Saturday, February 28, 2004

Tapescript Journey 6 part four

My guide explains how PORENA came to be the way it is, from a work and technology driven community to the sustainable radiality- based phenomenon it is today.
“A series of books came out. It started with Porena Tales. The books got everyone talking about abolishing work, etc.

Before you knew it, the idea was accepted and people started trying the principles the books outlined.”

“Whoa, you’re going too fast - which of the principles was that then?” I ask.

“Well, it’s hard to nail it all down into a timeline exactly. The idea that a society’s footprint should not be more than the biosphere can stand was the first.

Then, following on from that, multi-functionality of living areas along with minimising the impact on the biosphere, like not putting in stuff that will need cleaning up later.

This caused us to ponder how we had got into this position in the first place. Work came up as an explanation, and money. If you get convinced you need money in order to survive, then you need to get money by working. That’s OK, but it can get out of hand. If left with a choice of doing a high-environment impact action or starving, people chose the former. So that led people to accept that neither work nor money were doing the job they were first intended for. Both were working in a dysfunctional way to encourage high-footprint activities.

The five stresses started to be accepted. As people realised they were being stressed unnecessarily they started growing food everywhere. And then working from home more. And then some people tried community experiments with abolishing work altogether. As that became socially acceptable, more and more joined the movement. Companies and especially local authorities started opening up to share knowledge and skills and people started coming along to get involved.

Everyone got involved in working to manage the five stresses: shelter, food, toxicity, social, physical harm.

At that point, the radiality scheme was started, and reliance on work was reduced as transport costs went down.

We’re still evolving, the rotating city is the latest step in the path.”

“That’s great!” I say. “Who was it who wrote these books?”

“You keep asking that,” my guide replies. “What puzzles me is that you don’t remember – it was you, yourself.”

End of tapescript Journey Six part four.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Verifications Journey 6 Cognitive Congruence

One description of the way ideas spread has been produced as part of Memetics – the study of how ideas – memes – gain people. In the case of PORENA it looks as if the ideas were spread by novels.
This in itself does not surprise me as novels have always spread ideas and visions – Utopia – 1984 …many examples.

One invention for sustainability is therefore novels with sustainable story lines. Any ideas anyone?

End of Verifications Journey 6 Cognitive Congruence
Tapescript Journey 6 part Three

I take the opportunity while I am at my guide’s house to explore the area of work. Earlier attempts have had people using the word in ways not meaning do-a-job-and-get-paid.

I have already gathered that multi-functionality calls for people to work from home. To have buildings going in two places, homes being used evenings and mornings and workplaces mostly during the day is inefficient. And travelling to and fro every day takes a lot of energy.

I continue: “Perhaps you could explain this, no -one works but everyone works. Money is banished and not needed - no-one needs to work but everyone does. Please explain. And what about you. How come you work as a radiality expert?”

I got interested. And started, just like that.
He saw my puzzled expression.
“I’m obviously making it more difficult than it is.

I went along and I asked questions, and I hung in there with people.
I asked and people gave me answers.
So this is a “go along” society.
Everything is completely open so if you want you - go along.

Education is open to everyone. People are always organising lectures and seminars.
I got involved, went along to the education, I got asked to help out. It works well - if you want some thing done you ask people, make appointments and work things through.”

“Oh! You have an office; a place of work so to speak?”

“I work from home. Everyone works from home. But in the rotating part there are meeting places, sure.

I mean, it is nice to be at home. With nice homes to be in you can work from home and remember it is multi-functional. We do not want to build a lot of places that are not being used very much, for example in the evenings and weekends.

Then the central part is a social place.”

“Can you tell me the story of Radiality?” I ask.

My guide takes a moment to collect his thoughts:
“It became clear to a lot of people that work as we knew it was in itself not environmentally sustainable. The purpose of work was to produce goods and services needed to support life, but it was getting so that to support life you had to come up with more and more ways of creating money, which meant more and more products and services being created and in circulation.
This in turn meant a larger and larger footprint of environmental burden.

So it was suggested the alternative approach should be to answer the question “How can we produce the goods and services needed to support life, maintaining a comfort level and at the same time keeping the environmental footprint down to sustainable levels?”

“When the idea was introduced that we banish remunerated work and cut down physical travel to a minimum everyone accepted it because they had had enough of driving to work or sitting on public transport. So the benefits of the scheme were obvious from the beginning.”

My guide’s explanation gets me thinking. I always think that simple issues never get resolved because they always get lost in the complexity of the current situation. And in democracies everyone has a say and you never get away from people looking primarily after their own immediate interests.

“I’m a sceptic,” I say. ” I love the idea but… I mean how did you get the idea over?
Most issues get lost in complexity.“

He replies “It was so simple that there was nothing to argue about. You need mass transport to get to work. Take work away and you take a lot of transportation needs away. Take transportation needs away and you can start to reduce the transportation infrastructure.

Remember the stresses. If you believe you need to go to work to survive, and the best way is to go by car, then even if somewhere deep down you understand the environmental impact, the survival need will override the environmental priorities.

If the car is not needed for survival- and it wasn’t as we banished work and improved access - then another important factor is that people have a need to contribute to the common good. When all of this was removed people acted quickly to completely remove the car. The consequences of removing the car and asphalt roads is pretty obvious to everyone so...

The ideas came out in the books I mentioned earlier, and they just spread. If ideas fit like that the cognitive congruence and consequences are obvious and the spread comes quite rapidly.”

“These books,” I say, “How did they come about?”

“You have obviously forgotten,” he said, “you might want to sit down before I tell you”.

End of Tapescript Journey 6 part Three
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