Thursday, August 6, 2009

stewart brand's recent thinking

a hugely exciting and busy day at the golden fish yesterday. little birthday celebrations.
presents. cakes. lots of hugs!!

so today a little listening and a little thinking.

i hope you don't mind.

you see, when this guy speaks, i listen and think.

i've been doing so since 1968.

additional discussion on stewart's proposals can be read here.


Barry said...

I love the TED lectures and found this perspective on slums very interesting. His thoughts on Nuclear and his support of genetically modified crops I will have to think about.

steven said...

hi barry - i'm right with you. i have instinctive concerns and limited factual concerns about nuclear and genetically modified anything. thanks for visiting! steven

The Weaver of Grass said...

Oh Steven - I have never heard of this man I am ashamed to say. Perhaps you can fill me in on him.

steven said...

hi weaver - sure! at the beginning of this video he tells something of his public past in terms of what he has been connected with so far. the place i began with him ws through "the whole earth catalogue" which he published when i was in high school. it made huge impression on me as it unpacked what was happening in the world at that time and laid it out in a massive informational cornucopia that was effectively a published version of what we now know as the internet. his wiki entry - - tells more and offers more links than i can here. i listen to him, i don't always agree with him but he is one of those thoughtful people who compels me to ask myself and others about what we're accepting as the status quo. there you are. have a peaceful (and i mean that weaver!!!) day in the valley!! steven

Anonymous said...

Nuclear scars me. I remember in R&D how we worked on Photochromics in order to get them to darken goggles pilots wore to prevent retina burn. And they were tested at Bikini Atoll. We also made electro/mechanical goggles that looked like Venetian blinds activated by a 22cal rifle shot (blank) between the eyes. Those were the days when everybody was inventing something. I don't know Ted. I am surprised that I never ran into him when I was on the lecture tour.

Dan Gurney said...

I came of age in the town next door to Menlo Park from which The Whole Earth Catalog came. Stewart Brand is smart, but, in my opinion, mostly wrong, and definitely arrogant. (His background in the Army and as a "Merry Prankster" serve as indicators of where he comes from.)

The fix we're in now is the result of unforeseen and unintended consequences of acting as if we're Gods.

The fixes Brand is advocating--geoengineering, nuclear, and bioengineering--are surely well-intentioned but, just as surely full of unintended and disastrous consequences that will get us into more trouble than we're in now.

Humans need to become more humble, thankful, and attentive to the natural world, our Mother Earth.

steven said...

hello abe - i'd like to see a full-fledged program dedicated to understanding how to safely and effectively use what's already here in the way of geo-thermal, solar, wind, and whatever other natural sources there are. you know that's where we're going eventually no matter what. The ted talk series are an amazing collection of current thinkers, artists.activists whatever who speak about their passion. to see who you can see (and hear) go here. have a great evening abe. steven

steven said...

hello dan, stewart's place in my life has been as an informant and a catalyst. i was truly surprised to see him so easily advocate tolerance for nuclear and genetic engineering. i see his perspective. i accept it if you assume it is the only alternative, and in some ways if you think very very short term his statements make sense. what's odd is that stewart is associated with the long now foundation. the thinking there is definitely not short term. i see the next steps for us as being bound by the notion of full and harmonious integration with the rest of nature.
as i mentioned in the opening of this comment, stewart's place for me is as an informant and a ctalyst but not as an advisor or especially not as a director of my thinking!! have a peaceful evening. steven

gleaner said...

I cannot gain anything from what he says as what he says is nothing new and its obvious there are hidden agenda or monetary motivations in his talk. I am strongly opposed to genetic engineering and multinational corporations buying out small seed companies and systematically destroying the bio-diversity of plants species around the world.
He is talking 'old-school' to me and his thinking is part of how we got in this mess. We need progressive and advanced changes to the way we live and regard the earth in a more eco-centric way (rather than anthropocentric). Permaculture advocates are more inspiring to me than the rhetoric of the past. I like what Dan said, humans need to be more humble.

steven said...

hi gleaner - thanks for your thoughts. it's a strange piece for me as it runs counter to what i would expect and have come to expect from him which is to see beyond the limitations of history and to unpack whatever intimations there are of the future. a positive, healthy, sensible future. sensible being defined by the notion of care, ecological connection, and i was also curious about his insistance that "poor" people want to be wealthier in the way he describes. reall? hmmmm. i'm loving the discussion that's arriving here. thanks. steven

Alexandra MacVean said...

I have concerns about anything genetically "modified" for a number of reasons. I do not believe we were meant to delve into that arena at all. I am amazed at where we have come as a society over all here in America with that, as well as other things. Thank you for sharing this.

PS. Did you say birthday celebration??!?!?!?! ;)

Eryl said...

What this planet needs, as far as I can see, is considerably fewer human beings. I don't consider genocide an option though.

I thought this chap had interesting things to say, that I'm pretty sure I don't agree with his solutions doesn't mean he's not worth listening to, he has contributed to a debate that needs to rage on. Thanks, Steven, for showing this.

TED is such a brilliant forum, so many people, so many ideas, all worth listening to.

steven said...

hello amelia, thanks for visiting!!! i think readers and the poster(me) are more or less inagreement that this is a strange position for an informed person to take isn't it. yes i am one year older than the last time you visited. only slightly wiser!!! have a peaceful evening. steven

steven said...

hello eryl, thanks for dropping by! yes, this poor place is over populated. so what to do? i don't think stewart's solutions are (to use an overused but appropriate term) unsustainable in my own view.
i really enjoy the ted talks and performances. there are so many incredible and brilliant people it makes me excited to watch them and to hear them think out loud. i've posted a few over the past two years just because they're so cool. have a lovely evening. steven