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Access to Tools

WE ARE PROBABLY BETTER OFF WITH RESPECT TO "ACCESS TO TOOLS" than at any other time in the evolution of our species at least since we were unicellular, when we doubled the scope of our world by simply dividing. "How to" will remain an uncompletable task as long as we persevere by reproducing and dying. Every heir needs to get into "how to" to get up to speed and take a turn. The Whole Earth Catalog is arguably a crystallization of the state of our capacity to share the collective toolchest.

"How to" evolves into "How to what!" which was the implicit theme of the WEC. We seek a clear sense of the tasks to be taken up: "Community," "Nomadics," "Learning": we pile up the tools near the tasks. Sometimes we feel sure of what needs to be done fix the schools; retire the debt; eliminate poverty, disease, abuse but this clarity comes and goes.

Dedication to the tasks implies dedication to the tao of the work. Meaning: we endorse the direction, the polarity, of the energy. We apply energy in the direction of physical health, mental and emotional health, environmental health, integration of the human community, expansion of the collective human capacity (physical, intellectual, spatial). While our feeling and aspiration are implicitly on record, perhaps here is the place to reapply ourselves. Where we arrive at our statements by implication, that seems to be the place we solidify our coevolution by making the implicit explicit, and therefore fully conscious, and thereby an assertion of true volition. (The ultimate function of philosophy is to transmute the felt impulse into the conscious, dedicated policy.)

I believe I have just said this, though obUquely: "How to" finally requires growing up into "Why." The Why Catalog collects the possible reasons to act. Who has asserted answers among us? How do we examine their suggestions? How strong is the consensus defining "growth" or "health" of a specific sort?

Our cultural institutions that seem to be the bodily organs that excrete the philosophical endocrinology are not examined in 1990s America (are they elsewhere?). The great universities, the legislatures, the high courts, the ordained leaders (Nobel laureates, Pulitzer laureates, Oscar winners) are not called upon to philosophize in our era. If they produce philosophy it circulates unconsciously, is dispensed like hormones in a process where reflex governs. "Unconscious philosophy" may be an oxymoron, but we are culturally committed to living that way. Ask the single key question: Why does no one in America explicitly function under the primary job title "Philosopher?"

"Access to tools" is a concept, an aspiration that evolves and matures also; not only in where it jumps off to other ideas, but within itself. "Tools" begin at a simple level screwdrivers, pumps, computers transducers of energy into motion, levers to apply movement to matter. But the transduction, the transmutating process, becomes applied to larger and more sophisticated works. "Access to tools" becomes "access to methods," then "access to philosophies," and ultimately "access to paradigms." How about The Catalog Of Human Paradigms and How to Plug Them Into Your Life? It would include, in the proven style, how to explore step by step the organized and disorganized religions, scientific traditions in various disciplines, the philosophies and methodologies for health care and maintenance, becoming a part of the momentum in various musical, literary, and artistic traditions, etc. The Catalog of Entry Portals and How to Open Them.

Well, think about it.