Thursday, March 09, 2006

Stuff I inflicted on Rob's Blog 2: This time it's personal... nothing bad. Just personal

Rob had this to say about blogging...

http://canadianpoliticalstuff.blogspot.com/2006/03/on-blogging.html

Which inspired...

Those who worry about blogging are entirely justified insofar as this:

Too much of anything isn't good for you.

Put another way, I steal (and diminish) some cool Marillion lyrics by citing them out of context here but this is the relevant bit:

We rejoice at being "connected"
Without touching
Thank god for the internet
We stare at our screens
All our lives
What a waste of eyes
'Till the electrical storm blows our fuses
And we gaze, dumbfounded, at the rain

I think this is the big fear.

The loss of humanity and worldly awareness and experience in favour of what...?

Well... that's the question isn't it?

What is all this?

Democracy in action? A new kind of community in embryo?

Or is it just the collective and perhaps increasing, inwardly-directed focus of countless lives, countless hours of thought, passion, rage that might better be expressed through action in the "real world".

Or would it?

Rob wrote..."no other medium in history has ever offered so many people the means to share their views with such a wide audience, and with such amazing speed. And yes, some of it is going to be crap; in a mass medium, you should expect no less."

But we do have a direct parallel...

According to James Burke, the combination of Gutenberg's press with Martin Luther's annoyance on the particular issue of Papal Indulgences set off the firestorm that forced his hand to action and Reformation from/against the Catholic church.

How?

Because Martin Luther was writing letters on a point [of Church policy. and got into] ... kind of a medieval flame war, except of course no one ever thought in those days... "what if instead of the 4 or 5 people who are supposed to read this [a lot MORE people] actually DO [end up] read[ing] it?"

[Or even...]

"What would happen if [someone printed a bunch of copies of the letter, 'cause that just became easy to do thanks to the printing press, and then say] 100 people read my letter instead of just one?"

Well, that's what happened.

[Word of Martin Luthor's gripe with the church spread faster than news ever had before.]

And [then] German lords with axes of their own to grind, jumped into the flame war publishing their thoughts for/against Martin Luther, or the Church or...

And thus the fracturing of the "greatest" church in history. (Not sneering with the quote marks there by the way, just conditionalizing.)

Anyhoo... if you check out my (yes, long-winded) comments on Rob's "Good Question" post, which was in answer to a not quite so long-winded question (from me as well) you'll see what I think is blogging's greatest use...

It is a tool that allows like minds to connect across distance and share ideas and opinions... or maybe for people just to share the fact that we're people.

That we think and feel things and that occasionally what we want is just to say ---and I mean really say, fully and without interruption-- whatever is on our hearts or minds.

We can take as many or few words as we want to but in the end, having expressed fully, we get to feel that in some way we've actually been heard in full.

In a society that does everything fast, perhaps this return to the (no matter how you slice it) much SLOWER written form will do us good.

By the by... the geniuses... the Einsteins and Bohrs, Newtons etc... They only had letters to communicate with their peers... if they had/knew about/could contact their peers.

Imagine the connections they could have made with email... or blogs.

Right now folks, men and women of equal (and no doubt even greater genius) are standing on the shoulders of those giants and are able to compare notes at light speed.

Surely some great good will come of that.

Just remember to get the hell outdoors once in a while (unless your Bill) and actually experience the world all this exchange of words is ABOUT.

Oh... and run your fingers over a loved one at least as often as you do over the keyboard.

Good night and may your gods go with you.

TMcG

3:12 AM

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