The words ‘Occupy’, and the concept of the 99% and the 1% have become so enmeshed in our daily lives, hardly an American alive can deny their importance. Still, when pundits deign to look back upon the short history of the movement, and recent years’ progressive activism in general, they wonder “what good has it done”, and “where have they gone”, and “why couldn’t they just play by the rules?” The underlying implication is that such protests are somehow outside the ‘conventional wisdom’ of the political landscape, and therefore should be easily forgotten. But their ideas demand the attention of people everywhere, from Gezi Park to Taiwan, from Brazil to Ferguson, and anywhere citizens have been forced to exert their rights by literally occupying their own turf against tyrannical powers.… Read the rest
Tag Archives | progress
Adhering to the apocalyptic overpopulation narrative has proven to encourage human rights atrocities. It has the effect of dragging anchor on social progress and innovation. To move forward, I feel it is in all of our best interests to weigh anchor, sail out to the horizon, and throw Malthus overboard on the way. What say you, disinfonauts?
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MANY scientists believe that by transforming the earth’s natural landscapes, we are undermining the very life support systems that sustain us. Like bacteria in a petri dish, our exploding numbers are reaching the limits of a finite planet, with dire consequences. Disaster looms as humans exceed the earth’s natural carrying capacity. Clearly, this could not be sustainable.
This is nonsense. Even today, I hear some of my scientific colleagues repeat these and similar claims — often unchallenged.
Change and the unknown may be the commonest fears, along with public speaking. All of which hold the potential of limiting progress. Perhaps some adhere to a notion of singularity, maybe ignorance, perhaps others are prone to the narratives passed down from parents. I don’t know, and I accept that. What I do know is that we all have the power to educate ourselves, and to choose. For the sake of balance I offer you this.
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Many experts would have us believe that robots and other technologies are behind the job drought. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.MIT Technology Review editor David Rotman recently wrote an article called “How Technology is Destroying Jobs.” The title not only sums up the article’s thesis, it sums up the view of many pundits seeking to explain lackluster job growth.
In the new, hyper-modernized South Korea, many older people feel that they have been left abandoned, obsolete, and penniless. A dark omen of things to come in developed societies around the world with focuses on technology and individualism, and shredded social safety nets? The New York Times reports:
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The number of people 65 and older committing suicide has nearly quadrupled in recent years, making the country’s rate of such deaths among the highest in the developed world. The epidemic is the counterpoint to the nation’s runaway economic success, which has worn away at the Confucian social contract that formed the bedrock of Korean culture for centuries.
That contract was built on the premise that parents would do almost anything to care for their children — in recent times, depleting their life savings to pay for a good education — and then would end their lives in their children’s care. No Social Security system was needed.
Via the Daily Beast, Michael Thomsen on the new model of scientific progress:
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In a time of dramatically worsening social conditions in the richest country in the world, there is something perverse about chasing scientific advancement that only the tiniest percentage of people will have access to, driven by the optimism of impossible promises.
It’s possible to view scientific advancement not as a marker of human progress but as a separatist illusion used to justify the accumulation of wealth by the few, building new speculative societies with iPhones, gene therapy, and regenerative medicine, while everyone else festers in shanty towns and militarized city slums. Does it matter if there is a cure for cancer but no one will share it with you?
In the thrilling early years of the Human Genome Project, scientists flew all over the world to study the genes of as many different races and ethnic groups as possible.
No more Einsteins? Phys.org writes:
Dean Keith Simonton, professor at the University of California, in the journal Nature argues that it’s unlikely mankind will ever produce another Einstein, Newton, Darwin, etc. because, he says, we’ve already discovered all the most basic ideas that describe how the natural world works. New work will involve little more than adding to our knowledge base.
Sadly, the past several decades only offer proof of his assessment. Since the time of Einstein, he says, no one has really come up with anything that would mark them as a giant in the field.
The way modern science is conducted [may be] adding to the problem. Rather than fostering lone wolves, the new paradigm has researchers working together as teams, efficiently marching towards incremental increases in knowledge. That doesn’t leave much room for true insight, a necessary ingredient for genius level discoveries.
Chris Hedges writes at Truthdig:
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Clive Hamilton in his “Requiem for a Species: Why We Resist the Truth About Climate Change” describes a dark relief that comes from accepting that “catastrophic climate change is virtually certain.” This obliteration of “false hopes,” he says, requires an intellectual knowledge and an emotional knowledge. The first is attainable. The second, because it means that those we love, including our children, are almost certainly doomed to insecurity, misery and suffering within a few decades, if not a few years, is much harder to acquire. To emotionally accept impending disaster, to attain the gut-level understanding that the power elite will not respond rationally to the devastation of the ecosystem, is as difficult to accept as our own mortality. The most daunting existential struggle of our time is to ingest this awful truth—intellectually and emotionally—and continue to resist the forces that are destroying us.