Sunday Open Thread — September 16, 2007

Ron Mueck
Artwork by the amazing hyperrealist sculptor Run Mueck. Thanks to my neighbour Franca Caruso for the link

What I’m thinking about, and planning on writing (and podcasting) about soon:

Why We Have No Time For Making the World Better: Three of my recent articles, taken together, have an important message, I think. Joyless Responsibility made the point that, for many of us, life had become unnatural — burdensome, tedious, thankless, exhausting — because we have taken on responsibility (either voluntarily, only to discover it was not what we thought it was, or, more often, voluntarily, because we were the only one who could or would take on responsibility for people who needed us or duties no one else could or would shoulder) that is joyless. Need Less made the point that our industrial economy depends on us needing and wanting more and more, to the point much of the work we do has, as its primary purpose, allowing us to continue buying what we have come to need, to the point we are addicted to consumption and debt. And I have said that it is our (and all creatures’) nature to do what we must, and then to do what’s easy, and then to do what’s fun. Those with joyless responsibility (an increasing number of us) must spend most of their lives doing what is neither easy nor fun. Those addicted to their needs (and despite my best efforts I am still among this large group) spend most of their waking hours doing what we must to afford those needs, and then we’re so exhausted we do what’s easy and, occasionally, what’s fun. Neither group has time left to do what is needed to make this world a better place. So while many of us are now informed about the need for change, and some of us have started to let ourselves change, very few of us are ready to be activists, to dedicate ourselves to actions that will make a difference. And until we can somehow free up time from joyless responsibility and paying for our needs, that situation is not likely to improve. This will be a very personal post, but it will be more upbeat than it may sound.

Becoming a Model: Lately I’ve been getting more communications from younger readers asking what they should be doing to make the world a better place. My reply has been to encourage them to become models that others can follow. Increasingly, I think we need models of natural, sustainable enterprise, and I’m encouraging them to start their own community-based, responsible business, so that others can see that there are better models to follow than the Microsoft/Google “guilty philanthropist” model, without self-sacrifice.

Vignettes: Coming up soon, vignette #6.

Blog-Hosted Conversations: Delayed a couple of weeks due to technical problems with Skype and with Pamela, the software I was using to record the conversations. So starting this week, this blog will feature 30-minute conversations, initially on the subject of “What is your model of a better way to live, and what capacities do we need to develop or re-learn to live that way?”

Open Thread Question:

How can we encourage truly independent filmmakers to produce, at low cost, well-written, professional films that can bypass the theatres andreplace the dreck that Hollywood now puts out?

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3 Responses to Sunday Open Thread — September 16, 2007

  1. Jon Husband says:

    How can we encourage truly independent filmmakers to produce, at low cost, well-written, professional films that can bypass the theatres and replace the dreck that Hollywood now puts out?By being disciplined and determined about watching more of their work more often, and by making a contribution to independent filmakers whom we know or whose work we appreciate, if they make it reasonably easy for us to do so …

  2. lugon says:

    A number of us seem to be thinking about “accelerating change” lately. Alex Stephan of WorldChanging, a number of local contacts, now you …Change doesn’t happen in a vacuum: change is easier if the environment is changing too. So we can try and imagine that in slow-mo, a la Ming and you (Dave P), providing a rich picture of what goes on inside and outside of “changees” (that would be “the people who change”). A list of factors if you like, so that we can push and pull those factors to make for a faster experience, martial-art-like.Easier said than done, of course, but we could even start a meme on it: “describe how you change”, “now describe how you changed when the environment changed” (moved to another town etc), “now identify 10 factors”, “now see which are actionable” …Ok, maybe not too useful.

  3. lugon says:

    And there’s also the bootstrapping sequence: how small things lead to bigger things. Turn off your tv for half an hour means you have that much more time to do even more change, etc.Whatever works, of course.So we could even have a series of small experiments all over the place, and share that?

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