Skeuomorphism

“Skeuomorph” – is a derivative object that retains ornamental design cues from structures that were necessary in the original. Examples include pottery embellished with imitation rivets reminiscent of similar pots made of metal and a software calendar that imitates the appearance of binding on a paper desk calendar.

Since the last post I’ve been forcing myself to write down whats on my mind each morning. Some morning it’s hard. Some mornings it just doesn’t happen. Some mornings it really flows. Tonight I just watched a short you-tube video, that really is a neo-modern twist on the original Marxist arguments that used to fascinate me at 17.

Neo-modern, in the sense that to me is a tautological re-iteration of a thousand words when maybe one hundred would do.  I’m not a Marxist, I am verbose, and I appreciate the argument. I’m an anarchist, and a humanist, in some very narrow senses.  Look up the definitions.

I’m not 17 anymore… But I do remember the internet was slowing forming in the public consciousness when I was at college. I can still read HTML code in source form and know what it’s going to do.  I also remember that Tim Berners-Lee released it for the good of all people. A selfless, not for profit, humanist action.

It has achieved so much. And unlike the beginning, like when I first mined some worthless Bitcoins years ago, the wealthy interests have determined that money can be made for ‘teh interwebz’ – and that just like Animal Farm – some sites and ideas are more equal than others. Just try the same search on any other search engine than ‘G©°gLe’ and see what happens.  I think I began growing up in a world were material assets and information were critical. Knowledge & wisdom were something I though you had to work at, connect ideas and test them against the world.

This is not the case now. I’ve spent time in classrooms with groups of teenagers who think the the don’t need to know how to work out answers to questions, stood alongside people who wanted answers, and not questions. “I can just look it up on the web, sir”, “Just give us the answer…. meh”

Is the dissemination of information over the web, for free, a destruction of the value of culture? Or maybe even our very souls? The web feels like information, it looks similar to knowledge, and wisdom –  to the systems that came before? I mean this in the sense that a lot of things have the appearance of documentaries, or studied and considered approaches. But they aren’t. But we’re so conditioned to accept what seems familiar…

The printing press freed people, developed minds.The development of computing changed human knowledge and thought to one of how to think, and not exclusively about just the facts. The machines can filter down what we need. But do they filter down what we want?

Ironically, as the internet increasingly becomes like shouting in an echo chamber, we are dumbing down again – reverting to a new bastard child of our species’ long long oral history – the internet meme, the click bait, the Top 10 list, the gossip column. Does that make it devolution or evolution? What is the point of the electronic dance of characters and videos?

Am I just too old to see that which is unfolding before me? Am I trapped in a space between what was, what is, and what will be? Does it even matter if I can feed, clothe, and house myself?

Despite everything I’ve said – I don’t think the issue is the internet per-se – it’s this social media phenomenon. I resisted Myspace, then Facebook for years. I use Twitter just for beer research. But I’ve still been hooked. If I didn’t feel caught, why are my happiest life experiences away from the internet? I have to admit for nearly 8 years of my life the majority of my communications with humanity are Email, IM, and text. And then the people I lived with I saw face to face, and people I’d always hung around with.

“I want freedom for the full expression of my personality.” Mahatma Ghandi

With social media it is all about interaction via dissemination. It’s addictive. Get on that band-wagon, be the first, be the best, be individual – and do what thousands of others are doing. We are not unique snowflakes, nor are we the all singing all dancing crap of the world. Social Media is not communication. It is not dialogue. It is exposure. It is information.

I have to ask – Is there some primordial hunter gatherer aspect deep within our brain which is happy to pick and hunt information? Just like the arguments I got into over the ice bucket challenge, it seems that there is a slide to the appearance of appearing to be something, someone, or somehow a certain way.

At the start of this year I had nearly 900 Facebook ‘friends’. I now have a social network of 161… and even that seems a little high. By weening myself back off it, I will slowly rebuild me in the real world. And I’ll be obliged to makes calls, and go face to face. To live in the world, and not just observe it.

I’ve removed most of the details, its just me… my thoughts, and some photos. The only thing appearing on my feed is now people. There is no other marketing. And 7 years ago when I joined that’s all I really wanted. A log, for me, and some close friends and family. I am not a marketing exercise – I don’t even like adverts on TV, the papers, or walking down the street.

Does this make me a bad person? No. It just means I’m trying to find a way outside the feeder/feedee cycle of information. I seek knowledge and wisdom. Drowning in information isn’t helping. If I am not seeking it out – then I truly am a marketers dream.

“Questions are a burden to others. Answers are a prison to oneself” (Poster in “The Prisoner” – ‘Free For All’)

I’ve just flipped over 38 revolutions around the sun. Yet I still haven’t shaken a small irony tonight as I write this. I hoped it would. So I’ll leave you with a video, I don’t agree with it in totality. But it’s far far better soul food than most of the garbage I filter through seeking nuggets of wisdom. It’s worth watching it all. But I smiled and wept inside around 1hr 23mins.

Note to self: Be skeptical. Ask questions.

You might find your own personal natural philosopher one day….but I’m not telling you what to do. I’m just showing what I did. And how I got to this sentence. We all believe in the power of our beliefs.  Politics is a questions of beliefs. So do all beliefs have political consequences?

“How to Win Political Arguments”