Name: Jesse “Y2” Shannon
Title: Marketing Director
I’ve always been fascinated by technology and by extension the idea of “progress”. As someone who believes technology is a force that empowers humanity to better itself, I think its important to deeply consider the history of humanity with an eye towards how we’ve changed as a species with the help of technology. In a grand sense, if you are going to be a proponent of technology its important to consider whether the very idea of ‘progress’ is a real thing, or on the other hand, if its possible we were better off before these great technological disruptions like agriculture, medicine and machines came onto the scene and radically changed what it means to be a human.
Jeremy Rifkin is an innovative and knowledgeable scholar on the subject of human progress. He recently put out a trio of books that have lots of interesting things to say about human consciousness and progress from ancient man up to the very dynamic period of the last few decades. “The Empathic Civilization” is the first book in the series, followed by “The Third Industrial Revolution”, and “The Zero Marginal Cost Society”.
“The Empathic Civilization” makes a powerful and unique argument about the relationship between empathy and entropy throughout human history. In short, the thesis is that as society has grown more complex, our circle of empathy as individuals has grown from including our direct family and tribe to incorporating members of a village, to kingdoms to city-states to the nation-state and now we are on the precipice of an empathic circle that could encompass the globe. At the same time, the communication systems we have devised and built to support this expansion in empathy has grown ever more complex and requires an ever growing amount of energy to function. This energy consumption inevitably creates an “entropy debt” that damages the environment, our systems, and our political relationships. Civilization is in essence a race between empathy and entropy where we must find ever more ingenious and compassionate solutions to life on this planet.
It is a fascinating thesis, and over the course of arguing it the book offers an illuminating look at the history of civilization, giving equal weight to both science/technology and the humanities’ role in creating the world we live. There are few books that offer so much perspective on where we come from and where we are going.
I’ve learned that festivals can offer a microcosm view of big changes happening in society and culture. Festivals offer people a way to experiment with new or different ways of being human that their everyday lives usually can’t offer. People can then learn from these life experiments and start to adapt their everyday lives to better suit their needs. My life has definitely played out that way.
I could listen to Four Tet the whole way home because he simply has so much great music. From his days in the experimental band Fridge, to his recent 2 track album, “Morning/Evening”, he has always been willing to try something new with his sound, while still sounding great doing it.
About Staff Picks: Our family tirelessly works to create and share experiences that you’ll remember forever, so to celebrate their accomplishments, highlight their contributions and give you a chance to get to know the rockstars of our team a little better allow us to introduce you to one of the magic makers behind the scenes in the newest installment of our monthly series: Do Lab Staff Picks.
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