Slow revolutions

I’m a fan of revolutions. Not real ones in my country. No, I’m a fan of revolutions everywhere else. Specifically disruptive ideas and technologies.

There’s something thrilling about seeing a paradigm change in action. Which makes now an awesome time to live. We exist in a state in-between slow and constant change. We haven’t gotten to the point where paradigm change is the paradigm. Yet we’ve left the past of slow and gradual change behind.

It’s a great time to be alive.

Take the web as an example. I’ve watched it hatch as a military invention, then grown into an academic channel, then be co-opted by geeks, be over-run by n00bs, be penetrated by business, and finally become pervasive. A web site and email address is more important than a phone number now. Maybe one day that will be a Facebook page or something.

(As an aside, Facebook pages are not as accessible as a regular website. Where a regular website has an address, a concrete naming mechanism that does one thing only, which it lead to site, a Facebook page doesn’t, per se. This may be my age showing, but not knowing the address of something and instead just knowing I have to search something or click on a link somewhere is not as accessible as a plain old address. Imagine if you had to search up a friend from an obfuscated list of names in order to send them an email: This is Facebook’s problem. Its pages seem ethereal and anchor-less compared to a regular website.)

At the same time, lasting change is almost always slow change. This holds true biologically and ideologically. It may not hold true technologically, though. We’ll see.

I’m kind of torn about technology for this reason. I think slow change allows us time to take in the consequences of our collective actions before we move forward again.

This is the Amish way. Say what you will about the Amish, but they have a very slow-change sort of view of technology. They adopt it, but very slowly.

I’m not sure if that’s ideal. It won’t work in a free society. But it does allow the Amish to get a good look at the technological landscape (the water we swim in) before they adopt and adapt.

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