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You Have The Power And You Might Not Know It

You Have The Power And You Might Not Know It

The world, as we know it, is full of Power. 

 

Power can be divided into three types according to Quaker, peace activist and economist Kenneth Boulding

 

Coercive Power, also known as Threat Force, is based on fear and has the Power to destroy. This has massive limitations and can be very destructive. 

 

Exchange Power, based on barter, which is how the economy works, producing and exchanging goods, this depends on the changing distribution of property ownership. 

 

Integrative Power, which is based on respect and amplified by humility. Integrative Power is the basis of Non Violence as Gandhi taught it.

Integrative Power can be articulated as “I will take positive action to represent the truth as I see it, and I have faith that in the process, we will draw closer in our relationship.” Bringing people together in a mutually beneficial way is Power. 

According to these concepts, all forms have positive and negative attributes. As Boulder says you cannot pay a tree to fall, you must destroy it. A surgeon must destroy a tumour; this too is a form of Power. 

 

Integrative Power calls on each person to follow what they believe is the truth, maintaining an open mind, trusting this interaction will produce a result that is mutually respectful of all parties’ human needs and dignity. Boulder maintains this is the hardest form of Power to define yet is the most significant. Sounds ideal. So how might this serve the human species? 

 

Abraham Maslow, psychologist, theorist and creator of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs states;

 

“Once our survival is ensured our next most pressing agenda as human beings is to belong, to love and be respected”  

 

 Mary E. Clark points out in her book In Search of Human Nature.

 

“The most fundamental aspect of our biological origins is our social nature. Human beings require more than simple familiarity in order to feel ‘comfortable’ with one another and accepted in a deeply meaningful social group. They require a sense of shared social goals…”

Our need for belonging thus cannot be satisfied simply by being in the presence of other people. We must share past experiences and have collective visions of the future. Our relationship must have continuity over time and depth of connectedness. On this basis, we build a shared social fabric. 

 

Wow, social media is more than face value right? It serves a biological need. 

 

So social storytelling, sharing, mutual experiences and integrative Power can be said to be essential elements to our feeling of meaning and quality of life. You can take the fancy car, the big bank account, but if you lack these essentials, life can feel dreary and unfulfilling. Likewise, you may be of the most humble material means, but if you have these essentials, your life is full and rich with meaning. Ashrams can be an example of this or tight-knit family groups. 

 

Boulding’s book available here

JAX Tyres for Ponderings

People rebel when they feel they are not being included, but being coerced into action. You may have seen some of this play out on social media lately. When economic Power is out of balance, it can play a destructive role in basic human rights. Another insight we have seen manifest into reality in many lives across the globe. 

 

It is more important than ever we give our attention to scaffolding integrative power along with social interactions. 

 

In-person interaction is complicated right now; our socialisation is at risk right now with COVID19. 

 

Online interaction may be more important than ever, and technology truly is our friend for connectivity.  

 

Our need to connect is biological and fundamental to our evolution, humanity is beautiful, and the preservation of joy within our species deserves our care. 

 

 

Resources:

 https://mettacenter.org/definitions/gloss-concepts/exchange-power/

https://www.jstor.org/stable/26162872?seq=1

https://www.beyondintractability.org/bksum/boulding-three

https://iprafoundation.org/kenneth-boulding/

Written by Kirsten Macdonald

Narnia, A Faraway Tree with a smidge of a Doc called Suess, and some Kahlil Gibran is the word charm that grew seeds in Kirsten Macdonald's imagination. She has an innate curiosity about the stories of "us" and a deep faith that is strongly supported by a dark sense of humour. Ask this wordsmith about anthropology, ancient religions, the curious nature of humanity and the incredible cuteness of sloths and you will have a conversation for hours. Writer, editor and researcher, Kirsten has developed Ponderings into a space that is now shared by a team and a shared vision that is infectiously positive and forged in good stuff.

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The Wisdom Of Seth

The Wisdom Of Seth

One of my heroes is Seth Godin, an American author, entrepreneur, marketer, and public speaker.

Seth’s idealogy in business speaks volumes on integrity and smart ideas. He has published over 19 best-selling books. One of my all-time favourites is Purple Cow: Transform Your Business By Being Remarkable. 

It goes a little like this: 

“You’re either a Purple Cow or you’re not. You’re either remarkable or invisible. Make your choice. The old checklist of P’s used by marketers – Pricing, Promotion, Publicity – aren’t working anymore. The golden age of advertising is over. It’s time to add a new P – the Purple Cow.”  

Intrigued? You should be! 

Seth’s Book available here

JAX Tyres for Ponderings

Seth has kept a blog every day for over a decade and has spent most of his life as a professional writer and believes books are a great way to dig deep into a concept. We couldn’t agree more. 

His podcast Akimbo is next level, and Seth doesn’t hold back when sharing information, a rarity in today’s hoard mentality. The Akimbo name means a bend in the river or the bend in an archer’s bow. For Godin, he says it has become a symbol for strength, a posture of possibility, the idea that when we stand tall, arms bent, looking right at it, we can make a difference. The podcast is about culture and how it can be changed to make a difference. Quite poignant in the world right now don’t you think? Not just in marketing and advertising! 

A keen philanthropist, Godin has helped hundreds of NFP’s reach fundraising goals and has raised many dollars for organizations like Charity Water.  

  Reuban’s Fall of Icarus Available here

Some wisdom from the maven of marketing; 

 

“I have never met someone who isn’t spiritual, if we define spiritual as somehow seeking humanity within themselves, somehow seeking a way to build something bigger than themselves.” (click for Link reference)

 

“Getting hooked on an endless scroll of media inputs is not the same as being informed. There’s long been a business model of urgent news (“man bites dog!”), but now it’s been leveraged, amplified and optimized to suck people in for hours at a time. And division is much easier to sell than progress.”  

Seth’s book available here

The Avocado Principles:

  1. If you wait until you really want an avocado, the market won’t have any ripe ones. You need to buy them in advance.
  2. If you eat an avocado that’s not quite ripe, you won’t enjoy it. AND, you won’t have a chance to enjoy it tomorrow, when it would have been perfect if you had only waited.
  3. If you live your life based on instant gratification and little planning, you’ll either never have a good avocado or you’ll pay more than you should to someone else who planned ahead.
  4. Buy more avocados than you think you need, because the hassles are always greater than the cost, so you might as well invest.
  5. And since you have so many, share them when they’re ripe. What goes around comes around.

All of these truths lead to the real insight, the metaphor that’s just waiting to be lived in all ways: If you get ahead of the cycle, waiting until the first one is ripe and then always replenishing before you need one, you can live an entire life eating ripe avocados. On the other hand, if impatience and poor planning gets you behind the cycle, you’ll be just as likely to waste every one you ever eat.

Plant your tree before you need the shade. – Seth’s Blog

His analogy he has given in TEDtalks- I quote:

My parable here is you’re driving down the road, and you see a cow, and you keep driving because you’ve seen cows before. Cows are invisible. Cows are boring. Who’s going to stop and pull over and say “Oh look, a cow.” Nobody. But if the cow was purple, you’d notice it for a while. I mean, if all cows were purple you’d get bored with those too. The thing that’s going to decide what gets talked about, what get’s done, what gets changed, what gets purchased what gets built us: is it remarkable? And remarkable is a really cool word because we think it means neat, but it also means making a remark about ( TED, 2007- Seth Godin)

This is the beauty of Seth Godin; his algorithmic insight for business in the modern world. So much of his business and marketing knowledge is a direct segway into an almost anthropological opus for living. 

Written by Kirsten Macdonald

Narnia, A Faraway Tree with a smidge of a Doc called Suess, and some Kahlil Gibran is the word charm that grew seeds in Kirsten Macdonald's imagination. She has an innate curiosity about the stories of "us" and a deep faith that is strongly supported by a dark sense of humour. Ask this wordsmith about anthropology, ancient religions, the curious nature of humanity and the incredible cuteness of sloths and you will have a conversation for hours. Writer, editor and researcher, Kirsten has developed Ponderings into a space that is now shared by a team and a shared vision that is infectiously positive and forged in good stuff.

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A Philosophical Nibble on the Soul-  Part One

A Philosophical Nibble on the Soul- Part One

Written by Kirsten Macdonald

Philosophy is the investigation of the truths and principles of being. Making sense of the world and thinking about the why and how. 

 

For as long as we have gazed upon the stars, we have asked questions about our existence and searched for meaning. Philosophy can often be a complex mosaic of ideas from the founding greats, and what is one of the biggest bones to chew on? The soul. 

 

How does one simplify complex Philosophy regarding the soul? It can’t without seriously offending the ancestors of thought and contemplative intelligencia. But why don’t we ponder the great minds and strands of ideas they developed and devoured in bite sizes?  

 

Animation of cells is, in fact, life. But what of the matter in between and the ether from behind the old think tank? 

Maya Angelou print available here. 

One of the most influential philosophers after Plato and Aristotle was a fella by the name of Plotinus. Born in 205 AD, Plotinus lived in Egypt to a ripe inspired age of 64-65. 

His Platonic philosophy was the genesis of Neo-Platonism.

Plotinus benchmarked some of Plato’s philosophical ideas and developed some newbies. In a nutshell, his ponderings involved a complex spiritual cosmology involving three foundational elements: the One, the Intelligence, and the Soul. The beauty of Philosophy is the evolving nature of ideas through discussion, contemplation, debate and reflection. 

His writings regarding metaphysics influenced centuries of JewishChristianGnostic, and Islamic metaphysicians and mystics

An original thinker too, Plotto pondered that when these three gems were in productive unity, all existence emanates. It is from the productive unity of these three Beings that all existence emanates, according to the teacher and lecturer of 240’s CE.

 

His writings The Enneads were edited and compiled by his student Porphyry. Who also reported that Plotinus was indeed a mystic and had several mystical experiences with the One. 

The Essential Enneads available here

Anthony Kenny explains Plotinus theory best it best in ‘A New History of Western philosophy.’ 

 

“When the musician plucks the strings of the lyre, he says it is the strings, not the melody, that he acts on; but the strings would not be plucked unless the body called for it.” 

 

There is an all-knowing, supreme “THE ONE”. The One is beyond category or definition and is the sum of all beings. Then from the One emanates Nous, which is thought, Intelligence and that which contemplates The One. From Nous springs The Soul which consists of the WORLD soul, an upper overarching aspect between all things and remains in sync with Nous and the lower aspect which allows for nature and the individual human soul. 

We will leave you with Plotinus’ description about World Soul is quite beautiful. He compares The World Soul to a man standing up in the sea, with half his body in the water and half in the air. But he thought that we should really ask not how the soul is in body, but how the body is in the soul. Body floats in soul, as a net floats in the sea. This is again beautifully described in Kenny’s book

 

So what did Aristotle have to say about this? Check back for Part II – 

Written by Kirsten Macdonald

Narnia, A Faraway Tree with a smidge of a Doc called Suess, and some Kahlil Gibran is the word charm that grew seeds in Kirsten Macdonald's imagination. She has an innate curiosity about the stories of "us" and a deep faith that is strongly supported by a dark sense of humour. Ask this wordsmith about anthropology, ancient religions, the curious nature of humanity and the incredible cuteness of sloths and you will have a conversation for hours. Writer, editor and researcher, Kirsten has developed Ponderings into a space that is now shared by a team and a shared vision that is infectiously positive and forged in good stuff.

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Meet the Dungeon Master – Interview with Joshua Failla

Meet the Dungeon Master – Interview with Joshua Failla

By Renae Failla

He’s a Computer Science University Student, specialising in Artificial Intelligence, a Real Time Analyst, an avid reader, game player, ‘The Beast’ in the final year of his high school’s theatre play of Disney’s Beauty and The Beast and he is also my brother – Josh.

But more importantly and less talked about, he’s also a Dungeon Master in the game Dungeons and Dragons. 

 

Now from an outsider perspective looking in Josh recognises that to many “…all we are really doing is rolling dice and talking with funny accents,” but it is much more than that, it’s about creating a dialogue. 

 

As we sat at the family dinner table, Josh provided me with some insight about the game and all the effort that goes into being the ‘Dungeon Master’ – with Mum interjecting, reminding us that “Sometimes people prefer doing that than studying.” Our discussion, in an immensely condensed version, went a little like the below. 

 

JAX Tyres for Ponderings

It’s important to note my legend of Technical Terminology if your knowledge of the game stems from the little snippets that are shown in Stranger Things (referenced in the YouTube video above) – much like myself.

 

Technical Terminology:

Party – the group of people playing the game

DND – Dungeons and Dragons

DM – The Dungeon Master

Twitch – A streaming platform for gamers

Skeletal Dragon – a dragon who was killed and brought back to life

Paladin – The paladin is one of the character classes in most editions of the game

Wizards Of The Coast – Creators of the game

 

Why do you believe there has been a resurgence in the game and what do you attribute this to?

 

The resurgence of Dungeons and Dragons (DND) has been largely due to the increased media exposure that the game has had over the years. Since it’s advent in 1974 by Gary Gygax and Dan Arneson, the game has been featured in shows such as Freaks and Geeks, Community and more recently Stranger Things.

Each of these brings new eyes on the beloved game. Wizards Of The Coast, the current manufacturers of the game, have also reached out to the creators of these shows and manufactured modules (short playable stories) that work within their created worlds. 

 

Prominent members of pop culture have also come forth and publicly announced their love of the game, notable figures here include Joe Manganiello, Stephen Colbert and Vin Diesel. Compounding this was the creation of streamed DND in the form of visual streams on Twitch and YouTube as well as in purely podcast form.

This phenomenon was started by a group of nerdy-ass voice actors calling themselves Critical Role.

Comprised of 9 actors all recognisable from video game and anime series, the Dungeon Master (DM) Matt Mercer, is well known for voicing the character McCree in the Overwatch series. Since Critical Role these types of shows have been cropping up more and more, all fueling this resurgence.

 

What is Dungeons and Dragons? Can you tell us a simplified version of how the game works?

A simple version would be, the DM thinks of a story they would like to tell, this could be a pre-written official module from Wizards of the Coast, the likes of which include the Curse of Strahd, Hoard of the Dragon Queen and Storm King’s thunder or the DM could think of a story all on their own, with their own cities and characters. Once the story is decided, the group will get together and create characters. The Player’s Handbook explains the bounds in which characters can be created (races, classes and backgrounds). The characters will then play through the story, this could take weeks or in many cases span years of regular meetings to complete the story.

Give us an example of a scenario/event that has happened in one of your games?

There have been many moments over the years that have been notable, I think one that stands out was when I was playing a Dragonborn Paladin (Zylas) and the party was fighting a skeletal dragon. The dragon had an ability that causes those looking at it to become so frightened that they cannot move closer to it or look at it for too long. This means that much of the party was unable to effectively attack it. Zylas was not affected by this because as a paladin he could not be affected. He maintained the attention of the dragon and with the power of his god infused in his strikes to deal more damage he was able run up the back of the dragon and crush it to the ground nearly dying from the amount of damage that he took throughout the battle, he fell unconscious and was saved by his party’s artificer Cassandra.

Who invented the game?

Gary Gygax and Dan Arneson, it was first published by Tactical Studies Rules (TSR) and was originally 3 pamphlets, the combat was based on an older game from 1971 “Chainmail”. The game was revamped in 1989 with 2nd edition DND known as Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. Then Wizards Of The Coast (WoTC) bought TSR in 1997 and since then a few editions of the game have come out with the current edition (fifth edition) releasing in 2014.

What is the underground appeal and why did it become popular? What do you love most about the game?

I think the fact that the game is so free form with the DM being able to think up any scenario for the players, keeps the game fresh for existing players and intriguing for new players. The story can involve the party brawling with some ne’er-do-wells in a bar to doing the bidding of omnipotent gods. Also being able to attempt absolutely any action in any scenario makes the game diverse and branching. For example, if I was fighting a bear in a cave I could try to collapse the cave to get away, fight the bear head on or even try to tame the bear. These all might have varying levels of success and none of them can really be considered the “correct” option but all of them are viable.

If I wanted to start playing now how would I do this? Where can I find the rulebook and a party to play with?

 

There are a few ways you can try to find a party, there are online Facebook communities that are always starting new games both in person and online. Another method is to look on the Roll20 site who facilitate both playing and looking for groups. You could in theory play with someone from the other side of the world. If you aren’t able to find a group through one of these methods you could also get together a few friends and DM a game yourself, see how it feels, there is a free module that has been published by Wizards Of The Coast called Lost Mines of Phandelver. I’d recommend reading and running that module for a group and you will find your groove. 

 

There are many free resources that are available to new and existing players such as DND Beyond which is a site (by Wizards of the Coast) that allows a user to make a character using any of the standard races and classes with purchasable expansions should that be desired. Otherwise you could purchase the core books Player’s Handbook, Dungeon Master Guide and Monster Manual at Zing or any of your local gaming shops. If you are hard pressed to find them, they can be ordered online but if you can support your local shop then definitely start there.

 

To join the Dungeons and Dragons movement and to become a Dungeon Master like Josh, you can source your own party and use the Lost Mines of Phandelver as a starting point.

 

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From Hidden Talents to Global Empires – The Rise of Crafting During the COVID Crisis.

From Hidden Talents to Global Empires – The Rise of Crafting During the COVID Crisis.

By Cassidy Krygger

It wouldn’t come as a  surprise to you when I tell you that 2020 has been one of the craziest years in recent memory. 

But on the brighter side, this year has given us more than a Global Pandemic. It has gifted us the time to explore our more creative side in isolation. From baking sourdough bread to crocheting baby blankets and even making fabric face masks, people seem to be crafting now more than we have ever seen in the 21st century. Our hidden talents that have been buried under the weight of the modern world have been discovered in our solitude. And the benefits of it are plenty. 

Crafting and finding ways to be creative is one of the most beneficial and easiest ways to relax. 

From counting stitches, mixing colours and following patterns, our minds can quickly stop racing and start concentrating. The repetitive process of crafts such as knitting and crochet has been likened to relaxation techniques such as meditation. According to knitting therapist Betsan Corkhill when over 3,000 knitters were surveyed online, more than half responded that they feel ‘very happy’ after knitting and many of those that did it more often report a higher cognitive functioning. And crafting isn’t just good for your mental health, it can also benefit your bank balance as well.

Millions of people have lost their jobs throughout the world during the COVID-19 crisis, and many creatives are finding ways to put their hidden talents to good use. 

Traditional physical markets may be closed for the foreseeable future but online shops such as Facebook Marketplace, eBay and Etsy have become the perfect place to sell. And online business is booming. According to Etsy CEO Josh Silverman, Etsy sales grew by 100% in April 2020 and sellers from around the world sold over 12 million handmade face masks with sales from the masks alone totalling over USD $133 million. 

Etsy is  a female-dominated world with 86% of sellers on Etsy are women. Silverman told marketplace.org that on Etsy “One woman with a sewing machine from her home can create a global empire.”

So with millions of people around the world feeling the mental and monetary benefits of becoming professional crafters, will this trend continue once the pandemic ends? 

Or will the lure of modern busy-ness overtake us yet again? Only time will tell, but I for one hope it continues. Power to the woman who can take her imagination and turn it into an empire. 

References: 

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.4276/030802213×13603244419077

https://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/esty-ceo-on-coronavirus-shutdowns-everyone-just-wanted-one-thing-face-masks-115325541.html

https://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/esty-ceo-on-coronavirus-shutdowns-everyone-just-wanted-one-thing-face-masks-115325541.html

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Three Ingredient Scones

Three Ingredient Scones

Written by Kirsten Macdonald

 

This recipe has been in my family for a very long time, and I am probably going to get into strife for sharing it. Whenever one of us whips this out; those indulging will remark in wonder. Well, in the sake of goodwill and sharing here is our scones recipe with three ingredients. Super fluffy scones you can whip up quickly, and they are delicious. 

We even found a video for you to follow on Youtube, so scroll down to watch. Not such a secret, after all! 

I have included my favourite flour Lighthouse Flour from Freemantle Western Australia; they’ve been around since 1865, and I think they deserve an Australian made plug. 

Ingredients

2 x cups Lighthouse Cake, Sponge and Steamed Bun Self Raising Flour 

1/2 cup sparkling Mineral water, or lemonade (depending on your sugar preferences) 

1/2 cup full cream 

Tip for a bit extra I put in a scrape of vanilla bean. 

  • Mixing Bowl
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Preheated oven 180 degreed Celcius
  • Baking tray lined with baking paper. 

The Great Gatsby by Scott f Fitzgerald available here. 

Process

Sift your flour three times, from a cup to a bowl and back through to add loads of air to the flour. 

Make a well in the centre, and add each wet ingredient. Gently fold the mixture (the key is to mix, but not overwork the dough) 

Use some flour to dust a clean bench or cutting board. 

Place your dough on the board and gently mould into a long flat roll shape, about 1.4 to 2 inches thick. 

With a knife, cut into equal sections. Using your hand, mold each scone into a square-ish shape. 

Put a dollop of cream into a small mixing bowl or cup, add a teaspoon of water and stir. Now use a pastry brush to lightly coat each scone with this mix, to moisten the top. This will give them a beautiful light golden brown finish, 

Place on your lined tray into the preheated oven. Give them around 10 mins but keep an eye on them. A nice dry skewer will tell you they are ready; they should be nice and golden. 

Tip: I cook mine in a wood-fired pizza oven on Saturday nights, and they are next level 

15 minutes 

Makes 6 x scones

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