Internet Addicts Anonymous

For a long time I have been asserting that technology, which has become a generic remedy for all our concerns, is a cultural addiction. We almost always look to some form of technology whenever a society-wide problem crops up, but also turn to some device to solve our individual problems. The results of such mindless, reactive practices are several-fold. First, the underlying problem is usually left unaddressed, leaving the causes in place waiting to produce more symptoms after a while. This pattern is called fixes-that-fail by systems thinkers. If the root causes persist over long periods, the behavior shifts to a more pathological pattern of addiction or “shifting-the-burden.” Here the… Read More

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Thanksgiving 2015

It is a beautiful New England autumn day. I am sitting in my third floor office looking out at a sunlit scene. The hammering that has been incessant for several weeks is missing. Construction is all around our house. Ruth is downstairs making pies to take with us to friends for dinner. Our family. It is a perfect day to reflect. Being in a philosophical mood these days, the first thing that crosses my mind is, “What does it mean to be thankful?” I find this question very difficult to probe. What does it mean to be thankful? To what or whom are we directing our thanks? Is thankfulness the… Read More

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Finding Care in Other Places

My wife and I belong to a Cinema Club where we see and discuss movies that are about to hit the screens. Today the film was a “documentary” titled, “Where to Invade Next.” After all the war-like occurrences in the last few weeks, I nearly left as I read the title. But I read further and saw that this was the latest movie by Michael Moore, who has brought us some terrific provocative flicks in the past. I am very glad I stayed, as the film is as good as anything he has done. Starting with the premise that the US is in a perpetual state of war, Moore decides… Read More

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More Than Ever, We Need Reason

I have been taking a short break. Sorry not to let you know in advance. I am running a bit short on thoughts these days. I find it very hard to keep focused on flourishing when there is so much bad stuff going on in the world. Some of my more critical concepts are taking a beating. The tragedies in Paris and elsewhere perpetrated by Islamic terrorists show a complete absence of care and connectedness to the world. The best word I find to describe these murderers is inhuman. They lack any characteristics I would use in talking about what it means to be a human being. They live in… Read More

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Wake Up!

We have passed a milestone that we need to acknowledge. Slate published news about a critical event in the ongoing saga about climate change. This is not some theoretical prediction. This is real. It’s past the time to talk about climate change and get down to business. Maybe this will propel action at the forthcoming COP meeting. > On Monday, scientists at Britain’s national weather service, the Met Office, said our planet will finish this year more than one degree Celsius warmer than preindustrial levels for the first time. That figure is halfway to the line in the sand that scientists say represents “dangerous” climate change and global leaders have… Read More

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Sustainability on the Campus

Last week, I traveled to Monterrey, Mexico to deliver a lecture about sustainability, I was very impressed with the degree that sustainability has spread on the Campus. They have an active program to green the campus, and many degree paths involving sustainability. That’s the good news. The downside is that, like virtually everybody doing sustainability, they are focused on reducing unsustainability. As a technological university, the underlying approach is to use technology to lighten our load on the Earth. At the same time the underlying causes for all the aspects of unsustainability—environmental damage and social distress—are mostly unexamined. My lecture pointed to this and urged the University to augment its… Read More

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The Neuroscience of Care

I am teaching an on-line class, based on my first book, *Sustainability by Design: A Subversive Strategy for Transforming our Consumer Culture*. We are currently discussing the centrality of Being and care to flourishing. Flourishing and authentic Being are virtually synonymous. Both have the essential meaning as attaining the full human potential in the processes of life. Humans are constrained by both nature and nurture. Our genes set some limits on what we can do. Men, so far, cannot bear children although the current status of gender may change this. Very short women would find it exceedingly difficult to find a spot on the US Olympic Basketball team. Nurture, that… Read More

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