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Wishes for the Family of Humankind
Offered by Paula D. Gordon, Ph.D.
January 10, 2013
The original version was authored July 18, 1996 and
submitted to The Millennium Project at a
World Futures Society Annual Conference in Washington, D.C.
That version has been slightly augmented and modified by the author.
Some have said that we are that we may know joy and love, that we may experience the fullest possible meaning of existence. Others have said that to live life fully, to experience joy and love fully, is to know God and realize a divine destiny.
May we live in such a way and encourage others to live in such a way through example and deeds that all increasingly realize and experience a sense of meaning and fulfillment in their lives and come to contribute as a matter of course to the realization of that potential for the benefit of all of humankind.
* * *
Copyright by Paula D. Gordon
Added with permission of the author to Global Futures Intelligence System of The Millennium Project at https://themp.org/challengegroup/15/resources/
Paula D. Gordon, Ph.D. is based in Washington, D.C. Her Ph.D. in Public Administration is from American University; her M.A. in Public Administration and her B.A. in Rhetoric are both from the University of California at Berkeley. Her areas of specialization include Public Administration, Public Policy, Management and Organizational Behavior, Ethics, Leadership and Change, Organization Theory and Behavior, Knowledge Transfer and Innovation Diffusion, Homeland Security and Emergency Management Policy, and Drug Abuse Prevention Policy.
Dr. Gordon is an educator, writer, and consultant. She teaches courses at several different universities. She has served as staff officer, policy analyst, or special projects director for the National Institute of Mental Health, the Federal Energy Office and Federal Energy Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Advisory Commission on Governmental Relations. She also ran for Congress in Contra Costa County in the Bay Area in California. She has an extensive background in a variety of domestic policy arenas including drug abuse prevention, emergency management, and homeland security.
Dr. Gordon’s websites include the following:
These websites include her work on some of the following topics: transforming and leading organizations, nurturing ethical and value-based behavior in the public service, unleashing creative energies in organizations for the benefit of individuals and society, and improving the problem solving and knowledge transfer processes. Also included is a website on an innovative theory of carcinogenesis and anti-carcinogenesis. Her doctoral dissertation, “Public Administration in the Public Interest” ( accessible at http://GordonPublicAdministration.com ) focuses on the role of government in complex societal problem solving. In that dissertation she describes a new paradigm of public administration and governance.
Paula D. Gordon, Ph.D.
The Need to Establish the Purpose of Government
Paula D. Gordon, Ph.D
The following is based on a presentation given at the National Press Club on September 17, 2007 and a chapter in Cal Clark and Don-Terry Veal (eds.) Advancing Excellence and Public Trust in Government, Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, 2011.
My doctoral dissertation was entitled “Public Administration in the Public Interest” (http://GordonPublicAdministration.com ) and one of my major areas of interest has been the relationship among public administration, public service, and ethics. Currently, I am focusing upon specific problem areas and challenges that are facing the nation, in particular Hurricane Katrina: the way the country responded to it, and the leadership questions that arose. More broadly, I am involved in extensive research on emergency management and homeland security since 9/11. I sometimes think of my work as representing a 70,000-foot perspective in which I am trying to identify the fundamental concerns that face our country today.
What particularly strikes me is the need for leadership. My master’s thesis was on leadership behavior and task-oriented workgroups. In it, I developed a model of leadership based on Abraham Maslow’s concept of “metamotivation.” Meta-motivation involves “being as concerned for the welfare of others as one is for one’s own self.” I believe that this meta-motivational leadership model was in place at the time of the founding of the nation and that the challenge before us now is to move back to the same kind of selfless service of America’s Founders.
In 1976, I attended a six-week symposium about public administration at the time of the nation’s founding. It was sponsored by the National Endowment of the Humanities and directed by Martin Diamond, a noted scholar in constitutional law at Northwestern University. The discussion and controversy amongst the dozen or so participants in that symposium focused on the basic nature of government. I don’t think that we can get very far until we’ve dealt with these fundamental issues.
I recall that at the time the first “Reinventing Government Report” came out, I was working as the Director of Special Projects at the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (ACIR). John Kincaid served as the Executive Director of the Commission at the time. The authors of the “Reinventing Government Report” initially briefed members of the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA). I had accompanied John Kincaid, a NAPA Fellow to the meeting. After the authors had discussed their findings and recommendations, the NAPA Fellows in attendance were invited to ask questions and make comments. John Kincaid asked what I thought was a most striking question. He asked the following question: “What do the results of (the Reinventing Government Report) have to do with the mission of government?”
David Osborne, the person who was a key author of the report admitted (and I thought did so very graciously and humbly) that the authors of the report had not really dealt with that issue, but that he anticipated that they would address the question of the mission of government as their work continued. Well, I think that was a major oversight.
Take the impact of 9/11. In my view, the controversy that still continues is whether or not there has been a fundamental change as a result of 9/ll. Some people don’t seem to have changed their understanding of the nature of government and the nature of the challenges that have confronted us since 9/11. For others (and I personally agree with them), we now live in an entirely different world. They believe that the future of civilization is in the balance in a way that it never had been before. This is owing to the fact that anything can happen at any time as the result of the use of any tactic or weapon of mass destruction or disruption by non-state actors. It may be hard to acknowledge this, but if this is the case, then those who are in position of responsibility in government need to be able to understand the nature of the situation that we are in. They also need to be able to lead our nation so we can survive as the beacon of liberty and freedom and justice in the world. They need to be able to lead that nation in a way that advances the survival of humankind and civilization.
What lessons might be gleaned from the way in which the government responded to Hurricane Katrina. I don’t think that the nature of the problem concerning what happened in Hurricane Katrina and concerning the government’s response to it were well understood. Unfortunately, people blamed each other for things that exceeded the capabilities of individuals or government. There was little recognition of this reality. There was and has been very little forgiveness. Many people have the sense that all you need to do is put the proper processes in place and you will be able to survive anything, including a catastrophic natural disaster. Well this isn’t necessarily the case. There are catastrophes that can happen that have impacts that are beyond our control.
Katrina was one of the greatest catastrophes that happened in a populated area in the United States. General Honore seems to be one of the few people who, I think, fully understood this. Most of those contributing to after action reports failed to comprehend the difference between a disaster that was moderate in size and a catastrophic event. General Honore’s statements about Katrina were pithy and insightful. For example, he likened responding to Katrina to a football game in which there was little or no chance of gaining any yardage in the first quarter. When all of the major elements of the critical infrastructure are in a state of failure and all the lines of communication are down, no one is going to be able to do anything. You can’t fly in planes or helicopters, and you can’t network and coordinate efforts. You can’t even establish what the status of the situation is.
One of the things that should have resulted from Katrina, but has not as yet, is a heightened level of understanding of the importance of preparedness, not just for hurricanes or tornadoes, but for the whole range of disasters that could befall us. So, to make a long story short, I would like to suggest the possibility of a national alliance for the transformation of government, one that would incorporate a focus on the need for transparency and on the fundamental role of trust in government, and that even more importantly focused on the need for the realistic assessment of the challenges that face us and a common of mission that focuses on a commitment to addressing those threat and challenges.
Dwight Waldo, a luminary in the field of public administration, both a friend and influence in my life, wrote extensively on this subject. He and Herbert Simon in fact had a falling out in the 1950s and 1960s concerning the nature of public administration and the purpose of government. While Simon emphasized the matters of process, Waldo argued that the purpose of the field of public administration and government had been overlooked. He had written a famous article in the 1960s entitled “Public Administration and Change: Terra Paene Incognita.” The “little known territory” he spoke of was the purpose of government and where it should be going. Waldo argued that the field of public administration had no underlying philosophy of change. In effect, there was a metaphysical nihilism underlying the efforts of those contributing to the field.
I believe that we need to achieve a renewed consensus about the direction of change in public administration and government should be before we talk about the need for transparency in government. We need to return to the values of America’s founders, as embodied in the Preamble to the Constitution. What this suggests to me is that we need to clarify what we mean when we talk about acting in the public interest. To me acting in the public interest is acting in such a way as to advance the values of life, health and freedom and that does so in a way the maximizes and respects the humanity of all concerned. We need to recognize that we are living in a time of chaos and turbulent change, where measurement and focus on process does not really help, since by the time that we have measured something, the entire situation has changed. What good is focusing on process if we have no idea of the values or purposes that the process is intended or apt to serve? We should be doing what we had done with the Marshall Plan for reconstructing Europe after World War II. Then, we focused on the nature and scope of a huge problem and took the action that needed to be taken based on our understanding, experience, intelligence, ingenuity, and skills. That is what we should be doing now. We need to adopt more of a practical strategy that focuses on doing what we know to be right and what our experience and understanding helps us to see is the right course of action. I believe that instead of focusing primarily on transparency, we need to address the greater challenge facing America, the need to renew our understanding of the very mission and purpose that drove the efforts of the Founders and that should still be driving our efforts today.
Reference: Dwight Waldo (1969). “Public Administration and Change: Terra Paene Incognita.” Journal of Comparative Administration 1 (May 1969):94-113.
About the Author:
Paula D. Gordon is an educator, writer, and speaker. Her graduate degrees are in public administration from the University of California at Berkeley and American University in Washington, D.C. She has worked in a variety of capacities from policy analyst, staff officer, director of special projects, contractor, and consultant for a wide range of Federal agencies and departments. She has also run for Congress in California’s 7th District. Her websites include http://gordonhomeland.com , http://GordonPublicAdministration.com; and http://GordonDrugAbusePrevention.com .
These websites include articles, reports, publications, presentations and op-ed pieces on homeland security and emergency management, on drug abuse prevention, on public policy issues, and on ethical, organizational, managerial, and educational topics. Her dissertation, “Public Administration in the Public Interest” is accessible at http://GordonPublicAdministration.com .
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org .
Auburn University Four Week Online Course
on Planning & Preparedness
for Homeland Security & Emergency Management
Post-9/11 and Post-Katrina
Scheduled for April 11 - May 9, 2016
This course can be taken independently or as a part of the Emergency Management Certificate Program.
The Emergency Management Certificate Program was initially launched in the Fall of 2006 by the Center for Governmental Services at Auburn University. Moreover, the Emergency Management Certificate program transitioned from the Center for Governmental Services in the Winter of 2016 and now resides at its new home, under the guidance and direction of Auburn University’s Office of Professional and Continuing Education. The person with responsibility for the Program is Shavon Williams, MBA, Senior Program Developer, Office of Professional and Continuing Education, Auburn University.
For more information regarding the Emergency Management Certificate Program please call 334-844-5100334-844-5100 or 334-844-3108.
Information about The Emergency Management Certificate Program
and Its Individual Courses can be found at
Course Offerings: http://www.auburn.edu/outreach/opce/emergencymgmt/courses.htm
Course Schedule: http://www.auburn.edu/outreach/opce/emergencymgmt/onlineschedule.htm
Instructor Information: http://www.auburn.edu/outreach/opce/emergencymgmt/instructors.htm
Enrollment in the April 11-May 9, 2016 Course EM: Planning & Preparedness for Homeland Security & Emergency Management Post-9/11 and Post-Katrina Certificate Course:
The course is taught by Dr. Paula D. Gordon. It is designed to introduce those taking the course to a wide array of accompanying issues and concerns involving planning and preparedness for homeland security and emergency management in a post-9/11, post Katrina world.. Some specific areas that will be addressed during the course include the following:
About the Instructor: Dr. Paula D. Gordon
Dr. Paula D. Gordon played an instrumental role in launching Auburn’s Emergency Management Certificate Program in 2006 and has developed and taught courses on the following topics: “Planning and Preparedness for Homeland Security and Emergency Management Post-9/11 and Post-Katrina”, "Homeland Security: Unmet Needs and Challenges Post-9/11 and Post-Katrina", and "Key Elements of Critical Infrastructure Protection and Continuity Post-9/11 and Post-Katrina".
Dr. Gordon is a writer, analyst, consultant, and educator based in Washington, DC. She teaches for a number of different educational institutions. Dr. Gordon has served in staff officer, analyst, and consultant roles in the Federal government and elsewhere in the public and private sectors. Beginning in the early 1980s when she worked with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), she researched and wrote a variety of reports and issue papers on emergency management, including an issue paper on nuclear attack preparedness options. The latter issue paper played a role in FEMA's adoption of an all hazards approach to emergency management and the reorientation of FEMA's nuclear attack preparedness efforts. From May 1998 through 2000, she focused attention on addressing Y2K technology challenges and worst case critical infrastructure and societal impacts, including impacts on the ability of government to govern.
Since September 11, 2001, her efforts have been directed in large measure to planning and preparedness and to infrastructure concerns relating to homeland security and emergency management. Since Hurricane Katrina, her writing and teaching have included a significant focus on the cultural divide between homeland security and emergency management and the need for realistically improving and addressing planning and preparedness efforts for catastrophes. This includes planning and preparedness of catastrophes of any origin, including natural or man-made catastrophes. Dr. Gordon has been a longtime advocate of the use of comparative scenario and options analysis as a tool for improving emergency management and homeland security efforts.
Dr. Gordon's writing on homeland security and emergency management and a 118 page list of homeland security and emergency management references and resources can be found on her homeland security website at http://GordonHomeland.com, http://GordonPublicAdministration.com, and http://GordonHumankind.com. Her doctoral dissertation includes a focus on understanding and addressing complex societal problems and challenges. It is entitled "Public Administration in the Public Interest”. The dissertation is posted in its entirety at http://GordonPublicAdministration.com.
For more information regarding the Emergency Management Certificate Program please call 334-844-5100334-844-5100.
Emergency Management Certificate Program taught by Dr. Gordon:
Participants in the courses come from widely varying backgrounds. They have included Local, State and Federal government agency officials; Fire Chiefs and Fire Department officials, Police Department , local and regional Emergency Management Directors and officials, and other individuals in roles of public responsibility for emergency management, homeland security, and public safety , including, officers in the military, University officials responsible for health, safety, and security; and individuals in academia including those responsible for curriculum development.
I think this is a great course…..
I would recommend for anyone involved in the emergency management field or involved with emergency planning.
I would definitely want my staff to take this course….
This course has really helped me realize the impact on planning and preparedness of the differences in catastrophic and non-catastrophic events, and has helped me feel more equipped to address the planning challenges related to catastrophic events. In the past, I have focused mainly on technical and operational issues, but I can now see the importance of the broader perspective… It has also really emphasized to me the importance of understanding complex problems and the value of generalists, who can lead multi-disciplinary teams of experts in finding solutions to these complex problems that we face in emergency management today.
This course has shown me that there is so much information available if you simply look or ask for it. One of the main things I took away from this course is that flexibility is absolutely essential. There are so many variables that it is impossible to plan for every single situation. Even disasters that are classified the same, such as earthquakes, are very different as pointed out by Timothy Manning from a geologist perspective. I think if you understand that there is no “one size fits all” accompanied with a solid foundation of knowledge, flexibility will provide the necessary ingredient to be successful. Secondly, mitigation and preparedness are extremely critical when it comes to disasters/threats. Proper preparedness and mitigation starts with each individual and if everybody does their part, the end-result will be very different from those communities that lack mitigation practices and a preparedness plan.
Paula D. Gordon: Extensive Updated Bio February 2013*****
For an extensive new bio click on http://lifeboat.com/ex/bios.paula.d.gordon
To the Advisory Board of the Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program
of the U.S. Department of Commerce
February 28, 2013
Paula D. Gordon, The Japan Earthquake and the Tsunami: Their Implications for the U.S., The Journal of Physical Security 6(1), 1-9 (2012), http://jps.anl.gov/
Thank you for this opportunity to make a statement at this meeting of the Advisory Committee of the Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program.
I would like to raise a question and make a recommendation. These pertain to some issues raised in a review piece of mine that some of you may have seen. The review piece was recently published in the 2012 edition of The Journal of Physical Security.
I believe that a solid case can be made and has been made that those individuals, primarily structural engineers, who set the safety standards used for building nuclear power plants in the U.S, including plants in seismically active areas, that those individuals did so without adequately taking into consideration mechanical engineering principles, specifically the implications that mechanical engineering principles have for setting the standards for the bearing clearances in rotor bearing systems in nuclear power plants, including primary fluid coolant pumps and generators and other rotor bearing systems that could become projectiles in an earthquake and damage the reactors and the facilities. If this is the case then, such nuclear power plants will not likely withstand even the magnitudes of earthquakes that they have been built to withstand, let alone earthquakes of higher magnitudes and tsunamis that could accompany those higher magnitude earthquakes.
My question and recommendation to you and to others in the executive and legislative branches of government are as follows:
Shouldn’t this serious matter be addressed not only by those who have regulatory responsibility in the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), but shouldn’t this matter be addressed as well, by the Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program along with the Interagency Coordinating Committee (ICC) and others with relevant responsibilities in other parts of the government? That includes those with responsibilities for prevention, mitigation, and emergency management; including preparedness, response, and recovery, responsibilities that should become a matter of concern now owing to the potential catastrophic impacts that higher magnitude earthquakes could have on nuclear power plants in seismically sensitive areas of this country and the potential impacts that accompanying tsunamis could have on plants located in coastal areas. It does not seem likely that one agency such as the NRC could possibly undertake all the protective, remedial and other actions that are needed. Awareness of the vulnerabilities that exist and commitment to taking appropriate actions should not be limited to the NRC alone. The creation of a Federal interagency task force would seem to be in order to raise awareness regarding the mechanical engineering principles that appear to have been overlooked in the setting of standards for building nuclear power plants in the U.S. and for configuring the bearing clearances in rotor bearing systems in nuclear power plants. Such a task force is needed for consolidating knowledge and expertise on these vulnerabilities and for taking appropriate action.
Thank you for the opportunity to raise this question and share this recommendation with you.
The list includes the following:
Selected Relevant Websites
Selected Publications, Reports, and Presentations
By Paula D. Gordon Related to Homeland Security, Emergency Management, and
Comparative Scenario and Options Analysis
Work Related to Public Administration, Leadership, Organizational Culture,
Ethics in the Public Service, Problem Solving, and Knowledge Transfer
Work Related to Drug Abuse Prevention, Health Care Reform, and
A Theory of Carcinogenesis and Anticarcinogenesis
Other selected publications and links can be found in an extensive bio at http://lifeboat.com/ex/bios.paula.d.gordon .
A comprehensive list of publications, reports, and presentations through 2011 is posted on http://GordonHomeland.com .
Excerpts from the (Rare) Whimsical Writings of P.D. Gordon:
The Hic-cu Chronicles
Hiccus are little anecdotes and observations, most of which (but not all) are totally true. Some are like Zen koans. Some are like nothing else.
A Hic-cu by Any Other Name
A poet friend of mind calls my hic-cus: "hip-coos"
To each, his own.
That poet friend has written his own hip-coo:
"I love Hip-coos.
For they jump off the page
And kiss you."
Rules for Hic-cu Writing?
That poet friend once asked me what the "rules" for hic-cu writing were.
Hic-cu writing rules?
Surely you jest!
I am so glad!
Holding hands is no chaste act to me.
I can lose my heart with just a glance.
Obviously, I am a danger to myself and others.
I love to hear from you by e-mail.
Sometimes, even when you're here,
I want to hear from you by e-mail.
The Top of My Refrigerator
Today I cleaned the top of my refrigerator.
It had not been cleaned so well since I moved in ~
I will not say how long ago that was.
Tomorrow, I start on the file cabinets in my head~
I have not cleaned them since I moved in ~
I cannot say how long that has been.
"Two…I Mean One…"..
I talk to myself from time to time when there is no one else around.
One day I was driving home while engaging in the following conversation:
"How would you like to go to a movie?"
When I got to the movie theater, I walked up to the ticket booth
and said, " Two, please."
I realized what I had done and quickly said, "Oh, I mean one."
The World Turned Into a Telephone Booth
People walking down the street,
Talking on cell phones,
Turning the world into a telephone booth….
He had hung his jacket over his chair at the restaurant.
I said, "Your cell phone in your jacket pocket is ringing."
He said, "Thanks" and answering his cell phone, put me on "Person Waiting".
A Mind of Our Own
I once ordered a hot fudge sundae at a Svenson's.
"No," the waitress said. "You want the hot caramel nut sundae with whipped cream."
I seemed to have no choice.
She brought me one.
She was right.
These have been excerpts from an unpublished manuscript.
Copyright P. D. Gordon 2015
If you would like a file copy of the manuscript, please send a suggested contribution of $14.50 via Paypal with a note that it is a contribution for The Hic-cu Chronicles and at the same time send an e-mail with your name with your return e-mail address to email@example.com requesting a file copy.