Sunday, 4 May 2014

The Connectivity Revolution

I stumbled into Seth Godin today. Have you heard of him?

I had. Well, in the name-drop, flash across the screen or bookstore sort of way. I thought he was a comedian. The only comedians I follow aren't exactly active in the comedy business anymore (the comedians to which I refer, being Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry).

Anyway, so I stumbled into this fantastic post of his via another blog of a stuck-somewhere-in-the-middle twenty-something. Milk the Pidgeon. He mentioned this post by Seth Godin:

The forever recession (and the coming revolution)


 It Short-Circuited My Mind.  


(Note: *Few* things do this. It sits on the Hand with JRR Tolkien, an Old English poem "The Wanderer," the Philosophies of Alchemy a la Fullmetal Alchemist and recently, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead).


The gist of it was this:


The world is less about having stuff, showing it off in front of people, in order to be successful. 


The world is more about creating stuff, sharing it, discussing and recreating it, with people in order to be successful. 


Also: This is a revolution on the historic and drastic change scale that the Industrial Revolution was.

Not in the fire and brimstone and burning book sense. Sillies. We love knowledge. Let's share it together. This is the Temple of Apollo at Didyma, near modenr Didim in Turkey.

Awesome to realize right? Of course. Hence the short-circuit of my mind. I am living in a huge historical moment. Things matter. I matter. There are possibilities. I just have to get off my butt. Locate them. Do them. And most of all, appreciate them.


And then I think about this: The Problem of "Gen Screwed" (as a CBC reporter labelled us recently): Us twenty-somethings are ridiculously educated and massively in debt, broke and/or living back with our parents (and siblings) because we cannot find a job no matter how hard we look (or, at least, one that is going to actually get us somewhere more than trapped in retail or restaurants for life). In short, where do we go from the picket-fence picture our parents grew up on and have tried to foist on us, a generation so connected to the world, school is starting to be not just metaphorically a prison but Literally.

Okay, so perhaps, it's starting to sound like I'm bemoaning my position at home, rent free, two degrees in five years, with no debt but very broke, and all that. Maybe I'm just another one of those lazy, spoiled twenty-somethings which is another chunk of labels the older generations are dumping on us. 


It's possible. Sure. Feel free to dump all your hate on me. I am who I am in the life that I am in. But who isn't spoiled for something? (In all senses of the word?) On the other hand, I was only hanging at home because I have access to a grand piano by which I could have completed my ARCT. Things happened though and I don't think I'll be doing it any time soon as I would much rather cart off either England or Japan to teach as I am aiming to do. (I want to go to both eventually so I'm applying for both and then, waiting). So it's not like I don't have a direction that will get me some stability right? 


Wrong. Not really. I mean, who lives by hoping from job contract to job contract, country to country? 


Wrong. Again. Plenty of people. It's quite normal. Just not in backwards towns full of more retired baby boomers than actual babies. (Plus literal boats full of Albertans in the summer). See, in the town I grew up in, bless my parents for wanting to give me a carefully cultivated, four corners solid, white-picket fence life, with numerous siblings.


The only difference from the disgustingly sappy, fake black and white Pleasantville-esque creep world, is that I was raised with an ever growing pile of siblings. Three brothers until I was twelve, then finally a sister and by university, suddenly another brother and two sisters. So yes, for most of my life "growing up" I had three younger brothers, not that weird, but in Vernon, where the norm is one or two kids, it was certainly weird enough for people to consistantly express shock. Especially because "oh poor daughter, she's stuck with all those rowdy boys." 


Ha. I didn't care. I didn't like people much period. Loud. Messy sorts. I hide in my room. Eventually of course, I came to find people who were awesome. And like me. And that I could create my own creative messes with. But that didn't happen until I left the creepy life of Vernon. 


A life which warped me into thinking university was the only way to success. That suceess was only measured by your visible accomplishments like trophies, awards, scholarships, grades, certifications and the like. 


Thing is, to get back to Seth Godin, that's not the world anymore. The world is less about boxes and fences and more about climbing over them, making holes in them and shaking hands through them.


Nothing about how the world was in the past is ever going to get "better." It's just going to keep going on changing. A lot of people say it's going downhill, Seth Godin calls it the "forever recession" even but I like to call it the other term he uses: 


The Connectivity Revolution.


Nowadays it is honestly, purely down to utter laziness that someone says "I don't know," "I'm not sure," "I can't" etc. It's called the Internet. An endless pit of information and voices, constantly changing and constantly speaking. Loudly. Except in text. (So much kinder on the ears of an Introvert). 


Things is, all of that it shouldn't and generally isn't (if you're doing things right), staying in the form of pixels on the screen of your device. The people you talk to online. The places you see online. The knowledge you learn online. The things you discover online. 


It sits in your brain. It floats. It absorbs. It influences how you live. What you do, see, make, have and most of all, who you meet.


I can't say I am one of those people who made most of her friends online. But I can say I have quite a number who I have made online. A few, I have actually met in person. Most I have not. And then there are all of those friends I met in person first and keep in contact with online. 


Either way. I have connections with people that filter in and out of the online and physical worlds.


It is through these connections that I have started doing things with my life. Started being happy with it. Because of the people. Not the fences. Not the degrees. 


Because of the people. I have gone to Greece and Turkey. I have gone to many fandom conventions and embraced my geeky interests and the creative outlets it offers. I have become a better photographer and an amateur graphics designer. I have been involved in all sorts of communities of writers, like the amazing NaNoWriMo.  I have developed my debating skills through discussing meta in my favourite fandoms. I have inspired countless students (and my little sister) with creative activities inspired from the Steampunk movement, Indigenous values, world mythology, old-fashioned radio dramas and photography. I have shared this all in forums with other like-minded individuals and sometimes, just out there, in general, against those who think I'm unfit for my voice to influence the "futures" of society. 


I know I am missing much. Life is rich. Far richer than remodeling your kitchen to suit latest fashions, rather than your own taste, or building up a million credentials which you then find won't help you with squat because you would rather stand on your own merit and skill rather than that which some unidenfiable body with a single person or council at the head, deems suitable for society. 


No thanks. I'll take the world of the Internet any day. It's where things start. And I think we all need to go right back to the beginning. 


After all, were humans meant to live in boxes determined by someone, or some group, at some point in a past that can no longer stand strong in the face of what the world *actually* looks like when someone dials up the hue and saturation? 


The world is colourful. 


How about you start letting your life be like that too. 


What have you done Because of the People?




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