After reading the Intro and first chapter a few comments. On p. 6 he discusses how monopolies intentionally thwart competition and innovation so as to maintain their stranglehold. But he claims entrepreneurs find a way around it and end up forcing competition with their better tech and price reductions. Yet he discusses on pp. 7-9 Larry Summers 2001 paper, wherein Summers acknowledges the emerging information economy was indeed moving to near marginal cost. Summers though didn't propose something like Rifkin but instead recommended "short-term natural monopolies" (8).

Recall Summers was Obama's pick for Director of the National Economic Council. His policy suggestions were well in line with the earlier promotion of "natural monopolies," and his resume attests. And we're seeing exactly this economic philosophy at play with the FCC Chairman Wheeler's proposed pay-to-play rules, where the ISP monopolies will destroy internet neutrality. Recall that Wheeler was another Obama pick, and was a former, and will return to being, a cable and wireless lobbyist. While Obama claims to back income equality and net neutrality he appoints the likes of Summers and Wheeler who make no bones about their support of monopolies. And without net neutrality good bye to Rifkin's entire plan, which requires it to succeed.

If you haven't yet, please take action to preserve it. Here's one place and you can find several others if you but look.

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More positive news from bellwether California Governor 'Moonbeam' Brown:

“'California, as it does in many areas, must show the way,' he said before introducing three specific goals: increase electricity derived from renewable sources from one-third to 50 percent, reduce vehicles’ petroleum use by up to 50 percent, and double the efficiency of existing buildings while making heating fuels cleaner. 'This is exciting, it is bold and it is absolutely necessary if we are to have any chance of stopping potentially catastrophic changes to our climate system,' he said."

Here's a video from the Center for a New American Dream, basically reiterating everything in Rifkin's book.

From chapter nine of The Third Industrial Revolution:

"Deep play [...] is not frivolous entertainment but rather empathetic engagement with one's fellow human beings. Deep play is the way we experience the other, transcend ourselves and connect to broader, ever more inclusive communities of life in our common search for universality. [...] In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries being industrious was the mark of a man and becoming a productive worker the goal in life. Generations of human beings were transformed into machines in the relentless pursuit of material wealth: we lived to work. The Third Industrial Revolution and the collaborative era offer humanity the opportunity to liberate itself from the grip of mechanized life cocooned inside a utilitarian world and breathe in the exhilaration of being free: we live to play."

Deep play is good, and a good balance to over working!

I'm reminded of one of the key things I learned from Permaculture. That when we let go of pursuing material wealth and mindless consumerism, it does not mean we just relax and become deadbeats (which is not what Rifkin is talking about). The idea is that as we let go of our "consumer" labels, we should then take up the job of being producers - producers of the things that really matter; producing to meet our own and our family's real needs for food, shelter, and yes - meaningful leisure activities and deep play. 

“…I see permaculture as the use of systems thinking and design principles that provide  the organizing framework for implementing [the vision outlined in Permaculture One of] …’Consciously designed landscapes which mimic the patterns and relationships found in nature, while yielding an abundance of food, fiber and energy for provision of local needs.’ People, their buildings and the ways they organize themselves are central to permaculture. Thus the permaculture vision of permanent (sustainable) agriculture has evolved to one of permanent (sustainable) culture…It draws together the diverse ideas, skills and ways of living which need to be rediscovered and developed in order to empower us to move from being dependent consumers to becoming responsible and productive citizens.
Permaculture: Principles & Pathways Beyond Sustainability, p. xix

Yup, these ideas are particularly congruent! But we have a naysayer in the house: 

http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/can-we-avoid-a-digital-apocalypse

Is there no god we can get along with? Anyway, Sam is probably missing the mark here in a similar way that his ideas on incompatibilism line up almost completely with Islamic theology. Oh, the irony of it all!

This is hopeful:

As long as these little killers don't get us first :

Harris admits to zero marginal cost with this:

"Once we built the perfect labor-saving device, the cost of manufacturing new devices would approach the cost of raw materials."

Like Rifkin he also realizes that tech may one day supplant the need for workers, so then what? Just increasing wealth inequality as he surmises? Possible if we stay in a capitalist mode. Maybe not if we evolve into Commons mode.

His main issue though, one not contemplated by Rifkin in this book, is that the IoT just might gain autonomy given its virtually near infinite connections with, well, everything. Then what? That's why I brought the movie Transcendence into the conversation in a similar scenario. In the movie the AI was benevolent yet humans were afraid it was inhuman and demanded its demise.* But there's no guarantee it will not develop its own values and possibly eradicate the infestation known as humanity.

* Note that while the humans shut down its 'computer' it was already too late, since the AI had  created bio/nanotech that survived to spawn a new race anyway. That may very well be the actual case now with our genetically modified foods that we all eat and are mutating us as we speak.

andrew said:

Yup, these ideas are particularly congruent! But we have a naysayer in the house: 

http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/can-we-avoid-a-digital-apocalypse

Would be nice if robots took the place of sending human beings into unsafe mines, etc. To be put out of a dangerous job or even one that stigmatizes a person as being "lower class," is good, as long as total disenfranchizement isn't the result -- humans made obsolete as compared to machines. One would hope, and can even probably expect, that we will put something like Rifkin's collaborative commons into place. 

 When Layman and I proposed to write a novel incorporating two main ideas: 1. "Integral Resourceism" (a possible system for the "commons") and 2. depth-dynamic spirituality (a collective/state-sponsored transfaith practice to increase contemplative depth in the populace, for both improved democratic participation competence and for moral purposes in order to maximize the development of "human resources" or, as Rifkin and others would call it, "social capital." The depth-dynamic approach is based on a general consensus about quantum physics findings and theory, more specifically the "quantum consciousness" line of thought such as reflected in Arnold Mindell's Dreaming While Awake.)

Integral Resourcesism would be carried out using a software program called the Pergram, hence the book's title The Pergram. Integral Resourcism would elevate the "social capital" of the UL and LL quads by treating them as actual "resources" and the software program would be devoted to representing a new age in which the LR systems are engineered to serve humankind, especially including the UL and LL existential/mental/spiritual aspects of being human. This instead of the backasswards way in which systems have tended to run humans, like the dog taking the master for a walk or the tail wagging the dog or the cart before the horse. In The Pergram we hope to show a humanizing use of the LR systems. This is why the word "pergram" was chosen as the book's focus. It is a conflation of "person" (UL,LL) and "program" (LR,UR). 

  If the dematerializm trend seen by futurists such as Rifkin and Kevin Kelly, et al, is right (and it seems to be), then the logical place for evolution to go is into the depths of human consciousness, the whole-mind itself. What do we really sustainably want? "Sustainably want" is a version of a human or sentient being "need," since it is about a LL "good" that is diffusive of itself, sustainable, good for the long run and for the largest number of beings in the long run. Would the latter be called "inclusive?" Probably. So a sustainable want would include a sort of democratizing, lateral power, function akin to inclusiveness or Koestler's "communion."

Part of the new state-sponsored spirituality is that depth of consciousness opens up into communion and compasionate inclusion also opens up into depth of consciousness. The horizontal action of loving others tends to lower resistance and raise the frequencies  of a person, while at the same time an intentional "going deeper" sheds off and disolves the higher-resistance and lower frequency mentality too. The "dynamic" part of "depth-dynamic" addresses "flow," which is often expressed in inclusiveness and love, but can also be experienced as flowing out from the depths of self and/or Self. "Flow" can flow both horizontally and vertically (depth-wise). If the collective "buys into" this view of reality, then it will understand and practice a paradox of deep = wide or wide = deep. 

   Some of the roles and characters in our book will be "programers," "operators" and "participants." Programers will be charged (in both the sense of "do the job of" and "electrified with") going depth in order to help quantumly catalize the necessary cultural and systemic evolution to create a more optimal world that uses resource sharing (the "resourceism" part of "integral resourceism" is all about resource sharing). 

When Layman and I started this project, I thought it was "cutting edge." But already I can tell it is not so cutting edge. The movie you mentioned is one of several embracing some of the same concepts. Now I see our book-in-progress as more like a shameless but potentially helpful composite of a lot of ideas already "out there," now. "Lucidia" is highly similar to the Oracle in The Matrix. "Eric" is similar to Neo (an intercessor, Christ-like, or soul-like, bridge function between classical/earthly/worldly and quantum/spiritual/subtle-energy/heavenly realities. Shameless but synthetic. 

As long as Layman is okay with it, I wouldn't mind sharing some of the first draft of the early part of the book. Up to 27 pages, but I have not gotten Layman to dove-tail into the story yet. He has all kinds of developing characters and plot-lines which have not yet been incorporated into the storyline. 

Here's the very beginning of the first draft version I have written (just to give you a "taste". Hopefully, Layman won't mind if I spill just a few of the "beans."): 

from The Pergram (in progress)

It was a crisp Fall day. Beautifully colored leaves drifted down onto and around the tent where Lucidia was being laid to rest. It was as though the graceful falling was trying to teach Eric how to let go.

But this lesson would take some time. This natural sign spoke more clearly and deeply to Eric than the minister’s words. ‘Why,’ thought Eric, ‘did it have to end this way?’ ‘Why has it ended this way for so many visionaries? Christ included? What is it about human beings that resists truly new and improved versions of the truth? Why are we willing to kill, if that’s what it takes, in order to hold onto less true versions of what life and reality and our being together is all about?’ He was trying to make some sense of the seemingly senseless death of his dear friend and mentor Lucidia. And he began to reminisce...

 

"The universe is one big computer. I don't mean of course that it actually is a computer. I mean that it acts like one. That's how the universe seems to behave. To tell you the truth, I'm not very concerned about what the universe is. 'How' is far more valuable than 'what'.

 

'What' is the fish.”

 

“It's an animal who lives in the water and can breathe it” said Eric.

 

“No” Lucidia said, “I wasn't asking a question. I was stating a truth. Giving a person a fish for a meal is an example of a 'what' approach to reality. 'How' is teaching the person the way, or ways, to catch to fish. The what approach provides one meal. The how approach gives many, many meals.”

 

Eric responded with more than a touch of cynicism.“Okay, but what's that got to do with the universe being analogous to a computer. So far your great teaching is so cryptic that it seems a little fishy to me!”

 

Lucidia, unphased by the cynicism, continued to respond in her cryptic way. A little de-coding by Eric couldn't hurt. In fact, it could help him gain a deeper understanding, if he chooses to go there―deeper, that is. “The universe has many, many meals if you get the how of it down pat. The universe contains the information about how to provide those meals. It can show us how to fish. How to really get the most out of the waters of life. There is a store of worthwhile information―a store of how-oriented forms and formats to take in, in order to put the life-enriching form in you.”

 

Eric chimed in,“That must be where your computer analogy comes into play. The universe is the place where this information is stored. But isn't the universe an awfully big place to have to look for such valuable information? Wouldn't that be like looking for a needle in a hay stack? See, I can come up with some pretty good analogies too!”

 

“Actually,” Lucidia replied, “the how-forms are already there in you. So you don't have to look far and wide to find them. But since you don't know it yet, the how-forms simply seem to be outside of you. In reality (that is, in overall reality―not the regular reality we normally focus on), the how-forms reside deep within, at the very core of your being. The action of putting the form in you is actually the act of unfolding the form out enough toward the surface to be used in and by the little self you which deals with everyday physical realities.”

 


theurj said:

Harris admits to zero marginal cost with this:

"Once we built the perfect labor-saving device, the cost of manufacturing new devices would approach the cost of raw materials."

Like Rifkin he also realizes that tech may one day supplant the need for workers, so then what? Just increasing wealth inequality as he surmises? Possible if we stay in a capitalist mode. Maybe not if we evolve into Commons mode.

His main issue though, one not contemplated by Rifkin in this book, is that the IoT just might gain autonomy given its virtually near infinite connections with, well, everything. Then what? That's why I brought the movie Transcendence into the conversation in a similar scenario. In the movie the AI was benevolent yet humans were afraid it was inhuman and demanded its demise.* But there's no guarantee it will not develop its own values and possibly eradicate the infestation known as humanity.

* Note that while the humans shut down its 'computer' it was already too late, since the AI had  created bio/nanotech that survived to spawn a new race anyway. That may very well be the actual case now with our genetically modified foods that we all eat and are mutating us as we speak.

andrew said:

Yup, these ideas are particularly congruent! But we have a naysayer in the house: 

http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/can-we-avoid-a-digital-apocalypse

I have The End of Work, one of Rifkin's first books, but have not read it yet. He addresses the issue about what to do with all the technology-displaced workers. 

The 1990 theological book Creation Spirituality, by Matthew Fox suggests that the modern world has caused so much self-alienation that jobs of a healing nature should, by all accounts, flourish. This would fit with the apparent shift from products to services anyway. 

Also, Pink's (A Whole New Mind) notion that where else can the economy expand but into more right-brainish aesthetics and user-friendly (UL, although he does not use that term) areas. 

We seem headed toward a more "Integral" resource allocation system or "economy." One that includes, as a resource or at least economic output, the right-brainish subjective realities of the left side of the quadrants. 

In The Pergram Layman and I hope to show, via fiction, Integral Resourceism which counts the subjective "stuff" as being viable "human resources." The inclusion of these kinds of "realities" is also in line with various futurists (including Rifkin) that we are witnessing a "de-materialization" of goods and services. They are getting lighter, smaller, and more flexible and/or diffuse. Simple location and simple ownership is being transcended as we speak. Our resource allocation systems are including more and more "vision." At some point we will be marketing, producing, and living "The Dream." I envisioned a small scale of that in my first book, Allsville Emerging, where customers/citizens more or less "purchased" a more spiritual or whole lifestyle by living in a specially designed intentional community, or model community. As consumers they had evolved from buying things to buying a kind of life itself, or, as Rifkin might call it, "social capital." Some of Allsville's characteristics though might be called "existential capital," as suggested in my little tangient about "logonomics" early in the book. 

darrell

theurj said:

Harris admits to zero marginal cost with this:

"Once we built the perfect labor-saving device, the cost of manufacturing new devices would approach the cost of raw materials."

Like Rifkin he also realizes that tech may one day supplant the need for workers, so then what? Just increasing wealth inequality as he surmises? Possible if we stay in a capitalist mode. Maybe not if we evolve into Commons mode.

His main issue though, one not contemplated by Rifkin in this book, is that the IoT just might gain autonomy given its virtually near infinite connections with, well, everything. Then what? That's why I brought the movie Transcendence into the conversation in a similar scenario. In the movie the AI was benevolent yet humans were afraid it was inhuman and demanded its demise.* But there's no guarantee it will not develop its own values and possibly eradicate the infestation known as humanity.

* Note that while the humans shut down its 'computer' it was already too late, since the AI had  created bio/nanotech that survived to spawn a new race anyway. That may very well be the actual case now with our genetically modified foods that we all eat and are mutating us as we speak.

andrew said:

Yup, these ideas are particularly congruent! But we have a naysayer in the house: 

http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/can-we-avoid-a-digital-apocalypse

In this article Robert Reich explores the capitalistic coopting and exploitation of the sharing commons, thereby creating the "share-the-scraps economy." His view seems much more critical and realistic than Rifkin's more surface treatment of it as a transition phase. Capitalists have no intention of giving up this exploitation and will do everything in their power to ensure that a real sharing Commons does not become the dominant socio-economic model. They see well the threat so coopt it and use its catch words (framing), meanwhile maintaining its economic stranglehold on its 'members.'

Yes, I agree, this is their strategy, to co-opt the green lingo and to continue to implement their vision. I see this at the universities . Bonnie has even laid out the path of co-opting IT in her paper. Something I clearly saw in 2001 as a possibility; who new Jeb Bush could meditate and have CC. Hail Constantine!

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What paths lie ahead for religion and spirituality in the 21st Century? How might the insights of modernity and post-modernity impact and inform humanity's ancient wisdom traditions? How are we to enact, together, new spiritual visions – independently, or within our respective traditions – that can respond adequately to the challenges of our times?

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