[Podcast] Earbud_U, Season Five, Episode # 3 – Bathabile Mtobmeni

[Podcast] Earbud_U, Season Five, Episode # 3 – Bathabile Mtobmeni, Ombudswoman, Activist, Thinker, PeaceFinder

[Podcast] Earbud_U, Season Five, Episode #3 - Bathabile Mthombeni[powerpress]

Greatest comment on a podcast episode ever: “Cliffhangers on a podcast episode?”



And now, the return of the Omsbuddy…

This is part two of our interview with Bathabile Mtobmeni that we started in late January/early February, and we cover the tough stuff in part two. Such as:

  • What road are we putting ourselves on?
  • How can we plan for the future?
  • Where do we put our anger and hurt when things don’t work out the way that we expect them too?
  • What can we have?

There can be truth and justice and civility in a civil society.

For if we sacrifice any of the three—in service of achieving any one of the others—the pillars of civil society fall apart.

And then, we become the very monsters of oppression we are fighting to destroy.

Connect with Bathabile all the ways you can below:

LinkedIN: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bathabile

BU Announcement of Appointment to Ombudsman: http://www.binghamton.edu/inside/index.php/inside/story/10329/stenger-appoints-university-ombudsman/

Bathabile’s Podcast: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/bathabile

Bathabile’s Website: http://www.123untangle.com/

ADRHub.com Profile: http://www.adrhub.com/profile/BathabileMthombeni

Mediate.com Profile: http://www.mediate.com/people/personprofile.cfm?auid=1506

[Podcast] Earbud_U, Season Five, Episode # 1 – Bathabile Mthombeni

[Podcast] Earbud_U, Season Five, Episode # 1 – Bathabile Mthombeni, University Ombudsman, Activist, Thinker

[Podcast] Earbud_U, Season Five, Episode #1– Bathabile Mthombeni


Well, we all got through that year, didn’t we?

And what was the big, “what’s on your billboard” type lesson from 2016? I contend that the big lesson (which I think people are still going to miss in 2017, by the way) is as follows:

No one knows what is going to happen.

Predictions. Forecasts. Polls, exit and otherwise.

No one knows what is going to happen.

And for people, this lack of stability (for some after eight years of seeming instability and for others also after eight years of seeming instability) is scarier than whatever the outcome of an election might be. There are two ways to look at uncertainty:

We can either embrace it and grow from it.


We can fight it and allow the conflict with it to define our lives.

In either case, your worldview is subject to define which way you react (or respond) to uncertainty.

This is not a political podcast and my guest Bathabile is not a political person. She’s a university ombudsman (or an “ombuddy” such as it were…)

Sure, she has political opinions (don’t we all) and this podcast is full of them, but the role of an ombudsman is to put aside those thoughts and feelings to get to a broader truth.

Since no one knows the future (Black Swan, anyone) and since getting in the game is the only way to work the game, I believe that we should embrace the uncertainty with realistic hope and realistic growth.

Otherwise, reconciliation, forgiveness, and “moving on” become impossible. Scars become open wounds again, and scabbing (which leads ultimately to healing, never can happen.

And in a country of 380 million people, welcoming uncertainty seems to be the only way forward in our revolutionary, constitutional, republic.

As usual, this is a two-part episode to kick off the 5th season of the podcast, so we’re going to take a while to get to where we need to go with all this.

Connect with Bathabile all the ways you can below:

LinkedIN: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bathabile

BU Announcement of Appointment to Ombudsman: http://www.binghamton.edu/inside/index.php/inside/story/10329/stenger-appoints-university-ombudsman/

Bathabile’s Podcast: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/bathabile

Bathabile’s Website: http://www.123untangle.com/

ADRHub.com Profile: http://www.adrhub.com/profile/BathabileMthombeni

Mediate.com Profile: http://www.mediate.com/people/personprofile.cfm?auid=1506

[Advice] Curses Are Stories

Stories have immense power and we are delusional if we think that we are going to change them with good intentions, by throwing more money at them, by passing laws or even by ignoring their power.

Curses are stories.

As are myths, legends, gossip, rumors, and even tall tales.

It takes more than just raw talent or brute force to break a story. Many stories are resilient, not because of the content of the stories themselves (that’s another matter altogether) but because of the feelings that those stories generate.

Stories of conflict, despair, defeat, disappointment, are even more powerful, because it’s easier to convince people of a negative outcome than a positive one. Parties in conflict believe that their negative story is the only story possible out of a range of stories, and because they believe that, they continue to perpetuate the same story repeatedly.

But then, ever so often, a story has the power to change, from a negative one, to a positive one.

Usually this happens after the people hearing the story, absorbing the story, and repeating the story, either surrender, lose hope, or move onto to another story altogether. When a story changes from a negative to a positive, it usually takes one person (and usually that person is a man) to lay out a vision of another path, another story that can supersede the one that is ingrained in listener’s ears, hearts, and minds.

In the realm of politics (where stories—or narratives, if you will—drive votes) the name for the person who used to lay out the vision and tell a different story, and then doggedly pursue that story, was a statesman, or a visionary.

Part of the trouble with the modern (and post-modern) world, is that when every individual has a right to their own narrative (but not their own facts) the power of a story becomes even harder to break. It becomes integrated so deeply into identities, behaviors, and lived out choices, that it seems as if there could never be another version of the same story.

Or even, another version of a different story. And when every individual has a right to their own narrative, it becomes almost impossible for a single statesman to step forward and offer a unifying vision, because they aren’t granted the authority to do so by the same audience who desperately longs for a different story.

This is both a positive and negative development. It is corrosive because, without a sense from the individualized mass audience consuming the story that the story can change—it doesn’t. It is positive because it means that each individualized person can believe differently, act differently, and tell a different story without permission from above.

Stories have immense power. And the only way that we can change them is by becoming the visionaries we need to be to change the stories we tell ourselves.

And each other.

[Advice] The Fundamentals

When analyzing a problem to move forward towards a solution, there is a lot of emphasis placed on the fundamentals of the problem.

We place a lot of importance in understanding, revisiting, and honoring the fundamentals of a problem, because they come, not from conceived wisdom, or even perceived wisdom, but from received wisdom.

Of course, this wisdom is received from a past when the fundamentals weren’t fundamental, they were merely subjective reality, based upon the circumstances of that time and place.

Or, this received wisdom isn’t really wisdom at all, but merely regurgitated conventional wisdom, which has two marks against it before it even is spoken into existence—yet again.

In the now, when confronted by a problem that seems to resembles one we faced in the past, we hearken back to that received wisdom, and being trapped by hindsight bias, we demand that fundamentals be reinstituted.

But this is just a clever version of the idea of returning to a past when everybody got along, there was no strife, and the fundamentals were sound.

Here’s the thing:

Demanding a return to the fundamentals can be a callback to received wisdom, but only if the current problem resembles a past one in any kind of way. And problems involving people, rather than processes, are constantly in flux.

Creating a solution to a problem based in the fundamentals can be a foundation to work from. But they can also be the concrete that traps a person, a community, a society, or culture, in a species of cloudy nostalgia for a past that never really was. And once trapped by such nostalgia, those same people, communities, societies, and cultures, are inevitably surprised when an outlier comes along who fundamentally doesn’t care about the concrete of the fundamentals.

Advocating for fundamentals based in received wisdom can be biased, not only because they reflect the prejudices of our personal attributions to past events, our personal desire to minimize dissonance in the present, and our personal need for stability and security in the future, but also because our personal hindsight is always perfect. But in reality, getting to resolution and discovering what fundamental actually worked to solve which problem in the past, was always complicated, messy, mistake-prone, and not assured of success.

Making a rhetorical appeal to return to fundamentals is inherently flawed when the current circumstances don’t even remotely resemble previous circumstances.

And having the courage to throw the past fundamentals out and establish new ones, will always increase conflict, rather than decrease it.

HIT Piece 11.03.2015

If you haven’t seen the film Election, directed by Alexander Payne and starring Reese Witherspoon and Matthew Broderick, go get it on Netflix and stream in right now.

[HIT Piece] 11.03.2015

The script, from the movie released in 1999, shows the results and feedback loop that power, strategy and the ruthless pursuit of position can have in electoral politics.

And all wrapped up in the context of a high school student government election in Omaha, Nebraska. The director, Alexander Payne has directed many other films and brings a European sensitivity to Midwestern American dramatic situations, people and aesthetics.

In light of the results of your local elections yesterday and in light of the current political gamesmanship going on in American electoral national politics, it’s worth looking at.

And all before the era of social media, virality, the commonality of cell phones, and even the ubiquity of the Internet.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: jsorrells@hsconsultingandtraining.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HSConsultingandTraining
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/Sorrells79
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jesansorrells/

[Contributor] Indifferent Politics

Follow Alex on Twitter @AlexanderBGault

With the U.S. Presidential election fast approaching, it is time again for everyone of voting age in the US, and a few not yet of voting age as well, to sort out their political ideals and choose a candidate they feel will protect those ideals. And this year, as with every other year, a new crop of young voters is entering the pool.

And many of them don’t even know who’s running.

The young adults of this generation are less politically interested, at least in terms of big elections, than previous ones, and it’s not a new problem http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/dec/26/apathetic-disaffected-generation-may-never-vote

Many references to the political apathy of the new generation date back to 2013, and this specific one refers to the UK, but the problem is spread across many 1st World countries and has shown itself in the current voting generation and the one just arrived.

There are many ways this problem could have arisen. In the US specifically, it could stem from the blatantly ineffective Congress, the lack of focus on the “little guy” in federal and state government, or the widespread disregard of the younger generation by the older.

The younger generation sees no reason to vote for the people who on the street refer to even the best of them as “self-centred and narcissistic”.

The political apathy could also be a product of how politicians and hopefuls communicate with the younger voting audience. When someone lives a majority of their life without Twitter or any other social medias, they tend not to see its relevancy or importance, and therefore disregard it or use it as an afterthought. And the growth of social media has revolutionized how people get their information.

For much of the 20th century, people got their information, especially political information, from newspapers or television and radio. Rarely was the information straight from the politician or candidate themselves. However, today, the information in generally disregarded if it isn’t from the candidate or politician themselves. Twitter accounts run by “Mr. _______’s Management” are rarely given credence, and interviews with a big news corporation are outright ignored.

This new era of politics requires a more personal touch from the candidate, an interesting return to the roots of American politics that the big-business men of the 20th century are not accustomed to.

Alexander Gault-Plate is an aspiring journalist and writer, currently in the 12th grade. He has worked with his schools newspapers and maintained a blog for his previous school. In the future, he hopes to write for a new-media news company.

You can follow Alexander on Twitter here https://twitter.com/AlexanderBGault.


Honesty in Human Memory

As they fade into the rearview mirror of memory, events of the past tend to be mythologized, canonized or misremembered entirely.


On a global scale, the one class of people who used to rely on this fact of human memory—politicians—are finding it difficult to deal with the current state of constant remembering that’s going on with the Internet and social media.

On an individual scale, we still have the expectation that other people will forgive us our trespasses, even as we can forever hold their trespasses against them, with the help of our new tools.

However, all of this electronic remembering hasn’t led to more honesty. In fact, as the tendency toward tribal social sanctioning has grown exponentially to a global scale, there are more and more media driven conflicts over who owns the narrative, rather than whether or not the narrative was honest and truthful in the first place.

This is part of the core reason why the masses no longer really pay attention when it’s revealed that someone—most importantly politicians—lied about something consequential, because honesty is no longer the coin of the realm.

Instead, who owns the narrative, for the next 24-48 hours, is what’s important. After that, well, the masses can repost in their Facebook feeds all they want, because it won’t matter whether truth (capital “T” or small “t”) was served or not.

At an individual scale, cries of hypocrisy still ring out, but the sound grows hollower with each passing year, as individuals learn from the masses, that ownership of the story is more valuable than the veracity of the content.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: hsconsultingandtraining@gmail.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HSConsultingandTraining
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Sorrells79
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jesansorrells/

HIT Piece 11.04.2014

Today is Election Day in the United States.


In multiple elections, both large and small, the political fates of these amorphous entities that we have socially constructed—called parties, ironically enough—will be either moved forward…or stopped warm.

The business of navigating the political system in this country—or any other—is not based on promoting peace.

Rather, the business of politics seems to revolve on the front-end, around division and making disconnection. And on the back-end, the business of politics seems to revolve around collaboration and accommodation for those whose interests really matter.

It’s enough to make the people who vote, the “electorate” if you will—who deserve to have their faith rewarded and deserve to continue to believe in the best of people involved in the business of politics—become cynical and tire of the entire process.

And many have.

The progressive, peace building thing to write would be “Get out and vote. It’s your civic duty.” The regressive, disconnecting thing to write would be “Don’t vote. None of this matters. Stay at home.”

Well…what are you going to do?

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: hsconsultingandtraining@gmail.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HSConsultingandTraining
Twitter: www.twitter.com/Sorrells79
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/jesansorrells/