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Viewing entries tagged with 'social'

Random thoughts about starting stuff

Posted by Philip on 8 November 2012, 1:13 pm in , , ,

There's a lot said about how to start businesses, projects and processes of social change. In my experience, there is no "right" way, but it helps to do it "your" way.

Having said that, here are some things that I have found helpful when starting stuff.


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Keeping it in perspective

Posted by Philip on 18 July 2012, 6:32 pm in , , , , ,

I don't know how you are feeling right now, but I'm a bit overwhelmed by stress and pressure. In particular, I'm having issues with bureaucracy and health.

I'm noticing that bureacracy seems to be collapsing around us; in particular, non-communication seems to be a strategy to avoid accountability. I'm also witnessing many people struggling with illness and pain.

But wait. Let's put some perspective around it.

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IF only: reflections on individualised funding

Posted by Philip on 7 July 2012, 3:23 pm in , ,

My intentions to blog each day from the Individualised Funding conference I attended a couple of weeks ago were somewhat thwarted by memory and access to technology. It's always harder to type away from the old desk.

But, after a week to digest my thoughts, I will hopefully have created a more distilled reflection on this minefield of change happening on a global level in the paternalistic quagmire of disability support.

A change in the business model

At the heart of Individualised Funding (IF), called different things around the world (Direct Payments in the UK, Individual Budgets in the US and 'self-managed' and individualised services in Australia), is a change in the business model of funding disability support.

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TVNZ Sunday uncovers ironic truth

Posted by Philip on 11 April 2012, 7:15 am in , , , , ,

A recent TVNZ Sunday online promo reads:

The price of life

They are the babies born in the 23rd week of pregnancy and they exist on the very edge of life. They are born so prematurely their survival stretches science to the limit. Is it medicine at its most pioneering and brilliant, or is it pushing the limits of nature too far? Is it always right to keep these babies alive? Sunday has unprecedented access to an intensive care neo-natal unit to follow these babies in their struggle to survive.

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Are the police doing what YOU want them to do?

Posted by Philip on 22 March 2012, 6:33 pm in , ,

I seem to be giving the police a hard time this week. A few days ago I blogged generally about their role in society, questioning how much they contribute to social problems.

This week a couple of high profile incidents cause me to question again whether the police act in our best interests.

Firstly, the saga of Tame Iti and co's criminal organisation/terrorism charges which, after four years of possibly the most costly police investigation in NZ history, resulted this week in a hung jury.

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Friday flashback: Morphic resonance — political ego, rainbow flags and Mexican waves

Posted by Philip on 9 December 2011, 6:59 am in , ,

Last Friday I introduced Rupert Sheldrake and his theory of morphic resonance. To recap, Sheldrake believes that all living things are made up of and surrounded by energy fields that create, in essence, an evolutionary history or memory for different species of plants, animals and, indeed, human beings. The transfer of energy within and between these fields, which Sheldrake terms morphic resonance, can be used to explain everything from how an acorn "knows how to" create an oak tree, to how a human being develops from a single cell into the form we recognise as a person.

Sheldrake believes social and cultural behaviour to be influenced - if not controlled - by morphic fields and morphic resonance. He uses the analogy of a hive of bees or nest of termites, which are "like a giant organism, and the insects inside it are like cells in a super organism...The hive or nest functions and responds as a unified whole", even though made up of thousands of individual insects.

An American researcher, Wayne Potts, showed that the rate of movement between dunlins (small wading birds) in a flock-banking manoeuvre (and that's not depositing a cheque or withdrawing cash) - which he termed the "manoeuvre wave" - was 60 to 80 milliseconds faster than their ability to respond individually to stimuli. It was "much faster than could be explained by any simple system of visual cuing and response to stimuli," says Sheldrake. Is the Mexican wave possible just because people are watching to see when it's their turn, or is each person responding as one small part of a group movement?

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Friday flashback: Morphic resonance

Posted by Philip on 2 December 2011, 7:46 am in , ,

A few years ago I had a column in express, NZ's gay rag. Three of the columns explored the notion of morphic resonance and how it relates to social change. I thought I'd repeat these over the next three Fridays.

The theory of morphic resonance was developed by biologist Rupert Sheldrake and is a concept of collective memory, similar to Jung's collective unconscious. In a nutshell, morphic resonance challenges, amongst other things, the traditional view of evolution.

Sheldrake and others before him suggest that laws of nature are more like habits. As such laws have changed throughout the course of time. If the universe has habits, then the whole of life, says Sheldrake,"[involves] inherent unconscious memory; habits, the instincts of animals, the way in which embryos develop, all [reflect] a basic principle of inherent memory within life."

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When are we going to clean up the mess?

Posted by Philip on 15 November 2011, 6:34 am in , ,

Yesterday I met Steve Green, the NZ Executive Director of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, an international not for profit organisation that looks at mental health issues and asissts victims of mental health abuse.

He had a great analogy for understanding environmental impacts on mental health.

He alluded to the situation of the stranded vessel Rena in the Tauranga harbour. The wildlife is stressed and anxious because of the toxic oil which is destroying their habitat.

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Where is the innovation in thinking about suicide?

Posted by Philip on 8 September 2011, 7:25 am in , ,

Yesterday I spent the day watching the 2011 NZ Conference on Suicide Prevention run by the Mental Health Foundation. At the end of the day I quipped on Twitter: "A whole day watching the 2011 NZ Suicide Conference online … I feel a bit like slitting my wrists." While being a little irreverent I was also responding to a real concern that, overall, I'd heard nothing at the conference that I felt really did more than talk about an inconceived problem.

The theme of the conference was, "How do we talk about suicide?" I think we need to ask the question, "How do we talk about why people commit suicide?"

Even the two international indigenous experts said little that focussed on anything more than dysfunction in individuals. Canadian keynote Normand d’Aragon, Co-founder and Director of First Nations and Inuit Suicide Prevention Association of Quebec spread the lens wider only to encompass dysfunctional families, where suicide was observed as a pattern in families where unresolved issues were passed spiritually from one generation to the next.

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Miracle babies, ordinary lives: not good enough

Posted by Philip on 6 September 2011, 7:02 am in , , , ,

I've just watched this episode on Attitude, NZ's "disability" series, on the impact of prematurity on babies and their lives growing up.

As a premature baby myself, what frustrates me about this issue is the lack of the following conversation, which the episode sorely lacked. If society continues to invest millions and billions worldwide into medical research that enables babies to be resucitated after birth at less than two-thirds gestation — to create "miracle babies" — what is its responsibility to invest similarly, if not more greatly, in supporting us and our families to live "miracle lives"?

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