it's about TIME 11.14.2005, 6:38 AM
posted by bob stein
on tuesday Tom De Zengotita came over to williamsburg to have lunch with the insitute. Tom teaches philosophy at Dalton and NYU and recently published a terrific book, Mediated, about modern media's profound effects on the human psyche and culture.
we invited Tom to lunch to discuss a new project we're thinking about -- how to use the web to encourage discussion about the BIG QUESTIONS facing humanity. we'll write much more about this soon, but i couldn't wait to mention one point that Tom made that's really got me thinking.
Tom said "It's about TIME." if we are going to be serious about confronting big, first order questions, we have to be willing to put in the time to go deeply. we actually have to read the material; we have to wrestle with the ideas; we have to follow through.
this of course runs counter to our current mediated existence which favors shallow surfing over digging deep. i wonder if a sea-change is possible?
gary frost on November 14, 2005 9:49 PM:
Is the meaning of the surrogate derived from the original, and if so or if not, what is the continuing role of the original in the context of digital delivery? Of course I would love to imagine that facsimile, amid its various guises, accessories and underlying images, simply reveals new meaning inherent in the original. This is appropriate sequentially, that no facsimile is possible without an original, but the problem is that there is another process in which the copy becomes its own original, prompting new reading and relegating the source original to a phantom status.
Confirming the continuing role of the source original is the challenge we face in validating preservation services. The key word here is continuing. Without persistent functionality we may as well scan and discard and defer to our culture of disposability.
Time or persistence is a key factor. Others are legibility and navigation. When a range of reading skills is accomplshed and applied they compile into some kind of perspective. The book has a built-in ergonomic of comprehension at work.
Christine Boese on November 15, 2005 3:06 PM:
Ooh, I love the idea of introducing big questions into the space of this blogosphere public square.
Now Bob, aren't you sort of pre-empting or poaching on the space of disciplines like philosophy, who talk about big questions all the time? Would this public space for big questions re-invent the wheel, as if all the disciplinary work in philosophy did not come before?
Academic lit reviews may be boring parts of the form, but they do acknowledge that other people are asking and doing work in the same areas.
just being a devil's advocate [G]
bob stein on November 15, 2005 9:58 PM:
this project isn't necessarily aimed at the blogosphere, per se. it's a broader question of how to encourage a public discussion on big questions facing humanity. although i don't consider this the private domain of philosophers, you'll notice the first mention of this on if:book comes in the context of a discussion with an impt. contemporary philosopher, tom de zengotita.
tom's comment that "it's about TIME" referred to the fact that if anyone wants to understand these questions at the depth necessary to make a difference that you've got to be willing to expend a certain amount of effort.