[As I wait for a Thanksgiving celebration...]
Let us be thankful for this great UnRevII discussion group.
Henry van Eyken wrote:
> After my own heart, Paul. To be sure, I am looking less at the space thing
> you have been nudging than at the spirit in which you embedded your ideas on
> the subject.
Thanks for the note. I agree the spirit in this sense is more important
than the specifics. There are many, many sustainable technology type
projects possible. I woudl not want to discourage anyone from doing more
doable things in their backyard and local community. Obviously Rene
Dubois coined good advice when he said: "Think Globally, Act Locally,
However, I do still maintain (as I have for over fifteen years) that
certain problems focus the mind more on fundamentals. For me space
settlement is one such problem (building a garden simulator was
In this case, I think creating self-replicating habitats for humans and
other organisms out of sunlight and asteroidal ore (or seawater,
landfill, lunar rock, etc.) is a challenge worthy of more effort because
it is a "fundamental" challenge. It requires one to master Design
Science: "A rigorous, systematic study of the deliberate ordering of
components in our Universe which Buck minster Fuller believes should be
comprehensive for a global perspective when pursuing the solutions to
problems humanity is facing as a whole."
Studying and attempting to solve this problem may actually yield more
valuable results both on Earth and in space than piecemeal approaches to
manufacturing design. This is because as a "fundamental" problem, it
challenges all our notions of how to make things -- and thus it forces
one to think "synergistically" (another Fuller term). This is similar
to how NASA's Apollo rocketry program helped spur advances in materials
Sadly, this effort (asteroid mining, self-replicating space habitats)
mainly relies on limited private funds because frankly NASA politics
have in the past not prioritized such efforts (although a couple studies
have been funded)
> Lewis and his colleagues are already
> hard at work on the first part. For the past
> two years, they have been developing a
> prototype that would separate metal and
> water from other asteroidal material.
> But Lewis insists that potential
> payoff far outweighs the remaining
> unknowns. If you take the same sixty billion
> dollars and invest it in asteroid mining, he
> maintains, the results would humble ISS's
A related NASA study from the early 1980s (Advanced Automation for Space
Missions) is availalbe at:
That link appears to be temporarily down, see:
I still maintain we can't talk about far off problems and not look at
far off solutions.
However, for people who don't like the space part, just think about the
issue of mining a landfill to create a new city (that can make more
> During the productive years of our lives, the middle years, we typically
> a. breadwinner (for profit, i.e. maintenance of self and dependends and,
> through taxes, society)
> b. family person, shepherding offspring and relatives (for love and duty)
> c. citizen (for love and duty)
> d. private person (for self-maintenance and growth)
> In the "c" category we find contributing to good works and the furthering of
> ideals, such as Doug's.
> Without wishing to put too sharp a delineation on things, unsavory conflicts
> arise when excessive zeal in the "a" category (unbounded predatory profit
> motive) and in the "d" category (hedonism) cannibalizes the time and efforts
> of oneself and of others in the "b" and "c" categories. Without "b" and "c"
> we have no society worth living in, only a hiearchy of subservience or
Very well put. I especially liked your comment on what makes a society
worth living in.
I had a friend who was a countess who survived being a refugee after
WWII after losing her family's estate of nine or so castles. She kept on
her mini-fridge door the statement in black magic marker on a battered
but thick piece of paper "life must be made worth living". So, to
conjoin these two sentiments for our purposes in terms of social policy
as: "Society must be made worth living in".
Or to mix in some philosophy from John Gardner's book "Self Renewal: The
Individual & the Innovative Society",
Short review down the page at: http://www.ifvo.org/recom.html
"Society must continually be remade worth living in by each generation."
John Gardner might argue that rather than focus on "bootstrapping" one
should focus on "renewal". Although, in this day and age (of Moores law)
I might think the two are intertwined.
One thing I find enlightening when you look at how people apply wealth
(take for example Chappaqua, NY or Princeton, NJ) is that (among other
things) they often try to make safe and supportive environments for
their children to grow up in (or to spend the money it takes to live in
places deemed to have such qualities). It is a sad commentary on the
reality of trying to achieve such results in America apart from making
all of society better (or leading a balanced life) that a realtor told
us Chappaqua, NY has one of the highest teen suicide rates in the
country (he said that by way of bragging about what "good" schools it
had). This is an example of what happens when the concept of
synergistics is denied or ignored (synergy: the behavior of whole
systems not predictable from the behavior of separate parts.).
I like to think of the issue you raise regarding relative zeal for
different categories as "balancing the many senses (or levels) of self".
That is, an individual is selfish as a body, as (part of a) a family, as
(part of) a community (or several), as (part of) a nation, as (part of)
a world. We need to balance (or prioritize) all those competing
definitions of "self" and the related demands they place on our time.
Ideally, intelligence and wisdom can choose a path that allows all these
(nested) selves to be in harmony. I would hope augmented intelligience
such as from using an OHS / DKR might help with finding or creating a
harmonious (synergistic?) path.
> It looks to me that your sense of applying OHS/DKR to design science fits
> well within Doug's ideals.
Thanks. I see almost three aspects here represented by people:
The communications/tool aspect -- OHS / DKR -- Doug Engelbart
The content aspect -- Design Science -- Buckminster Fuller
The organization aspect -- Chaordic Commons -- Dee Hock
By the way, new stuff is afoot on the Chaordic Commons: "Terra Civitas"
> An invitation to participate in forming
> a self-organizing, self-governing global community
> dedicated to developing, disseminating and implementing
> new concepts of organization that result in more equitable sharing
> of power and wealth, improved health, and greater compatibility
> with the human spirit and biosphere.
I think if we can combine Doug's vision of an Augmenting communications
technology with a Chaordic organization talking about Design Science
content, we may really have something capable of helping humanity
survive and prosper despite (or because of) Moore's Law.
Obviously Doug's vision of "bootstrapping" includes issues of content
and social organization. I'm just suggesting Bucky and Dee have more
detailed specific visions of good content and organization -- beyond the
general notion of a learning organization (becoming a "Walking People"
of bootstrapping as it were). I would think each of these people would
agree (or would have agreed) that there needs to be a coevolution of
organization, tools, and content.
> Especially bcause of your strong regard for the
> "b" and "c" categories.
One can hope.
Thanks again for the great note.
Developers of custom software and educational simulations
Creators of the Garden with Insight(TM) garden simulator
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