I am the producer of Holistic Arts Fair, CEO of Holistic Arts Fair Association, former producer of the New Age Renaissance Fair, and author of Horoscope for the New Millennium, published in 1997.
My philosophy essay which plots all of philosophy and knowledge on a circle or medicine wheel. It is the basis of a forthcoming book
The Philosopher's Wheel.
I am also a very part-time organist and composer, with free sheet music available of my compositions. My photos on flickr
I invite you to visit a tribute to my Dad, Ed Meece (not Ed Meese), who passed away in January 1999.
I have put two new web pages on my server for two of my favorite composers who otherwise (until more recently) did not have one; one for the great early 20th century French organist and composer Louis Vierne, and another for contemporary electronic spacemusic composer and artist Robert Carty. Please visit these pages and find out about these extraordinary unknown composers! I also have added a tribute to folk-rock artist Lee Mallory, another little-known and underrated composer from the 1960s and the new Millennium.
My philosophy essay which plots all of philosophy and knowledge on a circle or medicine wheel. It is the basis of a forthcoming book The Philosopher's Wheel. I am also a very part-time organist and composer, with free sheet music available of my compositions. My photos on flickr
I invite you to visit a tribute to my Dad, Ed Meece (not Ed Meese), who passed away in January 1999. I have put two new web pages on my server for two of my favorite composers who otherwise (until more recently) did not have one; one for the great early 20th century French organist and composer Louis Vierne, and another for contemporary electronic spacemusic composer and artist Robert Carty. Please visit these pages and find out about these extraordinary unknown composers! I also have added a tribute to folk-rock artist Lee Mallory, another little-known and underrated composer from the 1960s and the new Millennium.
If my picture or any of my activities mentioned on this manifold site appeal to you, and you happen to be of the opposite sex, let it be known that I am currently looking for a romantic partner with similar interests. You can email me if you want to connect. Also, I am always interested in sharing with interesting people, and I love cats (especially my kitty Winky (1990-2008), who was my favorite little kitty in the whole wide world).
Here is my editorial from the 1997 Program Schedule for the New Age Renaissance Fair:
An Editorial by Eric A. Meece, producer of the New Age Renaissance Fair
These days there's a lot of controversy and dissatisfaction among new agers with the term "New Age." Some people shy away from the term and don't want to be associated with it. Others are resigned to using it even though they don't like it. Still others use the term only because they think it would be more profitable than some other name.
There are problems with the term "New Age" to be sure. It is too general. And many people question whether there's anything "new" in the New Age. After all, much of it is recycled from the great spiritual traditions of the past. It also points toward a future that may never come when we should be focused on the here and now. Many "New Age" activities are ridiculed by skeptics and the media, and people don't want to be associated with something that might be unpopular. And many charlatans and hucksters have found a home in the New Age because of its tendencies for gullibility.
Personally, I love the term New Age and wouldn't want to give up on it. For me it sets us apart from the current society and offers a future alternative. It also implies that it is destined to come in one way or another, thus giving the hoped-for changes a feeling of inevitability. If we believe our visions will come true, they are more likely to. And as long as new agers stay creative, the "New Age" will always be new. The New Age to me represents a global awakening of creative, spiritual consciousness across the whole planet on an unprecedented scale, revealing areas of human potential never before tapped.
People also ask me why I couple the term "New Age" with "Renaissance." Isn't that a contradiction? The Renaissance happened 5 centuries ago in Europe, so how can it be new? But as any historian could tell you, there have been many renaissances in human history besides the one most often given that title. And as we mentioned, it is true that much in the new age is a resurrection of the past. So the term "New Age Renaissance" is no more contradictory than the name of one of our musical guests, "Ancient Future." Revival of forgotten traditions from the ancient past was exactly what gave new life to Europe and led to the "discovery" of the "New World" in the "Renaissance," and it is part of our renaissance too. We today in the new age want to reclaim some of the color and pageantry, confidence, openness to spiritual and occult traditions, and creativity of the 15th Century Renaissance; as well as the magic of the Middle Ages and Pre-Christian times. Our new consciousness today may also open up "new worlds" for us, as we prepare to explore outer and inner space and meet other civilizations in the galaxy.
As it happens, the great astrological cycles validate the idea that a renaissance comes around every so often, in fact on a very regular 500-year schedule; and that it is now time for one. We have gone through decades of confusion and transition. The world that was reborn in the Renaissance collapsed in the trenches and concentration camps of the Great Wars. All that remains is an artistic and cultural tradition that is increasingly (and unfortunately) ignored and sometimes not even taught in universities, and a legacy of commercialism, corporate power and looming environmental catastrophe.
We don't have to wallow in the ruins of the collapsed culture around us; we have the New Age. It is the only alternative to continued drift and decline, so let us embrace it and move forward. If the 20th Century was about war and technology, the 21st can be about peace and creativity if we make it so. As you explore New Age alternatives at the Fair, use your own judgement and ask for evidence to back up the claims people make. Don't be gullible, and don't be afraid or cynical either. The New Age is here for you to discover.
If you have any thoughts on this, or on my personal editorial below, that you would like to share with me, you may email them to me.
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In this space I will post some of my own incendiary and controversial thoughts on various and sundry subjects.
Click here to see My Comments on the War on Terrorism and Sept.11th
My thoughts on the Welfare Deform law signed in 1996 by President Clinton.
As you can tell from my use of the word "deform" instead of "reform", I disagree strongly with what the Republican Congress and the Democratic President have done on this issue (not to mention our troglydite Republican Governor). Any compassionate and resourceful nation has a safety net for its citizens. This is only prudent preparation for the future. What if another depression comes and throws millions of us out of work? What if YOU are fired by a capricious or greedy employer who doesn't like your looks, or doesn't like the way you think, or wants to save money by downsizing? We are all vulnerable at any time to the loss of our job or business, and we should not have to depend on the good fortune of having help from a generous family or church. All of us in our society have a responsibility to help those in need, and we depend on such a safety net if we ourselves should fall upon hard times.
The welfare deform law has torn our safety net to shreds. Because of the prevalent Republican ideology that says we can all take responsibility for ourselves and don't need government, we have come to look down on welfare and those who receive it. The new law expects them to live without food by putting a 3 month limit on food stamps. It expects people to find a job within a year and a half, and limits welfare to 5 years for a lifetime. What if a recession lasts longer than 5 years? What if there is more than one such recession in your lifetime? What if there aren't enough jobs to go around? It is hard enough today to find work, what with the unreasonable demands most employers put on job applicants. What happens when the economy is not booming? I remember how hard it was decades ago to get a job as a youth. And I have a rather fortunate background. The expectations we are placing on youth today are incredible; not to mention women and people of color who face discrimination on top of a difficult job market.
The Republicans expect our families, and some others who happen to be generous, to pick up the tab for those who can't get a job. This is nonsense. It is unfair to depend on a few people to do the whole job of caring for the less fortunate. The duty should be shared among all of us, and that's why we have taxes and government social programs. They have and DO work if given a chance and proper support, and are carried out with integrity by people who believe in them. These programs helped us all from the 1940s to the 1970s to achieve a higher standard of living. The growing gap between rich and poor today shows what happens when we cut them back or gut them.
Another bugaboo and scapegoat are "welfare mothers". They have babies just to get on welfare, it is said. Granted that some may do this, it does seem a pretty silly strategy, given the small amount that people get on welfare. Most mothers would rather be self-sufficient. But who ever said being a mother is not a job that should be supported by our society? Why should we shuffle our children off to a impersonal and frequently-incompetent day care center and separate them from their mothers? The shocking fact that I discovered when I called the welfare office is that single people don't get welfare. They get loans and are expected to work to pay them off. So no wonder some people think they need to have children to get on welfare; that's the only way to get it!
At least the minimum wage is rising to give people more of an incentive to work instead of being on welfare. It is wrong and counter-productive to give people more for welfare than they get for working. On the other hand, the "workfare" program has serious problems. I have no problem with requiring people on welfare to get training and work for their benefits. But such workfare jobs should not take jobs away from others, and greedy employers should not depend on these jobs to keep their expenses down. If welfare recipients must work, they should do things that wouldn't get done otherwise. And they shouldn't be required to work if they can't. If welfare recipients work, they should get more money, or at least should not be required to work for less than minimum wage.
I hope one of these days, perhaps when the economy goes sour again, that we will recover our sanity on this issue. All other developed nations take care of their citizens in trouble; we are the most barbaric and backward developed nation on the planet now; hardly a "model" for others. Welfare Deform is a shame and a disgrace.
Thanks for reading, and if you wish to reply, email me. If you want me to, I might even post your reply! We have received some replies for you to read below.
SOME OLD THOUGHTS FOR A NEW AGE (thoughts on welfare reform)
submitted by Lawrence Wallach, December 1997
Your points are well taken. We could certainly have changed or refined many programs passed from the 1930's through the 1970's, yet we may well regret throwing the baby out with the bath water.
For far too long there was too great an emphasis on welfare as opposed to work. ALL able bodied persons should be required to find work or to be provided with it when they canít obtain a job on their own. New Deal style programs like the CCC or WPA, which could involve using the organizational capacity of the U.S. military, could be launched in especially hard hit areas.
Where the only available jobs fail to pay a living wage, the government could supplement earnings. In the short run, this would cost more, drawing the scorn and ire of conservatives and deficit hawks. Many liberals, particularly those who came of age in the '60's, will condemn this as fascism. What both fail to see is the public policies which promote work, discipline and responsibility buttress a healthy civic society and a vibrant democracy. The only freedom lost is the freedom of those who are able to work to receive something for nothing.
I note that, until very recently, many Republicans supported welfare, lip service to the contrary. Certainly the Nixon administration had no problem with it. In fact, I would argue they saw it as a tranquilizer that gave the nation's poor just enough to be peaceful and largely off the national radar screen, but not enough to change their situation or lead to an expectation--and demand--for real change.
Yet the real threat in not primarily to the poor. It is to the middle--and even upper middle--class which has grown so large in the last fifty years. Social Security, medicare and medicaid, along with the availability of QUALITY health insurance and health care are the pillars of middle class existence. Yet plans are gradually being laid and implemented to remove these pillars--not quickly, but drop by drop--so that few will realize it until the deal is done.
Social security? It is portrayed as a bad "investment". Just let people invest their money as they choose and look how much more they would have at retirement! But what happens if they make bad investments? If the market and economy go south? We are told we are in a "new economy" (new age, new economy, new paradigm) where the old rules no longer apply. The boom and bust cycle is over. Stocks will go ever upward.
Yet none of the "far sighted" investment "gurus" and "experts" who tell us this predicted what has happened in Asia. As late as four months ago, we told that Asian markets were dragons--roaring into the 21st century and that the American investor better get on board.
Something isnít right. The Asian economies canít be unstoppable powerhouses in the summer and early fall and on emergency life support in December. The Asian meltdown is a warning to us. Maybe the global investment structure is not as sound as it appears. Even if billions in IMF and US loans save the day, do we really want to give up the certainty of at least a minimal source of income in old age for risks which few can understand much less control??
Few think about how Medicare removed the fear of financial disaster from illness from millions of seniors and their children, so many of whom used to be faced with the choice of helping a parent pay medical bills, helping children with college or saving for their retirement. Fewer still realize how Medicaid has paid for the nursing home stays of millions of elderly, whose children can't take care of them ( in the age of the two family income, nobody is home to care for them). What would happen if their children had to foot the bill?
Clinton's health care initiative is a memory, but the problems that gave rise to it remain. There are now more than 40 million uninsured. Even larger numbers of Americans are, without realizing it, becoming UNDER-insured as the coverages and lifetime limits in their plans are gradually but steadily trimmed back. When will people realize this? When they need the coverage and discover it isn't there.
What is the response? Get a medical savings account. You'll still have catastrophic coverage, but those office visits, tests and procedures will be paid for out of a set sum of money paid into an account on you behalf, by your employer. IF you don't incur medical expenses for that year, youíll have "found" money at yearís end. It will reduce our premiums, make us all smarter shoppers and encourage us to seek less medical care.
Sounds great, IF you donít get sick. Yet, in all the hype, we hear little about how it destroys the risk pool upon which any insurance system is based and is clearly designed to draw younger and healthier persons, leaving the older and sicker and those at higher risk to be covered by traditional insurers like Blue Cross, at ever higher rates. We are almost able to forget that sickness is most often not a choice and that it can strike anyone, regardless of lifestyle or economic status. Wonder why we set up a risk pool in the first place??
Too bad the benefits of so many of the changes and reforms that are being proposed are presented in terms of what is of immediate benefit to the individual, in isolation from larger societal issues which could render those "benefits" meaningless.
Reply: Thank you Lawrence for these insightful comments! Good points about Medicare.
submitted by N. Jo Tufts, December 1997
This is not re-forming welfare, it is pretending we don't need it. We DO need it. Welfare, in some form or other is the mark of a truly civilized society. Let us not turn into a nation of Marie Antoinettes. There is truly such a thing as not finding a job today, or not having food today or not having a safe place for one's babies to sleep today. Whatever will solve our economical problems over the long term, people have to eat every day. Children need care every day. Welfare was originated to care for people while they were trying to find long term solutions. How can you put a limit on how long they might need it? Employment figures change every day, as do all economic indicators. What if we tied the welfare availability to other economic factors? It still wouldn't address the needs of an individual.
We must be a compassionate society if we are ever going to evolve past our current woes. A government that can send Tomahawk missiles at an "enemy" like buck shot, @ $ 1million apiece has no business letting it's children go hungry.
We will reap what we sow. Let us take better care of each other and we will all be cared for as a country, as a people. The New Age isn't just about meditating and learning--it is about DOING! --N.Jo
"BLESSED ARE THE FLEXIBLE, FOR THEY SHALL NOT BE BENT OUT OF SHAPE"--Diana Tufts '97
Well said, Jo!-- Eric
June 22, 1999
I am shocked by what I hear is happening to education today. Supposedly education is now our number one issue and highest priority. We are apparently spending more and more tax money on it. School bond issues are passing. Yet it seems like every other day I hear about another education program that has dissappeared. Some of the classes that apparently are no longer being offered are: arts and crafts, music, gym and/or sports, drivers education, civics classes, shop classes, mechanical drawing, etc. Some schools are even replacing books and libraries with computers.
So my question is, what are we getting for our money? What is all this attention to education about? Are we educating our kids or not? I grant, learning to read and write is important. I'm not convinced, based on test scores I've heard, that we've improved very much in these "basic" areas either. So-- the only thing we are going to offer our kids is how to use computers? Our kids today are being saddled with more and more hours in school and more and more homework. What's going on? What are the kids learning from all this time and effort, if anything? What kind of generation are we raising? A generation that can use the internet and (if they're lucky) can maybe read and write or add and subtract, but have no ability to do anything else, or any knowledge about life as it really is?
So we are dropping drivers education; that means we trust each 16-year old to go and buy expensive drivers' training before they go out on the road? We all have to share the road with these uneducated drivers! No civics classes? I thought the purpose of education was to prepare people to be good citizens. So Thomas Jefferson be damned? Society be damned; everyone can just live for themselves? What about this "civically-aware" generation we're supposedly raising? No gym class? No sports? No nutrition? OK, so kids are expected to learn to get up the motivation to exercize on their own; meanwhile we train them to do nothing but sit in front of a screen all day? So a brain does not reside in a body, then, and needs no energy or sustenance, we think? We don't care if people are healthy or not, or whether they all have heart attacks while sitting in front of their computer screens? This in a nation that already has by far the highest rates of degenerative diseases? No music or art? So we are satisfied and want more of the same rot that Hollywood and our corporate media now turns out, with no-one in our culture with the slightest appreciation of good art? What more can we expect, then, culture warriors, except more trash, if we don't educate our kids in the arts? Come on, what gives, people?
It is politically correct today to knock all the "reforms" of the '60s and '70s that helped kids to learn self-esteem or do more than memorize facts. This "progressive education" apparently "failed", and so we have gone "back to basics" instead. But for all our attention to education, I'm convinced that the "reformers" of today such as Governot Davis (a typo; I think I'll keep it!) in California don't have the slightest notion of the reforms that are needed. We are apparently going in all the wrong directions; toward a very narrow and limiting kind of "education" that destroys rather than expands a person. "Education" according to them consists of sitting kids down in classrooms all day, with no breaks, learning "scientific" facts and playing with computers, and doing homework all night. It consists of preparation to do better on some standardized test (which then the kids don't even do much better on anyway). Nothing about how to relate and work with other people. Nothing about skills that we really need to live. Nothing about creativity or intuition or inner peace. No fun and recreation. No thought about how to motivate and inspire kids to learn. Nothing about values and respect for oneself and others. Only forced reading and writing, using methods that don't work! Meanwhile our popular culture puts down "nerds" and rewards jocks and sex appeal-- a complete mis-match with what our teachers tell our kids is important-- setting up feelings of failure and a life of complete frustration with no ways to cope.
We need to educate our bodies too, and our social and creative abilities, and our feelings and perceptions. We need to teach real intelligence and the ability to understand and innovate, not the ability to pass tests. Personally I and many others of my Boomer generation are only now recovering from the effects of our "education." Only today, for example, am I learning to meditate every day so I can quiet my mind and have some connection to reality and life energy instead of chattering and arguing and preparing for disputes with other people and answering their demands in my head. And yet our education in the 50s and 60s, that damaged us so much, was varied, rich and alive compared to what our kids are now getting. Filling kids' minds with facts and teaching them to "think" in this limited way does nothing but set up this compulsive chatter in the brain. We lose our own freedom and volition, and instead are left at the mercy of the compulsive need to please other people, and the compulsive drive to figure everything out in our heads-- when life is much too fluid and complicated to be figured out with our thoughts alone.
So have the right reforms been made? Are kids asked to be more creative and work with others on projects? Are they taught to meditate, or to participate in arts or sports, so they have a more well-rounded kind of intelligence, instead of merely absorbing and analyzing facts in front of a computer screen? Apparently not. Instead, all the "non-basic" subjects are being cut out by the "reformers," and education is being reduced to preparation for standardized tests-- which they fail anyway. I'm sorry, I don't get it.
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April 17, 2001
So far our White House interloper has pulled out of the Kyoto Treaty on Global Warming, eliminated stricter regulations on asbestos on drinking water, rescinded the order ending logging in 1/3 of our national forests, made it easier for the Interior Dept. to permit oil drilling without forest service or other agency approval, broke a promise to restrict CO2 emissions from power plants, refused to enforce court decisions that protect endangered species, proposed a budget that slashes this and other environmental programs, proposed oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, shut down the White House office for alternative energy, and on and on. The goal seems to be to make it easier for a few of his rich friends in the oil business to get rich, rather than protect the Earth we all depend on for ourselves and future generations. How do we stop this man? Should Nader run, or support a Democrat in 2004, on condition that he support some important Green goals? Should we vote Republicans out of office at every opportunity? Should we protest and write letters? How shall we stop Bush's war on the environment?
See my activism page for more issues and activities
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