Archive for May, 2010

Personality: given or formed by you/others?

Monday, May 31st, 2010

What kind of person are you? Is it really possible to test if you are normal? Do you consider yourself normal? Why would you really want to be normal? Everything should be OK if you have a good life and don’t hurt anybody.

How is character or personality formed? Are we free?

We all have traits that show up in our personality: The way we think, act, what we feel, how we meet other people and how we control our emotions, the themes we think and speak about and how we let them influence us, the choices we make.

If we are too different from others there may be disturbances involved – we may bother each other.  Some traits are constant, others are of a fleeting nature and pass after a while. Some differences are dangerous so that we can hurt other people and start conflicts.

A complete description will lead us into the complex world of psychoanalysis, psychology.

A lot of descriptions of your personality can be used: Are you kind, organized, creative, tolerant, cruel, charming and many more? What are the choices you make and what is natural to you? Can you change that if you put your mind to it – long term or short term?

Chemicals, including foods, can put your mind into a different state. Values can be changed in many ways: your own thinking, external pressure, experiences. What are your thought processes about these matters – short term or long term – when you go through life? Would it be better to know more about these factors so that you can make better decisions?

Are you considered – by yourself and others – to be normal, partly normal, disturbed or dangerous? Do you know? If you knew would you do anything about it? Do people like you and can you improve that if you want to or are you stuck in what is given to you?

There is  clearly room for better understanding of these matters – so let the thinking continue. Deeper science is needed and we must find what is there: let us uncover the mechanisms.

Electronics entering your life – and body

Monday, May 31st, 2010

Developments within electronics and communication continues on many fronts – there is reason to be excited.

Electronic circuits are being built for several new purposes: flexible thin film circuits embedded in your body to monitor and control body processes and warn you, cheap plastic RFID for ubiquitous information in shops and homes, printed electronic circuits that can be crammed and folded, electronic ink, flexible and cheap screens to display whatever you need to know, smart textiles that can be changed by you or the temperature, smart packing that keeps goods in optimal condition and let you know all, analyzing equipment that gives you values about all things imaginable, robots of many kinds.

Coupled with wireless communication we are entering a new world where you and all things can interact.

Your home will increasingly be wired and equipped with logic circuits so you can control all functions: kitchen equipment remotely controlled, analysis of your health directly to your doctor or nutritionist, all kinds of sensors can be installed to inform of more than burglary and fire, automated shower, robots that can clean your house and use your washing machines, video communication, GPS tracking of family members – and the cat, smart toilets that can check your health and play the right music for you, a better home office, quicker contact with health personnel if need be.

Your imagination will be fired – you will be able to have more if you like – you will be master of your universe – partly remotely. Strange now maybe, but you will get used to it, like it and maybe depend upon it.

Growing food: What would nature do?

Friday, May 28th, 2010

Food production in the western world – and increasingly in other parts of the world – is industrialized. We use chemicals on a massive scale to produce food, industrial techniques are the norm. We rely heavily on chemicals to get the job done. The saying is that yield is high, prices are low. But the drawbacks are becoming obvious and some major qualities are obviously left out. Chemical agriculture has failed and must be replaced by better solutions.

The drawbacks are there for all to see: local communities are destroyed, plant diversity is reduced, the environment suffers, food quality is questioned, transport costs are high, human health is not so good, GM plants with unknown qualities, chemicals are entering the environment, the soil is damaged.

We must rebuild respect for the land and natural processes. The natural rhytms of the world – birds, fish, the growing season.

We want a healthy harvest from environmentally friendly agriculture. This means natural fertilizers and disease and bug control methods, composting, no chemicals, rich biodiversity, good rich soil, equipment that do not harm the environment. A low maintenance landscape should also be the norm. The underground ecosystem and soil should be tested and kept in good order. We should invite helpful plants, insects and organisms to obtain organic pest control and good growth. Composting could produce methane for production of energy.

Plants should be chosen wisely so that they fit the environment, they should be rich in nutrients and taste, keep their freshness and look good.

These principles should be applied to farms, gardens, backyards, rooftops, verandas, urban areas and all.

The percentage of local organic produce is low in most countries, but encouraging signs are present. Interest is growing as the understanding of the problem grows.

A basic local supply is desirable for many reasons: local control, knowledge of what you eat, less transport, fresher food…. Use of local wisdom and experience should be encouraged, so that local conditions and plants are well taken care of.

Plants could also be used to feed animals in a small scale production.

Yield and cost are important factors, and evaluation of these factors will enter into the broad picture. The negative factors of chemical production must be measured.

Authorities must find their place in this new picture as new and more modern methods are introduced. These principles mean small scale  production, but the advantages could far outweigh possible increased costs.

Education must find its place: courses, books, DVDs, seminars, articles, organizations…..

No need to destroy the environment and make people ill – the solutions can be worked out when the principles are right.

Is internet connection a commodity now?

Friday, May 28th, 2010

The infrastructure for the internet is slowly spreading and improving in quality and speed. Many countries now have a coverage of up to 70 % of all inhabitants with internet connections, and the internet is becoming a commodity, often free of charge. Many – most? – hotels, restaurants now offer internet connections, hotspots are cropping up everywhere. Planes and trains are planning internet connections, and cities are becoming fully covered by internet antennas. Mobile nets are becoming 4G nets fast.

The value is increasing all the time as new services are offered: what is not on the internet, what is it you can not do?

Mobile equipment is more and more internet enabled, including the dear TV-set, and users are downloading increasing amounts of data from the net. New business opportunities are legion, but the infrastructure builders in many places are worried about further investments as the pay-off is sometimes a bit into the future. Surely they will come around when they see the light?

Speeds of hundreds of Mb are becoming normal fare, and we can expect to see Gb speeds fairly soon. But watch it carefully: nations that do not follow up on this important aspect of future technology may be left behind. The EU has an ambitious directive for communication, and seems to have the muscle to pull it through.

So all is well – good progress is in the works. All-pervasive and fast internet – is there a business opportunity for you in there somewhere or just a more efficient life?

Is it in your soul: Do we dare venture into deep ecology?

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

Has environmentalism and ecology a future at all? Is it all talk or can we stop man from breaking down the system and plundering the Earth? And at the same time kill himself?

Do you really believe environmentalism or ecology is necessary? Can you fathom that all living things are equally a part of the same system? Do you understand that all living beings and natural processes inherently are connected in this large self-balancing system so that harm in one place can easily lead to more harm? Do you see that you are part of this system? Can you imagine living on nature’s terms and finding your place in a naturally balanced and sustainable system – with no domination of all others? Are you willing to take the consequences of this? Are you able to see and accept your role in a sustainable system? Are you willing to be part of this system, to share and balance, to give as much as you take?

The Earth obviously has some limited resources (oil, iron ore…) and some that are continually renewed ( plants, animals, water circulating…) These resources should be equally available for all. Sharing and common pool thinking is needed.

Networking within existing processes, sharing with other naturally occuring participants could give astounding efficiencies.

What are your values? Are you the one or are you one among equals? Are you a good person that harms nobody and nothing? Can you see and accept that all living creatures, organisms have the same right as humans to be here?

Deep ecology has to be personal and value-based – you must want it and be able to feel it in your bones – and many of us must be part of it. This is not foremost politics – it is about values and personal choices. You must find your own way. It can not be superficial changes only – deep changes of personal values are needed.

Man in symbiosis with nature could be a thrilling thought – and sustainable too!

(Reflections after reading Arne Naess on Deep Ecology)

Change or we will kill them all: Losing the biodiversity of the world

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

The IUCN has just published the report “Global Biodiversity Outlook 3″. This work has been in progress since 1980, and there is now an organization of 1100 people working to uphold biodiversity. Many good projects are in progress all over the world.

But the grim conclusion of the report is that biodiversity is being steadily reduced in the world – we have fewer and fewer plants and animals/insects/fish in the world. The governments of the world are not doing enough to protect biodiversity. This is affecting people in major ways in relation to livelyhood, areas to stay, small scale agriculture, fishing, health and poverty. Large and wild tracts of land – truly wild areas – are disappearing and being fragmented, forests are made into lumber, species of seeds and husbanded animals are fewer and fewer, huge areas of specialized farms are growing steadily all over the world.

We are moving into new land areas, overfishing, polluting etc. like never before – we do not seem to care. Are there some idealists who see this and the rest of us don’t understand? Has it to do with lack of education, lack of personal responsibility? Do we start educational changes now so that people understand? Or is our thinking so fixated that new ideas are impossible to introduce?

We have been laboring on this for 30 years with no results, and with grim future prospects. Time for a change is coming up: The idea of personal responsibility must become the norm, education on environmentalism for all must be strengthened massively.

Governments must also do their bit. Norway is a good example: A law of natural biodiversity was introduced last year and with resources behind it this could be good. A law is only as good as the work you put into it. Many other nations are working well too, so don’t let us be too glum!

Start with yourself: where can you contribute positively? What we do will ultimately get to us all.

See link:  International Union for Conservation of Nature IUCN

Measuring the value of what we do

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

Is it worth it? Why do we buy, follow, like this product, service, person? There is both material value as well as immaterial value.

Value can be measured in terms of what the service/product is in physical  or material terms, what it does for you in terms of fulfillment – material or immaterial – and it has value in form of what you think of it in immaterial terms.

So value can be thought of as the sum of what you see, what it does for you , what thinking it starts in your mind. A detailed set of factors can be set up for the three areas, and you the stakeholder can be active in forming this value.

What is the value you put on a brand of car or a particular beer or whatever? How do you think and reason when you choose? Are you independent or do you follow”the sayings”?

The practical use of this thinking is to make us more conscious about choices we make and things we do, and maybe more direct to the point, more efficient. It also has to do with your basic values – they are largely subjective, but is also influenced by external values you find in society in general.

Marketing people use this thinking to influence us, often building images with little physical substance. This can be profitable for them, but maybe you pay too much for the thinking it starts in your head. Basic solutions will often do, but the images are not vivid enough.

Start your thinking about values and see if you are surprised in any way: what is it, what does it do for you, what do you think of it.

This thinking has tentatively been applied to ecology and environmentalism to help us find what we really and basically need – what are our material needs, what are our immaterial needs and do we need to change our thinking if  the world shall become a better place? Life conditions of value is the goal, but not neccesarily a high standard of living.

The science of values is called axiology and is an emerging field.

Climate change work stalled

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

There is work in progress on climate change, but the heat is off. Copenhagen produced little – but some – and the next meeting is in Mexico next year. A maturing process seems to be happening as everybody is thinking about the risks, actions and the biggest polluter of all – the US – is thinking or something like that.

It can safely be said that the science is not definitive or well developed, and the willingness among ordinary people to change is not strong.

The deep knowledge of environmentalism is not there yet, and the truth is that we do not seem to know what will happen, when will it happen and what will be the extent of the damage? This is the danger: There is obvious risk , but we do not know the damage that could materialize.

We need to move away from the narrow concept of global warming and focus on some sort of inclusive environmentalism. The concept of climate change is too narrow and the focus should be on ecology – deep ecology – which is the broad issue that really matter.

We must get the order of work right and establish good processes, and we need more scientific work to be done before the pressure is put back on. First science, then people, then politics.

It is sad if the Earth would be better off without man – we can’t have that.

The process of relative decline in US power

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

The press is running stories of how the non-Western countries took charge in Copenhagen when no agreement seemed possible. The BRIC countries are also moving in other arenas such as discussing the the world financial order among themselves, increasing trade and exchanging resources. The dialog is getting broader, and 40 % of the world’s population live in these countries – and they have the best economic growth at the moment. Focus is shifting, and Africa also seems to become gradually more confident and better-off.

China’s presence is increasingly felt in many areas, e.g. at sea where many offshore areas are contested and there is disagreement about sharing and divisions.

Africa’s colonisation ended about 50 years ago, and they are now celebrating African rule in a big meeting of all states in Kamerun. Visible progress towards the rule of law, improving human rights, reducing suppression, income from own resources, fair distribution etc. is seen, but coup-makers and military men are still around in some countries.

This seems to coincide with a relative decline in US power as we see large American trade deficits every year, an unmanageable “defence” budget as Americans are battling everywhere – in sum building up to a new situation. We can now only speculate what the developments will be.

What do the media really do for us?

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

Papers, TV, radio, films… They are all full of accidents, wars, conflict, scandal, improprieties, a few bits of business, sports, a bit of culture – and we are no better off for following their productions and writings. A few exceptions can be found.

It is all short term and ad hoc, sensational, out of context…. No follow through: how did it end? What is the consequence or can we learn from it? Analysis anybody?

There must be some entertainment in there as well – some of it good – but not only entertainment.

A change must come. The media must be able to assist us in our thinking – hard thinking – as that is the most interesting and it does not hurt either.

We need help to monitor the long range changes and happenings in the world, our habitat, human health, emerging knowledge that may be useful, new thinking, exposures of falseness, security issues over the long term, economics evaluations of substance, scientific deep news not only tit-bits, substantial art writings, originality, creativity and more. Original stuff – deep, knowlegdeable thinking, engaging, non-superficial.

If we could have this, would we pay? Business models must be unravelled as the lumped all-inclusive offerings of the present are no good. The old offerings are dying and understandably so.

We are eagerly waiting for the future.