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  • Profile photo of nmw

    nmw 14:23:18 on 2016/12/18 Permalink
    Tags: , , engaged, , , , , , , , , , mission, mission statement, , , , ,   

    The Rationality of Literacy 

    Over the past couple months, I have worked on developing a mission statement for one of my overarching goals – something like a „life goal“. Initial attempts were quite abstract, and I was greatly helped by the very considerate feedback of friends.

    In the intervening weeks since those first trials, I have kept the general aim present but I have focused on it much less. Over the past several days, I have received several ideas from other sources – more or less haphazardly, which have motivated me to reconsider this particular life goal again from a new perspective.

    For people who have been following my writing for several years, it should be no surprize that literacy is really at the crux of my thinking about many topics, and also with respect to this particular life goal for which I want to craft a mission statement. One thing that has been „bugging“ me for the past year or two is how my focus on literacy is considered by many – indeed, including myself – to be a non-human matter. In this view, reading, writing and arithmetic are technologies and therefore lack the warmth of flesh-and-blood human beings. Code and language are inert, not living things, and they cannot ultimately provide meaning in the same way as interaction with other humans can – as humans (so this argument) we are, after all, social animals.

    This view, however, interprets technology from a very parochial point of view. According to this perspective, technology is merely an artefact, a curiosity, a product… albeit of human ingenuity. We pound nails not because there is anything interesting about doing so, but merely because doing so makes our lives easier from the results of applying such technologies. There is nothing interesting about iron or steel per se, but rather such materials are only interesting insofar as they can be manipulated into helping to make nails, just as nails are only interesting insofar as they can be used to build more things. As an aside: It might make sense to think about how the technologies we use also create threating things – such as global warming, nuclear waste, AIDS and/or many other problems.

    Yet let me not drift away from the current issue – crafting my mission statement. I view language and literacy somewhat differently than most… and over the years, my thinking about these things has also undergone continued development and refinement. While I have long known (or believed) that language cannot be owned (e.g. by a monarch) or dictated (e.g. to the masses), I am now at a point where I feel it may be useful to extrapolate beyond this rather mundane and obvious fact to recognize a „rationality of literacy“, in which people make a rational decision to engage with each other via linguistic technologies. In this vein, literacy is also not simply owned or attained, but rather it is practiced (or – in the case of illiteracynot practiced).

    This is important because it redirects our attention away from the ownership of resources to the actual use of such resources. To give a concrete example: In order to engage with „cars“, it is not necessary to own cars. Engagement with cars can also happen when someone references cars. Statements like „cars are good“ or „cars are bad“ are social expressions insofar as there is agreement within a society regarding what these words (and expressions) mean.

    Likewise, our level of engagement with a topic can be as small or as large as our involvement with various other social institutions related to that topic. We might simply talk about cars with very little engagement, or we might become much more involved with cars by joining organizations that deal with them and associated technologies. Our involvement with „cars“ may lead us to become involved with „pedestrians“, „streets“, „roads“, „highways“, „infrastructure“, „pollution“, „global warming“ and many other topics, too.

    We do not need to become dictators in any of these arenas. It is completely sufficient to simply engage – to participate in the social construction of the reality related to each of these terms. It ought to be quite plain to see that the reality we thereby create in one arena might not be the exact same reality created in another arena. There might be nuanced differences, but there might also be meaningful relationships between and among the various arenas.

    Increased engagement in more and more arenas goes hand in hand with increased literacy. These two phenomena are crucially related: You cannot have one without the other (that is, at least, a hypothesis I am venturing here).

    This thinking is what leads me to venture that the mission statement I need probably goes something like: My mission is to promote literacy – in order to increase community engagement and social cohesion, and also in order to motivate humans more towards alignment and harmony with natural evolution.

     
  • Profile photo of nmw

    nmw 16:20:02 on 2016/07/03 Permalink
    Tags: analysis, analytic, analytical, analytics, authenic, authenicated, authenicity, , , , , counterfeit, , engaged, , engaging, , , , , , imposter, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , qualitative, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    Sign My Guestbook + The Rationality of the Written Word 

    I enjoy following Chloe Thurlow’s writings and musings very much. Whenever I start reading, then I am quite sure that my time will be well spent. I am sad that her chloethurlow.com website is sometimes blocked when I am at work or at some other public computer, because writing on my phone is a truly laborious task which I would rather not engage in at all.

    Recently Chloe asked whether I might be willing to write something – meaning: for the chloethurlow.com audience. Obviously, yes! But it turns out willing and able are two very different things. What I immediately came up with was nothing less than „Painfully empty“ – at least that’s how I like to describe it.

    I have had other people ask me whether I might consider writing for „their“ websites. I usually decline, though, for several reasons. One reason is usually meant ironically – I use this when the person asking is a fan of Google: „they can just search“ (LOL)… and then of course the fans are forced to admit that would be logical, and perhaps they also realize how bogus the whole notion of Google is (though in some cases, I think that part whooshes right by above their heads).

    Another reason is that I would feel like an impostor. If people visit chloethurlow.com, wouldn’t they be disappointed to hear me preaching from that pulpit? As soon as I opened my mouth I would half expect my face to be pelted with tomatoes and rotten eggs. Cake wouldn’t be bad, as long as it tasted good.

    This brings me to the way I see and use „the web“. This is rather complicated, so if you don’t care then now would be a good time to stop reading. 😉

    In the early days of the web, there was this notion of „please come over to my place – and when you visit, then please sign my guestbook, post a comment“ … which was all more or less the precursor of: „please like my crap“. About a decade ago, Google made a quite significant change to the way they viewed content on the web. They introduced the concept of meaningless, insignificant blather. Of course they would probably say something like „we gave you a tool to deal with comment spam“. At the time, I was shocked that people would be willing to point out that the information on their own websites was insipid, useless, insignificant and probably a waste of your time (and certainly not worth the time for Google’s robots to scan it at the rate of fractions of a penny per pentillion). I knew then and there that this would be the end of comments. At the time, I was flabbergasted.

    Today, I look back and think: What a good thing! I don’t want to host your content. If you have something meaningful to share, then host it yourself. If you don’t have a dime, see if you can post it on some website that is willing to accept your thoughts for nothing (but don’t be so naive to think they won’t sell your private, personal parts to make money on it).

    When I want to share ideas, I see no reason to submit them to „other“ websites.

    What is an „other“ website?

    An other website is a site that I have very little or no control over. People need to get over thinking in black and white terms. You do not own your own website. People don’t own land. They use it. You don’t own me. If I feel like typing in chloethurlow.com rather than facebook.com that is entirely my decision. It is nothing other than my own rational behavior which motivates me to type in „weather“ when I want to learn about the weather. If I wanted romance, I would type in romance. I rarely type in Google.

    When I write, I expect people to be similarly rational. When Ella and Louis sang „Let’s call the calling off off“, they were declaring how relationships and meaning intertwine on a level that has little or nothing to do with individual pronunciation but everything to do with shared engagement with shared ideas. While I might seek to engage with romance, I might avoid engaging with brand names… and a big part of such a decision has to do with participating with people who perhaps think like I do, or perhaps think different – but in any case who care enough to become engaged.

    One important takeaway from this view of the web is an orientation towards language over a brand name orientation. Another – which is actually sort of a corollary – is that saying something like „you can contact me at so-and-so“ becomes meaningless. You can contact me at many locations, because I am engaged with many topics. I am not just here or there, I am almost everywhere.

     
  • Profile photo of feedwordpress

    feedwordpress 12:46:07 on 2013/11/10 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , carpe diem, , , , , currency, current, , engaged, , exist. existence, , , , , , , , , real time, realtime, , , seize the day, sponsor, sponsors, , ,   

    How to create your future 

    Today, when people use retard media to search for what was created in the past — whether that be 5 minutes ago or 5 years ago — many will sub-consciously realize that search engines like Google have no interest in giving away a free lunch, and so they are inclined to click on so-called “sponsored results” because they think that if someone is willing to pay a lot of money to show up on Google, then they must be smart, right?

    In my opinion, paying money to show up in retard media websites mainly shows the type of audience you wish to address. People who pay to show up in Google attempt to address everyone… many do not realize that smart people do not waste their time on Google.

    Speaking of wasting time, there are probably just as many people — if not even more — wasting their time on other retard media websites like Facebook, where neither future nor past exist. The only thing that exists on these websites is the present, and many of the people do not realize that the present they see is the one that is being advertised.

    The truly revolutionary future will be neither televised nor advertised — it will simply be created. Poor ideas, gimmicks and hoaxes are likely to show up at Google and Facebook as “sponsored results” or “sponsored stories”, but the sponsors (advertisers) have little or no control over who is going to see the message or story as intended. Google and Facebook are very secretive about their censorship algorithms (Google actually calls these “search algorithms” in order to further mislead the naive public with their hoax).

    People and companies who take their own future into their own hands do not let an intermediary interfere with their communications. Instead, these people and companies will seek to engage with each other in the near future (and also in the more distant future) by expressing their intentions in the present. Messages do not propagate immediately (in so-called “real time”), there is always a certain degree of lag.

    Among the most effective channels of propagation are Wisdom of the Language websites (and Wisdom of the Language websites are usually also among the most efficient channels). For example, weather.com probably has the most up-to-date information about weather (from a commercial source), and also the most comprehensive information, the most reliable information, etc. The community of people and companies who gather here are presumably all engaged in some way or other with the “weather” topic… whether currently or in the near or more distant future.

    Yet one thing is certain: When, at some point in the future, someone seeks to engage with a topic, then that person will find only information that has been shared previously. In other words, to create the future, you must share your ideas about it beforehand. No better time than the present — why not do it now?

    The longer you remain silent, the longer it will take for you to come into existence. If you do not speak up now, then the chance that you will not be heard or listened to — that you will essentially not exist — tomorrow is far greater than if you seize the day today.

     
  • Profile photo of feedwordpress

    feedwordpress 10:20:01 on 2013/06/24 Permalink
    Tags: , , , corporate identity, , engaged, , , personal brand, personal branding,   

    Are you engaged? 

    The ideas here are a sort of mashup of different conversations I’ve had with various people — maybe you might recognize some of your own thoughts in here, but none of this is really “quoted” or attributable to a single person. It harkens back to something I wrote about a week ago, but I’m also taking this off on a tangent towards a new space.

    If you are engaged, then that means you are involved with something else. It isn’t possible for you to be engaged and at the same time for there to be no trace of your engagement. You can write all you want on your resumé or curriculum vitae, but if there are no repercussions of your action “out there”, whether “in real life” or online, then all of your words are just dreamy fantasies.

    If the only place you exist online is at your personal name (i.e., your personal brand name — something like “First Name – Last Name dot com”), then that means you are only engaging with yourself. Sure, being in touch with yourself is all good and fine, important too, but it means little or nothing to society, the world, the universe, whatever.

    Have you ventured out outside of your own skin today? Where to? Were the interactions fruitful? Did your engagement with others lead to results? Whether you interpret such results as “positive” or “negative” is entirely up to you — in any case you would have learned something new, and you would have cared about something, and probably also interacted with someone in some way. You would have been engaged.

    If you think you need to devote more attention to your personal brand name, then here’s another hint: Your brand means little or nothing — it will only mean something as the result of actual engagement. All of the hot air you blurt into retard media channels… no one pays attention to that.

     
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