Sunday, January 11, 2015

Invitation to a celebration...

Today we are holding a community celebration of SWEPCO's withdrawal of their potentially disastrous power line application. Join us at the Inn of the Ozarks, 2:30 - 5 PM. The Inn of the Ozarks was the place that SWEPCO had chosen for the public hearing by SWEPCO that the Public Service Commission asked them to hold in July 2013. I was never quite so proud of my community as I was for the two days of public hearing in Eureka Springs. Hundreds attended the hearing for the full two days. Almost 400 people took the time to present comments, many of which were eloquently written statements. The room was packed with emotional tension, with SWEPCO's lawyer joking at a table at the front of the room, and an administrative law judge kindly addressing each person and listening to his or her testimony.

It seemed fitting to us that in celebration, we should return to the scene of one of the largest battles.

The Arkansas Public Service Commission claimed that our victory is evidence that their process works. If that was the case, the power line application would have been cut short immediately in response to the serious concerns raised within our community. Citizens addressed the incredible deficiencies in the Environmental Impact Statement and the fact that the power line was obviously not needed in that it would more than quintuple the amount of power delivered to our local area grid.

But they chose not to pull the plug at that time and our small community raised almost $200,000. for legal fees and to pay expert witnesses, simply to prove to the Public Service Commission what our citizens made known to it at our public hearing in July.

I am interested these days in grip. There is a difference between prehensile engagement and non-prehensile engagement in reality. When we ask someone to take control of circumstances in their own lives, we ask them to "get a grip." What happens in the hand, happens also in the mind, and to understand the workings of the mind, we use the hands to provide metaphor. (comprehension: "a seizing, laying hold of, arrest,")

So non-prehensile is like hands on a piano, fingers dancing lightly on the surface of reality. Fingers on an iPad are much the same. Are you getting tired of that funny cat video? Poke it and make it go away.

Let's get a grip on our own lives, and help our chidrren to get firm prehensile engagement in their own lives. During the hearing in Eureka Springs, SWEPCO brought out their big maps, printed on foam board so that their experts could help elderly couples find their homes on the map relative to the various proposed routes. Most came already knowing what the impact of their malfeasance would be and were firmly against, and refused SWEPCO's "help."

We all knew that the power line had been planned carelessly using google maps, fingers traced over glass as engineers, having lost "touch" with reality, would disrupt people's lives without ever having visited them in their homes.

If you think that would have been a good thing, do not introduce children to the joy of making things. There is a difference between the prehensile engagement of mind, and the non-prehensile methods through which we teach children in schools.  On the other hand,

Make, fix and create...

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