Monthly Archives: November 2013

design equity

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how much do you value Design?

as a designer — a human-centered storyFirst experience designer, to be more specific — i sometimes have to unfortunately question my value, or at least my perceived value to the people that hire me or collaborate with me on the project work i’m involved with

value is a relative thing

in a lot of ways value is as nebulous and conceptually faith-based as other terms like respect, trust, belief and other similar energy-guided principles that guide our daily decisions and interactions as we make from the head, heart and gut

most people simplify the concept of value to some sort of financial equivalancy

value becomes a purely monetarily-evaluated thing

but this is a perversion of what value really means, because value in actuality is a far less static force in the world, and one not really as directly associated with money as its been made to feel and as it is promoted to be by our larger societal systems

its all a vast oversimplification

but from a design standpoint in general — its actually an unfortunate and unnecessarily cluttered perversion of the term itself

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i can feel that my value as a designer
changes from collaboration to collaboration

from full-time engagement to full-time engagement there is really no standard equivalency that a corporation needs to adhere to from a purely monetary, compensatory standpoint in the hiring process — its all comparative and competitive market ballparking that also involves basic negotiation and ultimately the individual decisions of each party involved — which is fine, this is a free market system we deal with on a daily basis, but don’t forget to defend your value as an employee or independent professional and to actually also stand for and stand up for the other definition variation for the term in its plural values

all that said

your value as built up over the years and as you and your colleagues and collaborators perceive you’ve accumulated through experience, expertise and the daily work you do creates a certain brand equity

in my case i own my own Design Equity

at this point in my career i just simply know what i’m doing — but what i do as a designer might be valued more or less { not just in the monetary sense of value } depending on the company i keep

if i perceive that the company i keep during my day gig doesn’t appreciate my value and the level of contribution i bring to the team and to the company, i start to get a little confused

as much as i typically want to continue with the company i keep — as much as i want to continue to innovate and collaborate with the team i’m working with by bringing the power of my design knowledge, processes and know-how to the table each and every day, if it feels like i’m being kept by the company in some way — maybe kept from leveraging my full potential talent — or kept from contributing the most i can to the business strategies, initiatives and needs of the organization

i guess i just never quite understand that particular dynamic within a corporate business setting

why would a company want to compensate you a substantial amount — after quite rigorously interviewing you and assessing what you can contribute to their business — to just keep you locked up at a desk like an collectable or something and ask you to contribute to the typical mediocrity they suddenly reveal as their real business objectives once you’ve crossed over into the company after the interview process to just be another one of their employees? 

i would automate the timepunch workforce, let go of the half aSses that keep the company { and the country, for that matter } at that well-established level of mediocrity and hire more of the go-getters and game-changers to actually maybe get some real shit done

doesn’t that make a whole lot more sense?

i think if you analyze it from even that pure economic monetary value perspective, which most companies supposedly do, it definitely makes for just better business practice

if i feel like my company is merely keeping me, that’s when i consider taking my Design Equity elsewheremy LinkedIn Profile reflects this mentality, which is a bit more than a mentality, its my personal business and career methodology and i actually recommend more people think about and conduct their careers and their lives following this more aggressive set of personal business policies that place more accountability and responsibility on the corporations that choose to engage with us

in Massachusetts we’re all considered employees at will — basically meaning at any point the company you work for can decide to let you go without any real reason whatsoever

but that decision actually goes both ways

its a ultimately bisexual decision — or at least its a two-way street

and you as the employee at will can also decide to let the company go, too

but there is a little bit of a stigma that comes with the terrain, of course, if you do choose to live by the ethical standards and values i allude to so far — and this stigma i speak of is very much not in as kind to the individual as an employee as it is to the companies that hire them

i assume its because the financial power
typically resides with the company

they decide on our relative worth and value or devalue us

although those that defend their value and fight for their real value set up and enforce a dynamic where we can ultimately at least influence and fend for what we know our real Design Equity and general workforce worth is in the world — there’s simply still more power in the hands of the corporations, for recruitment and for just about every other facet of our current capitalist, consumer-based socio-economic systemic setup

making corporations a bit more accountable when they don’t properly empower you is just another way to move our culture away from our econoRuled world to a more humanistically-beneficial, and maybe even a far more truly democratic new roadmap for the future world 

Design is one of many very powerful ways to better participate at the larger level and maybe even help change our world for the better

and i choose to use my own Design Equity to actively work toward making the world a better place for actual peoplenot to simply promote new technologies to just drive better profit margins on somebody’s fucking Excel spreadsheet — and definitely not to contribute toward the mere survival of a legal entity that doesn’t in actuality even exist in the world as anything real and that doesn’t ultimately care in any way for actual people, including: their employees; their partners; their clients; and the people of the world

i Design to imagine and help create a better world

i leverage my Design Equity for people over corporations

i am not against corporations or anti-American, though — i just think corporations need to be more accountable for their actions and behavior and for what they promote — and corporations need to be babysat a bit more through actual government-driven policies and services that put The People at the core of what this nation and the world is all about

i hope you weren’t previously confused by who i am or what i stand for, but if so — i hope this blogPost clears things up for you

let me know if you have any questions, aight?

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being a transitional

laEvolucion

one of the fun parts about being human is that we are always evolving

like it or not — the only thing we can truly count on actually staying the same is the fact that things always change — and we are a species that is very much under the influence of things — so, following that logic, to some degree, as our things change, we change, almost purely as a means to adapt to our things

this concept, in many ways, is in direct conflict with my very purpose as a human-centered designer — my job and daily activities are focused solely on driving and guiding the design process, mostly aimed at creating technology-based experiences, to hopefully result in interactive and dynamic software and interfaces that: intuitively make sense to users { or people as i prefer to call them }; that are usable and valuable and user-friendly { or ‘easy to use’ and understand with a minimal learning effort }; and that largely serve the actual human goals and business goals of the overall technohumanic experiences being delivered

we now live in a world population increasingly geared toward the digital natives

 

the other day my son Maceo was taking a bath and, with Maceo being extremely social and fun-loving but also a bit co-dependent, he invited me to come in to the bathroom to talk with him while he relaxed and washed { before settling in to read and eventually fall asleep in his bed on this typical school night }

Maceo is 10 years old

he’s definitely a digital native, meaning, he’s grown up in The Digital Age and for the most part has never been in a world without computing machines, as we used to call them — he understands computers and our mobile devices in a much different way than my wife or i do because he’s grown up with them as a simple and accepted set of objects within his natural living environment — and he’s grown up in an era when, for the most part, the information-based, interactive experiences delivered via the medium of our digital technologies already have a lot of the kinks worked out of ’em — due to Steve Jobs and the iUniverse he’s created through his prosumerization of our computers and devices, through Jobs’ efforts to make these relationships we have with our modernday technologies ‘just work,’ Maceo’s never really had to deal with the first 3 or 4 generations of the rather krudgy software and digital experiences we previously had with our devices in the first few decades on the new digital island

needless to say, he probably doesn’t have the same amount of frustration and associated psychological baggage that i have with these technologies that were invented to somehow serve humanity but also somehow typically don’t ‘just work’ the way we were promised they would in our non-native explorations of the digital island

with Maceo sprawled out, his body submerged under under the warm water of his bath, we discussed his daytime learning activities out at Spofford Pond School in Boxford — i asked him if today’s special { as they call all non-core classes at his school } was gym and he said, ‘No, today was Art’ — i asked him what special he’d have in school tomorrow and he said, Media’

‘Media? What’s Media?’ I asked him — i kind of knew what the term implied, of course, but wanted to know what the school system teaches him about media

i wanted to know what media now means
to a third grade student living in our modern Digital Age

he started laughing and said, ‘they teach us things that we all already know, like how to save a document,‘ and then he really started laughing pretty hard, which of course made me laugh

i could tell the whole idea of teaching media to the new breed of our digital natives seemed totally preposterous to him, almost like they were trying to teach him how to breathe or something so innately embedded in our humanness to feel like futile effort or even farce

we were laughing for quite some time

he went on, ‘its like, go to file and then move the mouse down and click on ‘Save”

he was like a little bathing stand-up comedian, delivering the ultimate punchline to the most hilarious joke i’ve heard in years, and i was both his receptive, laughing audience and an instant co-writer to these new jokes that almost seem to write themselves now

‘what are they gonna teach you next week, Maceo? how to log off of the computer?’ i quipped back — we were both laughing even harder than ever now, he returned the volley with, ‘i know, its like, here’s how we right-click on a mouse’ — he was kind of saying the entire little phrase with an intentionally slow delivery, mocking how remedial and silly this class must feel to him and his fellow student colleagues sitting through each special weekly session of Media at Spofford Pond

i haven’t laughed that hard in about half a year

as a digital native, Maceo just gets it

and, if the technology does live up to its original promise — this high-level promise from Steve Jobs and other pre-Apple visionaries that promised these technologies will ‘just work’ and that they’ll actually be helpful, useful and valuable for us all to use — if the experience isn’t living up to our expectations, well, quite frankly, Maceo’s ready to dive in under the hood and actually make the technology do what he needs it to do for him

i, on the other hand, get immediately hung up on my overall, continual disappointment with the promises that are never quite met from my standpoint as both a user of these technologies and a designer that’s constantly trying to devise ways to improve the human experience of our digital technologies

and i get frustrated rather easily, i might add

i actually want the technology to ‘just work’ the way we were promised it would

but it doesn’t

9 times out of 10, from my own personal lifelong experiences with computers, devices and technologies, these experiences fall extremely short of the expectation

maybe i’m more aware of these discrepancies between the promise and what we really experience from our technologies right now because i remember the promise, whereas Maceo doesn’t have the same context at all — and, unlike a lot of people that will spend a lot of time jerry-rigging these experiences like some sort of delusional Digital MacGyvers that just want so desperately for the technologies to be so cool as to ‘just work’ that they paperclip and chewing gum back together the actual, shitty and broken experience design in an attempt to sort of pretend perfection or merely band-aid a nearly-usable hackensteined-up app or something — unlike those folks that are drinking the digital koolaid with wireless ice, play-acting like everythingz all too cool for school an’ all, i like to tell it like it is and assess these experiences at some sort of reasonably realistic and honest scale

macgyver

 

if we can’t evaluate the current-day experiences we have with our technologies with at least a reasonable sense of honesty then we’ll never be able to: level set where we are; identify critical areas for potential improvement; and then iteratively work toward any real sense of improving our overall human experience

now, unlike my son Maceo, who is considered a digital native, i am what’s called a digital immigrant — i don’t particularly like this terminology, but this is what anyone can Google up in a few seconds as a definition of who i am and what it means to be in my demographic in relation to the introduction to our interactive technologies and my particular abilities and views about the technologies and experiences we all use and deal with on a daily basis

i think by including the term digital in the semantics, definition and language so nicely weaved around these digital demographics, we almost immediately begin to think of absolutely everything as needing to be associated with the term digital — which in itself is quite interesting, this power of language to sell a movement

but i would like to think of myself in an entirely different way and perhaps affiliate my personal demographic less around the technologies and more around the actual times we’re talking about — or, better yet, it might even be nice to entirely decouple the term for my demographic from both the technologies and the times

let’s agree on at least one thing up front, though

we live in The Age of Information

we might also consider this to be The Digital Age, too, but for the most part the way that most of humanity views the entire world today is through an almost frighteningly pure informational lens

back to self-identification, though

so, instead of considering myself to be a digital immigrant, i would prefer to be called a transitional person, or just a transtitional

the term hints just a little bit toward our eventual post-humanity, which, like it or not, we’re already embarking on the journey to — i hope that its not an entirely inevitable place we’re heading to, but its pretty much nearly guaranteed just through the economics quite purposely confounded with our innovations through information and inventions — we’ll most likely just keep driving ourselves deeper and deeper into the human-machine-integration that futurists like Ray Kurzweil foretold decades ago in books like The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology

i guess, then, i consider myself as transitioning from a mediated yet mostly analog time in the world we live in to one that is heavily dominated by: digital experiences; computing machines and devices; and datasets of information

where there is no transition necessary for Maceo — he was born with computers and smartphones in the household — i’ve needed to learn entirely new ways of doing just about everything i do in life just to fit in, and to perform and survive within our increasingly more and more digitalized culture

i think of the world we live in now
as our technohumanic ecoSystem

we live among the machines

and the machines outnumber us at this point, too, if you think about it

and, i guess one could even say even the culture we live in itself is still mostly transitional by its very nature, too — its not necessarily just a demographic set, but its also a way to categorize life in the modern age as we move to more and more digitally-mediated interactions and experiences

as much as the current trend shows us as a humanity moving closer and closer to merging with machines to evolve to a supposedly higher place, i would like to think the kind of design story we should be more focused on should center a lot more on developing a better sense of human and environmental awareness that really is totally unrelated to our technological inventions altogether

but how do we design for something like greater awareness?

this isn’t one of those ‘there’s an app for that’ results we’re looking for — there’s no real profitable product or service that i’m aiming for as a human experience designer, actually, which probably leaves me in a bit of a bind, right? i personally believe that we can invent a lot of amazing and innovative technologies that will help us survive or make our lives seem somewhat more comfortable or enjoyable, but at the end of the day i would like to do more than merely survive

i would like to see humanity start to grow again

and i don’t mean growing as in growing a user-base or expanding a knowledge set or some other similar information-based endeavor we get distracted by along the real path of where our human evolution should be headed — in this case, its not about the information

we need to start feeling the vibe of the universe again — we need to stop dissecting everything so much and mapping it all to some fictional, self-serving, data-related set of attributes that we as people invent to make sense of our chaotic universe to only feel somewhat in control of our little destinies — we need to start focusing in on our emotionality, our spirituality and our purpose

someone or something else designed these things for us, however, and we can only discover, shape and guide these interesting topic touch points in the story of our lives

we cannot truly control them

i don’t want to leave this planet to the next generation with my contributions merely being the design and delivery of a bunch of apps and experiences — i want to leave the future people of tomorrow with a sense that we helped change the direction of our destiny toward something more meaningful and real, and something far more valuable than the code for an information-based set of experiences, but maybe instead, the code for how to better behave and interact with each other in the world in which we live in together as we all move forward toward a more holistic, harmonious and humanistic civilization

more things i am grateful for this year

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i think i can finally return to laughter now — to a bit of a lighter life now that i’ve made it through another rough spot in life

i am a lucky man in SO many ways, and i am truly grateful this Thanksgiving { and on a daily basis beyond official holidays and occasions } for all of it, for both the badness and the goodness i’ve experienced throughout my lifetime

i’ve been out of work now for 2 months — even while employed at my previous workplace, as much as any of us are totally grateful to even have a job in this economy, the environment was not exactly a kind one and i was not set up for success within an antiquated, low-vision establishment — needless to say, i was frustrated and the energies i had to deal with were not helpful in guiding me the right way, toward a more successful way of living and working within a very cliquey and xenophobic, rookie team

a burden was lifted a little when we decided that ‘it wasn’t a good fit’ and i moved on — i was happy to move on, too — i don’t believe in wasting my time or a company’s time just sucking a paycheck from an organization that doesn’t appreciate my talents and what i can do for their business like some sort of societal leech — i’m not going to ‘lay low’ and keep it all inside just to supposedly be a good employee, and if that’s what an organization wants out of their employees, then its definitely not a good fit for me — it just doesn’t seem productive, and the level of contribution an individual contributor is allowed to produce suffers both qualitatively and quantitatively, and not by the fault of that particular employee

anyhow — i just landed a new role at a fantastic company with people that i’ve worked with in the past that truly appreciate both my soft skills and the expertise and capabilities i bring to the table — i was empowered to lead and contribute at a MUCH higher level at the organization i’m joining and i know that my new aim to truly live up to the words i set out to own as a story-based force to guide my behavior and my participation and personality throughout my career moving forward

i have a deeper understanding of myself recently due to rigorous self-reflection and personal analysis, which will completely help me with everything i do both career-wise and otherwise along my life’s journey as well

i’m a better man now

and i am thankful for this downtime opportunity to do this difficult work and really dig into myself and learn and face big mysterious internal and external energies that have held me back or stifled me in the past

i’ve basically rediscovered pieces of myself

i’m re-assembling myself little by little, day by day by day

i feel lighter — not just in a physical weight kinda way, but also spiritually, emotionally, mentally

i enjoy my family more and more, and i enjoy even the dysfunctional dynamics that are sometimes quite naturally embedded in who we all are as human beings in the world

we live in a complicated place

we live in a broken world

and i’m even thankful for the opportunities and challenges this broken world offers up to me as a designer, as a father, as a husband, and ultimately as a citizen of the world

but i am most thankful for my family at this time of year — we all usually are — my family and my friends and my ability to almost find and rescue myself — to rediscover the person i am, who i was, and who i want to be

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some thoughts about leadership in a democracy

obama

we’ve been trained well, haven’t we?

i don’t know how many countless times i’m out at some family thang or a company function or just in some random conversation with folks, but we’re all these sort of armchair citizens, you gotta admit

and for the most part, no matter who’s in office, we unfairly get to simply sit at home behind the big blue screen in the living room and point at Congress or The President or The Government and blame all of the chaos and uncontrollable issues of our nation and the world on them

but this is a democracy, is it not?

some would argue the United States government is no longer a democracy

a loose definition for democracy would be a government by the people for the people of that democratic nation — so, my estimate is that we’re no longer a democracy, unfortunately

but who’s fault is that really?

we can’t point fingers there — at least, not unless we’re looking directly at ourselves and looking in a mirror

if we’re no longer a democracy,
what are we now in The United States?

we’re basically some sort of government led by pure economics — financial Darwinism — mostly pushed and pulled by numbers in somebody’s Microsoft Excel spreadsheet

corporations run their numbers that way — if its not profitable for the business then we need to cut it away and figure out a cheaper, more efficient and semi-legal way around whatever challenges are making this particular quarter unprofitable

after all, we don’t want to look bad in the eyes of The Board and our investors, right?

and then, corporations also ultimately push and pull our government around as well, mostly through lobbyists and their closer relationships to their affiliated counterparts on the other side of the fence in whichever house of government they might currently reside

its all about The Benjamins

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our founding fathers would be so proud of us and what we’ve become, although at this point i’m not so sure they were exactly doing all that much better with their own dichotomous talk about freedom and justice for the landowners — er, ehm — i mean for ALL, right?

anyhow

so, i think what the world needs now isn’t love, love, love, but something more in-line with some better systems

we need to redesign the system entirely

i’m talking system overhaul

we can no longer count on or even begin to place blame on our fearless leaders, because unfortunately, in the way our current Capitalist Consumer-Based Corporate-Led Purely Economic government rule works — or doesn’t work — is much-like the very catastrophic and dystopian results we read about in the amazing fictional speculation of Golding’s Lord of The Flies

and we all know how that turned out, right? remember? 

not so good

lordFlies

and i don’t know about you, but i personally want the world to get better

i see what we’re going through as a supposed civilization as something akin to world drug addiction or global alcoholism

we’ve been set up with:

  • a junky dependence on constant consumer purchases to try and attain some level of momentary happiness
  • utterly preposterous dependence on gas and oil and other natural resources that are vastly diminishing
  • a sedentary and compliant lifestyle where we’re encouraged to remain edutained, quiet and obedient — be a good follower and you’re a valuable American citizen
  • minimum life and survival training disguised as our government-run and tax-funded education systems that merely, for the most part, provide a quasi-babysitting service to keep the kids busy while you and i drive back and forth to work { spending money on gas and auto repairs to support the automotive and oil industries } to do invaluable, meaningless busywork that keeps us all sufficiently distracted from thinking about or acting upon the real, important issues
  • a strangely powerful economic system that thrives when we’re at our most destructive but suffers in a big, big way when we no longer got our war on

so thanks to the set up and a special thanks to people that just want to live a comfortable, happy life without being bothered by the mad illusion we’re all living, our world is riddled with rather immense challenges — and our nations start to represent some sense of archetypal versions of Ralph, Piggy, Sam, Eric and the other characters we recall from Lord of The Flies

we’re left on an island and its survival of the fittest for the most part, with no real true guidance, less and less regulations and rules, mostly providing a valuable set of services that ticket you, pull you over, check the shit in your trunk while some real criminal activity that is far more dangerous might be happening in just the town over

so how do we change all this?

i want a happy ending { not that kind silly }

i need a different way — one that has some sense of hope through collaborative, active participation for humanity

i don’t want our children and our childrens’ children to grow up and look back and read the stories about: who we were; how we wasted the time and energies and resources of this beautiful planet; how we lived completely irresponsibly as a supposed civilization; and how we left the world in an increasingly more desperate and dangerous place for the generations to follow us

that’s not the legacy i want us to leave behind

and i personally am going to do everything in my humble power to contribute in a positive and productive way to change the dysfunctions of our current systems while also imagining and facilitating the creation of new ways to guide the people of the world to a better tomorrow

i have no idea how i can do this

i guess i’ve never tried to do this before

but i can definitely say i’ve never been this hyper-aware of the scary realities of the world in which we live in and the general trends, forces and energies that got us to the state we’re currently experiencing in the world

we need to re-design all of this

there is SO much work to do

its at once overwhelming and exciting and impossible and hopeful and challenging and happy

i don’t even know where to begin

i guess we all need to begin with ourselves — and i’ve been working on myself and my own dysfunctions — i’ve been tackling my own misused and poorly guided internal energies to try and harness them, turn them around and use them for something good — and its difficult work, but its work that is SO worthwhile and important

instead of pointing a finger at someone else today and externalizing some major world issues or the personal issues you’re facing on a daily basis, i want you to take an honest look at yourself

do not accept the blame for the state of the world, but realize its people like you that are going to need to take some reasonable action to help turn it all around for the betterment of our society

don’t think of it as a burden

its heavy stuff, for sure

but think of it as more of a personal mission

we’ll meet more people like us along the way, people that want to make the world a better place, people really trying to make a difference by listening and learning and attempting to actually do something positive

stop listening to people that just gripe about everything — and stop listening to people that have no individual thought of their own anymore but just pontificate on the part of ignorant and self-righteous, unimportant radio personalities that can barely wipe their own asses forget about give us an accurate depiction of the world or some sense of how we can productively start to solve these tremendous and serious issues we’re facing as a people and a planet

and let’s think of the work we do
to better the world
as a gift

as a beautiful act of giving a gift to the peoples of tomorrow

leafRain

introducing, the iCone app for Android

woah, cool! — just in time for the holiday season — can’t wait to download the latest iCone app on cyberMonday — i personally love that its both native and responsive — its the perfect thang, ain’t no wang ;]

faux_pineCone

alone together

sherry-turkle-phd

Sherry Turkle has been researching and studying: technology; our relationships with technology; and our relationships with each other through technology — as an expert singularly focused on the fascinating psychology of technology, she’s been on the case for decades now — along the way she’s published her findings in the books:

needless to say, i’m one of her biggest fans

without her critical, observation-based body of psychological research at MIT in the psychology of Sciences, Technology and our Devices i do not think we’d have such a cohesive and thoughtful collective of intellectual material that really reports from the front-lines of these matters with such an objective sense of discovering the nuanced facts of the matter

i recently had the pleasure of coming out to the Boston Athenaeum to a promotional lecture for her most recent book Alone Together — and more than the talk itself, more than the questions and answers, i found the micro-conversation i had with Turkle to be the most intriguing part of the event

i eagerly waited in line with my friend’s book in hand for the author to sign — i wasn’t sure if i had the courage to bring it up, but i had an important question based upon some of the feelings and thoughts i personally experienced in the middle of reading Alone Together just months prior to this event — this seemed to be my only chance to find out if the author herself might have the same notions regarding the research she conducts as i was having regarding rather dark discoveries about the current state of humanity and our relationships with and through technologies

i finally got to the front of the line in this rather illustrious neo-classical, intellectual and academic library setting

Turkle asked who to make the signature out to and started to quickly ink in her John Hancock on the title page of the open book — and while she scribbled away the instant sentimentality of this anonymously scribed autograph, i started to ask my question — i described the personal horror i felt midway through the reading of Alone Together, these frightening discoveries and extremely deep philosophical questions that arose in me due to the very material of her critical research in the book that she wrote and was now in the middle of signing

here’s the gist of what i asked { in summary, as best as i can recall it at this point }:

i wanted to ask you about some thoughts that came to my mind in reading about sociable robotics — i found it fascinating, the kind of deep and real emotional relationships you described developing between people and machines — there was a section of the book, you visited these isolated, lonely elderly people in their retirement and care facilities and, after deciding that it might be difficult, if not impossible, for the elderly to enjoy the companionship and company of a real pet, such as a dog or a cat or some other small animal, you introduced the simulation of a pet into their living environment, this robotic seal

i think you reported that after introducing the seal to the elderly person and leaving it with them in their home, that it only took about a week for them to develop a real relationship with their new pet — although shy at first when talking with you in the company of the robotic seal, within the course of an hour you observed affectionate behavior and genuine interaction between the new owner and the seal

the owner conversed with the seal in the same way one might with a real pet and all of the ways in which they interacted with the robotic seal indicated that this simulation of being accompanied almost seemed good enough to introduce love, companionship and a reduced sense of loneliness with these elderly people living out the end of their lives

this, of course, brought up a ton of questions — some ethical, some psychological and some philosophical

the main question that came up for me might have something to do with the psychological nature of attachment, i’m not sure

but basically, i wondered — if it seems that easy for someone to form a genuine, human, loving relationship with a robotic seal, what does that say about our real relationships to each other as human beings? do we simply project and imagine love onto each other? are we, as the title of your book suggests { if only in very Freudian Slipped-like ways }, truly Alone Together?

Turkle finished signing the book and looked up at me, almost as if she were disgusted by my presence now, and replied:

No, no, no — that’s not what the book is about at all

and the conversation was over — she might as well have said, ‘NEXT!’ at that point because the book in front of her closed, she handed it back and we were simply done with these dark discoveries and intriguing philosophical questions i felt might at least be implied by Turkle’s oeuvre of critical research, perhaps even the more important and deeper meaning behind the surface of the kind of psychological self-analysis we’re all conducting now through the things we use to think with that are now the things we also feel with

i just put in an order for one of those robotic seals, should be coming in the mail any day now

i might just have a more empathic conversation with it than i did with Sherry Turkle

i heard it only takes less than a week to really get properly bonded with my new pet

seal

from the spiritual to The Machine Age and back again

seance

my previous post here made a comment on an interesting quotation from the Bauhaus artist and philosopher László Moholy-Nagy about a temporal and experiential transition within our history of humanity from a previous era of transcendental spiritualism to a Machine Era

once again, a detail from this quote from Moholy-Nagy says:

To be a user of machines is to be of the spirit of this century.

… which, to me, doesn’t feel much-like a human spirit at all

as far as i know from reading up on him, Moholy-Nagy joined the Bauhaus as an practicing artist and educator promoting new practices working toward a more intense integration between what we consider traditional Art and the fields of Science, Industry and Technology { which frankly seems to me to be a return to the originally more unified forces between the Arts and Sciences one might recall from other periods in Art History like The Italian Renaissance, for instance — nothing new, really — a rebirth or return to a more unified conceptual feeling toward all of The Creative and Expressive Arts }

here’s more about the artist’s involvement with The Bauhaus according to Wikipedia:

In 1923, Moholy-Nagy replaced Johannes Itten as the instructor of the foundation course at the Bauhaus. This effectively marked the end of the school’s expressionistic leanings and moved it closer towards its original aims as a school of design and industrial integration.

so, as much as we could interpret the full Moholy-Nagy quote from my previous blogPost as perhaps being interestingly facetious in some way, perhaps knocking this transition from the previous era of a more directly-human transcendental spiritualism to a new era whereby humankind must reach the spiritual by becoming a user of machines — a Freudian Slip, perhaps? — i think Moholy-Nagy, instead, meant to state something more positive about this transition into the spirit of this century as mediated through our machine inventions

but we no longer live in The Age of Machines

we’ve transcended the previous epochal trends once again

we’ve moved from a time-trend of inventing and manufacturing the tools to self-ascend us into our new levels of spiritual progress to what we all deal with on a daily basis

welcome to The Information Age

we now worship data

if moving from a transcendental spiritualism to a new century of the spiritual machines distanced us from a more direct sense of the human spirit — the new trend to put both the economic value and previously-humanistic spiritual emphasis on the very meta-material of information pulsing and moving through our machines, our inventions, our devices as a second level of removal from the more mystical and original sense of our spirit reduces everything down to the over-simplified perspective that the entire natural-born universe can be entirely predicted through quantifiably measurable and humanly-understandable means

which, of course, we know is complete horseshit

despite our obsessive-compulsive and rather futile attempts to, quite literally, scientifically dissect and analyze the mystery and wonder of our universe to data-death — we, as a holistic, collective human organism — with all of our slowly-evolving new scientific powers to comprehend everything we encounter in life through logic, reason and mathematics — still very much face the ultimate crazy, chaotic entropy and relative unreason of a universe that is bigger and better than all of our meager endeavors to even think we can control our mutual destiny

we may be able to shape the destiny of humanity

but we should know by now that our efforts to completely comprehend and literally control our destiny as people on a planet in our universe is quite simply beyond the realistic control of mere mortal men and women

and i think we now need to think of better ways to work with the universe instead of continually pushing for further and further removal from the spiritual core of the universe in which we all live and can never, ever control or escape

we can only influence our destiny in some way

and the universe in its subtle and beautiful ways seems to be asking us as unwilling participants in our natural-born environment to behave a little nicer and maybe follow some of the rules of the universe without so much resistance to who we really are as participants in The Bigger Picture of everything

more about machines and data and spiritualismafter these messages … 

motherMary

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The reality of our century is technology: the invention, construction and maintenance of machines. To be a user of machines is to be of the spirit of this century. Machines have replaced the transcendental spiritualism of past eras.

— László Moholy-Nagy

 

an interesting quote from László Moholoy-Nagy — the Hungarian painter and photographer as well as a Bauhaus artist and educator that advocated the integration of technology and industry into the arts

of course in the quote above Moholy-Nagy speaks of The ‘Modern’ Twentieth Century, an era that heavily focused on celebrating { and counting on } our new technological inventions as the new obsessive means and universal answer to any challenges we might be facing in the natural { and transitioning } world as human beings

if, as Moholy-Nagy states in the quote, ‘Machines have replaced the transcendental spiritualism of past eras’ — then what are we currently experiencing as the current replaced psychoSocial dynamics of our day in this grand Age of Information?

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some things i am thankful for this year

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a little corny, perhaps, i know — but i just want to take a few moments here on the old WerdpreSs blog to pay respect for some of the things i am truly thankful for

i know its readily apparent lately that i have a bit of angry energy lately — and that kind of energy, as unfortunate and typically unappreciated as it might be to our society, is hopefully, at the end of the day, NOT what i am all about as a person — its at least not the kind of energy i want to be all about, and so here i am in this blogPost making a bigtiMe attempt to show you the softer side of Sears at this time of the year when we all get together with the ones we love { family, old friends, new friends and sometimes even strangers } to traditionally give thanks for another bountiful harvest season in the Autumntime as we move into another Winter Season of earthen death and eventual rebirth with the advent of the new year in the Spring

anyhow

for those of you that don’t know the latest and greatest goings on in my life, i’ve had what one might call another interesting year 

never a dull moment with me, that’s for sure

but needless to say, i find myself once again in a time of transition

i am between jobs after my departure from Schneider Electric in midSeptember — not something i planned out entirely, but after a rough patch that followed several months of mutual discomfort, the organization deemed that my employment with the dev team wasn’t a good fit, and frankly i can’t say i disagree — i truly wanted to stay for a lot longer period of time but didn’t have the kind of support and guidance from management one would need to successfully introduce and implement a reasonably-vigorous user-centered design methodology to Schneider’s development team and processes, and i personally didn’t have the patience to withstand the strange stunted dysfunctional dynamics embedded in the slow-motion ennui of this kind of cardpunching manufacturing Industrial Era leftover work environment

getting bitter there

apologies

but — despite the unintended outcome and the sour aftertaste, i really learned a lot from the experience and the kind of mismatch i encountered between me and Schneider Electric, and that’s pretty important

some BIG lessons learned

and that’s important, this kind of learning from mistakes — but unfortunately this experience of human failure and learning gets a bum wrap in our Success-Driven Type A Society — i’m not gonna worry about it too, too much though — i like to put it all out there and even learn from that sort of naïveté

so i definitely have a lot to be thankful for my experiences this year with both Mobiquity and Schneider Electric — and i say this without the bitterness of the previous paragraphs because despite our philosophical and ethical differences and approaches to the work and business we conducted together, i really truly learned a lot this year and feel like a much better person because of it

strangely enough, too — i think i’m on the right track

this is MY path and i’m proud of it

quite frankly, i NEED to stand up for myself and what i believe in and i actually think that its not only the patriotic thing to do for the betterment of our country, but i also believe its the only way we’re going to ever make a difference in the world we all live in

we need to believe in ourselves — and we need to believe in something — and then we need to stand by our beliefs, sometimes at the risk of a stable sense of employment — and this year i learned all of that about myself — that standing for something like a strong work ethic and a decent pace and sense of urgency should not conflict with the mission of corporations and the kind of work we do on a daily basis — and i’ve learned that, as a designer, trying to iteratively optimize and smooth the processes of an organization is part of the gig and the challenge of what we do if we’re doing it right — removing yourself from the daily politics of the situation is quite literally NOT participating in the active endeavoring to be your best and do the best work you can possibly do for your company, for your country and the world

sounds heavy-handed, i know

but i’m just letting you know what i learned and what i am truly thankful for

and i am thankful for these experiences i had at Mobiquity and Schneider Electric as some form of human-centered experience architect for each firm because they helped me rediscover in a far deeper way who i really am and what i stand for — and they’ve definitely reinforced for me that the idea of leveraging story { i call my latest thinking around leveraging a story-driven ux methodology storyFirst } as the core, critical driver to a human-centered, collaborative design process actually work in an extremely powerful and successful way

 

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but before all of this employment or lack of employment nonsense, though — and as the most important area of life i am most thankful for — are the people in my life, and most of all for the amazing family i have in my life at this point in life — i couldn’t have even gotten through all that experience i just described above without the support, love and daily life with my wife, my children and my grandchildren

my family gives me the inspiration i need to move on

my family, of course, reaches out beyond the immediate family i just described — and everyone in my family is an important component to shaping who i am today and also helping me survive and learn and grow and live — i am thankful for and love each and every one of you and know that i would be a lot more lost in the woods without you { or worse yet, in the streets i bet }

you are my inspiration

i also have an eclectic and very talented and beautiful set of friends in the world, and you are all veryMuch like an extended part of my family — you all inspire me and i appreciate: your encouragement; your guidance; your presence; your existence; and everything you do

 

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i also am very thankful for the week we are about to experience — the people i will undoubtedly see and celebrate our thankfulness with over a meal and children playing and conversations

i am thankful for the opportunities i have ahead of me and this time of re-invention and rebirth

i’ve had about 2 months now to seriously dig into myself and reflect and to re-discover what is truly important to me — the work i’m doing is very active work, work i am also guiding through a core of assessing and rewriting my own story, my life’s story — and its difficult work

i am definitely still in the forest, too

but its a glorious day

and the trees are beautiful

the sky is blue

and even the clouds are beautiful and peaceful and inspiring

and i am thankful for once again being able to see how beautiful life is and can be

but most of all

i am thankful for BitCoins®

i am thankful for BitCoins® and music, laughter and my strange sense of humor

and boy oh boy do i have a strange sense of humor, right?

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the good, the bad and the bitcoin®

Bitcoin

i forget when i first heard about this concept of a digital ‘cryptoCurrency’ called BitCoin — but i think the very fact that a made-up, non-government sanctioned and digital form of money can just suddenly appear out of thin air like this — its a telling invention, in fact, and definitely a sign of the times we live in from a multitude of perspectives i mean — we all know the World Economy is broken, and that its been broken for quite some time now — we pretend on a daily basis to live in a successful, or at least semi-successful but somewhat hurting free market enterprise as American citizens, businessmen and salesfolks, and that our Quasi-Democratic, Capitalistic Consumeristic manner of filtering our views and behaviors in the international economic community in some way somehow lead the way

but my big question right now is this: where are these pre-established
and assumedly fair and successful systems really leading us,
The People of the World?

where are we really headed under our supposed Free Market Enterprise Economies?

there are probably numerous ways we can project the trends behind where we might be headed, but being a creative-like dude in general i tend to wanna take the qualitative approach to this examination — especially since the topic we’re discussing is more about our general quality of life due to these dysfunctional, outdated economic systems we’re all dealing with like the dead donkey of a burden it is on the majority of the world’s population so, to start off, in Jarod Lanier’s latest book Who Owns the Future? Lanier talks about Siren Servers for most of the beginning of his look into how The Information Age has changed economics and general monetary survival opportunities for the average person — for those of you not familiar with Lanier, he’s mostly known for coining { no pun intended } the term Virtual Reality and as far as i recall from both this book and his preceding You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto, he’s also from that Silicon Valley area of all things digital and wonderfully prosperous in the world and he’s someone from the early dawn of our wonderful interwebs and all things from the early history of our computing machines and the crazy wild world of the digitalia we all swim in like social media fish or something

interestingly enough, Jarod Lanier is also a musician

so one area that Lanier shows passionate interest for, of course, is the de-evolution of what was once called The Music Recording Industry

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before the iPod and iTunes and iMusic in general, rumor has it that musicians would land recording contracts and make money off of studio-produced versions of their original song material — there’s no discussion in Who Owns the Future? of the mixtape or just general bootleg and piracy issue that might’ve existed prior to MP3s, Napster or other means of downloading unpaid-for ditties but basically, we know the big Music Industry story from the 7000 foot view of things and it goes something like this: you used to buy records, cassettes, CDs and other physical products to be able to listen to the pre-recorded music you love in life back at home, in the car, on your Sony Walkman, or wherever you had some sort of music player device to tune in to the sounds — and then the money paid to Tower Records, Newbury Comics, Virgin, Nuggets or other Record Stores would somehow pay all the people some reward in return — the moneymakers included folks and entities like: the record companies; the producers; the sound engineers; PR companies; band and music act promoters; the actual songwriters { if the musicians did not compose the recorded music themselves }; and sometimes even the members of the band or music act

people got paid for a product

and that product was a physical object with copywritten sound information pressed into the vinyl, tape, plastic and other actual materiality of that product

as the actual materiality of that product evolved more and more to the virtual-digital realm of files that could be downloaded, stored and played on a computing machine, the monetary worth of that product dropped all the way down to zilch … at least for those netizens in the world that choose to Limewire their collection for no money or for next to nothing — right now, as i type this blogPost, i’m listening to a ‘Radio’ station on Spotify that i started called Funky — i don’t know where the money part comes in at all with Spotify, Pandora or other app-driven or browser-based services like these, but i pay nothing to listen to this music — and i totally believe in purchasing CDs from artists and really never illegally download music from Torrent sites or any of the myriad other means of pirating the creative, expressive art of really talented musicians — but right now there’s no CD or physical product involved in listening to My Feet Keep Dancing by Chic { well, besides my MacBook Pro and my lousy Verizon FiOS home connectivity — these are the objects and services i pay for ultimately to keep the post-Jobs Apple economy and the invisible monopoly-like FiOSness of life alive and well } for the most part now, musicians do not get paid for their recorded music — or they’re paid rather nominally for that part of the moneyStream they’re engaged in — live gigs, for those that get paid to play live, seems to be the biggest income revenue for the big acts — independent musicians might need to work a regular 9 to 5 gig and then record and play music because its in their blood and they love and just need to musically express themselves — there are tons of visual artists, too, that get by this way and i see nothing wrong or debilitating in not counting on being discovered by an industry that probably never even appreciated the true art of the acts they signed, promoted, marketed and paid their own salaries with { sound vaguely familiar by the way? hmmMMmMmm } anyhow, people still sometimes pay for music, even MP3s and digital recordings from sites like Bandcamp and CDBaby, but there’s no guarantee and it seems like most of the undiscovered or lesser-known acts out there need to just fucking figure out the mix of shit they need to do to get by just like the rest of us in Who Owns The Future Lanier starts to build the case that our economies are cool, but could and should be updated to support a sort of generalized royalty revenue model based on all sorts of information-based output people are involved with — sounds cool to some degree, but what i don’t get so far { and yes, i’m not completely done with the book yet } is where the actual money is going to come from — if everyone is making a fraction of a fraction of a penny everytime they just Like something on Facebook or whenever they contribute some sort of digital information of value to the webz and somehow, through 2-way linking originally envisioned by Ted Nelson for the pre-Internet conceptualization of the information superhighway that he developed called Xanadu, somehow that mutual link would put some jing in your account, who even determines the relative value of these data-products of the general public? isn’t this even the very reason people might consider paying for an eBook? there’s structure behind the information, there’s thought and editing and there’s an actual product involved, as virtual as it may actually be the nature of its very eNess after reading about two thirds of Who Owns The Future and anticipating this sort of whacked subscriptiony set of virtual economic systems Lanier is implying — i have to say its sounds a bit far-fetched and actually just a little bit uninformed as far as the business and laws around creative expression or any design-based work goes — who would legally defend each and every netizens’ data-royalty revenues when somehow the new version of piracy continues in its re-invented form? surely not the government, right? and i personally don’t want to see a world where there’s a ratio of one-to-one between lawyer and the lawed peoples of the world, we already have a nightmare set of systems set up around justice and fairness and judgment, we don’t need more bad crooks … er, i mean, cooks … to spoil the legality stew that’s been simmering on the table for far too long but that’s another case for huge redesign consideration to be covered by another visionary blogger on a different website that nobody will read or pay attention to

i think Lanier is ignoring the fact that
the economy itself is extremely broken

our current world economies can barely keep food on the table for people today, i don’t see how a bandaid subSystem we invent to attach to the current planeCrash of an economy could possibly get the world to fly again — not sure what you’re smoking, but it won’t work — sorry — its just not cutting it in fact, if you pick up and read a bit of Critical Path by the futurist R. Buckminster Fuller — there’s a lot more background information and research revealed to explain the United States and World economies and why we’ve arrived where we are today — Fuller explains in a rather decent amount of detail the way that the income tax came into being early on in The Twentieth Century here in the US due to the need for the government’s need to pay down its own debt as accumulated by wartime contracts to produce the supplies and necessities for our involvement in World War I — our transition from a previously agrarian economic culture to a forerunner of The Industrial Revolution through purposeful economic emphasis to factory work, manufacturing and the like moved the large population of our farmers off and away from the actual lands and properties they were politically and financially persuaded to leave behind for these exciting, new opportunities in the new technological advances of the day — on top of that, in a weirdly parallel space-time continuum sort of dynamic situation, banks that bought up the farms and properties now falling into default eventually needed government bail-out due to a real estate market to resell the farmlands back to a workforce that no longer felt passion or ties to an lifestyle and industry that had literally been devalued by the larger forces pulling the strings into the future

but our government and the economic systems we live under here in the US
follow a free-market economic Capitalistic paradigm, do they not?

i would assume that when the government gets involved in this business of bailing out banks or automotive manufacturing conglomerates during the tough times — at points where the failing corporations and institutions of this fine nation have basically made poor business decisions and started to remain wickid unprofitable and turned to bankruptcy or some other financial disparity, that business of providing monetary support to Save the Club falls under a different category of economic system most people call Socialism — and Socialism, like Communism, has been cleverly marketed over the years as Public Enemy Number One to The American Way

now these thoughts are not exactly the thoughts Fuller discusses in Critical Path

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i have certain points to make here, obviously, and certain observations and opinions that put all of our ruling systems of governance and sovereignty under quite a critical magnifying lens of investigative discovery — i think we’re dealing with something quite corpse-like, a spiritual death of The American Dream we all were smoking at one point, right? work hard, obey the law, live on the straight and narrow path and do what we tell you to do and you’ll earn yourself a comfortable and happy life of freedom and justice for all — but this is NOT the case nowadays — we’ve been living in a land of illusion and public relations propagandistic exploitation of The People for quite some time — and frankly i would LOVE to keep the government accountable for our founding fathers’ mantra of ‘no taxation without representation’

i do not feel i have been properly represented at all
for quite some time

and i know its a quite unrealistic expectation, but i’d love to get a refund for the complete lack of representation as a government-provide and tax-funded service as so philosophically but only theoretically advertised as a false promise from The Big Boys in DC

but that’s beside the point

according to the real words of R. Buckminster Fuller he describes a peculiar economic-social dynamic we’re all submersed into whereby we all need to earn a living to survive — our current system of Capitalism, which is really a form of economic and social Darwinist approach, seems to deliver certain Socialist survival benefits when the financial pain is felt at the level of major superpower corporations but very little, if not absolutely NO support, at the individual citizen level of our social caste system

how fair does that sound when you take a moment
to re-read that fragment of thought?

seems a little off now, don’t it?

now, i don’t want you to get confused — and i really hope you’re all still reading this blogPost — because i don’t want you to think after reading all of my observations and critical qualitative analysis of where our preset configurations are failing that i’m some sort of anti-American force in the world

i am an extremely proud and patriotic US citizen

and i believe this is a fantastic country that still has the potential to do truly extraordinary things for the world and for our greater global humanity

but i do need to admit i’m disappointed

and i believe we have vast opportunities to turn this ship around

but we no longer have the luxury of wasting energy and time

Fuller wrote Critical Path and much of his works regarding his vision for the world — a planet he oftentimes referred to as Spaceship Earth — he wrote, invented and consulted for various organizations from the 1950s to the 80s and beyond — and i think, unfortunately, we’ve made very little progress as a cohesive world humanity { the Global Village that Marshall McLuhan spoke of } since that more utopian vision of what the future and our technological advancement would supposedly offer the peoples of the world

operating manual bf

Fuller speaks of wealth — a sense of real wealth — as something that cannot be quantified, measured or valued in a financial manner at all

corporations and Big Business in a supposed free market quantify and scrutinize every line in the spreadsheet and make rather cold and inhumane decisions much of the time based solely on the ups and downs of their profit margins

individual citizens — the workerly contributors and so-called human resources in our wonderful system of making a living for the average person — however don’t have the luxury of doing much more than manage their own hard-earned income and budgetary outflow of expenses — there’s no board of advisors or venture capitalist forces out there to support and guide families in their day-to-day lives and there’s certainly no layoffs or downsizing at the level of real people, right? homes survive or they’re broken — family values might’ve been a great campaign marketing buzz-word, but show me the esteemed valuation our nation puts on the hard work of raising, supporting and maintaining a decent family life for your average citizen in the US — 40 hours of the punch-in, punch-out slips to 60 to 80 hours a week for the most successful Types As we encourage in through the current system dynamics and that sort of time leaves little left to actually participate in anywhere near a valuable family lifestyle

the real wealth Fuller spoke of has more to do with how we take care of each other by actually contributing something meaningful and helpful to our technohumanic ecosystem and the greater of humanity — according to Bucky, about 90% of the actual workforce back in the 1980s actually contribute nothing of any real wealth or value to society — we simply show up and cash the check at the end of every pay period and focus on making a living but never get to step back, think bigger and start making a better life for the world — and it wasn’t until Buckminster Fuller stopped worrying about making a living and started to dream up the ways in which he could uniquely contribute to the world at an entirely different level that his life began

most of us are stuck with no wealth, pre-real-wealth paradigm — we’re kept busy and entertained enough by making a living to survive to never even get a chance to discover how we can really, truly contribute our unique and valuable talents to the world for the betterment of all of humanity

imagine if we could take back that 90% of wasted workforce energies and re-invest it in a more committed and focused way to better the world and solve not only our monetary economic issues, but global crises like hunger, thirst, disease, war, abuse, exploitation, pollution, dwindling natural resources, climate change and other aspects of inhumanity and suffering of our fellow men, women and children of the world — what if our focus shifted from the wartime good economics of purely destructive energies to a less-monetarily-based, creative and constructive set of energies that actually help as many of the people living together in our world community? why have we lost that original vision of what progress can promise and deliver us? what’s the distraction about?

well — interestingly enough it all now comes back to this interesting new development of the BitCoin

yes, i do have a point to make here

it just takes a little more effort and time to get to that point when some exploration of qualitative logic might be involved, but anyhow …

i see this new BitCoin Economy as extremely telling and actually rather enlightening

our traditional economy has essentially crumbled

as a global community, we’ve been bleeding by the seat of our pants now since The Industrial Era, and this new Information Age revolution is totally starting to nail the coffin on the way we think of and govern our current and established economic systems

the worth of what we make quite naturally declines as we move more and more into the virtual realm of work and the kinds of artifacts that result from that work from the digitally-driven workspace

seeing this grand-theft failure of these traditional systems, we now see a desire to create, quite literally, a new economy based entirely on digital systems

how can that even happen?

does the concept and systems around this new BitCoin Economy spring forth from our desires and a sort of active imagining and designing for a better economy — is this a valid economy? after all, no real government issues anything of value or any regulations regarding what it means to trade BitCoinage — i mean, we’ve now become accustomed to a world being totally stripped of any sense of government regulations whatsoever with more and more services and support for the people and their families being basically devalued, underfunded or even privatized, to be put into the financial jurisdiction and management of the actual citizens sans previously regulations, rules and assistance { which i think is typically called, uhm, government } — but besides all that …

is this economy — this new BitCoin Economy — something real now?

and if so

how did that happen?

and if that happened, if its happening, why do we even bother with the established, traditional economy at all? is that economy even real?

are our established, traditional economies even valid anymore?

why bother?

it all seems pretty Surreal to me, even cyberSurreal to me at this point

these broken economies and invented economies and the struggle to make sense out of the dead donkey on our backs — they only weighs us all down and prevents us from actually being happy and useful and contributing to the fullest in life to the larger world we live in — they’ve been weighing us down for quite some time now and they’re only the perpetuation of what some folks are calling a neo-Serfdom — we’re still talking Dark Ages shit in 2013 if you ask me, but its all been a frikkin illusion, the ruby slippers kinda metaphoric stuff of Dorothy and having the solution to all of our worldly woes right there in front of us, right there on the ground, right on our fucking feet for ChrisSakes!

we all need money to survive — but what is the real value, the real wealth, actually, of that paper in my wallet? who determines what its worth and what { or who } that wealth actually used for? and why do we need it at all anymore?

can i just start printing my own version of monetary economic artifactual trading products from my own HP PhotoSmart C6180 All-in-One right here from home and start to invent value in some new self-invented system? all i need to do is run down to Staples and pick up a Cyan and Pink cartridge now and go to town, right? and if enough people start to trade with it i’ve made my own incredibly valuable new system of economics that circumnavigates the Stock Market, the US Treasury and all the bullshit we’ve been living for for goddam centuries

well, that’s preposterous, right?

but just think about it, okay?

like Lanier, i don’t have the answers, just some implied suggestions — but like the big challenges we have with the dysfunction and failures of our current governments of the world, i think the answers do not reside in solutions provided for or created by the actual government

this ones for The People of The World to work on

i think we, as citizens of the world, in our ample free time, need to start contributing in a far different way

we can’t afford to wait for the government any more — they’re too embroiled in their own bi-partisan bureaucratic political shit to contribute anything of any positive, constructive value for The People — the business they’re running, the services they’re providing as our government { as our governments } are completely disconnected from the real needs of The People at this point and The People know it and realize the sort of exploitation of The People we’ve all been dealing with for decades upon decades upon decades — we pay taxes, they get paid, we get less and less and finally absolutely nothing in return — or at least nothing of any real value for the world — not even a feeling of being decently guided by true leaders that even might actually care about The People of The United States of America and The People of The World — turn on CNN, you’ll see a totally incompetent nest of board member-like suits designing the world by committee and a thousand papercuts, most of the suits really only sitting there to defend their own self-interests and the interests of the lobbyists and corporations they’re really representing for this great nation

thanks for that

i appreciate it, but as we all know now, the government itself is trillions of dollars in debt and essentially bankrupt — the US has been bankrupt on and off since who knows when, but at least since World War I and the kind of wacky, imbalanced debt our nation accumulated to support war efforts

i personally am quite tired of destructive enegy and incompetence

you can’t just punch a card everyday to star on CNN as far as i’m concerned

where’s that accountability that, interestingly enough, the George W Bush Administration seemed to suddenly get all Freudianly vocal about during those 2 illustrious terms?

all that aside — i think its up to The People now, despite the government and the sort of total tax-exploitation systems they operate and fund themselves with, its up to The People to rise above the bullshit and just start imagining and developing the solutions we need all on our own

instead of re-imagining and re-inventing economy — i still participate in the current systems as best possible and earn a living with the government financial assistance typically devoted and invested in Big Science and Technology efforts to push our beloved progress along — i think the real progress needs to come from us, in our ample free time — we need to all be more like that independent musician down the street that totally shows off the genius of his/her vision on the stage, through the craft of her/his songwriting and composition and through the active practice of her/his world while simultaneously figuring out the means to make that life even survivable amidst these imbalanced and broken economies — we need to invent — and we need to invent beyond the BitCoin, beyond new fictional values to throw into the bullshit arena of our digitalia — we need to ask The Actual People of The World what would make this world a better place for them, what are the actual needs of The People? and then, we all need to do what we can — in the uniquely talented ways that we can individually contribute to the causes of bettering humanity and actually helping people and meeting vast, complicated challenges — we need to do what we can to change our behaviors from reticent and frustrated spectators of our own demise to behaviors and activities that foster a creative, positive, collaborative and truly innovative means to contribute real wealth to the world we live in

there’s SO much we need to do

how will you contribute to the cause?

Whole Earth Back Cover 1969