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Laughs at Einstein


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Post Personal Reactions
I'm finding that I want get personal with this book. Every page has something that makes me think about my life, my practices...or makes me want to rant. ::97

So, here's a spot to do so.

"All beings are the owners of their deeds, the heirs to their deeds."

Loricat's Book Nook
Celebrating the Absurd




Tue Apr 17, 2007 10:55 am
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Laughs at Einstein


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Post Re: Personal Reactions
So, this morning I was sitting in Tim Horton's reading the first chapter with my morning coffee, and these two guys started to wash the windows outside. It was poetry in motion -- "Wow!" I thought to myself, "Such efficiency!" Then I stopped, making the connection -- efficiency has always been something I admired. Where did that come from in my life?

"All beings are the owners of their deeds, the heirs to their deeds."

Loricat's Book Nook
Celebrating the Absurd




Tue Apr 17, 2007 10:58 am
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Post Re: Personal Reactions
Loricat: Every page has something that makes me think about my life, my practices...or makes me want to rant.

That's funny, I'm finding it very hard to personally relate to McKibbin's particulars. From the lack of community interaction he's depicted, to the lost family ties, to the use of radio, I don't encounter the issues I've read about thus far. The fact that I don't recognize the loss of community that McKibbin's describes makes me wonder if that is necessarily a product of economic expansion. Or could it be that economic expansion merely paralleled a breakdown in community, rather than causing it? If this is possible, shouldn't we consider directing efforts at strengthening community rather than in retarding economic expansion, in the hopes that this will strengthen communities. In truth, I am happy that I am able to find and interact with very different communities.

The only thing that seems relevant to my life so far is the chapter on food



Tue Apr 17, 2007 4:16 pm
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Post Re: Personal Reactions
loricat: I'm finding that I want to get personal with this book. Every page has something that makes me think about my life, my practices...or makes me want to rant.

I think McKibben is certainly pushing the reader to personalize the challenges he sets forward with his narrative: how do I respond to the growing economic disparity, ecological devastation, social deterioration and personal malaise described in the book? How does my life (consumption habits, career, political affiliations, entertainment choices, modes of transportation, community involvement, personal beliefs, relationships) exacerbate these problems and how does it lead toward some kinds of solutions?

I think the weakest part of McKibben's argument involves the third rung of his thesis: a growing economy does not guarantee an increase in personal happiness. I think it is weakest because of the subjective nature of the topic. Still, McKibben provides a variety of data, cross-cultural and across time, that certainly supports his thesis. More stuff does not always make us happy. Perhaps I'm already inclined to believe that, thus making his examples all the more persuasive.

I think the ecological component of his argument is strongest. The planet cannot sustain the current trajectory of economic growth. We simply cannot afford to continue our relationship with fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas) without committing irreparable damage to the biosphere. Our current economic system is inextricably bound to fossil fuels: something has got to give. What am I willing to change?

I think McKibben's argument regarding the decline of happiness is strongest when tied to the increase of ecological disaster.

irishrose: shouldn't we consider directing efforts at strengthening community rather than in retarding economic expansion, in the hopes that this will strengthen communities.

If economic expansion means more equals better, more reliance on fossil fuels, greater distance from food source to dinner plate, more behemoth agribusiness conglomerates, then I think we are weakening communities. I think we need intelligent economics, not economic expansion. We need localized, community centered economic systems that utilize the very best agricultural sciences, and foster genuine democratic participation and accountability.




Tue Apr 17, 2007 5:37 pm
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Irishrosem: I also admire, and strive for, efficiency



Mon Apr 23, 2007 12:43 pm
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Post Re: Personal reactions
I'm about halfway through the book and, so far, I'm underwhelmed.

McKibben is a lively writer, most of the time, but his analysis seems awfully superficial for a book titled Deep Economy.

There's really not much here that's new. It ought not come as a surprise to anyone that gluttony is a bad thing or that there are more important things in life than collecting more toys.

Consider these lines from William Wordsworth, written in 1807,

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!


Kind of sums it all up, doesn't it? Two centuries ahead of time.

I enjoyed McKibben's chapter "The year of eating locally," but I get the impression from comments of others that it may be mostly because I haven't yet read The Omnivore's Dilemma.

That's not to say I regret reading the book, and, as noted, I'm only about halfway through. I guess I was just hoping for more.

George

"Godlessness is not about denying the existence of nonsensical beings. It is the starting point for living life without them."

Godless in America by George A. Ricker




Wed Apr 25, 2007 2:02 pm
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Post Re: Personal reactions
Garicker: I'm about halfway through the book and, so far, I'm underwhelmed.

Ditto.

Garicker: There's really not much here that's new. It ought not come as a surprise to anyone that gluttony is a bad thing or that there are more important things in life than collecting more toys.

And because I am a product of this mentality, having been raised in a household that placed very little value on possessions, there's hardly anything new for me here, so far. I get the idea that McKibben presents ideas he perceives to be unordinary (extraordinary), but they aren't new to me or most of the people with whom I choose to associate.

About a week ago I put the book down halfway through Chapter 4. I picked it up again today. Perhaps I'll finish it shortly; but, so far, I have very little to comment on.




Wed Apr 25, 2007 3:36 pm
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Laughs at Einstein


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Post Re: Personal reactions
So far, not much new, I agree. But I am appreciating the point of view of the economists he's quoting, and the various tidbits of facts.

"All beings are the owners of their deeds, the heirs to their deeds."

Loricat's Book Nook
Celebrating the Absurd




Mon Apr 30, 2007 9:31 am
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Post Re: Personal reactions
That's funny, I'm finding it very hard to personally relate to McKibbin's particulars. From the lack of community interaction he's depicted, to the lost family ties, to the use of radio, I don't encounter the issues I've read about thus far. The fact that I don't recognize the loss of community that McKibbin's describes makes me wonder if that is necessarily a product of economic expansion. Or could it be that economic expansion merely paralleled a breakdown in community, rather than causing it? If this is possible, shouldn't we consider directing efforts at strengthening community rather than in retarding economic expansion, in the hopes that this will strengthen communities. In truth, I am happy that I am able to find and interact with very different communities.

Not reading the book, but wanted to jump in here with a book recommendation. If you are interested in pursuing the idea of the break down of community, Putnum's "Bowling Alone" is an excellent and worth while read. Putnum quantifiably demonstrates the break down of community in America with surprising and somewhat helpless reasons why it has occurred. I would love to see this book and topic expanded on as we continue to see "community" shift from the real world to online. I spend a significantly higher amount of time on online communities than real world neighborhood communities.




Wed May 02, 2007 8:59 pm
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Laughs at Einstein


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Post Re: Personal reactions
Rivercoil: I spend a significantly higher amount of time on online communities than real world neighborhood communities.

How do you feel about that? Some online communities can be very supportive, but others...

"All beings are the owners of their deeds, the heirs to their deeds."

Loricat's Book Nook
Celebrating the Absurd




Fri May 04, 2007 9:22 am
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Post Re: Personal reactions
How do you feel about that? Some online communities can be very supportive, but others...

Online "communities" are really not even a close substitute for the real thing. Unless you get to know people from the online forum in person, but even in that case the scope of the online forum does not truly match what a real community offers each other. At least I do not feel it is a legitimate substitution as I long to have the type of community I once had (college, living with a big group of people vs. one person, groups and activities I no longer belong to, etc.). There is certainly the potential to develop some sort of community online. But out of all the forums I participate in, I have found the greatest community with people I have met off line to pursue our shared interests in person.




Sat May 05, 2007 7:47 am
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