From the Archives:
When we wrote this, we were in the time and place of the 1970s U.S.A. This is the context of these remarks. The debate about the issues raised in this chapter has shifted since then. In the 1970s, there was much debate about technology and its value; about Capitalism, personal responsibility and where and how it should be taken.
Now in the 90s, after the grab everything you can get 1980s, much of these issues have evaporated. On one hand, concern for the environment is much more a social given. Technology and tools are better designed and better used. Capitalism has won. Yet, most of the concerns raised in this chapter remain unresolved. The debate has faded. A new avoidance is about. The Monkeys Paw is still on the mantle.
What tooling is remains as obscure as in the past - as a society we, generally, embrace technology with little social debate about its nature nor concern for the consequences of specific tools or their applications. In this chapter we offered a way to look at technology as an externalization of an innate human metabolic capability as Bucky Fuller described it. We stressed that each tool has a cost - has often obscure and unintended consequences. We defined responsibility as the requirement to know these and to be aware of the choices one exercised.
Personally, I am less concerned about what choices people and organizations make than their real ability to make them. If I disagree with someone elses choices, I can always stay away from them. However, when I see people voting every day in the market place - creating huge positive feedback loops - with no apparent awareness of consequences or options, then I get scared. I think that this is dangerous behavior.
If someone is missing great chunks of information about about alternatives - they cannot exercise real choice. If they have narrow and closed mental world frames - they cannot exercise real choice. If they are frightened about the consequences of their own ideas - they cannot exercise real choice. If people live in a repressive society or work in a rigid organization - they cannot exercise real choice (except to leave it). Education means to lead out. To lead out of what? Ignorance and Platos cave. This is what our CHOICE Work Shop is about. This is what the KnOwhere Store books are about. It is not about agreement, it is about the mental room you play in.
In fact, this is what MG Taylor Corporation has been about for 24 years: facilitating choice - not just specific outcomes.
As individuals and as a society we have unprecedented power. We understand power to weight ratios in a car. But we do not understand power to ignorance ratios in our organizations. Quo Vatis?
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