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Document Type

Prologue

Abstract

Blue tents on the crushed rocks of the Pakistan mountain; the upheavals of the ocean at Sri Lanka; the stagnant brown waters in flooded New Orleans; wild fires, mine disaster: and here we all are—educators, technologists, artists, people of power, and those without power, struggling to survive. We are not the first to feel a slippage under our feet, to grope for a “point d’appui,” something to stand on, a platform, a ground. Like so many of our predecessors, many of us grope wildly for security. We seek a certainty of protection, of salvation. We want (what with our resources, our technical competencies, our capacity for control) to assert our superiority, our deserved invulnerability. Whether through a confidence in an ‘intelligent design” that favors the truly fit, or through a faith in a “higher power” that has singled out the faithful for a special providence, many of us picture ourselves in a select domain, see ourselves as the entitled ones. Those at the lower end of the bell curve, those remote from our canons, our traditions, are today’s infidels. Without knowing it, we have become ‘Social Darwinists’; and that frees us to pay little, if any attention to those lost in the freezing mountains, to the women of Darfur, to the survivors of the Rwanda massacres, to those thrust into a mass in a New Orleans astrodome.

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