Cultural Psychology

Archive for April 2006

Energy Efficiency: Trains and Trucks

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“A range of separate studies undertaken in the early 1990s suggested that a rail freight train might typically consume around 0.6 Megajoules per tonne km (MJ/tkm), compared to a range of 1.2 – 8 MJ/tkm for road goods vehicles.”


This translates to rail freight being from 2 to 13 times more energy efficient than truck freight.

In short: more trains = less fuel = less dependence on foreign fuel + cleaner environment + less global warming

Maybe Cat Stevens was onto something when he called his song “The Peace Train”.

Written by John Uebersax

April 29, 2006 at 2:22 pm

Article – The Personal Practice of Nonviolence

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Article: The Personal Practice of Nonviolence, by Jennifer Hadley

In taking offense at others, I was choosing fear. When I took offense I was calling forth a violent energy within myself. Generally I didn’t let people know (at least not directly) that they’d offended me and so the violent energy was directed within…

Full article:

Keywords: psychology, culture of peace

Written by John Uebersax

April 28, 2006 at 7:21 am

Article – Peace as an Organizing Principle

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Article: Peace as an Organizing Principle, by By Louise Diamond, Ph.D.

Peace as an organizing principle is an intriguing and revolutionary idea that, if applied at the global, national, and individual levels, would radically change the world we live in. To explore that further, let us consider how it would be if peace were truly the set of assumptions, values, and behaviors around which we organized our political, economic, and social lives and institutions…

Full article:

Written by John Uebersax

April 28, 2006 at 7:19 am

Bush’s full comments about America’s oil addiction

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I disagreed with President Bush’s decision to go to war in Iraq. And I think I disagree with some comments in his recent State of the Union Address. But that doesn’t mean I disagree with him about **everything** (and that’s an important principle: don’t demonize people, don’t seem them as all good or all bad; avoid this fallacy: because I disagree with X about a, then I must disagree with X about b, c, d…).

You might have heard the soundbite on the News that “America is addicted to oil” but here’s a more complete list of what he said.

Selections from George W. Bush’s State of the Union Address.

“Keeping America competitive requires affordable energy. And here we have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world. The best way to break this addiction is through technology…”

“Tonight, I announce the Advanced Energy Initiative — a 22-percent increase in clean-energy research — at the Department of Energy, to push for breakthroughs in two vital areas. To change how we power our homes and offices, we will invest more in zero-emission coal-fired plants, revolutionary solar and wind technologies, and clean, safe nuclear energy.”

“We must also change how we power our automobiles. We will increase our research in better batteries for hybrid and electric cars, and in pollution-free cars that run on hydrogen. We’ll also fund additional research in cutting-edge methods of producing ethanol, not just from corn, but from wood chips and stalks, or switch grass. Our goal is to make this new kind of ethanol practical and competitive within six years.”

“Breakthroughs on this and other new technologies will help us reach another great goal: to replace more than 75 percent of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025. By applying the talent and technology of America, this country can dramatically improve our environment, move beyond a petroleum-based economy, and make our dependence on Middle Eastern oil a thing of the past.”

Full text of speech:

Source: Bush, George W. State of the Union Address of President George W. Bush, January 31, 2006.

Written by John Uebersax

April 28, 2006 at 6:50 am

Fogotten wisdom: Eisenhower’s vision of America

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Here are some good quotes on America’s role in the world, from the farewell address of US president Dwight D. Eisenhower.

America’s leadership and prestige depend, not merely upon our unmatched material progress, riches and military strength, but on how we use our power in the interests of world peace and human betterment

“Throughout America’s adventure in free government, our basic purposes have been to keep the peace; to foster progress in human achievement, and to enhance liberty, dignity and integrity among people and among nations. To strive for less would be unworthy of a free and religious people. Any failure traceable to arrogance, or our lack of comprehension or readiness to sacrifice would inflict upon us grievous hurt both at home and abroad…”

“Down the long lane of the history yet to be written America knows that this world of ours, ever growing smaller, must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect…”

“Such a confederation must be one of equals…”

“Together we must learn how to compose differences, not with arms, but with intellect and decent purpose

“To all the peoples of the world, I once more give expression to America’s prayerful and continuing aspiration:

We pray that peoples of all faiths, all races, all nations, may have their great human needs satisfied; that those now denied opportunity shall come to enjoy it to the full; that all who yearn for freedom may experience its spiritual blessings; that those who have freedom will understand, also, its heavy responsibilities; that all who are insensitive to the needs of others will learn charity; that the scourges of poverty, disease and ignorance will be made to disappear from the earth, and that, in the goodness of time, all peoples will come to live together in a peace guaranteed by the binding force of mutual respect and love.

Full speech:

Source: Eisenhower, Dwight D. Farewell Address to the Nation on January 17, 1961. Public Papers of the Presidents, Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1960, p. 1035- 1040.

Written by John Uebersax

April 27, 2006 at 5:53 pm

Flourescent lights, worker psychology and cultural alienation

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I was in a huge department store today and noticed the fluorescent lights. Really wretched. Must be hard and stressful to work under those for 40 hours a week.

See, that’s the problem. We’ve got a country—or more like a world, now—full of people working under fluorescent lights, and maybe in cubicles, too. Getting depressed. Building negative feelings, even if the higher parts of their minds say, “no, be positive.”

And if you have a whole country of people feeling like this, apparently they go to war. Either because they take out their collective frustration on someone else, or because they’re unable to recognize erroneous policy, or both.

But here’s a positive suggestion: how about inventors and entrepreneurs figuring out, making, and maybe marketing new, alternative lighting sources that are less mentally aversive?

keywords: flourescent lights, technology, opportunities, inventions, worker psychology, cultural depression, natural lighting alternatives.

Written by John Uebersax

April 27, 2006 at 3:10 pm


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(updated incrementally)

TRANSCEND – Conflict Transformation by Peaceful Means

Peacetour – To inspire World Peace benevolent technology

Written by John Uebersax

April 26, 2006 at 11:24 am

Posted in My Websites

CNN and Negative News Bias

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Open letter to CNN and CNN International:

24 April 2006

Our good friends at CNN and CNN International unfortunately continue to exercise poor judgment in the matter of selection of headlines and regular news stories. A strong negative bias is evident–that is, a narrow focus on stories which portray conflict, aggression and divisiveness.

The most recent illustration is prominent coverage of something as irrelevant from the national (much less international!) viewpoint as the mayoral elections of New Orleans. That this topic is of neither interest nor value to viewers is evident. Rather, the obvious motive is to make this a source of conflict, based on memories and sore feelings over recent unfortunate events.

In short, what this demonstrates is that if there is not enough conflict or tension in the news on a given day, the media will manufacture it.

We hope to make CNN executives and staff more conscious of this general problem and that they will take initiative in addressing this policy.

Meanwhile, we commend their more positive special program series, which emphasize themes such as global development and new technology.

Sincerely yours,

John S. Uebersax, PhD
Director, Center for the Cognitive Psychology of Peace and Conflict

Written by John Uebersax

April 24, 2006 at 3:55 pm

Posted in News bias

Second World Congress of Imams and Rabbis for Peace, March 2006, Seville, Spain

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The Second World Congress of Imams and Rabbis for peace took place in Seville (Sevilla), Spain from 19 to 22 March 2006.

From their final declaration:

“In the name of the One Creator and Master of the Universe, the Compassionate and All Merciful, we Muslim and Jewish leaders and representatives, gathered for the Second World Congress of Imams and Rabbis for Peace organized by Hommes de Parole in Seville, in the region of Andalusia – recalling the past era in which Jews and Muslims lived together here in harmony and mutual enrichment – and aspiring for such relations today and in the future.”

“We accordingly affirm that contrary to widespread misrepresentation, there is no inherent conflict between Islam and Judaism, on the contrary. While modern politics has regrettably impacted negatively upon the relationship, our two religions share the most fundamental values of faith in the One Almighty whose name is Peace, who is merciful, compassionate and just; and who calls on us human beings to manifest these values in our lives and to advance them in relation to all persons whose lives and dignity are sacred.”

“We call upon the political leaders of all peoples to work for righteous and peaceful durable solutions around the world and in particular in the Holy Land for the benefit of all peoples and faith-communities who live in the land and hold it dear.”


Written by John Uebersax

April 24, 2006 at 10:32 am

Posted in News

Peace Quotations

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If in our daily life we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it. This is the most basic kind of peace work.

– Thich Nhat Hanh

In order to rally people, governments need enemies… if they do not have a real enemy, they will invent one in order to mobilize us.

– Thich Nhat Hanh

People deal too much with the negative, with what is wrong. Why not try and see positive things, to just touch those things and make them bloom?

– Thich Nhat Hanh

Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.

-Thich Nhat Hanh

The practice of peace and reconciliation is one of the most vital and artistic of human actions.

– Thich Nhat Hanh

I destroy my enemies when I make them my friends.

– Abraham Lincoln

I like to believe that people in the long run are going to do more to promote peace than our governments. Indeed, I think that people want peace so much that one of these days governments had better get out of the way and let them have it.

– Dwight D. Eisenhower

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.

– Dwight D. Eisenhower

There never was a good war or a bad peace.

– Benjamin Franklin

Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures.

– John F. Kennedy

The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing, would suffice to solve most of the world’s problems.

– Mahatma Gandhi

Keeping your body healthy is an expression of gratitude to the whole cosmos – the trees, the clouds, everything.

– Thich Nhat Hanh

Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.

– Carl Jung

Seek and ye shall find.

– Jesus Christ

It is our duty to pray always for harmony between man and earth, so that the earth will bloom once more.

– Hopi Prayer for Peace

We must be the change we wish to see.

– Mahatma Gandhi

Give peace a chance.

– John Lennon

If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there’d be peace.

– John Lennon

He preaches well that lives well.

– Miguel de Cervantes

In order to attain the impossible, one must attempt the absurd.

– Miguel de Cervantes

If the human race wishes to have a prolonged and indefinite period of material prosperity, they have only got to behave in a peaceful and helpful way toward one another.

– Winston Churchill

Written by John Uebersax

April 23, 2006 at 3:33 pm

Posted in Quotes