March 9, 2010 § Leave a comment
From an interview
On one level, the Internet has become anti-intellectual because Web 2.0 collectivism has killed the individual voice. It is increasingly disheartening to write about any topic in depth these days, because people will only read what the first link from a search engine directs them to, and that will typically be the collective expression of the Wikipedia. Or, if the issue is contentious, people will congregate into partisan online bubbles in which their views are reinforced. I don’t think a collective voice can be effective for many topics, such as history- and neither can a partisan mob. Collectives have a power to distort history in a way that damages minority viewpoints and calcifies the art of interpretation. Only the quirkiness of considered individual expression can cut through the nonsense of mob- and that is the reason intellectual activity is important.On another level, when someone does try to be expressive in a collective, Web 2.0 context, she must prioritize standing out from the crowd. To do anything else is to be invisible. Therefore, people become artificially caustic, flattering, or otherwise manipulative.
via You are not a gadget.
This is an important critique.
February 2, 2010 § Leave a comment
A new awareness for our time
by Daniel Goleman
For over a thousand years Sher, a tiny village in Tibet, has clung to its existence despite its dire location, perched on a narrow shelf along a steep mountain-side. This site on the dry Tibetan plateau gets just 3 inches of precipitation a year. But every drop gets gathered into an ancient irrigation system. Annual temperatures average near freezing, and from December through February the mercury can hover below that mark by ten to twenty degrees Fahrenheit. The region’s sheep have extra-thick wool that holds heat remarkably well; locally spun and woven wool makes clothes and blankets that help villagers endure the excruciatingly cold winters with little heating other than a fire in the hearth.
Not profound, but helpful in making the case that a new honing of intelligence is requires for post energy quality of life.