Ming the Mechanic
The NewsLog of Flemming Funch

Tuesday, February 25, 2003day link 

 The Obvious Society
picture Britt has an excellent piece on 'The Obvious Society', which is an elaboration on his ideas about a Transparent Society. A Transparent Society is a society where we collectively know as much about each other as did the citizens of a 19th century village, but this time through shared technology. Our transactions and our track record is out in the open. We carry around webcams that can record everything we do. We can easily track where everybody is at any time. We can easily track every item of any kind we have a need for tracking. I know that some people find all of this a horrible thought, but I agree with Britt that if all of this is available in a truly democratic fashion, our society is transformed in very useful ways. Crime would no longer be viable, for one thing. Neither would dishonesty. That is a transparent society. Then what is an 'Obvious Society'?

It is the inevitable conclusion to such transparency. It is when it becomes obvious how to indicate our needs, obvious how to notice the needs of others, obvious how to be rewarded for good deeds. It is where we are seen so clearly, and we see others so clearly that it is obvious what we need to do, and obvious what transactions we should carry out amongst each other. If everything is out in the open, life can become more simple again, as we can focus on the obvious things to do, which are those things we are suited to do, and which need doing. And the value of that will be obvious to others, which translates into an elightened economy.
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 Love and the Revolution
From CommUnity of Minds:
"One is not allowed in the modern culture to speak about love, except in the most romantic and trivial sense of the word. Anyone who calls upon the capacity of people to practice brotherly and sisterly love is more likely to be ridiculed than to be taken seriously. The deepest difference between optimists and pessimists is their position in the debate about whether human beings are able to operate collectively from a basis of love. In a society that systematically develops in people their individualism, their competitiveness, and their cynicism, the pessimists are the vast majority.

That pessimism is the single greatest problem of the current social system, we think, and the deepest cause of unsustainability. A culture that cannot believe in, discuss, and develop the best human qualities is one that suffers from a tragic distortion of information. "How good a society does human nature permit?" asked psychologist Abraham Maslow. "How good a human nature does society permit?"

... It is difficult to speak of or to practice love, friendship, generosity, understanding, or solidarity within a system whose rules, goals, and information streams are geared for lesser human qualities. But we try, and we urge you to try. Be patient with yourself and others as you and they confront the difficulty of a changing world. Understand and empathize with inevitable resistance; there is some resistance, some clinging to the ways of unsustainability, within each of us. Include everyone in the new world. Everyone will be needed. Seek out and trust in the best human instincts in yourself and in everyone. Listen to the cynicism around you and pity those who believe it, but don't believe it yourself."


- Donella H. Meadows, Dennis L. Meadows, and Jørgen Randers

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