Our largest-scale food production systems are frighteningly Orwellian, if you peek under the hood. That term works , even more so if we add health to George Orwell’s list of things – freedom and openness – that are undermined by societal and governmental policies of draconian control by propaganda, surveillance, misinformation, denial of truth, and manipulation of the past. That is the message of a number of documentaries that have appeared around the subject of food in recent years. Food, Inc. is probably the one most widely seen. It received a smidgen of the Oprah Boost after appearing on her show two years ago and received an Academy Award nomination. Watching it felt like an exercise in unpacking some deep instinctive feelings to view in a logical, connected form. We all know, deep down, that food does not appear by magic on a grocery store shelf. We also suspect that those impossible lists of strangely-named ingredients on the back of processed food packages signal we may not be eating real food at all. But who has the time to care, right? And what’s the alternative? Shopping at Whole Paycheck (a common pseudonym used to criticize the more-expensive-than-industrial-food Whole Foods Market)?

The thing is, if you take the time to patiently sit through Food, Inc. and ponder the way it connects the dots of a truly-screwed up industrial food/agriculture/chemical/medical complex lying there in plain sight, you won’t be able to be so easily dismissive of higher-priced organic foods and the campaigns for labeling accountability. Maybe you’re like me and my family. You were already trying to buy organic when you could, but still sitting the fence with a number of remaining compromises. I’m not sure we can ever eliminate all of those compromises, but our determination to buy more honest food grew out of an embrace of this quote from a farmer in the film.

Is cheapness everything that there is? I mean who wants to buy the cheapest car? We’re willing to subsidize the food system to create the mystique of cheap food, when actually it’s very expensive food. When you add up the environmental costs, societal costs, health costs, the industrial food is not honest food. It’s not priced honestly. It’s not produced honestly. It’s not processed honestly. There’s nothing honest about that food.

The testimony of the industrial contract chicken farmer in the following clip from Food, Inc. is heartbreaking. I think it also serves as a broader metaphor for the lives many of us are settling for – caught in a dependent cycle we don’t know how to get out of. For the vast majority, the only practical way to start eroding that cycle is to take what small steps we can, each day. And one of those steps available to us is voting with our food dollars. The stakes are rising higher every month, every year. Unlike the chickens in the clip, that have no say in how their lives unfold, we get to decide every day whether we’ll submit to the well-worn rut or push off that path to see what lies on one of the many trails being broken for us by friends. For those trail-breakers – organic farmers, farmer’s market participants, naturopath’s, midwives, apostles of sustainable living – are the definition of friend. And those on the fringe, just waiting to join a trending movement, are in need of them.

 

Weird metrics

Eye of the Beholder: The story of SXSWi 2014 presented some fun metrics and results in a game show format. According to an aggregation of the social buzz at SXSWi 2014 –

Most popular speaker: Edward Snowden, who says he was willing to do it because he thought those in the room would be the ones who would fix the problem. Julian Assange and Neil deGrasse Tyson were a distant 2nd and third, respectively. Sentiment was very positive for deGrasse.

Most negative experience with a speaker session: Julian Assange, largely due to video stream inconsistency.

Most retweeted Tweet: RT @wikileaks: #Assange It became clear to me that one of the best ways to achieve justice is to expose injustice.

Which ridiculous buzz word was made up: I voted for Chicapreneurs. I was wrong. It was platformification.

Highest Fitbit mileage total (from tagged contestants): 26,000 steps! Wow. The most I’ve ever hit is 16,000 while attending #ibmpulse.

Chefjet demoed 3D food printing cranking out some weird multi-colored gummi cubes using sugar, alcohol, and water. No thanks. I take my food in natural 3D with ingredients that don’t lend themselves to, well, the printing process.

Who was the most famous SXSWi feline: Grumpy Cat. ‘Lil bub was a distant second. Colonel Meow passed, so was not in the running this year. There was a moment of silence for the Colonel.

Most popular eats: Milk & Cookie Shot, beating out between 3D printed Oreos and the Watson Food Truck. I didn’t get to try any of them. Again, the only food innovation that really appeals to me right now is new recipes with unprintable ingredients. So my vote would have been for the Watson food truck, which was all about innovating in the food space by creating true fusion fare with Watson’s help.

Party with the most mentions: Mashbash by Mashable, with PayPal, Tumblr, and Yahoo distant trailing. I didn’t attend any of those, but I did go to the IBM BlueMix party which was really well-attended and featured Church on Monday, a band I’m partial to since I’m in it.

Wrap-up thoughts

It was another cool SXSW Interactive, with an amazing array of creativity  and humanity descending on Austin, which is already pretty creative and diverse from a humanity standpoint. There is something about SXSWi that always leaves me optimistic about the future. The world is undoubtedly in turmoil over many things. But the youthful enthusiasm (coming from all ages present), innovative thinking, great ideas, anti-box thinking, and melting pot atmosphere sweeps one up in a powerful feeling that humanity has, not only a hell-of-a-lot of fight left in it, but may be maturing in new directions that will deliver a new and better tomorrow, defined both by technological advance and a simultaneous return to a better awareness of our surroundings, of the place right where we are. It’s the intersection of those two trending forces that makes SXSWi my favorite event of the year, every year. I can’t wait to see how that story develops a little more by this time next year.

I’ve involved in some exciting music during SXSW, starting tonight. Here’s an update.

Elias Haslanger and Church on Monday is a soul jazz quintet playing classic jazz A and B sides along with originals. Saxophonist/composer Elias Haslanger envisioned and launched the band two years around the soulful core of Dr. James Polk, a Texas music legend whose remarkable life includes stints as a Texas school band director during the racially charged 1960s, the first African-American buyer for production purchasing at IBM, bassist for Lionel Hampton, and a decade as a two-time Grammy nominated arranger/musical director for Ray Charles. Elias also tapped Canadian (by way of NYC) transplant Jake Langley on guitar, who has worked with Bobby Blue Bland, KD Lang, and Joey DeFrancesco. Rising Austin star Daniel Durham is the bassist. Your’s truly is on drums.

COM-GroupPhoto

SXSW dates and CD news

Every Monday (including tomorrow night) at the Continental Gallery1313 A South Congress, 8:30-10, no cover. Our Monday residency at the Gallery is closing in on two years and the band has jelled into a wonderful intuitive brotherhood exploring the deep groove and vibe potential of quintet soul jazz. Elias (alum from Maynard Ferguson’s band) is cementing his place as one of the great saxophonists in Texas history. Jake Langley’s brilliant guitar work flows from his strength as both soloist and accompaniest. Daniel Durham is flowering into one of the best bassists I’ve ever worked with and his solos are a study in thoughtful improvisation. And there is the living legend, Dr. James Polk on B3 organ, bringing the church to Church on Monday. Dr. Polk draws on an amazing life of music, lifting us all far above the temptation to lean on what we did the week before. He is our musical mentor, historian (through the wonderful stories he often shares each week), and catalyst for the great heights the band is reaching. We owe so much to this wonderful man who, in his mid 70s, hasn’t missed a Monday in two years.
March 12th, The Austin Music Awards, Austin Ballroom at the Austin Convention Center, 7:55pm, $15 general admission. We are thrilled to be a headliner at this year’s AMAs along with Youngblood’s Choir (featuring talented young artists form some famous Texas musical families), Lucinda Williams, the Texas Tornados, and more. During our 30-minute set, we’ll be joined by the great Ray Benson from Asleep at the Wheel and the fabulous Ephraim Owens, recently off the road after a lengthy stint with Mumford and Sons.
March 13th, SXSW Showcase at the Elephant Room, 11pm.
March 16th, Alejandro Escoveda Austin Music Showcase, Continental Gallery. (our set is at 9:30pm)
March 31st, CD Release Party at the Continental Gallery, 8:30pm.

Watch for our new CD, Elias Haslanger: Live at the Gallery, releasing this month. Eli is running a Kickstarter campaign (check out the video with a song sample) to help offset costs of recording and production.
In addition to all of that Church on Monday love, I’ll be in an additional SXSW showcase at the Elephant Room on the 13th with the Peggy Stern Quartet, featuring Seth Carper, Daniel Durham, and moi. Downbeat, 10pm.
I first met Peggy Stern less than a year ago and was spellbound by her amazing music. She is a haunting composer and her music is at the same time delicate and deep, her moving melodies and harmonies drawing from her Philadelphia and New York roots and her work with Lee Konitz, Vic Juris, and Richie Cole, among others. She is a new, yet unknown treasure to many Austinites but that will change. The quartet with saxophonist Seth Carper and my fellow COM bandmate Daniel Durham has only worked one gig together and we instantly knew it was the beginning of something very cool. If you like music from the Cool era of the late 1960s (Gil Evans, Lee Konitz, Miles Davis, etc), then you’ll dig this band.
If any of you make it out to the show, please say hello. If I’ve learned anything over the years about music, the invaluable nature of a supportive audience is at the top of the list. Without your enthusiasm, love, and encouragement, none of it would ever get beyond a dream. And when you’re with us in person, the music can go places impossible without you. And that’s a fact!

I spoke with the founders of EvoSure, competitors in the SXSW Accelerator, about their solution for connecting commercial insurance providers and those searching for the right underwriter. Just one more startup example of how cloud, mobile, and analytics are a three-legged stool on which new ideas are climbing above the competition.

The excitement at the 2014 SXSWi Accelerator is building with the winners being announced this evening. Social Media startups presented this afternoon, and here’s a taste.

photo (2)Connect, from San Francisco, aggregates and maps all your friends from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN, Instagram, and more and allows you to keep in touch with them without “the creepiness of GPS.” They do that by aggregating “check-in” data from the above mentioned social platforms. I guess this is targeted at a demographic Im not a part of since I almost never check in anywhere. I must be missing all of the fun, so I’m gonna check it out. Geolocation based offers and events is the market they are eventually after for monetizing their service.

Felt, from Telluride, seeks to bring back the expressive and personal experience of handwritten cards by enabling the writing, card choice, and snail mailing them, all from an iPad. The founder talked about appealing to the many who want to deliver the personal experience without the hassle of driving to a brick and mortar and browsing through a wall of product. I love this idea since I never listened to my mom, who told me over and over again how important thank you notes are. Clearly, targeted at a demographic that I am smack in the center of.

photo (4)samba, from Tel Aviv, is sort of a two-way video messaging service that captures the recipients reaction to a short video received through the service, and sends it back to the original sender. I wonder how people will react to being video recorded without their permission, although I guess that really won’t happen since you’ve given your permission by joining the service in the first place. Might be a cool app for a generation that is much less inhibited than we 40s + crowd. But it does look like a lot of potential fun. Hmm, maybe they could add group messaging and aggregation of multiple reaction shots into a derivative video of all of those reactions appended to the original video either in sequence or as a wall of reactions.

That’s one of the cool things about sitting in on these SXSW Accelerators. It’s impossible to not be swept up in the enthusiasm of creating and innovating – the very thing, along with a desire to work for one’s self, that brought these cool startups into being in the first place. My SXSW 2014 resolution? Start thinking more like a entrepreneur. When you think about it, every family is a startup, so each of us has some experience already.

PS – Don’t forget our IBM BlueMix party tomorrow (Monday) night at 6pm, Hilton, room #406. Register on Eventbrite for free with this code (SMAC_at_SXSW). Check out some demos, network, and hear Church on Monday. Then follow us over to our regular Monday set at the Continental Gallery, from 8:30-10. No cover. We’ll also be on the Austin Music Awards, Mar 12th, with special guests Ephraim Owens from Mumford and Sons’ horn section and Ray Benson from Asleep at the Wheel.

20140308-123621.jpgSXSW Accelerator recommenced after a short break. Fieldwire, from San Francisco, kicked off the second half of the pitches from enterprise and big data finalists. They offer a mobile productivity platform for construction and maintenance workers. Users can record, track and share tasks, in the field, in real-time, with geotagging directly from their blueprints.

In between pitches judges talked about the confluence of startups trending toward massive, legacy markets like insurance and construction, and the maturing of technologies in the cloud that are making it possible for them to compete in an arena that might have been unreachable for them in the past. That also drives VC return expectations higher. As one judge said, “it’s ok to go after the next noble cause but if it won’t make big bucks, better to move on the next idea if you’re truly seeking venture capital investment.”

Continuing, map-D, from Cambridge MA, shared the buzz about their GPU database that drives interactive big data analytics and visualization in real-time. Amazing real-world application of the analytics vision and power that we’re talking about at IBM day-in, day-out. map-D’s heavy-weights client include NASA, Facebook, and those in the political arena.

photo (1)Shelfbucks, from Austin, enables on-site product info, deals, promotions for brick and mortar retailers with beacons located throughout the stores, tied to Shelfbucks data cloud. They help retailers slice and dice customer demographics to help them serve up the most targeted offers to customers.

Trustev, from Cork City, Ireland, shared for 5 minutes on their simple-to-integrate, low-cost online identify verification platform. They spoke about focusing away from antiquated rule-based approaches toward an approach that utilizes behavioral analytics and digital fingerprinting to help businesses open up commerce opportunities instead of restricting them while trying to root out fraud.

Great, succint presentations. Thought-provoking Q&A with judges. A great way to spend a few hours at SXSW and witness the meat and potatoes of innovative commerce happening all around us, thanks to inexhaustible hunger of talented individuals looking to create the next great business.

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The SXSW accelerator, in its sixth year, always draws a great crowd as entrepreneurs give lightning pitches before a talented panel of industry-savvy judges. I listened in on some of the pitches Saturday coming from finalists with solutions in the enterprise and big data space. AddSearch, from Helsinki, pitched their solution for single-line-of-code site search in a space that could be considered stagnant but still competitive. It takes some serious chutzpah to make the case you can improve search, but AddSearch claims their easy installation, mobile support, stats, and lightning results will open some eyes.

addy, from San Francisco, pitched a web app that lets anyone, anywhere share locations using simple, custom URLs. Their B2B products include a rich API and real-time location tracking functionality for delivery and other end-to-end services.

Databox, from Boston, wants to change the way you access your company’s business data from your mobile device. Their pitch was about about connecting to data and surfacing key metrics on the spot, so you can fully execute conversations with prospects in realtime.

Evosure, from Austin, pitched a speed-dating service for commercial insurance space connecting providers with those seeking underwriters. It benefits both the buyer by speeding up and expanding their awareness of targeted options and the providers by expanding their prospect pool and keeping them more aware of competition.

More to come …

The IBM BlueMix party in the IBM Social Lounge at SXSWi will be a great place to connect with fellow entrepreneurs and IBMers who can tell you about BlueMix, a next gen cloud platform based on IBM’s Open Cloud Architecture and Cloud Foundry. BlueMix enables developers to rapidly build, deploy, and manage their cloud applications, while tapping a growing ecosystem of available services and runtime frameworks. I’ll be there Monday as well, providing 90 minutes of entertainment with my fellow jazz/blues axemen from Austin-based Church on Monday. Register HERE, click on Enter promotional code, and use this code (SMAC_at_SXSW) to register for free.

I chatted with Andy Fletcher of LocalPlantSource.com on Day one at South by Southwest Interactive. They were one of ten great Austin startups highlighted at Capital Factory Demo Day. We spoke about the supply chain resource LocalPlantSource offers growers and users in the landscaping industry.

PS – I’m going as mobile as possible at SXSWi this year with my iPhone camera, Manfrotto tripod, Sennheiser wireless transmitter & receiver, and the workhorse EV RE50B handheld mic. I’m also trying out a new Steadicam Smoothee for shake-free hand-held b-roll shooting with the iPhone. Capturing with FiLMic Pro app, editing with iMovie, and uploading with the YouTube Capture app, all within the iPhone 5s connected to LTE. I’ll post a little video soon demonstrating my setup.

One down, more to come.

Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 4.40.20 PMAfter a considerable hiatus from blogging, I’m returning. The coming weeks will show how much of a return it truly is, but for the moment, I want to tell you about IBM dev@Pulse, a two-day developer event happening at IBM Pulse 2014 in Las Vegas. It’s a free add-on to the larger four-day Pulse event and is all about Design, Development, and Deployment, all centered around a playground experience.

Jenova Chen of thatgamecompany will focus on game design and UIs, breaking down winning techniques and strategies to drive adoption. Mike Miller of Cloudant adds to the game design and UIs discussion with a session on audio, programming, visual arts, production, AI, and the narrative. Kevin Whinnery from Twilio focuses on mobile-first design, looking at opportunities and innovations in cross-platform development.

Other sessions include:

Charles Addler (Kickstarter) / Impact of Design and Technology in the World.

Jonathan Bryce (OpenStack) / Develop in the Open World

Reshma Saujani (Girls Who Code) / Reinventing Development and Design

Don Boulia (IBM) / Design in a MobileFirst Economy

Angel Diaz (IBM) / Develop in the Open World

Andrew Spyker (IBM) / Rapid App Development and Open Source

The playground area sounds like a lot of fun. There’ll be an Oculus Rift Salon to view demos and hear industry leading virtual reality game designers share their creations and techniques. You’ll be able to check out the Raspberry Pi credit card-sized, single board computer in action and explore how IBM Watson is transforming organizations and opening up a whole new ecosystem of development opportunities. The Drone Zone will demonstrate a wide spectrum of Parot AR Drone use cases – ranging from fun/simple to real-time analytics – all built with node.js, IBM MessageSight and NodeRed.

On Monday evening, bring your laptop and compete in the Code Jam open source racing game. And you’ll also be able to join Mechanics, Dynamics, and Aesthetics (MDA) creators Robin Hunicke, Marc Leblanc, and Robert Zubek for a hands-on workshop where you’ll learn best practices for analyzing and solving game design problems. And then on Tuesday night, you can check out Elvis Costello and the Fallout Boys as part of the larger Pulse evening party in the MGM Grand Arena.

Sounds to me like a full couple of days. Hope to see many of you THERE.

MEDRUMSThought I’d share today’s Tinyletter email blast I did to friends in the Austin area. If you live nearby, would love to see you at any of these events where I’m performing as a drummer. If you’re interested, you can sign up for my occasional performance email alerts at the end of this note. I threw in some photos of me playing with some of the musicians mentioned below, and others I’ve played with in the past. For those many of you who don’t live in Austin, I capture performance videos from time to time and share there on my YouTube channel.

Tonight (Oct 3), 9-1 – With James Polk (piano) and Spencer Starnes (bass)
The Brass House
115 San Jacinto Blvd., Austin
(512) 649-1253
Those two guys played no small part in helping me become the musician I am. I remember the first time I heard Spencer, in the Fall of 1980, as I walked along Congress, brand new to town. He was playing at a little cafe called Gambrinis with Julie Christensen, Hank Hehmsoth, and Ernie Durawa, if my memory serves me well. It was the first live music I heard in Austin, and I instantly knew I had found my home. I first met JP a little later on after I learned of his legend from Mitch Watkins, another of my Austin mentors. Suffice it to say that I know of no greater musical talent and spirit in this or any place I’ve been, than JP. So grateful to know these and so many other great musicians in a town that is the best I’ve ever called home.

With Kellye Gray

With Kellye Gray

Friday (Oct 4), 8pm – With vocalist Kellye Gray
The Bugle Boy
1051 N. Jefferson St., La Grange, TX.
(979) 968-9944
Also, Live WEBSHOW at: http://www.concertwindow.com/shows/kellye-gray

Saturday (Oct 5), 8:30pm -With Kellye Gray
Carmen’s De La Calle
720 E. Mistletoe Ave., San Antonio
(210) 737-8272
I join Chris Maresh (bass) and Pamela York (piano) both Friday and Saturday, backing Kellye with cool arrangements from her new CD, And, They Call Us Cowboys: The Texas Music Project.

Sunday (Oct 6), 9:30pm – With vocalist Suzi Stern
The Elephant Room
315 Congress Ave., Austin
(512) 473-2279
I join Peggy Stern (piano) and Richard Mikel (bass) backing up Suzi, who I’ve also made music with off and on for 32 years. Check out her lovely new CD, Romancing The Dark.

Kevin Lovejoy (piano), Chris Maresh (bass), me (drums)

Kevin Lovejoy (piano), Chris Maresh (bass), me (drums)

Monday (Oct 7), 7pmAustin Drummer Co-op appearance
One 2 One Bar
1509 South Lamar, #600, Austin
(512) 473-0121
I’m the featured drummer this month in a 1st Monday-of-each-month one-hour show at the One 2 One Bar. Kevin Lovejoy (piano), Chris Maresh (bass), and Hailey Tuck (vocals) will be joining me for an anatomy of groove concepts on a few songs from her recording project that we just finished.
Drummers and drumming fans get together to celebrate our instrument of choice and the endless unique approaches to making music with it. This town is so rich with great drummers and I’m honored that Tommy Roberston of Tommy’s Drum Shop asked me to do one of these. Tommy and I go back 33 years to when his shop was behind The Tavern at Lamar and W. 12th.

With James Polk (B3), Daniel Durham (bass)

With James Polk (B3), Daniel Durham (bass)

Monday (Oct 7), 8:30pmElias Haslanger and Church on Monday
The Continental Gallery
1313A South Congress Ave., Austin
Every Monday I play 90 minutes with Eli (sax), James Polk (B3), Jake Langley (guitar), and Daniel Durham (bass), for tips and the sheer joy of making soul jazz music with these awesome cats. it has that rare chemistry that must be there for something truly special. And this band is. If you haven’t been down for a Monday night, you’re missing something.

Hope to see you at one or more of the above. Have a great rest of the week.

If you’d like to be added to my performance email newsletter, just leave me your email address below.

Mark Baker is Server and Cloud Product Manager at Ubuntu, possibly the the world’s favorite free operating system. Ubuntu is a Linux Debian distribution-based OS utilizing Unity as its default desktop environment. The name comes from a Southern African word, ubuntu, which means “humanity towards others” or “the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity.” No wonder it is free and open source and 20 million users (according to Ubuntu’s web site) have chosen it over commercial alternatives.

The results of Ubuntu’s annual Server and Cloud Survey were released last month and Mark talks about them in our audio interview below. It’s all Ubuntu users, so it isn’t considered an industry-wide view, but it is informative nonetheless, considering Ubuntu’s popularity and the over 5000 users surveyed.

Some highlights from the survey:

  • More production workloads are being deployed into the cloud
  • Adoption of the cloud has accelerated more in the last 12 months
  • The ecosystem around cloud continues to mature with more service orchestration tools, management tools, and consulting
  • IT infrastructure modernization efforts are yielding more flexibility in the enterprise
  • Private clouds are still king, and demand for open source options, such as OpenStack, is now a given

Seven years ago I first read Ben and Rosamund Zanders’ wonderful book, The Art of Possibility. I had just heard Ben speak at the IBM Rational conference in Orlando, Florida, where he captivated a room of software engineers and other IT professionals with his talk on the power that comes with living fearlessly, selflessly, and presently. You might not think Zander, an orchestra conductor, accomplished concert pianist, and inspirational speaker, would be a natural fit for an audience that had gathered to hear about the latest IBM software development methodology and technology. But he held the attention of the two or three thousand in attendance in a way no one else did that week. He spoke with a beautiful rhythm and in tones that reflected the musician that he is.

Weeks later, I had the privilege of interviewing Ben Zander along with his wife and co-author, Rosamund Zander, for the developerWorks podcast. It is still my favorite interview out of the hundreds I’ve done to date, and I’ve linked to it below. The message of the book is timeless and as needed today as it ever has been. It fuses discussions on leadership, relationship, and creativity into a singular consideration about how we choose to live and the essential fuel of love. It’s a quick, immensely worthwhile read and is filled with powerful stories that you’ll want to return to, as I often do.

One of my favorites comes under a discussion of what the Zanders refer to as The Central Self.

Inscribed on five of the six pillars in the Holocaust Memorial at Quincy Market in Boston are stories that speak of the cruelty and suffering in the camps. The sixth pillar presents a tale of a different sort, about a little girl named Ilse, a childhood friend of Guerda Weissman Kline, in Auschwitz. Guerda remembers Ilse, who was about six years old at the time, found one morning a single raspberry somewhere in the camp. Ilse carried it all day long in a protected place in her pocket, and in the evening, her eyes shining with happiness, she presented it to her friend Guerda on a leaf. “Imagine a world,” writes Guerda, “in which your entire possession is one raspberry, and you give it to your friend.”

As the authors continue,

Such is the nature of the central self, a term we use to embrace the remarkably generative, prolific and creative nature of ourselves and the world. If we were to design a new voyage to carry us from our endless childhood into the bright realm of possibility, we might want to steer away from a hierarchical environment and aim for the openness and reciprocity of a level playing field–away from a mindset of scarcity and deficiency and toward an attitude of wholeness and sufficiency. We might even describe human development as the ongoing reconstruction of the calculating self toward the rich, free, compassionate and expressive world of the central self.

The Zanders contribution to my life is ongoing, as I continue, in spite of regular failings, to ponder, re-ponder, and seek to live the inspiration I’ve gleaned from their book, and others like it. Every day I feel a little more kinship with their message, which for me is boiled down to its essence in the William James quote that closes their book.

I am done with great things and big plans, great institutions and big successes. I am for those tiny invisible loving human forces that work from individual to individual, creeping through the crannies of the world like so many rootlets, or like the capillary oozing of water, yet which, if given time, will rend the hardest monuments of human pride.

Here’s my podcast interview with Benjamin and Rosamund Zander in 2006.