December 29, 2007

Tools in-form us, sometimes for the good

Filed under: links, philosophy, praxis — bentrem @ 1:01 pm

In his “The TrueTalk Blog: One More From Andrew Sullivan…” Tom Guarriello quotes from an interview in The Atlantic:

” The task of talking out loud about one’s own mistakes is a very helpful thing to do. […] Blogging is a whole new way of writing, and a new way of experiencing the world.” [How about “can be“? – bdt]

What caught my eye was Tom’s “That business about experiencing the world differently as a result of blogging […] It changed the way I moved through the world, made me more observant and reflective.”

In my comment to his post I wrote “you’ve captured the essence of something broader and more general.”

“since my main point is about valuing subjective narrative, well, heh, I can’t try to just blow you off! *grin*
So I’m going to loft your assertion into a different orbit, where blogging will happily co-exist with spontaneous poetry or weaving or any other principled practice. That’s ok, yes?”

In the vajrayana wisdom tradition the power of transformation in-forms a person’s view so /nothing/ is destructive. But that’s to them, in that situation. I feel the need to emphasize that this doesn’t mean all influences are beneficial. I don’t see that novel forms and venues for expression are necessarily edifying or liberating; I’d far rather than principled practitioners called potential by its right name and thereby enable some form of critical consciousness: neither “doom and gloom” nor Polyanna in rose-coloured glasses.

Sullivan’s “talking out loud about one’s own mistakes” resonates most deeply in me: my analogy has always been the group conversation we have experienced around all the campfires that drew us together over our long history … narratives, self-reflection, instrospection, conversation … in short: discourse. But isn’t it jejeuene/naive to say that the oceans of drivle we see in blogs and chat rooms evidences self-emancipation?

“Growing up” is inevitable, unless one dies young. And so is growing old. But there’s nothing inevitable about the authentic sanity that marks the mature adult. And blogging doesn’t make it so. (Nor does tweeting … but danged close! *grin*)

BlogBuffer 28DEC07

Filed under: blogbuffer, links, philosophy, praxis, theory — bentrem @ 1:33 am

*1st cut - this might not work, but I'm going to try the blog-style I was using in '96*

Towards the principles of open government data Filed under: Geekery)” (tweeted to me by Gervis)

The goal of this weekend’s Open Government Principles workshop at O’Reilly and Associates was to draft a set of principles to define what constitutes open government data. The people drafting these principles were, for the most part, activists who believe that widespread sharing and creative presentation of government data can create a better-informed citizenry. In other words, they’re data junkies – the perfect folks to create a demanding list of what geeks, journalists and the citizens they serve need to access government data as easily as possible.”

Smart Mobs » Blog Archive » MIT Press places free chapter by Howard Rheingold online – December 9th, 2007

“The contents of the book Civic Life Online: Learning How Digital Media Can Engage Youth was posted online by MIT Press this week. It contains a chapter by Howard Rheingold titled “Using Participatory Media and Public Voice to Encourage Civic Engagement.””

“A Democracy of Groups”by Beth Simone Noveck, at FirstMonday – from the abstract:

“Electronic democracy theorists have either focused on the individual and the state, disregarding the collaborative nature of public life, or they remain wedded to outdated and unrealistic conceptions of deliberation. This article makes two central claims. First, technology will enable more effective forms of collective action. This is particularly so of the emerging tools for “collective visualization” which will profoundly reshape the ability of people to make decisions, own and dispose of assets, organize, protest, deliberate, dissent and resolve disputes together. From this argument derives a second, normative claim. We should explore ways to structure the law to defer political and legal decision–making downward to decentralized group–based decision–making.”

Again by Beth Simone Noveck, in the Winter 2008 *blink* edition of “Democracy; a journal of ideas:
Wiki-Government – How open-source technology can make government decision-making more expert and more democratic“:

“Although political legitimacy demands accountability to an electoral process, those living in a democracy readily submit to what sociologist Michael Schudson calls the “permanent embarrassment” of expertise. We believe that administrative governan[…] The justification for this professional decision-making, articulated by theorists ranging from Max Weber to Walter Lippmann, is that while citizens can express personal opinions based on values, they are incapable of making fact-based decisions on matters of policy. For Weber, the complexities of modern governance call for “the personally detached and strictly objective expert.” […] And citizen participation is hard to organize and administer, and even harder to scale. […] Now, however, new technology may be changing the relationship between democracy and expertise, affording an opportunity to improve competence by making good information available for better governance.”

Blog at