Final Blog #10

In the TED video, “A New Story of the People” by Charles Eisenstein, he explains that we have a logic separation coming from what we feel in our heart and what we know based on logic. Eisenstein expresses that we are moving from an old story to a new story. What is meant in that is that instead of having logic and our heart as two separate entities, in our new story there will be a reunion of the heart and mind to help us reach the impossible.  I agree with Eisenstein when he claims that we will reach the impossible if both our hearts and our mind are in sync with each other because it is then that we will be more humane and thoughtful to our surrounding. I think our current way of thinking of and doing comes from being selfish and with the ideal of always being in competition with each other instead of embracing everyone as one race and as a big family in which we can accomplish more as a community rather than on our own.

In Jared Diamonds video “Guns, Germs and Steel”  we see a lot of what Eisenstein describes as the old story of people in which we see the exploitation of cultures and the land such was the case of the “fertile crescent”. In practice Eisenstein’s proposed new story of the people can be seen by Diamond and his pursuit to solve the answer of his New Guinea’s friend of the why the disparity of resources exist. According to Diamond one of the major factors of why New Guinea didn’t evolve technologies much like the western world was primarily due to agriculture. He contributes that all of the major thriving societies had fertile land and they also relied on animals to help them produce food to sustain their people. Certain traits that can be viewed as necessary for societies to prosper are not available in New Guinea. He also contributes steel and guns and germs as the reason why Pizzaro was able to gain control of the Inca Empire.

Assignment 9

The excerpt of chapter 6 in Jane Jacobs, “The double nature of fitness for survival” tries to help us understand the similarities between economics and Darwin’s theory of survival of the fittest by natural selection. Of which I found very little common ground in the reading and didn’t quite understand the similarities. However, one of the primary comparisons comes from having competition and an area for competition to be available as necessary requirements for survival and competition to be present. Much in the same way that in order to have thriving economies the location has to be occupied with development and competition.  Some of the main points that resonate are, “extinction from overweening success” the point us overthinking and over creating will eventually lead us to our own ruin. I believe they are correct when they say that one of list of sins is: ignorance. It is true to say that our ignorance will eventually lead us to our own extinction if we continue the same habitual practice we have to get us to this environmental disturbance we are in.

The TED video, “Truly sustainable economic development” presented by Ernesto Sirolli helps us realize what our flaws are when going into a foreign land with the intention to help. We seldom ask native people for their input rather we go into their land with ideas and plans without their input and end up surprised when our plans don’t yield a desirable output. Sirolli gives the advice of “shut up and listen to them” because it’s through listening to whomever we are trying to help that we could gain the knowledge that’s needed. I agree with Sirolli that in order to help others we must rid ourselves from the patronizing idea and view everyone as our equal. The important part according to Sirolli is listening to locals and understanding their ideas. We won’t be successful in assisting them without knowledge of their passions. In order for a community or a movement to instill change one must capture the passion of the group. I find this very true no matter what discipline or what it’s applied to, passion is a motivator. 

Assignment #8

In the excerpt from John Schwarz in the Illusions of Opportunity he discussed the visions of our founding fathers.  A vision in which, ethos sets forth a standard of justice that hold each individual accountable, for their own fate and success. Schwarz says that a democracies success is measured by the means of opportunities available for all its citizens. The founding fathers believed that in order for our republic to work each citizen much have a good character in be able to produce for themselves and in turn help sustain a functioning democracy for all involved. George Madison was concerns about inequality because he believed that virtue among citizens could easily succumb to self – interest. Another of his concerns was that in which equal opportunity became a concern when opportunity itself was limited.

The example of emergent behavior that I’ve experienced comes in the form of protesting for a cause. Back in October i joined others to march in the streets of Los Angeles during a protest against Monsanto. The focus of this march was to raise awareness within the community about the ongoing problem of genetically modified crops being distributed by the Monsanto and their effects on the environment and on our health. This is an example of an emergent effort because it was self organized and it was people coming together because of the need to educate and protest against the corporate world. Such a get together brings about a community of people and a culture arises one which will resist GMO crops and continue to advocate for GMO labeling. It is sustainable because it tries to create an alternative to the linear systems we currently have in place.

Assignment #5

In the reading of Steven Johnson, Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software. The topic of emergence is discussed based on the research conducted by Segel and Keller who took a different approach to understanding living organism by using mathematics to understand them. It’s quite impressive that biology and mathematics could be used as the foundation to comprehend complex adaptive systems as displayed by slime mold and further study emergence. Emergence is quite fascinating because it seems out of the ordinary and contradicts most systems set in place which consist of hierarchies and top to bottom behaviors instead of bottom up as displayed through emergence. What also was contradictory was that slime mold; a very primitive non cognitive organism is capable of displaying emergence behaviors. What I found more impressive is that not only were we finally able to understand emergence we are not able to replicate it!

Emergence is further discussed on a different level by Dr. Babak Parviz in the video presentation, Back to Nature for the Next Technology Revolution.  In the video we can understand the benefits that result when replicating emergence in the field of engineering. Dr. Babak speaks of replicating nature in order assist in the manufacturing process. He speaks of ideally replicating the process of DNA, virus and bacteria which all consist of assembling from the bottom up and creating a complex end product. What I found very impressive is when he speaks of functional systems/functional contact lenses that would not only have an information display but it would also have a health care application. As far fetch as his invention seems I can’t help but think that it can very much be available in the future. Much in the same way we went from the first cellphone which only served one purpose to the Iphone or any smartphone which is very elaborate and serves multipurpose.  

Biomimicry

In the readings by Jane Jacobs, The Nature of Economies the topic of biomimicry is introduced. It is defined as the development of products and production methods learned from nature. It is quite fascinating that Jacobs is able to link biomimicry to economics something that is not living yet has the prefix eco in it. The main point to take from the reading is that “nothing is more unforgiving of error than nature” therefore we must look at nature as a model to develop a codependent sustainable relationship before it’s too late and we cease to exist. Jacobs also writes about “Thing Theory” in which she mentions that “development isn’t a collection of things but rather a process that yields things.” I realized that this “thing theory” seems like a western occurrence in which we value development as success and seem to want more things although not always needed.

The topic of biomimicry is once again brought up in the video by Janine Benyus. It is impressive to see how many organism have already been sought after in order to replicate selective traits and implemented it in current technology. After watching the video it seems like common sense that we should have sought biomimicry a lot earlier in order to live and create more sustainable methods. Benyus mentions that these organism that she describes as genius’ all have their priorities in order. I feel that humans cannot be part of that statement because if we had our priorities in order we never would’ve created all the environmental problems that we currently are dealing with and from the beginning of the industrial revolution we should have asked ourselves the question that she ask,” how can we live here gracefully and for years to come?” to avoid being in the situation we are now.