If I wrote about Paul Berry, would he know?

Anchor for this item  posted Saturday, September 22, 2007 at 3:15 PM MST

My theme is "the community of principled practitioner" as myth. (Now, now ... have you already decided that my bad attitude justifies the cold shoulder? I assure you that this isn't the case: my attitude merely serves as pretext; the ostracism is very likely a pre-existing predisposition within you, dear reader.) "Dialogue in Progress!" - scratchpad ... circa 1995, more than a decade ago, more than 30 years after I was part of a tightly linked network of operators tracking Soviet assets in the North Atlantic. Precisely three decades after the UN's "Special Session on the New International Economic Order" twigged me to how a lot of opportunistic careerists use affairs like public policy as soap-boxes. HuffingtonPost.com, DailyKos.com ... let's start the list there. Then there's OpenDemocracy.com, and Rabble.ca, and and and and and ... how many forums, thousands? Tens of thousands? How many well intentioned sites like Omidyar.net and Razoo.com, many dozens? So much energy ... so many people spending so much time. But I have to say it: so much heat, so little light! So we aren't where we are because we lack resource. (Remember the shortage of drinking water in New Orleans after Katrina hit. There's plenty of bottled water to be had. See the parallel?) As with YouTube and MySpace it's painfully obvious that the amplitude of "fun" is no indicator of any quality. My still-born Many2Many and VibeWise blogs testify to how this aulde dawg has been run ragged. I can't compete with the gliterati ... there's no chance of me becoming an a-list blogger. So works like my "Participatory Deliberation" project and its working journal are little more than testimony to how I've been wasting my time. "Thinking clearly about what is crucial; talking deeply about simple things" ... it still seems to me that we can apply our present stock of resources and our newest techniques to the stuff of discourse, talking brass tacks, nuts and bolts. But nothing much will come from even our best effort until and unless we recognize that our processes tend to replicate our present social structures and community dynamics. (There are, of course, think that this is entirely appropriate. That should be a sobering thought!) See "The Death of Environmentalism; Global Warming Politics" by Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus (PDF 520KB) for a good discussion of group-think and such. Purba: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tag/democratic-mashup

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