Thursday, February 14, 2013

The American Cult

Democracy’s Thread

“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’”
Isaac Asimov (1920-1992), in Newsweek column, Jan. 21, 1980

• Editorial Comment: Not true! My ignorance is much better than yours.

Yesterday’s WORD: Did you miss yesterday’s WORDs of career advice for editors from 1800s Texas iconoclast William Cowper Brann? Click here.

• Faculty Wanted: Join our merry band! The JCOM Department at Utah State University has opened searches for two new tenure-track faculty, a Media Generalist and a specialist in PR/Strategic Communication. Interested?    

News from USU’s award-winning student news site, The Hard News Café
Aggie TV News (2/12/13)—Reaction to Pope retirement, $3M gift, weather & sports, anchored by Emily Landeen and Kelton Wells 
Graphic design professor Alan Hashimoto dies in department office
Musical ‘Jane Eyre’ pushes emotion ‘over the edge,’ composer says, by Dani Hayes
10-year-old kids making sweet music: ‘I like all the sound we make, by Katie Swain
Fry Street Quartet concert honors Caine family generosity, impact, by Curtis Lundstrom
The ribs are back! Savannah’s BBQ reopens after long hiatus, by Jessica Sonderegger
North Logan city officials weigh benefits of boundary change, by Jonathan Larson
Oui, merci! Providence first-graders can learn in French, come fall, by Paul Christiansen
CNN’s Jessica Ravitz comes to USU for Morris Media & Society Lecture  1,483 pancakes! IHOP fundraiser for kids is about giving—and eating, by Jessica Sonderegger  

PeezPIX by Ted Pease
Summer Squash

Original PeezPix archival prints, matted at sizes from 5x7" to 16x20" or larger, available for sale: $14 (5x7), $28 (8x12) and up. email Thanks for asking.

(Be)Friend Dr. Ted, Professor of Interesting Stuff 

JCOM @ Utah State UniversityThe best little professionally oriented journalism program in Utah.

1 comment:

  1. Solving Systemic Problems Requires Systems Thinking

    Ted, as many of my colleagues and online acquaintances may know, my professional work has largely been grounded in the application of systems theory, to analyze and solve problems calling for a systems approach.

    Now that I'm mostly retired, I've increasingly begun to reflect on the larger class of problems that plague humankind, above and beyond the more tractable class of problems that a person of my educational background in the STEM disciplines might have been recruited to work on at research venues like Bell Labs, BBN, Stanford, or MIT.

    About eight years ago, I began to chronicle my thoughts about the ten biggest and most intractable problems, observing that, from a systems theoretic point of view, all ten of them had a common underlying structure.

    As I assay it, the ten most intractable plagues of western civilization are conflict, violence, oppression, injustice, corruption, poverty, ignorance, alienation, suffering, and terrorism.

    All ten of these hellish problems have something in common. Like cancer, they tend to reseed themselves, round-robin, from one instance to the next, in a never-ending cycle of recursion.

    Systemic problems call for a systems approach to problem-solving. But that’s not going to happen until we elevate our collective problem-solving skills to near-genius levels.

    I would like to see President Obama convene a national problem-solving congress, staffed with the best and the brightest systems thinkers our society has to offer, to systematically address, analyze, and solve the interlinked systemic problems of conflict, violence, oppression, injustice, corruption, poverty, ignorance, alienation, suffering, and terrorism.

    How can those of us who share and promote the systems approach elevate this idea and organize an effective community of forward-looking problem solvers?