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Henry Stein February 22nd, 2007 12:19 PM

Open Source and Mutual Aid
In the February 26, 2007 issue of Time magazine (p.51), Justin Fox writes about the connections between Peter Kropotkin's 1902 Classic Mutual Aid: A factor in Evolution, the "gift economy," Wikipedia, and open-source, volunteer-created computer software. The common denominator in the history of human progress is our tendency to help each other, beyond the abundance of "reckless individualism." (Kropotkin's works have been mentioned briefly earlier in this forum.) Yale law professor Yochai Benkler, a leading prophet of todays gift economy, is deeply interested in the growth of volunteer labor and the interplay of commerce and cooperation. To read his book, The Wealth of Networks, go to

Lil'Pon February 22nd, 2007 04:19 PM

Re: Open Source and Mutual Aid
I applaud this book and also think it would be great if top psychotherapists who get $200.00 or more per hour for services would choose to give up four to eight hours a week to offer free psychotherapy services to those who can not afford mental health services, such as the homeless, low functioning, low income or un insured people in need.

George Neeson February 24th, 2007 12:13 AM

Re: Open Source and Mutual Aid
Lil'Pon, whoever you really are, I am surprised to read your serious attack against the moral character of healing professionals. First I am not aware of competent therapists who receive "$200.00 plus dollars an hour". For myself I receive considerably less than this amount for an hour of my work, so let me correct a serious misapprehension on your part if you are concerned about truth. I am a fully licenced medical doctor and meet all my licencing bodies requirements to work as a psychotherapist in Ontario, Canada. My medical training cost many thousands of dollars and my therapy training has been likewise expensive. That is just an aside. I know a number of therapists over the years and I can assure you they are generally giving people. Most of us would consider it intolerable to turn the disadvantaged away. Wise and humble people usually have the good wisdom to not advertise their good works of that nature.

My real concern is that there exists in you a possible unresolved issue that you would benefit by resolving if you wish to be effective in clinical psychology. If you approach this work with a "self righteous attitude", you could be at risk to harm the vulnerable.

Lil'Pon February 25th, 2007 09:38 PM

Re: Open Source and Mutual Aid
Dear Dr. George Neeson,

I am puzzled as to why you would choose to characterize my encouragement for professionals to engage in charity work as a “serious attack against the moral character of healing professionals”.

I am not disputing that most professionals are underpaid. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind, that most psychotherapists are underpaid, as you so strongly assert and have gone to great pains to highlight. Albert Schweitzer may agree with you. What I am suggesting, is simply that those who ARE paid, “above the norm” fees, ALSO engage in charitable works.

Schweitzer was underpaid by choice. Do you perceive Schweitzer to be a “serious attack against the moral character of healing professionals”, when one suggests that those who charge $200.00 plus dollars per hour give a few hours a week of their valuable time to charitable causes?

If you have concerns in this realm, then maybe you would choose to share why you feel that way, or clarify your meaning in the above...

George Neeson February 26th, 2007 09:47 AM

Re: Open Source and Mutual Aid
Perhaps then, your wording was unfortunate. Had you simply said that "it would help so much if the small percentage of humanity who has excess resources beyond those needed for mere survival, would bring assistance in various forms to those less fortunate, by which they could alleviate human suffering to some extent" would have been a more acceptable way to make your assumed reason for commenting.

Indeed there are even two possible views in this regard. If you fully accept the Darwinian notion of survival of the fittest, you would be hard pressed to make such a point. In fact the philosophic underpinnings of Marxist-Leninist political ideology does not contain any strong cause why such an undertaking should be addressed. Some proponents of a random chance biological system will also be similarly challenged to make any persuasive argument to assist the hungry. If you however, believe that the universe is a conscious system of some type, with a "moral imperative", then such a statement might be made with more persuasive force provided that the person reading the comment is not committed to a chaotic, random chance system! Natural selection seems to argue against helping the starving. The religious system built on these ideas, I find unacceptable as a human, but science can not yet support a better cosmological view! These remain matters of faith and conscience. I am committed strongly to the notion of the universe containing a mind and therefore a moral imperative, although our knowledge of this mind as a simple matter of scale, is very limited!

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