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A Day in the Life of…

Distilled down to its barest essences, the role of the agency I’ve been describing is fulfilled primarily by its specialists.  These individuals must interview applicants, document their information, and request the necessary data to properly dispose of their cases in a timely and accurate fashion. This is far more difficult than it may seem, but is not nearly as difficult as can be interpreted.  I can offer two analyses of the two leadership groups under which I served as an employee: the first of which could do no right, and the other with the right mentality in place.

Typical Day:

The average day is simple enough, and can vary depending on your job assignment.  Ultimately, you have 8 appointments a day, convening with an applicant every 45 minutes starting at 8:15am an ending at 3:15pm (on average).  There is a certain rhythm with this job and this schedule. A comfort that is built up by the rigid structure that allows for a focused assault on your day as it were.  Because applications are due on the 30th day after the day of application (e.g: an application on 7/1 must be completed by 7/31), it is fairly obvious when you receive your work list for the day of which cases you need to ma (nage by close of business.  One cannot start before 8am and stay after 4:30pm (due to the demands of the job in large offices, it sometimes feels like the 8 hours is not enough to complete all your necessary work – this is not a possibility as some years ago, the State lost a lawsuit against workers that had been doing this).

Best practices means you get the list from your supervisor by 8:00am (they typically arrive between 7:15am-7:30am and stay until 5:30pm-6:00pm – they can do this, as management are not held to the same laws).  First thing’s first, you check your email inbox, your work mailbox, and snag your applications.  If you’re lucky, you can get the daily report on your work list back to your supervisor before your first interview and deny any applications whose applicants failed to comply with the interview process.  Policy states that the interview is a mandated part of the process. Then, you get your first applicant interview of the day screened, meaning you check all available data to which the agency has access (note: THIS DOES NOT MEAN CREDIT CHECKS; THERE ARE NO CREDIT CHECKS NEEDED).  During this screening, you should take the time to examine the previous case actions within the past year by reading the documentation from that time.  If you’re lucky (again), the interview takes approximately 20 to 30 minutes, given you 15 minutes to wrap up your notes and additional time to move on to the next application to repeat the process.  This occurs 8 times a day when interviewing.

During these downtimes, you can check to see if work due that day has had information returned by the applicant to complete their cases and make determinations timely. As bad as this sounds, at some points, you may be rooting for no shows to get cases done or to return telephone calls as you can.   By the time 3:15pm rolls around, hopefully you’re set up and ready to process anything else that must absolutely be done that day and then completing applications that are due on forward dates (this is hard to do especially for certain roles that have similar due days or if you’ve got a lot of applications due on the same day).  If you get the time and have the inclination, read policy.  Reading policy is always key to understanding your role with the agency.

Under previous leadership, I have seen this day turn into interviews until 4:15pm at 30 minute intervals (which is near impossible to do). I have seen “walk-in” reschedule days where applicant were invited to come and wait in the lobby (sheer and utter foolishness) to be seen in the order in which they arrived.  I have had to take my normal 8 appointments and then take 5 more on top of that due to poor scheduling or errors on behalf of the agency (we -have- to correct these because it is the responsibility of the agency to do things right).

Complications:

No matter how hard you work or how well you work, you will always have complications.  An applicant will be not be as forthcoming in an interview and you’ll have to work doubly hard to get the correct information, a very difficult case will present itself when you’re there, a phone call will come in and you will have to respond, &c. There are a million different ways to get sidetracked that are out of your control.  The point is to never be sidetracked by anything you can control (cell phone use, talking, &c) unless it’s absolutely necessary. This is precisely why I listened to so much music at work when I was a specialist, and then this diminished when I became a supervisor so that I could have an open door at all times.

Under previous leadership, specifically my rodeo clown of a supervisor who had never been trained on policy or worked with applicants for benefits, I was given the additional burden of completing supervisory responsibilities.  While this was difficult to complete in addition to my normal responsibilities, it did prepare me for the future.

Typical Week:

String four of these days together and include a day upon which you are given no interviews to work cases down and that is your work week as a benefit specialist.  It can be overwhelming at time as you deal with the typical ebb and flow.  To put the numbers into context, as a specialist, you will begin receiving 32 applicants a week for a total of 128 a month.  These numbers stack up quickly.

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Posted by on January 30, 2015 in Accountability, Anthropology, Introduction, Ire

 

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Structure

Perhaps my naive self was not fully prepared to appreciate the sheer monolithic structure of government work.  I don’t believe I ever made a pretense that I was fully capable and/or ready to enter into the structure, but at the same time, it’s stunning how absolutely confined it all is and how positively medieval.  Defined at first by Ganshof as the combination of legal and military customs among the military nobility binding land, lord, and vassals together, feudalism is a problematic term at best.  It evokes a large number of images of a rigidly held power structure devoted to consolidating and holding as much power as possible. This is the angle from which I will make my comparison.

Shape:

Like any good structure, there is a model that imposes structure. From my experience with this job, the power structure is pyramidal.  Obviously, the Governor and the state’s Congress sit above this structure and influence it with their decisions and I am not genuinely not so concerned about that because that is out of the agency’s control.  People elect their representatives, regardless of political agreement or disagreement, and as a state employee, you are bound to follow the laws and regulations they bind to your positions.  Therefore, if the Governor is in our analogy the Royal, then the Congress is the House of Lords & Commons (note: the line is becoming very blurred here in the US on bicameral legislatures and in a small, poor state, those with the most money may not always have the most influence).

The Director of the Agency essentially serves as Royal Governor of the agency.  Political appointed and legislatively approved, this individual’s role is to represent the agency in all realms.  In my time at the agency, I met and interacted with the Director twice.  The first was during supervisor training (to which he was mandated to attend) and the second was a spur of the moment visit to the county office at which I worked.  On both occasions, the Director requested “real talk” about the agency and its goals and how employees were representing the State.  On both occasions, questions were preemptively screened and vetted before getting to the Director.  In other words, very little substance was offered.  While this is not too surprising in general, it speaks volumes that the majority of communication from the Director’s office was in the form of press releases, vetting questions, and media interviews.  The role of the Director from my perspective was mostly PR.  The Director serves from the central office.

Beneath the Director, there are a large number of Divisional Directors.  In such a large agency with so many encompassing programs from the State Hospital to Child Protective services, these Divisional Directors essentially serve as the established lords/ladies.  Each is appointed by the director and requires gubernatorial approval before they take office. You hear very, very little from these people.  In fact, the Director serving for my division retired before I promoted within the agency.  Since that occurred, I do not remember, except when the new Divisional Director was introduced, ever having met, received an email from, or otherwise heard discussion about the new Divisional Director.  This is important – not because silence indicates nothing: silence from a particular position in this level of management means they are genuinely working hard behind the scenes.  Like the Agency Director, they serve in Central Office. The best analogue I have for this position would be a member of the clergy (or the second estate as they were called).

Beneath each Divisional Director, there are a number of Assistant Directors.  In the case of my division, there were many ranging from personnel directors to policy directors, &c.  Again, similar to clergy, the Assistant Directors were the Mouth of the Central Office (for your LotR fans out there) and were far more visible than the two above.  One person in particular demonstrated best practices and powerful leadership qualities that would later come to define how I would attempt to manage my staff.  This Assistant Director was very much visible; however, one could attempt to contact any of them for guidance.  Each had their own support staff as well; for example, the Assistant Director of Policy (for whom a goal is to insure effective communication of new regulations and policies to the entire agency and its staff) has policy writers for all services offers, lawyers for specific projects, &c.  Like the above, all these serve in Central Office.

This represents the top third of the pyramid and effectively documents the structure of the agency’s Central office.  There are more staff obviously and other roles that I’ve not indicated here, but these are the important ones as it relates to the Division with which I worked.  Like most monoliths, the structure holds its highest status individuals in the most centralized location with religious-like attending staff to administer the details.  Central office does not equate to Field office, however, and the continued division of authority and structure is important because this is where it begins affecting all points along the way.

Nulle terre sans seigneur

No land with out a lord; no property without a liege.  Those that have served in the Field Office shall, if they have integrated enough with successful people, be granted land of their own with approval from the sovereign.  This is where the Field Office staff begins being impacted directly.  To manage the need for a large number of Field Offices (one, sometimes two, in each county), the State has divided into a number of geographic and geopolitical (in one case) areas.  A Director runs each area, much like a manorial noble in Britain would centuries ago (except with less killing, death, etc).  They answer to the Assistant Director of the programs (the individual who I described earlier serves in this role and is wonderful at it).  On a day to day basis, it is the Regional Director who’s vision is instituted and who’s dictates matter most.  This position is therefore the most important managerial position for the Field Office: from performance evaluations and other personnel matters to communication regarding policy and regulation of the programs, their stamp is on nearly everything in the fief they have been granted.

Unfortunately, the Regional Director (RD) under whom I served was not a good one: tyrannical and flighty are the easiest descriptors.  The RD’s answer for most problems was to criticize and take power to institute what was perceived as necessary.  The RD has a number of assistants that serve as Data Analysts for the area.  The Data Analysts (DAs) are important in these situations, from my observations.  I noted that when there were DAs that were willing to investigate, provide accurate and concise real world information, and otherwise talk to the Field Offices, the RD would follow their lead.  Being a report driven performance evaluated position, the RD wants numbers to demonstrate strong guidance and compliance with federal goals.  In cases where the DAs aren’t doing this and are pushing to be as favorable to the boss as possible, the RD gets as much leeway as they can and the only person that can hold them accountable is in Central Office and in most cases is over 100 miles away from any Regional Office in the state (the RDs get to designate their own Regional Offices upon assuming the title).

Underneath the RD, each Field Office has a Director whose goals it is to facilitate the services for the county.  The Field Office Director was my guiding light and additional inspiration.  The Director’s job is to supervise and manage personnel and to abet the Field Office to meet Federal goals.  However, each office has a Director, the RD’s vision is implemented by the  Field Office Directors.  When one has a boss that has the ability to control nearly each aspect of your day, then you will find yourself complying with dictates that may absolutely no sense and often don’t have the backing of the clergy from Central Office.

Beneath the Field Office Director are the Field Office Coordinators who handle the day to day policy and regulation compliance with the agency and beneath them you have the Field Office Supervisors (this is as far as I could go).  Then beneath the FOS, you have the specialists that interact with and perform the basic currency duties of the agency.  Note how top heavy this structure is for the state?  There’s nearly 10 levels of management above the specialist position and due to the personalities involved, a typical day can seem like a mine field.

So, what the hell does this all matter?

Ultimately, Central Office decisions affect everyone in the Field Offices; however, they are instituted by the RD.  In my case the RD used ineffectual leaders for committees and other interactions to facilitate creating an environment were they began assuming additional power.  For example, a decision was authorized to have a Field Office Worker serve as an Regional Case Review Specialist (additional oversight, you see).  During the discussion phase, I brought up several questions, but most importantly I asked if we had legislative and directorial approval to do this (each position with the state must stick to its legislatively written job description).  The RD replied that this did not matter and that we could do this however we wanted.  Within three months during the course of a Legislative Audit, it was discovered that this was occurring in our region.  The Auditors told the RD to discontinue this and her manager (who I respect greatly) did the same.  So, then the position was rephrased into a New Worker Training Position.  Her manager found out about this quickly and reminded that regulations in policy dictate that only those with certification can train New Workers.

Before my leaving, another plan was being concocted by the RD.  Field Office management (director, coordinator, and supervisor) are rated on their basest levels against the federal goals.  The FOD and FOC are rated on the entire Field Office statistics, the FOS are rated on the statistics of their individual teams.  If your team are not meeting the federal goals, then you will not get a high rating in that review.  The RD, wishing to increase and coax better performance, wanted to apply this to all county staff, meaning that a worker’s individual accuracy and timeliness did not matter on their performance reviews as they could not ever score higher than the whole county office.  This is a violation of Labor Law, but was in the process of attempted justification when I left.  The impacts, if allowed to go through, would obviously not only be illegal, but would be extraordinarily demoralizing.

 
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Posted by on January 29, 2015 in Accountability, Anthropology, Politics, Rants

 

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Difficulties; or wherein a mountain is made from a mole hill.

Ultimately, that which makes the bureaucracy a rewardingly, safe job is also that which destroys it’s very integrity and the integrity of those working there: the culture.  Weber, penultimate observer of the bureaucracy, believed that American bureaucracy was going to eventually supplant German bureaucracy (which at his time was considered an amazing and wondrous thing).  It did, though not entirely in the anticipated means.

Now, firmly ensconced in its echo chamber, the bureaucracy is a monolith by its nature.  Then again, most companies are; however, there is something truly unique about the pyramidal like structure of a developed agency.  At my agency, the power brokers sit miles away at the state capital, surrounded in an echo chamber not three blocks from the state’s Capital Building.  The state is divided in to X number of areas in which there is one main area office from which a director rules down to each individual office in the county seat.  It is modern feudalism when one breaks it down: the governor is the king, the director his trusted companion, the director’s team is a series of trusted companions, and the directors of the area are the knight vassals.

At each point along this path, one can be roadblocked, railroaded, and tossed aside.  Misrepresentation rules the day which falls right back in line with the culture: an individual that attempts to offer fresh ideas is often vilified the moment it becomes convenient to their management.  Now, I realize that this is the fate of the middle manager, yet it’s disquieting.  I look at friends in similar positions that work hard and well for their companies and seldom serve as a fall guy to their manager.  Working hard and pretending to work hard are often the same within the bureaucracy.  There is a great deal of difference between: “look what my team accomplished through hard work!” and “look what my team accomplished through me working hard!”  Oh well, maybe I’m the bigger fool, a favorite musician wrote, that nurtures every fight and every loss.

In other news, if anyone that reads this is interested in a writing, anthropology/philosophy geek that has management, research, and field experience, toss me an email.

 
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Posted by on November 21, 2013 in Rants

 

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Nocturnal Rumination: Foolishness

(Reposted from Creative Sphere Games, an old blog run by the Alembic):

Bashiok writes:

I understand and respect gaming masochism. But, I think that changing mechanics to be more reasonable and less punishing is an improvement, not a detriment, to games in general. Many of us Original Gamers pine for the days of D&D-based yore when games were seemingly intended to break us down into sobbing masses created by an uncaring necromancer of pain and suffering, or at least didn’t try to avoid it. Overcoming all of the obstacles (I CHOOSE NOT TO SHOOT HER WITH THE SILVER ARROW… NOOOOO) was a big part of what gaming (I HAVE 1 LIFE!?), and especially PC gaming (HOW DO I LOAD MOUSE DRIVERS?), were about. But, I feel we’re lucky to now be in an age where those ideals (intended or not) are giving way to actual fun, actual challenge, and not fabricating it through high-reach requirements (I NEED A FAIRY MONK WITH A MAGIC LOCKPICK?).

What we’ve always been trying to do, what WoW has always been about (and to which much of its success is due) is to make an accessible MMO. Anyone that looks back at the game at launch and wishes it was as challenging now as it was then is not aware of the painstaking effort put into making this game accessible as compared to its predecessors. Since release we’ve refined that intent, eventually evolving the very few masochistic designs WoW actually ever started with, but ideally still offering those same prestige goals that give that feeling of achieving something great if you’re able to pull it off. We’ve made a lot of progress toward striking that balance and continuing to evolve the game, but it’s not something we’re ever likely to perfect, and we’ll be constantly working to hit that elusive goal. Hopefully it’s to the benefit of everyone playing and enjoying the game, and they’ll continue to enjoy the journey that a living, breathing, persistent universe will take us on.

Gaming masochism?  Easy mechanics?  Original Gamers?  Bullshit; no one pines for the days of yore to be broken down into nothingness at the mere trembling sight of yet another insurmountable challenge with which you take umbrage, while Gygaxisaurus’s jowls quiver with laughter. What they pine for is accomplishments that matter.  To intimate otherwise is to take a steroid-free Canseco-esque swing or fire a magic missile into the darkness.  The above written passage is a juvenile means to answer a fundamental question about reward development and, more fundamentally, player choice.

Some people like pain and the feel of encountering odds so great that their only means of success is through their stellar play, perfect timing, grace of fingers, or mere random luck.  These encounters are a tool in the narrative, rather than the narrative itself.  More a chance to scare a player to hell and back.  Think on it and you can envision the scene right now: “Hey, guys, I think… OH BY THE GRACES OF THE CREATOR’S MINISKIRT!  It’s a dragon of majesty!  We’re screwed!”  For something a touch more dramatic: think of Luke’s first fight with Vader in which he was assuredly going to lose more than his hand.  It is obvious that Bashiok and the larger Blizzard story/encounter design team seem to not understand that sometimes characters are overmatched and should have the opinion of fleeing.  Apparently, in WotLK they decided they failed so miserably, having turned Arthas into a caricature of a real villain, at this that the thought of meaningful interaction with the world and putting the characters in their place means nothing to them.  They forget one of the greatest concepts of storytelling: the failure of Good to have the ability, temerity, or cohesion to defeat evil.  Yet that is neither here, nor there really as it truly does not appear to relate to the above written passage, except through a mechanically based discussion of storytelling.

In sum, the above reeks of the arrogance of being the 800 pound gorilla in the chamber: “We’re leading the charge, guys, at making this game more accessible, more addictive, by being the only ones that offer actual challenge and fun.”  The challenge is not mental.  There is no thought, or very little decision making, that need go into this, it seems.  Pick a class, find a spec, take a set of items from the menu, and move, twitch press keys in the same order, don’t stand in fire, and then profit.  Broken down into this format, it is easily to become infatuated with the ease: “I don’t really need to improvise; just learn the dance, and I’m fine!”  The result of all this is simple: your choice doesn’t matter.

Classes are an attractive option as they are convention of the oldest of RPGs; however, when classes are not delineated and offered specific challenges, at least some of the time, there is no impact whatsoever that they have within the game.  Classes have specific purviews in which they perform; e.g: a rogue backstabs and picks locks, a paladin crusades against evil and smites it, and a mage lobs some spells.  They have to fit into the niche for which they were created, and for players to demonstrate any agency with their choice of class, they must be allowed to perform some of the intrinsic aspects.  In the end, this is why classes, regardless of medium, are a relic of a decaying formula.  Without locks to pick, why ever play a rogue?  Without solid AE mechanics, why ever tank as a warrior?  Growing from there, this problem is only compounded by the community: “well, on the KT fight, it’s best to take on 1 melee on 10 man because of the risk of freezing the tank and then getting a healer one-shot.”  It’s effectively a wash.  Your choice, your decisions, and your thinking is taken away by both the most unforgiving mechanics of the game: the designers who are unwilling to meaningfully innovate the game further and the community at large who is unwilling to recognize anything after the elite consensus has been formed.

Mechanics should not even feel noticeable by the player while they are playing their character.  The rules, the maths, the knowledge used to create and provide the challenges offered should be inclusive, granted, but the player’s decisions about their character’s style and abilities should inform their decisions to a far higher level than I can do X because I am class Y.  Why can’t a character that uses spells be able to pick a lock?  Why are Paladins only concerned with smiting evil; hell, for that matter, why do we always have the trope of them being Good?

In the end, Blizzard seems to do what they do best: allow their lead designers stroke their virtual genitals at being the “best in the biz, because they’re the biggest.” Meanwhile, I believe they entirely miss the whole point: the balance between feeling a meaningful achievement versus just constantly going to a gussied up loot vending machine is up to you, the player.

 
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Posted by on January 17, 2013 in Accountability, Cultura, Game, Geek, Philosophy, Rants

 

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Apocalyptic of the Day: In which our thoughts are muddled in the face of repeated actions.

Over the course of this year especially, but even in the course of the previous few, the occurrences at Sandy Hook in Newtown, Connecticut, U.S.A. have become all too familiar.  Across the country, there have, as always, been calls to support the community, in their times of grief, askance to not politicize this event, and every form of analysis imaginable to detail the events and why they occurred.  Ultimately, as a person that tries to reason through situations and world events, I am simply sick.  My own child is of a similar age, attending a similar level of school, as those who were murdered.  The Aurora, Colorado mass murder occurred at something I very well could have been attending.

At a press conference, President Obama took the time to address the media to make a statement in which he stated, in effect, that he does not react as a president, but as a parent.  Like him, I understand the trepidation these occurrences cause, I understand the want to feel your child in your arms and hold them against you, and I understand the increased focus that you’ll put into your child.  However, as the vocal leader of the U.S., to not react as the president in a time redolent for an official reaction is mealy mouthed.  This problem is not an issue of “violence” culture or “gun” culture or “murder” culture as the mainstream media and the gun lobby has rushed to say, rather the frequency in occurrence of mass murder and the severity of the events have alarmingly increased.

In all honesty, at this point, we need to start discerning the why.  For years, I studied, when considering anthropology instead of archeology, cultural-bound syndromes and even postulated that mass murder could be a form of these.  A cultural-bound syndrome is a combination of mental and physical ailments associated with a specific society and culture and is often defined by the following criteria: 1.) defined by culture as a disease, 2.) familiarity within the culture, 3.) a complete lack of familiarity of this condition in other cultures, 4.) no empirical evidence of symptoms, and 5.) folk way treatments specifically designed to cure the individual.  Generally, mass murder occurs in the Western Industrialized World, of which the U.S., is a derivation.  It is not typically viewed as a disease or illness, but rather as a symptom of a larger mental problem.  Mass murder has a chilling familiarity within our culture, and there is a small frequency of occurrence in non-industrialized cultures.  There are no exhibitions of symptoms and treatment seems relegated to psychological approaches to assess and determine the level of public threat; however, Western Medicine is not viewed as a folkway medicine as it is backed by science.  Therefore, mass murder does not fit the classical definition of a culture-bound syndrome.

However, there is a comparable example from Malay: amok.  Amok is a particularly violent, sociopathic rage of violence that can often turn into a killing spree.  Demographically, it effects only men in the cultures where it is most prevalent and seems associated with masculinity and honor.  A good article I read years ago in a class discussed men going amok after pledging the dowry for the hand of their wife and then failing to meet the prescribed bride price. Amok is preceded by a depressive period in which the individual who “runs amok” stops tending his fields, sleeps for great periods of time, and generally gives up on the world.  Culturally, this is representative of an evil spirit entering the individuals body.  Then, the individual explodes in a fit of blind, violent rage, attempting to kill, maim, or wound everyone in his close proximity.  Because of its magical, medical, and religious connotations, amok was tolerated in the cultures in which it occurred and was even noted by the Captain James Cook when he traveled through the area.  In the U.S., we would call this going postal or blowing up.  While I have only a moderate understanding on psychology (enough to most argue it), this seems like a dissociative condition.  This seems familiar to the reports of the perpetrators of events of mass murder.

Further, we always label the possible cultures to which the perpetrator must have been party.  They are “influenced by gun culture, violence culture,” and other experiences that  tend to desensitize individuals to death by portraying a mockery or mimicry of it. This is a missed categorization and further is irresponsible.  Supposed “gun/violence” cultures are subsets of our own culture at large, meaning that a sociological understanding would typify their dynamics better than defining or attributing groups a culture.  In fact, by attributing them a culture, it legitimizes the violence!  Yet, this is a great example of what anthropology has lost according to RM Troulliot: the facility and the strength of using the word culture.  The word culture is thrown around to positively or negatively define or fracture groups.  It lessens the burden of the mainstream individuals that have no connection to this other than being a member of the perpetrator’s cohort.  It is comforting and a security blanket to define these people as of a different culture than you; however, it was your culture that included that violence/gun dialogue in which no new or meaningful statements have been made on this subject since the expiry of the last Arms Ban in the US.  This is why it is irresponsible to define these people as the “Other” in this situation, and results in the establishment of a placebo for the masses.  The ultimate meaning behind all this that there are no established “gun/violence” cultures in the US, rather they are only facets and subsets our own culture in the U.S.  We share a responsibility as members of this culture to reason and understand these problems.

I do not have the answer, but I know how I have reasoned myself to view the issue.  My point with this is to provide a statement to be incorporated in some small way into the larger dialogue of this issue and one that is based on the cultural understanding of these terrible events.  My heart is heavy today and will be as I consider this; my thoughts and love goes to each and everyone of the Newtown, Connecticut community.

 

 
 

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Nocturnal Rumination: Really?

It’s not that bad, I swear.

 

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Inspiration of the Day: The Period of Geological History that Shaped Cultural Experience.

For a group that tends to change rapidly, seminal movements in our collective experiences hook into our cultural memories.  The Hypsithermal is a four thousand year long period of climatic change starting shortly after the end of the last ice age.  During this time, world temperature rose approximately 4 degrees celsius at the poles and the world saw great differences in the regional weather patterns (e.g: the Green Sahara).

Generally, sea levels are higher and weather different than current day, though average temperatures were approximately the same in most areas of the world.  Glaciation receded during this period of climate change.  Near the end of the phase, signs would have begun appearing that the world was cooling.  In most places in the world, this period of time was wonderful for cultural development and you see the establishment of lands and the beginnings of the cultural identities of the Maya, Incas, Aztec, the Woodland in the US, Greece and Mesopotamian cultures, and the myriad peoples of the Indian subcontinent.

During this time is when the development of the famous calendar systems of the Maya and the Hindu began; both of which are now later recognized as foretelling a great cultural catastrophe as we head closer to December 21, 2012.  Even the Greeks and Mesopotamian peoples point to this era in their philosophies and other work.  As an understatement, it should be clear just how important nature is and why there were so many attempts to divine what was going on in the world’s climate as the earth began to cool and the ice began to return to mountain tops.  These are things that would have very much been noticed by humans.

In understanding the history of climate and how humans have interacted with it, it becomes clear that it is completely apparent as to the need to determine and discuss global climate change.  Our ancestors watched, plotted, and considered the environment’s signs and the direction it was heading.  This is why there are cycles of man according to the Maya and Hindu.  Most specifically, the Maya’s eschatology focuses on change through climate and other natural events and disasters that would unavoidably be faced by humanity as we enter into a new age.  This makes complete sense, as they were a people with long enough memory see the change from the Ice Age to the Hypsithermal and then the return to normal during the Holocene.

 

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