Saturday, October 16, 2004

connections

in the crease and i were talking about james burke's show connections that was on the learning channel when we were whippersnappers. incidentally, you can buy the dvds here if you have the disposable income. anyway, i also came across this speech that he gave for the smithsonian associates on the limitations of our current innovation architectures (i.e., specialization). i thought it was pretty interesting:

this new way of generating information really seperates and isolates the specialist community, whose work becomes increasingly subdivided and less comprehensible. and the way to success in this new reductionist noodler's paradise is to learn more and more about less and less. more true today than ever before: a pal of mine at oxford got his doctorate in milton's use of the comma. you laugh, he's now the head of the english department at a major american unversity. because he did, he did what reductionism requires you to do to be a success: make your specialist niche so incomprehensible that nobody else but you understands what it is, and so narrow in focus that there's only room in there for you...and your comma.
[...]
all i'm suggesting is that there might be other kinds of talent that we have not been organizationally and technically able to make use of until now. partly because reductionalist specialism has been so tremendously successful that it has been, if you like, institutionalized. organizations have done this very effectively throught the division of labor, departmentalization...that stuff. other modes of thought having been through history discouraged for very good historical reasons: we had no other choice. there wasn't the technology around. the argument that i am making is because of those technological constraints, the top down decision making processes and all that, up to now, we have lived with and accepted what you might describe as a culture of scarcity. at any time, there was never either the technology available or the need to involve more than a few people in the process. and with 99.9% of the human race illiterate up till this century, and their requirements through history little more than basic survival requirements, it became a given that innovative and self expressive talent was a rarity. but see that in the light of what i said earlier: that this aristocracy of talent might have been no more than an artifact of the very limited technology available at any time.

6 Comments:

At 10:41 PM, Blogger In the Crease said...

Hey man, keep me out of your nerd related submissions. I keep strictly to predicting the next 'it' girl and pissing on people in the subway.

 
At 10:41 PM, Blogger In the Crease said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 10:42 PM, Blogger In the Crease said...

And why the hell does it keep posting double comments?!

 
At 11:10 PM, Blogger Jesus Henry Christos said...

are you double clicking on the button or something?

 
At 11:32 PM, Blogger In the Crease said...

If, when you say 'double click', you mean 'playing with myself'; and when you say 'button', you mean 'to a picture of your dad',...then yes.

 
At 11:44 PM, Blogger Jesus Henry Christos said...

dear sir, i beseech you, is such depravity necessary?

 

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