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Check It Out

Courier Article by Sean Davis
Sunday, October 26, 2008

Dark Days May Lie Ahead, But Knowledge Liberates

Dark times lie on our nation's horizon.

The threat of further economic turmoil and the uncertainty of our future leaves many of us anxiously holding our breath, waiting for the next news story to drop.

However, with a little belief and awareness of what makes up our world, I believe we can overcome anything that comes our way.

In this year's selection for One Book, One Community, "This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women," the reader is given many views of what it is that people believe.

From society to God, these essays briefly reveal a variety of minds and point to the commonality we all share. I believe such a discussion is necessary if our great melting pot is to keep from boiling over. Only through understanding and community can we hope to overcome our differences.

This need for community also is explored in detail in "Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations" by Clay Shirky.   Through anecdotal examples, the author gives the reader a look at a changing world where injustice is beatable through new digital mediums.  The case of a lost cell phone and the subsequent battle with the NYPD is only one instance the author relates to lay out exactly how we are becoming more empowered.

I believe that through these new social connections we can do great things to end the anonymity of injustice, but we also can lose sight of our greater place within society.  
It is therefore the responsibility of those aware of these social intricacies to best use our need to be part of some larger whole.

"Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization," by Dave Logan, John King and Halee Fischer-Wright, presents the blueprints for what it is that makes up our many tribes.

The authors present a framework for using these natural alignments to better create a work force that finds satisfaction in their jobs. I believe this is the heart of where our salvation rests. Through fulfilling cooperation, we can achieve the greatness necessary to usher in a new age. Only through collaboration and awareness of problems do we stand a chance of avoiding the next bullet aimed at our world.

In "13 Things That Don't Make Sense: The Most Baffling Scientific Mysteries of Our Time," Michael Brooks relates the largest scientific questions whose answers may either save or erase the human race.

From a virus that masquerades as bacteria to whether or not death is necessary, Brooks examines the enigmas that may lead to the industries of tomorrow. I believe that questions are our birthright.   Only by repeated questioning have we been able to stumble upon what works. Perhaps that is how our ancestors found what was good to eat.

"In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto" probes Michael Pollan's belief system of how humans should eat. Pollan points to where our modern dietary systems succeed and fail through reflection upon our collective past and analysis of our recent pursuits in the "Age of Nutritionism."

I believe greater knowledge of our primal needs and realization of a healthier life can aid us in finding happiness.  Through trial and error, I have seen my daughter learn to walk and communicate; I have no doubt we can do the same for our economy.

By trusting in our innate strengths and awareness of our weaknesses, we can succeed. With belief in ourselves and something bigger, we have the tools to create a world in which we all wish to live.

Sean Davis is a readers' advisor in the Reference Services Department at Central Library.