Friday, August 18, 2006

I've been reading Wampeters Foma & Granfalloons by Kurt Vonnegut. This is one of the few remaining Vonnegut books that I have not read. I've decided since Mr. V is getting a old and unlikely to be publishing many more books, I should really pace myself on the wisdom he has to impart.

Whatever the case, in this collection of speeches there is one that discusses the elemental folk society and how this structure is what makes humans content and happy. He describes hippies in communes vs. the rest of society as "an argument between those who believe folk societies are still possible and those who knows they aren't." This is not an original idea. Marshall MacLuhan brings it up in the context of mass media in The Medium is the Massage: An inventory of effects (1976), which, on a side note, I would definitely say is one of the most important books ever written about the internet. It anticipates the internet and fully accounts for it.

But back to Kurt. One passage about ancient folk societies in particular caught my attention:

What one man knew and believed was the same as what all men knew and believed. There wasn't much of a division of labor. What one person did was pretty much what another person did.

I realize that, as MacLuhan predicts, we are approaching the return to an empathetic society. This brings me to the idea of the blogosphere. Here is a virtual commune of college-educated people who work in offices, are addicted to Wikipedia and other people's opinions via their blogs. This is the only commune that can work. Think liberal copyright, (see Doorbell Copyright), where we are far more interested in being read, understood and agreed with than being credited.

We work in various industries, (though like industries will always stick together to some degree), but our work is all the same--Microsoft Office and various programs for creation, illustration and explanation. I would imagine that much of the work I do is similar to any other office. While the content differs, the mechanics are consistent.

I don't know if this counts as philosophy, but I'm happy to be thinking in an analytical way. This is the kind of stuff I really like, but alas, inspiration is usually hard to come by.


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