I can resist anything, except temptation! (Oscar Wilde)

Monthly archive

January 2013

Community-supported agriculture

in ecological innovations

Thanks to F&K, I got familiar with the concept of CSA (community-supported agriculture). The idea is simple: you as a farmer produce a package of agricultural products (vegetables or fruits box scheme) and deliver it on the weekly basis to your subscribers which are mainly local families . This local-based socio-economic model has many benefits: a huge supply and demand network is not required and the middle-men are minimized (or omitted). The direct relationship between farmers and consumers not only decreases transportation distances, but also increases the awareness of the customers from process of food production (it is not happening in the industrial clouds anymore, it is visible in their vicinity). Indeed many CSA farmers produce their food without using chemical fertilizers or pesticides. CSA and organic farming go hand in hand.

My World 2015 survey

in education & literacy

“The United Nations and partners want to hear from you!

MY World is a global survey asking you to choose your priorities for a better world. Results will be shared with world leaders in setting the next global development agenda. Tell us about the world you want, because your voice matters.” (vote here)

Beyond human exemptionalism

in philosophy & ethics

According to “human exemptionalist paradigm” (HEP), human beings are exempt from environmental constraints because they are equipped with technology. It has been argued by many environmental thinkers that a shift from this paradigm is critically needed and they suggest a new paradigm called “new ecological paradigm” (NEP). According to Dunlap (2008) there are five facets that can allow us to scale the degree of the shift from HEP to NEP:

  1. Recognition of limits to growth
  2. Recognition of non-anthropocentrism
  3. Recognition of fragility of nature’s balance
  4. Recognition of untenability of exemptionalistm
  5. Recognition of ecological crisis

Dunlap, R. E. (2008). The New Environmental Paradigm Scale: From Marginality to Worldwide Use. The Journal of Environmental Education, 40(1), 3–18. doi:10.3200/JOEE.40.1.3-18

pleasure of ephemerality

in education & literacy

The inculcation of the pleasure of ephemerality expresses itself at a variety of social and cultural levels: the short shelf life of products and lifestyles; the speed of fashion change; the velocity of expenditure; the polyrhythms of credit, acquisition, and gifts; the transience of television-product images; the aura of periodisation that hangs over both products and lifestyles in the imagery of mass media. He views the all pervasive search for novelty as only a symptom of a deep discipline of consumption in which desire ‘is organized’ around an aesthetic of ephemerality. … [We need] a radically altered form of consumption that would shift from a valorization of the ephemeral to one that valorizes a continuous receipt of quality, utility and performance as promoters of well-being. This implies a cultural as well as a technical transformation in our understanding of consumption. — From Appaduari (1996) as mentioned in Barry & Doran (2006).

Appadurai, A., 1996. Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization. U of Minnesota Press.

Barry, J., Doran, P., 2006. Refining green political economy: from ecological modernisation to economic security and sufficiency. Analyse und Kritik-Zeitschrift fur Sozialwissenschaften 28, 250.

Sufficiency

in philosophy & ethics

These notes are from the “The logic of sufficiency” [2] as described in [1].

The idea of sufficiency begins to shift to the principle of sufficiency when structure is needed for enactment, when more than sensory perception of “enoughness” or “too muchness” is needed to recognise excess and to act. Unlike the normatively neutral concepts of efficiency and cooperation, Thomas Princen contends that sufficiency as a principle aimed at ecological overshoot compels decision makers to ask when too much resource use or too little regeneration risks important values such as ecological integrity and social cohesion: “when material gains now preclude material gains in the future; when consumer gratification or investor reward threatens economic security; when benefits internalized depend on costs externalized”. Princen sets out an argument for the installation of social organizing principles attentive to risks, especially those risks that are displaced in time and place, are desperately needed in the belief that sufficiency principles (as opposed to mere efficiency) such as restraint, respite, precaution, polluter pays, zero, and reverse onus, have the virtue of partially resurrecting well-established notions like moderation and thrift, ideas that have never completely disappeared.

Princon’s mentions a few real world examples where the logic of sufficiency has already been embraced by companies or communities as the basis of doing well. With examples ranging from timbering and fishing to automobility and meat production, Princen shows that sufficiency is perfectly sensible and yet absolutely contrary or modern society’s dominant principle, efficiency. He argues that seeking enough when more is possible is both intuitive and rational –personally, organizationally, and ecologically rational. And under global ecological constraints, it is ethical. Over the long term, an economy –indeed a society– cannot operate as if there’s never enough and never too much.

[1] J. Barry and P. Doran, “Refining green political economy: from ecological modernisation to economic security and sufficiency,” Analyse und Kritik-Zeitschrift fur Sozialwissenschaften, vol. 28, no. 2, p. 250, 2006.

[2] T. Princen, The logic of sufficiency. MIT Press, 2005.

Nuclear Sustainability

in utopianism, dystopianism & techno-optimism

I came across the Energy Architecture Performance Index 2013 report (evaluation of energy systems of 105 countries) done by World Economic Forum. From the summary:

The EAPI measures 16 indicators aggregated into three baskets relating to the three imperatives of the energy triangle to which energy architecture should contribute: economic growth and development, environmental sustainability, and access and security of supply. The EAPI both scores and ranks each country’s current energy architecture based on how well it contributes to these imperatives.

It is interesting that according to this aggregated index, France’s energy system architecture ranks 3rd. About 80% of France electricity is from Nuclear power. So the alchemy of “energy triangle” lies in nuclear power?!

The music of stargate

in presentation, expression & visualization

Kind of music you may like to hear while traveling through a stargate. Part of Requiem (Kyrie) by György Ligeti, used in the sound track of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

 

I don’t like to talk about 2001 too much because it’s essentially a non-verbal experience. It attempts to communicate more to the subconscious and to the feelings than it does to the intellect. I think clearly there’s a problem with people who are not paying attention with their eyes. They’re listening. And they don’t get much from listening to this film. Those who won’t believe their eyes won’t be able to appreciate this film. (Stanley Kubrick in Lobrutto, 1999, p. 227[1] )

 

p.s.> I was reading this review. Quite interesting:

During the stargate, which is preceded by shots Jupiter, Ligetti’s requiem blends seemlessly into another Ligetti piece called Atmospheres. Atmospheres is heard at the very beginning of the film over a black screen and later repeats during the intermission just before the astronauts do battle with the HAL 9000 computer, again over a black screen. So, why the black screens? The answer can be found by noting one of the key differences between the film and Arthur C Clarke’s original short story, The Sentinel. Clarke described the monolith as a pyramid shaped piece of polished mineral surrounded by a spherical force field. Kubrick, in adapting the story for cinema, changed this to a black rectangular box …. Why? Because the monolith is a representation of the actual wideframe cinema screen, rotated 90 degrees. So in the films opening and during the intermission, we are not looking at an empty black screen at all. We are looking directly at the surface of the monolith! The monolith is the film screen and it is singing directly at its audience in the same way that the apes and astronauts are entranced by its heavenly voice, not realising that they are being communicated with directly!!! For almost forty years audiences and reviewers across the globe have sat staring at this black singing screen, not realising that they are staring at the monolith. The joke is on us and Kubrick, if he is watching over us, will be laughing and cheering from beyond the infinite. This widescreen two and a half hour presentation of sight and sound is in itself the stargate and we are its subjects. Kubrick is taking us on a psychedelic ride of intellectual evolution and he is demanding that we literally think outside the box! So the term “Space Odyssey” now has a new literal meaning. It refers to the spatial relationship between the screen, the audience and the audience’s surroundings.


  1. Lobrutto, V. (1999). Stanley Kubrick: A Biography (First Edition.). Da Capo Press. 

Things that I hate the most

in me

I was shuffling through old stuff. Mainly books, notes, catalogues and many rubbish things which I had not dare to throw away back in 2011 and decided to leave them as they were in this storage room. Suddenly I saw a paper which its familiar feminine handwriting increased my heartbeat. It was a list. A list of the “things that I hate the most”. So familiar and so remote they were… Such is the absurdity of heart related matters.

Monotheism

in human ecology

What is it about human psychology that finds monotheism intolerable? Polytheistic religious experience means being gripped by a story in which the diversity of the many characters is “the symbolic expression of a lively process”. The gods and goddesses “teach us an acceptance of the variousness of ourselves and others”. The monotheistic search for a single sense of identity makes us feel guilty for not getting it all together, which is impossible in a plural universe. Thinking is polytheistic, “a reality in which truth and falsity, life and death, beauty and ugliness, good and evil are forever and inextricably mixed together.” The powers and forces are dramatically revealed in an acceptable way…. If he cannot find evidence for a single center in a diverse world, the monotheist feels lost, experiences a disconnectedness and senses the “death of God”, which is to say, the deadness of abstraction. Belief divorced from tangible support is tiring, dull, out of touch. Theology becomes “irrelevant to faith and philosophy irrelevant to everything.” Monotheism socially becomes fascism, imperialism, or capitalism; philosophically is unmetaphorical, unambiguous, and dichotomous; and psychologically is rigid, fixed, and linear.[1]


  1. Shepard, P., 1998. Nature and madness. University of Georgia Press. 

Grain and root farming

in human ecology

The distinction between grain- and root-farming cultures has been cited as the basis of fundamental differences of outlook between Occident and Orient. Briefly, the thesis is that the root crops of southeast Asia required fewer and simpler techniques of cultivation, were perennials instead of annuals, stored less well than grain, concentrated less energy than grain, were grown in small, mixed assemblages instead of large monocultures, required less irrigation, and fermented differently. The result is that the husbandry of Asia was more in harmony with the inward and passive mysteries of the feminine principle. The Great Mother in the West was more readily subordinated to the calculating and regimenting masculine ideal. Even today, the maternal figure in Asia keeps an energy that in the West was swept away by the conquest of the Mycenaeans by the Achaeans and in the Levant by the collapse of the autochthonous temple cities of the river valleys. (Diamond (1981)[1] in Shepard (1998)[2] )


  1. Diamond, S., 1981. Culture in history: essays in honor of Paul Radin. Octagon Press, Limited. 

  2. Shepard, P., 1998. Nature and madness. University of Georgia Press. 

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