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« The biophysical economy - the only model of reality | Main | Questioning sapience - Could humans operate without profit? »

January 15, 2009


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Connects some dots, but not all. Yup, it's typical of that author, from what I can tell.

He's not the only one who does it, of course. Drives me crazy, sometimes. (

Thanks for connecting more dots.



I had to google the name to find out who he was...almost unknown this side of the pond. A journalist advocating green capitalist globalised solutions to problems caused by global capitalism sound like he's more interested in saving capitalism than the planet....
Those of us working in Uni Higher Ed appreciate how much time students take up once a new semester starts George!
On a couple of general points is your sapience thesis presented on this blogg the unexpurgated version or it is a 'laymans summary' of your thesis? (I would never dream of using the currently fashionable phrase 'dumbed down'!)
Also presumably your students are encouraged to view your blogg-does this tend to force a reticence or inhibit your responses on the more controversial side issues-for example the subject matter of my last entry?

George Mobus


Any more dots out there you are tracking?


George Mobus

Hi GaryA.

Re: sapience thesis. This version is being prepared for a talk I am supposed to give on the subject and its relationship with wisdom. The audience is general (i.e. not all psychologists or neurobiologists), but scientists or science-oriented so I am keeping citations and references to the book and secondary literature. I wouldn't expect many of them to seek out the primary lit, such as it is.

My intent is to raise a flag and see who salutes to determine where the more special audience lies. I've corresponded with several psychologists who are studying wisdom and they have given me some suggestions for more formal venues. But the subject is new (in fact I claim authorship!) - that is sapience is not a recognized construct like intelligence even though wisdom is gaining acceptance.

I am also talking with a few neuroscientists about the thesis that the prefrontal cortex is the sight of sapience control. This is all pretty new so it will be a while before the established disciplines take it to heart. However, early feedback on the potential of the thesis is heartening.

As for my students. I don't actively encourage them to read it. I do talk about relevant contents in classes. I have about ten regular current or former student readers, one of whom comments here from time to time. Also several of my colleagues read regularly, but only a few have interests in one or more topical areas that I cover. At least one colleague thinks I've finally gone off the deep end! Who knows? Maybe I have!

But I try not to concern myself with filtering my thoughts just because students or colleagues might be reading. People here who get to know me soon realize I speak my mind rather openly. But I try to keep my extraneous thoughts out of the classroom or meetings. So, no - no reticence on my part that I am aware of.


George Mobus

An addendum to the post:

I should point out that Tom Friedman's heart is in the right place. He does show genuine concern for the environment and people. I think his main problem is the same one that Obama and his advisers have and that is they are just so schooled in the old paradigms that they cannot imagine an entirely new way to conceptualize economics.

Most of the people (like me) who have recognized the fallacies inherent in neo-classical economics have come from the biological or ecological sciences. I happened to have also gotten strong doses of chemistry and physics along the way. We started out looking at the world in a very different way from economists, lawyers, and commentators.

I think it is great that minds like Friedman's are starting to realize that things aren't exactly going according to plan. But it is hard for them to give up on their vested interest in BAU, or at least the democracy/capitalistic ideologies. After all, they grew up with the wonder of capitalism in the greatest democracy on earth! Why wouldn't you believe what both your elders and your eyes told you?

It is only when things don't work out they way they should according to the beliefs that you start questioning everything, even the sacred cows.



Hi George,

Thanks for this one. I saw an interview with Tom Friedman when he visited the Netherlands. I felt immediately that he didn't get the big point. I'm glad you wrote down what it was.

'Any more dots out there you are tracking?'

In a way you are doing it already with your Sapience series, but I've had a feeling that the crux of the problem (peak oil & climate change & environmental degradation due to the 'consumptive, growth-oriented way of life') is very well explained by the philosophy of Jiddu Krishnamurti, though it would take some time to explain how exactly.

I'm sure you've heard about Krishnamurti and his philosophy, but I'll get back to you on this one, because to tell the truth, I have perhaps read 10% of your posts up till now. First I'll read all of it and then I'll see if I still feel there's room for Krishnamurti in the Sapience-story.


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