A few moments to write

Writing used to happen in the moment. It was an act that occurred at the moment of inspiration. Life seems to be getting more complex. Even the simple act of writing has to be scheduled. It happens in those quiet moments that seem to be growing more and more illusive. It happens during that time that seems stolen from other things.

We make contributions in different ways. Some contributions are directly associated with the academy. We truly do stand on the shoulders of intellectual giants that have helped gather the collective insights of our society. Those building blocks set the foundation of how we understand and interact with the world. They build out the very foundations of our social structure. They link us together and set the rules for how work together. 

The intersection of technology and modernity is both miraculous and confounding. We have a dense and rich social fabric that brings us together and allows us to work together and it sets the foundation for us to grow apart. Certain elements bring us closer together. Trust for example defines our togetherness and our collective need to strive toward a better future. I can remember reading Francis Fukuyama’s book Trust (1995) in graduate school. That treatise left me thinking about how and why social changes occur. It left me wandering about the foundations of why people elect to work together toward common purposes or why they drift apart. It let me wondering if economics are inherently related to personal choices vs. grand plans or political ideas. It left me thinking about trust as a central social building block.

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On being completely present

Daunting as the blank page can become that will never be a valid excuse for inaction. Working in real-time is the only way to be completely present. That is the key to moving forward. That is the key to striving toward a better tomorrow. A massive to do list can overwhelm even the most creative people. Illusory rewards from multitasking have diminished the overall creative output of generation. Barriers to creativity have been destroyed within the digital age. A grand digital divide stands between those with the tools to create the frontier and those who have no access to that frontier or the tools to participate. However, more and more people have access to the tools necessary to get things done. That output has become an overwhelming wall of content that relies on the wisdom of the crowd to push things to the forefront of our socially connected digital world.

On technology and modernity

Information is everywhere. Information has become very accessible. The intersection of technology and modernity has changed the very fabric of society. Learning used to be something that had to be demanded. You had to show up and seek knowledge. The table has turned and the information that ultimately translates into knowledge is now available on demand. Learning is for better or for worse now a function of individual motivation. We exercise preferences for all sorts of things. We make a choice everyday about how much time we will spending accessing the grand repository of knowledge contained within the internet. We make that choice every day.

Academics throughout the history of scholarly pursuit have contributed to the academy. The test of time, academic review principles, and publishers have contributed to a gatekeeping process that curated the academy. In some ways the academy is timelines and remains the same, but the world that interacts with the academy has fundamentally changed. The supply of accessible information has increased exponentially. Content exists that is not hidden behind any gates and content exists that has few barriers to access. Outside of that wealth of information scholars are still actively contributing to the academy.

Those ongoing contributions are what drew my attention today. We live in an interesting time. Content is everywhere. People are engaging in all sorts of interesting research. Narratives exist to explain and evaluate a variety of very real phenomena. I’m focused on locating current development of grand theories that try to explain everything. I’m not talking about a unified field theory or a grand shift in our understanding of physics. I’m talking about the current development of grand theories within the social sciences.

Weblog Notes for 20101031

My preferred unit of blogging involves developing daily entries. Sometimes a subject of particular interest will inspire a complete standalone weblog entry. Most days involves a series of events that grind forward into the intersection of technology and modernity. In any event, I have decided to begin to reengage in the daily process of producing weblog posts. After suffering from an acute case of hypergraphia for decades, I have noticed that actively working with a weblog provides a forum to channel the desire to write in a healthy and productive way.

In a recent Tweet I wrote, “Who will be participating in no shave November? I am considering the possibilities…” No Shave November could be an interesting event this year. The rules of the game are straightforward and exceptionally simple; avoid shaving during the entire month of November. Growing a beard has never been a probable and certainly does not represent a significant challenge.

Google Election Center (A Google Labs project) seems to be an interesting project.