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  1. #1
    Senor Membrane
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    Default Empathetic Civilization

    Check this guy out:


  2. #2
    lab rat extraordinaire CrystalViolet's Avatar
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    Nolla,
    I gobbed smack at the synchrony of this. I've been reading a lot of literture in the last month or so, that speak of similar principles. Actually even futher back than that. It makes much sense to me. I don't about other people but I'm kinda excited.
    Currently submerged under an avalanche of books and paper work. I may come back up for air from time to time.
    Real life awaits and she is a demanding mistress.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  3. #3

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    To be honest Rifkin pisses me off, his book The End of Work was a total none event and plenty of his predictions have come to naught, I hate his style of discourse and delivery too, he flatters his audience, tells them they're special, living at a pivotal point in history, destined for big things good or bad and then trashes traditions and great thinkers of the past.

    It all seems like an exercise in arrogant intellectual conceit and from the years of knowledge wasted and ignored school of thought, he then predicts disaster which can be offset by adopting the same mindset as him, there's no serious discussions of structures, reforms, anything like that besides really abandon the past and build a new world order. Wait, what?

    I could accept the whole idea of empathic civilisations no problem, it resonates with my thinking, however the history of people who have believed that, perhaps using different language, is a seriously sobering one, one of collossal waste and corruption in lives, resources, name it.

  4. #4

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    The other thing I'd say is that is sounds like he thinks The Borg is the future of mankind and is over joyed at the prospect.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    To be honest Rifkin pisses me off, his book The End of Work was a total none event and plenty of his predictions have come to naught, I hate his style of discourse and delivery too, he flatters his audience, tells them they're special, living at a pivotal point in history, destined for big things good or bad and then trashes traditions and great thinkers of the past.

    It all seems like an exercise in arrogant intellectual conceit and from the years of knowledge wasted and ignored school of thought, he then predicts disaster which can be offset by adopting the same mindset as him, there's no serious discussions of structures, reforms, anything like that besides really abandon the past and build a new world order. Wait, what?
    Hmm... You got quite a different image of him than me. I only watched a couple of videos, though... What you say about him making people feel like they are at a pivotal point, I agree, that's how it sounds, but I already got that idea. Basically, I'm already convinced that the world is going down. I'm not sure if it is as fast a rate as he says, but anyways... now would be the time to stop it, if it is possible. Of course, in a way this is a hoax. It isn't like the pivotal point IS now ABSOLUTELY. It's just that you need to motivate people to do something before it is too late. It will be too late at some point. So, it is better to say that the pivotal point is now, than to wait until you can say with certainty that it was yesterday.

    I didn't really get the vibe that I would have to get into his mindset either. The energy distribution he speaks about here seems quite straighforward when compared with the way things have been developing. It seems like a trend that will happen with or without me. My generation and younger are not authoritarian, so it makes sense that whatever the future is, it will not be top-down.

    Quote Originally Posted by CrystalViolet View Post
    I gobbed smack at the synchrony of this. I've been reading a lot of literture in the last month or so, that speak of similar principles. Actually even futher back than that. It makes much sense to me. I don't about other people but I'm kinda excited.
    Yeah, it is a trend. There's a lot of stuff vaguely like this going around.

  6. #6

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    A lot of material like this mirrors the crisis, crisis! material that was prominant in the UK as the sun began to set on the British Empire, that happened before the two world wars if you ask me and had a cultural basis which was earlier than that even, so I wonder if it is not the US, or at least some of its intellectuals, in a mad scramble to persuade other nations that they need to compromise and not pursue the course of development that the rest of the world has because it could cost the earth, literally.

    As a socialist and internationalist I always supported a version of globalisation, provided that it wouldnt result in some seriously unmitigated winners and losers and a zero sum game, which it would and I think most of the geo-politics from shortly before 9/11 were states engaged in flexing to prove they still had the might if a struggle for resources broke out. I think a lot of the terror campaigns are proxy struggles too and spy games are going on. That struggle is happening.

    The notion that businesses and states will change if the mindset of the world suddenly undergoes a correction based on empathy sounds to me like the message of the hippies in the sixties. Its not that original. It hasnt taken off either.

    I dont want to trash him too much and if he's given you hope for a better tommorrow then maybe that'll make your time today better, which is cool, although I read his book The End of Work and was excited by some of the predictions, it didnt happen, I dont expect it to, I expect that when some sort of income and distribution alternative is decided to mass employment and mass consumption it'll be on the 1%'s terms and amount to a ditching of the welfare state.

  7. #7
    lab rat extraordinaire CrystalViolet's Avatar
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    If you are referring to the new world order, there is enough evidence to suggest it's true.
    You have to admit though, there been a ground swell in the last decade that counteracts this. People aren't happy and they are searching for some thing, a paradigm shift. The philosophy on which much of society is based doesn't fit any more, and the baby boomers have left a mess for the next generations to fix. Their world view is destroying us.
    I guess in a way, Rivikin presented globalisation in a positive way, rather than the doom and gloom scenario favoured by the conspiracy set.
    Plus a return to grass roots appeals to me.
    I didn't get an image of borg scenario, I had more of a image of collective consciousness made psychical. Every thing is connected, as the human race REALLY accepts this, and stops acting like the cancer we are, things could turn around.
    Currently submerged under an avalanche of books and paper work. I may come back up for air from time to time.
    Real life awaits and she is a demanding mistress.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    The notion that businesses and states will change if the mindset of the world suddenly undergoes a correction based on empathy sounds to me like the message of the hippies in the sixties. Its not that original. It hasnt taken off either.
    I don't think that it is quite as simple as you say, and then again, in a way it is more simple. It's not that the mindset shift needs to be corrected. It is being corrected quite naturally. For example, it is clear that my generation is the first generation since industrialization that will definitely have (materially) less than the previous one. I see this happening naturally by ideologies like vegetarianism and downshifting spreading. In the same way, I think as the abundant energy goes away, the ideologies that take this into consideration will make people adjust in a more organic way than what could be done through an authority forcing people to do this. I don't think that the hippies failed. Their message just needed some time to grow.

  9. #9
    The Eighth Colour Octarine's Avatar
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    I agree with Lark, Rifkin's method of communication is painful. It's all hype, buzzwords and ideology (sounds kind of like a Deus Ex Machina). Some of the themes he presents are certainly real and worth discussing (I have discussed them in depth before), however I feel that he doesn't personally add much if anything to the discussion. Plus he mentioned synergy, which is a major faux pas.

    We are past peak oil production, but we are far from peak energy production and current technology does not favour distributed electricity generation for those connected to the grid. While the cost of photovoltaic panels (per actual watt produced) will continue to decrease significantly over the next 20 years, the limiting factor soon becomes the cost of the electronics for the grid interface and the labour cost which will remain high and could in principle mean that solar thermal powerplants may continue to be more competitive than distributed photovoltaics.

    But neither global warming, nor sources of energy are the big problems this century. The major problem is the old one - politics. In terms of systems that utilise bottoms up organisation (information processing), we already have a proven system. It's called the marketplace. The problem is that while the global market is the most effective computational/organisational system known to man, it is not perfect. It still contains defects in terms of information flow and the inherent processing limitations of its functional processing units (individuals). To improve the system we not only have to allow information to flow freely, but extend our cognitive systems to cope with the increasing over-saturation of information.

    But there are also competing forces - the desire for privacy, simplicity and ignorance. These are not naive desires. Ignorance of the problems that others face increases our happiness. Knowledge of our powerlessness to solve many of the worlds problems can lead to feelings of helplessness and potentially depression. To understand that when we participate in larger scale economic systems (basically if we trade for anything that is not directly produced by someone we know), we participate in an unimaginably complex ecosystem of desires and outcomes. When you purchase food at the supermarket, you are contributing both pleasure, pain, life and death to thousands of people. You simply cannot empathise with all of the people you are economically entwined with, even on a superficial level. It is easy to see why most people don't even bother to make an attempt.

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