Monday, February 28, 2005

Who is this Man?

Tom Atlee Posted by Hello

who is this man. why should you know him?

back in january a friend sent a link to an online mag that she thought we might find interesting. there was an article in it by tom atlee. he spoke of meeting conservatives who agreed to some liberal positions but felt constrained about voicing such positions publicly. i posted an intemperate but not rude comment critical of him for not urging them to stand up publicly for what they admit to privately. tom sent me a very gracious reply pointing out the political realities of finding common ground with skeptics before confronting them. so i googled him, as i most certainly should have done before mouthing off. nice website. great work. the picture above. doesn't he look like a nice guy? he is. we exchanged e-mails. i even sent him a picture of myself at his request.

he added me to his mailing list. i get well-written and very informative missives on an irregular schedule. he definitely "walks the walk" as we say in clicheland. when i asked him if i could use his picture and plug his work this was his reply:

I'm moved by all this and want you to feel free to use anything I
send (including my email correspondence) or anything on my site in
any life-benefiting way you choose. That's what it's for.

here is his biography. and here is a sample of his writing.

Dear friends,

I was not going to write you this morning, but this article about British autistic savant Daniel Tammet was too provocative. I found myself identifying with aspects of his mix of extreme abilities and extreme disabilities. Then I found
myself thinking of other people in my life whose social skills are very limited but who have remarkable gifts in other areas of their lives that outshine my own and many other people's.

I suspect most human capacities follow a bell curve: For each capacity, we would probably find that very few people have virtually none of it, and very few people have an extreme amount. Most of us are somewhere in a well-populated middle range, with a bit more or less of it.

We dream of creating geniuses at everything -- or of becoming such geniuses ourselves -- or, most seductive of all, of designing or training our children for such perfection. The prospects are tantalizing. What if we could use "the other 90 percent of our brains" like Einstein, or all be
as compassionate as the Dalai Lama?

I'm not sure it works like that. I think that extreme capacity requires certain tendencies -- biological, social, spiritual, mental, etc. -- which draw gigantic amounts of our attention and life energy towards and into the area of genius,impoverishing other areas of our lives. Genius often entails some disability, if only being seen as "the absent-minded professor."

we are lucky to have such an eloquent man working at improving democracy. go read some more of his prose and about his work. click on articles.

No comments:

Post a Comment