We Deliver Stuff. Learning? Acquired, Never Delivered.

 

I am finishing out my term with finals this week.  ‘Twas the best. ‘Twas the worst.  Now, I am casting my line into the river that runs through my life and three fish strike at my fly.

1. The Knowledge and Learning Transfer Problem

2. Betting the Spread on Inexorables

3.

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The first is the source of my text and image. The second is from Venkatesh Rao’s newsletter “Breaking Smart”. The third is from James C. Scott, author of the acclaimed, Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed.

There is a river that runs through them. I am fishing it. The current is swift and cold as it runs off the high sierra.  I wait,  creel ready with a few salmon already inside.

Here are a three gems, all shiny and sleek rainbows

Venkatesh Rao, “Here’s the basic truth about planning: you cannot plan better than you can predict.”

Charles Jennings, “The incessant desire to hear about ‘best practice’ is really a need to hear about good practice and emerging practice. In other words, people are actually asking ‘tell me about the things that work for you. They might give us some good insights if we can apply them in our own way’. There is no ‘best practice’ where there are different environments and processes.”

James C. Scott, “The condensation of history, our desire for clean narratives, and the need for elites and organizations to project an image of control and purpose all conspire to convey a false image of historical causation. They blind us to the fact that most revolutions are not the work of revolutionary parties but the precipitate of spontaneous and improvised action (“adventurism,” in the Marxist lexicon), that organized social movements are usually the product, not the cause, of uncoordinated protests and demonstrations, and that the great emancipatory gains for human freedom have not been the result of orderly, institutional procedures but of disorderly, unpredictable, spontaneous action cracking open the social order from below . ”

 

Rock Solid in a Storm: Daniel Bassill with a Life Rope

Daniel’s posts always do more than inform. They are full of persuasion and  they make me a better person.  I have been mulling over his latest post,

Conflicted: How to focus long term when world around is in turmoil?

As usual he has some serious wisdom to share. This time he takes the long view about giving in a world full of turmoil. I say it is wise because it runs counter to what the prevailing wisdom is (which is really an oxymoronic thing to say, right?). Most folk are saying ‘resist’ and even fight. Dan says instead that we need to save democracy by giving more. More money and more service.

I am annotating both the images and the text at NowComment and have added a few other choice readings from Isaiah Berlin and an article about the ‘triple bottom line’ from Tanya Hall and Timothy F. Slaper as extras. Come visit. His writing always repays on its ROA–return on attention. It is not a zero sum game either. You will gain life for time invested. No, really? 😉

Head Down on the Rail, Eyes Closed

Responding to a Facebook post I got a vision:

I have my head down
listening on the rail,
listening for the train a-comin’,
but I have my eyes
closed.
It’s coming,
damnit it’s coming,
listen to the train,
listen to the track,
why won’t I
open
my
eyes?

 

 

Here is the post, another version of that vision.

and my response:

History is perfect hindsight, but I guarantee you that
America’s Fascism, Inc. will look way different than the Third Reich’s did. It will come perhaps as a new version of the Civilian Conservation Corps, doing infrastructure work, providing a paycheck, getting folks thinking that maybe we Americans can at least do good and have a job and a purpose. Then we will start to sing songs together and then we wear uniforms as we sing our songs and then…well, like I said it will probably not be exactly that or even close to that, but we better damned well be watching with one eye cast out as we put an ear to the railroad tracks. There will be no blast of warning from that train that bears down upon us all.

And here are the two songs competing in my soul as I carry on down my blind road: Dylan’s “Slow Train Runnin'” and Warren Zevon’s “Nighttime in the Switchin’ Yard”.

Slow Train Coming – Bob Dylan from summer soul channel on Vimeo.

 

 

Listen to the train,

listen to the track,

Listen to the train,

listen to the track.

Listen to the train,

listen to the track.