A momentous and ground-shaking global shift when millions and millions of ordinary people almost simultaneosly realizes that it´s actually possible to…(too be continued)
Jerry Silfwer, a.k.a Doktorspinn wrote a very clarifying blog post about the human API and the current advent of the cybernetic rennaissance yesterday. I´d like to comment by extending his web of thoughts a bit from what comes to my mind when reading it.
I personally believe that first and foremost it leads to an epidemia of existential crisises in the form of being confronted with the question Who Am I? Just this morning I happened to watch this very nice documentary about Carl Jung and his research into the unconscious mind via dreams recounted verbally, painted or measured by response time and association to certain trigger words amongst other methods. 14 minutes and 50 seconds into the movie there is a passage that very much resembles Jerry´s post in that it list and defines important concepts introduced by Jung such as introvert, extravert and persona. The latter is what I believe will be unveiled much faster than one can expect by our new everyday use of technology that enhances, and more importantly, makes available to observation, measurement and analysis of richer data about ourselves and our minds than Jung might even had been able to dream up himself. By chance (or what Jung probably would have, and I certainly do,call a meaningful coincidence (or synchronicity) I spotted Alexander Bard just a few minutes later on my way out from the Airport terminal. I know he doesn´t hold Jung in high regards and I couldn´t resist my impulse to tell him that I just came from speaking with my colleagues at Mediapilot in Norway urging them to read his and mr. Söderqvist’ book Netocracy (together with Douglas Rushkoff’s Program or be Programmed which takes off where McLuhan ) and tease him a little bit about this synchronistic chain-of-events (not sure that that part got through, though).
The third book The Body Machines the authors argues against the so-called Cartesian subject – i.e. that there is a core of ourselves behind the different roles that we play in different situations (our Personas with Jungs terminology). The quite recent discovery of neuroplasticity, that our actual biological matter of our brains changes according to our experiences, points in the direction that there might actually be no One True Answer to that question that lies behind so many of the ideas of “fixing” ourselves by repairing and cleaning up psychological wounds or mis-guided thought patterns, be it by psycho-analysis, positive psychology or inner child therapy etc.
If so, the Cybernetic Renaissance rather leads us to an existential crisis, the point between two different levels of complexity in our approach to dealing with our lives. With technology such as smartphones as extensions not of our senses, but of our very neural system (a.k.a brains) already here, it is not far fetched to envision that programming is a more useful metaphore than “fixing” or “repairing” ourselves and others. The idea is very much present in the today largely discredited approach to communication and personal development etc. called Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) but also the quite more sexy practices of life-logging and -hacking and personal productivity methodologies such as GTD that Jerry also mentions in his blog post.
The first step I believe is the current stepping into the mainstream of of using technology and social media to construct our own, mostly unconcious I assume, identities and thus making them available for systematic study, not only by universities and corporations funded with millions of dollars, but even individuals using free online services such as this free personal analytics tool from the Wolfram|Alpha. The algorithms that serve us personally selected ads and suggestions for content is already in full use and evolving as our feedback into the Internet is relentlessly crunched by machines and creatively categorized by human analysts.
The next logical step, I believe, is that a large enough portion of the population (the famous tipping point) realizes that they too can actually choose not only the level of intimacy of the pieces they put together in the puzzle that forms their projected persona, but also the whole framing of themselves and thus several of the most fundamental parts of what makes up our identities in our own and others eyes – our personality, our social status and even our whole belief systems. We makeup and make-up our own heroes journey and become Don, Peggy or any of the other characters in any of our conciously or unconciously choosen drama.
We´re not quite there yet, but I believe the speed of this fundamental shift of our understanding of ourselves as social beings will surprise us all. If this happens we will have combined both the external (such as computer processors) and the internal (such as self-talk and active imagination techniques) technologies. Or media, as I found that Marshall McLuhan interchangeably uses the term when media, and Kevin Kelly when he proposes the idea that Brian Solis, as Jerry puts out, is also advocating – that we ourselves can be interpreted as a myriad of medias – feeding a larger and more complex medium we call the Internet. And Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and his pre-decessor called the Noosphere. And then we´re really into really deep stuff, yet amazingly simply and straight-forwardly explained by philosopher Kevin Kelly in this TED talk from last year.
… re-design themselves and their experience of life together with each other in a somewhat bizarre, but endlessly exciting way. Or else, probably end up like this.PS.Thomas Bayes was probably onto something big. Based on the data and hypotheses we´ve got today.PPS.And we´ll soon see if the answer is really 42 and the next season of Mad Men.