Friday, 22 November 2019

The Important Role of Praxis in Effecting Positive Societal Change

Praxis (Action/Reflection)

Praxis is a Greek word which means, doing action. In critical legal studies, praxis means practical action. It is the practical application or exercise of a branch of learning. It also means the practice of living the ethical life in conjunction and in cooperation with others.

It is not enough for people to come together in dialogue in order to gain knowledge of their social reality. They must act together upon their environment in order critically to reflect upon their reality and so transform it through further action and critical reflection.

Key Components:


To enter into dialogue presupposes equality amongst participants. Each must trust the others; there must be mutual respect and love (care and commitment). Each one must question what he or she knows and realize that through dialogue existing thoughts will change and new knowledge will be created.


The process of developing a critical awareness of one’s social reality through reflection and action. Action is fundamental because it is the process of changing the reality. Paulo Freire says that we all acquire social myths which have a dominant tendency, and so learning is a critical process which depends upon uncovering real problems and actual needs.

The Minessence Values Framework

The Minessence Values Framework [MVF] is an Expert System designed to facilitate this process - see:

Monday, 30 September 2019

The Carbon Cycle & Human Induced Global Warming

For all of human history prior to the industrial revolution the carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere remained fairly constant due to the natural carbon cycle depicted on the left to the diagram above. 
     Beginning at the industrial evolution, humans added to the carbon cycle. Coal and oil, which trapped carbon millions of years ago, began to be mined for fuel. This human addition to the carbon cycle is depicted at the right of the above diagram. Thus humans through the natural carbon cycle completely out of wack—it was no longer in balance and more carbon dioxide was been added to the atmosphere than was being removed. This imbalance as esabertated through land clearing as, humans were reducing he number of trees on the planet—removing the natural part of the carbon cycle which removed the carbon from the atmosphere.
     In summary then:

    • Humans, via using coal and oil as fuels began adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere at unnatural levels.
    • Humans, via removing tree, began removing the natural part of the carbon cycle that removed carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
    • The only possible result, therefore, being that carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere must continually increase.
The video below describes the carbon cycle and explains how the carbon dioxide layer in our atmosphere acts to warm our planet. 


Before the industrial revolution, when the carbon cycle was in balance the "greenhouse effect" of the carbon layer kept the planet warm enough to sustain life. When humans started adding to the thickness of the carbon dioxide layer through using coal and oil as fuel and through removing trees, the "greenhouse effect" meant the only outcome could be continual warming of the planet until life on it becomes impossible.

Further Reading

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Some things we can and should change

Suzuki on Worldviews...

Who's Counting? Marilyn Waring on Sex, Lies and Global Economics

In her feature-length documentary, Marilyn Waring demystifies the language of economics by defining it as a value system in which all goods and activities are related only to their monetary value. As a result, unpaid work (usually performed by women) is unrecognized while activities that may be environmentally and socially detrimental are deemed productive. Waring maps out an alternative vision based on the idea of time as the new currency.

Money itself has no value, rather, money is an information system by which we indicate to others what we value. Our current system of economics is flawed in that it caters only for a limited set of values. As a result, we have created a society based only on this limited set, ignoring the others. The most effective way to create a better society is to create a new system of economics.

If we don't like the way things are, we are better off putting our energy into creating new entities supported by new values-systems...

Quote Source: Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth, by
R. Buckminster Fuller

Post Updated: 26 June 2020

Friday, 18 November 2011

Embrace complexity, it's the key to growth.

Watch the Video Below for an Explanation of this Diagram
A complex world is what we are familiar with. Complexity is normal. It is something we we have grown to respect. We stand in awe of nature's complexity, from the function of the human body to the incomprehensible marvels of microscopic particles...We fail when we confuse "complexity" with "complication"  To messy minds, complicated things are much easier to construct than complex orderly structures. [Nader, pp. 331-332]

Happiness ensues when we take on ever more challenge,
with commensurate skills development,
whilst living our own values.

Some tips for embracing complexity from Seth Godin:
"The answer is simple" always more effective a response than, "well, it's complicated." One challenge analysts face is that their answers are often a lot more complicated than the simplistic (and wrong) fables that are peddled by those that would mislead and deceive. Same thing is true for many non-profits doing important work. We're not going to have a lot of luck persuading masses of semi-interested people to seek out and embrace complicated answers, but we can take two steps to lead to better information exchange:
  1. Take complicated overall answers and make them simple steps instead. Teach complexity over time, simply.
  2. Teach a few people, the committed, to embrace the idea of complexity. That's what a great college education does, for example.
That's what makes someone a statesman instead of a demagogue. Embracing complexity is a scarce trait, worth acquiring. But until your customers/voters/employees do, I think the first strategy is essential.

 You can't sell complicated to someone who came to you to buy simple.


Nader. J. 1999, HOW TO LOSE FRIENDS & INFURIATE PEOPLE: A CONTROVERSIAL book for thinkers, Plutonium, NSW, Australia.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Nothing Will Ever Change Until There's a Change of Worldview tear down a factory or to revolt against a government or to avoid repair of a motor cycle because it is a system is to attack the effects rather than the causes; and as long as the attack is upon its effects only, no change is possible. The true system, the real system, is our present construction of systematic thought itself, rationality itself, and if a factory is torn down but the rationality which produced it left standing, then that rationality will simply produce another factory. If a revolution destroys a systematic government, but the systemic patterns of thought that produced that government are left intact, then those patterns will repeat themselves in the succeeding government. There is so much talk about the system and so little understanding. [Emphasis added] (Robert Pirsig, 1974, p. 94)
For change to occur, people need to make different choices in familiar situations. Since values lie behind all our choices, this means people need to undergo a values shift. For a values shift to occur, people's world-view must change. The diagram below shows the main things which shape a person's worldview:

The fastest way of shifting people's world-view is through deliberately provoking a "significant emotive event"--brainwashing techniques are an extreme example of this. If you think people would never resort to these techniques, think again! The question we must ask is, are techniques which deliberately provoke "significant emotive events", ethical?
   The debate around this issue could rage on for years, however, the debate can be completely sidestepped. How? Well it turns out that, though creating significant emotive events is a very effective way of modifying a person's world-view, those provoking the event have no control whatsoever over how the person's world-view will change. If you cannot control the outcome, then what's the point of employing the technique?
     How can one be so sure that you cannot control the outcome? It's a basic principle of chaos theory. When you provoke a significant emotive event in a person's life, you create a bifurcation in their meaning-system (i.e. the way they'd made sense of the world until that point in time is broken down--bifurcated!). The brain's system of making sense of the world--it's meaning system--is as about as complex as system as you can get --in fact it might very well be the most complex system in the universe. Chaos theory tells us that when a bifurcation occurs in any complex non-linear system (not just the most complex in the universe) no one can predict the outcome.

     So this means, if you deliberately provoke a significant emotive event in a person's life in order to impact on their worldview, you have no control over, nor any way of predicting, what new worldview they will have after the event--how useless then is this as a technique make any change?
   What does work as both an effective and an ethical means of world-view modification? The answer: "Use a combination of dialogue, experiential learning, and structural change."
     The key to change is gaining real rapport with people. For genuine rapport to exist, people must really know that you are able to see the world through their eyes and thus understand why they have the value priorities they have.

Change = Rapport + Information

For more on this and other values related material, please go to our Knowledge Base.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Prosperity Without Growth

Anyone would think the economy is paramount in our society. Just listen to most politicians. Were they were elected to office by the economy? One would think so, as they do everything for the economy--it's their master and they its servants.

It is time we saw the economy for what it really is, and treat it accordingly.

I like to use a metaphor of the human body when explaining how the economy should work:
  1. The role of the economic system in society should be much like the role of the cardio-vascular system in our body—i.e. vitally important to the health of the whole organism.
  2. However, just as humans don’t exist to serve their cardio-vascular system, nor should society exist to serve the economic system—i.e. “we live in a society, not an economy”.
  3. And, just as individuals strive to have a healthy body (which includes having a healthy cardio-vascular system) so they can do what they want in life, so too should society look at their economic system as a means to enable it to do what it wants.
  4. It’s what we do or accomplish as an individual or a society that matters—no one is remembered for having a healthy-cardio vascular system! They are remembered for what they contributed to society. Thus vision, values and mission are paramount—having healthy internal systems merely enables these to be realised more easily.
As described in the following video, we need to restructure the economy to be non-numeric-growth. The key concept is to create an economy which enables “prosperity without growth”.

If we continue to have our economy dependant on continual growth then, "For how long will we have a planet which can sustain life?"

Monday, 6 December 2010

Increase fitness, build muscle bulk, lose weight, look younger and become smarter to boot!

How: For 20 minutes repeat the following on an exercise bike:
  • sprint for 8 seconds
  • cycle relaxed for 12 seconds
This 20 minute routine must be performed at least five days a week.
Source: Research from the Garvan Institute and the University of New south Wales.

Why this works: Chemical compounds called catecholamines drive weight loss. Catecholamines are produced during sprints.


If you'd prefer to get out and about (not use exercise equipment) then Professor Ratey recommends interval training – really pushing yourself hard for between 20 and 30 seconds while running, cycling or swimming, so that you are momentarily exhausted.

Do, say, two minutes of walking, 30 seconds' sprinting, then two minutes of walking again. It doesn't have to be a lot for a long time, but you will really notice the difference. "The side effects on the body aren't bad either - I lost 10 pounds in no time," Professor Ratey says.

  • A bonus! One of the articles on which this post was based says there's evidence that regular physical exercise makes you smarter. More...
  • New research from Tel Aviv University has found that "endurance exercises," like jogging, can make us look younger. The key, exercise, unlocks the stem cells of our muscles:
  • Lacking motivation, if you are over 30 I suggest you join your local Masters Athletics Club--this is our local club --there are clubs like this around the world--their motto is, "If you are old enough, you are good enough."