[rewire: democratic surround meets networked individualism, it’s complicated]
The time might be just right to finally indulge in the unthinkable/unbelievable dance.. of ongoing/perpetual/emergent conversation/communication with/in both self and (the entire) community/world.
In Rewire, Ethan Zuckerman encourages us to be the time for rewiring our potential to connect. To connect ourselves/others.. in voice/family/house/oikos. Perhaps we are experiencing just the right time to do what so many generations have sought to do before, but didn’t quite have the media/means/insight to rewire this universal (yet often invisible) craving for a serendipitous dance of interconnected synchronicity. (a possible scenario)
The internet has offered us an opportunity and we haven’t taken it.
Flocking to and meandering with, no longer only the familiar, but perhaps even more so, experimenting/experiencing the unfamiliar/unlikely spaces/edges.
How do we build a polity out of people who are different than us.. rather than focusing so much on self.
– Fred Turner
a history lesson.
In Democratic Surround, Fred Turner gives a compact/revealingly-cyclic history of our human quest/desire for betterness. He paints for us, a vivid picture of recent attempts at rewiring the human mind, in order to rewire humanity. He shows us that time and again we explored many visions/revisions using many forms of media to wake ourselves up, to get ourselves to pay attention, to prototype what we could be, and how we might avoid the ongoing trajectory of a world bending toward self-destruction.
This is a true story of how a small group of artists and anthropologists set out to create and alternative to fascism during World War II – and ended up setting the stage for the consumer-driven, media-saturated world we inhabit today.
It appears we kept sincerely fearing/questioning our livelihood in light of where our minds/hearts/children might go, ie: toward fascism/communism. Yet, despite ourselves, instead, we kept creating more, eerily similar, types of detrimental mindsets, ie: toward consumerism/capitalism.
Fred shares in a relatively short period of time (basically 1940s to 1980s) how we seemed to keep having the right intention.. yet kept faltering/compromising in efforts toward a follow up action/surround. We never seemed to get the dance down.
Perhaps, rather than not having gumption enough to get to where we wanted to go, it’s been more about not quite yet having/creating a means/mechanism/rewiring to get us out of an already existing/spreading/man-made disease/pickle/dilemma/detrimental-mindset. It seems every generational quest was/is to wake the previous generation up. But we’ve not yet been able to fashion a wake up call that’s open/audible/readable/accessible/alluring enough (and so equitable) to everyone. And perhaps even more than the call itself, what happens after the call.
By imposing (any) agenda on the surround/mechanism, we limit/compromise doability/aliveness/sustainability, by creating an ongoing dependency on micro/macro management. As well as perpetuating the myth that any one of us isn’t already fit for this adventure we call humanity. We can’t quite seem to set the surround/mechanism free enough, because we can’t quite seem to let go of control. Whether control over ourselves through dependency and/or oppression from habitual flocking/labeling/insecurities, or control over others through biased/assumed agendas as well as unheard and/or one-dimensional stories.
Our efforts keep being just a little offbeat, or perhaps even too much onbeat (John Cage), for everyone to understand/grok a common vision, to take it in, to take it to heart, to find it already in ourselves, to trust it. Not for not trying. Over and over again we’d appear to have a good/ernest idea, but the execution was never fully as was intended. Seems that it’s most often the lag/wait time, caused by anything from a wake up call on partial mute to ongoing misunderstandings, that keeps us falling back into a sleep/blindness/numbness mode. Or, perhaps even worse, fooling ourselves by our obsession with efficiency, nevermind that we’ve been getting better and better at the wrong things. Unfortunately, each attempt at a rewire has pretty much ended up like the original dilemma/disease/slumber we were setting out to cure/awaken, if not worse. Imagine if we stood back for just a bit, to first determine what matters, what would be effective/useful/useable, and then fine, go ahead and obsess the efficiency of that. There’s got to be a way to make change more accessible and sustainability (embracing ongoing change) more inbred/intrinsic/authentic.
In Networked, Barry Wellman and Lee Rainie expose concise verbiage/insight for a mechanism that can give us access to the narrative we’re after: networked individualism. A paradoxical concept that perhaps only tech (personally fabricated ongoingly by us) could facilitate/articulate/execute. A mechanism/surround that can both distance itself from *data (in order to not judge/omit/obsess) while completely immersing itself in the listening to *data (in order to connect/organize) chaos. A process in perpetual beta – renewed/rewired every day. *data = self-talk
Within networked individualism, the surround (wake up call) of our era has the luxury to be both, simple enough for 100% of humanity to access/grok, and complex enough to reduce the time between intention and action for 7 billion people, every day. The narrative can be translated/coded/accessed/reiterated by each heart/human, mainly because it’s already in each human/heart. It’s just become dormant in most. (Again, by our blind allegiance to not being enough without pre-req’s, credentialing.)
In the face of the technocratic systems of high modernism, the paradigm of the social lab lives and dies by an idea that perhaps seem quaint in this day and age—the idea that people working together can address our most profound challenges.
– Zaid Hassan, Social Labs
Perhaps the rewiring needed is more about finding a way to listen without an agenda. Perhaps conversations with self and with others are both our cure and our cause for a cure.
The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.
– George Barnard Shaw
Perhaps it’s less about what we can do with tech, and more about what tech wants to do for us (Kevin Kelly).
Perhaps tech can help us to listen, to pay attention.
You’ve got to make the systems so that they help people pay attention to the world in front of them.
To slow down, relax, and just be. To realize that we already have/are all we need. I think we search for things that we already know/have.. and so.. end up finding/settling on things that we don’t really want.
Thad Starner and Howard Rheingold are two, of many, who have had and can attest to first hand experience with tech wired for helping us to pay better attention to what matters. We have plenty of prototypes who have danced with networked individualism. Time to open the dance to everyone. It is doable. It is urgent.
..believing that people can use technology to build a world that’s more just, fair, and inclusive isn’t merely defensible. It’s practically a moral imperative.
– Howard Rheingold
In It’s Complicated, danah boyd reaffirms our need for better rewiring, for better communication. She’s been a liaison/ambassador to/for youth for many years. Modeling, perhaps as close as a human alone can get, what it means to listen to (many eclectic) people. To listen without an agenda, without a pre-made/assumed surround. danah’s words/findings are a translation of youth voices for adults. Adults who have been too busy/distracted/scared to listen for themselves. What danah has done over the years acts as a prototype of what a mechanism focused on communication could create. She’s taken listening to the limit, and found how very complicated understanding/networking is.
Painstakingly researched through interviews and close study for more than a decade, boyd’s book is the most important analysis of networked culture I’ve yet to read.
– Cory Doctorow
Imagine listening in much the same way to 7 billion people. Something we all need/crave.
Facebook is alight with indignation around the Burning Man ticket sell out. Pondering: success of the event speaks to the deep longing that inhabits those who grew up in the dominant culture. The children of those who fled their homelands only to dominate another, bereft of our own roots, we come from Nowhere. Little wonder that courageous and heart-broken souls cobbled together a type of escapist sanity in the desert over 25 years ago.
– Ian MacKenzie
Listening simultaneously to each individual and to the entire networked world is beyond complicated. Beyond Burning Man. Beyond fan\dom. Beyond occupy. Beyond us. Perhaps it’s crazy to imagine a mechanism that could ground that much chaos/complication, and yet still be always listening without an agenda. Imagine all of us together – interconnected – 24/7, as well as alone – echo chambered – 24/7. free ness. Perhaps it’s crazier to not give it a try.
– – – – – – –
Jane Costello gave a panel talk which included her amazing work with indigenous people in the mountains of North Carolina. The q&a led her to make this comment:
Perhaps we focus more on getting the mechanism in place, and less on measuring/defining people, for a mechanism we don’t yet have in place.
I listened to Sofia Campos (board chair of United We Dream) give a little talk at the Presencing Global Forum 2014. She shared some incredible insight/prodding, toward a more democratic society. As an assumed/labeled undocumented woman, Sofia’s words were poignant..
..think about the undocumented parts of your lives
..how can being a human be illegal
..these are man made constructs we have boxed ourselves into.
But honestly, all I needed (all any of us should need) to hear/reaffirm, (and all I keep hearing every day), were the six words she said after sharing a short gripping documentary where she and two others are reunited with their mothers across the border for only a brief moment.
Sofia’s plea (along with perhaps 7 billion hearts/souls)..
Let’s listen to that.. every day.
Let’s rewire for that..every day.
Let’s create a surround that is as alive as we could/should be.
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