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Comments

Starry

I go on listening to you, David!
Keep talking.
I think a lot of blogs serve the purpose that commonplace books used to serve - a place to gather up and collect bits and pieces one finds resonant. To register one's attention and develop it. For me, it comes down to this: am I interested in the vagaries of your attention? in your reflections on what you attend to?
Often; usually, in fact; and when I don't, I'm ridiculously free to take my own attention elsewhere.

Danny

Well said, Starry. I haven't heard of of Andrew Keen, and his book sounds interesting to me, but my first reaction to what I've read here is that he's full of elitist crap. OF COURSE discernment is necessary when we're making our many decisions each day about what we will spend time with, whether it's a book already vetted by Keen's so-called "seasoned universe of editors, agents, critics, and consumers" or a blog that we find purely by accident because of some google search on a topic of interest. I guess there ARE blogs out there that begin and end with mundane reports of what someone had for breakfast (although some of those could actually be riveting!) but many other blogs offer a wealth of perspectives, experience, and content that I find enriching and worthwhile. It doesn't mean any of these people should be considered "experts" in anything (except *possibly* their own lives), but since when do we want to hear only from the alleged experts? How great that we can now create online communities with people we would otherwise would never have known about, who write in such a way that resonates with us personally and adds to our own life experience. That said, I do agree with Keen's concern that the Internet is rife with a lot of uninformed bombast but that's where discernment comes in. As if uninformed bombast is a new phenomenon? I'm wary of being limited to the writing of those folks Keen would consider "the most learned." And I find the analogies to doctors and other professionals a bit off-point.

Thanks for including me in the category of bloggers who strive to explore new ideas, especially with the likes of your brilliant sister! YOU are a prime example of that--I love your explorations!

david

Starry and Danny: thanks for your wisdom. And your endorsement! Of course, you know I'll never shut up. And I hope neither of you ever do.

Starry

Danny's comment makes me wonder: how do we become experts of our own lives? And should we?

Alison

You? I loved your answers to the what faith question a few posts below.

Keen? Well, there is a lot of noise out there & a lot of it is opinionated garbage - but there's a lot of good stuff too, and the good stuff is not hard to find. My major disagreement with Keen is that I do believe there's a lot of untapped talent in the world, all of it deserving of a platform to display ideas, thoughts, writing, etc

BTW, Keen has a blog: http://andrewkeen.typepad.com/.

amba

Two points:

1) processing and circulating information and ideas is what humans do, like earthworms enrich soil. The internet has widened, deepened and accelerated this process and enabled exponentially many more minds and hearts to take part in it publicly, not just in their own heads. (It just struck me that this probably accounts for our feeling that there's less time than there used to be. It's actually not for a bad reason; it's because we are pushing the envelope of our brains' information-processing capacity. So many ideas and thinkers! So little time!) This makes possible as much of an exponential acceleration of cultural evolution as sexual reproduction enabled the acceleration of biological evolution.

2.) Keen's "seasoned universe of editors, agents, critics, and consumers" -- each part of it, taken separately and together -- is WRONG about 50 percent of the time. In fact, the consuming public is smarter, in the "wisdom of crowds" sense, than the elite sphincter that allows only certain things to reach it. That is what the Internet is for, too -- to bypass that snooty sphincter and get more stuff to the public. That said, the public has one limitation: it's utterly "now." What it recognizes is what springs from and relates to the Zeitgeist. If something is "ahead of its time" or even outside of time, the public is not going to get it. Not till its creator has cut off his ear and gone mad and died. Then it'll be on every college student's refrigerator.

amba

Keen has a BLOG???? AAHHHH HAH HAH HAH HAH HAHHHH! Ridiculous.

amba

And Starry's right that Danny raised a very, very intriguing question. Are we experts on our own lives? And if not, is anybody?

And my answer is: your spouse. Some spouses. The ones that pay attention, not the ones that demand attention. (There's often, if not always, one of each in a marriage.)

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