By Brad Wilson at Oct 14, 2009
I’ll pay an additional $100 to the Zspace fund drive if at least one Zspace member can correctly tell me the 1 “sacred” word of the food/farm movement that I heard recently in Des Moines. And tell me within 1 week, in a comment to this blog. And another rule is a limit of 1 official guess per Zspace screen name, your first guess (for now, see below). Another rule: I ask that you describe how/why you came to choose it as “the word.”
Ok, no contract here, just, well, "my word" on it.
My story here is a symbolic one. I use the symbol of spiritual mastery. The “Master” does not easily give out the secret word, as if it might just be tossed out onto the ground. It must be earned, worked for by the “Novice.” No instant nirvana here. No Luke Slywalker shortcut training. Think of the Zen Koan. Respect is crucial. How could I lead Zspace members toward respect for my word, for our word.
Ok, I attended a conference of the Community Food Security Coalition in Des Moines Iowa. I presented on a panel. I also attended a meeting of the U.S. Working Group on the Food Crisis. I don’t know how many at these events knew the word. Very, very few at the first one. Besides people I specifically knew, (and others like them) I can’t say, but it was a big event.
At the second event I’ve concluded that at the end, there may have been one other person in the room that knew it. There could have been quite a few more, but I can’t say.
I heard it, however, at another location. I stopped by the office of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement. There I met a farmer I know. I told him about the conference. And that’s where this idea started. Because he asked me, in our own special shorthand: “Do they know about [the word].” It’s shorthand, like a “sacred” password. We can identify people like us on the basis of this one word. “Were you able to tell them about [the one word]?” Etc. That's all he said, all he needed to say, all I needed to answer to.
Back at the meeting we worked on messaging. I wrote the word and stuck it on the board. No one noticed. The word wasn’t showing up where it needed to be.
What kind of a word is “the one ‘sacred’ word?” Well, I would say that it is the one key word of the U.S. Farm Bill. It’s the one word for which the farm bill was created. You wouldn't say that, of course, but I would.
I’ve been working on these issues for a quarter century, and I have a philosophical bent, so I can make a lot of connections with this word. I can tie it in to the rest of the farm bill, I think, the other titles. Therefore too, I can argue it as “the key word” both for the world farm crisis and the food crisis (food riots, increased hunger). In both cases it’s the same positive word in my interpretation.
Am I making this far too easy?
Likewise, it’s a word that the farm/food movement for justice in the United States doesn’t understand at all. I can’t find in stated for what it is (in maybe 95% of the movement). I can’t find it respected for what it means.
Ok, some obvious hints: it’s not “God.” It’s not “love.” Etc. But you knew that by now, right?
Ok, it’s “sacred,” symbolically, as an ideological word for us, (people like me and that farmer who came to town). But it doesn’t seem like a symbolic word at all.
Upon reflection, however, I would say that I can argue that it might be the/a central ethical word in the Christian/Jewish Bible. That is, if distributive justice is the central value. So I think I can also make that case. That would make it Sacred, perhaps. But I have never previously thought of it in that way. Never before today. Nor, surely, does that other farmer.
I’m sure there are farmers all around the world who know the answer. They must. Surely. Obviously, to them.
Ok, I plan to wait for some answers and explanations before fully answering. Well, “ha ha!” does anyone read my blog posts anyway?
So welcome to this quest, if you can see some value in it. If not, at least check back to hear the answers.
Ok, if no one gets it? I’ll have to loosen the rules and give more hints, I guess. (Oooooo, it's too easy! I hope not. Even if someone gets it quickly, I hope others can't see that and I still get some great wrong answers.)
“Listen to the force.” (Is that in the movie?)
Good luck. And a really big thanks to anyone who participates.
Oh, I forgot. One more thing. I choked up when I realized this, (and I do again as I type this): my Dad taught it to me, a long time ago. It’s part of how I was raised. It’s who “my folks” “my people” are in terms of beliefs. We’re people of the word, Dad and I (he died in 2007).
(Or is it a The Word? Or an Our word. It’s certainly NOT the only word! I don’t mean to make that claim at all. Hey, I’m goading multiple potential audiences here. Don’t get “overserious.”)
One more thing. Have fun for a great cause. That’s what this blog post is all about.