Thursday, September 29, 2011

Wisdom or Magical Thinking?

There are heterodox economists and there are heterodox heterodox economists. John Michael Greer belongs in the later category. He has just put up a post that is fun and interesting if you are into philosophical wonkiness. (Probably not for everybody.) But his conclusion is something we all need to be thinking about:
Thus we’ve arrived as a society, and at a very late stage in the game, at the same point that classical philosophy reached after the execution of Socrates, when it became uncomfortably clear that having a small minority of people passionately interested in asking and answering the right questions was no guarantee against catastrophic levels of collective stupidity.

The Neoplatonist answer was a personal answer, the development of a toolkit to make clear thinking and decisive action possible for anyone with the self-discipline, patience, and persistence to put the tools to work, and it’s as valid an approach now as it was in the days of Iamblichus—though it’s only fair to say that there are other ways of getting to the same place, some similar, some very different.

The question that comes to many minds these days, though, is whether something similar can be done on the large scale—whether, to be precise, it’s possible to banish enough baboonery from our collective conversation about the future that we as a society can confront the real sources of our problems and do what has to be done. We’ll talk about that next week.
Read the whole post at The Archdruid Report: Druid perspectives on nature, culture, and the future of industrial society, A Preparation for Philosophy by John Michael Greer. Greer is the Grand Archdruid of the Ancient Order of Druids in America and the author of more than twenty books on a wide range of subjects, including The Long Descent: A User's Guide to the End of the Industrial Age, The Ecotechnic Future: Exploring a Post-Peak World, and the forthcoming The Wealth of Nature: Economics As If Survival Mattered.

Can we scale up wisdom necessary for survival in a fast-changing environment that requires increasing our adaptability rate and coordination in order to keep up with the pace of change?

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