Should the king in exile pretend he is happy there?
Should he not seek his own country?
His miseries are his ally; they urge him on. Let them grow, if need be. But do not forsake the secret of life; do not despise those kingly desires. We abandon the most important journey of our lives when we abandon desire. We leave our hearts by the side of the road and head off in the direction of fitting in, getting by, being productive, what have you. Whatever we might gain – money, position, the approval of others, or just absence of the discontent self – it’s not worth it.
So, let's come back to the simple question Jesus asks of us all: What do you want? Don't minimize it; don't try to make sure it sounds spiritual; don't worry about whether or not you can obtain it. Just stay with the question until you begin to get an answer. This is the way we keep current with our hearts.
Simone Weil was absolutely right- beauty and affliction are the only two things that can pierce our hearts. Because this is so true, we must have a measure of beauty in our lives proportionate to our affliction. No more. Much more. Is this not God's prescription for us? Just take a look around.
Something has gone wrong in us, very wrong indeed. So wrong that we have to be told that joy is found not in having another man’s wife, but in having our own. But the point is not the law; the point is the joy.
Several years ago, my wife and I came upon an advertisement in a travel magazine for an international exchange programme promising “the chance of a lifetime”. Not one to let such an intriguing opportunity pass me by, but a bit hesitant about taking such a leap into the unknown, I did some research and discovered that the programme involved something called house- swapping.
After much discussion, my family and I decided to, as they say, go for it. Consequently, we were soon jetting off for a holiday in the Peak District of England while our exchange partners were settling down for their vacation in our flat back home in Mt Vernon, Washington. The exchange was for a month and the time passed quickly. To end our time away on a high note, we decided to travel to Paris via the engineering marvel known as the Channel Tunnel.
Being on a fairly tight budget, we opted for a package deal which included round-trip tickets on the Eurostar passenger train, five nights in a three-star hotel in Paris, Metro passes and unlimited use of the Paris bus system. When the package still hadn’t arrived after a week, I began to think that perhaps our trip hadn’t been such a good idea after all. Maybe it was a sign that we shouldn’t go.
The tickets and vouchers eventually arrived and I scolded myself for having had such silly thoughts. On the day of departure, with plenty of time to spare, my two teenage children, my wife and I stood waiting eagerly on the platform at Waterloo Station. At exactly 7.57 am, we boarded our train and began our journey through the picturesque county of Kent. About an hour into our journey, an announcement, in both English and French, informed us that we were about to enter the Channel Tunnel.
The Eurostar adverts had boasted proudly about the engineering feat that was the ‘Chunnel’, and the convenience it offered to those travelling between England and the Continent. They had spoken highly of the “lack of rough seas” and to me, a person who gets seasick very easily, this was a major selling point. When all is said and done, however, I must admit that there were moments when I felt quite nervous about travelling 50 metres below the bottom of the English Channel.
Inside the tunnel itself, there really wasn’t much to grab my attention – no posters or other artwork, so I busied myself studying the occupants of our carriage. Some calmly read novels or newspapers; others quietly looked through business
reports and notes. I quickly realised, however, that most of my fellow passengers were like my family in that they looked excited and very happy to be enjoying such a novel travel experience.
Our underwater journey ended as quickly as it had begun. All of a sudden, we left the darkness of the tunnel behind and nosed out into the light of the pleasant French morning. The tracks being well-built, we quickly accelerated to 300 kph, the speed of a Boeing 747 at take-off. We arrived in Paris’ busy city centre a mere 180 minutes after leaving London. That journey, and indeed the whole time that we spent on the exchange programme, have given us all a yearning for new experiences, and many wonderful memories that we will cherish forever.
One of South America's most celebrated contemporary poets takes us on a fantastic voyage to mysterious lands and seas, into the psyche, and to the heart of the poem itself. Night Journey is the English-language debut of the work that won María Negroni an Argentine National Book Award. It is a book of dreams--dreams she renders with surreal beauty that recalls the work of her compatriot Alejandra Pizarnik, with the penetrating subtlety of Borges and Calvino.
In sixty-two tightly woven prose poems, Negroni deftly infuses haunting imagery with an ironic, personal spirituality. Effortlessly she navigates the nameless subject to the slopes of the Himalayas, to a bar in Buenos Aires, through war, from icy Scandinavian landscapes to the tropics, across seas, toward a cemetery in the wake of Napoleon's hearse, by train, by taxis headed in unrequested directions, past mirrors and birds, between life and death.
Night Journey reflects a mastery of a traditional form while brilliantly expressing a modern condition: the multicultural, multifaceted individual, ever in motion. Displacement abounds: a "medieval tabard" where a pelvis should be, a "lipless grin," a "beach severed from the ocean." In one poem "nomadic cities" whisk past. In another, smiling cockroaches loom in a visiting mother's eyes.
Anne Twitty, whose elegant translations are accompanied by the Spanish originals, remarks in her preface that the book's "indomitable literary intelligence" subdues an unspoken terror--helplessness. Yet, as observed by the angel Gabriel, the consoling voice of wisdom, only by accepting the journey for what it is can one discover its "hidden splendor," the "invisible center of the poem." As readers of this magnificent work will discover, this is a journey that, because its every fleeting image conjures a thousand words of fertile silence, can be savored again and again.
"One of my own newest designated dreamers is the Argentine poet Maria Negroni, whose debut volume in English, Night Journey. takes the wordless logic of dreams and turns it into her own precise, oracular music. This book is pervaded by the spooky sense of a woman traveling in many directions, most of them unrequested, jouneying through shadows and mirrors, navigating the mysteries by shuttling between life and death."--Edward Hirsch, The Washington Post
"Night Journey is a collection of prose poems, each recounting a dream sequence. Many of Negroni's dreams combine elements of surrealism and lyric narrative, which creates a matrix of symbols both archetypal and idiosyncratic through which the poet confronts generally nameless, yet recognizable, fears. It reminds me that when we read wonderful poetry it's as if we are privy to a delicious rumor, and we must pass it on."--Priscila Uppal, Toronto Globe and Mail
"Arising from this intricate collection is a message. The poet comes to learn that her quest is both multiple and unified; for her, the act of writing cannot be separated from loving, from remembering, from voyagin out."--John Taylor, The Antioch Review
"A mysterious configuration of presence and absence, Night Journey is an intricate symbolic mapping of identity. María Negroni has written a book in which each poem is an open window allowing us to observe the dangerous clash of unreality and reality. For as she writes: 'I began to name things, that is, to conceal them.' And so the reader enters the fascinating universe of a woman traveling amid and beyond fear, mirrors, and shadows. Night Journey. a book where existence is a daring language of dreams."--Nicole Brossard, author of Mauve Desert
Over and over again, we are fascinated by the star-studded firmament. When looking up at it from a dark spot on a clear night, over six thousand stars are visible to the naked eye. Throughout the centuries, this was our cosmos, our “outer space.” With every.Chapter One. The Dark Side of the Universe
Amazingly, the account of the creation of the universe from the first book of Genesis in the Bible, apart from a few important details, is not very different from that imagined by astrophysicists and cosmologists today. The Hebrew term “Tohuwabohu.Chapter Two. The Big Bang
Now that we have come to know the main actors of the universe—dark energy, dark matter, and baryons—we have enough information to approach the complex subject of the origin of the universe. As Edwin Hubble and his contemporaries.Chapter Three. Clearing Up
After the primordial nucleosynthesis, the universe consists mainly of protons and helium nuclei in a mass ratio of 77.7 to 22.3 percent, as well as the exact number of free electrons necessary to keep the fireball plasma electrically neutral. Dark.Chapter Four. The Cosmic Web of Galaxies
In the 1970s, the renowned Jim Peebles, one of the great theoretical astrophysicists of our time whom we already got to know in the context of cosmic microwave background radiation, tried to understand the formation of the large-scale structures.Chapter Five. Star Formation
Immediately after the decoupling of radiation and matter, the gas from the hydrogen and helium atoms reached a temperature of 3,000 K. From everywhere in the now transparent universe a hot, reddish-glowing wall of fire could be “seen” on the horizon.Chapter Six. Wanderers in the Sky
Until August 2006, our solar system had nine planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. You could remember their order quite easily using the mnemonic: “My Very Educated Mother Just Served.Chapter Seven. The Stellar Cemetery
Stars are giant balls of gas kept in equilibrium by their gravity, on one hand, and by their interior gas and radiation pressure, on the other. This pressure, produced by the star’s interior heat, is ultimately radiated away from its surface. In the nineteenth.Chapter Eight. Cosmic Monsters
Toward the end of the eighteenth century, two researchers considered the effect of gravity on light. According to Newton’s gravity laws, every object has a so-called escape velocity that must be exceeded in order to escape its gravity field. If you throw a stone.Chapter Nine. The Destiny of the Universe
So far, this book has confronted you with so many different size scales, both minute and huge, that I’m afraid you might be losing sight of the big picture. So before we turn our attention to even more inconceivable eternities, I want to slowly bring you.Chapter Ten. And What about God?
After I give a lecture, I am frequently asked: How does God figure in all of this? I used to talk my way out of the question by referring to Pope John Paul II, who, during the rehabilitation of Galileo Galilei in 1992, confirmed that “the error of the theologians.Appendix
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If it's not broken, don't fix it
Journey to Forever covers an interesting range of technologies. We'll be using the latest high-tech communications equipment, powerful computers, digital cameras and high-speed satellite communications units that come in chic little magic boxes stuffed to the brim with microscopic wizardry.
Yet they're tough and rugged, very well built, which is just as well because if they broke we sure wouldn't know how to fix them.
For the rest of the project, that's a prime consideration: can you fix it yourself? Better still: can you make it yourself? Important questions for us when we'll be spending so much time far from anywhere, and even more so for the villages we work in when our main aim is to help increase local self-reliance wherever possible, and decrease dependence on outside resources. So we tend towards low-tech solutions. Small is beautiful.
The project vehicles will be as low-tech as possible -- there won't be million-dollar workshops full of electronic equipment in most of the places we'll be visiting. The vehicles must be tough, capable, built to last, and fixable.
The core of the project is even lower-tech -- the ancient traditional farming methods still used by villagers in many remote areas.
These old farming systems are also tough, very capable and built to last, and they've withstood the test of time -- some, like China's, have fed growing populations for thousands of years without ruining either the soil or the environment, by following Nature's ways and obeying her rules.
Such farming systems can be highly productive, and they're sustainable -- they can last forever. According to Agenda 21, the action plan agreed at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, and many other authorities, these traditional methods and skills are a vital element in the environmental management of the future.
But the old ways are everywhere under threat by the modern world -- much accumulated wisdom and many skills are already lost.
Agenda 21 calls on governments to "foster traditional methods and knowledge of indigenous people and their communities" (Agenda 21, Section II, Chapter 15).
Related documents state: "Sustainable agriculture respects the ecological principles of diversity and interdependence and uses the insights of modern science to improve rather than displace the traditional wisdom accumulated over centuries by innumerable farmers around the world."
Other resolutions are to "recognize the value and encourage the use of traditional sustainable knowledge; encourage local capacity to develop appropriate technology adapted to local skills, needs and environment".
We don't aim to "modernize" old methods, merely to help strengthen them where needed, and whether by modern means or old, or a happy combination of both, along with old techniques borrowed from other traditional systems elsewhere, or new ones developed by appropriate technology groups, depends on what works best and what fits well, with the community and with the environment.
Local people will be involved at all stages -- they're the ones to decide what's good for them. (See Community development .)Fixing what's broken
The local context is all-important in environment and development work. Basically it is ecological work, and the one and only Law of Ecology applies: everything is connected to everything else.
This is why ready-made, pre-conceived, one-size-fits-all, "best" solutions designed somewhere else so seldom work well. They take little account of all the interconnections, which are different in each new context, and the resulting rash of unforeseen side-effects soon adds up to worse problems than the ones they set out to solve in the first place.
We'll have some powerful tools with us -- things like power saws can do a week's work in half a day. But should we use them? In the wrong context, they could be disruptive, even destructive. We'll also have hand saws, ancient tools like hoes, sickles, scythes -- and even the high efficiency of a scythe can be disruptive.
Learning the local context takes time -- time we won't have. We're planning to make dozens of stops along the route, stopping for a month at a time and more to work on small-scale development projects. But, to avoid the context trap, we'll always be working with and for local NGOs on their projects.
We'll rely on the NGOs for their vital local knowledge. We'll also have access to sound advice and information on a case-by-case basis from online collaborators worldwide, via the Internet.
Where practical, we'll always prefer low-tech solutions that rely on local skills and local resources, cutting down on imported inputs and keeping innovations to a necessary minimum.
Much of our work will be less sensitive, such as general repairs and maintenance to tools, walls and fences, paths, drains and ditches, livestock pens, housing, food storage. The repairman's always welcome!
We hope to gather long-term support for the NGOs we work with through media and other exposure as we record the journey and our projects (the team includes professional journalists). We'll link them with each other and put them in touch with international resources, and we'll maintain our links with them after we leave.
These are the areas we'll be focusing on:
Our route between stops will be more flexible, with many shorter stops and detours for investigation and reporting as we continue our environmental health check of the land and its people.
We'll also foster community-based projects in market towns and urban centres along the route, such as community gardens and urban farms, waste recycling and biofuels projects, establishing ongoing information-sharing networks between different centres. This will include both local schools and our schools network.References
China's farming system: See the classic "Farmers of Forty Centuries, or Permanent Agriculture in China, Korea and Japan", by Prof. F.H. King, Chief of the Soil Management Division, US Department of Agriculture, 1911, Dover Publications, 2004, 464 pages, photographs. King was a brilliant agricultural researcher and the record of his journey through China, Japan and Korea a hundred years ago makes fascinating reading, both for its agricultural history and as a travelogue. Read the complete book online at Cornell's Core Historical Literature of Agriculture library:
Buy the book at Amazon.com: Farmers of Forty Centuries
City farms. "Because of the pivotal role of women as food producers, investing in women farmers in cities is more likely to improve the nutrition and health of their families than investing in male farmers. Urban agriculture in the hands of women is a powerful tool to uplift women's social position as well as to improve their families' diets, incomes and food security" -- "City Women Farm for Food and Cash", International Ag-Sieve, Volume VI, No 2, 1993, Rodale Institute.
International Ag-Sieve -- all back issues:
"Leave the farmers alone " -- a review of "Indigenous Agricultural Revolution -- Ecology and Food Production in West Africa". by agricultural researcher Paul Richards (1985). Richards delivers a damning critique of agricultural scientists' research in developing countries as out of touch with the needs of the majority of farmers. He says the capabilities of the peasants themselves have been grossly underrated, showing them to be ecologically aware, with sound reasons behind most of their techniques, and much given to experiment and innovation. Richards details several cases where scientific studies have "re-invented" techniques already widespread among peasants. A thoughtful, practical and thorough approach to how development should be tackled if projects are not only to "work" but to provide satisfactory answers to the questions "who benefits?" and "at whose expense?". Buy the book at Amazon.com: Indigenous Agricultural Revolution
"Farmer First: Farmer innovation and agricultural research" edited by Robert Chambers, Arnold Pacey and Lori Ann Thrupp, 1989, 1998, Practical Action, ISBN 1853390070
This book argues that farmers in resource-poor areas are innovators and adaptors, and that agricultural research must take the farmers' own agendas and priorities into account. Robert Chambers is one of the champions of indigenous agricultural development and the people-oriented approach. The "Farmer First" movement was at first dismissed by mainstream development workers as "naive populism", but most of them have since had to change their tune about that. Buy at Amazon.com: Farmer First: Farmer innovation and agricultural research
"Two Ears of Corn: A Guide to People-Centered Agricultural Improvement". by Roland Bunch, 1982, 3rd edition 1997
Bunch makes a similar point to that of Paul Richards (above). He worked with World Neighbors, a small private voluntary agency cooperating with a wide variety of local, national, and international organizations to improve the productivity of small farmers. A combination of widely varying experience and in-depth feedback helped World Neighbors select and refine a set of techniques that greatly increased the impact of many of its programs: People-Centered Agricultural Improvement, the subject of this book. Now in its third edition, with its techniques taken up and being used all over the world. Download from the CD3WD 3rd World online library (30Mb pdf):
Buy at Amazon.com: Two Ears of Corn
"Recording and Using Indigenous Knowledge: A manual". International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR), 1996, ISBN 0-942717-70-8 -- Rural people have an intimate knowledge of many aspects of their surroundings and their daily lives. Over centuries, people have learned how to grow food and to survive in a sometimes difficult environment. They know what varieties of crops to plant, when to sow and weed, which plants are poisonous and which can be used for medicine, how to cure diseases and how to maintain their environment in a state of equilibrium. This "indigenous knowledge" -- "IK" for short -- is a valuable resource for development: it can be equal to or superior to the scientific know-how introduced by outsiders. This manual provides rural development workers with the information and tools they need to integrate IK into their development work. It focuses on IK in People-Centered Agricultural Development. Buy from the IIRR:
"Indigenous practises are sometimes not very spectacular. Despite their effectiveness, they can easily be overlooked.
"For example, a traditional irrigation system consisting of mud canals and bamboo pipes looks less impressive than an introduced system of neat, straight, and cemented canals. Nevertheless the local system can effectively distribute water to the fields. In the long run, it might even conserve water better than the cement canals. Research in Nepal has shown that farmer-managed irrigation systems based on indigenous knowledge resulted in higher agricultural productivity than systems built and managed by government agencies.
"IK is often overlooked because it seems 'messy' and so is not obvious to outsiders. For example, people in some places do not weed their plots in order to reduce soil erosion. An outsider might get the wrong idea and assume nobody is tending the fields." -- From "Recording and Using Indigenous Knowledge", IIRR
The Village Earth Model for Sustainable Village-Based Development: Poverty is a crushing weight for most of the rural poor as they search in vain for opportunities that continually elude their grasp. They live out their lives isolated from the resources which the rest of society enjoys. The Village Earth Model is designed to address global poverty. It is based on a synthesis of the best development practices pioneered and tested over the past 50 years. The model is founded on the premise that lack of access to resources is the primary obstacle to building a better life, and that poverty is the symptom rather than cause of the problem. It holds that villagers already possess the seeds of their own development. Unlike traditional methods, it employs a bottom-up approach to development. It listens rather than dictates. It provides access to resources rather than aid. Pilot projects are underway in India and Indonesia. More:
Download the Complete Village Earth Model (pdf, 128kb):
Database of best practices on indigenous knowledge established by the Netherlands Organization for International Cooperation in Higher Education / Indigenous Knowledge and UNESCO's Management of Social Transformations Programme (MOST)
© Copyright of all original material on this website is the property of Keith Addison, unless otherwise stated. It may not be copied or distributed without the explicit permission of the copyright holder. All material is provided "as is" without guarantees or warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied.
IT agility is about far more than adopting agile development practices. It requires a complete rethinking of your entire IT organization in order to help your company achieve the digital transformation needed to survive. That's the conclusion of a new report from The Hackett Group, which identifies four key steps to take as you begin your journey toward IT agility.
10 Strategic Tech Trends For 2017: Gartner
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)
What can your IT organization do to help your company achieve digital transformation? That's the focus of a report from management consulting firm The Hackett Group Four Imperatives for Creating IT Agility in a Digital Age. The report tackles the many challenges facing IT organizations in a business environment that's going through rapid digital disruption.
We're seeing the effects firsthand in our reporting. The company's Christian Meissner, head of global corporate and investment banking for Bank of America Merrill Lynch, hit the nail on the head last week in his opening presentation at the company's 2016 Technology Innovation Summit. "Technology has gone from being an important part of our business, to being absolutely core to what we are about."
Earlier this month, Gartner identified traditional, core IT systems as one of five areas crucial to the operation of a digital enterprise. Meanwhile, Accenture warned that IT is at risk of being marginalized as the use of external cloud services increases.
The Hackett Group noted that with limited net new funding available for IT, "support of digital transformation activities must be funded through reallocation of resources freed up through improved efficiency of delivery of existing services, largely infrastructure provisioning and application maintenance and support."
According to the report, IT must continuously transform its service delivery model to improve agility. It must be able to respond to shifting demands and opportunities. The Hackett Group report identifies four steps IT can take to cement its role as a facilitator of enterprise digital transformation:
It's not easy. But once agility efforts get underway, "IT organizations can see marked improvements fast," according to the report. "Early wins can free up resources, enabling IT to better support digital transformation, including improvement of analytics capabilities [and] supporting [the] development of client-facing systems and mobile initiatives."
Susan Nunziata leads the site's content team and contributors to guide topics, direct strategies, and pursue new ideas, all in the interest of sharing practicable insights with our community.Nunziata was most recently Director of Editorial for EnterpriseEfficiency.com, a UBM. View Full Bio
Ciao! Welcome to Italy!
Best friends Chavonne, Kyla, Meredith, Dana, Kelsey, Callie, Jordanna and Mikaella just arrived in Italy, and are thrilled to begin a new journey!
Their adventures will include a trip to the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa, a tour of the breathtaking Colosseum and a gondola ride through the magnificent city of Venice. Along the way, they'll stop at a cafe and try yummy gelato (Italian ice cream)!
Their Italian vacation is only beginning, but their friendship will last a lifetime. Take a Journey Girl on your next trip and share the adventure!
The Journey Girls 18" Doll - Kyla features:
Journey Girls are the best friends with tons of travel experiences and special talents to share. No matter how far a Journey Girl travels, her friends remain close to her heart. Get set for a Journey Girl adventure and don't forget to pack her favorite gear!
Get to know Mikaella, Chavonne, Kyla, Meredith, Dana, Kelsey and Callie - the best friends who love to see new sights and explore new things. To these Journey Girls, half the fun is sharing their experiences-and special talents-with one another. No matter how far apart they are, Journey Girls keep in touch by talking on the phone, emailing, texting and writing postcards. Their friendship will last forever and their adventures are just beginning. Take a Journey Girl on your next trip!
Journey Girls 18" Kyla Doll - Ciao Shirt/Wrap Skirt
Fun and educational
The doll features plastic legs, arms and head with a soft body for cuddling. Your little one will love learning about Kyla's adventures around Italy with her friends (additional dolls sold separately).
Kyla is dressed in a cream shirt with black stripes on the arms and "CIAO!" across the front, a pink wrap skirt and black flats with a coordinating black and white purse. Her hair is up in a casual ponytail and she has beautiful brown eyes.
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