Saturday, October 28, 2006

Quote and Something to Think About

This post over at Ran Prier has given me a lot to think about. I don't think I have a clear vision. And I liked what Ran had to write about his vision.

October 25. Last week Stacy made a challenging comment:

Aren't eco-villages just another program? Aren't renewable energy schemes another program? Didn't Daniel Quinn point out in 1996 that stuff like that doesn't represent a change in vision? Or we want to go back to a forager lifestyle because it's a known entity instead of trying for a new vision. Is living in an ecovillage or becoming a hunter/forager new? Can that be a vision?

What's your vision? Can you put it into 25 words or less?

Here's what I wrote in my Critique of Civilization FAQ:

[Ran wrote:]Only people under the spell of civilization need an exciting vision of a nonexistent future to motivate them. Cultures that live in balance feel no need for a "vision of the future" because they have a present that is acceptable.

Our visions of the future have all turned out to be wrong. From techno-utopia to Hitler's Thousand Year Reich to the Age of Aquarius to Bush's crusade to bring "freedom" to Asia, they're a mixture of wishful thinking and lies that serve to motivate people to march toward something that turns out to be quite different.

Right now, people with visions are seen as strong and bold, and people who make predictions are seen as weak and passive. That's because we're still deep in the culture of Empire, which gives us a greatly inflated view of our own relative power. The way I see it, we're surfers. We have some choice over where we go, but we have to be patient and work with the waves. We are creating reality not as dictators but as collaborators with all other life from bacteria to gods. I see myself as a scout, looking at the landscape ahead to help people get ready.

At the same time, I do have a vision. From the same essay: "I envision stone age, medieval, modern, and 'magical' technologies all dancing together in a world of wilderness and ruins." Most important, that world must be stable. I'm struggling with a new essay about what that means

And I just got done reading After Dachau, by Daniel Quinn again, and here are a few gems that I ran across.

“I learned something about obsession with my time with the Fenshaws. I learned it isn’t madness or even foolishness, though madness and foolishness have gvien it a bad name. How could anyone who wasn’t obsessed compose a symphony or write a thousand-page novel? How could anyone who wasn’t obsessed cross an uncharted ocean in a seventy-foot sailboat? No one sneers at people like these, but they will sneer at someone whose obsession drives them to fill a house with starving cats or to build a half-size model of the Brandenburg Gate out of matchsticks. I almost feel that someone who lives without an obsession has a poor s sort of life.” Pg. 25

Napoleon considered history “just an agreed-upon fiction.”Pg 136

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