Lessons from 9/11

New Yorkers have reason to be angry today. As do all of us here in the U.S. But 16 years later, a more thoughtful approach has arisen. Here are two New York voices I admire. I know there are many, many more.

My friend, designer Karen Simon, whose image graces this post:

Wishing you a peaceful and contemplative day.
Move through today with grace and love.
Share your heart with those around you.

And author Seth Godin:

It’s tempting to be oppositional. To see the different as the other. To dominate, to win, to move up as others move down (because in the zero sum game that we’ve built around us, that’s the only way).

But a networked world, one based on connection—one held together by the sheerest gossamer—can’t tolerate the tension and pain that bullying and dominance require.

An alternative is with-ness.

The practice of talking so we can be heard, and listening so we can understand.

We’re weaving something every single day, but entropy and fear leads to a raveling that can undo all of it.

I’ve been thinking about the power of helping vs. the power of fighting. Al Qaida’s currently working hard in Yemen (as AQAP) to fix broken sewer systems and otherwise help the local populace improve their lives. And not worrying much about imposing sharia law.

America used to do that as our hearts-and-minds tactic throughout the world. Now, we throw money at military “solutions” and isolate ourselves while threatening and bullying.

What do you think works better to calm an angry rebellion or undermine the power of a demagogue? Bombs? Or food, water, shelter and economic help?

The answer seems obvious to me.

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