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Telian Dialogue

The planet Telos is located in a neutral zone between Infokatallaxis Federation and the Taxis Empire.  A largely agrarian society, Telos has intentionally maintained a primarily subsistence economy in which people live in small networks of villages clustered around temple complexes, with a small agroexport sector devoted to the production of entheogenic, medicinal, and culinary herbs and spices and substantial ecocultural tourism/pilgrimage economy.  Their villages are largely autonomous and self-governing but support, apparently voluntarily, through offerings made at pilgrimage feasts, a stratum of scholar/priests, mostly women who, in addition to attending to temple rituals, devote themselves to the arts, science, and philosophy. Telian religion remains something of a mystery, with what look to outsiders, and perhaps to most of the peasantry, like simple fertility rituals also having a complex esoteric meaning focused on participation in the "great work" of Ripening Being.

Telos has resisted all efforts to negotiate free trade agreements and all efforts get it to join the common currency areas managed by the Empire and the Federation. It strictly limits entheogen and other spice production in order to maintain high prices, and  has resisted attempts to establish plantations owned by off-world interests, even if worked by off-world workers as well.  There are rumors of vast mineral deposits but the Telians have only recently begun to allow geological surveys. Telos maintains embassies throughout the sector but does not participate in any mutual defense pacts or other sovereignty limiting organizations. While each village has its own militia and the temple complexes have small military forces they are all small and appear to rely on traditional weapons using preindustiral technology. Telos  has recently emerged as a haven for dropout and dissident artists, scientists, and scholars from both the Federation and the Empire.

Recently, a geological survey funded by the Federation discovered a large deposit of essenium, a very rare mineral which no one knew could exist in nature before this discovery.Essenium is critical to new technologies that both the Federation and the Empire are developing, which make it possible to use electromagnetism to control gravity. This means they will be able to control the structure of spacetime.This will give them unimaginable power.There are lots of applications of this technology that could make someone a lot of money, as well as incredibly destructive weapons.Whoever controls this technology could well take over the entire galaxy.The Federation immediately approached theTelians with a proposal where Telos would give them exclusive rights to mine the essenium, in return for which they would pay the Telians substantial royalites.The Telian High Council considered the proposal, but turned it down, both because they were afraid the mining would hurt their environment and undermine their culture and because they do not believe that any society, even their own, is ready for access to what they call “the philosopher's stone.”In response, the Federation withdrew their ambassador to discuss what to do next.

The Empire, meanwhile, has sent a task force of several battle cruisers and a dozen destroyers -- more than enough to destroy the planet -- and presented the Telians with an ultimatum. “You have 24 hours to give us exclusive mining rights.  You will also give us workers to support the mining operations.  If you refuse, we will kill 1/10 of your population, and re-format the brains of those left alive, making them into slaves.”

The Federation charge d'affairs has promised assistance, but has noted that the Federation will want concessions for it.And the nearest Federation battle group is two weeks away.

Please prepare a response to this scenario from the point of view of ONE actor (the Telians, the Federation, OR the Empire). Your response should outline your next action.

Why did you choose to act this way?

Now, go back and ask whether or not your action met the following criteria:

1)  Decide what reaction you want from the other parties. Will this action get that reaction? If so, why? If not, what action would?

2)  Does your action realize your self-interest and build your power?

Finally, what has this exercise taught you about the nature of power?

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Life Journey Prompt

Imagine your life as a journey. What is your starting point? Where are you going? And who is the traveller?

Are you traveling alone or as part of a group? If you are part of a group describe those who are with you. Who are they? What are they like? Why are you with them, or they with you?

What do you bring with you? What have you picked up on the way? What have you gotten rid of? What do you still need to pick up or get rid of?

Now, describe the stages of this journey. What defines each stage? Include the stages which still lie ahead, at least as you imagine them, as well as those you have completed.

What is the terrain like at each stage along the way? What are the people like? If you are traveling with a group, does it change from stage to stage or stay the same? What are you doing at each stage? Is there something you are trying to accomplish? What resources do you need? How do you obtain them? What have you learned at each stage along the way? What do you still need to learn.

Now, imagine your destination. What is it like? Describe the place, the people, and what you are doing there. What makes it a destination rather than just another stage? Reflecting back, what has the journey as a whole (asopposed to the individual stages) taught you? What have you accomplished? What is the point of the journey? Why do you believe this?

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Individual Relational Meeting 1

Identify an arena in which you want to build and exercise power in service to the common good. It could be your profession or a profession to which you aspire, your local community, District politics, your religious community or any of a variety of other possible arenas. They identify emerging, established, or high value leaders in this arena. Look for interesting people with a broad understanding of their interests, broad, deep and complex networks of public relationships, and advanced leadership capacities. Conduct individual meetings with five such individuals and prepare an analysis of the individuals interests, relationships, and leadership capacities. One meeting and one analysis must be submitted for each instance of this assignment.

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Individual Relational Meeting 2

Identify an arena in which you want to build and exercise power in service to the common good. It could be your profession or a profession to which you aspire, your local community, District politics, your religious community or any of a variety of other possible arenas. They identify emerging, established, or high value leaders in this arena. Look for interesting people with a broad understanding of their interests, broad, deep and complex networks of public relationships, and advanced leadership capacities. Conduct individual meetings with five such individuals and prepare an analysis of the individuals interests, relationships, and leadership capacities. One meeting and one analysis must be submitted for each instance of this assignment. 

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Human Rights and the Common Good

Drawing on the texts we read and discussed in class, take and defend a position on the following questions:

Is there such a thing as the Common Good, independent of the wishes of the individual members of society taken separately or together? If so, what is it and how is it grounded?

On what basis, if any, can we speak meaningfully of human rights?

What is the relationship between human rights and the common good?

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Individual Relational Meeting 3

Identify an arena in which you want to build and exercise power in service to the common good. It could be your profession or a profession to which you aspire, your local community, District politics, your religious community or any of a variety of other possible arenas. They identify emerging, established, or high value leaders in this arena. Look for interesting people with a broad understanding of their interests, broad, deep and complex networks of public relationships, and advanced leadership capacities. Conduct individual meetings with five such individuals and prepare an analysis of the individuals interests, relationships, and leadership capacities. One meeting and one analysis must be submitted for each instance of this assignment. 

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Individual Relational Meeting 4

Identify an arena in which you want to build and exercise power in service to the common good. It could be your profession or a profession to which you aspire, your local community, District politics, your religious community or any of a variety of other possible arenas. They identify emerging, established, or high value leaders in this arena. Look for interesting people with a broad understanding of their interests, broad, deep and complex networks of public relationships, and advanced leadership capacities. Conduct individual meetings with five such individuals and prepare an analysis of the individuals interests, relationships, and leadership capacities. One meeting and one analysis must be submitted for each instance of this assignment

8-

Individual Relational Meeting 5

Identify an arena in which you want to build and exercise power in service to the common good. It could be your profession or a profession to which you aspire, your local community, District politics, your religious community or any of a variety of other possible arenas. They identify emerging, established, or high value leaders in this arena. Look for interesting people with a broad understanding of their interests, broad, deep and complex networks of public relationships, and advanced leadership capacities. Conduct individual meetings with five such individuals and prepare an analysis of the individuals interests, relationships, and leadership capacities. One meeting and one analysis must be submitted for each instance of this assignment. 

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Social Structure

What do you regard as the principal structural factor promoting or obstructing the defense of human rights and/or the realization of the common good as you understand them. Be sure the consider the relative importance of class, race and ethnicity, and gender. Do you envision yourself trying to work within the context of existing class, race, and gender relations or do you plan to work to transform them? Why and how?

Be sure that your answer draws explicitly on the readings and class discussion. You do not need to, and probably should not try, to discuss all of the theorists we read and discussed, but there should be evidence of significant engagement with at least some of them. 

10-

Grand Strategy and Personal Business/Civic Engagement/Vocational Plan

Prepare a paper outlining a plan for living an economically sustainable, civically engaged, meaningful life organized around freely chosen principles and values. Situate this plan in in the context of our discussion of the Nature of Power, Human Rights and the Common Good, Social Structure, Grand Strategy, and Positioning and Portfolio Strategy. Make explicit reference to the theorists we have read and discussed in class. 


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