maps and the online life

9 the universe

Denis Wood illustrates how maps aren’t the same as the reality they sign and symbolise:

‘What lies between the roads isn’t aether … : it’s tobacco and loblolly pine and patches of red dirt rolling over the Piedmont, or rugose mats of corn dotted with crows and John Deeres … .*

When it comes to observing online trends, Sherry Turkle sees the possibility of ‘cyberintimacies [sliding] into cybersolitudes,’ how those who’ve grown up inside the technology ‘come to accept lower expectations for connections and finally, the idea that robot friendships could be sufficient unto the day’**

There are also those who love technology but are appear heretics to the growing patterns and habits which eschew contact for texting and messaging.

These passionate renegades bring randomness to the the systems establishing themselves.  À la Nassim Taleb, who claims, ‘when some systems are stuck in a dangerous impasse, randomness and only randomness, can unlock them and set them free.’^   Taleb goes further: ‘You can see here that an absence of randomness is guaranteed death.’

If Alex McManus is correct, then the quality of our connecting will determine the kind of world we shape:

‘Contact with outsiders, significant events, and epiphanies are inbound forces that drive change.’^^

Significant change will not take place without significant contact.

Heretics and passionate renegades wanted.

(*From Denis Wood’s The Power of Maps.)
(**From Sherry Turkle’s Alone Together.)
(^From Nassim Taleb’s Antifragile.)
(^^From Alex McMaus’s Makers of Fire.)

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