Time: Sun Sep 07 11:12:09 1997
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Date: Sun, 07 Sep 1997 11:05:39 -0700
To: tomlunde@cmw.ca
From: Paul Andrew Mitchell [address in tool bar]
Subject: SLS: Policy, the Net, and Corruption (fwd)

The man sets a high standard of excellent 
examples here.  My hearty compliments.

Listen and learn!

/s/ Paul Mitchell

copy:  Supreme Law School

>Date: Wed, 3 Sep 1997 10:08:49 -0500
>From: "Thomas Lunde" <tomlunde@cmw.ca>
>To: Designing for POST-INDUSTRIAL REALITIES <futurework@csf.colorado.edu>
>Subject: Policy, the Net, and Corruption
>I have been challenged by the questions posed by Mr. Mueller.  I am fairly
>new at lists and don't belong to many but I have noticed that there are a
>number of "types" who participate.  For some, the list serves as a chat
>line of sorts where conversations take place, friendly insults exchanged
>and a form of polite one upmanship prevails.  A second type holds a
>particular viewpoint most strongly, i.e. conservative, left wing, etc. and
>chooses to view every solution from that viewpoint and attacks all other
>participants with their singular solution.  Others seem to be information
>sharers, who constantly try to enlarge the knowledge and background of
>every subject discussed by bringing resources, book reviews, articles,
>comments and other links.  And then there are those who have a solution -
>shorter work week, land reform, etc. and who tenaciously stay focused on
>their particular solution.  And finally, as Mr. Mueller has pointed out,
>there is the majority who come and visit, read a little and move on with
>nary a trace of their personality, viewpoint or interest left behind.
>Our current historical position is analogous to that period of history when
>Gutenburg invented the printing press and the world of knowledge moved from
>those who copied and studied and memorized manuscripts to those who began
>to read the many books that were becoming available.  That led to coffee
>houses, a new theory for University curriculums, the public school system,
>authors and readers, the penny dreadnought, the great thinkers such as
>Descartes and John Locke and Adam Smith who for the first time could write
>in volume over several hundred pages on a topic.  While those changes
>happened over several hundred years, out current situation is vastly
>swifter.  And we have not yet invented the forms to take advantage of the
>technolgy's we have discovered.  The computer, the word processor, the
>modem, the Internet, Web Pages and Lists are all new inventions that have
>happened within a generation for most of us.
>I would suggest that many people who are readers, have not yet learned how
>to be writers.  That our culture in literacy has been heavily weighted
>towards developing the skill of reading or watching or listening as in TV
>and radio and quite frankly, the art of expression has been lost.  This is
>even true of conversation and debate.  Inside the heads of most people is
>more knowledge than ever before and yet the desire and ability to express
>that knowledge, for most, has atrophied.
>These new technologies and the ones on the horizon that will turn our
>humble computer into a video telephone or a voice to type dictation machine
>or a combination of writing and graphic iconic description, are going to
>require an education in taking what is inside our heads from our vast
>absorption of knowledge through reading, watching and listening to
>developing methodologies in which we all become as conversant at outputting
>information as we have become absorbing information.  This will be a
>revolution similar to the one started by Gutenburg in the 15th century.
>Not only do we as individuals have to change - usually a generational
>thing, but we have to invent new forms to organize and display and store
>all this new output.  We few, fortunate enough to have a computer, an
>Internet server, technical skills enough to master our word processor, our
>browser and our mail program, our private data bases are on the forefront
>of this wave.  Lists such as FutureWork are pioneer efforts and from the
>solving of the problems that Mr. Mueller is bringing into focus, we can and
>will start to find answers.
>At the moment we are at a very rudimentary stage.  Membership is by
>individual choice - maybe good - maybe bad, still to be decided.  On FW, we
>have attempted to solve that by two lists, one more private and
>conversational, one more public and not limited by length or topic.  The
>development of the concept of "threads" where individual themes can exist
>within the larger body works to some small degree but often peters out
>through lack of participation and long term focus.  The history of the list
>is contained in "archives" which have no organization except linear
>cataloging and which are cumbersome to read if one wants to research what
>might have went on before.  There are no summaries of issues that have been
>discussed and conclusions arrived at, though there has been a small attempt
>at position papers.
>Then there is the concept of outcomes - what do we as participants want to
>do?  Are we frustrated publishers looking for readership?  Evangelists
>looking for converts?  Social activists looking for a cause and like minded
>participants?  Inventors posting our new ideas?  Educators looking for
>students to teach?
>These are questions not addressed or formalized.  Partly because the medium
>lacks commitment.  There is no financial incentive as there is in a
>business venture and though many smart people have tried to find ways to
>make Lists commercial, no one has found that magic formula that I am aware
>off.  There is no fame to be garnered that you can add to your CV for all
>the effort of writing out your thoughts or interacting in this way with
>others.  There is no authority such as project leaders, saying Thomas, "do
>this as your part of the assignment."  There is no outside authority
>evaluating and marking our efforts to give personal or academic value to
>our efforts.  To date, the most we can hope for is a little peer group
>recognition by those who choose to comment on our individual efforts.
>We hold no official position within a hierarchy such as government,
>business or university.  We have not yet found a way to be effective in the
>real world were legislation is discussed and passed or where products are
>developed or sold or where institutions come forth and offer us speaking or
>writing or workshop opportunities.  We have a printing press, but we have
>not developed a readership to support our output.  Or is the new tool of
>cyberspace ultimately uncommercial and that what we will see over time is
>new values established that are not of a monetary nature?  These, to me,
>are some of the many unanswered questions.  When the answers are finally
>found, we will look back from the position of hindsight and wonder why it
>was so difficult to see the way cyberspace can be used effectively, but
>from our present vantage point the answer is not so apparent.
>This is a very germane list to engage these questions on because this may
>very well be the Future Work of millions of people.  Participating through
>cyberspace on the solving of problems, enlarging our personal knowledge,
>developing skills to work in multi-disciplinary environments with people
>that you have no common shared experiences with, who may come from
>different culture, political viewpoints, education training and who may
>join and leave at their discretion rather than being coerced by money or
>contract, may require a social and economic revolution before it can be
>incorporated into the mainstream of human society.
>This thread should remain open and we should move from asking questions to
>theorizing on answers to eventually attempting through experiment, some
>real world activity to explore and learn.  Failure is a successful learning
>strategy.  Not trying is not a successful learning strategy.

Paul Andrew Mitchell                 : Counselor at Law, federal witness
B.A., Political Science, UCLA;  M.S., Public Administration, U.C. Irvine

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