Tuesday, October 30, 2012

a note on the season...

I pass this on as a tribute to and recognition of the many survivors I have come to know, love, and greatly respect...

Hal Pepinsky, pepinsky@indiana.edu, pepinsky.blogspot.com, 519 Evergreen Circle, Worthington, OH 43085-3667, 1-614-885-6341

From: deJoly LaBrier [lifeasaonesie@gmail.com]
Sent: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 2:18 PM
To: deJoly LaBrier
Subject: a note on this season...

Hi y'all... I wrote this Sunday and wanted to share it with you:
The women's community I live in held a Hallowmas celebration, and after much belly churning, I went. At the appropriate time in the ceremony, several women read items about the holiday that they'd either written or gotten off the internet... this is what I wrote and read to the group of 12 women:
Tonight I am here to participate in this remembrance for possibly a different reason from any of you. As a child, this holiday in my family, was part of a series of Satanic holy-days in this part of the season that go from October 23 to November 11. It wasn't a fun time by any means. Many people were hurt during rituals carried out on this night. I watched as children were sacrificed and horrible atrocities were inflicted on children and adults. There was not limit to the base behavior and heinous crimes against humanity the cult would do.

Tonight I stand here to remember the cries, pain and fear from those victims. I stand here to remember those that are still captives and victims in the cults which nearly robbed me of my soul --AND my life. Tonight I honor the memories of those who died. Tonight I stand here to take back another piece of my life, and to remember that I am Not There Now!

Tonight I give thanks for all the encouragement and support I got from some extremely talented therapists; I give thanks to the women and men who held me in healing space as I struggled to regain my Self. Tonight I thank you for listening, and for holding this ceremony, so that I can find a way to heal even further. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

deJoly LaBrier
Helping Multiples and Onesies live healthier lives since 1988...
Visit my site:  http://www.deJoly.com

Lithuanian lecture on the peacemaking paradigm

Please find below a link to a lecture I gave at Vilnius University on October 18, 2012.  It begins with a generous if barely audible introduction in Lithuanian by sociology professor Aleksandras Dobryninas, which you might want to skip past if, like me, you don't speak the language.

In this lecture, I trace the intellectual journey that led me through conventional training in law and sociology/criminology to the paradigm I now embrace, where my dependent variables have become "violence" and "peacemaking" as I define them.  I explain how I became disenchanted with trying to explain crime and criminality along the way, and how I apply the peacemaking paradigm to everyday life including criminal justice practice. The 1-hour lecture is followed by a half hour of discussion.  I speak in plain language that should be accessible to students and lay listeners, and yet I hope is meaningful to full-blown criminologists.

 My 2006 book, Peacemaking: Reflections of a Radical Criminologists, published by the University of Ottawa Press, is a written version of this journey.  Final page proofs, virtually identical to the book itself, are freely available on the website of the Division on Critical Criminology of the American Society of Criminology, at
http://critcrim.org/sites/default/files/Pepinsky_proofs_0.pdf .

Love and peace--Hal

Hal Pepinsky, pepinsky@indiana.edu, pepinsky.blogspot.com, 519 Evergreen Circle, Worthington, OH 43085-3667, 1-614-885-6341

From: AD [aleksandras.dobryninas@fsf.vu.lt]
Sent: Friday, October 26, 2012 4:50 PM
To: Pepinsky, Harold E.
Subject: RE: in addition: some time before

Dear Hal,

I send you the link to a video file of your lecture on Peacemaking
Criminology at Vilnius University:




Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Lithuania lectures, to my hosts

October 9, 2012
Dear Aleks, Algis and Margarita,
                I’ve been a little anxious about what I will say when I speak with you next week on “peacemaking criminology” and “mediation in the criminal justice system.”  Today is a day alone at home, a crisp clear autumn day.  I decided about an hour ago, at midafternoon, to stop reading, turn off the radio, and look out the living area windows.  To the north a pair of fledgling female blue jays flew to the pond, several others followed.  And it came to me what I will do, probably on any occasion in which I am asked to lecture.  I will tell a story to fit the time and up in a place to suit the occasion.  In any event, it will be a story of a lifetime of trying to make a significant difference for the better in my life with others.  I have had the extraordinary fortune to do my professional learning and teaching my way from earliest childhood.  I have enjoyed repeated serendipity in so doing.  This outline of what I will say is my latest encounter with serendipity, and I don’t take for granted this moment at home that has taken away my anxiety.
                My story will begin with my brief, failed pursuit of dreams of becoming a diplomat or a trial lawyer like Clarence Darrow, dreams that turned into a career in criminal justice.  There I began with two central questions: How do I evaluate what works?  And how do I use my legal skills to plan effective crime control?
I will review how the various ways I tried to answer both questions failed, until I gave up trying to measure or control “crime” and “criminality” altogether.  I will describe how a chance combination of student demands that I stop criticizing and tell them what works, together with my return to Norway, inspired me to define what, when applied, works, and to call it “peacemaking.”  Noting how peacemaking criminology turned me from advocacy in court and grievance bodies to volunteer mediation, I will lay out principles I came to apply there.  In sum I will describe how my way of learning and teaching has become a process of hearing and telling stories, the kind of mediation that works for me, the process I call peacemaking.
                Because I now recognize that I learn and teach best by what my feminist friends call the narrative method, I will speak by telling my story and leave time for responses.  I don’t use notes, and this will be my only outline.  Feel free to pass it around in advance.  Anyone is welcome to record my talks and distribute them as s/he wishes.  Since I expect not to change my way of speaking when I talk about “the mediation process” in Trinidad, I am copying this message to Vash Kokaram.  Thank you all so very much for inviting me to speak.   Love and peace--Hal

Monday, October 8, 2012

On Becoming Distracted in Old Age

Hal Pepinsky, pepinsky@indiana.edu, pepinsky.blogspot.com
October 8, 2012
                This year my secondary school class had a fiftieth-year reunion.  We continue sharing things.  One classmate just posted a link to a youtube video, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=prfCkIOdeAc&feature=player_embedded , on memory loss in old age.  I replied:
                John, thanks for the link to the AARP cartoon on “where are my memories?”  By coincidence, a couple of weeks ago, I met a rising star neuro-scientist, Adam Gazzaley, when he came to receive an award my mom named in my dad’s honor for pioneering brain mapping experiments that help us understand dementia.  (My dad had died of a form of dementia called Lewey Bodies Syndrome.)  The focus of Adam’s research is on the effects of ageing on how distracted we become, as in the opening sequence of the cartoon where one of the pair can’t remember what s/he came into the room for.  Adam has found in the brain that the circuit attending to a task tends to be distracted fractions of a millisecond longer with age, with considerable variation within each age group.  He proposes that those who are distracted earlier and longer are more likely to develop dementia earlier and more severely.
                I asked him whether greater distraction might not be a sign of accommodation, adaptation, flexibility, creativity, empathy, hearing the music or the birds sing…you name it.  I recalled that when I rode five hundred hours with police in a “high crime area” of Minneapolis, I noticed that senior patrol officers who had not been promoted off the streets tended to be mellower and more adept at helping people calm down and work things out.  I mentioned that my definition of violence is goal fixation, attachment to objectives or outcomes, so that conflict becomes an obstacle rather than an opportunity to learn and change course.  Adam acknowledged that there might be a need for balance between focus and sensitivity (my words).
                As the cartoon satirizes attempts to keep mind and memory sharp by playing games like Sudoku, I’m thinking that that approach may reinforce memory loss.  When I stopped drinking, an older friend and mentor told me that while he was loath to give advice, he imagined that if he were in my shoes he would find it necessary to plan out his days in detail to keep himself distracted from the urge to drink.  It seems to me that both approaches to controlling one’s mind just add voltage to anxiety one is trying to suppress.  Or as Adam suggests, for example, one might focus on controlling one’s breathing or repeating a mantra.  And suppressing OCD by forcing oneself to control an obsession or compulsion by consciously, concertedly embarking on the next task only compounds the problem, it seems to me.  The irony is that the cure for distraction is self-imposed distraction.
                In a manner of speaking then, Adam sees distractors from outside the body as problematic, while all around me where staying busy is the norm, I see distractors from inside as problematic.  I am now finishing my fourth year of no longer needing to be paid for anything until I die.  On its face, such financial security is a luxury, and yet the overwhelming concern about retirement I feel in the company of others is having nothing to do, so much so that I often hear, “If I ever retired, I wouldn’t know what to do with myself.”  I’m not immune to the feeling.  I reassure myself by taking some of my free time to remember the times people, especially those close to me, have made it as obvious as they could that they don’t require me to do or achieve anything more to keep on being loved and valued by them.  I am also reassured when I remind myself that my greatest “accomplishments” are things that have happened to me when I have let go of planning them.  At these moments I feel I have a choice between getting things done, and waiting until someone calls something to my attention.  What do I do while I wait?  Nothing that needs to be worth talking about.  The more I tell myself that doing “nothing” for the moment is okay, the more readily I seem to take care of things I would otherwise need to plan to do later—the less I find myself having left to do.  That’s quite a contrast to when I started my publish-or-perish career for instance when I would finish writing one paper ahead of deadline or planning the next class or lecture to getting things done months in advance, and still worrying about what I needed to get done next.  This also gives me more room to be distracted by my own feelings, both by noticing and enjoying moments of feeling good, and letting moments of feeling bad come and go rather than feeling obliged to get over them or deny them.  Paradoxically, I come out feeling I’ve done and accomplished more in moments I let go of feeling I have to do anything.  The more I let go of getting anywhere, the more I seem to get somewhere.
I resist believing that memory lapse represents impoverishment of the mind.  Time and again, I find my mind enriched when lapses occur.  I think that can even be the case for my mother who can scarcely remember what she or I last said or did.  I have spent a lot of time in nursing homes and adult day care centers the last twenty years.  There I have found many people who if they are socially responsive at all, are angry or melancholy.  My mom laughs readily.  A day or two ago she reported to me that she was getting picked up to go to California to deal with subjects (former experimental social psychologist that she has been).  That’s a lot richer life of the mind than sitting in her wheelchair staring at the wall, or than residents who know exactly where they are and are fixated on going home.  Some of us show remarkably little mental or physical change until we drop dead, even into our nineties.  Others of us slow down considerably before we die.  In some ways, we might be becoming more attuned to the world around us in the process.  There may be something to be said for ageing.  Love and peace--hal