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tsuomela : optimism   61

How to be optimistic about climate change | through the looking glass
"I’ll end with an attempt at a bit of inspiration from a trained scientist famous for insisting there is no alternative: Thatcher. In some ways, her radicalism proves the hippie cliché that another world is possible. Even if we might disagree with the world she helped make, it shows that social structures can be dismantled and re-fashioned. And others can be dismantled and re-fashioned again. And again."
optimism  environment  climate-change  global-warming  activism  change  social 
april 2013 by tsuomela
Strange Horizons Columns: Me and Science Fiction: Hope for the Future, by Eleanor Arnason
"Brian Aldiss has said that the dominant tone of science is bracing despair. Much of it is cautionary: “If this goes on,” rather than “What if.” There are more good stories about what might go wrong than good stories about what might go right. But right now there's a need for stories that imagine a decent future—not because it is escapist, but because we need to be jolted out of There Is No Alternative. We need to think of ways to fix this mess; and we need to think about politics and economics."
sf  fiction  alternative  politics  ethics  optimism  pessimism  despair  future  literature  imagination  there-is-no-alternative 
march 2013 by tsuomela
Technopolis: Why so few utopias in science fiction cinema?
"By: Langdon Winner (This is a talk I gave at a panel on science fiction at the conference of the Society for Social Studies of Science, Copenhagen, October 19, 2012.)"
sf  fiction  film  cinema  movies  optimism  utopia  dystopia  pessimism  imagination  future 
january 2013 by tsuomela
Mankind Rising: Why Evolutionary Developmentalism Will Inherit the Future – Ever Smarter World
"What is evolutionary developmentalism (“universal evo devo”)? It is a minority view of universal change in science and philosophy today, a simultaneous application of both evolutionary and developmental thinking to the universe and its replicating subsystems."
evolution  development  future  theory  optimism 
december 2012 by tsuomela
Strange Horizons Columns: Scores, by John Clute
"We know this is a couple of gerunds short of a full verdict. We know that the author died in the heaven he could not quite bring his novel to inhabit. We know lots and lots. And we learn here, in the charnel-house lunges of the writing of this 85-year-old novel, something we may have already known, but which it is good to know again: that the engine of the twentieth century was not about to obey the bit; that we were never going to ride those years to victory; that the seismic gerundival of the world shook off all the Worlds of Tomorrow like foam off a heaving stallion. That we never had a ticket to ride."
books  review  sf  fiction  literature  future  vision  optimism  pessimism 
october 2012 by tsuomela
James Howard Kunstler on Why Technology Won't Save Us | Jeff Goodell | Politics News | Rolling Stone
"In his latest book, Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology, and the Fate of the Nation, Kunstler zeroes in on the central narrative of our time: that we are a highly evolved and technologically sophisticated civilization that will use our ingenuity and engineering expertise to come up with a solution to all the problems we face, from the end of cheap oil to the arrival of extreme climate change.  In other words, we're not going to collapse into the dust bin of history like the Mayans or the Easter Islanders, because we have iPads and antibiotics."
future  technology  optimism  pessimism  technology-cycles  environment  failure 
august 2012 by tsuomela
The Abundance Builders | World Future Society
A techno-optimist portrait of the future that still thinks the internet of things, personal fabrication, medicine-on-a-chip, and nanotechnology will 'build abundance for all.'
future  futurism  optimism  nanotechnology  medicine  fabrication  networks  abundance 
july 2012 by tsuomela
A Manifesto For Creativity In The Modern Era | Techdirt
"What I love most about this is how inclusive it is, and how much of it is about recognizing and embracing what an amazingly creative time this is for artists. All too often, we hear of artists who decry such things, who complain about the fact that their club doesn't feel as exclusive any more. For artists and an art exhibit to not just embrace, but joyfully celebrate the way creativity works today, while recognizing how these tools mean that anyone and everyone are creating art all the time, is really wonderful to see."
manifesto  creativity  modern  internet  computer  technology  mashup  appropriation  art  optimism 
april 2012 by tsuomela
Will Joel Garreau
"“There are three scenarios: Heaven – in which our inventions conquer pain, suffering, stupidity, ignorance, and even death. Hell – in which our creations wipe out the human race or all of life on earth within a generation. And Prevail – which argues that these first two scenarios are technodeterministic.

“In the Prevail Scenario, what really matters – as always – is not how many transistors we get to talk to each other, but how many ornery, imaginative, unpredictable human beings we can bring together to arrive at surprising ways to co-evolve with our challenges. Because only in this bottom-up way will humans really control their destinies, rather than have them controlled by our creations.”" Annotated link
futures  futurism  optimism  technology  determinism 
february 2012 by tsuomela
The Technium: Protopia
"Today we've become so aware of the downsides of innovations, and so disappointed with the promises of past utopias, that we now find it hard to believe even in protopia -- that tomorrow will be better than today. We find it very difficult to imagine any kind of future we would want to live in. Name a single science fiction future that is both plausible and desirable?

No one wants to move to the future today. We are avoiding it. We don't have much desire for life one hundred years from now. Many dread it. That makes it hard to take the future seriously. So we don't take a generational perspective. We're stuck in the short now. We also adopt the Singularity perspective: that imagining the future in 100 years is technically impossible. So there is no protopia we are reaching for. "
future  optimism  fear  protopia  utopia  hope 
august 2011 by tsuomela
The Philosopher's Stone: 100 REAL THALERS
"What do I learn from this life lesson, buttressed as it is by a quotation from my favorite philosopher? Very simply, I learn that although as a blogger and an author of political writings I can with no effort at all proclaim on the largest of questions -- the future of capitalism, the possibility of socialism, the imperial thrust of American foreign policy -- when it comes to actually trying to change the world, the most I can hope to do is to make a tiny impact, utterly unnoticed by any regional, national, or transnational measures. Because the gap between what I earnestly want and what I can realistically accomplish is so vast, I must find quotidien satisfactions sufficient to sustain me, so that I will, day after day, year after year, continue to make the effort. Not to do so would be shameful, an abdication of my humanity. But to expect triumphs, or even measurable results, would be foolish indeed."
philosophy  change  activism  progress  optimism 
april 2011 by tsuomela - Cultural Cognition Papers by Date - Culture and Identity-Protective Cognition: Explaining the White Male Effect
"The "white male effect" refers to the until-now unexplained tendency of white males to fear all manner of risk less than women and minorities. Published in the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, this paper reports the results of an empirical study finding that that "the white male effect" derives from the tendency of individuals to form risk perceptions protective of identities they enjoy by virtue of cultural norms that feature race- and gender-differentiation in roles relating to putatively dangerous activities."
culture  cognition  social-psychology  optimism  race  gender  psychology  bias 
march 2011 by tsuomela
How to get to 100 percent renewables globally by 2050 | Grist
News post on an optimistic report on changing world energy supplies. We just need to divert 3% of world GDP to efficiency, renewables, and infrastructure. Whew!
energy  environment  infrastructure  reform  change  climate  global-warming  electric-grid  electricity  model  future  growth  optimism  efficiency 
march 2011 by tsuomela
normblog: Gray future
I mean how, then, does one get out of bed in the morning? Not John Gray himself, since, as promised, I am not going after him personally and, for all I know, he may have the most cheerful of temperaments and fill his day with individually rewarding projects. But taking the view he favours as representative of a category of terminal pessimism about the possibilities of making life better for the species to which one belongs, how keep a smile on one's face and in one's voice?
optimism  pessimism  future  hope  despair 
july 2010 by tsuomela
Rebooting Prosperity in an Age of Austerity - Umair Haque - Harvard Business Review
Rebooting prosperity is the great challenge of the teens. There's no single right way to do it. But those who don't, won't, or can't answer it — because of ideology, inability, or because they're just plain ornery — well, they're fossilizing as we speak. Institutional innovators are already hard at work igniting a better tomorrow. New measures of prosperity are already being conceptualized, new national accounts defined. And, as I've discussed at length here, a new generation of companies and investors is hard at work turning "business" into betterness at the micro-level.
economics  business  innovation  optimism  austerity 
june 2010 by tsuomela
What’s your place in the brave new future? - Times Online
Profile of Paul Saffo, technology forecaster at the Institute for the Future.
future  futurism  futurists  profile  biology  optimism  technology 
october 2009 by tsuomela
Chris Corrigan » Optimism as strategy
“Optimism is a strategy for making a better future. Because unless you believe that the future can be better, it’s unlikely you will step up and take responsibility for making it so. If you assume that there’s no hope, you guarantee that there will be no hope. If you assume that there is an instinct for freedom, there are opportunities to change things, there’s a chance you may contribute to making a better world. The choice is yours.”

Noam Chomsky
quotes  optimism  future  change 
october 2009 by tsuomela
The Archdruid Report: Daydreams of Destruction
Thus I think it’s crucial to come back to the hard fact that we are not heading toward a happier future in any sense that matters. We are moving into a troubled, difficult, dangerous age in which most of us stand to lose a great many of the things that matter to us. Those troubles may encourage some of us to pursue a relationship with the sources of meaning in our lives, granted, but they are at least as likely to keep others too busy scrambling for survival or grieving over their losses to find time for that challenging process. When we project our fantasies of a better life onto the inkblot patterns of catastrophe, then, we’re kidding ourselves, and the sooner we grasp that – the sooner we come to terms with the bleak predicament facing us, and turn our attention to figuring out what might still be saved and then trying to save it – the more likely we are to make a positive difference in a bitter time.
environment  future  imagination  images  optimism  pessimism  politics  lifestyle  climate  global-warming  peak-oil  spirituality 
september 2009 by tsuomela
Casaubon’s Book » Blog Archive » Dreaming a Life
In order for a majority of the world’s rich people (and here I mean rich by world standards) to choose less, to actually recognize that giving their children better means choosing a life of less, there has to be a vision of what the life constitutes - and it has to be immediately accessible. It cannot require vast creative energies, because honestly, most people don’t have them. It cannot require that everyone go against the grain, because, quite honestly, most of us go with the grain. It cannot require that we build an imagine entirely internally - you have to be able to go look at it.
environment  future  imagination  images  optimism  pessimism  politics  lifestyle  climate  global-warming  peak-oil 
september 2009 by tsuomela
Obama's Fake Bipartisanship - The Daily Beast
He is not interested in moral victories or noble defeats. He wants to win. What he’s figured out, however, is that—particularly after two full decades of Bush/Clinton/Bush wars—the American people feel more comfortable with a politician who appears to reach out to the other side, who gives them a chance to play ball.
about(BarackObama)  optimism  liberal  politics  reason-for-hope  strategy  bipartisanship 
august 2009 by tsuomela
Testing Positive Psychology | The Greater Good Blog
For the past decade, researchers in the positive psychology movement have tried to identify effective, everyday strategies for making people happier. Recently, researchers Nancy L. Sin and Sonja Lyubomirsky reviewed 51 positive psychology interventions, or PPIs, scrutinizing dozens of studies on exercises like writing letters of gratitude, forgiving others, and practicing positive thinking. Their object was to tease apart which, if any, of these and other PPIs actually work, determine what kind of PPIs are most effective, and discover who most benefits from them.
psychology  positive  experiments  review  results  optimism 
august 2009 by tsuomela
Paul Hawken's 2009 Commencement Address | Commencement | University of Portland
When asked if I am pessimistic or optimistic about the future, my answer is always the same: If you look at the science about what is happening on earth and aren’t pessimistic, you don’t understand the data. But if you meet the people who are working to restore this earth and the lives of the poor, and you aren’t optimistic, you haven’t got a pulse.
future  graduation-speech  optimism  pessimism 
july 2009 by tsuomela
Techno Triumphalism, Twittering Towards the Singularity | The Agonist
The combined impact of these disasters on the American psyche has left us adrift. The failure of Clinton's economy to pull us out of our desperate need for petroleum has been well documented by Stirling and others. Web 2.0 is a kind of "sure we don't get paid money for any of this work, but we sure are communicating!" response.

The cult of the singularity is an attempt to get beyond all that. To have something we can believe in again, a vision for the future. Regardless of its truth or falsity, human beings must have a vision to aspire toward.
singularity  technology  optimism  web2.0  twitter  utopia  future  vision  america  modernism 
june 2009 by tsuomela
What Bruce Sterling Actually Said About Web 2.0 at Webstock 09 | Beyond the Beyond from
I've never seen so much panic around me, but panic is the last thing on my mind. My mood is eager impatience. I want to see our best, most creative, best-intentioned people in world society directly attacking our worst problems.
web2.0  economics  crisis  optimism  future 
march 2009 by tsuomela
Half an Hour: Activists
Activism isn't about guarantees of success. It isn't bout knowing that, in the long run, your work will lead to a better future. Activism is about being alive, about there actually *being* a civilization to which we all belong, and about that civilization being worthy of a life, being worthy of a future.
activism  politics  optimism 
december 2008 by tsuomela
How to Save the World - A Paean to Activists
But if you believe that the sum of a million local efforts is somehow more than the sum of a million local efforts, I must beg to differ. For every local success there are many local failures, dozens of errors of stupidity and unimaginativeness and greed and ignorance and disinformation, that will need us to act to educate and persuade and mobilize and connect and reframe and intervene and subvert, next week and next year, to undo the damage that grows everywhere and every day. The battle of the local activist is always a heroic but rear-guard action, a minimizing of cumulative losses.
activism  politics  future  optimism  pessimism  local 
december 2008 by tsuomela
Great Power, Great Responsibility - Ross Douthat
The mistakes that our elites made, and that led us to this pass, have their roots in flaws common to all elites, in all times and places - hubris, arrogance, insulation from the costs of their decisions, and so forth. But they also have their roots in flaws that I think are somewhat more particular to this elite, and this time and place. Flaws like an overweening faith in technology's capacity to master contingency, a widespread assumption that the future doesn't have much to learn from the past, and above all a peculiar combination of smartest-guys-in-the-room entitlement (don't worry, we deserve to be moving millions of dollars around on the basis of totally speculative models, because we got really high SAT scores) and ferocious, grasping competitiveness (because making ten million dollars isn't enough if somebody else from your Ivy League class is making more!).
elites  power  crisis  technology  optimism  academia  money  economics 
december 2008 by tsuomela
Op-Ed Contributor - The Power of Negative Thinking - Op-Ed -
GREED — and its crafty sibling, speculation — are the designated culprits for the financial crisis. But another, much admired, habit of mind should get its share of the blame: the delusional optimism of mainstream, all-American, positive thinking.
economics  crisis  bailout  2008  america  culture  psychology  optimism  positive-thinking 
october 2008 by tsuomela

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