If you laughed at the impossible title, carry on reading.
I love wordpress. It let’s me share my work and find other people sharing theirs, all for free, from almost anywhere in the world. That is a beautiful thing. The internet is merely the latest in a long line of technologies – starting with sticks and stone and broken bones – that we have designed for the purpose of expressing unchecked human subjectivity. What makes it notable is precisely sites like wordpress – here you will find crafted, yet still gritty, profound human subjectivity on a scale only matched (in quantity alone) by the likes of facebook and youtube. Did you know, for instance, that every single second, 18 000 seconds of video are uploaded onto youtube?
Have you ever asked yourself what is really going on here? What it is we’re really doing here? Or is this just some fancy that you can escape to through a screen? Some weirdly shadowy zone where a few who know how to code are fighting some suspicious and murky war against an equally suspicious and murky government…
I am a humanities student, and happy to be labeled as such. I think it a compliment. Yet, I have always wondered why it seems so hard to say ANYTHING MEANINGFUL in traditional language, mine being English. And, it turns out, the truth is because the fight for liberty exists – right now – at the level of code. The most important free speech document in the world is not in English, or any other aural language – it is a 50×50 matrix of numbers and letters. If you know what that means, you’ll know why this post is so titled. How can us word-smiths help? Well, writing into the big black nothing (as it sometimes feels here) is not enough. Come and write into the big black nothing of swarm, and use that writing to shape the space and generate value.
The truth of it is, the internet is bound to reach every corner of the globe and fundamentally alter the way we interact with each other and the world. Just look at wordpress – I’ve been sharing poems here, entirely for free, just to build some reputation and a community who might listen to me once I had something actually important to say. Well, I do now. So listen up.
More and more (Western) governments strip liberties for the sake of the COPYRIGHT and CARTOON industries, at the expense of the single greatest tool we have ever developed for the expression of human subjectivity. I’ll give you a moment to think about that.
1) I never do anything wrong. Why should I care if the government tracks my data, I share most of it anyway?
a) I have some photos of me from my first year at uni being incredibly drunk and over the top. I have since deleted them from facebook, actually wanting to get ahead in the world and realising how harmful those could be. Still, they’re captured on some server. Suppose – god forbid – I were to have a beer with some friends one night, drive them home and have an accident where someone died. Now, there’s some doubt as to whether I was intoxicated, so the police go hunting through my data, produce some uni photos of me to prove ‘alcoholic tendencies’ and I get sentenced to culpable homicide. Does this seem awfully far-fetched to you? There are, of course, far more stark examples. If you’re interested in what the internet is calling ‘murder and jay-walking’ policy-making, look here, but go through the channel carefully.
2) It helps stop terrorism.
a) Oh? The acts of terror carried out at Charlie Hebdo were unconscionable. The fact that murders at an institution of FREE SPEECH were used to crack down on that SAME RIGHT is almost as perverse. As one of the lead cartoonists said after the attack, ‘I vomit on these people who show solidarity with us’. There’s an example of sticking to your principles. What you might not know, because your data-retaining governments filter your news feeds and control access to information (not always consciously) is that, just 3 days after Charlie Hebdo, Boko Haram massacred 2000 people in Nigeria. A whole village. Gone. Censorship does not stop terrorism, it just stops the people with wealth and conscience enough to do something from hearing the full horror. Cui bono? (That’s 117 times the cost in human life to Paris. Oh wait, they were black… Everybody carry on. Je suis the ghosts of Africa, the slaughtered multitudes of Baga and Garissa and the Sudan and everywhere else you haven’t heard of.)
If you don’t find it disturbing that you are tracked everywhere you go, listened in on whenever someone in a spy agency might happen to want to, without a warrant, then stop reading. If you are – a bunch of people called https://swarm.fund/ have been thinking about ways to step outside the current, failing system without doing anything illegal – as you will see when looking over the scribd.com paper. What we are interested in is changing the world. Copyright needs to be REINTERPRETED, and it needs to happen within an evidenced-based framework. We need to find new ways to apply copyright law creatively with this new tool we’ve developed in. The internet makes possible Trust Networks, where one need not worry about legal concerns – all transactions of value are guaranteed by the blockchain, a really important technology. Why does this matter, you ask?
OK, so you don’t earn value for posting stuff on wordpress, but you have a great community? I’m not asking you to leave, just to look over swarm, try and understand what is going on, and follow this. It is the web 2.0 – built ON TOP of the existing web. You need do nothing drastic, just look over it. Very simply, you can earn tokens for sharing your work and generating value. You may not be in a country where you could use this yet, but hey, you get a little more than wordpress gives you. Plus, you can keep your blogs going here, just set up a Distributed Collaborative Organisation that links to them, keep on promoting your work on the web 2.0, try earn some SWARMcoin on the initial run and, if we get enough people involved to convince the world that this is how we might save ourselves from ourselves and out out-dated, analogue institutions, you could be rich in 5 years. Here is the link for my DCO which simply links back here for now, drawing more hits and views and visitors to this site as we speak.
Here is the most interesting conversation you’ll hear all.
I will keep posting here periodically with more simple updates about what is happening, how you can get involved, how best to explain what EXACTLY it is we are doing and how you can use what we are building for the world to enrich yourself and those around, not only with your beautiful words and blogs, but with actual tokens you can exchange for goods and services, or as a membership to a decentralized organisation, or as an intellectual copyright. It solves a lot of problems.
When I first came across Silva, I was taken aback by how over-the-top it all is, how exuberant he sounds, but the point about these kinds of ideas is that you have to look a little like a drug-crazed maniac – a wonder-junkie – in order to articulate them properly. And part of doing so is realising that it is all a performance (‘the whole world is a stage’), and that – at one level – it is entirely absurd and impossible and undreamable.
But, watch his face at the end, and you’ll see that the horizon of our dreams – what Stephen Johnson calls ‘the adjacent possible’ – stretches far further than it may ever be possible to describe.
Humour me for a moment and think about Interstellar (2015). Silva talks about the Imagination Foundation and how they argue that humankind has always been able to imagine a thousand future possibilities, pick the best one and pull the present forward to meet it. So, for the first time, Christopher Nolan showed us, in an immersive experience of sight and sound, what it might be like to experience time as a dimension. This is not to suggest that we will now pull the present forward into time travel , but… did you see what just happened there? The sentence itself pulls into the future, wanting to break the tense and escape somewhere else, some place else.
This place is organisations like Swarm. And not just Swarm, we’re not brilliant or particularly different, just first.
So join in the fun, because that’s what it’s about. Seriously, play. Play to your heart’s content with us and change the world as an after-thought
They say that Beethoven or Picasso would have been nothing had the technologies of the violin or the oil painting not been invented by the time they were alive for them to unfurl through. Well, this is not about one person, this is about the whole of human subjectivity. This is OUR violin. Here is one of my new favourite videos: ‘Jet Man’: “We love to fly. We are exploring the limits. We are in an element of nature: air. And that element, we have to respect it like we respect nature; it’s so strong, so present. And we are just lucky guys that we can play in that element, for some small moment. The future of human flight is clear – it will be completely autonomous like a bird. The real dream is to be completely free, completely free.”
What will be your freedom?
Check out this site if you are intrigued:
If you’re American, perhaps you could tell me what you think of this author and book. I honestly don’t know what to think. Please protect your VPN first: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rqQejvy8yXQ
Via Emma: “Knowing can be violent, given the truths there are to be known”