Lessons From the Dying

Hospice worker Kathleen Taylor shares insights from the dying that remind us how to live now. “People at the end of their lives are incapable of bullshit” – “at the end, people become these pure, distilled, crystallized, authentic versions of who they are” – “people talk about things they’ve never talked about before – they will reconsider things they’ve been certain about their entire lives – they do brave stuff like change their mind, and apologize, and forgive, they express love where it needs to be expressed, they find joy in the smallest moments” – “other things fall away at the end:  being right, being guilty, being busy, being self-conscious, being important…” The number one regret of the dying? “I wish I had had the courage to live a life true to myself, and not to what others expected of me”. “Dying people teach us that it’s never too late to shed what is false, and to become who we truly are”. “Take a hint from how people live their last days. If you really want to live every day like it’s your last, then do some introspection, discover and express your amazing uniqueness in the world, stop bullshitting, make your life story about how you truly are, because I believe the world needs you  

In 50 Years

Wonderful short video from Skoll World Forum on what the world will look like in 50 years. Among the participants are Pay Pal – Space X – Tesla Motors founder Elon Musk and MIT Media Lab director Joichi  

The World 2050

“…and in Europe we have one billion people, and in Africa we have one billion people. and the rest, the other four billion, they are all Asian. They are all Asian. This is how the world look. Every international company realizes that they must have their main office in Asia. Yes, by demographics … and when people call the rest “developing world” then I get really confused, really confused. I have a suggestion for a new name for what has been labelled the developing World, I think it should be called the World.” – Hans Rosling, Skoll World Forum  

Social Intelligence

Self-absorption in all its forms kills empathy, let alone compassion. When we focus on ourselves, our world contracts as our problems and preoccupations loom large. But when we focus on others, our world expands. Our own problems drift to the periphery of the mind and so seem smaller, and we increase our capacity for connection or compassionate action. Daniel Goleman, from Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships What is the net collective effect of connective technology? Is it increased outward focus and social empathy or increased inward focus and narcissism? I tend to think that anything that allows people to reach beyond previously isolated tribes-ideologies-beliefs-borders, by definition, broadens our collective understanding of who “WE” are. And anything that truly expands our awareness and understanding of the broader human condition must, over time, increase empathy. The more continually aware we become of our collective presence and struggles, the more we will understand, even feel, the reality of others. I suggest that the net impact of connective technology, over generations, will be to diminish our sense of insider/outsider, us/them dualism in religion, politics, and nationalism. Daniel Goleman’s TED Talk from 2007 — “all it took was a simple act of  

Plenty Of Oil

A very good two-minute animated overview of fossil energy and energy industry PR. Heinberg is spot-on. We’re not “running out” of oil. That is not, and has never been, peak-oil theory. It’s rather a supply and demand issue: extraction of “economically cheap” oil (as we enjoyed for 100+ years) is over. The cheap and abundant oil is gone and will never return (abiogenic theories notwithstanding). We are now entering into the “hard to get” oil phase (deep water, frack, oil sand, shale, polar, etc.) which comes at increasingly higher prices. As world energy demand increases, oil will continue to get more expensive. And that’s the problem: just a few years ago, energy represented less than 8% of median household expenditure. It is now around 13%. Health care and energy are the two most rapidly rising common costs in the U.S. economy, rising far faster than inflation. What Heinberg doesn’t mention is natural gas. In the USA, newly available (fracked) NG reserves will probably give us many additional years of cheaper NG energy (but with significant environmental penalties – see Julian Lennon’s new campaign — watch the video on his site). Newly fracked NG reserves have already caused a number of coal plants to be shuttered. This is great news for N. America, but in the global energy picture it doesn’t change much. We are still (as a global community) up against rising long-term fossil energy supply constraints, which will almost certainly be the #1 structural cause of continued global debt and economic struggle moving  

A Force of Good

My mycologist friend Paul Stamets has a new film in collaboration with visionary filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg. It’s two minutes of creative brilliance. “If we don’t understand the organisms that sustain us today, not only will we destroy those organisms, but we will destroy ourselves.” This is also a good reminder to get involved in the movement to better regulate GMO seeds and foods. For a quick study, read today’s Joe Mercola essay on Monsanto. After reading this chilling and eye-opening brief, you’ll better understand why, according to Forbes Magazine, Google’s first suggested search term for the company is ‘Monstanto  

A National Strategic Narrative

I attended a conference last year called PopTech in Camden Maine. Couldn’t go this year, but did have a chance to watch some of the live feed. One of the presentations featured Naval Captain Wayne Porter and Marine Col. Mark Mykleby — military strategists working at the highest level of government. Together, they present highlights from their paper, “A National Strategic Narrative.” Their ideas ” less military force, more social capital and more sustainable energy practices ” have caused a stir in policy communities. Their proposal is one of transition away from some old policy ideas that no longer apply in the Google age.They want to move the nation towards an open system that seeks equilibrium in an interdependent global ecology; to move the idea of national security from containment to sustainability: from theories of control to theories of credible influence; from power to narrative: a national strategic story that doesn’t “hold the jello” quite so tight; towards a citizenry that demands purposeful participation. They rightly point out that government can only reflect the values that its citizens embody and that competition cannot be a zero-sum game in a deeply interdependent world. They focus on three issues they believe to be the highest social priorities to maintain a healthy nation moving forward. 1.) Education 2.) Security 3.) Energy I would personally put energy at the top, for without cheap, concentrated energy, access to education will erode as our economy weakens. Their brilliant talk concludes that we, as a nation, are moving towards polarizing ideologies that offer little more than divisive ultimata. Porter and Mykleby insist that we need a collective narrative that takes us beyond today’s ideologies; that will inform our skill, knowledge, and ultimately our technologies. Please invest 21 minutes in this important  

Growth Has An Expiration Date

Well, at least the kind of growth we’ve come to expect over the last 100 years. Tom Murphy is a physics professor at University of California, San Diego. His recent talk at the Compass Summit beautifully describes our #1 global issue moving forward — the energy trap. I think his term “energy trap” is better than “peak oil” for describing the volatile economic consequences that await our new century. Tom has “done the math” (as many of us have) and recognizes a high probability for ever-increasing levels of energy-based economic impediments over the coming decades. Moreover, Tom is the best numbers-oriented speaker I’ve heard on this issue. His talk reminds me of a more focused version of Richard Smalley’s famous energy talks in the late-1990s. Take 23 minutes and listen to Tom’s brilliant – “there is no financing in nature” – overview. If you’re limited for time, start around 11:30. And just for fun… The Daily ShowGet More: Daily Show Full Episodes,Political Humor & Satire Blog,The Daily Show on Facebook