Saturday, April 12, 2003 Meeting Notes

PJH Notes of April 12, 2003 meeting.

Smaller than usual turn out; could have to do with fact thereís a large demonstration in Seattle today

After the check in, Liz from PLU facilitated a discussion on the mission statement of the Earth Charter. She began by talking about the ambiguity of language -- that what one person thinks certain words mean may be very different from what another person thinks the same words mean. As an example, she (and the group) focused on 'sound ethical foundation,' and the different meanings people can bring to that.

Lots of discussion (and my notes donít tell me much)... Ethics: secular? Moral? Religious rhetoric? What is moral? Judgements of goodness or badness of human behavior -- pychological and/or moral. Cultural relativism -- hell, everyone in this room has different definitions

Karen K: there is an essential truth of what it means to be human; there are fundamental truths that bind us together, stripped of everything that separates us. What is it that promotes life? Thatís what weíre looking for.

Lizís point: we are all seeing the world differently, and when we realize that, it can be the beginning of hearing others.

It was suggested that talking together about these issues is a truly important part of the process, and maybe that is one of the most beneficial aspects of the Earth Charter: conversation on these issues, and how we personally integrate them into our lives.

Liz: whatís missing in our culture is a collective interest in each other; weíre too individualistic.

Dorothy: Gandhi quote re: If we really want peace, we must begin with the children. But in the US, there is SO MUCH COMPETITION in the schools; compassion is 'squished' out of us early. And weíre taught that feelings donít count. In school (and at home), weíre taught that the mind is superior to the heart. The disconnect in the US may be partly due to the fact of the melting pot, wherein we give up our ethnic and cultural identity, i.e., some of who we are.

Liz: yes, in Norway, theyíre mostly Norwegians, so the collective interest in each other may be due to that (and with newcomers there, things have been changing). Yes, our diversity makes it more difficult.

James: If the world isnít environmentally fit to live it, it doesnít matter what the politics are

Marilyn: Christian fundamentalist fascism on the rise in these megachurches that preach so much fear, and out of the fear comes so much hatred and intolerance. (Caution by Chelsea not to generalize to all who attend these churches; Marilyn said, yes, but thatís what is being preached.)

Dorothy: per Karen Armstrong who was in Tacoma last week, all fundamentalisms are based on fear.

It was decided to continue this discussion next week, as there arenít very many people at the meeting, and we want more input and involvement from the group in general at this early stage in discussing the Earth Charter.


ACLU national president here in Pierce County on Wed at noon at Pierce College in Puyallup.

Respectfully submitted, Sallie