Thom asks: Is sharing the key to an advanced society?

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DRC, there does have to be some meeting of the minds somewhere in the middle. The right simply cannot keep pounding the table saying "no new taxes" and left cannot keep pounding the table saying "no cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid". All the while the entire economy keeps going into the toilet. I hope you do notice the howls of protest from the left with Paul Ryan suggests overhauling Medicare and Medicaid. Sorry, those programs cannot continue in their present form, they are way too expensive. And if you argue that the right threw away a bunch of money on wars that should not have been fought, that does not change that reality. I'm not giving them a pass on the wars, I honestly don't know if your opinion is correct, it may be a case of Bush acting on bad intelligence, or it may be a war (or wars) that we should have never gotten into in the first place. That does not matter, the one trillion dollar a year shortfall has to be closed, and a decent amount of that has to be from cuts in the sacred three programs (SS, Medicare, and Medicaid). And hey, if you can do just by cutting waste, bully for you, but I find that a little hard to believe.

I do understand that the Dems will have to save face by getting the right to agree to some tax hikes, but tax hikes will only close about 10-15% of the gap. The rest has to come from spending cuts somewhere.

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mauiman58
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Quote mauiman58:

I do understand that the Dems will have to save face by getting the right to agree to some tax hikes, but tax hikes will only close about 10-15% of the gap. The rest has to come from spending cuts somewhere.

Suppose your fuzzy math is correct and "taxes can only close the gap by 10% to 15%" while the other 85% must come from those pesky entitlements, where are all those caring, sharing righties who are willing to belly up to the table and make a deal by conceding ANY tax revenue from their side of the ledger? Sharing is the problem. Sharing sacrifice, sharing resources, sharing of anything is not even on the table. The only thing the Right is willing to share is the pain and suffering that they don't want any part of. Where is the Righty who is willing to concede 10% to 15% on their end? They don't exist because sharing is not part of the bargain. Take, take and then take some more is all they will offer up. Perhaps this extreme deficiency of sharing is the why our society is not advancing.

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Laborisgood
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Tayl, if you need to use words like progress, advanced, and so forth in order to get yourself in the necessary frame of mind to act, that's fine. I don't need those words. In fact, I think they are inhibitive to understanding what's taken place that's systematically removed us from our inherited ability to cooperate and share with each other. To me, we do not "progress" backwards to that, we recover, perhaps rediscover it.

The commonly used concept of "Progress" (with a capital P) is too closely related to the notion of an "advancing" techno-civilization moving us from savagery to civilization, with "advancements" that no one really wants to give up when you ask them what they are willing to give up.

Words matter to me, is all. It's my puny attempt to try to help recover our minds and help recover our abilities to think with our given gift of language, which is an amazing gift that's being systematically truncated, a gift that today's self proclaimed advanced people in general do not recognize has been with us long before any of these technological inventions came along. Which means people who fail to recognize that lose contact with the fact that none of us knows to even speak language without the possibility of a community of language users to share it, to learn it from.

And the next step after dispensing with the recognition of that form of sharing is a belief in the autonomy of the individual and the spurning of customs of cooperation so that they can become parts of a machinery of production. Machines are programmed, they are not free creative users of language.

Many have not read the great works of art that we call the classics. Many do not read writing filled with wonderful words that many people don't savor, don't use every day, don't even have dictionaries on hand to look up. After all, that is time consuming. There's no guarantee of payback. In fact there's almost a guarantee there won't be any material reward. Why anyone bothers is an even greater mystery. You can't explain that behavior with Ayn Rand's objectivist philosopy. Her economic man is on a treadmill that demands each person produces a cash flow and there's no time for reflection, no time for an afternoon nap, no time: you take your little bottle of five hour energy boost and hurry on to getting your job done. Who knows what's happening to the brain in all that.

Those are the "help us make sense" arts that Ellul points out in my above transcription from the video They can serve us in returning to what we no longer do, they can help each of us make sense of our lives. Yet advanced techno people today continue to be enamored with the blur of rapid change involved in those ever more technological spectacles of mass entertainment, and, with eyes glazed, they are living lives of empty and quiet desperation to go with it, many convinced they are lucky to be free, thanks to all this "progress", the way their ancestors never were.

All that means is I have to try to adapt to people who do need to think that going back to a time that once was is progress, advancement.

You see, for me restoring all that is being destroyed right now is not progressing. For me what needs to occur before we destroy enough that we ourselves will also be gone is simply becoming completely human again, restoring something so many of us no longer have a way of experientially knowing it's gone.

But if you must, I can think of it as "progress" for now, kind of like keeping on keeping on. If everyone else has to speak that language while I live this life of off-the-main-stream state of mind that I actually live, I can accommodate.

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"Is this a polite way of saying the herd will be herded into a new form of inverted totalitarian fascism by some new cult "visionaries" thanks to the wonderful techniques of mass propaganda?" - ren

No, ya wise guy. We did get a break from the monarchy(ies) though. Don't ya think we could use another break?

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Ren,i don`t need words to get a frame of mind,i use what most people use to get a frame of mind,that`s "reality".From reality,we get our words like good and bad,how we use the words is another question.I agree with rest of your post,i would add your point about humanity is very important to public banking.People will understand public banking a lot better when they understand their humanity. Public banking is a totally different concept from present thinking.

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tayl44
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Quote MEJ:

"Is this a polite way of saying the herd will be herded into a new form of inverted totalitarian fascism by some new cult "visionaries" thanks to the wonderful techniques of mass propaganda?" - ren

No, ya wise guy. We did get a break from the monarchy(ies) though. Don't ya think we could use another break?

A break from what, exactly?

I'm still mystified by what you thought the lines I bolded in those departing words I transcribed of what Ellul had to say in the video meant to you. Do you know what it was that he was talking about that had come to dominate modern humans? Do you understand the vast what involved with why he was saying that it would take personal interactions to deal with that domination?

I still can't figure out what you mean by the living mythology described by Daniel Quinn. I don't know what Daniel Quinn talks about. I do know people who think of him as an enlightened person and have paid to go to his sites and be involved in what he says. I guess he has some sort of a program.

Quote MEJ:

and that leads me back to ren's last use of bold text. The micro, local communities will get screwed by the macro structures. It's the living mythology as described by Daniel Quinn. An enlightened few will be required to lead civilization forward in the same way the founding fathers ushered in modern democracy.

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.ren
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Quote tayl44:

Ren,i don`t need words to get a frame of mind,i use what most people use to get a frame of mind,that`s "reality".From reality,we get our words like good and bad,how we use the words is another question.I agree with rest of your post,i would add your point about humanity is very important to public banking.People will understand public banking a lot better when they understand their humanity. Public banking is a totally different concept from present thinking.

Well. I live in a small community and we know each other and work things out according to what's here in front of us. That working out is a living relationship. There's a lot of give and take, a lot of sharing where we sort of owe somethings and doings back and forth, but never put it into a countable framework where we can decide what exactly that amounts to so that it can be measured in terms of money. It's more like a relationship of good will hanging between us, shifting towards one or the other according to our actual actions with each other. In other words, we shape it as we go, we don't need it defined objectively. There's a lot of trust involved, something each of us will acknowledged if pressed. It works a lot like the Debt David Graeber talks about that people had before banks. So perhaps you can help me understand how these public banks you have in mind will help us.

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.ren
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Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

ren,

I assume you're refering to post 189....a break from what you ask? From tyranny and destructive stuff you or Ellul may refer to as technology or whatever...I haven't watched the video yet. I'm working hard as a wage slave these days and have limited time and energy left at the end of my days.

Anyhow, the living mythology as expoused by Quinn......he reframed the Genesis myth as an allegory for the agricultural revolution. He suggests that it was a story told by hunter-gatherers to describe the seeming insanity of agriculturalists. Why would people toil in the mud (adam) and defy the laws of god/nature? Everything one needs is supplied by nature/god, all ya need to do is forage and maybe hunt a little. Population is determined by food supply in the natural world, but those agriculturalists try control the food supply, monopolize land use thereby waging war against much of nature to do so, which can be seen as a sin, perhaps the original sin.

Cain is the farmer fighting nature and Abel is a herdsman cooperating with nature....sort of....Cain is the agriculturalist, that's for sure. Let's not get too hung up with the debatable descriptions of Abel, but note that Cain murders Abel. Abel is more like an indigenous culture. The story of cain and abel is a living mythology in that whenever agriculturalists encounter indigenous cultures, the former destroys the latter.

When Quinn wrote Ishmael, he was working out an intuition. He wrote Beyond Civilization as a follow-up and admitted that the allegory formed as he wrote Ishmael and admitted that he doesn't have any prescriptions, but that he doesn't think the answer is to simply return to indigenous style tribal culture. Lots of his readers draw that conclusion though. People believe all kinds of crazy shit like supply side economics so it wouldn't surprise me if some think Quinn is enlightened, but I'm confident that Quinn knows he's far from that. I doubt he has any kind of a program either. Where'd you get a crazy idea like that?

The reason that I refer to it is that I think it contributes to a reframing, a rethinking of the fundamental myth of civilization in a way that's not overly...objectifying or rationalistic.

No doubt that it will take personal interactions to change the world, ren. That's why we type to one another here and I suspect that we're barking up the same tree, but with different styles.

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MEJ
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

As for the original post. Sharing does not exist in an advanced or any other society. Stats like these make me sick to my stomach.

http://www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty-facts-and-stats

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Ren,a public bank will create freedom for public economics.When we have economical freedom,we have to be wise enough to be responsible with it,as the present economic kings aren`t.That`s where our humanity will be key.We will have to move from competitive to cooperation or make them "working partners". We learn nothing if we create a world of USA public bank vs China public bank?

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tayl44
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Quote Bush_Wacker:

As for the original post. Sharing does not exist in an advanced or any other society. Stats like these make me sick to my stomach.

http://www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty-facts-and-stats

Grimm stats. Hard to believe our human world is so unbalanced.

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Choco
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Quote Bush_Wacker:

As for the original post. Sharing does not exist in an advanced or any other society. Stats like these make me sick to my stomach.

http://www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty-facts-and-stats

Quote Choco:

Grimm stats. Hard to believe our human world is so unbalanced.

I've said throughout this thread that Thom's "sharing" might better be described as cooperating to achieve the solving of problems. That was the actual example he cited. Societies and the people in them sometimes get so programmed and therefore conditioned in their culturally devised methods of solving problems that they forget that cooperating can, actually I would say must be a self actuated act. I don't consider holding a gun to someone's head or putting them in chains in the realm of cooperation.

As far as what's taking place in the world now, I leave the descriptions to people who write books like: Peak Everything: Waking Up to the Century of Declines. Extremely cheap and bountiful energy allowed a huge human population bloom in the past two hundred years, with a lot of technology in between enabling the growth, especially in agriculture. Capitalistic production practices in a neoliberal world system allows for concentrations of wealth supposedly necessary in order to make production possible, which of course also seems to involve the necessity of growth in production in order to create that wealth.

You put those two together and measure the results and I suspect that's what we are seeing on those charts at that link. Experts in the Capitalistic systems get into positions where they can manipulate the results of that wealth-creation and find they are in a position to get to decide for themselves to channel where it goes, and so they do (Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room is a fine example). All you need is a few sociopaths and psychopaths getting themselves into the right places through the right networking connections.

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Quote Tayl44:

Ren,a public bank will create freedom for public economics.When we have economical freedom,we have to be wise enough to be responsible with it,as the present economic kings aren`t.That`s where our humanity will be key.We will have to move from competitive to cooperation or make them "working partners". We learn nothing if we create a world of USA public bank vs China public bank?

Ok. I hear you.

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.ren
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Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

MEJ:

Ok, I am with your narrative now. I invented my own version of the hunter/gatherers' eden back when I first started studying anthropology in the early seventies and discovered hunter gatherers tend to need to put in the least number of hours at survival in a year to survive. While we tend to put in the most in our "advanced" modern technological societies.

I was also, about then, introduced to Jane Jacobs' The Economy of Cities, in conjunction with what's described as world systems of centers and peripheries, where you have the centers, the cities, giving rise to development and exploitation of the peripheries, and that development includes the rise of agriculture as peripheral technique (as Ellul would have it) related to the support for the growing economies of cities, which probably began as a relationship to trade centralization of gathering points in trade routes rather than as a relationship to agriculture. Agricultural practices modified and expanded as an adjunct to those cities.

In world systems terms today, the extent of that technique's expansion is why 7 billion people can exist, mostly in cities now. Combine that with the dependency of those practices themselves on the non annual solar energy transformation technologies arising in the last 200 years and, if one has any sense of the difference between finite and infinite, one might come to a conclusion that's why we need to relearn very quickly how to get some of the millions packed into cities where industrial agriculture displaced them, back to growing food in non industrial agricultural ways (see Richard Hienberg's works, especially Peak Everything: Waking Up to the Century of Declines).

We are not going back to hunters and gatherers in the near future. Note too that in Tainter's work, The Collapse of Complex Societies, he (an archaeologist by training) traces all the past societal collapses to deficiencies of energy in societal problem solving -- and technology with its various related techniques is, essentially, societal problem solving. When the energy called upon to solve problems is insufficient and too expensive, society can't solve its continuously arising expenses and its systems of techniques collapse.

Note that we have experienced a rapid blossoming of technology expansions over the last two hundred years as a result of the discovery of oil and coal. Those reserves have therefore dwindled because they are not infinitely refilling the way sunlight floods the earth with energy daily, whether they are abiotic or biotic in origin (that argument should be considered irrelevant but people like to have their fantasies). Along with that blossoming of technology has gone a blossoming of humanity, somewhat following the same curve as lemmings when they blossom with the food/energy sources of the tundra. Population curves go up with the available energy and those curves rapidly decline. That's the way it is in nature. It's a simple biology<-->energy relationship.

I think that's a brief overview of the situation we face right now. Whether we want to approach it rationally, emotionally, through intuition or some combination of all our human abilities is kind of up to us. And I doubt 7 billion people and growing will come to a common agreement.

Pastoralists, by the way, are an identifiably separate culture type from either hunter gatherers or city/agriculturist/horticulturist complex societal types, though they are probably closer to agriculturalists in that they too use a form of husbandry to effect and transform their environment to suit their practices. And, they can be some of the more aggressive culture types. Ghengis Khan, for instance, built his empire by organizing Mongolian pastoralists into an easily adapted mobile warfare type against more sedentary cities. Mobility and the tensions with the sedentary styles seem to create a natural tension, especially when property is involved. Hunter gatherers are the most commons oriented and least property oriented types of cultures we know of at this time.

Quote MEJ:

People believe all kinds of crazy shit like supply side economics so it wouldn't surprise me if some think Quinn is enlightened, but I'm confident that Quinn knows he's far from that. I doubt he has any kind of a program either. Where'd you get a crazy idea like that?

From people I know who seemed to have joined his tribe.

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.ren
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Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

Let me add just a summary post related to the three I created this morning -- a kind of summary as I see it to this issue of sharing/cooperation. This is simply a quote from Heinberg's analysis of waking up to a century of declines in the resources that make our modern technnological societies possible:

Quote Richard Heinberg:

I believe we must and can de-industrialize agriculture. The general outline of what I mean by de-industrialization is simple enough: a radical reduction of fossil fuel inputs to agriculture, accompanied by an increase in labor inputs and a reduction of transport, with production being devoted primarily to local consumption.

Once again, fossil fuel depletion almost ensures that this will happen. But at the same time, it is fairly obvious that if we don’t plan for de-industrialization, the result could be catastrophic. It’s worth taking a moment to think about how events might unfold if the process occurs without intelligent management, driven simply by oil and gas depletion.

Facing high fuel prices, family farms would declare bankruptcy in record numbers. Older farmers (the majority, in other words) would probably choose simply to retire, whether they could afford to or not. However, giant corporate farms would also confront rising costs — which they would pass along to consumers by way of dramatically higher food prices.

Yields would begin to decline — in fits and starts — as weather anomalies and water shortages affected one crop after another.

Meanwhile, people in the cities would also feel the effects of skyrocketing energy prices. Entire industries would falter, precipitating a general economic collapse. Massive unemployment would lead to unprecedented levels of homelessness and hunger.

Many people would leave cities looking for places to live where they could grow some food. Yet they might find all of the available land already owned by banks or the government. Without experience of farming, even those who succeeded in gaining access to acreage would fail to produce much food and would ruin large tracts of land in the process.

Eventually these problems would sort themselves out; people and social systems would adapt — but probably not before an immense human and environmental tragedy had ensued.

I wish I could say that this forecast is exaggerated for effect. Yet the actual events could be far more violent and disruptive than it is possible to suggest in so short a summary.

Heinberg, Richard (2010-08-27). Peak Everything: Waking Up to the Century of Declines (pp. 55-56). Perseus Books Group. Kindle Edition.

As Heinberg said, "I wish I could say this forecast is exaggerated for effect."

We 7 billion and more every day humans on this planet are facing perhaps our greatest challenge to finding ways of cooperating in the history of our species. We have cooperated ourselves into this mess. Even war can be seen as an organized form of cooperation, where through an internationally formalized and organized set of rules that involves the application of ever sophisticated technologies, people can decide who gets what and so forth, and how that gets sorted out. Like, for instance, arguing about which currency gets to fund the movement of petroleum through the system, fueling all the economic processes, may not solve the problem of the growing crisis between the need for expanding economies in the world and a peak in the ability to extract highly concentrated energy from the bowels of the planet, but if the argument involves war, it could solve some of the population problems through the technological application of war. Can we cooperate ourselves out of this mess?

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.ren
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.ren Capitalistic production practices in a neoliberal world system allows for concentrations of wealth supposedly necessary in order to make production possible, which of course also seems to involve the necessity of growth in production in order to create that wealth.

You put those two together and measure the results and I suspect that's what we are seeing on those charts at that link. Experts in the Capitalistic systems get into positions where they can manipulate the results of that wealth-creation and find they are in a position to get to decide for themselves to channel where it goes, and so they do (Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room is a fine example). All you need is a few sociopaths and psychopaths getting themselves into the right places through the right networking connections.

I know we've used this analogy before but it bears repeating. A cancer cell's primary function is to consume and expand. It does not know that it's very existence seals its own doom because it consumes the host it feeds upon until the host dies and when the host dies the cancer dies. The exception is when there is a successful intervention and we’re still waiting for that here on earth. Are we collectively smarter than a cancer cell?

I was being interviewed for a position on my local town council and again as a planning manager. We got into discussions about my experience and vision and I eventually asked the mayor about his vision for the town. He started looking at me quizzically. I asked him about his thinking on preserving and developing unique historical characteristic in the town, about his thinking on franchises and big box stores. I told him if the council was considering a Wall Mart that I’d be opposed to it. He raised his well-manicured eyebrows at that. Then it got interesting.

We have a housing glut here in the Seattle Eastside area and most places. I asked him about the policy of developing housing subdivisions when there were so many houses on the market already. I said if it is viewed as necessary for a town of 5,000 to expand in order to thrive, doesn’t that hold true of a town of 10,000, 50,000, a million, seven million? His brow furrowed a bit waiting for me to get to my point. I said it seems every town council and every chamber of commerce has this penchant for expansion. It often is not sustainable because as residential and businesses expand they consume productive farm and forest land. I asked about cost/benefit logic of viewing the revenue coming to the city through increased tax base vs. the infrastructure development and maintenance cost it would take for that increase. Is there a gain after development of the extra sewer systems, storm drain systems, detention ponds, catch basins, schools, police force, fire department, schools, or does the cost of the infrastructure exceed the increased tax base gains? He and the panel looked at me and the mayor shrugged and said something to the tune of, You know that’s a damn good question. I can’t answer that.

My thinking is that there is no reason to automatically push for a larger tax base, more homes and sprawl when the net financial gains or losses to the city are not known. No wonder so many communities are operating in the red.

BTW, I didn’t get the position.

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Choco
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Worthwhile thoughts to think about Choco.

One thing about cancer cells is not one of them seem to have the capacity for self reflection and then the ability to share what they reflect about.

Now, one thing I haven't brought out anywhere in my comments on this thread, nor anywhere on this board, is that I have long looked at human cultures as elaborations on the forms and practices of sharing, some of which become quite diseased as they elaborate. Even the simplified, flexible and very intimate versions of group coherence and sharing that we find in hunter gatherer cultures offer evidence that we humans will develop rituals of sharing practices -- formalities, shall we say, that involve expectations, like how the hunter shares his or her kill, and how the gatherer shares his or her gatherings. Investigate what little anthropologists have discovered about hunter gathering cultures if anyone hasn't heard of it, it's interesting.

The larger the group, the more elaborate those rituals and the parts of the players in the ritual may become, and often the more calcified, thus more restricted in their ability to adapt practices that will change with environmental circumstances in order that the whole of society can share fairly. We are now seeing that human "grouping" tendency growing world-wide exponentially as the species flowers. Business systems and Politics, for example, would be among those elaborations on the basic human forms of ritualized sharing. And your example with your city council and it's concerns about sharing itself by offering "growth" opportunities offers us an opportunity to see how the ritual of sharing the land and community works itself out. (By the way, I commend you for your efforts to get involved.)

Your very way of putting the problem is part of today's culture's way of ritualizing it, and it's done in terms of some economics-created formula like "cost-benefits".

Another stepping-back perspective (that no cancer cell or group of cancer cells can do either one would assume since they can kill the host and themselves along with it), which would be related to my above quote from Heinberg and our need to de-industrialize agriculture (from a "we as a species" perspective) seems to be impossible to ritualize into that formula. The people that play their roles in the ritual appear to have built in rules about their roles and those rules limit the kinds of formulas they allow into the play. Witness our president playing the mayoral role of pandering to the business interests in expanding its place in a community. In other words, the play within the rule set has no narrative frame for the species "we" sharing that we (from an objective perspective) need to do starting right now in order to stop killing the host.

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.ren
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Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

It seems that Thom's move is to base a choice in some scientific reality. Not a paradigm but a "fact": "sharing is in our DNA." Well, there are a lot of things "in our DNA." On what basis do "we" choose which things to utilize or integrate into our culture?

Well, I think "civilization" has produced something valuable here. We no longer, when speaking of "politics", speak only of interest but also of "ideals." Each individual is working with a set of ideas inherited from culture, so it impossible to divorce the individual's "interest" from the ideas which have been used to shape our society.

But we have to step back from "we" and ask: "How can our differences be resolved?" If we are talking about the relatinship between pragmatic action (to deal with "peak everything") and ideals (the cultural forms necessary to adapt to the new reality which is coming through some combination of necessity and willful action), and "we" are going to embrace "sharing" (cooperation), then how can "we" become dominant?

How can society be transformed into something like .ren's community, or how can the root ideas or attidunal dispositionalities be correlated through abstract meta-teleological temporal disbifurcation?

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nimblecivet
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Thought this might be of interest: http://www.grain.org/article/entries/4486-farmers-demand-the-world-bank-and-wall-street-stop-grabbing-their-lands-at-opening-of-the-bank-s-annual-conference-in-washington-dc

...

The World Bank has for decades pushed a market-based approach to land management based on its political and economic recipes for poverty reduction. It has promoted land privatisation and sought to create the conditions for land markets to be established by transforming traditional and customary land rights into ready-to-be-marketed titles and by funding land-titling programs in many countries -- in support of a corporate-led agri-industrial model of development.

Emphasis mine.

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Pastoralists take the role of alpha in the flock or herd and are the defenders of the group against predators. The famous Hatfield McCoy feud was likely a result of cultural tendencies evolved by herdsmen.This may also be why Afganistan and the region remain highly tribalized and violent to outsiders. Agriculturalists traditionally have been the most cooperative because tasks of planting and harvesting require lots of people to complete in a limited amount of time. Collapse is also a pertinent book on these subjects.

Disbifurcation?...okay nimble...in Collapse, Diamond gives both top-down and bottom-up examples of societies that overcome precipitating collapse, btw. Not only does he provide historical examples of successes and failures of societies, his eariler book, Guns Germs and Steel is superb in illuminating the history of real wealth (as opposed to phantom wealth and money) creation.

I'm always baffled by the lack of any mention about democratic mundialization. Isn't democracy the political method of cooperation? Aren't we all suffering from a lack of international democratic institutions?

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MEJ
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

The best way to get to Ren's community and transforming society,is hunting & farming & etc.. for/as one. Economics can bring us together or "destroy us"!

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tayl44
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Nimblecivet (post 219), Thom hypothesizes that sharing is in our DNA. Some "experts" on the human mind hypothesize humans are programmable blank slates at birth. My psychology 101 class, which came packaged with an extremely boring lab, taught that version and I decided not to get into psychology.

Chomsky pretty much destroyed that blank slate hypothesis using forms of inductive and deductive reasoning about human language behaviors to get at the mysteries of our minds, mysteries that the blank slate version simply ignores because they tend get n the way of their psychological theories involving modifications of behavior, which were important theories intertwined with industrial methods of getting people to behave as armies, whether those armies be involved in assembling automobiles or destroying other armies, cities, and what not that armies tend to do.

Chomsky simply stepped back, observed human behavior, especially language behavior, and asked questions with fairly obvious to observe answers that Skinner, in their great debate around 1960, could not answer with his behavior modification theories. Behaviorist theory of how language is acquired by a child, for instance, simply went up in smoke as his little binary computer mind fried trying to create some sort of pretzel answer to what is utterly obvious: the child is uniquely equipped at birth to learn language. Sort of made a fool of the whole "discipline" of behavior modification as a theory of mind creation, though obviously anyone can train both humans and their pets with its principles. And so I got interested in psychology again.

I don't have any great magic conclusion to make in response to your points. I simply say that humans are more a mystery than a known to me. I think we have much greater potential to create ways of living in response to the environments we find ourselves in than we take advantage of collectively. I find in my own relationships with others that some of the reasons for a lack of creativity seem to involve what appears to me to be a kind of adherence to what I deem "ritualistic" behavior, not ideas, or paradigms people might step back and think about, though it doesn't seem to make much difference to their adherence to their patterned behaviors if they do step back and observe. I don't know why that is. I don't think it's as simple as stupidity.

I think in actually working together, as those four year-olds in Thom's referenced study were doing, people can transform themselves. A lot of the process is mysterious, and I would say existential for each person involved. In transforming ourselves we use our human gifts, including the traditions we learn imbedded in the languages we acquire from whatever language group by the time we are about three years of age.

As an aside, let me recall for those who have gone into this to any degree that three is about the age when cognitive psychologists determined (last I knew, anyway) that children have pretty much mastered the grammar of their language and are ready to go on and begin to work on other social features of the various communities they are born into, moved into, or whatever. Which involves more stages of learning, it seems, with certain pre-set cut-off periods where learning/acquisition occurs without much intellectual effort. We have witnessed a blossoming of all sorts of theories about that now. In some stages of development a human just needs to be exposed and the mind sort of makes it happen, kind of like solving a problem while we sleep and we wake up fresh in the morning with an answer. Like in learning language, we can acquire numerous languages before a certain age, somewhere around twelve, at that point we can be truly multi-lingual. After that, we have to patch new languages into our mind through an intellectualized learning process.

So what I'm trying to express amounts to this: humans appear to be able to work together dynamically and creatively to create what we intellectually deem to be societies. Through that process, we now have created these complex sets of institutions with their standardized rule-set relationships occurring on a mass level involving millions of people. And we call that society. What you are referring to as "ren's community" is not that form of society to me. And I don't see how it's possible for that to be transformed into what I talk about at the local level, which is fairly natural and easy to achieve by the people actually doing it. The macro organization and the micro local organizing are utterly different kinds of relationships and their processes occur differently. Different in kind. That difference of course involves those features you've noticed humans can do, that is, think in terms of paradigms, create ideas and those kinds of abstract mental structures about society. I think those features are necessary in order that sociological propaganda itself can occur on a mass level. What we are capable of with our innate gifts in small groups has been transformed with those macro capabilities.

I don't know if achieving that actually occurred as a process of bifurcation that needs to be disbifurcated. I know that when I and others walk away from the centers -- cities are what I refer to as centers -- our world view can change dramatically as we do things together and create new experiences, working things out as we go, using language as a medium between us, not a paradigmatic program couched as ideas to operate out of and according to, the way it works so well in rule-bound institutions where people can smile or not, appear to be human with each other or not, but the job still gets done. I know that much from experience.

By the way, I think that example in your post 220 is interesting, in that it illustrates the problem of communicating that arises when that macro process of creating rules from the centers for millions of people are applied to people who work creatively at the local level. That communication process itself is transformative. The indigenous populations are having to learn to speak the language of the macro process, which is the World Bank Institution and all that's been created with it. And what we get of it through a news piece like the one you referenced is from which perspective, would you think? (That was asked merely as a rhetorical question, I don't need an answer)

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Tayl, the best way to get to my community depends on where you're coming from.

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MEJ, I consider Collapse and Guns Germs and Steel to both be worth the read. But I'm also acutely aware while reading them that the author is not an anthropologist and he violates some agreed-upon understandings within anthropology that I think could have either shortened the two works or else might have taken his speculations in different directions.

Joseph Tainter, who Diamond references of course, as any collapse writer must if they are serious about the subject, is writing out of the anthropological tradition as an archaeologist. His book from about 1988, The Collapse of Complex Societies (New Studies in Archaeology), is both elegant in theoretical design and eloquently concise in its supporting archaeologically and historically-based supporting evidence. I think there's a reason why Diamond's thick book on collapse is now going for $12.24 while Tainter's much thinner book is going for $38.12. Please note I am not trying to put Diamond or his work down, just pointing out differences in perspective and maybe a difference in what they share in their works. I can easily apply Tainter's theory to what's taking place on a world scale now through this process of neoliberalism, whereas Diamond's works are all over the place. That's also an important reality I consider when trying to make sense of the world.

In terms of "mundializing" democracy... I think applying the term "democracy" to any political organization is problematic. When societies reach a size where people no longer can be consciously networked through familial relationships, their democratic communications by necessity get formalized through representation. We are witnessing the corruptability that can occur through that process today as the corporations use features of our capitalist based society to take control of the representation process. I think that's more inevitable than less.

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Ren,i`m coming from #214 "I hear you Tayl". Can a public bank get to your community?

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Quote tayl44:

Ren,i`m coming from #214 "I hear you Tayl". Can a public bank get to your community?

There are bills in both the Senate and House here state of Washington to create a public bank.

HB 1320

SB 5238

Once that's established, we can create one here in my community if people want to.

Washington State Public Bank Coalition

In my community we have a community chartered, non profit Credit Union. At the moment that's the closest we have here to a public bank. That's where I bank.

I know about public banking.

Now, do you have anything to say about the thread topic?

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I suspect that the volume of print demand and the current supply of the books better accounts for the difference in pricing, ren.

I'm afraid that your third paragraph in post #225 is an example of your failing to fruitfully engage in an exchange of ideas due to a bias in your positions. You say a word is problematic and that formalization of communications through representation is inherently corruptable and then return to familial exchange. This is the same mental error that the tribe of Quinn commits. For whatever reasons, a bias of the tribal (familial) crerates a lack of engagement and analysis of the macro. It plays into the hands of the kletpocrats who are opposed to a healthy functioning of the polity with the inclusion of the many = democracy.

Democracy is the sharing of decision making within a large group. Your position seems to be that when group size exceeds a certain threshold and employs representation, it's doomed. It's as silly as the arguement that government is too big. Quantity becomes the myoptic focus while quality function and purpose is ignored.

I suspect that the reason that tay brought public banking into the conversation is because public banking is more inclusive than private banking. Public tends toward more sharing than private.

ren, I hope that you accept the criticism in the good faith in which it is offered. I admire your intellect and the information that you share, but it lacks constructive perscription. I don't know if you're just too old and calcified in your views or lazy, but the position that just because group size grows to the point that it becomes really really hard to manage means that we're just plain fucked....it's not helpful.

Perhaps some of you would like to discuss how democracy is a method and exercise in SHARING.

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Well, I think there were some good developments during this thread. I don't see .ren categorically rejecting macro-level dynamics such as democratic processes, he just doesn't see that level of social organization as being existentially valuable.

If you guys are going to go back and forth over a percieved difference in viewpoint related to the macro level of social interaction, maybe at least frame the question as a choice rather than an absolute conflict. But by "choice" I mean really an understanding of the relationship between the two, both in the present and in the future. In the future as it either will or could be, evaluated against what is desireble (from your perspective of course, however slight your precoccupation with that subject may be). Could you do that for me? I'd really appreciate it.

But I get the sense that .ren is not on a "political" campaign per-se.

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Quote MEJ:

I'm afraid that your third paragraph in post #225 is an example of your failing to fruitfully engage in an exchange of ideas due to a bias in your positions. You say a word is problematic and that formalization of communications through representation is inherently corruptable and then return to familial exchange. This is the same mental error that the tribe of Quinn commits. For whatever reasons, a bias of the tribal (familial) crerates a lack of engagement and analysis of the macro. It plays into the hands of the kletpocrats who are opposed to a healthy functioning of the polity with the inclusion of the many = democracy.

Democracy is the sharing of decision making within a large group. Your position seems to be that when group size exceeds a certain threshold and employs representation, it's doomed. It's as silly as the arguement that government is too big. Quantity becomes the myoptic focus while quality function and purpose is ignored.

If you want to invent what I mean from what I say, that's beyond my influence or concern. Nor can I control anyone's fears, though I'll do my best not to be involved in creating them. I said democracy is problematic on a large scale when people lose direct influence, and I explained what I meant in a very different direction than you seem to recognize given your characterization of "return". If you look at indigenous communities, which I have through many anthropological ethnographies, you'll find much taking place that could be deemed democracy, it just works through systems of relationships, like "family". I don't hold any strong views about democracy. It's more a puzzle I can't ever solve, more like, what's in a name? kind of thing.

I see problems going from the existential to the abstract is all. If you want to create a different meaning from that problem, fine with me. Knock yourself out. Corruptibility in representative government is simply a possibility. Or not. Maybe you don't see it. It appears to me and quite a few others to be taking place in this system. In smaller, traditional communities cultural patterns arise to deal with corruption, which seems to be a general human dilemma involved with cooperation, which I see as the basis of all societies. People have done it in a lot of different ways. The larger concern I raised is the problems of energy and large complex social systems, which generally involve a potential for collapse. That's also an element of sharing. Dealing with it through a large set of institutions is like trying to pick up a giant squid with chopsticks, which makes cooperating at that level quite a challenge.

I'm interested in exploring the problem of sharing as Thom presented it, which I would prefer to refine as "cooperating" but sharing works. I think it's an interesting problem. How does existential cooperation become institutional sharing? Let me count the ways... I took up anthropology instead of literature because of questions like that. I see local organization as one of the ways this notion of democracy works as much closer to a form of actual -- as nimblecivet pointed out -- existential cooperation, the sort that those four year olds managed in that puzzle solving experiment. I see structures calling themselves democracy on a very large scale, say a world scale, as something transformative of that existential process.

This thread is open to whatever people want to explore on the topic. I think that's the nature of Thom's board.

Have you actually followed the interchange between tayl44 and me on this thread? What do I have to say to get people to recognize I understand what public banking is about, and how I believe it can benefit small communities? I have promoted it in the past, even on long past boards, along with the idea of creating local currencies. I linked above the public banking coalition here in Washington State which I've joined. I think it's a good thing for all the reasons stated in that web page, and I support the two pieces of legislation proposing it for the state. I have my savings invested as shares in my credit union which go into investing in my community. That's about the extent of my existential sharing on that.

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Quote nimblecivet:

Well, I think there were some good developments during this thread. I don't see .ren categorically rejecting macro-level dynamics such as democratic processes, he just doesn't see that level of social organization as being existentially valuable.

If you guys are going to go back and forth over a percieved difference in viewpoint related to the macro level of social interaction, maybe at least frame the question as a choice rather than an absolute conflict. But by "choice" I mean really an understanding of the relationship between the two, both in the present and in the future. In the future as it either will or could be, evaluated against what is desireble (from your perspective of course, however slight your precoccupation with that subject may be). Could you do that for me? I'd really appreciate it.

But I get the sense that .ren is not on a "political" campaign per-se.

I don't get any sense that I'm on a political campaign here either. I actually don't have much interest in politics except as a curious form of human behavior. I do my best to just describe things and let others decide for themselves whatever they want. Sometimes they get upset, which is also interesting in a kind of curious way. Lord knows if anyone has explored the relativity of words, meaning and reality, I certainly have. I have no way of forcing any of my vague understandings of things on anyone else, even if I wanted the bother involved, which I don't.

People preach democracy and I've tried to understand what it means. I'm still trying.

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Ren,thanks for if info,i already know you support public banking. I guess the main question in both our posts is,"where to go with public banking"? I say how we "get and break bread" is key to how we live together.How will public banking effect the change from capitalism/communism? My opinion is PB should help create a process to get back to basics,a "Garden of Eve". I would put a vote to PB members on,"creating a new money unit that will represent value of capital/skill/labor/social".Of course we wil need a combination of sciences to make this new money a reality.I also would put to a vote,"that PB will buy out all private ownership of land".No private interest should own what is create by God/ Nature.I will stop here with my "PB new ism's" ideas. MEJ,i agree with your reason why i brought PB in the thread,and would add,PB can increase our humanity.(including democracy) Ren, your state is one of 17 states trying for a state bank(if you don`t know already) and probably the closest to becoming a reality.

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Unfortunately no, bro. I'm still playing catch-up (reference to your and tay's discourse). Thanks for being gracious and patient.

Thanks tay. while ren may say that a word is just a word....ah, it's too late...democracy...

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i appreciate all your comments -- all those who have contributed to this thread. I don't have much more to say than that at the moment. Thanks.

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Ren,i appreciate your "Devil advocate" view of human ideas,it push us closer to universal law.I wish Thom could devote a part of his programs to how societys evolve. MEJ, words like ideas and labels are good and bad and inbetween.What they say about "action speak louder than words"?

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Well, Tayl, I can see that we are coming on to some very tough times not that far ahead. And nobody driving the system is decelerating or looking for exits. It's going to take some outside the box thinking backed by vision to deal with it. If we humans don't resurrect our abilities to cooperate with each other, the scenarios of destruction by the 20th Century's wars will be just a prelude. But it doesn't have to be that way.

However, given the Oligarchic structure that's evolved on the planet under the banner of "democracy" I don't see that change coming from Wall Street, which essentially now runs the polititical system centered in Washington DC.

On another thread, Antifascist linked this 12:36 minute interview from RT (ironically, yet fittingly, that's Russia Today) Television. It's a very brief but reasonably good narrative overview from one of our more experientially informed and now insightful outside the box thinkers (Chris Hedges) of the coming collapse of the globalization process. I believe that you, especially, will appreciate his analysis of where the bail-out money could have been directed, funding something like regional public banks which would then service the infrastructure and local economies (where actual cooperative and sharing efforts can take place), rather than the billions handed to the criminal oligarchic class headquartered on Wall Street. Whether Obama himself could have done other than what he did is a moot though infinitely distracting point.

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Ren,with the 1% death wish addiction to power,we better be thinking outside the box.I like Chris Hedges, his action speak louder than words.Instead of protesting at the White House,i wish he and other high profile people would try to start a movement to create a grassroots public bank.We don`t replace this system,we will go down with it. It's in our hands to end poverty on earth or end the world? We leave it to the 1%,we might as well make our peace with "whoever"!

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Regarding the impediments to returning to a society that invokes sharing, I wrote the following on another thread, but I think it applies to this discussion as well:

Yes, those are very much in the nature of the impediments I'm referring to. What you are calling "industry" I would broaden to "the technological society" because everyone subscribes to it pretty much one way or another. "Progress" is considered a human ontological given, and we've finally been freed -- thanks to technology -- to fulfill our destiny. The "propaganda" includes images of freedom and other ideological factors that support their belief in their newfound middleclass power.

For instance, thanks to liberation movements bringing all manner of previously designated underclasses into the fold, we now have the power for women to dress up in the latest designs in high heels and nylons, expensive stylish dresses and overcoats, get in their very own cars, drive on a pavement that covers what used to be living, thriving earth, to a large, very smart looking building. It's a wintry day, temperature is in the twenties, they park their freedommobiles in a broad, paved parking lot with rows and rows of parking slots and teeter precariously on icy sidewalks reserved just for humans into that large, heated impressive temple of modernity where the lords of the planet magically create all these wonders, and where they will sit at a desk and do their jobs, thus their part in it all.

Fortunately, because only a tiny percentage of humans know how to grow their own these days, "somehow" packaged food is always displayed beautifully on shelves in their nearby supermarkets, some of it coming thousands of miles to get there through a vertically integrated food system -- which is another way of saying "a house of cards". It now costs only about 10% of their pay to feed themselves, down from about 20% in the nineteen fifties (source, p.47). Nobody is told by mass media that this "miracle" in agricultural productivity is the result of turning oil and natural gas into food (agriculture is the single largest consumer of petroleum products in the U.S (source, p.48)), nor that it results in planet wide massive erosion, salinization of soils, deforestation, fertilizer runoff, dead zones around the mouths of many rivers, loss of biodiversity, and a growing scarcity of fresh water.

Meanwhile, in the comfort of their heated, modern homes, the technological society dispenses perpetual images on TV screens that doing all that is human advancement, and that in doing it, people have gone from some deprived, primitive stage of peasant serfdom to freedom. The very notion of sustainability doesn't even enter their daily equation. They don't feel the slightest bit trapped by their technology that's engulfed them, a vast technological system that forms the very nature of their lives.

That's sociological propaganda.

This is not a new realizaton. Aesthetics may play a larger role than we understand:

Quote Richard Heinberg:

In North America, Frank Lloyd Wright led the “prairie school” of architecture, which sought to make buildings fit into the landscape rather than arbitrarily dominate it. Wright hated the modern industrial city and its ubiquitous symbol, the skyscraper, which he regarded as a “human filing cabinet.” “The skyscraper as the typical expression of the city,” he wrote, “is the human stable, stalls filled with the herd, all to be milked by the system that keeps the animals docile by such fodder as it puts in the manger and such warmth as the crowd instills in the crowd.” 1 Wright viewed the urban street grid and the skyscraper as mere expedients of power and social control with “no higher ideal than commercial success.” A truly democratic society, he argued, must consist of a decentralized, organic human community integrated into the landscape around it.

Heinberg, Richard (2010-08-27). Peak Everything: Waking Up to the Century of Declines (p. 71). Perseus Books Group. Kindle Edition. From Chapter 3: (post-) Hydrocaron Aesthetics

I really like that one... Frank Lloyd Wright saw the skyscraper as a "human filing cabinet". Bless the artists and their anachronistic anarchy. How many people would seriously give up being "filed" every day in order to regain their humanity and become part of a cooperative human culture of some kind? Think of their loss of freedom...

In that light, 9/11 was essentially the spectacular collapse of some human filing cabinets. If they weren't there in the first place, representing the ostentatious wealth of a nation, could there even be a 9/11 event?

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Ren,on this road of life, the hunt for food/safety/humanity show see no limits on dreams and nightmares becoming realities.Our hunt for a better life can probably lead to our destruction,and that would be a mistake. Most people want to do the right thing,when they know better,even the 1%.Ren,your post from another thread is right-on,even with a control message mass media,the public is waking up.Nobody has anwser the question,"Why they hate us" and after 2008 bailout of "Them",the public eyes and minds become even more open.The logic say,"if this is what the good life human filing cabinets lead to" (9/11) ,there have to be a better way! A better way is our DNA! Even mistakes,at least we`re trying. Ren,the very important point you alway make,the closer we stay to our humanity,the lesser the mistakes we will make.That is "Very Important"! A test for any idea should be its relationship to "humanity"! In all aspects.

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Here you go, tayl, Sacramento Dave is talking your language.

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Ren, Dave sure is and i post some additional ideas on the thread. Thanks

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So now I've done some homework on the Ellul stuff and I can say that that view is kind of cynical, pessimistic and represents half of the equation. To balance the function I offer Michael Bowens with his views concerning Political Economy of Reciprocation. Or ya might want to surf from here......

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MEJ and all,capitalism and communism and socialism was all good ideas when they was born,so what can we learn from them to present a new idea? I would start off with,all these past ideas had a gut level reaction from the grassroots.The logic say any idea without a gut level connection to the grassroots will have a problem with being accepted? What about the language of ideas?

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Here's an excerpt from an essay found on Ernest Callenbach's computer after he passed from this world less than a month ago, April 16. The essay is titled: Epistle to the Ecotopians. The whole essay is fitting, but in these paragraphs he mentions the hope of discovery and renewal through cooperations:

Quote Ernest Callenbach:

Learn to live with contradictions. These are dark times, these are bright times. We are implacably making the planet less habitable. Every time a new oil field is discovered, the press cheers: “Hooray, there is more fuel for the self-destroying machines!” We are turning more land into deserts and parking lots. We are wiping out innumerable species that are not only wondrous and beautiful, but might be useful to us. We are multiplying to the point where our needs and our wastes outweigh the capacities of the biosphere to produce and absorb them. And yet, despite the bloody headlines and the rocketing military budgets, we are also, unbelievably, killing fewer of each other proportionately than in earlier centuries. We have mobilized enormous global intelligence and mutual curiosity, through the Internet and outside it. We have even evolved, spottily, a global understanding that democracy is better than tyranny, that love and tolerance are better than hate, that hope is better than rage and despair, that we are prone, especially in catastrophes, to be astonishingly helpful and cooperative.

We may even have begun to share an understanding that while the dark times may continue for generations, in time new growth and regeneration will begin. In the biological process called “succession,” a desolate, disturbed area is gradually, by a predictable sequence of returning plants, restored to ecological continuity and durability. When old institutions and habits break down or consume themselves, new experimental shoots begin to appear, and people explore and test and share new and better ways to survive together.

It is never easy or simple. But already we see, under the crumbling surface of the conventional world, promising developments: new ways of organizing economic activity (cooperatives, worker-owned companies, nonprofits, trusts), new ways of using low-impact technology to capture solar energy, to sequester carbon dioxide, new ways of building compact, congenial cities that are low (or even self-sufficient) in energy use, low in waste production, high in recycling of almost everything. A vision of sustainability that sometimes shockingly resembles Ecotopia is tremulously coming into existence at the hands of people who never heard of the book.

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.ren
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and that they could be taken down with box-cutters.....even more amazing. Are we overlooking how simple change can be?

Thanks for your post here. I enjoyed reading about Wright's filing cabinet metaphor - which is spot on. I appreciated the reminder - Learn to live with contradictions.

Quote .ren:

In that light, 9/11 was essentially the spectacular collapse of some human filing cabinets. If they weren't there in the first place, representing the ostentatious wealth of a nation, could there even be a 9/11 event?

Quote Richard Heinberg:

In North America, Frank Lloyd Wright led the “prairie school” of architecture, which sought to make buildings fit into the landscape rather than arbitrarily dominate it. Wright hated the modern industrial city and its ubiquitous symbol, the skyscraper, which he regarded as a “human filing cabinet.” “The skyscraper as the typical expression of the city,” he wrote, “is the human stable, stalls filled with the herd, all to be milked by the system that keeps the animals docile by such fodder as it puts in the manger and such warmth as the crowd instills in the crowd.” 1 Wright viewed the urban street grid and the skyscraper as mere expedients of power and social control with “no higher ideal than commercial success.” A truly democratic society, he argued, must consist of a decentralized, organic human community integrated into the landscape around it.

Heinberg, Richard (2010-08-27). Peak Everything: Waking Up to the Century of Declines (p. 71). Perseus Books Group. Kindle Edition. From Chapter 3: (post-) Hydrocaron Aesthetics

I wish folks would give up being "filed" not likely now that we're headed into baseball season.

media_muse
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Ren,Thanks for Mr.Ernest Callenbach essay and may he R.I.P. You cannot get no more gut level than "dark & light". I would add, as we learn how to live with contradictions,we live to undo them. Example,Main St is a contradiction of owners & workers? Owners want profits,workers want good paying jobs,which is more important,profits or workers? Conflict of interest will be history when workers become owners. That`s the light(cooperation) that will expose the darkness.(competition) Media, people will go to bread & circus till they see something better.Right now,i see no "modern day Founding Fathers" out there? The move your money movement is a equal of the anti-slavery movement,i see nobody taking it to the next level.Maybe after Greece & France today,maybe somebody/something will have courage to go to the next level for economic freedom.We have light,we don`t use it,the darkness will take over!

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You're very welcome, Media_Muse, thank you for hearing what I hoped was in the post. I believe recognizing our own sense of aesthetics is an essential to us all. Through aesthetic appreciation we awaken our authentic voices, because appreciation is real, just as the horror of seeing what we humans are doing is real. It's a simple message, really, but one that cannot be faked with words. And artists like those who were part of that aesthetic rebellion against the inhumanity of industrialization epitomized by Frank Lloyd Wright speak that message. I'm not a spectator of sports, yet maybe because I'm not I can imagine that I know what you mean about not waking up to being filed and another round of baseball season.

Tayl, all I can say is take what contradiction means to you and go where you see you need to go with it. When I read the book Catch 22, by Joseph Heller while I was still a neophyte perceiver/thinker in high school the contradictions all around me came to light in new ways. There's no going back from that.

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Ren,seeing contradictions for what they`re(Catch 22),if we don`t live to undo them,they will live to undo us.I would like to undo the contradiction of owner & worker to become "one". I believe in going forward.

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Currently Chatting

First Columbia took on their drug lords, now they're taking on their billionaires...why can't we?

America’s billionaires are driving this nation’s poverty epidemic. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

As we speak, working-class Americans are getting screwed over by policies that favor the wealthy elite, and leave everyone else in the dust. As a result, more and more Americans are living in poverty.

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