Tuesday, April 20, 2010

No Man is an Island

What is an individual? What does it really mean to be independent?

In the West we have strong beliefs about liberty based on the hard work of philosophers like John Locke and Thomas Paine, important work that heralded a new era of ‘free’ enterprise and dynamism theretofore never seen, certainly at the mass level. Things like fairness and equal opportunity found solid intellectual footing as a direct consequence of these efforts and the revolutionary wars they initiated. But of course things move on, knowledge expands, things change, and it is our task to keep up culturally with new information which threatens long established tradition and status quo. The wiser we are when addressing these issues, the better chance we have of midwifing the new as painlessly as possible into the old. To stay with the midwife metaphor; it’s always best not to throw the baby out with the bath water.

Crudely speaking we think of ourselves as individual agents acting in the world of things, where our actions and reactions are parts of causal connection chains stretching back into the past and off into the unknown future, like a vast, universal game of snooker. We both initiate and react to events. We are furthermore ‘free’ agents capable of choice, responsible, therefore, for the consequences of our actions once legally recognised as adults, shaping our lives as we see fit, deserving of success or failure depending on the mix of effort, luck and talent we bring to the party. For the ego – to my mind the true architect of this depiction of the human animal – this is as things should be. To stay safe and alive, the ego wants to feel potent in a world it needs to control. It wants to be able to dominate the environment to some degree to ensure its continuing survival, and if things go well, its comfort too. Almost the entire body of economics has this view of humans at its core.

However, one of the unforeseen consequences of this process of environmental control has been an increasingly complex social setup, a process we might characterise as compromise, or the slow, even stealthy, giving up of individual sovereignty to the growing group. The ego, that arch deceiver, has unwittingly deceived itself. Another force has been in operation all along, invisible to the ego, yet partnering it. Some call it “ethical evolution,” others “the expanding circle of reciprocity.” Both descriptions suggest we are being ‘pooled’ into a global society by our efforts to keep self secure. Is this The Invisible Hand at work? Perhaps, but I think not.

Language is for me the example par excellence of the social urges inherent to humanity. Our need to share tasks and deal with adversity together, combined with our intelligence and incredibly complex facial musculature, have created a communication tool so effective I can write this stuff and others can read it. Language has progressed from unknown early forms aiding hunting and other planned activities, to something quite beyond my powers to adequately describe. It gives us our ability to understand reality at a level so far beyond what (as far as we know) other animals can achieve, as to make us almost aliens on Earth. The social aspect of our nature made this possible. The ego played its part of course, with its need for boundaries and divisions and causal connections, but ultimately the truth will out, and language will be its midwife. Our flawed perceptions of reality must yield in time to increasingly accurate understandings of reality as it is.

One of the manifestations, or perhaps a partner to the process which wrested the ego from the tyranny of the bad prince/sovereign and gave birth to liberty (a somewhat adolescent notion), is the hunt for The Building Block, the atom (in the Greek sense) which can be no further divided. Once this little piece of reality has been discovered all explanations can flow from it. A term like “selfish gene” is an example of this. The quest for intrinsic value that so bedevils economics is another. Freud’s Id, Jung’s Self, and so on, are all examples of the egoic need to seek out the component which, once understood, can finally explain those things out of which it is built. To my mind this is a futile quest. In the same way that nothing can have any use or meaning in total isolation, so too can I say there is no such thing as an individual, there is no such thing as a selfish gene, no such thing as intrinsic value. Everything exists and comes into focus in relationships with other things.

To quote Stephen Pinker:

“[W]hen a person's public stance and private motives are both selfless but those motives came about because they once served the interests of his ancestors' genes, we have not uncovered hypocrisy; we have invoked a scientific explanation couched at a different level of analysis. Color depends on properties of colorless molecules; solid objects are made of atoms that are mostly empty space. That does not mean that peacocks are colorless or that Gibraltar is a mirage. Similarly, selfless people designed by selfish genes are not selfish.”

And John Holt (Instead of Education, p114):

“To ask what is fundamental human nature is to ask what a human being would be like without a culture. Such a question is meaningless, and cannot be answered. There is and can be no such thing as a human being without a culture.”

Systems Theory and the newer Information Systems Theory are humanity’s early efforts at understanding reality as dynamically interlinking relationships of a virtual infinity of variables. The implications of this mode of analysis (or synthesis) are profound and upsetting to many. There is no individual. The utility of discovering the ultimate building block is highly limited, not liberating. Humans are malleable; impressionable; embedded in social conventions of language, both of the body and mind; imprisoned by emotional restraints; utterly dependent on the ecosystem; in short tossed about by events beyond our control like so much driftwood. The ego does not like this view, but I think it reflects reality far more accurately than the egoic perception I outlined above. Economics has much to learn from it, indeed is torn asunder by it.

I believe there are such things as creativity and choice, but such a belief is not easily proven. There are simply too many variables to process, to take into consideration, at both the tiny and massive scales, to establish the existence of creativity and choice in Universe. One thing is certain (and inspired this blog entry), we are getting so good at simulating reality, seeing more clearly the processes which define it, and yet are having such a hard time with controlling and understanding money, something has to give. In terms of what we really are and what experience is, the following brings things like Star Trek’s Holodeck a little bit closer, and chips yet another piece from our certain sense of ourselves as autonomous individuals (seen at Naked Capitalism):

“Dzmitry Tsetserukou, an assistant professor at Toyohashi University of Technology in Japan, was the big winner at firstAugmented Human International Conference (AH’10), held recently at the French Alps ski resort of Megeve. His paper on haptic “exointerfaces” forvirtual [sic] reality — co-authored by Katsunari Sato and Susumu Tachi — created quite a stir. It describes a prototype of a remote haptic system called iFeel_IM! (“I Feel Therefore I Am”) that can simulate “several types of heart beat, a realistic hug, the tickling sensation of a butterfly stomach, a tingling feeling along the spine, and warmth.” With sensors, small motors, vibrators, and speakers woven into a series of straps similar to a parachute harness, it reacts to "emotional messages" embedded in written IM text (hence the name iFeel_IM!).” Hplusmagazine

Bring it on.

33 comments:

Tom Hickey said...

Evolutionary biologist David Sloan Wilson addresses some of these issues from the perspective of evolution in his series Evolution and Economics as Different Paradigms.

Thai said...

Common Toby, this is easy: we are both.

Everything we know about energy/matter tells us energy is BOTH a particle and a wave. Why would the laws of physics not apply to the social collective as well as ourselves individually?

We are individuals (e.g.- particle like property of energy) and we are a collective property called waves.

We are both.

It is what it is.

Thai said...

Oops typo

Come on Toby... ;-)

Toby said...

Hello again Thai,

"Why would the laws of physics not apply to the social collective as well as ourselves individually?"

For reasons Pinker lays out in the quote. Also, in what way is a wave a collective, and a particle not dependent on resident forces? Nothing makes any sense in isolation.

A question for you though: what are particles made of?

And finally, I've seen a presentation that shows how only waves exist, and that particles are illusions generated by the way we see and measure waves. I think the jury is out on the particle/wave issue, on many levels.

Hi Tom, thanks for the great link. I just read all 11 entries and found them very interesting. I also enjoyed the link you provided to institutions (in my former entry) interesting and helpful. Something I want to study is the symbiosis of 'State' and 'Market'. My sense is that they are inseparable and governed by similar internal processes, and not at all the chalk and cheese popular myth characterizes them as. The idea that one interferes with the other is simplistic.

Tom Hickey said...

Toby: My sense is that they are inseparable and governed by similar internal processes, and not at all the chalk and cheese popular myth characterizes them as. The idea that one interferes with the other is simplistic.

Many people, in addition to David Sloan Wilson and Douglass C. North, are pointing out that orthodox economists are uninformed and apparently not intellectually curious about what other disciplines have discovered that is relevant to economics. Mosts economists seem to be too stuck in their models to notice. As a result, a lot of economic thinking is just ill informed.

Thai said...

Re: what are particles made of

Agreed

Edwardo said...

This is a very thought provoking piece, Toby, with a number of propositions and premises which I would like to address in the order they were made.

"we think of ourselves as individual agents acting in the world of things, where our actions and reactions are parts of causal connection chains stretching back into the past and off into the unknown future"

"We are furthermore ‘free’ agents capable of choice...Almost the entire body of economics has this view of humans at its core."

-Let's be clear that this quaint notion is distinctly western, where it still holds, to some degree, pride of place. In the meantime, even though cultures and nations such as China and India have westernized in various ways, they do not subscribe, as a matter of course, to your description of human agency which I take to be the doctrine of "free will"

"Language gives us our ability to understand reality at a level so far beyond what (as far as we know) other animals can achieve, as to make us almost aliens on Earth. "

-Yes, we are (almost) aliens on earth. Some folks, (of the sort that can plausibly be described as "one toke over the line") even posit that humans are the result of alien alchemy. Whatever the facts, we clearly have overdeveloped brains relative to other creatures, and certainly language is integral to all of our best (and some of our worst) achievements.

Thai said...

Amen

But though more is different, it is not necessarily more. ;-)

Debra said...

Hi Toby,
On language, you might want to check out what I'm writing on streetratcrazysaloon, under the heading of structural linguistics. Two posts so far. I will be continuing.
One of my passions is language.
In my book it is not a tool, because it constitutes us.
Our perception of ourselves and the world takes place through the prism of language. No language, no perception.
Our language determines us in ways that escape us, generally.
One example... check out how suddenly the word "hubris" is reemerging into our vocabulary after a long lapse.
Speaking of hubris...the desperate hunt for the building block is one that I liken to Oedipus's search for his origins.That story ended rather tragically now, didn't it ?
Tragedy and hubris go together in our minds.
You are right to link this up with ego.
Fortunately we are not JUST ego. There is more to us than just ego. Dixit Freud who OUR EGOS just cannot stand, by the way.
On independance : I am fond of saying that we are born naked and helpless into this world, and as we grow older, our dependance simply shifts and becomes more subtle.
But it is still there at all times.
That is why the current hype on independance is part of THE BIG LIE we are telling ourselves.
(One of many lies, incidentally.)
In pinpointing neurosis, Freud was identifying THE BIG LIE at his particular point in time, I think.
The lie says... we are NOT animals.
Not animals like the other animals.
Lots of people saying they believe IN evolution are acting as though they don't know what that means for them in their daily lives.

Edwardo said...

Toby wrote:

"In the same way that nothing can have any use or meaning in total isolation, so too can I say there is no such thing as an individual, there is no such thing as a selfish gene, no such thing as intrinsic value."

-I more or less agree with the point I think you are trying to make, but why be so dogmatic about it? Some things, which may or may not be grand, like a bar of silver, do, without question, have "intrinsic" qualities. Isn't the human body, or the body of an ant, for that matter, an intrinsic organism, meaning
it has an essential nature without which it would not be what it is?

"The implications of this mode (Systems theory) of analysis (or synthesis) are profound and upsetting to many. There is no individual."

-I suppose it depends how you define what an individual is. Of course we aren't completely autonomous creatures, or even mostly autonomous. We do tend to lean heavily on each other for basic survival and the realization of abstract goals. Just as you and I are are leaning on one another in this conversation. And yet, there is something about me which will never, ever be mistaken for you, and it's not my nose.

"I believe there are such things as creativity and choice, but such a belief is not easily proven."

-Looking for proof in these matters, not that you are, is probably futile. As in 'Free Will" we can no more prove our ability to shape our lives, or prove that the choices we make are not somehow directed from a place other than within our "non existent" selves, than we can prove that the sun will come up tomorrow.

Thai said...

LOL!!

Well said Edwardo

If you don't mind me jumping onto your comments re: "The implications of this mode (Systems theory) of analysis (or synthesis) are profound and upsetting to many. There is no individual."


Does this mean if someone kills someone else there is no problem since you were really doing it to yourself and your still alive? ;-)


... Warning Toby, as we had this discussion once before. One thing Deb and I both strongly agree on, universalism is another word for totalitarianism.

It is simply one of those glass 1/2 full, glass 1/2 empty issues and how you want to look at the glass.

I send people for amputation of appendages that threaten the life of the entire organism not infrequently. We cut parts of the whole away to save the when we need to.

I'm just saying...

Be well

Toby said...

Thanks guys for the interesting comments.

The piece is purposefully provocative, especially the line "There is no individual." That sentence only has (contextual) meaning within the piece, which was the point. I am not preaching totalitarianism (though I note the ego rearing up here in defence of its autonomy!), nor am I preaching neo-classical economics (obviously). My purpose was to prod at the out of date sense we have, at the cultural level, of what we mean when we talk of the individual, and that this notion has links with the quest for the ultimate atom, and with the strong hold the ego has on our (western) culture.

As ever I have economics in my sights, not philosophy, though generally speaking I am kindasorta trying to merge the two. Nothing I say here is original, indeed it is all very old. All I'm doing is working out what's wrong with economics, how it got to be so disconnected with reality, and contributing to the struggle to deal with the problem orthodox economics presents.

@Thai:

"Does this mean if someone kills someone else there is no problem since you were really doing it to yourself and your still alive? ;-)"

At the universal level, yes, it does mean precisely that! At the ego and day-to-day level, obviously not. It's all a matter of perspective, or the degree of subjectivity we apply. There is no such thing as objectivity. Another question for you: What exactly is death?

@Debra: I will check out your work.

Toby said...

Hi Edwardo,

I wanted to address this point separately:

"-I more or less agree with the point I think you are trying to make, but why be so dogmatic about it? Some things, which may or may not be grand, like a bar of silver, do, without question, have "intrinsic" qualities. Isn't the human body, or the body of an ant, for that matter, an intrinsic organism, meaning
it has an essential nature without which it would not be what it is?"

If I came across dogmatically I failed somehow. It certainly isn't how I feel about this issue. My argument is not that all things are without instrinsic qualities, but that the pursuit of the indivisible is not going to reveal The Truth. However, it is not at all easy to identify what it is about 'human nature' which is essential to it, without which it would no longer be what it is. 'Human Nature' is not an element, like silver is. I stand by John Holt's quote and add the following thought exercise (which I have mentioned before):

Imagine a baby plucked at birth and magically kept alive for ten years in a life-preserving box, in which it is pitch black. After ten years how human would that human be? How well would that human function in society? Would it be possible to socialize it?

Also, some things cannot be instrinsic to anything, like value and beauty. They are qualities that arise in relationship to other things. To take the point further, maybe even solidity is a quality of relationship. Were I small enough, silver would not be solid to me. Were I blind it would not be shiny. Were I in deep space it would not be heavy, and so on. Nothing makes sense in total isolation.

Debra said...

On the baby plucked at birth...
I seem to remember that Louis XIV ?, (I'm really poor on my dates, you guys, but I KNOW IT WAS DONE...) plucked that baby at birth, and tried that experiment already.
No contact. No language.
That baby died quickly.
Renee Spitz observed that effect too, in the most amazing circumstances...
In post WW2 England, the fad was for newfangled, high tech, procedure oriented nurses taking care of babies placed under the charge of the State in an institution.
The emphasis on... procedure induced the following protocol : cuddling, speaking to, touching the babies a strict minimum (fear of.. GERMS ?), interchangeability of nursing personnel. Emphasis on tasks and procedure, NOT human relations.
After just a week, Spitz observed significant deterioration in the children's behavior : anxiety, weepiness. (These children were a few months old, not two or three years old...) After a longer period of this regime, the children withdrew and became listless. The "end" of this regime is... permanent intellectual retardation, or death in certain cases.
I'm not... dramatizing on this one. I CAN dramatize, but not here.
One of the more interesting aspects of Spitz's... EXPERIMENT is WHY he "allowed" things to go as far as he did..
In the interest of "science" ??
This phenomenon is called hospitalism.
Keep it in mind when you think about places like... Guantanamo, for example.
Most of US may have forgotten about Spitz's experiment, but... the MILITARY has NOT forgotten about it..Rest assured. And it's... to PROTECT US, of course.
Sorry Toby about this soapbox. I couldn't resist.

Toby said...

Debra, please soapbox away, the emotions are important. Your anectode about Louis XIV (I've heard it about another King, perhaps in Czech) is known to me, but with many babies and to find out what the world's first language was (a quest which turns up in Herodotus too), but should be repeated everywhere. This is VERY important information. I'm a father of two girls, this stuff gets to me, and I'm very emotional, though I try to keep my blogging dry. The Sptiz stuff I hadn't heard about, though we probably all know about Milgram. Didn't the French have a TV show based on Milgram's experiments recently?

Oh how the ego hates to hear what a wimp it is, how out of control! How appalling, how shocking! The environment makes us what we are.

Edwardo said...

Toby wrote:

"The Truth. However, it is not at all easy to identify what it is about 'human nature' which is essential to it, without which it would no longer be what it is. 'Human Nature' is not an element, like silver is. I stand by John Holt's quote and add the following thought exercise (which I have mentioned before):
"...the pursuit of the indivisible is not going to reveal The Truth."

-There probably is no "The Truth", but I would posit that it is probably not essential that, even if there is, we apprehend it. And just as SCJ Oliver Wendell Holmes observed that while he could not adequately define pornography, "he knew it when he saw it", nature has ensured that, even if we can not linguistically define it, the vast majority can identify human nature when we we encounter it.


"Imagine a baby plucked at birth and magically kept alive for ten years in a life-preserving box, in which it is pitch black. After ten years how human would that human be? How well would that human function in society? Would it be possible to socialize it?"

-How dog like would a dog be at that point or ape like an ape? Any creature that is at all designed to live, as it were, socially, would be either dead or in some horrific state. I fail to see the value of this illustration.

Toby said...

Hi Edwardo,

the value of the illustration is, to my mind, a reminder of how hard it is to define something like human nature. Defining human nature is still a controversial area, and yet human nature is often trotted out as the reason why X happens. The point is that human behaviours, which is how we really recognize humans, are learned to a very large degree.

All this is not to say I'm a follower of pure behavioursism, and I agree that humans are humans and dogs are dogs, etc. When a human is reared by dogs, for example, we can distinguish the human from the dogs it was reared by. Nevertheless, the significance of the upbringing in terms of that particular human's functioning, is enormous, greatly outweighing the fact of its biological humanness. Again, this is not new information, but I believe it is often ignored/forgotten in economics (and elsewhere).

Thai said...

Toby

On this fractal we call society, life, etc... we agree.

Remember, war is fractal too ;-)

Thai said...

Toby re: "Nevertheless, the significance of the upbringing in terms of that particular human's functioning, is enormous, greatly outweighing the fact of its biological humanness. Again, this is not new information, but I believe it is often ignored/forgotten in economics (and elsewhere)."

Statements like cause you to lose credibility in my book. Explore these thoughts out loud all you want until you nail them down but to realize that without oxygen, we are all dead, and repackage it as forgotten wisdom, is narcissism at its best.

"Yes", everything is related to everything else so change one thing and you change everything else.

But in the context of human communication, certain variables need to be held constant or communication is simply impossible as no two people are ever talking even remotely about the same thing.

In this context, and admittedly holding certain variables constant, the mind is not a blank slate.

Toby said...

Hi Thai,

"Explore these thoughts out loud all you want until you nail them down but to realize that without oxygen, we are all dead, and repackage it as forgotten wisdom, is narcissism at its best."

When people like Naomi Klein and Michael Moore can agree that because of human nature capitalism is the only game in town, and yet there exists no adequate definition of human nature, then exploring what it might be out loud -- which is what I am doing here -- is hardly narcissistic. Also, I am not repackaging it as lost wisdom. Where did I say I was?

Thai said...

Toby, I seem to remember that we've had this chat on aspect before.

As for no agreement on the concept of Human Nature.

It is what it is

Be well

Toby said...

I remember that conversation too Thai!

It seems to me either I've failed to communicate or you've been reading too much between my lines. I've never said, nor do I believe, we are born with a blank slate for a mind. Nor do I believe there is no such thing as human nature, only that it is very often deployed in arguments as an unexplored received wisdom. Nor am I here on this blog making fixed assertions. I am floating ideas.

Furthermore, you are conflating what I have argued here with another debate entirely, namely one about the accuracy of language. I will defer to Debra on this, but there are two issues in that discussion; what we seek to establish scientifically on the one hand, and how we communicate on a day to day basis on the other. In a conversation down the pub we can say human nature this, and human nature that, and have a good conversation. But we should not deceive ourselves that we have proved a damn thing. I certainly don't deceive myself that I am proving a damn thing here. I'm learning, not pontificating; discussing, not dictating.

Apologies if I gave the opposite impression. In my defense, this is a blog, not a respected scientific journal ;-)

Bleib' munter (a German equivalent to "be well")!

Thai said...

The discuss away my friend

We all read your stuff for exactly this reason.

Thai said...

I pulled the following statement from another post I wrote a while back:

"aspect is a problem inherent to all communication. And fundamental to any issue concerning aspect is my old friend cooperation. For as Bill Clinton wonderfully illustrated with his "it depends on what the meaning of the word is is", one person can be absolutely truthful, yet not particularly helpful, when they do not cooperate to eliminate aspect problems. And while cooperating communicators usually recognize and automatically adjust to minimize mis-communication around this problem, non-cooperative communicators rarely do, as any trial lawyer will clearly tell you. Hence discussions often get plagued with emotional aspects and two people talking about the same thing leave with very different take away messages.

Kind of a version of that old saying 'you get what you put in'"
.


Remember the other conversation we had on cooperation? ;-)

Be well

Debra said...

Thai, I think you are forgetting that when we speak we are adressing a multiple audience..
We are addressing the flesh and blood person we are talking to, or the virtual person we are chatting away with, but... we also address ourselves in our speech.
We are speaking FOR OUR OWN BENEFIT.
I think that keeping this in mind complexifies the problem in the right direction.
I also think that it is misguided to imagine that scientific communication could possibly escape the laws of (everyday) language.
Doesn't this kind of thinking postulate laboratory settings for our thought, and compartmentalization that does not hold up under scrutiny ?
As for universality...
I say that every human being is confronted with certain experiences, and must find a way to give meaning to them :
they are : birth, death, sexuality, being the son/father/mother/daughter of someone, to name the most evident ones.
What is universal is the necessity for the individual to give meaning to these experiences that constitute the shared human condition.
The individual meaning varies from person to person.

Thai said...

"... complexifies the problem in the right direction."

That is the quote of the week if ever there was one. Forgive me if I forever hold on to it for recycling. ;-)

Debra said...

Shall we say that I see bureaucratic mushrooming as complexifying the problem in the.. WRONG direction ?
;-)

Debra said...

Let us all thank John Donne for the title to Toby's post, right Toby ?

Toby said...

No, I think I have to thank you Debra for pointing that out. I did English Lit up to A Level but never read Donne. Perhaps I should!

Debra said...

Toby, I enjoyed meeting you.
I am not sure at this point I am going to continue blogging.
I got kicked out of my blogging nest for insubordination and having opinions that few people understand in the mother country these days.
I have some advice for you. Check out www.joebageant.com for Joe's last piece. He says it all a lot better than me.
And I will ask you to do me the enormous favor of reading "Letters from Westerbork", my piece at www.streetratcrazysaloon.com.
It says what I believe quite well.
Joe knows where I am coming from. We understand each other, even if we don't know each other.
You might want to start reading the nineteenth century lyrical poets, Toby. Coleridge. Shelley.
I checked out The Venus Project.
What concerns me about these places is that they do not seem to integrate the, uh.. ARTISTIC needs of our souls.
And those needs are considerable.
And they are NOT being met these days.
I may show up here again, but maybe not..
"May the Lord bless you and keep you
May the Lord make his face to shine upon you
May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you
And give you peace."
Amen.
And now.. time to "larguer les amarres."

Toby said...

Sorry to lose you so soon, Debra. I have read much poetry, even written plenty, but my attractions are to people like Heaney and Hughes. When I get time I plan to look at earlier poets too.
I will read the things you want me to. I read your second entry at crazy rat on language and found it very interesting, but could not find the first.
On the artistic urge, The Venus Project, which is too squeaky clean for my taste, seeks only to set up the correct conditions to allow art/science/whatever to flourish. There is therefore nothing there in their documentation pronouncing anything on art per se. That would take care of itself. Also, The Venus Project represents one man's ideas. Should we pursue a resource-based economy globally, I can't imagine the world looking like Jacque Fresco has drawn it in his blue-sky world. There are too many people with too many strong ideas out there for The Venus Project to control events.
Anyway, enjoy what you do, and maybe we'll meet again one day. While it lasted it was a pleasure blogging with you!
Toby

Toby said...

Hi Debra, in case you look in,

I read your piece and felt the emotion, which was obviously genuine and deep. I read Joe's piece and felt a similar outpouring. Much of what he said resonates with me. However, in the way you argued that humans are neither good nor evil, I argue that technology is neither good nor evil. In the current western system we use our abilities unwisely, indeed we are so culturally blind that we neither foster nor value wisdom, that most precious resource. I believe the reason for this is the way money takes control of those systems which depend upon it to operate. Over time money comes to represent value, so only those things which make more money can generate more value. Technology, which is nothing more nor less than human ingenuity made real, whose output runs from language through domestication of the horse, to rocketry and cybernetics, is harnessed unwisely by this unwise system. Again, we have a systemic, cultural problem, which poisons almost everything we do, technology being one of those things.

We may break ourselves across our stupidity and lose everything, or we may be lucky and bounce along the bottom, to pull up before it's too late. Only trying to improve our wisdom and spread, patiently, what we have learned can help. Only trying to see where value really lies and share that with others can help.

Debra said...
This comment has been removed by the author.