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Finding Wholeness in Tough Times

(Photo by Robin Holland)

This week on the JOURNAL, Bill Moyers spoke with Parker J. Palmer, founder of the Center for Courage & Renewal, about the challenge of remaining positive and spiritually whole in difficult times.

“I think the pursuit of happiness is the pursuit of reality because illusion never leaves us ultimately happy, and I think the opportunity now is for us to get real. And I think that’s going to make us, in the long run, more happy... A new habit of the heart would allow us to take the broken hearted experience in a new direction, not towards shattering into a million pieces but towards a heart that grows larger, more capacious, more open to hold both the suffering and the pain of the world... Whether we’re Democrats or Republicans or independents, we have to learn to hang together or we’re gonna hang separately. We have to learn a new set of habits of the heart, and I think that can happen.”

What do you think?

  • Is Palmer right that facing reality is a key element of true happiness? Explain.

  • Does learning “new habits of the heart” have the potential to make the world a better place? Why or why not?

  • In challenging times, what inspires you and helps you keep it together?

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    Concerning the question, "Is Palmer right that facing reality is a key element of true happiness?", the following article says:

    - Never let the external possibilities blind you to the external limitations of your reality.

    Martyn Strong: Making a job for yourself, computer boy? Global corporate capitalism is the scourge of the Earth and of the human race. The "computer" is the brain invented for corporations with which to dominate humans more efficiently. The quant strategy is another rigged game within this rubric. I won't pay you for inflating play money and the rest of people with burned fingers may rough you up. Your joke wasn't funny and your fetish is pornographic. Say something new or find a receptive forum deep in the bowels of geekdom.

    We need capital markets to do good things. We need to goto the moon. We need good health care. We need large things and systems which need capital. Control theory is useful as a tool to make the market run in a usable way. Before we had the computer power that we have today we could not make use of some basic control theory to improve the capital markets. When someone makes a bid to buy at a high price in an stock that is "churning" there will be a lot of offers at a low price that the transaction will take place at a low price. If there is a good news story about a stock people will go into the market and the price will move very little because there will be a great deal of low offers sitting in the market do to the "churning". This will work for real estate also.

    Mr. Jack Martin - Missed the reference to Woodstock, sorry. And I am not understanding what you are alluding to about "meeting" while the music is still playing....?

    I have been keeping a Jane Goodall type of diary that she kept when scientifically observing the gorilla tribe since I was 12 years old. Except I have been observing the behaviour of human males in my scientific (I'd like to think it is scientific) diary. I must say that this internet stuff makes communication between males and females even more confusing without the face to face clues.

    Guess there has been some progress, though, since Woodstock in regards to "reality".

    Wavy Gravy could have benefited from a Russian Nanny waking him up at Woodstock :-) Not a whole lotta of "patience" applied to people with hangovers where she came from (surviving the ruthless elimination - 30 million - of everyone who Stalin suspected was smart enough to not worship him as supreme ruler, or whatever - talk about reverse eugenics, huh?) - but that's a different culture.

    Here in USA, someone figured out how to have a well paying career coddling the hangovers with magic remedies and even more magical psychobabble, in my opinion, which is worth squat.

    If you're looking to "hook up" as the kids say these days, I am in a remote area - nearest large airport to get you part way here is Las Vegas, a four wheel drive, you'll need it....

    YOU lived in a "Nanny State,"
    Anna? I can hardly believe it.
    What this means (bnb) is that we take turns serving one another. It came from Wavy Gravy at Woodstock when he awoke covered in mud and struggled to the microphone in pouring rain to say,"What we have in mind is breakfast in bed for 500,000 people." It remains an ironic statement. What is suggested is that the conventions of property and status must be modified if we are to survive.
    I'd like to meet and talk with you Anna while we're both still enjoying the music. You knew this was coming, don't deny it.

    Someone has to get out of bed to make the breakfast, no?

    Sorry, Jack Martin, too much tragic slavic melancholy embedded in my nature. My Nanny woke me up, when I was a kid, for too many years with some Russian that translates into "If you don't work, you don't eat."

    Wish she was still here on earth with a pithy one-liner about what to do when no one is being ALLOWED to work for their food - again.

    Oh those magic word "isms"....

    "What we have in mind is breakfast in bed for 7 billion people."

    el Ateo asks:

    "So you're ok with a competition over the definition of fair play, Anna D.? What are the rules of fair play in that competition? Hmmm..."

    Absolutely. Although playing word games like you have decided to do, not sure why, "competition" implies that some kind of action is taking place - people are DOING something besides sitting around being delusional about the power of words.

    Since everyone has been making things up all along, we'll end up pitting "magic" rules against "reality" rules.

    Good luck with your "magic" words, el Ateo!

    So you're ok with a competition over the definition of fair play, Anna D.? What are the rules of fair play in that competition? Hmmm...

    I chose the word "intellignce" because of the classic definition in my dictionary - "the capacity to acquire and apply knowledge". It takes intelligence to arrive at "fair play". I could have used the following list of adjectives instead of "fair", but in my circle of conversational bottom-liners, we all know it when we see it - "just, equitable, impartial, unprejudiced, unbiased, straightforward, objective, dispassionate. These adjectives mean showing no evidence of favoritism, self-interest, or the indulgence of one's likes and dislikes."

    Being one of those people who tears up whenever someone else is crying, I find "compassion" to be akin to an automatic function much like breathing.

    Thinking (dictionary definition - to have a thought, to formulate in the mind) is something I do when I wonder why I tear up when someone else is crying.

    So it seems like there is still the question of "intelligence". What is normal for some (ie. finding tears well up in you when someone else is crying) and what is normal for others - realizing that maybe they should try to bring a sympathetic tear to their eye.

    Needless to say, when two such ver different reactionary camps of "intelligence" learn the truth about each other's "normal", finding what is "fair play" will require the capacity to acquire and apply NEW knowledge.

    I'll agree that the religio-eco-politico game is on for who decides "fair play" - the one who thinks they should tear up or the one who does tear up without thinking.

    Batter up!

    The poetic encoding of wisdom, Patricia Witt, needs to be backed up with what Karen Armstrong so aptly recalls, a science of compassion. Otherwise the thugs denigrate the reality of brother-sisterhood and you get a thug-society.

    Would a science of compassion inform a "law of compassion" or a "religion of compassion"? Maybe, but it seems that our implementation of law and religion would be thus transformed (as would crapitalism.)

    For those lacking the sense of compassion, there's the "There but for fortune go I" argument. But for my "fortune" to be born on this side of the border, I might be under those bombs, for example. One might be able to twist a Darwinist argument to justify privilege, but thugs are almost as likely to find a specious argument to persecute their fellow countrymen as the foreigner (especially when the exploitation of the foreigner is not working so well.)

    As to the psychopaths, if only "God" had really used a brand for Cain.

    The development of this science of compassion could be convenient
    for the thugs who've hoarded all their power in anticipation of this day. They've already been circulating their argument that only ten percent shall survive. They might even be embrazened to put on the mask of mercy-killers.

    That's why we need the Truth to keep the compassionate honest.

    I am not a big believer in a supernatural god. I do, however, believe that on every basis we are all brothers and sisters. To denigrate any of us is to put down all of us for we are all part of the whole. We live together in community, so our joys and sorrows are shared with others in the community rippling across the whole of the human family.
    A Puritan minister many centuries ago expressed similiar thoughts. His name was John Donne. A famous quote is, "Ask not for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee."
    To impoverish, kill, or maim anyone is a wound to the whole human family. Ultimately, we all suffer from the harm inflicted on anyone of us.

    I am dubious about your connection between "intelligence" and fair play, Anna D. I'd be more receptive to "wisdom finds it's highest expression in fair play". For a long time "intelligence" has been consorting with "success". I wonder if it's not time for a comeuppance. Sort of like what fundies should be getting for their affairs with the Bushit and the thuglicans.

    Intelligence is not what has been lacking in our ruling, it's what purpose the intelligence has been put to. Competition has dazzled so many that when they find their law overtaken by the competition, they have trouble identifying their error.

    Disaster is teaching us a lesson because the "intelligent" have lost their moorings to society.

    Could it be that they could do without ours? Why does it recur that the clever keep casting off?

    Furthermore, I doubt your "fair play" adequately covers the unfairness of the game. As a matter of fact, it sounds a little like the talk that started the thuglican avalanche oh so long ago.

    You've got part of the solution to security, but you're missing the point that the lack of "security" we are suffering is not due to lack of intelligence but due to the promotion of protection rackets and privileging of profit.

    Human intelligence, whether collectively or individually, finds its highest expression in fair play.

    Fair play is different than the extremist view of "everyone is equal" or "one psychopathic tyrant should rule all".

    We all have different talents. When public education recovers its bearings, there will stop being an institutionalized attack against the quick learners and original thinkers.

    Counting on strong allies to stay "safe" harkens back to some kind of tribal or gang mentality. Traditionally, gangs do not organically grow amongst its members a sense of justice. They, do, however, become collectively focused on doing to others what they wouldn't want done to them. Most often they are preemptive in their actions against others based on subjective dislikes (knowing someone is "smarter" than them) and opportunistic fear mongering.

    "Security" is about being smart enough to stop making GOOD people angry. Nothing makes people more angry than injustice. And they do not get over it - ever. It then becomes a question of how civilized are the people who seek justice (as opposed to revenge).

    Not sure what a 70 year old woman did to deserve lashings in one "country" as "justice", but it sure negates the case such a people might have about what people in another "country" are all about when it comes to fair play and what those other people did to them that was more unjust than what their own authorities do to their own people.

    Seriously, lashing a 70 year old?

    Indeed, the "tragic gap" is mostly tragic because of the lack of fair play in the quest for the "ideal".

    I forgot to mention, Anna D., that "On Civil Disobedience" reads like a treasured letter these days.

    From my experience, Mr. Schmookler's answers to direct questions are often evasive. I know nothing of the Grady Lee Howard scandal, sorry.

    Re the mafia and the street, well, they and the national securitarians are brothers in kind, no? It seems they all like to run protection rackets. You might be interested in Patrick Byrne's thesis, "Deep Capture."

    Anna D., why should you be ruled by those with more human intelligence, either? That could be dangerous as well. I thought that if you had to be ruled, rule by the just is best.

    If you want protection, the best protection is having good allies, no?

    America theBeautiful

    A new Song
    We need a new Song
    one thatincludesEveryOne
    and every where
    lakes streams field
    fawn little towns
    gatherings Onethat
    includes a
    biggerkind of love
    thena silver bowl wide top
    dull gleaming simple clearwe welcome all
    america America

    Fromsea to shining sea
    from Pacifica all way round to here again
    "America"isn't enough
    any more
    We've broken the bonds
    whole macrocosm -Stafford
    Ground Swell SEA
    Ground swell

    we bit part of history
    a rock wedge of Malta
    historic shift around the
    Earth -
    psysmic shift -
    Across the earth

    We need a new much broader
    sense of love
    our new song to include
    every one
    includes Every one
    this town of that this
    crossroads or that this color that this size or
    huray Thanks

    In a moment of personal expression by a poker player across the table from me who asked for help in dealing with his inebriated fiance making a rukus, "I don't know how to deal with a drunk person." I responded, "I know exactly what you mean, I don't either." And just then, the bouncer took care of the situation in probably the only way possible - physically limit the inebriated person's acts.

    A "justice strategy" can't just be idealistic in execution. Enough order has to be established for conversation and thought. Re-inventing poverty to maintain "power" is not fertile intellectual soil.

    Jumping right over, like the theoretical quantum leap of bypassing time and space, into another type of "state" where I am as impotent to know "how to deal" is into theoretical politics.

    I do not know how to have a conversation about what is "real" about being human with people who don scarlet robes of eccliasiastical authority to thunder righteousness by decreeing high worth on a human being when the human being is in the zygote state of development and in a dizzying, split second change in political tactics, devalue the human being when the human being is in the "worker" stage of development. Why is the zygote more "human"?

    I'm reduced to saying, "they're crazy"...

    All we have going on now is the game of acknowledging "reality" but acting as if we are not actually living IN "reality". "They" don't want humans to define what humans ARE.

    Sorry, but that's just nuts.

    I appreciate, very much Mr. Grady, your fine conversation. Sorry for my short little bursts of out field trumpet sounds into the jazz fugue...I just don't know how to "deal"...I don't know why so much ugliness exists for me to "consume". I only know that people are "rich" from creating the ugliness.

    How can that be?

    The only contribution I think I can still make is to reiterate that there is no secular "power" on earth that can wipe away the search for justice in the heart of the people who KNOW that they were/are/going to be treated unfairly once they are in the "worker" state of human development. I believe that my personal, selfish interests in "seciruty" means that I have to openly disregard any authority that continues to enforce injustice through "government". Seriously, what moral or ethical obligation do I have to be ruled by those with less HUMAN intelligence?

    Briefly, I totally agree that nothing "changed" in the way we "elected" a new President. The MO was, however, "perfected" and that's definitely not a good thing...they won the game but lost the lives.

    I enjoyed his earlier work, but lost touch with Andy until recently. It may be that he found the need to "make a living" and had to moderate his earlier accurate observations. (He BIG...He on the radio now!) We've all seen "selling out": the social scientists call it "cooptation." As to what Andy believes now, you should question him directly. I may give sources from my reading for ideas I am entertaining but this never means I endorse the writer as a product. I don't endorse products since a bad experience with Conestoga Life Insurance in the 90s. I was sued over the commercials I did for that fraudulent and defective financial offering. But you continue to see sellouts like Alex Trebek and Mickey Rooney doing just as I was, "making a living." (I thought you might be astute enough to bring up my past shames. Remember when I served on the Senate staff of Arlen Specter? I've grown since then, and continue to learn.)

    While I'm about it let me share what a Wachovia broker exec.(and he should know, considering....) told me yesterday: "Bernie Madoff can't be fully unraveled because he was involved in money laundering for the Russian and Colombian mobs." It makes me wonder if Tony Soprano types run Wall Street, and now Obama's crew and the whole government.

    And yet, Grady Lee Howard, Andrew Bard Schmookler maintains a stance at his blog that Obama is spiritually precious. This is not to say that he insists he is, or that Schmookler has stopped looking at the evidence, but he has staked a great deal in this position.

    Can you explain that paradox?

    I agree, Grady Lee Howard. Sensing a loss of control over the masses, they feed that topic into mass media that creates what I call brain lock.

    Like sociopaths always do in personal relationships, they mount a direct attack on the individual and manipulate the selfishness that any individual is the most vulnerable to - disease and aging.

    Same political tactic since the 1940s, the often inane pretense at a high-faluting, faux-intellectual discussion about how best they SHOULD care for YOU.

    Thing is, no one wants their "care", do they?

    In his treatise "The Parable of the Tribes: The problem of Power in Social Evolution" Andrew Bard Schmookler (real writer and commentator) explains how any person elected US President must be a megalo-maniacal sociopath because of the duties, and because of the process of competition to become chosen and elected.
    Playwright Arthur Miller in his last published writing observed how all Presidents since the advent of TV (post Eisenhower) have been consummate dramatic actors.
    My conclusion: It takes a powerful mask to conceal penultimate selfishness.

    Fortunately, human behaviour is not scientifically consistent. You can't "bank" on the idea that the maximum level of "stupid" has been achieved in a society that will insure an unhindered sociopathic reign.

    Just so, Anna D. And we need to root out the sociopath's nonsense arising Stockholm-syndrome like. Aiding an abetting monsters just so you can survive with the monsters is kind of stupid, no?

    By posting this simple definition of a sociopath that I cut and pasted off the internet from a conversation blog discussing why people in a relationship with a sociopath need to stop having a relationship with the sociopath, I am NOT implying that Mr. Moyers or Mr. Palmer or anyone else IS a sociopath. I am coming at the importance of having a collective "justice strategy" in the "tragic gap" zone.

    Definition: "A sociopath's goal is to win. And he is willing to do anything at all to win. Sociopaths have nothing else to think about, so they can be very clever and conniving. Sociopaths are not busy being concerned with relationships or moral dilemmas or conflicting feelings, so they have much more time to think about clever ways to gain your trust and stab you in the back, and how do it without anyone knowing what's happening." end quote

    People have every right to protect themselves from the lawlessness inherent in the modus operendi of those who need to "win".

    Entirely too much "theory" has been concocted by sociopaths about money, love, religion, education, etc. Politics used to be defined as the art of getting things done. Now politics has become the organization of sociopaths into the art of doing unto others what needs to be done to win the prize of power and money.

    There is nothing scientifically consistent about the ideas and theories of sociopaths other than everything that they do onto others harms the others. We need a "justice strategy" to limit their influence and negate their damage.

    1. No
    2. It is exploitive in nature, always and everywhere
    3. The acceptance of vestigal small scale capitalism at the community level is a concession we must make to an immature human nature, and to the force of habit. Screw the rest!

    One question which I have: Is capitalism humanistic? Should we care if it is (or is not)?

    flow: You may be correct about Saturnalia and the meltdown. Corporate capitalism will be terminal now with dropsy, edema and an enlarged heart. Who will keep watch at its bedside and who will nurture our nascent replacement system?
    It's hard to pay for end life care with no income. Hospitals dump the elderly on skid row.

    (from Wikipedia)
    Horace in his Satire II.7 (published circa 30 BC) uses a setting of the Saturnalia for a frank exchange between a slave and his master in which the slave criticizes his master for being himself enslaved to his passions. Martial Epigrams Book 14 (circa AD 84 or 85) is a series of poems each based on likely saturnalia gifts, some expensive, some very cheap. For example: writing tablets, dice, knuckle bones, moneyboxes, combs, toothpicks, a hat, a hunting knife, an axe, various lamps, balls, perfumes, pipes, a pig, a sausage, a parrot, tables, cups, spoons, items of clothing, statues, masks, books, and pets. Pliny in Epistles 2.17.24 (early second century AD) describes a secluded suite of rooms in his Laurentine villa which he uses as a retreat:

    ...especially during the Saturnalia when the rest of the house is noisy with the licence of the holiday and festive cries. This way I don't hamper the games of my people and they don't hinder my work/studies.

    So don your pileus and reverse roles, all ye wage slaves!

    My apology, I intended, of course, to refer to Mr. Palmer rather than "Mr. Parker"

    A thousand thanks to Mr. Parker and Mr. Moyers for this stimulating and inspiring dialogue!

    Saturn's Child
    I am reminded of the sagely advise and profound insight Thomas Moore offered in his wonderful book Care of the Soul, A Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life. Moore admonishes us to regard depression as "Saturn's Child." To courageously enter into it, heed its message, and embrace its wisdom. A visit from Saturn's Child can work wonders if valiantly embraced, furnished the proper attitude and required psychological latitude for its alchemical function to produce the desired results. Saturn does not tolerate resistance, and easily summons the patients required to wear down our efforts to cast it off without first acknowledging and embracing its instruction.

    Naturally, there is resistance to this incursion of Saturn that we call depression. It's difficult to let go of youth, because that release requires an acknowledgement of death. I suspect that those of us who opt for eternal youth are setting ourselves up for heavy bouts of depression. We're inviting Saturn to make a house call when we try to delay our service to him. Then Saturn's depression will give its color, depth, and substance to the soul that for one reason or another has dallied along with youth. Saturn weathers and ages a person naturally, the way temperature, winds, and time weather a barn. In Saturn, reflection deepens, thoughts embrace a larger sense of time, and the events of a long lifetime get distilled into a sense of ones essential nature.—Thomas Moore, Care of the Soul

    I also appreciated Mr. Parker's use of the term capacious in reference to the human heart, and the idea that each tragedy, whether personal or collective, may have a silver-lining indeed, if it serves to increase the capacity of our heart. Perhaps this is the redeeming—or even intended—function and purpose of the global financial meltdown and ecological crisis?

    Related Reading

    How do you think that an independent thinker is doing, Irene? I was reducing to mime-ing my thoughts to others from 2001-2005. Reality will win in the end because it is scientifically consistent.

    Thanks for asking how I am doing, Irene. It cracked me up. How do you think I'm doing? Can you imagine what an independent thinker who won't shut up about reality has been subjected to from both the right, left, middle, existential and transcendental tribes? I was reduced to mime-ing truth from 2001-2004. I'm in total sympathy with the poster on this forum who is stating the truth about the sicko game of rewriting a life of accomplishment into a dossier of psychobabble. Yes, it is really being done in the name of "survival of the fittest". I guess being a woman means I was better prepared for officially becoming "invisible". My accomplishments were shangheid, patented, and distributed to the upper crust. What makes me keep on keeping on is that all this is wrong. Like I noted obliquely, I am genetically inclined towards a "justice strategy" whenever I have that second or two of thought where it's not all about me but about the big picture. I, too, may occasionally exhibit traits of a "privileged" class upbringing. As we all know, "class" is what most people end up buying, not owning. Kind regards.

    Check Freddie Kilowatt's post too...underneath the Baumann article I linked below.

    (IIRC, click on "10 Comments" or whatever the number)

    Not rationalizing, Other-Katherine [@2/28; 7:02 PM]. Looking at tragedy for what's there. We're not gonna get "back." Read kayaker's comment following this Nick Baumann article...

    "James Galbraith: Obama Isn't Doing Enough to Solve the Financial Crisis" by Nick Baumann

    "People in the U.S.A. and other highly consumptive countries will consume much much less so that the rest of the world (Ching, India etc.) can consume more. This is part of the 'long, profound, painful process of change' that Galbraith is referring to. Another part of that change is that non-renewable resources are declining even as the world population continues to increase. Which means that the pie is getting smaller even as the slices are more evenly divided." from the poster "kayaker" at (emphasis mine)

    OtherKH, esquire. I welcome back your wise and lovely voice to these pages.

    Anna: David H. has never stated his philosophical grounds on these pages. He calls people existential and confuses it with possibilism in the same way brainwashees spew the word Liberal. I suspect from a consensus of his writings he is a progressive Democrat (democtatic party) of the Clinton faction. Anyway he is smart as hell but doesn't read closely or only answers the questions he prefers. Some of his links have been helpful, but some are dishwater. I tried to explain how I try to write my views in an original way and credit the origin of some concepts, but he only kept harping about how I opposed links. He's a little paranoid too, because when I wrote about my junior high boyfriend (Also David) he thought I was referring to him.

    All of us writing frequently on Moyers are probably unusual quirky people, so you have to be careful that debate doesn't become an ego conflict. If I am anything I'm probably a socialist and a materialist, a religious agnostic and a fan of conspiracies. I've come to despise corporate business because I work in one. The vapid and conniving get ahead while I'm forced to do double my share of the work to keep an income. I'm suspicious of people like Parker Palmer and Bill Moyers who have been materially fortunate, that they don't understand how people like me struggle. Maybe I put David H. in that same category and think he also speaks from privilege. I think the people who can't let go of our failing economic system are a major barrier to something better. Maybe I'll get a pink slip this week. 26 weeks at 60% pay sounds good to me, if NC doesn't run out of money.

    How're you doing, Anna?

    What makes me crazy when the Pollyannas hold forth on Making the Best of It is that others made it and foisted it off on us!

    This fiasco was created by the finance cartel whom we're being forced to bail out; it's no cyclical downturn or fluke of nature. Over many years, acts of unconscionable plunder enriched a few and we're continuing to cosset them. Bullshi** to rationalizing our sufferings to preserve their gains. It's clawback time.

    You're welcome for the comment, Anna, but I'll try to explain why there is no poverty of existential types to spur me on beyond the philosophical library. There are also a few things you wrote that, unless I'm mistaken, seem to imply it might have been moi who was found here arguing that high rollers should have some kind of right to stage phony regret and sermons on PBS. (?)

    IMO we'll have to adjust to all kinds of religions in the future in this land. It won't be just nice clinical Zen Buddhism shorn of all Buddhist "superstition." IMO we won't be able to just wave religion away like a mosquito. Nor will the fundmentalists IMO be able to vanish away all the free choicers.

    Don't worry about me needing examples like Sullenberger. The people I work with are just as innovative (commonsensical) in tough spots. But, you see, I am also trapped in the situation of trying to find existenial actors who have the guts to act with their words. Just like you!

    As far as the rape thing goes...such things to me appear as symptoms or bad fruit (implying something about the tree). Perhaps symptoms of "the war of all against all" I dunno. An author with time to write a book scarcely has time to go over all the symptoms, but a guy like me here in this space (and with David H's inherent perception limitations) naturally can't encompass many such at all.

    More about my life (to try demonstrating I've lived a fair amount of it below the "ether") I will save for another time ...unless, like you say, clarifications from anyone talking any ether are really of no interest to you.

    [If this goes up around 2:30 PM Eastern, I guess it was the NPR & Common Dreams links I tried previous that the auto-host/screener didn't like. Most likely I figure it's the slow speed of my connection while everything else is buzzin along fast.]

    Robert Johnson would have us Nationalize the 5 largest banks without regard to any rights of existing shareholders or the current value of the stock. The share price of the bank stock I own, and have owned in my IRA for over 20 years, closed just above $12 a share on the date Johnson spoke to Moyers. Johnson would have the government seize the bank and provide shareholders nothing. Shareholders were just as surprised as everyone else about the toxic assets on the banks books. Banks weren't sending weekly announcements that they had just added another billion dollars worth of risky loans to the books so they could improve the stock value or enhance the revenue stream. If the government wants my shares they can have them at the current market price ... which still represents a 66% loss for me.

    Because of the color of his skin, Pres. Obama has overcome much to be where he is. Yet, commentary constantly refers to this bi-racial president as black, and seldom acknowledges his white mother and grandmother--who I'm sure he wishes were here to witness his success. Can't we get over the notion that if you look black, no matter your heritage, that is what you are? I believe Carl Sagan noted that the farther back in history we go the more we share ancestors. Many of us probably have a much more mixed racial heritage than we will ever know. Why not celebrate it?

    re: John McWhorter - if real life examples of continued discrimination are merely "out of context" stories how can he imagine (or we accept) that his finite perspective is relevant to anyone other than the man who writes his diary

    I'm sorry if my words made anyone feel "rage" in their "tragic gap" zone. Please do not project onto others what you are feeling. I am here to "just state the facts, Ma'am", which I believe Mr. Palmer's quote is also suggesting. If you can't give it a try on a forum that is supposedly dedicated to discussing how to pursue reality, then where?!

    Which brings me to observe, as I end this conversation since the internet thugs have focused on a "voice" that is too close to reality for their shaping schemes, and will proceed to mangle and torture the conversation, that "greed" is nothing more complicated than selfishness having replaced government, fairness, security through social cooperation and interaction with a "god" that rewards, symbolically through money, the person who is the MOST selfish anarchrist and who has no boundaries in what they will do to others in order to entertain themselves with power. Like, duh.

    The reason I agree that there is a tragic gap is because the bridge between reality and idealism has not been maintained and lies crumbled in the river. People around the world do not agree on the details of philosophy and religion, but they certainly all seem to instinctively know what is fair and just. It's high time for everyone to establish boundaries again ("justice") for what one will choose to do to another for their own mindless selfish gain.

    Again, apologies for getting too "real". I guess everyone just wanted to theorize about how someone else should be allowed to be real in a way that suits their own selfish need for consumption of "real".

    Over and out.

    Rage on, Anna D.

    But this confuses me: "I think that 'greed' is an inadequate explanation for what free will chooses to do." Will you elaborate?

    To Duane el Ateo - not nauseous so much as on high spiritual alert mumbling to myself, "now what?!"

    It's all an illusion that they are our leaders. They're not. And they're finally realizing that we know that they aren't. An eagle does not follow the slug. It's unnatural.

    I think that "greed" is an inadequate explanation for what free will chooses to do.

    Proper food/vitamins for those malnourished due to poverty is a must. It's a reality we can do and we must continue to do.

    At some point, the alcoholic cannot be cured by magical words alone. He's going to need some science.

    Doesn't the passive voice and dissemblance of tragic gappedness make you nauseous, Anna D.? The harvest of contempt reeks, the mask of single-mindedness marks the delusion of deluders.

    We are pitied (and cursed) for our confused imprisonment, taken hostage by ideal-o-logic when animal spirits would have saved us. Despite any Lolita-like groundedness, the nation was seduced by "greed" to follow the "reality-shapers" path. That was the bait, not just the sin.

    What kind of leaders are these?

    The physician is an alcoholic. He will never be healed.

    Thanks for your level-headedness Anna D. But there is a reality out of the hands of science as it is. Will B-vitamins cure the diseased spirit of America? Something more is needed.

    Thanks, David H, for your response, but I’ll have to pull a “Palmer” and say that I cannot relate to the rape history of the USA that you brought up because I am a first generation American as well as genetically being one of those people whose brain does not join in to participate with fear.

    But since this is an ongoing conversation about how Mr. Palmer got everyone focused in agreement on there being a “tragic gap” between reality and idealism, here’s an observation for consideration.

    There is no philosophical “voice”, no writer, no political wonk, even no religionist, to speak for the spirituality of people, like “Sully” Sullenberger, who continue to cut through the reality shaper’s bubble for an unscripted15 minutes of mass-media consideration. My brain does pick up on reality and because it is so real, memorizes it. Hence, I want follow up to real news.

    But even with the absolutely spectacular visual of landing a jet with 150 souls on board safely in the Hudson River directly west of Wall Street in Manhattan, NY and then everyone with a boat in the area heading off to the rescue without any orders from “authority”, Wall Street continues to ignore the reality of “Sulley’s” loss of pension and major cut in salary to cry foul at a tax increase on the individuals who, obviously, got the better end of that deal. Darn the mysteries of memory, I want to know how “Sully’s” boss, the CEO, how his 2007 DWI case got settled.

    Mr. Palmer correctly identified himself in the league of those who are permanently financially secure and, therefore, admits that he is limited in understanding the concerns of the commercial pilot, for instance, who flies Mr. Palmer safely around to his book promotions and interviews.

    It is indeed a change of heart to witness Mr. Palmer acknowledge pilots and millions of other USA born and bred people who are too busy upholding reality for the immobilized idealists who discovered that their ideals were irrelevant to reality. As you can imagine, upholders of reality don’t have a lot of leisure time to write a book about the spirituality that keeps them choosing to do the right thing. You can only get one-liners from them like, “I was just doing my job.”

    A big part of teaching remains in acknowledging that the teacher must continue to learn enough about other human beings in order to remain a relevant teacher.

    As I referenced in the Afghanistan report from 2005, 90% of the Afghan people agree on a “justice strategy”. Wisdom is as much possessed by the individual as it is by a group. All “tragic gap” inhabitants have long ago learned that a very important collective bridge between reality and idealism is the rule of law. Laws cannot be bent to the will of any single individual’s irrelevant idealism because we all have free will (AKA “religious freedom”).

    The “justice strategy” in the USA is also in need of a book-writing, philosophizing, teaching “voice” who can afford to hire excellent body guards. But today, I’m going to meditate on why that “voice” hasn’t bubbled up to the surface in our current ideological crisis like it did in the 20th century among the sons and daughters of USA slaves, among the disillusioned proletariat in Eastern Europe, among the people who endured apartheid, and among the worldwide half of the human species that is female. I hope I’m not like Wall Street and doing a philosophical spin over the jet in the Hudson River, so to speak, by believing that 90% of USA citizens also know what a “justice strategy” in the “tragic gap” needs to be in order to become real.

    I do think, however, that it is a sign of advancing ideals about Christian mercy to only raise the taxes as a penance (“sin” tax) on the 2% who got rich off of slave labor’s fruits instead of seeking financial “justice” in the ways it is being done in countries that have Hindu, Buddhism or Islam as their home-grown “spirituality”.

    Cops will tell you that law-breakers do not know when to exhibit humility during an interrogation. Law breakers continue to spout philosophy and religion when confronted with the facts of what they did. In a very real way, we’re all cops on the beat in our personal “tragic gap” zone and, therefore, cops on the beat in the collective “tragic gap”.

    You might need a pilot, David H, to bring you down safely from the ethers of irrelevant idealism. The “Sulley” archetype can’t be looked upon as merely “labor”.

    "The tragic gap, and I call it tragic not because it's sad. It is. But more fundamentally because it's an inevitable part of the human condition." Parker Palmer

    Anna, as far as a hermaneutically shaped reality not taking root...or, for that matter, re failure to recognize maya in the branches of the upside-down Pipal tree...I differ. Yep, I can relate to anyone bummed out about either. Plus I can get bummed out about both these traditions succumbing hither and thither to ye olde archetypal mimetic rivalry. As far as the phrase "tragic gap" not being adequate, perhaps you are right. But it strikes me as adequate and I'll attempt to tell you why without any doctrinaire attitude...simply for the sake of communicating something.

    Between our illusion and the act of getting real. This is what I think Palmer means by the tragic gap.

    "All gone to look for America." That the one we went looking for wasn't apparent I find tragic. That so many rapists of Alaskan Native American women go unamed and unprosecuted I find tragic. On the job sexual harrasment of American teens I find tragic. So many women gang raped and then murdered in around the malquiladoras (close enough) I find tragic. Our extraordinary rendition chapter I find tragic. More than this, I find these things twisted and/or demented. Yes indeed, it surely does take you back to Unamuno.

    I think we have a lot to learn in each incarnation. I could wish it would be one thing like the first commandment, but it seems as though karma has to get us ready by stages for this one thing. That's just the way it seems to me. I could be wrong.

    Receiving true agape works, and a kick in the pants works too. I remember well the big illusion back in 1994: Our future here in North America was gonna be sitting back writing software and doing financial services for the rest of the world. Well, India's writing the software (including accounting/banking software) and the set of all new instruments we're issuing that the rest of the world wants...gets smaller and smaller; treasury bonds are still it. If this isn't tragic, what is?

    True, the Obama campaign was "skillful" and "understood something about the human heart" too, but what's the best kind of healthcare we can hope will get delivered in the next four years? Some here write as though Palmer and Moyers are so removed from everything. It's not the case IMO. The world may be in revolt, but those against whom the world are in revolt remain half the equation. Thesis and antithesis have yielded no synthesis where they're absent. They are not figments of our imaginations. No, Moyers, Palmer and even Obama [save the latter in regard to Afghanistan] do not speak for this group; and it's tragic that change cannot come quicker due to the fact that Obama is dealing with the inertia of empire-mentality headquarters. And tragic that many will not stop to realize the true magnitude of this inertia. But regarding the pure philosophy of empire flying about, if anyone understands Italian perhaps you could watch the YouTube (wherever it is) and give us your opinion on what actually it was Berlusconi said. Anyway, the anesthesia out there is so sappy, and the ignorance that remains in spite of things so profound, I can't help but think the tragedy is indeed inevitable. But after a particularly intense chapter of same (or during) it does seem logical that a sort of "gap" between the last straw and action on the part of many...could become a zone of potential.

    Parker Palmer has said it all in such a clear and penetrating manner. I lived through most of the eras he spoke of and came to the same "illusion" and "aneshthesia" conclusions as he. Wow, his story on depression really hit home with me and my close contacts. Hits the nail on the head. Thanks to Bill Moyers for sharing this educated and WISE man's views. Gotta get his books!!

    OK, I haven't posted a gushy fan letter here in a while, thinking I was embarrassing myself...

    But Bill Moyers, this show is the most amazing thing in my life right now, I swear. That may sound pathetic, but you just bring a profound transcendence to every topic you approach, and the guests this week were SO interesting and insightful.

    I mean there was some real depth here, real depth, not even the illusion of depth. I am wanting to run right out and buy both books and read them all the way through. And Parker Palmer, I wish could have been my shrink at a few key times in my life. I WILL read and cherish his book. I know it already.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    Mr. Moyers and Mr. Palmer:
    We have now a story to be told with two possible endings. We are each witnessing a process of heartbreaking moments, and the world of opposites we inhabit as human beings is no longer hidden under deceptive cloaks. The emperor is indeed naked.
    Though I've come to the same understanding, through my own fall from grace, that nearly did kill me, but mysteriously hasn't, I've found a humbling middle path, standing on the nexus, holding the tension in the "tragic gap". Your comments and insights, humility and courage, was affirming for me, and sparked even more hope.
    After serving with the American Red Cross at ground zero following 9/11, and most recently working with the Obama Campaign registering voters, canvassing and serving as an election judge, I know what we are experiencing as individuals, families, and as a nation is an invitation and initiation to know more and be better. And what could be more hopeful for us all? Buddhism refers to this new way of being, these new habits of the heart, as becoming a bodhisattva; bringing what we've learned from the dark night of the soul back to the world.

    What has brought me the most happiness in the past month was how Attorney General Cuomo took on a health insurance provider case brought forth by a courageous woman dying of cancer. She decided to die with her boots on, so to speak. Indeed changes in “heart” can lead to much happiness.

    I’m going to attempt to have a conversation with some other posters on this forum about two other “causes” that led Mr. Parker to the unfortunate naming of where everyone is when in the only place where they can possibly be where action is possible, which is the here and now. Maybe we could come up with a better buzzword for that “tense” place than the “tragic gap”.

    So, to Mr. Duane E, thanks for bottom-lining the zeitgeist of a failing elite so brilliantly when you wrote, “For many, this is the country of our birth, and it has an obligation to love us (as well as others). Not to psychotically flip its invitation to the tired and poor into an expulsion.” I keep visualizing the scene from the kitschy movie “Zorro” with Antonio Banderas where Catherine Zeta Jones is rushing against time to break the locks on the cages before the fuse gets to the gun powder and blows up all the laborers locked up inside the cages.

    But what I am psychologically steeling myself with today is the book “Lolita” by Nabakov. Still the definitive character (or lack of) study of what truly are tragic gaps in behavior in individuals dominated by a single purpose. I should stop watching CNBC while eating lunch, but I just can’t shake the feeling that you have to know what the “perception is reality” ideological investors are up to in order to stick everyone else with the bill for their preemptive war. Cost as of 6 months ago was 859 billion, according to my google searched number – can’t swear to its accuracy.

    Mr. David Eddy spoke the truth in his post, “Preemptive war without good cause has set a dangerous precedence.” What is a tragedy is that it appears to the whole world that the choice of a preemptive war over a “justice strategy” was something that the majority of USA citizens agreed to as OUR free will choice. We did not. This ongoing reality gap and/or illusion created by USA media moguls and their psycho-logically inclined minions desperately needs correction if the real USA is to survive.

    We need a more accurate buzzword than “reality shapers”. Like Mr. Jack Martin, I’m not ready to get all faux Christian sympatico towards depressed hypocrites who got depressed in their season of introspection over the fact that a hermaneutic philosophy shaped reality did not win over the hearts and minds of a modern, well-educated, grounded-in-common-sense Lolita of a country like USA.

    Mr. Jack Martin also brings attention to the squatter and eviction resistance movement. Even a Mayor and her law enforcement have stopped using the force of “law” to evict the working poor in one large USA city until the “owner” of the mortgage is identified. If it ends up that the “taxpayer” is going to be the ultimate mortgage holder, then the “taxpayer” surely knows that a working-class Lolita needs a safe place to call home?

    This is from a study about Afghan people published in 2005 on AIHRC’s website: “The new government of Afghanistan must commit to a transitional justice strategy encompassing official acknowledgement of victims, vetting, criminal justice, reparations, and other measures, asserts a groundbreaking new study, to be released tomorrow by the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC). The study shows that the Afghan people welcome such measures and believe that they are essential to move Afghanistan toward peace, stability, and the rule of law after 23 years of war. Study participants showed a profound lack of trust for government and public servants, as well as the international community, and reported that serious abuses are continuing in the context of an entrenched culture of impunity. Not surprisingly, those consulted stressed the urgent need for a break with the past, for an end to ongoing abuses, and for measures designed to bring about justice and the rule of law in Afghanistan. Survey respondents showed a rich and comprehensive understanding of justice. More than 90% supported removing criminals from positions of power (vetting), establishing the truth about human rights violations (truth-seeking), and compensating victims for their suffering (reparations) in addition to prosecuting human rights violators (criminal justice), which was strongly desired and perceived by many as indispensable to a transitional justice strategy. Other measures supported by participants include the reform of national institutions, particularly the judiciary.” –end quote-

    Physician, heal thyself. Take your own advice.

    Grandma suffered from a physical “depression” from the time she was dragged out of the field into the factory against her will after the war ended. I studied long and hard and I cured her physical depression, which was induced by a toxic environment, through proper use of the B-vitamin complex. People in the family noted that Grandma was quite a handful when her depression lifted. Grudgingly, they also admitted that she was the smartest person that they ever knew and she did pass away with her boots on. I’m glad I skipped over looking for metaphysical causes for her depression. War survivors went malnourished for long periods of time on that border between Poland and Russia during WWII. Alcohol and drug abuse induces malnourishment as well as causing genetic defects in the progeny. Never underestimate reality to remain scientifically consistent.

    Kind regards to all.

    I did not see any major change behind the wars no matter how beautiful and justice it was painted

    From "War Is A Racket", by former U.S. Marine Major General Smedley Darlington Butler
    "War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small 'inside' group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes."

    Warning, off topic in response to Martyn's post.

    Martyn, could you please elaborate (for the completely unschooled) on what you propose? It sounds interesting.

    I have been thinking for a couple months now that, with the computing power at our disposal, the value of the myriad toxic instruments perhaps might actually be assessible. Had an idea last night coming home from work that the problem instruments perhaps could be bought by our gov, but that they should/could be purchased after it is determined their plummet has impacted the lowest income tiers (right, not the highest!). Or perhaps, not all
    like-instruments could be purchased, but only individual unit-instruments would be purchased when/if owned by individuals or families whose net savings, retirements, would otherwise be drastically impacted. This would be very complex, but, then again, the computer power is there! Switzerland and other offshores would have to comply I guess to help determine what was actually "drastic." There would have to be penalties for parties later found to have been misrepresent'n.

    I can't see paying for CDS "insurance" as it would seem it would mainly have been purchased by wealthy sophisticated investors...unless there are unique cases?

    M Strong Feb 23 6:56pm

    WHAT? You want a law requiring "churning" accounts? You must be one of those Wall Street Wolves that thought up derivites trading with OUT any collateral!

    That Hathaway guru probably wishes he had closed his stake in GE before 7 day. Maybe you are on to something after all.

    Billy Bob, Florida where the state just bought US Sugar's share of the Everglades, we are greening up, except for greenbacks

    Martyn Strong: Why use electronic resources to sustain something proven hierarchical and counter-productive when we are on the cusp of a better way? The capitalist market is finally kaput.

    Computing may not be up to the task of a humane solution anyway. It was developed as an artificial mind for the corporation, and as such has problems of manipulability by controllers and lack of public transparency/ on the inverse lack of investor security and personal privacy. The contradictions inherent in digitizing medical records well illustrates such problems.

    In it's revisionist form computing power has given us the Internet, which must be fought for daily though it is somewhat isolating and synthetic. While humanity is benefiting from the Internet in a holding action against the power of oligopoly, we need something more sustainable and more organic to truly restore our personhood and to refute corporate personhood.

    Like nuclear warheads and energy, restraint is the human challenge in using any overwhelming technology. A healthy community is culturally and psychically self-sufficient.

    Capital markets are unstable. In the past there was no way to make them stable. But today we have computer power that can be used to make them stable. By using the greater computer power of today we can have a much higher turn over of capital in the capital market. This higher turnover will make the market harder to game or control and the market will no longer have the unstable run ups or declines. Who can change or control the market when say 20% of the capital is trading each day. So now that we have the compute power to provide for all these transactions that will smooth out the market how to we force people to turn over at a rate of 20% a day? Easy, put a cap gains tax of 0% (zero) on all gains of 7 days or less and put a cap gains tax of 90% of all gains of more than 7 days. The likes of Yahoo, Micosoft and/or Sun Micro Systems will give us the systems that will provide automated software agents to support turning over one's
    investments every 7 days (based on the specs you give the agent). A system like this will make the financial markets work as smoothly as the local fruit market.

    Epitaph: Parker Palmer picked a peck of poisoned prerogatives.

    I agree with Mr. Plamer's discussion on illusion. Americans were living an illusion of wealth until the debt bubble burst and exposed it. However, I think were replacing the illusion of wealth with a new illusion. The illusion that the government and more deficit spending will solve our current economic crisis.

    The sleeping giant awakes with a thrashing around at being bothered. Can Poky-Wall Streeters & Govt. co-conspirators quietly appease the beast, or has Mainstreet been roused to collective action?

    Stay tuned at 11:00.

    Until this election, barber shops provided a forum for guys to stop in every week or so & discuss politics & Washington hid its excessies in dark back rooms. NOW, the Internet has linked all the guys 24-7-365 and the mad-as-hell Mainstreet Monster may surprise Govt. & hand-held-out corporations!

    90+% of Americans were current with their debts, UNTIL Wall Street's gamble losses could NOT be covered!

    Well, bring in the cement blocks & let US get back to business.

    I really resonated with Parker's words on depression... having struggled through several deep depressions for similar reasons as his. I long for a new American Dream that breaks through the illusions, grieves our past realities, and connects with our soul (personal to collective)... e.g.

    Dear Mr. Moyers,

    I look forward to your show every week, but I have to say that I am deeply disturbed by the recent revelations about your activities while working for the Johnson administration. I speak of the allegations about your prying into others' personal lives, as well well as planting questions during press conferences.

    Will you address these allegations directly? If you erred, will you take responsibility? Will you use this as a way to enlighten your audience?

    There is real power in the truth, and you have the platform to do a great deal of good.

    Mr. Moyers, when Mr. Palmer spoke about illusion and reality, and how everybody gravitates between this 2 extremes, it really was an "Aha!" moment for me. The extreme of being only in Reality, with no hope, only following the "rules" and trying to play them in the best way; and the extreme of Illusion, where everything will fix magically, where everybody is nice and live in justice in harmony, just because this is supposed to be that way, without any effort. The notion of being responsible and walking out live somewhere in the middle of these 2 extremes, having them in sight all the time, is something that kept me thinking since last Friday.
    Thanks for you work and professionalism.

    Gary Urbanas,
    I enlisted in the army well aware that I might lose my life fighting for my country. I had my weapon zeroed in and my back pack ready for departure to Korea when I was called out on a roster to stay in Japan.
    I was assigned to Far East Command as an assistant to General Mark D. Clark. I replaced a Deparment of Army civilian.
    I have no problem with military chain of command but I do have a problem with obeying irrational and/or immoral orders.
    The object of fighting a battle is to win the battle not get yourself killed. I would not enlist to fight a war that was immoral or based on deception. Patriots defend their country not kill innocent people to make rich people richer.
    Preemptive war without good cause has set a dangerous precedence.

    I remember once seeing a painting, by a little known Italian master, titled 'Ignorance and Wisdom'. Ignorance was a puffed up, angry, bully of a boy and Wisdom was well dressed, wizened, judgmental old man. Such was the 'wisdom' of the Renaissance; I hope we can remember. Few people have problems facing the reality of gravity or the wetness of water. The 'reality' of the superstitions and demands of the powerful is something else. Psychotherapy, and its good people notwithstanding, my experience is that it is a philosophy dedicated to the cheapness of human life – except for 'the few'.

    @ Been There-

    Are you aware that whistle-blowers die shortly after?

    And no, there are absolutely no people - noone - who can be trusted.

    No one has voluntarily spoken to me in over three years. No one wants me to be anywhere near them for any reason. I am no longer human. I've even lost the ability to speak.

    But then, this existence of forced isolation, denial of shelter, food and aspect of human interaction is unspeakable, unendurable and extremely inhumane.

    It's terror and torture nonstop. No hell myth can compete.

    Don't put out a false idea of hope. That's cruel.

    A message to Prey:

    I too have learned the lessons of whistleblowing. C. Fred Alford's book, Whistleblower: Broken Lives and Organizational Power was one book that helped me. I needed to try and understand what wan't understandable. And yes, the "truth" was stripping away some illusions that Parker Palmer talked about. There are people who are worthy of your trust. Know that until you find out for yourself...

    Good luck.

    As someone who has worked in the advertising industry, I had to smile when Parker Palmer spoke with such passion about "Camp Obama" and the supposed idealism of the Obama message. Mr. Palmer is apparently unaware that these are standard marketing techniques that have been used for years. And he bought into them.

    There's no question that Obama ran a masterful (and expensive) marketing campaign. He deserves credit for that. But it was still a marketing campaign -- nothing more, nothing less.

    And Mr. Palmer might want to look into the mirror and ask himself if he might be a marketer's dream: a consumer who doesn't realize that he's consuming.

    Mr. Palmer himself either isn't facing or isn't fully aware of reality of American society and culture: predator and prey.

    All of the social constructs have long been stripped from the vulnerable, who have been villainized, victimized, criminalized, shunned, ostracized and killed off by withholding essential life sustaining goods and services and with simple human decency.

    As a person who whistle-blew as a last resort in multiple settings, I have so completely been shunned and treated with violence, viciousness, condemnation, ridicule and contempt, that for all practical purposes I would be better off dead. No one - in any capacity - will help. It's beyond the scope of this blog to chronicle the ways in which people who are designated as professionals and helpers, instead use abuse their power to harm. Calling for help or admitting vulnerability is lethal. Trust is not congruent with survival.

    Mr. Palmer should spend a day in the life of one who cannot re-enter any aspect of society because it maliciously and intentionally withholds the means by which to do so. Relying on people to help when one has been excised from contact with all other people is like drowning and calling for help to people on a distant shore who can see you, but who only cry out instructions to keep swimming, while refusing to extend a hand, a rope or a life preserver. You watch for the thrill of the entertainment and the knowledge that by their power and control, they can cause another's death while staying safely and comfortably high, dry and untouched.

    How I wish Mr. Palmer's premise was valid! But to perpetrate it as such is to deny the brutality and mundane murder that American predators affect day in and day out.

    I always come away from a Bill Moyer's Journal with a fresh look at the world. I was impressed by some of what Parker Palmer put into words. Thoughts I have held for a long time, so exquisitely phrased. I am going to seek his books in the library( he has so many). Thank you for giving voice to the thinking class and food for the brain starved. I love the show and its powerful minds on display. It also makes a great 'Books to Read' reference source.

    I loved both guests on last Friday's Journal, which weekly reassures me that NOT everybody in this country is as ruinously self-delusion-bound as 47% of the voters.

    I LOVE America!
    It WAS great while it lasted, wasn't it!

    After 30 years of R national suicide, with plenty of support and encouragement from
    un-indicted co-conspirator D's, it should have been obvious to everybody living here
    in the Land of the Greed and the Home of the Knave -- and NOW let's go racing! -- that
    this country WOULD go under as is now obvious to the whole world.

    Ronald ("Deficits don't matter") Reagan, George ("Heap Welfare on us rich people")
    Bush, Newt ("The president doesn't matter") Gingrich, Billy Jefferson ("Please love
    me, Newt") Clinton -- and all the other hucksters of PrintMoreMoney,
    GiveTheMilitaryWhateverItWants, WelfareForTheRich, BombTheBrownPeople,
    AmericaIsNumberOne and the whole pile of self-deluding VirginBirth-class
    absurdities -- led us so predictably to the 2nd world status that we are now 'enjoying'!

    But, take heart: 3rd world status for this Consumption Zone is right around the
    corner, if these charlatans continue to avoid prison.

    And since delusion is such a favorite here in the former United States, let me proffer
    this: this country-crippling mess, caused by these traitors, is not really ALL that
    bad -- after all, the grandkids, maybe even the kids, can always apply for that job
    in the bicycle shop in Bombay. This failing, they may have to settle for outhouse
    guard duty which is so admirably depicted in this year's Academy Award
    Movie of the Year, Slumdog Millionaire! And, finally, let us all just RELAX and
    heed the advice of John McCain's eminently disgraceful economics adviser,
    Phil ("PoisonTheWellForEverybody") Gramm: STOP WHINING!

    This was a wonderful conversation. If you want to continue in the same vein but different trajectory, please invite Deepak Chopra on your show to discuss. The body of his work has led to this area of study. This is so important a topic, I'm so glad you have begun the discussion.

    I can't tell you how much I identified with Parker's thoughts and words. Earlier in the day, in my pretty uneducated way, was trying to say much about the same thoughts he expressed. It's been difficult to describe to my kids and all. So I will gift them with some of Parker's material.
    Everyone should read what he has to say!
    thanks Bill!

    everyone in America should see this show. That was truly moving.

    Bill--Thanks for your thoughtful discussion with Parker Palmer. I thought the most powerful part of the program was when Mr. Palmer talked about mental illness and depression. Our family has been dealing with our youngest son and his struggles with Schizophrenia for over 15 years. The stgima is terrible and the system is underfunded and broken. I would love to see you do more on the lack of public discussion about the fact that since JFK tried to establish Community Mantal Health Centers (unfunded mandate) the mentally ill in America have gotten lost and their are very few voices and advocates trying to bring this to the public awareness.When was the last time you heard a public official talk about mental illness and the lack of services and support. For example, when I was Board President of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill in Texas (NAMI), we saw jails and prisons being turned into our new mental health system. It is estimated that 35-40% of the population in prison are mentally ill. This shows the lack of progress and empathy for our fellow human beings. Generally, people know little about these brain disorders unless a loved one is unfortunately suffering with the disease. By the way, Texas which is one of our wealthest states ranked 48th in services for the Mentally Ill and number one in executing people with mental disorders because the law says you can't get help for these people "unless they are a threat to themselves or someone else". What an ass backward law--people can only get help after they have tried to commit suicide or have physically hurt or killed someone. (Sorry about the rant) But I really think we need to have more people like Mr. Palmer sharing their stories and raising awareness for those with no political clout or voice. I am one who is glad you have a public forum to discuss these issues. I would recommend to both your program planners and family members battling with Mental Illness a wonderful and very readable book by Dr. Xavier Amador who was a colleague I knew at NAMI, entitled I Am Not Sick I Don't Need Help! Bill Keep up the great work I love your show.

    'I am a 49 year old service-connected disabled Veteran diagnonosed with depression and PTSD, yet I cant get the help I need from the VA in Austin,TX.I guess my major question is: how many times must I attempt suicide befor e it finally works OR I get the help I need?' Kevin Riley

    Mr. Riley, Contact your U.S. representative. If that doesn't work chain yourself to the VA's front door,etc. Get the help you need and deserve. God bless, Judy P.

    I entirely agree "that facing reality is a key element of true happiness." But disagree that everyone realized the system was unsustainable." To "get real" was almost an instaneous response to anyone expressing concern about our deviation the past few decades from the principles this country was founded on;--which by the way--have never been considered REAL--but IDEALS.
    I believe the root of human unhappiness is failure to distinguish 'what is real', from the many manmade 'illusions'. Most likely because the greatest illusion of all is 'that all comes down from above'. An infant from day one is coerced to fit into the 'illusion'; to obey a hierarchy system determined by physical wealth and power; and leaders are taught to believe coercion is necessary.
    When in fact to reflect on our life and the human course, we could agree with Parker Palmer that "the illusion always leads to darkness" for an individual, and humanity. Positive changes do not come down from above; but flow from the 'inside-out', from personal convictions; from the heart of the people. The freedom given by our founders may have been from the illusion; the allowance to follow what in actuality is real; a common sense; an inherent social conscience. There is a recently published book "The Long Overdue Letter" which suggests human ascent is merely an effect of personal escapes from the illusory mind of an era.

    Mr. Palmer seems unaware of the zeitgeist which sweeps a failing elite. The perpetrators root their failure in a failure of public morality, that is in the collection of individual moralities, and thus shift the failure onto the fools. This is a corruption we shall rise above, friends.

    Who didn't know that housing was over-evaluated? That stocks were overpriced? Who didn't know that a system the makes the rich richer while the poor get poorer will someday face a curtain call?

    Each individual's reality-denial mechanism is not at fault here. No, from the pulpits of ideology the barrage constantly shaped the "reality" of freedom. I'm sure you can surmise why the more one shaped reality and anesthetized the more one wishes to hide the guilt.

    Apparently, Mr. Palmer's illusions have been undergoing puncturing for some time now yet where is his prescription for anesthetizers? As well, the frame that it is only now that a lot of citizens are being disillusioned that "democracy" can act responsibly neglects the corrosive effect of "reality-shapers" on democracy, the harvestors of boom and bust psychology, and who ends up paying the piper.

    It is interesting to ask why Mr. Palmer does not discard the frame of "patriotism." We needn't justify dissent with 'love of country'. For many, this is the country of our birth, and it has an obligation to love us (as well as others). Not to psychotically flip its invitation to the tired and poor into an expulsion.

    So there's a strong sense in which I don't have counsel for them or deep insight into the interior of their lives. And I think that's an important thing to say.

    Clearly. And not an absolution for things said.

    But it's precisely in hard times, it seems to me, that we start to learn new habits of the heart because we don't have a choice.

    But society does not live by "habits of the heart" alone. An intellect which fails to to learn and foresee will soon have no heart to habituate.

    Hmm. Today is not one's run-of-the-mill tragic gaps and not to be subsumed under "the human condition."

    I think the pursuit of happiness is the pursuit of reality because illusion never leaves us ultimately happy.

    And yet,

    Flip out into too much reality and you get what I call corrosive cynicism.

    Palmer's analysis conveniently fails to plumb "corrosive cynicism" (which is really hypocrisy, and thus not "reality"), once again leaving the burden at the surface, on those presented with the furry lollipop. Those beguiled to trade their fellow-feeling for comfort were victims of "reality-shapers" excluding the reality of alternatives. Many are paying those pipers. Those full on for predation were excused by their allegiance to the "market". The constructors of the game, the "reality-shapers", preached the "best of all possible worlds", in fact still preach it in the midst of carnage, in the midst of throne-sitters and bed-beggars.

    Mr. Palmers own reality construction is flawed. Reality need not be dog-eat-dog and Mr. Palmer should stop paying allegiance to that false "reality." The reality-shapers have failed to honor the wishes of the less cognizant and thus have forfeited their privilege. And now that false realities are disintegrating, the game is on to define a "pragmatic idealism." Is the problem that we don't know how to stand in the tragic gap? No, I believe that's an incorrect diagnosis.

    The guests of empire move on; the host lies smoking.

    Sympathies for your depression, Mr. Palmer. But that should not cloud the disdain for a "culture" which allows you to 'trip and fall ... a long way.'

    Your reading of Thoreau is remarkable. He meant not that "reality" is 'extremely pleasing or successful' but 'of the nature of a fable or myth.' Really, whither today's reality-shaping?

    It appears we have a long way to go in the world of the "spirit."

    Bill--Thanks for your thoughtful discussion with Parker Palmer. I thought the most powerful part of the program was when Mr. Palmer talked about mental illness and depression. Our family has been dealing with our youngest son and his struggles with Schizophrenia for over 15 years. The stgima is terrible and the system is underfunded and broken. I would love to see you do more on the lack of public discussion about the fact that since JFK tried to establish Community Mantal Health Centers (unfunded mandate) the mentally ill in America have gotten lost and their are very few voices and advocates trying to bring this to the public awareness.When was the last time you heard a public official talk about mental illness and the lack of services and support. For example, when I was Board President of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill in Texas (NAMI), we saw jails and prisons being turned into our new mental health system. It is estimated that 35-40% of the population in prison are mentally ill. This shows the lack of progress and empathy for our fellow human beings. Generally, people know little about these brain disorders unless a loved one is unfortunately suffering with the disease. By the way, Texas which is one of our wealthest states ranked 48th in services for the Mentally Ill and number one in executing people with mental disorders because the law says you can't get help for these people "unless they are a threat to themselves or someone else". What an ass backward law--people can only get help after they have tried to commit suicide or have physically hurt or killed someone. (Sorry about the rant) But I really think we need to have more people like Mr. Palmer sharing their stories and raising awareness for those with no political clout or voice. I am one who is glad you have a public forum to discuss these issues. I would recommend to both your program planners and family members battling with Mental Illness a wonderful and very readable book by Dr. Xavier Amador who was a colleague I knew at NAMI, entitled I Am Not Sick I Don't Need Help! Bill Keep up the great work I love your show.

    “What do you think?”
    “We have to learn a new set of habits...”
    One of new habits, “Back-door route to temporary bank nationalization!”
    There are those who live in ILLUSTION or TOTAL blindness. To believe
    in solving the nations problems by “ temporary bank nationalization,” and
    ignore the other problems, is to believe that “the bell can be unrung!”
    The games are over. “The Country is in free fall...!”
    “Standard of Living Permanently Change
    But "the worst is yet to come," according to Howard Davidowitz, chairman
    of Davidowitz & Associates, who believes American's standard of living is
    undergoing a "permanent change" - and not for the better as a result of:
    An $8 trillion negative wealth effect from declining home values.
    A $10 trillion negative wealth effect from weakened capital markets.
    A $14 trillion consumer debt load amid "exploding unemployment", leading to exploding bankruptcies.”
    Social economic unrest as well as ruling by decree is at the door steps!
    Take your choice! “The Obama administration will do whatever it takes...!” Have no doubt.
    Solution, STANDARIZE the CURRENCY against the value of the PRODUCTS
    and SERVICES or vice versa. The cost of professional services have been on
    rampage and out of balance, while corporation were unable to sustain and support
    the wages of labor and average workers. The workers can not meet the cost of
    the professional service!
    Amend the judicial system by amending the constitution to empower the people
    to participate in the political process to express “THEIR WILL on ALL ISSUIES!”
    As “the worst is yet to come”, welcome to “SOCIALISM!”

    I am grateful for Bill Moyers wisdom in bringing on Parker Palmer. As I listened to the discourse, I kept thinking of all the Buddhist works I have read and the philsophy of holding paradoxical ideas in tension. I am also reminded of C.G.Jung's work in projection and shadow as Palmer spoke about society's desparate hope for Obama to be our savior in this mess. Or, the personae (masks) that we individually or collectively wear to create illusions. Only when we no longer need them, can no longer stand to wear them, or have them stripped from us do we give them up. I hope as individuals and as a country, we do the work to lovingly nurture growth and wisdom.

    Loneiness and what I know of it:

    Loneliness to me comes from the natural gravity or energy to unite with all things. Any lack of unity or division in Ones' life is heart felt as loneliness to me. The world is so full of division and it hurts me so. And as we struggle to identify our own individualtity we compound the energy and divide ourselves from the rest even further. Yet it is that individuality that brings us to the truth of Oneself. And even when Oneself finds the truth that One is truly All, I still wonder if One can live as One in a world so inequitably divided. Can One? "One is the lonliest number that you ever knew." Until All is One, I suppose for me I will always be.

    But then if loneliness is only the energy or desire to unite the universe, to unite All, it is surely and truly a great and wonderful thing.
    Loneliness is the greatest love of All for All.
    God is One, God is All.


    And more simply...

    Inequity divides as equality unites all things.
    Equal is the ultimate unifying truth.
    Mathematically it looks like this: =
    Denial of this truth divides, acceptance of truth unites all.
    When all is equal all is One.
    Equal or = is the solution to Einstein quest. UFT. TOE.
    Only the power of this truth, the truth of equality will unite the Universe and set us free.
    Truth is more simple than thought.


    PS: Thanks for asking Bill and thanks for the great work you do!

    I've been depressed with a cache of check-out pills in my pocket, but if I went to commit myself they wouldn't have taken me without insurance or assets. I'm sorry you had a great fall Gene Matarese, but realize that one need not be materially privileged to plummet in depression. Greek tragedy is only a spectacular model of philosophy and not a universal truth. The poor are just like you with less money, just no paid attendants loitering at the bedside. There are many other things to lose in life besides careers and opulence. Talk about losing a finger, how about losing a foot for standing up for the rights of foreign laborers, and then returning home to lose your mate and everything you owned. That's enough even to make a man with lower working class origins depressed. See you on the NJT.

    Dear Mr. Moyers;
    It is funny how people have reacted differently to Mr. Palmer's interview. My impression was/is very positive.
    Mr. Palmer's explanation of depression was similar to my own experience.
    I felt Mr. Palmer was very brave to be so open about his depression especially when we know well how "eye brows raise" if you say you have suffered depression much less having failed an attempted suicide! The stigma is uncalled for and unhelpful.
    I myself came from a very lofty time in my life to the crashing realities of how discrimination (sexual orientation, AIDS and aging)can cripple even the most stellar career path despite all the successes and measurable positive results to the Companie's bottom line.
    I'm sure this is felt even more pervasively by people today losing their jobs without the slightest reason other than they were suddenly found redundant or dispensible by a capricious employer.
    No, I really was very satisfied with the interview and regretted that it was not longer.
    For someone like myself who has voluntarily committed myself twice,I'm so grateful to have gotten over my fears of admitting I had depression and getting the professional help I needed at Roosevelt Hospital 7G in NYC.
    The staff was exactly what Mr. Palmer described:“You have to be with that person in an unafraid way. Not invading them with your fixes, not hooking them up to wires or whatever the non-medical equivalent of that is, giving them advice, but simply saying to them with your very presence, your physical presence, your psychological presence, your spiritual presence, I am not afraid of being with you on this journey of the — at the end of this road.”
    The psychiatrists, therapists, nurses and aides were/are just as Mr. Palmer described. I remember one nurse saying to me "You have had this depression and you can distill it into a metamorphasis or as something you wish to forget- it's up to you."
    I met people from all walks of life and how they handled their on going battles with depression.
    No, I have to be one of the audience members who really gained a lot from Mr. Palmer's interview.
    Thank you.
    Best Regards
    Gene Matarese

    Before you read my resentful critique below let me concede that Parker Palmer made one important and valid point when he talked about the grassroots neighborhood outreach for voter registration. He observed that the upscale privatized sector does not reach out: They dictate their worldview which is a polite version of the "success ethic." The paradox comes when you understand that he and Bill inhabit that same sector: The Third Estate. Their personal co-optation is the reason the anti-establishment movement of the 60s became half-assed.

    Your Parker Palmer book fair only added to my Depression. Bill looked as crestfallen as I've ever seen him. His Spidey-sense (conscience) was throbbing like an impacted gall bladder. How about a reality check of how you collude within your own network, just like our elite businessmen and our top government officials, only at a more modest economic scale. Parker's confidence that despite his weakness and narcissistic self indulgence he would never face poverty or the loss of his home is typical of elite Quaker hubris. His pains should tell him what is wrong: He is not effectively engaged in any real solutions to the material inequities of this world. Hermaneutic philosophy and introspection are fine things but should not be mistaken as ready resources in stressful times. Sometimes only cooperative radical action can heal and bring diverse people into a common understanding. People without anything at hand are entitled to dream about a better world. That may be the only outlet from depression for those oppressed by power. Bill Moyers and Parker Palmer are telling those of us without a large home equity and secure investments that we are unworthy and deserve only to glorify winners like themselves. As the elderly rear guard of an outlaw elite, apologists for societal crimes, they lament a bad outcome and say they saw it coming. They saw death coming too and admit they denied it until it was too late to repent. I always doubted the validity of the "coming late to the vinyard parable". The Master may still pay you Bill and Palmer, but he can see your soft manicured and unstained hands. You have picked no grapes, but feel free to guzzle the wine.

    A better story to fill this slot would have been the squatter and eviction resistance movement that is sweeping the country. But then selling books for friends to pay off their mortgages comes first. I read about the French revolution yesterday, and the 3rd estate (your native class) seemed greatly to blame for the preventable violence and suffering.

    Mr.s Kaiser & Palmer combined for The Journal's best show-so far.

    Retrospectfully, we could have handled 9-11 better, though initially we were very USA. One might speculate that Iraq was to show the Saudais, etc. what could happen if they allowed terrorist to repeat 9-11. But, there i go thinking about what ifs vs reality.

    Given that reality is healthy in the long run, why does the Federal govt. insist on Smoke & Mirrors Economics, Sell the Sizzle without any meat on the grill, no Change politics?

    The elephant in the room is that President Change brought in Biden, Clinton & Delahny, & remains unapologetic for agreeing with the DNP that FL & Mich. votes could not count, until the nomination was locked.

    Mainstreet is outraged their wealth has diminished, but don't give a hoot-in-a-hollow that my vote were diminished.

    Your conservative investments are going to support my speculative gambles--so--i should give-a-hoot?

    Billy Bob

    Dear Mr. Moyers,

    Every Friday night, I look forward to your Journal because it always introduces me to new and thoughtful people, such as Parker Palmer last night. The stimulating conversations on the Journal provide food for a lifetime of thought and growth.

    Mr. Palmer’s comments about being present for someone who is in depression, or a dying person…
    “You have to be with that person in an unafraid way. Not invading them with your fixes, not hooking them up to wires or whatever the non-medical equivalent of that is, giving them advice, but simply saying to them with your very presence, your physical presence, your psychological presence, your spiritual presence, I am not afraid of being with you on this journey of the — at the end of this road.”

    This made me think of my own past circumstances, when I became the single parent of a child with muscular dystrophy and another child with bipolar disorder upon the death of my 42 year old wife from cancer eight years ago. And again with the death four years ago of my 17 year old son from complications related to his muscular dystrophy, and the tailspin for my bipolar son with the loss of both his mother and brother. What should be said or done in such moments? The too common tendency was to flee from these painful realities. Many did so.

    My experience through all of this is best expressed in the words of Henri J. M. Nouwen…
    “Still, when we honestly ask ourselves which persons in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving much advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a gentle and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not-knowing, not-curing, not-healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is the friend who cares.”

    Indeed, being present to each other is what really matters. The friend who cares makes that gift clear.

    Bill, thank you for sharing your thoughtful discourse with Parker Palmer -- surely a "wounded healer" in the spirit of Henri Nouwen! The "tragic gap," or tension between possibility and reality, which he described, is VITAL, because it serves to heighten our awareness of all we could do, to become better as individuals, as family members, as community, as fellow creatures. Bless you for your truth telling!

    It is so infrequent that the public is given the gift of intellect on television. Thank you, Mr. Moyers, for your singular style of bringing the great thinkers, such as Dr. Palmer, into our homes. If only (is this illusion?) we could truly use these wonderful discourses to rehabilitate the "crass cynicism" in our American hearts today.

    First of all Thank you Mr Moyers for the excellence you have brought into this crazy world.
    All the King's men can not put it back together again.
    Only socialism can bring back America now.
    For too long the Elite have
    plundered America.
    Today the American dream is a patch work amongst the ruins.
    the where for and the why need not be asked ,it is written on the faces of every American living the nightmare.

    Thank you Mr. Moyers and Mr. Palmer for addressing my broken heart. My son lost everything in Iraq, and will never have a normal life again...blind, and one arm gone. I lost many friends in Viet Nam, all for nothing. My son's losses, for nothing. Your discussion of depression was eloquent..sadly, few have the courage to walk the dark road with you when you find yourself there, especially when the darkness comes from sorrow for enduring the persistent failure of human systems. You reminded me of hope, hope that the human spirit will prevail, no matter how far we fall. Thank you.

    Parker Palmer, Wow. Thank you Bill Moyers for producing such quality & profound interviews. All your interviews have so much value and truth and education. Parker Palmer, for me, really went right to the core of our modern society experience. His insights on depression and living (authentically or sincerely) INSIDE the "tragic gap" is exactly where my troubled thoughts have been heading toward. It's wonderful to hear someone so knowledgeable & spiritual reaffirm what we are all experiencing with such powerful Clarity & insight.

    Bill, thanks for your interview with Parker Palmer. He is brilliant and profound. He explained very well the spiritual aspect of our current reality very well. He spoke of the tension between reality and possibility. To me, I think that means we will find our solutions in pragmatism and not in ideology.

    Mr. Moyers, haven't watched you in a long time, and happened to tune in to your interview with Parker Palmer tonight. Just beautiful. Thank you for your thoughtfulness and for sharing your gift.

    I had a great instructor who himself would read "The Charge of the Light Brigade" to us in junior school. Couldn't resist burnin a little midnight oil on Wikipedia's version...

    "The futility of the action and its reckless bravery prompted the French Marshal Pierre Bosquet to state 'C'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas la guerre.' ('It is magnificent, but it is not war.') Rarely quoted, but he continued: 'C'est de la folie'- 'it is madness.'[8] The Russian commanders are said to have initially believed that the British soldiers must have been
    ...............The reputation of the British cavalry was significantly enhanced as a result of the charge, though the same cannot be said for their commanders."

    It looks as though they should have gone up the hill to the right (given Raglan's purported desire according to the writer cited above), but instead they went straight into the Don Cossack Battery

    Palmer has a strong point in my opinion re reality. Just a little tangential point of departure ...sometimes fiction can deliver a little happiness (don't ask me how), but the closer the fiction is to reality the better it seems it is.

    My late mother and I went to see "The Constant Gardner" flick as soon as it came out. If that was past 5 yrs ago she was almost 80...if less she was past 80. She appreciated it as much as I did. But it's funny...I never meet LeCarre readers. In the local McBook they've got only one of his novels on the racks. But there sure is a lot of "anesthesia" all around it.

    Somehow I missed Pema Chödrön, Atwood, and the others on December's Faith & Reason Journal. Course, I found it on the net and just tonight picked up "The Passion," my first by Winterson. Hope it'll be real enough (real is rare but worth it).

    If these digital boxes were conceived just to drive us straight into the big anesthesia guns of cable (mine won't give me enough volume and the local affliate sez they can't afford transmitting analog until June)...Lord help us.

    Mr. Moyers and Mr. Parker, how beautiful souls you two are. That was a magnificent report about current sociology, politics, economic and psychology. I’m a foreign burn and I’ve been living in the US for ten years. I think That has helped me seen the “America's illusion” you talk about more vividly and it is fascinating to hear how you describe it. The United States is a great nation with amazing people, but I see capitalism has created a superficial mask that doesn’t let some people see beyond the superficial. Extremism is often seen around like supremacy and fear, but I think it is possible to wake up from that dream and consciously start being a nation that promotes universal values and congruent example around entire world. Thank you.

    With beauty truth, truth beauty.

    I am a nurse and searching for truth. I feel that this broadcast speaks to an existing gap within our current health care system. It speaks to transformation of health care as a basic human right.
    The circumstances that Mr Palmer experienced with depression speaks to where we should go as a nation towards helping to heal those circumstances around providing health care and towards understanding each other.

    This also helps to give voice to some principles that our Senator Paul Wellstone, from Minnesota, would have recognized around campaign reform, and a principled government that we should expect. Let's build ethical higher moral ground into each dimension of our government and health care!

    Let's bridge that gap!

    "Ellen the Nurse"

    Mr. Moyers when will you come clean about your role in collaborating with J. Edgar Hoover in ferreting out potential homosexuals in the Johnson Administration?

    Mr. Palmer cited the destruction of the world trade center as providing an opportunity for the U. S. to reach out to the rest of the world to establish a different basis for interaction than we are used to. I agree. I recall my reactions to the news accounts of the attack and the reactions of commentators quite clearly: a mix of anger, pain and sadness. My immediate response was to hope that we would strike back, that our combined intelligence, police and military forces would find Bin Laden and the others who planned this attack, capture or kill them and, if they were captured, try them and jail them. But, very quickly, within hours, I realized that meeting evangelical force with evangelical retribution by force merely perpetuates the destructive strike-and-strike-back cycle. As despicable as it was, this attack could be used as a foundation on which to build new relationships with nations and people who had hated or despised the U. S. for generations, new relationships that promised the benefits of trust and collaboration based on shared experiences. I saw, eventually, that the greatest danger facing this post-9/11/01 America was, and unfortunately remains, that we would strike back and fail to seize this opportunity to begin to change our relationship with the world from one of feared, powerful, military paranoiac and greedy megalomaniac to one of respected, generous partner collaborating with others to lift us all out of the poverty, sickness and despair from which two-thirds of the world's people suffer. Unfortunately, the Bush administration reacted with far more paranoia and cynicism than I had expected, even from them. In the end, everyone is far worse off as a result of the decision to wage war against Iraq under false pretenses and for unachievable goals. The story of Icarus has been enacted once again, this time at enormous cost to hundreds of millions of people. I doubt that we will dig ourselves out of this hole in my lifetime; I'm concerned for the welfare of my children.

    Thank you for hosting Parker Palmer. I thought he spoke honestly about the loss and grief, and the painful awakening that this nation is experiencing during the current economic crises. In particular his discussion of our human ability to deny reality named so much of what has brought us to this day. I once had the honor of being in one of his workshops, and it was great to see him on your show, speaking intelligently into our context.

    I will be purchasing the DVD of this broadcast to add to the keepsakes I have so lovingly gathered over the years and plan to give my sons. Parker Palmer's insights are guideposts for our extraordinary and conflicting times when choices need to be made. I am so grateful to be made aware again of this gentle man.

    "Parker, you seem to keep treating this experience as if depression were the hand of an enemy trying to crush you. Would it be possible to re-image depression as the hand of a friend trying to press you down to ground on which it's safe to stand?"

    Those were the very words I needed to hear tonight.I flip thru channels looking for something interest. your were 'it' tonight. I thought I would never go to the dark place of depression again after surviving lymphoma 2 x's, but after open-heart surgery it is happening again--age 70--'burned a lot bridges,' but have support of family of origin (thank God). How I meet challenges when times get tough? I had the help of a wonderful psychiatrist in KCMO (1983) whose words I carry in my head and still inspire me. Also, I have a support group that is tremendously reinforcing. Perfectionism has been deadly for me. I want to read more of your work. Bill Moyers is such an inspiration. Thank you and God bless.

    Mr. Palmer speaks with passion, empathy, love, understanding, and experience. What a wonderful and awakening interview. Thank you for such quality in programming.

    Thank you so much for your final comments on "Charge of the Light Brigade." Bravo!

    Thank you, Bill, for your discussion with Mr. Palmer. He describes the darkness of depression and facing reality so well. While I have the genetic form of depression, it still is becoming the darkness. Each day lived becomes a series of small successes, even if it is getting out of bed or feeding my cats. Thank you again.

    Watch your show every week and always find it informing or inspiring. Parker Palmer's insights were especially relevant to our current situation as a nation and the personal challenge for each of us. This one really hit home!

    I think that increasing the number of soldiers we sent to Afghanistan is not a solution. Obama was against us going into the war in Iraq. We should withdraw from Afghanistan as soon as possible. We should not be wasting the lives of our educated young men and women in a civil war of another country. We should try to solve the problems in Middle East by diplomacy and helping the government in power. Each country should try to solve their own problems. It is better to spend our money on our own economic problems instead of paying for the cost of acting as a police force for another country.

    Bill,I had the pleasure to see and listen your interview with Mr. Palmer. His words, his comments and his explanations are so true. Your questions would bring interesting answers to my doubts. It was an excellent talk.Your questions were right on target and his answers were precise and direct.
    Thank you, An excellent interview!

    Parker Palmer though a decade and a half older than myself has grown himself up with essentially the same take on the fundamentals of the polarities in our society which dissemble and dissasociate, and the tension between actuality and ideality that burns away in the human heart the ego-centric delusions of our collective groupthink ego-brains, is just where I and my best friends and co-workers have come to. Such a timely and auspicious public tv meeting of Bill Moyer's and Parker Palmer's experienced minds. Hope a whole lot of WE were/are listening!

    Mr. Parker's description of depression unearths the essence of the disease better than anything I've ever read or heard. Thanks for bringing him to program and mental illness to public light.

    I think he had read Reinhold Niebuhr, just as you and President Obama have read him. An honest man this Mr Palmer. I think I might read him.

    I think Mr. Palmer is right on target when he talks about clinical depression affecting the media and this country. I am a 49 year old service-connected disabled Veteran diagnonosed with depression and PTSD, yet I cant get the help I need from the VA in Austin,TX.I guess my major question is: how many times must I attempt suicide befor e it finally works OR I get the help I need?

    Thank you Bill Moyers and Parker Palmer. What a thrill to see the two of you together--speaking from the heart about things that matter. In the daily grind of bad news that shouts at us, I am grateful for your mindful, sensitive, wise and compassionate voices. Just hearing your conversation bolsters my courage to live in the "gap." My gratitude to both of you.

    Mr Moyers: Thank you so much for your conversation with Parker Palmer. I found it deep, rich, moving and profound. I had never heard of Mr Palmer before this and will go out searching for his books! Kudos to you for always finding and introducing us to such amazing people!


    Well we certainly have to face reality and hang together, but I gotta tell ya, there's no way you are going to make any sense of Bellah & Co. I tried...

    When Mr. Palmer speaks of illusion and reality, I feel he needs to clarify these terms. This 3 dimensional world is an illusion of duality and only the "now instant" is real. It would seem only when using the right side of the brain are we outside time and in a place of wholeness.

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