Thursday, October 02, 2008

Blinded by the light, but everything is illuminated...

The world does seem crappy these days, in addition to the everyday crap of a bad day at work, your SO screaming at you for leaving your socks by the sofa, the world economy decides to tank and those damn credit card bills start piling on. Oh yeah, then there's that Vice Presidential debate too (oh that's for levity). It's easy to think oh crap we're (BLEEP)ed.

However, all is not lost because we live in an age of tools and imagination. Last night I was at a friend's house for project time. Basically, time spent with other individually motivated people to get stuff done that you cannot get done alone. Not that you couldn't do it on yourself, but the criticalness of my mind is insufficient to play both sides of the argument. Critical thinking is a form of schizophrenia since you are at argument with yourself to seek out the flaws in your thinking. But the bias is to go with your own world view. So in the course of working on something, it's good to have someone to ask and go, I've got this idea or I'm looking into and this is why. What do you think? Often, it comes back that's stupid and here's why. And the retort goes, but I that's wrong or didn't consider that. It's valuable to have an intellectual foil. It's good to have people where yesism is not required and discussion and debate can be healthy. But I digress as I often do....

What gives me hope is my friend's son. Halloween is around the corner (and to a four year old it may seem forever) but he was thinking about his costume and he was looking at an old mailing tube and imagining what he could do with that to make a costume. That is very cool. Because his ideas were not just imaginative, they were plausible. It struck me that we live in a time of plenty. We have lots of raw material, it's called our junkyards. There are motors, and antennas and steel to be found that can be used to construct things. (My god, I went to Ikea and saw that you can by table tops and legs separately. If you wanted you could brink a saw and make a coffee table out of desk and it'd be uniquely yours).

What we also have is a wealth of knowledge in this thing called the internet. Where people publish vast amounts of knowledge, some of it even useful. That's the publishing power of the internet. But it also includes the communications power, you can ask questions and get responses maybe too much some of it suspect, but you get a starting point to assess. We maybe have too much light, but we can also see possible paths.

In this time of chaos, which seems incredibly close and wildly disconnected. It's time to take back our independence by relying on ourselves by seeing the world as we see it, not as the marketers tell us. We have the access to knowledge that others didn't have. While I miss grand libraries, and I miss the mood they set that are conducive to thinking. A mind is a terrible thing to waste. I leave with people more eloquent than I.....

"The most dementing of all modern sins: the inability to distinguish excellence from success." - Playwright David Hare

"Never confuse attention with affection" - Robert Redford

It is those two sins that have led us to where we are.


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