Sent: Thursday, April 30, 2015 11:27 AM
Subject: Alive for now
Hello…. I am alive and with family after hours of frantic search. I don’t know where to begin talking abt everything that has happened and is still happening. We are in open land haven’t checked home. We haven’t gotten any govt help. Foreign aid is restricted to where media can cover so the politicians can earn more money from showing the devastation. Cash aid is going straight to politicians and top aid agencies cats pockets. Heard it was same in Haiti with Red Cross officials pocketing the money. People are the worst.
… I want to look forward. My family is alive though we’ve lost so much so I want to make the best of it. People here need counseling support, I am afraid of a mass hysteria/ depression situation. People are already very anxious, depressed and the men just drink while the women cry. Is there any organization that specializes in helping with psychological damage after calamity? If yes, how do I get them to come here? I know ER docs are coming from everywhere.
Once here I can lead the coordination efforts to set up camps and go to needed areas. I have limited internet and phone charge so will check email as much as I can. We have a pair of warm clothes on us and dry foods but water is getting scarce and scarce. Hope things change soon, out government is useless so we have to pick up ourselves.
Note: Several updates included among the comments!
Thank you everyone who read our first post, wrote, voted and especially those who commented! I’m gratified that in its first three days, the blog received 196 views from 108 visitors located in 6 countries.
As of noon Monday the poll on topic areas for upcoming posts received 36 votes, the clear winners being “Cases” (8 votes) and Impending Crisis?” (7 votes).
I’m preparing posts on both topics:
- a business case that I received a small grant to develop on the experience of an entrepreneur in the midst of a crisis
- a potential crisis in my own field, higher education, due to unsustainably increasing costs, questionable performance outcomes and changing technology.
Both are still quite rudimentary. Even though no one expects a blog to be all that polished, I would like them to be reasonably well considered, or at least legible, prior to publication. So if you’d like to see drafts and provide feedback, please let me know (and specify if only certain topics …)
I also have two general questions for you:
- How should I present my case online? Do you have any experience of useful case delivery or discussion outside of a classroom?
- Any examples of well presented considerations of impending crisis? I have in my mind a picture of how such a consideration should be presented, but I have no good examples, even though I’ve been tracking discussions for years!
There are many books that effectively consider and analyze a given potential crisis, e.g.,
- Carson, Rachel. Silent spring. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1962
- Diamond, Jared. Collapse: How societies choose to fail or succeed. Penguin, 2005
- Kolbert, Elizabeth. The sixth extinction: an unnatural history. A&C Black, 2014
- Lewis, Michael. The big short: Inside the doomsday machine. WW Norton & Company, 2011
- Meadows, Donella H., et al. The limits to growth. Club of Rome, 1972
- Pollan, Michael. The omnivore’s dilemma: a natural history of four meals. Penguin, 2006
- Wright, Ronald. A short history of progress. House of Anansi, 2004
But short articles? None come to mind. Please, suggest examples!
Or does a decent analysis requires a whole book, film or website?
Regardless of whether you or I ultimately use any as a template, we’ll want a good library of articles (as well as books, video, blogs, websites and other materials) on topics we consider.
Few concepts are as rich as “crisis” and few are so critically misunderstood.
Nearly to a man, crisis is understood as an ominous situation — something to be avoided or that should have been avoided. This is true on the macro-scale (Loose nukes in Russia ‘the greatest crisis of the next decade), on the micro- ([students] are constantly stressed out, seemingly lurching from one crisis to another), and in between (Too Busy Putting Out Fires To Get Anything Done …)
The aim of the entire field of risk management, the dominant relevant professional and academic domain, is to avert crisis. In a nutshell, the protocols of the field amount to:
- identify and assess risks;
- identify and assess risk mitigation approaches; and
- select and implement mitigation methods.
Of course we all want the best for our organizations. We don’t want the world to blow up. And we certainly don’t want students to be all stressed out.
Try to imagine a novel or drama without crisis. Without crisis, there is no story, no growth, no change, no … life.
The word crisis derives from the Greek krísis, “judgment, result of a trial, selection,” from krinein, “to separate, decide, judge.” The word comes to English through Medical Latin, where it meant (and continues in medicine to mean) the turning point in a disease.
Life fully lived is a stream of turning points — challenges, changes, crises — in the world at large, in our families, relationships, workplaces, institutions, and also within. Every step of the way is a crisis of sorts from which we emerge (if we emerge, for at some point we do not) changed for better or worse.
Since 2003 I’ve taught a crisis preparedness/ organizational resiliency course at the University of Pennsylvania and although I still can’t claim to understand crisis well, I do know that common conceptions are at best one-dimensional, and often fundamentally wrong. And that this misunderstanding dangerously increases vulnerability at every level of life.
It also dramatically undermines the most potent offering the world presents life for growth, opportunity and development.
Cryptic as this may seem, I’ll substantively end this first post at this point, though depending on your votes and comments (see below), I’ll explicate next week. In the meantime, the quotes at right give some sense of this alternative perspective on crisis.
To encourage your engagement, I’m asking for your input on topics of interest. Below is a poll about which of eight broad topic areas you might like to see a post soon. On a separate page, I’ve created a fairly elaborate table of potential topics organized by category and subcategory. Just ignore the table if it seems a bit much, but please vote on topic areas and tell us in the comments section about any specific topic you’d like to see considered — or would like to write — whether it’s on the list or not.
* Come TEOTWAWKI, garden produce will be especially precious
PS: A reader wrote that he couldnt find any place to leave a comment. On some browsers, they won’t appear unless you click on the link at the top, or use the full link: https://crisalisblog.wordpress.com/crisis-a-rich-concept-critically-misunderstood-3/. (I think it’s just a first post problem.)