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What I owe to Thomas P.M. Barnett 2013-Apr-15 at 12:07 PDT

Posted by Scott Arbeit in Blog.

I was moved to write this by the announcement, on Friday, that Dr. Barnett would no longer be adding to his blog.

I’ve been blogging here since the spring of 2004 and, while it’s been fun, I feel like I’ve run this course . . . enough times – on a creative basis.  Anyone who knows me, knows that I will do anything gung-ho so long as I feel creative in the pursuit, but that I’ll drop it once that is no longer the case and there are other avenues that seem to offer that buzz in larger amounts.

Now, I don’t know Dr. Barnett, and he doesn’t know me. In spite of that, I’m going to do that thing where he’s famous, and since I’ve watched him and read his books, it makes me think that I know him. Which I completely don’t, but, really, that’s the function of fame. It makes people think that they know you, even though you’ve never met. (Technically, I met him for like two seconds after a talk he gave, but so have 10,000 other people, and I’m not special.)

So, I’m going to take the liberty of speaking to you, Thomas, sir, in the second person. (Mostly because it makes for better prose. I tried it in third-person, it doesn’t sound as good.)

So, there are a few things I want to say about your blog, and about you.

First of all, I more than understand the desire to be in a creative flow. That flow is the place to be in your life. I want to express my appreciation to you, for recognizing that the blog no longer felt as creative as doing other things, and not just blogging out of ego or habit or fear of losing something. Thank you for not making me read stuff you weren’t fully behind.

Second of all, I have no idea how I’m going to replace having your point-of-view in my life on a regular basis. Seriously. That part of it sucks. I’m just going to have to hope that I’ve learned enough from you, by now, to figure it out for myself.

Next, I want to thank you for the Global Grand Strategy that you have provided to us. Your perspectives, which I shorthand as “world events as seen through a developmental lens” are thoroughly honoring of where people are, and deeply non-judgmental about it. They’re broad in terms of your incorporation of economics, governance, history, bureaucracy, and, of course, military power (not to mention the Packers). And you’ve spoken at Don Beck’s conferences. That’s pretty much the definition of an Integral view. And “Integral” is in my URL, so you know that shit matters to me.

Mostly what I owe to you, though, is the perspective that we’re creating a future anyway, so why not let it be a future worth creating? You said: dream big at what that future might look like, but understand the developmental aspects, and therefore the timing, of the systemic changes we’re expecting. You showed us that if we make the right decisions, we all get to have more freedom and better conditions, especially the billions of people around the world today who struggle in poverty. You said: Don’t listen to the doomsayers. You said: Be hopeful, and be patient.

And it’s for that that I extend a deep, deep bow. Thank you so much for presenting such an accurate and realistic view of world events, and thank you for showing how that realistic view happens also to be a very optimistic one. I’m enormously grateful to you for this gift. It’s an optimism I share with you. We’re all going to be fine. We really are bringing in a Future Worth Creating.

Even if you stop blogging.

I just want you to know how deeply your views are integrated into mine. I’ll carry the message as best as I can. (I’ll play Telephone with it sometimes, too, I’m sure.)

You’re one of my teachers. I deeply appreciate it.


All of the Lord’s blessings on you, on your family, and on your path.


So long.



1. Diane Collier Clark - 2013-Aug-22 at 09:17 PDT

Been wishing Tom’s blog was still going. I saw his presentation on C-Span some time ago and ordered it. So many ideas, had to watch it many many times to get it all. I had two in the military and in both wars so it was important to me to know why we fight. I am a simple housewife in the Midwest but I got it. He always put things in the proper perspective and it always made more sense than anyone else. I sure miss his words and ideas.
Diane Collier Clark

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