Sunday Open Thread — December 24, 2006

lorenz melting snow globe
What I’m Planning on Writing About Soon:

  • The Role of Art and Artists in Social Change: Was Eminem’s failure to get Kerry elected the beginning of the end?
  • Experience-Based Decision Making: It seems an obvious choice, until you understand why the alternatives hold sway.
  • Making Blog Comments and Forums and Wikis Work: Do we need groundrules to enable real conversations, and would anyone follow the groundrules if we did?
  • The Long Tail: Why the tail will never wag the dog (while it’s attached to the dog).

What I’m Thinking About:

Love. We can’t live without it. We can never get enough of it. But is it all too often our personal excuse for inaction (“those I love wouldn’t go for this much change”; “I need to focus on my own life right now, so I have to leave the big-picture issues to others”)?

And as Natalie Shell said in last week’s thread, we need new ways of thinking, or perhaps ancient and forgotten, wordless ways. To show someone, quietly, how to do something, is to tell a story without words. 
.     .     .     .     .
As I promised a week ago, I’m taking a one-week sabbatical from language — reading, blogging, small talk, all the human linguistic activities that take our attention away from what is really happening, here, now, from what is really important. I’ll be back in the new year with an updated and expanded blog table of contents, and a modestly new two-column look for the blog (the left sidebar will be eliminated, its content will be moved over to the right sidebar, and the main columnand right sidebar will both be expanded in width).

I’ll be catching up with comments, too, so as always, chime in with what’s on your mind. Have a peaceful, joyful holiday, practice the capacities you seek to grow, and gather your strength for what lies ahead.

Wordless cartoon by the amazing Lee Lorenz in the New Yorker.

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6 Responses to Sunday Open Thread — December 24, 2006

  1. Pearl says:

    Wow, a verbal break sounds like a cool idea. I toyed with not blogging or reading for 7-10 days. Almost made it 3 without blogging by setting to prepost. Maybe I’ll cut back tho with the remainder of the time.

  2. I think love as an excuse not to do something is usually just a copout. It’s one thing if there is some moral or ethical reason, and one’s loved ones inspire one to do the right thing. It’s another if it’s a matter of judgment, and a sense of conditional love or strings attached keeps us from acting.Love, true love, is unconditional and does not hold us back from expressing our best, true selves, whether the loved ones agree with us totally or not.

  3. Fiona says:

    Dave, I think you should take it even farther. Go out in the woods and stay in a little cabin with no power for a few days when it gets warm enough. No computers. Monk’s retreat.

  4. Pearl says:

    btw, the long tail idea sounds like an interesting thought exploration to overhear.

  5. steve black says:

    Wiki ground rules are able to be impelled (implied/compelled) by the interface design. The functions that you give the users/admins make a major contribution to what buttons are pressed and therefore influence the content that you will get.The fact that you have a comments link on the bottom of every article means that you will get comments on articles. The fact that they are stacked by time, not by any other order affects what I write.If we can come up with good content formats, we will design good interfaces to contribute to it , and if we don’t like it we will go where the interface is gooder.happy new year and more blessings for your cotton socks.

  6. Dave Pollard says:

    Thanks all. I was worried about readers giving up, but after a sharp drop in the last few months readership has suddenly spiked again (Jan. 3) over some articles I wrote months ago, so I guess I worried for no reason. Barbara, I think you’re right for some people, but not all. Fiona: I’d love to, but work commitments preclude it, so the runs in the back yard and the walks in the forest will have to suffice for now. Pearl, it’ll be coming up in the next few days. And Steve, excellent comments on technology design (something I’m focused on at work these days as my Jan. 4 post will explain).

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