Lost Wonder

My wife and I made our annual trek to Brunswick, Maine earlier this week. We spend the summer in an old cottage by the ocean. We have been coming here for almost 30 years, the last 10 for the whole summer, enabled by retirement for both of us. The place sits on a peninsula, called Mere Point, about 20 feet from Maquoit Bay. The bay is one of many such water bodies formed when the retreat of the Ice Age glaciers carved out the peninsulas. I can look out over the water and see the mainland which forms the horizon for the setting sun everyday. We are in one of… Read More

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Visualizing Sustainability

One of my colleagues from the Marlboro College MBA in Managing Sustainability sent me this very interesting link. It’s a collection of visual presentations relating to sustainability or subjects closely tied to the basic concept by Samuel Mann, Associate Professor at Otago Polytechnic, in Dunedin, New Zealand. The collection at the link contains some 270 items. Mann continues to add to it and has issued an open request to send him more examples. The number of entries is a bit overwhelming in conveying a relatively concise, common picture of what sustainability means. Many spring from the triad of the UNCED (Brundtland) notion of sustainable development. I picked two at random… Read More

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Jung and Sustainability

I’m back from California and about to head for Maine. The Conference on the Aesthetics of Change was terrific. I was surrounded by depth psychologists, mythology scholars, and Jungians. I went thinking Jungians were another species, but came back happy to find that they were humans just like me. Not only are they not aliens, but they think a lot like me when it comes to changing psyches whether in individuals (they) or whole cultures (me). One of the speakers, Ernest Rossi, talked about how aesthetic experiences triggered neuronic evolution in the brain, creating learning. What I had thought to be pretty far out is now being found in many… Read More

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Sustainability and the Psyche

Flying to Santa Barbara from Boston takes all day and two changes on the way. Except for the inevitable nervousness about missing connections, it was a pretty uneventful flight. I had gotten a window seat so I could spot the mountains as we got over the West and was not disappointed. The last remnants of snow were visible from my window as I peered over the wing. I am on my way to speak about sustainability to a group who largely think of culture change in terms of personal transformation and enlightenment. But I thought as I kept my gaze focused on the beauty of the Rockies that we all,… Read More

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Away for a Few Days

I’ll be away for the next few days and unsure of internet access. I am going to participate in a conference on The Aesthetic Nature of Change, sponsored by the [Institute for Cultural Change](http://www.mythology.org/index.php). This is what they say about themselves. > ICC Mission > The Institute for Cultural Change seeks to promote individual, ecological, and cultural evolution through the development of educational models that foster curiosity, imagination, personal reflection, and cross-cultural dialogue. > > ICC Vision > Our aim is to create and connect an impassioned global community committed to altering how we humans might relate to our self, each other and the natural world less destructively, to discover… Read More

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Changing Behavior Can Be Fun

I stumbled on a fascinating project sponsored by Volkwagen called Fun Theory. The idea is simple but elegant. Design “games” that are fun to play and teach lessons about the importance of taking care of the world at the same time. It’s not too hard to design objects to contain hidden values that enter one’s consciousness when they are used. The challenge is to get people to use them. Some examples are built on making the objects impossible to avoid, like a speed bump or a two-button toilet. When you encounter these artifacts they break into your consciousness and become present. After repeated encounters, you take away the lessons and… Read More

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Experts and Wimps

The experts are ruining the world. The technocrats we’ve counted on to run the machines, institutions and systems of our advanced civilization have not only failed to protect us from disasters, they now admit that they don’t have a clue as to why they failed. In just the past few weeks, we’ve seen top experts confess that they don’t know what they are doing. This lede taken from an article in MarketWatch has half the story right, but badly misses the most salient point. The news story driving the article is a set of exculpatory statements made recently by a diverse group of “experts” disclaiming their responsibility in each of… Read More

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Jeremiah Without God in the Wings

Again I turn to James Carroll for the source of a blog post. Carroll recalls the prophet Jeremiah in his[ weekly op-ed](http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2010/05/10/the_jeremiads_of_spring/) piece in the Boston Globe this week. Jeremiah railed at the Jews for breaking their covenant with God, warning them that great misfortunes would be the consequence. The destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians follows in the story. Carroll begins by referring to a recent book by Tony Judt that rails against the way we live today, not so much as disobeying God, but not paying attention to our own moral ends. In, [*Ill Fares the Land*](http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2010/apr/08/ill-fares-the-land/?pagination=false), Judt points out the great disparities between wealth and other measures… Read More

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Opening Up Our Maine Cottage

It’s that time of year again. We celebrate the New Year three times. One is the opening up of our summer place in Brunswick early in May. It’s still too cold to enjoy fully, but the anticipation of the summer ahead makes up for any shivering. We will start staying in earnest towards the end of the month. In the meantime, I truly don’t know if I am coming or going . We are never sure what we will encounter after leaving it unattended all winter. Well, not entirely unattended. Some years, the mice and other critters make a winter home of it, leaving us with by now abandoned nests… Read More

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Complexity (Again) Rears Its Ugly Head on Wall Street

This week we saw a huge swing in the stock markets. Being an investor rather than a trader (my livelihood in retirement depends on the assets I hold), I saw my future flash in front of me. And the future was not so good. How could the markets drop a thousand points in an instant? At first, it seemed that it might have been caused by a trader mistakenly typing a “b” instead of an “m” multiplying an order by a thousand fold. The ‘b” key is only two away from the “m” key of a QWERTY keyboard. Today the news is different, discounting this possible cause. The NYTimes reports… Read More

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