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Scribe of the Muses

Mushtaq Bhat

Homo sapiens and Civilizations

A Digression | Apology & Prolegomenon
(spiced here with some hard-core social critic)

Why Speculate?

Here we propose to indulge ourselves in an extensive social critic and speculate about things, that actually should be of no direct concern to us or the Muses. Yes, the more skeptical of our honored readers, may protest. We should leave these matters in the hands of the experts, some of whom are doubtlessly more dedicated to their callings, than we can ever hope to be (and this I claim to hold true for most of our discussion), nevertheless we know that such species are not very widespread. Unfortunately more than a few of them succumb to singing the songs of other divinities, i.e., of institutions to whom they owe their allegiance or of their sponsors and employers instead of the Muses. Well it is perfectly legitimate to paint a portrait or two of one's Mäzen (art sponsor) but the product should be explicitly declared as such. We know that, this does not happen most of the time, and then we must also watch out for certain rationalizations, when these folks may even be persuading their own selves to believe in myths! This may also occur, without their innocent selves being involved in the process!  It may be because of a, what I call a Socratic Constant, somewhat related to Freudian projection and the cognitive Dissonance (i.e.; rationalization) of Leon Festinger. We may be objectively talking about the needs of the majority and the public, but actually selling our own or our benefactors or employers product or indulging in some vested interests or projecting our own dire needs and bad intentions on innocent people in neighboring countries or even onto our next door neighbors. However a Socratic analysis will almost always reveal that we are talking more about ourselves or the ghosts in our minds or just rationalizing without being aware of the process.

Secondly, we may have got infected with a strange kind of a virus that makes us think about the next-generation, or even about the next two generations!
Now a modern pragmatic reader may protest too?
This is totally out of times! You do not think that far today. You just can not! Don't you know it? We live an age of three great established paradigms!

Why divulge in future despite that? I know! I know! This is archaic! Quixotic! Mad! Pathological!
Well maybe because we are actually here to fulfill some specific prophetic mission, dictated by some crazy professor on some far-away planet outside the milky way.
Or maybe also because of the fact, that we do love our children, whatever that means.

Now for whatever reasons, we are definitely going to think about future even when our VIP's or other species, who really believe that there are beings on this planet, who are more important than the ground-aerating earth worm in the complex superstructure, within which we exist and where even noble gases are influenced by gravity, where everything is dependent upon everything else and where anything can suddenly gain a crucial importance, rivet our senses and make other problems seem mundane. Anything! A fish in a ocean current, a butterfly fluttering around the window sill, some strands of DNA (say, Ebola) or even a strand of a protein (mad cow disease), or an old-time no-less important familiar virus (Flu). Anything can unexpectedly and suddenly turn more important than even billion tons of fossilized energy (which, by the way, is a gift of mother nature) or all the Prime Ministers and Presidents of all the countries added together, could ever be. So since it being obvious that nothing is more important than an earthworm or a strand of protein, we should remove this vestigial archaic, reminiscent of Baal and ancestor worship term out of modern languages, especially school text-books or rename it as a very much in need of importance Person sapiens! Americans should be the first ones to get rid of this continental monarchical legacy. Crap Dude! How can I be more important than you! A public servant more important than the tax-payer! A human being more important than water or oxygen or a relatively simple strand of protein or DNA?

These men (they are mostly men? Aren't they?)1 may justifiably be constrained into thinking in five-year periods, during which many of them enrich certain discrete banks in foreign territories, or who, committed to current fashions and certain bizarre social consens, are diligently collecting collectively-acknowledged barter items, stamped with brand names, like the relics of the saints in middle-ages, some times only for sake of a passing nod of approval from equally brain-ad-washed peers and consens producers back at home or at a potential social gathering or a party. Items like a fancy shoes, watch or perfume, that can be more costly than the monthly income of their doctor back at home! Or totally dedicated to purchasing things and properties, like real estate, as if one could be safe in ones backyard for centuries. Or busy acquiring other assets, with which, one is inclined to think, they probably believe they might get a place on the arch Noah, where they can safely stow away their breed or their DNA duplicates. I would not mention it, if it were not for the fact, that most of it is the tax-payers hard earned income, which some of them squander away! Personally acquired wealth is something different, but you will probably often notice, that those who posses it, generally do not squander it away. They will probably respect your money as they respect their own! Anyway, whatever the reasons for more than a few of our public guardians almost automatically (like certain other mammals, whose temporal imagination can not exceed next four hours, being as they are endowed with smaller brains and a vision lacking depth of field ) thinking in five-year periods and who moreover may, during these good-harvest periods indulge themselves in almost pathological obsessive fetishistic accumulation of personal wealth (one tends to think , it must be an instinct like that of squirrel collecting nuts, inherited from ice-ages!) instead of serving the public and the planet and its immediate problems, we are fortunately free to think about things in periods exceeding ten years and maybe even forty years, when our kids will be doing the same hopefully for their kids, which we nevertheless very much doubt.

Of course, in this respect we are exceptional and rather archaic and outdated, since in the instant-gratification milieu, that we have created for our kids, we somehow forgot our own selves, which obviously is the reason that today they, our children, do not see us! We are non-existent. And any mention of long term consequences, or things not lying within reach of the next two hours, generally fall on deaf ears. And they will be the future of the planet, coming and going out of presidential offices and long limousines and the Security Council Offices, paying more attention to the knots of their ties, than to the earth worm in the backyard, an organism more complicated than the Ebola Virus, but no less important.

The Premise

And yes we may also speculate about the family and the community. The consequences of the big ride, that every nation today seems to be embarked upon, quite often without any compromises! In quest of the new, radically discarding the past, which was hell when it was feudalistic, but heaven. in things communal. It was the sharp observing empathic eye of the famous western anthropologist Levi Strauss, that induced him to declare the aboriginal Australian as a great sociologist, even if poor in engineering. The communal Catharsis that occurs on the death of a beloved in traditional societies, may forever be lost to mankind. The atomized urban Yuppie, will have to bear such burdens alone, taking recourse to more consumption, obsessive sexual fixations, celluloid fictions, star-Baal-cults, childish-tech-gadgets, drugs, alcohol and frenzied work and career-fixation as as substitute for a family and a true community. There is even a noticeable metamorphosis occurring in a Hindu family, an institution, that once possessed the magic of lighting up the faces of its members, even in the most unimaginable dire-straits and producing one of the most genuine smiles that ever came from grown-up men and woman. They are apparently hell bent on exchanging the fresh lovingly made Samosa and Chapatti with some stale packed white-bread sandwich, made by alienated men and woman without any pleasure in their jobs and more than willing to exchange the smiles of youth with the grim determined looks of the Homo material wealth producer-consumer sapiens

At the airport in Delhi, they chased away the lively-looking good-cooking Alu-Tikki-Wallah.2 Delicious things were coming from his hands and he was almost always radiant with good-vibes. But now instead of that, you can have a stale (probably a week old, conserved, with awful chemicals enhanced sandwich, thrown at you from an unfriendly waiter, fully dissatisfied with his wage-working-job at the airport lounge or restaurant or snack-bar! The tea tasting like cold water spoilt with black leaves! And this they believe to be anonymous with progress! The Alu-Tikki-Wallah, was not just selling Alu-Tikki, he was celebrating a way of life _ self-determined and pursued with exceptional dedication! It was a pleasure to be served by him, compared to the incompetence and unfriendliness of the waiter, the latter was probably dreaming about some other job or no work at all. It was moreover also a place for communal gathering of the locals, chat, music and brimming with a life, really felt and lived! Informal but more pleasing to my eyes, than the sterility and the forced subdued boring for-Indians-unusual ambience inside the airport.

One day all these airports will look the same from Alaska to Andaman islands, and even the food will taste monotonously alike! And they will probably declare it as progress! And some architect, or a city planner out of some currently fashionable stylistic school (a la Bauhaus), most probably living in a country lodge in the woods, amidst the best woodwork, will be laughing himself sick at seeing millions, living in cemented Apartment silos (a la Brazil 3 or Chandigarh) or in their more modern legacy, spending their days and nights confined in his morbid mental creations, that may have even earned him a place in history text-books _ creations totally ignorant of the ecology, biodiversity, local ethnology, sociology, tradition and worst of all, of geography, weather, religion, local economy and communal Givens of the place! Would be appropriate, if these guys should be forced to live, along with their family in these life-unfriendly, divested of children's-playgrounds and frog-ponds semi Speer-Stalin-Stylistic urban centers, without any trace of or space for any type of organic indigenous development whatsoever and that moreover reflect incredible tastelessness in design, that would make even a Palladio flinch in his grave!

If it is really an educated upper class, be it in free market economy (west), be it in regulated socialist (evident in some extant Marxist economies) or the combination of the two or in monarchic and religious societies (Middle East and Iran) that literally determines how our brethren (or lower denizens) have to live, this class needs direly an education in modern biology, ecology, ethnology, language and most of all in family life, not just a knowledge of material sciences, statistics and static! And it should be a prerequisite for all degrees and Diplomas in urban planning! In competitions for urban planning, especially concerning living quarters of any community, a basic course in local language and short stay in the community and an dialogue with the local people should be a prerequisite. It must be borne in mind, that most picturesque cities in Italy are result of both organic and planned architecture, that the most communally vibrating locations in India are organic creations of centuries. And it should not be left in the hands of brain-washed or corrupt politicians to be the sole juries for choosing a candidate, there must be representatives from the local community preferably from multiple age-groups (not just political representatives) included in such decisions.

Our basic premise however is not completely speculative in nature, it is based on first hand knowledge of varied cultures and dedicated research in a few, amongst others in a relatively still isolated region in Africa, where I learned a Bantu language. Similarly the knowledge of the Ifugao (in Philippines) or Masai and the Indians of the Amazons has been supplemented by visits to the regions.

If we combine the insights of Levi Strauss (and the results of the contemporary research in Ethnology, Anthropology and Linguistic) with the insights of many modern writers, including the writings of Ernst Becker in the last decades, we are invariably lead to the conclusion, that one of the most important function of any social organization, is giving meaning to the life, that the individual lives. It is equally important than the bare biological needs imposed by the need for physical survival.

There have been instances of tribes, preferring to die rather than alter their diet, sects that committed suicide, instances of even modern Nations to embark on suicidal mutual annihilation missions for sake of bizarre ideas or rationalizations for some minor advantage or some rationalized but still unknown reasons or ideas, far removed from the basic need for survival. And then there are some, who will even risk annihilation rather than suffer, for what they consider to be a humiliation, within the framework of their normative prestige system. And no doubt there was more than one American, who fought Bin Laden supporters, not for justifiable reasons of deterrence but also for revenge! That however is a good sign in a way, as one still prefers a hot emotional human being to a cold calculated machine. It makes the human being, a human being and paradoxically less frightening. In fact good professional soldiers show more respect for brave opponents, than their own cowardly mates. In all cases, it is not the bare essentials of physical survival that are evolutionary determinant, but the normative ethic, that goes with a prestige system. And bravery, even foolish one, does receive, more than a nod of approval in most cultures, either explicit or implicit! The prestige system however may be a relict of the stone age! And in fact Gandhi showed it to us the last century. His soldiers proved themselves to be braver and more rational at the same time than the faithful (but less retrospective) soldiers of the British Empire! To be clubbed to death, without flinching, with blood oozing out of their bodies, without even instinctively defending themselves, these ordinary men, untrained and illiterate, and with a legitimate cause, and all-forgiving and in no way angry, kept on marching onward! To what heights of heroics, a single man (Gandhi), could raise millions, is a real wonder on this planet, probably unsurpassed in history! This all goes to say and also justifies our rather foregoing critic on some of our brethren, for showing primitive cult-oriented behaviors in public offices and for accumulating wealth, that human beings just need the right kind of prestige system, more in tune with 21st century than the stone-age!

It is however imperative here to keep in mind, that our past traditions and cultures, may have very important functions, and should not be uncritically thrown over board. But a consumption oriented society will not show any consideration for this fact, if the tradition stands in its way. It can even be dangerous for the functioning of the whole machinery. If people did not buy and consume and instead sought more meaning in community and nature, we would have more unemployed in the urban centers. What to do?
I would hate to propose a step backward. More regulation, more government!
No our basic premise and we repeat it here, is more education for the masses.
No primitive cult or warped prestige system will determine the behavior of, let alone impress or blow away the mind of a truly educated man/woman!  They will be really able to distinguish between the the real beneficiaries of mankind, between a Hitler and a Rudolph Virchow! It is amazing how many Germans don't know about the achievements of the latter! And that should be the function of the future enlightenment. More information in history books, more pages for real achievements. And less for warlords!

We however return to our foregoing discussion. If these societies, in India and China, did have a native network of socially generated meaning, will the pattern be repetition of the European and Japanese type, or a dichotomized half-regressive (Maoist/Nehru spiced with Free-Market) type, or more (as I hope and wish for) a combination of the gems of tradition with a brave look into the future, proud of what their forefathers have achieved in creating meaning in life and enhancing it with neighborliness. great food, communal eating, great traditional fashions, holy festivals. An Indian Sari is wonderful dress! And the Chinese ladies look more lovely in traditional dress than in the Maoist Knickers and caps! A more appreciating look for tradition will also create more appreciation for the environment, which haphazard development has greatly jeopardized in these countries. This an assumption, which I hope will turn to be true. The Chipko Movement in India, or the protest from a certain village in China against erosion, are hopefully only the beginnings of a more powerful grass root movements in these countries. Add to it, traditional technologies are sometimes far superior (and in tune with Gandhi's ideas) to modern ones in certain areas, as they involve local resources, less dependence on centralized systems with notoriously corrupt staffs, imports of fossilized energy (which has created wars and tragediesa for millions and dependence upon an unpredictable whimsy market) and lastly degrade the environment less. Combined with modern nano-technology, bio-sciences, it all could lead to great future for these countries and to less migration and the horrible state of the bigger urban centers. And for the truly dedicated government officials it could mean a lot less of trouble, in cities and villages alike and a more subdued increase in population. True many youngsters, once in cities may not want to go back. But with a modern technological transformation taking place in a more homogeneous manner, it could induce older people or those fed with noise and pollution to move back to rural or semi-rural areas, thereby freeing precious space in polluted and congested cities. These countries should bear in mind, that they still posses the precious gift of culture, the meaning of the life of the individual and communal framework, which showers them with so many great celebrations (India has more festivals, than any other country in the world) and great vibes and fun, should not be exchanged for the dreary loneliness of a in work-place lost metropolitan soul or with that of the married urbanite with almost no time for the kids, friends, family, relatives and community!

Conclusions concerning our premise

At the end we will try to reinforce the assumptions, indulged in the previous paragraphs and the critic. Despite the fact, of being constantly confronted with misbehaviors of many responsible persons in significant places, the rampant corruption especially in politically less transparent countries in Asia, Middle East and Africa (non-western, non-Anglo-Saxon civilizations with rampant illiteracy), we do not see it as chronic pathological malady of mankind. However we do wholeheartedly support the system of checks and balances, that the founding fathers of USA held for an elementary prerequisite for a functioning democracy. In this decade Claudia Rosett has openly questioned the integrity of the officials at the UNO and written about the lack of transparency, absolutely unfitting in an organization that should reflect our age and times and in fact set precedence for other Nations to follow. In a more open, with less compunctions and in an acknowledgeable brave manner, Arundhati Roy has sought a deeper glimpse in the structure and functions of another, an almost equally shrouded Institution, the World Bank.4  She moreover is also very skeptical of even the NGO'S _ although another Bengali, namely Muhammad Yunus, in a way has been at the beginner almost like a single-man NGO too, and whose work may have devastating effect on the classical economic theories of hard core post-Darwinian materialists including the ones from the Marxists; theories that that have dominated these centuries our Nations, Politics, managerial elite, economy and our thinking. Add to it, there are not only some NGO's but even big business cooperation, which have had a paradigm change (concerning sustainable development and environmental awareness and ethnic diversity) long before the politicians ever heard the term, including probably a nagging writer like me!

We therefore tend to retain our basic views of mankind and Institutions. We do not necessarily see them as dead fossilized, quasi-evil or demonic structures, but dynamic entities, existing within an extant feedback loop. It is the warped nature of this prestige system, unfortunately reinforced by boulevard and the glossy press, that is responsible for certain human behaviors, especially those tending toward short-sighted personal non-communal anti-biosphere and anti-humanistic gains. The prestige system that honors so-called individualism (actually an un-free succumbing to a prevalent Norm, and therefore far removed from individualism) in the last decades and the bizarre incongruent and out-of-touch with current state-of-world-affairs prestige system in the world. Most of the costly Kitsch in western countries, as well as products of endangered species are purchased by disproportionately rich Asians, Russians and Americans of Asian descent. Or people with primitive bizarre beliefs concerning the efficacy of some potent medicines extracted from these poor disappearing unfortunate co-inhabitants of our planet. Some gangster bosses in these countries even got themselves photographed publicly on tiger skins, conspicuously showing off all the great brands of the world, like a school teenager, whereas Jimmy Carter spends millions for the green revolution in Africa. A lopsided prestige system. Or is Jimmy a true Christian? I believe that the older cultures are still stuck in middle age prestige system, totally irrelevant to our times. They can't escape it. But we hope the new generation will. And that is the true job of the new media, if it does not get too stuck up with sensations and in indirect sponsoring of such behaviors.

In Asian countries, wealth has an element of sacral associated with it, which we presume to be due to lack of critical education and probably because, until recently due to an almost complete lack of an real educated middle class back-bone, that could facilitate the movement from top to bottom or the other way around, as the latter can happen too, more so in modern times! Wealth is only now appearing within the reach of more than a select few and wealthy men tend to appear less and less to the public as divinities from other sphere!

We ought to add, that our critic does not apply to all persons, in whom the public may have invested their faith and trust, to conduct their affairs with integrity. Certainly a great many of them do not misuse it, otherwise we would certainly not be there today, where we are. Moreover all countries have had their exceptional reformers, statesmen and public guardians. The existence of the weaker breed is no doubt also the result of the shortcomings of the prestige system, of sensation-devoted part of the media and sometimes also due to the gullibility of the person concerned. They are no less caught in throes of the warped drama, that sometimes unfolds before our eyes, than we are in our day to day life. And some of them have even been blackmailed! Or worse, left undefended by the public, for whose sake they may have incurred danger for their families and themselves. And some have died as true Martyrs!

To sum up, we believe it is actually a retarded growth in these specific members of our species, and subject to change! Most of the governments of the world live in the last century! They don't know the potential present in modern technology and bio-sciences. If well educated in these matters, they would certainly invest here, instead of in arming themselves with weapons, as if every neighbor was a potential thief, or developing haphazardly in a direction, where they are turning more and more dependant upon energy and raw materials from other countries and from the warped political game that it entails. There would probably be no need to fight wars for energy reserves in the long run! Or turn a blind eye toward the dictators, who are outright killers and gangsters, as long as one is getting the precious stuff! It no less the wrong canalization of resources and monetary power in the hands of these public guardians, living in pre-quantum pre-nano-tech age, than just power mongering (the media, forever dedicated to public sensations, always invariably overplay this aspect, thereby explicitly favoring their growth) and corruption that characterizes these institutions and persons. Some times they are just ignorant.

Enter the Muses and Education! And the egalitarian dissemination of information relevant to present!

Exit _ obsessive subtly-manipulated-conform behaviors inherited from past and an uncritical digestion of the consens producers!

Speculations Concerning the Future

And finally we may ponder over questions like:
Will, for instance the people in China, India or Korea , with increasing affluence, education and control over the forces of nature, pay tribute to certain explicit materialistic-theories of cosmos, that were so dominant in Europe in the last centuries, and that had gained ascendance with the rise of mechanistic perceptions of the cosmic drama. To theories, devoid of extant subtler and sublime meanings, that these societies at present apparently do exhibit? Or will the tradition hold the balance? Especially, in societies with hard-core thousand year traditions? Why not? Think of Islam and how both the Semitic people and the Aryans, including the Mongols and Egyptians completely forgot about their own individual ancient cultures. In fact Islam literally created a new kind of being and an new sense of self-awareness, almost totally dissociated with the past. 5 To the contemporary Muslim Egyptian, the ancient Egyptian culture is as foreign and strange as the story of the biblical prophets is part of his intimate concept of his history and self-awareness, something that covers only a small period of their epochal long history! True the English and the Japanese never really lost their own specificity after being integrated in major civilizations (Graeco-Roman and Indo-Chinese), but that was probably due to their semi-geographic isolation as islands. Nevertheless the human beings here do exhibit certain specific traits of Christians and the Buddhist. The modern Greek is more influenced by Saint Peter than Homer. However the astounding influence of religion, manifest in most of the human organizations, be it cultural or national to cross all geo-local-historical boundaries, may not be applicable to pure technology and the modern Media. But all attempts to hold back its incredible might, 6 must be necessarily of defensive, conservative kind.

In is probably not so far fetched to think, that certain soap operas of Star TV (owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Cooperation) might have been a blessing for women in Bombay, revolutionizing the culture. As I lived in Bombay two decades earlier, it was unimaginable to think of sharing a rented apartment with a member of the opposite sex and I assume star-TV did exhibit the works of more forward-looking young play-wrights, that may have more than favored this leap forward. However the government in Iran banned and actively opposed its incursion. But the fact is that it only increased the smuggling of videos (including semi-pornographic ones) into Iran, good money for the gangster bosses in certain Asian Metropolis, thereby contributing to an age-old dilemma of the Muslim countries, the non-egalitarian dissemination of information! It (Star TV) is a big hit in India, with viewers exceeding a million per day, and apart from the very unfortunate fact of having banned BBC, a runner in China too! This new Media has managed to silently crumble many old fossilized structures in these countries, no doubt giving voices to the local issues and contributing more toward globalism, than anything debated about by the politicians and the big organizations or religious heads! A kind of silent revolution! A revolution, that deals with humans at the level of the species Homo sapiens, the media-attuned-tuned sapiens, partly divested of locality and heritage. Such developments make, ones own children catapult into a different universe, where all our old teachings, convictions, beliefs and views appear antiquated and strangely-irrelevant!

We will end our long digression here, because of the constraints imposed by our basic theme (Homo sapiens and civilizations). We will predominantly confine ourselves to more general and by their nature abstract issues. However we are going to debate more about these currently relevant geo-political and anthropological issues elsewhere, where they are more relevant, namely in my expositions, related to my travel-journals, where I have recorded some of the impressions, that I had in certain areas of our planet, before the great socio-political and material transformations that took place at the end of last century in these areas. Homo sapiens and civilizations will be the main theme, around which the following discussions will revolve.

As a staring point, we first reflect a bit about the ancient Greek Civilization, undeniably the basis of all modern civilizations, starting with language, poets, Epos and the influence of Homer on western civilization and its contribution to the quantum jump from myth to logos, and in tune with our times, digress into some of the modern concepts, reinterpretations, hypothesis and currently known facts, concerning these incredible people. Further on we discuss the modern interpretations concerning our greatest asset and still unknown wonder of mother nature, the human brain, thinking, language, logos, Darwinism and religion.

1 It should not be surprising that two women have raised some fundamental questions concerning the integrity of the occupants of rather opaque and from general public and media neglected or ignored rooms (or better said 19th Century Saloons) of certain high rise buildings, notably Claudia Rosett (concerning the doings at UNO) and Arundhati Roy 4 (concerning the doings at the World Bank).
2 A hawker selling freshly-made fried potato-balls with delicious sauces! The moments of his hands was, what one might call pro, revealing a natural inclination for the job and no less a pleasure at executing it! I am of the opinion, that such men are a blessing in Indian society, and lend Indian streets color, dynamic and vitality and most of all foster and enhance social bonds and organic growth of the community! But probably once financially secure, he may no more bless the streets in India, but wait for customers in a restaurant or like the colleague wage-worker at the airport lounge, just throw some dutifully but without pleasure cooked food at you, whose dead spirits you will taste, probably unawares in the marrow of your bones! Of course all hawkers in India are not of the same category, and there is a lot of competition too! But some are really fantastic and very much frequented, even by rich customers! And I have had great fun with these, hard working and for city-dwellers still uncomplicated and genuine people. And the most tasty Alu-Tikki that ever had, was the one from such a hawker!
3 The only place, where I could discover the subdued remnants of the community and dynamic social life here, was at the main Bus Stop!
4 Arundhati Roy: The algebra of infinite justice Penguin Books India, 2002.
5 Which however was not strong enough a bond, to hold back the brethren from using deadly weapons and even bio-gas against each other (Iraq and Iran War). I have seen a victim (a left over green torso!) of such butchery.
6 Some modern writers believe that traditional venues of dissemination of information are crumbling away. New unforeseen You-tube type of media revolution may make them all redundant. Those are no doubt great things and will favor the egalitarian dissemination and control of the medium. But this too more than ever, favors the implementation of the primary pre-requisite, education or in this case at least some basic literacy in the general population. In fact, congruent to our theme, we see here great new possibilities, which deserve a chapter for themselves, which I hope to discuss elsewhere. It may mean nothing less than the possible global scrutiny of our public officials. If the Dude buys a house in Bali, the neighbor may make it public on You-tube and you may hear about it! And I will bet, that it may even lead to a new Darwinist selective process amongst the members of this profession, eliminating more and more, the ones, who are doing the job, for other things than for the public good and for their convictions and legitimate calling and mission in life. This will make the life of those lacking such prerequisites tough.

aUpdate 13 Nov. 2008. A link to an article and slide show of Ed Kashi at CNN. It sort of supplements our statement here from the "other" urban perspective. Even here it can not be seen as a great beneficence for the urbanites and citizens of the technically developed communities.
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