TED & the “earth of things”

What could it mean for the “earth of things” to “resume its rights” at this moment, in William James’s vision of the pragmatic reformation whose gravity-shift will mark a new epoch?

James obviously didn’t foresee online video, but he was confident we’d do well to pay more attention to one another (and less to Plato’s unseen “intelligible world of Ideas”).

Chris Anderson’s answer to James’s vital question, then: the new seat of authority is yours & mine, and it’s taking the form of “crowd-accelerated innovation.” As he says, “our future is many to many.” We’re all teachers now. As Older Daughter would say: let’s not suck at it.

We live at a moment when it is possible to inspire ourselves on a global scale, in real time. Inspiration need not be sought in the remote reaches of the empyrean, it’s all around us down here on the ground. It’s visible, and only a click away. There are lots of great lower-case ideas here. It feels less and less like a darkened cave. The lights are on, our passions are on display.


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3 Responses to “TED & the “earth of things””

  1. Harrison Shields Says:

    That Kibira piece at the end of the TED talk was both tremendously moving and inspiring! I will definitely be sharing this with others. The fact that we can directly observe James’ prediction about “the earth of things” becoming fulfilled in ever-increasing qualities and quantities provides hope that the pendulum of our future can be swung from degeneration/enslavement/extinction for the mass of humanity to sustainable and co-operative life for our descendents for millinia to come (10+?).

  2. osopher Says:

    We need all the glimmers of hope we can get! But of course the “earth of things” is above all the earth of creative and constructive individuals and communities (not of abstractions and “Ideas”). It really is exciting to feel the center of gravity shifting, while all the Tea Party sideshow nonsense rages and diverts our attention from the longer-term movements happening right under our feet.

  3. E Boston Says:

    Exciting, yes, but just the tip of the iceberg of change the next couple of decades is going to bring. The question is not whether technology will enable such changes, but whether human organization will rise to the occasion. If we focus our innovation on social solutions, we need not worry that our technology will be insufficient. Can we make the necessary social changes in the present to allow our technology to work for the benefit of us all? Or will we succumb to inaction and allow the changes to pass us by with benefit only to a lucky few? That, I believe is the role of philosophy (of us as philosophers), and the vital question of this age.

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