even though (and because) they’re not paying attention
i’ve spent the last five years (2008-2013) privately in public. in a transparent incubator if you will. we were experimenting, prototyping, questioning, pondering, …. listening. the adventure started with the curiosity/perplexity: why are so many people stressed.. most can’t seem to wait for 3 or 5 pm or the weekend. we wondered if there might be a better way to spend our days.. a more awake way to live.
because of the mindset of the space we were in (ie: listen/follow your gut/whimsy) the 5 years has felt like 10-20 years of research. a lot of data (ie: insight/findings-in-failings) documenting itself. begging to stay true to nonform.
in dancing/struggling with that – one wonders – how/why to document/keep/share/stack/use/official-ize/evidence-ize that.
how does one snapshot life/that without interfering with the beat. without letting the record\ing define the rhythm\ing. and what does any of that even mean. who is it for. why do we insist/oblige on doing/standardizing it.
we’ve settled into a space/site: redefineschool(dot)com. it’s not ideal. (wordpress is great. the not ideal is in regard to iterations of this experimenting we’re doing.) there are frustrations/desires. but it works. for now. for amateurs. as we prototype.
it’s designed wikipedia-style with currently about 3000 link-filled/linked pages. there are no posts so access isn’t rss-style, you don’t get fed new pages/revises as they happen. perhaps to enhance being/feeling private in public. ie: you/we are out there, but not broadcasting/selling.
access is more through following rabbit-hole links and/or google-style search. flow via curiosity rather than guidance/map/direction/decision. perhaps to offset/reinforce the idiosyncratic jargon that lies therein. pull vs push ness.
[prior to this.. i spent 20 some years answering questions no one was really asking (ie: how to rationalize a denominator). most documentation had a short/dusty/required shelf life. so it feels good/right to – in a sense – turn that around. to not let noise mandate words. to not let mandates mandate noise. but rather – to listen to the (assumed) silence. perhaps to be the (assumed) silence.
it also feels good/right because multiple mindsets ongoingly request multiple formats/documentations. perplexingly and curiously.. ie: shorter, longer, video, essay, text, image, slidedeck. this resonated with youth (and adult) complaints/observations that each class/course/assignment seemed more about contortion than expression. add to that the intrigue of what requestors/overseers/inspectors do with said document once they get it. most don’t pay much attention to it. don’t use it. don’t need it. don’t understand it. don’t like it. shelf it. you know.]
a zoom out
my guess/gut says that we spend at least 70% of our time trying to prove things (like ourselves), asking for permission (to follow our whimsy), waiting/falling for the supposed to’s (someone else’s rules), begging to be invited/joined/seen/picked/heard by others, .. when, especially today, we could be spending at least 99.9% of our time being/becoming us/betterness.
a zoom out globally allows one to notice the many hours of the day we currently spend on reporting/proving/documenting things/ourselves. and then too, most often after the “e.d.” is added.. ie: reported/proved/documented… the less shiny it becomes. the less it’s paid attention to. so why do we keep ourselves so busy with it. if it matters so much as to take up most of our day. it should matter. it seems. it should be improving things as we document more. but often it only gets us to be less us.
overemphasis on documentation. underemphasis on paying attention to it once it’s done. there is no doubt good in journaling/reflecting/articulating. but there seems to be this ginormously fine line (of who it’s for and why and how) that completely changes its use/need/cost/good.
a few examples of documentation to document that we do too much documentation/credentialing/verifying with too little of it being used/paid-attention-to/acted-upon (ie: if any of the documentations below really mattered to us wouldn’t situations get better rather than worse?):
economic situation.. almost half the world’s wealth is now owned by the top 1%. the crisis in say 2008 et al..(see Matt Taibbi’s divide) we then print more money for the one’s who caused it.. and jail/debt up several who didn’t.
war situation.. Jeremy Scahill’s dirty wars. there are others.. but there is no doubt plenty of documentation that spending ⅔ of our budget on war is not working.. at least not for human beings on the planet.
suicide situation.. suicide rate passed death by auto accident a few years back. back to wars.. the latest i heard – 22 suicides a day of war vets.
prison situation.. the us has 5% of global population and 25% of incarcerations.
school situation.. the more we document.. seems the higher # of kids entering college need remedial courses.. look into Eric Mazur’s (harvard) research on ap courses et al. or the higher # of kids (adults) find a few new survival techniques.. look into Denise Pope’s (stanford) research on cheating/survival/collaboration. also meds/time-outs. or the more we are blinded by – the science of people in schools.. look into Carol Black.
if documentation is worth most of the hours of our days.. most of our resources/people/money/sanity… seems it should be worth paying attention to. yet documentation/research/findings, while beyond heart wrenching, don’t seem to be affecting change. especially not toward the potential for change we have today.
quality of data (or whatever) matters little if our focus is on the wrong kind of data (or whatever).
a nother way
what if this from David Graeber is true….
there’s got to be a better way – for all of us. one that involves 8 billion+ people from the get go. one that grounds ensuing/desired chaos. we certainly have the means (documented – Vinay Gupta et al) today for global equity. so why hasn’t it yet happened..
perhaps documentation, as we know it, is one of the technologies we need to abandon..
.. it is downright irrational if one holds on to an old technology that is not naturalistic at all yet visibly harmful, or when the switch to a new technology (like the wheel on the suitcase) is obviously free of possible side effects that did not exist with the previous one. And resisting removal is downright incompetent and criminal (as I keep saying, removal of something non-natural does not carry long-term side effects; it is typically iatrogenics-free) NN Taleb, Antifragile
perhaps we take Neil Gershenfeld‘s course to heart, the one about personal fabrication. the idea that the best re\course to (developed people) coming alive, (developing people) thriving, (fighting people) finding something else to do is to offer everyone the luxury of doing whatever they want. perhaps if each one of us (8 billion +) had something else/better to do. today. in sync with the other 8 bill+… well.. perhaps that would do-it/free-us from all the paperwork/policy/not-us ness – even give the inspectors/terrorists/judges/police/criminals/all-of-us …something better to do.
at some point we need to realize that each person is the only expert at being that person. and that the whole (world) is missing out.. if any one of us isn’t our full potential. and if anyone of us isn’t our full potential.. then we have to start messing around with man-made constructs of protection, ownership, policy, control. but if we trust people.. to be themselves.. perhaps no one (or at least very few) will pay attention to the fears/evils we fear.
It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit. ― Harry S. Truman
what if there was another way. to lifelog. to host life bits. to craft a commonplace book. one that tech facilitated. freeing us up to live. 100% of our day. documenting/stacking more than ever before, in the internet of this-ness/the-what-it-is ness/haeccities.. while taking less time/effort from us.
Instead of the popular term, “the internet of things,” which implies a network of physical objects, (Benjamin) Bratton prefers the more esoteric sounding, “internet of haeccities” which would include objects, but also concepts and memes, addressable at the same level, but at multiple scales, through the same system. “Scales blur and what seemed solid becomes fuzzy. Inevitably we see that any apparently solid scale is really only a temporary state of resolution.”
The bottom line, says Bratton: the inherent intelligence of the world could be more self-reflexive in new and important ways. – d:gp
what if a site/collection such as this, is your/my access into me. crafted ongoingly via tech that listens to me w/out agenda/judgment. leaving a *trail, like a searchable/linkable commonplace-book, for me/you to tap into when/if needed/desired. leaving us freed up (from all the documenting/recruiting/proving/judging/..) to do the thing we can’t not do. in the city. as the day.
- wikipedia style, so that it’s accessible via whatever curiosity you have.
- nothing to prove style, so that i/we-all spend more on being ness than on proving ness.
what if we focused on self-talk as data. where tech takes our curiosities/matterings in, organizes them (deep address ness…), connects them/us. so that i’m not spending my time jumping through hoops and into boxes for you (not a person’s best side), and you aren’t spending your time trying to find me and then wondering/deciding if you should trust me (most people are other people, especially when trying to impress).
*trail: perhaps one much better than this site represents me just now. because tech is good at gathering/searching/connecting too-much ness. and spitting it back out per your preferred style of taking it in, ie: another flavor – jerry’s brain.
other hlb trail ie’s
what if a tech/app/chip we’ve not yet tried, is one that allows us to document everything. and nothing. without time constraints. without worries of privacy/ownership/evidence/identity/control. because all of us are too usefully preoccupied to pay attention (for bad).
what if tech can be a transparent incubator/connector for 8 billion of us. whenever/wherever/however we are.
deep address ness… leading to whatever. perhaps site as prototype of my brain. perhaps jerry’s brain. perhaps combo of all. whatever dance you choose/personally-fabricate via whimsy. so the manila envelope doesn’t ever have to kill off some of you – tech can handle tons of data.. and call it out/direct/organize it when/where/however needed/desired..
perhaps there are 8 billion different/idiosyncratic languages. each one changing/morphing daily. and the more we let go of controlling/defining that.. the more we can decide if we really need words. and/or the more we’ll be able to stack/shed/document them in a more convivial/useful/humane/haecceity/eudaimonious way.
A different way of looking at the way the computer age evolved is sort of Ada Lovelace’s way which is that computers and humans will evolve symbiotically. They’ll be partners. We will get more intimately connected to our machines and the machines will amplify our intelligence and our creativity will amplify what the machines could do. And we don’t need to try to create robots that’ll work without us. It’s kind of cooler to create this partnership of humans and technology or as she put it the humanities and engineering.
document everything. and nothing. even though and because they’re not paying attention. tech can handle the chaos. perhaps 8 billion people usefully preoccupied makes policy/privacy/ownership/identity/voting/money/war/impossible …
..as we know them …irrelevant.
10 min read
global systemic change
document everything and/or nothing.. reminds me of Thomas Hellum’s ted.. the world’s most boring tv and why it’s so addictive..
it’s like you can ride along with.. get the 24/7 version. and/or you can take in just a snippet… by standing alongside for a wave.
If I didn’t have to fill in forms, tick boxes, prove how good, nice, worthy me and my project are to a well meaning gatekeeper maybe I’d make something better – more truthful, more radical?
ie: .. our encryption/security/privacy – comes from the too much ness of documenting everything. begging you to connect with the actual person in order to decode. (like we create our own layer of security – much like what David writes about what the too much ness of bureaucracy does for us – in a bad way)
and again – not even that you couldn’t decode it.. but you have no desire to (for bad) because you’re too busy being. the desire to decode it (for good) is embedded in a desire to connect with the person.
I wrote so I could say I was truly paying attention. Experience in itself wasn’t enough. The diary was my defense against waking up at the end of my life and realizing I’d missed it.
The trouble was that I failed to record so much.
I’d write about a few moments, but the surrounding time — there was so much of it! So much apparent nothing I ignored, that I treated as empty time between the memorable moments.