Yet this is exactly what Ryszard Kapuscinski accomplishes in his series of talks published as The Other. Here, the Polish journalist builds on his experience and most importantly on the reflections on the Lithuanian-Jewish philosopher Emmanual Levinas to reflect on how the encounter with the Other in a broad, cross cultural sense is the defining event - and opportunity - in late (or post) modernity. For Kapuscinski, the Other is the specifically the non-European cultures in which he spent most of his career as a journalist. For another reader it might be someone very much like Kapuscinski himself.
There are three simple points that Kapuscinski raises that bear attention:
1) The era we live in provides a unique, interpersonal opportunity for encounter with the Other - which is to say that we are neither in the area of relative isolation from the Other that dominated much of human history nor are we any longer in the phase of violent domination that marked the period of European colonial expansion. We have a chance to make space for encounter to be consistently about engagement and exchange, rather than conflict.
2) This encounter cannot primarily technical, its must be interpersonal. Technical means are not only anonymous but more conducive to inculcating mass culture rather than creating space for authentic personal engagement. The current period of human history - post industrial, urbanized, technological - is given to mass culture, mass movements, as a rule - this is accelerated by globalization and communications advances. And while it is clear that the early "psychological" literature of the crowd - and I am thinking not only of the trajectory set by Gustave LeBon, but the later and more mature reflections of Ortega y Gasset - were primarily reactionary, nonetheless they point consistently to the fact that the crowd involves not just a loss of identity, but a loss of the individual: it leaves little room for real encounter and exchange.
While the increasing ability to encounter different cultures offers the possibility of real engagement, at the same time modern mass culture is the number one threat to the Other - in that it subordinates the value of whatever is unique to whatever is both common and most importantly sellable. In visiting Ukraine over the last few years, what fascinated me the most were the things that made the country uniquely Ukrainian. Following a recent trip, I noted the following in a piece by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof on a visit to Karapchiv: "The kids here learn English and flirt in low-cut bluejeans. They listen to Rihanna, AC/DC and Taylor Swift. They have crushes on George Clooney and Angelina Jolie, watch “The Simpsons” and “Family Guy,” and play Grand Theft Auto. The school here has computers and an Internet connection, which kids use to watch YouTube and join Facebook. Many expect to get jobs in Italy or Spain — perhaps even America."
What here makes the Other both unique and beautiful is being obliterated by mass culture. Kristof is, of course, a cheerleader for this tragedy, but the true opportunity Kapuscinski asks us to look for ways to build up and offer support in encounter.
3) Lastly and most importantly, for encounter with the Other to be one of mutual recognition and sharing, the personal encounter must have an ethical basis. Kapuscinski observes that the first half of the last century was dominated by Husserl and Heidegger - in other words by epistemic and ontological models. It is no accident, I think, that the same century was marred by enormities wrought by totalizing ideologies - where ethics is subordinated entirely, ideology can rage out of control. Kapuscinski follows Levinas in response - ultimately seeing the Other as a source of ethical responsibility is an imperative of the first order.
The diversity of human cultures is, as Solzhenitzyn rightly noted, the "wealth of mankind, its collective personalities; the very least of them wears its own special colors and bears within itself a special facet of God's design." And yet is only if we can encounter the Other in terms of mutual respect and self-confidence, in terms of exchange and recognition of value in the Other, that we can actually see the Other as a treasure - one that helps ground who I am as much as reveals the treasure for what it is. And this is our main challenge - the other paths, conflict and exclusion, are paths we cannot afford to tread.
One author you've probably heard of: Charles Darwin
The other? Famous in his time, but in the 20th and 21st centuries largely forgotten: Alfred Russel Wallace.
Darwin was a Big Data scientist, spending 20 years after his trip to the Galapagos gathering data from his own experiments and from botanists around the world, to make his theory unassailable. Wallace was a field naturalist, studying species and variation, up close and very personal.
Both ended up in the same place at roughly the same time, driven by the inescapable conclusion from these three facts:
1. More organisms are born than can survive (for their full "normal" lifespan). 2. Like father like son: we inherit characteristics from our parents3. NOT like father like son: each offspring varies in some way from its parents.
So who/what survives to reproduce and pass on its genes? Or rather, who dies and why? You can die purely by accident. You are the biggest, strongest lion. Nothing can beat you. But a tree falls on you. Dead and gone.
Or you can survive because you have an advantage, however slight, that another in your species lacks. Your beak is slightly more narrow and lets you get at all the nuts on the tree. Your legs are slightly longer so you can avoid the tiger. And so on, everything sorting out how to eat, how to survive long enough to reproduce, from bacteria to coral to fish to mammals.
And with each passing generation, the mutations that help you survive get passed along, and so we (humans and everyone, everything) change - sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly. But change we do.
With this announcement on July 1, 1858, humans now had a way of understanding how the world works without having to fall back on some unknowable god or gods. And we have also been able to build on Wallace's and Darwin's insight to now understand, perhaps too well, how life works on our planet, and how similar we are to so many other species.
Which means - to my way of thinking - that we no longer have any excuses, we humans, for our ongoing devastation and depletion of our world and our co-inhabitants.
In a more rational world, in which humans shared their planet with everything around them, instead of consuming everything in sight, July 1 would be an international day of celebration.
Well, at least I posted a note on my blog! Plus I will go outside later and cut back invasives, to help native trees grow.
How will you celebrate International Evolution Day?
Here are some links to information about evolution, about the way these two men got to the point of announcing their discoveries, and more.
You will read in some of these articles about Wallace being "robbed" of his just fame and recognition; I must tell you that Wallace, in his own words and the way he lived his life, was gracious and generous in spirit. He always saw Darwin as the one who fully elaborated the theory, making its acceptance so instantly widespread across Europe. He did not seem the least bit jealous.
And Wallace was, in many ways, a far more interesting human being than Darwin. I encourage to check out his autobiography, My Life, as a way of being introduced to one of my heroes.
The new Oracle ADF and JDeveloper 12.1.3 is out and it comes with a bunch of new features, especially in the UI layer - ADF Faces.
For a quick overview of some of the new UI capabilities check out this quick video that shows some of the key new features.
The Awesome Evolution of Oracle Application Express 5.0 by Joel Kallman
Joel demoed HTML DB 1.6 again, the predecessor of APEX - went live in 2004, so 10 years ago (time goes fast!). Next he timed doing development in APEX 4.2 compared to APEX 5.0.
Conclusion: APEX 5.0 is more productive, efficient, intuitive, modern and easy.
Joel highlighted the other new features in APEX 5.0, most of them I already blogged about or you find them here.
The Game Changed - APEX Designer by Patrick Wolf
Patrick showed the time it takes to build components and items in previous versions of APEX. Next he compared it to how you do things with the new Page Designer in APEX 5.0.
There're so many new features in the Page Designer, just give it a try to explore them. It will take a bit of time to get used to them, but it will be the future.
Turbo Mobile Development by Marc Sewtz
APEX uses jQuery Mobile behind the scenes. APEX 5.0 includes the latest version (jQuery Mobile 1.4). The philosophy is to create "mobile first" applications.APEX 5.0 will include a new mobile theme, which support the new jQuery Mobile swatches. It's very easy to use ThemeRoller to create your own swatch and upload the zip in Shared Components in APEX and add a style to the theme and make it active.
There are many more new features in APEX 5.0 for mobile development like for example a new region type called "Reflow table".
- Public Sessions only
- All Sessions
You can of course override these settings on the page level, which makes a lot of sense.
The Page Designer makes you way more productive, less clicks and quicker results. You have to get used to it, and you probably want a big monitor (time to ask your boss!), but once all that is done - you will love it.
The Page Designer is so intuitive and attention was put in the details. When you make a mistake APEX gives you immediate feedback. Here's a screenshot:
The region where the error is, is highlighted.
You get a notification message top right in red with the error message and inside the property panel it's highlighted what you need to change. Once you click on the field it will give another text notification e.g. that it is required.
There's also the Messages tab which gives you an explanation of what is wrong. Clicking on the link will bring you right where you need to go.
But just look at the Page Designer for a while; notice the small top left red triangles; it identifies it's a required field. The "Show Common" and "Show All" tabs are great too.
So many things, small, large, ... but so useful.
Here's another one - Developer Comments for the page. If there are comments you see a number in the comment icon. When clicking on the icon you can add more comments. I believe it would also be useful to see the existing comments, hopefully that will be in the final release.
This post is based on Oracle APEX 5.0 EA2, but there's more coming it looks like. Linked to the previous feature, I see a tighter integration with Team Development already too.
So many things to explore in the APEX 5.0 Page Designer... definitely worth your time.
Just a quick entry about something that I ran into in the past with JDeveloper 18.104.22.168, and that some of you who are using Mac might run into.
When you try and run your web application and the embedded WebLogic tries to start you might run into an error like:
Unrecognized option: -jrockit Error: Could not create the Java Virtual Machine. Error: A fatal exception has occurred. Program will exit.
This is most likely due to the fact that JDeveloper is trying to use the wrong JVM to run your WebLogic.
To solve this - go into the system22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199/DefaultDomain/bin directory and locate the setDefaultDomain.sh file.
Edit this file and add the following lines:
By doing this you'll instruct WebLogic to start with a regular JVM and not the JRockit variant which isn't on your mac.
In the Appearance section you find kinda the same options as in APEX 4.x, but when you look a bit further, there's so much more now.
You can declaratively change the way your button looks like, by clicking the Template Options:
The icons you can chose for your button are based on Font Awesome, a great scalable vector icons library.
I use Font Awesome in APEX 4.x too, but I had to create a new button template and put the name of the icon in the class section. This is now all integrated and declarative in APEX 5.0.
Here's the list:
- Display From HereCtrl+Option+D
- Display From PageCtrl+Option+T
- Go to Dynamic ActionsOption+2
- Go to Gallery ButtonsOption+9
- Go to Gallery ItemsOption+8
- Go to Gallery RegionsOption+7
- Go to Grid LayoutOption+5
- Go to HelpOption+F1
- Go to MessagesCtrl+F1
- Go to Page Shared ComponentsOption+4
- Go to ProcessingOption+3
- Go to Property EditorOption+6
- Go to RenderingOption+1
- Keyboard ShortcutsOption+Shift+F1
- Page SearchCtrl+Option+F
- Save and Run PageCtrl+Option+R
- Toggle Hide Empty PositionsCtrl+Option+E
For Mac users like me; the Option key is "alt". For the F1 etc. use "fn".
Once requested a workspace you will get an email to activate it - and you're up-and-running!
The login screen looks awesome:
And then you see the new APEX Builder - new theme, with all new icons:
The Application Builder looks different now too - look at the nice icons and new style of Interactive Report:
Creating a new application - the wizard is more streamlined:
Creation of a new page is now with a modal window implementation:
When finished it opens the page in the new Page Designer:
It looks like all the components are now available in the Page Designer (Shared Components for ex. wasn't available in EA1 - but it is now)
Creating new pages work well and the new universal theme (theme 42) looks nice too.
Oracle APEX went flat design, with bright color blue and grey and nice icons (which are available as a font).
More to come in other blog posts... have fun! and thanks to the APEX Development team for another great release.
His offer of $2B for the Los Angeles Clippers is so ridiculously outsized and unjustified, plus it so richly rewards Sterling for, um, for saying something in private.
[Interesting to consider how in the US, land of free speech, this nasty brutish fellow is being punished -well he was being punished before Ballmer rewarded him - for his private thoughts. That's pretty awful when you think about it.]
Anyway back to Ballmer. His offer is so absurd that it becomes patently obvious to everyone that he has so much money it's simply no big deal for him to throw $2B on the table to unambiguously cinch the deal.
The aristocracy in France did quite well, too, until they forgot that they were supposed to pretend at lesat a little bit that everyone else weren't virtually slaves for them. But when they got too flagrant, they paid, oh how they paid.
And here in the 21st century, in what is supposedly and still formally a democracy, with citizens supposedly being equal under the law, you really don't want to draw attention to your beyond obscene wealth.
Bad move, Ballmer. If I were a fellow billionaire, I'd get in touch and tell him to tone it down.
Along the way, I have been reminded that what you pay the most attention to is what your brain spends the most time thinking about (at least the parts of my brain that "I" am "conscious" of). So I need to be careful about what I pay attention to (one reason that I have stopped watching television almost completely).
And spending ten plus hours a week outdoors, in the woods, cutting back invasives and rescuing trees, has reinforced this to me:
With living things, the more I watch and more closely I watch (and smell and taste), the more amazed I am by the wonders of life. And the more alive I feel,
With manufactured things, it is just the opposite.
The more closely I look at something made by humans, the more sterile, dead and energy-sucking it appears. And the more I watch (or smell or taste), the more deadened I feel.
Perhaps this is not such a big surprise, since everything that humans make is dead, and built upon the deaths of many creatures. Sorry if that sounds like such a downer, but I believe it is simply a statement of fact.
Anyway, no need to feel down. Just go outside, into the trees, into a field, away from things we make, take a deep breath, feel the sun on your face....and you will feel much better.
Here are some screenshots posted on twitter:
I'm sure this new EA will carry many changes and looking at some screenshots it looks awesome.
I especially look forward to the new universal theme.
Here's what should be in - based on the statement of direction of APEX 5.0 :
Oracle Application Express 5.0Oracle Application Express 5.0 will focus on both new features and enhancements to existing functionality to improve developer productivity and is planned to incorporate the following:
- Page Designer - New page definition IDE which incoroporates tree controls, drag and drop layout editor, and a property editor.
- Multiple Interactive Reports – Allow any number of Interactive Reports to be defined on a single page.
- Modal Dialog - Enhance the ability to declaratively define modal dialogs.
- Navigation Lists - Ability to define hierarchical lists for navigation, with pull-down menus and sub-menus, instead of being constrained by tabs.
- Mobile - Enhanced responsive tables, including reflow tables and column toggles, and introduction of panels.
- Calendar – New calendar region which allows duration based events, improved functionality, and better control over drag and drop operations.
- Universal Theme – A new central theme which readily allows developers to customize simply using CSS.
- HTML5 Capabilities – Improve native capabilities for handling HTML5 constructs.
- Application Builder Security – Allow different authentication schemes to be used to control developer access to the Application Builder.
- Numerous functional improvements.
Michel and Marcel updated their book end of last year, but I didn't take the time to blog about it yet - and months fly. The concept stayed the same as the first edition, but it got updated with the latest info for APEX 4.x.
"People who followed a beginner training or learned APEX at their own and they want to know how to do a specific thing which is covered in the book, it's great to have the book, as you can just follow what the authors wrote and you also have an idea why it's done like that."
If you need onsite Oracle APEX training, you can also contact my company APEX R&D :)