logo Ming the Mechanic - Category: Thoughts
An old rigid civilization is reluctantly dying. Something new, open, free and exciting is waking up.

pictureIn trying to figure out what democracy really is and how it might work, I notice in the dictionary that the ending -cracy signifies "rule" or "government" by the agent specified by the initial element. Thus democracy, theocracy, technocracy. But, really, I'm not at all interested in being ruled by any agency other than the whole and my own sense of what is right within it. So, maybe we need a system that isn't a -cracy. Or, if anything, it should be a "Holocracy", a system that is governed by the whole, by itself. Holocracy would be the government of whole systems. And, searching on the web for that term, it incidentally leads me to some interesting folks who are using that word. For example REM and my friend Neutopia;
[ | 2002-01-25 02:31 | 11 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 The Tyranny of Law
On the road to creating a better civilization where we can experience unity and diversity, freedom and cooperation, where the world works for all of us - there are some key concepts that I think need to be re-framed and re-thought. One of them is the idea that a government, consisting of a few "representatives" of the people, is allowed to produce huge volumes of *law* that will regulate how people behave, and that somehow that is a good thing, a corner stone of civilization itself.
[ | 2002-01-16 17:16 | 7 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Information Immersion or Abstraction
Having just spent a couple of weeks in Denmark, I notice how many things one only picks up by being immersed in a place, by being there. I'm usually kind of obsessive about figuring out certain things in advance when I travel somewhere. Like, I don't really go anywhere without being sure I have mobile phone service and a way of connecting up my laptop. In part because I want my customers to keep paying me as if I'm working, even though I'm on vacation. And I usually end up fairly well prepared on that kind of things, but only after time-consuming research. Things that might be quite simple when I'm there can be rather hard to figure out remotely, as one doesn't necessarily know where to start.
[ | 2002-01-06 12:05 | 5 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

pictureI sometimes get a kick out of the experience of reading things I myself have written a long time ago. I usually can't quite appreciate my own writing, unless I somehow run into it accidentally later on, and I can sort of read it as somebody else might. And sometimes even learn something. Anyway, I was just reading the news that the google search engine now has archived the last 20 years of UseNet postings. Which is bound to include many stupid discussions I've had with people over time, so I went to check. And, indeed, there are things there that I wouldn't particularly want to be known for today, but also good things I might have said. Rather randomly, below is a piece about leadership, which I wrote in an answer to somebody else's question back in 1996.
[ | 2001-12-11 23:38 | 4 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 The Internet as an archaeological resource
pictureSince I'm going back home to Denmark for christmas with my family, after not having been there for many years, I got the idea of looking on the Internet for people I used to know in Denmark, just to see what came up and what has become of people. Like, my childhood friends, people I went to school with, etc. And it is sort of a weird experience. Some people are easily found and turn out to be doctors or engineers or business consultants or musicians. Some of them I can find, but only in a more obscure context. Like, one was looking for parts for restoring an antique car at some point, another posted a comment about a movie, and another posted a recipe for sausage stew.
[ | 2001-11-17 17:57 | 6 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Surprising Tools
I think the tools worth making are the ones that inspire people to use them in ways that are surprising to the tool makers. There's not much fun in making something that is being used exactly as intended. Much more exciting is when people take an invention or tool or system or software program, or whatever, and go and do something with it that the inventors couldn't have imagined. But it is not necessarily trivial to invent something that people can then go and create further innovation with. Only some inventions manage to take on a life of their own in this way.
[ | 2001-11-13 05:34 | 5 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

Hm, actually I had in mind that I would mostly use my own newslog here as a sort of intimate journal, more than as a place to report news items. Well, I guess I can do both, but I'm trying to not lose track of the more quiet, comtemplative energy of things. Seriously, I tend to feel most alive when I'm able to be conscious of just being in the moment, facing a future which is unknown, not knowing my next step, but feeling excitement about the unfoldment of this mystery. And, preferably, when I can share that with somebody else.
[ | 2001-11-05 02:43 | 3 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Judging Character
It often baffles me how bad many people are at judging the character of others. To me it is usually quite apparent, if one watches somebody, and listens to them, whether they're lying or not, and whether they're basically well intentioned or not. Their body language, their manner of speech, their choice of words, their eyes, their whole aura is broadcasting quite loudly who they are. OK, some people hide better than others, and it might be harder to read them, but then that fact should be quite apparent. So, it usually shocks me when people I know judge people based on totally different factors, abstract ideas, preconceived notions, etc., and fail to see what I see.
[ | 2001-09-20 23:50 | 3 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

The recent terrorist attacks are very likely to lead towards increased government surveillance and decreased freedoms for people in the United States. The general population is probably going to buy any reasons presented for allowing more easy wiretapping, laws against encryption, etc. I.e. more of a police state, which people will willingly join, apparently to be better protected from "bad people".

Now, let me state that I would actually be perfectly happy having video cameras follow me everywhere, having GPS tracking chips placed in my body, having my DNA checked, etc., *IF* I could trust that such devices weren't misused. Unfortunately I can't, as I don't believe there's any existing government who wouldn't misuse these things constantly.
[ | 2001-09-18 05:32 | 2 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Why am I complaining?
It is funny how different environments inspire different kinds of communication. Like, here in this news log thing, it seems like I'm most inclined to write about day-to-day annoyances I have, rather than deep philosophical visions about new civilizations. Well, maybe because I need an outlet for complaining about things, maybe because I feel less of an obligation here to write something inspiring. Or maybe one just goes through different phases. In those periods where I keep a personal journal (on paper) it also changes quite a bit what I put in it. Sometimes my dreams when I wake up; sometimes philophical ideas, or realizations about how something works; sometimes personal longings I'd have trouble sharing in other formats.
[ | 2001-08-27 22:15 | 3 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Honest companies, cell phones
It would be nice when at some point companies will realize that they and their customers are all best served is they're honest about what they have to offer, how it works, how it is different from similar products, etc. At this point companies are still mostly trying to deceive the public, emphasizing stuff that really makes no difference, and hiding the facts that really do make a difference in one's purchasing decisions. There are some clues they really need to get, and in the longer run, it will only be companies who get it who will stay in business, I think. Anyway, I spent a few hours shopping for cell phones, which is what made me a bit frustrated with the current situation.
[ | 2001-08-20 14:32 | 8 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Creativity Spaces
I was talking with Bruce Baumrucker on the phone amongst other things about creating online spaces that foster creativity or that stimulate creative problem solving. There's a lot of neat things one can do that tends to activate creativity and takes one out of one's old habits and patterns of thinking. For example, the old technique of looking up a couple of random words in the dictionary and pretending that they have a relation to your problem and seeing where that will take you. Quite often one will develop some ideas that are totally unexpected, but useful. Bruce was mentioning that Roget's Thesaurus has numeric codes that can also be used for taking you into different directions, by exploring what else exists in the same code as what you started with. Many more things one can do, of course. In general this is what is called lateral thinking. Instead of just pressing on, trying to solve your problem linearly, it is often more useful to step to the side in a new direction and see what one finds. At any rate, one of my plans is to make online "creativity rooms" that provide tools for that kind of thing.
[ | 2001-08-16 13:34 | 3 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

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