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194: Financial Permaculture


KMO and Albert Bates talk across the kitchen table at the EcoVillage Training Center on the Farm in Summertown, Tennessee. The first half of the conversation centers on the on-going process by which we are exporting more of our attention and cognitive capacity into our cybernetic prostheses and the abstract spaces they allow us to inhabit. In the second half of the conversation the discussion centers on the state of the economy and the performance of President Obama.

Music by Tim's Myth


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(Deleted comment)
Mar. 4th, 2010 04:27 pm (UTC)
without perhaps realising

Point A is where I lay my head most nights. Point B is where my children are and where I pay rent. It costs me about $150 in gasoline to drive from point A to point B. It would cost me between $300 - $500 to fly and then hire a car to take me from the nearest airport to my residence in rural Maryland. So I drive.

Travel at 4 MPH sounds lovely, but if there were canals rather than highways connecting points A and B (which of course there are not), it would take me 209 hours of continuous travel to make the journey.

I do realize that I don't experience the landscape as much more than an abstraction when traveling through it at 70 MPH, but there's no way I could could get to know 836 miles of landscape in any meaningful detail anyway.

The fact that people can and do routinely spread the elements of their lives over a thousand miles or more is something that the techno-triumphalists would trumpet as a glorious achievement of our technologically-empowered society. I see it as profoundly fucked up but also as something that I have to deal with if I want my children in my life.

I'm painfully, acutely aware of how this mode of living impoverishes my experience of traversing the land. Even so, navigating the complex network of roads and highways between A and B without a little voice telling me, "After 800 yards take the exit on the right, then join the motorway," requires a level of sustained attention, visualization, and problem solving that all goes fallow when I let my GPS techno-fairy take me by the hand and lead the way.

Fifteen years ago, Howard Rheingold was writing in glowing terms about how computers would be "machines to think with." He saw them as means of empowerment and connection, and obviously they allow me to do things that I would not be able to do without them, but at the same time, without diligence and self awareness, they tend to think for me rather than with me, and in the process, make me stupid.

But of course, they don't really think at all, so as we allow our competences to atrophy as machines take over tasks that used to require effort and skill, there's really just less thinking going on per capita.

Now, I think that thinking is over-rated, but that's a whole 'nother ball of wax.

Edited at 2010-03-04 04:30 pm (UTC)
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