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You are Not an Eggshell

A couple of lovely people have brought the documentary Walking on Eggshells to my fractured,  deficited attention recently - and for good reason, as it is very much aligned with the ever evolving titular thesis of TIGS.

[Click through to youtube for Parts 2 & 3]

One of the awesome things about establishing an area of interest online is that eventually the tweets and links and emails and that begin to direct your attention to more of those kinds of things, thanks to fragments of effort from, well, you lot. 

It's an analogue of something I said a while back, that, online, conversations ABOUT you eventually find their way TO you.

And it's lovely. 

But it can also present a danger, a socially created version of confirmation bias, where you only ever see more of the stuff you already believe in, which is the kind of information you will tend to prefer to consume. 

Fortunately, a healthy number of you take everything I say with a grain of salt, and so I've also received a number of recommendations to read Jaron Lanier You are Not a Gadget, which I just have. 

I started out reading it as a grumpy skeptic, determined to disagree, as he bemoans the diminishing effect on music that MIDI has had, pointing out that since the late 90s there has been no new, generationally defining genre of music that anyone can identify. 

Then he gets stuck in and tackles the end of authorship, suggesting we are all spiritually impoverished by the erosion of individuality that the technotopian believers in the HIVEMIND imply and that remix culture relies on, but destroys the business model of, mainstream media, which is why it seems to pull so much from pre-digital sources: it's a culture destroying its own seed stock. 

There's a lot he says that I still don't agree with - but there's also a lot he says that I do. His intelligence, eloquence, and love of cephalopods are endearing and compelling. 

Whilst I fundamentally believe that recombination is the route of all creativity, that doesn't mean I believe that all remixes are awesome - that would be an inductive fallacy. 

So, today, seek out and read something you don't believe in, and remind yourself that your viewpoints are viewpoints, not absolute truths. 

Trust me, you won't break. 

But you may become a little less hardboiled.