Friday, 23 August 2013

The (Developing) Philosophy of Culture 3.0

What if civilisation is antithetical to sustainability?

This is an important and valid question.

Sustainability - in our living arrangements - is really a requirement for our continued survival as a species. If our living arrangements are not sustainable then they either need to change or we go extinct. It isn’t exactly rocket science. 

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Technology 4: Clothing (Part 1)

In addition to fire, which we discussed earlier, another technology was key in allowing the migration of humans from the “cradle of life” in Africa to virtually all corners of the globe: clothing.

In our naked form humans are not that impressive to look at, relatively weak (compared to most large mammals) and pretty much devoid of insulation in the form of hair - unique in the world of primates (although no shortage of fat these days). 

Friday, 7 June 2013

Technology 3: Cutting Tools

Cutting tools are an essential technology for human survival. Coupled with fire and clothing they have been a fixture in human evolution for millions of years. With the exception of the simple digging stick, cutting tools are perhaps the earliest example of, and amongst the most important of all human tools. Even today we all use cutting tools every day without giving a second thought to their heritage or their importance to everyday living.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Resilience 5: Distributed Localised Seed Bank

Last year was a truly crap year for growing stuff. The year before almost everything I put in grew amazingly well (pure luck I assure you), but last year almost nothing grew. I was already in the process of switching to more resilient perennial plants but even straightforward annuals had such a bad time of it I got really spooked. What if our food plants just stop growing? Of course this wasn’t just me. I was hearing the same thing everywhere I looked from the nice notes I get with the organic veg box to food commodity yield reports. Nor was this odd weather limited to the UK - as crap and wet as last growing season was I suppose the ongoing historic drought in the US is even worse. Maybe we got their rain?

There can’t be many people left who don’t think the climate is not as friendly as it used to be to that most important of human activities: growing food.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Technology 2: Fire

In part 2 of our investigations into technology we will focus on perhaps the most important technological innovation in the history of our species: the adoption of fire.

The use of fire wasn’t the very first “technology” to be employed by our distant ancestors; wooden and stone tools such as simple digging sticks and rocks for cracking nuts or bones for marrow likely pre-dated the use of fire. Other animals such as birds and apes use stick and stone tools, however the use of fire is, as far as I know, unique to humans. Fire was a central step onto the road which has brought us to our current situation.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Technology 1: The Problem With Technology

Of all the memes in industrial civilisation perhaps none is as powerful as the myth of progress through the advancement of technology. That progress has been more or less linear from stone age to agricultural age to the renaissance to the industrial revolution and finally to the information age, and that we have become more civilised at each step, is hardly ever questioned in polite conversation. We now know that civilisations rise and fall (including industrial civilisation) however the myth of technology is as strong as ever.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Resilience 4: Personal Hygiene

In part 4 of our series on personal resilience we are going to take a look at personal hygiene. By this I mean:

The set of practices performed for the preservation of health [1].

This is actually a wide definition which could actually include all of the previous resilience posts, however we will focus here on keeping yourself clean. Sanitation and food hygiene will be covered separately.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Community 3: How to make your tribe

We left off on the last post with a bit of a conundrum. Anyone reading this is likely participating in a worldwide ethnogenesis of a new cultural group which I call Culture3.0. Inasmuch as this group has a coherent identity it is largely facilitated by the Internet. Putting aside that the Internet is eventually going away I want to draw a distinction between an online “social networking” community and a genuine tribal community.

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Community 2: Ethnogenesis

If you have been following our series on personal resilience you may be forgiven for thinking that the unit of human survival is the (rugged) individual. To be sure we all need to make individual changes and adapting ourselves to become physically and mentally resilient is extremely important, however the real unit of human survival is the community