Wednesday, April 23, 2008

brunch, bbq, t-shirt non-apology


My name is Crockett Dunn.

Here are a few of the things that I am:

  1. IT business owner
  2. passionate music lover
  3. aspiring serial entrepreneur
  4. obsessive systems optimizer.
Lately, over the past 3-6 months, I've had a lot on my mind related to the state of stuff in our world, especially some non-optimal systems. The thing is, I've been busy servicing my clients whilst seeking an operations manager for CDLLC, so the lots on my mind had no previous opportunity to settle into proper organization.

Yesterday I went to a housewarming party/BBQ with my wife, Dr. Marki-Dunn, and hung around with her doctor friends and their IT spouses. I had the opportunity to talk about some of the stuff that I'm curious about with Jason. I can't remember Jason's last name, or if he generates revenue online and therefor desires a plug/link. [Jason, let me know if you want a link.]

{update 5/18/2007- Jay commented, and he does in fact have a blog here.}

Some of the items Jason and I discussed were capitalism, socialism, wealth, interdependency, culture, hedge funds and certain investment vehicles increasingly removed from the actual items of real value, survivalists, elitism, television and how it teaches us what to think, revolutions, civilizations, a trend of increasing socio-economic class division, warfare, fire arms and the second amendment, federations/nations, mankind/humanity/human condition, and our ability to destroy the human race.

I just finished brunch with one of the 5 most kind/compassionate/helpful individuals from my days at Duke University. Her name is Russell Colver, and she does ADHD Coaching in Durham, NC.

So here is the important point in all of this- similar to ideas in previous posts about "c'mon, let's not all destroy each other," and this other post I wrote in the muggy heat of Mobile, AL in August of last year.

I've got this t-shirt depicting a mushroom cloud (which is really not a cloud at all, it's a ball of fire, similar to a pyroclastic blast resulting from a volcanic eruption, but faster, with a larger destruction radius, ergo deadlier.

I can't remember who I upset this time but yes, a t-shirt depicting a mushroom cloud is meant to be provocative and needs to be provocative, especially as we enter an era of a nuclear armed world run by kids who did not live through the cold war, while simultaneously paranoid former Soviet, first-strike advocate generals still hold positions of influence.

So here is my problem. My kindergarten classes have got stuff figured out more than the various governments of the world. If all world governments were on the TV show, "are you smarter than a 5th grader," they would lose in the cooperation category.

Here's the deal: collaboration, cooperation, interdependency, everyone being indebted to one another, global community, teamwork- whatever you want to call it- results in better life. Better, in this extremely general sense, means more problems solved = survival. Some examples of this "better" include
  1. reduced chance of starvation
  2. reduced chance of death by diarrhea resulting from lack of clean water
  3. reduced chance of being randomly killed by an intentional act of anger-motivated violence
  4. reduced chance of dying of disease
  5. reduced chance of dying as the result of natural disaster.
Global collaboration would produce a world of abundance where with basic needs met... well, we would be free to have fun, party, watch soccer and football- play.

OK, so for this reason, in kindergarten and most school systems, when someone attempts to solve a problem using physical violence (example: can I have that apple? no. ok I punch you in the face and take apple) is considered unacceptable to the point that both parties involved- both aggressor and victim- are usually suspended or otherwise punished.

So why do educational institutions consider violence so unacceptable? Because violence creates fear, hatred, a desire for revenge- it awakens our animal instincts- and this becomes a cycle which is very difficult to break. In some cultures this cycle has been running for 1000s of years.

Does this make me a Utopian? No- I think sometimes people enjoy indulging their animal instincts- it's human nature. Even when we try to satisfy our animal instincts by proxy, spectator sports, often the spectators engage in violence (riots, etc).

Utopian/idealist/romantic I am not.

Pragmatist I am.

I like being alive and would like to continue being alive as long as possible. And again, we are entering an era of a nuclear armed world run by those whose childhoods did not include looming fear of the destruction of the human race, duck-and-cover drills, the concept of mutually-assured-destruction/lose-lose warfare, visions of entire cities leveled and the fall of western civilization.... all because our global community isn't governed by the basic rules of kindergarten school children.

Suggested reading:

gotta run- dinner time. more links later


Jay said...

Hi, Crockett. This is Jason from the bbq. I'm just contacting you to let you know that you have a very cool blog, and to comment on your article.

It was great trading insights with you. Concerning the globalization and world-let's-not-wail-on-each-other issues.... I am an optimist by heart, and I do think we're going to sort everything else, it is my hope that I can see clearly what's going on in the world in a structural sense (or system-wise, in your parlance), if not to make effective change, then to minimize our damage to it.

I'm all for trade that enrich nations mutually; which make us interdependent, which reduces the chances for conflict. This is the premise that Thomas Friedman's has argued for a while, which he likes to coin "flat world". I like his theory and I think there's a lot of truth to the positive aspect of globalism.

I'm actually not as familiar in the all arguments against globalized capitalism. But, it's my observation that the forces of rapidly changing economy, modernizing society can and is highly disruptive --economically and socially. Economically, one's job can be displaced either micro-wise (non-competitiveness) or macro-wise (see Asian Economic Crisis of 97). Socially, this move from traditional culture to individualism which causes this modern fear and anxiety (See Zygmunt Bauman's various books, maybe "Liquid Times", for a way better articulation [side-side note: Bauman's work has a very interesting 'system' pattern toward person/social modern issues, You might find him interesting]). Imho, if the globalization is done wrong, there will be an opposite effect of gravitating toward less sense of interdependence, escape toward easy moral certitude, blaming, terrorism, authoritarian rule, economic refugees, etc.

In terms of the cold war, interdependence, nuclear conflict, etc., I really recommend Errol Morris' documentary, "Fog of War".

P.S.: "Alas Babylon" is a great book.
P.P.S.: my blog is
P.P.P.S.: Somebody didn't like your shirt?


Crockett Dunn said...

Hey Jay,

Very interesting reply. I'm impressed by your ability to translate concepts from one person's terminology to another's. I'm pretty sure this makes you some kind of super-genius, no joke.

I was just about to refute your arguments concerning the possible downsides of globalized interdependency and call you a Luddite (did you know the original Luddites were those afraid of their jobs being displaced when the... ummm... fabric loom...(I think) was invented). Some kind of fabric-related invention anyway.

The argument against what I anticipated you would say is that there are always new jobs created when other jobs are replaced. It's a short term pain leading ideally utopia in the long term. Then I was going to lecture you on the concept of creative destruction....

But you threw me this curve ball about traditional culture vs. individualism causing fear and anxiety, and well, damn!

As I sit here, mid information revolution, relatively lonely, in a gated community to protect me from the gangs of Salinas, walking on the treadmill in my internet-connected home gym...

I'm thinking I would very much like to read, "Liquid Times", and Zygmunt Bauman's various books.

Crockett Dunn said...

P.S. I'm going outside to play my guitar now.

Jay said...

Hi, Crockett. Hahaha, funny response. Ironically, I think I'm pretty dumb most of the time. Yeah, please post your thoughts about Bauman's book when you have a chance to read it. It looks like you have read tons of interesting books, so I wonder what your reflections would be (as you contemplate in your Fortress of Solitude(tm))