Common Threads – January 2013

  • CCTV increases people’s sense of anxiety – “High levels of security have come to characterise our public buildings. This is because security has become a prerequisite of planning permission as a result of [Secured by Design], which is a design policy that has the blessing of the police.” It seems that “while people often believed CCTV would make them feel safer, the opposite turned out to be the case.”
  • Jonathan Franzen on consumerism, materialism and commodification – “To speak more generally, the ultimate goal of technology, the telos of techne, is to replace a natural world that’s indifferent to our wishes — a world of hurricanes and hardships and breakable hearts, a world of resistance — with a world so responsive to our wishes as to be, effectively, a mere extension of the self. Let me suggest, finally, that the world of techno-consumerism is therefore troubled by real love, and that it has no choice but to trouble love in turn.”
  • Article by Georgie Fienberg in BBC Viewpoint magazine, arguing that  development charities should move away from using guilt, shock and pity in their appeals. “This type of fundraising is antiquated, delivers the wrong message and is actually a net negative for society at large – both for Western societies and those in developing countries. I want to see poverty shock advertising consigned to the history book…”
  • A recent poll from the Associated Press-GfK finds that American concern for global warming is slowly creeping up, but most notably through direct experience rather than scientific communication.
  • Philosopher Roman Krznaric talks about moving away from introspection into ‘empathic outrospection’. Here, with the help of RSA animate, he makes the case for cultivating shared emotional responses as a vehicle for wider social and political change.
  • A Greenpeace campaign video that highlights the environmental damage caused by fashion companies while supporting a broader critique of consumerism. We like.
Richard HawkinsCommon Threads – January 2013

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