Newsletter Nr. 12 (December 2008, subsequent to our 12th Annual Conference, our 2008 NY Workshop)

Compiled by Evelin Lindner, in NY, USA, and Germany, Europe (December, 2008)
(Note: This newsletter is written in American English, since this conference took place in the U.S. In our outside-of-the-U.S. workshops, we often use British English.)

 


Contents

•  Pictures
•  Thanks!
•  Announcements
•  What Is the Aim of Our Work?
•  Moving Our Work onto Cyberspace
•  Globalism
•  Messages from You
•  Welcome Again!

 


Pictures

(Important note to our conference particants: During our conferences, we always make an effort to ask for your permission to have your pictures posted on this website. However, you may have overheard or misunderstood our question, or you may have changed your mind since, either in total or for specific pictures/videos, please let us know! Thank you! Since we wish to walk the talk of dignity, it is very important for us to do our utmost in respecting everybody's privacy. We do not wish to gather written permissions from you during our conferences, since we value the building of mutual trust in relationships, and we would like to refrain from contributing to an ever more bureaucratic and legalistic society. Again, thank you so much for kindly holding hands with us in respectful mutuality in this matter!)

December 11-12 2008, Fifth Workshop on Humiliation and Violent Conflict, representing the Twelfth Annual Conference of Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies (HumanDHS) at Teachers College, Columbia University, New York City

Morton Deutsch honored us with his presence, and we celebrated his profoundly influential, important, and eminent life and life-work.
Please click on the picture above to see it larger.

Thursday, December 11, 2008:
Pictures of all of Day One of the workshop.
- Please click on the picture on the left or here to see more photos from Evelin's camera.
- Please click on the picture on the right or here to see more photos from Camilla Hsiung's camera.
Thank you dear Camilla for taking such great pictures!
Thursday, December 11, 2008:
The morning of Day One of our workshop.
- Please click on the picture on the left or here to see more photos from Evelin's camera.
- Please click on the picture on the right or here to see more photos from Camilla Hsiung's camera.
Thank you dear Camilla for taking such great pictures!
Thursday, December 11, 2008:
Lunch on Day One of our workshop.
- Please click on the picture on the left or here to see more photos from Evelin's camera.
- Please click on the picture on the right or here to see more photos from Camilla Hsiung's camera.
Thursday, December 11, 2008:
Round Table 1 on Day One of our workshop.
- Please click on the picture on the left or here to see more photos from Evelin's camera.
- Please click on the picture on the right or here to see more photos from Camilla's camera.

Thursday, December 11, 2008:
Public Event on Day One of our workshop.
We open the evening with traditional Japanese music.
- Please click on the picture on the left or here to see more photos from Evelin's camera.
- Please click on the picture on the right or here to see more photos from Camilla's camera.


Friday, December 12, 2008:
Pictures of all of Day Two of our workshop.
- Please click on the pictures on the upper left or here to see more photos from Evelin's camera.
- Please click on the picture on the lower right or here to see more photos from Camilla's camera.
Friday, December 12, 2008:
Don Klein Memorial Lecture by Michael Britton on Day Two of our workshop.
Michael uses Don's metaphor of a scrim, a transparent stage curtain, where one believes that what one sees is reality only as long as the light shines on it in a certain way: see Don's explanation.
- Please click on the pictures on the upper left or here to see more photos from Evelin's camera.
- Please click on the picture on the lower right or here to see more photos from Camilla's camera.

Friday, December 12, 2008:
Round Table 2 on Day Two of our workshop.
- Please click on the pictures in the first row or here to see more photos from Evelin's camera.
- Please click on the picture in the second row or here to see more photos from Camilla's camera.

Friday, December 12, 2008:
Lunch on Day Two of our workshop.
We sing together:
- Please click on the picture on the left or here to see more photos from Evelin's camera
- Please click on the picture on the right or here to see more photos from Camilla's camera
The text of the song we sang:
The Rose
Some say love it is a river that drowns the tender reed;
Some say love it is a razor that leaves the soul to bleed;
Some say love it is a hunger an endless aching need;
I say love it is a flower and you its only seed.
It's the heart afraid of breaking that never learns to dance.
It's the dream afraid of waking that never takes the chance.
It's the one who won't be taken who cannot seem to give.
And the soul afraid of dying that never learns to live.
When the night has been too lonely and the road has been too long,
And you think that love is only for the lucky and the strong,
Just remember in the winter, far beneath the bitter snow,
Lies the seed, that with the sun's love,
in the spring becomes the rose.

Friday, December 12, 2008:
Round Table 3 on Day Two of our workshop.
- Please click on the pictures in the first row or here to see more photos from Evelin's camera.
- Please click on the pictures in the second row or here to see more photos from Camilla's camera.
Friday, December 12, 2008:
Closing of Day Two of our workshop.
- Please click on the picture on the left or here to see more photos from Evelin's camera.
- Please click on the picture on the right or here to see more photos from Camilla's camera.
Friday, December 12, 2008:
Post-workshop get-together on Day Two of our workshop.
Please click on the picture above or here to see more photos from Evelin's camera.


December 10, 2008, first pre-workshop meeting:
We are kindly invited by Alison Anthoine into her office overlooking Ground Zero.
Please click on the pictures above or here to see more photos.


December 10, 2008, second pre-workshop meeting:
We are kindly invited by Zuzka Kurtz.
Please click on the picture above or here to see more photos.

December 10, 2008, third pre-workshop meeting:
We have our Board of Directors meeting with Kristabelle Munson and Tiffany Melendez presenting us with ab IT solution that can move our work forward, and they kindly offer to mentor us also in the future. Thank YOU, dear Kristabelle and Tiffany! Your help is life-saving for us!
Please click on the picture above or here to see more photos.

 


 

Dear Friends!

We had a wonderful workshop in NY! It was entitled:
2008 Workshop on Humiliation and Violent Conflict
(representing the Twelfth Annual HumanDHS Conference
)!

 

Thanks!

Please let us begin by sharing with you our deep gratitude to Linda Hartling. Without her wisdom, love, care, and huge investment of time since 2003, our network and our conferences would not be there.

Please welcome and celebrate Linda’s leadership! Linda relinquished her administrative responsibilities at Wellesley College to devote more time in service of HumanDHS and she is our new HumanDHS Director! (Evelin remains the HumanDHS Founding President). A big welcome to you, dearest Linda!

Rick and Linda moved across the North American Continent and found a physical home for the Pacific Rim Branch of HumanDHS and the first HumanDHS Dialogue Home in Portland, Oregon — Everyone is invited to visit!

May Linda and I express our sincere gratitude and appreciation furthermore to all of you who co-created our 2008 Workshop on Humiliation and Violent Conflict representing the Twelfth Annual HumanDHS Conference! You ALL made our workshop a unique and extremely exiting experience! Many said afterwards that it was, as all our workshops and conferences, extremely intense, stimulating, and nurturing, however, that this workshop was of particularly high quality in all these aspects!

Our workshops are closed conferences. We could have had many more participants and unfortunately had to say "no" to many of you who wrote to us and wished to participate. We would like to express our regret to all of you who did not have the chance to participate. We will try to broaden our activities (and resources!) in the future! Please bear with us and give us your support so that we can grow in a constructive way!

We would like to thank our generous hosts, Aldo Civico, Ph.D., and Andrea Bartoli, Ph.D., current and former Directors of the Center for International Conflict Resolution (CICR), and Chairmen of the Columbia University Conflict Resolution Network (CU-CRN), as well as Morton Deutsch and Peter T. Coleman, Founder and Director of the International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution (ICCCR) at Columbia University and their wonderful team - particularly loving thanks go to Juliette de Wolfe, whose wonderful support with reserving the rooms, making name tags/plates, printing out our material, plus a thousand more details, went beyond all expectations! We wish to give special thanks also to Alba Taveras (CICR), and to Beth Fisher-Yoshida, Academic Director of the Master of Science Program in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution at the School of Continuing Education at Columbia University. We also wish to thank Judit Révész. We were able to build on the work she did for our first workshop in 2004, and without her continous support all these years since 2001, our work would not be possible. She untiringly guards our Contact page!

Please let us furthermore express special thanks to Rick Slaven, Tonya Hammer, Michael Britton, Camilla Hsiung, Antoinette Errante, Hua-Chu Yen, and Doris Brosnan, who so wonderfully helped to keep our workshop in shape, with caring for our food, and with video-taping the entire conference. Our warmest thanks also to Linda Hartling for setting the frame of appreciative inquiry in and Donald Klein's spirit. Our dear thanks furthermore to our moderators Beth Fisher-Yoshida & Michael Britton, Antoinette Errante & Philip Brown, and Emanuela Del Re & Patricia Rodriguez Mosquera!

And, of course, our warmest gratitude to Alan B. Slifka for his financial help for our workshop! We were able to have catering and participants who otherwise would not have been able to attend, received support!

May we end by thanking our presenters for their inspiration at our Public Event on the afternoon of Thursday, December 12.

Finally, Michael Britton moved us all deeply on Friday morning in his Don Klein Memorial Lecture for Don's originally planned lecture The Humiliation Dynamic: Looking Back... Looking Forward. Don showed us how to live in awe and wonderment. We will always need your wisdom, dear Don!

A very very warm thank-you to all!

Evelin, on behalf of our entire network.

 


 

Announcements

Linda Hartling announced:
• We thank the Slifka Foundation for their support for this 2008 NYC Workshop on Humiliation and Violent Conflict!
• We are moving forward! In our Board of Directors meeting yesterday, Kristabelle Munson and Tiffany Melendez, brought to us by Beth Fisher-Yoshida, will mentor us through a process of implementing IT solutions that will enable our network to grow. Thank YOU, dear Kristabelle and Tiffany! Your help is life-saving for us!
• We had an amazing, traveling conference in Norway in June/July, discussing humiliation and history, dignifying design, waging good conflict, music and conflict transformation, humiliation and the Holocaust, research and assessment, and organizational leadership! (Abou Bakar found a host home to support his efforts to seek asylum in Norway!)
•  We now have non-for profit status! (So far not yet globally - as we would wish for - but, to start with, in NY state.) Please see our Contributions page! We all thank Nitza, Linda, and Rick for their incredible work to make this happen!
• Linda established a bank account and a Paypal account to easily accept tax-deductible donations.
• Linda put a donation button on the website to make it easy for supporters to make credit card donations—and it is being used!
• We have explored more than 20 internet solutions for the network, including Ning, MePeace, the Peace Collaborative, Moodle, Kiva, Mediawiki, Sugar, etc.
• We are looking forward to a book project with Dan Christie, editor of the Peace Psychology Book Series at Springer. He invites our network to create an edited book in his series on the role of dignity and humiliation.
• We have ca. 40,000 people visiting the website, from more than 180 countries (Google Analytics had problems in 2008 and we can’t give a detailed number for 2008).
• We have 229 Honored Members on our Global Advisory Board.
• Evelin finished her new book: Emotion and Conflict: How Human Rights Can Dignify Emotion and Help Us Wage Good Conflict, and published eleven chapters and papers.
• Evelin has lived in six countries this year, has given five full-size formal presentations and dozens of informal presentations, and organized our two annual conferences, apart from nurturing our network (through meeting people and working through something between 50 to 200 emails per day)

• We raised over $3000 to buy Evelin a new computer!

This laptop is the headquarters of our HumanDHS network (click on the picture above or here to see more photos). It is slowly breaking down since about one year, both with respect to its inner and its outer workings. The outer damage shown above (all buttons are worn down and I had to remove the space bar, since its underlying mechanism no longer works) would be easier to repair than the inner failngs, which require about half a day of repeated re-booting after crushes for half a day of work.
The HumanDHS network has generously collected the resources to buy a new computer, which Evelin will receive in Norway in January 2009. Our warm thanks go to all the sponsors of the new laptop and the IT engineers at the Department of Psychology at the University in Oslo for their untiring selfless support.
In October 2008, they kindly invested three days into re-installing Windows on the old computer, in a last-ditch attempt to prolong its life, unfortunately in vain; the general break-down of the system is too severe.

Philip Brown announced:
• Our "Humiliation in the Academic Setting," A Special Symposium Issue of Experiments in Education, has been published by the S.I.T.U. Council of Educational Research, India, with Phil as guest editor!
• The International Child Assault Prevention Program (Phil together with Michael Greene).
• TBag art from South Africa.

Evelin Lindner announced:
• Please welcome and celebrate Linda Hartling’s leadership! Linda relinquished her administrative responsibilities at Wellesley College to devote more time in service of HumanDHS and she is our new HumanDHS Director! (Evelin remains the HumanDHS Founding President). A big welcome to you, dearest Linda!
• Rick and Linda moved across the North American Continent and found a physical home for the Pacific Rim Branch of HumanDHS and the first HumanDHS Dialogue Home in Portland, Oregon — Everyone is invited to visit!
• Please welcome and celebrate Michael Britton’s leadership of the Global Coordinating Team, especially his compassionate approach walking the talk of human dignity. Michael is the HumanDHS Director of "Global Appreciative Culturing." A big welcome to Michael!
• We have two yearly conferences, the Workshop on Humiliation and Violent Conflict in December at Columbia University in NY, and an outside-of-the-US conference. This year this conference took place in Norway, in April 2007. Our next conference will be in Hawaii in August 2009!
• Good news for our work to promote equal dignity for all and transcend humiliation! We can be particularly proud that the journal Choice characterized the book Humiliation and International Conflict as a path-breaking book, and that it was chosen as one of the "Outstanding Academic Titles" in 2007! It is the first book on humiliation and conflict. Thanks to YOUR inspiration and support, this has been possible!
• Our Global Coordinating Team (GCT is growing! It has now 35 members! We are very thankful for the wonderful active support of a growing number of members of our network! We need more helpers, people who would love to commit for longer time periods, who would know how to write appreciative emails, and how to maintain a website! Evelin has copied our dear GCT members on some of the emails she sends out since quite a while. The aim of doing so is to prepare our GCT for the next step: As soon as Linda has settled in Oregon, she will start implementing a cybersolution that makes it possible that our GCT can support our work. The idea is that when newcomers to our network write to us, all the members of our GCT will see the incoming messages. Then, each newcomer will receive a mentor from our GCT, who nurtures a relationship with this person with the aim to see as to whether or not the newcomer is a like-minded person and could be a member of our network. The point of having a cybersolution is that the newcomer sees only his or her communication, while the GCT sees all communications, something that is tedious to achieve with emails.
• See here a “wish list” over ways to contribute to our work!
• See also a list over our achievements.
• We look for directors/coordinators for our Intervention projects. See for example our World Clothes for Equal Dignity project. Companies who are already in the fashion business, might be interested? See also our World Art for Equal Dignity project, where Peter Max offers us to paint portraits and give the 20,000 - 30,000 USD remuneration to us! Please find able people who wish to have a portrait by Peter Max!
• Good news for our Office Cockpit Project! We have a Director and Coordinator! Please welcome Sigurd Støren!
•  We would be very happy if more people were to volunteer to help us edit our videos!
• We would like to collect stories/cases/witness accounts of dignity and humiliation.
• We would like to seed our Call to Creativity with actual examples to encourage people to submit their own achievements and ideas.
• We need NY homestays for our participants!

 


 

What Is the Aim of Our Work?

The following is a recapitulation of the first part of Evelin's presentation at our workshop. She tried to spell out the aim of our HumanDHS work. Please read about these reflections also in last year's newsletter.

•  Linda Hartling and I hold two main roles (at least)
First, Linda and I, we are the principal conveners of our network and our conferences and workshops. Second, we are also researchers (Linda began to work on the topic of humiliation in 1991; I began in 1996, using a particularly broad historical and transcultural lens).

The motto of our work is Unity in Diversity. Our roles mirror this motto.
1. In our role as conveners, we attempt to shape unity (we are united in our wish to discontinue cycles of humiliation and create a dignified world),
2. while we hold diversity in our role as researchers; the conceptualizations of dignity and humiliation in our research are NOT meant to dominate - we encourage a multitude of approaches to exploring dignity and humiliation, and we wish to develop our website as a platform for a rich variety of perspectives (even if they contradict each other).

•  What is the aim of developing our HumanDHS network?
Our broad starting points are as follows:
1. We need to make sure that the carrying capacity of our eco- and sociosphere is made sustainable.

2. In an interdependent world, global cooperation is not optional, it is compulsory.

3. Like love in a marriage is more than the ability to manage conflicts, peace is more than resolved conflict, and dignity is more than the absence of humiliation.

4. The minimum that we as humankind need to muster can be subsumed under the metaphor “shared custody after divorce.” Let me quote: "In many countries parents increasingly receive joint custody for their children after divorce. Humankind has joint custody for the planet - irrespective of any interpersonal or international falling out. For divorcing parents joint custody is only one among several alternatives - a family judge may decide for it or against it. However, for humankind this arrangement is compulsory" (Making Enemies: Humiliation and International Conflict, p. 195). The maximum that we may aspire to is a Mandela-like ability to turn enemies into friends, to create I-Thou relationships locally and globally (Martin Buber contrasts 'I-It' relationships, where people instrumtalize each other, with 'I-Thou' relationships based on mutual respect). Mandela wrote: "I always knew that deep down in every human heart, there is mercy and generosity. No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite. Even in the grimmest times in prison, when my comrades and I were pushed to our limits, I would see a glimmer of humanity in one of the guards, perhaps just for a second, but it was enough to reassure me and keep me going. Man's goodness is a flame that can be hidden but never extinguished (Long Walk to Freedom, Nelson Mandela, 1994, page 542).

•  What needs to be done
1. In order to achieve sustainability, locally and globally, and ecologically and socially, we need to mobilize everybody to stand UP (and not BY). We cannot have some paid specialists do the standing up for us (and everybody indeed has the necessary abilities, if nurtured appropriately, see, for example Ramses Wissa Wassef's experiment).

2. When we consider the research of the last decade in positive psychology (Martin Seligman et al.), we recognize that embracing a larger definition of responsibility - responsibility not just for one self and one's family, but for building ecological and social sustainability for the entire human family - is not only useful for solving the problems of our world, but will also increase the sense of fulfillment and meaning for every individual who embarks on that path. Seligman, about a decade ago, reflected on the question of whether solving conflicts and undoing problems indeed was enough. He sensed that happiness is more. It is, for example, fulfillment and meaning in life. As we see, Seligman drives and is driven by a changing Zeitgeist that frees individuals from traditional ranking orders. Focusing on conflict resolution is a project that still fits into traditional order - "how can we keep the order we have running smoothly?" Seeking meaning is a much more revolutionary undertaking. If thought through stringently, it very much risks upsetting traditional order - "do we really need consumerism to feel fulfilled? Perhaps it just lines the pockets of a few, but otherwise empties our world's resources, and leaves our souls empty as well?"

3. A vision of a world of dignity, of equality in dignity, requires that we dignify our relationships, including those in our network, which means that we need to care, that we need to show to each other that we matter for each other. Relationships need proactive nurturing, they do not "fall from the sky." Not investing into relationship building represents a cultural poverty that is akin to the manager who cuts cost by firing employees, and has to declare bankruptcy two years later, because all creativity is gone also.

4. For me personally, many elements in mainstream "culture" all over the world represent a prison. Most people seem to make their home there voluntarily - perhaps because it offers a certain amount of security and predictability - however, without noticing that their ailments (depression, apathy, feelings of emptiness) can only be remedied by leaving prison. A globalizing and increasingly interdependent world is like a river that grows ever deeper and broader: clinging to some fragile twigs cannot be the solution - the solution is learning to swim - learning to swim in human relationships, rather than clinging to allegedly more "tangible" handles, from material possessions to national identity. Relationships are like water that carries.

•  Developing an alternative local and global community
With our Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies network, with our global transdisciplinary network of academics and practitioners who wish to promote dignity and transcend humiliation (to say it very short!), we attempt to plant a seed for an alternative local and global community, a community of "Mandelas." To date, we are ca. 1000 invited members, and since December last year, we register 40,000 visits from 4,000 cities in 183 countries with 80,000 page views of average two minutes of our website.

•  The metaphor of a tree
Several metaphors can be used to describe our work, in other newsletters we used the metaphor of a forest, or a raft, let me now use the metaphor of a tree:

1. Our global fellowship represents the "roots" and "trunk" of the "tree" (this reflects the Unity part in the "Unity in Diversity" motto). For this part of our work, for the development of our global network in its entirety, the template of "fertilization" and "nurturing" is suitable. What we wish to nurture is the growth and the unfolding of I-Thou relationships of mutuality, embedded into equality in dignity. What is important to note is the inherent limitation in "nurturing," namely the lack of control and predictability: One cannot FORCE the growth of I-Thou relationships. One can only inspire. One can only inspire people to invest their soul, time, and resources in creating a decent global home for our human family. What is needed for this inspiration to grow and have impact, is a nurturing context. The "fertilizer" is the atmosphere of respect for equality in dignity that we try to create, an atmosphere of mutuality, an atmosphere that opens up space for people to unfold their creativity and find meaning and fulfillment in creating a decent local and global ecological and social environment (see also Martin Seligman's work on happiness and meaning - it does not only help the world, but also each individual, to seek meaning in life).

2. Our research, education, and intervention initiatives represent the main three “branches” of our "tree." Also here, the template of growth applies (the Diversity part in the "Unity in Diversity" motto, however, is reflected more).

3. Our "achievements" represent the “fruits” that grow on the tree (here, the Diversity part in the "Unity in Diversity" motto is reflected strongly). For making "fruits" the template of stringent management applies, if necessary with businessplan and deadlines. Here, control and predictability play an important role. When members of our network feel sufficiently inspired, we encourage them to brainstorm and identify those ideas they wish to implement, and from that point onwards, systematic planning and implementing is needed (see our Call for Creativity).

See here some of the "fruits" that the "tree" of our network has produced so far, see our achievements:
•  "Humiliation in the Academic Setting": A Special Symposium Issue
• Sigurd Støren is our new Director and Coordinator for our Office Cockpit Project!
•  The journal "Choice" released its list naming its 2008 Outstanding Academic Titles, and my book Making Enemies: Humiliation and International Conflict was among them.
• "Humiliation and History in Global Perspectives" (2006) has generated great interest!
• Our Journal of Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies
• Our Global Dignity & Humiliation Assessment Team

"Roots, trunk, branches":
• Ca. 1000 members, 40,000 visits, 80,000 page-views of 2 minutes
• Not-for profit status!
• Our conferences - our last conference took place in Hangzhou, China, in April 2007; our next conference in Norway in June 2008.


Please read the rest of these reflections in last year's newsletter.

 

 

Moving Our Work onto Cyberspace

(See also newsletter 9 and newsletter 10)

May I update you on the past year's discussions. We continuously discuss the future of our work, ever since our network began to emerge (starting with the idea in December 2001). At our 7th Annual Conference in Costa Rica, we dedicated a specific Open Space session to discussing the future of our work. Intense brainstorming was thus opened that continued, via email, until the end of 2007.

In the past year, we have collected an avalanche of suggestions. At the end of this period, we have now "filtered out" the conclusion that there is one single next step that we have to embark on, and this is to move the nurturing and coordinating of our network, which is currently done by email, onto cyberspace.

In our Board of Directors meeting on December 10, Kristabelle Munson and Tiffany Melendez, brought to us by Beth Fisher-Yoshida, offered to mentor us through a process of implementing IT solutions that will enable our network to grow. Thank YOU, dear Kristabelle and Tiffany! Your help is life-saving for us!

Here a short overview over our needs:
- We need to enable our Global Coordinating Team of helpers to nurture our relationships with newcomers by way of a cybersolution which replaces email, since email as a tool is not efficient enough
- We need to enable our network to nurture relationships also with "old-comers" through a cybersolution (Ning proved to be too open a solution)
- We need to create space for discussions among our Research Team and Education Team, and for other topics and projects (Ning proved to be too open a solution)
- We need a solution for our address archive (now everything is on Evelin's laptop in Thunderbird and Info Select)
- We need a button on our website where people can subscribe to our newsletter
- We need to reform of our website, so that also Linda has access to maintaining it, and the Directors/Coordinators of our Teams and Projects, not just Evelin
- We wish to create an e-classroom
- We wish to make our videos accessible for our network
- and so forth

As to the first points, our Global Coordinating Team (GCT) is growing. It has now 35 members! We are very thankful for your wonderful active support! We need more helpers, people who would love to commit for longer time periods, who know how to write appreciative emails/messages/letters, and how to maintain a website! Evelin has copied our dear GCT members on some of the emails she sends out since quite a while. The aim of doing so is to prepare our GCT for the next step: As soon as Linda has settled in Oregon, she will start implementing new cybersolutions that make it possible that our GCT can support our work.

The idea is that when newcomers to our network write to us, all the members of our GCT will see the incoming messages. Then, each newcomer will receive a mentor from our GCT, who nurtures a relationship with this person with the aim to see as to whether or not the newcomer is a like-minded person and should be invited to be a member of our network. The point of having a cybersolution is that the newcomer sees only his or her communication, while the GCT sees all communications, something that is tedious to achieve with emails.

In other words, let us now draw the conclusions of more than one year of brainstorming, experimenting, and preparations, and move to the next level of implementing solutions! At the current point in time, we need to make ONE SINGLE MOVE, the move to cybersolutions that work for us. In other words, we are no longer in the brainstorming phase of our preparations for sustainability, but in the implementation phase!

 


 

Reflections on Globalism, in Response to Workshop Discussions

1. Kenneth Suslak kindly reminded us after our workshop that Evelin's global nomadic lifestyle is only one way to embracing the human family as one. There are many other ways. Please see Evelin's reflections on that point; she can't agree more with Ken's caveat.

2. Clark McCauley kindly made the point that we undermine the credibility of our work for dignity if we connect it with too extreme calls for global institutions (such as Garry Davis's call for a World Passsport, for example), because too extreme stances only alienate otherwise like-minded supporters of our work.

Clark points at an important danger that is very important to be aware of for our Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies network. Evelin has discussed the counter-productive effects inherent in too extreme "revolutions" in many of her texts, for example in Is it Possible to "Change the World"? Some Guidelines to How We Can Build a More Decent and Dignified World Effectively: The Case of Dignifying Abusers.

There are two other points:

2.1. We, as Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies network are not a monolithic organization. The tree-metaphor explained earlier indicates that we, as HumanDHS, wish to connect Unity with Diversity (the trunk of the tree symbolizing Unity and the branches Diversity).

What unifies us is our wish to work for a decent future for humankind, a future where relationships of mutuality are embedded in respect for equality in dignity for all, and where humiliation is transcended. This is the common ground on which we all agree.

However, we also wish to hold complex and diverse paths to that vision in our network, paths that not everybody may agree on. From the standpoint of Unity in Diversity, the discussion of global institutions is, and needs to be a diverse one that ought not be pressed into dogmatic uniformity. In other words, Garry Davis's activism represents the path that he and his supporters take, a path that some members in our network might find profoundly inspireing, while others might feel that it overstretches their imaginative capabilities. We, as a network, wish to hold this complexity in the spirit of Unity in Diversity.

There are other, somewhat related paths worth looking at. At our workshop, we had Michiko Kuroda present for Virginia Swain and Joseph Baratta A Global Mediation and Reconciliation Service (2008).

Joseph Baratta is the author of The Politics of World Federation, been published by Praeger Press in 2004. Professor Baratta teaches history, international relations, and history of science at Worcester State College. See his web site. He is among the few scholars who continues the debate on world government that was very lively circa thirty years ago, but died down during the past three decades in a more conservative political atmosphere.

See here how Baratta envisages a possible governing body for a World Federation:

World Federation diagram Joseph P. Baratta, 2007

See here the pictures of an utterly stimulating get-together at the house of Virginia Swain and Joseph Baratta on November 17, 2008, made possible through the help of David Kimball:



2.2. Paul Ray and Sherry Ruth Anderson, in their book The Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People Are Changing the World (New York, NY: Three Rivers Press, 2000), describe the current state of cultural movements. Based on surveys and in-depths interviews, Ray and Anderson identify three main cultural movements that characterize our time:
1. Moderns (the cultural movement that started about 500 years ago),
2. Traditionals (the first countermovement against Modernism) and
3. Cultural Creatives (the other, more recent countermovement against Modernism, currently flowing together from a) the Consciousness Movement and b) the Social Movement that both started around 1960).

The new movement of Cultural Creatives shares the conviction that "a sense of personal worth, of meaning in life, is a fundamental human right that must be protected by our social institutions" (Ralph H. Turner "Ideology and Utopia After Socialism," in Enrique Larana, Hank Johnston, and Joseph R. Gusfield, New Social Movements, Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1994, pp. 79-81, 89-97, quoted from Ray and Anderson).

In their book Cultural Creatives, Ray and Anderson point out that at present, Cultural Creatives are not aware of the fact that they are part of a growing movement. The authors suggest that Cultural Creatives would benefit from recognizing that there are 50 million like-minded people "out there" alone in the U.S. and Europe, open for cooperation and mutual encouragement. Ray and Anderson indicate that old-fashioned Moderns, or "realists," will not necessarily prevail, but succumb to the new trend. The authors furthermore highlight that it is necessary for Cultural Creatives to develop innovative institutions in order to give the new movement more force and substance. HumanDHS is positioned at the core of this trend.

 


 

Messages from YOU
(with the authors' permission, listed chronologically)

Evelin wrote a personal message (December 14, 2008):
I can't thank all participants of our workshop enough! As I said at the very end of our second day, you and the connections of love that you created during our workshop are my home, the nourishment that sustains me, my remuneration, in short, what I live for and what makes my life meaningful and worth living. I have no other home, and food alone would not sustain me.

I had a very thought-provoking meeting with dear Dan Shapiro on November 19, 2008, at the Harvard Law School, where we discussed Maslow's Pyramid of needs:

Self-actualization
(Achieving individual potential)
Esteem
(self-esteem and esteem from others)
Belonging
(Love, affection, being a par! of groups)
Safety
(Shelter, removal from danger)
Physiological
(Health, food, sleep)

My personal pyramid looks different, more communal:

Safety needs: sustainable social environment
(Shelter, removal from danger: I wish that these needs be fulfilled not just for me, but for all humankind, so that all individuals can be safe. In former times, people died for their king or country or ideology - still today, people die for ideology, the phenomenon of suicide bombings proves this - i.e. they accept not having their physiological and safety needs fulfilled for what they perceive to be the greater good of their community. Today, to my view, one has to give one's life/lifetime for the safety of all humankind, and this is what I do.)
Physiological needs: sustainable ecological environment
(Health, food, sleep: I wish that these needs be fulfilled not just for me, but for all humankind. Today, in the face of global challenges, one has to give one's life/lifetime for addressing the global social and ecological crises.)
Belonging/Esteem/Self-actualization
(Love, affection, being a part of groups: for me, what counts most is being part of all of humankind, holding love for its common good at heart, offering affection to everybody unconditionally, while resisting belonging to groups of exploiters even at the cost of foregoing my physiological and safety needs, i.e. even, if needed, at the cost of death – I remember, for example, Nazi Germany, or Rwanda, where giving one's life to resist genocide was sometimes the only moral path. Thus I define esteem in very special ways, even in the absence of the esteem from others - like Galileo, or Mandela, who pursued their vision also in the face of people who rejected it and denigrated them. I also conceptualize self-actualization as successfully achieved even in prison or as a martyr. In my case, I donate my entire lifetime to helping create a better world.

In Giving Life to the Human Family, which entails my personal life story, and was written in 2006 for the journal Offerings (see the final version published in 2008 in Offerings with artwork and pictures added), I explain the point that, to my view, it threatens the survival of humankind to abuse Maslow's Pyramid and commit a metaphorical fallacy by applying too narrow individualistic pyramids of decision-making. Maslow's Pyramid describes how immediate emergencies impact the needs of an individual. However, what about global long-term emergencies for all humankind, which eventually will create disastrous emergencies for each individual, if not these individuals think long-term and transcend their immediate needs as long as they still have the resources to do so?

In my case, for example, I would never "look for a job" or try "to make a living," because the path-ways of decision-making entailed in such scripts do not look at the larger picture, but risk uncritically seeking solutions in larger contexts that need rethiniking.

Dear Clark asked whether not Fiske's communal sharing would be the best environment within which equality in dignity for all can flourish. Indeed, I aggre. Please see The Need for a New World, the paper I prepared for our workshop, where I make this point.

Dear All! Thank you so much for listening!
Evelin

Aurobinda Mahapatra kindly wrote on January 14, 2009:

A beautiful experience indeed! Meeting people with divergent experiences and perceptions but with the same goals in mind! Energetic Evelin, Linda, and all others were the guiding forces at the conference. I am so very impressed by the organisers' selfless work; words are insufficient to describe it. The dream set forth by the HDHS network is really noble. It is noble as it sees all human beings with dignity and honour. It is one of the first major initiatives to bring people from different backgrounds on to a single platform to promote the spirit of love and goodwill. In this context, I remember the Indian philosopher, Sri Aurobindo who in his book 'Ideal Human Unity,' written on the eve of First World War, talked about supreme spiritual trinity. It means transforming the concepts of liberty, equality, and fraternity in a harmonious way so that they will, instead of contradicting, complement each other. I am sure that the HDHS will gather strength brick by brick to fulfil the dream of a world free from violence, hatred and jealousy. It may appear a difficult enterprise at the outset but before strong will and sincere effort nothing is difficult. As individuals we should adopt a HDHS perspective not only in our thinking but also in our daily practices as it is rightly said: when we will be able to effect noble principles in our own lives onlythen will we be capable to preach to others and help transform the world. I am proud to be a part of this great initiative.

aurobinda04aurobinda05

aurobinda03aurobinda02

Debidatta Aurobinda Mahapatra
Viewing Kashmir Conflict through the Prism of Dignity and Humiliation, co-authored with Seema Shekhawat (2008)
Please click on the pictures above to see them larger.

 


 

Welcome Again!

I would like to end this newsletter by thanking you again for all the wonderful mutual support. I think there was nobody who did not contribute generously, therefore let me give my warmest thanks to ALL OF US! I very much look forward to our upcoming two conferences in 2009!

Please be warmly invited to our next HumanDHS conference in Hawai'i in August 2009!

Dear Dharm P. S. Bhawuk is Professor of Management and Culture and Community Psychology, Shidler College of Business, University of Hawai'i, Manoa, Honolulu. He organizes the 6th biennial conference of the International Academy of Intercultural Research (IAIR), after which we have our three days HumanDHS conference.

There are three ways to participate:

(1) You can choose to participate only in our HumanDHS conference (registration with Linda and Evelin).
(2) You can also participate in the larger conference that precedes ours, organized by our dear Bhawuk.
You can participate in this larger conference in two ways:
(2.1) only in the panel we have in Bhawuk's conference, or
(2.2) in all of Bhwauk's conference in addition to our conference, in which case you have to register asap at www.uhh.hawaii.edu/~iair/Conference_IAIR_2009/.

In the meantime, we are looking forward to a book project with Dan Christie, editor of the Peace Psychology Book Series at Springer. He invites our network to create an edited book in his series on the role of dignity and humiliation. Be part!

Linda & Evelin, December 2008