Readers' Forum

Readers' Forum is a place for you to share your ideas with other YES! readers. What did you find useful in YES! and what would you like to see in issues to come?
Jump-start for activism


Your journal is just what I need to jump-start my dormant activism, rusted by despair and overwhelmed by the task ahead of us. I still don't know where to begin, but reading about all those great, and also ordinary people already with their shoulders to the wheel makes me ashamed to use "don't know" as a cop-out.

YES! has made me realize vividly that I am part of a very large and strong community with a vision like my own, and I can hear the commitment: we will not stop until all the Earth's people are in possession of their own lives, until all plants and animals are safe from our wanton destructiveness.

Thank you all at YES! for your hard work.


San Francisco, California


Making the links
I just finished reading the premier issue of Yes! Thank you for providing something so badly needed and nowhere else to be found: the possibility of connecting with and being inspired by others who share the concerns of creating a sustainable future. I'm inspired and energized to continue recycling, down-scaled consumerism, environmental activism, and to pursue new activities that are also important parts of a positive future.
One crucial aspect of creating a positive future concerns intercultural reconciliation. This involves, as does any real integrating change, all three of the points of the triangle diagram you presented in the last issue: people, culture and institutions; self and spirit; and the natural environment. I would like to connect with others who also share this interest. I would like to see this as a forum topic and theme of one of your next Yes! issues.
Editor's Note: Thanks, Doug. It's on the list of possible future themes. Please send any further ideas on this.

Wake-up call
This Yes! issue brings a message of encouragement to all of us concerned with the wave of transformation that has been swelling globally. we can now be counted in the millions, belonging to thousands of movements. In the long run, these movements are going to converge in the attainment of their unified goal - the creation of the New Era.
But what about the short run phase, the next 10,20, or 50 years? This is a crucial question because, by that time, society and the planet as a whole will have paid a heavy price, if not a catastrophic collapse. This leads to the second crucial question: Isn't now the right time for the myriad transformation movements (with the power of their positive messages and authentic achievements and the united voice of their millions of members) to form a coalition and make their voice heard at the centers of national power and decisions? It is these who are lagging behind the wave of transformation, stuck in the ruts of the status quo, with obsolete concepts, principles and systems of governance.
Afif I. Tannous
Annandale, Virginia

Interdependence day
In ß2, page 26, Ron Heifetz is quoted: "...we critically need smaller communities, local living, mediating structures like cities that we invest in and get passionate about. We also need connectedness to our larger political, economic, social, and spiritual systems."
I agree with Heifetz, but he doesn't say enough. Most of all, we need to recapture our intuitive understanding of the interdependence that ties us into the living world.
Our dilemma is that we are caught up in a narcisstic preoccupation with our own species, unaware that the biosphere cannot continue to provide us with the essentials for life unless we stop destroying it.
David Korten in his great article "Money Vs. Life" (also ß2) grasps the issue thoroughly. He puts it in abstract concepts: "...balance, diversity, sufficiency, synergy, and regenerative vitality."
When we need to include everyone, the language of intellect may not be adequate to guide us. We must find expressions that allow us to show respect for creation and to include it in our awareness.
The Yes! family can help formulate new languages that will reconnect us with life.
Garberville, California

Around the world
To the subscriber who kindly renewed my subscription to Yes! I can only say thank you very much.
I walked all the way with In Context and I am glad to continue with Yes! Being in the Third World, this journal keeps me well informed and read to react in the face of today's mess and misconceptions.
Reading "Yearning for Balance" in Yes!(ß1) gave me a compelling feeling that although the tide against materialism is slowly gathering momentum in America, the converse if true elsewhere. This rat race for wealth is infecting the average person and no one has any ideas where it will end. But one thing is clear: that rat race is being fueled by the massive flooding of Western ideas of high living.
Macharia Gathuku
Society for Protection of Environment, Kenya
Editor's Note: Thanks to the donations from our subscribers and sustainers, we are able to fund free subscriptions to people around the world who request them. To contribute to the Yes! scholarship fund, use the enclosed envelope to send a tax deductible contribution.

Complexity simplified
I cannot resist sending you this wee congratulatory note on "Out of Chaos: Finding Possibility in Complexity" in Yes! Issue #1.
In relatively few words you seem to have touched (for me at least) the epicenter of much that governs the human condition! How very fearful we are to embrace a unified understanding of reality, where our sense of separation and divisiveness can be seen to be what they are -- an existential bad joke! Great stuff.
Then I read your fascinating interview with Dr. Remen! What an extraordinary person and what an original understanding/approach to healing.
Islington, Ontario, Canada

Pats and pans
I'd like to say Hooray! for Grameen. And in general Yes! to your magazine.
But I was irritated that you would let a plug for the Migratory Species Project be cloaked in a review of Ken Wilber's work. It should have been addressed as an article about a project, influenced by this great man's work, instead of a classic example of 'missing the point.' Please spare me any I/me/mine 'book reviews' in the future.
Freedom, California

Alleviating poverty?
I enjoyed reading the new "Premier Issue" of Yes! However, more articles are still needed to round out the perspective that might truly result in a paradigm shift."
Helena Norberg-Hodge says in The Case Against the Global Economy, "Introducing microloans for small-scale enterprise may actually contribute to the destruction of local, nonmonetized economies and create dependence on a highly volatile and inequitable global economy, where factors such as currency devaluation can prove disastrous."
It is good to look for ways to alleviate poverty, but there still needs to be the knowledge that it was through outside interference by such bodies as the World Bank that the culture was broken down in the first place and poverty resulted. The security provided through non-monetized networks and people's own knowledge of how to live on their land will not be restored through microloans: their lives are still in a "net loss" situation by being thrust into the money economy.
Vandana Shiva, who was included in this issue, has also spoken on the subject of green taxes. They, like microloans, can point us in the right direction and make it easier for people to do the right thing, but they are still based in an economy that attaches monetary values to sacred things. Once you attach a dollar value to life (the "acceptable" cancer rate for a given activity) you have taken a huge philosophical leap. How can we put the spiritual back into our lives and still continue to use economic formulas that have no place for spirit?
Portland, Oregon

Two firsts
Just received your latest issue which says it's the first. If it's the first, then what was the Getting Free issue, which declared in its editorial pages that issue was the premier issue? Nitpicking...
The issue looks great. I can't tell you enough how important your work is. I got so excited after being on the Positive Futures [online voluntary simplicity] mailing list that I put together a special issue on voluntary simplicity for HopeDance.
Editors Note: The getting free issue (ß1) was the first of two transition issues between the In Context format and the new Yes! format, which began with our Winter 1997 issue, #1. Sorry about the confusion.
To subscribe to the voluntary simplicity online list, send an Email to [email protected] In the text field write: subscribe positive-futures.

Wage basics
High levels of automation and productivity equal a small labor force. A small labor force means limited consumer-level buying power in a wage-based economy.Limited buying power and high productivity equals an un-consumable surplus, which causes recession, layoffs, bankruptcies, etc; a negative feedback loop which leads to things like the 129 stock market crash and subsequent Depression, which occurred at a moment of high surplus product.
Current economic leadership insists on trying to create more jobs as an answer to limited consumer buying power and surplus product. This seems a trifle barbaric; giving people useless jobs (surplus product does not require a larger labor force) and having them all go to work at the same time (rush hour horror, extra pollution, and a kind of spiritual death, as feather-bedded workers know). Theoretically, we're trying to liberate people from a mindless machine-like existence.
Pending computer development will automate most office clerks, telephone operators and vehicle operators. Bottom line: the wage base economy is dead. And nobody seems to even consider the fact, its desirability, its consequences. Please do so.
Editors Note: See the interview with Bernard Lietaer in this issue, page 34. Complementary currencies may be part of the answer.

The Now Age
Issue #1 of Yes! is quite magnificent. Each article is a gem. Very especially I am grateful for the article "Sometimes it is Named" by Susan Griffin. I have read it, reread it, quoted it and dwelt on it.
The comment on page 7 (re:the Now Age) is most appropriate and much needed. I now only use the 'Now' not the 'New' when speaking. Why did I not think of it before?
Kaitaia, New Zealand

Just to let you know, I absolutely love Yes! Can't tell enough people about it. It has been an incredible influence on my life. When Yes! comes in the mail, all other reading material is put aside and I zoom right through it. As I read the articles, I often feel surges of positive energy. I'm on fire for weeks to follow! Yes! gives me hope, inspires me to make positive lifestyle changes and stirs me to take action! We really do have the power to make a difference, don't we?!!! AHHH!!!
Ellendale, South Dakota

Get the word out
As a non-profit organization, we are not in the position of giving you an extra gift, but I am able to "spread the word." It will be of great help to have a "hand-out" such as your new brochure mentioned in the last issue. Congratulations, and keep up your wonderful energetic spirit!
Beulah Land Center for Sustainable Living & Learning, Petrolia, Pennsylvania


I am so very happy when Yes! arrives. Thank you!
Vilnius, Lithuania

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