Posts Tagged ‘community’

People Like to Talk…and News

1 May 2018
family reunion people talking

A few examples from the Pritchard Family Reunion of summer 1980…

For some reason it struck me last night as it never really had before: People like to talk!

What was missing?

Several weeks ago I was riding on a bus, and I saw a small placard inviting me to “help us design the new Dos Rios light rail station!” They were having a meeting on 10 April, and I managed to attend. It was rather fun (we got to talk!). But what I was more intent on was: What’s wrong with modern society in general and my life in particular, and how do I fix it?

people talking at a family reunion

I have this whole writing project I’ve engaged on (which I swear no one reads – don’t worry about hurt feelings; not like I didn’t expect it…) which envisions a future where a lot of the big picture questions are getting solved. It involves Scientology. It involves Permaculture. But it also involves something else. I don’t have a good word for it, and I wasn’t sure I really understood it. In Africa they have a word for it: ubuntu. In the West what this usually translates to is “community.”


Though the word technically derives from Latin for “common,” it just screams to be re-interpreted as “communicating in unity.”

I heard a lot about community at the transit station design workshop. In fact, I hear about this topic quite often regarding urban land use, and modern life in general. As far as I can tell, the whole concept starts with just giving people the opportunity to sit down together and talk.

I watch a lot of videos. Now my most favorite videos are the ones on Scientology TV. But why do I like these videos? Why do I keep downloading them or watching them on the internet? …Because they mostly consist of people talking. On the internet it’s usually called an “interview.” And in a lot of the new Scientology videos I’m watching, the people are also in an interview situation, but the questions from behind the camera are edited out. I recently saw a great one about an artist who makes chandeliers. Modern chandeliers; quite dazzling works of art, but also useful. And this man was just so animated in telling about how he came to this work, and what the work is like for him; it was delightful to watch him talk.

And yesterday I realized that’s what’s missing. Now, I’m not too unhappy because I find these videos and watch them. I even sit around sometimes and talk with the people I live with! When I’m traveling I often talk to fellow travelers. And when I go to these design meetings I also get a chance to talk. But I still don’t feel like I’m sufficiently in communication. After all, I’ve learned a lot about life and now I want to talk about it.

How must it be for other people? Even if they saw the placard in the bus and were interested, the meeting was scheduled on a Tuesday afternoon; most people work – they can’t make it to a meeting scheduled in the middle of the day. I love to go to such meetings, because I don’t like to travel alone at night. But what other chances are most people getting to sit around and talk?

Do they do this in schools? I don’t know. They didn’t do it that much when I was going to school; probably the best class I had for that was art class. We sometimes had “discussions” in English class, but is that the same as just sitting around talking?

my relatives at a reunion in 1980

The big time to talk at school and at work was lunch time. And lots of people took advantage of that when I was going to school, and I imagine still do. Same when I was working in places that had lunch rooms or Mess Halls. I have also seen many images of people gathering together in urban parks in the evening (weather permitting), or in various indoor venues. Do people still do this?

Suburban life has cut off two or more generations from the “community meeting place” that was common in cities in earlier times. Some still find such places, while others try to substitute radio or TV shows, or now internet activities. But I’ll tell you, downloading interviews and watching Scientology TV wouldn’t be nearly as fun for me if I weren’t forced to do it at my local Starbucks, where I can find enough connection bandwidth to stream larger files. In my recent travels I have visited several coffee shops, not in search of coffee (which I don’t drink) but in search of an internet connection. But I also found a relaxed environment where people can sit and talk. Imagine that!

Now when I see someone, particularly someone younger, staring into their mobile device, I understand it this way: They are looking for someone to talk with.

And when I write on this blog or my other ones, I am doing much the same thing. I actually communicate with a few other people who have blogs. They write back, either on email or in the comments. It’s fun.

Making time to talk

But in too many environments, interactions like this just don’t seem to happen much. Some bus or train stops have no benches, or the benches don’t face each other, or they are out in the sun or the wind or the rain, so no one will use them. At work, of course, people are busy. They don’t have time to talk, except about work. Well, that’s OK, people have to work. But do you realize that futurists once predicted that technology advances in the workplace would give us all more free time (shorter work days) while still earning a good living? I think that could still happen. But obviously, there’s someone out there who doesn’t want people to get into better communication. We should realize that’s a situation, and just not agree with it. Communication is too important to be ignored when it needs to happen.

In other news…

girl reading Way To Happiness

This girl is also in communication. In this case, with the author of the book she is reading. Reading is a little one-sided, but it’s the best communication method most authors have been able to come up with.

I shot these photos last weekend at “Kid’s Day” in Rancho Cordova. I’m glad I went and volunteered at one of our booths. Lots of good relaxed communication took place. Some people were uptight about our anti-drug message. But all the kids liked it!

Earlier last week I volunteered at a Way To Happiness booth at “Jail Expo” in the Sacramento Convention Center. We met all sorts of interesting people, including a woman who had raised four foster kids. She really wanted to talk about her experience doing that. Well, she got her chance. My photo, however, is just a general scene from our booth.

I won’t try to cover current events, except to make the observation: Things would probably be going better if people would just sit down and talk. They should realize that there is someone out there that doesn’t want us to get to know each other better and make friends with each other. Well, we should just recognize that and go ahead and make friends anyway.


Happiness Happens

24 September 2012

The story of the 9 Nanas.*

happiness happens

Courtesy: Happiness-Happens.

Or how 9 women plotted to bring some happiness into their community.

I was reading the online newspaper Signs of the Times (SOTT) this weekend, and was presented with an article from the Huffington Post with this headline:

It Ain’t Over: The Business 9 Women Kept A Secret For Three Decades

It seems that one evening, over 30 years ago, nine women decided to pinch their pennies so they’d have a little money left over to continue a tradition one of their mothers had started years before: Sending homemade pound cakes to new widows anonymously to let them know that someone cared.

Since that time, their “conspiracy” has blossomed into a major activity in their area (around Memphis Tennessee) and has gained national recognition due to their decision to sell their cakes online to help raise money.

They still give all their gifts anonymously and on there own terms. But amid all the cynicism and fear that passes for “normal” modern life, what a refreshing story! There are MANY ways to make happiness happen. Try putting some attention on that purpose, and see what happens in your own life.

* Nana: Another word for “grandmother” in many areas of the United States.

Staff in Normal or Above

9 September 2012

Per Scientology organizing policy, “Staff in Normal or Above” (SNA) is the statistic, or product, of the police function (called “Inspections”) in a sane community.

In Scientology, “Normal” refers to a production statistic that is up-trending. Having a production statistic that is up-trending indicates that the staff (community) member is “in-ethics.” Ethics involves the intention to flourish and prosper. We also define sanity as, basically, the intention to flourish and prosper across all dynamics (self, family, group, species, life forms, universe, spirit, infinity). Insanity is the intention for all the dynamics to do worse, or die.

Sanity and insanity co-exist in any group or individual. Scientology has various ways of increasing the ratio of sanity to insanity. But even if it didn’t it would be worth some effort to try to do this, for that means survival.

Traditionally, what we think of as insanity is what most communities think of as criminality. And a community’s most visible defense against crime is its police force.

In a community organized along Scientology principles, the police function is performed by the Inspections Officer. This post is located in the Department of Inspections and Reports. This is the third department in what most traditional organizations would call “Human Resources.” As the third department, it is responsible for seeing that the ultimate product of the division is obtained. And this product is SNA.

The Inspections Officer does not just inspect. He writes reports. These reports are filed in files kept for each member of the community. This activity is seen as controversial by many. But realize this:

  1. Any individual has the right to inspect his file.
  2. It is illegal to file a report on someone without sending them a copy.
  3. Without some form of record-keeping, justice could not be served.

Fighting criminality is a real challenge

The ordinary strategy of the higher-level criminals is to infiltrate and pervert whatever police organization exists in the community. Thus, the police are under constant stress from criminality.

A sane community must dedicate itself to protecting its police from this stress.

Of course, if criminality is poorly understood, and if there is no technology available to improve conditions, then this can seem like a losing proposition. It should be attempted anyway.

But for about the past 50 years, criminality has been rather well understood, and technology to improve conditions has been available. So hopelessness in this subject is no longer warranted, and ineffectiveness in our anti-crime efforts should no longer be tolerated.

What SNA really means for a community

In a community, to be “on staff” means that an individual is willingly involved in that community, and that it is involved with him. This should really be an option for any individual. Currently, it is not. Though I am a citizen of the United States, a resident of the state of Washington, and I live in a neighborhood in Seattle, this does not automatically make me part of any organized community. I must actively seek out such communities, if I am interested in joining one, and then I must somehow get myself invited to join.

Currently, most organized communities in the US are private businesses, and they are organized for the sole purpose of providing products and services to their customers and a profit to their stock holders or owners. This does not exactly cover all the dynamics! So there is a weakness in this system.

There have been some attempts made, such as by the Mondragon Corporation in Spain, to apply democratic and socialist principles to this problem and turn the corporation into something closer to a real community. This effort has been somewhat successful there. However, human ignorance, tradition, and criminality in society has inhibited progress in this area.

What an individual gets by joining such a community is a post, a purpose, an assigned product, protection from criminality, and a chance to flourish and prosper. What such a community asks from its members is to learn to produce their products, keep honest records of production, and make a concerted effort to be SNA. When a large number of staff have their ethics in, the group becomes easy to live and work with, and thus attracts more good group members. The group members specifically assigned to the policing function assist the group by going around and seeing how things are going in every area. This helps management spot and handle trouble areas before they cause disasters. And that should result in an up-SNA.

What Police should look for

The Inspections Officer looks for “out-ethics indicators.” This means, signs of criminal influence. The most blatant out-ethics indicator is a down statistic. Another common one is a work area that is dirty, messy, poorly organized, with broken or poorly-maintained equipment.

The Officer may interrupt the person being inspected and speak to him or her about what has been observed. Or he may simply write a report. As mentioned, the person being inspected always gets a copy, and may challenge the report if it seems misleading or dishonest.

What these indicators can be evidence of is that a criminal has formed some sort of relationship with the person being inspected. Such a relationship commonly results in the targeted individual becoming distracted, misemotional, and making mistakes. These in themselves can be seen as little “crimes.” But if the police only target the same individual being targeted by the criminal, then things get worse, not better. It is the job of the police to locate the actual criminal causing the problem, and to put some healthy distance between that criminal and the community.

The targeted individual, meanwhile, is strengthened by training and processing to resist such attacks, and hopefully becomes more of a winner as a result.

In real communities, this can get pretty bad. Criminal pressure can lead to physical abuse, malnutrition, drug addictions, anti-social behavior, petty crime and worse. Where the causes of these behaviors are poorly understood, the perpetrators can be targeted by the police with no apparent improvement to conditions, or even worsening. This is inexcusable now, but still the norm.

The real criminals think they have this planet pretty well in the bag. They think they have successfully turned their own operatives in medicine, academia and government away from workable technologies, such as those developed by L. Ron Hubbard, and convinced them to fully accept criminal technologies, developed mostly by psychiatry and related interest groups.

All the news seems to confirm their confidence.

Yet Scientology, and other real anti-crime activities, continue to expand. Some police organizations, such as the federal police in Colombia, have begun to use bits of Hubbard’s technologies. Businesses around the world have been using the Scientology organizing model. Criminal reform programs continue to be active. And criminality in psychiatry continues to be exposed.

I used to be SNA. I’d like to be counted as such again some day. You?