16 july 2001

'an electrically connected species'


Today I'm sending out daffodil 3 - to those who've subscribed - and to a few people who've not received it before.

I was going to send this issue on 1st june but I delayed it so as to include the digital diary entries for 2nd and 3rd june as they seem to be the beginning of something.

What I was trying to do in those entries was to consider ways of enabling us all (as people connected by media) to take over from ourselves (as divided experts and specialists, unable to act outside the economic roles prescribed for us by organisations). And to recreate life decentrally in informed global connectedness.

(Or more simply: to live more as an electrically connected species than as mechanised individuals.)

...But I know that many of those who think about new media dislike the idea that technical changes come first and cultural changes follow. And yes I agree with them - it is essential to reverse that priority, to put people first and machines second. But people are not organisations.

If someone asked what are my politics I was tempted to say 'anarkist' (with a 'k' to denote non-destructive of people). But I was also tempted to say 'conServative' (with a capital 'S' to denote service not hierarchy) - a new kind of conservative who tries to protect both people and machines from organisations?

I guess these little changes to labels are not sufficiently serious.

I won't say more of this here except to hope that the digital diary entries for 2nd and 3rd june (plus the texts of 'the internet and everyone' and 'the future of ergonomics') are useful ways of thinking and doing 'in the light of new media' and in the present disappointment of globalisation turning out to be more a threat than a joy to everyone. What has gone wrong?

...and now, two days later, I prefer to say that my politics are closer to enjoying the world as it is than to wishing it to be as any one party would have it..

Fanatics have their dreams, wherewith they weave
A paradise for a sect...

(the opening lines of 'The Fall of Hyperion. A Dream' in John Keats, the complete poems, edited by John Barnard, Penguin Books, Harmondsworth 1973, page 435.)