norayoung.ca | At the Corner of Technology and Culture

Visions, or Seeing Things.

I was a speaker at a conference on the weekend for winners of the Millennium Scholarships. 300 really, really smart young people. Holy impostor syndrome; I felt like a dolt.

I stayed in a ’boutique hotel’, which was a little like living in a big Caban. Met the new North American bureau chief for New Scientist magazine, and, because I am a big, big technodork, I gushed in an unseemly manner, then immediately began stalking him.

The energy of ‘social entrepreneurship’ at the conference was palpable, like the very interesting design/employment model at La Cite des Arts du Cirque in Montreal, www.tohu.ca
or the work of some of the market-based solutions to social and environmental issues, www.integraleconomics.org
—-see also the Ashoka foundation www.ashoka.org

I was really struck, though, by the speech given by the philosopher Jacques Dufresne, which was an important counterpoint to the general mood of socially engaged achievement. Roughly speaking, he talked about the importance of cultivating ‘la pensee’ in oneself, and of listening to the body…that we lose our senses when we lose our senses…that it is through attentiveness to sensory and sensual experience that we come to know the foolishness of endless rounds of acquisition, and growth made into a sort of fetish. Of course, I would like that, wouldn’t I, given my writing about and general obsession with grounding experience in the body, and the danger our ‘virtual’ existence poses to that grounding. But still, but still, his perspective is important because it suggests that there’s a danger in a goal-directed, achievement-oriented way of going through the world, even when it is authentically in the service of a better community. It needs to be balanced with an orientation of abiding, attending.
Dufresne heads an online encyclopedia, www.agora.qc.ca

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