Ming the Mechanic
The NewsLog of Flemming Funch

Thursday, December 25, 2003day link 

 The Real World
picture While looking for something else I incidentally ran into this little thing in somebody's webzine from '96. A vision I apparently wrote, although I can't remember exactly where.

"I envision a time when most people have stopped having problems they don't need to have, and where they spend most of their time dealing with what is actually going on in their lives, what is right in front of them, what needs to be done. That is, people will stop acting and reacting based on a picture of reality they see on TV, or which comes out of their fears and biases and misunderstandings, and they will start taking action in more useful ways.

We live on a planet that is bountiful with resources, if we just use them in harmony with the cycles of nature. We have reached a stage of civilization where most people can live in peace. We have the technological means of having all of us live in comfort.

Most of what would be in the way of allowing the world to work for all of humanity is mental problems. It is when millions of people feel a need to be fearful and insecure when just a few people's dramatic misfortune is broadcast on TV. It is when many people believe that economics or politics dictate that some people HAVE to be hungry or without work, and the rest have to work themselves to threads in meaningless occupations. It is when people feel they are justified in harming others because they are different from themselves. It is when people think that life is about acting like most other people around them. It is when people believe that pessimism and cynicism about the future is the logical outcome from studying the past.

None of this has much to do with the real world. Stress and fear and pessimism and bigotry only rarely have proper relevance to the situation one is in. They are mental and emotional responses to the situation one THINKS one is in. Being fearful because of the news on TV, or stressed because of artificially created pressures from jobs with little relevance to creating lives of quality, bigotry because of false information, pessimism because of authorities who seem to imply there are no good answers to anything - all of those are induced based on overwhelming, but largely misleading, information from the outside.

This might sound overly harsh, or broad, or condemning. Really, I have great faith in the ability of humanity to heal itself and deal with its situation. Each human has tremendous capacity for setting things right, and I believe we WILL set things right. But I think it will happen through dealing with the real world and its possibilities, by looking at what resources we have at our proposal, what skills we have, what solutions and schemes and technologies we have that will make things work for us.

I envision that a critical mass will develop of humans who are able to see and think and feel for themselves. People who will make out the truth for themselves, people who aren't easily fooled by double-talk and mis information, people who will take action on the conditions they find themselves in, people who will work for the greater good in the most effective ways they know of. These people will be found all over the planet, in all professions, in all organizations, in all cultural and ethnic and religious groups, and they will network freely with each other across all boundaries."
[ | 2003-12-25 08:47 | 5 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Blogger's Block
Joi Ito writes about the side-effects of having a blog that everybody reads.
"I've had blogger's block lately. As more people read my blog, I realize that I am writing for larger and larger audience. Just about every time I post something, I get thoughtful comments and email from a variety of perspectives. I realize that post early/post often is probably the best policy for blogging, but the rigor in which entries are discussed and the increasing percentage of people who I meet who have read my blog cause me to try to blog about things which are interesting yet not likely to cause me to spend a lot of time defending myself. The fact is, I'm becoming more and more conservative about what I blog. [...]

The problem with many blogs is that the audience includes so many different communities of people that it collapses the facets of one's identity and requires you to choose a rather shallow facet which becomes your public identity. For instance, I know that people in the US State Department, friends from my Chicago DJ days, my employees, my family, thoughtful conservatives from Texas, cypherpunk friends, foreign intelligence officers, Japanese business associates and close friends all read my blog occasionally. In real life, I present a very different facet of my identity to these different communities, but on my blog I have to imagine how all of them will react as a craft these entries. None of them get the depth that I am able to present when I am performing for them directly."
He's right - that's a problem. I get nowhere near the number of readers he does, but I certainly notice that situation. My blog is read by a number of different classes of people that I otherwise wouldn't communicate to in the same way. I've gotten somewhat used to the fact that I can't completely keep them apart and that, on the Internet, if I've said something *anywhere* it might pop up just about anywhere else. But in my blog, despite that I choose what I want to say, it is difficult not to be somewhat self-conscious about how it will be received by different kinds of people. So, for myself, I notice that the result is that I become more conservative than I otherwise would be. I post stuff that I know I'd be able to defend. To people I work with, to my neighbors, to techies on the net, to people who think I belong to a certain philosophical tradition, to people who think I'm writing for a particular online community, to my mom. It is both cool that I can somewhat succeed in speaking in the same somewhat authentic voice to all of these people. And it is frustrating that it also becomes somewhat more guarded, shallow and academic than what I'd really like. I think it is probably overall a healthy process, but also one that it is hard to be completely satisfied with. And, luckily, blogging isn't the only way we have of communicating.
[ | 2003-12-25 09:48 | 9 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

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