@seanbala@mas.to
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

seanbala

@seanbala@mas.to

Currently in #Chicago - former religious studies student interested in #religion, #philosophy, #ethics, #culture, #environment, #ecology, issues of #community and belonging. Additional tags: #episcopal #ecotheology #books #folklore #nature #travel #literature #fantasy #history #solarpunk #sciencefiction #sff #bookstadon

Love exploring new cultures, interesting ideas, and meeting new people!

"If only I may grow - simple, firmer, kinder, warmer."

Dag Hammarskjold

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seanbala, to chicago
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

Confession: This is my first bowl of grits. Amazing and creamy and you don't want the bowl to end. If you are ever at the Montrose Brown Line, go to Spoken Cafe right under the CTA and order the Acadian Grits. And the coffee is half priced if you get a mug!

liztai, to random
@liztai@hachyderm.io avatar

Ok I have to admit that I didn't think much about Vice's journalism at times, tho they did produce some good stuff, but what happened to the journalists is terrible 😐

seanbala,
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

@liztai I appreciated a lot of their work, especially when they tried to capture stories that were not widely talked about. Similar to how I feel about AL Jazeera America. They had multiple full time reporters covering indigenous issues and put people in Tier 3 cities.

MisuseCase, to random
@MisuseCase@twit.social avatar

In any discussion of degrowth there will be at least one white man who brings up “overpopulation” as if degrowth isn’t about letting us all live on the planet with a sustainable ecological footprint.

Then the white man gets mad when you (well, I) bring up the fact that his line of thinking naturally leads to doing at least one U.N. definition of genocide.

(Yes it is pretty much always a white man.)

/1

seanbala, (edited )
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

@MisuseCase If I am being charitable (very charitable), I have always wondered if the "overpopulation" trope is a hangover from 1970s environmentalism in the West. That was the time of the "Population Bomb" (which the authors still insist is going to go off). Sometimes ideas linger far, far longer than their shelf life. It is only a coincidence that it is always white people who bring it up (completely joking, by the way).

1/3

seanbala,
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

@MisuseCase Most estimates say that human population will hit about 10 billion and then begin to decline, mainly because of higher global living standards. The video by Hans Rosling is a great explaination: https://youtu.be/ezVk1ahRF78?si=WSgyPw4BxeGnVF9d

A big problem in ecological thinking is that some seek a simple solution for something that is a complex problem. Overpopulation seems easy to grasp, especially if you have been habituated to think in a certain way about resources and those in far off places.

2/3

seanbala,
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

@MisuseCase I'll add that another really good takedown of the overpopulation argument is from Pope Francis' encyclical "Laudato Si" - while writing from a Catholic perspective, Francis puts those arguing that overpopulation is the problem firmly in their place, and argues that overpopulation arguments are used against those who have caused the least amount of environmental damage.

3/3

seanbala,
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

@collectifission @MisuseCase Good point! He had some REALLY odd views.

Random thought: in the musical "Urinetown" (awesome Brechtian-like play about a future of scarce resources where people live in a totalitarian state and have to pay to use the bathroom), one of the last lines of the play, when everything has fallen apart, is the entire cast saying "Hail Malthus!"

1dalm, to random
@1dalm@deacon.social avatar

In an alternate history timeline, do you think the industrial revolution happens without the Protestant movement?

#althistory

seanbala, (edited )
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

@1dalm One of the more thought provoking books I have read over the past few years is "The Years of Rice and Salt" by Kim Stanley Robinson. Its central premise is that if Europe was wiped out by the Black Death, history would have unfolded roughly in the same manner but in different places. So the Renaissance happened in Samarkand and the Industrial Revolution took place in South India in Travancore. So yes, I think it would have happened.

1/2

seanbala,
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

@1dalm In a non-fiction example, in Amitav Ghosh's "The Great Derangement" the author points out that many of the compontents of fossil fuel consumption like the use of oil and coal are actually much older than we think and were used heavily in places like Burma and China. So the point is that things could have gone differently with different circumstances.

2/2

@bookstodon

seanbala, (edited )
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

@1dalm I can see what you are saying about Chinese printing. But movable type could have come out of India, where the letters for most of the alphabets are phonetic. And there have been constant religious reform movements in India. For example you would have the Bhakti movement in 15th / 16th century India, along with Sikhism. And there were plenty of philosophical movements within Indian philosophy that could have led to an Enlightenment-like movement.

1/3

seanbala,
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

@1dalm I do get that the printing press and mass media did take place in a centuries long process of societal breakdown partially brought about by the Black Death, the rise of a middle class, and by the Age of Discovery. And in many ways, India and China had social problems that would have made social mobility very difficult. But there are other factors. For example, India was akin to Renaissance Italy - lots of small states in constant low-level warfare.

2/3

seanbala,
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

@1dalm So, it might not have happened. But it might have happened in a different way. And that is the premise that Robinson explores in "The Years of Rice and Salt."

3/3

seanbala,
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

@1dalm Granted, I do not have much experience in WRITING in Devanagri. On one hand, it has distinct letters and no cases. The letters are all phonetic. On the other hand, it does have conjunct constantans and vowels that would add more variations. But not endless variations. And I wonder if the language would change with the rise of movable type with simplified rules and structures. So, you might be right that it would have been difficult but I don't think it would have been impossible.

1/3

seanbala,
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

@1dalm Also understand that is is quite a bit tangent but your question did make me think about other languages and if they could have led to moveable type. I can see how the idea of vowels in Semitic languages like Arabic and Hebrew would have made movable type difficult. Chinese and Japanese being pictographic or partially pictographic would have made it difficult as well. I recently heard a podcast about why Chinese has kept pictographs and its a was VERY fascinating.

2/3

seanbala,
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

@1dalm There was a whole push in the early 20th century within China itself to move Chinese to the Latin alphabet but it was rejected.

https://www.npr.org/2022/05/25/1101378470/the-characters-that-built-china

REALLY fascinating stuff, actually.

3/3

seanbala,
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

@1dalm You are right - this is the original question! The interesting thing about "The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism" is the question of whether its religious foundation is essential. On one hand, capitalism has started in Europe but on the other hand, it has taken root everywhere with or without a foundation of Protestantism. Is it a general social mechanism that could have arisen without a specific religious context?

@religion @philosophy

1/2

seanbala,
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

@1dalm @religion @philosophy My feeling is that it could have arisen. But I am curious to think about it a bit more.

Thanks for a nice, thought provoking conversation. Infinitely more interesting than work today.

2/2

liztai, to random
@liztai@hachyderm.io avatar

ok so Tumblr is the platform to hate this week

seanbala,
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

@liztai This week’s dragon to slay 😂

agnes, to Instagram
@agnes@pdx.masto.host avatar

ad: “You’re a homeowner with a yard-“

Me: “LOL NOPE this ad targeting is absolute garbage; adults under 35 is the group with the lowest homeownership rate 💀”

seanbala,
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

@agnes Have you seen the Last Week Tonight about HOAs? John Oliver said that the episode was only for people over 35 years old because those under WILL NEVER OWN A HOME. He made an alterative story about Chuck E. Cheese instead for those of under 35 (which was WAY more interesting than it had any right to be)....

seanbala,
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

@agnes That kind of debt IS crazy to think about. Just as crazy as the idea that 18 year old can take out tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt that might not be paid off for decades.

What is crazy to me about mortgages is that in the US, they are fixed rate but in other countries like the UK, the rate changes after a given period! That is bonkers to me. The US system is actually a bit of an improvement over other places. And that might not be saying much.

LifeTimeCooking, to random
@LifeTimeCooking@mastodon.au avatar

Don't be fooled, Bisibelebath (aka Bisi Bele Bath) is a most magical dish.

https://aahaaramonline.com/bisi-bele-bath-bisi-bele-huli-anna-recipe/

seanbala,
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

@LifeTimeCooking

Bisebelebath is magic indeed! 🤗

liztai, to mastodon
@liztai@hachyderm.io avatar

Feeling overwhelmed with social media and info overload, so I

  • unfollowed all political youtube channels & paused history so I won't get recs
  • Cleaned up my Mastodon feed (followed too many hashtags, so my Home feed was overwhelming)
  • Added more keywords to my filters
    I love that gives me the power to control my feed. I'm a mod and I am constantly exposed to outrage content & there's nothing I can do about it 😩
seanbala,
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

@liztai

Thanks for the reminder. Reset my YouTube and am going to pause the history. What was nice today is it kept giving me videos I had saved in my watch later so they were all things I actually wanted to see!

I think I am going to shut off noisy hashtags here as well. For example, I follow ones on climate change but they have been getting really repetitive. And I feel like I am missing my people. Some apps like Ice Cubes allow you to follow groups of hashtags as a separate list.

wnknisely, to random
@wnknisely@episcodon.net avatar

What’s your absolute favorite Bible verse?

Maple Anglican (@mapleanglican.bsky.social) over on BlueSky posted a question this afternoon asking people to share their favorite verse in the entire Bible. What a great question. Mine is "And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14). I can barely read that without tearing up at Christmas each year. What’s yours? Is there…

https://entangledstates.org/2024/02/19/whats-your-absolute-favorite-bible-verse/

seanbala,
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

@wnknisely Matthew 6:25-34 (Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life...). It hits me every time I hear it or read it. Its a word that goes straight to my heart - something I need to be reminded often.

A close second is Psalm 31:21: "Blessed be the Lord! For he has shown me the wonders of his love in a besieged city." I don't know why but this verse resonates deeply. I feel like it captures something about how we experience both the world and God's love within that world.

mdmrn, to fediverse
@mdmrn@urusai.social avatar

this is the greatest and best toot in the world...

...Tribute

seanbala,
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

@mdmrn

Just typed out the first thing that came to our head
It just so happened to be
The Best Toot in the World!
The Best Toot in the World!

(Riff)

seachanger, to random
@seachanger@alaskan.social avatar

my biggest complaint about AI is we didn’t ask for it. zero popular movements took to the streets to demand AI. no one sat around kitchen tables lamenting how hard life is without AI.

what people want is health care, housing, climate change solutions, etc We sit around kitchen tables wondering how to pay for college, get loved ones the psych and addiction support they need, or help the people on our streets who need homes

seanbala, (edited )
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

@seachanger While there are positive uses, it feels like AI is a prime example of tech solutionism: solutions looking for problems to solve.

seanbala, to Netflix
@seanbala@mas.to avatar

Well, thanks for taking over my lunch break:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i4CFWTYFRlw

Seriously, "Nimona" was such a good movie. It's world building is one of the most unique sci-fi / fantasy worlds I've seen (MedievalFuturePunk?). Animation was gorgeous and the story was engaging.

AAAAND Netflix has uploaded the whole film (nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Film) on for free!

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