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Who runs this blog?

  • The Saunterer. That's me, H. Charles Romesburg, Professor in the Department of Environment and Society, Utah State University. As part of my research I saunter through the writings of especially creative people, keeping an eye open for insightful ideas on subjects that are joined with great goodness and creativity. I will in this blog present ideas from the writings of more than three hundred of these creators: painters, scientists, mathematicians, entrepreneurs, writers, poets, naturalists, actors, rock climbers and more. Among the subjects that will be covered: How workers in most every vocation and avocation can work as artists do, creating use, beauty, or both, of rare note. How regularly experiencing wild nature makes us better creators. How it is that the more all forms of life come to be revered, the more creative society will be. For some of the other subjects that will be covered, click on cnr.usu.edu/romesburg

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November 21, 2005


It's true. Guns provide a means for people to kill others and bulldozers make it easier to destroy wildlands.

Progress has its flip side too. Guns helped saved the world from Nazi Germany and bulldozers prepare the foundations for libraries.

I am compelled to refer readers of these pages to The Progress Paradox, by Gregg Easterbrook. Mr. Easterbrook makes a compelling argument that by all objective measurements life has never been better.

Here are three quotes taken from The Progress Paradox:

"History's plagues--polio, smallpox, measles, rickets--have been defeated, along with a stunning reduction of the infectious diseases that for pre-antibiotics generations instilled terror. Every one of our great-great grandparents would have known someone who died of a disease that today is shrugged at."

"As recently as the 1960s, it was common for the life of a fifty-year old man to end as he fell down dead from stroke or heart attack. Now this is rare and shocking."

"...gas station minimarts now sell cabernets and chardonnays far superior in quality to the wines once drunk by the kings of France."

Michael and others,

We do love our "objective measurements" don't we? Yes, we who have bought into modern Western culture -- particularly those of us who are fat (too-often literally), dumb, and happy here in the U.S. -- do enjoy the fruits our cultural labor. But many who struggle with the losses to their cultural heritage (and many more if their cultures we're still around) disagree with Easterbrook's assessment.

History tends to be written (reconstructed) by winners, not losers in the culture wars.

What we seem to deny, is that we are losing much on our quest for ever-more-elegant creature comforts and so-called labor saving devices. Nature and culture, along with the quest for enlightenment and human betterment, need to be talked about much more than they tend to be in the popular media.

Thanks Charles, for helping us talk them over here.

For interesting reading on our losses, don't miss Neil Postman's "Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business" and Aldous Huxley's nonfiction "Brave New World Revisited."

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Books by H. Charles Romesburg

  • H. Charles Romesburg: The Life of the Creative Spirit

    H. Charles Romesburg: The Life of the Creative Spirit
    Practically all of the quotations in this blog's posts are collected in "The Life of the Creative Spirit."

  • H. Charles Romesburg: How About It, Writer?

    H. Charles Romesburg: How About It, Writer?
    Based on a study of more than 12,000 essays from the very best literary magazines, this book provides writers with lists of thousands of classic forms of opening sentences, titles, transition sentences, ways of saying "for example," and ways of closing nonfiction pieces. When you are writing an essay and want a hint for a better or fresh way of saying what you mean, looking through the lists acts on the imagination, stimulating your creativity. From Lulu Press (ISBN 1-4116-2862-4, 194 pp., softback), it's $16.95 when ordered from Lulu.com/Romesburg , and $22.95 from bookstores. To view its cover, click on www.cnr.usu.edu/romesburg/how_about_it_writer.htm To view its title page, contents, and first two chapters, click on: www.cnr.usu.edu/romesburg/how_about_it_writer_preview.pdf

  • H Charles Romesburg: Best Research Practices

    H Charles Romesburg: Best Research Practices
    The Saunterer’s new book (2009), Best Research Practices explains how to plan and carry out reliable experiments, how to conceive and circumstantially support research hypotheses, how to test research hypotheses with the hypothetico-deductive method, how to discover cause and effect, and more. It’s based on his examination of 5,000 top scientific articles, studying the methods used to produce reliable knowledge. Preview it on-line by going to the following link: http://print.google.com/print?isbn=9780557017836

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