I have been thinking for quite some time now that in the end, when the
technotwits manufacture all the machinery to solve tough problems, it will
be the artists who relate that machinery to the needs of the
masses. Silvia Austerlic is such an artist. Howard Liu and I have spent
time with others. My kids attend a high school that is devoted to this
notion. I remain hopeful. Here is what Silvia has to say at her web site:
"The new information practices pose a radical challenge to the new users:
how to navigate global spaces in order to design local actions. It is the
design of situations that matters, as well as the learning process that it
takes to get there. Thus, for the future to happen, we not only need
computer skills, but mostly we need to learn to see the old realities with
new eyes. People must be able to generate dialogues in which we can think
in terms of more than just one perspective, and commit ourselves to
creating the context for new, more loving worlds to flourish. "
I very much like this passage. In fact, it is the vision I have been using
in many ways for many years now. I am sure that some readers of this post
will recognize my drive to explore topic maps as a global navigation tool
is reflected in this passage.
>From: Silvia Austerlic <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>I am an Argentine graphic designer, currently living in Santa Cruz
>California, full-time student of digital media at www.cabrillo.cc.ca.us
>where I work part-time as a Spanish tutor. To see the design background
>where I am coming, you are welcome to visit my website "Relearning to
>Think, Communicate and Collaborate in the Age of Internet" at
>http://got.net/~silvia/ (final project of an introductory HTML class).
> >Subject: [announce] Keeping Hope Alive
> >Dear Colleagues,
> >The question of "How does one fight such evil?" has weighed heavily on
> my mind as well my heart.
>I am sharing here a message I sent to the onlinefacilitation mailing list,
>hoping it might help all make sense _why not_ to *identify* the evil and
>THE GOOD, outside and inside of us. As I said there,
>if there is a message in this huge tragic even, what is it? Is this a
>painful wake up call? What mistakes has been made, and what can we learn
>from them? How do we say YES TO PEACE?? How does PEACE work???
> From the heart,
>>Date: Wed, 12 Sep 2001 11:49:57 -0700
>>From: Silvia Austerlic <email@example.com>
>>Subject: Man's Search for Meaning
>>I have been re-reading "Man's Search for Meaning," an excellent book by
>>Victor E. Frankl, author-psychiatrist who endured years of unskpeakable
>>horror in Nazi death camps, and when liberated, he developed a
>>revolutionary approach to psychotherapy known as LOGOTHERAPY (which I
>>want/need to share with you in an attempt to find the meaning of the
>>horror/loss/suffering we are all going though!). At the core of his
>>theory is the belief that man's primary motivational force is his SEARCH
>>FOR MEANING. In comparison with psychoanalysis, logotherapy is a method
>>less restrospective and less instrospective. Logotherapy (Logos is a
>>Greek word which denotes "meaning") focus rather on the future, that is
>>to say, on the meanings to be fulfilled by the patient in his future.
>>Frankl speaks of "a WILL TO MEANING in contrast to the pleasure principle
>>(or, as we could also term it, the WILL TO PLEASURE) on which Freudian
>>psychoanalysis is centered, as well as in contrast to the WILL TO POWER
>>on which Adlerian psychology, using the term "striving for superiority,"
>>Man's search for meaning is the primary motivation in his life and not a
>>"secondary rationalization" of instinctual drives. This meaning is unique
>>and specific in that it must and it can be fulfilled by him alone; only
>>then does it achieve a significance which will satisfy his own will to
>>meaning. There are some authors who contend that meanings and values are
>>"nothing but defense mechanisms, reaction formations and sublimations."
>>But as for myself, I would not be willing to live merely for the sake of
>>my "defense mechanisms," nor would I be ready to die merely for the sake
>>of my "reaction formations." Man, however, is able to live and even to
>>die for the sake of his ideals and values!"
>>"One should not search for an abstract meaning of life. Everyone has his
>>own specific vocation or mission in life to carry out a concrete
>>assignment which demands fulfillment ... Ultimately, man should not ask
>>what the meaning of his life is, but rather he must recognize that it is
>>HE who is asked. In a word, each man is questioned by life; and he can
>>only answer to life by ANSWERING FOR his own life. To life, he can only
>>respond by BEING RESPONSIBLE. Thus, logotheraphy sees in RESPONSIBLENESS
>>the very essence of human existence.
>>This emphasis on reflected in the categorical imperative of logotherapy,
>>which is: "Live as if you were living already for the second time and as
>>if you had acted the first time as wrongly as you are about to act now!"
>>It seems to me that there is nothing which would stimulate a man's sense
>>of responsibleness than this maxim, which invites him to imagine first
>>that the present is past and, second, that the past may yet be changed
>>and amend. Such a precept confronts him with life's FINITENESS as well as
>>the FINALITY of what he makes out of both his life and himself."
>>"Logotherapy is neither teaching nor preaching ... The logotherapist's
>>role consists of widening and broadening the visual field of the patient
>>so that the can see whole spectrum of possibilities. He is concerned with
>>the potential meaning inherent and dormant in all the single situations
>>one has to face throughout his or her life. Once an individual's search
>>for meaning is successful, it not only renders him happy but also gives
>>him the capability to cope with suffering.
>>By declaring that man is responsible and must actualize the potential
>>meaning of his life, I wish to stress that the true meaning of life is to
>>be discovered IN THE WORLD rather within man or his own psyche, as though
>>it were a closed system ... According to logotherapy, we can discover
>>this meaning in life in three different ways: (1) by creating a work or
>>doing a deed; 2) by experiencing something or encountering someone; 3) by
>>the attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering."
>>THE MEANING OF SUFFERING
>>"We must never forget that we may also find meaning in life even when
>>confronted with a hopeless situation, when facing a fate that cannot be
>>changed. For what then matters is to bear witness to the uniquely human
>>potential at its best, which is TO TRANSFORM A PERSONAL TRAGEDY IN
>>TRIUMPH, to turn one's predicament into a human achievement. WHEN WE ARE
>>NO LONGER ABLE TO CHANGE A SITUATION WE ARE CHALLENGED TO CHANGE OURSELVES.
>>But let me make it perfectly clear that in no way is suffering necessary
>>to find meaning. I only insist that meaning is possible even in spite of
>>suffering--provided, certainly, that the suffering is unavoidable."
>>THE CASE FOR A TRAGIC OPTIMISM
>>"Let us first ask ourselves what should be understood by "a tragic
>>optimism." In brief it means that one is, and remains, optimistic in
>>spite of the "tragic triad," as it is called in logotheraphy, a triad
>>which consists of those aspects of human existence which may be
>>circumscribed by PAIN, GUILT and DEATH. This chapter, in fact, raises the
>>question, HOW IS IT POSSIBLE TO SAY YES TO LIFE IN SPITE OF ALL THAT?
>>How, to pose the question differently, can life retain its potential
>>meaning in spite of its tragic aspects? After all, "saying yes to life in
>>spite of everything" (...) presupposes that life is potentially
>>meaningful under ANY conditions, even those which are most miserable. And
>>this in turn presupposes the human capacity to creatively turn life's
>>negative aspects into something positive or constructive. In other words,
>>what matters is to make the best of any given situation. "The best,"
>>however, is that which in Latin is called OPTIMUM--hence the reason I
>>speak of a tragic optimism, that is, an optimism in the face of tragedy
>>and in view of the human potential which at its best always allows for:
>>1) turning suffering into a human achievement and accomplishment; 2)
>>deriving from guilt the opportunity to change oneself for the better; and
>>3) deriving from life's transitoriness an incentive to take responsible
>>Hope it helps,
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