“Every day we slaughter our finest impulses. That is why we get a heart-ache when we read those lines written by the hand of a master and recognize them as our own, as the tender shoots which we stifled because we lacked the faith to believe in our own powers, our own criterion of truth and beauty. Every man, when he gets quiet, when he becomes desperately honest with himself, is capable of uttering profound truths. We all derive from the same source. There is no mystery about the origin of things. We are all part of creation, all kings, all poets, all musicians; we have only to open up, to discover what is already there.”
– Henry Miller quoted by Flemming Funch, Ming’s Metalogue
“…blogging is about nothing more than writing—and that more of us will be writing to more people, with more effect, because of it. Every new blogging tool is one more step in the evolution of the Web as, literally, the ultimate writing medium: one that lets anybody write for everybody.”
- Doc Searls
A literate person with no literary interest is said to be unread. One with broad knowledge through reading is well read. Only an author is read, and presumably, we’re all better read than dead. In the 21st century, to be unread is coming to mean not read. The profound truths Henry Miller describes, spread by the tools Doc describes, are the birthright of humanity.
Web blogs are the means to make each of us a voice in the global coffee house. One of my first blogs took the position that we’re in a new age of enlightenment, resonant of the eighteenth century when caffeine overcame alcohol and spawned conversations worth holding.
The blogging boom may be self-referential to the point of incestuousness, but it’s inspiring if you dig the right of Everyman to reach her potential. Blogging seems to be accelerating rather than slowing. Richard Dawkins calls it positive feedback in The Blind Watchmaker and Freeman Dyson calls it autocatalysis:
“Three successful “bottom up” approaches described by Dyson share an important trait: As they succeeded, they spread quickly. Dyson calls this ‘autocatalysis’ — a chemistry term meaning that as a chemical reaction proceeds, it automatically accelerates. When, for example, British farmers in the 1950s began using drying sheds to keep their harvests dry, the technology spread rapidly. “As soon as the sheds were shown to be effective, every farmer had to have one,” Autocatalysis is a “key virtue to look for in any technology that claims to improve human welfare on a large scale,” he added.”
” He introduces two profound questions:
- 1. How do we improve human welfare on a global scale?
2. What energy could ‘automatically accelerate’ to fuel this improvement?”
- Flemming Funch quoting Tom Munnecke, quoting Freeman Dyson
The Blogging School of World Enlightenment believes that web logs, expressed through improving tools, is the answer. Indeed, what transformation ever took place without conversations to spur it on?
Towards a Common Voice
The problem with a planet of bloggers is, how can we quantify the clustering of discrete trends and imperatives the bloggers feel strongly about? My proposal continues to be a coherent blog aggregation protocol:
Culture-wide Blog-based Knowledge-Logs
Let’s take all blogs’ RSS feeds and slice and dice them to aggregate our combined sensibilities.
1) Create a mechanism for people to identify and define the issues they care about, and the major positions that surround each issue.
2) Inspire and help bloggers to structure their RSS feeds to expose which issues they’re discussing and where they stand on each issue.
3) Let bloggees indicate where they stand on each issue as they view it. Compile all these data points and let a million flowers bloom.