2 june 2001

'in the light of new media' let us look anew at ourselves, says a voice

...and so I look anew at my work.

I begin here in this diary entry - and with a new theme today:

a connective (and constructive?) view of what's positive in new media and in our present culture

(if it can be called a culture - for are we not the barbarians of soft technology?)

and I decide to include (at least something of) this diary entry in daffodil 3 and to add new linkwords to it from the website...

('in the light of new media' could be the words - unless I think of something better)

I'll begin with what I can remember of the positive uses of new media that I assembled in the internet and everyone(with the relevant page numbers):

1. Local newspapers and magazines and newsletters of much better quality than at present - revealing the liveliness and originality of people everywhere, not just as imitations of what comes from the power centres (from the book of a village, pages 174-177)

2. The ability of people anywhere (if asked) to read and write and speak with as immense a degree of skill and perceptiveness as is shown by the leaders or celebrities of sport, media, government, business, or any profession - but in their own way. To achieve this the media (such as 'book' or 'tv') have first to be deconstructed and recentered on people, not professional roles. (following Giraldus, pages 195-208).

3. Regional planning and development (dreadful names) can be made human and non-bureaucratic if the people whose lives and conditions are changing are given control of the process. People of all ages and educations can be enabled (by reversals of authority and sequence) to provide the governing ideas while obedient public servants (in the real sense of the words) create contexts and procedures sensitive to what the people say - and to what they learn as they say it and see it happening. (25 villages, pages 204-208)

4. Centralised media such as radio can be organised by people themselves if the work of professionals is deconstructed into three parts:

a. creative management by listeners directing obedient software,
b. presentation by mixtures of listeners and obedient professionals,
c. and a new kind of politics and planning that creates and maintains the conditions for all this.

(radio simplicity, pages 212-216)

...but I see that this review of the industrial culture 'in the light of new media' is much too much for a diary entry - it could easily become a long (and perhaps tedious?) book in itself...

...so I'll end at this point with a brief list of the other examples that can be found in the book or on this website:

decentralised traffic automation (pages 46-49)

design methods for everyone (forthcoming on the website)

the experimental city (pages 349-357)

the futures of education, of medicine and of government (pages 406-413, 496-501 and 513-514)

the future of non-realist theatre, cinema and other performances (in the book 'notes and plays')

the future of ergonomics (and everything!) (linkword from the website)

the imaginary rock foundation (to provide creative identity for all) (pages 464-466)

and 'creative democracy' (the connective process for this new life) (pages 552-553 and elswhere)

So why, Mr. Jones, did you not let this vision of the new media culture become the form and the content of 'the internet and everyone' - instead of the confusing mixture of topics and explorations that it actually is?

I find it difficult to answer in plain words

(or without anger, he thinks to himself)...

...but I remember many times when something stopped me doing that...

...what was it?

...it was my refusal to let a book about decentral forms of living take the form of a belief or a recipie that is centrally told and imposed.

So how did you avoid that?

Simply by writing it as a series of emails to Tom and Jonathan, the two people who had asked me to write it... And by including my visions of the right use of the internet (and other new media) as attachments to the emails. That was it - it's not a confusing mixture but an attempt at new form - and I'm pleased with it at last!

I see, says the questioning voice...

...what you are really telling us is that, if we are to reach this softopia as you see it, we must refuse, as you do, the easy way of accepting or imposing any centrally-conceived plan... What we all have to do is to rid ourselves of 'our wishes to control, or to be controlled' (as you call it) ... Instead we must trust in ourselves and each other to 'make it up as we go along'...

Yes, that's it. I couldn't have put it better myself!

The other one smiles and says nothing.

then Mr Jones reaches for a book by J W Goethe from which he copies these words:

'Thought and action, action and thought, that is the sum of all wisdom...'

from 'Wilhelm Meister's Journeyman Years', translated by Jan van Heurck in cooperation with Jane K Brown, Suhrkamp, New York 1989.

(and there's a more recent edition of the same translation by another publisher, he thinks)