Moral attention

The idea of moral attention goes back at least as far as ancient Greece, where the Stoics wrote about the practice of attention (prosoché) as the cornerstone of a good spiritual life. In modern Western thought, though, ethicists didn’t focus too much on attention until a band of female philosophers came along, starting with Simone Weil.

Weil, an early 20th-century French philosopher and Christian mystic, wrote that “attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.” She believed that to be able to properly pay attention to someone else — to become fully receptive to their situation in all its complexity — you need to first get your own self out of the way. She called this process “decreation,” and explained: “Attention consists of suspending our thought, leaving it detached, empty ... ready to receive in its naked truth the object that is to penetrate it.”

Weil argued that plain old attention — the kind you use when reading novels, say, or birdwatching — is a precondition for moral attention, which is a precondition for empathy, which is a precondition for ethical action.

Beyond GDP: 20 US states have adopted genuine progress indicators

Systems thinker Donella Meadows, the founder of the Vermont-based organisation that I now direct, cut to the heart of GDP’s limitations when she wrote: “If you define the goal of society as GDP, that society will do its best to produce GDP. It will not produce welfare, equity, justice or efficiency unless you define a goal and regularly measure and report the state of welfare, equity, justice, or efficiency.”

Why so many companies are pushing for the metaverse

Why so many companies are pushing for the metaverse

Metaverses are perhaps the clearest admission yet that the future of tech doesn't lie just in VR or AR, but in a mix of many devices accessing a shared online world, which may be more immersive and 3D than the internet you're currently using to read this story.

Kim Stanley Robinson Bears Witness to Our Climate Futures

“The central banks have been creating money out of nothing with quantitative easing, but what if that was directed not to private banks to do their usual stupid thing of profit-making but to do useful work that the central banks designate by some simple rubric of carbon sequestration. When I read it, I thought, maybe that’s a way forward: using an existing system but more intelligently, a long-term biosphere, survivalist-type method.”

Kim Stanley Robinson Bears Witness to Our Climate Futures via Instapaper

IPCC Report

The new IPCC report shows that we can prevent many of the worst impacts of climate change and keep warming below 1.5°C about preindustrial levels—the target of the global Paris Agreement. While some impacts—like more flooding in coastal areas, continued glacial melt and sea level rise—are now baked in, we can still take steps to ensure they don’t get much more severe. If we can reduce carbon emissions dramatically, and keep warming below 1.5°C, we could, for example, hold sea level rise to just a couple feet over the next century. If we fail, the report shows we could ultimately be facing 20 feet or more of global sea level rise, a scenario where we’d be forced to say farewell to the major coastal cities of the world.

Rich or poor world ? *degrowth !

Most of the world is very poor. Billions of people go hungry, can’t afford a doctor when they get sick, don’t have adequate shelter and sanitation, and struggle to exercise the freedoms essential to a good life because of material deprivation.

But for all the immiseration around us, one thing is undeniable: For the past several centuries — and especially for the past 70 years, since the end of World War II — the world has been getting much richer.