A presentation by James Williams: Freedom of Attention is a great talk on the ethics and philosophy of the modern “Information Economy.” I found this author in an article in the Guardian, by Johann Hari.
I need some hope. This article from The Atlantic provides some.
Happily, this future democratic city is not some far-off utopia. Its features derive not from an abstract grand theory, but from harsh experience. We often forget that the U.S. Constitution was the product of a decade of failure. By 1789, its authors knew exactly how bad confederation had been, and they understood what needed to be fixed. Our new internet would also embrace all of the lessons we have so bitterly learned, not only in the past 20 years but in the almost two centuries since Tocqueville wrote his famous book. We now know that cyberspace did not, in the end, escape the legacy of John Perry Barlow’s “weary giants of flesh and steel.” It just recapitulated the pathologies of the past: financial bubbles, exploitative commercialization, vicious polarization, attacks from dictatorships, crime.The Atlantic – “How to Put Out Demoncracies Dumpster Fire”
Perhaps I need a sockpuppet. I could work him with my left hand and he would follow me around and sing praise whenever I open my mouth or post something online. I can’t shower *myself* with praise. No way! That would be gross. But a good sockpuppet? No one will know it’s me. And everyone will hear all the great things he says about me and will join right in. More and more people will pile on. The likes and hearts and follows will explode. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll be propelled to the winner-take-all circle! Yes! That’s it, a sockpuppet.
This is now a Non-fungible Token (NFT) of an acrylic on canvas painting I created that was stolen from me in 1984. The original has not been recovered. This digital image is a copy of a photograph made before the theft, and I have edited and improved it myself with Photoshop, making the digital image unique. It has been stored on IPFS at ipfs/QmTgVWECtoYgLZj7m59LKgGST8sfqUdJ2Y9tJuGBPxfwDf/image.jpeg. The NFT was recorded on Ethereum at transaction 0x2b6559731eb9a4773af23aaf18de4743c20ee1be90c7e11c1489d13e2934ad77. The Rarible contract is 0x60f80121c31a0d46b5279700f9df786054aa5ee5 and the token ID is 966576.
Is it immoral to find beauty in these bleak woods? In invasive vines destroying ponderosa pines, slowly strangling them from the light, winding up and spreading out to take the sun, using years of tall majestic forest stands for selfish, greedy growth? Am I wrong? Am I wrong to love the grays and browns of spring without the glamorous celebrity floral flourish and bloom? Should I turn away from the icky twigs and twines of drying grass and seek more heroic views and spacious skies? I cannot do it. Beauty speaks straight on its own, immorally insistent on itself, its power, its freedom, its strength, its right – to be there wherever and whenever it so pleases.