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20 May 2019


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Good article Chris, and it reminded me of Ronald Wright's great 2004 Massey Lecture 'A Short History of Progress'

Here's an excerpt where he cites a guy who i think is an archeaologist, Joseph Tainter:

"Consider Tainter's three aspects of collapse: the Runaway Train, the Dinosaur, the House of Cards. The rise in popu­lation and pollution, the acceleration of technology, the concentration of wealth and power - all are runaway trains, and most are linked together. Population growth is slowing, but by 2050 there will still be 3 billion more on earth. We may be able to feed that many in the short run, but we'll have to raise less meat (which takes ten pounds of food to make one pound of food), and we’ll have to spread that food around. What we can't do is keep consuming as we are. Or polluting as we are."

The lecture is a very good listen:

A scary prediction.

There is legendary claim of Arabian hospitality as having “warmth of welcome and generosity that emerged from encountering travellers in the desert generations ago”.

Explanation includes “this can be traced back to their days of struggle in the desert, where every visitor to an oasis was greeted with open arms and no questions asked for the first three days, be they friend or foe.”

To be celebrated is the tradition recognising human necessity of air, aquatic resource and area, quite apart of any hosting strategic motivation.

Not of PNG, Australians’ current election (counting still in progress, likely outcome becoming clearer) has drawn emotional outbursts that are recognisably negative to the extent of being, as if, ‘hate tok’. Again we see, where contest is the mechanism, Australians exhibit stunning focus on the ‘win’, and willingness to skew from the collective, the community which sustains freedom to choose.

In the land of PNG’s ‘independent and free’, with so many languages, the context of ‘wan tok’ may already imply a friend/foe divide. Perhaps academic research will delve into translating relativity of ‘stranger’ and ‘visitor’ in respect of ‘enemy’ and ‘neighbour’.

Of PNG, Chris puts a case of “potential for sectarian, ethnic and tribal anarchy”. Put aside argument that anarchy might differ from the intent of discipline in categories of collectives that are sectarian, ethnic and tribal. Uniformity and conformity are not a lack of collectives in PNG; rather these are aspects of a process in which the year 1975 brought opportunity at recognition as a nation.

Nation for some, is “norm for our democratic governments”. For not a few, nation is not more than exploration of opportunity, both of community and of command.

Three days of observing friendship or fiend-ship in an arriving stranger cohort may have only strategic intent. Diet more troubling to stomach, is enduring neighbours to which enmity is hardly sub-surface.

In “the greater public interest” might hold memories of melody “love your neighbour”, yet is discrete.

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