Need I Comment?

Another occasional post that speaks for itself. Greenwashing is still an issue. This linked NYTimes article suggests it is still a big issue. Although the article is about the continuing practice of making environmental claims that are either false or misleading, I picked up another case of the most misleading line, the use of sustainable as an adjective. > While plenty of companies are bringing more sustainable products to market, others appear less interested in environmental stewardship and more interested in bamboozling their customers. Automobiles and diapers have little to do with sustaining the health of the Earth. It’s all up to us. I see I have commented after all.… Read More

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Where Have All the Flowers Gone

The NYTimes carried this sad [article](http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/17/opinion/our-vanishing-flowers.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=opinion-c-col-right-region&region=opinion-c-col-right-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-right-region&_r=0) about the disappearance of many flower species. Given the intimate linguistic connection between flowers and flourishing, I experienced a deep sense of sadness as I read the story. Here’s the opening paragraph. > Ours is one of the most colorful relationships of history: We need flowers for our very survival, and in turn flowers — the plants that exist as crop cultivars or horticultural cut flowers or potted beauties — rely on us to reproduce and spread. But all is not well in this storied partnership: We who behold or nurture flowers are condemning their wild relatives to extinction at an alarming rate, and… Read More

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Flocking and Flourishing

During my on-line class based on my books last night, I experienced a flash if insight. The class was about complexity; one of the two foundational beliefs I argue is needed to create a new culture of flourishing. One of the overheads I use is a (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aEaZHWXmbRw) of a Nova program on emergence. They use bird flocking, fish schooling, and human crowd behavior as examples of self-organization or emergence. What has been chaotic movement becomes orderly in just a moment. The secret to understand such behavior is to identify a set of simple rules that each individual is following that produce the observed order. For flocking the following rules appear… Read More

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Human Beings Are Not Machines

Excellent article on this topic in the Boston Globe. The difference is critical to flourishing. The machine computer brain already can do marvelous things, but cannot add the context needed for caring. Here are the punch lines. > Machines possess no capacity to will, create, and want. From inside the computational framework, powers like these can only be bracketed or dismissed. If widely accepted, the moral and political implications of such dismissals would be grave. What becomes of democracy, individual liberty, and the right to pursue happiness, if computer-man has no capacities for free choice and is algorithm-driven? > Scientific researchers require guiding analogies and metaphors to help them simplify… Read More

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Think Before You Give Your Six-year Old a Smart Phone

Sherry Turkle has done it again. Her new book, *Reclaiming Conversation*, outdoes her previous book in showing us the dark side of all this wondrous new personal technology. Jonathan Franzen, reviewing the book in the New York Times Sunday Book Review Section captures it much better than I ever could. Here is the key paragraph from his [review](http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/04/books/review/jonathan-franzen-reviews-sherry-turkle-reclaiming-conversation.html). > Her new book, “Reclaiming Conversation,” extends her critique, with less emphasis on robots and more on the dissatisfaction with technology reported by her recent interview subjects. She takes their dissatisfaction as a hopeful sign, and her book is straightforwardly a call to arms: Our rapturous submission to digital technology has led… Read More

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Homo Economicus is a Cultural Artifact

The central thesis of my work is that modern cultures/societies have evolved on a set of fundamental beliefs that do not match the way the world works. Over time, while the institutions of society, based on these beliefs, have become more entrenched, complex, and powerful, they are failing to produce the normative goals of individuals and the larger collective society. This failure is being compounded by the appearance of unintended consequences that loom large enough to pose existential threats to the Earth and its life forms. If this is the case, then the way out of the situation is simple in theory, but exceedingly difficult in practice. Replace the faulty… Read More

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