Thursday, February 15, 2007

What might be after the Modern era

[Era defined as (1) what defines / how do we know what is "truth" and (2) what defines "authority"]

Two threads have been floating through my mind as I read both "modern" and "post modern" philosophers, critiques, some business articles, etc. I think they are coming together, but maybe not.

1) All things computer are coming to be led/run-by a unique blend of people. They are a combining art, industry, and economics. Example: Google (everybody's favorite example).
They are creating offerings, divisions, etc. like an Artist (i.e. most everything that Google does that is NOT the front-page search engine). They are innovating (ex. meta-tags instead of folders in Gmail), modifying (Blogspot, Google's maps and Google-Earth), and creating memory (the "cache" component of searching, the mass scanning of books, etc.).
They are helping form an industry/industries: information access, one-stop portal (with integration of parts like calendar, mail, search, map, entertainment, connection, purchasing, etc.). Notice "form" an industry: an industry to be sure, being created/formed - "art" words.
They are causing their own economy. Yes, advertising has been around. But not like this: Person-specific, cost by click, even you or I can make money by simply putting ads on our blog pages!
-- Most important: Google isn't stopping. Google is a trajectory company. They aren't looking to become #1 anything. They are looking to excel, at which point that will be #1 everything by means of their labor (as opposed to their "goals").

What I'm seeing is this: these companies aren't led by business folks. They are led by these hybrid artist/industrialist/economist persons. This is way more than just having a service-based company (vs. product based). I'm wondering if, for the first time, Art, Industry, and Economy are going to merge.
That would certainly change things! Art is typically the place where the future "is" - things happen in the world of Art before they happen in the world of "the common." But what if The Commoner is also an Artist? [Then again, maybe this is simply what happens at the turn of any age, like the "Renaissance Man" was to the beginning of the Modern period]

2) "... the flattening of the world means is that we are now connecting all the knowledge centers on the planet together into a single global network, which -- if politics and terrorism do not get in the way -- could usher in an amazing era of prosperity, innovation, and collaboration, by companies, communities, and individuals," The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman (page 8).

Almost sounds Marxist! Utopia not by war (one kind of power) but by knowledge (another kind of power).


So when my brain starts mashing these together I get this: might the next ere see "Truth/right" as that which contributes to the greatest number of people? If this holds true, the super-powers (economically, not militarily) are in for a rude shock. This would be the exact opposite of what happened in "the 60's" -- free love, semi-anarchy, etc. gave way to . . . Yuppies (read: money). What if they hadn't given way . . .

If you bother with such thoughts, please feel free to push back, agree, dismiss, etc. Just do it in a comment so I can grow personally. Thank you. the Management.