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January 14, 2007


Jim Wellington

I really like your comparisons to Socrates. I have recently discovered Peter Karoff and I have the greatest respect for him and his writings.

But bald and barefoot? Well, you might take away the rest of his hair, but he looks like a rather dapper gentleman to me: pinstriped suits, silk ties, suspenders and polished wingtips on his dapperly attired feet. I think he might put up a fight if required to give up his polished shoes and socks, even if it meant becoming Socrates!


Yes, but even in the run up to the French Revolution, the well clad and well shod of that era's elite held costume balls on the theme of "The World Turned Upside Down." So the question would be, if he had to come in masquerade, and could be any figure, high or low from history, or any "type," or any animal, as he moved among the masked revelers, from the highest circles, what disguise would Peter choose, to body forth his inner truth? A man in a business suit, polished wingtips, and a quiet smile?

Jim Wellington

Well, you make a fair point there. In that case I can see Karoff dropping his mirror-shined Italian shoes and designer socks in the trash and willingly sacrificing his dapper pinstripes, necktie, cufflinks and suspenders in favor of a robe! Anything that gets in the way of the truth coming forth could be an obstacle.


Robe, as with a boxer, as with Jesus about to crucified, or robe as in coronation, or as in bathrobe in his ordinary room?


Well, I was just thinking of the white robes that used to be worn in ancient Greece, in paintings of Socrates. Maybe it's the wrong word: maybe toga is better? Or is that Rome?


Got it, Socratic lounge wear.

Dan Bassill

Phil, I share your commitment. In the Bible there's a story about how difficult it is for a rich man to get into heaven. A penny from a poor man may be all he has.

Blogs like this are a connecting point, that hopefully draws big and small donors, and people who give time and talent, not just money.

However, these need to link to other forums, where maps, databases, blueprints and other forms of knowlege, are used to draw these donors into networks of common purpose. While my network focuses on getting people and industries to build pipelines to careers for inner city kids, others might focus on AIDS, hunger, einvorinment, or any other issue.

There needs to be many networks of purpose, consisting of many circles of understanding, networking, resource development, innovation and action. Those working in similar issue areas, in different parts of a city, or world, need to be connected to each other.

In my mind I can envision a discussion in ancient Greece where Socrates and Aristotle might be discussing this concept with their peers. Imagine if they had tools like we now have via the Internet and open source.


How we connect the disempowered many to those whose wealth and philanthropy draws upon a system built on hierarchy and status and access and chumminess among insiders is a difficult question. You see the difficulty at Omidyar, despite the best intentions. The funding arm and talking arm don't really talk to one another in public, just behind the screen. How we force the ones in power out of their safe spaces, out from behind the screens, out from behind the decorum of upbeat decency, out from behind the PR people and the adulation of those they hire, out from behind the corporate media and its fawning upon corporate wealth, into a public conversation is something that really interests me. I think it can be done, will be done, and that the net is how it will happen, as the conversation at the net nodes become more prominent and difficult to ignore.

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