December 18, 2011
It’s Sunday at 6 am. Used to be the New York Times on the stoop, now it’s the Nespresso machine and updating the iPAD APP for the NYTimes. That’s platform agnostics in the accrual of informatics through the myriad of mechanisms delivering knowledge. It is this evolution from publisher to knowledge deliverer that has intrigued me of late as I’m reminded that titles in our profession don’t always reflect the “heart of the matter”, the “man behind the curtain” I’d say duplicity, but that’s incredibly and non-retractably harsh. No, I’m more inclined to suggest that knowledge delivery through a myriad of platforms in “dental society” is a failed attempt to meld or alchemize the controlling essence of the past with a more pervasive tool for informatics that can also be used to control knowledge delivery if it turns off or fails to create the RETURN switch.
Before you read on, I want to assure you that I read this op-ed piece by Thomas L. Friedman AFTER this was written…it falls into the great minds think alike, fools seldom differ, potatoe, potahtoe category……in either case, it is reflective of the recognition and perception of the obvious whirlwinds of structural change that society within and without are facing in the Internet age – http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/18/opinion/sunday/friedman-help-wanted.html?ref=opinion. We are no longer accepting of control being a top down vector, rather it is hopefully becoming a bottom up force of nature.
Two of the most inventive minds of this or any society have passed this year, both arguably the most incredible wordsmiths of their era. Neither lived to see their 65th birthday and get discounted as senior citizens; both were children of the 60’s, who saw the Beatles and the Stones revolutionize the social order just as social media is now revolutionizing the authoritarian order of despots. Of course one man’s despot is another man’s governing body. Both came to understand that REPLY ALL to an email message wasn’t an incitement to be pink slipped; that passion, commitment, fervent belief in their sense of morality and scruples wasn’t to be ignored in the holy grail pursuit of staying under the radar. Of course I’m referring to Steve Jobs and Christopher Hitchens. Had either one of them been dentists, they would have been reviled. Speaking your mind is an anathema to dental organizations and institutions. They are usually run by executive director/registrars who increasingly are former practising lawyers who use the elected dental representatives as hand puppets; in the good bad olde days of the 60’s, I’m told that executive directors wrote the speeches of the elected presidential representatives of the various and sundry associations representing Canadian dentistry.
Steve and Hitch would have never tolerated the inability of dentists in this country to OCCUPY changes being brought to the forefront. This introduction could meander endlessly, ultimately tangentialize it’s content and lose the readership as dentists are inherently inculcated by corporate CE advocates to pose two leaden questions – HOW TO AND WHERE TO BUY IT? If you are infused with that psychology long enough, if buzz and build rather than evidence and substance are the sine qua non of the practice engine that drives your professional career, then it becomes hard to draw lines in the sand, take a stand, get mad as hell and not take it any more. The fact that a single forum with the same technology that allows you to update your smart phone [check out the icon on the doomed Blackberry – information flow back and forth, review the one that has a single vector and think institution/association mind control – (ah Hitch, you contrarian genius you)], that the yin and yang of dialogue not monolithic monologues is not in force is as heinous as theocracies and totalitarian regimes firing on passive protesters.
Dissent is frowned upon by corporate purveyors of goods and services and institutional/association purveyors. In the early days of the Internet, the fear was libel and slander; how altruistic ostensibly, and yet how infantilizing. Never in the history of Canadian dentistry has the need for banter, badinage, back and forth been so crucial to the fabric of the profession and it’s ability to face the demands of technologic change in a society of borders and barriers that exist only in the memories of those who see control slipping from their grasp. Email blasts from unseen “bots” with no capacity to REPLY ALL are as dangerous a scenario as anything Orwell ever articulated.
It’s time for dentists in Canada to be able TO RESPOND with the same urgency as the email blast that arrives late Sunday night to avoid having to gum up the bandwidth on the sending server. I always find that anything delivered around midnight is not good news. It is a continuation of the PRIVATE and CONFIDENTIAL markings on envelopes from licensing and governing bodies that should at least come with SMILEY FACES. At 6:58, Sunday December 18th, one week before Christmas day, this is a peon, a missive, an epistletoe to a CANADIAN DENTAL INTERNET – morph iTrans – do something that resonates with the efforts of Steve and Hitch rather than Adolf and Joe. I leave you with John Perry Barlow’s Declaration of Independence in Cyberspace…….for those who love boardrooms and backrooms, it’s the antithesis to “do as I say, not as I do!” Enjoy!!!
Before you read below, remember our most globally visible Prime Minister, a man who used “fuddle duddle” repeatedly and in context while the rest of us were outraged at his seeming indiscretion. Love or hate him, he was a presence because he chose to be a man of his times, not played at being a man of his times and in the immortal words of CSNY – he taught his children well – http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/matt-price/justin-trudeau-peter-kent_b_1150028.html?ref=mostpopular – now you can read
Governments of the Industrial World, you weary giants of flesh and steel, I come from Cyberspace, the new home of Mind. On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to leave us alone. You are not welcome among us. You have no sovereignty where we gather.
We have no elected government, nor are we likely to have one, so I address you with no greater authority than that with which liberty itself always speaks. I declare the global social space we are building to be naturally independent of the tyrannies you seek to impose on us. You have no moral right to rule us nor do you possess any methods of enforcement we have true reason to fear.
Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. You have neither solicited nor received ours. We did not invite you. You do not know us, nor do you know our world. Cyberspace does not lie within your borders. Do not think that you can build it, as though it were a public construction project. You cannot. It is an act of nature and it grows itself through our collective actions.
You have not engaged in our great and gathering conversation, nor did you create the wealth of our marketplaces. You do not know our culture, our ethics, or the unwritten codes that already provide our society more order than could be obtained by any of your impositions.
You claim there are problems among us that you need to solve. You use this claim as an excuse to invade our precincts. Many of these problems don’t exist. Where there are real conflicts, where there are wrongs, we will identify them and address them by our means. We are forming our own Social Contract . This governance will arise according to the conditions of our world, not yours. Our world is different.
Cyberspace consists of transactions, relationships, and thought itself, arrayed like a standing wave in the web of our communications. Ours is a world that is both everywhere and nowhere, but it is not where bodies live.
We are creating a world that all may enter without privilege or prejudice accorded by race, economic power, military force, or station of birth.
We are creating a world where anyone, anywhere may express his or her beliefs, no matter how singular, without fear of being coerced into silence or conformity.
Your legal concepts of property, expression, identity, movement, and context do not apply to us. They are all based on matter, and there is no matter here.
Our identities have no bodies, so, unlike you, we cannot obtain order by physical coercion. We believe that from ethics, enlightened self-interest, and the commonweal, our governance will emerge . Our identities may be distributed across many of your jurisdictions. The only law that all our constituent cultures would generally recognize is the Golden Rule. We hope we will be able to build our particular solutions on that basis. But we cannot accept the solutions you are attempting to impose.
In the United States, you have today created a law, the Telecommunications Reform Act, which repudiates your own Constitution and insults the dreams of Jefferson, Washington, Mill, Madison, DeToqueville, and Brandeis. These dreams must now be born anew in us.
You are terrified of your own children, since they are natives in a world where you will always be immigrants. Because you fear them, you entrust your bureaucracies with the parental responsibilities you are too cowardly to confront yourselves. In our world, all the sentiments and expressions of humanity, from the debasing to the angelic, are parts of a seamless whole, the global conversation of bits. We cannot separate the air that chokes from the air upon which wings beat.
In China, Germany, France, Russia, Singapore, Italy and the United States, you are trying to ward off the virus of liberty by erecting guard posts at the frontiers of Cyberspace. These may keep out the contagion for a small time, but they will not work in a world that will soon be blanketed in bit-bearing media.
Your increasingly obsolete information industries would perpetuate themselves by proposing laws, in America and elsewhere, that claim to own speech itself throughout the world. These laws would declare ideas to be another industrial product, no more noble than pig iron. In our world, whatever the human mind may create can be reproduced and distributed infinitely at no cost. The global conveyance of thought no longer requires your factories to accomplish.
These increasingly hostile and colonial measures place us in the same position as those previous lovers of freedom and self-determination who had to reject the authorities of distant, uninformed powers. We must declare our virtual selves immune to your sovereignty, even as we continue to consent to your rule over our bodies. We will spread ourselves across the Planet so that no one can arrest our thoughts.
We will create a civilization of the Mind in Cyberspace. May it be more humane and fair than the world your governments have made before.
February 8, 1996
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