined his abortion/crime theory, she started thinking about lead and crime. Although the association seemed plausible, she wanted to find out whether increased lead exposure caused increases in crime. But how?

 

The answer, it turned out, involved "several months of cold calling" to find lead emissions data at the state level. During the '70s and '80s, the introduction of the catalytic converter, combined with increasingly stringent Environmental Protection Agency rules, steadily reduced the amount of leaded gasoline used in America, but Reyes discovered that this reduction wasn't uniform. In fact, use of leaded gasoline varied widely among states, and this gave Reyes the opening she needed. If childhood lead exposure really did produce criminal behavior in adults, you'd expect that in states where consumption of leaded gasoline declined slowly, crime would decline slowly too. Conversely, in states where it declined quickly, crime would decline quickly. And that's exactly what she found.

 

Meanwhile, Nevin had kept busy as well, and in 2007 he published a new paper looking atcrime trends around the world (PDF). This way, he could make sure the close match he'd found between the lead curve and the crime curve wasn't just a coincidence. Sure, maybe the real culprit in the United States was something else happening at the exact same time, but what are the odds of that same something happening at several different times in several different countries?

 

Nevin collected lead data and crime data for Australia and found a close match. Ditto for Canada. And Great Britain and Finland and France and Italy and New Zealand and West Germany. Every time, the two curves fit each other astonishingly well. When I spoke to Nevin about this, I asked him if he had ever found a country that didn't fit the theory. "No," he replied. "Not one."

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Real People = Real Connections = Real Well-being: Lisa Sansom

Real People = Real Connections = Real Well-being: Lisa Sansom | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

A few weeks ago, I received a message in my LinkedIn mailbox. The sender indicated that she was looking for someone to fill a rather substantial contract position, and would I please come and talk with her about it. I didn’t know this person directly, but a quick search through LinkedIn showed that she had only been in her new position for a few months and we had several connections in common, though no one that I knew very well. Nonetheless, we arranged a meeting a few days later.

 

At that meeting, she asked me, “Do you know…” and she floated a name. My first response was blank, that I didn’t know that common connection, but then a tiny distant bell rang in a dusty dark corner of my mind. The mutual connection was a volunteer secretary for an organization that I belong to in another city where I used to live about a decade ago. The power of networking, indeed!

 

The Power of Weak Ties

 

 

In 1973, Mark S. Granovetter published what would become a highly-cited article about the strength of weak ties. He was one of the first to recognize and demonstrate that opportunities come to us not just through our close friends with whom we have contact regularly and deeply, but often through weak ties with people we don’t know well but whose social networks overlap our own. While Granovetter’s research is heavily detailed and laden with diagrams showing various types of weak ties between individuals and groups, the main take-away is that social networks rise and fall on distant connections, not just close ones. And this was before the mainstream Internet.

 

Fast forward a few decades and Nicholas Christakis, co-author of Connected, uses new social data to show that people two or three connections away from us can have very important impacts on our lifestyle, emotions, and behavioral choices, even if we don’t know it. Christakis and Fowler have shown that obesity spreads through social networks like an epidemic. They have shown that both happiness and sadness can be contagious. These networks are far from linear. They are very complex, beautiful, and ubiquitous.

 

Yet when most of us hear the term social network, we think about Facebook and other online social gathering places. Granovetter’s work clearly predates Mark Zukerberg, cofounder of Facebook, and Christakis’s book uses data that was gathered decades earlier. These social phenomena have been around since the dawn of humanity, not just the dawn of the World Wide Web. Why?

 

Brains Structured for Connection

 

Our brain structure is old and created for a very different environment. Today, we could argue that we are on Brain Version 3. Paul Maclean’s triune model of the brain posits that our brain has three parts which have evolved over time. The first part is the reptilian complex of the brain, which includes the basal ganglia. This part of our brain is largely responsible for fight or flight, reproduction, and other instincts necessary for basic survival. The second part of our brain is the mammalian complex. Here we find the limbic system: emotions, reasoning, and parental behavior. So, for example, when mammals are born, they emit a helpless cry and their parents will find them, feed them, and care for them. When reptiles are born, they are largely self-sufficient and don’t have a helpless cry. If they make noise, their parents might eat them.

 

Version 3 of our brain developed with the neo-mammalian complex. This part of our brain, also sometimes referred to as the human brain(though potentially other species have some elements of this too), helps us to navigate complex situations. This cerebral neocortex allows us to think strategically, forecast the implications of our decisions, and see the bigger picture. It also allows us to prepare a dinner party when we know that Mary is vegetarian, Astrid doesn’t like Philip, and Amy is allergic to nuts. Our ability to plan and strategize in social situations comes from this part of our brain.

 

Yet this brain structure has been in place for thousands of years. Maybe longer. We are arguably hard-wired for face-to-face real time social interactions.

 

What Does Research Tell Us about Social Networks?

 

Consider some recent studies that have come out.

 

In a Canadian study of happiness by Helliwell and Huang, doubling the number of “real” friends (as opposed to online friends) produces a significant effect on well-being, increasing it by 50%! The size of your online network, however, is not correlated with well-being. So don’t be envious of those people with 5000+ connections on LinkedIn. They aren’t getting any happiness boost out of it.

 

In fact, people who have been recently widowed or divorced need these real connections even more than others. Loneliness can actually damage your immune system and Christakis’ research has demonstrated that for virtual connections to have any positive benefit for our networking, those connections must “be real or feel real.”

 

In this day of Skype and home-to-home video conferencing, we might think that we are actually communicating face-to-face in real time. However it turns out that not all emotional cues are available through facial expressions. In fact, in moments of intense emotions, both positive and negative, body language can be more telling. You can’t see that on your computer screen.

Furthermore, researchers Willcox and Stephen find that social networks, such as Facebook, might actually cause us harm by inflating our self-esteem and our self-control.

 

Technology has evolved. For our own well-being and social networking benefits, we still need to meet with people in real time. Videoconferencing is great, but business travel didn’t grind to a complete halt after several terrorist attacks and attempts involving aircraft. Why? Because we still recognize the critical importance of getting in the same physical room as someone else to make meaningful connections. It’s a return on our investment, even from a business point of view.

 

Take-aways

 

There are two lessons that I draw from all of this research.

 

Get out with real people. I tend to be a bit of a Facebook addict, and I’m inspired by people who turn off Facebook for extended periods of time in order to have meaningful connections with the real world. Of course, social networks do make it easier to stay in touch. Returning to my original contract connection, once I moved a decade ago, I stayed in touch with people via LinkedIn and Facebook. No doubt that kept me on someone’s radar screen so that she could put me in touch with a hiring manager who needed someone to fill a seat. Most of my professional opportunities have come through weak ties that I met first in real life and stayed connected with through social media.


Be kinder than necessary to everyone you meet. This is a truism that often floats around Pinterest and Facebook. It’s so very important. You never know when a weak tie will emerge years later. The world, even at 7 billion people, is smaller than you think. Your network is tighter than you realize, and highly influential. Seed your network with positivity and kindness. The benefits spread and, like karma, come back to you.

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Why Sharing Power At Work Is The Very Best Way To Build It

Why Sharing Power At Work Is The Very Best Way To Build It | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
Good leaders build a powerful team by sharing power, not by building themselves up (falsely) by imagining they can hoard power personally.I see leaders who imagine that they have more power than they actually do, and don’t really distinguish...
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Join me tomorrow for our monthly free teleconfernce.  We will be exploring Sharing Power.  

 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

4pm US-PT, 7pm US-ET,  2pm HT

24:00 GMT, 

Sunday 11am Sydney, 9am Korea

 

If you have previously registered for this series you will receive a reminder with your dial-in number and PIN about 8 hours before the class.  IF YOU HAVE NOT PREVIOUSLY REGISTERED OR YOU ARE NOT RECEIVING THE REMINDERS, Register here for FREE Teleclasses.   
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Edge.org

Edge.org | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

Today the vast majority of the world's people do not have to worry about dying in war. Since 1945, wars between great powers and developed states have essentially vanished, and since 1991, wars in the rest of the world have become fewer and less deadly.

 

But how long will this trend last? Many people have assured me that it must be a momentary respite, and that a Big One is just around the corner.

Maybe they're right. The world has plenty of unknown unknowns, and perhaps some unfathomable cataclysm will wallop us out of the blue. But since by definition we have no idea what the unknown unknowns are, we can't constructively worry about them.

 

What, then, about the known unknowns? Are certain risk factors numbering our days of relative peace? In my view, most people are worrying about the wrong ones, or are worrying about them for the wrong reasons.

 

Resource shortages. Will nations go to war over the last dollop of oil, water, or strategic minerals? It's unlikely. First, resource shortages are self-limiting: as a resource becomes scarcer and thus more expensive, technologies for finding and extracting it improve, or substitutes are found. Also, wars are rarely fought over scarce physical resources (unless you subscribe to the unfalsifiable theory that all wars, regardless of stated motives, are really about resources: Vietnam was about tungsten; Iraq was about oil, and so on.) Physical resources can be divided or traded, so compromises are always available; not so for psychological motives such as glory, fear, revenge, or ideology.

 

Climate change. There are many reasons to worry about climate change, but major war is probably not among them. Most studies have failed to find a correlation between environmental degradation and war; environmental crises can cause local skirmishes, but a major war requires a political decision that a war would be advantageous. The 1930s Dust Bowl did not cause an American Civil war; when we did have a Civil War, its causes were very different.

 

Drones. The whole point of drones is to minimize loss of life compared to indiscriminate forms of destruction such as artillery, aerial bombardment, tank battles, and search-and-destroy missions, which killed orders of magnitude more people than drone attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

 

Cyberwarfare. No doubt cyberattacks will continue to be a nuisance, and I'm glad that experts are worrying about them. But the cyber-Pearl-Harbor that brings civilization to its knees may be as illusory as the Y2K bug apocalypse. Should we really expect that the combined efforts of governments, universities, corporations, and programmer networks will be outsmarted for extended periods by some teenagers in Bulgaria? Or by government-sponsored hackers in technologically backwards countries? Could they escape detection indefinitely, and would they provoke retaliation for no strategic purpose? And even if they did muck up the internet for a while, could the damage really compare to being blitzed, firebombed, or nuked?

 

Nuclear inevitability. It's obviously important to worry about nuclear accidents, terrorism, and proliferation because of the magnitude of the devastation they could wreak, regardless of the probabilities. But how high are the probabilities? The 67-year history of nonuse of nuclear weapons casts doubt on the common narrative that we are still on the brink of nuclear Armageddon. That narrative requires two extraordinary propositions: (1) That leaders are so spectacularly irrational, reckless, and suicidal that they have kept the world in jeopardy of mass annihilation, and (2) we have enjoyed a spectacularly improbable run of good luck. Perhaps. But instead of believing in two riveting and unlikely propositions, perhaps we should believe in one boring and likely one: that world leaders, though stupid and short-sighted, are not that stupid and short-sighted, and have taken steps to minimize the chance of nuclear war, which is why nuclear war has not taken place. As for nuclear terrorism, though there was a window of vulnerability for theft of weapons and fissile material after the fall of the Soviet Union, most nuclear security experts believe it has shrunk and will soon be closed (see John Mueller's Atomic Obsession).

What the misleading risk factors have in common is that they contain the cognitive triggers of fear documented by Slovic, Kahneman, and Tversky: they are vivid, novel, undetectable, uncontrollable, catastrophic, and involuntarily imposed on their victims.

 

In my view there are threats to peace we should worry about, but the real risk factors—the ones that actually caused catastrophic wars such as the World Wars, wars of religion, and the major civil wars—don't press the buttons of our lurid imaginations.

 

Narcissistic leaders. The ultimate weapon of mass destruction is a state. When a state is taken over by a leader with the classic triad of narcissistic symptoms—grandiosity, need for admiration, and lack of empathy—the result can be imperial adventures with enormous human costs.

 

Groupism. The ideal of human rights—that the ultimate moral good is the flourishing of individual people, while groups are social constructions designed to further that good—is surprisingly recent and unnatural. People, at least in public, are apt to argue that the ultimate moral good is the glory of the group—the tribe, religion, nation, class, or race—and that individuals are expendable, like the cells of a body.

 

Perfect justice. Every group has suffered depredations and humiliations in its past. When groupism combines with the thirst for revenge, a group may feel justified in exacting damage on some other group, inflamed by a moralistic certitude which makes compromise tantamount to treason.

 

Utopian ideologies. If you have a religious or political vision of a world that will be infinitely good forever, any amount of violence is justified to bring about that world, and anyone standing in its way is infinitely evil and deserving of unlimited punishment.

 

Warfare as a normal or necessary tactic. Clausewitz characterized war as "the continuation of policy by other means." Many political and religious ideologies go a step further and consider violent struggle to be the driver of dialectical progress, revolutionary liberation, or the realization of a messianic age.

The relative peace we have enjoyed since 1945 is a gift of values and institutions which militate against these risks. Democracy selects for responsible stewards rather than charismatic despots. The ideal of human rights protects people from being treated as cannon fodder, collateral damage, or eggs to be broken for a revolutionary omelet. The maximization of peace and prosperity has been elevated over the rectification of historic injustices or the implementation of utopian fantasies. Conquest is stigmatized as "aggression" and becomes a taboo rather than a natural aspiration of nations or an everyday instrument of policy.

 

None of these protections is natural or permanent, and the possibility of their collapsing is what makes me worry. Perhaps some charismatic politician is working his way up the Chinese nomenklatura and dreams of overturning the intolerable insult of Taiwan once and for all. Perhaps an aging Putin will seek historical immortality and restore Russian greatness by swallowing a former Soviet republic or two. Perhaps a utopian ideology is fermenting in the mind of a cunning fanatic somewhere who will take over a major country and try to impose it elsewhere.

 

It's natural to worry about physical stuff like weaponry and resources. What we should really worry about is psychological stuff like ideologies and norms. As the UNESCO slogan puts it, "Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed."

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Louie Schwartzberg: Nature. Beauty. Gratitude. | Video on TED.com

TED Talks Nature’s beauty can be easily missed -- but not through Louie Schwartzberg’s lens.
Jim Manske's insight:

Stunning visuals and an inspitring message!

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Giraffe fights and friendships

Giraffe fights and friendships | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

As the tallest animals in the world, with gangly legs, twisting black tongues and patchwork markings, giraffes are instantly recognisable.

 

But we still know relatively little about the behaviour of these supposedly "gentle giants".

 

Footage recorded for a new landmark natural history series, Africa, coproduced by the BBC and Discovery, reveals a little seen brutal aspect to giraffes' lives.

 

Male giraffes were filmed engaging in a bruising fight, literally going head to head until a single giraffe is left standing.

 

New research just published also shows that female giraffes form previously unrecognised close bonds with a select group of female companions. 

 

Not only do they make "friends" in this way, they avoid other females they get on with less well.

 

Scientific studies of giraffes often focus on their iconic aspects: how fast they can travel or how high they can reach using their long legs, the strength of their necks and the colour of their coats.

 

But in recent years, biologists have turned their attention to the relationships between animals.

 

Although their tall height may make them conspicuous, it takes an expert to find giraffes in the desert.

 

The animals' home ranges extend up to 100 square miles as they seek out acacia trees in sparsely vegetated landscape.

 

"It took four weeks of waiting to capture about 60 seconds of fight," said Africa cameraman Martyn Colbeck, who described the sequence he filmed as "staggering".

 

The crew set up camp on the Hoanib River in the far north-west of Namibia with the aim of filming natural behaviour.

 

"[Guide and driver] Paul and I knew where we should be to stand the best chance of getting the most giraffes in the best location," Mr Colbeck told BBC Nature.

 

"We also knew that we would have to follow them all day, every day to stand a chance of getting a fight."

 

The filmmakers' "lucky break" came in the form of a female giraffe in oestrous: signalling her readiness to mate with any males in the vicinity.

Two males arrived competing for her attention. Their rivalry soon escalated into a physical fight.

 

"Paul and I have seen a lot of interesting animal behaviour in the remote deserts of Namibia, but neither of us had seen anything like this fight. And we are unlikely to see it ever again I suspect."

 

"Even though we were following the oestrous female and the consorting male, the fight came out of nowhere," he told BBC Nature.

The two challengers in the conflict were an older bull and a young male hoping to claim mating rights.

 

"Suddenly the challenger came around the corner of a bend in the river and immediately challenged the dominant male in the most brutal way," said Mr Colbeck.

 

In a giraffe fight, males stand side-by-side, pushing and shoving to judge which is strongest.

 

In evenly matched meetings, blows are sometimes exchanged - dealt by the giraffes' powerful, muscular necks.

 

The horn-like structures on the stop of the giraffes heads, called ossicones, can inflict injuries but, according to experts, fights rarely get this serious.

"Normally giraffes size each other up and after a bit of stand off and a few swings the fun is over," said Dr Julian Fennessy from the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, based in the UK and Namibia.

 

"When the battles are serious then it often ends in the subservient male skulking away. However, it can end in the death of one of them," he added.

In this exchange the loser only suffered a sore head after receiving a surprising knock-out blow.

 

Dr Fennessy told BBC Nature that such footage can help researchers understand more about this rarely witnessed behaviour.

 

"I am never surprised as we are only starting to learning more and more about giraffe behaviour as research on these iconic species is in its infancy," he said.

This instinct for competition makes male giraffe naturally anti-social. But female giraffes do maintain close relationships with one another, according to a study published recently in the journal Animal Behaviour.

 

Early studies of giraffe societies suggested that groups were unstructured. But recent research has found that the animals demonstrate a dynamic common to chimpanzees, spider monkeys and spotted hyenas.

 

Scientists identified that individuals temporarily associate, resulting in fluctuating group sizes and membership.

 

To understand more about these short alliances, researchers observed animals in Etosha National Park, Namibia.

 

The team, from the University of Queensland, Australia, were able to identify individuals by their unique markings.

 

They found that females chose which members of a group they associated with and purposefully avoided others.

 

According to the biologists, this behaviour could be the result of overlapping feeding grounds and frequent meetings between animals.

 

Or it might be that female giraffes recognise each other from when they were young, and lived in giraffe crèches, or nursery groups, which have been widely documented in the wild, the researchers report.

 

However, males are much more solitary beasts, choosing to wander alone as soon as they reach adulthood.

 

If there are few mating opportunities, some studies suggest male giraffes do form "friendships" with one another.

 

But in the main, male giraffes prefer to be lone warriors.

 

 

Jim Manske's insight:

I enjoy learning more about giraffes, the totem Marshall chose for NVC.  

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Disruptions~ On the Fast Track to Routine 3-D Printing: Nick Bilton

Disruptions~ On the Fast Track to Routine 3-D Printing:  Nick Bilton | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

Will the future be printed in 3-D?

 

At first glance, looking at past predictions about the future of technology, prognosticators got a whole lot wrong. The Web is a garbage dump of inaccurate guesses about the year 2000, 2010 and beyond. Flying cars, robotic maids and jet packs still are nowhere near a reality.

 

Yet the prediction that 3-D printers will become a part of our daily lives is happening much sooner than anyone anticipated. These printers can produce objects, even rather intricate ones, by printing thin layer after layer of plastic, metal, ceramics or other materials. And the products they make can be highly customized.

 

Last week,President Obamacited this nascent technology during his State of the Union address — as if everyone already knew what the technology was.

He expressed hope that it was a way to rejuvenate American manufacturing. “A once-shuttered warehouse is now a state-of-the art lab where new workers are mastering the 3-D printing that has the potential to revolutionize the way we make almost everything,” Mr. Obama said. He has pushed new technologies before, like solar and wind power, as remedies for our nation’s problems, and those attempts have only revived the debate about the limitations of government industrial policy.

 

But this one shows more promise. The question is, can the United States get a foothold in manufacturing one 3-D printer at a time?

 

Hod Lipson, an associate professor and the director of the Creative Machines Lab at Cornell, said “3-D printing is worming its way into almost every industry, from entertainment, to food, to bio- and medical-applications.”

It won’t necessarily directly create manufacturing jobs, except perhaps for the printers themselves. Dr. Lipson, the co-author of “Fabricated: The New World of 3D Printing,” said that the technology “is not going to simply replace existing manufacturing anytime soon.” But he said he believed that it would give rise to new businesses. “The bigger opportunity in the U.S. is that it opens and creates new business models that are based on this idea of customization.”

 

In addition to the lab that the president mentioned, a federally financed manufacturing innovation institute in Youngstown, Ohio, schools are embracing the technology. The University of Virginia has been working to introduce 3-D printers into some programs from kindergarten through 12th grade in Charlottesville to prepare students for a new future in manufacturing.

“We have 3-D printers in classrooms, and in one example, we’re teaching kids how to design and print catapults that they then analyze for efficiency,” said Glen L. Bull, professor and co-director of the Center for Technology and Teacher Education. “We believe that every school in America could have a 3-D printer in the classroom in the next few years.”

 

The education system may want to speed things up. The time between predictions for 3-D printers and the reality of what they can accomplish is compressing rapidly.

 

For example, in 2010, researchers at the University of Southern Californiasaid that another decade would pass before we could build a home using a 3-D printer. Yet last week, Softkill Design, a London architecture collective,announced that it planned to make the first such home — which it will assemble in a single day — later this year. The home isn’t that pretty, and will look more like a calcified spider web than a cozy house, but it will show it can be done.

 

The price of 3-D printers has also dropped sharply over the last two years, with machines that once cost $20,000, now at $1,000 or less. That’s partly because Chinese companies are driving down prices. Yes, China sees the opportunity in these things, even though the technology may undermine some of its manufacturing advantages.

 

“When it costs you the same amount of manufacturing effort to make advanced robotic parts as it does to manufacture a paperweight, that really changes things in a profound way,” Dr. Lipson said.

 

This leaves us with one more question about the future: When will these 3-D printers be able to make us flying cars, robotic maids and jet packs

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5 examples of how the languages we speak can affect the way we think

5 examples of how the languages we speak can affect the way we think | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
A look at the ways that the construction of language can have implications for the way we think, act and parse the world around us.
Jim Manske's insight:

For me, this is confirmation that how we speak affects how we think and therefore how we perceive and feel. 

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Renee Baribeau's curator insight, February 21, 2013 10:41 AM

In Pormpuraaw, an Australian Aboriginal community, you wouldn’t refer to an object as on your “left” or “right,” but rather as “northeast” or “southwest. Some languages do not define the future. How does this affect your perception. 

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The Big Idea: Barbara Fredrickson On Love 2.0

The Big Idea: Barbara Fredrickson On Love 2.0 | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
On Valentine’s Day, psychology professor Barbara Fredrickson gives us the latest scientific view of love.
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Unique writing program decreases violence at the county jail

Unique writing program decreases violence at the county jail | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it


They say the pen is mightier than the sword - and at the Metropolitan Detention Center, that pen is also decreasing violence.

 

It's part of a new program called Just Write.

 

"So now, year after year and night after long agonizing night, the same question haunts my mind and holds me captive like a prisoner of war without any rights."

 

Carmel Gutierrez shared his poem in front of a class of his peers; inmates at MDC.

 

"It comes from a past that I never used to talk about," Gutierrez said. "A lot of people see us in here, they see us in orange. This is our way of expressing who we were before we got to this point. Who we still are."

 

Gutierrez is part of a program called Just Write.

 

"It's a program that encourages a lot of people to share a part of their past that's still being held in. That's still hurting, us."

 

Once a week, for two hours, about two dozen inmates write and share their innermost thoughts.

 

"Instead of having that on our minds, waiting to snap and getting into fights, getting into an altercation with somebody, we come here and we can get it off our chest," Gutierrez said.  "We can turn it into something creative, something positive."

 

That's exactly what the creators of the program intended.

Carlos Contreras said, "It's an attempt to stop the revolving door. To try and stop the cycle."

 

Contreras and Diahndra Grill volunteer their time at MDC.

 

Grill said, "It gives them an outlet. It humanizes people."

 

And, according to jail chief Ramon Rustin, it's working. 

 

"The whole program, the honor program, the partnership with Gordon Bernell has decreased the violence and increased the activity," he said.

 

Rustin calls the work they're doing, "inspirational."

 

"It takes a lot of courage to come in here, and again, your sacrificing your personal time," Chief Rustin added. Something that's echoed by the inmates.

 

Gutierrez said, "You wouldn't believe how grateful we are for having these two start this."

 

If you'd like to learn more about Just Write, visit: http://nowrongjustwrite.org/

Jim Manske's insight:

I feel proud of this social change project in my old hometown, Albuquerque!  Especially proud that Jiva and Wendy helped to create it!

Yay!

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Meditation for Difficult Emotions: Elisha Goldstein

Here is a practice directly out of The Now Effect to break out of autopilot of the difficult emotion, steady your mind, deepen your connection to this moment, and begin a process of befriending whatever difficulty is here.

 

A: Awareness of your thoughts, feelings, and sensations. For example, you may notice worried thoughts about an upcoming vacation and be feeling anxious. This feeling is expressed in your body as a rapid heartbeat or a constriction in the chest. Or maybe there are looseness and a sense of calmness and your thoughts are moving more slowly. The purpose of awareness is to break out of autopilot and come into the now.C: Collecting your attention to your breath. In this practice we’re not simply taking a few deep breaths; instead, we’re allowing our attention to rest easily on the natural rhythms of the breath. You might choose to see where you notice the breath most prominently. Is it at the tip of the nose, in the chest, or in the stomach? During this practice your mind will wander to all its stories, and that is perfectly fine. Play with your attention, knowing that there’s no need to judge the wandering mind. Instead you can bring curiosity to where it wandered and in that space of awareness choose a different response—to gently bring your mind and attention back to the breath.E: Expanding your attention throughout your entire body. This is different from naming how your body is feeling. It is training your mind to be with what is happening now and is another way to accept the reality of what is here and letting it be. Sadness may be expressed as heaviness in the face or chest, anger may be seen in a tightening of your muscles, fear may be felt in a rapid heartbeat. Bring a beginner’s mind to the feeling, along with kind attention.

 

Start off by practicing ACE for just a few minutes right now. After the practice, reflect on what you noticed during the space you created. 

 

What’s most important to pay attention to right now? Maybe it’s making a phone call to a friend or family member you’ve been putting off. Or perhaps it’s putting a few daily practice reminders in your calendar to begin sowing the seeds of the Now Effect. If you are not experiencing a difficulty at the moment, you can still give this practice a try. Just engaging in the practice plants a seed in your memory making it more likely to recall during difficult moments.

 

As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction creates a living wisdom for us all to benefit from. 

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Giraffe Childcare Centre by Hondelatte Laporte Architects

Giraffe Childcare Centre by Hondelatte Laporte Architects | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

French architecture studio Hondelatte Laporte created this wonderful childcare center with a giant yellow giraffe poking its head out of the roof, a huge white bear and a parade of ladybirds on the playground level, all made of concrete. The whole animates the urban landscape by expressing children’s imagination, and invites the passers-by to live their dream.

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The Gift of Empathy - How to Be a Healing Presence

The Gift of Empathy - How to Be a Healing Presence | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
Allowing into our heart another’s suffering and giving our full presence can be a gift to the other and our self. Here’s how to show true empathy for others.

 

Miki Kashtan, writing for the Tikkun Daily interfaith blog, points out that giving our full presence is the most important step in practicing true empathy, and it doesn’t require us to utter a thing: “There is a high correlation between one person’s listening presence and the other person’s sense of not being alone, and this is communicated without words. We can be present with someone whose language we don’t understand, who speaks about circumstances we have never experienced or whose reactions are baffling to us. It’s a soul orientation and intentionality to simply be with another.

 

Margret Aldrich i


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Empathy: the Key to Social and Emotional Learning

Empathy: the Key to Social and Emotional Learning | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

Educators are aware that social problems like poverty, unsafe neighborhoods, violence, and family trauma can affect how students learn when they come to school. Though teaching subjects like math and literacy are the biggest part of their job, in many cases they’re also called on to attend to their students’ emotional health as well, incorporating social and emotional skills.

 

“Science is starting to show that there is a very strong integration between social and emotional skills and learning,” said Vicki Zakrzewski, education director of the Greater Good Science Center at U.C. Berkeley, which studies the psychology, sociology and neuroscience of well-being during a recent Forum radio show. “Some scientists believe that cognitive achievement is 50 percent of the equation and social and emotional skills are the other 50 percent.”

By Katrina Schwartz 


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Dreamcatchers India's curator insight, February 25, 2013 2:17 AM

Dreamcatchers is promoting social emotional learning in India. Read about how science is discovering that " “Some scientists believe that cognitive achievement is 50 percent of the equation and social and emotional skills are the other 50 percent.”

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The Court Of Compassion

The Court Of Compassion | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

A blonde, middle-aged woman, petite and casually dressed in a loose gray workout ensemble, shifts nervously about 10 feet from the judge. Towering over her from behind his bench, he shuffles silently through a pile of papers in front of him.

 

For anyone who might have picked this moment to walk into Judge Brian MacKenzie’s chambers at the 52nd District Court in Novi, it looks as if the woman is about to receive a long sentence — or, at the very least, a harsh admonition.

 

Instead, MacKenzie suddenly looks up, locks eyes, and says in a soft and soothing voice, “You’re looking good today, Holly.”

 

“Thank you, Judge,” she says with a slight smile, her voice barely audible.

Holly Most isn’t exactly a typical defendant. Then again, this isn’t a typical courtroom. Most is a former radar operator in the Air Force, one of a dozen or so veterans of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Vietnam assembled on this day in Judge MacKenzie’s Veterans Court.

 

Launched by MacKenzie in 2010, it was the first of its kind in the state. Now there are four courts in southeastern Michigan alone and 120 in 35 states nationwide — all specifically designed to handle the nonviolent transgressions of veterans.

 

Most, 40, suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder and anxiety, which escalated after she left the service and began trying to make the transition to civilian life.

 

“I self-medicated my anxiety with drinking,” she says. After violating her probation by getting arrested a second time — for a DUI — Most was fully prepared to go to jail.

 

“You tell a veteran they’re going to do jail time and we don’t get as scared as the average person,” Most says with an easy laugh. “Three meals a day, a warm bed, and we don’t have to clean! Where do I sign up? I just wanted to get it over with, get out, and have a big party.”

 

But family and a few close friends intervened, convincing Most to opt for the alternative to jail offered by Veterans Court — a stringent 18-month program requiring alcohol- or substance-abuse counseling, as well as mandatory drug testing.

 

“I decided I wanted to get rid of the problem,” Most says. “I didn’t just want to do the time and come back out and be right back where I was.”

 

So she dove wholeheartedly into a routine that can be numbingly daunting.

“You have to decide first that you really want to do the work,” she says. “It’s not just something you just throw yourself into to get out of jail or trouble. If you go into it with that attitude, you’re not gonna make it.”

 

And Most was determined to make it.

 

“It became my new part-time job,” she says. “I actually couldn’t work full-time when I first started. It was approximately 15 hours a week. The first 90 days are the most intense. I had to do a 90 in 90, which is 90 AA meetings in 90 days. One a day for 90 days straight. That was intense. Not only that, but I had to go to substance-abuse group therapy through the VA hospital.”

 

And now here she is, beaming as Mike McGlown, the Veterans Court probation officer, tells all assembled just how far Most has come in the last nine months: “Today is her eighth review hearing,” he says, “and she has 229 days of sobriety. Her attitude is always good, Judge, so Holly is really doing terrific.”

 

A smattering round of applause breaks out as the judge homes in again on Most.

 

“I think you’re making real progress,” he says. “I’ve noticed a real transformation. I mean, before, you thought you were a good airman.” MacKenzie pauses here, leaning in a bit more before continuing. “But I’m not sure how you felt about yourself as a person. I’m beginning to see you feel you are a good person.” … another pause ... “and I really like that. I like that a lot. And it’s beginning to show on you. The smile isn’t as forced. And I want you to keep it up."

 

More applause as Holly approaches the bench, shakes hands with the judge, and happily heads for the exit as McGlown calls out the name of the next vet on the docket.

 

The bespectacled MacKenzie, who’s served as a judge of the 52nd District Court since 1988, is 63, and at 6-foot-3, can be an intimidating force in any room — never mind behind his bench. Both his cropped hair and the beard he’s worn since his 20s have turned a Santa Claus-white over the years. And he’s a nationally renowned and well-respected progressive when it comes to his views on the trauma many veterans suffer as a result of their time in combat.

 

“These are individuals who, for one reason or another, suffered a wound in the service of their country,” he says. “And when I say a wound, I mean a mental wound, an invisible wound. They started out as honorable people. They started out being willing to serve their country at a time when it needed them. They came back wounded. Call it PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). Call it TBI (traumatic brain injury). Call it what you will, but there’s wound there; we just can’t see it. And they try and self-medicate.”

 

The traditional response is to lump these psychologically damaged veterans into the standard court and judicial system, where incarceration is often the inevitable outcome. Which is where MacKenzie seized the opportunity — not only to change the court culture, but also to change the lives of people whose true problems were being overlooked, if not completely ignored.

 

“Addiction is a health issue,” Mackenzie says emphatically. “If you think of it just as a criminal-justice thing, which we’ve done far too long, you end up with a lot of people in prison, and you don’t solve their problem. But if you think of it as a health issue, where you make them deal with the thing, then what you get is success.”

 

And the success rate of the program is staggering: Of the 80 veterans he brought in, only four have failed to graduate. “And none of them, ” MacKenzie says proudly, “ none of them — not even the four who failed — have been re-arrested.”

 

Twice a month, on every other Monday, the vets in the program converge on MacKenzie’s Novi courthouse. They assemble in the waiting room, chatting as they sip their coffee and soda.

 

At 63, Marine veteran Jim Edwards is one of the oldest vets in the room. He served in Vietnam in 1969 and readily discusses the alcoholism that’s plagued him for much of his life.

 

“This holds you more accountable than the regular court system,” says Edwards, who’s been in the program since January 2012. “It’s like an accountability partner, by reporting in and trying to get you over this hump of whatever your addiction or problem is. And once you get over that hump, then you continue with your recovery on the outside.

 

“It’s a great recovery program,” he adds, “but it’s like any type of program: If you don’t put your heart into it, it’s not going to work. But I think Judge MacKenzie has done a wonderful job with the veterans I see coming through here.”

 

More vets arrive and mingle. Meanwhile, MacKenzie, his staff, and support team are just down the hall in his office, meticulously going over the file of each vet, assessing progress and addressing any issues or potential problems or obstacles to success.

 

There’s an attorney, working pro bono, who acts as an advocate and adviser for each of the participants. There’s also a representative from the Veterans Administration, who weighs in on the wide range of VA-supported programs available for everyone. Mike McGlown, the probation officer, recites updates:

> One vet found out his ACL is torn and requires surgery.The VA rep will line up an appointment with a surgeon.

> Another wants to get his driver’s license but needs to attend meetings more consistently. The judge decides to “dangle a carrot” — if he keeps going to the meetings, he can apply for his license in 30 days.

> Yet another has completed his substance-abuse program at the VA and has made what everyone agrees is a miraculous turnaround, both physically and emotionally. The judge observes that someone who’s pumping iron and not drinking is going to look better and feel better.

 

And on and on through every file. And as each case is wrapped up, the judge digs into a manila folder containing one of the rewards each vet will receive for his or her good report — a free pass to a movie, a reward card for Meijer, a complimentary meal at McDonald’s or Quiznos.

 

“These little rewards are important,” MacKenzie says. “Studies tell us that once you build a structure around a person and they know it and know what the sanctions are, the positive rewards, the praise — just the little things — make a big, big difference.”

 

Just ask Holly Most. Not that long ago, she was days away from a lengthy jail sentence and an uncertain future. Today, her life has been transformed. Most passed the halfway point in the program late last year, is living with her two daughters and working part-time as a care-giver for an elderly woman. She’s been sober for a year now, “the longest I’ve ever been since I started drinking,” she says. “And that was at a very early age.

 

“I’m just so happy I have this program,” she says, grinning. “Even I can’t believe all I’ve accomplished.”

 

And thanks to Judge MacKenzie and his revolutionary program, she has plenty of company.

 

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Dorothy Retha Cook 's curator insight, March 12, 2016 6:52 AM

Veterans getting a fair shake in a different court system of doing things. Seeing things the veteran rights not do wrong way.

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Sharing research on NVC in organizations: Hadassah Hill

Sharing research on NVC in organizations:  Hadassah Hill | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

In a two-part study jointly conducted by Merck Inc. and the Center for Collaborative Communication,significant results were found as a result of workplace communication training, including greater efficiency, effectiveness, motivation and team work. These preliminary findings were presented at the Psychologists for Social Responsibility 30th Anniversary Conference on July 13, 2012 in Washington, DC.

 

A fuller, more detailed peer-reviewed report is in preparation.In particular, the study found that:

• 100% of participants report increases in their and others’ efficiency. 
• the time to resolve issues was estimated to be reduced by 67-90% and problem-solving time was estimated as cut by 10-33%. 
• the increase in overall efficiency due to time saved was estimated as 10-80%. 
• the reduction in the number of meetings needed to address an issue was estimated as 50-80%, and staff meeting time was estimated as cut in half.

 

Feel free to share, repost, or link to this information. You can find the full report here:http://www.collaborative-communication.org/html/CC_report12.htm

Jim Manske's insight:

I'm very pleased to hear this good news!  

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Yes, Money Does Buy Happiness: 6 Lessons from the Newest Research on Income and Well-Being

Yes, Money Does Buy Happiness: 6 Lessons from the Newest Research on Income and Well-Being | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

For a long time, we knew that there was a happiness plateau, a point where more money basically stopped buying greater satisfaction. Maybe we were wrong.

 

Fittingly or ironically, the dismal science has a lot to say about happiness. 

 

The classic economic story about money and well-being goes something like this. Money buys happiness, sure, but only up to a point. Once basic needs are taken care of, extra money has diminishing (or non-existent) returns. Perhaps richer people use their money to move to richer areas, where they no longer feel rich. Perhaps relative income -- how much you have compared to your friends -- is matters much more thanabsolute income -- how much money you have, period. 

 

Economists call it the "Easterlin Paradox." You call it the "Keeping Up With the Jones' Principle."

 

And a new research paper calls it total bunk. Or, in the economists' parlance, "based on empirical claims which are simply false." People with more money have higher reported well-being, they say, all the way up to the top 10 percent of earners. More details and the 6 most interesting observations from "The New Stylized Facts about Income and Subjective Well-Being," a discussion paper by Daniel W. Sacks, Betsey Stevenson, and Justin Wolfers after the jump...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jim Manske's insight:

Begs the question for me, "How much is enough?"  The guidance from Financialintegrity.org and the work of Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez has supported me in clarity about that!

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What Good Is Positivity? Barbara Frederickson

What Good Is Positivity?  Barbara Frederickson | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

For years I've investigated the value of positive emotions - those pleasing yet fleeting moments of joy, serenity, gratitude, amusement, and the like. In controlled laboratory experiments, I've measured the effects of these states on people's thinking styles. In field studies, I've cataloged their effects on people's skills, traits, and well-being. What I've learned is that positive emotions carry far more benefits than most of us suspected.

 

I've encapsulate two classes of these benefits into my broaden-and-build theory. First, when we experience a positive emotion, our vision literally expands, allowing us to make creative connections, see our oneness with others, and face our problems with clear eyes (a.k.a. the broaden effect).

 

Second, as we make a habit of seeking out these pleasing states, we change and grow, becoming better versions of ourselves, developing the tools we need to make the most out of life (the build effect). And strikingly, these twin benefits of positive emotions obey a tipping point: When positive emotions outnumber negative emotions by at least 3 to 1, these benefits accrue, yet below this same ratio, they don't.

 

Initially, I was drawn to study positive emotions simply because they were mysterious, largely uncharted scientific terrain. Yet when the 3-to-1 positivity ratio surfaced, my motives shifted. I realized that my life's work held precious life lessons. I began experimenting with ways to inject more positivity into my own day, and into my own family life. The results were eye-opening. I began to recognize hidden opportunities for serenity and playfulness each day. What I once deemed frivolous now nourished me. I felt buoyant and alive. And this new and positive energy infused my relationships at home, at work and beyond. I wrote Positivity to share what I've learned, both scientifically and personally, about the value of positive emotions.

 

A few weeks after the book release, I was invited to speak at The Regulator Bookshop in nearby Durham, North Carolina. After I made opening remarks and read a passage from my book, a gentleman raised his hand to say that six days after he starting reading Positivity, his friends and family started calling him "the new Jim." He acknowledged that he'd been rather curmudgeonly most of his life, and that learning about the science of positive emotions opened up new possibilities for him, possibilities that rippled through his web of family and friends. No, I hadn't paid him to say this - I'd never met Jim before, old or new. Yet his words touched my heart and reminded me why I wrote the book. I wrote it for the new Jim.

 

Did I mention that Jim is 88?

Jim Manske's insight:

Barbara remains a powerful influence in my integration of NVC!  I'm confident of the resource building power of gratitude, love, inspiration and other life-affirming emotions!

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