Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

New Year Resolutions

January 3, 2013

Would a weekly post be possible? I’ll try to post daily, but make weekly the minimum. You can see by the previous post how well my foray into mobile blogging went. I haven’t really wanted to blog, no clear direction, one, and, two, probably most truthfully, there was a moment there when I didn’t feel like thinking out loud. But posting a photo from my phone once a week, i can at least do that.

In the next few months I’ll be working out some sort of business plan, trying to get settled in a new home, and preparing for trial. This is a whole lot of working, settling and preparing. Not like this is the time to think out loud either, but I’m thinking that somehow writing will help with the organizing.

So there it is. resolved.

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Going mobile

July 13, 2012

I locked the doors but left the window open and someone took my bag. Inside the bag was my invoice book, receipts file, calendar and laptop.

I’ve been thinking about blogging for a while now, but today laptop-free I’ve started mobile blogging.

Life is short. Live.

December 2, 2011

image

Create.

note on attachment

March 5, 2011

Born For Love: Why Empathy Is Essential and Endangered, my co-author, child psychiatrist Dr. Bruce Perry, and I tell the story of a wealthy child who was parented by multiple sequential nannies. When the child seemed to become more attached to a nanny than to his mother — which was inevitable because the nanny spent the most time with the child in this family — that nanny was fired. The family went through 18 different nannies, subjecting the child over and over to the stress of abandonment, and the boy grew up to be a sex offender. Dr. Perry has also seen other cases of severe consequences of this kind of disrupted care-giving in wealthy children.

Read more: http://healthland.time.com/2011/01/25/perspective-on-the-parenting-debate-rich-parents-dont-matter/#ixzz1FkSq6TGf

Forward to the Theory of Spheres

March 5, 2011

“Ventilation is the profound secret of existence.”

Melik Ohanian and Jean-Christophe Royoux (2005), Cosmograms. Lukas & Sternberg, New York (p. 225). There is actually a PDF copy of this interview with Sloterdijk here: “Foreword to the Theory of Spheres“.

loose tie dialogue on strong tie activism

February 5, 2011

This dialogue is interesting to me for more than the topic, but more the style. The ability to communicate ideas has to be a quality of revolutionaries. In this dialogue something other than communication is happening. It’s something I’ve seen before. At some point I’ll probably come back to this as an illustration of something. I mean there is something happening here.

Taking out the names probably doesn’t conceal the identities enough, but anyway, here we go.

One:

I had a thought this morning that would probably make Three happy. It was: “Suck it, Gladwell…”

Two: booooooooooooo gladwell

Three: yup 🙂

Four: Gladwell was so sure of himsel! Makes it all the better.

Me: ?

Gladwell writes: “This is in many ways a wonderful thing. There is strength in weak ties, as the sociologist Mark Granovetter has observed. Our acquaintances—not our friends—are our greatest source of new ideas and information. The Internet lets us exploit the power of these kinds of distant connections with marvellous efficiency. It’s terrific at the diffusion of innovation, interdisciplinary collaboration, seamlessly matching up buyers and sellers, and the logistical functions of the dating world. But weak ties seldom lead to high-risk activism.”

What he means by high risk activism is activism that challenges the status quo.

You guys have done a great job on this internet campaign, but keep it together, keep some perspective. Three mentions that it’s not over, and it’s not over. Our relationship to the corporations that provide internet access are still imbalanced.

Gladwell is completely spot on when he writes: “The instruments of social media are well suited to making the existing social order more efficient. They are not a natural enemy of the status quo. If you are of the opinion that all the world needs is a little buffing around the edges, this should not trouble you. But if you think that there are still lunch counters out there that need integrating it ought to give you pause.”

‎”Activism that challenges the status quo—that attacks deeply rooted problems—is not for the faint of heart.”

“High-risk activism, McAdam concluded, is a “strong-tie” phenomenon.”

Are you really arguing with this?

I am not criticizing what you at openmedia are doing. It’s a wonderful thing you are doing, and I think Gladwell would agree.

This campaign is working within the status quo. It is not changing material relationships. It is a low-risk weak tie campaign. It is everything the internet is perfect for.

There’s a distinction Gladwell made that’s good.

One: yeah, there are some things that gladwell says that are spot-on – but unfortunately he also mingles them with sweeping generalizations, opinions presented as fact, and anecdotal ‘evidence’ that make for more compelling reading but weaker a…nalysis. take a look at his comments on the “heroic” nature of the US medical system from a few years ago (esp. in debate with adam gopnik).

I’m thinking about this conversation about his recent blog post on egypt, for example:

http://www.npr.org/2011/02/03/133459806/the-nation-gladwell-gets-it-wrong-on-social-media

though i think one thing this blogger misses is the lack of attention gladwell pays to how social media might affect the trajectory of revolutions (that begin independently of social media, to be sure). would it have been so easy for the jacobin club to take control of popular unrest in france during the revolution in an age of mass communication? or for the hard-line islamists in iran? social media isn’t necessarily about opposing the status quo or about making it more efficient – it’s a malleable tool, as we’re seeing in egypt but also here with the UBB campaign.

have a little faith rodger – we spend pretty much every precious spare moment that we have in our office talking about how we can turn this weak-tie phenomenon that we’re witnessing into a real challenge to the status quo. it’s not easy, because this is categorically different from opportunities to make change in the past – but dismissing it as dead-end ‘slacktivism’ isn’t going to help us figure out how to make best use of these tools and their effects.

Me: This is a perfect example of a weak-tie dialogue. I’ve got to run, but I’ll respond later.
One:

here’s an example of a gladwell quote that i would take issue with “”But [online] networks are messy: think of the ceaseless pattern of correction and revision, amendment and debate, that characterises Wikipedia. If Martin Luther King, Jr had tried to do a wiki-boycott in Montgomery, he would have been steamrollered by the white power structure.” How can Gladwell possibly know that this is true? Perhaps if MLK had been able to organize with an online network, it wouldn’t have been so easy to suppress/co-opt/erase the socialist, anti-imperialist elements of the movement, especially after MLK’s death.

i’m not even trying to say that i think i know what would have happened in this counterfactual case – the point is that i don’t, and neither does gladwell even when he tries to claim otherwise. i think we need to remain curious and inquisitive and open to the idea that different historical moments call for radically different ways of organizing – and that new tools actually offer new possibilities.

Me: See, I thought when you said “Suck it, Gladwell…” you were referring to his ideas around social media and activism. I thought you were implying that his ideas around social media and activism were now irrelevant.

I’m not some kind of Gladwellian. I wouldn’t have to say that if we actually knew each other. I could care less what he has to say about the American health care system. It’s not really important here, doesn’t affect the distinction made between strong-tie and weak-tie activism, high-risk and low-risk activism, activism within the status quo and status quo challenging activism. Those distinctions are good and relevant.

How do you define the categorically difference between current and historical opportunities to make change?

Delusional optimism

January 11, 2011

Still on about the trap of pessimism in the face of delusional optimism, or megalomania.

Take the saying, “With God, all things are possible.” and tweak it a bit and you can see my criticism. Say, “With delusional optimism, all things are possible.” But we don’t want possibility. We are radical and we want change, real change, not the possibility of change, or some changed imaginary future. This is like believing in a heaven, or future good. This is a thought trap.

And the reaction, pessimism is a thought trap as well. The question is what is possible now, not with optimism, or God, but with our actions in this moment?

The revolutionary location

January 5, 2011

A question of some import to a radical theory of living well is the revolutionary location. Where are we revolutionary? How to live well is always in deliberation, but here I’m wondering about where to live well. Does location condition life?

Location is conceptual as well as physical.

This discussion isn’t coming out of nowhere. Where are we revolutionary, and where are we blowing so much smoke? Here again is a kind of trap. I view a lot of global political criticism as a kind of megalomania. It’s not that this criticism is wrong, or unnecessary, and in concert with local efforts may be justified, it’s that this criticism is delusional. The trap I’m about to fall into is pessimism. How many words were types in opposition to the most recent invasion of Afghanistan and Kuwait? How many bodies marched demonstrations to stop the action? How ineffective was this effort?

Now I’m against war and colonizing resource rich lands. But criticism on this level is not radical. It’s delusional. It’s delusional in the sense that the active relationships that make up the world validate the war and colonization. Denunciation of the war on the level of language and thought, and momentary denunciation at that, to return to, or never leave your job, your abode, your private property, your consumption of the resources extracted through war and colonization. Of course quitting your job, giving away your tools, home, and walking the earth like Jesus while radical is not living well.

But it is in the local sphere where we can act. We can work our entire lives in vain to make just our schools more democratic, but we can make our homes more democratic tomorrow morning. We can scream and shout, paint sign, write brilliant articles and organize against the racism in our government’s border policy, and the borders will remained closed, but we can open our relationships tonight.

The trap I’m falling into is the either/or. But I’m advocating living well, living radically. We are not without examples. Nowtopia covers a few. Without making the changes where the changes can actually be made, calling for massive, superstructural change is like talking to God.

Change Agent

December 6, 2010

Here I am continuing on line dialogues.

The original question:

So what do you think about WikiLeaks? Can a whistleblower website wake up the public and/or shake up big media and government?

‎”The Public” is an empty signifier. The public has no agency, no consciousness. “You” however is very particular. What I mean is, the public can not wake up, and you can not speak for or even accurately about the public. The question then, in a radical sense is put to you. Has this whistleblower website woken you? And if so, what are you going to do about it? You are the only possible agent of change. This radical you does not negate collective action. In the language of the original question, “the public” is objectified, you stand outside as an observer. What I am suggesting is that we see ourselves as a public agent. This radical consciousness makes subjective, includes you in the public. In this consciousness we can speak subjectively of the public. So the question is put to you. Are you awake? Now what?

some notes on GAI Pride

November 22, 2010

The headline reads:

To end poverty, guarantee everyone in Canada $20,000 a year.

It goes on to ask if we are willing to trust the poor. I ask if the headline writers are willing to go fuck themselves.

I want to start a discussion about a Guaranteed Annual Income. Ending poverty is a necessary step toward strengthening our democracy. I usually say we don’t live in a democracy, because Canadian democracy is so weak, the term shouldn’t be used. It would be more accurate to call our form of state an oligarchy.

But the question should we trust the poor, reveals economic inequality, in practical terms. Words like equality and justice are mere abstractions in a state where poverty exists. What exactly are we trusting the poor to do, or not do, if they were given the means to feed themselves and protect themselves from the weather? What about the working poor who could them tell their exploitive employers to go fuck themselves? Are we to trust that this will happen or are we trusting that a completely oppressed and marginalized group when freed from a state of complete lack will continue to be silent? What about parents? Would  GAI end daycare worries? Would the end of daycare worries, bring up achievement levels in schools? Would it increase community involvement? This idea has great social potential.

What surprises me, is that this idea is getting the play in the media that it is. I guess it’s being played as a bad idea. And playing to the given idea that people deserve their station and the idea that if people want money they should get a job.

Get a job? This is 2010. Technological advances in production processes have cut the number of people needed to make all this stuff that keeps the economy… that sentence died in conception. The economy suck. But technological advance and human leisure. These were the ideas driving progress. The big idea that one day we wouldn’t have to work as hard. Turns out that’s not been the case. It also turns out poverty is still a problem. What do you say we start a war on poverty. According to experts, $20,000 guaranteed ought to do it.

I’m all for it. How about you?

Here’s a post (and here) about GAI. Let’s keep the conversation going.