Re: GBN & anthrofuturism

Wed, 23 Nov 1994 01:23:36 +0000

>why is "anthrofuturism" even necessary?

Because, barring nuclear war or global ecological collapse, humans have a
future on this planet. Or even some other ones.

>if you know about the
>structural maldistribution and inequity that forces most of the
>planet into conditions of misery, what is there to speculate?

Look, just as I reject some of the pie-and-sky optimism found in most
economico-prestidigiation such as the GBN practices, I also find pessimism
such as this even less useful.

Life is miserable for many (perhaps the majority) on the planet. I happen
to think there are ways to make it better - beyond just the techno-economic
optimism of elites like the GBN... but now's not the place for me to say
what I think the METHODS needed will be...

>the activities anyone can predict are that: 1) people in material
>deprivation will continue the struggle not just to overthrow, but
>to survive; 2) people in positions of power will continue to respond
>to challenges, physical and discursive, in creative ways like
>GATT to maintain hegemony.

Yes. They will. So why are you predicting that they (the elites) will
continue to win?

>knowing this, anthropology should
>question where it is situated. will a flock of ethnographers
>rushing to chiapas to study the "native point of view" be useful
>to the poor, or to mexican intelligence?

I agree with R.C. Alvarado on this much: the politics of guilt will not get
us anywhere. Studying the situation in Chiapas may not aid the Zapatistas,
but it might not hurt either, and it might help some 18-year old kid in
Biloxi or wherever gain an understanding of just what those Indians down
there were up to.

Perhaps in some way I still believe in the old-time religion of positivism
when I say that, when humankind's storehouse of knowledge (esp. about his
fellow humans) is increased, people benefit. It may not help the poor and
downtrodden as much as Mother Teresa. But not everyone is Mother Teresa.
And all of us are helping in the ways we think we can best contribute.


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