Giants of The Earth Heritage Center, Spring Grove, MN
Contract Positions (2): Oral Historian and Project Intern
Norwegian Ridge Oral History Project
Giants of the Earth Heritage Center was incorporated in 2009 as a non-profit educational institution dedicated to honoring, preserving, and interpreting the history and heritage of the people from Spring Grove’s Norwegian Ridge in southeastern Minnesota. Drawing on a rich cultural history, the Center records and reflects the achievements of people in the Spring Grove area. The Center draws upon varied resources, while also providing a gathering place and a sense of community and identity to its public.
Presently, the Giants of the Earth Heritage Center is actively collecting oral histories related to life and culture on local farms. In 2017, we self-funded a farm oral history project and filmed oral history interviews of 25 local farmers representing 17 families to document their experiences. As part of this project, we identified additional families we wished to interview.
We are conducting this second phase our project to document the stories of 13-15 families in the Highland and Caledonia Township areas. We seek to reach between 15-20 individuals from these families, representing between 13 to 15 of these previously identified families. The project goal is to interview, record, transcribe, and archive between 15 and 20 oral histories.
We have been awarded with a $9974 Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage grants to support this stage.
The Giants of the Earth Heritage Center is seeking competitive bids for two services related to this project. The services are:
1. Oral Historian:
Tasks: The Oral Historian will prepare and secure the release forms for all interviews; schedule all interviews; prepare and revise the interview questions; conduct all interviews; review all transcriptions; review all inventory forms; and be responsible for all deliverables. The Oral Historian will conduct local history research pertaining to the individuals and oral history topics. The Oral Historian will also assist in recruiting and interviewing the intern- if needed, and will manage the intern. Total hours were estimated to be 118.5 at a rate of $50 per hour, with 10 hours of travel time at a rate of $25 an hour. Travel expenses up to $376 will be reimbursed.
Deliverables: 15-20 high quality video interviews in digital format; the corresponding transcriptions for these interviews, the corresponding inventory forms; and the corresponding release forms. The Oral Historian work is expected to take place between May 1 and October 31, 2018.
Qualifications: Proven experience with managing and conducting large (10+) oral history projects. A BA in history or a related field. Familiarity with agricultural history and the Spring Grove area. Excellent oral and written communication skills and an attention to detail will be required.
2. Project Intern:
Tasks: The selected intern will assist with set-up before-hand and break-down after interviews, as well as general support during interviews. The intern will be responsible for choosing which online transcription service to use; transcribing and editing 15-20 oral histories; and creating and revising the inventory forms. The intern will conduct supplemental local history research pertaining to oral history topics, and will also scan and digitize any photos or similar materials that were loaned for the project, and return these items. The Intern work is expected to take place between June 1 and October 31, 2018. Total hours estimated for this work is 195, at $15 an hour. Travel expenses up to $376 will be reimbursed.
Qualifications will be: experience in local history research, and familiarity or interest in collecting and archiving oral histories. A high level of curiosity, commitment, creativity and attention to editing and detail will be required.
II. PROJECT TIMELINE
April 9, 2018 RFP Issued
April 23, 2018 Bids Due
May 1, 2018 Estimated Contracts Award
October 31, 2018 Estimated Project Completion
Proposals will be evaluated within approximately one (1) week of the bid closing and bidders will be notified of their status as soon as possible thereafter.
If you have any questions about this rfp, please submit them to both Karen Gray at firstname.lastname@example.org and Nancy O’Brien Wagner at email@example.com. We will forward answers to all bidders by Tuesday, April 24, and allow for amendments to bids if requested.
Submission of Proposals
Please submit all proposals to both Karen Gray at firstname.lastname@example.org and Nancy O’Brien Wagner at email@example.com by end of day on April 23, 2018.
Conditions on Receipt of Proposals
This Request for Proposals does not obligate the Giants of the Earth Heritage Center to award any specific project. The Giants of the Earth Heritage Center reserves the right to cancel this solicitation. The Giants of the Earth Heritage Center also reserves the right to waive irregularities in proposal content or to request supplemental information from prospective bidder(s).
Minimum Proposal Contents
Description and schedule of proposed work.
Description of work on comparable projects, with client references for those projects.
Company profile and identification of Bidder personnel and any subcontractors who will supervise and/or conduct the work of the project, including details of their training and experience, and where Bidder personnel and subcontractors are located.
Detailed cost proposal for services.
Sample work (if applicable).
IV. PROPOSAL EVALUATION
Proposals will be evaluated by the Giants of the Earth Heritage Center on the basis of the following criteria:
Bidder qualification, technical expertise, knowledge, and experience
Quality of sample work
Overall cost of proposal.
Any other factor(s) that might aid in selecting the best candidate.
V. DELIVERABLES / DELIVERY SCHEDULE
The deliverables for this project are listed in RFP Section I.
Production schedule will be determined at the project startup, on a schedule mutually agreed to by the successful Bidder/s and the Giants of the Earth Heritage Center. Ideally, we would like to complete this project by October 31, 2018, or sooner if possible.
Inspired by the writings of Ole Rolvaag on Norwegian-American’s love of freedom, we begin posting a new series of essays from some of the greatest seminal thinkers on the topic of how to maintain authenticity in an era where there are institutions who have mastered the art of manipulating public opinion.
“I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts, and beer.”
― Abraham Lincoln
We are facing a great crisis of national credibility. The majority of Americans simply don’t trust the news media, with a recent Gallup poll showing only 32% of American saying they trust the media “to report the news fully, accurately and fairly”: This is an historically low level of confidence in the media. Americans also don’t trust commercials. They generally do trust people they know and respect and they trust their own eyes, but are realizing that video footage can be easily manipulated with technology. They are learning that even other people in their same community, however, are not immune from top down censoring or subsidizing of half-truths. Everyone fears having their judgment or name destroyed by stating something unpopular or something that is not commonly believed to be true, so some wear their hearts upon their sleeves but do not relinquish the use of their critical faculties.
Perhaps it is a good thing that at least some Americans are waking up to the fact that we Americans have been willingly duped hypocrites for some time, while smugly imagining ourselves to be morally superior in our objective views. My great uncle and grandmother wrote and spoke in the papers and at schools about the double standards white European immigrants used in justifying stealing America from the native peoples. They never claimed either side was perfect, but the willingness of some white settlers to condone the murder of all Native Americans after learning a few stories of atrocities committed by few Native Americans was something that was incommensurate with the values we prided ourselves on at the time.
“A single lie destroys a whole reputation of integrity.” -Baltasar Gracian
Government officials and the media take or pretend to take great offense at an alternative media that questions the official line. Of course, the alternative news media does have some people who, for whatever reason, are borishly pushing silly and untestable hypotheses that for some reason advance an agenda they have. These people may be on the extremes of the far left or the far right. Typically the far left propagates news with an abundance mentality that favors government redistribution of property in the name of fairness and the far right propagates stories that favor a scarcity mentality that limits government power in the name of liberty. Alternative news agencies also have some people who want to provide actual information to balanced American people so that they can test their various hypotheses about the actual etiology of social problems and optimize liberty and justice for all. There is a sizable group of disinformants, bought or coerced to pretend to be alternative news agents just to make all alternative news media sources look crazy. And, often undetected, there are a small number of agent provocateurs, whose job is to gain control of hypotheses generation within a group, and to take that group on wild goose chases. An agent provocateur can cause the group they are supposedly supporting to squander their time, money, or reputation. They can gain control of movements that actually have grass-roots support in order to cause them to make foolish decisions at strategically important times.
Our government funds schools which teach people to think like scientists, where we imagine all plausible conjectures, regardless of what “idols of the tribe” those conjectures might threaten. Then scientists seek data to refute those various plausible hypotheses. Falsifiable hypotheses that stand after being subjected to lots of testing are not irrational to consider as possibly true. That is the epistemological gold standard that critical rationalists follow. However, members of the same state and national governments that fund public education often ridicule members of the public who put out perfectly rational hypotheses to explain events when those conjectures question the integrity of the government and its media assets.
In light of the extremely influential writings of Walter Lippmann an honest and reflecting person must ask whether or not it is still possible for any of us to make the righteous claim that we can be vigilant citizens of a constitutional democratic republic, if we are not at least open to the possibility of evaluating hypotheses that question the objectivity of the information we receive.
Most Americans are busy. Most are tired at the end of the work day. It can generally be assumed that a majority of Americans at any given time on any given issue are cognitive misers, meaning they quickly come to conclusions without properly weighing the reasons for those decisions. We embrace hypotheses of causal relationships that are convenient in justifying worldviews we see ourselves benefiting from, regardless of how just or objectively accurate those attributions are. We are easily deceived by smoke and mirrors that prevent the direct observation of cause. The computational energy required to see hidden causes and conspiracies require more energy than most people have. What Abraham Lincoln wrote still generally holds today: “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” However, the real issue for a democracy is not about all the people or some of the people, but rather about MOST of the voters. If you can fool most of the voters all the time, then you can control America. With a few powerful institutions with a unity of interest now possessing the psychological knowledge to control most voters, there is reason to worry.
Americans are also more than ever subject to control, because of the dependency and lack of self reliance we increasingly experience as we become further removed from farms and fields that once allowed us to generally feed ourselves a lack of self-confidence in thinking for ourselves and a perceived need to be of the same mind as the group.
“[T]he group mind does not think in the strict sense of the word. In place of thoughts it has impulses, habits, and emotions.” -Bernays
More than anything else, we are concerned with what our neighbors think of us and how our opinions or theories will make us either popular or unpopular. We all fall short of at least a subset of our neighbors’ or fellow citizens’ expectations for us, so much so that if everyone were to read our diaries, our notes, or hear our comments, at least some people might take offense at them. We know that there are people out there to whom we appear either: too successful or too unsuccessful; too poor or too rich; too in-shape or too out-of-shape; too ugly or too beautiful; too lazy or too driven; too conservative or too liberal, or too something or something’s opposite, so that we know that, given the right opportunity, there will always be a subset of people happy to bring us down with negative comments and ridicule, or worse.
Knowing that Homo homini lupus est, we are all subject to a kind blackmail of thought, and we are able to be cowed into submission because only the craziest of us wish to become the next person fed to the lions in the entertaining arena of the news. But I ask myself, how could we have come to this as Norwegian-Americans (?), when I read Rolvaag, who states:
“The strongest and most important characteristic of the Norwegian people…is their love of freedom, which leads them to set their highest priority on individual rights under common law. Since this last trait is the essence of the American ideal, it means that the Norwegian immigrant is already a good American before he even leaves home.” –Ole Rolvaag, Concerning Our Heritage
So, Norwegian-American are born loving freedom, but yet everywhere they embrace their chains.
Although I know we are not entirely conscious of our lack of freedom and our ability to be manipulated, it could be argued that one of the advantages of living in a country full of small independent farmers, is that by virtue of their self-reliance, they might be able to speak the truth with less worry than those who are at the mercy of other employers. Small farm communities could in this respect be an asset to our democratic republic, precisely because farmers who can feed themselves may have less reason to worry about what others will think about their opinions. Some of us who are inspired by Rolvaag, are wanting to revisit what it is truly to love freedom and individual rights under common law. For that reason, I will be starting to post seminal writings of intellectuals who have understood people’s ability to be manipulated with the hope that a larger number of people will read this and become more self-aware. One seminal text is Public Opinion, written in 1922 by Walter Lippmann.
In Chapter XV of Public Opinion, Walter Lippmann addresses how rulers utilize their positions of power to manufacture consent. He mentions how those who control the media are actually the real leaders of the suggestible and uncritical masses, as they are able to control and direct public sentiment by playing upon what we often now call, fixed action patterns.
Public Opinion, by Walter Lippmann
Leaders often pretend that they have merely uncovered a program which existed in the minds of their public. When they believe it, they are usually deceiving themselves. Programs do not invent themselves synchronously in a multitude of minds. That is not because a multitude of minds is necessarily inferior to that of the leaders, but because thought is the function of an organism, and a mass is not an organism.
This fact is obscured because the mass is constantly exposed to suggestion. It reads not the news, but the news with an aura of suggestion about it, indicating the line of action to be taken. It hears reports, not objective as the facts are, but already stereotyped to a certain pattern of behavior. Thus the ostensible leader often finds that the real leader is a powerful newspaper proprietor. But if, as in a laboratory, one could remove all suggestion and leading from the experience of a multitude, one would, I think, find something like this: A mass exposed to the same stimuli would develop responses that could theoretically be charted in a polygon of error. There would be a certain group that felt sufficiently alike to be classified together. There would be variants of feeling at both ends. These classifications would tend to harden as individuals in each of the classifications made their reactions vocal. That is to say, when the vague feelings of those who felt vaguely had been put into words, they would know more definitely what they felt, and would then feel it more definitely.
Leaders in touch with popular feeling are quickly conscious of these reactions. They know that high prices are pressing upon the mass, or that certain classes of individuals are becoming unpopular, or that feeling towards another nation is friendly or hostile. But, always barring the effect of suggestion which is merely the assumption of leadership by the reporter, there would be nothing in the feeling of the mass that fatally determined the choice of any particular policy. All that the feeling of the mass demands is that policy as it is developed and exposed shall be, if not logically, then by analogy and association, connected with the original feeling.
So when a new policy is to be launched, there is a preliminary bid for community of feeling, as in Mark Antony’s speech to the followers of Brutus. [Footnote: Excellently analyzed in Martin, The Behavior of Crowds, pp. 130-132,] In the first phase, the leader vocalizes the prevalent opinion of the mass. He identifies himself with the familiar attitudes of his audience, sometimes by telling a good story, sometimes by brandishing his patriotism, often by pinching a grievance. Finding that he is trustworthy, the multitude milling hither and thither may turn in towards him. He will then be expected to set forth a plan of campaign. But he will not find that plan in the slogans which convey the feelings of the mass. It will not even always be indicated by them. Where the incidence of policy is remote, all that is essential is that the program shall be verbally and emotionally connected at the start with what has become vocal in the multitude. Trusted men in a familiar role subscribing to the accepted symbols can go a very long way on their own initiative without explaining the substance of their programs.
But wise leaders are not content to do that. Provided they think publicity will not strengthen opposition too much, and that debate will not delay action too long, they seek a certain measure of consent. They take, if not the whole mass, then the subordinates of the hierarchy sufficiently into their confidence to prepare them for what might happen, and to make them feel that they have freely willed the result. But however sincere the leader may be, there is always, when the facts are very complicated, a certain amount of illusion in these consultations. For it is impossible that all the contingencies shall be as vivid to the whole public as they are to the more experienced and the more imaginative. A fairly large percentage are bound to agree without having taken the time, or without possessing the background, for appreciating the choices which the leader presents to them. No one, however, can ask for more. And only theorists do. If we have had our day in court, if what we had to say was heard, and then if what is done comes out well, most of us do not stop to consider how much our opinion affected the business in hand.
And therefore, if the established powers are sensitive and well-informed, if they are visibly trying to meet popular feeling, and actually removing some of the causes of dissatisfaction, no matter how slowly they proceed, provided they are seen to be proceeding, they have little to fear. It takes stupendous and persistent blundering, plus almost infinite tactlessness, to start a revolution from below. Palace revolutions, interdepartmental revolutions, are a different matter. So, too, is demagogy. That stops at relieving the tension by expressing the feeling. But the statesman knows that such relief is temporary, and if indulged too often, unsanitary. He, therefore, sees to it that he arouses no feeling which he cannot sluice into a program that deals with the facts to which the feelings refer.
But all leaders are not statesmen, all leaders hate to resign, and most leaders find it hard to believe that bad as things are, the other fellow would not make them worse. They do not passively wait for the public to feel the incidence of policy, because the incidence of that discovery is generally upon their own heads. They are, therefore, intermittently engaged in mending their fences and consolidating their position. The mending of fences consists in offering an occasional scapegoat, in redressing a minor grievance affecting a powerful individual or faction, rearranging certain jobs, placating a group of people who want an arsenal in their home town, or a law to stop somebody’s vices. Study the daily activity of any public official who depends on election and you can enlarge this list. There are Congressmen elected year after year who never think of dissipating their energy on public affairs. They prefer to do a little service for a lot of people on a lot of little subjects, rather than to engage in trying to do a big service out there in the void. But the number of people to whom any organization can be a successful valet is limited, and shrewd politicians take care to attend either the influential, or somebody so blatantly uninfluential that to pay any attention to him is a mark of sensational magnanimity. The far greater number who cannot be held by favors, the anonymous multitude, receive propaganda.
The established leaders of any organization have great natural advantages. They are believed to have better sources of information. The books and papers are in their offices. They took part in the important conferences. They met the important people. They have responsibility. It is, therefore, easier for them to secure attention and to speak in a convincing tone.But also they have a very great deal of control over the access to the facts. Every official is in some degree a censor. And since no one can suppress information, either by concealing it or forgetting to mention it, without some notion of what he wishes the public to know, every leader is in some degree a propagandist. Strategically placed, and compelled often to choose even at the best between the equally cogent though conflicting ideals of safety for the institution, and candor to his public, the official finds himself deciding more and more consciously what facts, in what setting, in what guise he shall permit the public to know.
That the manufacture of consent is capable of great refinements no one, I think, denies. The process by which public opinions arise is certainly no less intricate than it has appeared in these pages, and the opportunities for manipulation open to anyone who understands the process are plain enough.
The creation of consent is not a new art. It is a very old one which was supposed to have died out with the appearance of democracy. But it has not died out. It has, in fact, improved enormously in technic, because it is now based on analysis rather than on rule of thumb. And so, as a result of psychological research, coupled with the modern means of communication, the practice of democracy has turned a corner. A revolution is taking place, infinitely more significant than any shifting of economic power. Within the life of the generation now in control of affairs, persuasion has become a self-conscious art and a regular organ of popular government. None of us begins to understand the consequences, but it is no daring prophecy to say that the knowledge of how to create consent will alter every political calculation and modify every political premise. Under the impact of propaganda, not necessarily in the sinister meaning of the word alone, the old constants of our thinking have become variables. It is no longer possible, for example, to believe in the original dogma of democracy; that the knowledge needed for the management of human affairs comes up spontaneously from the human heart. Where we act on that theory we expose ourselves to self-deception, and to forms of persuasion that we cannot verify. It has been demonstrated that we cannot rely upon intuition, conscience, or the accidents of casual opinion if we are to deal with the world beyond our reach.
Giants of the Earth Heritage Center is pleased to announce, for sale in our gift shop, Kingdom of the Rings by Duane Lindberg, PhD, American Studies, MTh. Lutheran Theology.
THE KINGDOM OF THE RINGS – FOUR LEVELS OF INTEREST
FOR THE READER – by Dr. Duane Lindberg
“The Kingdom of The Rings” is a historical novel which appeals to the reader’s interest on four different levels: the fictional story itself, the historical accounts, the religious/theological matters, and the ethnic/cultural level.
The story line traces the three interlocking golden Rings which were in the gift of gold which the Magi offered to the Christ Child. The saga begins in AD 1267 as the Rings are entrusted to a Coptic Christian in Alexandria, Egypt who carries them to the embattled city of Antioch, Syria, where a Muslim army is attacking the Crusader kingdom. Following the Muslim capture of Antioch, the story traces the journey of the Crusader who carries the Rings in his search for healing from leprosy. He gives the Rings as expressions of thanksgiving for help he receives along the “pilgrims’ way” to the grave of Norway’s “eternal king” at the Nideros Cathedral in Trondheim, Norway. Through the vicissitudes of history, the Rings are separated and eventually come into the possession of two families from Norway and one from Egypt by way of Germany. The Rings are then carried by these believing immigrant families to the United States. Suspense builds as the Rings come close on two occasions, and the promise of a great blessing for the keepers, the nation, and the world (the Second Coming of Christ) looms very near.
Respecting the historical level, the novel attempts to uncover for the reader some of those critical
historical events which are part of our American and the Western World’s heritage. Also, the historical perspective underlines the centrality of the Christian Faith in the founding and building of our Nation. The reader is introduced to a nearly forgotten time of greatness in the Middle Ages and to the persistence of the conflict with Islam which spans the entire period. The reader who loves history will want to re-read the novel to savor the many insights into the actual history of both the “Old World” and the “New”.
With regard to the religious/theological level, the novel suggests the ubiquity of the Christian faith and its eschatological hope which characterized the majority of immigrants from Norway and from other European countries in the 18th and 19th centuries. The metaphor of the three interlocking rings is the historic symbol of the Holy Trinity and each of the Rings bears an ancient Persian name which is suggestive of one Person of the Godhead. The Name of the second Ring – “Ashem” – is translated “Truth” or “the Incarnation of Truth” and points the reader to Jesus the Christ. In the story, it is the name of this Ring which draws the Muslim general inexorably to his conversion to Christianity and his subsequent beheading by Egyptian Islamic authorities.
On the ethnic/cultural level the saga focuses on American immigrants from Norway as a microcosm of the more than 55 million Europeans who flooded our shores in the 18 and 19th centuries. The characters in the novel reveal the immigrants’ struggle to adapt to their new homeland and at the same time their attempts to retain their own identity. The novel challenges the popular “melting pot” explanation of the American experience and suggests a more adequate metaphor – The Field of Rings.
Some of the latest genetic research on neoteny suggests that humans–and the very powerful institutions that govern them–have preferentially selected for the survival of more childlike humans over thousands of years. This is exhibited in the form of a loss of–or a delay in–the expression of important maturity genes found in primates and earlier hominids. This causes–what some have referred to as–“more evolved” humans to have the less threatening appearance of primate infants–just as domestic dogs tend to resemble wolf pups. Not only do domestic dogs resemble wolf pups in appearance, they also resemble them in behavior. While wolves focus on the meat that is in their trainer’s hands, young wolf pups and dogs look up at the eyes of their trainer to try to see what their trainer wants so that he will share his meat with them. Thus, it is no surprise that domestication has increased the time span in which a dog can learn new tricks. So it would seem that neoteny is a desirable thing.
Institutionalized Systems of Selection
As there has been selection for neoteny, or more youthful physical and behavioral traits in canines during their domestication, we can also expect that humans have undergone selection for more childlike behavioral traits. Although some positive aspects might be found in a possibly greater malleability, negative aspects would be that humans have become more “finger to the wind,” more heteronomous, and less autonomous. Increasing human plasticity could have both positive and negative repercussions for human culture. As more is learned about how cognitive and behavioral genes have been influenced, it will be interesting to deconstruct how our more child-like phenotype has influenced and continues to influence Homo sapiens’ evolving spirituality and our various religious practices.
Bootlickers for Justice (if it pleases the powers that be)
How has this childification influenced the percentage of people who enter the higher Piagetian cognitive levels and Kohlberg’s stages of post-conventional morality? It would seem that the more corrupt religious and political institutions would benefit from the continued neoteny or “childification” of humanity, as this might result in a greater conformist to nonconformist ratio among adults. Since the most insightful existential critics of institutions arise from the higher cognitive levels, the demise of the genes that gave people a propensity to attain a higher Piagetian level might be something that institutions would desire and hence we would expect their numbers to be decreasing. On the other hand, it might be possible for the postconventional to escape negative selection if they camouflaged themselves in irony or caved to hypocrisy. Thus, while their (Kohlbergian) conventional and preconventional morality allowed those of a lower Piagetian level to serve corrupt institutions in good faith, those of postconventional morality have a choice between hypocrisy or martyrdom. There are those who have understood universal principles that have not capitulated to corrupt institutions: they have been crushed for centuries–leaving fewer descendants than those who have capitulated. Thus, what courage is left in us to stand for justice? Hypocrisy is in the genes of we, the most clever psychophants, who mistakenly call ourselves the most sapien hominids.
Homo hypocrita, Homo intolerantissima, Homo sycophanta
The way we interpret any text might be influenced by the class to which we belong and the particular natural domestication that has occurred as a result of belonging to a certain class culture for centuries. Noah’s three sons illustrate the tripartite human self: our nature, spirit, and intellect: Different cultures have allowed each of these three parts to rule them and under the paradigms of each culture, different types of human domestication have occurred. Thus, it seems unlikely that merely by passing down the revered writings of sages past we can actualize new sages and champions for justice in each type, unless we somehow unite the best innate elements cultivated by selection within all three cultural niches while removing the worst. Would the original sages even recognize their thoughts in our summaries of their works? This is because our juvenilization has and will inevitably transfigure our interpretation of those texts.
On the one hand, if there is selection against mature cognitive levels and for neoteny in some cultures, their people’s continued juvenilization might, for example, cause their conception of G-d to take on ever more superhero like characteristics–a movement toward pagan Japhethic religions. Alternatively, even if there is selection in some cultures for genes enabling the acquisition of higher Piagetian levels, assuming a priori a positive selection for psychophancy rather than martyrdom, then it is doubtful whether those people’s inherited corrupt spirit would allow them to actually perform the just acts that their monotheism would dictate, as Paul writes.
“I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. . . . I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do.” (Romans 7: 15; 19, Revised Standard Version).
Considering that each class has its own fitness games and certain traits are adaptive in each, we would expect crucial elements of the three core human virtues: Courage, Honesty, Justice to be present in each class, but not the fully actualized virtues themselves. This is because strength, transparency, and cleverness are what is actually selected for among the archetypal subspecies descended from Noah: Ham, Japheth, and Shem. While Ham’s vigor is an important constituent of courage, when used for selfish ends or untempered by reason, we don’t call it a virtue. While the conditionability found among the descendants of Japheth is an important element for creating their honesty, their plasticity has led them over the centuries to adapt all sorts of strange idiosyncratic prideful practices. While cleverness exhibited by Shem is an essential factor in understanding justice, cleverness alone does not a just person make.
So, when individuals have arisen in civilization exhibiting the virtuous applications of: vigor, conditionability, and cleverness they have generally produced less offspring than their competition exhibiting the vicious applications of these. Those exhibiting the actual virtues: courage, honesty, and justice, have been the sung and unsung martyrs of the ages.
We all benefit from the more peaceful and more just society that has arisen from the sacrifices of heroes, saints, and prophets. Though these servants of humanity have been a unique hybrid of the best elements of Ham, Japheth, and Shem, within their own generations these heroes, saints, and prophets have always been existentially abused. Is their altruism a fossil fuel we will some day run out of? Ancient texts indicate we have gone out of our way for well over three thousands years to kill them. Why do we kill them? Well, they are different and, frequently, they have the audacity to ask with righteous indignation those in power to live by principles rather than the self-serving cleverness to flatter those in power and allow might to set the standards for what is right: Furthermore, they have the arrogance to ask those not in power to think about ultimate rather than proximate ends, making them easy for the servants of the powerful to turn the mob against. Just as chickens peck at the hen that is different, it seems to be in the nature of humans to criticize, demonize, burn, jail, or crucify those people who “march to the beat of a different drummer” perhaps because playing this dominance hierarchy game is what egotistic humans do best. Each of these actions results in the lowering of the inclusive fitness of the virtuous hybrid who is courageous, honest, and just. In turn, the persecution of those with such virtues results in the greater and greater passing down of genes that merely code for the lusty, the psychophantic, and the clever.
“Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” Matthew 23:37
In the above quote, Jesus was merely restating the observations of Daniel and Isaiah on the problem of neoteny. Both asked how we can set up a system to preserve and protect those people who exhibit a hybridization of the three variables that produce courage, honesty, and justice. They wondered how to warn these gems of humanity against throwing their pearls before swine who have little understanding or, alternatively, how to redirect the swine so as to keep them from martyring the just. What plan could save Daniel’s virtuous friends: Shadrach, Mischach, and Abednego from the figurative raging fire? What scheme would protect Daniel himself from the appetites and fury of the figurative lions? What spell could save the seed and winnow the chaff, asked Isaiah? The plan was spelled out by both Daniel and Isaiah in numerous ways, but veiled in allegory so that seeing, the swine “might not see, and hearing, they may not hear…” Isa 6:9 The veil, or seal, was a double seal, so that only those possessing a combination of the excellences might understand. The lusty would not be able to focus on scripture; the merely clever would become bored with the scriptures; while the dogmatic thinkers would pick out what verses agreed with their wishful thoughts and chant them like pagans, but not be clever enough to critically assess the material and read between the lines.
How well Daniel’s plan has worked for the last 2500 years in controlling the less desirable aspects of neoteny is best understood by whole genome comparison of what alleles have preferentially survived through the years within the peoples governed by the paradigms he envisioned in his dream, and its implementation by Isaiah and Jesus.
One of the worst heritages we are passing down to our children is a sedentary lifestyle. Many physicians are calling SEDENTARY DEATH SYNDROME the leading cause of death in America–and avoidable medical costs resulting from Americans’ sedentary habits are bankrupting America.
Ironically, many of the most out-of-shape people work the hardest and longest hours. Their strong work ethic causes them to view exercise as something for the leisure class. But the irony is that working extended sedentary hours consumes more resources than it generates because people who don’t exercise become debilitated and unable to work 20 years earlier than those that do. Our ancestors generally didn’t have so many health problems because they engaged in vigorous physical activity for at least one hour a day. They didn’t have all these labor saving devices.
Back in the olden days when people worked so hard physically, it was okay that their leisure activities were sedentary. Today, just look around. Our work is generally sedentary, so it is essential that our leisure activities be physically vigorous–or else we will have what we have right now. So scheduling sedentary leisure activities for ourselves in the evenings and weekends after a week of sedentary work is like putting butter on your lard. Let’s stop sentencing ourselves and our children to an early death.
Let’s do something STARTING NOW. Resolve not to watch another moment of television unless you are on the floor alternating between situps, pushups, and other exercises. Let’s put treadmills in the cinemas. Let’s make resolutions to go for family walks rather than sit in front of the TV. Why read a book when you could listen to one for an hour every day and get in 5 miles of walking or 10 miles of jogging? Have you ever met a fat person who has been jogging 10 or more miles a day for any length of time. Excess fat cannot endure such exercise and it disappears.
Poor exercise habits are almost always a choice and not something people can’t do anything about, so let’s stop dancing around this issue for fear that someone might take offense. Like every other habit, bad habits are infectious, so without active counter measures bad habits frequently spread. Although it is good to worry about not hurting out-of-shape people’s feelings–obviously brushing this issue under the rug is not working for our kids. We need a serious propaganda campaign to demonize bad habits if we are to not lose those we care about to an early, unnecessary death.
Bad habits, including and especially overscheduling sedentary activities, are the number one killer in America. In short, if you are home now and have spent a whole day sitting, stop reading this blog and go for a jog and listen to a book on tape instead. Come back when you are pleasantly sore and resume your reading. And, if you want to help create a culture that empowers healthy habits, please share this article with your friends on facebook or through email.
Garrison Keillor Tue, September 27 @Luther College Center for Faith and Life Garrison Keillor, the host and writer of the acclaimed “A Prairie Home Companion” public radio program, will highlight the Luther College Center Stage Series of professional performing arts events for 2011-12. Keillor will take the CSS stage in the Center for Faith and Life Main Hall on Tuesday evening, Sept. 27 to present “The Aura of Flora In Decorah with Garrison Keillor.” Subscription tickets for the CSS will go one sale in early June at the Luther College Box Office. A limited number of ticket subscriptions will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis through the Luther College Box Office. Subscription purchasers are assured tickets to the Keillor performance. Non-subscriber tickets will go on sale Sept. 2. “The Aura of Flora in Decorah with Garrison Keillor” is a special Sesquicentennial event for Luther College. Keillor will present a program, tailored to reflect the history and heritage of Luther in celebration of its 150th anniversary in 2011-12. The evening’s presentation by Keillor and will consist of light-hearted talk and story telling, accompanied by music by his pianist Rich Dworsky. Keillor is a well-loved Radio Hall of Fame inductee, winner of the Peabody Award and a National Humanities Medal. He is best known as the host and writer of “A Prairie Home Companion” and “The Writer’s Almanac,” heard on public radio stations across the country. He is the author of more than a dozen books, including “Lake Wobegon Days,” “The Book of Guys,” “Love Me” and “Homegrown Democrat.” Keillor was born in Anoka, Minn. in 1942 and is a graduate of the University of Minnesota. He lives in St. Paul with his wife and daughter. He has two grandsons. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts & Letters and the Episcopal Church. Heard by millions of public radio listeners, Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion” captures Midwestern hearts. His charm, clever wit, and intimate observations illuminate his signature storytelling on the air and in print. The performance is sponsored in part by Decorah Bank and Trust, and net proceeds will support the Luther College Sesquicentennial Fund Endowed Scholarship.
There’s a cool Valentines Party at the Ballard House, 163 West Main Street in Spring Grove for Singles and Sweethearts on Saturday, February 12 beginning at 3:30 PM. Make reservations in advance by calling 563.419.0986 and save $5.
Enjoy heritage soups, hearty appetizers, and fabulous desserts like crazy cool fondue (chocolate), blotkakke (whipped cream cake), veiled farm girls from the 1870s and more.
Dancing is encouraged, so dress in the period of the 1870s or the 1970s if you wish. Music will be by Bovee and Heil and from favorite LPs of the 1970s.
Also, there will be a looping film show of Oral Histories previously made with local folks who recalled some past experiences on a variety of topics for our cameras. A review of the Giants Web Site will be available as well.
People who want to continue the evening at the Cinema or the Talent Show at the local high school will be able to enjoy the early portion of the party and leave for other things.
Celebrating the Huebner Matching Gift too
Dan Huebner, retired Vice Chair and Director of the Grumman Corporation now living in Decorah, gave a $25,000 matching gift for programming to Giants, and this party also celebrates the progress made thus far in the quest of $25,000 to match the gift.
Cost is $15 per person in advance or $20 at the door. For advance reservations checks can be made to Giants of the Earth Heritage Center, Inc. and mailed to PO Box 223 in Spring Grove 55974. Please indicate the names of those covered by the payment.
This event is sponsored in part by the Class of 1978 and the Giants of the Earth Heritage Center, Inc.
If you are making a long drive down to Spring Grove that day, you might also consider attending the Sons of Norway talk by Dr. Johnathan Storlie at 11AM in the Legion Hall on Using Genetic Testing to Find Your Ancestors.
Come to experience tea at the Ballard House in Spring Grove after school on Friday, February 11 from 3:30-4:45 PM. Served in our elegant Heritage Center’s Grand Room, this after-school 75 minute event will introduce girls of all ages to the Afternoon Tea Party experience of our ancestors. Adding to the ambience, tea will be served using an assortment of china cups and saucers, silver service and candles.
According to a 1902 book on etiquette, “teas have become the necessities of life; they fill a place in our social communion with one another that no other form of entertainment could so well encompass.”
This will be an excellent opportunity for children to learn or brush up on proper introductions, dining etiquette and other social graces. This experience can build confidence and skills that make social situations easier – and bring benefits that last a lifetime.
Bring your Favorite Doll
Fancy dress is encouraged, or dress to match your doll’s costume! There are three rest rooms at the Ballard House where one could change clothes after school.
The event is free to girls who make reservations in advance by calling Jill at 498.3586. Doll friends are free and one doll chair will be provided for each girl. For all adults and for girls who do not make advance reservations, the fee is $3
Special Craft Finale
Volunteers will help inspire each girl to create a special card and matching envelope for her Valentine. Girls will use stickers and decorative paper to make a one-of-a-kind card. (No paint will spoil fancy clothes.)
Volunteers may call Jill at 563-419-0986 to help set up and participate.
This delightful learning experience is hosted by Giants of the Earth Heritage Center, Inc.
Want to honor your immigrant ancestors? Put their names prominently in gold on the beautiful walls in the Giants of the Earth Heritage Hall of Giants. The names will be placed on the walls of the side of Spring Grove in which your immigrants ancestors lived. For example, Ole Nerstad and Kjettle Garnaas lived west of Spring Grove, so their names appear on the west wall.
Giants of the Earth offers this special offer as a thank you to donors who have given over $2,500. For each $2,500 donation, one immigrant ancestor will be written in the Hall of Giants.
In addition, your immigrant will receive special attention as we complete our Giants of the Earth Heritage Center area Bygdebok, detailing the history and genealogy of the Houston, Winneshiek, Fillmore, Allamakee Co. area.
Please make your donation today by going to our right sidebar and choosing how you would like give. Giants will then contact you to learn more about the immigrant you would like to have honored in our Hall of Giants.
“He only deserves to be remembered by posterity who treasures up and preserves the history of his ancestors.” —Edmund Burke
Hootenanny at the Cinema.
On Wednesdays come to Hootenanny.
It begins at approximately 3:30 so school children can attend. Cost is $1.00 for each child, and also $1.00 for adults not accompanied by a child.
Adults with a child get in free.
Bob Bovee and Gail Heil, and Rachel Grippen Storlie are the instructors. This is the first offering of our Giants Folk School. It will be held at the Giants of the Earth Heritage Center in the Ballard House on Main Street in Spring Grove.
Barneløpet Children’s Ski/Walk Event at Decorah Prairie
DECORAH, Iowa — Help your kids shake off their cabin fever at the twelfth annual Barneløpet Saturday, February 5, at 10:00 a.m. The event is sponsored by Sons of Norway Valdres Lodge #503 in Decorah, Iowa, Sons of Norway Heimbygda Lodge #376 in Lanesboro, Minnesota, and Sons of Norway Valheim Lodge #364 in Spring Grove, Minnesota, along with Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum.
Barneløpet is a non-competitive ski or walk event for children ages 3-13. It is open to girls and boys of all skill levels and is a great event for the entire family to get out, get involved, and enjoy winter.
The event will take place at the Decorah Community Prairie, which is accessed by car at the south end of Ohio Street, near Aase Haugen Nursing Homes. The trail will be in a loop, with the start and finish at the site of the butterfly garden. Participants will have three different loops to choose from. Along with the main loop for skiing, there will be a shorter one for younger skiers and a specific loop for walkers.
In the absence of snow, children will walk the course. “The only type of weather that will keep us from holding the event is an ice storm or temperatures that are 0 degrees or below,” said organizer Darlene Fossum-Martin. If in doubt about weather conditions, listen to local radio stations for cancellations.
The terrain is flat and the trail is groomed. Caregivers can walk or ski the course with the children, or may choose to stand along the course and cheer.
Participants register the day of the event between 9:40 and 10:00 a.m. After completing the course, participants are welcome to hot chocolate and cookies. Special thanks to Sons of Norway members for providing the cookies.
Everyone’s a winner! Each registered participant will receive a printed bib for the event and a medal. This event is modeled after the American Birkebeiner race held in Hayward, Wisconsin.
The entry fee is $3, and participants must provide their own skis. There are a limited number of children’s skis for rent at Decorah Bicycles, and you can call them to make reservations. For more information about the Barneløpet event contact Vesterheim at (563) 382-9681.
Want to donate to Giants of the Earth Heritage Center. We have two easy options. Note that donations over $2,500 will receive special honors in our Hall of Giants in Spring Grove. There is an Honored Immigrants Wall on the first floor. Each donation of $2,500 allows the name of an immigrant from one’s family to be written in gold leaf on the wall.
Option 1. Donate to Giants Capital Campaign BY CHECK. Write your check, and mail to:
Giants of the Earth Heritage Center, Inc.P.O. Box 223Spring Grove, MN 55974
Option 2. Donate to Giants Capital Campaign BY CREDIT CARD
Simply use the online donation button below. Your name will be immediately posted on our Online Donors page if you choose, or you can remain anonymous. Note: you may make your tax deductible donations any amount you wish and make any comments you wish. Feel free to make a donation in memory of a beloved ancestor or loved one, such as–“In memory of…remembering our first Christmas together” or “In honor of Knute…, my great great grandfather, who helped build the first Spring Grove Church.” If you wish to have your money used toward something in particular, such as the capital campaign, the Dan Huebner matching grant for programming, or membership, please indicate so.
Giants of the Earth will be hosting a Christmas party for children and families Sunday December 12th from 1-3pm at the Ballard House on Main Street in Spring Grove, Minnesota. We will be creating ornaments and caroling around the tree like they do in Norway. The kids can make ornaments to put on the tree and to take home. We will be making traditional Norwegian ornaments like; paper chain links, paper baskets, woven paper baskets and straw hearts.
There will be refreshments and we should be visited by a real Norwegian Jule Nisse.
There is a suggested free will offering of $2 per child.
One of the hallmarks of a community that maintains sustainable stewardship practices is that the community is made up of a higher than average number of individuals who make conscious rational decisions. Community stewardship is thus advanced when members of the community become conscious of their innate Fixed Action Patterns, or FAPs. Fixed action patterns are those patterns which cause humans to behave in predictable, less than rational ways. When people make good financial decisions, resources are kept in their community. Today, it is difficult not to fall victim to marketing tactics used to sell us things we can’t use, don’t need, or don’t help our families or communities out in some way. Therefore, I believe it is helpful for us to promote a better understanding of “tricks” used which frequently drain the resources of small towns while providing little return, so as to immunize members of our community against irrational spending and promote optimal spending.
Empirical research has documented that humans unconsciously behave in predictable ways when confronted by an individual promoting a cause or selling an item. Research has identified the following 6 tactics for getting someone to say “yes” to something that circumvents the rational deliberation process. There are o
2. Commitment and consistency
3. Social Proof
4. Liking (people who also like whatever it is you are promoting)
Examples of FAPs that we exhibit
1. Reciprocation-if a car salesman gives someone a cup of coffee, buyers will frequently not negotiate the best price for their car. The coffee isn’t even worth a dollar. The buyer might spend $2000 more on the car if he is given a cup of coffee by the nice salesman.
2. Commitment and consistency—if you get someone to start saying yes to things they agree with, you can eventually show that donating to a cause is consistent with what they already believe.
3. Social Proof—if you preface your survey by saying “9 out of 10 people believe X”, do you also believe X, most people will believe X.
4. Liking (people who also like whatever it is you are promoting)—If you show an attractive or likeable person likes X, most people will also like X, even if they know nothing about X.
5. Authority—if you state that the Powers-That-Be like X, most people will also like X.
6. Scarcity—if you say that something will not be available soon, many people will feel compelled to buy that thing right now.