Once upon a time, Mankind across the globe hunted and gathered, obtaining the nutrition and materials only available to each group locally, and at the expense of great time and effort. Thankfully, the use of fire and various methods of cooking made these foods much more nutritious, pound for pound, and much easier and quicker to digest, and more completely as well. Mankind continued to prosper for quite a long period of history, with these methods alone.
However, after a time, Mankind turned to agriculture, animal husbandry, and more importantly, selective breeding, to fulfill the needs of growing and complex societies. The ability to feed many more people with much less time and effort expended further fueled the burgeoning population and complexity of these civilizations. The Libraries of Alexandria and the Great Pyramids were built not just with stone and sweat, but with meats, fruits, nuts, grains... food of every kind, available in sufficient abundance.
Today, we face the oncoming consequences of an overpowering, overwhelming, and largely unforeseen change in all the civilizations of the world -- whereas formerly, only an elite handful of intellectuals have ever been publicly credited with the hunting of great ideas, and the painstaking gathering of data and scientific evidence, now these activities are available to nearly anyone, and at a fraction of the price, before, during, and after the process.
Your Own Voice...
Your anger and dissatisfaction are expressions of a need to redefine Art, Literature, Beauty, Success, and all the other Virtues you, I, and everyone else hold as values and beliefs. These ideals have increasingly been defined by a handful of individuals of elite social status, in a system of dialogue which has been labeled "one-to-many". Now that "many-to-many" is a viable option for all those fortunate enough to be able to produce their own original content in digital media, you can finally make your voice heard above the commercial and authoritative sound and fury. Your voice can include your own beliefs concerning the wonders of life that you believe ought to captivate the attention of others. If you believe that once your gifts are truly heard and appreciated, once you are understood as a beautiful creature in your beingness, unchanged and unpossessed, that others will be fascinated and transformed, captivated, ecstatic, and inspired to ideals of which they had not previously dreamed or imagined, how can you let this opportunity pass for even one more day? Your very existence, properly understood and appreciated, could transform one person, or the entire world.
An incoherent ranting and raging can evolve into an argument of passion and force. An appeal to passion can become a detailed expression of circumstances, frustrations, failures and successes in the pursuit of noble and humane goals. Detailed expressions can be transformed into insightful discussions of the world that confronts us all with its resistance to sense, reason, and compassion, and, having thoroughly examined a feature of the enigma of being truly and fully human, you might even propose a solution that others have always longed for, never knowing its shape and force; a vision that they may crave to make real at last. You will have made your own voice into a force for change in the world, a change for the better, and for us all. I personally look forward to thanking you for your invaluable and irreplaceable efforts and gifts to me. Words will always retain their power, and I want and need your words as much as those of any other human being; perhaps I need them more. On my own behalf, and that of others that feel the same, please share your voice.
...Becoming Part of a Chorus
"Cognitive surplus is made up of two things. The first, obviously, is the world's free time and talents. The world has over a trillion hours a year of free time to commit to shared projects. Now, that free time existed in the 20th century, but we didn't get Ushahidi in the 20th century."
"That's the second half of cognitive surplus. The media landscape in the 20th century was very good at helping people consume, and we got, as a result, very good at consuming. But now that we've been given media tools -- the Internet, mobile phones -- that let us do more than consume, what we're seeing is that people weren't couch potatoes because we liked to be. We were couch potatoes because that was the only opportunity given to us. We still like to consume, of course. But it turns out we also like to create, and we like to share."
"And it's those two things together -- ancient human motivation and the modern tools to allow that motivation to be joined up in large-scale efforts -- that are the new design resource. And using cognitive surplus, we're starting to see truly incredible experiments in scientific, literary, artistic, political efforts. Designing."
"There are a trillion hours a year of participatory value up for grabs. That will be true year-in and year-out. The number of people who are going to be able to participate in these kinds of projects is going to grow, and we can see that organizations designed around a culture of generosity can achieve incredible effects without an enormous amount of contractual overhead -- a very different model than our default model for large-scale group action in the 20th century."
"What's going to make the difference here is what Dean Kamen said, the inventor and entrepreneur. Kamen said, "Free cultures get what they celebrate." We've got a choice before us. We've got this trillion hours a year. We can use it to crack each other up, and we're going to do that. That, we get for free. But we can also celebrate and support and reward the people trying to use cognitive surplus to create civic value. And to the degree we're going to do that, to the degree we're able to do that, we'll be able to change society."
Social Constraints = roughly Moral Imperatives
Contractual Constraints = roughly Social Imperatives
It will take a great deal of time for more and more people to become comfortable enough with digital literacy to produce more and better content, rather than merely consuming it, but since these numbers can already be compared to the efforts of government and government sectors, we can establish just how much change can be expected as more of this leisure time becomes productive of Moral Imperatives rather than Social Imperatives. If the time spent "educating" students in public schools were instead expended in this kind of constructive, community-wide effort were added to this tally as well, how many additional hours would be available? Wouldn't students and their mentors receive more respect from their community? Wouldn't such work be worth far more than either students or teachers currently receive (zero, and very low starting pay, respectively)?
Notes for development:
"...an informed and informing voting populace..." ???