Helping the Public to Self-Educate and Act

Note: None of what’s below in this unedited first draft will make much sense if the reader doesn’t acknowledge that we have deadlines respecting a number of major issues. And that we are in the midst of horrid momentum which requires some fresh way of dealing with it. That — at the moment — we are (from more than one angle) losing the battle for planetary survival/life’s sweetness. I am writing this for people who are interested in advocating nonviolence, justice and the like. People who have a sense of our needing to dramatically increase the numbers in the choir which is singing that song.

“And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things….”
— Gerard Manley Hopkins (from

Helping the Public to Self-Educate and Act
Dedicated to Dr. Michael Nagler of the Metta Center for Nonviolence
by Oxman

The reason I request open-ended discussion — exchanges not restricted by considerations of time — is that the nature of what I want to address is so very foreign to everyone. That coupled with the main point in the previous post (about how “concerned citizens” are too busy with what’s already on their plate when I contact them) makes for a truly daunting challenge. Securing a setting in which present agenda/schedule is not a factor is ideal. It’s not required, but if someone is willing to gamble that I might just have something to say that would justify a re-ordering of their priorities immediately, well… something astonishing might be accomplished. Like… the creation of a watershed in history.

Nothing can be achieved limiting communication to sound bites as per the previous two posts.

Permit me to take a single angle, one particular benefit of my proposal. It might make the breakthrough I seek.

Let’s focus on helping the public to self-educate and juxtapose it with our horrid momentum.

Virtually all activists, educators, organizers and the like are into educating the public. It IS necessary. It’s not nearly enough, in my view, but it’s unquestionably an essential ingredient for movement in meaningful solidarity.

Well, with that in our back pocket, let’s talk about HOW concerned citizens are educating others, and how they’re helping them to become interested in ongoing self-education.

Writers: Those who post pieces and publish books and magazine articles hit the public with information incessantly. Who reads what’s written? Well, there’s the choir… which isn’t comprised of sufficient numbers in and of themselves for the kind of movement we should be aiming at, the kind of momentum we need to generate. To influence what’s coming down the pike, we clearly need to recruit others. But as every educated person acknowledges, when you threaten someone’s Ground of Being… they tend to change the channel, flip to a different station… or page. And that’s what articles and books which cry out for the institutional change that’s necessary do, isn’t it? If seeds are planted, and they blossom in a given reader who sticks with something foreign/new/threatening long enough for something to seep through… as a rule, all sorts of psychological dynamics kick in which allow that reader to retreat into the Ground of Being which is comfortable. And we wind up not recruiting the greater numbers we need.

Documentary and Feature Film Directors: Cinema is no different. Take what’s written directly above and extrapolate. If something fresh does manage to get through, it’s not long before it’s forgotten. And if it’s not forgotten — if the seed planted really takes root — action is an entirely different matter. You can take Michael Moore’s contributions here as a good point of departure for discussion. To wit, though some of them are among the most commercially successful documentaries of all time, they’ve produced little effect. Oh, yes, they’ve produced tremendous results vis-a-vis the temporary numbers of people who, say, took part in the Occupy events here and there. But Occupy itself — its impact — must be questioned at this juncture. That questioning, of course, will involve a discussion about whether or not Occupy achieved/is in the process of achieving this or that. But that “discussion” is not really taking place in too many quarters outside of peripheral circles of concerned citizens. The bottom line, though, is that Occupy has not diminished our horrid momentum. In lay terms, things have gotten infinitely worse, and are continuing to do so day by day. And I would argue that anyone who disagrees with that is not paying close enough attention. [I can help anyone to pay "closer attention" by providing definitive documentation in support of my pov.]

That last point makes it unnecessary for me to list other categories of concerned citizens, I believe. For lyricists, speakers on the lecture circuit et alia all face the same challenge. And, if honest, must agree that the apathy, resignation, cynicism and atomization they’re met with are growing by leaps and bounds, deepening their hold on the general public. A dent is being made in the general ignorance which envelops us, but the enlightenment is not manifesting in macroscopic action in solidarity. Individual citizens are acknowledging this and that — a crucial success point to note — but the optimism which is often derived from that is not warranted; the degree of bright-siding which is generated as a result of minimal breakthroughs must be guarded against.

I am in agreement with the Metta Center for Nonviolence. With regard to the value of nonviolence. And respecting EVERYTHING they say on their site That said, their point about our “steadily awakening to the underlying truth of our existence” demands a comment. And the phenomenon begs for a supplement, something that will help things along… because we do face deadlines. We do not have the luxury of being able to rest with the pace of the positive progress which is taking place.

And on that note, I humbly and respectfully submit that there is a new way to help the public to self-educate and act positively in solidarity post haste. The “way” I am thinking of will not keep writers, educators, organizers, cinema people — anyone — from fighting the good fight as they are currently doing. Rather, it will supplement their efforts. And it will not require that they be distracted in any way from their present agenda, not drain their limited resources whatsoever.

Before I lay out what that “way” is, however, I must ask the reader to put aside the question of HOW my proposal could be realized, HOW it could be achieved. That’s another discussion. It will be easy to address that obligatory question, but it is not appropriate to address it here and now

Okay. Just keep in mind that their are MANY legit questions you will have, a lot of points to be leveled at a later time. Save them. Put them on the back burner for the moment.

Securing the gubernatorial office on a zero budget in 2014 California would set concerned citizens up for helping the general public to self-educate in unprecedented fashion. The Governor — with heart, head and soul in a healthy place — would be able to regularly, vigorously and creatively address the public (whilst having concerned citizens participate) to help one and all self-educate on an ongoing basis. And that could all take place on the Governor’s own media outlet, unedited by others. [Pause.] That has never been done in any state in history.

The punch line to the above is that such a governor would be able to also walk interested parties through the steps necessary to influence career politicians respecting issues which matter to them. [Pause.] That has never been done in history in any state either.

And if you think that what I’m saying wouldn’t make an historic difference at this juncture in short order, you should contact me ASAP at In fact, you should probably email me regardless… to get our necessary conversation started.

Afterword: I’m imagining helping certain non-profits spread the word as they are currently doing; assisting them, perhaps, in securing more attendance than they usually get for events, workshops, etc., whilst simultaneously moving in solidarity to actually end war and other abominations on a faster track.