101 Ways To Get Educated by YES! editors and advisors -Grow enough grain for one loaf of bread -- and make and eat the loaf -Answer ALL the questions of a 3 year old for a week -Spend a day alone in a wild place -Follow your trash to its final resting place -Collect food and blankets and spend a day giving them to homeless people taking the time to stop and talk about life -Help in the birth of a lamb, cow, or horse -Visit a slaughter house (try to withhold judgment) -Organize a rite of passage ceremony for an adolescent, someone at mid-life, or yourself -Switch genders for the day -Build a house (your own, or for Habitat for Humanity) -Ask a low rider how the lifters on their car work -Apprentice yourself to someone you've always wanted to learn from -Take a picture of you and all your stuff in front of the place where you live. Compare it to the pictures in Peter Menzel's Material World -Read the sacred texts of another tradition -Imagine your most delicious relationship and then go first -Work for a week on an assembly line -Spend a week without stepping in a car. Pay attention to how your town looks from a bike, bus, or sidewalk -Exchange tutoring with a teenager - math or bicycle repair in exchange for Web browsing, skate boarding, dance, or ?? -Go to someone else's church, synagogue, or place of worship -Go on a vision quest -Take a dance class from a different culture -Interview the oldest person you can find; record the conversation -Interview a child -Imagine a day in your life 15 years from now -Plant and care for a tree -Ask yourself, "What if everyone in the world behaved the way I am behaving?" -Get the names of the favorite books of your dentist, grocery store clerk, mother, co-worker, and your minister/rabbi/priest or spiritual guide. Read those books -Pretend to be someone else on the Internet -Trace your water supply back to its source - and follow it down the drainpipes to its destiny -Finger paint -Spend a day in a neighborhood where you've never been before - without carrying any money -Ask your friends, and your ex-friends, to anonymously send you a list of your five best and five worst character traits -Live for a day off your garden -Channel surf for an evening; ask yourself what about the programs is drawing people -Be quiet for 5 minutes per day; increase gradually to 20 -Ask a young person what's on his or her mind and heart, and listen (don't try to 'fix it') -Figure out when and on what part of your dwelling the sun's rays fall at different times of year (for extra credit: calculate the photovoltaic potential of your roof) -Take a year off -Read a foreign newspaper -Meditate on the life of your unborn grandchild -Talk to the janitor -Assume that everything is your responsibility, if not your fault -Examine a handful of compost or rich soil under a microscope -Go without food for three days -Watch a child being born -Write a creation myth -Visit an observatory, and look at the stars through a big telescope -Map the creeks, streams, and rivers in your watershed -Choose six jobs that interest you; find someone to interview for each and spend a day working alongside them -Watch a snail -Find out what percentage of the world's financial wealth is owned by the top 50 corporations, and how much by the 50 wealthiest people -Visit the emergency ward of a major hospital -Sleep outside under the stars -Discuss these questions with a friend : If the Universe is finite, what happens at its edge ? If it's infinite, how did it get there ? If the Universe started 15 billion years ago, what was there before it started? Does time go on forever ? -Visit a spiritual healer -Find out what the clerk at the grocery store is thinking about -Follow your electric wires to the source of the electricity -Learn to line dance -Spend two hours with a counsellor exploring your life -Pick three trees of different species and spend an hour meditating under each one -Go on a week-long solo journey by bus, bike, or foot to a place you've never been; listen to the people you meet -Learn how to build a wall -Fall in love -Take a bicycle to pieces and put it together again -Visit a Native American reservation and talk with the people you meet about their past and future -Learn how to give a good massage -Spend a day watching a state or provincial legislature at work -Calculate how much carbon dioxide your family is adding to the atmosphere each year -Ask a good friend to share the most important lessons he or she has learned about sex and how to make love -Perform menial or repetitive work at a job that lasts at least a week -Read primary sources on history, science, social science (that is, avoid the authors who are interpreting the work of others) -Carry all your trash around with you for a week. At the end of the week, weigh it all -Write an episode of one of the current top-rated sitcoms on commercial TV; explain the story line to a friend -Repair a damaged relationship -Start that band/garden/book/art movement you told yourself you'd always do -Throw the biggest party you can; try to get someone from every decade dancing -Ask your parents about their relationship -Refuse to do meaningless work for one week -Offer to help your child's teacher -Admit that you don't know and ask for help -Tell people how you are really doing -Go to a punk rock or hip-hop show -Sell your car and go to India -Seek out a friend of a different race & class -Ask people what they are planning to do about the year 2000 computer bug -Calculate the total miles traveled from the towns labeled on food cans in your pantry -Ask a kid about divorce -Teach yourself to play guitar -Go to the industrial section of town and see how much free stuff is available (go dumpster diving) -Make a movie about your neighborhood -Visit the nearest creek once a week for a month and notice changes along the banks, in the water flows, in the pools -Collect dumpling recipes from around the world; throw a dumpling party -Imagine yourself looking back on your life at 90 years of age: what are the highlights? Who has been most important? What do you wish you had done? Now go out and do those things, thank those people and live those highlights. YES! Earth Charter Curricular Module The Earth Charter is a declaration of fundamental principles for building a just, sustainable, and peaceful global society in the 21st century. It seeks to inspire in all people a sense of global interdependence and shared responsibility for the well-being of humanity and the larger living world. The Earth Charter's sixteen principles are organized into four categories: (I) Respect and Care for the Community of Life (II) Ecological Integrity (III) Social and Economic Justice (IV) Democracy, Nonviolence and Peace The YES! articles selected for the Earth Charter Module demonstrate the charter's principles through the stories of people—in the U.S. and around the globe—who are working on solutions to profound social and environmental challenges. In addition to the YES! article, the free PDF versions (below) include Questions for Students and Glossaries so students can demonstrate comprehension and critical thinking skills and make connections between the article's topic(s) and their lives. We've also created a Table of Articles and Principles PDF (76KB) for each YES! article in this module, listing the Earth Charter categories and principles most deeply reflected in the story. (I) Respect and Care for (III) Social and Economic the Community of Life Justice Wild, Abundant America The Apollo Project FREE TEACHER An Indian immigrant extoles Labor and environmental SUBSCRIPTION the beauty of the Arctic activists advocate an energy Free, one-year introductory National Wildlife Refuge. plan that protects both jobs subscription to YES!. Download article, questions, and the environment. glossary (PDF 15.84MB) Download article, questions, glossary (PDF 247KB) When Youth Lead Teens in a small town Tomato Days discover dangers that others Residents of rural Missouri denied and ignored. protect their farming Download article, questions, lifestyle and build the local "The YES! readings are glossary (PDF 560KB) economy by canning more valuable than text tomatoes in a church books because they are Tree People basement. life stories—they are Youth volunteers tear up a Download article, questions, real. They show that parking lot outside of L.A. glossary (PDF 2.56MB) one kid can make a and plant 8,000 trees. difference." Download article, questions, Seeds of Justice, Seeds of Terrell Rosetti, 9th grade, glossary (PDF 2.58MB) Hope Seattle, WA "The Seed Lady of Watts" gets youth cultivating fresh, (II) Ecological Integrity organic foods and new lives in neighborhoods better Taking Stock known for drug abuse, How are you contributing to violence, and poverty. global warming? Take the Download article, questions, test and become Kyoto cool. glossary (PDF 956KB) Download article, questions, Education Partners glossary (PDF 727KB) Going Forward Full Circle Learn about organizations The Suquamish Tribe nearly that serve and support Bringing Biodiesel from lost the ancient art of canoe educators. Colorado to Colombia carving, but native youth University students and a are bringing back the craft. community in Colombia Download article, questions, develop a new source of glossary (PDF 4.76MB) energy and local jobs. Download article, questions, YES! is an ad-free magazine glossary (PDF 905KB) (IV) Democracy, in print and online about Nonviolence and Peace people creating a more just, Energy at the Edge Poster sustainable, and peaceful (PDF 4.6MB) Story of the Earth Charter world. Educators inspire Imagine a world where we Thousands of citizens students using positive YES don't take resources that we worldwide were part of a stories about solutions to can't nurture and replace. democratic process to create social and environmental the Earth Charter--a unique challenges. Curitiba: The Story of A City declaration of global Citizen planners transform responsibility and Curitiba, Brazil into one of interdependency. the most sustainable and Download article, questions, livable cities in the world. glossary (PDF 1.18MB) Download article, questions, glossary (PDF 1.4MB) Redefining Peace African Nobel Peace Prize The Lake and the ‗Hood winner, Wangari Maathai, A desert lake captured the brings the planting of trees, hearts of East L.A. youth the empowerment of who worked with business women, and the need for folks and environmentalists democracy to the center of to save it. local and global discussions Download article, questions, of peace. glossary (PDF 1.47MB) Download article, questions, glossary (PDF 4.6MB) ADDITIONAL RESOURCES Learn more about the Earth Charter and get involved with affiliated organizations and initiatives: www.earthcharter.org The Earth Charter USA Communities Initiatives (ECCommunities) is the facilitator for grassroots efforts to implement the vision and principles of the Earth Charter in local communities. www.eccommunities.org YES! Earth Charter Resource Guide Learn about organizations that can help you and your students shape a more sustainable future. YES! Earth Charter Page That Counts (72 KB) YES! magazine Board Chair David Korten says the Earth Charter's principles offer a new model for human civilization: "From Empire to Earth Community". Earth Democracy—a YES! interview with renowned physicist, farmer, and environmental activist, Vandana Shiva. Resurrecting Democracy through global governance and civil society—a YES! interview with Ernst Ulrich von Weizsaecker Beyond Ecophobia David Sobel advocates engaging youth in the beauty and thrill of nature, not just sharing tales of eco- destruction. 5-12th grade Teachers: Click below for a lesson planning framework with a sample lesson, and a planning guide, both intended to help you use YES! articles in class: Into-Through-Beyond YES! Lesson Plan Guide YES! Earth Charter Curricular Module Table of Articles and Principles PDF (76KB) Lists the YES! articles in the module with the corresponding Earth Charter categories and principles. Environmental & Ecological Organizations: The Center for Ecoliteracy is dedicated to education for sustainable living. The Bioneers annual conference is a prime gathering of leading scientific and social innovators -- young and old -- who have demonstrated visionary and practical models for restoring the Earth and communities. Action For Nature encourages young people to take personal action to better their environment, and to foster love and respect for nature, and sponsors the Action For Nature International Young Eco- Heroes Awards Program. The Edible Schoolyard has been recognized around the world for its organic garden, landscape, and kitchen, which are grounded in ecological principles and wholly integrated into the school's curriculum. YES! Online: Education Connection Into-Through-Beyond: a lesson-planning framework for using YES! in the classroom by Kim Corrigan and Bob Davies One of the goals of our YES! for YOUTH education program is to help educators make the content in our magazine more accessible to their students. We reach students mainly by connecting with teachers across a wide variety of academic disciplines and at many grade levels. Since we cannot adapt each issue to fit particular fields of study or prepare separate versions for age appropriateness, we rely on teachers to modify the material for use in the K-12 classroom. In an effort to support teachers in the task of adapting our material we are providing a brief outline of well-known planning technique that can help teachers make YES! content more meaningful, applicable and interesting to their students. Along with sharing the technique we will also provide an example of using it with a YES! article, and then offer some specific guidelines for effective curriculum planning. Teachers: One way to help you adapt YES! content is to organize your teaching of the article's content using a framework. This framework is a structure that asks students to go INTO, THROUGH, and then BEYOND the material. This structure has proven to be a helpful planning template for many teachers as it can accommodate a variety of learning styles and student ability levels. First we‘ll define the meaning of each component of the framework and then we‘ll provide an example of the framework in action with a particular YES! article. INTO, THROUGH, and BEYOND: A Framework to Develop Lessons with Content-Based Material. INTO Before introducing the new material it can be helpful to get students prepared to receive the new material – to get INTO the subject matter. Preparing students before the new material is introduced can increase their interest and motivation to learn, and create a positive and receptive atmosphere. Getting students INTO the new material can also be thought of as setting the stage for the learning experience, and it can be achieved in many ways. Decide what preparation is necessary for students to experience the work in a meaningful way. Do you need to build vocabulary? Should you stimulate curiosity or empathy? Is there some background information you can give about the ideas or people in the reading? Should you talk through the article in advance and overview or highlight key concepts? Can you relate material from previous assignments to the new material? Decide if additional presentation methods might create interest in the material. Pictures or video? Storytelling? Recordings or music? A field trip or excursion? Most of the activities in the INTO component of the framework are designed to draw upon the personal experiences of your students that are related to concepts in the article. Through this personal connection, the article can become more meaningful thereby increasing the likelihood that students will be more engaged and internalize more of the ideas from the reading. THROUGH: After you‘ve set the stage for the new material and the students are INTO it and prepared, your effort can be directed to helping them THROUGH the material. Getting students THROUGH it means helping them comprehend and explore the terms/comcepts and/or issues raised in the reading or discussion of the new material. Decide how you will help your students experience and interpret the material. A variety of means might be used to reach your students. Reading response logs (to record reactions to characters or events) Relate story/text to personal experiences Record questions to discuss with the group (individual or groups/teams can create questions) Record examples of special or pleasing uses of language, imagery, or character/story development Dramatization Visualization Illustrations Discussion BEYOND Many assignments are finished when the reading is completed or the discussion of the new material ends. However, this can be a missed opportunity to expand and deepen your students (and your own) learning experience. Getting your students to go BEYOND the new material can be enriching, empowering and can lead to new insights and learning opportunities. Decide how you can help your students share and clarify their thinking, or deepen their understanding of the material they‘ve comprehended. Can they share any new insights or thoughts they‘ve had about the material? (indivual or group/team) What activities can you (and your students) design to apply and extend their comprehension? Can students work in groups or teams to think beyond the material, and take further actions? (any applications for new knowledge in the class environment, and/or in the school or community?) Are there extra credit opportunities to offer as enrichment that can meet individual interests or needs? AN EXAMPLE OF USING INTO, THROUGH, and BEYOND with a YES! article: Using the framework with "When Youth Lead" by Elise Miller & Jon Sharpe. INTO the article: prepare students for the reading and increased comprehension of the article. Generate a discussion by having students discuss problems that they see in their community/school/state/nation that need to be resolved. Give thinking time for students to work alone or in groups to brainstorm ideas. Model one or two ideas as a catalyst. On a board/chart/transparency cluster ideas, including your own, around the term ―Problems.‖ Ask for clarification when needed. Keep the ideas posted and/or have students take notes. At the end of the discussion indicate that the article they are about to read of Washington State students who became successfully involved in solving problems that touched their lives. Put the following vocabulary words/phrases on sentence strips. Then have students work in groups to ―translate‖ or explain their understanding of what they mean. Indicate that these are terms that are found in the article that will be read. Challenge students to see if their understandings are connected to the way they are used in the reading. Students will record their ideas on a chart, present them to the class, and then post them around the room. These charts may be used as a part of a THROUGH activity to increase comprehension of the reading. ―toxic waste‖ ―real data‖ ―chemical leak‖ ―community understanding‖ ―ask tough questions‖ ―take action‖ ―social movements‖ ―urban areas‖ ―health hazards‖ Another approach to the above activity is to use longer sections from the article and have students follow a similar procedure. This approach gives students an overview of the article, fixing a pattern in their minds before they begin reading. Such an approach can lead to greater comprehension for a wider range of students. ―Teens are uncovering the connections between health and the environment, discovering science as part of their lives, and taking action for their communities health.‖ ―The mayor uncovered a shocking story about fertilizer companies adulterating their products with toxic waste as a way of cheaply disposing of it.‖ ―Panelists queried the students about their work, pushing the students to engage in critical thinking.‖ ―One student went to city hall to check correspondence between agencies and learn about the public process that led to a scheduled clean up.‖ ―At first students refused to believe that school could be in session if the contamination were so bad.‖ ―Young people are frequently at the core of social movements that change minds and hearts, and a growing coalition of organizations is now supporting teen environmental health work.‖ THROUGH the article: The activities suggested are designed to reach a range of learning styles. Break the class into three large groups. On the board write the terms ―Problem/Situation,‖ ―Solution/Action,‖ and ―Outcomes/Results.‖ Assign each group to take notes on one particular section. All students will read the entire article but take notes on only one section. The groups will meet separately to prepare a report on their findings to the class. They will select a recorder to compile their findings and a reporter(s) to speak to the class. The recorder will write the notes on the board/chart/transparency so the class can read and hear the report. Refer back to the INTO activities to see what connections were made in their pre-reading discussions. For example: ―Did the definitions they gave relate to their use in the article?‖ ―Did the problems these students faced compare with those clustered before the reading?‖ Have students circle, or list, those words/concepts which are confusing and need more discussion or examples. Create a word list that can be used on a word wall in the room, or kept in individual student vocabulary notebooks. Have students make lists of examples of the following terms that they have found in their own lives or communities: -- toxic wastes -- energized students -- public processes -- critical thinking -- environmental issues -- deep community understanding -- teen symposium -- asking tough questions BEYOND the article: Depending on time available, have students engage in individual or group activities which focus on their interests or choices. Using problems listed in the INTO activity, have students engage in problem solution approach similar to that discussed in the article. Have students present panel discussions which analyze issues facing them at school or in the community. They might describe the problem, possible solutions proposed/taken, and results of the action. Creatively present a problem facing young people today that needs action. Creative forms might be drawing, drama, poetry, or music. Have students engage in research designed to develop a bibliography; list tough questions that need to be asked; or analyze steps taken by a group to solve a social or environmental problem. Read "When Youth Lead " by Elise Miller & Jon Sharpe. ©2004-05 YES! is published by the Positive Futures Network, PO Box 10818, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110-0818, USA Phone: 206/842-0216 Can Love Save the World? Through My Enemy's Eyes by Troy Chapman Sentenced to die in prison 16 years ago, I set out on a path to find and live within the truth. Having just turned 21, I had spent the past nine years on an insane roller coaster of addiction, violence, and despair. The death of another human being in a bar fight and m sentence of 60–90 years were the tragic and too predictable end of the road I‘d been traveling. In passing this sentence the judge said ―There‘s no hope that you can ever be rehabilitated.‖ No hope. If he was right there was no point in going on, and I quite logically considered taking my own life. But in the end I determine that the judge could not be right and I would live. I don‘t mean I decided merely not to die, but to really be alive from that point on, t embrace life and find some meaning and truth I could live by and for. That was the beginning of a journey that would take me to a place I think of as the ―third side.‖ It began with me. I had to honestly confront and condemn what I‘d become, what I‘d done, and my whole perception of reality. I became obsessed with the question of what went wrong and how to set it right. Over the next few years I began to read—the Bible, Dostoyevsky, Gandhi, Camus, Dickens, Steinbeck—anything I could get my hands on. I took up meditation, began observing myself and others and writing down anything that seemed important. I was being pulled by the future but also pushed by the past. My crime, and later my sentence, stood at the center of all my examinations. Slowly I came to understand my need for redemption and true atonement. I realized that nothing could atone for what I‘d become better than simply turning away from it with my whole being, and this is what I did. I repented in action. I changed. This decision opened up a new turn in my search for truth. I began to look outward again, to re-examine the world around me, but now I looked from this new place within myself. It sounds as if these are two different pursuits—looking in and looking out—but really they‘re not. Understanding community and my role in it was simply the next step in my own healing. I wanted to know if the origins of my insanity were completely within myself or was I, at least in part, a product of a sick culture. Having confronted myself thoroughly I could now ask that question objectively, not looking for excuses or trying to diminish my own accountability, but simply and sincerely, looking for the truth. I looked at my fellow prisoners, the insane things they‘d done to get here. I looked at the prison itself, our ―solution‖ to violence, and saw it to be just more of the same thing it was designed to respond to. I looked at the growing insanity outside prison, the despair, rage, addiction, denial, lies, and deceit. And I knew that I couldn‘t maintain the integrity of my search without admitting that while something had definitely gone wrong in me something was also very wrong in our culture. To deny or overlook this would be like finding hundreds of three-eyed toads in a pond and never thinking to check the pond for its contribution to the phenomenon. The individuals who are going spiritually insane in drove in our culture are not coming out of a void. As I began to wake up I found myself concerned for these individuals and for us as a whole I was developing social consciousness, which soon turned into social activism. My activism was an extension of my spirituality. When I stood up for some cause, such as prisoners‘ rights, I felt it was an expression of morality. I ―fought the system‖ by writing grievances, filing things in court, and writing the media. When my jailers retaliated by tearing up my cell, destroying my work, or transferring me to another prison, it wasn‘t something I liked, but I considered it a mark of my success and evidence of why I was fighting. I was a warrior on the ―right‖ side of the matter. This view served me for a while, giving me a sense of moral order. But my continuing inward growth demanded a corresponding outward growth—a change in my view of the world. It started with the recognition that my activism wasn‘t very different from my earlier anger. In fact, my anger had crept back in, only now it was wrapped up in the sense that I was doing good and fighting evil. I hadn‘t gotten rid of my anger at all, only justified it. I still had enemies, was still locked in opposition to them, and I still wanted to win to destroy them. I‘d moved from seeking my enemies‘ physical destruction to seeking political, intellectual, social, and philosophic destruction, but it was still about enemies. My activism, like my previous thinking, was very dualistic. Over time this dualism gave way to my hunger for simple goodness. The catalyst for this change was nothing more noble than exhaustion. I was simply tired of being angry all the time, tired of waking up every morning to a battle. I needed some rest. This need led me away from easy moral certitude. I developed the ability to see things through the eyes of my enemies. I saw in them the same fear that had so long governed me. The same confusion, the same grasping for security, the same hunger for love. I saw their humanity, and this ruined me as a warrior. When a warrior begins to see the enemy as a human being, he begins to hesitate, to wonder if there‘s another way than war. He is no longer fit for battle and if he doesn‘t leave the field he will be taken from it by the very people he sympathizes with. But is this the end of activism? For a while I thought it was, for who can be an activist without decisively taking sides? How could I figh against prisons when I empathized with the jailers? I knew that if I‘d been in their circumstance I would probably have done the same thing. If things had been different and I‘d ended up being Joe Citizen instead of Joe Criminal, I would not have exhibited any more wisdom, foresight, or sense of the big picture than thes prison builders. I knew that in some sense, they were me. I had arrived at the third side. I had spent most of my life splitting the world up into two sides, then fighting to defend one against the other. It was a game in which there were strategies, a clear objective, a field of play, and an opponent. The game has rules and no matter which side we‘re on, we‘r bound by the rules. The poet Rumi pointed to something beyond this game when he said, ―Out beyond ideas of wrong-doing and right doing there is a field. I‘ll meet you there.‖ When I began to see myself in others—even in my enemies—I found myself heading for Rumi‘s field. Here the game is not a game. No one wins unless and until everyone wins. The line between victim and perpetrator no longer runs between ―I‖ and ―Other.‖ It now runs right through the center of my soul. I am both, as we are all both. What then is left to fight for? Where does an out-of-work activist go? Well ... God is hiring and God is on the third side. Not the prisoner‘s or the jailer‘s side. Not the pro-choice or the pro-life side. Not the Left or the Right. The third side is that little-represented side of healing. It‘s the side that cares as much about the enemy as the friend, that says love i the only justice, the only victory there is. It does not want anyone destroyed. It does not want to win if someone else must lose. It wants something much larger than winning and losing. But what‘s larger than winning? Especially when we‘re fighting for the ―right‖ cause? Well, I‘ve watched the game of winning and losin from both the inside and the outside. From inside each win seems like a step forward, but when we get outside the game we see that it‘s circular. People have been playing this game forever, yet good isn‘t any more pervasive in our world than it was a thousand years ago. ―Activists‖ back then certainly thought the ―big win‖ was just around the bend. They believed they were moving forward, just as we believe we‘re moving forward, just as a hamster inside a wire wheel believes he is moving forward. But where is the evidence? Do our Right/Left debates ever produce anything useful to humanity? Is it really the ―enemy‘s‖ fault that th world‘s in the shape it‘s in, or is it partly our fault? What‘s the motive behind our activism? Is it truly a love of goodness or do we engage in battle in order to distract ourselves from the hard work of love, from the bitter pill of looking at ourselves? Asking myself these questions I realized that enemies always serve a purpose. The war relationship is a symbiotic one in which the enemy on one side serves some need within the enemy on the other side, even while both protest this fact and claim they only fight because they have no choice. I realized I do have a choice. Indeed, the freedom to choose how to respond may be the only total freedom we have. The world outsid isn‘t within our control, but this freedom always is. One of the first times I exercised this control a man was trying to walk me off the sidewalk. This is common in prison as scared and angry young men try to show how tough they are. Having dealt with similar situations for years, I‘d always seen them in terms of two choices: back down or go on the offensive. This time another option suddenly occurred to me. I still remember the confusion in the man‘s eyes as I stepped off the sidewalk, touched his elbow, and said, ―How‘s it going?‖ I steppe aside, but I didn‘t back off. I engaged him, but on a different playing field. He was at a loss and simply mumbled some reply and kept walking. But I had told him in a language we both understood, ―I have no need of an enemy,‖ and I‘ve been telling the world that ever since. Whenever I catch myself thinking of someone as an enemy I ask, ―What in me am I trying to avoid or distract myself from?‖ Inevitabl I find my own impotence, my own frustrations, my insignificance, my sense that nothing I do will ever really matter. Ultimately I find my own mortality and the seeming futility of most human endeavor. I find my own self-absorption, my resistance to setting myself aside and truly caring about the other. Does this mean that I have no work to do but inner work? Not at all, but it does mean that I must face myself. Part of facing myself is responding to the injustice and destruction of our world. Why? Because it‘s mine, and that is really the essence of third side thinking. Denying ownership of the insanity ―out there‖ is the root of all violence. Dualistic activism isn‘t really a step away from this denial, onl a more sophisticated expression of it. To step to the third side we must truly own those aspects of our world that we hate most. Will war, violence, injustice, greed, and all the rest magically disappear if we own them and embrace this kind of activism? I can only say this: they will end in me. I will continue to step off the sidewalk, but I won‘t avert my eyes. Quite the contrary. I will confront you with a bigger vision of your own humanity. I will throw hope in the face of the enemy, and I will subvert anger with sanity and humor. I have no delusions that pie-in-the-sky ―love‖ will change our world. If I know anything from my years in prison, it‘s that evil is a real thing. However we explain it theologically or philosophically, there is behavior that is toxic to the planet and to other human beings an it must be dealt with. I‘m not talking about giving those who act out this behavior a hug then calling it good. That‘s old-style ―liberalism,‖ and it‘s been as destructive to our world as its now popular counterpart, so-called conservatism. These two represent a false choice between ineffective permissiveness and arrogant intolerance. We can and must move beyond such false choices to a place where love and justice not only balance one another, but are, in fact, one thing. A place where confrontation and good will—even good humor—sit together comfortably; where holding people accountable is considered a complement, not an opposite, to helping them. The only conflict between these many ―opposites‖ is within our own mind and that is where reconciliation must occur. With each inner reconciliation we create a new option, a third option where before there were only two, locked in eternal conflict. We create, then are able to stand, on the third side. Troy Chapman, a writer, artist, and songwriter, is currently incarcerated at Kinross Correction Facility in Michigan. He is also cofounde of “Inspirit” newsletter, PO Box 731, Narberth PA 19072. Email: Inspirit01@earthlink.net.
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