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Consider that Silent Spring was written in 1962. Have we truly, as a culture, successfully addressed the issues of that book's dire ecological warnings?

Or what of Buckminster Fuller, who said that most world production is dedicated to 'killingry' and should rather be devoted to 'livingry'? In other words, economic effort is being spent on creating weapons of death, and Fuller wanted to invent tools for life. As we watch the budget of the American military rise on a weekly basis, can we not see that Fuller's call is hardly on the radar?

Numerous other examples can be advanced to suggest the sluggishness of our culture to respond to new ideas and criticism. The notion that we are in a rapidly accelerating race to the future seems to be blatantly contradicted by this sluggishness.

Perhaps for an idea to get on the fast track for acceptance or recognition, it must be sold with all the vigour of modern advertising. Even then, only some ideas make it. For example, I believe that virtually everyone in North America can speak cogently upon the tribulations of Britney Spears. But how many can speak cogently upon the risks and benefits of nuclear energy? What do we spend our time on?

Jacques Barzun wrote a superb book entitled The House of Intellect. Too many of us live in the shed in the back.

It is not for Barzun to drag us kicking and screaming around front and through the door of a real home. We must do that ourselves. Barzun informs us that there is more for us than our little sod shack. He's not going to do the work for us. That's our job.

Copyright © 30 November 2007 Gordon Rumson, Calgary, Canada

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In 1994 Gordon Rumson wrote a Fantasy for piano, dedicated to Jacques Barzun. You can hear it now, played by Kent Holliday [listen]

THE JACQUES BARZUN CENTENNIAL

BARZUN 100 - CELEBRATING JACQUES BARZUN'S 100TH YEAR

JACQUES BARZUN AT WIKIPEDIA

THE HECTOR BERLIOZ SOCIETY

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