Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The physics behind the apparent metaphysics

See David Lane's recent IW article on body surfing. He talks about picking up subtle physical cues through experience that were previously considered magical. He discusses the physics of how to ride the tube of a big wave as it breaks so that one gets tucked under the wave and out the back instead of getting pushed forward and down. Which reminded of my tai chi training with a Chinese-American student of our Chinese master.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

An honest interview


Chris Hedges on reform and revolt

I hear you brother Hedges. I, like him, prefer peaceful reform based on people power. But it seems that given the current power dynamics that is a fanciful chimera. One which the 1% in fact encourage, since it's ineffective. Hedges is right that we must disrupt power's infrastructure though resistance and create new infrastructures. Reform won't work and revolt is the only viable course. To be clear, I do NOT mean violent revolution. 

Fastest internet in the US

See this story. The fastest internet is through EPB, a municipally owned electric provider in Chattanooga TN which delivers speeds up to one gigabit, 50 times faster than commercial providers like Comcast. And it's more reliable with far better service. It's financially feasible, more than paying for itself by selling the service at or below the price of the likes of Comcast. It's created a tech boon in the city. So what's wrong with this picture?

White man with a gun gets off

No, there's no white privilege. This drunken white guy curses police in a public street with a rifle strapped to his shoulder. Not only do they not shoot to kill him, they talk him down. And then all charges are dropped against him. If this were a black man...I don't have to tell you how long it would've taken to shoot him on the spot.

Montuori on education today

See this recent Montuori Integral World article on his perception of academia today. One aspect highlighted therein we discussed in the IPS Quacademics thread is how collegiate scholars are out to make a name, to discern themselves as creating a unique contribution. Hence it reinforces the notion of a self-made person based solely on their own merits while deemphasizing or ignoring the societal and cultural shoulders on which one stands. It's an imbalance of autonomy and knowledge ownership in distinction with open, peer to peer knowledge generation. Sure, there can be a balance of autonomous individuals within the P2P paradigm, but that seems the exception rather than the rule in current academia. There are signs of change though as noted in Rifkin's chapter 7, for example.
Another of Montuori's examples I appreciated is a learning environment of peers that are not afraid to put out tentative ideas and work together to develop them. It sounded a lot like what we do at IPS.

Smile or die

After talking with a positive thinker recently I was reminded of this great video response to it below. I've worked in companies like the ones she mentions on Wall Street, where if you come up with facts contrary to the belief that if you but visualize and affirm it's all ok you are literally fired. Such thinking played a part in the financial meltdown, since these folks refused to accept the realities around them. You saw some of this thinking in the movie The Wolf of Wall Street. I worked for a large insurance company as a risk underwriter and saw the same thing, where my job was to reject bad risks. But managers would constantly override that sort of better judgement in favor of meeting sales quotas based on nothing more than this sort of positive thinking. Which of course always had to face reality when the losses came in from those bad risks. But of course by the time such companies went under these positive sales people had made a fortune and either left with a golden parachute or were hired by other companies with the same philosophy that cared only for short term gain. It's an insidious, cruel and destructive worldview that cares only about itself and those part of this delusional club. She also astutely correlates this sort of thinking with market capitalism's invisible hand, which goes along with the sort of manifest destiny inherent to its proponents.

Monday, September 1, 2014

The global commons

Continuing from this post, Network Society and Future Scenarios for a Collaborative Economy notes in Part 3 that the enclosure and privatization of land inherent to capitalism caused worker alienation, since their work was no longer connected to their identity and integrity. This was also extended to the land itself, which like labor was just a cog in the machine of capital to be exploited. Whereas the Commons integrates the individual laborer with himself as well as with his culture and the land by distributing resources instead of hoarding them. One would think that any paradigm calling itself 'integral' would favor a socio-economic system that actually integrates self, culture and nature instead of just using it as a catch phrase.

The section on resilient local communities discusses the de-growth movement and permaculture. One problem for them is that "resilient communities and other similar projects inevitably become parts of the broader capitalist economy, because they do not confront capitalism, but rather avoid it. [...] The issue is not to produce and consume less per se, but to develop new models of production which work on a higher level than capitalist models. We consider it difficult to challenge the dominant system if we lack a working plan to transcend it. A post-capitalist world is bound to entail more than a mere reversal to pre-industrial times."

That's why they argue for the Global Commons in the next section:

Phenomenology and naturalism

See this Thompson review of a book on phenomenology and naturalism. It seems again like a methodological pluralism in comparing the above two paradigms. It reminds me of Bryant in that it deals with how the real, symbolic and imaginary simultaneously expand and constrain each other. For example:

"Phenomenologists generally argue that naturalism overlooks and cannot account for the necessary conditions of its own possibility. [...] Husserl (1970) also argues that scientific naturalism presupposes and overlooks the 'life-world' as a transcendental structure of intersubjective understanding, without which science would not be possible."