online: 6 february 2005
modified: 1 june 2005

5 february 2005 of, by and for everyone

...of the people, by the people, and for the people...

Those words of Abraham Lincoln still come to mind when i think about the encouraging closeness of the internet to what he called 'the people' and i prefer to call 'everyone'...

...though now, looking at the fighting and at the quaint but patriarchal uprightness of those times (in photographs apparently taken in the Civil War of the United States) i wonder how a phrase from such origins can still resonate, as it does, in our so different circumstance...

I have much to say about 'everyone' but first some words about individuality, self-expression, and 'creativity' as we have the nerve to call it... Here is a question and answer (as appearing in the 'live blog' of the decadeofwebdesign conference)...

Q. 'Self expression - a special way of being human. I want to be human, but not copy? Notions of freedom, and expression. The connection of freedom and self-expressions was the key term of this conference. How do you feel about that notion?'

John Chris Jones: 'John Cage is my favourite artist. Self-expressive works are yuck. Artists loose themselves when doing art, and that's not the same.

I don't quite recognise my answer and would like to amend it, as follows:

Amended answer: John Cage did not advocate self-expression - he recommended that we let go of our likes and dislikes and wake up to how wonderful the world is once we put our preferences aside... One can lose oneself when discovering or doing something and that is not the same as self-expression... say that self-expression is yuk is a ghastly remark that i regret - i would prefer now to quote what Edwin Schlossberg once wrote in a letter to me:

we are self/other or we are nothing

...and to proceed, in the light of these remarks about freedom, etc. (by several Americans) ready to abandon or modify the idea of self-expression when it comes to sharing, as the internet allows us to, the 'good' powers that are still supposed to be limited to 'creative people' and professions...

more to follow...

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