Monday, February 5th, 2018
[ by Charles Cameron — sadly but explicably unable to fall in love with the world population ]
I’ve been thinking about the appropriate scale of the world as it appears in different styles of reporting. The issue here is what happens when you zoom down from the abstract, group, to the individual, personal level.
Ava Olsen, perceived at the appropriate scale at which to view the world as a whole
My tweet explained — I hope!
A lot of journos take the wide-angle or “30,000 feet” view, dealing with a group or preferably larger community’s situation, eg “The Middle East after ISIS“, it's abstract and much smaller than the world – when you focus on one 7 yer old (eg Ava Olsen) you capture the actual size of the world, albeit only a tiny fraction of it — but with the appropriate level of compassionate response.
This is important becaus at full size, ie at the individual level, your writings elicit the appropriate compassionate response, which is key to our humanity, while at the more abstract and removed (“30,000 feet”) scale, both Ava herself and the appropriate compassion go missing.
And we desperately need the full appropriate compassion to be elicited, for the individual but for the individual at the group level!
I suspect, FWIW, that this is also, essentially, a quantity vs quality issue.
So 100 to 1 abstract, high level reporting will show the world, but garner only 1% of the appropriate compassion in readers (I know, it’ll do better than that, but only by a little), whereas 100 to 1 personal level reporting will garner the full compassionate impact — even with only 10% of the reportage, still the equivalent of 10 times the reportage at the abstract level — which then needs to be multiplied up to the abstract level.
image borrowed from one of a few dozen sites, then altered
So we need a preponderance of individual focus, but also an individual to group zoom — even when the group is humanity as a whole.
The best news: We can improve our capacity for compassion
Posted in Charles Cameron, comparative, compassion, Humanitarian, media, quant & qualit, scale, Uncategorized, zoom | Comments Off on The size of the (reported) world, a matter of scale & compassion
Friday, September 1st, 2017
[ by Charles Cameron — nothing origibal, others have had the same thought i
NY Times, Clinging to Her Drowning ‘Mama,’ a Little Girl Survives the Raging Flood
CBS News, Mumbai paralyzed as Flood in India kills more than 1,000
Must I choose between them?
Posted in Charles Cameron, comparative, disaster, Doublequotes, houston, India, mumbai, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Houston flooding, 38 dead and counting, Mumbai yes
Wednesday, April 20th, 2016
[by Mark Safranski / “zen“]
Rule of the Clan by Mark Weiner
I often review good books. Sometimes I review great ones. The Rule of the Clan: What an Ancient Form of Social Organization Reveals about the Future of Individual Freedom by Mark S. Weiner gets the highest compliment of all: it is an academic book that is clearly and engagingly written so as to be broadly useful.
Weiner is Professor of Law and Sidney I. Reitman Scholar at Rutgers University whose research interests gravitate to societal evolution of constitutional orders and legal anthropology. Weiner has put his talents to use in examining the constitutional nature of a global phenomena that has plagued IR scholars, COIN theorists, diplomats, counterterrorism experts, unconventional warfare officers, strategists, politicians and judges. The problem they wrestle with goes by many names that capture some aspect of its nature – black globalization, failed states, rogue states, 4GW, hybrid war, non-state actors, criminal insurgency, terrorism and many other terms. What Weiner does in The Rule of the Clan is lay out a historical hypothesis of tension between the models of Societies of Contract – that is Western, liberal democratic, states based upon the rule of law – and the ancient Societies of Status based upon kinship networks from which the modern world emerged and now in places has begun to regress.
Weiner deftly weaves the practical problems of intervention in Libya or counterterrorism against al Qaida with political philosophy, intellectual and legal history, anthropology, sociology and economics. In smooth prose, Weiner illustrates the commonalities and endurance of the values of clan and kinship network lineage systems in societies as diverse as Iceland, Saudi Arabia, Kenya, India and the Scottish highlands, even as the modern state arose around them. The problem of personal security and the dynamic of the feud/vendetta as a social regulator of conduct is examined along with the political difficulties of shifting from systems of socially sanctioned collective vengeance to individual rights based justice systems. Weiner implores liberals (broadly, Westerners) not to underestimate (and ultimately undermine) the degree of delicacy and strategic patience required for non-western states transitioning between Societies of Status to Societies of Contract. The relationship between the state and individualism is complicated because it is inherently paradoxical, argues Weiner: only a state with strong, if limited, powers creates the security and legal structure for individualism and contract to flourish free of the threat of organized private violence and the tyranny of collectivistic identities.
Weiner’s argument is elegant, well supported and concise (258 pages inc. endnotes and index) and he bends over backwards in The Rule of the Clan to stress the universal nature of clannism in the evolution of human societies, however distant that memory may be for a Frenchman, American or Norwegian. If the mores of clan life are still very real and present for a Palestinian supporter (or enemy) of HAMAS in Gaza, they were once equally real to Saxons, Scots and Franks. This posture can also take the rough edges off the crueler aspects of, say, life for a widow and her children in a Pushtun village by glossing over the negative cultural behaviors that Westerners find antagonizing and so difficult to ignore on humanitarian grounds. This is not to argue that Weiner is wrong, I think he is largely correct, but this approach minimizes the friction involved in the domestic politics of foreign policy-making in Western societies which contain elite constituencies for the spread of liberal values by the force of arms.
Posted in 15th century, 16th century, 17th century, 19th century, 20th century, 21st century, academia, al qaida, analytic, ancient history, anthropology, authors, black globalization, blowback, book, comparative, connectivity, contemplative, cultural intelligence, culture, Evolution, Failed State, foreign policy, government, historiography, history, Human Rights, ideas, insurgency, intellectuals, interdisciplinary, international law, lawyers, legal, legitimacy, Liberalism, liberty, national security, networks, non-state actors, paradox, Patterns, philosophy, politics, primary loyalties, Questions, rule-sets, security, social networks, social science, society, state failure, theory, tribes, Uncategorized | 3 Comments »
Friday, March 4th, 2016
[ by Charles Cameron — plus ça change? ]
Those of you who follow my keen interest in sameness and difference will appreciate the irony here.
There’s no disputin..
Posted in atheists, Charles Cameron, christianity, comparative, Doublequotes, marxism, Religion, shakespeare, vladimir putin | Comments Off on Marx, Putin — to believe or disbelieve, that is the question
Friday, November 27th, 2015
[ by Charles Cameron — the bell just tolled 72 for me, so it’s no longer Thanksgiving, it’s Psalm 90, still early in the “labour and sorrow” zone ]
A propos, then, of nothing in particular — and because it is a glorious work of art, here in a tweet is Marcel Duchamp‘s Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2:
And because it shows the paucity by comaparison, not just of language but of constructed languages — and also how finely tuned such languages can be, as in this extraordinary translation into the Ithkuil:
Now — how many words are worth a picture?
Posted in art, Charles Cameron, comparative, doubletweets, language, Uncategorized | 3 Comments »