Thursday, January 29, 2009

The New Humanities

A future, indeed, for which we are not prepared, largely because no pedagogies exist to teach it. - Kevin Jarrett

It scares the hell out of people when there is no structure to maintain their illusion of control. My peers and I have discussed, cussed, and argued about a so-called "structureless society". Our discussions were based on labor union organizational structures, but they are the same as our current social structures here in the states. I think a lot of the problem is the name that is used. Structureless is a misnomer. There is always structure, it is just that the structure takes different forms depending on necessity, and recquires different interactions between the participants. Most of the good folks I hang with strive for a level playing field where no human life is any more precious than another. It's the basics for being a human being in my opinion...there is either humanity, or our history as inhabitants on this poor planet continues to repeat itself. There continues to be hunger, suffering, death, and destruction. Why do you think that is? Perhaps because we want to hold on to that structure our entire lives are built around? Maybe we want to hold on to that little embedded piece of DNA that gives us that exhilarating feeling that we are of some importantance...that we are above other life forms?

Our quest should be to change the story of humanity, and the only way to change our story is to write it ourselves. As we venture into this unknown, we must understand that technology is moving faster than we can define our critical pedagogy! For the first time, people have the power to write the story of our future. We do not have to rely on any hierarchical beings to envision and design the structures for us. This is our opportunity to discuss, share, design, and build our own world. The people will define humanity and's our chance. Are we as a people ready for such a huge undertaking as this? Is this merely a pipe dream, or can we really get this done? After all the past failures of civilization, can we hope to succeed?

Professor Richard Miller of Rutgers is co-author of New Humanities Reader. I strongly recommend you watch his presentation on the new humanities in the two videos below.

What are our thinkers doing to make this shift toward cooperation possible and manageable? How do we adjust as we head from an ownership society into a shared society? Stanford has some wonderful lectures pertaining to these questions. The Literacy of Cooperation Lecture Series is part of the interdisciplinary study of cooperation and collective action being conducted by The Cooperation Commons. Below is a compilation of some of the lectures.


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