Externalities. The term has been hidden within Economics since the beginning of its study of human endeavor and its look for potential ways to measure our activities. It’s been there since the first human error in judgment, the first break with the world of pure instinct, our first attempts to outsmart the balanced books that were our pre-human inheritance. The behavior was there, but until a profession created a meretricious term for it; giving these blunders a safe place to hide on our balance sheets, we were ashamed, or at least embarrassed by these holes in our understanding of how our accounts broke down.

A Cross-post from Fine Lines

What is and what is not ephemeral? We’ve been getting this wrong consistently and over an increasingly wide range of situations. We treat long-lived phenomena as though they were fleeting. We treat merely passing blips as permanent conditions. We design and build structures that should last centuries with ever-shorter useful life-spans. We’ve done this intentionally. Continue reading “A Cross-post from Fine Lines”

Between Unknowing and Conviction

The alternative is an opening up to a continual wrestling with conditions and contingencies so that we can learn to remain on that edge between unknowing and conviction. If we only see this as a linear path going from a situation of lacking to one of having, then we are doomed to reel from paralysis to self-inflicted catastrophe. Unknowing is not a lack, it’s a relationship to reality. It’s the opposite of Know Nothing, that perennial reactionary stance so popular today. Unknowing is the realization that the most we can do is “salvage reality,” to use Berger’s terminology, extracting bits of reality from out of the surrounding mysteries.

Lilac Blossoms

A friend has asked me to meditate on an interesting question, well phrased, “What is the origin of originality?” As I prepare to look into this question with all its implications presented afresh by the inclusion of origin within originality opening up fresh avenues of inquiry, I’m led to go back over pieces I’ve workedContinue reading “Lilac Blossoms”