Review: The Media Ecosystem — What Ecology Can Teach Us About Responsible Media Practice

5 Star, Capitalism (Good & Bad), Censorship & Denial of Access, Communications, Consciousness & Social IQ, Culture, Research, Economics, Information Operations, Information Society, Intelligence (Public), Media, Misinformation & Propaganda, Nature, Diet, Memetics, Design, Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, Power (Pathologies & Utilization), Survival & Sustainment, True Cost & Toxicity, Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution, Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized), Water, Energy, Oil, Scarcity
Amazon Page
Amazon Page

Antonio Lopez

5.0 out of 5 stars A unique and timely integrative overview with many original insights, August 22, 2013

I received this book as a gift, and am glad that I did as I normally would not have noticed it, bought it, or reviewed it. I hope my review will inspire others to buy the book, and if not, provide a summary of some of the highlights that I consider quite timely, original, and useful.

This is a manifesto of sorts, on CRITICAL INFORMATION, or stated another way, on public decision-support needs and the urgency of restoring both integrity (tell the truth) and holistic soundness (report on everything, and on the cause and effect cost and consequences of everything in relation to everything). Of course modern media fails this test, and the author should be credited with providing a manifesto and high-level handbook of how we might proceed.

This is a book about the development of parallel collective intelligence and collaborative information sharing in support of a sharing economy, and a real complement both to my own book (under the signature line) and two others by the same publisher, Empowering Public Wisdom: A Practical Vision of Citizen-Led Politics (Manifesto Series), and Sacred Economics: Money, Gift, and Society in the Age of Transition.

The author views media in the ideal as a form of education, as a mediator of both human democracy and human-terrestial relations, and as a necessary outlet and inspiration for collective imagination.

I am struck early on by the author’s discussion of “anima mundi” as the all-encompassing life force of minerals, matter, air, plants, animals, and humans. Others call this intra-terrestial intelligence and it captivates me — it is something I will be focusing on as a personal interest over the next 20 years for the simple reason that “all-source intelligence” must not only master human and technical sources of information, but all animal, plant, air, and other forms of data gestation — if Measurements & Signals Intelligence (MASINT) had a brain, this is the approach that could save it from implosion as we downsize the secret world.

QUOTE (vii): “Human culture should be part of Earth’s immune system.”

To that I would add [and not its primary cancer], and also point to the extraordinary role played by indigenous humans before they were corrupted and striken by European diseases including mental diseases, see for example:

1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus
Homeland Earth : A Manifesto for the New Millennium (Advances in Systems Theory, Complexity and the Human Sciences)

I value this book for its integral consciousness and its ability to bring together what humans should know, how they should know it, and what they should do with what they know. In this book, the media gets a failing grade across the board, while the author includes a constant focus on how the media should be central to making “ecological intelligence” part of our every thought and action.

I have been a disciple of Herman Daly for over a decade, and completely agree with the author’s proposition that the current economic model discounts to zero all living things — said another way, the “true cost” of the toxic industrial era focus on wanton consumption and unaccountable waste, is life on Earth. Colonialism, banking, and militarism are closed systems with hierarchical “command and control” networks that CONSUME HUMANS. As with the movie “The Matrix” where humans were kept in embroyo form to be used as “batteries” for the machine system, what we do now in the way of social and economic systems is a form of eating people.

The author provides a full discussion of each of the tenets of green cultural citizenship, here I only list them:

01 All life is sacred
02 We are all inter-connected (i.e. there can be no “other” meriting genocide or war)
03 We depend on functional communities — communities that are holistic, inclusive, and helpful
04 Communities require healthy communication to function
05 Trust is key to healthy communication
06 Trust requires both credibility and reciprocity

I am surprised and delighted by the author’s passing discussion of how “bad ideas” when implemented across society, make people crazy. Mental and spiritual confusion and then severe illness and sometimes death are among the effects. “Cognitive dissonance” is NOT an illness of the person, who is sane, but rather an indicator of the insanity of the society.

QUOTE (41) “The media economy works on the principle that if it’s fee, you are the product.”

QUOTE (42) [Industrial era capitalism works to “…enclose the cultural commons through intellectual property laws, monopolization, and control of the technical infrastructure.”

Agreed. I cannot help but think of Stewart Brand, Lawrence Lessig, Michel Bauwens, Howard Rheingold, and others who have understood the threat and sought to act on the threat these past few decades. The Autonomous Internet Roadmap at P2P Foundation is a starting point for breaking the backs of the crooked craven corporatists and their government lackeys.

The author discusses four toxic trends, I only list the four:

01 Preivatization and commoditization
02 Financialization
03 Using crisis as an instrument of control [to which I would add manufacturing crisis, including false flag terrorism] 04 Redistribution of wealth from the public sector to the private sector [to which I would add from the 99% to the 1%)

The author offers an antidote of networked power of global multitudes, more or less the reason I funded the creation of the Earth Intelligence Network and continue to champion a World Brain and Global Game that include a multinational decision-support centre; a global to local range of needs table that is completely transparent; and free education for all.

He cites Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt, so i will honor that reference by linking to the below

Insurgencies: Constituent Power and the Modern State (Theory Out Of Bounds)
Multitude: War and Democracy in the Age of Empire

Four *good* trends discussed by the author:

01 Collective intelligence
02 Affective economics
03 Transmedia story-telling
04 Participatory culture

QUOTE (81): “Sustainability is literally living within our means.

This is of course the foundation of ecological economics or true cost economics as pioneered by Herman Daly and then furthered by Paul Hawkins and others, see for instance:

Beyond Growth: The Economics of Sustainable Development
Supply Shock: Economic Growth at the Crossroads and the Steady State Solution
Enough Is Enough: Building a Sustainable Economy in a World of Finite Resources

The author excels — is totally original and very helpful — in how he looks on media as a toxicity-enabler that blocks ecological intelligence, elevating technical solutions that ignore both human needs and the cost in both human and ecological terms. I am drawn in to the author’s argument that food is the “primary access” point for changing the world system, starting with local exclusion of toxic foods from the agricultural complex that offers poisoned food and genetically modified foods that sterilize the third generation if not sooner.

HUGE INSIGHT: I am a champion of Open Source Everything including Open Cloud, and I am at first puzzled and then shocked when I realize the author has illuminated something very important in passing. The “cloud” is rooted in real physical assets — server farms — that use HUGE amounts of electricity and water — the NSA facility in Utah needs 1.7 million gallons of clean water a day (one has to marvel as how the built decision was made to create that facility in a state that is about to lose its aquifer the way Texas has begun to lose its own). I also learn of the author’s concern that the cloud makes it too easy to replicate information, when a properly managed universal library in the cloud — with a back-up — could radically reduce the redundancies and their attendant electricity and water costs. THE TRUE COST OF INFORMATION IS CALCULATED IN POWER AND WATER.

QUOTE (99) “…just because our media create a planetary brain doesn’t mean it’s a sane one.”

The author goes beyond food to also integrate energy and the energy system into his emergent model of local revolt against the mono-culture.

QUOTE (101): “The problem with our current world system is that it’s based on a closed machine-like model of the world built by an unbalanced and ultimately insane mind.”

I am constantly impressed by the author’s combination of insights and properly attributed citations of others. Having just finished and reviewed Edgar Morin’s On Complexity (Advances in Systems Theory, Complexity, and the Human Sciences) I am totally engrossed by the author’s continued focus on how the monoculture enabled by the toxic media BLOCKS INNOVATION by status quoing everything and making unanticipated collaborations, insights, and outcomes more difficult to achieve.

I have several more pages of notes but for Amazon’s purposes am going to stop here. The longer review can be read at Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog, where every review leads back to its Amazon page.

Best wishes to all,
Robert David STEELE Vivas


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