Remorse? Apology?

For several years I’ve made a practice of listing 108 things I’m grateful for. This year (2017) I took a slightly different approach and wrote My White Privilege and an Apology for Thanksgiving.

It came out of something that had happened earlier in the week. Most Tuesdays members of the Sweetwater Zen Center practice something called “Council.” Since we were close to Thanksgiving the topic was gratitude.

Now part of Council is the idea that it’s more of a listening practice than anything else. We are urged to listen with our whole body and from the heart. When it’s our turn to talk it is suggested we also speak from the heart – in other words, say what is alive for us in the moment. For me this translates to not planning what I’m going to say while listening to you.

When it came to me I began with something pretty banal about gratitude, then heard myself begin to speak about my white privilege and how I wanted somehow to bring that knowledge into my annual list of 108 things I’m grateful for. I was rather stunned and as it turned out I was not alone.

When Thursday came, it took me a bit of dithering to really get started, and then it began to flow. And in fact the first six items were really an admission of gratitude for being white and learning about my white privileged. Then I went on with the usual.

It always feels risky

It always feels a bit risky to put something like that essay, and this one, out there in the world. Oh, my audience is small enough that I’m not likely to get in trouble, but you never know.

I did remove one link to a rather awful video that someone suggested was the real truth… not my real truth and it is my blog. Another emailed me privately and suggested I didn’t need to apologize and that might be talking down to others – I began a dialog. That comment also pointed out that I might need to clarify what I’m apologizing for or if apology is even the right word.

In fact, when I was talking about the post with my Master Mind group one woman asked if I meant apology or remorse.

Definitions

Dictionary.com defined apology as:

nounplural apologies.

1:  a written or spoken expression of one’s regret, remorse, or sorrow for having insulted, failed, injured, or wronged anotherHe demanded an apology from me for calling him a crook.

2. a defense, excuse, or justification in speech or writing, as for a cause or doctrine.
3. (initial capital letter, italicsa dialogue by Plato, centering on Socrates’ defense before the tribunal that condemned him to death.
 4. an inferior specimen or substitute; makeshift: The tramp wore a sad apology for a hat.

Remorse has fewer complications:

noun
1. deep and painful regret for wrongdoing; compunction.
2. Obsolete. pity; compassion.
I think I was talking about a “deep and painful regret…” but remorse is included in the definition of apology. Maybe apology has taken on a bit of what, talking down to? While I’m pretty sure on what I meant, I’m now not at all sure I used the right word – today I’d choose remorse. Who knows, maybe I’ll remember that next year.
Tell us in comments what you think.
With love, blessings and abundance to all of us,
Anne Wayman: When Grandmother Speaks

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A living wage is defined “as a wage that is high enough to maintain a normal standard of living.” I found that when I asked the google for a definition. When I asked about a guaranteed living wage I got: “…that all citizens or families have an income sufficient to live on, provided they meet certain conditions.”

I first heard of the concept in the early ’80s when I read Critical Path by R. Buckminster Fuller. He had a whole slew of wonderful ideas in that book, including how to use the power of the sun world around to make sure we had plenty of solar energy. San Diego company Geni (http://www.geni.org/index.html) describes this idea pretty well.

But Bucky questioned the whole idea of the need to earn a living. He said:

We must do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a living. We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because, according to Malthusian-Darwinian theory, he must justify his right to exist. So we have inspectors of inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors. The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living. “The New York Magazine Environmental Teach-In” by Elizabeth Barlow in New York Magazine (30 March 1970), p. 30

He said something similar in Critical Path I’m quite sure because I’ve never read The New York Magazine.

Income disparity, robots and the ‘net

We’re hearing more about the possibilities of a guaranteed living wage, I suspect, because we’re also hearing more about the growing income disparity not just in the U.S., but around the world. Plus we’re already seeing the impact of robots – and that will only grow.

In June of 2016 Switzerland voted against the idea of a guaranteed living wage. The New York Times indicated various reasons which, in my not very humble opinion, boiled down to fear of a massive change like this.

Scott Santens on Medium poses some truly scary questions about the whole notion of needing to earn a living. Scary or exciting, depending on your view. He’s not the only one to question the morality of forcing people to work for a living. I love his reasoning. He points out that working for ourselves is a truly hard, almost impossible option if there isn’t a living wage to back you up. I agree.

Bloomberg makes it clear that robots will certainly, no are certainly lowering the number of jobs. If there literally are no more jobs, or very few, what’s the morality of being forced to somehow earn a living by working for others? Would it even be possible? What might happen to the whole idea of work?

‘Experience worldwide indicates a pressing need for new and simpler methods of income distribution,’ says says Kalle Moene, director of ESOP – the Centre for the Study of Equality, Social Organization and Performance at the University of Oslo, and his Indian-American colleague, Debraj Ray, who is affiliated to the Centre. Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-03-economists-minimum-income.html#jCp

I hadn’t even thought of a paycheck being a way to redistribute money, but it certainly is! It may well be that governments could provide its citizens a ‘citizen’ income based on the gross national income (it’s not clear how environmental costs would be included in this number if at all) at a lower cost then the whole industry if you will of providing and maintaining jobs.

How might this work?

I have no clue how this would actually work. I do, however, have an intuitive sense that it could. As I recall, Bucky figured the planet, could afford to pay every person about $40,000 a year – no this is my memory and it’s not adjusted for inflation. After everyone got tired of buying tons of stuff, 10 percent of the folks would start thinking and would come up with the ideas that would support this.

Naive? You bet!

Stop, however, for a moment and let yourself dream a bit. Do we live in an abundant universe or not? Remember this? Bet you can guess my opinion.

What’s yours?

Love, blessings and planetary abundance,

Anne Wayman: When Grandmother Speaks

 

 

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