Archive for Technology

2011 – A human odissey

Posted in Crisis, Culture, current events, News, Philosophy, politics, Society, Technology with tags , , , , , , , , on 09/07/2011 by Living out of Eden

Having been the launch of the last SST mission confirmed today, I thought it would be a great moment to put this achievement into perspective.

I have to say, prior to any other consideration, that I’m obsessed with space since I knew I was myself. If I just would have been born in the States (U.S.A. I mean) or in the U.S.S.R., I’m sure I would have chased a career as an astronaut.

The video of  Space Shuttle “Endeavour” docked to the ISS from NASA Multimedia archive, is astounding. I never thought I would be able to see such a manoeuvre actually happening, out from a science-fiction movie.

Lately, I’ve been reading Theodore Adorno texts, one of them called ” Reason and Revelation”, as a contrast between the rational and the mystic sides of human societies, and the tension between scientific knowledge and religious and spiritual beliefs. Followed by another titled “Progress” in which Adorno explores the actual meaning and status of human progress in society as a whole.

The conception of how society moves forward as a whole, is 100% connected to events like the one I’m bringing to discussion.Its’ undeniable technical progress is definitely not automatically transmitted into social progress, since they are contemporary to Continue reading

Cooking for the weekend

Posted in Crisis, Culture, Economics, Ethics, Philosophy, politics, Society, Technology with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 17/06/2011 by Living out of Eden

I started early this week, to think about preparing a very innovative dinner, maybe on Friday, maybe on Saturday. I googled for a “revolutionary” meal. In fact what I wanted to cook was an authentic social revolution.

I searched throughout the news in the last months, getting at least a couple of promising options. I  had made up my mind, and decided to move forward, inviting some friends, but then I realized I didnt have at least half of the required ingredients. It wouldn’t have been an issue, if the missing spices would be obtainable in my surroundings.

We are convinced or better said, persuaded, of being part of an organized and structured society. There’s no room for the unexpected, meaning by unexpected, evil. Society has, however, enough room for unpredictable events, which are somehow tolerated by citizens as a price to pay, for the benefits of civilization, should they come from within.  It’s a “give and take” game, with more or less equality beyond some fluctuations and cycles, that had also been accepted as part of the deal.

But what the recent events in Egypt, Middle-East and Spain have shown, is that the revolutionary movements are driven more by a middle class that doesn’t want to lose the acquired privileges, rather than by a firm conviction that the world as we know it must stop.

We are still more like a flock of sheep being kept safe and alive for somebody else’s purposes and held together by means of few sheep dogs and even less shepherds. As long as we are taken out to pasture, we don’t really mind about how legitimate our democracies are. We can negotiate part of our freedom, if we still get our salaries, or else, unemployment benefit in return.

It’s annoyingly obvious we are still getting confused about what society is, what it ought to be, and even worse, what we aspire it to be. We constantly mix in a very rookie way, with absolutely no critical thought at all, our wishes or our points of view with what the “objective” reality is leaving unveiled. We are at the cutting edge of our respective professions, we handle everyday state of the art technology, but we still lack of sufficient severity, to become aware of where the true solutions to our society must be sought.

The most efficient organizations we are able to achieve today, at the beginning of the XXI century, are just small groups overlapping and having random connections according to each one’s interests at any time. There is still considerable amount of literature, trying to deal with the difficulty of working in teams, even when aligned behind common and agreed aims.

We cannot thus, think that there is full agreement on Democracy and procedure of governments, I’m sure any discussion would not resist the least analysis, without finding that the most basic concepts are becoming dissolved: Humanity, human rights, equality of opportunities, developing world, true democracy, faith, crisis, etc.

So, today I find more comfortable to describe Society as a mixture of individual aspects, erratic, like in a Brownian motion necessarily diverging due to each one’s interests, and with no true purpose of reflection on free will or the status of Autonomy in Society.  This approach to a conception of Society, that will inevitably reject the idea of harmony, cohesion or brotherhood between people, is hard to swallow, but let’s face it, it’s more honest with the outcome of civilization and actual progress of mankind after 5.000 years of history, than the illusion of people having the power.

How can societies possibly work then?

How do they manage to result in a more or less predictable course?

We could say that the only consistency comes from the links between people, which are not laid in terms of empathy but convenience. Human beings are gregarious just because the other has something that may benefit me. Once I get what I want, my “brother”, my “neighbour” becomes disposable and new targets have to be searched.

The other reason is that power agents in society (being it leaders, government, corporations, bank system) settle a mainstream, while at the same time fixes a maximum diversion degree. Anytime we want, we can put to the test the fact that whatever or whoever might attempt to break out this unwritten and unsaid “envelope”, will immediately attract “forces of law”, but more effectively, will receive automatic rejection and skepticism of peers, like antibodies sent to attack strange “invaders” within it’s own body.

A revolution should be based on a situation that reached a critically unsustainable status, and since the new paradigms are already on sight, provokes immediate action. There is not a single second of time to be wasted under the same structure, once the right path has been found.

Civilization and revolution constitute an oxymoron.

Denial

Posted in Crisis, Culture, Economics, Ethics, Philosophy, politics, Society, Technology with tags , , , , , , , , , on 11/06/2011 by Living out of Eden

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/08/opinion/08friedman.html?_r=1

Sheep (Housemartins – London 0-Hull 4)

Recovering Democracy?

Posted in Crisis, Culture, Economics, politics, Society, Technology with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 04/06/2011 by Living out of Eden

We are currently undergoing a promissing period of change, or at least, so it seems.

There had been in the recent months, demonstrations in several parts of the world, in which, people gathered spontaneously in iconic public spaces, to send Governments a new message: “Not this way anymore”.

However I believe we need to stop and consider some essential issues before moving forward:

  • Actual present situation: 

There’s a belief that the struggle is to regain a “true democracy”. This could or couldn’t be accurate, depending on what we call “Democracy”. If by Democracy we define a method by which people once a while express their preference by voting, and the outcome is the resulting government and opposition, then yes, we live in democratic states. But if we are more on the side that Democracy means Institutions running, and balance of power, inexistence of corruption, we must  then admit, we are far from this idealistic situation.

The exercise of power, we must accept, has slightly varied along the last ….. two thousand years. Well, yes, nowadays the system is much more sophisticated, but not more people based. Can you name countries and states, that you could say live under a “true democracy”, in the terms defined in the previous paragraph?

We should then be aware of this new status, that the real task to undertake is CREATION a democratic way of social governance, and not just doing adjustments.
  • Representativeness: 

This has been a topic since long ago. Politicians of any party being persuaded, stressed, tempted or even forced to legislate and govern more in representation of economic powers than in people’s, is a common picture. However, on one hand, the system eludes to accept the fact that 30% of citizen don’t vote as a symptom of rejection to politicians, and spreads the belief that it is more due to apathy and/or lack of interest. On the other hand, the rest of people, keep on voting under the self-explanatory relief  that it’s the way to account for their own duty with Society.

  • Accountability:
There’s a missing link in the whole story, which is, how can citizens revoke any members of any government, by other means than just the long term punishment of not voting them in the next election. This is required as a matter of URGENCY,  to prevent many vices that are so well known to all of us: corruption, application of policies that were not in the programme, 180º turns in the middle of a government period, and so on….
  • Structure:

Many aspects of our lives are changing thanks to the development of technology: commerce, work, travel, art, finance, medicine, R&D are being deeply influenced by the speed and scale that technology is imprinting to almost every human activity.

Although “power to the people”, has been an all-time claim, government in hands of people (i.e.: Direct Democracy) should have been virtually impossible to conceive and to carry out, throughout the history of Mankind.

Physical facts prevented this from happening: citizens live in territories, to make decisions they would need to meet in one single place, or at least, a system should be developed to create debate and allow every person to issue an opinion in order to determine the course of action. Like in a business company, the solution found was to entitle a few people to represent the interests of society.

But at this point, we need to clarify a significant difference in this parallelism: if a country, state or city are to be compared to a private company, citizens should stand for the “shareholders” and not for the “employees” in the orgchart. We simply just CANNOT GET CONFUSED ABOUT THESE CONCEPTS.

Through connectivity, social media, speed and scale, awareness of people potential strength and the possibility of designing social strategies without participation of political parties, technology is opening a vast field right before our eyes. It has already done so, in other aspects of our lives.

Maybe it’s time to integrate technology into politics and society governance.