Sunday, June 26, 2005

Ordinary People

I've been reading "Take It Personally" by Anita Roddick, which my friend N loaned to me. Its a book about being an activist and countering various modern global economic trends. On page 13, she writes
If civilization is going to survive, business and policy-makers must move on, to find within themselves more developed emotions than fear or greed. I believe we can only do that by letting ordinary people take more responsibility for running the world, and that means opening up these powerful and unbending institutuions to a whiff of democracy.
This phrase "ordinary people" caught my attention because I had read it somewhere else recently and had been thinking about it. There's something I don't like about the phrase. Partly I think its not precise enough, and partly I think it buys into the value system that one is supposedly criticising. Who might such "ordinary people" be? I don't think that she would want to imply that the world should be led by people who are either uninterested in politics or unskilled in communicating with others and creating consensus and other such important leadership skills. To say that more "ordinary people" should be in charge is to suggest that those who already are in charge are extraordinary. People with a lot of money and/or political power are extraordinary, but often mainly by virtue of that power, and ordinary in many other ways.
The first page of the book says that
Proceeds from this book are going towards supporting visionaries, grassroots groups, and non-governmental organizations who are debunking the myths created by the World Trade Organization.
I would say that these people and groups are not "ordinary", but as she suggests, should be supported and celebrated.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Storage devices

Moving. What can I say?
Lots of junk. Realizing that keeping too many things is the same as having an unfinished research project. These things are part of building a life, and sometimes you just don't have the time to go through them and decide where they should fit. So you don't want to throw them away. They are raw material. Once you have a vision, you can use that vision to apply criteria for what to keep and what not to.
What about hard drives? With technology I tend to go back and forth between wanting power and customizability and wanting ease of use. The goal is to combine these, but some oscillation is usually required before settling down. I think I start this oscillation process off in too many areas without finishing them. Maybe its been a smart long term approach, but it sure has sucked as a short term approach. Anyway, I moved from Linux to Mac and now that I'm moving I have to decide what to do with my other (Linux) computer. Well, I managed to find the stuff on it that I want to keep and thanks to a piece of paper I didn't throw away, was even able to burn some cd's with that data on it. So I transfered that over to my mac and now I think I can start to figure out how to sell, give, throw away the other computer.
One nice piece to the puzzle was finding a place called "green citizen" near Fry's which will take monitors and tv's and other stuff for a small price, but does the right thing with them, recycling metals and working with manufacturerers. So I'm happy to know they exist. One small piece of learning how to be a constructive part of a sustainable lifestyle.
As for the rest of the moving process? I continue to treat it like my research project... one foot in front of the other.