Welcome to The Conversation


"My objective in creating this arena in cyberspace is to pool the wisdom of an underground of intelligence. I do this in the belief that shifting our paradigm -- from outer-direction to inner-focus -- could be a function of an alignment in thought, and that this alignment can be produced by cross-connecting my comments and yours."
-Suzanne Taylor, Founder of Mighty Companions-

Suzanne Taylor

"Upon this gifted age, in its dark hour,
Rains from the sky a meteoric shower
Of facts...they lie unquestioned, uncombined.
Wisdom enough to leech us of our ill
Is daily spun, but there exists no loom
To weave it into fabric..."
Edna St. Vincent Millay

Y2K Awareness, January 11, 1999
More Y2K Fodder, January 28, 1999
Y2K Milestone, February 18, 1999
Outside the Lines for Y2K, March 5, 1999
More Y2K Awareness, July 29, 1999
No Pain, No Gain??, October 15, 1999
Y2K Update, December 10, 1999
Some Good Y2K Links


Reactions to a meeting of Y2K "officials"
on April 22, 1999, in Hollywood

Bill Dale Y2K Commentary

Los Angeles Gets a Y2K Wake-up Call

Suzanne's Take: A Social Commentary
"The Miracle of Y2K," November 18, 1998

The Conversation Develops:

As you take part in The Conversation, your edited remarks will be added here. Let us know what you think!

FROM: Robert Theobald, 1/13/99

I agree that we need a credible group of people at a very high level who will take on the challenge of showing people how actions that are individually responsible may add up to social irresponsibility.

FROM: Dan Drasin, 1/13/99

Excellent commentary! A couple of responses:

RE "GASOLINE: Plan to fill your automobile gas tank a day or so before 12/31/99."

5-gallon Jerry Cans can be safely stored in a garage. Good idea to keep at least one filled, to top off your tank.

RE: "Y2 Newswire, which gives news reports and thoughtful commentaries on the Y2K drama as it unfolds."

Caution: Y2K Newswire is a mixed bag, and also gives *thoughtless* (sometimes weaselworded) commentaries, with an adolescent, "we-told-you-so" chip on its shoulder. Untrustworthy journalism. Caveat!

RE: "You can definitely expect a run on batteries and flashlights in December, 1999. Batteries are great, but they eventually run out. Better advice is to buy high-end rechargeable batteries and a solar charger. Many solar chargers are already back-ordered. We recommend stockpiling candles and matches."

Please, please check the Resources and Preparedness/Power Options pages on my website and download the documents related to power backups (electric and non-electric).

Keep up the good work...

FROM: Yukio Ramana, 1/13/99

What you've expressed about Y2K is conservative and yet, even at that level, sobering.

Your invitation is thought provoking. I, myself, am heading for the Ojai hills. We are talking about windmills, solar panels, and helping the monks next door grow food on their 100 acres.

Although this is the option I'm exercising now, I also like the feel of what is happening at home in Boulder right now. The Boulder City Council is following Medford, Oregon's lead in helping to organize grass-roots community building and preparation. Education and community preparation are happening at a zip-code, and then block level.

FROM: David Langer, 1/13/99

"Nicely done, and thanks. We are just beginning to organize our building (nine units) and prepare for this thing as a building community. I will use your Red Cross quote as part of my memo.

FROM: Carol Adrienne, 1/13/99

Thanks for the message about the Red Cross. This is helpful as I talk to people.

It's great that people are seeming to be so open to at least considering that it may affect their lives. These preparations and changes toward a sustainable culture have to happen anyway.

FROM: C. M. of the Santa Cruz Y2K group mentioned at right, 1/13/99

We have about 60 active members. We've arranged to have a Y2K Town Meeting on February 1, with well-known speakers, including the county's director of emergency services. Making progress! You have a great web site! Must admit that I wasn't very informed about the crop circles. Now I am.

FROM: Barbara Bordo, 1/23/99

I'm eager to discuss the Y2K thing with you further. Should we really be prepared to move to the hills? I've always loved the idea of being in community in the country.


Suzanne Taylor

January 11, 1999

As a sort of mass awakening is taking place over Clinton, where many people are getting stirred from political apathy into having opinions about the system of government we are in, the big subject looming is Y2K. Awareness about this is starting to become widespread. Among preparedness groups, concern as to what will happen because of mechanical failure is matched by worry about public reaction when the full scope of this problem is widely understood. Robert Theobald, a preparedness activist, said in a recent email, "Panic is a greater danger than technology failures." Is there any sense in being pro-active to deal with this, as Theobald would like to see happen?

This is a challenging topic, and I'd like to feel smarter about what could be done. I think there could be merit in jumping the gun on a dawning awareness, and confronting the situation head-on. I can see a line-up of heroic personalities from the spiritual world, the entertainment industry, scientists, heads of state, etc., on TV, asking for widespread cooperation with whatever had been decided as panic-averting behavior, presuming there is any such thing. This would be the greatest enrollment challenge ever -- to move everyone into a solution mode, willing to do what was necessary for sake of the whole.

A good sign of these times is from the website of a Santa Cruz Y2K preparedness group:

"OPPORTUNITY FOR COMMUNITY: We promote preparation that will help to create a deeper sense of community, and seek to bring compassion and consciousness to what may be one of the greatest challenges humanity has ever faced. Our deepest hope is that our community will be stronger, more connected, self-reliant and sustainable when the clock rolls to 2000, regardless of how severe or insignificant the challenges turn out to be."

I picked up a recent announcement from the Red Cross at Y2K Newswire, which gives news reports and thoughtful commentaries on the Y2K drama as it unfolds. If you want to be on their subscription list (free), enter your email address in the sign-up box at the upper-left corner of their web page.

They end their 12/28 bulletin with this observation:

The Red Cross has played an important role in bringing badly-needed credibility to this issue, liberating it from the accusations that preparedness actions are reserved only for kooks and whackos. Now the world's best-known survival and emergency-preparedness organization has exposed the sheer stupidity of the "do nothing" argument. From this point forward, it is no longer a question of WHETHER we should prepare; it is only a question of HOW MUCH we should stockpile.


The American Red Cross is now recommending a one-week stockpile of critical supplies at the turn of the year 2,000. It's important to examine the potential impact when Americans begin following the Red Cross advice.

FOOD: "Stock disaster supplies to last several days to a week for yourself and those who live with you."

If people are stocking a week's worth of food, this will present no major disruptions to the food industry. That is, unless everybody waits until the last minute. However, the food supply in America is plentiful, and as long as Americans begin early and stock up a little at a time, the industry will hardly notice.

CASH: "Have some extra cash on hand in case computer-controlled electronic transactions involving ATM cards, credit cards, and the like cannot be processed."

We were surprised to hear the Red Cross make this recommendation. These are frightening words to the banking industry: "Have some extra cash on hand..." How much exactly? Suppose the average household makes around $36,000 / year. That's $3000 / month. A one-week supply of cash is approximately $750. Multiply by 100 million households, and you end up with a cash withdrawal of $75 billion in currency. But the banks currently hold just $44 billion in cash. We expect the Red Cross did not realize their one-week recommendation would collapse the cash reserve of the entire banking system. But this demonstrates how vulnerable the banking system is right now.

The Federal Reserve has come to the rescue, promising to inject an additional $200 billion in cash into the system, meaning that if Americans follow the Red Cross advice there should still be $125 billion remaining. The life of the entire banking industry is riding on there being "enough" cash to give customers their money. But with the Red Cross somewhat vague about their recommendation, what if Americans decide to cash out their December, 1999, paycheck rather than depositing it in the bank? That means $3000 per household, on average.

Multiply that by 750 households and you get a cash demand of $300 billion. That's 50% more cash than even the "rescue" package from the Federal Reserve makes available to the entire banking industry. Then there's the corporate question: some local governments have already recommended their payroll departments stockpile enough cash to be able to pay the January, 2000, salaries. Businesses will likely follow similar advice, pulling out extra cash in late 1998 in order to meet payroll. Fortunately, if they pay their employees in cash those employees will subsequently need less cash from the banks.

GASOLINE: "Plan to fill your automobile gas tank a day or so before 12/31/99."

The effects of this one are obvious: massive lines at the gas stations. The lines will add to the atmosphere of panic, and it may help set off a run on food and other supplies. Unfortunately, most people don't have much in the way of external gasoline storage. Most can only store whatever their car or truck holds. And that means they MUST wait until a day or two before the rollover to top off their gasoline tanks.

COOKING: "In case the power fails, plan to use alternative cooking devices..."

Good advice, we think. The best alternative cooking device is a wood burning cook stove. Many stoves are already back ordered, even with only 1% of the population actually taking serious Y2K preparedness action. If any significant number of people attempt to get wood stoves, most people won't get them. But there are alternative cooking methods, such as the camping-style propane stoves. In fact, these might be a lot more practical for most people, and they are far less expensive. No shortages currently, either. But the Red Cross recommends against using such devices inside, because of the open flame factor. Also, burning propane removes oxygen from the air, and if you burn enough in a closed room, it could kill you.

HEAT: "Have extra blankets, coats, hats, and gloves to keep warm."

Again, good advice, but extra blankets might not be good enough. The best heat advice is to have a wood-fired stove installed and to stockpile an ample supply of wood. If you install a wood cook stove, as mentioned above, it also serves as a heating device.

LIGHT: "Have plenty of flashlights and extra batteries on hand."

You can definitely expect a run on batteries and flashlights in December, 1999. Batteries are great, but they eventually run out. Better advice is to buy high-end rechargeable batteries and a solar charger. Many solar chargers are already back-ordered. We recommend stockpiling candles and matches.

SHELTERS: "Be prepared to relocate to a shelter for warmth and protection during a prolonged power outage or if, for any reason, local officials request that you leave your home."

This is the interesting one. With this recommendation, the Red Cross is essentially admitting the possibility that your one-week supply might not be enough. A "shelter" normally consists of a heated structure, plus stockpiled food, water and medical supplies. In a nationwide crisis, it's reasonable to assume that the number of shelters will be entirely inadequate.

On this question, the President has the opportunity and responsibility to increase the level of preparedness. Earlier in 1998, he publicly called for the stockpiling of Anthrax vaccines in 120 cities. The action was taken out of a fear that terrorists might use biological weapons to attack American cities. No call has gone out re Y2K preparedness, urging communities and citizens to plan for shelters. WE MUST BEGIN STOCKING Y2K SHELTERS.

FROM: Arjuna da Silva, 1/11/99

We have been paying close attention to the Y2K phenomenon since summer and are planning more than a week of preparedness. Many of my friends believe there will be a major disruption. Since we are on the road to sustainable independence, we are simply attempting to go faster. I would like to be ready to the best of my ability for whatever might come down, and realize that I have no control ultimately. My Y2K connected best friend recommends these web sites as the best: Alan's Y2K Pages; Y2K News. I like the positive slants on how humans might wake up and connect with each other if Y2K is significantly disruptive. Since everyone's psyche is a repository and contributor to the confusion and the uncertainty, I think focusing on love and friends and good connections with neighbors remains the obvious best path.

Suzanne Replies:

The Y2K buzz gets louder all the time. I figure prepare for it being bad. Maybe it won't be. But maybe it will. Preparedness groups are emerging "everywhere," although I haven't heard of any in L.A. Smaller places perhaps can get some safety by working things out. I doubt if there's much safety that can be achieved in big city reality -- am myself thinking I'll not be here for the holiday, and will see if it's safe to come back. Have bought a year's worth of dried food -- figure it covers my kids and me for awhile, and will take it with us if we leave. Have a friend who's equipping a place in the gold country in northern California, so have myself at least covered for where to go. Mostly am watching and seeing. Don't know about martial law, etc. -- lots of stories, but don't know more than you do. Ain't it a weird world!!!!

FROM: Bill Mitnik, 1/19/99


This is how I see it. Several years ago the Pleiadians-Plus and others warned us about the media. You can chase what the media brokers dangle out in front of you if you want. O. J. Simpson, Clinton scandals, Y2K, etc. You can allow yourselves to be distracted by the controllers if you want. There are holograms, subliminals, and lots of other ways to orchestrate the masses. I feel we should be concentrating on our evolution as a planetary race of powerful God-men.

Many of us are here at this time to raise the Vibration of the Planet. This is done through individual and group meditation methods, encouragement, compassion, and prayer. It is also done in the workplace and any other place Co-creativity and Co-creativeness have been made receptive. Humankind is ready to evolve. All of our thoughts are connected so each thought of Love raises all of Humankind. I try and remain media-free although it is difficult. I donít have to place my attention where the media thinks it should be. I have my own Focus. Donít be duped. Donít be a pawn. Thanks for letting me share.
Suzanne Replies:

Great response. Certainly right up there in the handful of top ideas.

Do you want to argue for it being a higher truth than what comes of involvement on the social plane? Dangerous presumption, I think. The subject matter isn't the deciding factor. Put whatever you will on the screen, and see who shows up as the viewer. Every subject matter is holy, don't you think? And where "we" meet seems to me a special place of power, where we can thank the affairs of the day for the grist for our co-creation. God is right here, right now, in the space between us.

Re Y2K, I'm reminded of some famous quote that I haven't got verbatim now, but it's from "Lazy Man's Guide to Enlightenment," I think -- or maybe Richard Bach's "Illusions." It talks about getting hit by a truck if you don't get off the road. Don't shine Y2K on, because it has lots of steam, and you don't want to get blown away.

Bill replies to Suzanne, 1/30/99:

I spend no time masturbating about Y2K gloom and doom. Create a beautiful reality instead with visualization, thought, and energy.
Suzanne Replies:

I appreciate your passion. It gives us grist for creating a meeting of minds. Do you really mean that you won't "prepare?" I am curious how far you, and others, who would say the same sort of thing, would take it. Are you paying attention but not wanting to give added energy by exchanging info about these issues, or are you just unplugged? I think about the ancient dictum, "All praise to Allah, but keep your camel tied."

Another perspective is in regard to how we all will need to relate more interdependently to handle Y2K. As I've said before, that's the up-side. How about the encouragement of community as reason to spread awareness?

Bill replies to Suzanne, 2/17/99:

An Article from a London Newspaper (circa 999 A.D.):

Canterbury, England. A.D. 999. An atmosphere close to panic prevails today throughout Europe as the millennial year 1000 approaches, bringing with it the so-called "Y1K Bug," a menace which, until recently, hardly anyone had ever heard of. Prophets of doom are warning that the entire fabric of Western Civilization, based as it now is upon monastic computations, could collapse, and that there is simply not enough time left to fix the problem. [This goes on from here, as you might expect....editor]
Suzanne Replies:

Your previous communications, it seems to me, called up a conversation and exploration about where we put our energies and how we create reality. This email, mocking the Y2K situation, as if it is nonsense, alarms me. From my own perspective, I let all the prophesies, with which our New Age brethren tend to be fascinated, roll off me. Who knows? In this instance, there is hard data to deal with. If you are paying attention -- i.e. not ignoring everything in the material world while keeping focus on the spiritual one -- I can't see how you could do anything as a responsible person except make some emergency contingency plans. Do you think your mockery could be irresponsible?

Bill replies to Suzanne, 2/17/99:

What about our planet? Where did all these races come from, anyway??? It is quite a tale to tell as we Awaken to who we really are, Suzanne. "HU" is an ancient word for "God". We are "HU MAN."

What's all this got to do with Y2K? I haven't a clue. I really got off the track, didn't I? We, as a race, are survivors. I, like you, Suzanne, are working to help our race survive. We must.

FROM: Jim Conn, 1/21/99

I like these reflections. I think Y2K is a potential shaker/waker. But I don't think it is apocalyptic. Some folks are going to get messed up. But the big folks will take care of things because their stake is really big and they have the resources to do the fix.

So, the banks will work. The chains will work. It's the guy at the corner market who will get caught out. Probably.

Then, of course, there's the missiles and chips in things out in space and whatever that who knows about? And what if they miss fixing just one? The scenario is exhilarating, don't you think?

Suzanne Replies:

Exhilarating, indeed. Hope we can be so jovial January 1!

The Conversation Develops:

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FROM: Nori Muster, 1/30/99
Author of Betrayal of the Spirit

I appreciate your idea that Y2K may draw us together and promote peace.

As an individual, I will set aside bottled water, candles, and food, as the Red Cross suggests. But becoming fearful and acting out of that fear would be a mistake.

In the 1070's, the Hare Krishna's preached that World War III would soon destroy civilization as we know it. They bought rural properties, stockpiled weapons and increased their aggressive airport collecting--all out of fear. Trusting in God can make a person brave and tolerant, so instead of worrying, I will be praying that His will be done on Earth.

FROM: Anonymous, 1/30/99

I can say from this moment forward, I am not adding to the negative fear based thinking that enhances entropy. Entropy causes organized forms to gradually deteriorate and is the basis for the theory of the universe being like a machine that will eventually wear down. In essence, we slip into this entropy when we synchronize our thoughts with the negative thinking of the world.

Since, this relative world is based on duality, then there must be a "syntropy". In Eric Butterworth's Spiritual Economics, this theory is explained in detail. "Syntropy" will cause forms to create higher and higher levels of organizations and harmony. "We rise into a syntropic consciousness as we keep our minds stayed on God." Watching people become healthier in my acupuncture/healing practice for the last six years has undoubtedly taught me that, given a chance, the body will return to harmony. So, why not with anything else in this world? There is an innate drive in living matter to perfect itself and if we would all change our thinking and perceptions of reality, we can go about each moment in perfect harmony. Besides, anything could be happening right now to any of us. Why make a huge fear out of the future? If any problem shall arise, we will all make a project out of it and create solutions. That is the natural course of action.

This is really my advice for anyone caught in the negative mass consciousness regarding Y2K. Best to center yourself, because everything comes from there anyway. You can only prepare yourself for the disaster that you have been creating all along in all those fearful corners of your own mind.


Suzanne Taylor

January 28, 1999

For anybody who still doesn't see Y2K as a formidable subject worthy of attention, I call your attention to what was said in a featured piece in the Magazine section of the January 17 Los Angeles Times. It was focused on the Y2K head person for L.A. County, Jon Fullinwider, who sounds like a thoughtful, interesting, capable man: "Fullinwider is regularly employed by treasurers from cities around California to please, please help convince their city councils that this is serious."

The piece ends with his speculation about how bad it could be at the turn of the millennium:

"'On the morning after," Fullinwider says, "one of two types of headlines will appear. One will read: NATION ENTERS WORST RECESSION SINCE 1972. MILITARY PUT ON ALERT AS COMPUTER SYSTEMS FAIL. MURDER SUSPECTS RELEASED BECAUSE D.O.J. SYSTEMS FAIL; the other: Y2K BUG SQUASHED. WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL? PROFESSIONALS OVERREACTED -- that's the headline I want to see."

"Come December 31, the Fullinwider family will have to celebrate or cope without him. He'll be at the county's emergency operations center that night, 'hoping I'm extremely bored.'"

FROM: Arjuna Nick Ardagh, Author of Relaxing Into Clear Seeing, 2/2/99

Excuse me for being trite, but what has always worked best for me is to rest quiet, not to unnecessarily activate the mind, and to trust in divine will, which has always taken care just fine. If we are called upon to act we will be called, meanwhile what do words and talking do?

Suzanne Replies:

So I have a question. Do you buy insurance?

I so appreciate the chance to share our thoughts!

Arjuna replies to Suzanne, 2/2/99:

Good point!! And well taken.

I do buy car insurance, because its the law. But actually I do not do a lot of other insurance.

My main point was that trust and relaxation is in itself a creative act that will bear its own fruit.

FROM: Yvonne von Gulker, near Grass Valley, California, 2/5/99

I'm going to a Board of Supervisors meeting with other Y2K-ers. Got a call from the group leader who monitors Websites each day. She says FEMA has now sent out an alert.

She also checks Stock Exchange Y2K reports daily and says NO ONE is compliant, and when you read between the lines of the PR stuff, it doesn't look good. So, "All is folly," as Don Juan said! But starving to death is a very hard way to exit - so, I'm glad you got your food [Editor's note: I bought a year's supply of food. Suzanne]. Off to a seed and growing class next week.

Suzanne Replies:

Glad to know there's a pad ready for me, Yvonne!

FROM: Jacotte, Paris, France, 2/7/99

I believe what you do is fantastic and that the coming Y2K is not for nothing and may be an opportunity for a turning point....

Suzanne Replies:

Just got to be careful about a certain glibness, which creeps into some conversations I get into, where all us wise guys get excited about the demise of all the unworkablility of our world. If so, there could be unbelievable hardship -- we mustn't get passive because of how good it will be that may not be in evidence till way past our lifetimes.

FROM: David Lorimer, Scientific and Medical Network, 2/14/99

I think it's more a case of collective thinking manifesting in the 'external world' in this case, but the self-fulfilling prophecy dynamic might still operate in particular instances when people think there might be shortages - e.g. money from cashpoints.

We seem to be OK so far as the office is concerned and I have read quite a bit. I think we'll take some routine measures but nothing drastic. Drastic action can be a self-fulfilling prophecy!

Suzanne Replies:

Do you think this self-fulfilling prophesy idea is operative in this instance? I get the rules of reality in which a stand calls up its opposition. However, it seems to me that we are looking at a truck bearing down, which can squash us if we don't get off the road. (Do you remember where this oft-quoted idea -- better stated in the accurate quote -- comes from? "Illusions?" "Lazy Man's Guide to Enlightenment?")

I think what you're talking about is panic behavior -- and problems that might not be problems but for collective thinking (as different from the danger zones from mechanical failure, like fuel and electricity). This panic threat, which is very real, is different in that it's a disaster in the making that theoretically could be averted. How can the collective come together in a mutually beneficial way? A tricky question, which so far only has been addressed in local pockets, which can't do anything about bank runs. Everyone acknowledges this is the challenge, but no one has even tried to grapple with it beyond raising it to the level of awareness. Nobody knows what else to do. Of course no collective voice exists. Of all auspices I would trust to spark such a thing, it would be yours. I want to give you that calibration about yourself.

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FROM: Drexel Sprecker, 2/18/99

Thank you.

I am sending this along to my friend in Al Gore's office.

FROM: Pamela Jaye Smith, 2/22/99

Thank you so much for keeping me included in the Mighty Companions circle to receive your information. The words on your commentary are inspiring and awareness-increasing. Thank you.

FROM: Colette Dowell, 2/22/99

Thanks so much for sending the P.G.& E. info. I will post this on my site. I just got a wood stove in my kitchen and I have 60 acres I've been trying to farm. If it isn't Y2K, it will be global warming.


Suzanne Taylor

February 18, 1999

I considered this noteworthy enough to send to everyone in my email address book:

Subj: PG&E warns customers of possible Y2K interruptions

The Pacific Gas and Electric Company, the major provider of electricity and natural gas to central and northern California, has taken the extraordinary step of warning its customers to prepare for possible major Y2K service interruptions.

Customers received the warning in the regular news brochure insert included with their February bills ("Spotlight" volume 9 number 2). Buried in the lead article ("Meeting the Challenge of 2000") is this statement:

We also encourage you to consider your special needs. Make your own contingency plans in case communications, transportation, power or financial services may be interrupted by Y2K. No one knows if or how long any of these services might be affected, but being prepared helps in other kinds of emergencies, too.

Because of the complex ways that computers and communications interact, and because we're dependent on other firms and groups, we regret that we are not able to issue any Year 2000 guarantees. But be assured that PG&E is taking strong measures to avoid service interruptions due to Y2K.

FROM: Steve Purkaple, 2/18/99

I was very glad to hear from you, even under such difficult conditions. We in the mid-west are getting ready for Y2K. We are going to get by and rebuild.

Three months ago I was invited into a young girl's cancer. I was asked to make essiac and an Ongone Accumulator. She is still alive though the "real" doctors gave up on her months ago. Out of this I have started making Orgone blankets. They work (FDA doesn't think so). There is a market, and if I can find a few distributors, I want to make them and sell them. Anything that will promote healing right now is important.

The third generation crop circle wheat will be harvested in late June. It is already visibly different from regular wheat.

Have you read Dave Icke, And the Truth Shall Set You Free or Jim Marrs etc.? Y2K is a controlled experiment that will backfire in the face of the Illuminati.

I want to put together "Hands Across New Madrid" sometime in late September. If I could get 5,000 people to meditate and pray along that fault line at one time, I could heal the cracked vertebrae of the nations backbone.

Suzanne Replies:

I don't get any pictures as precise as yours, and will just have to wait and see if the drama you foresee will unfold.

I think linking up in a meditative space is a very good idea. We don't know how powerful it might be -- I don't know how you can measure here, either -- but I can feel the gentling of everything and the release of fear in a shared experience of inner connection. Do you think about the whole world meditatively linking up?

The Conversation Develops:

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Suzanne Taylor

March 5, 1999

Although there is some residual chuckling at Y2K "survivalist crazies," and how dire things might get is still being minimized, the media is getting up to speed on the seriousness of the situation. I don't think there needs to be any more prodding to focus attention on preparedness. One way activists could serve now is to look "outside the lines" for unprecedented ways to deal with an unprecedented challenge -- in Einsteinian-fashion, to look for solutions on a level of consciousness different from the one in which the problem was created.

There could be a causative power in shared ideation. The daily "Minute of Silence" is felt by many to have prevented England from being conquered in World War Two. The whole world could link in such a practice now. This makes good sense for obvious reasons beyond Y2K. Perhaps a call from a well-respected world figure could bring such a thing about. Or it could come from our Interneted world, via a ground swell of popular support...

I also think about whatever is making crop circles. These visitations in crop fields -- incredible art works which come from an inexplicable "otherness" -- are as relegated to the fringes as the Y2K "crazies" have been. The relatively small number of people paying close attention know that the circlemakers are watching us, are responsive to our thoughts and actions, and can do things that we haven't the know-how to do. (See the Crop Circular for an impressive Web page.) My speculation is that humanity is being invited into an awareness that is beyond self-centeredness -- that an opportunity is being offered to see more and to be more. Official acknowledgment -- perhaps instigated by a world class figure or by a popular ground swell -- would make everyone realize we are not the only intelligence in the cosmos. My lights tell me that if there were a receptive energy, the circlemakers might very well do more. Since they can weave wheat fields, perhaps they can de-bug computers...

In the meantime, having the Y2K cat out of the bag beats waving red flags. Although I don't think we should have illusions about responsible preparedness equating to a picnic ahead, I feel a certain comfort in knowing that this challenge is being shouldered by all of humanity. Where the watchword for what to anticipate has been "panic," I think "mutuality" actually is what we have to look forward to on a very bumpy road to love.

FROM: Jim Conn, 3/7/99

I recently led a group of people in a poor community through a process of community building. The task was to interview friends, neighbors and even strangers and find out what gifts each had that they would be willing to share with others.

Unlike a similar exercise in an affluent community which people resisted all the way, these folks got it, took it and ran with it.

Mutuality. Uh Huh! And probably more likely where people don't own so much. Perhaps they have less to protect. Or know they have to share to survive.

Suzanne Replies:

Good to hear. Educational. And education is what's needed. I need it as part of a social labyrinth in which I have no facility at being a neighbor. Although I grew up on a neighborly block on Long Island, it is very foreign to contemplate such a thing now. The way it goes. Interesting that the more affluent people are, the less equipped they are to take care of what could be ahead. Uncivilized native tribes will do best. Strange inversion -- and perhaps a gift for this dying, materially well-off world. A wake-up before it is too late. Touch and go about that. Really touch and go. That's the spur. Everything needs a spur.

Thought you were going to conclude with advice not to look to the stars, so to speak, but to look to neighbors. I was going to agree, and point out that in order to look to the stars we'd have to be looking to the neighbors -- a melt into one. Actually wouldn't want anyone to get the wrong idea about my thoughts -- like looking for saviors. Not so.

Do you want to meet with some of us lost souls, who would do better with a little encouragement and help? I can see people who wouldn't act otherwise becoming more comfortable to take on their own affluent neighborhoods. I can feel it in myself just reading what you wrote. The success of any venture is usually a reflection of the capacity of the leader, and I'm sure your soulful strength was at the heart of the success you had. Takes a stretch to go through the next band of resistant reality, but maybe you could have impact on that, too, with some added effort as I am suggesting.

Jim replies to Suzanne, 3/9/99:


Yes, I'd be willing to meet with a group of your friends regarding this matter of how we build a community that can transcend Y2K and even survive more effectively as a community. It could be fun.

FROM: Mark Frautsch, 3/19/99

I've enjoyed doing a little light reading around your Y2K conversations today. I wanted to share with you an article I've written about gender and Y2K. It's called "Culture, Gender, Leadership and the Year 2000 Problem."

I'd love to know what you think about how Y2K might impact women and men differently, implications for leadership, both in terms of the leadership vacuum we have experienced with Y2K and the opportunities for new paradigms of leadership to emerge.

[Suzanne's comments on Mark's "Culture, Gender..." article:

"Ability to" feels like a male conceptual framework. As if these are things women learn or acquire, like add-ons, instead of capacities that are innate.

>Female Associated Winning Strategies:

>Ability to identify relationships and dependencies
>Ability to nurture relationships and partnerships
>Ability to embrace the whole
>Ability to work effectively in flat, self-organizing environments [7]
>Ability to manage multiple, highly detailed, co-evolving issues (e.g. Y2K [8]) Female Associated Winning Ways:

Fundamentally relational
Sensitive to feelings
Aware of and functional in emerging reality

"Willingness" seems to imply there's a challenge that women rise to, rather than acknowledging inherent qualities women have.

> Female Associated Leadership Traits:

>A willingness to lead while being publicly vulnerable
>A willingness to lead from not knowing
>A willingness to lead from a process perspective, rather than a system perspective
>A willingness to lead favoring flat, self-organizing webs rather than hierarchies
>An emphasis on respect, dignity and integrity
Emotionally authentic
Absence of a mandate to know
Ability to adjust rather than need to control
Team players
> differences in communication between women and men. [9,11]. For example, men may take a woman's desire to be simply heard (and
>nothing more) as a request for assistance or for some solution to a problem, leading to frustration for both parties. [12].

Is this part of male-female dichotomy? I just thought people in general had a hard time with this. I think I learned something here...

So here we are, in a self-organizing system whether we see it or not, where there is a great upheaval -- a turning inside out -- going on. Of course, when things hit the wall, that's when they change, and indeed, new qualities are needed in a system that emerges that is not prey to the ills of the last one. So, women may be having our day. Not because we marched for it, but because it is our time. Then again, the marches were part of it. We're ready now.

Suzanne Replies:

Finding the Shakespeare & Tao site was such a relief. Something to plug into that feels like home -- the intellect, the authenticity, the artistry. And thanks so much for asking my opinion.

You are speaking into a crack in the cosmos, between the fixed idea of individuation as supreme, and the leap over to where we are perceiving ourselves as one system. The rush to acquisition has everyone lonely and unsatisfied, with no center that can hold as the split grows wider between haves and have-nots. We've hit the wall, where more of the same isn't going to solve this. So we are all groping and grasping, a situation in which feminine virtues come in handy. But don't expect the feminine now to take on leadership, looking somehow for the masculine translation of the same endeavor. The endeavor itself is different, an oozing up rather than a thrusting out, and thank God that there is an alternative energy of the feminine that will be in play that, for survival sake, will be the new determinant.

It seems to me that what is lacking is not women stepping forward, but a quality of interchange. The Internet, God bless it, is still more presentational for the powers that be -- from political to intellectual -- than it is interactive. It is an under-used instrument for thinking together, which indeed would be a feminine methodology. Conception, gestation and birth is what it could sustain. The birth of ideas, as different from the delivery of goods, is a function of intimate inter-penetration. Aha, I see you, I receive you, I am you. Some of this is evoked by the turn of events -- I believe we glimpsed a new reality when Princess Di died, and the world showed up as a compassionate whole. Like the astronauts seeing earth as one ball, we saw our one-heartedness, and I think it forever changed us. Other changes, however, I believe could be orchestrated to break us out of traditional patterns. But that orchestration needs to be in very intimate style. I still feel like there's a lot of ownership and dominator energy being played out in the Y2K arena, even on the part of the best willed men. It's not vicious or cut-throat, but just the natural vestige of the male way. We need some intention, it seems to me, to go beyond our entrenched style to create more interchange among those whose intelligence could reshape the world. That is what interests me.

Perhaps Y2K is flushing out a new non-hierarchical grid that would approximate the energy of the philosopher king. Perhaps those leaders, male and female, who function in the material world and are of soulful bent, will find each other. In feminine fashion, perhaps they will link to create a pattern so right and so radiant that it becomes the guiding force of what lies ahead. Another picture I keep seeing is someone in high position -- like our president -- being so real that he or she can say anything. I don't think we need certainty from our leaders as much as we need honesty. It's a new policy, and almost hard to imagine anyone but a woman, at this time, being able to pull it off. At the risk of being stoned, I, deeply ingrained as a Democrat, thought the Republican House Managers had the right voice. That they were so compromised by prior activity, however, rendered them less credible than I believe they deserved to be. What do we do in a system so devoid of role models? Something radical, for sure. Get us the right woman, or conceivably even a wrong one in the White House, and we may best be able to cope with the tricky reality that lies ahead.

Mark replies to Suzanne, 3/20/99

Thank your very much for your generous response and commentary.

One of the funny things that I am discovering about Y2K is that I am also discovering gender issues -- and that includes discovering the male gender -- which is me.

One of the ways that I seem to capture this is in looking at Peter Senge's book about systems thinking (The 5th Discipline) as a cosmic joke. Your comments about how I use language like 'ability' and 'willingness' allows me to see this same joke in myself. The joke is that it takes a thick book filled with examples and diagrams and terminology written by Senge, with a new buzzword like 'systems thinking' that allows men permission to train themselves to think systemically - whereas women have another word for that; they call it 'thinking.'

There is something delicious and telling about using the language of one gender to describe something from the domain of the other gender. I am reminded of Robert Duvall's portrayal of Marine Aviator 'Bull' Meecham in the film The Great Santini, speaking to his eldest son after rousting him from sleep at 4:00 AM on his 18th birthday. Meecham describes the birth of his first son and the way his wife looked '... after she got through punching you out of her system.' I guess that that's how one Marine might describe a birth.

The irony is that there are probably some women who work through Senge's book to get to this place where they already are. A deeper irony may be that men are already there too.

I think that I like your language better than mine. That's how it hits this morning as I write before breakfast any way. And I may update the article.

I have registered your email address for a subscription the the newsletter Y2K Week X (where X in the number of weeks left in 1999). You may view archived issues at http://www.tmn.com/y2k/.

FROM: Lane Core Jr., 3/20/99

Frankly, I must tell you that I think you have overstated the case. I don't think the media is waking up, and I don't think the cat is out of the bag. In fact, by and large across the US, I don't think there is even consciousness of the need to prepare, let alone any focus on it. (Heck, there are evangelical pastors being quoted on the 'Net telling their congregations that preparation for Y2K indicates lack of faith in God, for instance.)

Sure, it's alive on the Web. You can go to the various sites that collect URL's for the latest news, reports, and commentary. They have a lot of articles from various newspapers and magazines around the country. But, if you compare them to the total volume of journalistic output every day, they are piddling. Piddling. (Monica Lewinsky--the person, not the scandal--still gets more news coverage in most news outlets than Y2K does.) There is but the vaguest dim awareness of possible problems in the population at large. And the Senators and many journalists are doing their best to convince the majority of Americans that all they need to prepare for is one really bad long weekend. (I am assuming you are from the USA; apologies if not.)

I fear it will not be until the fourth quarter this year that the truth starts to get through to a large percentage of the population. By then, it may very well be too late for responsible preparedness. It may, indeed, be too late already, but that we will not know except in hindsight.

I would appreciate it very much if you would take the time to let me know why you see these things differently than I do.

Suzanne Replies:

We do not disagree. I think there's a good chance that the world may implode, and this possibility is not the subject of public dialogue. Were we being smart, I think we'd be preparing for the worst -- real survival stuff in a world without power. What I was noting was that we've passed a milestone of recognition by the populace, which has a wave of truthfulness that has started to undulate through it. At least people aren't laughing and are concerned. In the meantime, something that gets me sparked is the possibility that some people -- like you and me -- will find each other. We've needed a wisdom voice on earth, and as the cream rises to the top of this churning cauldron, perhaps an intelligence might become aligned enough to be of value in that regard.

Do you know Laurence Victor? I could spend the rest of my life on his site (he suggested I start at http://azstarnet.com/~nuu/INVITATION/invitation-top.htm).

The Conversation Develops:

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From: Michael Dowd, Portland Sustainable Lifestyle Campaign, 7/29/99


Thank you!!!

From: Jon Fullinwider Chief Information Officer Los Angeles County/Los Angeles County Y2K czar, 7/29/99

Suzanne, thanks for the comments. L.A. as a region is really getting its act together and working very cooperatively with all segments of the community. We should be in very good shape for the transition, however, I am sure there will be some problems reported in the local papers.

From: Barbara Gluck, 7/30/99

I have just emailed your very very thoughtful and brilliantly organized Y2K commentary to 28 people. Thanks so much for sending it to me.

From: Steve Waring, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 7/31/99

Senator John Glenn states the situation clearly -- be as aware as we can of our situation, and prepared within our area of awareness.

Ultimately we are responsible for own our lives and our own responses to our self-created circumstances. It may require extraordinary creativity for some and for others varying degrees of a creative life before we move through it, but move through it we will and it is this focus which makes it all worth while.

From: Kathleen Gildred, 8/14/99

Thanks, Suzanne - without spending lots of time researching, I've been wanting some reputable articles that explain the (possible) enormity of the problem to the many people I speak with in government, business, etc., who, for whatever reason, maintain, "it will only be a blip on the screen."

From: Gabriel Herzberg, 8/15/99

I forwarded your email to my list, saying "PLEASE Read as many of these brief articles as you can, and then tell me what you think!" Maybe some of us are alarmist's, but, then again, I wonder what Paul Revere thought when he went running thru the streets proclaiming,"The British are Coming! The British are Coming!" People were literally asleep and yelled back at him, "Shut-Up ,I'm Sleeping!"

From: Tom Atlee, The Co-Intelligence Institute, Oakland, CA, 8/15/99

A good update of the sort of data I put in my "Is Y2K for Real?" article on my website. A good collection to spread around. Thanks for this great compilation.


Suzanne Taylor

July 29, 1999

"The greatest antidote to worry, whether you're getting ready for spaceflight or facing a problem of daily life, is preparation... the more you try to envision what might happen and what your best response and options are, the more you are able to allay your fears about the future.
Senator John Glenn

Despite the temptation to believe writings which scoff at Y2K in major magazines and newspapers -- unbelievable! -- and to be assuaged by the light-hearted treatment of Y2K in TV commercials , we endanger ourselves by not taking seriously enough the trouble we could be in. Just look at the telling signs that we can see for ourselves. Look at the billions of dollars that have been expended, to grasp the scope of this problem. For a stark truth about unpreparedness, just look outside the US, where countries range from having done nothing to at best being three years behind us.

The failure of any link breaks a chain, and all our vital processes and products come to us from chains inside of chains. Attempts to install Y2K fixes have distresssingly triggered cascading failures of components thought to be compliant. With many critical systems so late in making remediations that first will be tested in December, how could anyone expect only minor disruptions when we hit the year 2,000? We can see clearly that there are gross vulnerabilites that could shut down our intricately inter-linked world. How can anyone draw any other conclusion than that we likely will get quite a wrenching?

What is foremost in my awareness is how much better off we would be if all hands were on deck dealing with the situation. Humanity is stunningly resourceful. If everyone were taking this seriously, we would have so much better a chance to minimize the difficulties that could occur. What to do to mitigate the effects of the worst that could happen should be everyone's preoccupation.

What is underway, as of the last few weeks, is a program initiated by the federal government, called "Community Conversations." Public meetings, organized locally and frequently involving federal participation, are being held all over the country to inform the citizenry about preparedness in their community. These meetings are geared more to reassure people than to urge contingency planning. As this phase plays out, with activists all the while pressing to make speakers at these events more forthright, next must come the neighbors. Get used to the idea now. Our own personal safety will be improved by knowing who is in our neighborhood and what we can do for one another. In our mutuality, our safety lies.

I keep a file of noteworthy reports and opinions that come in my email or that I find on the Web. Click here for some excerpts.

FROM: Bill Ashforth

You describe the vulnerability and the tremendous odds against 'business as usual' very clearly and directly. It seems a quirk of human nature that some people will not act or react until something has happened. The paradox is a local neighborhood trying to get a stop light at a dangerous intersection. The town denies it until a child is killed at the crossing, then installs the light the very next day and wants praise for its responsiveness. I have to think the powers that be almost deliberately concluded that there was no way to 'win' Y2K by preparation, but they could look like heroes in the aftermath.

Did you read Ed Yourdon's "Sayonara Y2K". It struck home for me, and I have withdrawn energy from trying to convince non-believers and switched it to local emergency preparations. A friend who used to be in direct sales gave me a wonderful credo - SW SW SW N - Some Will, Some Won't , So What? - Next!

Suzanne Replies:

Yes, in this world where mutuality is not the standard, it does take something dramatic for people's attention to turn to the greater good. But I think we have to be careful of our holy mission, where we define the game and then criticize people for not meeting our expectations. "Some Will, Some Won't," sounds right, but "So What?" has a kind of superior air to it that I don't like. We do need to do what works instead of beating dead horses, but when you take on service, you have to keep looking for how best to deliver rather than railing at recipients who are ungratefulo for what you decided they needed (even if they do). Does this make sense? Nice to be sharing ideas.

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Nori Muster, 10/15/99

I love your writing. It expresses exactly what humanity needs at this time. I'm still praying for a good transition.

From: Judith Southworth, 10/18/99

I read with fascination your commentary, "No Pain, No Gain." I publish the Maine Well-Being Newspaper, a monthly holistic journal of alternative healing arts, human consciousness evolution and earth care. My November issue will be all about Y2K. I am hoping that you would allow me to reprint your commentary, as it emphasizes so eloquently our need to wake up and do something about saving our mother earth.

[Editor's note: "No Pain, No Gain" was published in the "Maine Well-Being" journal, November, 1999]

From: David Langer, 10/20/99

Amen. I do believe that most people need significant, personal pain before they begin to self-examine beyond their mere physical comfort. At the same time, all the reports on crime are that it is going down, even violent crime, even juvenile crime (today's L.A. Times). And the variety of fringe-politicians (Trump, Buchanan, Ventura, Beatty) who are opening their mouths are actually opening up the political conversation in this election cycle, and I think that's healthy. It seems to me that it's SO ... ALL ... GOING ON ... that it's just not possible to conclude that it's going in any particular direction. It's going in all directions. It's all going on. We're destroying ourselves and waking up at an unprecedented rate. If Y2K turns out to set people on their ears, it could be the most positively meaningful shake-up millions have ever had.


Suzanne Taylor

October 15, 1999

With frustration running high among the network of Y2K activists who are in touch in cyberspace, we had our bimonthly telephone conference call last week. (The call, funded by the government, lets 25 or so bright, dedicated leaders strategize about preparation for Y2K.) The featured discussant was John Koskinen, Clinton's Y2K chairperson, who recently said, "This is obviously the biggest management problem the world has ever seen." Koskinen was as frustrated as the rest of us were about how to make the public aware of how serious things could be. There was something surreal about his interest in preparation, given that Clinton, by telling us how well things are going, is lulling everyone into inaction. Just this morning, Alan Greenspan echoed the Clinton crazy-making, reporting that indeed the public's fears are waning in the face of "how far we have come" in Y2K remediation -- but that we are not yet "home free" in being a confident public, which is all that would be needed to make us safe and sound. Granted that Clinton is between a rock and a hard place, with reassurance protecting the corporate status quo and everyone benefiting from a good economy -- but, again, Clinton is sinning by omission, not giving us what we need to navigate in not coming forth with the truth.

What a time for a philosopher king! Not only is Y2K possibly going to deliver a tsunami to a populace expecting a three-day storm, but all around us we are beset by social ills that can't be cured with traditional remedies. Most poignant are the killing sprees that so tragically have become commonplace in America. At least in war there is a visible opponent, and even with terrorism there is some entity that hates a country or a people. But with Columbine, or the Jewish school, or the Baptist church there was no enemy force. At wit's end, we call it senseless violence, and, in the prevailing ethos, no measure we can take will fix these recurring nightmares -- not gun controls, or hiring more police, or making new social programs. There is no remedy but to change the ethos. "A world order that commits planetary suicide in the search for profit while driving the majority of human beings into despair and poverty is a killing/producing machine without spiritual center," says Joel Kovel in History and Spirit (Glad Day Books, 1999).

Must it be bloody for the birth of an awareness that we are spiritual creatures? Can this knowledge only come to us after some unthinkable tragedy brings it to pass? Ted Kopel's "Nightline" spent all last week simulating a 7-day scenario that started out with a bacterial attack in an American city and culminated with "the end of the world as we know it," where a different sensibility would be a logical part of that denouement. The reports were unbelievably chilling, with Kopel repeating every night that it wasn't a question of "if" such a situation would occur, but a matter of "when." Oh God. And why hasn't there been a buzz about these programs? Is something as horrible as this already factored into people's expectations?

An end-of-the-world scenario that would take a little longer if we don't act to avert it was in a story that appeared on MSNBC.com on August 4th. This story was commented on in an email that recently made the rounds of some Y2K listserves:

"We are predicting the extinction of about two-thirds of all bird, mammal, butterfly and plant species by the end of the next century, based on current trends," said Peter Raven, President of the International Botanical Congress at its annual meeting this summer...50,000 of the 300,000 species of plant on Earth are at risk of extinction now. 200,000 species could vanish by the end of the 21st century...How long it takes for this to influence everyday actions of several hundred million relatively wealthy human beings will determine whether we will have enough time to remediate our ideotechnomic system sufficiently to avert biospheric catastrophe... The solutions we deploy must match the reach of the problems, and thus some kind of shift in the basic behaviors of individuals is a necessary foundation for any robust strategy..."
      Joe Firmage: jfirmage_null@the-word-is-truth.org
Perhaps the most profound question for us to ask is, "Is it possible to open our eyes without having them blasted open?" How much more do we need to know to make us do something about endangering life on earth, which would include as fundamental narrowing the divide between the rich and the poor? Humanity needs to become a tribe. This is being mandated by all of reality, and we avoid it at our peril. "If we would leave a world fit for our children and grandchildren to live in," says Paul Rothkrug (the founder of The Environmental Rescue Fund, someone I met last month, from whom I got Joel Kovel's quote), "we must move beyond scientific and technical skills, beyond passive consumerism, to recapture the moral purpose which brought 'your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to be free' to this new land."

I take strength on the Y2K front from something else I got from Rothkrug. He cited Harvard scholar, Edward O. Wilson, in "Promethean Fire" (Harvard University Press, 1983), pointing to the difference that can be made by people "of high intelligence and culture" -- the likes of those outstanding individuals I feel privileged to be with on the conference calls. "Working as a rapid mutator, [such a person] throws new variations into the teeth of natural selection and changes the epigenetic rules across generations." May the devoted folks who so doggedly have stayed the Y2K course, making the world safer for everyone, take heart in the import of the contribution they could be making.

Last week I was looking at "Eternity Now," an unpublished manuscript that Francis Lucille, a wonderful Advaita teacher (Advaita is the teachings of non-duality), gave me when he paid Mighty Companions a visit. In it, I found some guidance about how an individual can live from the "spiritual center" which Joel Kovel finds lacking in humanity at large. For those who have, as Frances says, "at least caught a glimpse, that you are awareness beyond mentations," and know there is a spiritual center to life, Frances says, "Live with the desire for truth. Let it be your guide. The desire for truth comes from truth itself. It brings about higher intelligence that will in time clarify all question. Enjoy the path, since there is already a joyful component in understanding. Don't take yourself for a limited entity now that you have seen, at least in a glimpse, that you are awareness beyond mentations. Keep this understanding as a treasure, go back to it when it invites you, live with it and let it do the work." As we cool-out thanks to this wisdom teaching, all the while staying hot in order to shake and wake humanity, may the mutation of our species be rapid enough to avert the horrors that could attend the end of the world as we know it, and effective enough to bring about the start of the world as we would like it to be.

Read the Greenspan comments of October 15, 1999 at Y2K Newswire.

FROM: Lysa Leland, 10/19/99

Your eloquently poignant and poetic piece resonates with my thoughts completely. I come to this from an environmental perspective (lived in Argentina & Africa working in the "bush," studying extraordinary species in extraordinary places...) and thus see my surroundings ecologically as a "world of wounds." Recently I have come to the conclusion that we must meet human needs before we can seriously address Earth needs. (I have delineated each of these needs in a yet completed paper, prompted from my work with The Natural Step which you may or may not be familiar with). At the heart of human needs is, I believe, the spiritual search for meaning -- for value in our lives. We have gone off course and I believe we are seeing the dying throes of a destructive and greedy culture where people have become disconnected from both the Earth and each other. Most of us know not what we are doing or why because we don't even slow down enough to ask ourselves the penetrating questions. We would then have to see that we have been living a lie, a disgrace, a sacrilege. Unfortunately, I don't think our species will awake until the catastrophe is upon us. We have a brain, but we don't use it because we are into short-term, boxed-in thinking. Our schools mass-produce us to not rock boats or ask questions. So now we are ruled by corporations who rule the world. The only way out is to start rebuilding communities, from the roots, to re-educate ourselves in the knowledge that we are one -- interconnected and interdependent with all life, and at the same time, needing to be more locally self-reliant and resilient-- echoing the need for diversity. In a nutshell, that's kinda how I see things. Not so poetic as your words, but I think we are saying pretty much the same thing. Truth is the essence of another human need. I am stunned to find how hard it is for people to hear it, even when all the facts are full in the face. The optimists refuse to look at the truth if it goes against their world view.

Suzanne Replies:

We are saying the same thing. At least we know what each other is talking about. Somehow heating up this conversation, getting us connected, uniting our voices, is where the next possibilities lie. Am always looking to that happening...

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FROM: Lane Core, 12/11/99

Thanks, Suzanne.


FROM: Lisa Catherine Cohen, 12/11/99

Thank you soooo much for passing that along to me. Very much feels like it comes closer to the truth than anything I've read or heard so far. And all of us would rather believe the whitewashed version.

FROM: Gunnar Keel, 12/12/99

It is so good to know someone is following the Y2k facades. I too saw Oprah and was amazed at how it was all trivialized. Thanks for all the info.

FROM: Cynthia Beal, 12/12/99

Thanks for forwarding this. I really appreciate the information you've shared. If you can stand one more mailing list, please sign up for Y2KFORUM. We're getting some pretty good stuff -- not a lot of conversation -- mostly our own newswire. Send an email to: listproc@efn.org with "subscribe y2kforum" and your name in the body of the message.


Suzanne Taylor

December 10, 1999

Paula Zahn, who has an hour-long show on Fox News Channel, M-F, at 7 P.M. pst, (10 P.M. est), has announced that she will be doing "hard-hitting, in-depth" reporting on Y2K all next week. The final line of her promo says, "Y2K...if you're not worried, you should be." I was amazed to find the most responsible, straightforward Y2K reporting that I've seen from a mainstream news source at FoxNews.com -- hit the button on the right that says, "CLICK HERE for a Y2K update."

The report starts, "The millennium bug threatens every region of our wired world. System failures from even a small percentage of the world's 80 billion computers could have potentially devastating consequences felt long after Jan. 1, 2000." There is a surprisingly contradictory element, most evident in what they say on their country by country map. Of the blue colored, best-prepared countries, which include the United States, they say, "These countries will experience some mission-critical system failures, with minimal social, political, environmental and/or economic consequences that are best characterized as minor inconveniences." Beats me how that get from "devastating consequences" to "minor inconveniences." Duh. However, anyone who looks at the whole site could hardly be misled.

Actually, one of Oprah Winfrey's television shows last week, with government officials echoing the Clinton party-line, saying the Y2K "glitch" has been handled, was the happenstance that got me writing this email. As an icon with the guts to stand up for good causes, Oprah's whitewash put another layer of balm on the false calm that prevails. So, I'm speaking here to alert friends and colleagues who aren't as informed as I am. If I had my druthers, I'd get a message like this into full-page newspaper ads:

Dear Fellow Human Beings,

You are being deceived by the powers that be about the potential seriousness of Y2K. Those in charge of the financial goings-on in this country are of the opinion that your knowing how bad things can become would cause trouble at the banks and with the stock market.

We are of the belief that this concern for financial well-being, even though real, is not good reason to camouflage the potential disastrousness that could lie ahead for some people, if not for everyone, at the turn of the millennium and for some indeterminate period thereafter. Preparedness literally could make the difference for many between life and death. Any message to the contrary cannot be supported by the facts. This is an urging that everyone be ready for Y2K. Take precautions for the worst that could occur.

[signed by recognizable names]
My email is full of Y2K particulars every day. Choosing among many compelling reports, I'm passing along content from one that will give you a graphic picture of the kind of long-range problems we could be in for. These would not be as life-threatening as what will happen if the grid goes down, but still could create monumental hardship and chaos. Walt Patrick is founder and president of the Windward Foundation, a non-profit educational organization that deals with self-sufficiency.
Date: Thursday, 25 Nov 1999

From: Walt Patrick

For what it's worth, I don't see Y2K getting serious until late in January. The economy is a marvelous thing with lots of momentum, and like a bull elephant in charge mode, just shooting out its heart won't bring it to an immediate halt.

Setting aside the wild-card possibilities, I don't see any way that the oil distribution / refining system isn't going to experience substantial shortfalls. The modern lifestyle is based on cheap, regular and adequate supplies of gasoline. Given that the oil crisis of '73 only represented a 7% actual shortfall in supply, I'm expecting serious disruptions to start showing up in the latter half of January.

Given our dependence on foreign oil from Venezuela and Saudi Arabia, automotive parts from Mexico and Brazil, our involvement with Japanese banks, etc., I was particularly impressed by the testimony two months ago of Jacqueline Williams-Bridgers, the U.S. State Department's Inspector General, to the U.S. Senate's special committee on Y2K.

She said, "These assessments suggest that the global community is likely to experience varying degrees of Y2K-related failures in every sector, in every region, and at every economic level. As such, the risk of disruption will likely extend to the international trade arena, where a breakdown in any part of the global supply chain would have a serious impact on the U.S. and world economies."

My question for those who feel that Y2K will only be a bump in the road would be, "Which part of 'every' is unclear?"

Given the current level of dependency on automobiles in our culture, we can't afford more than a percent or two disruption in overall gasoline availability without triggering adverse social reactions (those who were around in '73 know what I mean). The odds that the interruption in gasoline availability will be no more than a couple of percent aren't very good...

A couple of years back, as IT managers started to look seriously at Y2K, they had two choices: fix the old or create the new. Many a company made the reasonable decision to start from scratch and recode every critical system they had. Like Boeing, which isn't surprising given the nature of their business and their capacity for taking on complicated technical projects that have to be completed on deadline.

Still, they had some interesting surprises. Like the test on the 757. They rolled the clock forward, and then went looking for problems. Two hours of checking didn't turn up anything, so the plane started to taxi to the runway. Half-way there, the computer shut down. It turns out that the bug had caused the computer's cooling fan to fail to come on. After running for two hours without a fan, the computer overheated and shut down.

Lots of other companies also took the second path. While this plan has a great potential payoff, i.e. the latest software running on the latest machines, there is one really big risk. If the software isn't completed on time, a situation known to occur on occasion :-), the company can find itself caught between an old system that will no longer work after the first of the year, and a new system that won't work yet.

Even worse, in trying to make the transition, they can corrupt their data base and be left with the added task of having to do a new physical inventory.

This is the sort of thing that's starting to show up. It's not being talked about on the evening Happy News, but that's hardly surprising. For example, Hershey's Y2K program cost them their largest sales weekend of the year. You may not have noticed, but Hersey didn't make it for Halloween this year, and probably won't make it for Christmas. Lost sales are said to be in the $100M range.

Now, it's true that western civilization won't grind to a halt because of a lack of chocolate, but it's also true that there are a lot of human faces in pain disguised by a figure like that. The loss of one end-product manufacturer involves losses for the business that supply them, as well as the businesses which depend on their employee's paychecks...

Volkswagen Europe is another example of a company that took the second path. They finished their new software with two months to spare. But it takes a lot more than two months to test complex software, and, to save time, they passed up the step of operating the old and new systems in parallel. The upshot there is that the new software corrupted their old database, and they haven't been able to ship parts for the last two weeks.

The best description I've heard recently is the comparison to Christmas tree lights -- not the old series kind where the burning out of one bulb would shut down the string, but it's more like the new kind that have a by-pass circuit in the base so that if a filament fails, the base shorts out to let the power keep flowing. The problem there is that the rest of the bulbs then have to deal with the fractionally higher voltage. As more filaments fail, the rest of the filaments have to carry the load, and tend to burn out correspondingly more quickly. In time, this leads to a cascading failure of all the lights left in the string.

While none of these examples puts the world at risk, each of them does put a bunch of people through a whole lot of grief. As light after light on the productivity tree winks out, the tension level rises.

And then we get to the IRS's assurance that they have their contingency plan in place. They expect to be able to issue 10,000 refund checks by hand per day. Given that last year they issued some 80 million checks, that should only take them some 36 years working at that rate. Faster if they authorize overtime :-)

How are people going to react if they're told to not expect their tax refund in this lifetime?

Anyway, just some thoughts on a rainy morning. It's going to be a very interesting year.

December 14, 1999 [After watching The Edge on 12/13]

What lame coverage. Who'da thunk Paula Zahn would do only a couple of pallid minutes, essentially telling us we were OK, after the dramatic promo that's been flooding the Fox News Channel for days? Has "scary Y2K" become a way to sucker listeners in? And then, why not draw the conclusion that we are in danger, as promised, especially when the guy they were interviewing said trouble was ahead? The crazy beat marches on....


FROM: Drexel Sprecker, 12/11/99

Although I have no way to evaluate this, the systems disciplines with which I have worked suggest that the most likely sources of disruption will be the result of reinforcing feedback processes that amplify over a longer period.

Suzanne Replies:

"Cascading" failures is what's talked about. Yes. Scary to think how screwed up things can get. Makes perfect sense in this highly connected world.

Funny we are so connected and so disconnected...

Drexel replies to Suzanne:

We confuse intersubjective cultural connection with interobjective social connection. Interobjective social connections -- the shared physical structures -- are designed for or are the result of common action at the physical level. Examples include streets, telephones, and the Internet.

Intersubjective cultural connections -- the shared consciousness -- are the result of common world views, generally at a particular stage of development. Our country, however, has substantial numbers of people at at least four levels and therefore has to have a more general common world view to provide social cohesion that must include gang leaders as well as business leaders.

Evolution works up the Great Chain from physical to spiritual, so we will have a network of roads before we have a network of analog telephones and a network of telephones before we have a network of digital computers. Although we will have all of those before we have a network of consciousness, all of those will make it more possible to have whatever networks of conscious exchange we want to have.

That is the promise. The peril is that we will be lost in the development of the interobjective web before we realize the benefits of the freedom it offers.

Suzanne Replies:

Yes. I agree. Every radical technological development has allowed culture/consciousness to transform -- the printing press for example. A fascinating historical study there. Wish I knew where to find a good narrative about this. The Internet is the new ball game. Still in its infancy, but you can already feel the power of the people, so to speak, where we rise out of subjugation to the leader, transcending the dualistic trap in which we have been mired. Of course nowadays we are always in danger of self-destruction -- technology too good before consciousness mitigates. Prayers are in order.

FROM: David Langer, 12/11/99

I hope this turns out to be minimal for everyone. We're as prepared as we can get. We don't have the resources to go out and buy all the stuff we really should have. Let's pray for everyone on this.

Suzanne Replies:

It's a hard tiger to get by the tail, preparedness-wise, even if you have resources. There aren't enough resources to prepare for the worst. So you want to look at survival that you could do something about if it's the worst it could be without something so bad we dare not even chat about it. People in the cold need to know what to do if no fuel. People on the 30th floor better think about electricity outage. Everybody needs to do water. My own choice has been to lay in dried food (a year's worth for one) as my emergency what-I-am- doing-about-a-worst-case. (Food is a bargain now at all the suppliers -- they are overstocked because people didn't buy as expected). I also am growing veggies in patio high-yield boxes I bought (yummy now). I got a cheap solar radio (works good for regular use) with a flashlight, and another solar flashlight. No stuff for fun and games or anything like normal life should things get awful awful -- but hopefully I would be better at making it through. Other thing for my somewhat complete picture is that the only money I have in the stock market is in a hedge fund that's been created based on Y2K, with pay-off if things go down. Wish people had been concerned enough for a national minute of silence to have been enacted -- all praying might have been better than some praying, as we understand the laws of stuff like that...

FROM: Chip Winborne, 12/11/99

Your musings are always welcome...

Pick a point anywhere along the continum of life-threatening problems to no problems and add widespread panic. "Panic" simply refers to regression to a state of consciousness temporarily subjected to instinctive foundations: "I'll get mine at others' expense, if need be." It is my observation, in myself, that this consciousness actually defers achievement.

From one angle, newsy folk like the Paula Zahn personality -- using mass media to spread their points of view -- speak to an audience which may be all-to-ready for such a regression. I well understand the position that it is better to be factually educated, even when the education brings unpleasant news. However, it is worth pondering whether this is the case for everyone.

When I reared my children, I did not tell them everything there was to know about everything. I expended my own psychic energy in efforts that sought to attract their evolving consciousness to higher ground. It is the higher ground that sustains, even when instinct to survive fails, and the emotional attraction to harmony deteriorates into fear.

In relation to Y2K, I encourage those who are aware to solve the physical problems within their own sphere -- have your material needs covered, stay alert, pay attention, try not to let preconceived imaginations govern your life. When life and sanity are actually threatened, practice unattachment while acting vigorously.

When one performs an act in fear (like withdrawing savings from bank, or hoarding), what mighty the implications be if everyone so acted? Speaking only for myself, I have decided that such actions will make any eventuality worse. It is an enjoyable exercise to take in the whole thing without suspicion, fear, alarm -- instead substituting amusement. Of course, this assumes that if everything goes to hell in a handbasket, one has the emotional stability not to indulge in regret.

Best Wishes to you and your noble efforts!

Suzanne Replies:

Foxiness is always in order. And highest service. On Y2K, my conclusions are drawn that we are on an insane course. People are naked with winter coming on. Why do you need psychological preparedness for nothing? And if something, why not board the windows for the impending hurricane?

This is from a recent email from a hotshot activist, Leon Kappleman:

"I truly hope that those government and industry leaders who decided that the Y2K human risk was greater than the Y2K technical risk are right. Their message predominates. But that message potentially leaves most of the public, including many businesses, not-for-profits, and governments, both mentally and physically unprepared for much more than a 'weekend storm.' Yet there is no doubt whatsoever that Y2K problems will be felt far into the third quarter of next year."
And this from another one, Nick Laird:
"Most people have made up their minds on Y2K. Most people believe it's nothing. Most of the others have never heard about it. So, we really are in the minority. As I have said before, it's not the odds; it's the stakes. If you bet wrong, you literally could die."
Maybe life and death are just two sides of a potentially funny coin, but it seems to me a mighty cold fish appraisal you indulge in.

I am genuinely glad to hear that you enjoy my musings. I greatly respect whatever you are thinking and look forward to hearing more.

A few good Y2K links:

Margaret Wheatley's intelligent, insightful article, The Amazing Grace of Y2K

Visionary scientist Peter Russell's Y2K thoughts

Northern Lights Search Engine Y2K Links Page

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