Review: STOP, THIEF! The Commons, Enclosures, and Resistance

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Peter Linebaugh

5.0 out of 5 stars David Bollier’s Review is Better, This Is My Attempt, April 21, 2014

I was very impressed by David Bollier’s review of this book at his web site (look for < “Stop, Thief!” – Peter Linebaugh’s New Collection of Essays > and am encouraging him to port that excellent review here to Amazon. Indeed, after working my way through the book myself, I consider myself unable to do proper justice to this deep work that integrates history, poetry, political economy, anthropology, and sociology among other disciplines. Hence I hope others will write substantive summary reviews and I again recommend Bollier’s review above.

Three thoughts keep recurring as I went through this book of original current essays and presentations:

01 Holy Cow. This guy is DEEP and BROAD in terms of arcane as well as popular sources, delving down into little known poems, essays, public statements, etcetera. This book is the one book version of the Durant’s Story of Civilization applied to one topic, the commons.

02 Holy Cow. This is what my top political science professor was trying to explain when I was in college in 1970-1974 – yes, a half century ago — and I was just not smart enough, patient enough, to appreciate it.

03 Holy Cow. This book is not just subversive, it does a magnificent job of head slapping every politician, economists, talking head, and other pretender who presumes to talk about public welfare without for one instant understanding that wages are a form of slavery and disconnection of humanity from everything else. Lionel Tiger makes related points in The Manufacture of Evil: Ethics, Evolution and the Industrial System but this book — if you focus and do not get lost in the poetry and minutia of exemplar citation — beats the commons versus capitalism drum along every possible note on the musical scale.

Among my high-level notes:

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Review (Guest): The Open Source Everything Manifesto at Spirituality Today

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The Open-Source Everything Manifesto by Robert David Steele

The Open-Source Everything Manifesto is a distillation of author, strategist, analyst, and reformer Robert David Steele life’s work: the transition from top-down secret command and control to a world of bottom-up, consensual, collective decision-making as a means to solve the major crises facing our world today.

The book is intended to be a catalyst for citizen dialog and deliberation, and for inspiring the continued evolution of a nation in which all citizens realize our shared aspiration of direct democracy—informed participatory democracy. Open-Source Everything is a cultural and philosophical concept that is essential to creating a prosperous world at peace, a world that works for one hundred percent of humanity.

The future of intelligence is not secret, not federal, and not expensive. It is about transparency, truth, and trust among our local to global collective. Only “open” is scalable.

As we strive to recover from the closed world corruption and secrecy that has enabled massive fraud within governments, banks, corporations, and even non-profits and universities, this timely book is a manifesto for liberation—not just open technology, but open everything.

Our Review

The term Open Source refers to universal access to a product or services core design or primary features. Without Open Source there would be no Internet in the way that we currently enjoy it for it is in digital publishing and information sharing that Open Source has been such a powerful force for change.

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Review (Guest): Trying Not to Try – The Art and Science of Spontaneity

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Edward Slingerland

5.0 out of 5 stars Paradigm shifting look at Csikszenmihaly’s concept of flow, March 23, 2014

By Just Me

When I discovered Mihaly Csikszentmihaly’s book Flow, about 10 years ago, I recognized that he was talking about a concept that I had experienced many times, that was important in my life, and that I craved. Learning about flow has helped me, but has also provided frustrations, both because of difficulties and because of a lack of greater meaning. Slingerland’s Trying Not To Try offers the solution to these problems. Slingerland compares the Western concept of flow to the Eastern concepts of wu-wei and de. Wu-wei is “the dynamic, effortless, and unselfconscious state of mind of a person who is optimally active and effective”; de is a charismatic power “that others can detect, and it serves as an outward signal that one is in wu-wei.”

Slingerland looks at early Eastern philosophy and at modern science and sees how the connections between the two explain the how and why of wu-wei and de. As Slingerland says, “A growing literature in psychology and neuroscience suggests that these (early Eastern) thinkers had a much more accurate picture of how people really think and behave than we find in recent Western philosophy or religious thought and that early Chinese debates about how to attain wu-wei reflect real tensions built into the human brain. Scientists are beginning to better appreciate the role that “fast and frugal” unconscious thinking plays in everyday human life and now have a clearer sense of why spontaneity and effectiveness hang together.” Evolutionary psychology is very helpful in explaining the “why”, which was very helpful in solving the problems that the concept of flow presented to me. Slingerland explains that, it “gives us insight into why wu-wei is so pleasant for the individual and attractive to others… It feels good to be in wu-wei because a whole slew of tasks simply can’t be performed by our plodding, conscious minds — we need to unleash the power of our fast, unconscious processes in order to get them done. Moreover, we are attracted to people in wu-wei because we trust the automatic, unconscious mind. We have a very strong intuition — increasingly confirmed by work in cognitive science — that the conscious, verbal mind is often a sneaky, conniving liar, whereas spontaneous, unselfconscious gestures are reliable indicators of what’s really going on inside another person.”

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Review (Guest): Intelligence for Earth – Clarity, Diversity, Integrity & Sustainability

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5.0 out of 5.0 Stars One visionary’s way out of the Corporate Feudalism/International Conflict trap

By Herbert L Calhoun on April 1, 2014

In this book, the author, drawing extensively on his intelligence and military background, has cleanly written an easy to follow book, that outlines a careful course of action for developing a new kind of global information sharing infrastructure. To be headquartered at the UN, this new infrastructure would make it possible for every organization (and through them, everyone) on the globe to share open-source intelligence equally as a free public resource. If it is successful, this new global brain could transform our world from its current insecurity-driven and corrupt corporate dominated lose-lose, economic and conflict trap, into a much revived win-win strategy for bottom-up collective survival in a peaceful and sustainable world economy.

At least that is the theoretical hope and vision. On paper, and in principle, it is a stunningly sexy and attractive vision, one that, should it prove operationally testable and feasible, could indeed have the important side benefit and advantage of creating new bottom-up wealth, energizing the world economy and easing world tensions by reducing mistrust and fear back down to the noise level.

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