Sometimes synchronicity is spooky. I spied this in the Guardian just now.
In reply to Maria-Cristina, it's difficult to have work-life balance when the division of the personal and the public worlds exists. From what is described in biased workplaces (in article above), it's necessary to have some sort of protective wall, if only to survive another day.
The irony is that people become competitive in the work place because of a perceived scarcity of resources, but in technology it seems to me to be a perceived scarcity of privileges. I have never understood how sitting at a keyboard is somehow "hard work." I know it requires effort and intellectual effort in particular, but it's not like working on a farm, where solving problems with scarce resources is always the norm. Think bricolage.
Maybe this perceived scarcity is the same in academia. Having a worldview that the field of knowledge is infinite, seems to be, looking from the outside. But perhaps I am unaware of the bricolage people do inside the university. I do not mean to diminish truly hard work.
Anyway, these resources are culled from the public world to feed the personal world in the end, isn't that the true motivation? To protect home and hearth when we aren't talking about invading hoards on longboats shooting flaming arrows at our huts shouldn't carry that same impending fear, dread, and uncertainty. But sometimes it seems to feel that way, that people behave with that same ferocity of a struggle to the death.
It is an illusion, a misperception. But this misperception has its apparent reality that creates real fear in people. As if their lives didn't matter and unbalanced equations must be attacked with quadratic solutions, to set the matter straight.
Instead, a shared effort is required to permit that defensiveness, born of competition, to dissipate. In order to do that, people have to feel safe. So how is safety created in the spaces? Spaces free of ridicule and non-acceptance. Then, isn't that what every human being desires and requires to flourish? Interesting that that need has no bias.
That is why I admire Aurora so much. I really think that she is on to something.
Larry, rather than reversibility, I'd prefer receptivity or reciprocity.
And rather than finer nature, I'd prefer true nature (with an idea that being competitive, biased, prejudiced, unethical etc, are actually artificial constructs, that when obstructions have been lifted, what is natural is to balance what is there (like homeostasis), free from hindrances.
In order for us to recognize what is fullness in ourselves, fullness must already be present within us, otherwise we could not recognize it, we wouldn't have affinity toward it. So if we can remove the notion of scarcity, then the fullness of who and what we are, which is already there, will be evident. It will have an appearance of emerging from nothing, but it's really just appearing like a tree in the fog that was standing quiet all along, and all that was required was for the fog to lift.
Anyway, I want to lastly add that I bring up demand over production, which Maria Cristina had shown some interest. The idea is that we have demands which actually decide production, and these demands are socially based, because we have social natures. Even if we are talking about biological demands like food and shelter, early childcare, regardless, in those cases there is a social aspect to them.
Looking through the other end of the telescope, when we consider demand first rather than production, things look interestingly different. If we include things in demand in that exploration (rather than things in production), we begin to see the social life of things, we start to see how these items go in and out of commodification, where objects have auras of value that reside outside of monetary value and markets.
Let's consider your dining room table. You bought it in a furniture store, or perhaps online, or from a thrift store or garage sale, maybe it was a gift. But as long as you own it, you don't consider the market value of your dining room table, or its appreciating value if say it was made by a famous furniture maker where in 20-30 years you'll see those items appraised on The Antiques Road Show; at least not until you decide you don't want to own it anymore. During that time of possession, the dining room table starts to have different value, a social value, which is determined by its demand, or should I say demand for it. It supports the family by providing a comfortable place to eat meals. A place for kids to do homework. A place to play card games. Or to cut a dress pattern from fabric, etc. All of these are domestic activities, but they have no production value in terms of tables. You only need one dining room table. Still, the table will generate value in the household, because of the activities that the table supports, even if it is to bring people together at holidays, or even if it has only sentimental value, say if the table is damaged and must be repaired, or it has been moved because the room is being painted. This description depicts the social life of the dining room table. Which is based upon its demand, not its production.
Anyway, as I said previously, my debt for these thought experiments comes from Arjun Appadurai. If anyone is interested.
Maria Cristina makes a great point considering work life and living life as two types of activity systems and thinking about their inherent contradictions. What comes from this tension that transcends the two? (Might this exploration echo the comparison between production and demand?) Is Maria Cristina correct that there hasn't been much discussion in this area? if so, I'd like to learn more about that.
Great conversations. Thanks.