Ming the Mechanic
The NewsLog of Flemming Funch

Thursday, May 27, 2004day link 

 Things that happen by themselves
picture I am particularly fascinated by phenomena that "happen by themselves". OK, maybe not entirely by themselves, but stuff that emerges somewhat surprisingly and constructively from its component parts. Phenomena like:
  • Emergence
  • Flow
  • Synergy
  • Collective Intelligence
  • Dialogue
  • Synchronicity
  • Paradigm Shifts
  • Memes
  • Self-Organization
  • Smart Mobs
  • Creativity
  • Resonance
  • Collaboration
  • Evolution
  • Ecology
  • Life
  • Consciousness
  • Diversity
  • Harmony
One can say things about it, and one can do certain things to help them along. But generally they just happen, without us being able to say anything terribly coherent about why or how. And that is the very hopeful part. If it were up to us and our individual mental faculties to make the world work, the picture would be really gloomy. We manage to accomplish a lot of things, but at the same time it is our own mental and emotional mixups that put us at war with each other, and at risk of driving ourselves to extinction. The wonderful thing is that, despite that, there are some things that sometimes happen that make things go right, without it being entirely clear how that came about.

Of course there are still plenty of people who would insist that these are either delusions or perfectly logical and predictable phenomena that our scientific minds know all about. It doesn't really matter, because, luckily, we're talking about phenomena that happen whether one really believes in them or not. A person who thinks he's a chemical reaction in a brain will still get creative flashes. Evolution takes place even if it is misunderstood. Groups of people sometimes do great things together, even if their members might think it is a matter of conditioning and chance or of mental logic. But maybe we'd accomplish a lot more if we were more aware of how emergent phenomena happen.

Personally I don't doubt that there is something more. And it is that -more- that will save us. We will understand it more along the way. But it seems to require almost the opposite approach to how we often go about things in our societies. Letting go of our fixed ideas, being open, being present, being comfortable with the unknown, being respectful of that which we don't yet understand, allowing bigger intelligences than our own to manifest themselves.

Possibly, if we look at things from another angle, we can let go of the heavy burden of trying to fit things together that don't seem to fit. And instead allow an implicit order to emerge. Maybe realize that the universe isn't such a bad place after all, and it is inherently structured to allow us to succeed beyond our wildest dreams. If we can discover how to be in harmony with how things work, rather than trying to fix what never was broken.

We're not smart enough. But something is. And it might still be us, but it is a paradox. If we can get our self-centered pride a bit out of the way, we might notice when it happens. Relax, pay attention, get in sync with what is possible. And surf its waves, rather than trying to dam it up.
[ | 2004-05-27 05:37 | 19 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Gore's Speech
Al Gore gave a good speech:
George W. Bush promised us a foreign policy with humility. Instead, he has brought us humiliation in the eyes of the world.

He promised to "restore honor and integrity to the White House." Instead, he has brought deep dishonor to our country and built a durable reputation as the most dishonest President since Richard Nixon.

Honor? He decided not to honor the Geneva Convention. Just as he would not honor the United Nations, international treaties, the opinions of our allies, the role of Congress and the courts, or what Jefferson described as "a decent respect for the opinion of mankind." He did not honor the advice, experience and judgment of our military leaders in designing his invasion of Iraq. And now he will not honor our fallen dead by attending any funerals or even by permitting photos of their flag-draped coffins.

How did we get from September 12th , 2001, when a leading French newspaper ran a giant headline with the words "We Are All Americans Now" and when we had the good will and empathy of all the world -- to the horror that we all felt in witnessing the pictures of torture in Abu Ghraib.

To begin with, from its earliest days in power, this administration sought to radically destroy the foreign policy consensus that had guided America since the end of World War II. The long successful strategy of containment was abandoned in favor of the new strategy of "preemption." And what they meant by preemption was not the inherent right of any nation to act preemptively against an imminent threat to its national security, but rather an exotic new approach that asserted a unique and unilateral U.S. right to ignore international law wherever it wished to do so and take military action against any nation, even in circumstances where there was no imminent threat. All that is required, in the view of Bush's team is the mere assertion of a possible, future threat - and the assertion need be made by only one person, the President.

More disturbing still was their frequent use of the word "dominance" to describe their strategic goal, because an American policy of dominance is as repugnant to the rest of the world as the ugly dominance of the helpless, naked Iraqi prisoners has been to the American people. Dominance is as dominance does.

Dominance is not really a strategic policy or political philosophy at all. It is a seductive illusion that tempts the powerful to satiate their hunger for more power still by striking a Faustian bargain. And as always happens - sooner or later - to those who shake hands with the devil, they find out too late that what they have given up in the bargain is their soul.
Glad he gets himself together to say it as it is.
[ | 2004-05-27 15:10 | 32 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

Main Page: ming.tv