Metta’s Opinion

The New Abnormal: Reflections on Paris

paris policeWe are hearing expressions of shock and sympathy for Paris on all sides, which is appropriate as far as it goes – but it’s not nearly enough.

It is clear now that instead of lurching from crisis to crisis, we need to get off this disastrous path.

After expressing our condolences we should be saying, “Let us now pledge ourselves to get to the root of this problem” – and have the courage to follow that inquiry wherever it leads.


Defining Discipline Within Restorative Practices

Discipline has been defined in a variety of seemingly contrasting ways.

For example, discipline “is a repressive operation by which individuals are seasoned into productive labor” (Foucault, 1977). Moreover, it’s “a policy of coercions that act upon the body, a calculated manipulation of its elements, its gestures, its behavior…thus discipline produces subjected and practiced bodies, ‘docile’ bodies” (Foucault, 1977). (more…)

Peace Journalism

As a former media junkie, I often feel split between complaining about corporate media and cheerleading them on when they put their all into serving as watchdogs.

Here’s my latest schism between exasperation and celebration:

  • Exasperation: Why does the International New York Times co-organize the Oil & Money conference? What does this media corporation get out of that, and how can we trust its coverage of climate issues and wrongs committed by the fossil fuels industry?


The Power of Our True Selves: Newsletter

northern litesThe Values of Peace & Freedom

Living our truest values, individually and collectively, asks us to let go of systems and processes that interfere with our ability to create peace and freedom. To be who we truly are—to discover who we can really be—that’s what freedom is all about. May we all be free, may we all be peaceful.

Read the November 4, 2015 newsletter.

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I Exercise My Right NOT to Bear Arms

This blog is a response to Donald Trump’s position statement for second amendment rights.

Broken gun grayThe Second Amendment to the US Constitution is clear: the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed upon.

The US is the only country in the world to have a constitutional amendment meant to protect the right to bear arms. However, in the twenty-first century, with advances in technology and science, guns have more capability to harm and destroy lives than ever in the history of the world.

If the second amendment is America’s first right, I exercise my right NOT to bear arms. (more…)

A Few Brief Thoughts on Authority

peaceful consensus

Old Paradigm Authority says:

  • I have power over you, and you must do what I say. I am in control, and if you don’t obey my orders, I will punish you, by brute force if that’s what it takes for me to maintain power over you.
  • To keep order, we must control “the masses.” Our best tool on this front is fear—we should rule by mental intimidation, and when that doesn’t work, we will instill fear through physical violence. The more they fear us, the more they will acquiesce to our system; the more they fear outside threats, real or imagined, the more they will depend on us for a sense of physical safety and economic security.
  • Vote for me so I can take control, on behalf of our party.


Celebrating Gandhi in Charleston, WV

IMG_4987The India Center in Charleston, West Virginia celebrates Gandhi Jayanti, (Spinning Wheel Day, in honor of Gandhi’s birthday, October 2) each year by inviting a guest speaker to talk about a different theme relating to Gandhi and nonviolence. The celebration also includes dinner, interfaith prayers, songs by the children’s choir, and a poster and essay contest for school-aged youth.

I was really impressed with the entries and how much the children were taking Gandhi’s message to heart. To paraphrase Gandhi paraphrasing Maria Montessori, if we are to have peace, we must begin with the children, and these children give much hope in their early studies and appreciation of Gandhi’s life and legacy of nonviolence. (more…)

The Bartleby Project

In the end of his book, Weapons of Mass Instruction: A Schoolteacher’s Journey through the Dark World  of Compulsory Schooling,  John Taylor Gatto outlines his plan for a very simple project that could have a powerful impact on the future of public schooling. He suggests that everyone involved with schooling, from teachers to students to administrators, simply say “I would prefer not to,” when it comes to standardized testing.

rusty fountain penGatto calls this The Bartleby Project, and the title comes from the story “Bartleby the Scrivener,” by Herman Melville.  In the story, Bartleby, through his use of the simple phrase, “I would prefer not to,” elects not to work, not to have his own home, and eventually not to eat. This behavior confounds the other characters in the story, who expect and explain that Bartleby must and should conform to the expectations presented to him by society.  Gatto says we can all exercise our “Bartleby power” to say we prefer not to with standardized testing: “The simple exercise of free will, without any hysterics, denunciation, or bombast, throws consternation into the social machinery—free will contradicts the management principle.” (more…)