VIII. Earth Earns: An Open Participatory Earthropocene to Ecosmocene CoCreativity
4. A Complementary Genocracy: me + We = US
Keane, John. Global Civil Society? Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003. The founder of the Centre for the Study of Democracy at the University of Westminster writes a book typical of many efforts to articulate a 21st century form of equitable political governance. The recent transition to a single world society makes the old provincial phase inadequate. In their place Keane considers a “cosmocracy” whose roots in Greek thought would finally lead to the blossoming of a global civility. But as is typical of many works, these good intentions remain ill defined because they are not grounded in an encompassing organic creation.
Cosmocracy….is a conglomeration of interlocking and overlapping sub-state, state and suprastate institutions and multi-dimensional processes that interact, and have political and social effects, on a global scale. (98)
Kim, Sungmoon. Beyond Liberal Civil Society: Confucian Familism and Relational Strangership. Philosophy East & West. 60/4, 2010. A City University of Hong Kong management professor rightly notes that western democracies typically emphasize an “excessive individualism.” Rather, a more workable resolve would be to avail traditional Chinese wisdom which in its essence advises a natural, “familial” reciprocity of self and other.
The Post-Corporate World.
San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler,
A vigorous essay on the imperative shift from the "dead universe, machine paradigm" as cover for greedy multinational companies to an animate model of self-sufficient community within a living cosmos.
India 2100: Towards Radical Ecological Democracy.
After much improvement of the human condition by western technological industry, a leading Indian environmentalist contends that this model is no longer workable for sub-continent for it will ultimately destroy both culture and nature. A clear course is then laid out for a necessary shift, after much growth, to an organically viable social and natural abide. Ten principles are enlisted: Ecological integrity and limits, Equity and justice, Meaningful participation for all, Responsibilities, Diversity, Collective commons and solidarity, Rights of nature, Resilience and adaptability, Ecoregionalism, and Interconnectedness.
India is floundering in its quest to meet basic social objectives of eradicating poverty, hunger, malnutrition, unemployment, inequality and other socio-economic deprivations. It is also on a steep path of ecological unsustainability. These issues can at least partly be attributed to a fundamentally flawed model of development, its flaws having been accentuated in the last two decades of economic globalisation. At the same time, however, peoples’ initiatives at sustainable and equitable well-being in various sectors are growing, and some policy shifts have also taken place in this direction. Building on this, an alternative framework of well-being, here called Radical Ecological Democracy, can be envisaged. This involves a new political governance with decentralised decision-making embedded within larger, ecologically and culturally defined landscapes, a new economics that respects ecological limits and democratizes both production and consumption, and a new cultural and knowledge-based society that values diversity, collective synergism, and public innovation. The combination of peoples’ resistance to destructive development and alternative, solution-based initiatives, with support from other sections of society, can lead India to be firmly on the path of such a framework by 2100. (Abstract)
LaConte, Ellen. Life Rules: Why so much is going wrong everywhere at once and how Life teaches us to fix it. Green Horizon/iUniverse, 2010. In so many words, our machine world is in terminal collapse, but if we could avail an abiding natural wisdom, a sustainable biosphere for all earthlings is still possible. The author is a lifelong environmentalist, once editor of Farmstead magazine, who now resides in the Piedmont bioregion of North Carolina. It is Chapter Nine - “Life is Organically Democratic” – that most interests as a social emergence of nature’s constant complementarity of entity and community that, e.g., an African ubuntu, and Simon Levin’s ecologies well evoke. The essay goes on to cite its presence and benefits from microbes to mammals, and offers ways, as the whole book, to save person and planet.
Sharing, equitability, cooperation, partnership, coalition, commitment to the common good, full employment, full participation, self-regulation, self-government – these are among the characteristics of economical natural communities that have allowed their participating members to live within Earth’s means. They are also among the characteristics we commonly ascribe to democracy at its best. (149)
LaConte, Ellen and Herman Greene. Organic Democracy: Adaptive, Responsive, Life-Sustaining Communities. The Ecozoic Reader. 4/4, 2007. Ellen LaConte is a gardener and author, and Herman Greene an environmental lawyer (Greene Law). Herman is also founding director of the Center for Ecozoic Studies, which seeks to evoke and embody Thomas Berry’s visionary writings upon “integral community in an ecological age.” This article and the whole 100 page issue can be read online at its website www.ecozoicstudies.org, click Publications on the home page. If indeed an animate nature, distinguished by a deeply recurrent, mutually symbiotic, anatomy and physiology of individual and group can be allowed, then an incarnate guidance accrues for diverse, self-organized, rural and urban communities.
Lakoff, George. Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002. The University of California at Berkeley psychologist finds these persuasions to align with feminine or masculine value systems, which then results in our bipolar Democrat or Republican political system. Here is a prime example of gender archetypes manifestly evident on a national scale, whose either/or opposition results in a gridlock recycled every 4 years. But neither Lakoff or anyone else takes the next step to propose an obvious new kind of governance based on a familial and beneficial complementarity of both principles.
It is the common, unconscious, and automatic metaphor of Nation-as-Family that produces contemporary conservatism from Strict Father morality and contemporary liberalism from Nurturant Parent morality. (13)
Landemore, Helene. Democratic Reason: Politics, Collective Intelligence, and the Rule of the Many. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013. At a late moment when public rhetoric has sunk to win/lose personal and factional rancor, this volume by a Yale University political scientist advises that governance could and must be changed to express much more cooperative progress . An argument is made that through evolution and history coherent social groupings are better able to gain beneficial knowledge and thus prevail and flourish. We peoples would do well to stop perpetual arguemtn and try to get along and ahead. See also Collective Wisdom edited by HL and Jon Elster (Cambridge UP, 2012).
The collective intelligence of the citizens – what I call more broadly “democratic reason” – might in fact be distinct from individual reason writ large. Psychology and cognitive sciences, including the science of animal behaviors, show that intelligence can be a property of groups as well as of individuals. The phenomenon of “emergent intelligence” characterizes societies of social animals such as ants and bees. Another relevant concept is that of “distributed intelligence” – which posits intelligence as spread across both the individual agents themselves (mind and body) and their environment (institutions, language, symbolic systems, and other cognitive artifacts). (xviii)
Levin, Simon, et al.
The Dynamics of Political Polarization.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Princeton University and ASU senior scholars introduce a Special Feature of some dozen papers by which tp consider scientific and mathematic ways to explain and understand the deepening, tragic divide in American society as never seen before. A central issue is how it pervades even to pandemic vaccines and climate change. We note Preventing Extreme Polarization of Political Attitudes by Robert Axelrod, et al, Polarization and Tipping Points by Michael Macy, et al, The Emergence and Perils of Polarization by Delia Baldassarri and Scott Page, and The Nonlinear Feedback Dynamics of Asymmetric Political Polarization by Naomi Leonard, et al.
Democracies require compromise. But compromise becomes almost impossible when voters are divided into diametrically opposed camps. The danger is that intolerance will grow, democratic norms will be undermined, and winners will be reluctant to let the losers ever regain power. To better understand how polarization can be prevented, or at least slowed, we developed a simple model in which people tend to be exposed to and attracted by views similar to their own, but are repulsed by views that are too dissimilar. The policy implications are described in terms of level of tolerance to other views, responsiveness to other views, exposure to dissimilar views, multiple ideological dimensions, economic self-interest, and external shocks. (R. Axelrod)
Lopez, Shane and C. R. Snyder, eds. Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. A 700 page second edition of this premier source as it moves beyond prior, albeit necessary, concerns for psychic maladies to cover self and social enhancement over behavioral, lifespan, emotion, cognitive, interpersonal, biological, coping strategies, and other aspects. Typical chapters are “Toward a Science of Mental Health” by Corey Keyes, and “Curiosity and Interest: The Benefits of Thriving on Novelty and Challenge” by Todd Kashdan and Paul Silva.
The Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology is the seminal reference in the field of positive psychology, which in recent years has transcended academia to capture the imagination of the general public. The handbook provides a roadmap for the psychology needed by the majority of the population - those who don't need treatment but want to achieve the lives to which they aspire. These 65 chapters summarize all of the relevant literature in the field. The content's breadth and depth provide an unparalleled cross-disciplinary look at positive psychology from diverse fields and all branches of psychology, including social, clinical, personality, counseling, school, and developmental psychology. Topics include not only happiness but also hope, strengths, positive emotions, life longings, creativity, emotional creativity, courage, and more, plus guidelines for applying what has worked for people across time and cultures.
Lopez, Shane, et al, eds. Positive Psychology: The Scientific and Practical Explorations of Human Strengths. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2015. This comprehensive textbook champions a 21st century movement in this field to turn from an initial emphasis on pathologies, maladies, and dysfunctions to getting on with personal and social well-being, enjoyment, and service. An especial chapter on “Eastern and Western Perspectives on Positive Psychology” proposes the same capsule we had earlier used this site: me + We = US. This complementary of free individual and interdependent group, long embodied by Yin, Yang and Tao, is so obvious if we just might think about it. Altogether now a truly viable life style, neighborhood, and nation can be achieved. As the quotes notes, the authors make a vital distinction between West and East. While “me” wants each day to be better, “We” people abide in a dynamic harmony. In a creative union, difficult day will be followed by a good time.
“A good fortune may forebode a bad luck, which may in turn disguise a good fortune.” This Chinese proverb exemplifies the Eastern perspective that the world and its inhabitants are in a perpetual state of flux. Thus, just as surely as good times occur, so, to, will bad times visit us. This expectation of and desire for balance distinguishes Eastern’ views of optimal function from the more linear path taken by Westerners to resolve problems and monitor progress. Ever adaptive and mindful, Easterners move with the cycle of life until the change process becomes natural and enlightenment (i.e., being able to see things clearly for what they are) is achieved.
Luders, Eileen, et al.
Parasagittal Asymmetries of the Corpus Callosum.
UCLA and University of Zurich neuropsychologists including Eric Zaidel avail 21st century MRI imaging methods and enhanced computer analysis to gain novel insights into the central role of this significant bundle of fibers connecting the complementary brain hemispheres. Among the results reported, additional proof is given for the gender tendencies of a main left side emphasis in males, while female brains tend to evenly balance left and right modes. We add that this increasingly verified finding ought to be appreciated as a major scientific distinction and discovery. It is commonly held that men deal in dots, but miss connections. But women do not employ, as long defined, only a right bias of sensitive, “irrational,” holistic emotions, rather both competitive entity and cooperative empathy are equally integrated.
The present study revealed distinctive and extensive asymmetries in the anterior body and additionally in a small and less significant region in the anterior third of the CC of males. In contrast, asymmetry in females was less significant in general and applied to smaller callosal regions in the anterior body, in the anterior third and additionally at the border between the isthmus and splenium. (352) Our findings are of particular interest considering previous results which indicated that right-handed males show significantly different depths of the central sulcus in the two hemispheres, whereas no interhemispheric asymmetry was found in females. Similarly, functional imaging revealed sex differences in peri-rolandic asymmetries in a tactile discrimination task, where females predominantly activated both premotor cortices but males showed an asymmetric activation. (352)
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