Sunday, November 06, 2005

Day 29: Knoxville to Smokys


Spent a good lot of the day in the University area of Knoxville. We have used this free wifi coffee house locater (I can't remember the URL) and come upon several cool coffee shops on our trip that are independently owned, several of which support fair trade regulations and offer organic coffees. Mmm.

At this particular coffee shop in Knoxville called the Golden Roast, we saw a poster that led Holly and I to sit in on a lecture with Donald Rushkoff. Wow. That was mind-blowing.

Not totally sure what his background is, but this guy is onto some things regarding cultural shifts, narrative negotiating, etc.

He began by deconstructing all stories (news, spiritual, cultural, etc.) as stories that were written from a particular point of view in a particular time and context and so on. He made the comment that maps are to be provisional and temporary, but not The Way.

He also said that if all we have are stories, and if people end up believing the best stories, then the best storytellers hold the sway/power/control/whatever. Hmm.

The American mind has been so captivated by a few strains on the same narrative, the same story. Working to have a good retirement, security, money, happiness, whatever. But some aren't buying the story being sold anymore.

He compared all this to developments in the media. He got into the history of the remote control and the joystick and other stuff that was interesting to track, but the gist was summed up in a programming/gaming metaphor.

He said that for so long, most kids playing video games were content just to play the games, beat the levels, beat the games sometimes. But eventually some folks leaked clues/cheats/etc. so that a whole new slew of kids playing the game did so with this new 'insider information'. The next round were the kids that got their hands on the code and began to rewrite the game, adding levels, contextualizing the game, whatever.

So, most of our parents and their parents and their parents were content to play the game, hoping that they would climb to the next level. Some actually beat the game. Most just hoped that their children could start at a higher level than they did. But then several in my generation (and perhaps in previous generations) got the cheat sheet and made their way with it. I was even part of this earlier in my life. The short road to get to the same place where those who had worked hard to find.

But now there is a whole new slew of people (some who are my friends) who are sick of the game, sick of the normative reality that everyone buys into, sick of the whole value of the game...and we have our hands on the code.

Time to rest from a cynical deconstructing of the game and create a more beautiful world, my friends. Rushkoff said that once we have deconstructed everything to shit, let that be the manure that fertilizes the new world we dream of.

If you're not tracking with what I'm saying (or if you're vibing off it), you might check out Rushkoff's books or see if he is going to be in your area anytime soon. Or perhaps watch the Matrix again...

1 comment:

Jon said...

--Rushkoff said that once we have deconstructed everything to shit, let that be the manure that fertilizes the new world we dream of--

Wow. That's the essence of Zen. I really like it. Me gusta. A very thought-provoking sentence (as if there were one on your blog that wasn't!)