A Stumble-upon Moment Becomes Momentous.

I was up way too late for a Sunday night and browsing the net on my favorite blog-like site, clicking through some links to get the meat behind the stories they presented. Suddenly, a comment on a story that struck close to home links through to what appears to be a very simple site, but for what it lacks in design, it makes up for in content.

OK, so first a little background. Why would a person going into engineering say something so seemingly counter-intuitive? I am not going into engineering for the money, first off. I'm not even going into it for recognition. (Why will become clear if this works) I went into it to start on my journey to see if my idea would work. If I can show it does both in theory and prototype, then my vision is for the world to have it, and radically change the way people think about...many things hopefully. I'm in it to help all of us progress. I only guard the idea because of how others would ruin my vision by treating it like every other technology - a luxury on which few people get "rich" by managing who they can afford to over-charge and when.

So when I stumbled on this site (http://harmful.cat-v.org/economics/intellectual_property/) and started reading deeper, it all made entirely too much sense to me - as if this was a message I wanted to write, but couldn't articulate it as well. There's a piece there that goes on at length about the history and nature of our evolution into systems that no longer fit our ability to communicate, so I won't go into too much detail. I couldn't finish it that night, but wanted to read on well past my exhausted level. Essentially, it examines the conundrum of giving thinkers, dreamers and entertainers a way of making what they do a way to make a living in a world where the cost to share that information with others is lower than speaking the words, and reaches thousands of orders of magnitude more people in less time than it would take to express it all verbally. I don't have that answer, nor do I imagine this website does, but what I do believe is that we should be changing the way we look at ideas.

If all that had to happen between "Here's how you make X" and "Oh, you built X" was understanding the knowledge of X and the action to build it, we would be in a completely different and more progressive world. This is over-simplifying thins somewhat, as division of labor and some other aspects of modern society do help the ability to acquire X in less time than if you built one yourself, but I'm not talking about completely cutting out organized or centralized production. I'm talking about enabling all of us to pick up ideas on a whim and employ them as needs arise. Our knowledge now includes devices that "print" real objects - on of them even does metals. Given this knowledge and material distributed across the world, is there any problem a small group of people couldn't solve with the connections of the net? Instead of guarding knowledge, we could organize and translate it. Instead of prosecuting use, we could be instructing. We could go from a selfish attitude to helping each other be better and get a much better result in the end. Cultures would have friction initially, but there would be a smoothing into normalcy eventually.

But...we'll never see it in our lifetimes.

And that's the saddest realization I've ever come to.

FluidMind FluidMind
31-35, M
Feb 22, 2010