On human nature and values.
Yesterday, browsing in a bookstore in far away Montreal, I came across Matt
Ridley, "The Orgins of Virtue." (Pelican; ginal 1996). Richard Dawkins felt
compelled to write, "If my 'Selfish Gene' were to have a volume two devoted to
humans, 'The Origins of Virtue' is pretty much what I think it ought to look
At any rate, I bought it in the hope that it may (eventually) help me to get
some substance into that slippery "values" thing. Generalizing, there probably
aare numerous sources that may help us to scaffold our dreams with realism.
The thread, I feared - well, still do - may collapse under its own weight. That
would be a pity. Some contributors appear to feel the same and have made some
effort at condensing some of the ideas presented. And thgis led me to the notion
of persons interested in "taking charge" of a particular thread or related
threads to function as a threadmaster. The threadmaster would organize, strip,
encourage, seek solutions to conundrums, seek external sources o expertise,
edit, etc. and eventually contribute a story to the Bootstrap site. That story
would be consensual in the sense that authors in the thread are not slighted,
that they agree to how they have been represented, etc. One might say that the
threadmaster, in the words of a famous contributor to this forum, turns
information into knowledge or, phrasing it along not too dissimilar a line,
makes information into a story for a better sticking to people's mental ribs.
Threadmasters would function one thread at a time and after completing a thread
(perhaps serve to bring out a modified version once in awhile) take a deserved
rest to later get fired up again and put his/her experience to bear on another
Isn't this the sort of thing that may make good discussion forums better, more
widely useful discussion forums?
Jack Park wrote:
> > > Imagine a small rural town or village, set upon a hill amid prairies and
> > > woods. Imagine life there flowing in harmony with the earth. Imagine the
> > > people who live there cooperating and caring about each other,
> > > embracing a diversity of social, economic, and spiritual lifestyles and
> > > values. Imagine all kinds of people coming there to learn and see that
> > > there is a way for humans to do good for our planet instead of harm.
> In a former life, I rose to the level of President of the American Wind
> Energy Association, wrote the book _The Wind Power Book_ published by
> Cheshire and originally distributed by Van Nostrand, and taught alternate
> energy courses at Southern California Institute of Architecture, and Goddard
> In those days, it was common for folks to imagine pastoral scenes, with
> happy children running about, and parents doing great things all in concert
> with a strict adherence to whatever it took to avoid screwing up the
> ecosystem. One individual suggested plowing the streets in Santa Barbara
> and riding horses. I believe it is a common theme among humans to think
> *back*, perhaps to the *good ol' days*, whatever those were, perhaps back
> when life expectency was around 60 years or so.
> Now, I'm not knocking that behavior. I did it myself; I bought some acreage
> in the Sierras, where I still live. While living there, I have watched land
> prices jump due to others thinking the same way. I believe I am saying that
> these pastoral settings are going away, and fast. I am also saying that
> this particular thread is strongly suggestive of the possibility that we are
> about to see yet another rennaisance in 'back-to-the-land' behavior. Maybe
> so, but, in some sense, we need to find ways to 'think out of the box', as
> Apple would have us do. I believe that this is the purpose, maybe even
> suggested value of OHS. In the past, our nation has solved economic problems
> by launching wartime efforts. What are we going to do next?
> Walking with a friend and with Mary Keeler yesterday over the hills above
> Palo Alto, I was told that those hills were protected from development.
> They are, but only until the will of the people (read: politicians) changes
> the rules. For all I know, the safest way to take land out of developer's
> inventory is to sign it over to the Audubon Society. And, maybe that won't
> hold forever. In short, we are beginning to experience the ravages of
> population pressures. Exponential growth, indeed!
> I have a take on this thread, and the progenerative arguments that lead to
> it. I believe that the thread has brought perhaps some of the clearest,
> cleanest, most illuminated thinking of any I have seen in a long time. It
> has been a great thread. It is my hope that it will find its voice in
> solutions other than pastoral settings that are not likely to exist. It is
> further my hope that this thread will find its voice in favor of giving the
> OHS vision, indeed, Doug's vision, a fighting chance to participate in the
> problem solving effort we must mount, and soon.
> Jack Park
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