Sunday, March 23, 2008

Am I free?

"These eight qualities require a new skill set. Success in the free-copy world is not derived from the skills of distribution since the Great Copy Machine in the Sky takes care of that. Nor are legal skills surrounding Intellectual Property and Copyright very useful anymore. Nor are the skills of hoarding and scarcity. Rather, these new eight generatives demand an understanding of how abundance breeds a sharing mindset, how generosity is a business model, how vital it has become to cultivate and nurture qualities that can't be replicated with a click of the mouse."
~ Kevin Kelly, The Technium

The above excerpt is from a blog entry that was brought to my attention by a co-worker and as I read it, I got really excited about the content.... This open sourcing business is on everyone's mind these days from libraries to artists to business people. Then I remembered how excited I get when someone tells me what I want to hear.

I think it wise to consider some of the points made by Prokofy Neva in the comments section below Kevin Kelly's blog entry.

Especially the part in mentioning that tired old saw that everyone keeps forgetting about in talking about technology. At the risk of being the kid shouting about the naked Emperor, what if the lights go out? Gas pumps pump on electricity too, you know. It's not like it could never happen! Everything just stops if there is no electricity. It is like the perfect storm for an end of the world scenario for the United States and makes me cloud over. I think we have all gone a little bit crazy living under the dark lord's reign of war terror. I think, too, there is a rat in the kitchen and no one wants to deal with the messiness of being self-sustaining. I see a two year old child frantically running away from a stern and over-bearing parent - off she scampers after the shiny free object with untied shoe laces - Untied States of America. In a decade, will people even know how to feed themselves if the power goes out? There are already some young people who do not know how to cook anything without a microwave. They have never even turned on a stove, let alone built a fire to boil water! We are doing ourselves a disservice in not understanding the value of balance and protecting our product; whether that product be art, democracy, our children or our ability to provide nourishment and care to our people....You know, the real ones who fall down and hurt themselves or are hit by a UPS truck delivering our Amazon order.

I think we get a little too excited and caught up sometimes. I know I do. The seizing of an opportunity and being the first and the best is both America's glory and her Achilles heel. We need to be tempered without being oppressed. We need guidelines and communication without banishment and berating for error.

There is a whole cross culture of people who get up everyday to an alarm clock and flesh out to make real what we take for granted like it just appears off of the internet! Billions of souls are maintaining the parts of the story where the rubber meets the road. It is a sorry statement of our values that we should forget that these people even exists. I think the second lifer fellow, Prokofy Neva, makes more than a few good points regarding our ease in accepting the concept of everything becoming free. I mean, seeing how good we all are in maintaining a democracy already! The quick fix if things run out of control is rather daunting and when you consider the consequences of just loosing electricity for 30 days ...well, Katrina and bin Laden spring to mind. Everything has a price in an economic based society. We ARE an economic based society, like it or not. It is a solid and fair question to ask and it requires debate: What will we pay for free?

Thanks to David Carmack Lewis for the use of the painting "Loser"