Why I am not a "Maker"

In this Atlantic article, Debbie Chachra brings up an important issue about global culture:

"Creators, rightly, take pride in creation. In her book The Real World of Technology, the metallurgist Ursula Franklin contrasts prescriptive technologies, where many individuals produce components of the whole (think about Adam Smith’s pin factory), with holistic technologies, where the creator controls and understands the process from start to finish. As well as teaching my own engineering courses, I’m a studio instructor for a first-year engineering course, in which our students do design and fabrication, many of them for the first time. Making things is incredibly important, especially for groups that previously haven’t had access."


Here's another excerpt from "The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible", this one from Chapter 21, Attention.

"Most of us have grown up in a society that trains us, from kindergarten or even earlier, to do things we don’t really want to do, and to refrain from things we do want to. This is called discipline, the work ethic, self-control. Since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution at least, it has been seen as a cardinal virtue. After all, most of the tasks of industry were not anything a sane human being would willingly do. To this day, most of the tasks that keep society as we know it running are the same. Lured by future rewards, chastened by punishment, we face the grim necessity of work. This would all be defensible, perhaps, if this work were truly necessary, if it were contributing to the well-being of people and planet. But at least 90 percent of it is not. Part of our revolution is the reunion of work and play, work and art, work and leisure, of have to and want to.


This is an excerpt from Chapter 24 of "The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible" by Charles Eisenstein.

"Pleasure, remember, is among other things the feeling we get from satisfying a need. The more powerful the need, the greater the pleasure. To follow this principle requires, first, accepting that our needs are valid and even beautiful. And not just our needs, but our desires as well, coming as they do from unmet needs. Hold your breath, and your need for oxygen generates a desire to breathe. Stay too long at a dull job, and your need to grow will generate a desire to break free of limitations. Society tries to confine or divert that urge to break free, channeling it toward something inconsequential like drunkenness, video games, or bungee jumping, but what are these pleasures next to the exuberant expansiveness of real freedom?

To trust pleasure is to controvert norms and beliefs so deep that they are part of our very language. I have already mentioned the equation of “hard” with “good” and “easy” with “bad.” The fact that words like “selfish” and “hedonist” are terms of disparagement speaks to the same basic belief. But the logic of interbeing tells us that among our greatest needs are the needs for intimacy, connection, giving, and service to something greater than oneself. Meeting these needs, then, is the source of our greatest pleasure as well.

Open Discussion

What's on your mind? Let's talk about it!

Parable of the Polygons

This week no less than two people mentioned this site to me, so let's talk about it! It's about how personal bias works on a systematic level.

Because the site's interactive, you have to play the games to understand its point. Click on this link to go there:

Parable of the Polygons

The Trial

Let's talk about this story. It's from Michael DeForge's cartoon Sticks Angelica.

Coffee Date!

Hi all, tonight let's just chat! We'll meet at the studio and then go to a cafe. See you!

Valuing Human Beings

Last week's discussion gave us a very interesting sequence of questions.
This week we're going to take a look at them:

"Are rights as a concept the best way we can go about describing valuing human beings?"

To answer this question, first we probably should ask:

What's the reason we should value human beings?

If in the answer we find we do need to value human beings, then we need to find a way to value them, and that's when we get to rights as a concept. So, then the real question is,

"Are human beings fundamentally valuable?"

If we can answer this question, then we can talk about the methods of how to value them, and deciding if rights are a good way to go about doing that.

The Children's Rights Problem

All of the material for today's discussion came from a PDF document on a website called www.worldwewant2015.org. The PDF is called, "What Does 'Equality' Mean for Children in Relation to Adults?"

So for our discussion today I have three questions that maybe ask the same thing:
Can the concept of ‘equality’ be meaningfully applied to relationships between children and adults?
How do we raise children in a way that acknowledges the cognative/developmental limitations of children while at the same time respecting children as autonomous individuals?
Do children have certain inalienable rights?
Is there a better way to ask these questions?

Recognizably Human

Well-being is not just a question of the wealth or pleasure that a person has; it is a question of how people manage to live their lives and the ability they have to do certain things that are important to them. -Professor Amartya Sen, 1979.

Human worth or dignity has implications for all types of relationships, including political ones. At the same time recognising and respecting this fundamental equality of worth or dignity means arranging social relationships in a way that recognises and respects the differences inherent to human beings.
The social arrangements that may best provide the conditions for recognising and respecting that equality should involve the provision of equal basic capabilities, which allows each person to stand as equal in her society. [This should take into] account both freedom and well-being, [but also take into account social] processes that can impact the idea of justice.
Recognising fundamental human worth and the need to create social relationships that respect this is accompanied by the demand that society work actively to remove existing socially derived inequalities.
p. 73 Justice as Equality: Michael Manley's Caribbean Vision of Justice by Anna Kasafi Perkins

Human beings are of fundamental worth simply by being human. Human society should be arranged to recognise and respond to this underlying equality.
--p. 73 Justice as Equality: Michael Manley's Caribbean Vision of Justice by Anna Kasafi Perkins

Agree or disagree?

Reinventing Organizations

Reinventing Organizations is a book which does a good job of describing aspects of the new ways people are finding to work together. The book organises worldviews into groups and lables them with colors. This is somewhat useful for understanding people's different approaches to organisations. Here's some exerpts which hopefully present the main ideas in the book. The book is worth reading in its entirety. You can buy it at the site, or also download it for free and give the author a donation.

Some questions from the book
Can we create organizations free of the pathologies that show up all too often in the workplace? Free of politics, bureaucracy, and infighting; free of stress and burnout; free of resignation, resentment, and apathy; free of the posturing at the top and the drudgery at the bottom?
Is it possible to devise a new model for organizations that makes work productive, fulfilling, and meaningful?
Can we create soulful workplaces―schools, hospitals, businesses, and nonprofits―where our talents can blossom and our callings can be honored?