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  #61  
Old 07-04-2013, 10:56 AM
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Okay, so is this "free time" a good thing or bad thing? And why is this "continual progress" a bad thing? So we should hamper our innovation and creativity just to generate more free time? I'm pretty sure our competitive and curious nature goes against this. Not to mention that the average annual work time has gradually decreased recently according to HNM's chart.

Last edited by Raptor; 07-04-2013 at 11:04 AM.
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  #62  
Old 07-04-2013, 03:52 PM
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Okay, so is this "free time" a good thing or bad thing? And why is this "continual progress" a bad thing? So we should hamper our innovation and creativity just to generate more free time? I'm pretty sure our competitive and curious nature goes against this. Not to mention that the average annual work time has gradually decreased recently according to HNM's chart.
No of course free time is a good thing because that is precisely the time that we can be creative and innovative. Which we have a really hard time when we are entering in a work relationship between an employer and an employee in which we usually do not earn the fruits of our creativity or innovation but only a monthly paycheck and maybe a bonus payment. Even I as a scientist with rather increased freedom compard to many other employees do have to restrict my creativity to the topics I can get grants for and I would often rather like to go out and swim in a lake in the sun than sit in the lab - sometimes scientific curiousity is keeping me in the lab, but most often it is duty and a work contract that pays my rent and food. So to be against work is IMO not to be against being occupied with something, being innovative or creative, it is to be against the relationship between a worker and someone who gives the worker money for the work - in capitalism, the employer even controls the tools and space that the work is done in addition to the time and workload of the person who became a worker.
Freedom from that would be if a worker has controls over his own means of working - his own tools, his own workspace, his own schedule and in the extreme case the liberty to not do any work that he does not want to do.

Continual progress is not in itself bad, but I think it is a bad concept. Progress towards what? What we see is a change in techniques and technologies, new concepts developing, new relationships - but IMO it does not reall yhave a direction, just like evolution does not have a direction. What makes the kind of progress we see now a bad thing is that it claims to have a direction but that this direction is mostly focussed on growth. More production, bigger houses, bigger cars, faster trains, more airmiles travelled, more food, more sales, more people... basically everything faster, higher, stronger, bigger, more complex. And this direction is coupled with an increase in energy and resource consumption, the expansion is driving species and cultures extinct and frankly is not even good for the sanity of those living within the culture that promotes this type of progress.
I would maybe also call it a progress if people learned more to listen to the natural world, understand the language of the animals, explore their emotions and beneficial cooperative social structures. IMO the NA'Vi are a very strongly developed and "progressed" (yet of course fictional) culture - just their focus is not on growth but rather on balance, it is not on machines but on relationships, not about competition but cooperation and not about doing things faster or bigger, but rather doing it at a scale and speed that is appropriate.

I also pointed out a flaw in HNMs chart - namely the increase of percentage of workers due to the womens movement. The chart I would like to see would not have "average workhours per worker" on the Y-axis, but "average workhours per citizen". In that case I am sure that the numbers would increase in the timeframe between 1960 and now as more and more women became "workers".
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  #63  
Old 07-05-2013, 12:37 AM
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Originally Posted by auroraglacialis View Post
No of course free time is a good thing because that is precisely the time that we can be creative and innovative. Which we have a really hard time when we are entering in a work relationship between an employer and an employee in which we usually do not earn the fruits of our creativity or innovation but only a monthly paycheck and maybe a bonus payment.
That is quite the sweeping generalization. Also, do you think most people spend their free time being creative and innovative?

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Even I as a scientist with rather increased freedom compard to many other employees do have to restrict my creativity to the topics I can get grants for and I would often rather like to go out and swim in a lake in the sun than sit in the lab - sometimes scientific curiousity is keeping me in the lab, but most often it is duty and a work contract that pays my rent and food. So to be against work is IMO not to be against being occupied with something, being innovative or creative, it is to be against the relationship between a worker and someone who gives the worker money for the work - in capitalism, the employer even controls the tools and space that the work is done in addition to the time and workload of the person who became a worker.
Freedom from that would be if a worker has controls over his own means of working - his own tools, his own workspace, his own schedule and in the extreme case the liberty to not do any work that he does not want to do.
You're arguing as if working and being creative/innovative in a capitalistic society are mutually exclusive.

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Continual progress is not in itself bad, but I think it is a bad concept. Progress towards what? What we see is a change in techniques and technologies, new concepts developing, new relationships - but IMO it does not reall yhave a direction, just like evolution does not have a direction. What makes the kind of progress we see now a bad thing is that it claims to have a direction but that this direction is mostly focussed on growth. More production, bigger houses, bigger cars, faster trains, more airmiles travelled, more food, more sales, more people... basically everything faster, higher, stronger, bigger, more complex. And this direction is coupled with an increase in energy and resource consumption, the expansion is driving species and cultures extinct and frankly is not even good for the sanity of those living within the culture that promotes this type of progress.
Uh huh. Let's see, the Boeing 787 cruises at speeds typical for an airliner (Mach 0.85), and it is far from being the largest airliner out there. But I guess that isn't really progress, eh?

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I would maybe also call it a progress if people learned more to listen to the natural world, understand the language of the animals, explore their emotions and beneficial cooperative social structures.
Um, you just typed out a bunch of rhetoric. Want to explain what it means to "listen to the natural world?" Nature is as much about competition as it is about cooperation/symbiosis, and the latter is arguably born out of the former.

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IMO the NA'Vi are a very strongly developed and "progressed" (yet of course fictional) culture - just their focus is not on growth but rather on balance, it is not on machines but on relationships, not about competition but cooperation and not about doing things faster or bigger, but rather doing it at a scale and speed that is appropriate.
It's also a fictional setting where they have an entity, Eywa, that can, to an extent, control the ecosystem and maintain the balance. You speak of competition as if it's detrimental. It's not. Also, you want to define "a speed and scale that is appropriate?" I really don't think you can speak for everyone in this world.

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  #64  
Old 07-05-2013, 01:28 AM
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I would maybe also call it a progress if people learned more to listen to the natural world, understand the language of the animals, explore their emotions and beneficial cooperative social structures. IMO the NA'Vi are a very strongly developed and "progressed" (yet of course fictional) culture - just their focus is not on growth but rather on balance, it is not on machines but on relationships, not about competition but cooperation and not about doing things faster or bigger, but rather doing it at a scale and speed that is appropriate.
Consider the stats: humanity produces more culture per day than they could over 10k years.
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  #65  
Old 07-05-2013, 01:52 PM
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That is quite the sweeping generalization. Also, do you think most people spend their free time being creative and innovative?
No of course not, they have a free choice, that is what freedom is about. If they are given the freedom to choose, they can be productive, creative, innovative or they can hang out and do nothing, but doing nothing can be quite boring. most people I know will do something at some point that is not just bumming out. And even if they want to bum out, then that is their freedom. In theory with the massive gains in productivity over the past century or two, it should not be a problem if some people who are not creative are free do be that. Some people may even focus on spiritual things or religion. This was done even before the productivity was as it is now - people fed their monks out of faith and because they were glad someone does that.

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You're arguing as if working and being creative/innovative are mutually exclusive.
No they are not exclusive, but in the majority of cases they do not match up. Of course there is creative work that people do for money (though it always is rather restricted to some workplan made by someone else), but most work that people do for money is not creative in a sense that is fulfilling to the people. I think over 90% of the people have jobs that they would not want to do if it was not their best way to make money. That is not to say they hate their jobs - but given enough money (e.g. winning in the lottery) and not having to do this job - many people would do so. Some people of course like their jobs so much that they would keep doing them even if they had enough money otherwise, like the researchers of the 19th century who often were not poor at all but still did research instead of playing cricket all day. But really most jobs these days are not creative and I was argueing about this majority part mostly.

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Uh huh. Let's see, the Boeing 787 cruises at speeds typical for an airliner (Mach 0.85), and it is far from being the largest airliner out there. But I guess that isn't really progress, eh?
Of course it is progress - of a certain kind. The kind that values faster & bigger. Industrial progress. What I said however was is that this is not the only progress there is - there can also be spiritual progress, a progress in happiness, a progress in social relationship. Sadly progress normally is used ONLY in the sense of industrial/technological progress. And this is wha tI think we do see - people focus so much on this kind that they have a Boeing 787 flying above their heads but divorce rates and mental health problems and the feeling of spiritual emptiness rise as well because these issues are not so much in the focus. Of course if a society puts more emphasis on a progress in these issues instead of technological progress, they will not progress as fast technologically. They may be happier or feel more spiritually fulfilled but not have a airplane with mach 0.85

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Want to explain what it means to "listen to the natural world?" Nature is as much about competition as it is about cooperation/symbiosis, and the latter is arguably born out of the former.
No I dont want to explain as this was just an example of what people might value and regard as progress. You dont have to understand it to value it. If some indigenous people would say that this is what they like to do rather than build an airplane, then that is their kind of progress.
And of course there is competition and cooperation in nature. Sadly our society focuses mostly on the competition part and believes as you said that cooperation is based on competition, which is an ideology based on game theory and other models which are not really scientifically proven. Fact is that both exist and have their place in nature, but that cooperation is what is successful in the long term and this is what a society should focus on when it wants to exist long term. In competition, most participants loose - this is not the human model. We dont lay 10000 eggs and see which baby makes it, we care for a baby until it is much over 10 years old. So I think humans are more cooperative animals than competitive ones and a cooperative society can last much longer than one that is in competition within itself and against other cultures.

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Also, you want to define "a speed and scale that is appropriate?" I really don't think you can speak for everyone in this world.
I dont claim to speak for everyone of course. Many people just love competition or at least they believe they have to love it as it is natural. If it is to their benefit or not, I personally think it mostly is not.
Appropriateness is not something that can be defined easily by numbers, it is more gained by experience. But there are mathematical descriptions regarding diminishing marginal returns on investment that may hold a clue as to what is appropriate. For example the relative gain in quality of life is much higher if you go from having no electricity to having enough for a light bulb for 2 hours than lets say going from having a full regular US home and adding another light bulb for 2 hours. The investment however is the same in terms of energy. See: Diminishing returns - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Originally Posted by Clarke View Post
Consider the stats: humanity produces more culture per day than they could over 10k years.
How do you quantify that? I would say "culture" is really hard to quantify, as it is not value free - a book from Goethe or Shakespeare may be more "worth" in terms of culture than 5 books of cheap romance novels, so simply counting number of books or hours of video cannot be a good measure. It only is a measure of the amount of unique data produced.
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"Humans are storytellers. These stories then can become our reality. Only when we loose ourselves in the stories they have the power to control us. Our culture got lost in the wrong story, a story of death and defeat, of opression and control, of separation and competition. We need a new story!"
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  #66  
Old 08-04-2013, 01:59 AM
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No of course not, they have a free choice, that is what freedom is about. If they are given the freedom to choose, they can be productive, creative, innovative or they can hang out and do nothing, but doing nothing can be quite boring. most people I know will do something at some point that is not just bumming out. And even if they want to bum out, then that is their freedom. In theory with the massive gains in productivity over the past century or two, it should not be a problem if some people who are not creative are free do be that. Some people may even focus on spiritual things or religion. This was done even before the productivity was as it is now - people fed their monks out of faith and because they were glad someone does that.
I don't quite follow your reasoning, or what you're arguing for that matter. Are you advocating that people should have more free time? I mean, that option is there; it's called part-time job. People can choose to go for that if they feel that they need more free time.

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No they are not exclusive, but in the majority of cases they do not match up. Of course there is creative work that people do for money (though it always is rather restricted to some workplan made by someone else), but most work that people do for money is not creative in a sense that is fulfilling to the people. I think over 90% of the people have jobs that they would not want to do if it was not their best way to make money. That is not to say they hate their jobs - but given enough money (e.g. winning in the lottery) and not having to do this job - many people would do so. Some people of course like their jobs so much that they would keep doing them even if they had enough money otherwise, like the researchers of the 19th century who often were not poor at all but still did research instead of playing cricket all day. But really most jobs these days are not creative and I was argueing about this majority part mostly.
Again, not quite following what you're trying to say. I think you're trying to argue that most work environments aren't conducive towards being creative/innovative. Well, if an individual is unsatisfied with that kind of work, then he is free to take the risk to pursue something else.

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Of course it is progress - of a certain kind. The kind that values faster & bigger. Industrial progress. What I said however was is that this is not the only progress there is - there can also be spiritual progress, a progress in happiness, a progress in social relationship. Sadly progress normally is used ONLY in the sense of industrial/technological progress. And this is wha tI think we do see - people focus so much on this kind that they have a Boeing 787 flying above their heads but divorce rates and mental health problems and the feeling of spiritual emptiness rise as well because these issues are not so much in the focus. Of course if a society puts more emphasis on a progress in these issues instead of technological progress, they will not progress as fast technologically. They may be happier or feel more spiritually fulfilled but not have a airplane with mach 0.85
My example of the Boeing 787 is to illustrate that technological progress isn't always about bigger and faster. In this specific case, the 787 is significantly more fuel efficient than the aircraft it is replacing, such as the 767 and A330/A340, while operating at similar envelopes. Frankly, I don't see anything wrong with technological progress; in fact, I welcome and cherish it, though I feel that we should be cautious on its employment, i.e. being more aware of its impact rather than recklessly applying it.

Also, what is "spiritual progress?" As for "progress in happiness" and "progress in social relationship," how does that have anything to do with what you were talking about?

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No I dont want to explain as this was just an example of what people might value and regard as progress. You dont have to understand it to value it. If some indigenous people would say that this is what they like to do rather than build an airplane, then that is their kind of progress.
Uh...progress in what? Do nothing and be static and stagnant can be considered progress then? Mind you, I'm not belittling indigenous tribes and cultures.

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And of course there is competition and cooperation in nature. Sadly our society focuses mostly on the competition part and believes as you said that cooperation is based on competition, which is an ideology based on game theory and other models which are not really scientifically proven. Fact is that both exist and have their place in nature, but that cooperation is what is successful in the long term and this is what a society should focus on when it wants to exist long term.
That's a very vague statement. What do you exactly mean by cooperation? And cooperation to what extent? Cooperation in which areas?

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In competition, most participants loose - this is not the human model.
Lose what? Again, you're making vague statements.

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We dont lay 10000 eggs and see which baby makes it, we care for a baby until it is much over 10 years old.
Using that analogy to argue against competition is a non sequitur since that's not how competitions in human societies generally work.

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So I think humans are more cooperative animals than competitive ones and a cooperative society can last much longer than one that is in competition within itself and against other cultures.
You want to give some examples/evidence to back that claim?

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I dont claim to speak for everyone of course. Many people just love competition or at least they believe they have to love it as it is natural. If it is to their benefit or not, I personally think it mostly is not.
Appropriateness is not something that can be defined easily by numbers, it is more gained by experience.
And that experience varies between individuals and societies. If you feel that the speed of progress (and what kind?) isn't appropriate, there may be many others who feel that it is, or it's that it's even too slow.

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But there are mathematical descriptions regarding diminishing marginal returns on investment that may hold a clue as to what is appropriate. For example the relative gain in quality of life is much higher if you go from having no electricity to having enough for a light bulb for 2 hours than lets say going from having a full regular US home and adding another light bulb for 2 hours. The investment however is the same in terms of energy. See: Diminishing returns - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Yes, diminishing returns is a form of feedback that's important in economics, engineering, etc. And no, I don't see what this has to do with progress as a whole, since there are so many fronts and possibilities for us to explore.
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Last edited by Raptor; 08-04-2013 at 05:57 AM.
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  #67  
Old 08-04-2013, 05:22 AM
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So I think humans are more cooperative animals than competitive ones and a cooperative society can last much longer than one that is in competition within itself and against other cultures.
That goes against almost all of human history, doesn't it?
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  #68  
Old 08-04-2013, 04:42 PM
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That goes against almost all of human history, doesn't it?
Nope. Generally, we succeed by banding together into a yea-sized group, and then fighting it out with other yea-sized groups.
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