Two Recommendations: The Transparent Society and Meditation

I have two recommendations on entirely independent issues.

First, I want to recommend Arnold Kling’s essay discussing David Brin’s theory of the transparent society.  Brin’s work is important and different (even though it was published some years ago):

In brief, Brin sees liberty as flourishing not when the state is weak, but when the state is accountable. Accountability in turn requires that government processes must be open, and that citizens must be vigilant and effective in monitoring and challenging the actions of public officials.

According to Brin, the best society is one in which the government uses surveillance technology but the public also has such technology.  In this way, the public can have the knowledge to hold the government accountable.

I find Brin’s idea interesting, although I have some concerns.  One of the concerns involves the use by private individuals of surveillance against other private individuals.  But we are not going to be in a perfect world, and the ideal is often the enemy of the good.

Second, I wanted to follow up on my prior post on meditation.  I have received some inquiries on how to get started on meditation.  I began with and would recommend Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Full Catastrophe Living.  The first few chapters are enough to get you started.

If you want to go beyond the simple meditation and to explore some of the Buddhist ideas out of which it grew, I recommend this course from the Great Courses (previously known as the Teaching Company): Practicing Mindfullness: In Introduction to Meditation.