Saturday, April 2, 2011

EXPLORING THE PROMISE AND USES OF THE INTERNET

Nations, Economies, Self Growth, United Fronts, Schools, Direct Democracy, Advice and Counseling 


The internet is without a doubt a revolutionary technology. We have seen the many ways that the internet has changed paradigms and behavior -- with online business and buying, instant connection to services, a boom in personal information and ideas, the growth of social media and in the last few months the political potential of the internet as regime after regime falls in North Africa and the Mideast. 

The uses of the web are still coming evolving but we can begin to see out on the horizon that things are starting to get clearer. There has not been much discussion of its use for revolutionary ends until recently, let us follow out the logic of the present internet.

THE INTERNET AS NATIONS
An ISP is an internet service provider, this is a business concept. But this is actually a timid concept, what we really need are NSPs, Nation Service Providers, that is, what we need are networks of sites that can facilitate the formation of Nations. This gets more to the promise of the web. And by “Nation” it is meant distinct cultures and complete communities, not simply social-networking groups. A nation is a more complete phenomenon of values, activities, rituals and institutions for diverse social groups in one general community. It is a total concept not a business niche. 

An NSP goes way beyond personals, job ads and financial advice -- while these are included, a nation requires a complete set of services and cultural forms, everything required to create a nation, and that includes a legion of factors. NSPs create nations within nations, and global nations that link millions within many nations across the planet. 

Social Media brings people together in many good ways. An NSP would go farther and unite people for a common goal and aim communication for the creation of new values, new communities, new nations, and a new planet.

THE INTERNET AS DUAL POWER
The internet as nation-builder leads to the internet being a place of “dual power”. 

The web is the ideal form to build countercultures and wage great culture wars. A culture can be established on the web. The internet is the start, then using this system of communication; we can build material nations and material cultures. 

Our media gives us a power to compete with an establishment power and its elites. Thus, the web creates dual power, two powers in society -- the declining power and the rising power.

THE INTERNET AS NEW JOURNALISM
The old newspaper is dead, it housed under one roof many things -- a press, publisher, editors and reporters. Today this house has broken up. The press is now the internet itself, the reporters can go mobile, the editors and publishers are a separate entity. The old concept has been shattered. 

Conventional papers now have different persona they can morph into. One direction is to go national but already there is so much competition there, so a paper must develop special niches, or even an international niche. The other direction is to focus on the local but here there is competition too, so the most effective local news site would have to be partisan, an advocate to bond with the community, thus, changing notions of “objective reporting”. An opening is being created at the local level and here activists can make headway. 

For the social activist the end of the traditional newspaper is a great opportunity. There can be mobile reporters, new kinds of news distribution networks, new international niches, and the entrance into the local news market with a committed and activist view. 

‘Amatuer” or mass news sites are now possible, Facebook pages can be turned into submission news sites. Anyone can now be a “managing editor” of a site focusing on specific issues or global issues. 

Network journalism or participatory journalism is here, laypeople can write articles, contribute reports and videos to sites. Ideas from viewers can lead to article topics for professional journalists. Journalism loses its elite past, it now becomes more democratic and open linked to readers and the community.

THE INTERNET AS A NEW ECONOMY
New economies can be built with the help of the internet -- new buying and selling, new stock markets, new investing, new advertising, new charity, new nonprofits. After the failure of capitalism and communism, new economies are needed. The web would be a primary tool to create new business and finance. A 21st century economy would start on the internet.

THE INTERNET AS SCHOOLS
A major function of the internet is education and this is recognized, and this purpose can only continue to grow. Education can never be emphasized too much, education is one of the most important needs for an evolving Human being. 

For activists the internet can provide schools in organizing skills, an understanding and methods of personal psychology, techniques of creativity, specific knowledge in a myriad of fields from business to economic systems to education to government.

 THE INTERNET AS A REVOLUTION IN SELF GROWTH
You can use the internet as a diary of your self-development. Review your blog or site or Facebook page, analyze your growth. In the age of the textual platform, few actually wrote diaries or journals. Now hundreds of millions do. We have the possibility today of more self growth. Our thoughts, emotions, sensations, intuitions, memories and actions are all recorded. 

Socialization through chats, dialogue and debate increase the speed of our self learning and help us accumulate a great deal of ideas and information. Through our communications with others we learn and assimilate at an accelerated rate.

The process of personality evolution can now be sped up. This was not possible just a few years ago. Now millions can review their writings and feedback, and make summations about themselves. The development of identity and emotional knowledge and wisdom are much more intensive than in the past age. 

If we come to conclusions faster about ourselves, then we can make decisions and make leaps much faster. We can now track our growth in a more systematic way. What you have written in the past is not nonsense; it is a record of your growth. We all grow; we all discard some things and retain others; this is the process. We all develop stage to stage. The internet speeds up your evolution as a Human being, speeds up your attainment of wisdom.

THE INTERNET AS MOVEMENT SELF-GROWTH
As said above, the same ideas and methods of self growth apply to a movement’s growth. Groups, activists and parties can learn more quickly, they can assimilate ideas faster. The internet can constantly increase the IQ of a movement so that it becomes ever more sophisticated in program, vision, strategy, organization and tactics. The old period where parties and activists tended toward dogmatism and inflexibility, retreating into a comfortable shell are all over.

THE INTERNET AS DIRECT DEMOCRACY
“Reconstitution” is the idea of creating a new constitution for a nation to create a genuine democracy, a direct democracy of popular control.

Reconstitution is a very big task. When it will come and how is not clear. Probably it will occur at the local level first, from city/county to state/province upwards to a national/ federal level. But it is hard to say today.

But what can we do to prepare for a direct democracy right now? Beside the discussion of its core ideas, we can use the internet to create forums where individuals seriously take up the investigation, discussion and debate of important issues, with the idea of voting upon policies and suggested legislation. We can develop a process to design legislation with the help of experts. We can dialogue about the various options and then choose an option, develop it in detail, then revise it, if upon second thought it is problematic. Such a practice would keep us informed on current issues, propel us into social activism, and develop our skills as future citizens in a direct democracy which will inevitably come.


THE INTERNET AS ADVICE, COUNSELING AND SUPPORT
We all need help through our personal difficulties at times, this is a major issue in life.  We have periods of depressions, loss of enjoy and motivation, we have identity confusion, we do not understand our emotions or how to manage them and so on. The internet can provide links to professionals, to experts, to mentors, to those who have the same problem, so that one can have advice, counseling and support in real time.

Today’s internet does provide this service, but what is needed is something bigger, organized and standardized.  We need to move beyond a disparate collection of thousands of sites toward a reliable, sanctioned, accredited, and standardized set of services offered by skilled and experienced professionals.

As of yet this service has not been developed but activists and all individuals would certainly benefit from such an internet leap.

THE INTERNET AS A DIFFERNCE ENCYCLOPEDIA AND UNITED FRONTS
Wikipedia is a site that offers consensus based articles, a consensus encyclopedia that offers as singular view on a subject. The traditional method of an encyclopedia offers views of an expert but without other competing views on a subject. Neither form excels at variety and debate. 

What activists, both political and cultural, need is difference and debate. The current “forum” is fine for airing opinions in a limited format. But when thousands of serious minded people are studying, striving and searching then we might need something new, something that provides some singular unity but something that also offers a venue for differences and debate in a serious, scientific and organized way. 

Such sites would represent reality, the reality of millions of brains and many points of view. And because reality is itself many sided and complex, such sites would reflect the diverse nature of issues and all phenomena. 

Difference is a good thing. And consider that difference is true thought itself because repetition of an idea is not thinking, it is a form of memory of an idea’s logic and its deductive process, but this is not true analysis, it is regurgitation. 

This kind of forum could take discussion to a higher level beyond just conversation to deeper thought, more critical thinking, to more research and experiment, to more creative behavior. 

The internet has the possibility of going far beyond current facilities in their treatment of ideas. To avoid the extremes of consensus and only one expert opinion, there is a third idea, which would be a tool of uniting large communities yet offering a venue to state and argue differences. 

This we might call a “difference encyclopedia” or “diverse encyclopedia” for the purposes here. This type of site has mediators would conduct discussions with the two goals -- one of achieving some general agreements on issues; second in elucidating differences, minority positions, and identifying schools of thought. We would have debates by laypeople and opinions offered by experts. Associated with discussions would be research and publishing and other resources. 

An important goal of mediators is to prevent sectarianism and disconnection, to open up minds and jettison dogma. We know because the internet offers only a partial form of relationship among Humans that a tendency to dismissive behavior is a temptation. 

A difference encyclopedia does not gloss over differences, and at the same time asks can we unite though we have differences? It lays bare all things. Then as principled and thinking people we can come to honest conclusions. This is a new kind of “encyclopedia” that is living, mass, full of debate and opinion, evolving, compelling and bonding. This activist encyclopedia is not a thing but is essentially a process. It could cover a vast list of topics like a conventional encyclopedia. 

The overall mission of a difference encyclopedia is to create broad united fronts of individuals, of thinking and principled people. It creates behaviors of intelligent unity and respect for differences. This site would be an expression of diverse thinking. And its process is an exact parallel with the process of differentiation in the world; the difference encyclopedia accepts difference, and generates more difference, and revels in it. 

And this process produces more information, more creativity and pushes the evolution of theory and science. People will grow, modify views, assimilate concepts and sometimes reject former views. We will get to a state of detached wisdom where we will grasp that many views are not in contradiction at all and they can be collected into a large toolbox of ideas and methods and strategies. 

Of course, these sites must start from some common principles, the supporters cannot simply be anybody like those who hate diversity or love war or could care less about nature or think only of money and materialism. But in this select group there is the potential for millions upon millions of people, there will be a full spectrum of diverse opinion and perception. There is no shortage of issues in our world. 

These and many other ideas are possible because of the internet. The web is not simply a means of communication in the old sense. It is a tool of Human relationships and Human growth. And in the end it becomes indistinguishable from culture and a nation, it all merges into one thing. 

For activists the internet offers an incredible advantage, and for elites the internet is a great bit of misfortune – the old epoch where information and relationships were controlled is gone. They can try to limit its historical function but they will not succeed in the end. 

Upon an infrastructure of modern communications we can build a superstructure of revolutionary institutions.


Cage Innoye

1 comment:

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