I love learning about the world through reading. At any given time, I’m reading or listening to many books. Here’s a snapshot of my current reading list. Have you read any of these books? Let’s discuss!
Technology, tools, and teachings. A glorious showcase of the creativity of the human mind. In and of itself, they do not create or solve any problems. They are utterly interdependent on how we use them. Do we act out of love, compassion, and serenity or hate, ignorance, and desire? The global networkification of humans and machines is accelerating and jumps in complexity (ie. personal computing, internet, Bitcoin) will inevitably cause paradigm shifts in our cultures. There will be unintended consequences of course, but it’s futile to resist an idea whose time has come. As we design for the future in a global community with more and more powerful tools, let’s not forget to reflect on the human element of any technology, since bullets don’t kill people; people kill people.
I was reading a blog post Cryptocontracts Will Turn Law Into a Programming Language. It talks about how the protocol that powers bitcoin can and will be used to democratize contractual agreements.
“The emergence of cheap and plentiful self-enforcing contracts means that we can codify simple transactions and agreements. We will be able to reprogram our lives based on self-enforcing cryptocontracts.”
Lawyers in the US take 10% of GDP. Bankers take another 10%. Cryptocontracts and crytocurrencies have the opportunity to fundamentally disrupt both broken legal and financial systems. Here’s another blog post on How Bitcoin Could Revolutionise Accountancy.
On cryptocontracts, a thoughtful commenter writes:
“we developers have a habit of wanting to abstract and code everything – forgetting the importance of human trust, intelligence and relationships in agreements that we make.”
Coincidentally, I just re-watched Equilibrium. It’s a dystopia where a draconian police state has outlawed human emotions as “sense crimes” which is punishable by death. Quote from the movie:
“Father: Prozium – The great nepenthe. Opiate of our masses. Glue of our great society. Salve and salvation, it has delivered us from pathos, from sorrow, the deepest chasms of melancholy and hate. With it, we anesthetize grief, annihilate jealousy, obliterate rage. Those sister impulses towards joy, love, and elation are anesthetized in stride, we accept as fair sacrifice. For we embrace Prozium in its unifying fullness and all that it has done to make us great.”
The possibilities of decentralized technologies are endless and exciting. As we approach the future sci-fi world of invisible cryptography and decentralized trust embedded in our everyday lives, will we remember to relate to and value our trust in each other? Will we remember what it is that makes us human, for better or worse? Embracing technology may give us the illusion of saving the world, yet we’ll need to embrace our inner landscape to save ourselves. I’m cautiously optimistic and optimistically cautious.
I was talking with a friend on the topic of education. One problem is that primary education teachers with 15 years experience in the US make an average annual salary of $45,225. When he’s president, he’d pay teachers 3x what they’re making now. Basically, as a society, putting much more value on education. I agreed education has many long-term benefits. This got me thinking. What would future teachers look like and do a hundred years from now?
In the future, I believe we’ll make the transition from a culture that values making a
killing living to something more akin to the gift economy. When that happens, teachers will have the opportunity to do what they love and be truly valued for it. They will incite curiosity in young minds to question, learn, and grow. They will guide our culture to explore both intellectually simulating and whole-hearted, purposeful experiences in the beautiful world we live in. They will instill values of earth stewardship, generosity, and well-being. The teachers of the future will be the mentors and elders of our society who have mastered and applied their skillful art of storytelling, play, communication, and all other worldly things. They will be rewarded with trust, gratitude, reciprocation, status, and recognition for the thousand acts of kindness they do, day in, day out. That will be the day when society truly values education and the role of teachers.
Lately, I’ve been using more and more collaborative consumption services and the infrastructures that support and enable them. What about you? Have you noticed CCC (collaborative consumption creep) into your daily lives? Any good ones I should check out?
List of services used in the last couple month:
- Fancy Hands – virtual assistant
- yerdle – free stuff marketplace
- TaskRabbit – task marketplace
- CustomMade – custom product marketplace
- Craigslist – general marketplace
- Kickstarter – general crowdfunding
- Indiegogo – general crowdfunding
- Ramen – tech crowdfunding
- Gatheround – sustainability crowdfunding
- Crowdgrant – charity crowdfunding
- Bitcoin – decentralized payments
- Uber – on demand
- Distrify – on demand media
- Netflix - on demand media
- Lending Club – peer lending
- Kiva – peer lending
- PBNation – paintball community
- GitHub – open source community
- BitBucket – source repository hosting
- Hacker News – tech community
- Feedly – blog reader
I’ve been getting more and more interested at the intersection of where our minds and hearts meet. Reading the work of Charles Eisenstein (all his books are free to view online), I get the understanding that technology will not be able to solve all our interconnected problems and am open to the possibilities created by love and compassion.
On Being had a great podcast on Teilhard de Chardin on The “Planetary Mind” and Our Spiritual Evolution that’s worth a listen.
There is a old Amazon legend of the Condor representing the heart and the Eagle representing the mind, where the two cultures diverge, and one getting so powerful, it almost destroys the other. Then after 500 years, it is prophesied that they will come together and dance for the potential to create a whole new level of consciousness.
Last weekend, I participated in part one of a three-part course that teaches about reconnecting with nature, designing ecologically, and following life’s principles. This is a journal entry after that experience.
Saturday morning, I woke up early and started the trek out to western Mass. Already feeling a bit self-conscious driving alone in a fossil-fuel guzzling SUV, I gently put the thought aside and told myself that next time, I’ll try harder to organize a carpool, since at least five other people were coming from the Boston area. Upon arriving at the eco-village where the course took place, I felt a sense of serenity and awe that an intentional community of people could design such beautiful settlements inside and out. Sirius has been around for over 35 years. Most of it has been built slowly and deliberately with over 95% of the wood sourced locally. It took so long to build because each log was meditated with! One of the founding members told us stories of how they communicated with the trees, and the trees being happy to be used as shelter and resources as long as they were respected. Doesn’t that remind you of The Giving Tree?
We started each day around 8am with a skillshare (how a masonry heater works, meditation session) and end class around 5pm. The curriculum was balanced between sitting in a big circle listening/participating, doing group activities, and spending time outdoors. My favorite activity was a naturalist/tracker guest instructor taking us out in the woods and having each of us find a spot, sit there in the snow, and just observe nature. I plan to create a tiny habit of doing sit spot in my background to observe the environment where we’ll be growing food. My favorite thought-provoking talk was by a guy who said that a lot of our problems stems from this perception that we as humans are separate from nature. Also, when the twenty students introduced ourselves in class, it was surprising that none of us came from a landscaping background. Something else had attracted us to the class. What could it be?
During a lunch conversation with the instructor, after mentioning how clueless I was on how to incorporate nature into the education of our two young kids and avoiding nature deficit disorder, she recommended Coyote’s Guide, so I’m reading it now. Protip: Buy the digital PDF ($20 vs $100 paperback) and convert it to Kindle version.
It’s fascinating that many indigenous cultures don’t have formal education systems, but rather a culture of mentorship, an invisible school with mentors that playfully guide us to the edges of our comfort zone where deep learning and experiences happen. This guy who lives in the woods teaches about the relationship between us and nature and the cyclical path we walk. Makes me wonder, as the pace of the world gets faster and faster, and we spend all our time in human-created environments, what have we lost along the way? What did we forget?
In other news, I’m planning to attend Charles Eisenstein’s event in Jamaica Plain on Sun 1/26/14 and would love to see you there.
I’ve been doing well forming my meditation tiny habit. Here’s a few screenshots of the Insight Timer stats for the past month.
At six minutes daily now. Total weekly minutes up and to the right!
Stats show progress and when to expect next milestone. Helps with tracking/motivation.
Who isn’t proud of their achievements? #humblebrag