Tools for Conviviality- Ivan Illich

"convivial" as a technical term to designate a modern society of responsibly limited tools. // Present institutional purposes, which hallow industrial productivity at the expense of convivial effectiveness, are a major factor in the amorphousness and meaninglessness that plague contemporary society. The increasing demand for products has come to define society's process. I will suggest how this present trend can be reversed and how modern science and technology can be used to endow human activity with unprecedented effectiveness. This reversal would permit the evolution of a life style and of a political system which give priority to the protection, the maximum use, and the enjoyment of the one resource that is almost equally distributed among all people: personal energy under personal control.

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The Age of Asperger: modern society is autistic! | Psychology Today

More specifically, modern Western societies are characterized by high incidence of single-parenthood and divorce; high rates of crime, anti-social behaviour, and delinquency; privatization of sex and its divorce from reproduction, with approval of masturbation (by far the most autistic of sexual practices and one that was anathematized to an astonishing extent up until quite recently); secularization and privatization of religion, fragmentation of politics, with a loss of normative consensus and a cult of individualism and self-realization encouraged by cynicism about collective ideologies and institutional beliefs.

See original: The Age of Asperger: modern society is autistic! | Psychology Today

The Collapse of Complex Business Models « Clay Shirky

The ‘and them some’ is what causes the trouble. Complex societies collapse because, when some stress comes, those societies have become too inflexible to respond. In retrospect, this can seem mystifying. Why didn’t these societies just re-tool in less complex ways? The answer Tainter gives is the simplest one: When societies fail to respond to reduced circumstances through orderly downsizing, it isn’t because they don’t want to, it’s because they can’t.<br />
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In such systems, there is no way to make things a little bit simpler – the whole edifice becomes a huge, interlocking system not readily amenable to change. Tainter doesn’t regard the sudden decoherence of these societies as either a tragedy or a mistake—”[U]nder a situation of declining marginal returns collapse may be the most appropriate response”, to use his pitiless phrase. Furthermore, even when moderate adjustments could be made, they tend to be resisted, because any simplification discomfits elites.

See original: The Collapse of Complex Business Models « Clay Shirky

Guanxi - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Guanxi describes the basic dynamic in personalized networks of influence, and is a central idea in Chinese society.

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Home Page — Centre for Internet and Society

Since December 2009, CIS has been coordinating and nurturing the Maps for Making Change project, or gan ised in collaboration with Tactical Tech.

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Your inalienable right to burp and fart

There are some activities that one cannot but undertake, but that he must make sure that the outer society ignores all about. Of those secret actions, the outer society, that includes all sentient creatures alive besides him, not only must not take notice ; but in ideal, it should rest assured that none of its members ever undertakes them. Even though each and every one of them sins in secret many times a day. Including the most eminent enforcers of the establishment of said society. I'm speaking, of course, of the action of burping and farting.
The mere continuation of our existence requires many tasks to be accomplished. Most of them fortunately we do not have to preoccupy with. Like breathing and heart-beating. Our earthly vessel is indeed a wonderful machine that would wring the CPU of any man-made device in jealousy, were any of them capable of such advanced feelings. But some of these tasks require our attention. Like feeding, which is far too versatile a task for it to be automatised within the still limited, though already great, capabilities of our brain.
Or like eliminating solid or liquid waste, that, in the jungle-setting that man has spent most of its history in, produce smells strong enough to attract the attention of nearby predators. Eliminating gas waste on another hand was apparently deemed benign enough by evolution to be semi-automatised. We can suppress it if the situation is not right, otherwise it just happens. A bit like breathing.
Now that we don't hunt in the savanna anymore, it goes a bit without saying that we stop farting and burping like savages, doesn't it?
Or does it... Guess what, Even the Pope burps. Even Madonna farts.
Even? Of course they do! Unless they are not human, which might be the topic of a future paper. So why such a ban, strong enough to stir up uneasiness, when associated with some major figure of humanity?
Truely both burping and farting produce an unpleasant smell, and according to some, an unpleasant tone. I want to shortly argue that there might not be such thing as an unpleasant tone, within the limits of auditive pain. As much as there is no such thing as an unpleasant color taken out of any sort of visual context. But on the smell we certainly all agree, except maybe some mechanical-engineering students.
But is it necessary then to outlaw the concept altogether? Even in the context of a well ventilated place? Even outdoors, while the wind is blowing? I believe that even the lonely cosmonaut in the internetional space station would make eyebrows raise if it is ever proven that he farts and burps at will in his capsule. Even though it is obvious to everyone that no one else than him will be incommodated.
Other unholy bodily activities have seen sanctuaries dedicated to them. Place that stand outside of the accepted social continuum. Bodily noises and smells may be produced in those places commonly known as "toilets", and only there. But farting and burping must be done frequently if an individual is to stay healthy, and nobody sane (I hope) makes the trip to the toilets for their sake only. Those two are orphaned, without a place to go, and condemned to perpetual semi-clandestinity. The least they deserve is the rehabilitating paper you are reading at the moment.
So, let's put things in perspective. are farting and burping the only two human activities that generate an unpleasant smell in everyday life? Certainly not. So, why is it that am I not allowed to ever pass gas in society, when a man can walk the street trailling a suffocating track of artificial scent that almost makes one's eyes water when exposed to at conversation-distance? When a man is free to smoke a cigarette within smelling distance of another person? Most of the times well-within smelling distance. Sometimes even indoors. When a person can actually drive a fossil-fueled vehicle right into the heart of a densely populated place such as a city? Without ever stirring concern, despite the poisonous nature of the smell generated.
None of the previous example of bad smells are essential to the survival of any individual. But society casts a kind eye on them and point a menacing finger to the inattentive digester.
I do not (yet) bring answers. My intention is merely to attract some attention on a completely disregarded abuse of one of the most basic human right.
But I'm always happy to enquire a little further. Why on Earth is there such a taboo on one of our most common and unavoidable manifestation of life? Well, many clues point to the already recognised source of all evil in the western world: Judeo-christian tradition.
It is possible that, the body having been identified as the source of all sinful temptations, a necessary evil of some sort, a lot of effort have been put in erasing all proof of its existence. As erasing its existence was colliding with our most basic instinct: conservation. It is possible that all individuals in the perfect society envisioned by the Grand-Inquisitors Inc. were to live most of their life in a blessed state of etheral disregard for the body needs, and to lock themselves out of notice from times to times to attend to their survivals. Their projects have failed (and certainly everyone, including Ben XVI, is glad) but there remain some die-hard reflexes that people reproduce from generation to generation, as the good son-of-an-ape that we all are.
And it goes beyond our present concern and includes silent smells like that of the breath and armpits, and smell-free noises like that of mastication. I know from various chinese ex-roommates and guests that at least the issue of mastication-noises is not one in the fortunately never truely christianised Far-East.
Rests only one question to round up our investigation: why do we find it funny and why do we enjoy doing it when big brother is not watching?
Well, with no intention of insulting your intelligence whatever, I give you the very obvious answer: Because it's forbidden, and there are few things that we enjoy more than doing something forbidden, knowing that we won't get caught.
The reason why this is matter for another paper. Hang on.

See original: Your inalienable right to burp and fart