Sunday, December 30, 2012

Hypercapitalist Boom Times Equality

In hypercapitalist boom times, equality came to mean equality of ability to consume on an equal footing with other high-consumption individuals and economies. That kind of consumption has been a cause of serious ecological degradation, resource depletion and global warming through the emission of greenhouse gases. Ecologically speaking, we need a certain amount of contraction in the production and consumption of material goods. We have recently seen reduction in carbon emissions largely because of recession, but this is not the kind of contraction that is required. - Anne B. Ryan

Understanding the Double Binds Created by Undifferentiated Growth

We now face two classic double binds.iii First, we want to preserve our ecosystems and natural environment, but everything we do to grow our economies and preserve our material rates of consumption disrupts our relationships with the natural systems on which we depend. 
"Everything we do to grow our economies and preserve our material rates of consumption disrupts our relationships with the natural systems on which we depend."
Second, we also face a social double bind. We are in a situation of severe social inequality. The most widely proposed solution is to grow the economy in the same mode as we have done previously. However, the result of growing the economy in hypercapitalist mode is more inequality (the rich get richer). Growth is no guarantee of jobs, since many new enterprises are automated, with as few human workers as possible. Proceeds flow upwards to a small minority of shareholders and top executives.

A double-bind does not mean that there is no hope of resolution; but we have to seek answers from a different angle. We have to break out of the level of consciousness that keeps us stuck in a model that does not work. Anne B. Ryan

Hjemmet, eneste (delvis) gjenværende arena utenom institusjonene hvor barna kan lære samhandling

Min kommentar til artikkel hos Forskning.no:
"De forstår at hjemmet er en viktig arena hvor barn og unge tilegner seg og øver på sosiale ferdigheter."

I dag er dessverre hjemmet eneste arena utenom institusjonene hvor barna kan lære samhandling. Et engelsk ordspråk sier: "It takes a village to raise a child."

De gamle landsbyene, grendene og storfamiliene var enormt viktige sosiale læringsarenaer for barn, i dag erstattet av døde forsteder, "tårn i parken"-typologier og institusjoner. Nabokjerringa, interaksjonen mellom generasjonene og levende nærmiljøer er en saga blott.

I sannhet er bibelens endetidsprofetier om at kjærligheten skal bli kald blant menneskene, fullbyrdet.

The Repression of the Street Handicraft Movement in Brazil

PLEASE, support the making of this beautiful documentray in Brazil, Malucos de Estrada – The english version is at www.gofundme.com/malucosenglish

Saturday, December 29, 2012

En hjelpende hånd

Klikk på bildet for forstørrelse

What’s Wrong with the Current Monetary System?


1. Money is debt.

2. The money supply is under private control.

3. Bank deposits are not secure.

4. The money supply is pro-cyclical.

5. The money supply fosters inflation.

6. Interest on money is a subsidy to the banking sector.

7. Interest on money forces economic growth.

8. Interest fosters wealth concentration.

9. The monetary system is unstable.

10. The monetary system counteracts crucial moral values.

Read the essay from which the ten points originate here.

The Chemistry of Snowflakes - Bytesize Science

Friday, December 28, 2012

Bob Dylan, en selverklært anti-modernist (Vi lever i en ny steinalder)

Antimodernisten Bob Dylan. Tegning: ORDENssekretariat.at

Selv om jeg alltid har regnet Bob Dylan som antimodernist, var det med stor glede jeg nylig fikk dette inntrykket bekreftet. "His Bobness" plasserer seg med dette trygt i selskap med mine øvrige helter, vil her særlig framheve J.R.R. Tolkien og Christoper Alexander.

Bob Dylan - en antimoderne kunstner

Men kanskje er Dylan verken sfinx eller orakel. Gjennom hele sin karriere har han vært trofast mot sitt utgangspunkt: et kulturelt landskap som ifølge Greil Marcus er fornektet av det offisielle Amerika, men som Dylan gjennom sine sanger på forunderlig vis får den som lytter, til å se for seg. Han har visualisert den amerikanske utopiens sammenbrudd ved å gjøre energien i de folkelige tradisjonene til sin og å forvandle den til mørk og sannhetssøkende, men fargesterk og visjonær rock'n'roll.

I sin nyeste bok, Bob Dylan, skriver Marcus at Dylans musikk de siste tjue årene synes å bygge på en opplevelse av at den amerikanske musikken han dyrker, består av en eneste stor stamme av musikk, med en egen moraloppfatning, et grunnmateriale som består av "ord og metaforer, riff og stønn, nøling og skrik". Marcus synes å mene at denne arven kan ha en fornyende kraft på enhver som lytter dypt nok til formen og innholdet.

Dette kjenner vi også igjen i Dylans egen skildring av sine påvirkninger og i hans analyser av folkemusikkens mening. Det var der Dylan var, og der han fremdeles er: i skjebnene til de tusenvis av mennesker på undersiden av den amerikanske drømmen, alle dem som hos ham fikk sine ofte tragiske liv utlagt som dramatiske fortellinger i rytme og rim. For Dylan er de her og nå, i motsetning til det moderne livet han ble forventet å engasjere seg i. Dylan forteller hvordan han gjennom å ta inn over seg denne kulturen skapte seg en identitet, både som kunstner og menneske. Han snakker om folkemusikkens visdom, som lyder slik: "Livet har mer enn tusen ansikter, og du må møte alle hvis du vil spille disse greiene."

I et intervju med Newsweek i 1997 sier han om sine religiøse følelser: "Jeg finner religiøsitet og filosofi i musikken. Jeg finner det ikke noe annet sted. Sanger som "Let Me Rest On a Peaceful Mountain" eller "I Saw the Light" - det er min religion. Jeg holder meg ikke til rabbier, predikanter, evangelister, alt sånt. Jeg har lært mer av sangene enn jeg har lært av noe av dette andre. Sangene er mitt leksikon. Jeg tror på sangene."

Slik sett er det mulig å tolke Dylan som en antimoderne kunstner, drevet av sorg over at "det tapte landet" ikke er der lenger, slik tittelen lyder på et av kapitlene i Memoarer Del I. Paulus Svendsen, professor i litteraturhistorie (1950) og i idéhistorie (fra 1962), utga i 1940 verket Gullalderdrøm og utviklingstro. Tittelen gjengir i et nøtteskall to hovedanskuelser i synet på klodens muligheter. Den som har utviklingstro, mener at verden stadig lar seg forbedre, kanskje med en utopi som endelig mål. Gullalderdrømmen, derimot, preger den som tenker at den beste tiden ligger bak oss og allerede tilhører historien. Jeg tror Bob Dylan opplever at noe ugjenkallelig er forbi, noe han forsøker å gjenskape, være et speil av, selv om han vet at det ikke lar seg gjenreise.

Et par uttalelser kan belyse denne holdningen. I Roma 2001 ble han spurt om han syntes vi lever i en ny middelalder. Han svarte:

"Snarere en ny steinalder. For lenge siden hadde vi gullalderen. Da Homer levde. Deretter sølvalderen. Bronsealderen. Kanskje er det en heroisk alder et eller annet sted innimellom. Vi lever i jernalderen, men det kunne like gjerne vært steinalderen. Begynnelsen av steinalderen. Du kan gå rundt her i Roma og kikke. I dag kan ikke folk bygge det du ser der ute. Særlig ikke i denne byen her. Det har vært folk her før deg, og de var trolig på et langt høyere nivå enn noen av oss. Det må de ha vært. Vi kan ikke konstruere slikt lenger."

I forbindelse med Together Through Life (2009) svarte han følgende da han ble spurt om sin forkjærlighet til pianoballader fra 1920- og 1930-tallet:

"I dag ville verden med sitt sinnsvake hastverk trampet ned en så delikat musikk som det du snakker om. Verden har endret seg økonomisk og sosialt. To verdenskriger, aksjemarkedets sammenbrudd, depresjonen, den seksuelle revolusjonen, digre lydanlegg, teknopop. Du kan ikke tenke deg slike små hverdagsballader komme ut av skyskrapere med flere tårn. Den typen musikk eksisterte i en mer tidløs livsform. Jeg elsker de gamle pianolåtene. I hjembyen min kunne jeg rusle ned mørke gater på stille sommerkvelder og høre slike sanger komme glidende fra døråpninger og åpne vinduer."

Dette er hverken konservatisme eller nostalgi. Snarere en form for melankoli, som ligger innebygd i Dylans egne sanger og i den tradisjonen han aldri blir ferdig med. Og som han skaper musikalsk trolldom ut fra. Dramatikeren Sam Shepard, som deltok på Rolling Thunder-turnéen i 1975, skriver i boka Rolling Thunder Logbook (1977) at det forunderlige med Dylans tekster er at de skaper forestillinger. "Hele scener blir spilt ut i fire farger mens du lytter (...). Hvordan blir bildene til? Hvordan blir ordene til bilder? Og hvordan får de deg til å føle saker og ting? Det er et mirakel." - Fredrik Wandrup fra boka "Bob Dylan. Mannen, myten og musikken", s. 30-31

The Tragedy of Bjørvika, Oslo, Unfolded in 92 Seconds

http://www.aftenposten.no/webtv/Bli-med-pa-en-tidsreise-i-Bjorvika-7005914.html

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The End of the Market

Strongly recommended reading by Michel Bauwens of P2P-Foundation:

The End of the Market

Prangende forbruk er kompensering

Et ønske om dyre, høystatus produkter kan knyttes til en persons følelse av sosial status. 
Tidligere forskning i USA har vist at minoriteter bruker større andel av inntekten sin på luksusartikler enn hvite. 
I en ny studie skulle hvite testpersoner forestille seg at de hadde et lavstatusyrke. Det førte til at de fikk et økt ønske om kjøp av produkter med høy status.
Studieforfatter Phillip Mazzocco mener dette viser en grunnleggende psykologisk tendens hos alle mennesker. 
- Alle som føler at de er lavstatus vil prøve å kompensere. Og i vårt kapitalistiske, forbruksorienterte samfunn, er kjøp av høystatusprodukter en måte å kompensere på, sier han. (forskning.no/jlh) - Forskning.no 
Dette er handikapprinsippet i praksis. Nettop derfor blir det også så falskt når statusakademikere lever ut en spartansk livsstil, og forventer at den gemene hop skal følge deres lysende eksempel. Ikke uten grunn at miljøvernorganisasjonene flyter over av akademikere.

Alle ønsker å briljere, akademikeren med sitt intellekt, kvinnen i gata med sin nye iPhone.

7 kjennetegn på kreative

Martinsen identifiserer i studien syv overordnede personlighetstrekk som kjennetegner kreative mennesker:
  • Assosiativ orientering: Har fantasi, lekenhet, idérikdom, evne til å bli oppslukt, glidende overganger mellom drøm og virkelighet.
  • Behov for originalitet: Gjør motstand mot regler og konvensjoner. Har rebellaktig innstilling gjennom et behov for å gjøre noe ingen andre gjør.
  • Motivasjon: Har prestasjonsbehov, målrettethet, nyhetssøkende innstilling, har utholdenhet med vanskelige problemstillinger.
  • Ambisjon: Har behov for å ha innflytelse, å få oppmerksomhet og anerkjennelse.
  • Fleksibilitet: Har evne til se ulike sider ved problemstillinger og kan holde løsningsmuligheter åpne.
  • Lav følelsesmessig stabilitet: Har tendens til å oppleve negative følelser, større svingninger i humør og stemningsleie og sviktende selv tillit.
  • Lav omgjengelighet: Har tendens til å være lite omtenksom, egenrådig og til å finne feil og mangler ved saker og mennesker.
Blant de syv personlighetstrekkene er det assosiativ orientering og fleksibilitet som i størst grad leder til kreativ tenkning. - Forskning.no

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Julegavekollaps

Alle gavene ble til slutt for mye for min datter, et tydelig tegn på at overflodssamfunnet ikke bare er av det gode for våre barn. Til slutt fikk hun et sammenbrudd hvoretter hun bare gråt og gråt, alle inntrykkene og alle de nye tingene å forholde seg til, ble for mye for et lite barnesinn. Helt hysterisk ble hun når vi begynte å samle sammen innpakninger og julegavepapir, det skulle visst helst ligge på gulvet og flyte.

Egentlig ser jeg denne reaksjonen som et sunnhetstegn for et lite barn. Jeg har selv også følt på avmakt over alle ting og eiendeler som på mystisk vis hoper seg opp. Hvor kommer det alt sammen fra? Hva skal vi med alt dette? Er vår overflod blitt en forbannelse?

Se også de fine kommentarene av Beate Johansen og Anne Kristoffersen hos Origo.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Fossil Fueled Christmas!

Anyone who tells you that energy independence can be achieved based on globally traded commodities such as oil, coal and natural gas is either trying to mislead you or doesn't understand the structure of energy markets. As of 2011 fossil fuels produced 83 percent of the world's energy according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Because fossil fuels can be transported anywhere in the world, producers seek out the highest price unless they are constrained by law or infrastructure from doing so. This means that energy independence for a country is something of an optical illusion when it is based merely on the domestic production of fossil fuels. Kurt Cobb
Unfortunately our Christmas gifts are not brought to us by reindeer

Seeds of Freedom - Documentary


Seeds of Freedom is a video documentary on the Enclosure of the Seeds Commons.

The makers explain:
A landmark film narrated by Jeremy Irons. The story of seed has become one of loss, control, dependence and debt. It’s been written by those who want to make vast profit from our food system, no matter what the true cost. It’s time to change the story.

Seeds of Freedom charts the story of seed from its roots at the heart of traditional, diversity rich farming systems across the world, to being transformed into a powerful commodity, used to monopolise the global food system.The film highlights the extent to which the industrial agricultural system, and genetically modified (GM) seeds in particular, has impacted on the enormous agro-biodiversity evolved by farmers and communities around the world, since the beginning of agriculture.

Seeds of Freedom seeks to challenge the mantra that large-scale, industrial agriculture is the only means by which we can feed the world, promoted by the pro-GM lobby. In tracking the story of seed it becomes clear how corporate agenda has driven the take over of seed in order to make vast profit and control of the food global system.

Through interviews with leading international experts such as Dr Vandana Shiva and Henk Hobbelink, and through the voices of a number of African farmers, the film highlights how the loss of indigenous seed goes hand in hand with loss of biodiversity and related knowledge; the loss of cultural traditions and practices; the loss of livelihoods; and the loss of food sovereignty. The pressure is growing to replace the diverse, nutritional, locally adapted and resilient seed crops which have been bred by small-scale farmers for millenia, by monocultures of GM seed.

Alongside speakers from indigenous farming communities, the film features global experts and activists Dr Vandana Shiva of Navdanya, Henk Hobbelink of GRAIN, Zac Goldsmith MP (UK Conservative party), Canadian farmer Percy Schmeiser, Kumi Naidoo of Greenpeace International, Gathuru Mburu of the African Biodiversity Network, Liz Hosken of The Gaia Foundation and Caroline Lucas MP (UK Green party).

Velferdsstaten befinner seg på et synkende skip

Nok en kommentar fra meg om velferdsstatens skjebne:
Forecast:

Systemically, 1.00% growth over the next 18 years in contrast to 2.00%-3.00% growth over the same period represents a profound and huge challenge to every institution – from our government's future liabilities and payments, to private pension funds, workers, infrastructure, and our wealth.

When the rate of oil supply growth is similarly reduced from 1.00%-2.00% per year to 0.50% per year and is accompanied by comparable reductions in the supply of other resources, this, too, has a profound effect on growth, unless it can be reversed rather quickly (which seems unlikely). Gregor Macdonald
Med unntak av Norge er velferdsstaten en ordning som så sin storhetstid i det tyvende århundre. Dette fordi den holdes flytende av det kapitalistiske skip, som ingen trodde kunne synke. Sannheten er at kapitalismen nå har kjørt inn i et isfjell av energi- og ressursmangel, og har fått et hull for baugen.

Ingen institusjon eller teknologi, ingen IMF-plan kan tette denne revnen, nei, den kommer til å utvide seg for hvert år som går. Kapitalismens skip tar inn vann, og vil i likhet med Titanic synke til havets bunn. En av dens mest prominente passasjerer er velferdsstaten, og denne vil uvilkårlig lide samme skjebne.

Velferdsstaten er passasjer på kapitalismens synkende skip

Sunday, December 23, 2012

New Blog: PERMANENT CULTURE NOW

I just came aware of a new and very promising blog, which name relates to the name of my own blog Permaliv, or translated to English permanent life.

To establish permanent life we need a permanent culture, which is something real that can be achieved! Yes, in spite of satiric comments from Ross Wolf, who nicknames permaculture as "permanent unnature", Christopher Alexander has proved the stupidity of such old-fashioned thinking.
We have now reached the point where we believe that there needs to be a move towards a Permanent Culture. When we talk of a Permanent Culture we do not mean a static culture. On the contrary, we believe that future culture will be dynamic and evolving, but in order to facilitate this there has to be a move away from an unsustainable culture based on endless consumption towards a culture that is permanent in the sense that it is sustainable, or as Holmgren puts it a culture that is “Beyond Sustainability".
Visit their great blog:

PERMANENT CULTURE NOW

Diana Leafe Christian on Leaving Babylon

Diana Leafe Christian, author of Creating a Life Together and Finding Community, and publisher of Ecovillages newsletter, has responded to Vera Bradova's article Living by the bell. This is one of a series of articles from Bradova, travelling around the North American continent documenting alternative communities. That she's followed by such a mayor player like Diana shows the importance of her work.

Vera originates from the Czech Republic and is the webmaster of Leaving Babylon.

  1. dianaleafechristian Says:


    What a fascinating post. I’ve long been curious about the Possibility Alliance and appreciate your thorough, you-are-there way of describing your experience.
    Here are some things I’ve found that help communities feel healthy and sustainable to their members. And sustainable in the long run, in that their population is stable and turnover relatively low. This comes from my research, including visits to now 120 different communities in North America and aborad, and many dozens of conversations and outright interviews with community founders and members. The list:
    * The community has service to others as one its values and practices.
    * Service to others is balanced with service to the community itself.
    * Service to the community is balanced with “down time” for members. Productive work balanced with doing nothing. The “inbreath and outbreath of existence” to quote ancient Indian texts for a moment. In Robert & Diane Gilman’s famously quoted definition of an ecovillage is the phrase “with healthy human development.” Community’s members are considered valuable resources of energy, intelligence, and consciousness, and their development is important too. They get to rest.
    * Transparency is highly valued and consistently practiced. Everyone knows and anyone who asks is told who owns the land, what kind of legal entity(s) are used in ownership, who has what decision-making rights, what rights and responsibilities members have, and if there are different kinds of members (i.e., owners and those who trade work for food and shelter) the rights and responsibilities of each are crystal clear to everyone and anyone who asks. Open books: however much money the community has, owes, has loaned or donated, requires from members, etc. is all available to be known. (Why not?) And if everything is free and people are just asked to give donations, how the money goes is tracked and freely available. (Why not?)
    * One of the first things communities learn is how quickly disease can spread with multiple people sharing things like toilets, kitchens, utensils, plates, food, couches, chairs, beds, sheets, etc. Long-time communities from The Farm to Findhorn, from Dancing Rabbit to Damanhur, absolutely have learned the hard lessons from not agreeing to and doing good hygiene practices. This usually means consistent handwashing with hot water and soap, dunking all shared things into a water & bleach rinse, and a place to wash hands (with said hot water & soap) by each flush or composting toilet. If you ever visit a community where all the kids and many adults have shaved heads, it’s not because they’re skinheads, Hare Krishnas, or Japanese Buddhists. They’ve just had (another) outbreak of head lice in the kids.

    Two practical tips:
    (1) It’s easy not to have flies on food being prepared in an outdoor kitchen with a combination of mosquito netting or window screening on all the walls and a screen door (and no holes in the screen), and one or more strips of flypaper hanging from the ceiling (changed frequently. Problem solved.
    (2) There’s absolutely no reason a composting toilet should smell bad. When you know how to make them, they don’t smell like anything at all, except perhaps a woodworking shop. The secret is the specific and direct application of sawdust. When you cover everything with a light dusting of sawdust, you cut off air so smells don’t travel, plus the carbon of the sawdust neutralizes the nitrogen of the human waste. Also, compost toilets with 55-gallon barrels or 5-gallon buckets — with the use of sawdust — work orders of magnitude better than the hole-in-the-ground or underground cement vault kind, because you can aim the sawdust directly onto the poop or pee (which soaks it up) and voila! no smell. If you visit a community where the toilets smell, they must not know they can do so much better! (Have ‘em call me.)
    * Feedback is welcome. Really. Painful and difficult to hear though it may be, some of the best advice a community could ever get is from visitors and work exchangers. Because they often have what Zen folks call “Beginner’s Mind.” (Though not always. Once a visitor to Earthaven wrote in her blog that we have no rules and so everyone here throws their trash in the woods. Oops! The blogger didn’t know what a carbon dump was or how it works, and didn’t observe that the “trash” was branches, leaves, paper, cardboard, and it was building soil (in this humid climate it will be soil soon!) in the ox-bow bend of a stream that was otherwise eroding to undercut our main road. A Permaculture designer she was not. So beginners’ mind folks sometimes don’t have all the information either.)
    * Founders and community members tell the (whole) truth. Rather than saying, for example, “We don’t use money here, and we demonstrate how to live without money, and if we can do it, you can do it too” they’d say, “We don’t use money to the extent we can barter and get donations, though we did buy our land with more than a hundred-thousand of the ittle green rectangles known as Federal Reserve Notes, so we used money then. And you can live without money too if you first secure more than a hundred thousand (or in some cases, several hundred thousand) of these little notes too.”
    Thanks again for this really straightforward post, leavegirl.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

CO2-Levels, Marine Microbes & Our Survival

Though they unfolded slowly over hundreds of thousands, sometimes millions of years, those earlier extinctions (going back to around 450 million years ago) seem to have shared a common etiology: a slow but finally fatal buildup of CO2 in the atmosphere; consequent acidification and de-oxygenation of the world’s oceans; and withal, the demise of species like phytoplankton, foraminifera, miniscule shrimp called krill, diatoms, pteropods and many thousands of other marine microbial and miniature species that supply more than half the world’s oxygen and form the base of the marine food chains and of marine systems that perform vital Life-support and climate management services, like sequestering CO2.

What happens is that when atmospheric CO2 exceeds the capacity of those CO2-eaters to absorb to make their shells, it dissolves in the water as carbonic acid. Marine scientist Jennifer Kennedy, recent Director of the Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation, explains the vicious cycle that’s set up when pH level of the world’s oceans goes down, that is, when they become more acidic.

“On the pH scale, 7 is neutral, with 0 the most acidic and 14 the most basic. The historical pH of sea water is about 8.16, leaning on the basic side of the scale. While it doesn't seem like this is a problem, the pH of our oceans has fallen to 8.05 since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, a change greater in magnitude than any time in the 650,000 years before the Industrial Revolution. The pH scale is also logarithmic, so that slight change in pH results in a 30 percent increase in acidity.” This is decidedly not promising for the future of marine microbes. So what?

Marine microbes account for up to 98 percent of all ocean biomass and collectively weigh the equivalent of 240 billion African elephants. Subtracting even a portion of that feed stock from the bottom of the world’s food chains would be like subtracting corn, wheat, soy and meat from us who are at the top. Subtracting it from the Earth’s two-billion year-old carbon sequestration team could raise the planet’s temperature high enough to do exactly that.

E voila: Trickle-up extinction. - Ellen LaConte
Read the whole article: End of the World? Nah. End of the World as We Know It. Yah.

240 billion African elephants is a lot of food. Photo: nickandmel2006

Mer om velferdsstaten

Min korte diskusjon om velferdsstaten under en artikkel i forskning.no. Se også her.

  • 19682010Klapp sammen
    Poenget er at velferdsstaten er et ektefødt barn av kapitalismen, den lever i symbiose med det kapitalistiske system på lik linje med algene på korallene. Men på samme vis som korallrevene dør i havene, er vi nå også vitne til kapitalismens død.
    Vi må derfor erstatte velferdsstaten, som indirekte er en blodsuger av verdens energi, ressurser og økosystemer gjennom kapitalismen, med et nytt system.
    Personlig har jeg stor tro på Terje Bongards inngruppemodell, hvor man istedenfor å basere seg på energi baserer seg på de positive drivkreftene innebygd i handikapprinsippet.
    Dessverre er ikke Bongards nettsted bioman.no oppe og går enda, men det er ikke lenge til.
    I mellomtida vil jeg anbefale å lese hans bok "Det biologiske mennesket", som snart også finnes i tysk og engelsk språkdrakt.                                              
    “The next twenty to forty years will see an enormous political battle, not about the
    survival of capitalism (which has exhausted its possibilities as a system) but
    about what kind of system we shall collectively “choose” to replace it – an
    authoritarian model that imposes continued (and expanded) polarization or one
    that is relatively democratic and relatively egalitarian.”:www.resilience.org/stories/201...
    vis mindre
  • 19682010
    Jaså, har ikke den industrielle revolusjon noe å gjøre med tilgang til kull heller da? 
  • Marius
    Du har ikke forstått artikkelen, har du? Den viser at det er ting som tyder på at et godt trygt sikkerhetsnett øker den totale produktiviteten. Dette har ingenting med å gjøre at vi har olje og gass...
  • 19682010
    Vi må huske på at den norske velferdsstaten flyter i energi. Dette er ikke tilfelle for resten av verden.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Responses to My Article “Beyond Separative Modern Urbanism: Looking for the Connective Design that’s Already ‘Out There’”

7 responses to “Beyond separative modern urbanism: looking for the connective design that’s already ‘out there”. The original version of the essay is to be found here.

  1. Patrick S Says:
    I find Holmstad’s direction of disapproval at the Welfare State, particularly of the Scandinavian variety, very strange and misplaced.
    The whole point of a Social democratic society is that it protects people from the worst excesses of the capitalist market and seemingly inevitable sharp inequalities which result – but leaves very considerable room for self-expression and liberty.
    That is, whilst they are very much free to develop their own multiple local communities, they are required to recognise the larger society-wide community and a sense of both obligation towards others but also social rights – something which neoliberalism tried to stamp out.
    Yes, no doubt there are unfortunate instances of the welfare state being combined with a technocratic expert driven worldview in the mid-late 20th C producing unfortunate results.
    But in my view, social democracies are much better positioned to creatively balance the personal with communal goods in an uncertain future – taking in ideas around the Commons and P2P in the process.
  2. Michel Bauwens Says:
    I agree with you. P2P societies require the achievements of the welfare states as their basis. But they also go beyond it by maximally deburocratising the state. On to the communification of state and public-commons partnerships in the context of a Partner State model which enables and empowers direct social production by its citizens.
    Michel
  3. Øyvind Holmstad Says:
    “free to develop their own multiple local communities”
    @Patric, I can ensure you we don’t have this freedom. If you just want to change your window, to make your house more pleasant to live in, you have to pay several thousand kroners for permission from a bureaucratic servant.
    The fact is that the Scandinavian welfare state is a terrible example of a society created within system -B, and within the context of system -B human interactions and deeper forms of human life cannot thrive. Just think about the isolation of children in kindergartens and old people in old people’s homes. I have a daughter, and the state gives me two options; either to isolate her in a kindergarten without being part of a larger society. Or to isolate her in suburbia without being part of a larger society.
    I’ll recommend you to read Alexander’s latest book: The Battle for the Life and Beauty of the Earth: A Struggle Between Two World-Systems: creelmanresearchlibrary.wordpress.com/the-battle-for-the-life-and-beauty-of-the-earth/
    The strange thing is that neither the liberal market nor the Scandinavian social democratic models are able to come up with anything else than system -B. This is because they are in their essence expressions of the same thing, a mechanical world-view.
    I also want to remind about that the Norwegian welfare state is a HUGE energy consumer, with a tube straight down to the oil and gas-fields of the Norwegian coast. Here you still get 100% salary from first day sick, while in Sweden you don’t get paid the two first days and after that you only receive 80% of your salary. Probably we have enough
    oil, gas, hydropower, coal, thorium, and so on, to keep it running the old way until the ecosystems collapse globally.
    What I aim for is to replace the welfare state with a far more energy-sparse model, called Integrative Ecosocial Design: permaliv.blogspot.no/2011/10/integrative-ecosocial-design.html
    It will be a completely different model, although you might find fragments of the DNA of the “welfare state” within it.
  4. Øyvind Holmstad Says:
    I too want to stress that when the old patterns of interactions, both physical and traditional, are destroyed, replaced by an ALL-EMBRACING technocratic welfare state, and when we run out of energy and recourses simultaneously as these old patterns are destroyed, we’ll be left with NO hope!
  5. Øyvind Holmstad Says:
    “But, by contrast, in the early phases of industrial society which we have experienced recently, the pattern languages die.
    Instead of being widely shared, the pattern languages which determine how a town gets made become specialized and private. Roads are built by highway engineers; buildings by architects; parks by planners; hospitals by hospital consultants; schools by educational specialists; gardens by gardeners; tract housing by developers.
    The people of the town themselves know hardly any of the languages which these specialists use. And if they want to find out what these languages contain, they can’t, because it is considered professional expertise. The professionals guard their language jealously to make themselves indispensable.
    Even within any profession, professional jealousy keeps people from sharing their pattern languages. Architects, like chefs, jealously guard their recipes, so that they can maintain unique style to sell.
    The languages start out to being specialized and hidden from the people; and then within the specialties, the languages become more private still, and hidden from another, and fragmented.” – Christopher Alexander, The Timeless Way of Building,Page 231-232.
  6. Øyvind Holmstad Says:
    For those who look to Norway as a pride example to follow for the world, please remember that our welfare-state floats in energy. Last year we discovered several oil fields outside our coast, the biggest comparable with the first findings decades ago. And we still have not started drilling in the north and in our arctic waters. We produce more electricity from hydro-power than what we use in average. We have the third largest reserves of thorium after Greenland and India. And we have significant reserves of coal at Svalbard.
    Even the very word welfare gives me a bad taste, as it at least here more and more has come to mean comfort. And again, comfort, like culture, more and more has come to mean being separated from nature.
    In a way the welfare state flattens inequalities, but personally I believe much more in incorporating a diversion of scales. I outlined this in a former comment elsewhere:
    “Personally I come from the small minority on the right that is positive to environmentalism, as I’m a nature conservative.
    I’m sorry to inform you that you have misunderstood completely. It’s not small that is beautiful, it’s scale that is beautiful. Yes, I understand that you are obligated to your hero Le Corbusier to hate scale, and especially the small scales, as he was a mega-maniac. But scale is, in spite of modernist ideology, a natural law that is fundamental for the universe. This is why Christopher Alexander has set “Levels of Scale” as the first and most fundamental property of wholeness: www.tkwa.com/fifteen-properties/levels-of-scale-2/
    I find your misunderstanding so serious that I’m determined to write an article called “The Beauty of Scale”.”
    A positive side effect of a diversion of scales is that it will do away with mass production, which is not consistent with morphogenesis, the way we have to produce to live sustainable.
    Another way to do away with inequalities is by introducing flat income. Flat taxes have been discussed sometimes, but flat income is a much better idea.
    Still, what I believe in most is to combine the pattern technology of Alexander with the handicap principle. The handicap principle is a very strong force. While capitalism utilizes the dark side of the handicap principle, we need to grow the bright side of this force. I outlined this in a former comment elsewhere:
    “I really look forward to that! Personally I find it immensely promising to combine the good forces of the handicap principle discovered by Amotz Zahavi, with the pattern technology developed by Christopher Alexander. To mix these two are in my eyes dynamite, and can be a major contribution for a more human society.
    Unfortunately I know of no others that share my enthusiasm for this idea, I don’t think neither Alexander or Bongard has seen its full potential.
    As I see it there is a close relationship between Alexander’s A Pattern Language and Bongard’s The Biological Human. It’s like Alexander’s pattern-technology is made for utilizing the good forces of the handicap principle. I really don’t understand why I’ve not yet met any others that share my enthusiasm for these possibilities?”
  7. Øyvind Holmstad Says:
    I just came above this:
    “The next twenty to forty years will see an enormous political battle, not about the survival of capitalism (which has exhausted its possibilities as a system) but about what kind of system we shall collectively “choose” to replace it – an authoritarian model that imposes continued (and expanded) polarization or one that is relatively democratic and relatively egalitarian.”: www.resilience.org/stories/2012-12-15/austerity-at-whose-cost
    What is for sure is that a relatively democratic and relatively egalitarian system for the future cannot be depending upon energy, recourse and ecosystem abuse.

John Thackara on the End of Endless Growth

Social critic John Thackara argues that the current human paradigm of endless growth is obviously unsustainable, so we should consider the brilliance of the Brazilian Jequitiba tree, which soaks up four tons of water a day. “I am a proper tree hugger, as well as a lichen hugger."

Thursday, December 13, 2012

To Become More Like Us

Hi Raja

I can see how some might take offense, but I still leave this passage unchanged, as how I described it is how it was. It might not be politically correct, but it is a true account of what I found.

But, the same pushy sales approach is found all over the world in people from almost every place imaginable. My point was that Ladakhis don’t naturally have this aggressive, western, profit-motivated approach to their interpersonal relations/interactions, and, unfortunately, they are learning it from us. Where most of the retailers almost needed to be beaten back with a stick (metaphorically speaking), the Ladakhis were generally friendly, but with a dash of shyness, and I found this refreshing.

For any Indians who might take offense – please recognize this same aggressive sales approach is found everywhere, unfortunately, from Ladakh to London to New York, etc. That we’re changing Ladakhis from what they were (where they looked upon other people as human beings), to become more like us (where the self-interested, profit-centric mindset leads you to look upon others as a potential resource to extract something from), is what we should be getting offended about.  
- Comment by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor — December 13, 2012 @ 8:24 pm
 Ladakhi girls dancing at Nemu Camp, 18 miles before Leh. They have visited Punjab and hence their style of dress.

The Modern World is Not a Place for Butterflies

But there's a problem. We have fractured these urban networks, and rebuilt much more dispersed, “dendritic” systems, connected not by pedestrians, but by automobiles, dispersed suburban campuses and parks, and single-family monocultures, supplemented by telephones and now, computers. The majority of us lives in encapsulated houses, in encapsulated neighborhoods, and travel in encapsulated cars to encapsulated work places, stores and other destinations. Michael Mehaffy
Has humanity entered an everlasting stage of encapsulation, like pupae never entering the stadium of a butterfly, free and full of colors? We know what happen with a pupa not leaving its pupae; it dries out, missing its higher purpose of life. Well, I'm sad to say I think this is what our societies have become today. Probably even more in Norway, as we are more encapsulated because of our climate.

Our modern lives as encapsulated pupae

Why did this happen? Of course, because of ideology, with Le Corbusier as a main inspirational.


It's a sad truth, but for modernist ideology to survive it needs to cut all bounds between people, nature and tradition. What is left is technocracy, a shallow, false and withered replacement of true community. The Scandinavian welfare state is a good (sad) example.
By suppressing local particularities and turning distinctions and differences into injustices inclusiveness suppresses self-organization, and therefore social spontaneity and voluntary initiatives of all kinds. 
Ordinary people can’t act effectively unless local discretion is widely diffused and the informal good sense of the people is accepted as a generally sound basis for action. Inclusiveness rejects both. If there’s significant local discretion inequalities will result, and “the informal good sense of the people” is shot through with settled prejudgments—that is, with prejudices. 
For that reason inclusiveness requires suppression of local initiative and self-rule. Those things are unjust from the standpoint of social justice in any event. If I do something that benefits brother Bob, that’s unfair because cousin Dick and uncle Harry get left out. More generally, informal arrangements like mutual assistance based on local networks and moral codes make the benefits of social life depend on group membership. That’s obviously unjust, so such arrangements must be destroyed. 
That’s one reason schools teach children to throw off parental, communal, and religious authority. Those authorities aren’t based on liberal principles, and they lead to particular local connections that don’t benefit everyone equally. It’s also one reason antidiscrimination laws force institutions to treat the attack on traditional and natural authorities as part of their reason for being. (If they don’t insist on their total commitment to “celebration of diversity,” they’re likely to get sued.) 
The natural result of such policies is degradation of functional communities and families. Our rulers view that as a good thing. It eliminates competitors to the liberal state, frees individuals from traditional bonds that are understood as irrational and discriminatory, and clears the ground for a truly rational and just ordering of society. James Kalb 
Yes, I'm encapsulated into the straitjackets of the welfare state and the liberal market, so I don't need anyone anymore, and nobody needs me. The networks of old times are gone, community is replaced by experts. Local initiatives and self-rule is ruled out. This in spite of that every natural system is self-organized, and real science, not the quasi-science of the liberalist state, states this.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Carless Rural Village: Tracy Gayton at TEDxDirigo


Post-Thanksgiving Update

Hello to our growing list of “contingent investors” and others that have an interest in the progress of the Piscataquis Village Project. We have much to be thankful for.

Our most exciting news is this: Piscataquis Village Project was invited to present our idea at the annual TEDxDirigo event in October. If you’re not familiar with TED, it is a “...global set of conferences formed to disseminate ‘ideas worth spreading’.” Folks, I’m no public speaker, and would rather hold my hand over a candle flame than talk in front of a crowd of people. It’s only because we think it is so absolutely crucial that we rethink the way we’ve been building our towns & cities and out of concern for the future of Piscataquis County that we’ve devoted so much time and effort to the Piscataquis Village Project. Thanks to TEDxDirigo for the forum to spread this idea. Please watch and also please SHARE the short video via email and/or Facebook. Not everyone is in a position to invest in the Piscataquis Village Project, but most are in a position to help spread the word, and that’s what it will take to make Piscataquis Village a reality. Here it is: A Carless Rural Village: Tracy Gayton at TEDxDirigo

We went “public” with our Facebook Page in March of last year and created our Slide Show about six months after that. Our website was created just this past summer.

We’ve now exceeded 2600 fans on our Facebook page. We’ve garnered 36 investor pledges totaling $410,000 - over 1/5th of our goal. I’d say that’s not too bad for a project originating in the most sparsely populated county east of the Mississippi, promoting the audacious proposal to build the first traditionally patterned, car free village in the USA. Is it?

Turkey Talk: 10K Investment Pledge

Thanks for your interest and support! Let’s get ‘er done!

Tracy

Monday, December 10, 2012

European Ribbon & Radial Villages

In contrast, the European villages I know begin not with the dream of a house, but with the commitment to make a living from the land. A village starts with the ‘homesteading mind’ — with commitment to soil and landbase and critters, integrating humans into the land’s ecology. The early settlers created adjacent homesteads with the houses very close together, while each holding stretches back in a narrow strip where the utility buildings, gardens and orchards are located. Small fields separated by hedges and grassy margins follow. There are two patterns that predominate in central Europe: the ribbon pattern, and the circular ray pattern.
Ribbon village
Radial village
I wonder: if the settlers of Red Earth Farms had been aware of the radial pattern, would they have been interested in creating a hamlet centered roughly in the middle, with each homestead raying out? When we did the Red Earth tour, Jack was stumped by my question as to why they did not build close together. My impression was that they were simply unacquainted with the possibility, and so did what Americans do. One of my fellow visitors commented that perhaps they wanted more privacy from each other. I just don’t know, and see it as an opportunity missed: they could have had the neighborliness of a hamlet along with homestead independence. - Leavegirl

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Med pappas skjerf

Skjerfet til far kommer godt med i kulda

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Råholt kirke i adventstida

Finnes det noe vakrere i vinterlandskapet enn kvitkalkede kirker?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Skyggetreet

Fortvil ikke om du har blitt som en skygge av deg selv. Også skygger er vakre og fulle av poesi.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Sunday in December

I made these pictures on my Sunday trip today, the first real winter day with 15 cold degrees. Click on the images for a magnification.

A last goodbye from the autumn

Walking through a birch forest. Ps! I asked my wife if she liked this photo, but she answered it was confusing to her eyes. Probably she's right, and I might end up deleting it. Scandinavian readers might find interest in the discussion about this photo here.

Note that every route of the window has its own frost pattern

Arne Næss sine tolv anklager mot vitenskapen

«Tolv anklager mot vitenskapen»:
  1. Vitenskapen styrker det etablerte og støtter ikke alternativer
  2. Vitenskapen rygger tilbake for sannheten til fordel for de mektige
  3. Vitenskapen fremmer overspesialisering, teknokrati og byråkrati; det blir flere teknikere og færre savants (vise)
  4. Vitenskapen pretenderer nøytralitet, men fremmer en uheldig politikk og samfunnsutvikling
  5. Vitenskapens resultater misbrukes, men forskerne toer sine hender (Pilatusreaksjonen)
  6. Vitenskapen manipulerer mennesker, lammer fantasien og reduserer kulturmangfoldet
  7. Vitenskapen tjener ikke flertallet
  8. Vitenskapen ignorerer personlig verdighet og aksepterer grusomhet
  9. Vitenskapen er seg selv nok og aksepterer multiplum av teorier og metoder som privilegier av økonomisk og annen art
  10. Vitenskapelig rasjonalitet underkjenner verdien av ikke-vestlige kulturer. Vitenskapens pretensjon om uavhengighet av livssyn er falsk og kulturødende
  11. Vitenskapen er reduksjonistisk
  12. Vitenskapens natursyn favoriserer kynisk utnyttelse. Planetens økologiske krise tas ikke alvorlig nok

New Book: ENERGY: Overdevelopment & the Delusion of Endless Growth

Introducing our most ambitious publishing effort to date: ENERGY: Overdevelopment & the Delusion of Endless Growth. A partnership between the Foundation for Deep Ecology and Post Carbon Institute, this 278-page coffee table book offers a visually rich introduction to energy literacy.


ENERGY takes an unflinching look at the systems that support our insatiable thirst for more power (and the ideas behind those systems) along with their unintended side effects. From oil spills, nuclear accidents, mountaintop-removal coal mining, and natural gas “fracking” to renewables, every source of energy has costs. As the authors and photographers assert and show, no place is sacred, no landscape is safe from the relentless search for resources to power perpetual economic growth.

Edited by Tom Butler and George Wuerthner, with a foreword by Douglas Tompkins and introduction by Richard Heinberg, ENERGY features the writing of more than thirty leading thinkers (including Wes Jackson, Wendell Berry, Bill McKibben, and Sandra Steingrabber) on energy, society and ecology.

In an effort to extend its impact, ENERGY will be the educational centerpiece of PCI's comprehensive Energy Reality Campaign. This campaign will link the efforts of hundreds of individuals and organizations to raise energy awareness and promote effective responses to our shared energy predicaments. Details soon!

Buy the book here.
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