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Efiong Etuk

Founding Director, Global Creativity Network

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The threats to civilization are too daunting for humanity to continue to hold onto obsolete self-perceptions that no longer serve us well

Contrary to the conventional wisdom, the dreadful situation the world is facing is not because the modern crises are impossible to solve; but because we have not yet developed, or found, appropriate conceptual framework for understanding and for tackling them. Contrary to the conventional wisdom, also, the modern crises are not “economic crisis,” “social crisis,” “political crisis,” or “environmental crisis,” per se. They are not separate crises, either. As such, they are not likely going to be resolved within the framework of the prevailing understandings.

A body of data no one thought and no one knew existed identifies the modern crises as, fundamentally, a “creativity crisis.” This is the inability of the vast majority of people to develop and to engage their natural abilities in significant and beneficial social and ecological actions and, resultantly, the global and spreading epidemic of meaninglessness of which most psychological, social, economic, political, and environmental crises are the symptoms or facets. Close examination of the data also challenge widely accepted beliefs that humans are inherently self-interested, competitive, adversarial, materialistic, and consumption-driven. Analysis of the data further suggests that many of the difficulties the world has been experiencing might be rooted in inadequate and misleading concepts we have created about ourselves and the institutional framework and operational relationships that have been erected on those concepts.

To the extent that this conclusion is valid, the best hope of resolving the modern crises is, first, to correct the misleading views we hold about ourselves and, second, to conform our economic, social, and political decisions and actions to our authentic nature as humans.

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    Oct 14 2013: Yes, Pat, technology is key. But as E. F.Schumacher, I believe, rightly observed, "technology with a human face."

    Lest we head into a catastrophe analogous to "There Will Come Soft Rains" http://www.bartleby.com/271/4.html.

    Best regards,

    Efiong Etuk
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      Oct 14 2013: Technology is the ONLY thing that has raised the standard of living of mankind no anthropomorphism necessary.
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        Oct 14 2013: Hi, Pat:

        If, as I believe, technology is the product of a society's fundamental belief system -- its "first principles," its underlying values, and its epistemology (or system of knowledge) -- then the "higher standard of living" that mankind has achieved is ultimately due to the society's underlying culture that give rise to technology.

        To the extent that this observation is valid, consideration attention needs to be given to shaping human culture in ways that not only accelerate technology, but also guide it to sustainable ends.

        Best regards,

        Efiong Etuk
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          Oct 15 2013: When you strip it down to the core the one intention of all life is to survive. Technology is an extension of this. When this is achieved through cooperative exchange it enhances all, called our current standard of living. Where this natural dynamic gets perverted is when an organization uses force to follow a different agenda at the expense of all
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      Oct 23 2013: I'm curious Efiong Etuk,

      Where does technology with a human face manifest? Can you point to some good examples?

      Thanks,
      Craig
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        Oct 24 2013: “Technology with a human face,” a socio-economic metaphor popularized by E. F. Schumacher, refers to the tools or machines of production “which instead of making human hands and brains redundant help them to become far more productive than they have ever been.” Schumacher further describes this type of technology, and I agree with him, as “the technology of production by the masses, making use of the best of modern knowledge and experience, … is compatible with the laws of ecology, gentle on its use of scarce resources, and designed to serve the human person instead of making him the servant of machines.”

        For the avoidance of doubt, “technology with a human face” does not imply (human) face-bearing machines or tools. Nor does it imply physical or biological resemblances between machines and humans.
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          Oct 24 2013: Yes, Efiong, I do understand the meaning as I too am a long time student of Schumacher, Gandhi and Fuller and others. What I was asking is where does it manifest? Where in real communities does 'appropriate technology' manifest?

          "Appropriate technology reminds us that before we choose our tools and techniques, we must first choose our dreams and our values, for some technologies serve them while others make them unobtainable" Tom Bender from Rain magazine.

          So my question remains, besides perhaps Mondragran (sp) in Spain, where does one find either human scale or appropriate technology other than in struggling developing nations. Why hasn't it developed here? Any insights or specific examples?

          Craig

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