Fuzzy Rainbows

Monday, July 16, 2007

Science reveals: Democracy dead

I just finished reading George Lakoff's book "Whose Freedom." I highly recommend checking it out, it opened my eyes to how people think (at least a theory that is much more plausible than rationalism). The basic idea is that people form thoughts based on an unconscious metaphors which define how they are able to reason about a situation. Lackoff applies this theory to politics, and speaks specifically about the neo-cons attempt to redefine the language (and hence the political metaphors which control the debate) surrounding the word "freedom."

He finishes up with a real knockout punch, a nytimes article
which describes an MRI study in which they asked conservatives and liberals to take part in. The study consists of testing what parts of the brain are activated when facts are given which contradict the persons political ideology. What they found out was that when a fact was given which contradicts your frame or metaphor, you discard of it in a largely emotional process and don't consider it whatsoever.

The conservatives have discovered this some time ago, by saying one thing and doing another, and appealing to the conservative metaphors. The democrats are beginning to catch on, and they must attempt to reframe debates and stop using language which supports the conservative metaphors. But even if they succeed, is this democracy? How can we have a democracy where it matters not what you say, but how you say it?

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Copyright fight

Imagine a world where all information is freely available. You want to learn how to cook? Google it and 3 million hits come up. After refining your search to Northern Indian cooking, you find a particularly nice book or a youTube cooking show that you like. Feeling generous you tip the content creator with a micro payment.

Imagine a world where artists and engineers are commissioned to produce work, and upon completion this work is released into the wild. A world where Copyright means you have the write to copy anything, up there with the right to bear arms and pursue happiness.

The way I see it we have two options. One option, the way we are heading, is to heightened copyright infringement law, and expanded punishment. Remember all those slippery slope arguments about this that or the other? Well this is the slope sliding down to the abyss. Take a look at Gonzalez proposed legislation. Note the proposed brand new illegal act punishable by life imprisonment. Like the war on drugs, this new copyright war will be just as inane and towing the same prison filling baggage.

The second option is that we pass new legislation, which begins to expand fair use. Eventually when the public has time to invent a new compensation model for information, we can open up to a complete right to copy. The revolution has begun, even now major Artists such as Nine Inch Nails releasing their music for free, adding even the composition files enabling people to create their own derivative works with ease. In scientific fields the free flow of data and information can only help with progress. I hypothesize that the right to copy combined with the internet will likely spawn a new golden age in literally every scientific and artistic endeavor.

Start the copyright fight now, and refuse to use the RIAA and MPAA language and metaphors which frame this debate. If we continue to use phrases such as "Intellectual Property" and even "Piracy," I'm afraid we will have already lost. Here is another article which states my views much more eloquently.