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My Life Belongs to the Whole Community

This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.

I am of the opinion that my….

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Quotation by George Bernard Shaw   |   2019 Sep 06


The world is failing precisely because

To be human is to confuse a satisfying story with a meaningful one, and to mistake life for something huge with two legs.

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Quotation by Richard Powers   |   2019 Sep 06


More than enough

You never know what is enough unless you know what is more than enough.

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Quotation by William Blake   |   2019 Aug 30


Competition is not separable from endless flavors of cooperation

Her trees are far more social than even Patricia suspected. There are no individuals. There aren’t even separate species. Everything in the forest is the forest. Competition is not separable from endless flavors of cooperation. Trees fight no more than do the leaves on a single tree.

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Quotation by Richard Powers   |   2019 Aug 22


A Hundred Species of Love

She takes his shaking hand in the dark. It feels good, like a root must feel when it finds, after centuries, another root to pleach to underground. There are a hundred species of love, separately invented, each more ingenious than the last, and every one of them keeps making things.

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Quotation by Richard Powers   |   2019 Aug 22


The only dependable things are humility and looking

Watching the man, hard-of-hearing, hard-of-speech Patty learns that real joy consists of knowing that human wisdom counts less than the shimmer of beeches in a breeze. As certain as weather is coming from the west, the things people know for sure will change. There is no knowing for a fact.

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Quotation by Richard Powers   |   2019 Aug 22


Which side will lose by winning

Aspens are withering. Grazed on by everything with hooves, cut off from rejuvenating fire, whole groves are vanishing. Now she sees a forest, spreading across these mountains since before humans left Africa, giving way to second homes.

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Quotation by Richard Powers   |   2019 Aug 22


Rejiggering Our Religion

By Herb Bowie

When it comes to religion, the main question for most people is whether to keep the one we were raised with or to lose it altogether. But now I’m starting to wonder whether, instead of losing my religion, it might not be better just to rejigger it a bit?

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Blog Post   |   2019 Aug 13


Time is no match for Toni Morrison

Time is no match for Toni Morrison. In her writing, she sometimes toyed with it, warping and creasing it, bending it to her masterful will. In her life’s story, too, she treated time nontraditionally.

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Quotation by Barack Obama   |   2019 Aug 06


Apollo 11 - The Most Important Movie You'll See This Year

By Herb Bowie

No matter what your age or orientation, it’s hard to gainsay the significance of humankind’s first trip through space to set foot on a celestial body other than our birth planet.

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Blog Post   |   2019 Jul 20


What the Latest Trump Attack Means for Democrats

By Herb Bowie

By now I’m sure you’ve heard of Trump’s recent attacks on four Democratic congressional representatives, all women of color, urging them to “go back … to the crime-infested places from which they came.” How should Democrats respond? Here are the sorts of positions I’d like to hear them articulate.

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Blog Post   |   2019 Jul 16


Between-group selection became the primary evolutionary force

Our ancestors found ways to suppress disruptive competition among individuals within groups, so that between-group selection became the primary evolutionary force. This favored group-level coordination in all its forms, including the transmission of learned information across generations.

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Quotation by David Sloan Wilson   |   2019 Jul 15


The chicken experiment

But the chicken experiments suggest that this logic is flawed – even for farm animals where eugenics is a common practice. It seems Francis Galton was deeply mistaken about the relationship between individual abilities and societal welfare.

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Quotation by David Sloan Wilson   |   2019 Jul 15


The entire pageant of human history

Once we become attuned to it, the entire pageant of human history, starting approximately 100,000 years ago, can be seen as evolution at high speed, made possible by the transmission of learned information across generations.

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Quotation by David Sloan Wilson   |   2019 Jul 15


The eternal struggle between good and evil

Cancer provides an example of multilevel selection and the eternal contest between the behaviors associated with good and evil. With cancer, the group is the multicellular organism and the individuals are the cells.

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Quotation by David Sloan Wilson   |   2019 Jul 15


Increase nurturance thoughout the life span

If we could say only one thing about making the world a better place, to be reflected in our social policies and our personal decisions, it would be to increase nurturance thoughout the life span and especially during its early stages, starting before birth.

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Quotation by David Sloan Wilson   |   2019 Jul 15


Living in small groups has been baked into our psyches

Living in small groups has been baked into our psyches by thousands of generations of genetic evolution, and small groups need to remain “cells” in the cultural evolution of larger-scale societies.

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Quotation by David Sloan Wilson   |   2019 Jul 15


The malleability of life

It is sobering to contemplate the malleability of life. It only takes five generations to turn a population of mild-mannered chickens into a population of psychopaths. If we don’t manage evolutionary processes, they will very likely take us where we don’t want to go.

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Quotation by David Sloan Wilson   |   2019 Jul 15


Nurturance is a master variable

One basic prescription is to do everything possible to re-create the ancestral social environment of small groups of nurturing individuals who know each other by their actions. Provide such an environment, and prosocial child development and adult relations will take place with surprising ease.

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Quotation by David Sloan Wilson   |   2019 Jul 15


Our long-term personal and societal goals

Furthermore, as we have seen for genetic evolution, what’s adaptive in the evolutionary sense of the word isn’t necessarily good or right in the normative sense.

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Quotation by David Sloan Wilson   |   2019 Jul 15


Religions are great bushy trees

In short, religions are great bushy trees that evolved, and continue to evolve, by cultural evolution.

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Quotation by David Sloan Wilson   |   2019 Jul 15


Small groups are a fundamental unit of human social organization

Multilevel selection theory tells us that something similar to team-level selection took place in our species for thousands of generations, resulting in adaptations for teamwork that are baked into the genetic architecture of our minds.

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Quotation by David Sloan Wilson   |   2019 Jul 15


A vast repository of information learned and passed down from previous generations

With this perspective, you can begin to think of yourself as not just a product of your genes, and not just a product of your personal experience, but also as one of many members of your culture who collectively contain a vast repository of information learned and passed down from previous….

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Quotation by David Sloan Wilson   |   2019 Jul 15


The only thing that's constant there is other people

This is part of the model that we’ve developed called the social baseline model. When you average everything out that humans have experienced, over millennia, the only thing that’s constant is other humans. We’re so adaptable, we’ve been to so many places; we live in the arctic and the equator.

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Quotation by Jim Coan   |   2019 Jul 11


The Dangers of Political Nostalgia

By Herb Bowie

I’m not quite as old as Biden, and I’ve never served in public office, but I can still share his nostalgia for seemingly simpler times when our political leaders displayed some sort of respect for each other, even when they disagreed over issues of state.

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Blog Post   |   2019 Jun 25


The Progressive Problem

By Herb Bowie

No wonder zombie movies have been popular of late: so many of us feel like increasingly isolated survivors having to fight off forces that we thought were previously vanquished and long buried, forces that seem to be arising all around us, springing at us from all sides.

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Blog Post   |   2019 Jun 10


The evil in the world comes almost always from ignorance

The evil in the world comes almost always from ignorance, and goodwill can cause as much damage as ill-will if it is not enlightened…. There is no true goodness or fine love without the greatest possible degree of clear-sightedness.

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Quotation by Albert Camus   |   2019 Jun 10


Our species does represent a new evolutionary process

As we are increasingly coming to realize, our species does represent a new evolutionary process — cultural evolution — that far surpasses cultural traditions in other species.

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Quotation by David Sloan Wilson   |   2019 Jun 10


Selfish and contentious people will not cohere

Selfish and contentious people will not cohere and without coherence nothing can be effected.

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Quotation by Charles Darwin   |   2019 Jun 10


How to Fix Big Tech

By Herb Bowie

We all sort of know the problems, right? Monopolies. Lock-in. Stream addiction. Reality bubbles. Billionaires seeking market dominance. All other values taking a back seat to growth. I don’t think I need to elaborate. If you’re reading this, then you’re probably well aware of all these concerns.

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Blog Post   |   2019 May 22


Building a Case for the Detective Story

By Herb Bowie

Over the many years since the receipt of my Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Michigan, I have probably spent more rewarding hours reading detective stories than any other form of fiction.

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Appreciation   |   2019 May 07


Digging up fossil fuels and setting them alight

For two hundred years, human economic activity has largely consisted of digging up fossil fuels and setting them alight, and while two hundred years seems like a long time to us, in geological terms it’s like a bat out of… well, out of hell.

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Quotation by Bill McKibben   |   2019 May 07


The Human Experiment is Now in Question

Put simply, between ecological destruction and technological hubris, the human experiment is now in question. The stakes feel very high, and the odds very long, and the trends very ominous.

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Quotation by Bill McKibben   |   2019 Apr 27


The Challenge for Democrats: Playing the Long Game

By Herb Bowie

Right now Democrats are focused primarily on two things happening in 2020: 1. Beating Trump; 2. Regaining control of the Senate. These would both be great accomplishments for the party, and for the winning candidates. But for the country, not so much.

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Blog Post   |   2019 Apr 25


The Devastating Tragedy of our Vanishing Middle Class

By Herb Bowie

If you react in any of these typical ways, then I will argue today that you’re missing the bigger picture, and overlooking the most devastating consequences of our country’s loss of our middle class.

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Blog Post   |   2019 Apr 15


A law against private jets

If I were queen of the world, I would pass a law against private jets, because they enable you to get around a certain reality. You don’t have to go through an airport terminal, you don’t have to interact, you don’t have to be patient, you don’t have to be uncomfortable.

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Quotation by Abigail Disney   |   2019 Apr 08


Paul Thorn and his 800 Pound Jesus

By Herb Bowie

I’d been aware of Paul Thorn for some time, but didn’t really become a fan until I saw him live last summer at The Ark in Ann Arbor.

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Appreciation   |   2019 Mar 26


How a Balanced Candidate Might Win the Presidency

By Herb Bowie

I wrote recently to express my skepticism about the chances of a centrist candidate becoming our next U.S. president. I write today to share my belief that a balanced candidate might well win.

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Blog Post   |   2019 Mar 25


My List of Requirements for our Next President

By Herb Bowie

While many of us are waiting for our 2020 presidential candidates to hit the road and give us a chance to to get to know them better, I decided to stop waiting and let them know what I’m looking for in a new president. I mean after all, it doesn’t seem fair to make them guess.

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Blog Post   |   2019 Mar 24


Citizen Kane vs. Citizen Bailey

By Herb Bowie

I’ve often considered Citizen Kane and It’s A Wonderful Life to be complementary works, much like cinematic twins separated at birth.

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Blog Post   |   2019 Mar 11


Our Three Human Approaches to Dealing with Problems

By Herb Bowie

We all run into challenges from time to time, whether at work, at home, or in our communities. In general, I would suggest, we have three different approaches available to us when we try to respond to such situations.

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Blog Post   |   2019 Mar 05


Science

By Herb Bowie

A belief in science is one of the core Practopian principles. We embrace science as one way of understanding the universe in which we live, and we accept toolmaking (aka engineering) as one means of improving the human condition.

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Basic Info   |   2019 Mar 04


The growth of firms

All the evidence we have indicates that the growth of firms is connected with the attempts of a particular group of human beings to do something.

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Quotation by Edith Penrose   |   2019 Feb 25


Is There Any Middle Left?

By Herb Bowie

As the US political scene transitions from the Democratic successes in the midterms to the beginnings of the 2020 presidential contest, one of the most pressing questions to emerge is whether there is any meaningful middle ground remaining along the political spectrum stretching from left to right.

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Blog Post   |   2019 Feb 18


The Most Precious Kind of Freedom

But there are all different kinds of freedom, and the kind that is most precious you will not hear much talked about in the great outside world of winning and achieving and displaying.

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Quotation by David Foster Wallace   |   2019 Feb 17


Rebuilding Trust In Our Large Institutions

By Herb Bowie

I find it fascinating to compare the original Star Trek television series with the first Star Wars movie. And I think this comparison can reveal a lot about the current state of our culture.

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Blog Post   |   2019 Feb 11


Learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think

As I’m sure you guys know by now, it is extremely difficult to stay alert and attentive, instead of getting hypnotised by the constant monologue inside your own head (may be happening right now).

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Quotation by David Foster Wallace   |   2019 Jan 29


tikkun olam

In Jewish teachings, ‘tikkun olam’ refers to any activity that improves the world, bringing it closer to the harmonious state for which it was created.

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Quotation by John Gottman   |   2019 Jan 29


Our American Class System

By Herb Bowie

In short, this was a period of our history during which class distinctions seemed to be fading. Sure, some people had more money than others. My mother drove a Ford Falcon, my father drove a Mustang, and my Uncle drove a Thunderbird.

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Blog Post   |   2019 Jan 27


If you'll just rattle your jewelry

For our last number, I’d like to ask your help. Would the people in the cheaper seats clap your hands. And the rest of you, if you’ll just rattle your jewelry.

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Quotation by John Lennon   |   2019 Jan 27


More Love

By Herb Bowie

For me, love is an elemental human feeling that helps to bind us to one another, and to the world around us. It is a feeling of care and appreciation for, and attachment to, people and things of value that have an independent existence outside of ourselves.

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Basic Info   |   2019 Jan 26


Most humans desire cultural stability, not change

All of this confirms something that I’ve long suspected: Most humans, until very recently, desired and maintained cultural stability, not change. Change was a threat and was embraced only when absolutely necessary.

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Quotation by Stephen E. Nash   |   2019 Jan 26


What We Can Learn from the Government Shutdown

By Herb Bowie

As I write this, those of us in the U.S. are on day 30 of a partial federal government shutdown whose effects are increasingly rippling through our society.

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Blog Post   |   2019 Jan 21


The Truth About Capitalism

By Herb Bowie

No matter which way you lean politically, you probably have strong feelings about capitalism. It seems to me that there are a lot of odd ideas on this topic running around out there in today’s world. Let me offer some thoughts about what seems true to me.

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Blog Post   |   2019 Jan 07


All of us are trim tabs

One guy, he had nothing to do with the movies, but I’ve taken a lot of direction from him. That’s Bucky Fuller. Bucky, he’s most famous for the geodesic dome, but he made a great observation about these oceangoing tankers.

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Quotation by Jeff Bridges   |   2019 Jan 07


The exercise of the intellect

From the time when the exercise of the intellect became a source of strength and of wealth, we see that every addition to science, every fresh truth and every new idea became a germ of power placed within the reach of the people.

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Quotation by Alexis de Tocqueville   |   2019 Jan 03


Capitalism as a Market Society

Readers may be surprised by the absence of any mention of ‘capital’ or ‘capitalism’ in the book. I chose to leave out such words not because there is anything wrong with them but because, loaded as they are with heavy baggage, they get in the way of illuminating the essence of things.

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Quotation by Yanis Varoufakis   |   2018 Dec 28


The economy is too important to leave to the economists

This book grew out of my Greek publisher’s invitation, back in 2013, to talk directly to young people about the economy. My reason for writing it was the conviction that the economy is too important to leave to the economists.

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Quotation by Yanis Varoufakis   |   2018 Dec 28


Have We Passed The Point of Maximum Useful Tech?

By Herb Bowie

What happened between 1990 and 2018? Who stuck the playing card between the spokes of the bicycle for my mind, turning a mental enabler into an annoying distraction?

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Blog Post   |   2018 Dec 17


Amusing ourselves to death

Our politics, religion, news, athletics, education and commerce have been transformed into congenial adjuncts of show business, largely without protest or even much popular notice. The result is that we are a people on the verge of amusing ourselves to death.

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Quotation by Neil Postman   |   2018 Dec 14


Television mesmerizes people

The boob tube turns you into a boob,. Television mesmerizes people and turns them into intellectual spectators. It feeds passivity and makes you less engaged.

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Quotation by Eric Braverman   |   2018 Dec 14


The Value of Individuals

By Herb Bowie

A belief in the value of individuals is one of the core Practopian principles.

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Basic Info   |   2018 Dec 10


The welfare of the whole human race

The twentieth century will be chiefly remembered by future generations not as an era of political conflicts or technical inventions, but as an age in which human society dared to think of the welfare of the whole human race as a practical objective.

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Quotation by Arnold J. Toynbee   |   2018 Dec 06


It's the rich class that's winning

There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.

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Quotation by Warren Buffett   |   2018 Dec 04


Calling for a US Sustainability Initiative

By Herb Bowie

Looking back over the history of the United States, it’s easy to see in hindsight a series of events and actions that have either united or divided us.

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Blog Post   |   2018 Dec 03


The Importance of Mission

By Herb Bowie

The dictionary on my Mac defines mission as “a strongly felt aim, ambition, or calling.”

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Basic Info   |   2018 Nov 26


This strange hankering for play and surprise

That exploratory, expansive drive is what separates delight from demand: when we are in play mode, we are open to new surprises, while our base appetites focus the mind on the urgent needs of staying alive.

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Quotation by Steven Johnson   |   2018 Nov 22


A Broadcast Consciousness

By Herb Bowie

Let me take you on a little journey of thought exploring some hitherto unconsidered aspects of our common cultural evolution.

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Blog Post   |   2018 Nov 19


The divine literatus

View’d, to-day, from a point of view sufficiently over-arching, the problem of humanity all over the civilized world is social and religious, and is to be finally met and treated by literature. The priest departs, the divine literatus comes.

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Quotation by Walt Whitman   |   2018 Nov 16


Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts

Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts

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Quotation by Daniel Patrick Moynihan   |   2018 Nov 16


The institution of the family

The institution of the family is decisive in determining not only if a person has the capacity to love another individual but in the larger social sense whether he is capable of loving his fellow men collectively.

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Quotation by Daniel Patrick Moynihan   |   2018 Nov 16


It's sports and it's all love

At the end of the day, it’s sports, and it’s all love. I feel for both sides.

– Commenting on stopping on the court after a game to console Devin Davis, an opponent who was sobbing on the court, despondent over missing two crucual free throws.

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Quotation by Moritz Wagner   |   2018 Nov 16


Living with the strains of complexity

Political society wants things simple. Political scientists know them to be complex…

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Quotation by Daniel Patrick Moynihan   |   2018 Nov 16


Public morality

Moral guidance about what is right or decent can be found both in religious teachings and in our contemporary understanding of what we owe one another as members of the same society. As I have suggested, they overlap.

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Quotation by Robert B. Reich   |   2018 Nov 16


Public Truth

Reviving the common good also depends on each of us taking responsibility for finding, sharing, and insisting upon public truth.

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Quotation by Robert B. Reich   |   2018 Nov 16


Set off from the rest by a line drawn

Of all dangers to a nation, as things exist in our day, there can be no greater one than having certain portions of the people set off from the rest by a line drawn – they not privileged as others, but degraded, humiliated, made of no account.

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Quotation by Walt Whitman   |   2018 Nov 16


That community asks for and gets chaos

From the wild Irish slums of the 19th century Eastern seaboard, to the riot-torn suburbs of Los Angeles, there is one unmistakable lesson in American history; a community that allows a large number of men to grow up in broken families, dominated by women, never acquiring any stable relationship to….

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Quotation by Daniel Patrick Moynihan   |   2018 Nov 16


To differentiate truth from falsehood

It is the civic responsibility of all of us to check the facts we read or hear, to find and depend upon reliable sources, to share the truth with others, and hold accountable those who lie to us or suppress the truth.

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Quotation by Robert B. Reich   |   2018 Nov 16


Each man is questioned by life

Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather must recognize that it is he who is asked. In a word, each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life he can only respond by being responsible.

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Quotation by Victor Frankl   |   2018 Nov 13


Love is the ultimate and the highest goal

A thought transfixed me: for the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth – that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire.

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Quotation by Victor Frankl   |   2018 Nov 13


Man must believe in an open future

Man’s freedom is a reality – a reality that makes a difference to his physical, as well as his mental health. When Frankl’s prisoners ceased to believe in the possibility of freedom, they grew sick and died.

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Quotation by Colin Wilson   |   2018 Nov 13


We should always be fighting evil

All I tried to do in my stories was show that there’s some innate goodness in the human condition. And there’s always going to be evil; we should always be fighting evil.

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Quotation by Stan Lee   |   2018 Nov 13


The Written Word in the 21st Century

By Herb Bowie

Whether we are talking about the King James Bible, The Catcher in the Rye, On the Origin of Species, or Wikipedia, we recognize that writing things down is an important means of preserving human knowledge and wisdom, and that both writing and reading are invaluable human activities.

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Basic Info   |   2018 Nov 12


People are happy to give away their most valuable asset

At present, people are happy to give away their most valuable asset – their personal data – in exchange for free email services and funny cat videos.

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Quotation by Yuval Noah Harari   |   2018 Nov 12


Regulating the ownership of data

So we had better call upon our lawyers, politicians, philosophers, and even poets to turn their attention to this conundrum: how do you regulate the ownership of data? This may well be the most important political question of our era.

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Quotation by Yuval Noah Harari   |   2018 Nov 12


Selling sugared water

Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water, or do you want a chance to change the world?

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Quotation by Steve Jobs   |   2018 Nov 12


An emotional poverty so bottomless

I have always been struck, in America, by an emotional poverty so bottomless, and a terror of human life, of human touch, so deep that virtually no American appears able to achieve any viable, organic connection between his public stance and his private life.

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Quotation by James Baldwin   |   2018 Nov 09


A beast or a god

But he who is unable to live in society, or who has no need because he is sufficient for himself, must be either a beast or a god: he is no part of a state. A social instinct is implanted in all men by nature.

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Quotation by Aristotle   |   2018 Nov 08


Egocentric Existence

Both the authoritarian and the submissive develop standards which they feel will insure them against threat, but these are very raw standards. The submissive person chooses to get away with what he can within the life style which is possible for him. The authoritarian chooses to do as he pleases.

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Quotation by Clare W. Graves   |   2018 Nov 07


Man's nature is an open, constantly evolving system

The error which most people make when they think about human values is that they assume the nature of man is fixed and there is a single set of human values by which he should live. Such an assumption does not fit with my research.

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Quotation by Clare W. Graves   |   2018 Nov 07


While he was focusing on the inner self, his outer world has gone to pot

At the personalistic level (F-S), man becomes centrally concerned with peace with his inner self and in the relation of his self to the inner self of others.

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Quotation by Clare W. Graves   |   2018 Nov 07


My Advice to Young People of All Ages

By Herb Bowie

Today I’d like to change my focus and offer some advice for what people can and should do to improve their own personal lots in modern life. I have only a few recommendations, and they’re rather brief and straightforward, although I won’t claim they’re easy.

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Blog Post   |   2018 Oct 31


Let us accept our own responsibility for the future

Let us not despair but act. Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past – let us accept our own responsibility for the future.

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Quotation by John F. Kennedy   |   2018 Oct 29


An Integral Approach

By Herb Bowie

A belief in an integral approach is one of the core Practopian principles. At its most basic, this principle simply means that people can see things from different perspectives, and that often no one way of seeing something is the “right” or only way.

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Basic Info   |   2018 Oct 26


The better angels of our nature

We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection.

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Quotation by Abraham Lincoln   |   2018 Oct 26


Economic growth will not save the global ecosystem

Liberalism traditionally relied on economic growth to magically solve difficult social and political conflicts. Liberalism reconciled the proletariat with the bourgeoisie, the faithful with atheists, natives with immigrants, and Europeans with Asians by promising everybody a larger slice of the pie.

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Quotation by Yuval Noah Harari   |   2018 Oct 26


The historical trajectory of violence

The historical trajectory of violence affects not only how life is lived but how it is understood.

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Quotation by Steven Pinker   |   2018 Oct 26


If the future of humanity is decided in your absence...

In a world deluged by irrelevant information, clarity is power. In theory, anybody can join the debate about the future of humanity, but it is so hard to maintain a clear vision. We might not even notice that a debate is going on, or what the key questions are.

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Quotation by Yuval Noah Harari   |   2018 Oct 26


Struggling against irrelevance

Brexit and the rise of Trump might therefore demonstrate a trajectory opposite to that of traditional socialist revolutions.

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Quotation by Yuval Noah Harari   |   2018 Oct 26


Thinking should be generous and have a good appetite

Thinking should be generous and have a good appetite. I find life far too valuable these days to shut out most of its variety in favour of digging down into the depths….

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Quotation by Sarah Bakewell   |   2018 Oct 26


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