Saturday, February 28, 2015

"Design for en levende planet" hos Kulturverk

Så var mitt essay publisert hos Kulturverk, dette enestående nettmagasinet som støttes av Totens store sønn og økosof-giganten Nils Faarlund fra Skreia.

Også Sigmund K. Sætreng, som omtales i essayet, har røtter fra Skreia, og hans far var i sin tid min fars lærer på gamle Stange skole.

Kulturverks redaksjon har den siste tiden begynt å gjøre seg stor flid i presentasjonen av mine essay, og også denne gang er jeg dem stor takk skyldig for godt dataverk.

Foreløpig kun limer jeg inn essayet slik det er presentert hos Kulturverk, men håper med tiden å gi det en bedre presantasjon også her på Permaliv.

Les aller helst essayet direkte hos Kulturverk her.

Design for en levende planet


Den nyutkomne boka av Nikos A. Salingaros og Michael W. Mehaffy – Design for a Living Planet –legger til grunn den nyeste vitenskapen om hva som skal til for å gjøre vår skakkjørte verden om til en levende planet. Et formidabelt oppdrag, da vår lille klode nå er så herjet at dette nærmest kan sidestilles med å etablere et økosystem på Mars.
Av Øyvind Holmstad, redaktør av bloggen Naturkonservativ
Kompleksitet vil si at noe aldri gjentar seg selv, den er steds- og tidsspesifikk. Naturen er kompleks, fordi den ikke gjentar seg selv. Det motsatte av kompleksitet er hva økosofen Sigmund K. Setreng kaller for komplikasjon. Vår sivilisasjon er derfor ikke kompleks, men komplisert, fordi den stadig gjentar seg selv.
“Jeg kjenner meg helt igjen i den eksistensielle angsten som du forteller om. Den kommer alltid krypende over meg når jeg ser 99,9 prosent av norsk arkitektur. Det er interessant at jeg ikke er den eneste som føler det slik. Det er egentlig en veldig intens følelse. Noen ganger tenker jeg at dersom folk kunne sett hvor mye fantastisk som er mulig å skape, så vil de slutte å bygge alt dette stygge og sjelløse… men som du sier må vi vel finne en mening med livet og en tilknytning til noe mer hellig, sjelfullt eller spirituelt… noe som gjør at vi strekker oss lenger enn kun det helt grunnleggende for å få livet til å så vidt gå rundt”.
corporate buildings in perspective
Når jeg er rundt i Norges land blir jeg ofte utmattet av den sjelløsheten som brer seg utover. Det være seg suburbane eneboliger, kraftgater som skjærer nådeløst gjennom skogene, vulgære hytter som har okkupert de fineste teltplassene ved et tjern, blokkleiligheter av corbusiansk ånd, stjernearkitektur ved sjøkanten i vår hovedstad eller kjøpesentre som har tappet bysentrum for liv.
All denne hesligheten er skapt av teknokratiet, profittmotivet og menneskets begjær etter å skinne. Som individ står man overfor to muligheter i møte med et slikt gjennomtrengende overgrep, tap av nasjonal integritet og tilhørighet: man kan overgi sin sjel til det mekaniske verdensbildet, eller man kan bli en drømmer. En som drømmer om en levende verden.
Vår industrielle sivilisasjon går mot sin solnedgang. Vil vi da entre en global mørketid eller kan vi fylle det post-industrielle samfunn med noe nytt? Tidligere har jeg skrevet om InnGruppe-Demokratiet (IGD) som et reelt alternativ for en bærekraftig framtid her på Kulturverk. Med IGD kan vi overskride de tre mekanismene nevnt ovenfor: teknokratiet eller staten oppløses i allmenningheten, profittmotivet opphører og menneskets ego tøyles av inngruppa. Slik ligger veien åpen for en ny design, hvor vi designer oss inn i naturen.
Tar vi ikke denne oppgaven på alvor, vil moder jord snart tippe oss av lasset og gjøre jobben selv. Derfor må vi begynne å samarbeide istedenfor å slåss mot henne. Vi trenger riktignok en helt ny økonomi og et nytt demokrati – hvor økonomi og demokrati forenes i en enhet – for å lykkes.
Skal vi designe en levende planet må den derfor formes gjennom adaptiv morfogenese, en stegvis prosess hvor man har oppgitt en rigid hovedplan. Ved organisk design vet man ikke sluttresultatet, men er prosessen eller algoritmen riktig vil man allikevel nå målet, noe man ikke kan gjennom en mekanisk prosess.
Jeremy-Miranda-6
Men selv om oppgaven kan virke uoverkommelig, er boka lett tilgjengelig. Hvert kapittel tar for seg en vitenskap, en ny designkunnskap, presentert enkelt og forståelig. De er ment som en introduksjon, en inspirasjon for å gå videre inn i tematikken gjennom egne studier, samt en oversikt  over hva som foregår innen organisk design i dag.
Teknologi betyr i sin essens kunnskapen om å gjøre. På dette området er boka til en viss grad mangelfull. Man får god kjennskap til nye funn fra vitenskapen som kan revolusjonere arkitekturen, men noen bruksanvisning om hvordan å applisere denne kunnskapen i praksis, er ikke boka. Dette kan delvis skyldes at disse funnene er nye, og ikke enda har fått mulighet til å utvikles i det virkelige liv.
Boka har lite skarp polemikk, noe tidligere lesere av Salingaros kanskje vil savne. Formålet er først og fremst å vekke nysgjerrigheten og entusiasmen, ikke å provosere. Forhåpentligvis vil mange la seg inspirere av boka til å utvikle ny designteknologi i praksis. Av temaer kan nevnes designmønstre, fraktaler, biofilia, smidig design og selvorganisering. Hele fem kapitler er viet designpioneren Christopher Alexander, den første som tok fatt i arkitektur som et vitenskapelig begrep.
Kapitlet om kompleksitet ble for meg en vekker. Kompleksitet vil si at noe aldri gjentar seg selv, den er steds- og tidsspesifikk. Naturen er kompleks, fordi den ikke gjentar seg selv. Det motsatte av kompleksitet er hva økosofenSigmund K. Setreng kaller for komplikasjon. Vår sivilisasjon er derfor ikke kompleks, men komplisert, fordi den stadig gjentar seg selv.
Skal vi designe en levende planet må den derfor formes gjennom adaptiv morfogenese, en stegvis prosess hvor man har oppgitt en rigid hovedplan. Ved organisk design vet man ikke sluttresultatet, men er prosessen eller algoritmen riktig vil man allikevel nå målet, noe man ikke kan gjennom en mekanisk prosess.
Jeg håper mange vil lese denne lettleste boka av Salingaros og Mehaffy. Kanskje har våre etterkommere om 100 år ikke internett, kanskje kan de ikke reise verden rundt, kanskje har de ikke moderne medisin? Kanskje er havene forsuret og polisen smeltet? Kanskje kan de ikke lenger spise fisk for miljøgifter? Men kanskje er de også i gang med å designe en levende planet! Boka kan kjøpes fra Sustasis Press HER, og internasjonal utgave (kommer) fra Vajra Books HER.
Fire eater

Les også Salingaros & Mehaffy sin egen introduksjon til boka:
Ten New Findings From the Sciences that Will Revolutionize Architecture

Relatert

Three Rules for Starting a Neighborhood

By Christopher Alexander. Original text here. Also here.

Consider a neighborhood, or neighborhood-to-be, which is now receiving your attention for the first time. Let us assume that a rough boundary of the area has been established. The area may be part of an existing city, in need of new life or refurbishing. It might equally well be a green field site near a town, or on the edge of an existing town or village.


Rule 1. Let us ask ourselves which place in the area dedicated to the neighborhood most inspires us by its life or potential for life, and also has the greatest capacity for becoming the spiritual and emotional center of the new neighborhood?

In order to do this, we need to walk around the place many times, with others, and alone, asking ourselves which place has the natural magnetism to pull us to go there, which makes us want to stay there, which has the power (potentially) to give us life merely from being there.

On a green field site, where a neighborhood does not exist, this feeling will most likely be generated by a view, by the form of the land which has a natural protected area, a declivity, or by a high spot which looks out. Great trees, are also capable of giving us such a place, naturally occurring water, the edge of a forest, the bottom of a cliff. It is impossible to predict with any general principles, what feature of a particular piece of land will have this character. Each piece of land is different, and will tell you, in its own way, what unique feature, on that land, is best suited to become the spiritual center of a future neighborhood built there.

On a site that is part of an existing neighborhood, or part of an existing town, the procedure is not very different, though it may turn out to be more complicated. ....


Rule 2. Let us now ask ourselves how the place we have chosen as the most natural center, may be enhanced and made profound. What we are asking here, is what kind of actions will support the essence of the place, make it convenient and natural for people to come to it, protect it from surrounding influences, so that it can have its own peacefulness and life.


Rule 3. Let us now ask ourselves how this place, which has been activated (in principle) by our response to Rule 2, may also be made beautiful and tranquil, as a work of architecture.

The way to achieve this is to spend time, gazing on the land, at the place where the building is to be, or at the space itself, as a place and as a beautiful entity in itself. Ask yourself -- standing there, and closing your eyes -- how high it is, what line will enhance the place, where you would most expect to find the front edge of the building, if it is a peaceful and gentle place.

It will not be out of place, either, to ask childish things, of your inner eye. What color is it? When you close your eyes, what color do you see? What kind of windows does it have? When you close your eyes, what shape are the windows, what figure gives them inspiration, and makes the place worth being in?

What kind of windows does it have?

Conclusion


As you see, these three rules are not rules in quite the usual sense. The rule does not tell us, magisterially, Do this! Do that!

Instead it is a rule, but the rule says to you, Ask yourself this, and this and this -- and it works this way, because the rule knows that if you follow it, the vision of your own heart will answer the question correctly, and know what to do. And it knows, too, that when several of you, do the same -- that is, do what this rule tells you, in the way of asking yourselves these questions -- then , for the most part, you will find yourselves in agreement with your fellows.

And that is where a lasting sense of unity and harmony within the neighborhood can come from: the results are not arbitrary, but found in the deepest place in your heart. It will last.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Useless Waste is what Provides Jobs

This is one way of trying to address the issue of a whole lot of GDP being useless waste–for example, lots of marketing people flying around from meeting to meeting. The problem, of course, is that the useless waste is what provides jobs. Without the essentially wasteful jobs, we have an even larger number of people unemployed. It becomes even harder to repay debt with interest. The government tries to fix this, but in the end, it is the government/financial system that fails. - Gail Tverberg

To Share the Wealth of the Very Rich is Not Possible

The advantage of tipping most of the wealth toward the very rich is that they tend to spend very little of it. If it all were taxed away, and distributed to the poor, they would try to actually spend the wealth. The catch is that this wouldn’t actually result in the huge amount of goods needed to fill the needs of the less wealthy. There isn’t enough oil being extracted to build all of the cars and houses that the new-found wealth would buy (plus pay the wages of all of the people needed to build these things).

I am not a student of thermodynamics, but intuitively what you say this makes sense to me. These presentations are at this point are still in draft form, and the “Overview of the Networked Economy” in particular is short, so could be added to. The thermodynamics behind this change in wealth distribution would be an interesting addition. - Gail Tverberg
His wealth cannot be shared

Spend Your Savings Now, or Never!

I agree. The vast majority of the wealth of the billionaires will simply be lost. They can only eat a certain number of calories–about the same number as the rest of us. They can only sleep in one bed a night. The pixels in their bank account statements may say that they have a lot of money to spend in the future. When the time comes when they think they can spend it, it likely won’t be there. - Gail Tverberg
Now is a last window of opportunity to spend your savings. If you cannot spend them on something useful, waste them on bullshit. Tomorrow it may be to late to transform your savings into real money, as they are just pixels in computers, evaporating into thin air when not constantly sucked in oil flow.

We are Now in the Prelude to Collapse

That is a good point–the “something different” that we are already into is very low oil prices. This is the prelude to collapse, because we cannot actually pull the oil out at these prices.

You are also right about existing man-made ecosystems needing oil–namely farms and farm substitutes, and the whole transportation system for getting the things distributed to us. There are many parts to it, including processing and distribution. Solar panels don’t fix this problem. - Gail Tverberg
Enjoy the prelude. Real collapse starts soon!

The Way Subsidies Work is they Tax the Poor to Make Solar Panels and Electric Cars Available to the Rich

Thanks! People don’t realize that these so-called renewables move forward coal and natural gas use (so more is extracted and burned), and take oil use that might be used for other purposes. EROEI calculation using standard EROEI factors don’t come anywhere close to showing how much energy really goes into making and transporting them and their backup devices. People think that there is “net energy,” when really there isn’t. The way subsidies work is they tax the poor to make solar panels and electric cars available to the rich. The system makes people think there is a solution, when there isn’t. - Gail Tverberg
A taxation of the poor

Humanizing Technology

Excerpted from a post by Charles Siegel.

This recent history of architecture and urbanism is important because it involves a key issue of our time: How should we use technology for human purposes?

Among mid-century modernists, the design centered on the technology. The dogma was that the design must be an “honest expression” of modern materials and functions—in other words, an expression of modern technology. The modernists’ designs were so striking visually that they helped spread technophilia through society.

Among the serious postmodernists and the New Urbanists, design centers on the human users. They are not against modern technology, but they are selective in their use of technology. They use modern technology when it helps to create good places for people.

For example, modernists designed cities around the automobile. They had faith that this new technology would improve our lives and, in any case, would inevitably dominate our lives, because you can’t stop progress. By the 1960s, it was becoming clear that the modernists’ theories had created an ugly, environmentally destructive suburban landscape of freeways, shopping malls, and auto-dependent subdivisions.

The New Urbanists take a more reasonable view of this technology, accommodating the automobile but not letting it dominate our lives. New Urbanist design centers on creating streets and public spaces that are attractive, comfortable places for people, and it accommodates the automobile ways that further this goal. They emphasize that their traditional urbanism can accommodate any style of architecture, and they mention Tel Aviv and Miami’s South Beach as examples of cities where good traditional urbanism is combined with modernist architecture, but their goal is to create good places rather than to design an “expression” of modern technology.

Modernists also designed individual buildings around new technology: the buildings were “honest expressions” of glass, steel, and concrete. By the 1970s, it was becoming clear that these buildings were cold, sterile and overwhelming. Serious postmodernists tried to design buildings that were attractive, comfortable places for people to be.

Yet today’s avant gardists have gone back to the sterile high-tech design of the modernists with added “artistic” touches. They often create very uncomfortable places for people to be.

The use of technology is a key issue of our time, because modern technology gives us more power and more freedom of choice than ever before.

We can use the power that technology gives us well or badly. Modern technology can be immensely beneficial; an obvious example is polio vaccination. And it can be immensely destructive; an obvious example is nuclear weapons. We need to use the beneficial technology and limit the destructive technology.

We can use the freedom of choice that technology gives us well or badly. For example, traditional agricultural societies had a limited variety of foods that they grew locally, they prepared these foods in a few conventional ways, and they lived with the constant threat of hunger. Modern societies have a greater abundance and variety of foods, which gives us much more choice about what we eat. Everywhere in the world, people can choose to eat the corn that was domesticated in the Americas, the rice that was domesticated in Asia, the wheat and barley that were domesticated in the Middle East, the spices that were domesticated in the Indies, and a vast number of other foods that originated in every corner of the world. We can use this abundance to eat a more varied and healthier diet than any society in the past, or we can use it to eat a diet that is heavy on processed food and high-fructose corn syrup, the diet that has made today’s American more obese than any society in the past.

It is easy to add similar examples. Modern technology lets us choose among a huge variety of drugs, which we can use to cure diseases or which we can abuse to feed addictions.

The same reasoning applies to architecture. Modern technology lets us choose among many different ways to build. Traditional societies were limited by the local materials and the relatively simple techniques available to them; their vernacular buildings were stylistically consistent because they did not have the choice of building in any other way. Today, we have a much greater choice of materials and of building methods. We can use this choice to design buildings and cities that are more livable than ever before, or to design buildings and cities that are more sterile and overwhelming than ever before.

The architecture establishment says we should build in styles that are “of our time” and that anyone who learns from traditional architecture is “nostalgic.” They should learn from the more sensible attitude that we have toward food. The best restaurants use locally grown, fresh ingredients because they produce healthier, tastier food. Traditional societies also used locally grown, fresh ingredients, but no one says that these restaurants are “nostalgic” and that they should use canned or frozen ingredients produced for the world market because industrial agriculture is “of our time.”

No one cares about this sort of precious esthetic criticism of food because we have very clear criteria for deciding which food are good: taste and nutritional value. The best restaurants use some new technology, such as sous vide cooking, but they use them because the food tastes better—not because they are “of our time.”

These criteria are based on human nature. Our bodies evolved to need certain nutrients. Our tastes evolved to make us enjoy food that helped our ancestors survive during the period of evolutionary adaptation. Evolution has hard-wired these needs and preferences into human nature, and chefs work to accommodate them.

Has evolution also given us preferences about the buildings that we live in and use? Are there aspects of human nature that architects should work to accommodate? We will look at this question in the next chapter.

Since the 1970s, the environmental movement has shown us that we must make a deliberate choice of technologies—for example, by choosing solar and wind power rather than coal to generate our electricity—but this movement focuses on limiting the most destructive technologies that pose grave threats to health or to the natural environment, such as global warming. Architecture and urbanism could do much more. Because they design the built environment that we live in, they could help society learn how to use modern technology in ways that are in keeping with human nature.

Our avant gardists are designing the most dehumanized buildings ever built, but their approach is not inevitable. Just as mid-century-modernist architects helped spread faith in technology and progress, today’s architects could help spread the idea that we should use modern technology for human purposes.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Technological Progress in a Market Economy is Self-Terminating and Ends in Collapse

Read the whole essay by JMG here.

At this point it may be helpful to sum up the argument I’ve developed here:

a) Every increase in technological complexity tends also to increase the opportunities for externalizing the costs of economic activity;

b) Market forces make the externalization of costs mandatory rather than optional, since economic actors that fail to externalize costs will tend to be outcompeted by those that do;

c) In a market economy, as all economic actors attempt to externalize as many costs as possible, externalized costs will tend to be passed on preferentially and progressively to whole systems such as the economy, society, and the biosphere, which provide necessary support for economic activity but have no voice in economic decisions;

d) Given unlimited increases in technological complexity, there is no necessary limit to the loading of externalized costs onto whole systems short of systemic collapse;

e) Unlimited increases in technological complexity in a market economy thus necessarily lead to the progressive degradation of the whole systems that support economic activity;

f) Technological progress in a market economy is therefore self-terminating, and ends in collapse.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Generating a Neighborhood that Works

The essence of successful unfolding is that form develops step by step, and that the building as a whole then emerges, coherent, organized. The success if this process depends, always, on sequence. A building design can unfold successfully only when its features “crystallize out” in a proper order.

Instead of using plans, design, and so on, I shall argue that we must instead use generative processes. Generative processes tell us what to do, what actions to take, step by step, to make buildings and building designs unfold beautifully, rather than detailed drawings which tell us what the end-result is supposed to be.

The step-by-step approach works. The all-or-nothing approach does not work. This is the secret of biological evolution. During the course of evolution, the adaptation of the thousands and millions of variables that must occur to make one successful organism happens step-by-step, essentially one gene at a time. That is what makes evolution possible. It would be impossible for nature to “design” a system as complex as any organism all at once.

What steps do you take, in what order? The most basic instruction I can give you as a guide for a living process, is that you move with certainty. That means, you take small steps, one at a time, deciding only what you know. You try never to take a step which is a guess or a “why don’t we try this?” Large scale trial-and-error, shots in the dark, simply do not work. Rather, you move by slow, small decisions, deciding one thing, getting sure about it, and then moving on.

The crux of every design process lies in finding the generative sequence for that design, and making sure that sequence is the right one for the job. - Christopher Alexander, The Process of Creating Life
The emergence of new structures in nature is brought about, always, by a sequence of transformations which act on the whole, and in which each step emerges as a discernible and continuous result from the immediately preceding whole. New form comes into being. Morphogenesis occurs. New form that is, in almost every case, unpredictable from the initial state, appears smoothly via a sequence of tiny continuous changes. The sequences are not merely smooth. We have a sequence in which new structure grows organically, holistically, from the structure which is there already. One whole gives rise to another. - Christopher Alexander, The Process of Creating Life
Essay by Vera Bradova:

Generating a future that works

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Three Evils of Capitalism

Excerpted from a longer piece by professor Eric Schechter. I strongly recommend reading the whole essay here.
“The old world is dying; we must move on to the new world being born. How will we make the great change? I don’t know the details of that. But it has already begun; you can see it in the peaceful demonstrators being beaten by police. Awareness and understanding are spreading, and our foremost tactic must be to spread them further. When enough people see what is really going on, we will unite, and we will find a way to change things, and the violence will end.
1st evil:   INEQUALITY (3:30 in video)
The data in Thomas Piketty’s recent book shows that increasing economic inequality is a normal trend in capitalism, not an aberration. The problem is deeper than debt-based currency or any other particular method of exploitation and theft. It is inherent in all market economies, even barter economies: Market transactions increase inequality, because they favor whichever participant is in the stronger bargaining position. The only way to not have a wealthy class is by not having a market — that is, by sharing.
Increasing inequality is simplified in the board game Monopoly, which always ends with all the players but one totally impoverished. That’s the outcome even if no one cheats, so the problem is in the principles, not in “corruption.”
The recent study by Gilens and Page shows quantitatively that the USA is a plutocracy, not a democracy. Just a few people now own our homes, workplaces, debts, government, mass communications media, everything. Privately owned workplaces are little dictatorships; that’s why we hate Mondays. Progress brings higher productivity, but its benefits are pocketed by the owners of the workplaces; for the rest of us, progress means layoffs, not leisure.
Psychopaths seek positions of power over others, and even people who are not already psychopaths become corrupted by power if they acquire it; strong evidence of that was given by the Stanford Prison Experiment. We see cruelty wherever the opportunity for it arises — in prison guards, police, soldiers, workplace managersbusiness tycoons, dictators, or even democratically elected politicians — though in that last case, they cover it up by conducting much of their work in secret and lying about the rest. All these bullies proclaim, and perhaps believe, that they are deserving and that their victims are not.
Clearly, we should reorganize our society so that there are no concentrations of power. That requires not only replacing markets with sharing, but also replacing authoritarian hierarchical government with peer-to-peer networking. This is why I’m an anarcho-commie, which means share and don’t hit, the first two things we all learned in kindergarten.
2nd evil:   EXTERNALITIES (6:17 in video)
Any market transaction is negotiated by a buyer and a seller, but it may affect other parties besides those two. Such effects are outside the considerations of the negotiations, and so they are called externalities. During the crash of 2008, Wall Street traders often reassured one another with the acronym “IBGYBG,” which stood for “I’ll be gone, you’ll be gone.”
Externalities are more due to indifference than outright malice, and so you might think their effects would be random — sometimes harmful and sometimes beneficial — but it doesn’t work that way. The proverbial “bull in a china shop” is not motivated by malice, but he is never beneficial.
Market prices are far from true costs, because they leave out the externalities. Thus the market is not at all the “wise and efficient” allocator of resources claimed by its worshipers. Conventional textbooks gloss over this topic, as though it were something minor, but in fact externalities are enormous: War, poverty, and ecocide are inevitable consequences of any market economy. And by the way, the ecocide is a lot worse than most people realize; feedback loops are about to send us over a climate cliff.
A living whale is an awesome creature, but it has no monetary value. The parts of a recently killed whale are worth a million dollars in quick profit to someone who doesn’t care about the consequences elsewhere. That’s why the whales are disappearing. And that’s why the ecosystem is disappearing too, though it’s larger, more abstract, and harder to see.
You might think that the few people in power would get together and conspire to save the planet that they have seized for their own. But that’s not how they’re behaving.
For instance, a few years ago, the Arctic began melting rapidly. That’s one of the climate feedback loops, and it should have been a wakeup call to stop using fossil fuels before they kill everyone. But instead the plutocrats said, “oh goody, now it will be so much easier to extract fossil fuels from the Arctic!”
The market compels its biggest players to compete against each other in offering quick profits to investors, without regard to consequences. Any big players who find scruples will fall behind in the competition, and will be replaced. We need to overthrow not just the big players, but the entire system.
3rd evil:   ALIENATION   (9:06 in video)
The problem is not just in our rulers. It’s in all of us, in our culture, in the so-called “American dream“: You keep your stuff in your house, I keep my stuff in my house, and God help the guy who doesn’t have a house, because no one else can help him, in our present socioeconomic system. We get the illusion that my well being doesn’t depend on yours, and I don’t need to care about you, and in fact I can’t afford to care about you. We blame the less fortunate for their bad luck, because that’s easier than facing up to the fact that we might be next, that the system is unjust, and that we don’t know how to fix it. We may try to be kind, because that’s human nature, but that’s swimming upstream against the current of separateness.
How blind are we to our own culture? Compare it with physics. An apple’s mass, volume, and color are objective and measurable traits, independent of any observer. The “owner” of the apple is merely a story that we agree upon, one that can be changed by whoever controls the courts. And yet it has become impossible for us to imagine an apple without an owner.
Our possessions separate us psychologically, and that in turn legitimizes our material separateness. Apathy and alienation seem inevitable and normal. We are forced to compete against each other for survival; friendships become commodities and strategic alliances. We’re distrustful, and our anxiety about lack of security is medically harmful. The wealthy are harmfully stressed too, by their desire to stay ahead, and by their lack of the things that money can’t buy. Lacking meaning, purpose, and direction in our lives, we turn to drugs and entertainments. We see ourselves alone and helpless, and few of us realize that everyone else is alone in much the same way.
No wonder random shootings have become commonplace in our shopping malls. The only thing that can make us safe is a change to a culture in which everyone cares about everyone else and no one gets left behind. But that kind of caring will require sharing. To shelter the homeless and to end the prevalence of sh*t jobs, we’ll have to restructure the entire economy, and we’ll have to change how we feel about one another.
We’ve been told — and some of us have believed it — that it’s human nature to be greedy, selfish, and lazy. We’ve been told that humans work only for private gain, and work well only in competition. We’ve been told that our culture and behavior can’t change. But none of that is true.”

Monday, February 23, 2015

KULTURVERK på PAPIR

Ved hjelp av instrumentell tenkemåte har vi i det
moderne utviklet en teknologi som har ført med
seg stadig nye, 'uante' konsekvenser. Vårt demo-
krati er avhengig av velgere som forstår sammen-
hengene i sammenkjedingen av disse konsekvensene,
slik at de er i stand til å fremme en demokratisk prak-
sis som med handlekraft setter i verk tiltak for en
naturvennlig fremtid. Til det formålet trenger vi
danningsinstitusjoner og folkeopplysning som
er virkelighetsorientert og som utløser verdi-
dannende læring for et liv i lage.

Så lenge samfunnskontrakten er basert på
'samfunnsøkonomisk lønnsomhet' etter ressurs-
økonomisk tenkemåte, taper menneskeverd og
naturverd i kost-nytte-analysene. Tidsskrift
som er kritiske til dagens situasjon, mangler
i Norge i dag. Publikasjoner i kultursfæren
såvel som i miljøbevegelsen' mangler redak-
sjonell innsikt til å avsløre de sterke
lobbyene som er driverne i vårt politiske
liv. Oljelobbyens innflytelse på norsk 
klimapolitikk er ett slående eksempel
på dette (våre to miljøstiftelser unnser seg
f eks ikke for å hente økonomisk støtte 
fra petroleumsindustrien). 

Vi trenger KULTURVERK på papir. Om
det i første omgang ikke er realistisk å hamle
opp mot lobbyregimet, er det et tiltak som kan
bidra til å vekke norske medier, slik at de trap-
per ned sin medløper-rolle. Vi må handle for å
bidra til at det norske demokratiet fremstår som
en del av løsningen i en verden i krise, og ikke som
en del av problemet. Vi trenger KULTURVERK på 
papir for å fremme det frie ord for et liv i lage!

Med naturvennlig hilsen Nils Faarlund,
praktisernede øko-filosof på heltid siden 1966
med sivilingeniørkompetanse fra NTH 1961

Nils Faarlund på Totenåsen
Relatert:

Design for en levende planet

Artikkel for publisering hos Kulturverk.com.

Jeg kjenner meg helt igjen i den eksistensielle angsten som du forteller om. Den kommer alltid krypende over meg når jeg ser 99,9 prosent av norsk arkitektur... hehe. Det er interessant at jeg ikke er den eneste som føler det slik. Det er egentlig en veldig intens følelse. Noen ganger tenker jeg at dersom folk kunne sett hvor mye fantastisk som er mulig å skape, så vil de slutte å bygge alt dette stygge og sjelløse... men som du sier må vi vel finne en mening med livet og en tilknytning til noe mer hellig, sjelfullt eller spirituelt... noe som gjør at vi strekker oss lenger enn kun det helt grunnleggende for å få livet til å så vidt gå rundt. - Naviana
Når jeg er rundt i Norges land blir jeg ofte utmattet av den sjelløsheten som brer seg utover, det være seg suburbane eneboliger, kraftgater som skjærer nådeløst gjennom skogene, vulgære hytter som har okkupert de fineste teltplassene ved et tjern, blokkleiligheter i en corbusiansk ånd, stjernearkitektur ved sjøkanten i vår hovedstad, eller kjøpesentre som har tappet bysentrum for liv.

All denne hesligheten er skapt ut fra teknokratiet, profittmotivet og menneskets begjær for å skinne. Som individ står man overfor to muligheter i møte med et slikt gjennomgripende overgrep, et slikt tap av nasjonal integritet og tilhørighet; man kan overgi sin sjel til det mekaniske verdensbildet, eller man kan bli en drømmer, en drømmer om en levende verden.


Vår industrielle sivilisasjon går mot sin solnedgang, vil vi da entre en global mørketid, eller kan vi fylle det post-industrielle samfunn med noe nytt? Tidligere har jeg skrevet om InnGruppe-Demokratiet (IGD) som et reelt alternativ for en bærekraftig framtid, her på Kulturverk. Med IGD kan vi overkomme de tre mekanismene nevnt ovenfor: teknokratiet eller staten oppløses i allmenningheten, profittmotivet opphører og menneskets ego tøyles av inngruppa. Slik ligger vegen åpen for en ny design, hvor vi designer oss inn i naturen.

Her er den nye boka av Nikos A. Salingaros og Michael W. Mehaffy, "Design for a Living Planet", av uvurderlig betydning. I denne boka er det samlet den nyeste vitenskapen om hva som skal til for å gjøre vår skakkjørte verden om til en levende planet. Et formidabelt oppdrag, da vår lille klode nå er så herjet at dette nærmest kan sidestilles med å etablere et økosystem på mars.

Allikevel, tar vi ikke denne oppgaven på alvor, vil Moder Jord snart tippe oss av lasset og gjøre jobben selv. Derfor må vi begynne å samarbeide med henne, istedenfor å slåss mot henne. Vi trenger riktignok en helt ny økonomi og et nytt demokrati, hvor økonomi og demokrati forenes i en enhet, for å lykkes. Dette kan Terje Bongard og IGD gi oss.

Men selv om oppgaven kan virke uoverkommelig, er boka lett tilgjengelig. Hvert kapittel tar for seg en vitenskap, en ny designkunnskap, presentert enkelt og forståelig. De er ment som en introduksjon, en inspirasjon for å gå videre inn i tematikken gjennom egne studier, samt en oversikt over hva som foregår innen organisk design i dag.

Teknologi betyr i sin essens kunnskapen om å gjøre. På dette området er boka til en viss grad mangelfull. Man får god kjennskap til nye funn fra vitenskapen som kan revolusjonere arkitekturen, men noen bruksanvisning om hvordan å applisere denne kunnskapen i praksis, er ikke boka. Dette kan delvis skyldes at disse funnene er nye, og ikke enda har fått mulighet til å utvikles i det virkelige liv.

Boka har lite skarp polemikk, noe tidligere lesere av Salingaros kanskje vil savne? Formålet er først og fremst å vekke nysgjerrigheten, entusiasmen, ikke å provosere. Forhåpentligvis vil mange la seg inspirere av boka til å utvikle ny designteknologi i praksis.

Av temaer kan nevnes designmønstre, fraktaler, biofilia, smidig design og selvorganisering. Hele fem kapitler er viet designpioneren Christopher Alexander, den første som tok fatt i arkitektur som et vitenskapelig begrep.

Kapitlet om kompleksitet ble for meg en vekker. Kompleksitet vil si at noe aldri gjentar seg selv, den er steds- og tidsspesifikk. Naturen er kompleks, fordi den ikke gjentar seg selv. Det motsatte av kompleksitet er hva økosofen Sigmund K. Setreng kaller for komplikasjon. Vår sivilisasjon er derfor ikke kompleks, men komplisert, fordi den stadig gjentar seg selv.

Skal vi designe en levende planet må den derfor formes gjennom adaptiv morfogenese, en stegvis prosess hvor man har oppgitt en rigid hovedplan. Ved organisk design vet man ikke sluttresultatet, men er prosessen eller algoritmen riktig vil man allikevel nå målet, noe man ikke kan gjennom en mekanisk prosess.

Jeg håper mange vil lese denne lettleste boka av Salingaros og Mehaffy. Kanskje har våre etterkommere om 100 år ikke internett, kanskje kan de ikke reise verden rundt, kanskje har de ikke moderne medisin? Kanskje er havene forsuret og polisen smeltet? Kanskje kan de ikke lenger spise fisk for miljøgifter?

Men kanskje er de også i gang med å designe en levende planet!


Boka kan kjøpes fra Sustasis Press HER, fra Amazon HER; Internasjonal utgave (kommer) fra Vajra Books HER.


Les Salingaros & Mehaffy sin egen introduksjon til boka:

Ten New Findings From the Sciences that Will Revolutionize Architecture

Saturday, February 21, 2015

From Industrial to Artisan: Modernism’s Sleight-of-Hand

By Nikos A. Salingaros. Original article here.

I post this as a response to a former post about William Morris and 3D-printing, as I hope new technology combined with the scientific theory developed by Salingaros can help making Morris visions into reality.


Figure 1. On the left, mass-produced Art Nouveau silver jewelry box by P. A. Coon, 1908. On the right, hand-made Machine Aesthetic silver teapot by C. Dresser, 1879. Drawing by Nikos Salingaros.

This figure was published on April 2013 in the article “How Modernism Got Square” co-authored with Michael Mehaffy. It has been reproduced several times when reprinting the original article, and in essays by other authors who discuss our ideas.
And yet, the above figure subsequently re-appears with a new accompanying caption that completely reverses the facts and switches our original message. Well-meaning editors and authors chose the new caption “From Artisan to Industrial” (first here, and then again on ArchDaily), which conforms to the modernist orthodoxy on the evolution of historical design styles. They are in no way pushing modernism (being interested instead in my criticism of modernist design): it’s simply that the dogma is so pervasive in our civilization that the mislabeling becomes automatic, a conditioned response.

Figure 2. Extremely expensive hand-made welded sculpture from the Bauhaus entitled “Nickel-Construction”. László Moholy-Nagy, 1921. No known function. Drawing by Nikos Salingaros.

To see our little joke, please note that the “machine aesthetic” teapot on the right was hand-made in 1879, i.e. about 30 years before the ornamented jewelry box. The Art Nouveau jewelry box, on the other hand, was mass-produced after the teapot. Thus, the canonical progression from artisan to industrial would absurdly seem to have gone backwards in time, and, in addition, the artisan/industrial labels are opposite from what they seem. I conclude that the official story is nothing but sleight-of-hand. In fact, what happened historically is that a substantial and healthy industry of mass-producing ornamented artifacts and utilitarian objects was killed off by a marketing takeover, not by the necessity of industrialization.

Pesten vender tilbake

Av Ingvar Ambjørnsen

Navn til Holocaust-ofre på veggene i Pinkas-synagogen i Praha. Foto: Øyvind Holmstad.

Nå i 2015 forlater jødene Europa i tusentall. De frykter – med god grunn – for sine liv. Jeg hadde aldri trodd jeg skulle få oppleve noe slikt.

Faren min gikk på skolen sammen med Arnold Jacoby. Som fjortis syntes jeg det var stas, for Jacoby var forfatter, og jeg hadde allerede begynt å drømme meg inn i den rollen. Jacoby bodde utrolig nok i vår lille filleby, Larvik, selv om han var født i selveste New York. Han skrev krim og spenning for både ungdom og voksne, og syslet til og med tegneserier.
Og vi vet jo hvorfor. Men læren om holocaust må bankes inn, ikke bare på videregående, men i grunnskolen. Det må være pensum. Det er livsfarlig å late som om det store antallet muslimske barn og ungdommer i klasserommene er helt uproblematisk i denne sammenhengen, slik mange nå velger å gjøre. Det er vanskelig å røre ved dette i dagens opphetede situasjon, men det er ingen vei utenom.
Senere kom den store biografien om barndomsvennen Thor Heyerdahl. Hans viktigste bragd som forfatter ble imidlertid boka om en annen barndomsvenn, Herman Sachnowitz. Han som eide klesbutikken «Ekko» rett oppi gata. Han som var det eneste familiemedlemmet som vendte tilbake til Larvik etter helvetet i Auschwitz. Faren, fire brødre og tre søstre «gikk opp pipa», som de sa i leirene.

Det tok femten år å skrive «Den angår også deg». Herman klarte sjelden å snakke om det som hadde skjedd i mer enn ti, femten minutter i strekk. Det kunne gå uker og måneder til neste gang. Da får forfatteren god tid til å dvele ved setningene.

Vi var flere i byen som visste om denne prosessen. Og da boka kom ut i 1976, leste jeg den med en gang, tjue år gammel. Jeg har lest den to, tre ganger til opp gjennom årene, og kommer ganske sikkert til å plukke den opp igjen. For det er riktig, det den litt baktunge tittelen sier. Dette angår oss alle.

Nå i 2015 forlater jødene Europa i tusentall. De frykter – med god grunn – for sine liv. Jeg hadde aldri trodd jeg skulle få oppleve noe slikt, men der er vi nå. I 2014 forlot 7.000 jøder Frankrike. I år, etter massakren i Paris, vurderer 75 prosent av landets 500.000 jøder å gjøre det samme. Til tross for at mindre enn én prosent av den franske befolkning er jøder, er de ofre for halvparten av rasistisk begrunnet vold i landet. Det er viktig å huske på at dette er jøder født i Frankrike. De velger å forlate sitt fedreland.

Og igjen: Det skjer nå.

Etter at Julius Paltiel døde i 2008, er Samuel Steinmann den siste gjenlevende av de norske jødene som ble sendt til Auschwitz. Snart er alle tidsvitner til det industrielle massemordet i KZ-leirene borte. Da innledes en helt ny fase i historien om holocaust. Da går vi inn i tida etter de opprinnelige stemmene. De som så, overlevde og fortalte. Etter dette må vi som hørte på, bli dem som bringer fortellingen videre.

Det høres greit ut, men i den skyggen som er ved å reise seg i Europa og Russland i øyeblikket, finnes krefter som uten særlige problemer kjemper på to fronter samtidig.

I et virvar av nazistiske og islamofascistiske aksjoner og anslag av alle slag, brenner det allerede godt ute på ytterfløyene. Og innover mot sentrum gløder det faretruende. Det går fort nå. Det er så mange som allerede har begynt å løpe. I en slik situasjon er det viktig at vi ikke mister dødsleirene av syne. At vi ikke et sekund glemmer hva som skjedde der.

I et intervju med Klassekampen i forbindelse med 70-årsdagen for frigjøringen av Auschwitz, snakker Samuel Steinmann om sin mangeårige virksomhet som foredragsholder rundt om på norske skoler. Helt mot slutten sier han: «Det er rørende å snakke med ungdommer. Etterpå kommer de opp og klemmer meg og takker. De vet jo ingenting om dette. Men de er veldig interesserte. Her er det en stor svikt i skoleverket.»

Og et svik kan vi ikke ha når det gjelder dette. Jeg har flere ganger forsøkt å grave i dette. Ringt rundt til lærere og andre som jobber i skoleverket. Svært mange tar dette på like stort alvor som mine egne lærere gjorde. Mange andre vrir seg og blir underlig vage. Noen ganger blir det helt taust i den andre enden.

Barnetegning fra Terezin-leiren. Foto: Øyvind Holmstad

Og vi vet jo hvorfor. Men læren om holocaust må bankes inn, ikke bare på videregående, men i grunnskolen. Det må være pensum. Det er livsfarlig å late som om det store antallet muslimske barn og ungdommer i klasserommene er helt uproblematisk i denne sammenhengen, slik mange nå velger å gjøre. Det er vanskelig å røre ved dette i dagens opphetede situasjon, men det er ingen vei utenom.

Det er norsk skole som skal lære barna hva som skjedde i leirene under det nazistiske vanviddet, ikke foreldrene. Samme hvor de kommer fra. Samme hva slags religion de praktiserer.

Opprinnelig innlegg her.

Relatert:

Friday, February 20, 2015

InnGruppe-Demokratiet (IGD), et reelt, pragmatisk UTOPIA!

Jeg mener å huske at dommerpanelet hos forskningsrådet avviste MEDOSS som utopia. Dette er et dårlig argument. De burde heller tatt til seg MEDOSS fordi MEDOSS er utopia. Merk at mens utopia tidligere betydde det umulige, betyr det nå det ikke tillatte. Les den flotta artikkelen Michel Bauwens har satt sammen om UTOPIA, og la oss fremme IGD som et pragmatisk utopia i positiv forstand: - In defense of pragmatic ‘real utopias’: http://blog.p2pfoundation.net/in-defense-of-pragmatic-…/…/19

We badly need more utopian speculation. The consensus future we read about in the media and that we’re driving towards is a roiling, turbulent fogbank beset by half-glimpsed demons: climate...
BLOG.P2PFOUNDATION.NET
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  • Øyvind Holmstad "From our own point of view, and fate wants me to write this as I’m participating in Erik Olin Wright’s ‘Real Utopias’ project here in Madison, Wisconsin, utopias are a very necessary part of the social imagination, to defend us from the dictatorship of very real neoliberal capitalism, which is presented to us in the context of “There are no alternatives” (TINA), to which we respond, “There are manyh (p2p) alternative” (tapas)." - Michel Bauwens
    7 min · Liker
  • Øyvind Holmstad TINA, There IS NO Alternative, til diktaturet under neoliberal kapitalisme. Det var dette forskningsrådets dommerpanel mente, at det ikke finnes noe alternativ til diktaturet. Derfor er intet alternativ, UTOPIA, tillatt. Ja, vi lever under diktaturet til den neoliberale kapitalismen. Dette diktaturet har knyttet menneskesamfunnene, og gjør det i stadig større grad, som gjennom TISA, opp mot de mest destruktive kreftene i handikapprinsippet, "the dark side of the force". La oss derfor løfte fram IGD, slik Bauwens oppfordrer til, som et reelt, pragmatisk UTOPIA!
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