Thought Food (aka Comments Please)

The End, for now
November 12, 2008, 11:42 am
Filed under: Future Thought Foods, Thought Foods

Hello Gentle Reader,

Well, this was an interesting experiment, but it was not successful this time. It may be tried again, and I thank you very much for your attention.

To all those who read or contributed, thank you very much for your time.



There is always…


Query No. 4 What is Taste?
October 24, 2008, 4:42 pm
Filed under: Thought Foods | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Dear Gentle Reader,

The topic for this week was suggested by a reader and contributor to thought food who suggested:

1. What is taste [as in tasteful not tasty] and does it really matter?

2. Which is best, Mac or PC…? :~) [can’t help it!] ;~)
Now, I know Emyr, and he is a Mac devotee.  But that second question, as he cheekily knows, is merely an example of the real question which he is posing in the first instance.

This week, we will try a wide open approach to the discussion.  So first commentator, shape it as you will, but following commentators can also shape it as they will.

This topic is reverting to one week because people only commented in the first week.

Possible approaches are to answer”What is taste?”; “What makes taste?”; “What defines taste?”; or “What differentiates taste from values or from opinion?”  Another approach might be to exame the difference between art and craft and work of an artisan. Or any other perspective you choose to take.  

I look forward to reading and contributing.





Change of the Rules, extension of commenting time
October 17, 2008, 12:06 pm
Filed under: Future Thought Foods, Thought Foods | Tags:
A bright image of new Macau meeting old China, the icon for thought food updates on e-Cuneiform scratchings  



A bright image of new China meeting old Macau. This is the icon alerting readers to thought food updates on e-Cuneiform scratchings

Dear Gentle Reader,

An aside.

It is week four, and I do not think that the “culture” dialogue of Query number 2 is over yet.

So, the rules have changed.

Thought food discussion topics will stay up for two weeks, not one, to allow for fuller comment.  
Also, the new topic for the coming fortnight will be posted one week in advance so that people can mull it over.
Please continue commenting on culture.  

It is getting interesting, and I think some potentially controversial comments have been made recently. I am quite keen to see more of your feedback and I hope that the dialogue grows.

And, of course, I am always soliciting new ideas for queries which can be posted on the “future thought food” section of the the thoughtfood blog.

The new topic, for next week, was suggested by a reader/writer, Emyr, who said:
1. What is taste [as in tasteful not tasty] and does it really matter?
2. Which is best, Mac or PC…? :~) [can’t help it!] ;~)Now, I know Emyr, and he is a Mac devotee.  But that second question, as he cheekily knows, is merely an example of the real question which he is posing.  

So, next Monday the full topic will be posted, but the question will essentially be “What is taste?”. What makes taste, what defines it?  Maybe what differentiates taste from values?  It could be approached from a perspective like what is the difference between art and craft or any other perspective.  

A real salon would be freewheeling unless there is a very powerful moderator figure.  I am keen on free-wheeling exploration of ideas. 

So, please return to the culture conversation, and next week we will look at taste.





Your humble scribe,
Sepiru ChrisIf your have time, you can always visit your host’s narrative blog at e-Cuneiform scratchings

Query No. 3 What does culture mean? What does it include or exclude?

First, thank you everyone who either read last week’s query or commented upon it. 

The query for this week is what does the term culture include?  Where does culture stop? Where does culture begin?

Is culture a shorthand for nationality plus ethnicity?  Less?  More? Could gender be a component of culture?  

What about profession?  Do engineers have a distinct culture as opposed to oil rig workers as opposed to nurses?  

Does the US have an all-encompassing culture or would we talk of regional cultures–north, south, west, east, or the heartland? Wouldn’t this be the same in other countries?  

If this was true, if you can talk meaningfully about a regional culture AND a national culture, is culture fractal? What I mean is, is culture present on different scales? So can you have cultures at small levels (such as women nurse/missionaries, and at higher scales nurses or nuns or missionaries, and at higher levels, westerners, women, or proselytizers?

At what level of abstraction is cultural a useful concept?  Would humans have a human culture vis a vis elephants.  Probably not.  If a race of aliens touched down in large numbers though, and interacted with us as two bodies, us and them, might there be a cultural difference?

What comprises culture, and why it be important to know it?  I will add SMALL snippets over the course of the week to see if that encourages more feedback.  Again, as always, if you have a topic that you would like to see, toss it into the future food thought pile.  We have two now that we will explore in the coming weeks.

Cheers, Chris

Query No. 2. Will corporation-sponsored social activism survive a period of financial pain?

We all know that our natural environment is compromised.  We know this from documentaries. (I know this from breathing, or trying to breathe, in the industrial heartland areas of China.) 

We all know that working conditions in many places are not what we would wish for our family and friends because activists and NGOs have been good at raising awareness and OK at advocating for change. (I know this from visiting hundreds of factories across Asia about three careers ago.)

We all know that the economic world is taking a beating.  We know this because the media tells it to be true. (I know it because my stock portfolio has tanked; I really should have already switched to John Mackenzie at Odlum Brown.)

My query this week relates to the social economy vis à vis the ‘classic’ economy.

Companies for the last few years have been braying about how they are such good corporate citizens, or they have been admitting that they have not been good but that they have seen the light and are changing.

Companies do this for good reasons; consumers and investors have been pressuring corporations to become more green or more socially conscious, or more something which classical economists would say that companies are not and should not be. There has been a pragmatic realization that at least some tenets of the “triple bottom line”  activists/economists may be right, and both consumers and investors have indicated that this is so (not to mention the World Commission on Environment and Development, aka the Brundtland Commission).

My question this week is will the CSR movement (Corporate Social Responsibility movement) survive what appears to be an oncoming tsunami of financial pain?

Consumers still want the lowest price.  (Yes, I know that a number of you are willing to pay more to buy greener or socially cleaner or more socially responsible products. But, most of you have higher disposable incomes and/or a higher net worth than the norm in your respective country of residence. Plus, many of you have always cared for these concerns, but maybe that is relevant and you are the vanguards of a new sensibility?)

While wanting the lowest price, however, consumers HAVE wanted to see operational changes in producers and distributors, so things HAVE been changing from a CSR perspective at the corporate, operational, and philosophical levels.  

My query is whether this corporate shift to accepting CSR goals and accepting the idea that CSR and some form of sustainability, or triple bottom line accounting, changes are so entrenched in everyone, from corporations to consumers, that corporations will not be able to “roll back” the CSR “gains”.  

Or, are these ideas born of wealthy times and will these concerns fade when keeping the rent paid, or keeping a house from being foreclosed, and putting food on the table become bigger priorities for consumers (assuming that the economic prognostications are correct, and nobody that I has met has suggested otherwise).

Thoughts please.  What do you think and why?  

I am really keen to know your reasoning, your assumptions, and the facts upon which you base your beliefs. Last week about 100 people, currently resident in 17 countries, logged on.  I know a lot of you, and you come from a wide variety of industries, professions, backgrounds, and ages.   We are all are very interested in your reasoned opinions.

Please send this query, and this blog, off to friends or colleagues who might be interested and might have something to say to further the discussion.

Thank your for contributing, whether by reading, commenting, or bringing new voices to the discussion.

Sepiru Chris

Review of week one
October 3, 2008, 9:39 am
Filed under: Introduction

One week and almost two hundred uploads and nine non-self comments.

A conversion rate of uploads to comments on the query of around five percent is probably good in the blogging world.  Most importantly, I set the bar at five comments , so onwards we go.

I received one suggestion for a possible future query (in the “future thought food” section), and the poster is fleshing that out now, so it will not be up yet. More suggestions for future queries would be good–please send more in.

I figure that the first couple of months will be the toughest, if this is to survive.  And if not, then it is not meant to be.  Question.  Should we keep the site on topic for just one week, or two? Let me know. Also, I was considering summing up the results, but I think that I post too much and too long already.

Sometime today query number two will go up.

Cheers and thanks for reading and playing along.

Sepiru Chris

Future Thought Food Suggestions
September 27, 2008, 9:46 am
Filed under: Future Thought Foods

So, this will only work if the community is engaged. Obviously.

What thought food would you like to see discussed?

Suggest a topic, please, and comment on other topics suggested.

I suspect that ideal topics require some thought, are not too emotionally polarizing, and are interesting enough to be brought up at a party by contributors.

What would you like to see the opinions of a few people on? I would really like to know.