...we can't afford to simply indulge the passion of our differences. Not anymore.
- Lawrence Lessig
Chance favors the connected mind- Steven Johnson
I want my ideas to have sex. That's what I took from the talk. Specifically, I want my ideas to have crazy unprotected sex that leads to unexpected bundles of joy. Don't blame me for the metaphor, Johnson attributes it to Matt Ridley. In his presentation, Johnson brings up the coffeehouse as a "conjugal bed" for ideas. At least, it was that in 18th century England. At that time the coffeehouse was the perfect mix of stimulants and stimulating conversations. Great ideas were born as people from various walks of life intermingled.
I'm not positive I have a coffeehouse. Not in that sense. My frequent visits to actual coffeehouses are solitary episodes. I do good work. I'm creative. But San Diego cafes are not built for mingling. I don't blame them for this, American society isn't really built for mingling either. Even at San Diego Red Cross headquarters, where I am privileged to serve with some very talented and creative people, the environment doesn't favor serendipitous idea-liaisons. Sometimes good things come out of meetings but, in general, meeting agendas don't promote the free atmosphere necessary for truly innovative thinking.
I want to find an idea brothel. Or found an idea brothel. I'm betting that my dealings on the internet will facilitate this goal, but I'm still looking for the right collaborative environments. Presently, I'm really good at sifting interesting tidbits out of the info-dump that is the web. Info-curation is an important modern skill, but it's not a substitute for collaboration. I'm lucky to have a large social network of smart, willing-to-chat-it-up people, but our worlds are so closely related that chances for out of the box input are reduced. The Trustocracy blog/twitter feed is partly an attempt to tap into a network of individuals that I don't know personally (yet). I'm also trying to use Google+ in a collaborative way. I've been playing around with Hangouts and such. G+ is definitely more useful to me than Facebook ever was, but that isn't saying much.
So that's that. I'm not ending this anywhere because I haven't ended my search for an idea brothel. Idea brothel, I'm going to drop that into a few conversations just to see the looks on people's faces. If anyone would like to recommend a modern equivalent of the 18th century coffeehouse, by all means comment. Or tweet it with #ideabrothel so I can laugh out loud when I see it.
To make my Friday fun, I made a t-shirt. 30th Street is my favorite strip of pavement in San Diego, mainly because it hosts some of the best pubs in the world. Toronado, Hamilton's, The Ritual, The Station...there are a lot. I get some of my best thinking done on 30th, at least during the first few hours I'm there.
I'm off to practice the politics of the public house. I hope you all have an amazing weekend.
Every morning for the last month I've begun the day with these words from Marcus Aurelius.
Today I will be meeting with interference, ingratitude, insolence, disloyalty, ill-will, and selfishness--all of them due to the offender's ignorance of what is good and what is evil.
Always to seek to conquer myself rather than fortune, to change my desires rather than the established order, and generally believe that nothing except our thoughts is wholly under our control, so that after we have done our best in external matters, what remains to be done is absolutely impossible, at least as far as we are concerned.
Wikileaks is a manifestation of something that has been growing all around us, for decades, with volcanic inexorability.
Bruce Sterling's December 22nd commentary on Wikileaks is gold. I've read about twenty of the hundreds of editorials covering Julian Assange, Bradley Manning, Cablegate and the rest; only Bruce has found the proper vantage point from which to describe the chaos. Unlike the pundits, Sterling has the benefit of a historical perspective. He knows hackers, he has chronicled the rise of cyberculture (helped birth the unfortunate trend of affixing "cyber" on anything new and tech related, actually) and he understands what Wikileaks represents. Bruce's perspective allows him to relate to Assange and pity his plight. Conversely, Sterling's maturity, and perhaps a bit of aged based conservatism, allows him to simultaneously groan for the State as it attempts to adapt to the the emerging world.
This knotty situation is not gonna “blow over,” because it’s been building since 1993 and maybe even 1947. “Transparency” and “discretion” are virtues, but they are virtues that clash. The international order and the global Internet are not best pals. They never were, and now that's obvious.
The data held by states is gonna get easier to steal, not harder to steal; the Chinese are all over Indian computers, the Indians are all over Pakistani computers, and the Russian cybermafia is brazenly hosting wikileaks.info because that’s where the underground goes to the mattresses. It is a godawful mess. This is gonna get worse before it gets better, and it’s gonna get worse for a long time. Like leaks in a house where the pipes froze.
Sterling isn't picking sides, he's offering perspective. In the end, I think we all have to agree. It is truly a godawful mess.
An A-filled semester is over and I have time to think my own thoughts. I'm hoping that this winter will get me in the habit of posting. Unfortunately the only habits that I tend to form are vices. If I can figure out a way to make this project unhealthy, it should thrive...no matter how contradictory that sounds.
Well, I was mainly posting so that the next bit won't have an "I'm back" note spoiling the theme. However, I would like to point out the availability of the National Intelligence Council's Global Trends 2025 report. I have yet to finish it, but so far it is enjoyable. If reading projections about the future of world power interests you, then be sure to check it out.
Trustocracy covers the amorphous, but more and more recognizable, zone where politics, economics and social technologies converge. I don’t believe that’s my mission statement. I’d like to give this site some time to gel before I lay out something so very formal. In any case, my projects tend towards the eclectic. I expect the items I post and ideas I develop will often seem disjointed. However, I do hope that at least two things will be apparent from Trustocracy’s content. First, that modern technology is creating spaces and means whereby individuals can pool their power and effect real change. And second, that I am overwhelmingly excited about the possibilities.
Thank you for checking in. I’d love for this to be a conversation. Let me know what I'm missing out on. The internet is a vast place and the view I have of it is much to small.