Monday, January 14, 2013

Thesis 9 of 95: Utopian? Really?

Part of the blogging project about the 95 theses of the Cluetrain Manifesto. All posts in the project can be found here.

Pew, I'm behind the schedule.
I'm also hecka tired. So this is either going to be short and concise, or long and unedited. Anyway.

These networked conversations are enabling powerful new forms of social organization and knowledge exchange to emerge.

This is fairly obvious. I think most people understand this. The thing is, I don't think many people understand the impact of these new forms of social organization and knowledge exchange. Believe it or not, 2013, people still think the internet is forever going to be secondary to the regular old capitalist way of production, exchange and consumption. Because we are still so blinded by remnants of our old value system, we fail to so reality as it is.

People think of the possibility of a tool that could change the way we satisfy our needs, make our social connections, and completely eradicate any practical need for borders and nation-states (yes I am serious), as some sort of Utopia. People are still waiting for it to die, like a lover who's been looking for a soulmate all their life and finds it, and refused to believe their love is answered. We've become so used to misery that the thought of a stable and happy world seems alien to us.

Of course, the internet is not Utopian. It is very real. It's effect on us, and our effect on it, is very real. The pragmatism and the "we have to think rationally about this"-crowd who always doubt the possibilities of new forms of society on the ground of it being "just a dream" are most of the time, the most ideologically driven of us all. What is really Utopian, is a world in which restricting the flow of information leads to economical growth, and full employment is a rational and plausible goal of any healthy society. It is not so.

We're so invested in our own delusions that reality has become a dream. Ideology. My god. No wonder people feel that the political sphere is so alien to them, like it is not a real part of society, but outside it. They know that what is said in the debates are not accurate descriptions of their reality, deep inside, but accept it without question because this is how politics is done.

Knowledge exchange is powerful. The advantage of the internet in this knowledge exchange over the old form of the library is that a library, in the way it has existed before the internet is very much limited. Although the library was a powerful tool for democracy, in retrospect, it wasn't really revolutionary.

Limited in time and space, libraries limited human minds. The internet makes all that time and space stuff less relevant. Instant access to exactly what you want through pdfs and online articles, as well as a community of like minded communities who can help you with what to read and how to understand, is something that shouldn't be underestimated.

In short, networked communities sharing knowledge is awesome, and is becoming important for me directly in my studies, as well as for many, many people like me. Unveiling the radical, and very real, potential of this is a project of changing the ways we define reality, and thusly, making Utopia into what is very unreal: present politics and economics.

See you Thesis 10.

No comments:

Post a Comment