There’s a line that Aaron Sorkin wrote, of Newsroom fame, I don’t want to go into all the contextualizing, you much watch the show, but the line is significant enough to stand on its own: “we’ll both never get a degree and we’re both idealistic about the internet.”
Now, this has become one of my favourite pieces of prose, a dense summation of our Zeitgeist’s intellectual landscape. Seldom a day goes by when I don’t encounter these indie intellects, a constantly refreshed state of theorizing, calls to action, expression and, my absolute favourite; art for its own sake.
Financial and social inadequacies are fast becoming mute reasons for intellectual growth. With just the smallest amount of effort we can now circumnavigate hurdles that left us screwed before.
Yes it’s true that online isolation has created an unmanageable anti-social throng of agoraphobic cowardice that sometimes smell like wee, but our death by drone age has room for such defects.
Seen through the right eyes this vague label of ‘the internet’ becomes something so much more. Feeds become a collective journal; tabling progression, pursuing insight and informing ruthlessly. A cross referenced wiki becomes a library, and you see my point, enough examples. We’re in information’s golden age, distribution and production have been streamlined, democratised and become more accessible that it has ever been. Right now, as I sit here, I can ask any question, solicit any information and from the most reputable of sources.
The collected works of Kurt Vonnegut, a few affordable clicks away.
A lecture series on socialism from Harvard, free.
In fact a shit ton of intellectualism from the apexial minds of our age; Oxford, Harvard, Yale, MIT and a hundred more institutions, think tanks, online magazines,individual blogs and every kind of hybrid collaboration, all sharing their information for little or no cost.
Everything every dead philosopher/psychologist/politico/economist/poet/artist has ever written, barring the it was printed more than 70 years ago, free, out of copyright, in the public domain.
The intellectual sketches of cartoonists on twitter, fiddling with ideological clarity and tailor made accusations.
Rant style filth mongering from the edge’s deepest enclaves.
A zillion well made short films, clips, sketches, interviews, conversations and illustrated footnotes.
I can keep going, but you get my point, never in the history of anything have we found ourselves in such a privileged state.
The old guard’s paradigm of what education should look like has changed, the age of the individual has dawned, all that is needed is a little idealism about the internet. Every day I connect with numerous individuals; skilled, switched on, insightful, informed and the one thing they have in common, they learn, they read, they make crucial connections with meaning, they know how to use the internet.
Rewind to 50 years ago.
What a drag it must have been.
Yet I sit in conversation after conversation, listening to elements of the boomer generation’s intellectual elite devalue my age’s most exciting progressions. A complete disregard for this “blogging culture, these vacuous minds”. The reality, the truth of the matter, they’re just scared and out of date and unable to keep up with contemporary idealism. This millennial platform; with its unregulated distribution, disregard for editorial hierarchy and unsentimentality isn’t going anywhere. The liberal lifestyle, fought for so aggressively in 60’s, has found its key manifestation and yes there are dangers, but mocking an online petition while waxing lyrical about that sit in you once attended in 70’s serves significance poorly.
We need to stay optimistic about our cultures strengths, there are too many grisly naysayers pissing on it.
The nature of intellectual and ideological progression has changed dramatically; we must be mindful of how the unevolved hide behind culture and nostalgia, we must cater for idealism about the internet and grasp this, our, medium without shame.
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