Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Unified Field Theory of 173: Happy Independence Day

Are you familiar with Unified Field Theory?

Yeah, neither am I.

Not really.  I mean, I don't understand everything about it.

That's the whole thing.

No one has so far.

Not even Einstein who spent much of his life trying to.   He's the guy who came up the name.

Unified Field Theory tries to put together things that don't seem to agree into a frame where you see that they do.  Because after all, they already are.  Parts of a whole that work together in shared purpose. 

I think that's what Rumi was talking about with this field:

Hard to get to, isn't it?

Click to the "read more" link to see us there.

That place... that field...  of unity.

There is another field.

Education.  The Adult Kind.

Thousands... millions... of people have been working to save it.

We're still working.

We've done so much.  We've saved so much.

Now there's dissension.  Argument. 

Older Adults.  Where do they fit in?  Parent Education?  Do we save it? 

SB 173 limits Adult Education to just six programs and Older Adults and Parent Education are not among them.

Dawn Koepke, legislative analyst for CCAE, makes a powerful and intelligent argument for letting that be.  She points out that we are dealing with a Governor who wants to see the mission of Adult Ed narrowed, and that 173 follows the recommendations of the LAO - the Legislative Analyst Office.  She reminds us that we have two years in which we can ponder the situation and come up with creative and effective ways to included needed and desired programs.

Why did I say "desired"?   And no, that wasn't her word, it was mine.

Because the people are what call things into being.

The desire of the people is what we're all trying to please, including the people, themselves.

Kind of confusing, isn't it?

What does the governor want?  What is the governor's job?

His job is to serve the people.  To consider their needs and in a wise way, working with available resources, to meet them.

Same with the Legislature.

That is the noble version.

The base version is get elected and re-elected and elected to something else.  That's the power grab version.

And in either version, what is most important to understand is the desire of the people.

For the power that is grabbed is the people's.

Their desire is desired.

They are the ones in the voting booths (or not), just as they are the ones in the shopping malls, deciding which products they're buying (or not).

At all times, it is the desire of the people we must seek to understand.

And understanding it, we serve it - or manipulate it. 

A reflection on us - not them - though if they fail to see that, if we fail to see that... 

See?  The mirror works two ways.

I mentioned dissension.

There is disagreement about SB 173.

Some in Adult Education, and I am among them, want to see 173 amended.  We want to see Older Adults and Parent Education continue.  We want to see it fully funded, not creatively funded.  Because we believe it serves the needs of the people.

What matters (because you know, I like that word "matters") is

*  How the people see it


*   What the people tell the Governor and the Legislature about what they see.

Because here are some important truths:

*   The people's needs are what, ultimately, determine everything - in either functional or dysfunctional ways.  (Example:  If people hunger for family, you can provide them with a forty hour work week so they have time with their family.  Or you can show them pictures of smiling families eating fast food and convince them that buying fast food and eating it - even by yourself - will give you that happy feeling of being connected to your family.  What's at work here is the basic human need for family.  Honored.  Or manipulated.)

*  Sometimes people know what their needs are.  And sometimes they don't.  Always they're acting to get those needs met.  But it's sort of like making a really nice meal for yourself.  Or getting up in your sleep and raiding the refrigerator, stuffing yourself on days-old frozen pizza.  Cold.  In your sleep.  Your always acting to get your needs met.  But not always aware that you're doing so.

*  Sometimes people speak up about their needs.  They sign petitions.  They bang pots and pans.  They sit down and have a heart to heart with a loved one.  Sometimes they don't.  Sometimes they don't have enough confidence in their own worth or enough trust in the other person... to share them.  Or they want to but they don't know how.  Or they tried and it didn't work.  Or they plan to but they never get around to it.  Either way, it happens.  Or it doesn't.

*  When the people understand their needs and understand their worth and speak up about them, this is powerful.  This is why we celebrate today, July 4th.  Independence Day.  "We hold these truths to be self-evident:  that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."   We have worth.  Deep worth.  We have needs.  We have the right to meet them.  And we're speaking up about them.  Oh yes, we are.

*  When the people agree together on a way to meet their needs, it is extra powerful.  We celebrate Independence not on July 2nd when it was first written.  We celebrate it on the day that people signed on to it.  When they came together and said, yes, we the people, this is what we want.  That, as we know, changed everything.  Unity.

What do the people want?

That is what I want to know.

Because, that in the end, will determine everything.

As it should.

As it does.

I've been presenting arguments for amending SB 173, for the value of Older Adults and Parent Education, for the wisdom of continuing to fund them through our Public Adult Education system. 

CCAE and other organizations are presenting arguments for the wisdom of moving forward with SB 173 as is.

Both arguments have validity.

As both parties do.

Amazingly, miraculously, we're part of a unity, where we think independently.

An idea, a truth, a fact so complicated, so mysterious, we don't fully understand it.

I'm just grateful to be a part of it.

This much I do get:

*  What the people want matters.

What do you want?

*  I'll do my best to present all sides of this argument

*  And I'll do my best to present "my side," owning that when I do

*  And I'll do best to remember that we are parts of the same whole, working to the same end:

the health and prosperity and survival of the people.

We, are the people, after all.

Happy Independence Day, everyone.

May you glory in your ability to think independently as a part of a group that lives inter-dependently.

May this day, and all days, be safe and sane.

And may there be plenty of fun for everyone!

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