Discovering the Real “Real” World

After much deliberation and hesitation, I have decided to write another book about the same concerns I have expressed in both of my earlier ones: the failure of our present culture to produce flourishing. My reasons are (1) the message still needs to be put out there, and (2) I believe I have come to a much clearer and more powerful way of expressing it. Like all good engineers, I continually am searching for structure to attach ideas that pop up, to make the links among them explicit, to bring them alive. With no apologies for what I have already written, I believe I have come up with such a… Read More

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Science Can’t Dictate Moral Actions

“GMO labeling bill lacks a scientific justification” headlined *The Boston Globe*’s lead editorial on 7/30/14. Here is the first paragraph: > Advances in crop biotechnology over the past 20 years have multiplied the range of so-called genetically engineered foods in the average citizen’s diet. Despite reassurances from the international and US scientific community about the safety of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), the anti-GMO movement continues to gain ground, and has arrived at the state Legislature in the form of a proposal that would create new food-labeling regulations. But until there is a solid scientific reason to believe that genetically modified crops are unhealthy, a labeling requirement would only serve to… Read More

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Institutional Hypocrisy

The lead article in the 7/20/2014 NYTimes Review section is by Arthur, not David, Brooks. Brooks is President of the American Enterprise Institute, a right-leaning think tank. The headline, “Love People, Not Pleasure” pretty much tells the whole story. What is most interesting to me is the source. The AEI is a well-known as a wellspring of neoconservative thinking, and was very influential in George Bush’s Presidency. Brooks begins with a quote from Abd Al-Rahman III, caliph of 10th-century Córdoba. > “I have now reigned above 50 years in victory or peace; beloved by my subjects, dreaded by my enemies, and respected by my allies. Riches and honors, power and… Read More

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Unsustainability in Unusual Places

I am going to physical therapy for a painful back. My therapist is a voluble woman with a deep interest in flourishing. She offered a most interesting piece of data on the deteriorating state of human Being. She has noticed over her 25 years or so of practice that people’s posture and general musculo-skeletal health has gotten increasing worse. She sees that very young children cannot squat with ease. This may sound unimportant but squatting is a common position for much of the global population and is important in maintaining bodily health. Bad posture is often the result of long-term mental stress and prolonged positioning that puts physical stress on… Read More

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Our Hidden Civil War

Maybe you saw this recent little news [item](http://www.vocativ.com/culture/society/dicks-pick-trucks-meme-rollin-coal/): > “Rollin’ Coal” Is Pollution Porn for Dudes With Pickup Trucks > Diesel drivers in rural America have been modifying their trucks to spew out black soot, then posting pics to the Internet. They hate you and your Prius. I thought that a few millennia might teach us not to use nature to punish our enemies. Only the medium has changed, perhaps because most of our water comes through pipes. But not entirely as open water reservoirs are a prime terrorist target. Seriously, it is a pretty sad day when people in our presumably civilized country start to exchange rhetoric for real… Read More

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The Devil Is in the Details

One of my favorite targets for critical blogs is David Brooks. I generally find Brooks worth reading, either because he has stumbled into something interesting or he is far from the mark. Today, his [column](http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/04/opinion/david-brooks-social-science-palooza-iv.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=c-column-top-span-region&region=c-column-top-span-region&WT.nav=c-column-top-span-region) was in the latter category. As a preface, I may simply be in a terrible mood today because it hasn’t stopped pouring for a long time, the radar map says it won’t for perhaps another day, and my roof started leaking again. In lieu of celebrating July 4th, Brooks was celebrating social science: > A day without social science is like a day without sunshine. Fortunately, every morning Kevin Lewis of National Affairs magazine gathers… Read More

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All about Care (2)

I am more and more convinced that the way to flourishing is through Being. Understanding Being takes us onward to care, a central concept in my framework to move modern society out of the unsustainability trajectory. This poses a big problem because Being is an elusive concept both per se and in practice. Being is to humans as water is to fish. It is the medium within which we exist, but cannot be aware of it until we are removed from it. Fish can never understand that they live in water because they lack the cognitive capability, and would quickly pass out of existence if they were removed from it.… Read More

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