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Category — Social Sciences

The Emerging Butterfly Society – Thomas Greco

Tom Greco, author of four books including Money: Understanding and Creating Alternatives to Legal Tender, and also The End of Money and the Future of Civilization, shares his vision of the new economy of the future. Greco’s talk is titled The Emerging Butterfly Society: How Communities are Building a New World from the Bottom Up.

According to Greco, “The present circumstances demand vision and creative collaboration to come up with viable transition strategies toward a steady-state economy and the ’butterfly society.’ The new civilization will be built up out of local communities that will have to be relatively self-sufficient. The existing system cannot be reformed, it can only be transcended.”

This talk by Tom Greco was recorded at the 2011 International Conference on Sustainability, Transition and Culture Change: Vision – Action – Leadership which was organized by Local Future, a 501(c)3 non-profit educational organization, and directed by Aaron Wissner

January 17, 2013   No Comments

Buckminster Fuller’s Great Pirates: The origins of specialization


Photo by Dan Lindsay (CC BY 3.0)

By Zann Gill

Buckminster Fuller’s first powerful concept was represented by the metaphor of the Great Pirates, by which he meant not merely storybook characters, but those who lead corporations and governments, who amass, and often misuse, power. He saw specialization, and lack of cross-fertilization, as weakening, not only every individual, but also the fabric of society.

Buckminster Fuller was a great generalist at a time when being a generalist had grown increasingly unpopular. He believed that the “new, self-employed architect-scientist is the one in all the world who may accelerate realization of a high standard survival for all,” and that it was technology that would make this vision possible.

Fuller placed historic responsibility for specialization on the Great Pirates, whose “divide and conquer” strategy fostered increasing specialization as a means to control and exploit others. Circumscribed knowledge, affording the comforts of being expert in a small domain, made people acquiesce in their subservience, almost without realizing. The arts of navigation, grand logistics, and effectively deceptive media for international exchange, made the Top Pirate in “the house” (gambling parlance) repeatedly a Winner Takes All.

These cautions, penned by Bucky forty years ago, have uncanny prescience in a world shocked by the Enron scandal, the FEMA fiasco (U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency) ineptly responding to the Hurricane Katrina crisis, haphazard response to earthquakes and other crises around the world, and growing suspicion that too much power to exploit drove United States troops into Iraq and Afghanistan on false pretexts.

In Bucky’s view, although the Great Pirates, as such, became extinct with the advent of technology, their legacy, their methods of controlling, deceiving, and exploiting others, lived on. They created contexts within which their methods could flourish, where their unscrupulous schemes gave them an advantage. Recent research suggests a new breed of Pirates – charming, dark-suited, socially adept psychopaths, who advance themselves at the expense of others through similar methods of dominion. This research recalls Bucky’s insights about the Great Pirates, not as outliers, but as very central shapers of accepted social mores, which survive today. The doctrine of “survival of the fittest” as the exclusive modis operandi of evolution breeds a view that “competition proves who deserves more of less,” a justification for warfare. [Read more →]

January 10, 2013   1 Comment

Book asks, “Are we already in a new dark age?”

Here’s a book which might be worth checking out (based on the description). I’ll be doing that….Dark Ages book 3.jpg

Dark Ages
The Case for a Science of Human Behavior
By Lee C. McIntyre


During the Dark Ages, the progress of Western civilization virtually stopped. The knowledge gained by the scholars of the classical age was lost; for nearly 600 years, life was governed by superstitions and fears fueled by ignorance. In this outspoken and forthright book, Lee McIntyre argues that today we are in a new Dark Age and that we are as ignorant of the causes of human behavior as people centuries ago were of the causes of such natural phenomena as disease, famine, and eclipses. We are no further along in our understanding of what causes war, crime, and poverty and how to end them than our ancestors. We need, McIntyre says, another scientific revolution; we need the courage to apply a more rigorous methodology to human behavior, to go where the empirical evidence leads us, even if it threatens our cherished religious or political beliefs about human autonomy, race, class, and gender.

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November 30, 2012   No Comments