I just emailed the following to the Commission on Presidential Debates. Please consider putting it in your own words and contacting them. Also please share this far and wide.
“I had to turn off last night’s debate. It was making me sick. PLEASE empower the moderator of the next debates with a mute button which they can use to mute candidates’ mics if they speak out of turn when the other is speaking. No moderator will be able to keep Trump in line otherwise.”
The Commission on Presidential Debates can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (202) 872-1020 (although the mailbox was full when I tried).
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The program (or project) evaluation and review technique (PERT) is a statistical tool used in project management, which was designed to analyze and represent the tasks involved in completing a given project.
PERT is a method of analyzing the tasks involved in completing a given project, especially the time needed to complete each task, and to identify the minimum time needed to complete the total project. It incorporates uncertainty by making it possible to schedule a project while not knowing precisely the details and durations of all the activities. It is more of an event-oriented technique rather than start- and completion-oriented, and is used more in those projects where time is the major factor rather than cost. It is applied on very large-scale, one-time, complex, non-routine infrastructure and on Research and Development projects.
PERT offers a management tool, which relies “on arrow and node diagrams of activities and events: arrows represent the activities or work necessary to reach the events or nodes that indicate each completed phase of the total project.”
PERT and CPM are complementary tools, because “CPM employs one time estimation and one cost estimation for each activity; PERT may utilize three time estimates (optimistic, expected, and pessimistic) and no costs for each activity. Although these are distinct differences, the term PERT is applied increasingly to all critical path scheduling.”
“PERT” was developed primarily to simplify the planning and scheduling of large and complex projects. It was developed for the U.S. Navy Special Projects Office in 1957 to support the U.S. Navy’s Polaris nuclear submarine project. It found applications all over industry. An early example was it was used for the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble which applied PERT from 1965 until the opening of the 1968 Games. This project model was the first of its kind, a revival for scientific management, founded by Frederick Taylor (Taylorism) and later refined by Henry Ford (Fordism). DuPont‘s critical path method was invented at roughly the same time as PERT.PERT Summary Report Phase 2, 1958
Initially PERT stood for Program Evaluation Research Task, but by 1959 was already renamed. It had been made public in 1958 in two publications of the U.S. Department of the Navy, entitled Program Evaluation Research Task, Summary Report, Phase 1. and Phase 2. In a 1959 article in The American Statistician the main Willard Fazar, Head of the Program Evaluation Branch, Special Projects Office, U.S. Navy, gave a detailed description of the main concepts of the PERT. He explained:
Through an electronic computer, the PERT technique processes data representing the major, finite accomplishments (events) essential to achieve end-objectives; the inter-dependence of those events; and estimates of time and range of time necessary to complete each activity between two successive events. Such time expectations include estimates of “most likely time”, “optimistic time”, and “pessimistic time” for each activity. The technique is a management control tool that sizes up the outlook for meeting objectives on time; highlights danger signals requiring management decisions; reveals and defines both methodicalness and slack in the flow plan or the network of sequential activities that must be performed to meet objectives; compares current expectations with scheduled completion dates and computes the probability for meeting scheduled dates; and simulates the effects of options for decision — before decision. The concept of PERT was developed by an operations research team staffed with representatives from the Operations Research Department of Booz Allen Hamilton; the Evaluation Office of the Lockheed Missile Systems Division; and the Program Evaluation Branch, Special Projects Office, of the Department of the Navy.
PERT Guide for management use, June 1963
Ten years after the introduction of PERT in 1958 the American librarian Maribeth Brennan published a selected bibliography with about 150 publications on PERT and CPM, which had been published between 1958 and 1968. The origin and development was summarized as follows:
PERT originated in 1958 with the … Polaris missile design and construction scheduling. Since that time, it has been used extensively not only by the aerospace industry but also in many situations where management desires to achieve an objective or complete a task within a scheduled time and cost expenditure; it came into popularity when the algorithm for calculating a maximum value path was conceived. PERT and CPM may be calculated manually or with a computer, but usually they require major computer support for detailed projects. A number of colleges and universities now offer instructional courses in both.
For the subdivision of work units in PERT another tool was developed: the Work Breakdown Structure. The Work Breakdown Structure provides “a framework for complete networking, the Work Breakdown Structure was formally introduced as the first item of analysis in carrying out basic PERT/COST.”
More at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Program_evaluation_and_review_technique
The Handmaid’s Tale explores themes of subjugated women in a patriarchal society and the various means by which these women resist and attempt to gain individuality and independence. The novel’s title echoes the component parts of Geoffrey Chaucer‘s The Canterbury Tales, which is a series of connected stories (“The Merchant’s Tale”, “The Parson’s Tale”, etc.).
The Handmaid’s Tale is structured into two parts, by night and by other various events. The novel can be interpreted as a double narrative: central protagonist Offred’s personal struggle and the handmaids’ shared plight. The night sections are solely about Offred, and the other sections (shopping, waiting room, household, etc.) are the stories that describe the possible life of every handmaid, though from the perspective of Offred. In many of these sections, Offred jumps between past and present as she retells the events leading up to the fall of women’s rights and the current details of the life that she now lives.
After a staged attack that killed the President of the United States and most of Congress, a radical political group called the “Sons of Jacob” used quasi-Christian ideology to launch a revolution. The United States Constitution was suspended, newspapers were censored, and what was formerly the United States of America was changed into a military dictatorship known as the Republic of Gilead. The new regime moved quickly to consolidate its power, overtaking all other religious groups, including traditional Christian denominations. In addition, the regime reorganized society using a peculiar interpretation of some Old Testament ideas, and a new militarized, hierarchical model of social and religious fanaticism among its newly created social classes. Above all, the biggest change is the severe limitation of people’s rights, especially those of women, who are not allowed to read, write, own property or handle money. Most significantly, women are deprived of control over their own reproductive functions.
The story is told in first-person narration by a woman named Offred. In this era of environmental pollution and radiation, she is one of few fertile women remaining. Therefore, she is forcibly assigned to produce children for the “Commanders”, the ruling class of men, and is known as a “Handmaid” based on the biblical story of Rachel and her handmaid Bilhah. Apart from Handmaids, other women are also classed socially and follow a strict dress code, ranked highest to lowest: the Commanders’ Wives in blue; the Handmaids in red with white veils around their faces; the Aunts (who train and indoctrinate the Handmaids) in brown; the Marthas (cooks and maids) in green; Econowives (the wives of lower-ranking men who handle everything in the domestic sphere) in blue, red and green stripes; young, unmarried girls in white; and widows in black.
Offred details her life starting with her third assignment as a Handmaid to a Commander. Interspersed with her narratives of her present-day experiences are flashbacks of her life before and during the beginning of the revolution, including her failed attempt to escape to Canada with her husband and child, her indoctrination into life as a Handmaid by the Aunts, and the escape of her friend Moira from the indoctrination facility. At her new home, she is treated poorly by the Commander’s wife, a former Christian media personality named Serena Joy who supported women’s domesticity and subordinate role well before Gilead was established. To Offred’s surprise, the Commander requests to see her outside of the “Ceremony”, a reproductive ritual obligatory for handmaids and intended to result in conception in the presence of his wife. The two begin an illegal relationship where they play Scrabble and Offred is allowed to ask favours of him, whether in terms of information or material items. Finally, he gives her lingerie and takes her to a covert, government-run brothel called Jezebel’s. Offred unexpectedly encounters Moira there, with her will broken, and she learns that those who are found breaking the law are sent to the Colonies to clean up toxic waste or are allowed to work at Jezebel’s as punishment.
In the days between her visits to the Commander, Offred also learns from her shopping partner, a woman called Ofglen, of the Mayday resistance, an underground network working to overthrow the Republic of Gilead. Not knowing of Offred’s criminal acts with her husband, Serena begins to suspect that the Commander is infertile, and arranges for Offred to begin a covert sexual relationship with Nick, the Commander’s personal servant. After their initial sexual encounter, Offred and Nick begin to meet on their own initiative as well, with Offred discovering that she enjoys these intimate moments despite memories of her husband, and shares potentially dangerous information about her past with him. However, shortly after, Ofglen disappears (reported as a suicide), and Serena finds evidence of the relationship between Offred and the Commander, which causes Offred to contemplate suicide.
Offred tells Nick that she thinks she is pregnant. Shortly afterward, men arrive at the house wearing the uniform of the secret police, the Eyes of God, known informally as “the Eyes”, to take her away. As she is led to a waiting van, Nick tells her to trust him and go with the men. It is unclear whether the men are actually Eyes, or members of the Mayday resistance. Offred is still unsure if Nick is a member of Mayday or an Eye posing as one, and does not know if leaving will result in her escape or her capture. Ultimately, she enters the van with her future uncertain.
The novel concludes with a metafictionalepilogue, described as a partial transcript of an international historical association conference taking place in the year 2195. The keynote speaker explains that Offred’s account of the events of the novel was recorded onto cassette tapes later found and transcribed by historians studying what is then called “the Gilead Period.” Professor Pieixoto makes a sexist joke about Professor Maryann Crescent Moon, causing laughter from the audience — highlighting lingering issues regarding attitudes towards women, and his ignorance toward the situation.
Fitting with her statements that The Handmaid’s Tale is a work of speculative fiction, not science fiction, Atwood’s novel offers a satirical view of various social, political, and religious trends of the United States in the 1980s. Her motivation for writing the novel was her belief that in the 1980s, the religious right was discussing what they would do with/to women if they took power, including the Moral Majority, Focus on the Family, the Christian Coalition and the Ronald Reagan administration. Further, Atwood questions what would happen if these trends, and especially “casually held attitudes about women” were taken to their logical end. Atwood continues to argue that all of the scenarios offered in The Handmaid’s Tale have actually occurred in real life—in an interview she gave regarding Oryx and Crake, Atwood maintains that “As with The Handmaid’s Tale, I didn’t put in anything that we haven’t already done, we’re not already doing, we’re seriously trying to do, coupled with trends that are already in progress… So all of those things are real, and therefore the amount of pure invention is close to nil.” Atwood was also known to carry around newspaper clippings to her various interviews to support her fiction’s basis in reality. Atwood has explained that The Handmaid’s Tale is a response to those who say the oppressive, totalitarian, and religious governments that have taken hold in other countries throughout the years “can’t happen here”—but in this work, she has tried to show how such a takeover might play out.
Atwood’s inspiration for the Republic of Gilead came from her study of early American Puritans while at Harvard, which she attended on a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship. Atwood argues that the modern view of the Puritans—that they came to America to flee religious persecution in England and set up a religiously tolerant society—is misleading, and that instead, these Puritan leaders wanted to establish a monolithic theocracy where religious dissent would not be tolerated. Atwood also had a personal connection to the Puritans, and she dedicates the novel to her own ancestor Mary Webster, who was accused of witchcraft in Puritan New England but survived her hanging. Due to the totalitarian nature of Gileadan society, Atwood, in creating the setting, drew from the “utopian idealism” present in 20th century régimes, such as Cambodia and Romania, as well as earlier New England Puritanism. Atwood has argued that a coup, such as the one depicted in The Handmaid’s Tale, would misuse religion in order to achieve its own ends.
Atwood, with respect to those leading Gilead, further stated:
I don’t consider these people to be Christians because they do not have at the core of their behavior and ideologies what I, in my feeble Canadian way, would consider to be the core of Christianity … and that would be not only love your neighbors but love your enemies. That would also be ‘I was sick and you visited me not’ and such and such …And that would include also concern for the environment, because you can’t love your neighbor or even your enemy, unless you love your neighbor’s oxygen, food, and water. You can’t love your neighbor or your enemy if you’re presuming policies that are going to cause those people to die. … Of course faith can be a force for good and often has been. So faith is a force for good particularly when people are feeling beleaguered and in need of hope. So you can have bad iterations and you can also have the iteration in which people have got too much power and then start abusing it. But that is human behavior, so you can’t lay it down to religion. You can find the same in any power situation, such as politics or ideologies that purport to be atheist. Need I mention the former Soviet Union? So it is not a question of religion making people behave badly. It is a question of human beings getting power and then wanting more of it.
In the same vein, Atwood also declared that “In the real world today, some religious groups are leading movements for the protection of vulnerable groups, including women.” Atwood also draws connections between the ways in which Gilead’s leaders maintain their power and other examples of actual totalitarian governments. In her interviews, Atwood offers up Afghanistan as an example of a religious theocracy forcing women out of the public sphere and into their homes, as in Gilead. The “state-sanctioned murder of dissidents” was inspired by the Philippines, and the last General Secretary of the Romanian Communist Party Nicolae Ceaușescu‘s obsession with increasing the birth rate (Decree 770) led to the strict policing of pregnant women and the outlawing of birth control and abortion. However, Atwood clearly explains that many of these deplorable acts were not just present in other cultures and countries, “but within Western society, and within the ‘Christian’ tradition itself”.
The Republic of Gilead struggles with infertility, making Offred’s services as a Handmaid vital to producing children and thus reproducing the society. Handmaids themselves are “untouchable”, but their ability to signify status is equated to that of slaves or servants throughout history. Atwood connects their concerns with infertility to real-life problems our world faces, such as radiation, chemical pollution, and venereal disease (HIV/AIDS is specifically mentioned in the “Historical Notes” section at the end of the novel, which was a relatively new disease at the time of Atwood’s writing whose long-term impact was still unknown). Atwood’s strong stance on environmental issues and their negative consequences for our society has presented itself in other works such as her MaddAddam trilogy, and refers back to her growing up with biologists and her own scientific curiosity.
More at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Handmaid%27s_Tale
“Truth always rests with the minority,” the lonely and ostracized Kierkegaard fumed in his journal in 1850, “because the minority is generally formed by those who really have an opinion, while the strength of a majority is illusory, formed by the gangs who have no opinion.”
Across the Atlantic, another visionary of uncommon lucidity and countercultural courage was arriving at the same conclusion by a very different path, making it his life’s work to awaken a young and conflicted nation to this difficult, necessary truth of maturation. That same year, the thirty-two-year-old Frederick Douglass (1818–1895) declaimed in a powerful anti-slavery speech, included in his indispensable Selected Speeches and Writings (public library):
There are times in the experience of almost every community, when even the humblest member thereof may properly presume to teach — when the wise and great ones, the appointed leaders of the people, exert their powers of mind to complicate, mystify, entangle and obscure the simple truth — when they exert the noblest gifts which heaven has vouchsafed to man to mislead the popular mind, and to corrupt the public heart, — then the humblest may stand forth and be excused for opposing even his weakness to the torrent of evil.
Early in his career as a novice itinerant speaker for William Lloyd Garrison’s antislavery activism movement, Douglass had been especially impressed, in both senses of the word, by the example of the white women who so concertedly opposed the torrent of evil — women who taught him the true meaning of solidarity by paying the price of severe ostracism to play a central role in the movement’s recruiting, fundraising, and organizing; women who set aside their own suffrage to take up the cause of abolition and in consequence were not enfranchised as full citizens of their own country until almost half a century after black men got the right to vote; women one of whom Douglass would eventually fall in love with and marry.
Our few friends in that place, who are not the sort to be discouraged… filled me with admiration, as I viewed them occupying their noble position; a few women, almost alone in a community of thousands, asserting truths and living out principles at once hated and feared by almost the entire community; and doing all this with a composure and serenity of soul which would well compare with the most experienced champion and standard bearer of our cause, Friend Garrison himself. Heaven bless them, and continue them strength to withstand all trials through which their principles may call them to pass.
When the true history of the antislavery cause shall be written, woman will occupy a large space in its pages, for the cause of the slave has been peculiarly woman’s cause.
Observing woman’s agency, devotion and efficiency in pleading the cause of the slave, gratitude for this high service early moved me to give favorable attention to the subject of what is called “Woman’s Rights” and caused me to be denominated a woman’s-rights-man. I am glad to say I have never been ashamed to be thus designated.
You often refer to the discomfort that inevitably accompanies growth and evolution. But, if I’m honest, I have to admit that one of the reasons I’m meditating is to become more at ease and peaceful inside. So, the thought that my spiritual path is going to lead to greater discomfort is a bit unsettling. Are you saying that if I’m really evolving, I will feel uncomfortable all the time? And if I feel calm and serene, does that mean I’m not evolving?
That’s a great question. And it leads to a very interesting contemplation about the nature of change.
I think we can all agree that change is challenging. That’s because there’s a part of us that doesn’t want to change, even when we know the change we’re making is really positive. There’s a part of us that wants nothing to do with any kind of growth, even when that growth is clearly good for us, and involves learning new things, developing new capacities, or awakening new dimensions of the self. There’s a part of us that just says a big “no.” So when we are really growing, evolving, and moving forward, this anti-change part of us will always tend to be a bit uncomfortable.
One of the game-changing perspective shifts we can make on the path of evolutionary awakening is learning to befriend the discomfort that comes with change. If we can start to see this discomfort as something positive and realize that it’s a result of the fact that we’re growing, it changes everything.
This is, of course, easier said than done. Let’s face it: we human beings are animals and we relate to discomfort as a negative thing. It’s part of how we’re wired. We’re deeply conditioned to believe that feeling bad is bad, and feeling good is good. It’s one of the most primary orientations to life that all of us have. And this makes sense. Who wants to feel bad? We all want to feel good. It’s natural. But it’s also natural that a lot of the good things in life—growth, development, and evolution—also come with some degree of feeling bad.
If we want to evolve, we need to shift our perspective so that we can start to see this discomfort more as the natural growing pains that accompany any kind of positive change.
When we shift our perspective on this positive discomfort, we begin to align with another dimension of who we are that I call “the evolutionary self.” There is a part of each of us that is not separate from the very impulse of evolution itself. This part of us doesn’t have any resistance to change. In fact, it thrives on it. It loves it. And when we learn to live from this evolutionary part of our self, we begin to love the feeling of evolutionary discomfort or tension, even though it might be uncomfortable. The tension becomes like nectar to us, because we know it means we’re evolving and moving forward. The evolutionary self lives for change, positive growth, and development.
I want to address another aspect of your question. You asked if feeling calm and serene means that you’re not evolving. The simple answer is “no.” Of course, it’s good to feel good. If we’re living a natural, healthy, evolving life, we’re going to experience all kinds of different things at different times, including peace and serenity. Sometimes, we’re going to feel ecstasy, joy, release, and liberation. At other times, we’re going to feel the tension, growth, and discomfort of evolution.
The larger point I’m making here is that most of us need to make a broad shift in our orientation to life. Are you generally learning to befriend that positive feeling of discomfort that comes from growth, or are you shying away from it? I’m not talking about how you feel in any particular moment. I’m pointing to a general shift from a change-averse to a change-embracing orientation to life. Making this shift may be the most important step any one of us can take to accelerate our spiritual journey.
“An individual human existence should be like a river: small at first, narrowly contained within its banks, and rushing passionately past rocks and over waterfalls. Gradually the river grows wider, the banks recede, the waters flow more quietly, and in the end, without any visible break, they become merged in the sea, and painlessly lose their individual being.”
Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell (May 18, 1872 – February 2, 1970) was a British polymath, philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, writer, social critic, political activist, and Nobel laureate. Wikipedia
Watch INFINITE POTENTIAL free, thanks to the Fetzer Memorial Trust! INFINITE POTENTIAL tells the story of the man Einstein called his “spiritual son” and the Dalai Lama his “science guru.” A brilliant physicist and explorer of consciousness, Bohm’s profound insights into the underlying nature of reality and the interconnectedness of the universe and our place within it are truly far-reaching. Bohm proposed a theory unifying relativity and quantum mechanics, two seemingly-opposed explanations of observable phenomena. Why was this revolutionary thinker shunned by mainstream scientists of his day? Subscribe to our channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAU8… For the latest news about the film, sign up for the email list: https://www.infinitepotential.com/