Thursday, March 7, 2013

Thursday musings

Just a little time today to sit and think between calls and assignments.  I’m feeling a bit like two icons from Cefalu:  a crowded mind and a fleet footed narrative.

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On language learning:

Wisdom from the FT’s Michael Skapinker

Learning a language requires effort, memorising vocabulary, looking over the grammar, watching television, reading newspapers and talking to real people rather than just two hired participants. The learner has to take responsibility.

Successful language acquirers do something else: they don’t worry about getting things wrong or making fools of themselves.

If you haven’t already…

Today would be a good day to back up your residency and travel documents.  I scan my passport, residence cards, and driver’s license, front and back, each year into a single .pdf document and e-mail it to myself.  That gives me a reference that is accessible from anywhere, any time, if there is an emergency.

And a thought:

“Create more value than you capture.”  -- Tim O’Reilly

He notes that great ideas grow in great soli: the growing Commons that we all draw from and (should) give back to.  It’s one reason that I teach and mentor, others publish or preserve, donate or fund.

But you have to help maintain the ecosystem.

Plus an archetype:

Davos Man“Davos Man”

This is a construct of the FT, signifying “a member of the global elite with a reverence for innovation, a blind faith in capitalism, and an assumption that globalization is beneficial and unstoppable”. 

To that, I would add a distaste for governments, a disdain for media, and remuneration wholly decoupled from talent, effort, or social contribution.  Like (the very different) Tea Party Conservatism,  It’s generative and constructive as a coherent point of view that identifies problems and suggests potential solutions.  But it’s also brittle in its purity: volatility, competition, and disruption require social systems with resilience to maintain continuity.

I was listening to a lecture about how change is a necessary aspect of living things: they either adapt or die in a competitive world.   At the same time, I was gazing across the dunes and grasses of a beach that has been a stable living thing for millennia.  That would seem to be the greater truth, that living things adapt to maintain homeostasis, individually and as ecosystems.

Davos Man is an adaptive experiment, not the next stage of social evolution.

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