Still Confused, Misled, or Being Coy about Sustainability

My colleagues at SCORAI sent me a link to an [article](http://www.huffingtonpost.com/otto-von-troschke/mainstreaming-sustainabilty-in-2015_b_7417006.html) from the Huffington Post with the headline, “Mainstreaming Sustainability in 2015.” When I started to read further, the article was not about sustainability, but, rather, sustainable development. These two are NOT the same, as I have argued over now more than a decade, but to no avail (alas). They are importantly not the same because the concept and practice of sustainable development is one of the reasons the earth has become unsustainable. The article is all about the newly retitled Millennium Development Goals (MDGS), now called the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS). For those unfamiliar with this program, these goals… Read More

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The Autobiographical Self

This post continues themes in the last one. Antonio Damasio uses this phrase to describe, in part, how the brain works. In his several books, including his latest, *Self Comes to Mind*, he develops arguments to explain how emotions feelings, and other seemingly tangible products of cognitive activity come to be. He sees them all as products of neuronal processes. Damasio importantly, unlike Descartes, defines both mind and self as descriptions of neural activity or processes, not as material entities. He carefully describes the mind as not being some entity, > “The term mind, as I use it in this book, encompasses both conscious and unconscious operations. It refers to… Read More

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The “Self,” Not Technology, Can Save Us

School’s out for me. I am done with the course I have been leading at my school for gaffers: The Harvard Institute of Learning in Retirement. My course, titled, “Who am I really?,” examined how the concepts of “self” has evolved over time from premodern days to our arguably post-modern era. The course text was *On Being Authentic* by Charles Guignon, a philosophy professor at U. of Southern Florida. He traced the evolution of “self” and also described how the related term, authenticity, changed. It was an eye opener to both the class members and to me, even though I have been thinking about a closely related topic, what does… Read More

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The [Mistaken] Nature of Poverty

I have been arguing for more systems thinking for quite a while. It is next to impossible to deal with the persistent problems that are plaguing the US and other nations using only the ubiquitous reductionist frameworks that dominate our thinking. My thoughts about this subject were triggered, as they often are, by a [column](http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/01/opinion/david-brooks-the-nature-of-poverty.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&_r=0) by David Brooks, titled, “The nature of poverty.” Writing in the NYTimes today, Brook is arguing that our efforts to alleviate poverty for the past 4 or 5 decades have failed. He attributes this to a belief that pouring money into poor areas is the solution. Even with some improvement as a result, the recent… Read More

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