Monday, January 30, 2012

Humanism as the germinal period of modernism

The title of this blog came from a recent article I found. I would highly suggest the read.

I have often been confused by the term "humanism." Any definition I come across seems very vague and usually takes pages to explain. I have attempted asking people the definition of humanism and have yet to get a single sentence response. Perhaps by the end of this post I will be able to create that one sentence definition, perhaps not. This article portrays humanism as a break from current tradition back to the old tradition. In 16th century context, it took the medieval attitude of supernaturalism, brought it back to the classics where it got loosely tied to a mixture of art and critical thinking, and threw it into the 18th century which is where modernism was born. This few hundred years of societal conflict has be dubbed the Renaissance. To me, it is one of the most fascinating times of history to consider. There was so much going on in the realm religion and science together, the conflict nearly tore them both apart inside and out. The basics of religion were being attacked by people inside the church like Martin Luther as well as scientists such as Galileo. In this strange battle between science and religion in the Renaissance era who one? Neither. The aesthetic nature came out on top. The world idea was changing into beauty and emotion. I'm not sure why we have called it humanism. To me, the name is more confusing than insightful. A better word could simply be pre-western as this was truly the time where an individualistic idea was brought to the forefront. Where Europe began thinking like we think today. And thus the west was born.
So, what is humanism? I still cant give a solid definition but I feel like I have cut off some edges and am slowly coming to an understanding. If you have any other insights or if you have found that one sentence definition, please share.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Do not limit yourself!

To all those limited people out there:

Perhaps you have other friends on G+ who you feel would not be interested or maybe you are scared of your knowledge leaking onto the web and then having strange people finding you. I would plead with all of you limited people to change your mind. Go to your settings and spread your knowledge to the world. Isn't that the point of this class? Don't you want to spread the wealth? I would argue that you are being fairly selfish. If you truly feel that your  posts simply would not be interesting to anyone outside our class then your should probably not write those kinds of posts anyway. I have been studying about openness for the last couple of weeks and it has struck a cord with me. I believe that information should be spread as much as possible. As you put your knowledge onto the web, let the reader decide if it worth consuming or not. Do not assume others simply won't be interested. know someone who I talk to regularly about a variety of deep subjects. This person has a fantastic view on many subjects but when we get into group conversations they shuts off and simply listen, claiming that their view is no different from the groups. How many times could our view have changed someones life if we only would have shared it. We will never know because there was no communication! The world will still progress if you do not post publicly but perhaps your small bit of insight or knowledge can be the butterfly which creates a hurricane.

Friday, January 20, 2012

In my book, Reinventing discovery, I have been informed of many of the complexities of open sourcing. Although there are many different examples of open sourcing, two that most people are familiar with are Linux and Wikipedia. Previous to reading this book I considered open sourcing to be easy. Many people simply input their ideas and then suddenly a new something is created! This, however, is quite the opposite of how an open sourcing project is completed. Linux and Wikipedia especially have truly innovated ways of open sourcing that works. Random data is only random data until someone develops a way to organize it. One person, however, cannot control the huge amount of data that Linux or Wikipedia produce.   These organizations have had to innovate on extreme levels in order to produce what we see today. These process of innovations must come with any development in spreading information. Someone had to to think of creating everything from parchment and pen to the internet itself. As we look through history there is always some major invention or innovation which causes or help produce and spread knowledge.
A white sphere made of large jigsaw pieces. Letters from many alphabets are shown on the pieces.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Building a computer

This last week I decided to build a computer myself because I had a few specific things I wanted out of my computer. Before buying any parts I spent hours and hours researching online to make sure all my parts fit and that it would actually work. As I was doing all this I became quite grateful for the openness of some very knowledgeable people. I looked at countless blogs and forums where people shared what they had learned. They had no incentives except to help those struggling at they same thing they once struggled at. This has given me the desire to also share my knowledge once I have finished this project. I wonder how much more effective the great minds of the 17th century like Newton and Kepler would have  been if they had the internet to tap into. I believe they were intent on getting their findings to the world but simply did not have the same kinds of means which we have today. In my last blog post I debated if openness was achievable while money still exists but it seems to me that while we are not completely open we are certainly progressing towards it and have been for quite some time.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

As I was walking to my class today, reading my book for a class on my Kindle, I was thinking about openness. Specifically, I was wishing that all books which I have bought also came with a digital copy that I could put on any reading device. Being in business, however, my immediate thought was money. This would create endless problems as digital files are every so easy to copy. Authors would not get paid as much as they want which would make them less likely to keep writing. Everyone wan't their share of money. I believe this to be the chief reason we continue to be a very closed society. People do not want to share their ideas because they want the money they could potentially get from developing that idea into a money making venture. I would even say that the reason many inventions arose was because someone wanted gain. This seems to be a two sided coin. On one hand there is a potential universe which Star Trek describes. Money does not exist and all information flows freely to everyone with any interest. Education is free and anyone can do anything they want without worrying about having to provide for themselves the basics of life. Sounds great, right? A world of openness. I, however, do not believe this would work for most people. A completely open world would quickly stagnate. There would be some production but without money (the only road I see to complete openness) would anyone truly be driven enough to progress society? If all books were free would anyone really be motivated enough to spend a good portion of their lives to research and write a text book? I am not sure, perhaps it is the business side of me thinking that everyone cares about money as much as I do. I will have to think on it more but in the meantime, what do you think? Can people share their ideas without being payed? Is a world of complete openness truly possible?

Monday, January 9, 2012


What do I know about the historical period and the digital concept assigned to me? Surprisingly little, but I am excited to learn more about the 16th century and how it was affected by openness. I know that there were many great artists to come out of this time as well as thinkers like Galileo and Copernicus who changed the way we thought about the heavens. The Church was under attack by Martin Luther and Bibles were begining to spread as the press was invented in the 15th century. It was a time of forward thinking and change, much like now.