On the road to nowhere.

Is anyone out there concerned about the sustainability of the human race? Big question, let me give you some back-story. Let me tell you right up front though…this post is longer than normal, and it’s riddled with paranoia. There, you’ve been warned.

Yesterday I was reading “The Other Climate Crisis‘, a report by Ken Robinson at ChangeThis. It’s not a  particularly long read, but it left a mark on me, and I wanted to talk about it.

Robinson discusses a lot of important issues. I don’t want to reiterate them in great detail here (I’d rather you go read it in full), but let’s touch on a few of them. First, he points out that Western medicine (and, really, the Western worldview, in general) tends to see the human body in a very linear and mechanistic way. This has it’s up side, but many costs as well. He asserts that like any living organism, the human body is an exquisitely complex system and the many internal processes affect and depend on one another in highly specialized ways.

The Western worldview, as he puts it, “is not based on seeing synergies and connections; it is based on making distinctions and seeing differences.” This way of thinking affects more than our individual bodies, of course. It affects us as a society, a people, a planet.

A couple hundred years ago, no big deal. But with the explosive growth of the global population (It took from the beginning of the world to 1750 to reach 1 billion people. In 1930 we reached 2 billion. 1970 saw 4 billion, and by 1999, there were 6 billion people on the planet…the human population doubled in 60 years) and, in particular, the growth of cities (most of which will be in developing countries with a standard of living far below what you and I enjoy), the earth is facing huge challenges in the coming years. And to deal with them, we have to move beyond this linear/mechanistic way of thinking.

Human bodies, communities and organizations are much more like organisms than they are mechanisms, and Robinson uses some agricultural metaphors to explain these relationships. He used what farmers call ‘Companion Planting’ to illustrate. “Plants with strong odors, such as certain flowers, will keep flying insects away so they won’t harm other (vegetable) plants in the garden. And if a plant attracts harmful bugs it will need help from a companion or a “good neighbor” plant to ward them off. If plants are in some way aware of and respond to each other’s presence, how much more true is this of fully conscious human systems?”

We need to cultivate better conditions for growth if we are to sustain the human condition. We need to understand how the many different parts - of ourselves, our communities, our organizations, our ecosystem - work together to flourish. Dealing with a symptom is insufficient, but understanding the cause (or, come to that, desiring to understand the cause) requires a fairly monumental shift in thinking.

The report ends with a quote from Jonas Salk (he of the Polio Vaccine):

“It’s interesting to reflect that if all the insects were to disappear from the Earth, within fifty years, all other forms of life would end. But if all human beings were to disappear from the Earth, within fifty years, all other forms of life would flourish.”

In other words, nature is naturally synergistic. Almost everything behaves in a very certain way that syncs with near perfection with the system of which it is a part. Remove one element, and the entire system is affected. Humans are the glaring exception to this rule. As Robinson puts it, we’ve become the problem.

All of which brings me back around to the question asked in the opening sentence. Is anyone out there concerned about the sustainability of the human race? This report, and others like it, make my answer to this question ‘Yes’.

I started How To Matter because I’m concerned. Primarily, about raising my boys to successfully navigate their way through life in a world with increasingly misaligned priorities. To equip them with the knowledge, the patience, the confidence and the compassion to know where they fit, and to help others find their places too.

But when I consider the implications of Robinson’s report, I worry. Not about whether I’ll succeed at the above. But about the world itself. It quite literally pains me to think about things like deforestation and mountaintop removal mining (and many many other things). The motivating factors behind such practices are shameful. Yet, to sustain our ‘way of life’, they’re necessary. That bothers me. I hate being a part of that problem, and that’s why our society’s incessant need for more stuff is such a visceral issue for me.

I know it’s not the greatest thing to think about, but solutions require thought. Effort. Am I wrong to be concerned? Are my fears irrational/unfounded? Or is there something to it? What are your thoughts? Thanks for listening.

Photo Credit: Laura Leavell

{ 50 comments… add one }

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  • Richard Reeve January 15, 2009, 1:52 pm

    OK…you got me really thinking here, so I made a “what if” post responding to your concerns. I think the solution lives in your home with you and my home with me…peace.

    Reply
    • Jeb January 16, 2009, 11:18 am

      Richard,
      I love the idea of the solution ‘living in my home with me, and in your home with you’. That concept opens my mind to so many possibilities. And along with your ‘what if’ post, it represents not just the immense power of this new media we enjoy (in that it brings people, and ideas, together so easily), but the even more amazing power of collaboration in general.

      I’m thinking about this issue completely differently today than I was yesterday. Completely. That shift is simply impossible if I don’t communicate my thought process, get feedback, and reassess. That you happen to be exquisitely gifted at encouraging thoughtful reflection certainly helps. But even had I made mention of my worries to the mail man (just an example folks), his or her response would have changed my view. One way or another.

      This is the blessing, and the curse, that Robinson alludes to. If we recognize how interdependent we all are, how interactions between people affects more than just those people…but also the entire system in which they exist (the idea that 1+1=3, or 10 or infinity), the possibilities are truly miraculous. But if we dont, if we continue to look for differences, distinctions…if we continue to attack symptoms rather than address the causes, I don’t think we’re going to be pleased with where the chips may fall.

      Thanks for leading me down that path Richard.

      Reply
  • Michael Caranza January 15, 2009, 1:57 pm

    Bless you Richard…that is precisely the take on this issue I needed. May the creation begin.

    Michael Caranza´s last blog post..On the road to nowhere.

    This comment was originally posted on Catskill Cottage Seed

    Reply
  • Richard Reeve January 15, 2009, 2:08 pm

    Jeb, sometimes it’s more then useful to work with the “as if” assumptions. We can only expect efficacy where we have both the authority and the courage to implement the needed change. While change, by its nature engenders resistance, there really does seem to be the magical tipping point where it becomes contagious. So where’s my shovel?

    This comment was originally posted on Catskill Cottage Seed

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  • ben January 15, 2009, 2:57 pm

    I think it’s pretty easy (especially as a parent) to get caught up in all of the “what if’s”. Our hearts are in the right place, we worry about the future of our kids and our grandkids and the generations that follow but I do believe there is some irrationality and over-speculation and fear mongering to it too. Some people have agendas and they further them by perpetuating our fears. I’m not saying they are wrong or even completely unjustified but I don’t necessarily believe everything I read/hear either. If we buy into all of that fear, whether it be propaganda or truth, it will make us crazy. I do however believe in the basics as far as protecting my environment. I reduce, reuse and recycle what I can, I have a compost and a garden and I don’t burn more fuel or use more energy than necessary. Whether we like it or not we need mining and the big oil companies (or we can’t heat our homes, go anywhere or get anything) and we need logging (unless you want to wipe your butt with an owl instead). I do think that changes can and should be made and really we’ve come a long way already with some things, we just have to be rational and realistic about it. You’re not irrational at all Jeb, it’s good that you care, we should all care we just shouldn’t get carried away. :)

    Get ben’s content here..ee ii eee iii nooooo

    Reply
    • Jeb January 15, 2009, 3:20 pm

      Benher…yes, that is a struggle for me. I hear what you’re saying about the danger of buying into that fear. There’s plenty to go around and it doesn’t usually serve us well. But I think spending a little time there - just enough to make it resonate - is fruitful. For me, it helps me rally my supporters (read, motivation) for the task at hand. And while I do understand that we need mining/oil companies/logging/etc, it’s just the shear MAGNITUDE that amazes (and scares) me some times.

      Thanks for your perspective BH…nice to hear from you.

      Reply
  • Jay January 15, 2009, 6:40 pm

    Forgive me, because your intelligence supersedes me in these areas, but what you are saying is because we (Society) cherish childhood in such a distorted manner that we are not allowing our children to grow naturally, the relection that will take place in the adult world for those children will possibly be nothingness? As stated by many scientists, the bible, and a couple crazies with sandwich boards? In a sense we are contributing to the end days through the fear of the unknown. Seems paradoxical that the fear of our children growing up in this world, could lead to them not growing up at all. My head hurts a little.

    Jay´s last blog post..How to Go on a Criticism Diet- Part 2

    This comment was originally posted on Catskill Cottage Seed

    Reply
  • Richard Reeve January 15, 2009, 6:52 pm

    Hey Jay,
    Just checking that you read Jeb’s thrust which this is responding to? It ended with a question that to me asked is there anything that can be done? My response to that implied despair: certainly! Raise up a new and different future. Perhaps the answer to the problem is not to tackle it head on but to think and act outside the box. Again, it’s an imaginative position, but one which can guide today with hope, can dispel the despair of an individual with little efficacy in the system that it is for naught. When the archetype of the Apocalypse is activated, what would your suggestion be for a continued forward march?

    This comment was originally posted on Catskill Cottage Seed

    Reply
  • Jay January 15, 2009, 9:26 pm

    Find that shovel of yours!

    Jay´s last blog post..How to Go on a Criticism Diet- Part 2

    This comment was originally posted on Catskill Cottage Seed

    Reply
  • chas January 15, 2009, 9:40 pm

    the sins of the fathers shall be visited on the sons for nigh unto seven generations. or something like that. i’ve always interpreted this as meaning that if you beat your kid, then your kid will beat his kids, and on and on and on…and i’ve always been determined to stop that buck right here and now.

    william blake put it thus:

    children of a future age
    reading this indignant page
    know that in a former time
    love sweet love was thought a crime

    i’ve always held that children’s liberation is the last liberation, the one that will finally liberate all of humanity from the ghastliness of poverty, ignorance, and violence.

    can we stop beating our children? yes, we can.

    chas´s last blog post..friday afternoon update! 13: the late edition

    This comment was originally posted on Catskill Cottage Seed

    Reply
  • Richard Reeve January 15, 2009, 10:30 pm

    Chas,
    I’ve never heard heard the idea of the last liberation, but I like it a great deal…Fabulous contribution.

    This comment was originally posted on Catskill Cottage Seed

    Reply
  • Detlef Cordes January 16, 2009, 12:17 am

    “I hate being a part of that problem” - I like that sentence very much, Jeb. Yet we living the life of the western world have to acknowledge: we are not the solution - we are the problem.

    That said I have to say: The western worldview is one that is able to doubt itself. It is able to put itself on the agenda and to ask: “Do we really want this?” I hate to use the word “proud”, but I am proud of this and I cannot image to live in a society so self assured that it’s a taboo to ask: “Hey, don’t you think we get it totally wrong here?”

    Broad-Mindedness is a key value and the strength of the western way. With 8 Billion people humanity cannot go back to the old ways or stay in the old ways of which tradition ever. The eastern civilisations are adapting as well and have to realign their values to the world of technology. To me as a westerner they seem very different. There are some things I admire very much, there some things I am unable to follow. I suppose it’s the same for the thinking people of the east looking west.

    As we meet in strangeness, able to endure strangeness and to accept ways we mutually cannot comprehend, we will be able to build bridges to deal with our problems as humanity together.

    How is it, Jeb, that your posts always make me answer so grave and ceremonious? Maybe it is because in your posts I find the issues that trouble me so deeply.

    Get Detlef Cordes’s content here..Stop the conversation strategy

    Reply
    • Jeb January 16, 2009, 10:55 am

      Hi Detlef,
      Well sir, if self-doubt is a characteristic of the Western world…I fit right in. :) Of course, as I’ve posted before, like you, I don’t view that as all bad. I think the willingness to assess and think critically about the choices we’ve made, the path we’re on, is vitally important.

      So that report I read, it might not be entirely representative of the truth. Might be, but regardless, the important thing about it, in my view, is that it raises the questions. If we don’t consider the consequences of maintaining the collective ‘life’ we’re living, then certainly the likelihood of said consequences showing up one day increases.

      And though I dont currently have the capacity to imagine the solutions to these challenges, I know that, as with most things in life, focus and effort will bring them to light.

      I’m thankful for your comments Detlef, and I truly appreciate you dropping by so often to pay my concerns some attention.

      Reply
  • moira January 16, 2009, 1:50 am

    beautifully put, richard. not such a big leap. what if we were to look at the world through the eyes of our innocent child-selves and forgive all that abuse and greed, neglect and injustice? what if we could envision, from that place of innocence, that hoped for reality and change course in an instant?

    moira´s last blog post..Feel Good Fast #3 Day 9

    This comment was originally posted on Catskill Cottage Seed

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  • Detlef Cordes January 16, 2009, 3:06 am

    Talking ’bout a revolution …

    As the world changes so much so rapidly, perhaps there will be a “new generation”, like at the end of the 60s.

    But we will be the old ones with the old ways by then. That may be hard and hurt, because we cherish our ways and our children.

    The children will walk their own path. Even more so having experienced unconditional love in their childhood. If some day we cannot follow their road anymore it might signify that its the right one.

    Detlef Cordes´s last blog post..Stop the conversation strategy

    This comment was originally posted on Catskill Cottage Seed

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  • Richard Reeve January 16, 2009, 6:06 am

    Moira,
    …to see with the eyes of the little ones…it feel so risky to the ego…like naive posture that will be taken advantage of…but we must

    This comment was originally posted on Catskill Cottage Seed

    Reply
  • Richard Reeve January 16, 2009, 6:08 am

    Detlef,
    We can stand to the side and watch together…two grumpy old bloggers…
    Love the idea that getting lost is the road…

    This comment was originally posted on Catskill Cottage Seed

    Reply
  • chas January 16, 2009, 6:57 am

    oh yeah…i forgot to mention the part that when we make that shift with our children and raise them with respect and dignity and freedom and love…we also offer those same gifts to our own inner child…and transform our own childhoods in the process…

    This comment was originally posted on Catskill Cottage Seed

    Reply
  • Brian Galvin January 16, 2009, 5:51 pm

    Jeb,

    You’re off to a great start with your blog! Really great stuff. I do worry about the precise question you mention in this post (the first I’ve read; I found you today on Twitter). For a long time I have pondered the inherent instability (mathematically, the monotonically convex exponential curve of population/production/waste/etc.) of human society since the 1500′s. When corporate management’s job is profit growth measured in percent per year (and why wouldn’t it be, since that is what investors want), then they must grow exponentially or die. Which isn’t healthy (we humans don’t grow exponentially except maybe mentally, if we try to).

    And after 9/11, when the word from the government was “go out and spend so they don’t win by killing our economy”, I jumped to a higher level of concern. And when you consider that the press just figured out that maybe people don’t really need a new car every three years (duh!), think about what would happen to Detroit if we all started acted rationally like economists always pretended we do! If we act rationally, then things really come off the rails, and people will starve because our entire system is built on exponential growth expectations.

    I’ll keep watching here, Jed!

    Brian Galvin

    Reply
  • Richard Reeve January 16, 2009, 6:06 pm

    Indeed Chas,
    So often the Inner child is a cause for selfish immaturity in mid and late life because it has us unknowingly… One of the most accessible ways to engage the unconscious, but also a way as tricky as all parenting, is through relationship to the inner child.

    This comment was originally posted on Catskill Cottage Seed

    Reply
  • Jeb January 17, 2009, 12:15 pm

    Hi Brian,
    Yes, when our president encouraged us, after such a tragic event, to go to the mall, I was dumbstruck. Such a vivid example of our misplaced priorities. It was like encouraging a junkie to take his drug of choice. As though we dont have the capability to consider, to process, to work through the difficult psychological and emotional challenges we face. Or worse, shouldn’t attempt it. Much better to look outside ourselves for a solution.

    It’s completely backwards, yet such a grim (and accurate) reflection of our society today. But alas, Richard offers us a glimpse of a reality that is ours for the taking.

    Thanks Brian.

    Reply
  • Mike January 18, 2009, 11:23 am

    Rick,

    I agree that there is something we can do each of us to influence the direction of the world. But I do not think it’s on a macro level that our efforts will be seen, but rather their impact will be on a personal or micro level.

    I recently read CS Lewis “Space Trilogy”. The third book, “That Hideous Strength” (written in the 1940s ) has some applicable thoughts. In particular the idea that by sowing the seeds of love and honesty we maintain and build the strength of goodness in the world and that it is done one person, one task at a time. What I saw in this story is that many of the evils and fears the world faced as reported by Lewis apply to today as if Lewis was writing today. I suspect, not being and historian, that the same patterns of evil were swirling in the societies even 3000 years ago. So if I stop with this image of a struggle that never ends, I would be extremely discouraged. However, I also believe that during the same repetitive periods of negativity on the macro level the reverse is true. There has been a repetitive or the consistent presence of positive energy throughout the world, throughout history.

    I feel inadequate to philosophize or pontificate on any of this — I just know that for me, I believe that little acts of charity, love, and every little effort that I can put into the positive makes my life today better and in a sense I win the battle were today.

    One last thought, my life view is significantly rooted in the underlying philosophies that are found in many of the 12 step self-help programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous. These philosophies and viewpoints were borrowed from many places throughout the world — throughout history. Similar expressions about how each of us can significantly impact the directon of our own lives and thus the world, can also be found in the book “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle.

    I may find time to cite the actual passages from his book, but for now, if anyone is interested in exploring a more optimistic view — the titles I mentioned above as well as many more can show that there is a view and a way that goes beyond “the world is going to hell in a handbasket and there’s nothing I can do about it”. Thanks for listening.

    PS — coincidentally as I finish this comment there is a song on the radio called “Beautiful Life” by Ace of Base (I think)

    This comment was originally posted on Catskill Cottage Seed

    Reply
  • Richard Reeve January 18, 2009, 12:14 pm

    Hi Mike,
    Tremendous contribution to this discussion and to pull a slogan from the 12 step archive…”its one day at a time…”
    I love that you shared the synchronicity of the radio tune that affirmed your message. Those signs, the meaningful coincidences, help me remember that there is more going on in this show then I can ever even start to grasp. I do not know the “Power of Now” and will track it down…

    This comment was originally posted on Catskill Cottage Seed

    Reply
  • Zoe January 19, 2009, 10:51 pm

    This is a fantastic “what if.” I believe we must do what we can to live mindfully and joyfully — and I mean accessing what makes us genuinely happy and passionate, not fleeting thrills — and this positive energy will do its best to curve us in the right direction.

    I hope this does not sound too cynical, but I believe quite strongly in the power of nature’s cycles and flow. If we are toxic to this earth, we will eventually wipe ourselves out — all wonderful things of human beings are wonderful only for human beings. Is that a sustainable dynamic?

    I suppose I’m still sorting through my thoughts on this…

    Zoe´s last blog post..15 Day Creation Challenge

    This comment was originally posted on Catskill Cottage Seed

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  • Zoe January 19, 2009, 10:54 pm

    Hi Jeb,

    I just commented on Richard’s follow-up post. The Jonas Salk quote above resonates strongly with me. I believe we should live as passionately and positively as we can, but in the end, are we as human beings sustainable? As the quote illustrates, anything good we create benefits no one but humans… I savor the discoveries, poetry, and perceptions we create, but in the end I do not know that they are divine above the earth that has been here for so much longer.

    Get Zoe’s content here..15 Day Creation Challenge

    Reply
    • Jeb January 20, 2009, 11:30 am

      Hi Zoe,
      A great comment on Richard’s site, and I toil over that same issue…am I too cynical on the matter? I often wonder if my tone here on HTM is a bit too serious, because in the end, despite my travels in the low country, I always come back around to the mountain top. To see the magnificence that is everywhere, in all things. And I cant imagine that we, as a people, would forsake it indefinitely, to our own demise.

      We may very well be the disease, but I feel certain we’re also the cure.

      Reply
  • Richard Reeve January 20, 2009, 6:39 am

    Wow Zoe, I couldn’t agree more, the ego-centrism will be our undoing unless we can place this awesome gift in right relationship to the whole of creation.

    This comment was originally posted on Catskill Cottage Seed

    Reply
  • JeanetteJoy January 22, 2009, 6:27 pm

    What if…

    we shared without thinking about ourselves.

    JeanetteJoy´s last blog post..jeanettejoy: @jantallent Can I RT your RT of a RT? That resume one is really good.

    This comment was originally posted on Catskill Cottage Seed

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  • Richard Reeve January 22, 2009, 6:31 pm

    Hi Thomas,
    I think the mean commentators only define themselves and I find it easy to brush them aside like gnats. I guess the thing needed is to free up the idea of commenting solely to build traffic back at your own site. While this may be the effect, the goal should be to contribute and carry the content out further.

    This comment was originally posted on Catskill Cottage Seed

    Reply
  • Richard Reeve January 22, 2009, 6:33 pm

    JeanetteJoy,
    That is a big part of the impediment…you are so right. Great what if…

    This comment was originally posted on Catskill Cottage Seed

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  • Sid Parham January 22, 2009, 6:38 pm

    In some way the medium here is at least part of the message-we invite dialogue by not writing too much. For the most part we develop a blogosphere persona-no accident we pick an Avatar. You and I know each other personally and yet ccseed is not Rick Reeve in any phyical world sense.
    You cite Plato, but our virtual symposia are without wine or dancing girls. If we make mean comments are we only showing our disembodied shadow?
    Is a virtual republic what Plato wanted after all? This comment plays fast and loose with too many ideas. I’m not thinking all that clearly this evening, but I sense this is a larger topic that you imagine.

    Sid Parham´s last blog post..Thank God in my Lifetime

    This comment was originally posted on Catskill Cottage Seed

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  • EKSwitaj January 22, 2009, 6:38 pm

    What if we remembered that on the receiving end of our comments is another real human being?

    What if we felt safe to throw questions out into the web without fear of facing snark for not having figured it out ourselves?

    What if we ended all our posts with prompts for others’ thoughts?

    This comment was originally posted on Catskill Cottage Seed

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  • Mary H Ruth January 22, 2009, 6:39 pm

    Richard - IMHO, the only thing to change about commenting is that people need to do it more. You should never ever resist the urge to respond to a blog, because there’s (so far) way too little actually reading and dialog going on. You and others like C. Brogan are always careful to ask questions, and that’s certainly evocative. Mostly people lurk, it seems, which is fine; but we could use many more who are willing to weigh in.

    Mary H Ruth´s last blog post..My blog has moved!

    This comment was originally posted on Catskill Cottage Seed

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  • Richard Reeve January 22, 2009, 6:42 pm

    Hi Sid,
    Yes, I’m only scratching the surface and knew you would see the implications. Charles Olson had a line, “a nation out of nothing but poetry” which falls along these lines as well. Perhaps you will take this ball when you head is clearer and run…

    This comment was originally posted on Catskill Cottage Seed

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  • Richard Reeve January 22, 2009, 6:44 pm

    Elizabeth,
    I really like that…it would take risk…but to reintroduce a true questioning posture would do us all so much good. Isn’t it always posturing to act as if we know it all?

    This comment was originally posted on Catskill Cottage Seed

    Reply
  • Richard Reeve January 22, 2009, 6:46 pm

    Mary,
    I’m so glad you have weighed in. I’d like to see more as well, but to the end that it opens up opportunity for ideas to blossom instead of just racking up stats.

    This comment was originally posted on Catskill Cottage Seed

    Reply
  • Pam Robertson January 22, 2009, 6:47 pm

    What if…we could read and weigh in on each other’s blogs and create meaningful conversation like this, and it led to reading, thinking and more conversation?
    That would be worth being a part of! I rarely look at comments at many blogs, because they are not really contributing anything to the post, but you certainly are talking about big change! Bring it on!

    Pam Robertson´s last blog post..Social Media two-oh-oh-nine

    This comment was originally posted on Catskill Cottage Seed

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  • Richard Reeve January 22, 2009, 6:51 pm

    Pam,
    My own experience was similar to yours until I made the comments a priority, recognizing the potential of exchange that I was missing. It is clearly possible if we break out of the box our own attitudes, mine included, and raise the comment space to a new level of shared value…

    This comment was originally posted on Catskill Cottage Seed

    Reply
  • Pam Robertson January 22, 2009, 7:04 pm

    Richard, as an experiment this will be interesting, in the sense that I am going to have to give a lot more thought to my own feedback. I always reply to my commenters, but it’s often something lame like “thanks for your comment”. Now you have challenged me to become more thoughtful, raising the bar on my own skill as a writer.
    Jeez, what if I become a better writer? What if we all do?

    Pam Robertson´s last blog post..Social Media two-oh-oh-nine

    This comment was originally posted on Catskill Cottage Seed

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  • Richard Reeve January 22, 2009, 7:41 pm

    Pam, Now wouldn’t that be something. I’m all for practice, in the sense that whatever we do is our practice and that goes for commenting as well. Please let me know how your experiment goes…

    This comment was originally posted on Catskill Cottage Seed

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  • Richard Reeve January 22, 2009, 7:44 pm

    Micheal,
    well that’s it…as Nike says…and the point is to turn the overall expectation, even if in a few corners of the blog-o-sphere at first, but to turn it so that it need not be the comment and run mind frame. So rarely does anyone really consider to do what Pam has done above, to cycle back and contribute further on the same post. Yet what I’m finding here is that by engaging the comments in this way, it is much more likely.

    This comment was originally posted on Catskill Cottage Seed

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  • Richard Reeve January 22, 2009, 7:48 pm

    I love that what if Iris…an actual conversation. To often people treat it like the teachers comment field on a report card. Thumbs up, thumbs down (less often). Really, who cares. I want to know what you and Micheal and Pam and everybody else gathered here has to say. So back to the practice: taking a different stand in how we comment and how we treat the comments on our own blogs. Raise the level of dignity, see it as a form of publishing, capture the contents with a tool like backtype, and above all share from the depths of your being…

    This comment was originally posted on Catskill Cottage Seed

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  • Richard Reeve January 22, 2009, 7:50 pm

    Ah Jeb…I’m so pleased you see your vision in what I’m advocating here. I hope you like the role you have in the above “What if”…

    This comment was originally posted on Catskill Cottage Seed

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  • Laura Smith January 22, 2009, 9:16 pm

    what if it were easier to add a little something to someone’s idea and then ‘paint the picture’ for them without so many words all the time~~~ what if something like this http://sketchup.google.com/product/gsu.html but better! was built into every “Leave Comment” section~~~ what if~~~ =)

    Thank you, Richard~Always a wonderful host!

    This comment was originally posted on Catskill Cottage Seed

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  • PJ Mullen January 23, 2009, 6:01 am

    Richard, very interesting post. What if we were to take comments and turn them into content and commenters into contributors? Expand the ownership of a blog to an unlimited number of stakeholders. I’m still very new to all of this, but in writing my current blog I have become quite obsessed with the idea of an “open contributor” blog where anyone can post in response to some stimulus - being it a regular question posed to the audience at large or whatnot. I’m not entirely sure how the mechanics can be achieved, but the idea intrigues me. I’d love to know your thoughts. Thanks! @pjmullen

    PJ Mullen´s last blog post..Wordless Wednesday #2: Guy Smiley

    This comment was originally posted on Catskill Cottage Seed

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  • Richard Reeve January 23, 2009, 6:44 am

    Hey Laura,
    That would be neat if we could give the visitors more tools to do whatever…neat and visionary…

    This comment was originally posted on Catskill Cottage Seed

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  • PJ Mullen January 23, 2009, 11:28 am

    Richard, thanks for your kind words, I have an end game in mind, but I don’t yet know the true path, but I will get there.

    Zoe, I agree with Richard’s comments on blog vs. forum. What I am envisioning is converting commentary into content. There are lots of “great post”, “thanks for the post”, “keep up the good work”, but that truly isn’t engaging. What I hope to figure out how to do is create a blog environment that invites and engages people to create their own post on an “open” blog. Forums, as Richard mentioned, are more closed, not necessarily public. My vision would be to enable anyone that has something constructive to add to the conversation to be able to post on a blog - even if it is just that one time, or by becoming a regular contributor. I see this unfold by starting off with brief posts that finish with questions to hopefully elicit follow up posts from the interested parties at large. What I hope is that those follow up posts will also engage the audience and allow the content being published to grow organically. I’m still working on how to make this work from a technical aspect. I’m very much a novice with all this Web 2.0 stuff.

    PJ Mullen´s last blog post..Wordless Wednesday #2: Guy Smiley

    This comment was originally posted on Catskill Cottage Seed

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  • Richard Reeve January 23, 2009, 1:15 pm

    PJ,
    I’ll enjoy watching and hopefully participating. I tend to believe that we can throw our content all over the place, micro blogs, twitter, other blogs…everything gets captured through friendfeed where we and anyone else for that matter can evaluate the consistency of our words and the validity of our arguments. This is no vacuum, put a public marketplace…very much the agora that I was invoking with Plato and the dialogues.

    This comment was originally posted on Catskill Cottage Seed

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  • Zoe January 23, 2009, 8:52 pm

    Richard, PJ, and Luis,

    Thank you for expanding and clarifying your points. If, as PJ said, the goal is an ‘open blog’ that elicits genuine discussion, then I must say it is precisely what I’ve been striving for in my own blog. I’m not looking to be the last word on any topic, so many of my posts are my explorations on a topic… explorations that I truly hope my readers will expand further, challenge, or take along a new tangent.

    It’s exhilarating to cut down barriers and crack the shells of limiting definitions… allowing “comments” to follow an organic path to something bigger — that is completely attainable, and wonderful.

    Zoe´s last blog post..Reclaim Your Dreams: An Uncommon Guide to Living on Your Own Terms

    This comment was originally posted on Catskill Cottage Seed

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  • Richard Reeve January 23, 2009, 9:00 pm

    Zoe,
    Thanks for the return comment…The light I hoped to shine on the practice of commenting seems to have happened for a little band of us at least. If we can treat all of our activity as valuable publishing opportunities, can embrace that practice knowing that in this media every pad, text holder, or field can be a creative opportunity, then I think our little band might just be able to expand upon something that’s already pretty spectacular. Sometimes it takes awhile for practice to fulfill the potential in the media…

    This comment was originally posted on Catskill Cottage Seed

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