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


Objectively, quality of life is measured by the value and health of the individual, supported by the culture and ecosystem. The best things in life are free, or at least inexpensive, because of the bounty of the earth. This bounty is both enhanced and threatened by advancing technology.

It is not usually the function of culture design to provide ideal images, because they often elicit RIDly reactions of rejection and disdain. Human ecology is only a tool for the evaluation and diagnosis of complex systems, and culture design is its application to human life. But let's recess from hard objectivism and imagine an ideal world culture with maximum human value and health. Let's indulge a bit of old-fashioned idealism, yet avoid rigid images, expectations, demands or threats.

The immediate environment will move toward a reconstructed organic social life, ROSL: People will be able to sit down to a meal with their quasi-extended family and indulge in the ageless but recently lost drama of family life. Abuse in what's left of the present degenerating families will be replaced by the reconstruction of large and luxurious family groups. Everyone will help in this, but the elders are apt to have the wisest and gentlest heads, well suited for their role according to developmental psychology and culture evolution. Family roles will increasingly differentiate, yet be flexible.

Domestic culture will flourish in a great variety of ways. People will discuss family matters: the problems and triumphs of the enterprise - the garden, the shops, the labs, etc. Conversation and play will resurge and displace TV watching, as new information services displace enslaving TV time schedules. Bill Cosby and The Simpsons can be seen any time. The arts will revive on a personal and family level, enriching ordinary life. Rituals and ceremonies will enhance and celebrate life's process.

Privacy will vary with temporary stresses, ethnic predispositions, architectural designs, and whatever factors arise. Privacy is often a matter of wealth: people in abstract culture, MAC, are usually as lonely as they can afford to be. But this compulsion to loneliness will be seen as a residual pathology, a hangover gradually replaced with modern organic culture, MOC.

Much food will often be grown and processed on the immediate premises, for its culture as well as food value. It's fun for children and elders to share in such wholesome activities. Similarly, clothing and perhaps even cloth can be made locally, to add personal and culture richness to costume. Mass produced staples, appliances and machinery will still be exchanged on a world scale, but commerce will gradually decrease as the technology and culture advance. Productive and creative enterprises will be common and inherent in every community; a small portion will be traded through a very advanced but minimal communication and transportation system. There will be composting and recycling, but no waste.

High tech supports the luxurious life. Energy is produced by whatever sources are immediately available. Passive solar buildings that need little fuel can easily be built for any climate. All the necessary electric energy will be produced by photocells on the roof, windmills, etc. Creating and maintaining these systems will be a favorite pastime for some, and provides an excellent foundation for the children's education, and everyone's love of reality.

Although the community is partly self sufficient, the satellite dish and fiber optic network link the family to the richness of world culture producing a "rural cosmopolis". Management of these riches requires the best attention, the guidance of elders, the concern of the community.

Transportation will be available, but rarely needed: Walking is healthier. Automobiles and trucks will have their place along with other equipment, but they will be used very little. Depending on wealth, the members may drive, bus or fly to a culture event or celebration, but nearby communities will provide most of the outside enrichment.

World population is stabilizing. There is now, and always will be, plenty of food and resources for everyone, if only they are properly managed. Some ecologists estimate that present food production technology can support ten times the present world population. Crowding is a minor organizational problem. The solution is technically easy, economically difficult, politically - perhaps impossible.[ Sources abound, including favorites such as *SAVING THE WORLD '91 World Watch, Lester *Brown et al.; *GAIA ATLAS OF GREEN ECONOMICS Paul *Ekin; books by Ernest *Callenbach, Richard *Register and others; and World Watch Paper #121, THE *NEXT EFFICIENCY REVOLUTION, Creating a Sustainable Materials Economy.]

Most of the rest of the old culture, including crime, law, smog, and golf will wither away.

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