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.
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I'm curious about this post, Brenda. As one who thinks long and hard about the assumptions in language, and posting, particularly in what we assume normative modes of communication to be.
Can you say more? Or perhaps I need to go and get the book first...
Yes, do get the book. I linked its title above to a Globe piece on it that gives a different take. I think all artists ought to mull over what Lanier has to say. No doubt our various backgrounds, interests and so on will make for vastly different responses to the text, but I bet no one will go away without heightened awareness and a whole lot of questions.
hey I just bought this book today on my way home from Red Deer. I had saw you post about receiving it the other day and then I heard him on Sunday Edition this morning. he sounded like a very intelligent person. looking forward to reading it.
do you like Ian McEwan? i just finished his new book and it was very good. he's one of my faves.
Cool! I just looked on the Sunday Edition page for the podcast, but it isn't up yet. I'll have to check back.
I'm pretty sure I haven't read any Ian McEwan. I best fix that! Thanks!
That's a pretty compelling piece in the Globe and Mail. For what it's worth blogger "The Idler" (Tom Hodginkson) wrote an article for the Guardian that states Facebook is essentially backed by CIA money... Seems worth pointing out, if a touch apropos of nothing!
Thanks for the link, J! I hadn't seen that article. Lots there.
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