Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein in a few days…

… mostly in a single night.

In it we find the yet unborn Twentieth Century – and its long tail, cracking like a whip over us even now. No need for any more warnings than that. By then others had already begun to populate dystopias and pronounce prophecies: Milton, ….

What if a culture could absorb such lessons as they arrived?

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Must Communities Be Manageable?

Probing along the edges of what is commonly accepted we make forays into uncharted territory and then we blunder, confusing new ground for, well for forms of conceptualizing them like calling them “uncharted territories!” One step out of old assumptions and then another step, a trip, maybe even a bad fall, back into the world of those same discredited assumptions.

Dave Pollard has put together a strong post that lays out the edges of our predicament that just might be amenable to intervention as problems to be solved. He does a good job, a very good job, showing us the gap between run-of-the-mill Futurism and anything that might actually be of use to us going forward. Using a story, and keeping its action clouded and mostly “off-stage” helps put us in an imaginative space where we can feel some of the possible outcomes of our present trends without locking us into a sense that all we need do is answer these problems and everything will be fine.

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Imagination’s Roots

Imagination is a garbled concept today. We tie it into our obsessions with desire and wish fulfillment. In this way we see imagination as synonymous with fantasy – again in its current accepted meaning, as related to pleasant wishes. When we discover a failure of imagination we are looking at something else entirely. It’s not an inability to fantasize – except in the far-reaches of self-delusion where all we have to do is picture some wish in our mind’s eye and lo and behold it will materialize! No, a failure of imagination is a failure to realize the consequences – in the real world – of actions or omissions.

This seems to open up some interesting ground. If we look at imagination as part of how we perceive and respond to the world, then we can examine how it might actually be useful. It also shines a light on all the current fads and buzzwords related to “innovation,” and generally to the modern preoccupation with the new.

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