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


The `American Life Style', ALS, is not sustainable, economically or ecologically. Worse yet, ALS does not nurture psychological, social and cultural value and health. The common framing, even among our intellectual class, relies on cost as the most basic value. Health and value are seen primarily as individual concerns, supported or undermined by issues such as health care, jobs and real estate problems. The management of society is seen as the purview of a citizen-elected government rather than the vast complex of institutions that manage our society, according to the social studies lessons of grade school in contrast to a realistic view.

Let's imagine what a sustainable culture would be. The essential value is human welfare, supported by a secure and enriching economy, society and culture. Throughout our evolutionary period and before, human evolution was enabled by Organic Social Life, OSL. But Modern Abstract Culture, MAC, continues to degrade OSL with dire consequences to individual, society, culture of the human ecosystem and also the natural ecosystem that supports it.

The human mind has a linear train of thought and a demand for `understanding'. Only scientist, objectivist, savants and well-wishers seem willing an able to describe and deal with the infinite complexity of reality without falling into certitude, anxiety and idealistic authoritarianism. Culture design, CD, usually elicits discomfort as expressed by such terms as `company town', `totalitarian', `cult commune', etc. `Utopianism' is the better side of the same distressing abstraction, but CD means greater organic complexity, not less. Surely we can do better.

The SUBURB seems a most likely place to start, though any aspect of modern urban or rural life needs the similar attention. How can a suburb be transformed toward Organic Social Life?

First attention goes to the reconstruction of community, not to some abstract image of neighborhood or superficial relationship, but the nurturing evolution of Organic Social Life. A rough measure of culture is the amount of communication between people.

But we must transcend our personal preferences, based as they are on our inherently pathological psychohistories. Studies have shown what the gurus have always told us: What people want does not predict their experience when the get what they want. And what people think they want follows their behavioral adjustments.

It's easier to look at the welfare of the children first, before they have been taught to want stuff. Obviously, babies need lots of attention and love. The isolated mother in the suburb has trouble with that, though the nursery school is one small step closer to the family network. In this quasi-extended family, humans fall into their evolutionary roles, with many older children and adults of all ages in the same household.

The Compulsion to the Abstract Life, CAL, has pushed us all to increasing isolation, and continues to do so. People are usually as isolated as they can afford to be. But a big busy household does not mean a poor crowded one. Obviously, Americans will have trouble living in larger households and considerable privacy seems necessary, but at least they should have the chance.

Cohousing, started by the advanced Danes, is a good example of how it can benefit even in a modern pathological culture. Even in our San Francisco Bay Area, there are many examples of cohousing in diverse areas and economic levels in spite of our elaborate complex of restraints, social, legal and economic against cohousing, such as R1 zoning, and cost driven building codes.

Imagine a typical suburban cul de sac. First, make one house a community center. Offer people the rudiments of interpersonal process by eating together, as they increasingly will, playing and working together. Once the basics operate, complex culture will evolve. Notice that compulsive age segregation that plagues our culture can gradually fade as various activities mix the ages. With luck, the compulsively age segregated, CAS, `schooling' at the root of this pathology will wither away, replaced by elaborate programs and networks that arise when people get together.

The Culture Of Waste, COW, must waste away. One elegant activity enjoyed in recent millennia is gardening. Surely the abstract lawns and gardens, testimony of pathology, can be gradually replaced by elegant and productive gardens, maybe a few rabbits for the children, and whatever comes next.

Notice that modern technology makes everything cheaper and easier. Knowledge of what to plant and how is easily available, as are tools and machines to ease the labor. Perhaps the local health club will go out of business, or convert toward OSL.

Imagine the economy of these developments. The amount of money needed will surely shrink with every development. What little cash is needed can come from selling local produce, software, theatrics, or options. As the quality of life improves, the economy shrinks.

See also: LIBERTYVILLE, FAMILY, WARD PROGRAM, etc. in letsprehend.com, a Manual of Human Ecology and Culture Design.

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