I finished "The Power" by Naomi Alderman today.
I didn't enjoy the read, but it was thought provoking. The central thesis of the book seemed to be, "our society is based on power, and if women were stronger than men we would see the same oppressive dynamics we see now, reversed."
That's a grim thought.
Next book is The Entrepreneurial State, by Mariana Mazzucato.
I'm going to try not to overdo it with the social notes. It's a library book due back soon, and I'm not sure writing down everything helps me absorb the content.
Still, I'm excited to dive into another #NewConsensus book.
I didn't realize when i bought it that the book was written 2006, but I'm still pretty interested to read "Producing Open Source Software," by Karl Fogel.
I just joined an #opensource software company and I have a lot to learn.
Thus far, it's classic 1950s fare. A square-jawed team of white man scientists are flung into the far future along with their town. The local government is weak, the women are frail and must be protected.
For all that the premise is interesting - reminds me of "The Night Land" and "The City and the Stars" - post post post apocalypse cities surviving on doomed worlds.
More of an essay than a book, but my next read is "Making Kin with the Machines" by Jason Edward Lewis, Noelani Arista, Archer Pechawis, and Suzanne Kite. https://jods.mitpress.mit.edu/pub/lewis-arista-pechawis-kite/release/1
The #Equity, #Diversity, and #Inclusion Working Group (EDIWG) at #NASA, published a white paper called "Ethical Exploration and the Role of Planetary Protection in Disrupting Colonial Practices" and it calls for incorporating #anticolonial practices as we explore other worlds. https://arxiv.org/abs/2010.08344
Next Read? The Murray Bookchin Reader
I finally read "Ghost in the Shell" by Masamune Shirow. The manga basis for the classic 1996 film. Did you know the entire book is available on archive.org?
I finished reading the Lord of the Rings again. This time around the anti-industrialist, naturalist themes really stood out to me. The evil done to the Shire is industrialization; to win, our heroes end up deconstructing a coal-fired mill and building back a water-powered one.
"Upgrade Soul" by Ezra Clayton Daniels was a trip. https://app.thestorygraph.com/books/e4c3adef-b553-4176-8ff5-68f099c4205f
New Read: "Anarchism: A Collection of Revolutionary Writings" by Peter Kropotkin.
Apparently Kropotkin's writings inspired #ursulaleguin's "The Dispossessed". I've been on a Russian Revolution history binge of late, so I'm excited to add this to the mix.
"Of necessity, the abundance of something will be based on the poverty of others, and the straitened circumstances of the greater number will have to be maintained at all costs, that there may be hands to sell themselves for a part only of that which they are capable of producing; without which private accumulation of capital is impossible!"
"Those who think to win the world
by doing something to it,
I see them come to grief.
For the world is a sacred object.
Nothing is to be done to it.
To doanything to it is to damage it.
To seize it is to lose it.
Under heaven some things lead, some follow,
some blow hot, some cold,
some are strong, some are weak,
some are fulfilled, some fail.
So the wise soul keeps away
from the extremes, excess, extravagance."
- "Not Doing", Tao Te Ching
☝️The above poem was written thousands of years before the industrial revolution, but it seems very poignant in the days of #ClimateCrisis.
The drive for economic growth the expense of the health of the soil and the biosphere is short sighted. #RegenerativeAg practices that add health to the soil, promote #biodiversty and #sustainability are a critical "letting go", a "living with" as opposed to seizure.
I feel divided in my reactions to the #TaoTeChing.
I don't think that restraint, slowness, inaction are how I've lived or want to live, but then again, I have depression and jaw pain, so what do I know?
But there are some passages that speak to generosity, fairness, kindness, gentleness, that speak to me. I love that Le Guin provided the rendition.
"Basic Bakunin", by the Anarchist Federation, is a brief pamplet on the writings of Mikhail Bakunin. A contemporary of Marx - apparently the two agreed about the problems of capitalism but clashed over how to address them. Bakunin inspired Kropotkin (see above in the the thread). Adding to my collection of late 19th-century revolutionary thinkers.
"In Bakunin’s view, three conditions are necessary to bring about popular revolution. They are:
Sheer hatred for the conditions in which the masses find themselves
The belief that change is a possible alternative
A clear vision of the society that has to be made to bring about human emancipation"
I think this is why #scifi is such an important genre. In order for there to be a new world - say, a post-scarcity or eco-friendly society - we first must be able to imagine it.
"When people gain power ... he argued, their way of looking at the world changes. From their exalted position of high office the perspective on life becomes distorted and seems very different to those on the bottom... Bakunin suggests that such backsliding from socialist ideas is not due to treachery, but because participation in parliament makes representatives see the world through a distorted mirror."
Donella Meadows argues that a person makes decisions based off their role within a system.
“The political and economic organization of social life must not, as at present, be directed from the summit to the base – the centre to the circumference – imposing unity through forced centralization. On the contrary, it must be reorganized to issue from the base to the summit – from the circumference to the centre – according to the principles of free association and federation.”
This advocacy for federation aligns with the arguments I've heard for #decentralized social networks.
Ahh, some description of Bakunin's positive philosophy (the society we should build) as opposed to the negative philosophy (the society we should oppose). "Revolutionary Catechism" (1866) apparently conveys a lot of his ideas around federated sovereign communes. https://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/michail-bakunin-revolutionary-catechism
Good - the closest thing I have to a positive description is Ursula Le Guin's "The Dispossesed"
OK - that was a quick read. I found the primer thought-provoking - and I'm interested in reading more on this decentralized ideal - but it seems so strange to me that violent militancy is seen as the logical and natural way to a new world order. It's so... 19th century? Nonviolent revolutions are proven to be far more effective in achieving their goals (see "Why Civil Resistance Works" by Maria Stephan and Erica Chenoweth.) http://cup.columbia.edu/book/why-civil-resistance-works/9780231156820
"Plants take up nutrients through their roots. This means that plant food must be dissolved in soil water. Quick-release and chemical fertilizers immediately dissolve into soil water, making them instantly available to plant roots. This is useful when a quick fix is needed to address a deficiency. On the other hand, it also means they are instantly vulnerable to being lost when water drains out of the soil."
"Nutrients from organic amendments and slow-release fertilizers stick around longer in the soil. They are plant-available only after microbes decompose them. We rely on living systems to make these nutrients available and to hold them in the soil. Fertile soils hold nutrients in the actual bodies of living and dead organisms, in spongy organic matter, or on the surfaces of soil minerals."
"Our world, it would appear, will either undergo revolutionary changes, so far-reaching in character that humanity will totally transform its social relations and its very conception of life, or it will suffer an apocalypse that may well end humanity's tenure on the planet."
Holds up regrettably well today.
"The Anarchist Handbook" is a collection of essays by various authors: https://1lib.us/book/14727303/4691c0?id=14727303&secret=4691c0
@Argus I've read a somewhat related paper recently, which I think is very interesting. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2329401
And yes, at the Kropotkin's times, the anarchism was not just a regular political movement but a direct synonym for terrorism.
@sergey_m interesting; that seems to come through in this book's introduction. Kropotkin apparently thought Tolstoy's nonviolent philosophy was naive.
@Argus usually the individualism and collectivism are on the other sides. Also anarchism is individualism. lol
@JRLarsen I initially thought so too, but I've been reading Kropotkin and he stresses the importance of mutual aid. Its just that anarchists don't believe government should compel that aid.
"Individualism, narrowly egoistic, is incapable of inspiring anybody. There is nothing great of gripping in it. Individuality can obtain its supreme development only in the highest common social element."
Reminds me of a meme I saw on mastodon a while back.
@Argus Political compasses do two things: allow polysci majors to put historical figures into boxes and allow R*editors to construct their ideology piecemeal like trading cards. The abstractions make things seem tidy when they’re not. I especially love the “strong government” bit because it’s never specified what it’s strengths are. Is your government good at collecting taxes or at providing food or at committing genocide? What ideology would consider these equivalent?
@ScreamoBMO That's a fair point. I guess I mean "strong government" in the sense that government is able to coerce behavior. Kropotkin (who is the only anarchist I've read aside from flipping through Bookchin, so maybe he is not representative of anarchist thought as a whole) seems to favor people having strong social bonds, but not having government force people into action.
@Argus Oh yeah that’s pretty representative. I guess my point regarding the strong government thing comes across more for Marxist-Leninists (labeled communists in the graph) who agree with anarchists about the end goal but believe the state must be utilized during a transitionary period. I view this as fundamentally different from fascism where a strong government is the point. As an anarchist I’ll gladly align with an ML, but never a fascist.
@Argus No, not accurate.
where'd you get this?
mostly I'm concerned about the locating of strong government
but also conservatism is not at all anti-thetical to collectivism. in fact it is usually far closer to that than individualism throughout human history
what this is is really a bizarre, and vague oversimplification. What is the point of trying to construct such a chart?
@Argus ..trying to narrow down political and social theories and philosophies, as well as economic, into one dimensional "spectrums" or even two dimensional charts as this is fool hardy at best. Theories in their true essence are far more complicated to be so simply contrasted with another. They are multi faceted and multi - dimensional. A 3 dimensional fractal would be more appropriate. Have you studied Social Ecology?
@Argus re: "Individualism"
That's because individualism is a false hood. It is a deceptive lie. Humans are pack animals. No one can live entirely individually - providing food, clothing, shelter, and defense.
Humans live communally and collaboratively. How to manage this in the presence of the "modern" "post-wild" existence of human existence is the challenge
The idea of "individualism" is merely distorted to express "independence" - which wasn't necessary before Oppression,.
@Argus It is then distorted - economically - to assert non-existent selfish "entitlements" such as the right to massive amounts of private property. = value that no individual could "earn", and is then depriving others of - and future generations.
Have you studied Proudhon? I love it! :)
@Argus It's really hard to fit these discussions into 500 characters. Do you guys ever hang out on Diaspora? It's way easier to communicate on
@Argus Further, re: "...stresses the importance of mutual aid. Its just that anarchists don't believe government should compel that aid."
I don't know much Kropotkin but I disagree with a lot of what I've heard - it's just wrong.
To understand these things, you must understand: what is government?
The only legitimate government is democracy.
So, what is a democratic government?
.. It is the people. It is the manifestation of the people organizing.
Why they must they organize? to what ends? what is good organizing?
The primary reason is mutual aide.
Coordinated, mutual defense.
Coordination of collaboration to provide functional co-existence, necessary cooperation, and working together - for mutual aide.
To say the government should not organize mutual aide - it should be "private"
is sheer idiocy.
Which brings back the point of the false dichotomy of individualism vs collectivism.
Humans live communally - sharing one planet. There is no "away". When you throw something "away" it is a lie = it is still Here.
We do not Own Land. We BORROW it from previous generations, and future ones. We do not live "away" from others - we are downwind, downstream - sharing a climate, an atmosphere, a closed hydrological system, etc.
"individualism" is a lie. as is collectivism. The only time the "needs of the group" become a problem superseeding the ...
@Argus "needs of the individual" is NOT as a result of "collectivism" or any "communalism" or "mutualism" - it is the result of TYRANNY - which is a Minority Rule. See?
@Argus Lao Tzu can be paradoxical at times. I think ultimately he believed in a type of simple collectivism but if course he also said how a ruler should be
@Argus Heard a nice opinion that russia was the only country witch suffers from communism in a hard way. By that the author means that Lenin&co managed to destroy the old russian elite and break their channels of communication. So now it is like "If you are talking with rich and successful chineese, dont mention Mao, case his parents likely suffered from his policy. If you are talking with successful russian, dont mention Stalin, cause he probably benefited from his policy"
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