Archive for the 'uncategorized' Category

Bhutan – Inventor of Gross National Happiness

Sunday, November 25th, 2007


When I had a closer look at the first World Map of Happiness – posted earlier here – I noticed a deeply red coloured (=most happy) enclave on the southern border of China. It is the Kingdom of Bhutan, located on position 8 in the happiness ranking, far atop of the United States (23rd) or the UK (41st) or France (62nd). But this doesn’t come as a surprise. The King of Bhutan is known as the inventor of Gross National Happiness. In April 1987, Jigme Singye Wangchuck—the young monarch of Bhutan was being interviewed by the Financial Times. Asked about Bhutan’s development, which was moving at a snail’s pace compared with Nepal’s and Thailand’s, Wangchuck offered a reply that instantly entered the annals of Bhutanese legend. “Gross National Happiness,” he declared, “is more important than Gross National Product.” (more…)

XO-1 -the laptop labelled techno Utopia

Monday, November 12th, 2007


Five years ago, a laptop that would be relevant to the majority of children in the developing world looked impossible. It would have to work where there is no mains electricity and far less access to an internet connection. And it would have to be affordable. But the XO-1 meets all these challenges. Power is generated manually by a hand crank, and the pared-down design requires far less than a conventional laptop. Wireless mesh networking is built in: two robust antennae detect other XO-1s in the area, forming ad-hoc intranets, with any one machine connected to the internet automatically sharing that connection with others. The exclusive use of free and open-source software keeps costs low. Currently, the XO-1 ships at $188, and the aim is to drive down the price further. (more…)


Thursday, November 1st, 2007

in the article “One State: Solution or Utopia” Uri Avnery writes: “When the situation looks black, utopias flourish. The one-state solution is such a fruit of despair. Perhaps each of us has despaired at some point and said: There’s nothing to be done, the situation is “irreversible.” But one should not turn despair into an ideology. Despair destroys the ability to act.” Ykon comment: interesting interpretation of utopian thought, it is a form of despair. And a truer reaction would be to “act.” But is that not the problem at least in this case. Too much action taking the form of violence, too little thinking by the once who act in viloence that would maybe stop them from acting?

The ideal world…

Thursday, November 1st, 2007

Coniff Tamara in Billboard 10/13/2007 

“In an ideal world, we would not need to ask, in a business setting, “What is it like to be a woman?” “What is it like to be a person?” would suffice. I suppose we would also not need lists that are gender- or race-specific. Sadly, we don’t live in that utopian society yet. All the women featured in Billboard’s list this week have broken the glass ceiling and inspire others. Their success reminds us that there are countless women who still don’t get equal pay for equal work and find themselves hitting the proverbial wall at director-level posts. So we have the list. We have to bring attention to the issue and make people think.”


Thursday, November 1st, 2007

In The Demands of Liberty, Pierre Rosanvallon writes that “possibilities sometimes arise when one side’s utopia coincides with the other side’s calculation.” It is a fine creed for liberals.

Utopian Communities

Tuesday, October 16th, 2007

Seeds of the Kingdom: Utopian Communities in the Americas describes how an Amish community in the United States and the refugee community of Chalatenango in El Salvador have reached high standards of economic and environmental sustainability, as well as social justice, in spite of outside pressures. Acting on their religion’s precepts and ethics, these two communities live what others consider utopian dreams of collective identity, collaboration, sustainability, harmony, and social justice; their desire to live and gain the reign of God is the force that keeps them together, guides their community actions, and provides comfort in times of need.

How to Be Happy

Tuesday, October 16th, 2007

According to the Futurist: “Utopia” may never turn out to be the village of happy nice people that dreamers imagine, but economists, sociologists, psychologists, and others studying the pursuit of happiness do offer ways that we can better understand it and work toward a happier future. New technologies will let people customize their own versions of “utopia.” Artificial worlds created in Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs) allow players to indulge in new identities and activities that may not be possible or acceptable in real life. This could provide a psychological safety valve that would let people vent their aggression without hurting others.
— Lane Jennings, Reinventing Utopia July-Aug 2007, p. 36
YKON Comment: Perfect examples of how to colonize the future.

A new tool for monitoring happiness will help

Tuesday, October 16th, 2007

A new tool for monitoring happiness will help nations assess their well-being. Social psychologists measuring wealth, education, and health—three predictors of national well-being—found that countries with large populations and a strong sense of collective identity (such as China, Japan, and India) tend to have lower levels of well-being than smaller, more individualistic countries (Denmark, Switzerland).
World Trends & Forecasts, Nov-Dec 2006, p. 12
It can be argued how to arrive at a Happines Index. The leading research centre in this respect – The Center for Bhutan Studies – has used Buddhist principles to identify four specific “pillars” upon which Gross National Happiness rests: good governance, cultural preservation, environmental conservation, and economic development.

Doris Lessing wins Nobel Prize

Thursday, October 11th, 2007


An author that is familiar to all that plod around the less accessible world was given this prize of the more accessible world. Though suspicion to the “Science Fiction Lessing”, the second Lessing, is articulated in media of the world, realism has never been Lessings cup of Tea. Grand Doris!

(Photo by idealterna, published under a cc-license)

Greenspan discovers idealism

Tuesday, September 18th, 2007


Alan Greenspan, the data-wrencher and pure capitalist par excellence needed 81 years to discover, that humans are more complex than being mere profit hunters.

“Greenspan lifted his eyes from spreadsheets and data sets long enough to notice certain universals in human behavior—beyond profit-seeking. “When you get to be my age you see teenagers who replicate each other generation after generation, and it’s all crazy and idealistic in the same ways,” he said.”

The oracle has spoken! It’s all crazy and idealistic!

Full story by Daniel Gross at Slate.
Image by Mr. Babyman, published under a cc-license