Friday, May 06, 2016
We’re aware now. The power and the opportunity to be visionary and creative is right before us. We can do our own thinking and have people join us. The most hopeful changes I see have less to do with the tangible technology (great as it is) that is in front of us, and more to do with the underlying structures and philosophies. I can only describe these the same way a mathematician describes a formula as elegant, or the way a musician hears a drum corps, all in a line, bells up, full volume, coming in step towards the screaming crowd. It is triumphant, simple and empowering. I am talking here about bottom-up, emergent behavior. Self-organizing systems. Rather than “executing notes on a page” or top-down spoon feeding of content to students or playing video games that everyone else is playing, we might use video game hours onine to fix real societal problems or, as students, start working on real problems to solve and building businesses or portfolios online.
Distributed Autonomous Organizations now give us the potential to create self-organizing systems which could provide opportunities to creative people and visionaries to be part of larger, like-minded groups. The words that Robin Williams spoke in the movie Dead Poets Society reappear in my head… “that you are here--that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse.”
Age 7. First French Horn lesson. I knew that letters of the alphabet represented notes, so when Mr. Sadlier asked me what note I wanted to play first, I said “L” since that was the first letter in my name. He politely told me that was not a note, and of course, I asked “why not?” Kids have great imaginations. Later, I would learn that music was a metaphor for the connected world. You make your sound. You know immediately if it’s any good. It either blends or does not. When the band plays, the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts. Yet, like the Silicon Valley employee who had ideas of his own, I couldn’t help feeling like a technician who was only allowed to execute. No interpretation. So, I conducted my own experiment while playing in a musical. I would intentionally delay hitting certain notes. To my amazement, this created a train wreck as the conductor altered his baton and everyone who was following him changed what they were doing. I stopped and smiled. It was just an experiment.
Note: This was excerpted from a project I worked on for the artist Sebastian Schmieg.