Interview with His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama and Mount Madonna School
I love this interview with the Dalai Lama conducted by high school students from Mt Madonna School in California. It’s very intimate and the questions prepared by the students are also mine. So I listened with great attention to His Holiness’ answers.
The Intelligence of Ravens and Crows
The extraordinary capacities of Ravens and Crows are visible in this collection of five videos. You will be amazed!
10 Fascinating Facts About Ravens
These ten aspects of raven behavior were mostly new to me–watch the video of a raven taught to speak like a human, saying ‘never more.’ (For more raven wonders, see my book How Does Raven Know? )
Alive Inside: A Story Of Music & Memory
This is one of the most moving films I’ve ever seen–people reawakened from the dark, lost depths of Alzheimers by hearing the music they loved in their earlier years. A moving, inspiring tribute to the human spirit. This is the trailer, but you can also watched the full movie on YouTube.
Ursula LeGuin: The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas
Ursula K. Le Guin who’s written many books of fiction, mainly science fiction that is truly magical, from a deep spirituality, accepts the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters at the 65th National Book Awards on November 19, 2014. .She identifies that the writer’s task is to withstand the pressures of corporate sales and marketing greed, and instead to bring their readers to a remembrance of freedom. “The name of our beautiful reward (as writers) is not profit. Its name is freedom.” Her work can be found here: www.ursulakleguin.com
Here’s a short quote from one of her books:
Ursula Le Guin, The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas.
It is from a collection of short stories entitled The Wind’s Twelve Quarters.
The people of Omelas know that their happiness is achieved at the expense of the immense suffering of a single child. This, they are told, is part of a greater plan and they should feel no guilt. The suffering of the child, which makes the perfect life in Omelas possible, is the “terrible justice of reality”.
There are some, however, who go to see the child and do not go home again. They keep on walking, out of the city of happiness, through the fields and away from Omelas.
View a video of Ursula Le Guin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Et9Nf-rsALk
I Will Be a Hummingbird
A 2 minute tale narrated by Wangari Maathai (winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for the Greenbelt Movement that planted 40 million trees in east Africa. (see my article about her, What is Our Role in Creating Change? (PDF)
A Late 20th Century Folk Tale
Possibly the most inspiring video here; watch it whenever you need a hearty dose of inspiration. The decades of work led by Rajendra Singh in Rajastan India to bring water back to villages using ancient ways, community spirit and sound ecology. Over 28 years, 7 entire river systems, previously dried up for 80 years, were revived. Over 10,000 Johads (small earthen dams) were built by the villagers at strategic places. Underground aquifers were recharged, rivers began to flow again and food supplies were secured helping those villages to become thriving communities again. Now the project is being replicated across India. This is a visually beautiful film as well; the story embodies Berkana’s approach to working with the wisdom, wealth and environment of local communities. (The work described here was not part of Berkana, just an outstanding example of our core approach.) There are several videos on this site; click on A Late 20th Century Folk Tale.
How Wolves Change Rivers
I know of no better example of how ecosystems work with their great chains of interdependencies. This video (a BBC production) explores the remarkable changes in Yellowstone National Park, including the return of streams, because of the reintroduction of wolves.
First Taste of Chocolate
This video is startling, as it brings into our awareness that the people who work in the cocoa bean fields in the Ivory Coast have never tasted chocolate. They are delighted by the experience; I was appalled that they had never tasted the fruits of their labors.
The Danger of a Single Story
Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice — and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding. I also heartily recommend her novel Americanah for the most perceptive, funny and direct exploration of what it means to be black in America (and life in current day Nigeria also).
We Need to Talk About TED
A brilliant and brave critique of how the form of TED talks is reducing important information to an entertaining presentation. Science, philosophy, technology, and descriptions of experience are now run on the model of American Idol, entertaining yes, descriptive of the complexities, no. What’s brave about this critique is that he presents it as a TED talk.
(I understand the irony of listing this video right below a recommended TED talk.)
The Collapse of Complex Societies
Dr. Joseph Tainter, Anthropologist, Sociologist. Dr. Tainter has done the seminal research on the pattern of collapse in complex civilizations. The pattern of their rise and fall is the same throughout human history independent of culture or place. I have the greatest respect for his scholarship and personally have found it a relief to see the pattern laid out so clearly. I have used Tainter’s work in my new book Who Do We Choose To Be?
Schooling the World
This movie accurately portrays how white colonialists, then and now, have used schooling to train children from various cultures to be like white people. It’s devastating but historically accurate; and still going on with Native American and Australian Aboriginal children. A phrase that was used is: “Kill the Indian. Save the Child.”
The Most Astounding Fact (Neil deGrasse Tyson)
Just to keep things in perspective. Astrophysicist Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson was asked by a reader of TIME magazine, “What is the most astounding fact you can share with us about the Universe?” This is his answer.
Learning Journey to Detroit
Enjoy these two excellent videos by Filiz Telek, which emerged from the October 2012 Detroit Learning Journey.
Warriors Without Weapons
This moving video is about “Warriors Without Weapons,” an initiative begun in Brazil that has now travelled to other countries. The Berkana Institute has partnered with its creators, and participated in the event filmed here. We continue to explore the places and people who would benefit from this playful, purposeful approach to creating physical changes in communities devastated by poverty and neglect. Go to http://walkoutwalkon.net/brazil/ for more info.