To metamorphose is to transform. This site is an exploration of change (why we avoid it, how we can achieve it, who inspires us along the way) and the conditions required for transformation. Founded and curated by Simran Sethi.

Chef Charlie Trotter’s ego drove him to collaborate toward mastery of something new.

"For several years, Michael and Roxanne Klein had been regularly flying from San Francisco to Chicago just to have dinner (my kind of people!) at the restaurant.*  Then, in 1999, they began to challenge my culinary abilities by requesting raw-food menus… In those days, fulfilling the demand seemed fairly straightforward: either cut everything thinly, chop it finely, or puree it; add a few herbs, a vinaigrette, maybe a spice mixture, or possibly some chile; and serve it up… 

"But like most things that seem simple on the surface, the preparation of raw and living foods isn’t simple at all.  It is instead quite complex and requires serious study to learn the basic properties of foods and how foods act when handled in various ways.  For instance, when you soak nuts and legumes to sprout them, you not only obtain maximal nutritional value, but you also achieve superior flavor.  Or if you marinate certain vegetables for six to eight hours or more, you break down their undesirable starchiness completely…

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Language is like money: Use it wisely, use it sparingly.

This entire show reminded me of how making music with other humans is a non-verbal form of communication which has the potential to transcend a version of the world as divided between “us” and “them”; that making and enjoying food made by and with other humans is a form of the same; and that the “self” is a story.  Us/Me and Them becomes We when language is put on the back burner.  Or better yet, and done.  

A mainstream IT/financial guy started the Egyptian Revolution with a thought from one photo of another Egyptian tortured by police: we are all this man.

“The last thing a dictator wants is that you expose {his} bad practices to {his} people.”

(photo: Khaled Desouki/Getty Images)

I believe that engagement is very critical. And a lot of activists end up in their own isolated environment or platform and they don’t communicate with the mainstream.  And I thought maybe as someone coming from the mainstream, I’m not an activist, I was never one, I’m just someone who cares and who hates injustice.  So by starting the page, I started looking at how can I make sure that more and more people get involved - its not just about me telling everyone, uh, you know, here’s the information, please read it, no, it’s very important to get everyone engaged, and from day one, the page was running with this tile.  We were soliciting ideas… looking at different options… surveying people… and when we execute a campaign, everyone is involved, and then we take their contribution and feedback and relay it back to everyone.”

(He used google moderator to send questionnaires to everyone regarding the best way to proceed with what became the Egyptian revolution.)  


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“A radical paradigm for reaching-in to communities”

These people are creating change.

“We are a social conscientious, reconnaissance and outreach, community-based, watershed driven organization.

Our overarching goal is; to educate underserved and monolingual (Spanish-speaking) communities about watershed and social justice issues; and provide these with community-building skills, thus empowering them to participate in local and citywide planning as well as playing an active role in city, state and nationwide policies.”

To not act is to act.

"Whether we change our lives or do nothing, we have responded. To do nothing is to do something."  Jonathan Safran Foer

I stole this book from someone I know, and devoured it.  Don’t worry, I gave it back (not necessarily willfully, after some intense questioning).  There are a lot of famous quotes that point in this general direction.  Silence in the face of injustice is complicity.  Along these lines.  But reading this one, in this book, about the implications of eating animals, at the time in my life I read it, transformed me, in small but significant ways.  It made me ride the bus or my bike, bring my own bag, cup, plate and utensils, it made me more active in the process of helping clients plan events so that my name would have less opportunity to be associated with disposable stuff, but more so that maybe others would regain the permission necessary to eat without plastic and styrofoam, to eat the way we did just 30 years ago, but were starting to waver from then.  And while it did not stop me from eating animals completely, I will not eat just any animal - I know the two people who raise the animals I eat because I look at them in the eye at the farmer’s markets every week.  I will not eat animals at restaurants if I don’t know where they came from.  And if given the choice at home between animal or no animal, I push myself to cook the no-animal option and have it taste amazing, to build my cadre of cravings for plant-based food.  And I don’t even have kids to answer to later in life, like in the case of the author’s motivation.  But apparently I have my brothers and sisters to answer to, now, because that is the world I want to live in.  One where we are all responsible for each other.

We don’t need to wait for someone in a uniform to tell us to change.

From this Op-Ed in January 22, 2012’s LA Times by Naomi Oreskes:

"In my travels, I have met many, many people who have told me that they are not in denial about climate change; they simply don’t know enough to decide. It strikes me that these people aren’t unlike my fellow jurors at the start of jury selection. They are trying to keep an open mind, something that we are routinely enjoined to do in many other aspects of daily life.

But just as open-mindedness can be the wrong answer in jurisprudence, it can also be the wrong answer in science and public policy. Since the mid-1990s, there has been clear-cut evidence that the climate is changing because of human activities: burning fossil fuels and cutting down forests. For the last decade or so it has been increasingly clear that these changes are accelerating, and worrisome.

Yet many Americans cling to the idea that it is reasonable to maintain an open mind. It isn’t, at least not to scientists who study the matter. They have been saying for some time that the case for the reality and gravity of climate change has been proved beyond a reasonable doubt. But there’s the rub. The public seems to view scientists as the equivalent of the prosecuting attorney trying to prove a case. The think tanks, institutes and fossil fuel corporations take on the mantle of the defense.

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I happened to walk by this, posted in a tiny patch of green in front of a plain, non-store-front, non-descript business building on Larchmont near Melrose in LA.  I’m posting this now so you can start working on your picture.  I’ll have my picture for you tomorrow.


At 28 minutes in: Fritz Haber breaks apart nitrogen from thin air, for the common good of feeding Germany and the world, and makes it possible to sustain 7 billion+ people with “bread-from-the-air” agriculture. 

Then he breaks apart nitrogen, to annihilate enemy lines in WWI, for the common good of Germany. 

Then Hitler uses Haber’s technology to annihilate Haber’s own Jewish family and friends in the gas chambers, in WWII, for the common good of Germany. 

We are a powerful force whether we think we are or we think we are not.  We make change when we realize this.  We can choose to use our power to give life or to make death.  What comes around will go around, because we are all one.  We all want the best for The Common Good.  Our paths diverge because we have different definitions of The Common Good.

We are not lemmings. We want to serve The Common Good - Part 1.

At 22 minutes in:  “They’re not doing it because they think they have to, they’re doing it because they think they OUGHT to.”  A fascinating re-examination of the famous Milgram* experiment on obedience, where the analysis is that we do not just do what we’re told, contrary to Pink Floyd.  They argue a la Machiavelli that the exact opposite is true.  People will suffer and agonize IF they think the cause is more noble than the means are bad.  The question is, who controls the spin of the “facts” of the cause?

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