Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Postcard from Myanmar

It great to hear from my father who disappears annually to escape the hustle and bustle of urban life. He goes to S.E. Asia each year. The heat is good for his body and the lack of post coming in though the door and distractions from the busy urban life, minimized. Not heard from him for a while before this postcard arrived from Myanmar!

He writes "The people are so warm and friendly and the landscapes just amazing. Been trekking for 5 days to villages where it's like time stopped long, long ago."

This reminded me on a short lecture i heard by John Thakara yesterday on development here in the Tropical Museum in Amsterdam. He questioned all our assumptions about what undeveloped versus developed socieites are.
We often think:Development = growth and productivity, development = infrastructure and that well-being = owning shit. So called "undeveloped countries" often have far higher social capital, like my father's experience in the lost villages of Myanmar. Development often destroys social capital. The challenge is how can we address the loss of social capital in Western indust./informationized societies using all the creativity and longing at our disposal