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Posts Tagged ‘Technology’

organizeIt is true for me that any thoughts of my mind are directly affected by the organized state of my surroundings.

Further, the more organized my surroundings, the more I feel ample space.

Into such space, I spill my thoughts that have been carelessly tossed into the bucket of my brain

Within such space, such cluttered thoughts enjoy stretching and spreading beyond their impatience to find their place.

They allow me to …arrange them with love….rearrange them offensively and then a playful arranging….

An irony for me that organized space allows for the joy of disorganizing and reorganizing my most important space of the mind. Discovery.

Am I alone in that my creativity is dependent upon organizing closets, drawers and desks?

 

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“Complexity Perspectives in Innovation and Social Change” second chapter written by Dwight Read, David Lane and Sander van der Leeuw charts the history of human tool making as a fundamental innovation.  Noting the span of some 200,000 years, the authors expediently detail the challenge of human beings had to conceptually manage their material world.  Many of us know of paleolithic tool making but the chapter provides an appreciation for its “grinding” emergence.  The ability to create the tools and “… the ‘invention explosion’ of the Neolithic is related to their conceptual abilities to conceive of space in four nested dimensions across a wide range of spatial scales (from the individual fiber or grain to the landscape), to separate a surface from the volume it encloses, to use different topologies, to distinguish and relate time and space, to distinguish between different cause and effect, and to plan, etc.” (97)  In essence human beings gained a bootstrapping process that allowed them to gain an edge over other species.

Bootstrapping is defined in five steps

  1. a trial and error process that summarizes observations and experiences in an efficient manner.
  2. as more dimensions are available there is the ability to ask more questions
  3. a capacity of abstraction  allows for greater connections between different circumstances and domains of knowledge
  4. individuals who are exercised in this way have an increased “problem space” when compared to others and the increase “problem space” and the curiosity within it gives these individuals an advantage over other individuals and non-humans.
  5. “….each solution brings its own unexpected challenge, requires more problem-solving, and a more costly conceptual and material infrastructure in which to survive” (98)

The authors then follow the evolution from toolmaking to the more sociological development of urban environments and towns.   It is here that they distinguish themselves from the establishment on what drives the urban development.  Typically urban development is understood as dependent upon “a food surplus so that those ‘in power’ would not have to provide for their own subsistence and could harness some of the population at least part of the time to invest in collective works” (100)   To the contrary, the authors argue that urban societies coagulate because of “the problem-solving control loop” that conserves energy.  Such a control loop is described in the bootstrapping steps above.    (In order to substantiate this, they note that matter and energy are subject to the law of conservation but the flow of information is not subject to this and therefore is a more likely driver of urban development.  Energy and matter are more likely constraints for sociological organization).  While it too 200,000 years to master matter….human beings conceptual work related to information only took 8,000 years to conserve energy.

At this point, I would like to recognize the church as a facet of urban development.  And rest upon the work of the authors that asserts matter and energy as constraints but the flow of information as a driver in our development.  Very often in the church, we are trying to reproduce our population through an accumulation of members who are enculturated by tradition, denomination, context.   Our best intentions are masked by our own collusion with the Darwinian model wherein we equate reproduction and imitation of behavior as adequate enculturation and then we hope for vitality.

If we trust what our author’s excruciating work regarding matter, energy and bootstrapping, what we must conclude is that organized life does not derive vitality from imitation and reproduction, we derive vitality from the emergence of problems and the conceptual exercise to approach those problems with both life experience and openness to novelty.  If congregations are looking for vitality programs and ministry would not be efforts to repeat and reproduce (how guilty I am of this!).  Rather we might be looking for our most tenacious problems of politics, sociology, psychology and be a junction box for the flow of information (members and nonmembers alike), conserving energy while contributing to innovation.  Although it would not be enough, I might just be a  bootstrap that Jesus could endorse.

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As Christians we are all concerned about those who are unable to secure health care for themselves.  It is not only the suffering of people that matters to people of faith but for Christians, it is also the attention that Jesus, himself, seemed to pay to the systems that managed ancient health care.    Some of us within the Christian community recognize many of Jesus miracles as acts of audacious reform to the health care system of his day.   Health care matters to the Christian as does creative, responsible audacity.

I heard a great program at my Osawatomie rotary group yesterday by Tim McGraw of www.EHealthCover.com.  The conversation that rose up around his program was the way in which technological innovations are expanding our health care experience.  The cost of technological innovations surely impact the cost of health care for healthy individuals as well as individuals with preexisting conditions.  As we are all anticipating the final form of the health care bill, there may still be time to involve creative individuals from the field of health care technology. 

Shouldn’t Christians be involved in making sure that the right voices are at the table?  Some say health care reform is already underway.  What are your ideas on the subject?

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