Friday, November 20, 1998 by Dave Winer.
Round and round and round we go and where we stop, no one knows!
Our ancestors left behind these little clues, catchy phrases, with no known author. We learned them as children, they made us laugh (because they're so true) and then as adolescents we tune in to how silly the adults are, looping round and round, and then as adults, we do it one more time.
Those loops. Gotta love em. They keep us from going anywhere.
Thinking isn't important, feeling is what's important.
Logic isn't important, intuition is what's important.
Science isn't important, perception is what's important.
This is pure bullshit!
When I want to sort these kinds of things out I try to find my grounding in the solar system, our galaxy and the universe.
Collectively we're a spec of dust. Mathematics is our connection with the rest of the universe. We can't travel to other solar systems or galaxies, but we can learn about our universe, by exploring the nature of gravity, matter, and light; and in doing so, connect with the rest of the universe in the only way we can.
I believe in science, and I think there is a science of humanity. We're the puzzle. We can't explore the depths of space, but we can explore the depths of ourselves.
Thinking is a big deal. I think all species do it. I wonder how scientists can say we're the only species that thinks. How could they possibly know?
Thinking must be rigorous. Challenge your assumptions. Separate beliefs from what you know. Be happy when you find a belief. Oh that's just something I believe! Then throw it away and focus on things you know.
An old IBM slogan, so simple. Think. Let's bring that one back.
How much thinking goes on on the Internet? There sure are lots of bits flying all over the place, more every day. We're in awe of our ability to make the bits fly around. Now, what messages are those bits carrying?
Oh Microsoft is evil. Java is a victim. Netscape is a victim. Mac is a victim. Over and over and over, until it makes my head nod with numbness. It's getting harder for me to get into it. On my home page, an endless series of links to stories of people hurting other people. A loop if there ever was one. An ugly dysfunctional one.
Maybe there are other places where people aren't so petty? Maybe it's time for me to make some new electronic friends. Show me where people are exploring the mysteries of the universe. Show me where people are learning, not blasting their beliefs, where people are asking questions and exchanging theories, without getting personal, without hurting others, without limiting them?
Show me where the thinkers are.
Some people, unfortunately, choose to be anti-this or pro-that, when few issues are that simple. These people assume everyone else is just like them, or exactly opposite from them. There are friends and there are enemies. This is vast oversimplification.
Some days it seems I hear from *all* these people. After four-plus years of writing DaveNets, I finally know what to do with these messages. No tricks, nothing up my sleeve. I just wish them luck in their future endeavors.
Sammy Sosa is a visionary. A home run hitter whose team made the playoffs. Yesterday, he won the most coveted award in baseball, most valuable player.
Mark McGwire is also a home run hitter. He may have a vision, but that vision wasn't realized last year. He hit a lot of home runs, but his team didn't win anything.
McGwire made the headlines, he won the perception game. A public opinion poll probably would have named him the MVP. But the baseball writers, the ones who choose the MVP, came to a different conclusion. I want to thank them for this. A vote for vision, for teamwork, for accomplishment, not perception of accomplishment.
Perception tells us more about the observer than what's being observed. We have an obsession with how things are perceived, as if our perception matters. It doesn't. Our bodies are a spec of dust. Gone in a flash. When we die our perceptions die with us.
Nothing new was ever invented or discovered in an opinion poll. An opinion poll said Truman would lose. So much for opinion polls.
We are fascinated with ourselves. What do you spend your time obsessing about? Do you think about life on other planets or do you think about a small group of humans living on this planet?
If there's a god, his message is clear. Humanity is about teamwork. We focus our attention and desires on each other. At our best, we look for the best in each other. That's why Sammy Sosa is such a good teacher because that's his message. I'm not great, McGwire is.
As a writer I'm looking for nirvana. I want to write and have my ideas just flow off my keyboard, onto your screen, with no effort, for either of us. I want this for other writers too.
I want more. I want a global web presence that expresses our individual visions and then I want my generation to have a vision, and thinking bigger, my species, and thinking even bigger, my planet.
I want us to be going somewhere, to have some self-determined vision. Our planet is looping around its sun. Every generation fails to wake up, fails to have a vision, and we end up going nowhere in particular.
Today I'm thinking about an alien living in some other galaxy, browsing the web, seeing a link to Earth, clicking on it, and finding something interesting.
What would that website look like? Who would be writing on that website, and what tools would they be using?