Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Good Life, Gary Chapman

Gary Chapman, died on December 14, 2010 while visiting Guatemala. He had been planning to view the lunar eclipse that occurred on the winter solstice from the Mayan temple of Tikal.

I met Gary in 1986 while he was the executive director of Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (its first). Gary was the founder of the 21st Century Project and was involved in a variety of fascinating projects including the International School for Digital Transformation where I was a faculty member in 2009 in Porto, Portugal. He contributed chapters to several books that I co-edited. From a web page about Gary at the University of Texas, Gary was "senior lecturer at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, associate director of the Telecommunications and Information Policy Institute at The University of Texas at Austin and internationally recognized expert on Internet policy, telecommunications and technology policy."

Gary also was an author of the one of the Liberating Voices patterns, The Good Life. I've included the verbiage from the pattern card, abridged from the full text. It reminds of Gary's humane values, and serves as an important challenge for all of us:

"People who hope for a better world feel the need for a shared vision of the "good life" that is flexible enough for innumerable individual circumstances but comprehensive enough to unite people in optimistic, deliberate, progressive social change. This shared vision of The Good Life should promote and sustain conviviality and solidarity among people, as well as feelings of individual effectiveness, self-worth and purpose. A shared vision of The Good Life is always adapting; it encompasses suffering, loss and conflict as well as pleasures, reverence and common goals of improvement. An emergent framework for the modern "good life" is based on some form of humanism, particularly pragmatic or civic humanism, with room for a spiritual dimension that does not seek domination. Finally, the environmental crises of the planet require a broad vision of a "good life" that can harmonize human aspirations with natural limits. All this needs to be an ongoing and open-ended "conversation," best suited to small geographic groups that can craft and then live an identity that reflects their vision of a "good life."

Gary Chapman was patient but persistent in his pursuit of progressive goals and a better life for all. He'll be missed.

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