I just finished reading Abe Burmeister’s master’s thesis, Economies of Design and Other Adventures in Nomad Economics. It’s available as a free pdf or as a printed book. This is the “public draft.” It’s still pretty rough, but still quite good.
This book is very straight forward and easy to read. I don’t have much of a background in economics, but I found Abe’s writing clear and accessible. Abe’s a designer by trade, not an economist, and this book/paper was written for the Interactive Telecommunications Program, not for an econ program.
I believe that the main task for today’s left is to create a new political economy (the resources are all there: Max Weber, T.B. Veblen and the old institutionalists, John Kenneth Galbraith, Fernand Braudel, some of the new institutionalists, like Douglass North; redefinitions of the market, like those of Herbert Simon etc) based as you acknowledged before, on a non-equilibrium view of the matter? But how can we do this if we continue to believe that Marxists got it right, that it is just a matter of tinkering with the basic ideas? At any rate, concepts like “mode of production” do not fit a flat ontology of individuals as far as I can tell.
Abe takes this and runs with it. This book lays the ground work. He doesn’t have all the answers yet (he’s mentioned he’s already working on a complete re-write), but this is a great starting point. Abe’s mostly focused on designers, but this book would be a good starting point for anyone interested in the idea of “economic hacking” – activists, artists, and yes, magicians.
There is a recurring trope among social circles that I drift though to want to refer to themselves as a tribe. Someone who sees things in terms of a developmental levels theory such as the Spiral Dynamics theory popularized by Ken Wilber might be tempted to classify this as an indicator of a lower level behaviour or social structure.
However, the behaviour being labeled tribal is not identical to the older forms under that name. Older tribe forms were based around interrelated extended family groups whereas these new “tribes” are generally assumed to be constructed of non-related individuals, exceptions of course exist.
What I’m trying to say is this… these forums are here to help you develop, to help create a non-local superorganism that can adapt and maneuver within the larger body politic, and all you need to do is communicate to be a part of the overall community.
Communication is the essential manifestation of feedback that helps entrain, that provides the linguistic protoplasm binding together the cells of the superorganism
I don’t see racism as something that’s just going to fizzle and go away. Racism is a dangerous mind-virus that must be systematically exterminated. Usually, I would think of “total eradication” of anything as narrow-minded, but I see no other solution. Of course, locking up or killing racists won’t get rid of the problem, but would probably only make it worse. How do you fight a social contagion? Perhaps these ideas from John Shirley can give us a better idea of the causes of racism.
What happens in a human brain when a racist impulse is exercised? Anger is expressed; hatred is released; adrenaline and other chemicals are secreted. Ancient ?wiring? in the brain is electrified, in some sense. If you were a primitive man concerned with survival, and, mostly, only survival, you were fiercely tribalistic–instinctively so. Nature made you that way. My tribe good, distant tribe bad. You could cautiously trade with other tribes but the more distant they were, the more dangerous, perhaps, they’d be–the ones from distant places were less likely to be trading partners, they would look and act a bit differently. Different genetic and cultural pools. They might seem more likely to intrude–being from distance places they’re not settled, they’re looking for new territories. They’re not just ?the guys who live over by the buffalo wallow.? So you instinctively fear and hate them. Instincts use rewards to prompt our activities, rewards in the form of endorphins and the like, bringing feelings of pleasure. So it feels good to hate them.
Normally, I try to limit the amount of political stuff I post here, but the mental illness known as racism is currently driving some very destructive US policy. In the past few weeks I’ve heard from many people who are buying into the propaganda and lies of the racially motivated anti-immigration movement. Here’s a collection of resources:
“The cover of the book was rubbed with a patina made from lamp black, Yakskin glue, and brains. It was burnished to a gloss and inscribed with an ink made from crushed pearls and silver.” That is a description of the one of the Tibetan monastic manuscripts, or pothi, that Jim Canary discussed in his recent presentation, “The Tibetan Book: From Pothi to Pixels and Back Again,” at The Changing Book Conference (University of Iowa). Pothi were originally made of palm leaves. They are up to four feet in length and thin in shape; consisting of loose leaves in cloth covers pressed between wooden boards. They are sometimes housed in wooden boxes that resemble child-sized coffins. The Tibetan pothi are stored in long, narrow pigeon holes built into the walls surrounding the chanting area of the temple. Jim showed us a picture of these impressive libraries, with ceilings so high, the walls, and their overstuffed catacombs, disappear into darkness.
Jim Canary has over sixty of hours of video, taken during his trips to Tibet, documenting the monastic printing process. He plans to edit and publish the video as a CD Rom in tandem with a print book. He showed us some selections, which I do not have, so I will do my best to describe them. Video #1: a man sits on the stone steps outside the temple. There are two tall stacks of paper next to him and a bowl of water in front of him. He is preparing the paper for printing, taking one sheet from the top of the pile, passing it through a pan of water and placing it on top of the other pile. He has hundreds of sheets to dampen, so he is working in a brisk rhythmic manner. When he’s finished, the stack will be pressed between two wooden blocks. Video #2: printing takes place in a building across from the temple. The printing is done in teams of two. One man holds the hand-carved wooden block and prepares it with ink. His partner places each damp sheet on the wooden block for burnishing, then removes it and sets it aside to dry. The men work quickly in tandem, surrounded by the music of monks chanting in the temple next door. The tone and rhythm of the chant matches the rhythm of their work. It is designed to correspond with the heart beat, and it works to knit all participants together into a single, metaphorical “body” which is, in turn, joined to all humanity through the meditation. The result of all this unity is a book, shaped like a body, which will be housed, along with hundreds of others, in the temple walls.
Mr. Canary’s presentation was also about the future of these mystical books, which are being cataloged, preserved, reproduced and distributed using digital technology. Some monks are now working on laptops, transcribing text and burning DVDs. Here is an excerpt from a poem written by one of the monks in praise of digital materials, which, in his eyes, are as exquiste as a patina made from lamp black, Yakskin glue, and brains, burnished to a gloss and inscribed with an ink made from crushed pearls and silver are to me.
?The light of the disk is endless
like the light of the disks in the sky, sun and moon.
With a single push of our finger on a button
We pull up the shining gems of text?
Everyone ought to find themselves disturbed about the Minutemen. They represent the part of the Republican Party which seems to have blatantly embraced fascist tactics. Anytime the government starts authorizing vigiliantes, start getting really afraid.
I was just reading over that propaganda comic that Benway was kind enough to post, it gave us a good laugh at work here. I don’t know which is funnier, leftist or rightist stuff. Actually no? I do, rightist propaganda is always a bit more funny cuz they have such a peculiar grasp of humour. At least hippies are light-hearted. It’s like putting Julius Evola on-stage with Robert Anton Wilson and asking them to do a joke-off. Perhaps, say, at the Just for Laughs festival in Montr?al.
Anyhow, speaking of funny, as I was perusing this fine site I came across this ad by Gooooogle or whutever it’s called:?
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I don’t know about you guys, but I need devestatingly potent spells to lay havoc and ruin to my enemies. Saskatchewan is to the east of us and I believe they have a eugenics programme underway. See, every girl I’ve met that has moved here (Alberta) from there (Saskatchewan) has been very, very attractive. Not in that Prairie punk sort of subcultural way I’ve been accustomed to here out west, but in a sort of suburban girl-next-door sort of way.
Interestingly, the Alberta Eugenics Board maintained the excellent standard of life we’ve come to expect in this province through the Alberta Sterilization Act, passed in 1928 along with another province and 28 states down yonder.
(Almost 3,000 people were sterilized under Alberta’s Sterilization Act. Many more were not released because they would not consent to sterilization. Even in 1972, the year the Act was finally repealed, 55 people were sterilized for their “danger of transmission to the progeny of mental deficiency” and for being “incapable of intelligent parenthood.”)
What I think Saskatchewan has implemented is a hawtness gene. While Americans fight obesity and clone dinosaurs, them quiet socialists next door have gone on to do what we’ve all been hoping for but no one has had the scientific “need” to do: fight ugliness.
The world needs more attractive people. Even if you are a little obese, you can still be hot. I mean, there is a girl here at work who may be a few kilos overweight, but she’s cute.
As for the ad by Gooooogle, perhaps we need to implement some sort of post-natal beatings unto those that are propagating the ridiculous image of such spiritual matters. I know the occult doesn’t like to associate with the Wiccans, but they keep sticking their fingers in our cookie jar.
Perhaps some PR eugenics, some disassociation from the New Agers and the goths. Hmm, back to the occult brand thing.
Though speaking of genes, another Gooooogle ad took me to Ebay where they were selling “soft robes for magical use” and I found this. She must be a witch from Saskatchewan.
It’s still no excuse. Wait, no? she’s from France. I think Saskatchewan and France have something in common though. Perhaps they adopted the hawt eugenics programme that the Czech Republic obviously has in place. There can be no other explanation.
I need some books on occult eugenics. I think Aleister Crowley and Michael Bertiaux have some writings on this?
In opposition to the debasing welfare programs of both church and state stands EcoVillage Farm just outside the heart of Richmond, CA’s inner city. For anyone who has never been to Richmond, VA don’t think South Bronx- think Gary, IN, Springfield, MA, “the Bricks”, Compton, &c. Richmond resembles many other forgotten post-industrial towns whose residents have committed the ultimate crime of being poor in America.
Which seems only one reason why EcoVillage farm represents such a revolutionary attack on the status quo. Food no longer comes in plastic wrapped packages which cannot be smelled or handled but out of the soil and the toil of those tilling. “Ownership society” falls in the category of “phrases GWB perverts into right-wing bullshit.” However EcoVillage farm seems to represent an “ownership society” that anyone with a brain could get behind. Far from just another bourgeois “organic” farm stand, EcoVillage not only provides food but relevant skills.
This type of social welfare contains more tangible benefits than I can name. First, it puts food on people’s plates. Secondly, the co-op teaches useful skills which instill a sense of pride. Few things make a person hold their head up higher than the knowledge “I can produce something.”
This article by Mark Morford corresponded and expanded on my internal state of late, as I ponder my present situation and future as a over-educated and under-skilled wage slave lorded over by corporate borg people, every bodily and mental fluctuation measured by increasingly Matrix-like productivity software if the cubicle farm was a work camp, as lines of flight open up and flower with the grace of Allah. This is pretty good too.