New Clear Vision

constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted
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Drone World

April 15, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Politics, Robert C. Koehler

The ‘Fun’ Is Just Beginning…

by Robert C. Koehler

In the not so distant future, America’s skies will be full of . . . drones. What could go wrong?

“Although the prospect of drones flying over U.S. cities is generating cries of spies in the skies,” writes the Los Angeles Times, “groups from California to Florida are fiercely competing to become one of six federally designated sites for testing how the remotely piloted aircraft can safely be incorporated into the nation’s airspace.”

It’s just technology and technology is neutral, or so the forces of mainstream capitalism assure us. Drones are an emerging market, with worldwide sales expected to double in the next decade, to $11 billion, if not much more. And these will be good drones, the kind that look for lost children or leaks in pipelines, the kind that catch criminals. (more…)

To Divine Is Human

February 11, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Ecology, Nancy Mattina

In the Beginning There Was Science…

by Nancy Mattina

Despite all the ardent prose glowing from the electronic gadgets that surround me, I still find myself browsing my undusted shelves for something to read. I rarely buy bound books anymore, which is why my collection of mostly paperback editions reflects the quirky canon I came of age on: Henry Miller, Kazantzakis, Joyce Carol Oates, James, Zola, Gordimer, Bellow, Steinbeck, Austen, Heinlein, Flaubert, Dostoyevsky, and the like. These wistful sentinels have long lined my walls, the listing pillars of my literary crèche, the ones who expected me to think about the world as it was, is, and might be. I don’t sell them off even though the words in them have since ascended spotlessly to the digital cloud. (more…)

Catching the Drift

February 06, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Current Events, Ecology, Randall Amster

Can We Avoid Getting Swept Up in the Winds of Disenchantment?

by Randall Amster

It’s all too easy to get caught up in the news cycle, as if it actually represents reality and merits our continuous attention. But it’s largely a “bad news” cycle that we’re talking about, and in consuming it one can hardly avoid the conclusion that “the sky is falling” — a notion that’s coupled with a hegemonic “unless” that asserts “the end” can be averted only through more devices of the war-austerity-exploitation sort. Simply put, the mainstream media cultivates a dualistic ethos of despair/fear and resignation/capitulation that is difficult to resist, and yet is one that must be resisted if we are to retain the capacity to imagine a better world and work toward its realization.

I struggle with this dilemma on a daily basis. To unplug from the incessant negativism of the news crawl is to fall “out of the loop” in short order and to be lost in the myriad conversations of our lives that devolve upon “hot topic” and “currently trending” references. It also makes it difficult to comment on said news in order to offer analysis, critique, or even points of reference that will resonate for readers outside the avowed Luddites in our midst. Thus, in order to be relevant, it seems as if we need to be at least conversant with the “devil’s in the details” quality that makes up the news of the day. (more…)

All We Aren’t Saying

January 21, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Randall Amster

Can We Talk More About What Really Matters?

by Randall Amster

Sometimes it seems as if the dream of peace moves further into the distance with each passing day…

Outside the “radical fringes” of the political spectrum, the silence is almost deafening. This is despite the palpable and (by now) incontrovertible nature of the conjoined crises in our collective midst, as the nexus of economic, ecological, technological, and militaristic challenges before us deepens by the day. Drudgery, droughts, and drones, oh my! Reality possesses a “fantastic” quality that often makes it seem as if we’re moving through a colorized version of an old-school horror flick — a notion reified in the cultural near-obsession with trite invocations of the much-anticipated “zombie apocalypse.” (more…)

The Nature Connection

November 28, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Ecology, Jan Lundberg

Understanding Energy and Dropping the Ego

by Jan Lundberg

Two major aspects of our lives are habitually kept separated, to our detriment and confusion. First, let’s agree we are often socially concerned, sensitively aware and observant beings, but coping with ubiquitous, mechanized, artificial environments driven by “the market.”

Whenever our deep understandings of nature and of our animal presence on the planet are in the forefront, we improve our chances of survival — or at least we find relaxation in such meditations. Meditation or submission to a greater reality, it is said, requires somehow letting go of the ego.

Realizations can then form, even though this can short-circuit having a quiet mind. Mindfulness means being aware, and not being perpetually caught in an internal dialog or seething mental disturbance. Or, not being a slave voluntarily to excessive, exosomatic (non-human) and ultimately inefficient energy. (more…)

Mired in Irony

November 23, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Chellis Glendinning, Culture, Ecology, Economy

The Luddite Rebellion, 1811-1813 to 2011-2013* 

by Chellis Glendinning

Native peoples in earlier centuries were stymied when they tried to talk about the European conquest; their pre-Columbian vocabularies had no words to describe such a battering. And it’s like that again. You and I can only peg together language to describe the invasion overwhelming our bodies, psyches, and cultures by technology. And that assault, taken together with the economic/political institutions that fuel it, is swiftly diminishing life’s future on this Earth.

Back in the 1980s and ’90s, I thought I had a few words. I was part of a society of activists and thinkers collaborating to refurbish the analysis of technology that the original resisters against industrialism, the Luddites, had initiated. We were a lively collection of folks from countries all over the world. (more…)

Otherworldy Dreams

October 30, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Ecology, Evaggelos Vallianatos

On Religion and Technology in America

by Evaggelos Vallianatos

Garry Wills, professor of American history and author of Bomb Power, says that the atomic and nuclear bomb remade the country into a National Security State fostering perpetual emergency, secrecy and war.

“Secrecy,” says Wills, “emanated from the Manhattan Project like a giant radiation emission.” Indeed, Wills argues very persuasively that the Manhattan Project turned out to be not merely a “fatal miracle” because it created the “awesome” bomb but also because of the processes it set in place:

“The military-industrial complex, with a poisonous admixture of government and secrecy, had scored a triumph that would show the way to many other governmental activities… The secrecy that had enveloped Los Alamos [building the bomb] would steal quietly across the entire American landscape in the years to come.”

According to Wills, the other inevitable result of the bomb was that it gave the president supreme power. He alone could decide the fate of the world.

(more…)