Jeff Jarvis writes, “we are shifting, too, from a culture of scarcity to one of abundance.” While we live in a world of potential abundance, there are obstacles to realizing this abundance. It requires that we accept change and become willing to relinquish control of others. To realize your creative abundance, you must have the courage to confront your own fears and the fears of others. Jeff Jarvis writes…
So let’s assume that instead of a scarcity there is an abundance of talent and a limitless will to create but it has been tamped down by an educational system that insists on sameness; starved by a mass economic system that rewarded only a few giants; and discouraged by a critical system that anointed a closed, small creative class. Now talent of many descriptions and levels can express itself and grow. We want to create and we want to be generous with our creations. And we will get the attention we deserve. That means that crap will be ignored. It just depends on your definition of crap.
The gates of the creative kingdom have been guarded for far too long by a group of elitists who practice a form intellectual apartheid (albeit unknowingly). In the past, they, the guardians of taste and culture have prevented the great mass of humanity from participating in true meritocracy. In fact, the system was designed to convince us that we don’t deserve to participate. William Deresiewicz writes in The Disadvantages of an Elite Education…
My education taught me to believe that people who didn’t go to an Ivy League or equivalent school weren’t worth talking to, regardless of their class. I was given the unmistakable message that such people were beneath me. We were “the best and the brightest,” as these places love to say, and everyone else was, well, something else: less good, less bright. I learned to give that little nod of understanding, that slightly sympathetic “Oh,” when people told me they went to a less prestigious college. (If I’d gone to Harvard, I would have learned to say “in Boston” when I was asked where I went to school—the Cambridge version of noblesse oblige.) I never learned that there are smart people who don’t go to elite colleges, often precisely for reasons of class. I never learned that there are smart people who don’t go to college at all.
I also never learned that there are smart people who aren’t “smart.” The existence of multiple forms of intelligence has become a commonplace, but however much elite universities like to sprinkle their incoming classes with a few actors or violinists, they select for and develop one form of intelligence: the analytic. While this is broadly true of all universities, elite schools, precisely because their students (and faculty, and administrators) possess this one form of intelligence to such a high degree, are more apt to ignore the value of others. One naturally prizes what one most possesses and what most makes for one’s advantages. But social intelligence and emotional intelligence and creative ability, to name just three other forms, are not distributed preferentially among the educational elite. The “best” are the brightest only in one narrow sense. One needs to wander away from the educational elite to begin to discover this.
Now, due to ubiquitous technology and cheap access to the internet, no one can prevent you from floating balloons and discovering what rises. But there is another angle to this, the media consumer.
I hear average Joes (non-social media addicts) say they don’t understand blogging and all the fuss about online media. I hear, “every blog I’ve read sucks. How do you find blogs worth reading? How do you know if it’s accurate? How can you trust some blog?”
I reply, “Discriminate for yourself and find your information via news aggregation. Decide for yourself what is plausible, what is good.” In a diplomatic way, I’m saying, “Think for yourself.”
Invariably I am told, “Who has time for that!” Which I find a bit depressing, because they’re saying they don’t want to exert the effort to think critically about what the media says. It is an industrial age hangover.
A large percentage of media consumers were conditioned during the industrial age to have decisions made for them. They don’t want the freedom to decide for themselves what is worth believing, because then – they must take responsibility for what they believe. Now, they assume if something is written in a major newspaper that it must be accurate and trustworthy, and it makes them feel safe. They want editors to protect them. They want schedules, filters, and predictability, but they don’t want to be accountable.
This is the problem Web 2.0 entrepreneurs must solve. Digg tries to filter out the garbage and let the cream rise, but they fail by consistently suppressing great content via bury abuse. People bury ideas they disagree with, not just spam. Controversial political opinion is becoming harder to find on Digg. Reddit’s algorithm allows it to be overrun with redundant content. No one system has the answer, but the aggregators are improving, and we are getting more choices.
Not rich vs. poor. I don’t mean the hordes of normal working people rising up hoping to slaughter all the landowners. What I have in mind is a new kind of class, a class that has crept up slowly, growing almost without being noticed until it’s big enough to be a major player in society. I mean a class of tech-savvy, scientifically-minded, free-thinking über-”geeks”. I’m guessing we now number in the millions, easily. Probably in the tens of millions though.
As I talk with people about new media and the changing economy, I run into people who ‘get it’ and people who don’t. Right now it appears to be nearly black and white. Of course there are those who think they ‘get it’ and don’t, and those who ‘get it’ and are trying to thwart it, like the Philadelphia Inquirer. The new class warfare Dereck describes is being fought between those attempting to preserve the past and those welcoming the future. This new class war, defies the political and social constructs of the industrial age. It is neither conservative nor liberal, rich nor poor, white nor black. It is about freedom, intellectual and creative freedom.
The old media won’t hold up economically or ethically. It will fall like all central control falls when it is confronted with mass technological and social innovation. It will fail because it doesn’t serve people, it serves itself. Preserving the past never works, because (as an old school genius wrote), Time Marches On and it doesn’t care about you or your fears.