Saturday Links for the Week – July 28, 2007 – the Cultural Anthropology Edition

The World Without Us
What’s Important This Week:

The World Without Us: Alan Weisman speculates on a future world without humans. Wonder how it compares to Ronald Wright’s vision? (image above is from Weisman’s book)

Who Cares About Factory Farmed Animals’ Welfare?: The factory farmers say they do what they can. Their customers say they are getting better because customers demand it. The animal welfare groups say it’s because of them that the situation isn’t worse. Most ‘consumers’ still don’t want to know.

Why We Don’t Care: Seth Godin explains why we only give a damn about things that we can relate to personally, even when if we all cared, we could make a big difference. That doesn’t make us heartless, just human. Thanks to Ed Diril for the link.

And the Rosy Futurists Still Reassure Us: … that technology will save us, and make everything better and better. Jim Kunstler sets us straight. Thanks to Jon Husband for the link.

The Care and Feeding of White Folks: Repost of a 1995 article by Earl Dunovant portrays the appearance of whites on the planet as an experiment gone wrong, and suggests what might be done. Thanks to Dale Asberry for this link, and the one that follows.

Parallels Between Soviet Collapse and Current-State US: Interesting presentation by Dmitri Orlov, a witness to the Soviet collapse, on lessons in ‘collapse preparedness’ the US should be learning now.

Thought for the Week:

Andrew Campbell ruminates on the nature of time:

[Dave said:] James Taylor said “the secret of life is enjoying the passage of time”. He’s exactly right, but it’s so very hard to learn to do it, and to get yourself into a situation, by simplifying your life, where you can do it. With my intentional thoughts, I get to enjoy these ‘passages’ twice — once as I intend them, and again when they occur.

[Andrew replies:] No, he’s not exactly right – (is anyone about anything that is complex and living?) but i wanted just to interpose that in the context of stress, life, chance and choice etc, the way to increase awareness and aesthetic engagement (connecting begets fruitfulness) in our world(s) is to come to know through engagements with ideas (concepts) that time is manifolded and that it is best accessed as Beamish knows, through the realization (mindandbody) that there are ‘other’ (kinds of) times – like Time – i.e. animals under low stress live in that Now Time we used to talk about. I think what being in Now Time does is it affords us an experience of how we might live with more Free Energy (At de Lange) – that is to say, unlike a clock that monotonously unwinds somehow its trapped-stored energy releasing it like a slave works (a.k.a. a machine) – we might enter into a dance with creation itself so that we feel safe to collapse (creative collapse) releasing small quanta of imagination, creativity, creative perceptions from >< with that amount of energy we don’t need to uphold the whole system, meaning we let go because we decided (free will) that our deeper connection in such a cycle of Time affords us a reciprocal let come from our world – it is saying in effect – we co-create each other, you and i are mutually engaging – i will heal you (Emerson) – make you ‘whole’ (Goethe et al to Bohm and beyond) we are not separate — and if one were religious which i know you are not, then one might begin to glimpse an idea of how ‘miracles’ like resurrections might happen – and if ever a civilization needed a resurrection of some kind — it’s us NOW.

[Dave wonders:] Perhaps “enjoying the passage of time” is really just letting go of linear ‘clock time’ and living at least in part in Now Time. It’s not so much that we enjoy the “passage” as that we don’t notice it, we don’t ‘pay attention’ to it. And perhaps then we realize that it is an illusion, a construct. What we enjoy is the ‘passage’ to Now Time.

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7 Responses to Saturday Links for the Week – July 28, 2007 – the Cultural Anthropology Edition

  1. Prometheus 6 says:

    “The Care and Feeding of White Folks” doesn’t present the appearance of white folks as an experiment gone wrong. It presents Black folks as operators of an experiment which, due to an equipment malfunction, has damaged them.

  2. Dave Pollard says:

    Prometheus: Thanks for the clarification. It’s fascinating reading. I once read a story by an aboriginal nation elder that was somewhat similar, if less satirical. It stressed the importance of having people of indigenous cultures be more assertive in communicating the important lessons of sustainability and balance to the new white ‘civilization culture’ occupiers who had obviously forgotten these lessons, instead of just waiting for them to re-learn them by trial and error.

  3. Chaitanya says:

    Speaking of giving a damn about things we can relate to personally..I was walking on a beach recently, thinking about stuff, and a thought crossed my mind — “*why* are we trying to save the species and environment ? What exactly are we trying to save ? I’ve never seen an Alaskan Caribou in my life, nor a Penguin and maybe seen a Tiger in a zoo. I never interacted with thousands of species that are supposed to be going extinct”. The answer immediately rushed. The very asking of the question, gives the answer. We (most humans i imagine) have very little connection to the world around us. Our circle of concern is very limited. Even if it’s there, its mostly **intellectual**. I think that distinction is important. Intellectual environmentalism is only going to go so far. It only goes so far as hybrid cars and windmills.Obviously, it doesn’t mean i have to go around the world on a nature tour. I think having a connection to nature at the places we live, is paramount. That means, slowing down to pace of nature.”We cannot win this battle to save species and environments without forging an emotional bond between ourselves and nature as well – for we will not fight to save what we do not love” — Stephen J. Gould

  4. Dave, I think you’ve hit on it. The concept of Flow explains a lot about the passage of time, and enjoyment being the nonawareness of its passage. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi wrote the book on that. :) Creative pursuits make time flow that way, for me.But it seems that just when we hit that flow, too often our world’s critical, pragmatic voices creep into our heads telling us we’re wasting time. Then, because it seems to pass so quickly at those moments, fairly slipping away, we believe the critics and their fear of death mentality, thinking we should be doing something more important — frequently someone else’s idea of important. We stop doing what we enjoy most, thus slowing the passage of time, but enjoying it a lot less.

  5. Dave Pollard says:

    Chaitanya: Brilliant! And I love the Gould quote.Barbara: I think you’re right. Our sense of mortality creates a scarcity of time, such that we have to “save” it. I think other creatures are aware of their mortality but in an entirely different, non-cerebral way. So for them, time is abundant and need not be conserved or meted out. They have no sense of “wasting” time, so they live in what Beamish calls ‘Now Time’, an eternal present.

  6. Julie says:

    Dave – Thanks for this post! Perhaps the *resurrection* we humans need is to learn to access the many spheres of time that we occupy – an evolution of intellect with heart. In Santa Fe, NM, recently, at the cosmologist’s convention, I attended a presentation given by astrophysist Joel Primack and artist Nancy Abrams about our “View from the Center of the Universe” in which they effectively conveyed a felt-sense of time scales. I wonder if there is a way for us to inhabit the quantum realm creatively, as Andrew talks about, while simultaneously navigating linear clock time?There is a feeling of flow when one can do it, but for me is very short lived.

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