Posted by: KabeCicero | September 8, 2009

h+ Magazine

The h+ Magazine is a transhumanist magazine that “covers technological, scientific, and cultural trends that are changing – and will change – human beings in fundamental ways”. In their latest, free, on-line issue they write about “Tweaking your neurons”, “Sex & The Singularity” and more.

Have a look, you might find it interesting.

Posted by: KabeCicero | September 8, 2009

The Story of Stuff

I just watched a great 20 minute interactive movie titled “The Story of Stuff”.  The following description is taken directly from their website; “From its extraction through sale, use and disposal, all the stuff in our lives affects communities at home and abroad, yet most of this is hidden from view. The Story of Stuff is a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns. The Story of Stuff exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world. It’ll teach you something, it’ll make you laugh, and it just may change the way you look at all the stuff in your life forever.

I strongly suggest you watch “The Story of Stuff” clip immediately.

From its extraction through sale, use and disposal, all the stuff in our lives affects communities at home and abroad, yet most of this is hidden from view. The Story of Stuff is a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns. The Story of Stuff exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world. It’ll teach you something, it’ll make you laugh, and it just may change the way you look at all the stuff in your life forever.
Posted by: KabeCicero | September 8, 2009

Global Environmental Justice

…is the name of another course I take at the University. Our first assignment was to write half a page on what we think Global Environmental Justice “is”. Here goes…

Global Environmental Justice is about building the knowledge- and skill base to be able to take into consideration the effects and consequences of decisions and actions in the global environmental eco-systems, calculating these effects as far away as possible from the point in space/time where the decision/action is taken as possible, while simultaneously directing these decision/actions to be in alignment with outcomes that are designed on the values of justice. Now that’s a mouthful!

Naturally this involves the ability to take a multitude of perspectives and angles of approach towards the problems “facing” us, applying a variety of models (both calculative and explanatory in nature) and at the same time building the resources and capacity within the systems we operate to allow them to have the response potential necessary for adaption towards justice and sustainability.

I have chosen to study this subject for a number of reasons. First of all the kind of thinking and modus operandi required for engaging in these topics are of forms that are both stimulating and attractive to me. To fully uncover what I mean by that statement would be an exciting adventure in itself, albeit this assignment is all too short to allow for that to be contained. Second, I believe that the study of Global Environmental Justice and the movement it generates within the systems we operate (political, social, economic, environmental etc) are among the most important things a human being can endeavor into in this day and age.

Posted by: KabeCicero | September 8, 2009

Essential Viewing For All Human Beings!

Chris Martenson has put together a excellent Crash Course that summarizes what could be the most vital knowledge to have today, both as individuals and as a species. In about three hours you will get an understanding of the position of present day global systems (un)sustainability and some great suggestions for practical action. Discover how the economy, oil/energy supply and environment are interlinked in a way that will make for a very interesting future!

Check it out now!

crashcourse

Posted by: KabeCicero | September 7, 2009

Global Challenges and Sustainable Futures

That’s the name of one of the courses I am attending at the University. Today we had the first introductory lecture pertaining to this course in particular (we had two introductory lectures earlier where students from different courses attended).  We did an values exercise where the opposite ends of the lecture room were labeled “Totally agree” and “Totally disagree”. Then statements were read out loud by the teachers and you had to go and stand somewhere along the continuum of these two positions. This then lead onto discussions of the different perspectives that people had…anyway – following are the statements read and a brief description of my current position in relation to them.

“Technology will save us”
In general I don’t think technology will save us. Having read a lot of material by the world renowned mythologist Joseph Campbell, one of the lessons I’ve glimpsed is that throughout time and ages technology has never been able to save us from ourselves (not necessarily agreeing we need saving – that’s an entirely different discussion though).

“Notice the strong walls of our city . . .
Now examine the inner walls of our city.
Examine the fine brickwork.
These walls, too, surpass all others!
No human being, not even a king,
will ever be able to construct more impressive walls.”

-Gilgamesh, Tablet I, 2IOO B.C.

Notice the strong walls of our city . . .
Now examine the inner walls of our city.
Examine the fine brickwork.
These walls, too, surpass all others!
No human being, not even a king,
will ever be able to construct more impressive walls.
-Gi/gamesh, Tablet I, 2IOO B.C.

If my memory serves me, in his book “The Long Emergency- Surviving the converging catastrophies of the 21st century”, author  James Howard Kunstler talks about how thinking that technology will save us is akin to the magical thinking of cargo cults and draws a very convincing parallell.

My basic stance in relation to this question is that what’s required for establishing a sustainable world-order is based more on a total paradigm shift in consciousness, coupled with a radical shift in values and cognitive processing style. I believe we already have the technology necessary for a total systemic re-structuring of our way of life. Choosing it now though would probably lead to more suffering in the short term while providing a platform for more prosperous life down the road. Most people would rather eat their candy now though…and wait for the shit to hit the fan before waking up.  So the evolution of consciousness is lagging far behind in all the relevant places.  Concluding, the answer lies not first and foremost in technological advances…but rather…within ourselves.

“Democracy is essential to sustainability”
Not the form of democracy practiced today. My suggestion would be to develop a new kind of democracy that is based on a different kind of selection critera. First of all decisions would have to be categorized by their scope of impact and in what kind of systems that impact would occur. You would qualify to vote on questions only relating to the kinds of decisions for which you are competent enough to consider the consequences. The highest level with veto-rights over all others would be the one where people eligible to vote have demonstrated that their top driver-values (the highest values that drive them) are related to the sustainability of the planet as one system, being presently the only body in space known to support the potential of human life. Other clusters of people with different top driver-values will be eligible to vote on decisions pertaining other sub-systems of the planet, however no decisions will be allowed to conflict or interfere with the highest level values.

“I will see a more sustainable world in my lifetime”
This is something I believe and agree with…but…probably not because we shape up and do all the rights things. Rather, I think it will be because of the inherent un-sustainability in the structures of so many of the systems that we depend on as a species that as we continue to try to save those systems we will force them into self-destruction. Chaos will follow. All systems exist on a continuum between equilibrium and chaos. When the internal dynamics of the systems are no longer able to change and adapt to the surrounding conditions it will collapse…this is what I think will happen. Fortunately, over time that will provide the response potential and free the energy necessary to re-structure into more sustainable forms.

“Economic growth and sustainability can go together”
Not with the present economic model intact. As Chris Martenson so aptly describes in his Crash Course , the economic system is  by design required to grow to keep functioning whilst at the same time being based on a surplus of energy and resources that can’t grow (or at least can’t grow anywere near the pace required to keep up). Also the top driver-values embedded into the economic model doesn’t  really seem to be compatible with the necessary drivers to build sustainable futures.


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