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The Disabling Dynamic Earth Day Poster 1970 Walt Kelly “POGO” If we know our way of living is so unsustainable, why do we keep on repeating the same Errors?

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Presentation on theme: "The Disabling Dynamic Earth Day Poster 1970 Walt Kelly “POGO” If we know our way of living is so unsustainable, why do we keep on repeating the same Errors?"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Disabling Dynamic Earth Day Poster 1970 Walt Kelly “POGO” If we know our way of living is so unsustainable, why do we keep on repeating the same Errors? Lecture by MICHAEL R. EDELSTEIN

2 Disabling Dynamic How do we loose our awareness of and our control and choice over our actions and their consequences? #1: We are not even aware---ours is an illusionary world #2: We live in our own cognitive world #3: We have lost community and public #4: We rely on Experts #5: Information is controlled


4 Bird Houses/House Birds

5 What is Our Perspective on This? WEAREWHEREAREWE

6 Which is Figure and Which Ground?


8 We May Not See What is Right in Front of Our Eyes

9 What Part of The World is This Cow From?

10 Is This an Orange Frog?

11 Information: the Irrelevance of Our Senses Our immediate senses are not useful in our world and we learn to ignore them Deadened senses contribute to our not seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, moving in or smelling the roses And the result is De-Placement and Displacement:

12 Nancy Wolf

13 #2: We live in Our Own Worlds ---Paradigm Revisited How many of you have already learned things in this class that contradict the way you previously saw the world? How can that be?

14 Cognitions’ Inherent Vulnerabilities AL Gore: “The Real Danger is When we Think We Know Something and It Just Ain’t So.” Conceptual Worlds Distinguish Humans Heuristics—Cognitive Shortcuts Festinger---Cognitive Dissonance vs Compartmentalization --- we tolerate inconsistency quite well

15 We Are Susceptible to Suggestion?

16 Dominant Social Paradigm Man is above nature Nature is a resource at man’s disposal Growth and Progress are perpetual Technology solves all problems Individual Interests over Community Rich and Poor get what they deserve Na Na Na Na Na Na Live for today

17 Lifescape = Our Underlying Assumptions Importance of: Body/Health Self/Control Home/Security –Debt, ownership, Subprime, lose value, variable mortgage, foreclosure, forced migration Environment/Safety Social World/Trust

18 Social Addiction and Recidivism We all have addictive personalities when it comes to our dependence upon society for food, transport, housing, medicine, care, relationships, entertainment, work, etc. The institutions that enable our addictions are just doing the business of the social paradigm we live in. Despite the downsides (that we are aware of), the status quo for most of us feels right and good. We are recidivistic, replicating the same life we grew up with unless we can do “better.” George Romero’s zombies returning to what they knew best—shopping.

19 Lifestyle Psychology---what we do (behavior) not = what we think we do Same person in different situations acts differently Different people in the same situation act similarly There is a similar not unique structure to our activities Cognitive maps What assumptions underlie our activities? Illusion of freedom: Beyond Freedom and Dignity—Skinner Mike’s free choice argument with Resources for the Future Involuntary structures as constraints to choice.

20 The Way our World is Structured?

21 How Much Transit Choice Do we Have? Where we go (structure of our life) When we go Where transit goes and when Sprawl Cost

22 Or do we just love our cars? Picture your car/child here: It is yours You chose it It reflects on who you are It reveals your consumer self — what you wanted not what you need!!!!!! You decorated it It has your stuff in it You can go where you want You are known by your rpm not mpg It separates you from nature

23 Emotions and Health: Stress Driven, Reactive (coping) and Palliative (Huxley’s “soma”)

24 #3: We have lost community and public Escape to the private Fear of society Atrophied relationships Lost reciprocity Lost community and social capital Commodification of relationships

25 Private > Public Private Sphere: Individual Family Relational Web Public Sphere: Neighborhood Community Polity Organizational Institutional Commons

26 Ulrich Beck—The Risk Society Risk Society --- Pogo: “we have met the enemy and he is us” Shift from scarcity-focus to risk-focus Collatoral Damage of Environmental risks and Social Risks Render people as victims of their own society---human risk not natural risk Modern vs. Post-Modern Perspective

27 Atrophy of Relationships We no longer rely on interpersonal relationships for our main life transactions We deal with corporations, not local businesses, for our mortgages, hardware, food, doctors and health insurance, banks and jobs Civility and reciprocity is replaced by bureaucracy and corporate interest We are no longer defined by who we are and who we know but by our passwords, if we can remember them. And beware identity theft.

28 The Loss of Reciprocity Livelihood Reciprocity Economics of Place Local Self-Sufficiency allowing Subsistence Loss of Human Scale Loss of Relationship Loss of Happiness and Quality

29 The Loss of Community: Repositories of Wisdom The Senior Community vs “It Takes a Village to Raise a Child” The gated Community vs crime, gangs, drugs, prison The Old Folks Home vs. Family Sides of the Tracks McKnight writes that “Communities become social deserts grown over with a scrub brush of clients and consumers.” p11 E.F. Schumacker— The Issue of Scale –“The guidance we need cannot be found in science or technology... but traditional wisdom of mankind.” –Ibo story: Biafran War Council of Next Generation.

30 The Commodification of Relationships Loss of Social Capital Define old as a problem But as boomers age, cost of problem excessive Define young as problem—childhood invented 150 years ago –Hospices to hospital based, mid wives –Bereavement counselors vs Family/Friends –McKnight–Hidden Curriculum of service technologies Shift in Authentic social forms –Uncommodified: care vs service –Unmanaged: consent vs control –Uncurricularized: monopoly replace diversity

31 CORPORATIONS RULE THE WORLD Have you Applied for a New Credit Card Today? Robber Barons---the real Johnstown Flood Corporations The Corporation as an Individual (1886 Supreme Court) The Corporate – Government Relationship --- Revolving doors, tax breaks, campaign contributions, interest mixing, capture, liability removal, hidden agendae, etc. The Corporate – Individual Relationship --- Livelihood becomes job, outsourcing, downsizing, debt, marketing and distruth, branding, intellectual property, information privacy, capture, ethical lapses, etc.

32 Clienthood: Commodifing Citizenship –90/10 to 10/90 manufacturing/service –Clienthood replaces citizenship –Expertise and Specialization—rationalize technological systems—Trained ignorance –Professional coding—cannot decode –Loss of knowledge, tools and skills, antidemocratic –Shift attention from political problems to technical problems –Professional decides if you are a success, not you (McKnight)

33 Clienthood: Commodifing Citizenship 2 –Labeling Problems --- ill, mentally ill, fat, old, hyperactive/ADD, dying, birthing, aging, menopause, teenager, etc –Proliferation of services—unmet needs, remedy defines need –The economic need for need creates a demand to redefine conditions as deficiencies –Marketing---manufacture need, translate need into deficiency, define new deficiencies new problems, these deficiencies are in the client. Professional and their tools are the answers.

34 #4:Expertise, Experts and Disabling Technocrats and Role of Engineer General knowledge of education replaced by specialized knowledge Language of expertise---Jargon Role of the expert in making decisions “How to” replaces “should” Economist sets “Values” What is safe? What is appropriate? What is acceptable? Caution vs. Precaution

35 We Trust Experts to guide us

36 Disabling --- Ivan Illich Loss of Control to Experts Loss of Control to factors in the social and physical environment ---human caused vs. natural difference Much disabling is bellow the threshhold of our awareness Or it is disguised as “reality,” “normal” and “Everyday life”

37 Disabling Defeats Conviviality Illich---Tools for Conviviality Disabling > Conviviality ex Prius problem Disempowerment > Empowerment Loss of Control Empire> Democracy (ex. Eisenhauer on “beware the military industrial complex” Mumford---Authoritarian vs Democratic Technics

38 Iatrogenesis and Expertise Medical Nemises (Illich) Belief in experts override family, community, Self Doctor created disease--Do we get sicker from medicine? What is the least safe to be when you are sick? More injustice from lawyers and police? More ignorance from teachers and schools? More family collapse from social workers?

39 The Commodification of Nature Core Relationships: Importance of Place vs. Loss of Place Commodification of Nature (Karl Polanyi) Disconnection from Nature Loss of Nature—Integrity of place, sacred Alien Built Environment Lack of Public and Semi-Public Spaces— disconnection from each other Mobility Virtual Realities Loss of Community of Place Loss of Subsistence

40 #5 Control of Information s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=ramapo+college +of+nj&sll=37.0625,- 95.677068&sspn=55.674612,114.169922 &ie=UTF8&hq=ramapo+college+of+nj&hn ear=&z=13&iwloc=A&layer=c&cbll=41.083 964,- 74.176577&panoid=lz6_79s1EzU90LDBrF BYbg&cbp=12,235.15,,0,10.12

41 Information Overload: Where is the Remote? We have built in limits to our ability to attend to stimuli Recent evidence suggests some other cultures have greater attend-ability We surround ourselves with noise We surround ourselves with multiple channels, all playing loud at the same time We have no easy way to sort out what is vital We have no easy way to concentrate on what is important

42 Information---What Can You Trust? Information with a vested interest Advertising is about misleading We are information rich about trivia and information poor about what counts We are deliberately fed wrong information Our trusted media are biased---Fox Syndrome How do we protect ourselves from distorted info? The danger of Systematic Distortion

43 Distortion of Information

44 Statistics Can Mislead Us

45 The Climate Brief

46 The Environment is Invisible But Not Irrelevant Everything is connected to everything else But we don’t pay attention or can’t see these connections We think we control our own private sphere We trust by default others to protect and respect our air, water, food, etc. Invisibility is associated with irresponsibility

47 #6: What We Don’t Know Won’t Hurt Us: Our Stolen Future AP probe finds drugs in drinking water By JEFF DONN, MARTHA MENDOZA and JUSTIN PRITCHARD, Associated Press WritersSun Mar 9, 12:33 PM ET A vast array of pharmaceuticals —including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones — have been found in the drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans”

48 “A five-month-long inquiry by the AP National Investigative Team found that many communities do not test for the presence of drugs in drinking water, and those that do often fail to tell customers that they have found trace amounts of medications, including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones. The stories also detailed the growing concerns among scientists that such pollution is adversely affecting wildlife and may be threatening human health.” More Testing for Drugs in Water Sought By MARTHA MENDOZA – AP.ORG 3/16/2008.

49 “Troubled by drugs discovered in European waters, poisons expert and biologist Francesco Pomati set up an experiment: He exposed developing human kidney cells to a mixture of 13 drugs at levels mimicking those found in Italian rivers. There were drugs to fight high cholesterol and blood pressure, seizures and depression, pain and infection, and cancer, all in tiny amounts. The result: The pharmaceutical blend slowed cell growth by up to a third _ suggesting that scant amounts may exert powerful effects” Drugs in Water Could Affect Human Cells By JEFF DONN AP Monday, March 10, 2008 3:45 AM EDT

50 Mutated fish swimming in tainted water Pharmaceuticals in drinking water supplies hurting surrounding wildlife By Jeff Donn, Martha Mendoza and Justin Pritchard The Associated Press March. 10, 2008 “Pharmaceuticals in the water are being blamed for severe reproductive problems in many types of fish: The endangered razorback sucker and male fathead minnow have been found with lower sperm counts and damaged sperm; some walleyes and male carp have become what are called feminized fish, producing egg yolk proteins typically made only by females. Meanwhile, female fish have developed male genital organs. Also, there are skewed sex ratios in some aquatic populations, and sexually abnormal bass that produce cells for both sperm and eggs.”

51 “Reports from Sweden and Norway show high levels of sucralose (Splenda) in wastewater effluent and surface waters….100 times sweeter than sugar…The presence of a sugarlike substance in the environment could change organisms' feeding behaviors, interfere with plant photosynthesis that could cause problems for algae, shutting down CO2 uptake. Sucralose also has been shown to interfere with the transport of sucrose in sugarcane… No one has systematically examined the environmental effects of sucralose.”shown to interfere Artificial sweetener persists in the environment Science News –March 12, 2008 w/2008/mar/science/nl_sucralose.html w/2008/mar/science/nl_sucralose.html

52 The Economic Meltdown Housing bubbles: overvaluing, mortgages that can’t be paid back, the new homeless, etc. Bank Failure: Investing in mortgages and other devices that have to fail but worth the risk? To whom? Who does the bail out? Currency Failure: Global interdependency and its downside? Retirement Investments: Did Madoff Simply Model the Whole Economic Charade? GM et al: Bailing out the SUV. Hummer lawn ornaments for sale. Get them while they are not hot. Core Dependencies: On unsustainable oil and other resource exploitation. Will new coal (a fiction) save us (fool us)?

53 REQUIM FOR THE HUMMER NYT Aug 31, 2003 Cries of Activism and Terror in S.U.V. Torchin By NICK MADIGANWEST COVINA, Calif., …A week ago, in the middle of the night, 20 new Hummer H2's worth about $50,000 apiece were set aflame and destroyed at a car dealership here, part of a wave of vandalism in which 50 other vehicles had been damaged at the same dealership and others in the suburbs east of Los Angeles. GM Gives In To Good Taste, Closes Hummer Division By Chris Morran on February 24, 2010 4:21 PMChris Morran

54 “The nation's waterways are brimming with excess nitrogen from fertilizer--and plans to boost biofuel production threaten to aggravate an already serious situation” Fertilizer Runoff Overwhelms Streams and Rivers--Creating Vast "Dead Zones" By David Biello Scientific American March 14, 2008




58 Escher’s day and Night



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