The Cepia Club Blog

The Cepia Club Blog: The Cepia Club believes individual awareness and activism can lead to a peaceful and prosperous world. This blog contains the pertinent literature, both creative and non-fiction, produced by the Cepiaclub Director and its associates.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Sub Terra Vita Chronicle #44: Questing for Normalcy: Allowing What Type of Change? How?

Sub Terra Vita
By Tim Krenz
April 17, 2016

Chronicle #44: Questing for Normalcy: Allowing What Type of Change? How?

Part 2. Based on the installment of “Sub Terra Vita,” “Part I: Allowing Change to Happen,” (The Sun, April 6, 2016), we can “examine how the changes through technology might come, and how people can evaluate it. . . .”

We must accept everything in our lives, even some beliefs, as temporary. Change has a constant equilibrium, however, between things that change fast—such as personal aging, economic cycles, modern technology, and cultural fads; and those things which change slowly—bureaucracies, the nature and type of work, physical geography, and the mind's capacity to apply knowledge to future opportunities. Even the form and shape of the St. Croix River, for example, has changed in its course through geological time. The river, like all natural things through erosion and entropy (look up the word: entropy), changes through the movable course of time. And regarding political, economic, social and cultural institutions, they all move at the same velocity of constant time, but always evolving forward. Science calls that process inertia. (Look up the word: Inertia).

When things change by forces of personality or willpower, history terms it a revolution. When that changes people's perceptions, philosophers call it a shift in paradigms (i.e. “worldview”). On the other hand, people can moderate and guide change. If peacefully done, leaders call it reform. When violently done, everyone will know it as war.

Considering all the above, how can the greater St. Croix Valley moderate and guide change here, in order to preserve the semblance of the normalcy of living, and at the same time enhance the quality of life as much as possible.

First, take it personally. Absorb the factors involved. Weigh them. Lead by the example. And as Ghandi said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” Second, the nature of work and economics, already moving, has to grow and mature to accommodate equity and balance. Work and economics though, both depend on the principle of risk and reward, the laws of supply and demand, the nature of diminishing returns, and the willingness to invest now for a return far later. Economics requires a policy of foresight and planning. Without those two attributes, it fails to help for the common benefit of all just as much as it fails for the individual.

Third, keep the connections between people based on real interaction. The DEVICE facilitates communication and mutual understanding. It can not replace the hard reality of living, nor should it create a phony relationship far away at the expense of nurturing ones nearby. Fourth, education determines destiny. Keep educating yourself, in any way. The nature and opportunities for education have changed and opened with the advance of technology. Yet, keep the process practical and the goal useful, not esoteric and frivolous. And whatever studied, help yourself and do the greatest good with it. All can benefit—a family and a community, if an individual succeeds.

Finally, nothing will ever come free. Materially speaking, to expect to get something so-called “free” means no less than someone else paying for it, often unjustly. Ethically, if people in the Valley and the community of Osceola want to see the types of change that will bring the area into its future, it has to pay for it, but the Valley WILL OWN IT, and no others. Like all choices in life, change involves a cost. But wisely planning it with foresight and resources, the benefits of investment accrue. (See Part 3 to follow in a future installment of “Sub Terra Vita”).

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Sub Terra Vita Chronicle #42: Questing for Normalcy—Allowing Change to Happen

Sub Terra Vita
By Tim Krenz
April 4, 2016

Chronicle #42: Questing for Normalcy—Allowing Change to Happen

Part I: The whole world sits at the threshold of some of the greatest and most difficult changes. The change does not mean the end of history. It does not mean the beginning of the end of humanity, nor hardly even “the end of the beginning,” to borrow a phrase from Winston Churchill. Our country as a true union of common purpose, and our community of Osceola itself, confront a new challenge of how to use the technology available now and that which will come soon.

The new tools in our hands already can transform before our vision the world we think we see, literally. It can define our future and destroy the urge of our worse instincts, and it should create better worlds by keeping the good character of faithful saints fulfilled.

The bad things, human greed and fear, we can surely dampen and limit to our overall benefit. We can also creatively absorb the advantages that the sciences have given and will provide for us. The best things, to love thy neighbor as thyself, and the strong individual character to find wiser solutions in the logic of practical reasoning, all could advance our ethical use of the tools at the fingertips.

The normalcy at present, and possibly about to fade, has inter-connected parts. The politics now uses more technology and statistical modeling than ever before in history. The very nature of labor and work, and the expectations of producers and consumers, change faster with the new technology than we have ever known. People's social times now use the non-described “DEVICE” as much as people used to wonder and think about people and things they did not know or did not understand. These changes, however, have not yet become permanent because culturally in how people identify themselves and relate to others remains normal to the core constructs of life in Osceola, Wisconsin.

A century ago, the great changes in the world more or less began in heavy doses and quick succession. World wars, national and ideological revolutions and de-evolutions, globalized finance and trade, and abundant energy, all came together to define the rest of the 20th Century. Even the educational revolution that arrived later, and the social evolutions of the late 1960s and 1970s merely added to the consistency of the century, instead of radically changing the permanent nature of the culture.

The cultural normalcy relates directly to life in the St. Croix Valley. First, bloodlines and ancestry and relations of non-traditional households describe how people refer to their family, still a predominate feature of the Valley. Second, work still uses some description of money to regulate the exchange of property, in an economy overwhelmingly carbon-fueled. In the Valley, this economic system goes back to farming and the business exchanges with the Twin Cities in Minnesota.

Third, people, rightly or wrongly and without judgment, still determine their social identities, social time, social associations, friendships, and even the choice of their spouse, based in a great part on their religious or philosophical beliefs, or lack thereof. In the valley, the various immigrant families and their established churches in each others' proximity have allowed a more diverse and tolerant community than other parts of the world, the country, or even in the state of Wisconsin.

Finally, almost every person lives somewhere near a community for companionship, work, supply, and entertainment. In the valley, the proximity connected many communities in such things as a competition between schools, in sports, arts and academics, etc.

The Valley has consistently maintained these cultural constructs over the past century. All I have described, even if in dispute, I consider absolute goods upon which to build a better world, here. In the next chronicle, I will examine how the changes through technology might come, and how people can evaluate it, and keep and refresh the new and better normalcy possible.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Sub Terra Vita Chronicle #41: Questing for Leadership—Learning Toward Community Leadership

Sub Terra Vita
By Tim Krenz
March 28, 2016

Chronicle #41: Questing for Leadership—Learning Toward Community Leadership

Leaders lead, by definition. And as the phrase goes, “Managers will do things the right way, but leaders have a way of doing the right thing.” Leaders do, and they do not do nothing when situations require decision and action. Leaders make all the difference, in most things, large and small. Nothing can work without a capital stock of sorts. True enough. Yet, much more than money to fund a private enterprise or a public agenda, successful action depends on leadership, to do it correctly, and for the right reasons.

By these terms, one can measure a function of “normalcy” dominant in American history, one that ensured the transaction of leadership in every period: That of ordinary people rising to great challenges in extraordinary times.

The country needs leadership, and requires everyone to assume it in their lives, at home, in the neighborhood, and in their community. This does not mean electing legislators or chief magistrates, like the president, a governor, or even a mayor or village president. Legislators, presidents, and governors sit too far from the village square to make any real difference. Local officials sit too close.

People do not necessarily elect leaders. Voters elect overseers of the public business, mere custodians of the public trusts and monies. All of these have their place, and importance to the system that both created them and the one that they uphold. What the country, and what communities like Osceola need, come from the informal leadership opportunities: Here, now, close, and very personable.

People choose leaders, and they choose to follow them. Between leaders and followers exists some “contract of understanding,” if not a formal and lawful obligation in some aspect of personal or commercial affairs. Instead of putting people into office or regulating the means and terms of their public service, our world all-around needs leaders in the informal, active, and positive role of helping others, and young adults especially, toward their own roles of leadership and living responsible lives. Individual actions can truly make a difference for the betterment of the world.

Better for who? For everyone , beginning with self, and carrying it forward to others. It arrives at the common denominator for good. Everyone working to improve things, or fix wrongs in their nearby-society, makes all things rise with the tide. This does imply a circular argument of sorts, but it works by the virtuous cycle of leadership empowering other leaders.

Without details, I have learned a lot about leadership, by doing and by a careful study of those who led. I offer the summation of these lessons.

Lesson #1: Take care of your people. By either the formal arrangement or the informal “contract of understanding,” leaders have responsibility for the roles they assume. Those who refuse to take care of the just needs of those who follow forfeit their right to leadership.

Lesson #2: Work with what you have, and do not worry about what you wish you had. Put your team on the field. Good things WILL happen with leadership and plain old hard work.

Lesson #3: Have clarity and focus; and communicate that up and down, so that the leader knows what he can expect and what others have expected of them. Keep that clarity and focus at all times, with everyone working together toward the goal.

Lesson #4: Empower others, to act for themselves independently and confidently, and toward the defined goal(s); give the initiative to others where appropriate; and empower someone's enthusiasm if a clear and reasonable action towards the desired goal.

In my varied experience, these leadership ideas work, and work very well. Take them as I offer them, for leading in the areas of life that demand ordinary people to do extraordinary things in the places they live. You might change the world, staring with yourself and those you lead.