I'm sensing something in the tabs. There is a shift in the flow of the infostream. Eddies of data are harboring tadpoles of nascent thoughts. I'm also listening to the Writer's Almanac every morning. Is it showing?
This isn't feeling like a calm highway merging...this feels like a confluence...the rumbling, jumbled, hydraulic coming together of two or more rivers...there are multiple flows...multiple possible, potential directions, but which flow will dominate...which water will run on top and get featured in all those awesome Instagram pictures of rivers with artsy film noir filters and which waters will run deep, silent, unnoticed except that they will be the currents actually carving into the landscape, changing the river bed, they will be the ones creating meander scars out of entire industries...was this last great burst powered by the underutilized remains of the infrastructure of the dotcom bubble? Too many servers then, too many Aeron chairs...what is the excess capacity waiting to be used as a platform for innovation now?
"I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by brevity, over-connectedness, emotionally starving for attention, dragging themselves through virtual communities at 3 am, surrounded by stale pizza and neglected dreams, looking for angry meaning, any meaning," Oyl Miller
Is that what Sherry Turkle is warning us against in "The Flight from Conversation"? ..which ironically has spawned both connection and conversation...(Roth, Cormier,) ...and I must say, Dave C. , love your response. Is she warning us against these currents forming some sort of conversational fluvial delta with little or nor discernible direction except some vague 'that way'? What is Turkle's response to the great electronic saint McLuhan who said:
"If a new technology extends one or more of our senses outside us into the social world, then new ratios among all of our senses will occur in that particular culture. It is comparable to what happens when a new note is added to a melody. And when the sense ratios alter in any culture then what had appeared lucid before may suddenly become opaque, and what had been vague or opaque will become translucent." Marshall McLuhan, Gutenberg Galaxy
Do electronic cyborgs dream of electronic conversations?
In Alexis Madrigal's piece "The Jig Is Up: Time to Get Past Facebook and Invent a New Future" ....he asks "now what?" are we just doing more of the same..more Facebooks..more FourSquares...more but not different....I sang the same lament when I was still in grad school studying history..the history of the last 5 years of the French literary underground..a movement built on writing but studied with at least a limited view toward context in Hatfield-McCoy level conflict with my anthropology where everything is connected, everything contextualized. Back to history.....now Commager-Steele, Tonybee, the Durants, Braudel...their works all had their faults but they were BIG. HUGE. Eleven, twleve volume histories of the World, or Civilization. Breathtakingly large. Remember the game manual for F-117a Stealth Fighter? 200 page monster that started with Bernoulli's Principle and ended with how to evade Russian-made SAM sites. We used to read The Stand...in paperback this beast was over 1300 pages. Now we're telling stories 140 characters at a time. There's nothing inherently wrong with that but does it lead us to the punchline of telling the story of an elephant one part at a time? I think this more when I see an article for One sentence pitch winners.......the idea that we now have contests to reduce the essence of a new startup into one sentence...and celebrate those who have thought small enough to be able to reduce their idea to a phrase. Or are we enagaging that principle whereby constraints make for great creativity (see one of my fav stories, The Microcosmic God)? Paul Graham hands out "Frighteningly Ambitious Startup Ideas" ...like replace email (ok)...replace universities (there we go)...couple that with the Atlantic's special report on "The Broken Promise of American Education" ....and a little ditty I just wrote and I start to think that maybe education really is in for it.
I remember that the kind of unspoken defintion of history is the record of change over time....are we possibly moving into a time, the singularity if you will, when things are moving too fast for huge leaps forward...we're into pattern recognition phase now...wonder if there isn't some corllary to when Man first made the shift from Hunter/Gatherer to Agriculure....are we waiting for our inherent human capabilities to catch up to this new environment? do we have to reconfigure our socio-economic systems to allow some in our tribe to stay home from the subsistence-level infohunts and work on flint-napping some knowledge out of all these stones?
“We have no idea, now, of who or what the inhabitants of our future might be. In that sense, we have no future. Not in the sense that our grandparents had a future, or thought they did. Fully imagined cultural futures were the luxury of another day, one in which 'now' was of some greater duration. For us, of course, things can change so abruptly, so violently, so profoundly, that futures like our grandparents' have insufficient 'now' to stand on. We have no future because our present is too volatile. ... We have only risk management. The spinning of the given moment's scenarios. Pattern recognition” ― William Gibson, Pattern Recognition
"When you give people too much information, they instantly resort to pattern recognition to structure the experience. The work of the artist is to find patterns." Marshall McLuhan: You Know Nothing of My Work!by Douglas Coupland
With Men spending less time together on the hunt because some were now back at this new thing called the village...did they lament the weakening of social ties or did they view it as simply the new status quo and invent new social forms, mores and rituals to shore it back up?
"We are drowning in information, while starving for wisdom. The world henceforth will be run by synthesizers, people able to put together the right information at the right time, think critically about it, and make important choices wisely." E.O. Wilson, Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge, p. 294 (that's what is known as "citing" someone...not just "quoting" them...see the difference?)
Are synthesizers the new flint napping shaman....are they the computer-graphics ninja overlords of the Association for Computing Machinery's Global Multimedia Protocol Group? Do they get to stay at home while the tribe hunts across the plains of Google and Twitter and Facebook? Is that where we start building the cognitive and cultural infrastructure for the next big leap?
Wow...I didn't even get to the "New Aesthetic" ....next time people.....