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February 14, 2004

Death of Death and Life...

I finally returned The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs. I never read it cover to cover, skimming through sections that tended to drone on, but I'm glad I finally gave it a try. It's kinda neat to see where some of today's more idealistic urban planning memes come from. I recognized many of her ideas as today's rules of thumb for what make good neighborhoods, from active sidewalks to mixed use neighborhoods. Worth browsing at least.

Now I'm wading through Robert Wright's Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny. His main thesis is that, with a few hiccups, civilization has been moving toward ever greater connectedness and interdependency, a grand non-Zero Sum game. Lots of the book comes across as special pleading, but it is a fascinating survey of various social organizational structures. I suppose you'd call it Cultural Anthropology, but he makes it fun, the way James Burke plays with the connections in history.

I knew I'd like the book when I found him citing Teilhard de Chardin, whose book on the Omega Point I've read, and Henri Bergson, both of whom wrote about their visions of Man's ascent to higher orders of being.

Posted by dpwakefield at February 14, 2004 09:42 PM