Seeing the World Through Soda Straws

Nicholas Christakis takes social science to task in an [article](http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/21/opinion/sunday/lets-shake-up-the-social-sciences.html?ref=opinion&_r=0) in the NYTimes Sunday Review of July 19th. He complains that the social sciences haven’t exploded as the natural sciences have in the past few decades. > TWENTY-FIVE years ago, when I was a graduate student, there were departments of natural science that no longer exist today. Departments of anatomy, histology, biochemistry and physiology have disappeared, replaced by innovative departments of stem-cell biology, systems biology, neurobiology and molecular biophysics. Taking a page from Darwin, the natural sciences are evolving with the times. The perfection of cloning techniques gave rise to stem-cell biology; advances in computer science contributed to systems biology.… Read More

Continue Reading

Can Frankenfood Save the Earth

If the only tool you have is a hammer, then everything in the world looks like a nail (to be banged into something). If the scope expands and all you have is a complicated technological system, than the world looks like a lots of problems waiting for you. That’s my quick appraisal of a provocative [article](http://e360.yale.edu/feature/new_green_vision_technology_as_our_planets_last_best_hope_/2671/) that appeared in Yale Environment 360. The author, Fred Pearce, reports on the evolution of a group, claiming to save the environment through technology. His article is entitled, “New Green Vision: Technology As Our Planet’s Last Best Hope.” Here’s the abstract from the Yale on-line magazine. > The concept of ecological modernism, which sees… Read More

Continue Reading

Institutional Blindness

An extract from a the NYTimes article: WASHINGTON — China’s growth has slowed significantly in recent months. But even its current pace of expansion may not be sustainable, the International Monetary Fund warned on Wednesday, unless China starts making significant and systemic economic changes — and soon. . . “A decisive shift toward a more consumption-based growth path has yet to occur,” the I.M.F. said. “Accelerating the transformation of the growth model remains the main priority.” Life in China has historically, like many poor countries, been difficult, but is this the way to alleviate it? Continuous grown is not only not sustainable, but it is a primary cause of unsustainability.… Read More

Continue Reading

Taking the First Step

Since my book has come out, I have had many readers ask me what can they do about reversing the present trends and put us on the road to flourishing. This is a very tough, but telling, question because the causes lie deep in the unconsciousness of our collective culture and of everyone. We are all part of a complex system whose response to human activities is far from predictable as is the case in any truly complex system. Here’s my immediate response. Do not continue to apply technological and technocratic solutions based on scientific knowledge. While science can unscramble parts and pieces of the complex world, it always leaves… Read More

Continue Reading

Mindfulness and Care

I hope you don’t give up on this blog. There is just too much going on to keep blogging on a schedule. There are too many ways to enjoy the summer, which has finally showed up in Maine after a week of pretty constant rain. I was inspired today by an [article](http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/07/opinion/sunday/the-morality-of-meditation.html?ref=opinion&_r=0) in the NYTines Sunday review section, entitled, “The Morality of Meditation,” by David DeSteno, a professor of psychology at Northeastern University in Boston. The title is a bit misleading. It’s more about the impact of meditation on acting empathetically than about morals. The example used to relate meditation to enhanced empathetic behavior is an experiment where the behavior… Read More

Continue Reading