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Brain-Bustingly Hard


Unsettlingly, I admire the cross-disciplinary work of William L. Livingston because:

  • It’s difficult to place into a nice and tidy category (systems thinking? social science? philosophy?).
  • It resonates with “something” inside me but it’s brain-bustingly hard to absorb, understand, and re-communicate.
  • The breadth of his vocabulary is astonishing.
  • He doesn’t give a shit about becoming rich and famous.
  • He digs up quotes/paragraphs from obscure, but insightful “mentors” from the past.

As the boxes below (plucked from the D4P4D) show, Gustave Le Bon is one of those insightful mentors, no?

A lot of Mr. Le Bon’s work is available for free online at project Gutenberg.

  1. June 9, 2012 at 9:25 am

    Not to mention long sentences. :-) I like his comment about traditions. As I see it, humanity is about choice and free will. Given the mountainous number of decisions we have to make each day, we the vast majority on auto-pilot (like, “should I use auto-pilot or instinct, here?”). Thousands per hour rise to the level of conscious selection. Tens are truly important.

    Without rituals, we would be quivering lumps in a short time. Dubious? Then go to London, where if you step off a curb looking to the left, you might get run over. Or if you are unlucky enough to get a rental car with standard transmission, you find yourself stepping on the clutch with your left foot and shifting with your left hand.

    One problem is that we become so dependent on traditions and rituals (like a rock climber does with their hand and foot holds), that we can’t figure out when to let go of the destructive ones (like the U.S. Patent System or the Electoral College)…

  2. June 10, 2012 at 7:46 am

    Very informative post. I would like to thank aawwa (Lorraine) for comparing the above post with my last blog post. I agree with her that there is a similarity in message. The authors of this message are probably not connected, but that makes the message even more interesting. Here’s a bit of the blog post Lorraine was referring to:

    For Foucault there is no depth to a person. A person amounts to no more
    then the surface attributes of the society that defines him/her. Foucault calls
    his investigations into Western knowledge “archaeology of thought,” and what
    this archaeology has unearthed is…..

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