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Ownership

2015-04-30 in Uncategorized

This post is a preliminary sketch of a number of threads that could be interwoven… that could become a fabric, but as yet are still just loose threads. They are closely related to something I wrote the other day about language, technology and evolution (see “Neither Not at All Nor Completely“).

Ownership has some good characteristics, and some that are not so good — maybe even bad. In general, I think it is an illusion, a way of thinking that clouds our ability to think clear thoughts.

On the good side: If you believe in something, then you should own it — or maybe at least try to own it. There’s no need to say “So-and-so was great, and he said this”. I don’t care about So-and-so — what do you think? (see also “Subjectivity + Rationality“).

In a similar vein, people seek to “own their own narratives” — to write their own story, take their own paths, live their own lives. That is all good and fine, but this is one of the ways the illusion starts creeping in. For example: Without the path beneath your feet, how could you “take it”? You can’t. As I wrote a couple days ago (again, see “Neither Not at All Nor Completely“), you are also the other thing (in this example: the path)… — or because it is indeed not you, you can’t really own it.

In the case of language this could be the words I am using here and now: although I might be able to own the story or the narrative, the words I need to express them — to communicate the ideas to/with you — are shared (indeed: they would probably be worthless if they weren’t shared). This is to some degree a network effect — much like the path that connects two locations with each other, sharing a common concept is useful to both of us.

One other thread that also ties into this general space is involvement. In order for a shared, common space to be useful to a community, the members of the community need to be actively involved in maintaining the common technology. When people use a particular dialect or jargon, then the shared meaning is exclusive to those who are members of that particular community, and who actively maintain those concepts and thereby maintain those particular meanings and concepts within that community.

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