Friday, February 06, 2009

Cereal Box Rant

We need some catalyzing events that are other than terrifying or disturbing. That crash landing in the Hudson had a good outcome at least. Still scary though.

Kellogg's just dropped that Olympics guy because he admitted to smoking some pot. Very retro, very Prohibition, puts Kellogg's on my list of [warning: adult content].

What has Kellogg's done to tell the world's children about the XO, about One Laptop Per Child? All that real estate on the backs of cereal boxes: a place to share hopeful visions of the world.

Reading on the back of a cereal box, about these engineers at MIT and places, the many geeks around the world....

Why aren't the backs of cereal boxes painting attainable and appealing futures? I'm thinking of adding them to my World Game museum.

Not only do we have all those K-12 math texts, refusing to share anything about (a) whole number volumed polyhedra in a closest spheres packing matrix, (b) icosahedral numbers and geodesic spheres, five-fold symmetry in nature etc., (c) no SQL, no executable logics of any kind, but we also have all these unimaginative cereal boxes, clearly bankrupt in terms of passing on a civilization, a positive future vision. Lots of empty calories in more senses than one.

Kids growing up in the 1950s still had all these Popular Mechanics and Popular Science dreams of better worlds to come. What will 2000 be like? Science fiction galore, some distopian, some utopian. Now we're well past 2000. So what do kids today get to dream about?

Where's the near future positive vision? Is it impossible to share one? I think not. Terraforming Mars has its appeal, but somewhat indirectly, as it suggests we managed to keep evolving. What's the story there?

I do think the economy will continue in a tailspin until we start sharing a clearer future vision (pretty much by definition).

It's not just kids who need a dream of the future, but investment bankers.

If all you see in your mind's eye (crystal ball) are disasters and craziness, then are you really working hard enough?

Why give in to those fantasies? Why not put some big positive visions out there?

I think focusing on impending cataclysms only feeds the impulse to freeze up and do nothing. On the other hand, we do need to point out the dangers, I agree.

The danger right now is in not dreaming a future worth working for, and so being overtaken by events.

Remember where "money" ultimately comes from: the sun and biological processes (= wealth = life support). Energy comes into the system and we channel it, insert our water wheels. The human circuitry is just a subset of the ecosystem circuitry. Motherboard Earth.

Wealth doesn't come from taxes, first and foremost, nor from the Federal Reserve nor any purely human institution.

We're provided with a generous income. We squander it through obsolete reflexing (including habits of thought).