An open space for global conversation
Greetings to all Occupiers in this cafe.
The "Core Conversation" thread seems to be rife with talk of a different structure and process for what we call our "economy." I am creating this thread with the idea of hauling all that rich conversation over here and re-opening the Core Conversation thread to an exploration of other topics that might one day grow up to be their own threads as well.
Here is where we can critique the old economy if that is your bent, thrash out the meaning and structure of a new economy, the values we hold most dear about energy exchange with our world that truly values the others who share this world, whether it is by legislation or by grass-roots one-brick-at-a-time rebuilding. What needs tweaking? What needs to be discarded.
How do we begin? What are the steps? Where is it happening already?
Here are some resources I am familiar with:
You've got cause and effect reversed. Economic disparity is merely one of many symptoms, or inevitable outcomes, of basic physical, emotional and spiritual disconnect from the Natural Gift Economy (a.k.a. the Garden of Eden).
The myth of the expulsion from the Garden is the most important story in Western culture, except it was altered to fit the purposes of the hierarchy (read Daniel Quinn's take on it in Ishmael). It explains that all suffering and toil is rooted in the human choice to live as gods in an attempt to know and control.
That voluntary disconnect from the Natural Ecology/Economy (one and the same until we severed them) has inevitable, and monstrously deleterious, outcomes:
(see my article, A New Green History of the World http://transitionvermont.ning.com/profiles/blogs/a-new-green-histor...)
Isn't it curious how two people look at the same situation and draw different conclusions. I am convinced that the marriage of the kingcraft and the priestcraft has brought our circumstances to us today. Relative to the entire recorded history of mankind, science is still in its youth. BUT - it is maturing, and the idea of a clockwork universe with its physical causes and effects is now being discarded in favor of one that supports the inherent value of the individual.
Given this, I will put my faith in the new science. Amazing things are being discovered and previously unquantifiable ideas are being quantified. People are not using their own power to provide for their needs because they do not know that they have this power.
Your example of (G. Scott) Williamson's certainty that health was as recognizeable as disease is now coming to fruition through research in the field of consciousness. We do indeed have the power to grow health and peace and the end to crime and violence. It doesn't take a god and it doesn't take a scientist. It takes nothing more than a people willing to gather in groups to meditate.
Many governments of the world and most major universities have conducted studies. There are now more than 1,000 studies conducted, and not a single study has been able to refute this claim. The first study - published in the mid 80s - said that if ONE PERCENT of a region's population meditates together, that crime, violence, visits to emergency rooms, psychiatric admissions, house fires, traffic accidents, illnesses requiring medication, and other quantifiable social ills are reduced by 16% while the opposite increases. What are the quantifiable opposites? Prosperity was increased (new business filings and stock market response). Creativity was increased (patent filings, openings of galleries and artistic ventures). Social strengthening increased (more street festivals and public gatherings). I don't remember the details at this moment, but there are more benefits - from personal health to community health.
We should be meditating together. It will make us look less threatening. It will re-establish our connection with ourselves and one another. It will reduce social ills in our communities. If done globally, it will end war. It will reduce fear (by reducing activity in the amygdala). It will cause us to make better long-term decisions (by raising IQs and thickening the frontal cortex) - all of this as a beginning. It will increase creativity that allows us to dare step outside of the conventional worldview that diminishes humankind.
"Isn't it curious how two people look at the same situation and draw different conclusions. I am convinced that the marriage of the kingcraft and the priestcraft has brought our circumstances to us today. Relative to the entire recorded history of mankind, science is still in its youth. BUT - it is maturing, and the idea of a clockwork universe with its physical causes and effects is now being discarded in favor of one that supports the inherent value of the individual."
Of course, differences in conclusion are heavily determined by the scope of the world a person is willing (or able) to consider. We forget that "the entire recorded history of mankind" is but a tiny fragment of the entire history of humanity on earth, since it was only quite lately that we began to abstract and objectify the world into written symbols on the page. Most of our human experience (and all of it during the millions of years we were living in harmony on the planet), were based on direct, intuitive knowledge of a living, relational, reflective, intelligent and responsive world.
The "clockwork universe" of mechanistic cause and effect has not been discarded by modern science but merely overlayed at the quantum particle and cosmological levels with a more refined, probabilistic understanding. But that new, deeper perspective has nothing whatsoever to do with individualism. In fact, if anything, it undermines the old conceit that there exist any isolated, individual objects, and cutting-edge evolutionary biology and epi-genetics has thoroughly eliminated the notion of sovereign, self-governing and self-evolving individual living organisms.
I do believe that you misunderstand. I have no idea how you can draw such a conclusion unless you do misunderstand.
You have "no idea" because you fail to consider that it is you who do not understand.
First, I did not either say that you lied or call you a liar. And it was not in response to your transparent denial about the scientific management of the planet as a central tenet of TZM and the fact that you had emphatically asserted that – it was in response to your assertion to others: "i'm not sure where this idea of "elite" is coming from. it's not in the movement."
If you don't understand how elites function in a movement, then examine Peter Joseph's tyrannical, manipulative and controlling behavior within TZM, since it is a foretaste of what the movement would yield. Check out my blog http://www.occupycafe.org/profiles/blogs/what-is-the-zeitgeist-move.... Peter Joseph behaves very much like Derrick Jensen, another dystopian charismatic with a fiercely loyal following who spend much of their time either denying what they really stand for or attacking internal and external "enemies" who challenge their positions.
And I offered three likely possibilities that would explain your inability to accurately perceive what you advocate – "You're either terribly entranced, deceiving yourself or lying outright to us." – and I assumed, given your enthusiasm and obvious naiveté, that the first was the most likely.
"and as for the statement…that i am "misrepresenting" the zeitgeist movement, i really don't think anyone on this site needs to be warned that i am "misrepresenting" anything…what i have stated is what the zeitgeist movement means to me."
Most here probably aren't familiar, or very familiar, with TZM, and few will take the time to do more than check out its website or watch its videos. And, once again, you're being disingenuous. You repeatedly stated, and quite emphatically, either what the TZM does stand for or what it doesn't.
A dystopian "solution" like TZM needs to be examined and exposed wherever it raises its head, particularly when an acolyte describes it – not only in such glowing terms – but in a way which disguises its core purpose.
"i for one no no other way of verifying information other than the strict rigorous practice of the scientific method. people are fallible. science (when it is practiced properly) is not. and when it is found to be, we revise our theories and move on."
Beyond the internal authoritarianism of the TZM, its public positions are based on this dangerous misconception of the nature and value of science. The fact that you know no other way to verify information and accept the myth of the infallibility of science, speaks to the ubiquity of science in our cultural lives and our modern adulation of it as the current global religion (the most trustworthy way of explaining the way things are).
Every time a western anthropologist asked an indigenous shaman or medicine person how they learned which parts of a plant were poisonous and which parts healing, the answer was some variation of "I listened to the plants" or "The plant told me". This was invariably understood as a metaphoric way of describing trial and error, since moderns can comprehend no other path to knowledge.
In fact, all indigenous people communicated directly with their non-human relatives in the Web-of-Life, and some of us are re-awakening that latent ability (these include many herbalists and plant spirit medicine healers, and that most wonderful author and naturalist Stephen Harrod Buhner – The Lost Language of Plants & The Secret Teachings of Plants). This was, for hundreds of thousands of years, the most reliable way to gain knowledge – directly and without the mediation of abstract reasoning, through the heart (which is the primary organ of communication in the body) rather than through the brain.
Science, in contrast, stumbles along, often influenced by the current religious, political or economic institutions of the time, as well as the biases of the researchers and analysts, and – at best – discovers a narrow spectrum of reality. It is limited by its reductionist and objectified approach, particularly in regard to complex, living systems and meta-systems.
In spite of those limitations, the rare visionaries within the scientific establishment occasionally trip over a Eureka moment, such as James Lovelock's realization that the earth is one integral and unitary super-organism (which he called Gaia). But the science establishment, far from quickly correcting its errors, will fight and marginalize anyone like him who dares propose a theory that is outside of the accepted "box". It has taken generations for such new perceptions to be accepted in the very conservative and self-protective community of "experts".
Additionally, few scientists are sufficiently exposed to the humanizing and intellectually broadening fields of the humanities. Today's technical and "higher" education institutions have become vocational schools rather than liberal arts colleges. Even 35 years ago, the creator of the first interactive human language computer program at MIT, Joseph Weizenbaum, was so flabbergasted that his colleagues truly believed that artificial intelligence was (or would be) superior in every way to the human mind, insisted that MIT begin requiring humanities classes to receive a degree.
The best example of the utter failure of the scientific method to comprehend and beneficially apply its knowledge to complex systems is our reliance on scientific medicine to treat the human body. As I've noted elsewhere, a recent peer-reviewed meta-study (http://www.wnho.net/deathbymedicine.htm) concluded that "the American medical system is the leading cause of death and injury in the United States." This conclusion was not based on scientific errors, but on correctly applied medicine. In other words, scientific medicine is an abject failure (which is why a very large percentage of Americans are returning to naturopathic, alternative or "complementary" methods).
TZM is built around the fallacy that the straightest path to utopia is bypassing the human heart and the spiritual wisdom that has allowed our species to live in balance for millennia and, instead, program a machine to manage the "machine" of society – with, inevitably, the machine technocrats as the new ruling elite. This is a retrograde science fiction dystopian vision, not anything that holds promise for the next phase of human evolution on this planet.
Gary & Others here.
The perfect word to decsribe all that's wrong with "what is" ( compliments of Bucky c. 1940)
Bucky's Advice to designers:
"You have to decide whether you want to make money or make sense,
because the two are mutually exclusive."
Obnoxico was an imaginary money-making enterprise invented by Fuller in the
1940s as a joke among friends. The profits for the Obnoxico gold-plated diaper
memento were predicted to run into millions of dollars per annum. After a few
years, friends sent him Obnoxico items actually on the market, like plastic
pebbles for garden paths, etc.
"Somehow or other the theoretical Obnoxico concept has now 25 years
later become a burgeoning reality... As the banking
system pleads for more savings-account deposits (so that they can loan your
money out to others at interest plus costs) the Obnoxico industry bleeds off an
ever greater percentage of all the perennial savings as they are sentimentally
or jokingly spent for acrylic toilet seats with dollar bills cast in the
transparent plastic material, two teddy bears hugging an alligator, etc." (Critical Path, p.226)
This may be seen as essentially typical of the general pattern of
"Exploited for power and profit, the destination of most of the
goods made by the machine was either the rubbish heap or the battlefield. If the
landlords and other monopolists enjoyed an unearned increment from the massing
of population and the collective efficiency of the
machine, the net result for society at large might be characterized as the
unearned excrement". (Mumford, 1933,
The perfect word to describe what is wrong with the staus quo.
So what describes what we want to replace it with?
(sorry didn't capture the link from which this is excerpted..happy to trcak it down if nay one wants it)
This is fun. I nominate WHOLISTICA
http://www.nous.org.uk/Obnoxico.html appears to be the link.
Perfect!!!! Love that.
Wholistca!!! that is the economy we seek!!!
I don't think we can better that one David.
( and thanks for the link..yes that is it)
Didn't Ian have some words he invented to describe what he was doing?
Wait! Isn't that a reaction? Don't you want to sleep on it? See if more show up?
Of course the window is still open..but you have set the bar very high, David. Got a big thumbs up at TED where with credit to you here I posted it
Buckie Fuller used to use the word "Livingry" to describe the production aims of the new economy he envisioned..poised against the word "weaponry" which had overwhelmed production and production facilities at the time he was writing. By "Livingry" he meant in essence the production only of meaningful goods and services..those which serve life, serve humanity, serve the earth, now and in the future. It is the term which decribes what a "regnereative" economy" ( Bucky's word and equivalent to our word here "thriveable economy". would have as its production aims and means.
So we need to update from "democracy" which didn't address itself to income inequality or dedicate itself to economic inclusivity to a "conviviocracy"which does.
Our "conviviocracy", which draws on the ancient wisdom ways of living outlined by Aerin in Hablamos de la Communalidad will have not a "capitalist economy" premised on "Obnoxico",endless growth and meaningless production but" thriveable" "regenerative economy", "Wholistica" based on equilibrium and premised on the stewardship for humanity and for the earth, now and in the future...it will produce and invest only in "LIvingry", only in goods and services that realize stewardhip for humanity and for the earth.,now and for the future.
Is there a better word than "Livingry" to serve us now in describing the stadrds which all goods and services produced "wholistica" would meet?i
You seem to rely far too heavily on Bucky, an engineering genius whose vision was limited by his narrow science-based focus. While he had much of value to share (and was one of my favorite authors 40 years ago), it's telling that his primary design contribution - the geodesic dome - never had much impact beyond hippie communities and theme parks (disclosure: the first house I helped build was a dome, in 1970).
"Now there is one outstandingly important fact regarding Spaceship Earth, and that is that no instruction book came with it. I think it’s very significant that there is no instruction book for successfully operating our ship. In view of the infinite attention to all other details displayed by our ship, it must be taken as deliberate and purposeful that an instruction book was omitted. Lack of instruction has forced us to find that there are two kinds of berries – red berries that will kill us and red berries that will nourish us. And we had to find out ways of telling which-was-which red berry before we ate it or otherwise we would die. So we were forced, because of a lack of an instruction book, to use our intellect, which is our supreme faculty, to devise scientific experimental procedures and to interpret effectively the significance of the experimental findings."
- Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth, chapter 4
There was an instruction manual that all indigenous people understood, and it was written in the form of the natural environment to which we were so intimately connected that we didn't need the mediation of the mind to comprehend it.
It's revealing that Bucky's example is the same one I've used repeatedly to indicate the weakness of the scientific method in determining what is good for us and what is not. Prior to using guinea pigs as lab rats, the only way to use trial-and-error experiments on those red berries would be to eat them. Those with the knowledge that they are poisonous would not live to pass on that knowledge.
But every shaman or medicine person will explain that experiment is unnecessary (and very dangerous) when one can simply ask the berry. In fact, as the recent research described by Stephen Harrod Buhner indicates (The Secret Teachings of Plants), plants will consciously alter their chemistry in response to an animal's particular healing needs.
Contrary to what Bucky (and all scientists and engineers) believe, Life is not analyzable by division, but only comprehensible by direct participation.
"...science is concerned exclusively with "facts of experience.
Each experience begins and ends – ergo, is finite…Therefore, universe as experientially defined, including both the physical and metaphysical, is finite.
It is therefore possible to initiate our general systems formulation at the all inclusive level of universe whereby no strategic variables will be omitted…It is the same procedural strategy that is used by the computer to weed out all the wrong answers until only the right answer is left.
Having adequately defined the whole system we may proceed to subdivide progressively. This is accomplished through progressive division into two parts – one of which, by definition, could not contain the answer – and discarding of the sterile part."
- Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth, chapter 5
What is, in fact, sterile, is the entire scientific method which - even in its most comprehensive systems theory approach - still treats Nature as an object for analysis rather than as a conscious, sentient subject for relationship.
P.S. Nowhere in his principle thesis, Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth, did Bucky use the term "thrive".