Sunday, March 21, 2010
Considering hive ideology
...as put forth by Jaron Lanier in You Are Not a Gadget while following this lengthy comment stream on Vox Populism made for quite the reading experience. A mashup, really, and a disturbing one at that. Lanier's book, a "deeply felt defense of the individual" just as the book jacket claims, questions open culture and what that means for the individual. Lanier is a big picture thinker and, luckily for us, he tackles the dark side of the web, frequently focusing on the possible fate of art and artists. Sobering stuff, yet strangely energizing. The comment stream just happens to demonstrate or reinforce some of what Lanier has to say. For instance, I considered the comment regarding the imagery of the mirror alongside the quote by Publilius Syrus in the first chapter of Lanier's book: "Speech is the mirror of the soul; as a man speaks, so is he." Lanier goes on to talk about how technology changes people, how politics influences IT and how software affects how humans express meaning. Later I considered the comments about rules of engagement alongside the chapter "Making the Best of Bits" where Lanier discusses, among other things, the origins of language and being well spoken. Later yet, Lanier looks at a physiological basis for metaphor and how meaning might arise. And so on. He covers a lot of ground. After I finished the book, I considered again the concluding paragraph of the post. Mooney's prediction is all the more ominous when you consider the hive.