Sunday Open Thread — December 10, 2006

Living on the Edge 2
What I’m planning on writing about soon:

  • Reintermediation: Why hollowed-out organizations are impoverished and fragile, and how to fill them out again, in a brave new way.
  • Rail: A solution to the transportation portion of global warming, or an impossibly expensive attempt to put the auto genie back in the bottle?
  • Experience-Based Decision Making: It seems an obvious choice, until you understand why the alternatives hold sway.
  • Making Blog Comments and Forums and Wikis Work: Do we need groundrules to enable real conversations, and would anyone follow the groundrules if we did?
  • The Long Tail: Why the tail will never wag the dog (while it’s attached to the dog).
  • Best Business Books of the Year: A null set!

What I’m thinking about:

Despite social networking and the Internet and various face-to-face meetup opportunities, those of us who recognize the need to build a new culture are still terribly isolated, and a long way from consensus ourselves on what we should do. There’s a lot of us on the Edge, but we’re still disconnected, economically, physically and philosophically, and we’re starved of the resources we need to make anything happen. We will need to do a lot of learning from a lot of experiments, but how are we going to find the time and resources to do them, and to agree on what experiments to do first, and with whom, and coordinate our learnings from them?

Things happen the way they do for a reason. I keep making excuses for writing about the need for change — creating intentional communities and natural enterprises and radically simple living programs and information-sharing and organization networks — but not doing anything about it. Why? Because while there’s no better way to Let-Self-Change than just beginning, it is far from clear how to just begin. Where and how should we just begin? What is the first step, and can anyone know what it is for anyone else? And when we should know better that it’s hopeless, what is it that keeps us going, believing we’re somehow going to save the world?

Part of the answer has to be breaking free from the gravity that keeps sucking us away from the Edge back to the mainstream centre of our culture. Money, debt, social pressure, laws, the media, political pressure groups, advertising and many more ‘forces of gravity’ make it very hard to break free until and unless we have no other choice (until these forces no longer have any hold on us, which is probably never for most of us). And they make it very easy to make excuses, to do nothing. But I think it’s unfair to blame our action on procrastination and lackof courage. I’m more inclined to believe the time is not yet right.

The only problem is, by the time the time is right, it may be far too late.

So what’s keeping you awake at night these days?

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3 Responses to Sunday Open Thread — December 10, 2006

  1. ahwhwj says:

    “Our slogan is: you can talk when you need!Thare is no problem what we can not

  2. David Parkinson says:

    3 things are going on here, all slightly related.1. Public meeting this afternoon to start coming up with an alternative vision for the future of Powell River, as opposed to the vision of our elected leaders, which is to convert 900 acres of land in the Agricultural Land Reserve into a luxury resort hotel & housing development with private airport & golf course. Most people in town are opposed to this myopic vision of the future, but it’s not enough to oppose without a positive vision to start rallying people around. Interesting meeting; lots of talent and smarts in the room, but as usual there were no real takeaways or homework or committees formed to start hammering something out. Grassroots efforts can be maddeningly disorganized. Nonetheless, I am hopeful that this threatened loss of farming land will galvanize the people here to start making a vision of self-sufficiency into some kind of plan. It’s a plus that we have the renown of being Canada’s first GE-crop-free zone.2. Have been trying to figure out how to make the local community radio station work better. It is currently a disorganized mess, and does not serve the community as it should and could, if it had more volunteers and some basic planning. It looks as though an insurrection of sorts is in the cards, which will be interesting. The non-profit that holds the radio license is simply not up to the task of running a successful community radio station; it is unknown whether they can be brought to recognition of that fact & can start digging out from 3 years of chaos & poor management.3. Plans to dive in & do community food activism are pretty much a done deal. I made contact with one of Powell River’s main movers/shakers at the meeting today, and told her that I wanted to work on making locally grown food more accessible to all residents. I have a contact in Vancouver with a couple guys who run a business growing food for people on their property; not sure if this is the precise correct revenue model for here, so I’ll continue talking with local people to see how to fit it into a larger vision. Maybe someone knows how to dig up money for a non-profit to do community gardens, coordinate access to information & tools & seeds, etc. I am determined to make access to good food a central part of any plan I decide to implement; maybe that means subsidizing low-income food growing by a for-profit business growing food for people with more money, or scaring up government grants for community gardening. As long as I get paid enough to pay rent & eat.

  3. Mike Bennett says:

    Hi DaveWell what

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