So? Anybody Interested in Changing the World?

The people who don’t believe the world can be changed will say there’s no way it can be done.

They’ll say there’s no point.

They’ll ask you – ‘Who do you think you are?’

Ignore them.

The people who think the world can be changed will be willing to keep trying things until we work out how to attempt it.

This is a very interesting talk by Clay Shirky on how we all might start to change the world and how some people have already started…

and just to add to your tool-box –

And finally – a more recent talk by Clay Shirky – this is longer (but will download as a podcast from the Big Ideas site – here – Clay Shirky – Cognitive Surplus, so you can listen later) and it is really a very good sweeping look at the ‘new’ media.

 

17 Comments

  1. Shirky’s ‘got the message.’ And as I’ve mentioned earlier, a stampede toward online ‘education’ has just begun. And forget past formalities (like age, gender, or tuition). Who you are, what you are, where you are, or what you know (or don’t) will make ‘virtually’ no difference. Want to learn a language? Fix the carburetor on a 1984 Mini Cooper? Watch a quadruple bypass performed by the ‘Yo Yo Ma’ of surgery (e.g., someone who may never have gone to medical school, and knows absolutely nothing about calculus)? Want to see the latest examples of pedal-powered urban vehicles, or how to charge your batteries while exercising, or countless other adaptive ‘pedal’ applications…developed by people mainly working in their garages? Just go to YouTube and do a search on ‘rocket stoves’ for example, or producing hydrogen using photosynthesis in artificial ‘leaves.’ Then imagine the development of ‘open source’ online laboratories that will enable people to collaborate worldwide…including countless kids who either aren’t old enough (or have the money for tuition) to get access to a university (or any other conventional lab facility…working on projects collectively, from their computer at home.

    It is beginning to happen, and will soon turn into a ‘firestorm’ of cooperative, worldwide engagement. And, most importantly, it is beginning to leave conventional (limiting) factors such as age, gender, wealth, political or religious affiliation, etc., in the dust. It is in fact, creating a world-wide community like no one could ever have imagined in the past. Like I said…hang on to your hat! 😉

    (Unless, of course, those still clinging to conventional institutions (political, educational, religious, cultural, etc.) succeed in blowing the place up first.)

    1. What a great description, William! I don’t know if you’ve had a chance to listen to the long TVO talk but he makes somes excellent points in that about how things are changed beyond anything anybody (except maybe Marshall McLuhan) could have second-guessed. In terms of the powers-that-be blowing us up – well that’s definitely on the cards but as we are all poverty-stricken hopefully we’ll be too poor to buy weapons?

      1. “…hopefully we’ll be too poor to buy weapons?” How smart you are! In fact that is by far the largest worldwide ‘collaborative engagement’ ongoing; i.e., how can we best work together to reduce the world to an impoverished wasteland? Easy. Just keep doing what we’re doing!

        So yes, for sure…the biggest ‘bomb’ we’ve got (and growing more ‘explosive’ by the day) is the dwindling supply of fuel needed to sustain the growth of La La Land. More specifically, to sustain the rapacious, fuel-intensive agriculture (and related transportation requirements) that’s needed to feed an exponentially growing world population. Not to mention all the other ‘wannabe’ accouterments associated with ‘living the good life’ (as currently defined by the ‘developed’ world). As I’ve said before, it all comes down to what’s in your pantry…and how it gets there. Because that’s the only meaningful ‘real-world’ measure of self-responsibility. Can you feed yourself? And if not, why not?

  2. I am sitting in the former East Berlin right now and I have serendipitously revisited this old post of yours which gives me enormous faith that anything and everything is possible.We just have to do something (even something small like writing something that makes people think).

    1. I am sitting here in Ireland reading this and want to thank you for writing things that make me think. I really appreciate your comments – they have always been so helpful to me – and I am sure you are contributing fantastically to the well-being of the world. And I hope you are well and happy 🙂

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