Keita Demming

Account Manager and Strategic Planner,

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Is there a point to research or academia without a focus on some kind of change?

I have recently been very frustrated by all the discipline focused research that is out there but with very little focus on how do we change the reality. So basically most of our research simply tells us what is happening very few research projects focus on changing the reality.

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    Mar 17 2011: I really like practical research that can be plugged in to make good solutions for current problems but I have to allow for the sort of pure research that either opens up an unknown path or that closes out a useless one. Some research should just be free to explore and we never know what will be found.
  • Mar 13 2011: Keite, I agree with you that we should focus on changing the reality. Please let me have your opinion on the following solution proposal. Since Global Warming is such a real, serious, and accumulative threat to life on earth, humanity can not wait to solve this problem until one or several innovation miracles happen. As long as fossil fuels are the cheapest energy, somebody will keep burning them, and this burning will make life for future generations even worse than it inevitably will be already. It is our generation responsability to act now to make fossil fuels prices reach much higher levels than what they enjoy today; in order to allow for the necessary changes to happen fast enough to reach cero fossil fuel burning in the planet by 2050. The simplest, most fair and realistic solution is to charge a progressively higher CO2 emission damage right to all first sales of fossil fuels on each economy, and to return this money in equal parts to each of the economy's inhabitants, to compensate them for the higher cost of living that this carbon fee will generate
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    Feb 22 2011: This looks like the old "what comes first, the chicken or the egg" question! I agree with you Keita, and I sometimes get frustrated with the research and studies. In "Science of Mind", Ernest Holmes writes: "One of the great difficulties in the new order of thought is that we are likely to indulge in too much theory and too little practice". Research and study are obviously very valuable. At what point do we stop researching an issue and put the knowledge we have into practice?

    Consider the issue of violence/abuse/rape for example. We've had a lot of information about some of the root causes for years. Are we using the information to impliment change? A little bit, but not enough in my perception. With my volunteer work in shelters with victims, correctional facilities with offenders, and children in state custody, we're seeing the same families falling through the cracks of these agencies over and over again....generation after generation. So even though we've had the studies, showing us many of the root causes for years, we cannot seem to change these destructive behaviors in our societies. I think the changes need to be embraced by the majority of people, and sometimes, it doesn't look like the majority of people are paying attention.
  • Feb 21 2011: Yes. Many human actions are ends in themselves. Devotion to outcomes or external objectives is a marker of the Modern. the progressive, the reformer. This philosophy has to be kept under control or we become goal-fixated.

    In terms of input-process-output, we can say that focus upon input is the premodern way; upon output the modern; upon process, the postmodern.
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    Feb 19 2011: I like to think the point of research is to DISCOVER by asking questions. My own research journey over the last few years changed radically when I challenged myself to put aside existing knowledge and ask 'If I landed here from another planet and needed to create this thing with today's available technology, how would I go about it?'.
  • Feb 19 2011: Yes. The point of research is to KNOW. Change is only good if it is an improvement. It is better to know the situation first before changing it in order to ensure that the change is not a deterioration.
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    Feb 19 2011: Pure research is the least bias of all research. The greatest advances in history have come from people that didn't have a reason to be looking. Take the electric motor for example.

    Pure research will make the big breakthroughs.

    There is a disconnect though with the sharing of things learned. Patents often times limit the speed at which progress occurs and research that is locked away in secret cannot be seen by enough others to be utilized in new and brilliant ways.