Quotes

“Who shall write the history of the American revolution? Who can write it? Who will ever be ever to write it?”  – John Adams

“Nobody. The life and soul of history must forever remain unknown.”  – Thomas Jefferson

The Population Paradox

Here’s a piece by Nathanael Johnson about population overshoot: How can we stop the world from having too many babies? Feed more people

He writes of Joel Cohen, author of How many people can the Earth support?: “And so he’s come back around to a three-pronged approach that mirrors his pie metaphor: more food for mothers and children, birth control, and education.”

The late Christopher Hitchens said essentially the same: “There is a cure for poverty. It is a rudimentary one, it does work, though. It works everywhere, and for the same reason. It’s colloquially called ‘the empowerment of women.'”

 

 

Unstated Assumptions about Technology

“We may be on our way to becoming servants to the evolution of our own technologies. The power shifts very quickly from the spark of human intention to the absorption of human will by a technology that seems to have intentions of its own.

But we’ll likely find there was no robotic villain behind the curtain. Our own capitalist drive pushes these technologies to evolve. We push the technology down an evolutionary path that results in the most addictive possible outcome. Yet even as we do this, it doesn’t feel as though we have any control. It feels, instead, like a destined outcome—a fate.”

From How the Web Became our “External Brain”, from The End of Absence

1. We “may be on our way”? We’re already there. Could you, or your neighbors, or even your whole town, shut down the internet if you wanted to? Could you simply stop using the internet while leaving it in tact and still keep your standard of living?

2. “Our own capitalist drive”? Speak for yourself. My drive is to do as little capitalism as possible.

3. “We push technology…”? Who’s “we”?

4. It doesn’t feel as though “we” have any control because “we”—i.e. people not in command of mega-corporations—truly don’t.

Quote

“Why would anyone hate someone for having less money? The issue of poverty is haunted by the idea of laziness. Conservatives believe that the poor deserve to be poor because they’re less willing to work and therefore morally inferior. They won’t say this in public but they hint at it. Then liberals argue that the poor actually work harder than the rich. I don’t like this move because it accepts and reinforces what I think is a framing error. A healthy culture would not even have the concept of ‘lazy’. Humans prefer meaningful and autonomous activity to doing nothing, so a society in which work is meaningful and autonomous does not need to tell itself that work is morally virtuous. ‘Laziness’ exists only in the context of a system that depends on work that nobody will do unless they’re forced to do it through economic and social pressure.”  – Ran Prieur