So there you are, like me, sitting at home, wondering why the world is so messed up, when along comes a certifiable explanation that just about covers everything. Well it at least covers 12 steps to enlightenment, according to David Wong at any rate.
You are probably wondering what all this has to do with monkeys? So was I so I kept on reading and doesn’t he just make a convincing case?
So you’re a bit of a techo then? And you don’t mind wading through tome sized techie manuals on your screen? Then you want to have a look at this index of book to download some from. There is bound to be something in there for you.
link after the jump
I read this very interesting article Plants With Soul by Michael Posner in the summer reading issue of a magazine called Walrus. It all sounded pretty familiar for some reason and was revealed to have been based (at least in part) upon a good book I read a few years back called The Cosmic Serpent, DNA and the origins of Knowledge.
The Plants with Soul article provides a good synopsis of The Cosmic Serpent as well as detailing a few other notable authors and how a psychoactive drug, ayahuasca, made it all the way to the US supreme court. The 7 pages cover a breadth of material, ranging from personal anecdotes on ayahuasca ceremonies and experiences, and information on the Brazillian based church United Beneficient Spiritual Union of the Plants (UDV) and their legal battle with the US supreme court to use ayauasca in their ceremonies.
download link after the jump
The media site ChangeThis is working to spread new thoughts and ideas to a wider audience. There are a number of interesting manifestos and I found the beyond sustainability one worth a mention.
It tackles the fundamental concepts of sustainability from the very necessary position of redefining the entire concept and looking at realising humans possibilities.
As a society, we are addicted to solving our problems through a reductionist frame. When
we confront problems in the world, we chop them into small pieces and give each piece to a
specialist familiar with that chunk. Over time, as we have done this more and more, society’s
competence to address the complex, messy problems we confront has diminished.
Unsustainability is just such a messy problem. Sustainability is a holistic concept that takes
an equally holistic stance to attain. Reductionist solutions will not suffice.
John Errenfeld goes on to discuss how to tackle the root causes rather than the symptoms. Fundamental changes in the way we think and the way we live our lives. Well worth a read.
linkage: beyond sustainability manifesto (0.5mb PDF), ChangeThis
The Science Select Committee in the United Kingdom has published their Drug Report (1.2 mb PDF). The main thrust of the report is that the current system is based on historical assumptions rather than scientific assessment. Harm reduction is the key element.
Mr Phil Willis who chairs the committee, believes the only way to get “an accurate and up to date classification system” was to “remove the link with penalties and just focus on harm”, adding that this meant social consequences as well as harm to the user. “It’s time to bring in a more systematic and scientific approach to drug classification – how can we get the message across to young people if what we are saying is not based on evidence?”
“What we’ve had is a huge societal change over that period and what we’ve seen is that putting a drug into Class A does not stop people using it at all.”
No shit that the classification system is fundamentally flawed. Select Committee’s around the world have being reporting this for a long time now. The only trouble is change is so slow to come into effect it is virtually invisible with the US leading the “War on Drugs” and all the lapdog countries following suit.
Kevin Kelly seems like a pretty interesting chap. His website covers a bunch of interesting topics and has links to a number of other things that he is involved with like Long Bets a web site the gets people to make long term predictions and gets them to put some money where their mouth is. There is a list of 100 factual films with reviews, some cool tools he has found and other bits and pieces. He is currently writing a new book on what technology wants from us.
He re-counts his 15 seconds of second-hand Hollywood fame. The Matrix Revisted (the making of the Matrix) has Keanu Reeves recounting how each actor had to read his book Out of Control (and 2 other books) before they could open the original script. Kevin has made this book available in it’s entirety online and it is a good read for sure. The tag line to the book is The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems, and the Economic World. Out of Control is a summary of what we know about self-sustaining systems, both living ones such as a tropical wetland, or an artificial one, such as a computer simulation of our planet. Thoughts on what we can expect in the future of machines and complex systems.
linkage: kevin kelly, out of control, long bets