Social media seems to be heating up our pot

Last night, ten faces peered back at me from the glow of my computer screen—including my own. This was my first Google+ Hangout experience, and now nine strangers were gazing into my living room (and I into theirs) as we began a dialogue about educators experimenting with walking out and walking on. And who knows how many others peeked in, as lurkers were invited to watch the one-hour dialogue via live stream.

Ten years ago, I would not have invited nine people I had never met into my home at 9 PM on a Wednesday night. A year ago, I would not have “friended” someone I had never met in person. Day by day, my relationship to privacy, intimacy and social boundaries is slowly eroding. Much like the frog in boiling water, I am gradually adapting to the persistent incursions of social media into my daily life—and potentially destroying my brain in the process.

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The restoration of citizenship: Is Occupy our opportunity?

Last night, I attended a forum at MIT to reflect on the significance of the Occupy movement. Pete, one of the Boston Occupiers who coordinates the medical team, was sharing stories about the challenges of daily life in Dewey Square, which alongside activists and protesters, has attracted drug dealers, sex workers and the homeless. According to Pete, the Boston police have essentially handed Dewey Square over to the Occupiers, requiring that they police themselves.

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The criminalization of friendship: Have we gone so far?

I’m sitting in a café in Copenhagen thinking about friendship. I’m here because a dear friend of mine asked me to show up, and I said yes. It has been three years since my last visit, and during that time, her father passed away. So I’m here now despite being in the middle of a book tour that has me away from home through to Thanksgiving. Even so, this was a good decision.

I’ve been learning quite a bit about friendship lately. In the last few Walk Out Walk On workshops, the Intervention to Friendship distinction has been the most provocative and revelatory, and it’s got me wondering what it is that makes friendship—the dearest nourishment to our hearts and souls—so threatening to our professional lives.

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We are everywhere and we are one another.

This morning I woke up to this email from Sarah Whiteley, one of the stewards of Axladtisa-Avatakia, the learning community in Greece that I wrote about in Walk Out Walk On.

You might have heard… but two nights ago, Syntagma Square was stormed by the riot police—and now the tent village is not there. People were evicted and some arrested.

Yet, the People’s Council still gathered last night—and continued to rock the cradle of democracy.

Photo from roarmag.org

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Something is wrong with the global financial system. Duh.

“Something is wrong with the global financial system. International financial crises or near-crises have become regular events… The question is not whether there will be another crisis, but where it will be.”

—Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz, 2003

It couldn’t be better timing. I’m reading New Money for a New World, a forthcoming book by economist Bernard Lietaer and co-author Stefan Belgin that examines the systemic failures of our current money system. Meantime, U.S. politicians are offering up drama, paradox, contradiction and befuddlement as we tumble toward the prospect of defaulting on our nation’s debt.

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Walking Out isn’t about abandoning institutions. It’s about abandoning beliefs.

In my May 21st blog, I bemoaned the decision to shut down more than a dozen schools in the Boston public school system—most of which serve low-income neighborhoods. I wondered what “walking out” of this system might look like, and went as far as suggesting “…that might mean pulling our children out of the school system and turning to one another to create neighborhood learning spaces which replace schooling with discovery.”

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Doomsday comes and goes. How come we keep falling for it?

It’s Doomsday today… again. Bostonians must be a cynical lot—or at least uninspired by the Rapture—because the only sign I’ve seen of the impending end of the world is three vans careening along Charles St. with “Judgment Day” and so forth emblazoned on their exterior.

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What makes us believe that money is the best solution to our world’s challenges?

Last week, I received an intriguing email in response to Walk Out Walk On. A 28-year-old owner of a U.K.-based Internet marketing firm wrote this:

You have convinced me that my plan to amass wealth and give it to those in need is going to make things worse because it’s not ultimately sustainable. So as a wealthy westerner, what CAN I do to help?

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