Archive for Opening and Closing Readings

Plenitude, by Juliet Schor

From Plenitude: The New Economics of True Wealth (Penguin, 2010) by Juliet Schor. “There is a way forward, and I call it plenitude.  The word calls attention to the inherent bounty of nature that we need to recover.  It directs us to the chance to be rich in the things that matter to us most, […]

Gunther Gaitlin, How the Stock Market Works

Gaitlin, an auto mechanic, as told to Joe Bageant: “I’ll tell ya what the stock market game is all about.  Used to be that a guy would pick a stock based on the facts.  After a while, it got so that people looked around to see what other people’s average opinion was, and they bet […]

Rabbi Jonah Dev Pesner: Writing a Shared Story

Adapted from the Invocation by Rabbi Pesner at the Inauguration of Governor Deval Patrick, January 2007.


In the Talmud, the ancient rabbis teach that whenever we encounter a large gathering of people, it is appropriate to offer the following blessing:

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr: A Great Time to Be Alive

Excerpt from Dr. King’s Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, 1964. …I have the personal faith that mankind will somehow rise up to the occasion and give new directions to an age drifting rapidly to its doom.  In spite of the tensions and uncertainties of this period something profoundly meaningful is taking place.  Old systems of […]

The Ancient Redwood Trees of Northern California

The ancient redwood trees of Northern California, Huge as they are, Have very shallow root systems. Yet they cannot be blown over by the strongest wind. The secret of their stability is The interweaving of each tree’s roots with Those that stand by it. Thus, a vast network of support is formed Just beneath the […]

Swadeshi, by Vandana Shiva

Swadeshi Swadeshi means self-making. In the name of progress, in the name of development, we have been made to walk down the road of depending. Today all of America depends on something made in a factory somewhere in China. That kind of economy prevents everyone from making what they could make. And you lose quality, […]

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front, by Wendall Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front by Wendell Berry Love the quick profit, the annual raise, vacation with pay. Want more of everything ready-made. Be afraid to know your neighbors and to die. And you will have a window in your head. Not even your future will be a mystery any more. Your mind will […]

Poem, by Nancy Shaffer

Because we spill not only milk Knocking it over with an elbow When we reach to wipe a small face But also spill seed on soil we thought was fertile but isn’t, And also spill whole lives, and only later see in fading light How much is gone and we hadn’t intended it Because we […]