INTELLIGENCE, WISDOM.

AND NOW THE CLOCK POINTS HISTRIONICALLY TO NOON,                                      SOME NEW KIND OF NORTH,                                                                                   AND WHICH WAY DO WE GO ?                                                                                     WHAT ARE DAYS FOR ?                                                                                                   TO WAKE US UP,                                                                                                           TO PUT BETWEEN THE ENDLESS NIGHTS.                                                                  Laurie Anderson, “Another day in America”.

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In a year when “Time” magazine awarded the “Person of the Year” to “The Protester” we are bound to examine the society that gave rise to the nomination. If we are unable, in truth, to question the viability of the society that gives the protester this status, then that society is not free. It is captive to a mindset that is totally subjective.

When a burning man sparks a global movement  in the middle east, against the intellectual conspiracy that maintains brutal dictatorships with oppressive regimes, it is no wonder that the virus of protest spreads to those places where the myth originate, to the west.

The year 2011 has been a defining year, and as another defining year approaches, each successive year will herald a yet more defining year. There is a choice we have to make NOW.

To accept the “neutrality” of progress and all that technology offers as we sleepwalk towards a future made baron for generations to come, or to progressively rid ourselves of the shackles of amnesia and be the advocate of change rather than the victim.

Highlights from Stewart Brand and Winona LaDuke Debate.  A Spirited Exchange on Technology and the Environment.  (Eart Island Journal)

An audience question from Actor/activist Peter Coyote presents the “debate” as one between “Intelligence and Wisdom”.

Winona Laduke, anti-tar sands activist, reminds us what role amnesia plays in the acceptance of lifestyle and the intellectual hubris it promotes. The argument from Stewart Brand to accept the “neutrality” of consumerism and marketing  is totally rejected by La Duke.

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Post war hardships subsided to the illusion of a vision of “You’ve never had it so good” and that was before the credit boom. The 30’s depression mantra that, “my kids will be better off than I was”, will in a very short time, not only be unrealizable, but a fool’s paradise. The next “new bubble” emerges marketing “choice” based on amnesia, but the big economic bubble is now bursting. The “lifestyle” experiment is coming to an end.

When we look to the west, we observe a social form that has tried to engineer world domination with a century of world wars, until it was taken to its science fiction conclusion with star wars.         So the west opted for a more subtle method of ideological domination, “Lifestyle”, free market capitalism, another vote winning  “no brainer.”

The global ”Occupy” virus has exposed amnesia by revealing the extent of the “inequality” that has evolved, both within western society, and between developed and developing. When the attempt is made to share the “pie” with “other than” western society, the magnanimous gesture is based on the unsustainable demand that the “American lifestyle is non-negotiable”.

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 29 experts, including Herman Daly, were asked,  “What do you think should be the two or three highest priority political outcomes of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), scheduled for Rio de Janeiro in June 2012?”

His answer succinctly sums up the Steady-State perspective.

“The conclusion of the 1972 Limits to Growth study by the Club of Rome still stands 40 years later. Even though economies are still growing, and still put growth in first place, it is no longer economic growth, at least in wealthy countries, but has become uneconomic growth. In other words, the environmental and social costs of increased production are growing faster than the benefits, increasing “illth” faster than wealth, thereby making us poorer, not richer.

We hide the uneconomic nature of growth from ourselves by faulty national accounting because growth is our panacea, indeed our idol, and we are very afraid of the idea of a steady-state economy. The increasing “illth” is evident in exploding financial debt, in biodiversity loss, and in destruction of natural services, most notably climate regulation.

The major job of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development is to help us overcome this denial and shift the path of progress from quantitative growth to qualitative development, from bigger to better. Specifically this will mean working toward a steady-state economy at a sustainable (smaller than present) scale relative to the containing ecosystem that is finite and already overstressed.

Since growth now makes us poorer, not richer, poverty reduction will require sharing in the present, not the empty promise of growth in the future”

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