The Great Digitization (Lucien X. Polastron)

Labels are a double-edged sword, if you ask me. They can provide you with valuable information about products, people, and places. But sometimes they are too simple and limiting with their direction.

Specifically when it comes to imposed labels we make for other people and ideas. What many call common sense, I call limiting perception. When we think on these labels of society, we might gain better perspective into our own assumptions and the world around us. Which is why I chose to read a book in the LABEL category this month. I wanted to think on something we are definitely taking for granted.

As always I’m going to offer up some information to remind of this ongoing process of mine, also known as the The 5 L’s of Language –

I will read one book a month from the 5 groupings below, slowly expanding the number of books read so that I reach the point of 5 books a month. A book for each group

  1. LIFE – Biographies/Art/Music
  2. LOVE – Classic Fiction/Non-Fiction/Graphic Novels
  3. LEARN – Business/Leadership/Self-Help
  4. LABEL – Philosophy/Sociology/Psychology
  5. LEET– The Internet

My goal with this of course is to share information with you that might help you avoid mistakes, stimulate your mind, and encourage you to think outside of your typical modus operandi.

Lucien X. Polastron, The Man Who Read Too Much?

Lucien X. Polastron is a French writer and historian who has focused his attentions on paper, books, the process of writing, and the history of libraries. When the National Library of Sarajevo was destroyed in 1992, it triggered his research into the history of libraries and the many examples of libraries which have been destroyed. This is something he had previously observed while working on research of history of paper.

His two most famous books are Books on Fire: The Destruction of Libraries throughout History, a historical survey of the destruction of books from Babylonia through to modern society, and The Great Digitization and the Quest to Know Everything, which examines the consequences (both good and bad) of the digitization of books.

Polastron posits that while the digitization of books is an excellent way to move forward the exchange and breakdown of knowledge, it can very easily creates parallels between book burning by restricting access to books and destroying their autonomy. Effectively removing the idea of free books altogether. For instance, if internet service providers charge for their services and publishers hold the rights to books, who polices the quality and authenticity of the information being shared.

After all, if libraries become obsolete, that means that local governments will have to fund services which they cannot control or leave very easily. It is up to us to not only move forward with technology but to also be conscious of and protective of the accuracy of these words.

It’s books that feature intelligent content and do not dumb down their theories for the reader which allow for proper mental exercise. And while this book is now a decade old, and we still have access to free information, the thoughts which echo throughout are still cautionary and relevant for a globalized marketplace.

Let’s close out this post without resorting to simple labels. Of course digitization has great many benefits. It opens up the world and creates a level playing field of information for many who don’t have access to money. Our education levels are increasing all over the world as this technology flattens and creates transparencies. With that said, I’m going to leave you with this thought.

If knowledge is power, then who is holding all of the cards?

I’m out of theories for today friends, but check back tomorrow when write something timely about Halloween. Should be spooky.

Tim!

Is There Any Way To Make It Play Itself? (Real Time Games update)

A few months back I wrote a niche post about an idea we have at timotheories.

I put it fairly directly at the time, and it still rings true, but I’ll expand on that idea today. The idea was one that might be obvious, but like many obvious ideas, it should be repeated. BECAUSE it’s important – Board games have been associated with children, fun, and idle time for a few decades, but the truth is that not only are they a lot of fun, they are now absolutely useful and necessary in our culture.

And they will continue to be a key feature of life as we become more reliant on digital tech to work, communicate, and conduct most affairs in our personal lives.

The reason for this need is that board games do something that is really is important for human beings, but which cannot be achieved via digital tech. Direct human contact.

See a little light bulb just went off, didn’t it?

But before we continue, we should clarify that much like realm of advertising, which is a component of marketing, and not a root word, board games are a facet of something larger and should be used in context. As dogs are to mammals, board games are a type of table top gaming.

Table top gaming can refer to games played with dice, cards, on a board, with tiles, timers, miniatures, wargames, and any other variation that would be done on a flat surface. Which is what separates them from live action role-playing games, video games or sports games. Which is why I would make the argument that playing sports or playing video games in the same room as your friends works decently well too. But video games aren’t made that way any more

As for the politics surrounding chance for strategy in table top gaming, let’s not get into that today.

This is where Real Time Games came into the fold – Real Time Games, as I’ve mentioned before, is about people and sharing the joy of board games with them. My brother Ryan and I set up a weekly gaming group so that we could ensure that we spread the message, so-to-speak, about the hundreds of hobby games now available and which have slowly been cropping up since the turn of the century.

Nowadays, there are all kinds of hobby websites, YouTube channels, brick-and-mortar stores, and organizations that help promote this niche industry. But the proletariat are less versed in culture shift that needs to take place.

Yes, it’s happening, but ever-so-slowly, which is ironic given the motility we are supposed to have with the current technology at our fingertips.

And so we play different games every week, with the intent of sharing the social value of the games that we play. And my original plan was to develop a video series for Real Time Games wherein we discussed the value of said games via a standard table top review. But it occurred to me that that wasn’t a realistic use of Ryan’s time, and he wasn’t comfortable getting in front of the camera to declare expertise. So the idea sat, and ruminated for 6 months or so.

But now it looks like I have found a new partner in crime, and so Real Time Games evolves to become more timely delivering content to those who are using technology but looking for analog connection.

So please stay tuned as that idea unfolds. Because we’ll be discussing the latest and greatest at Edmonton’s new hot spot, The Gamer’s Lodge. I’m not going to reveal any more, since I’m out of theories for today, but stay tuned as I work with my new partner to set up this regular service and help flesh out our community.

Tim!

What A Creep Show! (DeviantArt)

What the heck is a deviant? And why does it send a chill down your spine when Grandma calls that guy with a mustache across the street feeding the pigeons one?

I’ve often wondered this myself dear readers, and I’ve read definitions of the term of course, to properly understand what the word means, but do these people really exist? I feel compelled to wonder, and of course they do, because people are slowly coming to terms with the idea that normative behaviour isn’t as far reaching as we’ve been told by experts. but before I go any further, this description should get us all started on the same line of thought.

deviant

(ˈdiːvɪənt)

adj

1. (Sociology) deviating, as from what is considered acceptable behaviour

n

2. (Sociology) a person whose behaviour, esp sexual behaviour, deviates from what is considered to be acceptable

Okay, so if someone differs from a norm or a standard of society, then that makes them a deviant. But why do I have a strong suspicion that grandma is somewhat biased in her outlook?

giphy

Well to be quite blunt and methodical, my rationale for this is that while psychopaths and sociopaths are decently capable of managing their illness from an external viewers perspective, there are several factors to consider.

According to this article which discusses the findings of Dr. James Fallon (a neuroscientist of U of California who accidentally diagnosed himself with psychopathy), people can have the genetic markers of psychopathy but not be dangers to society, but that doesn’t mean they are criminals. And further to that point, it can be difficult to separate “discovery” of traits from “acknowledgement” of traits and realize that doesn’t make the person a threat.

So the assumption from grandma that someone is a threat because they have strange behaviour is problematic, and further to that point, the people who DO exhibit those tendencies or follow criminal behaviour don’t exhibit the behaviour in obvious ways in most cases.

But you knew that discussing sociology and criminal deviancy wasn’t the real intent of today’s Wisdom Wednesday post.

No I want to write about the implications of deviancy and share with you a resource that encourages that behaviour in the realm of the arts. And luckily for us, the name of said source is DeviantArt.

Deviant Art is the self-proclaimed “largest online art gallery and community,” and has been around since the beginning of the 21st century. Which is fairly poetic and appropriate, given the content it churns out.

Of course I am going to over the INs and OUTs of the community with you of course, but I think this tutorial video I’ve included below is a good place to look at before we continue. Mostly because it makes me laugh.

If I’m being perfectly frank, DeviantArt is not as obviously deviant from the typical fare as it sets out to be, but that doesn’t mean it is something to avoid. As you learn to navigate the forums, you will find some really amazing content and in many cases, it will spurn creative ideas.

Where you see the deviation will be in the communication of ideas.

Don’t be alarmed by this. Because it is an unmoderated forum, there will be offensive artwork, but mostly it comes in the form of posts and groups. The questionable content is what makes the website so unique in it’s identity.

This website has millions of images on it which is amazing in and of itself, but it also features videos and written content for artists pursuing those disciplines. It is effectively both a gallery and an art forum, a place for people to submit their artwork and comment on artwork with both text and pictures. Heck, if you want can record yourself making a drawing and submit the entire process to the website for critique.

I find it incredibly fascinating that users have the option to submit their works to be used however they personally deem appropriate. Which means that work could be copyright protected or distributed freely.

You have the option to view work that is trending, artwork that is currently featured in contests, whatever has been submitted in the past “instant”, participate in art challenges, submit work to particular boards, comment on blog posts or create your own virtual gallery. And you would be surprised by all of the different kinds of artwork available from pencil drawing to painting, from child friendly to mature themes, from realism to comic book fan art, there is something on DeviantArt for everyone.

I hope you enjoyed today’s resource folks, please leave some comments and share you experiences with the website or send me an email with a resource you want me to talk about next. I’m out of theories for now, till next time.

Tim!

 

 

Motivation and Movies (Universal Concepts)

I wanted to start this post with an interesting fact about me that not a lot of people know initially – I am an introvert who loves archetypes.

One of the main reasons I love archetypes, is that I have found in life, people generally want to simplify the world and everything within it in order to live their lives in a way that makes sense for them. And it does make logical sense to view life through a particular lens because there is just way too much going on in order to process it all simultaneously. Archetypes allow us to classify behaviours, characteristics of things, collective thought (sometimes called common sense), which I will come back to in a bit, and symbols or motifs.

Because I am an introvert, I have worked really hard at building an identity for myself that allows me to connect with others in both my personal and professional relationships even though I am much more comfortable on my own, and gasp, even enjoy it!

You see, our brains are wired to accept information, and then we perceive, understand, and judge that information based on our existing personal experiences with objects, ideas, places, and people. And so the concept of archetypes gets even more interesting when you consider the theoretical construct of motivation.

The mental framework of the human mind is unique to each person – our neural networks develop differently based on how we live our lives. I’ve personally found that the quickest way to connect with someone new or whom I have not developed a short hand dialogue with is to think about what people do in movies and employ that behaviour or alternatively to reference a film during a conversation that makes sense within the context of the interaction.

Movies are one of our favourite forms of storytelling in the 21st century. I truly believe that they serve as a primary method of getting narrative out there, whether it is for archiving culture, providing entertainment, instilling values, or simply for instruction.

And so because I am not a “natural” at small talk and have taught myself to adjust my behaviour in order to connect with others through a creative outlet that I am already invested in, movies have become a method that simply works for me.

I would hazard a guess that many of you have heard the expression, “common sense is not so common”, dear readers, and the truth is, that the common sense we individually understand is always rooted in culture!  Let me elaborate, whether the culture we look at is the country, the city, the neighbourhood or the family we live in, what is implicit for me as common sense might not jive for you. See the below video for more insight into why common sense doesn’t always give us the right course of action to take (you can probably stop watching around the 5:40 mark, but by all means watch the whole video if you dig it).

Having gone over all of these ideas now, albeit briefly, that doesn’t mean that I think that there is no inherent value learning about the world and that we should start giving no attention to social cues.

Instead, lets circle back to archetypes!

Films are often spoken highly of because there are “universal” concepts used in them. And when we start to focus on a few key concepts in a film, we often decide to classify that film as a genre or sub genre, whether it is romantic, history, comedy, musical, etc. You get the picture I am painting.

What I personally find exciting about films is that they allow us to pick up social cues really quickly because actors observe behaviour and emotionally invest themselves into the mindset of the characters they portray. Ipso facto, we can learn how to behave by watching movies. Further to this end, I believe we can learn what motivates people by learning about what movies they like, and I also believe that we can become more empathetic if we invest our time in watching movies that we may not initially gravitate to.

I am going to get into the value of watching movies some more in the future, but you have something to chew on, so let me know what you think, and these are all the theories I have for now.

Tim!