Diverse Minds, Unrestricted And Engaged

During the campaign and in his inaugural speech, Mayor Galvin professed a faith in technology that is common, reasonable and thought restrictive.  As such, it is acceptable to a diffused majority not conscious of itself, not of one mind and content to leave some matters to city government.  As such, his faith in technology gets our community only so far.  To go the distance, Woburn needs its diverse minds unrestricted and engaged.  If he hopes to be mayor for several terms or more, Scott Galvin should shift his faith steadily toward community.  No one can prescribe the perfect stride, pace and percentage; I suspect that a genuine, and thus evident, intention will serve him well.  It’s important to note that I am not advocating going from one extreme to another.  For a beginning, I’m advocating discovery of balance.

That said, I must say more about the technology-community continuum and about going the distance.

Technology first extends capabilities of human beings with purposes. Then, with assistance from humans, it acquires a life of its own.  The purposes of humans co-evolve with it, eventually losing connection with their natural and historic foundations.  Increasingly, humans serve the latest technology, because it’s there.

Substitution of one technology for another is usually performed to capture some immediate efficiency for a previous choice.  Honoring and reinforcing that choice, decision makers make the adjustment after confirming cost-effectiveness.  Mayor Galvin anticipates doing this in order to make Woburn the best value among cities and towns.

Too often, customs and laws permit discounting or ignoring some costs.  Those delay determination of cost-effectiveness.  Also, it’s important to note that the decision makers do not review the choice made in the past; it has become a given.  Consistent with that, they ask next-to-nothing of the present community, which they presume to welcome all forms of relief.  In that sense, the present community is hostage to its predecessors by another increment.

Very occasionally, but then splendidly, substitution of technology is performed because people have developed new intentions, purposes and goals.  In these cases, the substitute may not look so much like an upgrade.  This can happen when leadership is for renewal, not mere adjustment.  It must happen when people notice and declare that a previous choice no longer serves them well.

Cyclic and inclusive renewal is the way of going the distance, of becoming a sustainable community.  Cyclic connotes inexorable and phased.  Inclusive connotes comprehensive and fitting.  With them, we keep moving and stay on track.

"Technology, like the body, is a good servant, but a bad master."  - Stephen R. Covey