Thank You

it started on ICQ…

and it hasn’t ended.

a thank you letter..


Thank you..

thank you so much
you reminded me of so much
so many good things
and even bad
but our friendship is such that
the bad is even good

I think over all this time, i gave up being a good guy
I really did
that’s not who I was
that’s not who I am…

thank you for reminding me
who I was

I can’t thank you enough

to Rey

The Battle of Subashi in Sochi in portraits

The Battle of Subashi in Sochi in portraits
The Battle of Subashi in Sochi in portraits
The Battle of Subashi in Sochi in portraits
The Battle of Subashi in Sochi in portraits
The Battle of Subashi in Sochi in portraits
The Battle of Subashi in Sochi in portraits


Ivan Aivazovsky’s painting “The Landing of N. N. Raevsky at Subashi” (and the attached colour and black and white photographic reproductions from the painting) depict the Battle of Subashi, one of the myriad battles between the Circassians and Russians in the area of Sochi between the late 1830s and the early 1860s. The battle took place at the mouth of River Shakhe in Subashi, Shapsughia (modern Tuapse and Lazarev Districts of Sochi, in a gorge on the outskirts of Golovinka), on 3 May 1939. In the summer of 1939 Aivazovsky was invited by N. N. Raevsky, a high-ranking officer in the Russian Black Sea Fleet, to capture the scenes of the war with the Circassians on his canvas.

Portrait 1: “The Landing of N. N. Raevsky at Subashi”, by Ivan K. Aivazovsky, 1839. Oil on canvas, 97 × 66 cm (38.2 × 26 in). Provenance: Samara Art Museum, Samara Oblast, Russia.

Portrait 2. Black and white photographic reproduction from Aivazovsky’s painting “The Landing of N. N. Raevsky at Subashi”.

Portrait 3. Colour photographic reproduction from Aivazovsky’s painting “The Landing of N. N. Raevsky at Subashi”.

Brief description of the Battle of Subashi

The 2nd Squadron of the Russian Black Sea Fleet under the command of Vice-Admiral Lazarev, consisting of five battleships, five frigates, one brig, and two steamers, carried a landing party of 6,600 troops, under the command of Lieutenant-General N. N. Raevsky, with the intention of establishing a beach-head and eventually control the area through constructing fortifications on the Circassian coast of the Black Sea. The Russian Black Sea Fleet ships shelled the Circassian coast prior to the landing to provide smoke cover for the operation. Assault troops were brought ashore on rowing boats under the command of Captain V. Kornilov.

The Russian troops had barely managed to reach the shore, when they were rushed by more than a thousand Circassians, who had been hiding in the thick forests by the shore, and who rushed to the plain quietly, without firing their firearms. The Russians were at first taken aback by the unexpected attack, and they barely had time to unload the two mountain guns. Two Circassian leaders, riding on white steeds, bravely rushed ahead of the Circassian horsemen. A battalion of the Tengin Regiment rushed to counter-attack, but the Circassians, snatching their sabres, boldly went forward. At this very moment, a Russian officer at the head of a troop of marines appeared from the bushes in the forest, attacking the Circassians from the flanks, with the thud of the drums and shouts of “Hurrah.” The Circassians stopped in their tracks and started shooting and attempting to retreat. But it was too late – flanked on both sides by the Russians, they were forced to gradually retreat, fighting desperately in the process.

From May to September 1839, three fortresses were built in the vicinity, namely Golovinskoe, Lazarevskoe, and Raevskoe. In February 1840 the Circassians captured and razed fort Lazarevskoe, within six weeks through March, three more Russian strongholds, Golovinskoe, Velyaminskoe, and Mikhailovskoe, fell. Effectively, the southern section of the Caucasian Black Sea Line was isolated. However, the Circassians failed to capitalize on these successes, with their troops dispersed, deeming the operations to have been over and victory guaranteed. This short-sightedness turned over the initiative from Circassian hands squarely into those of the Russian Generals, who launched a counter-offensive, and recaptured Lazarevskoe and Velyaminskoe. Thirteen Shapsugh villages were razed to the ground in punishment.

Ivan K. Aivazovsky (1817–1901) was an Armenian marine painter who served in the Russian navy. His “The Landing of N. N. Raevsky at Subashi” is one of his more famous works.


“Circassian Culture and Folklore”


More on The New Tribalism

“more on The New Tribalism

there is a lot to say about this piece of writing.. MST

It is good that we can be here together today – and I am honoured to have this opportunity to speak to you – to offer an idea or I hear an ancient noise rising in Oregon. To my ears, it is a raucous, ragged sound. I hear it when I watch parts of the local TV news when I read about some of the new initiative petitions in the newspaper when I open a piece of junk mail urging me to contribute to an “anti-something” campaign.

It sounds like a hundred drummers with different drums, each beating their own rhythm. It sounds like the cacophony of a hundred tribes, each speaking their own tongue. It sounds like a hundred calls to battle.

It is the emergence of what I call the New Tribalism.

What is the New Tribalism?

It is the growth of a politics based upon narrow concerns, rooted in the exploitation of divisions of class, cash, gender, region, religion, ethnicity, morality and ideology ‘ a give-no-quarter and take-no-prisoners activism that demands satisfaction and accepts no compromise.

It is a raw permissiveness that escalates rhetorical excess sometimes even to physical violence.

And it is an environment where our political system of limited government is asked to take on social and religious disputes that the system cannot possibly resolve.

In Oregon, we see it in arguments over timber issues and the control of federal and private lands, in the white-hot rhetoric of racial supremacists, in arguments about gay rights and property taxes, and controversies over immigration and affirmative action.

It manifests itself in sound-bite attacks and talk-show manifestos, in personal smears and incendiary language.

The result of this vituperation and negativity can be disastrous for our political system.

Two professors have studied “attack ads” and found the effect of one candidate going negative on the other was to turn off all voters. Instead of voting for the attacking candidate, many of his supporters decided not to vote at all.

Terms like “fascist” and “wimp,” “extremist” and “FemiNazi” have become commonplace not only on radio and TV talk shows but increasingly in our legislative halls.

One United States Senator, leaving the chamber after a recent budget debate, was reported to declare, “I’d like to take an Uzi in there and spray the place.”

It is no wonder we hear jokes like the story of the candidate who spoke for an hour, then asked, “Are there any more questions?”

“Yes,” came a voice from the back. “Who else is running?”

This erosion of civility in public discourse is only a surface manifestation of the New Tribalism.

Below it is the tribes themselves, small groups of like-minded people who zealously support narrowly focused political issues.

As a former attorney general and one-time candidate for governor of Oregon, I have seen this New Tribalism expressed as an atmosphere of hatred, of raw emotion, of people asking not whether you are going to be fair, but “are you with us all the way” – not with us 95 percent, but with us 100 percent on our own special issues.

I should add here that I don’t mean to attack the motives of the many citizen groups whose focus on single issues arises from legitimate concerns about social justice. In some ways, single-issue activism is noble in its purity. It is not the volunteers’ sense of underlying outrage about issues that I believe is wrong, but the unreflective superiority and intolerance that this outrage often can spawn – a moral righteousness that puts down good faith differences as unworthy of debate.

Once it becomes impossible to talk to the other side, to find points of agreement and compromise, the stage is set for social disintegration.

* * * *

How have we gotten here?

How has our public dialogue become debased to hot-button sound-bites designed to inflame emotions, not increase understanding?

How has political correctness on single issues become more important than moving forward together as a society?

How has this politics of division, this tribal politics, now become so powerful?

There is no one answer.

But there are many contributing factors.

First among them is surely economic dislocation.

We are in the midst of enormous economic changes on a global level, and that change is occurring at an unprecedented pace.

By one estimate, the world between 1985 and 1987 experienced more technological change than in the entire 140 years of the Industrial Revolution.

With that pace comes a horrifying incapacity of many people to adapt. Indeed, many once-secure people at firms as established as IBM, ATT, and Sears know now that they may be the subjects of massive layoffs as once impregnable giants now “downsize,” “rightsize” or capsize.

Several Oregon pollsters not long ago came to an identical conclusion about the effects of these trends on people in our state. To a person, they reported that they had never seen such insecurity – personal, financial and political – at any time in modern history.

And we know from a reading of history that economic insecurity breeds psychic insecurity and political extremism. It fosters disconnection with social institutions.

That sense of disconnection has been deepened by other factors, including the disappearance of the Cold War.

We are now, for the first time in a half-century, bereft of a sinister outside force to unite us. The paradox here is that something in human nature demands an enemy, an “other” against whom we can fight a common fight. Without one outside our nation, we seem to look for enemies at home.

Religious fundamentalism, I believe, plays a role.

Perhaps my perspective is coloured by my experience with the Rajneesh commune in central Oregon when I was Attorney General.

But it is my unyielding conclusion that religious zeal corrupts government and government corrupts religion if the two are not kept separate and distinct with the kind of wisdom that the establishment clause of our First Amendment has commanded in Ame Rican history.

I choose my words carefully here because I know how vital strongly held religious beliefs are on a personal basis, as a way of guiding families and finding strength. But I say again that the attempt to create a heavenly city on earth often is accompanied by an urge to exterminate the nonbelievers. That is a price that we cannot pay here in a nation devoted to ensuring the rights of all, especially in a society marked by such rich religious pluralism.

Having said that, let me quickly add that another reason for the rise of The New Tribalism comes directly from a long emphasis on individual rights and the rights of small groups.

We have seen several decades of self-assertiveness on the parts of groups that have demanded much-needed change and the counter-reactions of those who believe their own values are threatened by these changes. As I’ll mention later, this trend may be on the wane. But for now, the tone of “We need to get ours” to the exclusion of all else has been well established in our society.

New advances in communications technology are also helping fuel the New Tribalism.

It is now possible, with great certainty, minor expense and the assistance of computer technology, to find demographic subgroups, whole communities not otherwise identified by geography or census tract, and to target mailings and messages to them. The common thread is not a local community, but a zealous commitment to a particular narrow cause. These cyber-communities can generate enormous amounts of energy and money for single-issue politics.

The media, the arts and entertainment also play a part.

Do not take my comments as bashing these enterprises, because indeed I am devoted to them. But there are at least three ways current trends in the media further destabilize our political environment.

  • First, media of all stripes tend to cover the fringes and extremes. There’s an old saying in journalism, “If it bleeds, it leads.” Conflict sells better than process. Perhaps it has ever been thus, but the pack certainly is fueled by the audio-visual media, because the written press must be more extreme and sensational simply to compete. Sensationalism has spilt over into the afternoon talk shows, with their rosters of professional victims. Will we see left-handed cross-dressers become the next set of tribal victims?
  • Second, the media desensitizes us to violence. Think of the unending litany of murder, rape, and casual beatings that we see every day. We all know the depressing statistic that by the age of 18 the average teenager will have seen 200,000 televised acts of violence, including 40,000 killings. I am one of those convinced that there is a causal link between this flood of images and a grotesque desensitization that makes violence in real life more common. It makes the extravagant into the norm, and make s extreme action – without the experience of offsetting psychic pain – seem acceptable, even routine!
  • Finally, The New Tribalism is fueled by the fragmentation of the media. We can now simply hear what we want to hear, rather than listen thoughtfully to the main chords of common discourse. With 100 channels of cable TV and hundreds of thousands of different information sites on the Internet, we are now free to simply reinforce our own ignorance, our own biases. We are losing the common pool of information that might force us to face ideas with which we disagree.

There is an old adage that “you can always tell a Harvard Man, but you can’t tell him very much.” Well, that is now writ large as we seek out specialized news and talk shows that fit our own preconceptions and fuel our own biases.

Another major reason for the rise of the New Tribalism comes from pressures on the family.

If families do not thrive, tribes provide a crude substitute. Pressure on the modern family unit is intense, both economically and socially.

An enormous number of kids in our society feel unwanted, and they act it. Most hate crimes – expressions of Tribal Politics in its crudest form – are committed by children under the age of 21.

Another reason is more obscure because it’s hard to talk with precision about a “national character” or ethos.

But I think of a Christmas season when someone gave me a tie, a relic from the ’80s, that said in bold letters, “Dear Santa, I Want It All.” That, in fact, is the motto emblazoned on the banners of the New Tribalism. It is not enough to get part of what you want, or even most of what you want – it’s getting it all that counts.

Finally, the New Tribalism thrives because there are those who profit from it.

If you draw up an initiative, you and four or five of your friends and fellow believers can ask for it all, no compromise, no give-and-take, no counter-arguments. Just put it all out there for an up-or-down vote, “give me mine and leave the thinking or questioning people out.”

There is money in promoting these single-issue causes, sometimes big money, for those in this society who have no stake in consensus. Indeed the perpetuation of conflict and divisiveness is both their meal ticket and their egotistical pathway to power.

* * * *

It is much easier to describe this phenomenon than it is to suggest prescriptions to help us get beyond this “us versus them” politics.

But it is absolutely vital that we try.

Let me offer a few thoughts about how we might start.

First, we must distrust the language of moral righteousness employed by those who ask for our support, our votes, our money.

Distrust those who bathe in the purity of their motives.

Judge people not by their passion for one cause, but by their capacity to calculate the consequences, long and short term, of their actions in its pursuit.

A second approach is to find our common ground.

Happily, my friends, we have it. In Oregon, a group with which I am involved sponsored a large-scale survey of the attitudes of our citizens. We asked Oregonians what they really treasured, to identify their core beliefs. The results were, to me, enormously reassuring.

Foremost was the feeling that we live where we live because we want to. We have an allegiance to our land, a sense of place. The feeling of home, of an emotional tie to a landscape that you love, is a powerful one – and one that can serve as the basis for a larger sense of shared community and unity.

Second, when asked where they wanted to put their energy, almost 90 percent responded not about their jobs or careers, but said they most valued “spending time with family and my loved ones.” There is an enormous sense of caring about the family unit, whether defined traditionally or nontraditionally. This, too, can serve as a basis for shared values and shared understanding.

Now we need to expand that feeling – just a little – from our families to our schools and neighbourhoods.

We need to turn our schools into communities of learning, places where students come not only to learn facts but to learn about shared responsibility, common goals, the importance of compromise in the pursuit of objectives.

At the University of Oregon, we have tried to counter the impersonality presented by every large college – the huge lecture classes, the feeling of being lost in the crowd – by breaking our students into smaller communities of learning, Freshman Interest Groups and Freshman Seminars, Honors College and dormitories geared to common interests – ways to find friends, meet professors, and build a sense of family within the university.

On a societal basis, we need the 20th century equivalent of barn raisings. We need to reach out to our neighbours in community celebrations, community service projects, and community self-help, everything from Neighborhood Watch programs to Habitat for Humanity.

We need to cool the overheated political discourse that dominates our media.

  • We must refuse to accept simple slogans in place of thoughtful analysis;
  • We must demand of our local media coverage of meaning and context of issues in addition to simple events;
  • We must talk to our friends and neighbours conscientiously about the consequences of sudden and extreme action in the service of an inflammatory single issue;
  • And we must let no single-issue demagogue dominate our thinking.

Our shared belief in community education plays a vital role here. We must demand these things not only of ourselves but must also help our communities to reach a new level of understanding.

Finally, and perhaps with too much hope, let me suggest that perhaps the New Tribalism will cure itself.

Arthur Schlesinger wrote a book several years ago called Cycles in American History. He identified a pendulum swinging back and forth in American history between social attitudes that could be regarded as selfish, grasping, and highly individualistic, and those in which community values became ascendant.

A number of observers, myself among them, detect the cycle swinging back toward the community as opposed to the individual.

I am particularly fond of one period of our history, the American Revolution. A couple set an example during that time. Their names were John and Abigail Adams. Contrary to the myths of some of the old storybooks we used to read, only a third of the colonists were on the side of the American Revolution, a third was officially “neutral,” and a third sympathized with the Tories.

One time when John was away at the front, Abigail wrote to him, asking, “What shall we tell our neighbours? Why is it that we do what we do, labouring to create a new society?” And he wrote back a wonderful letter in which he said this: “You tell them that I study war so that our children can study business, law, commerce and invention so that their children can study art, poetry and music.”

Among the many wonderful things that letter conveys is an enormous sense of trusteeship, of personal responsibility, not merely for the here and now, but for building a better society that you will never see because that is the birthright of your child children.

This is the American spirit. We possessed it before, and I think it is possible to have it again.

The New Tribalism does not have to be our destiny.

Parenting lessons from tribes around the world



Last year, while heavily pregnant, I attended a talk by acclaimed photographer Jimmy Nelson in our local cafe here in Amsterdam. He was speaking about his new book Before They Pass Away and showing spectacular images of the indigenous tribes from all over the world that he had spent time with. 

A year later, I have a crawling, climbing, energetic baby on my hands, and the constant bombardment of parenting advice sometimes makes me question my own choices. My desire for a natural parenting style – home birth, co-sleeping, and baby wearing – reignited my curiosity about how these indigenous people raise their children. I recalled Jimmy saying that he lived nearby, so I reached out to him. He agreed to come over for tea, and with my daughter happily sitting on the kitchen table between us and bashing Jimmy’s phone, he shared with me how the indigenous tribes have influenced his own parenting methods. 


Let’s start at the beginning – how did you get into photography in the first place?
I was a very creative kid. I went to a Jesuit boarding school, but I was not academic – I’m dyslexic. Then, at the age of 16, my hair fell out in one day. I was given the wrong antibiotics. I woke up and looked in the mirror, and I was bald. Now it’s irrelevant, because I’m in my mid-40s, but when you’re a 16-year-old teenager, it’s quite heavy, especially in the mid-1980s in northern England; everybody’s judging you.

I left school at 17, and I disappeared off to the one country in the world where everybody else was bald, and that was Tibet. I thought, “I’m going to find myself amongst a lot of monks.” So I walked the length of Tibet, by accident. I took a few pictures to document the journey. They were published, and that’s how I started, at 17.

That’s amazing. Now, for “Before They Pass Away”, you spent time with tribes all over the world and took stunning pictures of them. In your observations of the tribes, what are you focusing on initially?
The aesthetic. These tribes are some of the world’s last traditional cultures. They have not been presented in an iconographic way, a way in which we could look at them with far more praise and respect, and realize they perhaps have something that we don’t have anymore, and we’re on the edge of losing it forever. The only way to do that is to put them on a pedestal, to celebrate them. The only way to do that is to make them into icons, into art.

Once you make pretty pictures, people go, “What pretty pictures”! Then they look beyond the pretty pictures and go, “Wow, who are the pictures of? Aren’t they amazing? Who is this?” They start asking questions which we’ve not asked before. And if we don’t find answers soon, these people will go.

If that happens, the world will go upside-down, because these tribes give us the balance of culture, of knowledge of the world’s last natural environments, traditions, languages. The world can’t be all about progress and material wealth. It must also be about consolidation of what we already have, which is a natural, spiritual, mental, cultural wealth. We’ve kept ourselves busy for many, many generations, believing material wealth was the only way forward. We have to regain that balance. That’s all the book is about – it’s about putting these tribes on a pedestal, to start that discussion.


When you were with them, did you notice anything that made you think, “This aspect is so important to their life and their existence and their identity,” but they themselves didn’t feel that it was anything special?
The majority of them know how significant the natural setting is that they live in, and how pure that is, because they’re the last of their groups. 99 percent of their people have already moved away to the cities, and live in boxes under bridges. Some of them have returned and told them what city life is like, so they are aware.

Then again, I think they still don’t truly understand how important it is. You know, 100 years ago, an American photographer called Edward Curtis photographed the Native Americans. You may know those sepia pictures, of Chief Sitting Bull.

He spent 30 years traveling around America, photographing the last Indians. Everybody laughed at him. Everybody said, “This is a waste of time. These people are dirty. They’re covered in leather, and they’ve got feathers in their hair, and they sing silly songs. It’s far more important we get rid of them, or they get rid of their cultures, and we move on.”

One hundred years later, look at America. In my opinion, it’s one of the most culturally impoverished and socially sick places on the planet. They all have the biggest cars, but also the biggest bellies and the biggest guns. That, I would argue, is because they’ve lost their cultural roots. Who am I? Where am I from?

I don’t want us to lose that cultural history on an international scale. I’m being very melodramatic and of course it’s not as black-and-white as this, but just to illustrate what I’m trying to do with my work.


Regarding health, how do the tribes look after themselves? They don’t have access to medicine like we do.
It’s a survival of the fittest. If you’re not healthy when you’re born, you die; as harsh and simple as that. Those who are born healthy, functioning, they live, and they live a healthy life.

A lot of the illnesses we suffer from here are self-inflicted. They’re self-inflicted from food, sugars, salts, all the synthetic aspects. They’re self-inflicted through the lifestyle we lead. We believe we have to live for happiness. None of these people have the term “happiness”, because they don’t worry about the future, or when they’re going to be happy. They just are.

They don’t think about goals, or “This will make me happy if I do this”?
No, it’s about today. It’s about what matters now, about what I feel now. It’s about today, and this evening when we eat. We, on the other hand, worry about 20 years, our pension. It’s a bit of a Catch 22.

I’m particularly interested in their child rearing practices. Here, everybody talks about routine, about sleep training, about when to give solid foods. In the tribes, did you see any small infants being fed solid food?
No, they’re all fed by the breast. They feed them until they’re 4 or 5 years old.

Really, that old?
Why not? It’s 10 times healthier, coming out of your breast, because it’s clean. It builds their whole immune system. And there’s no structure to it. It’s just when they’re hungry, they eat. There’s none of this, “They should eat, they shouldn’t eat, it’s now bedtime, we’re going to have to wean them off.” All these communities, the best food comes out of your breasts.


So the babies are constantly on the mothers?
Yes, they’re never left alone. If the parents are working, the other brothers and sisters carry the babies. They’re always sleeping between the parents, or the brothers and sisters, and from when the day begins, they’re attached to another human being. Everywhere you go, that is a common denominator. Obviously, in the colder climates, they do that for warmth, but even in the warm climates.

Do the babies then still whine and cry?
Hardly at all, no. There’s always human contact. All their needs are being met. They’re constantly on the boob. They just need the warmth.

And during the night, do they wake a lot, nursing?
You never hear that they’re awake. They nurse all night, so they sleep like my children were brought up, next to their mother. If they’re hungry, they get something. There’s never any process of screaming or yelling.

Do you think this parenting style is possible in our society?
Our first one was attached to me, 24 hours of the day. I had this long wrap sling, and she grew up facing me, and then when she got older, she’d be facing out, and fall asleep. Everywhere I went on the bike, I had her in my sling. She lived in there, for about 3 years; so much so that when you took her out, she would scream, because she wanted the contact. She just came with us. If she fell asleep and we weren’t ready to go to bed, she would stay attached to me or my wife. Come bedtime, we would just put her down and we’d all sleep together.

It depends on how enthusiastic and committed you are as a parent. We live in this world of 1,001 opportunities and distractions. To keep the child away from that requires you to apply yourself as a parent, on a far greater level than most people ever do. Unfortunately, being acknowledged as a mother is not significant anymore. We believe it’s far more important to be somebody, and have a title.


I find women are really conflicted with the pressure to be everything – successful at their career and a great mother. We’re trying so hard to do everything right, which of course is impossible, and then we fail, we get tired, we shout at our kids, then we feel like bad mothers. 
Yeah, we’ve made things so hard for ourselves. Also from a physical point of view – we’ve all decided to have kids in our late 20s, 30s, even 40s, 50s, which I think is a disaster. In the tribes, they all have children in their teens. I think there’s nothing better than having a child when your body is as strong, healthy, elastic… and when you are as fearless as you are when you’re in your late teens.

I had my eldest when I was 25. I would have done it 2 or 3 years earlier, if I could have. In fact, we’re encouraging our kids to have kids as young as they feel comfortable.

Really? That’s interesting.
I think physically, they’re going to be stronger. They’re more adaptable. They’re healthier. They need less. They’re happy to take care of the kid, they’re more mobile. They have less expectations, less structure. Come the age of 40, you’ve got kids who have left the house, and then you can go and do other things.


What else have you witnessed on your travels that influenced how you raised your kids?
Many, many things. Interestingly, my wife of 23 years now, she traveled extensively before we met. One thing we experienced, and what I still experience when I go off into the bush, is how everyone sleeps huddled together. Even if you’re a stranger, and especially if it’s cold, you put your hands and your feet in each other’s groins and armpits, to keep warm.

When my wife and I had children, from day 1, they were in our bed. My wife said: “Here’s the baby, and the baby is going to sleep here.” I was a little bit upset at the beginning, but 18 years later and now with three children, we all still sleep in the same bed. We’ve got two mattresses together. My two eldest daughters have boyfriends, so when the boyfriends visit, they go to their own room. If there are no girlfriends or boyfriends, we all sleep in the same bed.

That’s probably the most significant thing we’ve adopted from experiences that we’ve learned on our travels. We’re looked upon as very strange.

That’s incredible.
How my kids grew up is the polar opposite of how I grew up. I grew up not knowing my parents; at the age of 7, I was sent to a boarding school with Jesuit priests for 10 years. My concept of physicality and nudity and the opposite sex was seriously handicapped, from my youth. Nothing was ever discussed. If it was discussed, you’re going to go to hell, and you’re going to die.

Now here I am, I’ve grown with the kids, in our physicality. We walk around naked when we’re getting dressed in the morning. Nobody bats an eyelid. That all comes from growing up as a unit. I think that gives us a strength that many other families don’t have, so when the shit hits the fan – and it does – the children have a deep sense of self-security and confidence from that.

That’s wonderful.
In general, our society is overly protective of our children – because everything is so transparent. We now know all the dangers. We only have to google every accident we could ever imagine, and it’s available, so we’ve become terrified. We don’t do anything anymore, and don’t let the children do anything.


When you go to some of these communities, the children grow up in the environment with everybody. In Papua New Guinea, there is a group of people living in treehouses, 40 meters up from the ground. The treehouses don’t have a fence. The children just crawl freely; they just don’t go over the edge.

I think you have to let children find their own borders. We live in a city. My children are allowed to go and come in the evening as they please. We are, again, judged by other people that give curfews and deadlines. My wife and I say, “They’re going to get out anyway. They’re going to find a way”. We used to smoke, we don’t smoke anymore. We don’t do drugs. But we say to our children: “If that’s what you want to do, do your thing, and you’ll learn accordingly. Please keep in touch with us. Please communicate with us.” If you don’t trust them to have their own adventures, they’ll intuitively fight against it, they’ll want to go and have those experiences.

Seeing my teenagers now, how free they are and how happy they are – it’s harder work as a parent, because there’s more freedom. You’ve got to be on the ball. Each child is different. You have to trust them in their own adventures, have their own disasters, make their own mistakes, otherwise they won’t learn.

My mum understood that, too – that is how she raised me.
I think we dissociate ourselves too much from our children. In the tribes, there isn’t really a separation of child and adult, or old person, or teenager. The children are as important as the old people, but they have different strengths and weaknesses. Everybody works together as a community, as a unit, because you need each other to function and survive.

Edgar Morin: Method, vol. 1: The Nature of Nature (1977–)

Edgar Morin: Method, vol. 1: The Nature of Nature (1977–) [PT, EN, ES]

9 February 2015, dusan

Method: The of Nature is the first of several volumes exposing ’s general systems view on life and society. The present volume maintains that the of all life and society necessitates the simultaneous interplay of order and disorder. All systems, physical, biological, social, political and informational, incessantly reshape part and whole through feedback, thereby generating increasingly . For continued , these simultaneously complementary, concurrent, and antagonistic systems require a priority of love over truth, of subject over object, of Sy-bernetics over .”

First published in French as La Méthode, t. 1: La Nature de , 1977.

English edition
Translated and Introduced by J.L. Roland Bélanger
Publisher Peter Lang, 1992
ISBN 0820418781
435 pages

Interview with Morin by his translator Ana Sánchez, 2011
Publisher (EN)
WorldCat (EN)

O método 1. A natureza da natureza (Portuguese, trans. Maria Gabriela de Bragança, 2nd ed., c1987, 12 MB)
Method, 1: The Nature of Nature (English, trans. J.L. Roland Bélanger, 1992, 17 MB)
El método 1. La naturaleza de la naturaleza (Spanish, trans. Ana Sánchez and Dora Sánchez García, 2001, 4 MB)