Introduction - Let's Prehend
Let's Prehend
A Manual of Human Ecology and Culture Design

Introduction

Let's propose a new image of how the world works, then apply this new model to the human mind and society, even to politics, ideology, economics, culture, education and religion. This approach applies to problems small and large, from personal health to threats of military and ecocidal holocaust.

Everyone cares about the fate of humanity - especially when it includes oneself and one's family. Everyone deserves to enjoy such lofty and ambitious concerns, to expand beyond trivial pursuits, to explore the greater issues of nature and humankind.

A Manual of Human Ecology and Culture Design

This book is called a manual because it presents a brief and simple approach to a vast range of complex problems. LET'S PREHEND offers a framework for personal concern and group discussion. It is particularly suitable for a seminar of young people, enriched as it is with humor and challenge. Watch out! Some statements are ambiguous, facetious, and just plain wrong, included to stimulate involvement and independent thought.

Human ecology studies all aspects of the human condition. 'Ecology' implies a holistic approach, one that attempts to include everything, to provide a framework for all data and all ideas. The term 'human' ecology asserts that people are the primary focus, with the understanding that the natural ecosystem underlies and supports humanity and culture.

Culture design applies human ecology to real situations and problems. The intent is not to dictate changes or advocate positions, but rather to understand how changes occur and how improvements happen with minimum intervention. Culture design is rare in our community, its discussion seems almost forbidden. Let's address this taboo itself as we develop these ideas.

Objectivist Theory

Objectivist theory provides the framework for this manual. Objectivism rests on science but extends the scientific approach to include a broader view of reality, especially the reality of human life and culture. It's called 'objectivist' because it assumes the attitude of science and describes, as clearly as possible, what is happening - regardless of how one might feel about it. Let's also consider why it's important to free one's ideas from the limitations of one's personal life.

Too often 'objectivity' brings images of narrow-minded, cold-hearted and trivial attitudes. This unfortunate image is sadly well founded in Western intellectual tradition as explained by Lorraine *Daston and Theodore *Porter who write,

"...objectivity has more to do with the exclusion of personal judgement and the struggle against subjectivity than with truth to nature."
[Quoted from *Objective Visions - Historians track the rise and times of scientific objectivity, by Bruce *Bower in *SCIENCE NEWS, 12/5/98.]
Instead of this rather pessimistic view, let's attempt to describe things as they are, regardless of how we we feel about them. Let's call upon our deepest intuitions and most understanding hearts to describe what's happening, regardless of our personal peculiarities and particular psychohistories. (The asterisk, *, indicates that the item is in the INDEXES, p.247, 249)

The theory developed here is a tool, not a belief system. Like the scientist, we avoid dogmatic positions or demands for certainty. The task is not to be "right" but to develop a framework so that everything can be considered in a cooperative rather than an adversarial manner. The images tend to be quantitative rather than verbal, like the sciences. Imagining relationships and quantities is crucial to help transcend the Tyranny Of Words, TOW. Process theory is a tool for the evaluation and diagnosis of complex systems: mind, society, politics, ideology, economics, culture, education, and religion. Such a grand endeavor was once called philosophy.

This theory uses a pair of analytical charts: The EVALUATION CHART, or E CHART, assesses the objective value of any situation. The DIAGNOSTIC CHART, D CHART, measures the system's pathologies, on a scale from sick-to-healthy. The charts are tools to help analyze any situation and aid minimum interventions to improve it. Evaluation and Diagnosis charts help to diagram human ecology and apply it to culture design. After these charts are developed in Chapter 2 and applied in Chapters 3 through 10, many sections follow to illustrate and apply the theory, and perhaps adds a moment of respite to an otherwise heavy discourse.

Procedure

The reader may recognize many sources for the ideas put forth in this book. The NOTES, p.217, contain some of these sources, many with annotations and excerpts. However, there are so many sources that listing them could never be complete. Because of the rapid pace of current science and intellectual life, many references are soon superseded by better sources. Library science and computer search can augment these brief footnotes and the dated bibliography. The reader is urged to utilize these means to explore the various issues raised.

We use new words and acronyms because it's easier to remember and to use an idea if it has a name. A few memorable terms refer to important basic ideas, but most of the terms and abbreviations are only labels for future reference, and amusement. Topics and terms are listed in the GLOSSARY and INDEX.

Don't be distracted by facetious notes and miss-attributions. They are intended to alert the somnolent and agitate the passive.

Let's prehend!

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