October 04, 2008
The valorization of current practise
Anthropologists and social scientists must have this concept already, so if anybody's listening please let me know what you call it.

An internet practice, specifically a social media and Web 2.0 practice, that I really dislike is the constant need to not only explain why we're currently doing what we do but to actually valorize what we're currently doing as something particularly brilliant and human. Examples abound, Lisa Reichelt did it for Twitter at Reboot 9 and for reasons unclear to me Doc Searls does it for whatever Robert Scoble does here.

Of course we all want to feel that we're doing something worthwhile, so we all come up with some social mathematics to make our actions seem reasonable. I've mentioned it before (in danish) - but Steven Pinker's The Blank Slate documents how one can see this behaviour in tests with people who have had their brain hemispheres surgically disconnected - actions taken because one brain hemisphere was instructed to take them were described as personal urges or necessities by the other hemisphere indicating that the logic is exactly backwards: We do what we do - making it overtly and culturally "human" happens later in the mind as an afterthought and as self-valorization.

BUT although I recognize the impulse, at the personal level, I don't get it at the cultural level. Why must what we do be the very best thing we could do? Why isn't our humanity good enough on its own without the valorization? And as an end-note: The libraries of the world, and archive.org, is filled with now ridiculous stale valorizations of earlier stages of societal and technological development. Why don't we learn from these ridiculous archives that we're probably wrong about the present too?

Posted by Claus at October 04, 2008 10:38 AM | TrackBack (0)
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