Tag: World Notes

Chip Conley, Saybrook’s Scholar-Practitioner in Residence, launches new website looking at world festivals in the 21st century


Did you know that in one of the coldest spots on earth, the people of Habin, China, create an ice and snow festival? Or that every 12 years there the most prominent gurus and spiritual pilgrims of India gather on the banks of the Ganges river? The world is full of hyper-local festivals thriving in… Read more »

Information is not like bread


It seems like we live in an age when politicians and “digerati” believe that universities can be replaced by Twitter – no harm done.  That, suggest Stewart Brand, is because we think that new information is always better.  So what Aristotle thought 2000 years ago is always less relevant than what Ashton Kutcher tweeted five… Read more »

Is your organization neurotic? Maybe it needs therapy.


Anybody who’s worked for an organization knows it can be … well … neurotic. Organizations have tics, and blind spots, and habits, just like people do.  So maybe it’s not surprising, in fact it’s brilliant, to apply psychological processes to organizations.  At the blog Rethinking Complexity, Jorge Taborga examines a Depth Psychology model of organizations,… Read more »

Existentialism, psychoanalysis … and the tragedy of life

An essay on The New Existentialists suggests why ideas like existentialism and psychoanalysis — once mainstayes of Western culture — suddenly fell out of favor.   Existentialism and psychoanalysis both view human life as containing tragic elements and hard limits — we are free, but we can’t have everything we want.  According to Carlo Strenger,… Read more »

Test score fiascos demonstrate, again, how much American education needs a humanistic mission

What’s that?  There was widespread cheating on standardized tests in the Atlanta school system?  Surprise surprise … It’s gotten to the point where you can reasonably expect:  if a school district or state doubles down on standardized testing, forces teachers and schools to be held accountable for student scores, and then announcing amazing gains, a… Read more »

What’s college for in the 21st century?


In a recent essay for The New Yorker, Louis Menard recalls the first time a student ever asked him “Why did we have to read this book?”  It’s the more direct way of asking:  what is this education good for? It was, apparently, the first time he’d ever thought of the question himself.  He writes: … Read more »

Does our “work self” need therapy too?

Anybody who’s had to work for a living knows that we have a “work self” that is noticeably different from who we are outside of work.  Maybe we’re more guarded, or more serious;  maybe there are important parts of our lives we don’t talk about.  At Rethinking Complexity, Dennis Rebelo has an interesting post asking… Read more »

Neuroscience is starting to sound suspiciously like the 21st century’s version of phrenology


You know a scientific field has turned into a scientific fad when it says it’s changed EVERYTHING.  Real scientific breakthroughs of that scope don’t have to announce themselves.  Fake ones do, because evolutionary psychology never produced a lightbulb and “artificial intelligence” never built a car.  They certainly made advances, they contributed, but the wild claims… Read more »

Taking collaboration to the fourth dimension

We used to know what “collaboration” meant.  But in the 21st century we can collaborate “in person,” or through chat, or video chat, or through email, or “waves,” or 3D avatars in a virtual environment. Are they all the same thing?  Or does the new technology for collaboration mean new kinds of collaboration?  Organizational Systems… Read more »

Bread or church? Where does civilization come from?


The story I got in high school is that agriculture was the magic potion that eventually turned “cave men” into “urban man.”  We got together and created a civilization because we wanted to eat.  The needs of our new farms with their domesticated animals and seasonal crops kept pushing us to bigger and bigger feats… Read more »