In this technologically connected age, we are more and more defined by the information we access. Our Facebook and YouTube likes drive the links that are volleyed to us by algorithms beyond our comprehension. The comments that we write affect who follows us and can easily damage (or enhance) our real-world lives. In the olden days, writers chose pen names in order to avoid persecution and to avoid celebrity. The latter is arguably less and less a reason to choose a pen name today, though the former still holds true.
The persecution that one might incur for following a path of inquiry might not lead to outright persecution these days, but the literal stoning has been trans-morphed into a more passive aggressive one. If someone at the office sees that you posted something about drug legalization, though not illegal to write opinions about drugs, and protected under the constitution, that free speech could easily cause you a promotion or at least turn you into the alternative guy or gal in the office, the outcast.
I'm not saying that we should stifle our inquiry or that we shouldn't expose ourselves to unfamiliar sources. We definitely should take risks with our consciousness and think about new things. And if history has taught us anything, it's that the democratization of society continues. There was a time when one man made all of the decisions. Then it spread to a few. Then to few more. Sure, the oligarchs and plutocrats and CEOs still make so many of the world-changing decisions, but now that we are online the shared ideas of the many are reinforced via micro relationships -- a You Tube comment here, a Facebook like there, an email to a group of friends everywhere.
In short, when we consume something that changes us for the better, I believe that it is our duty to share it and/or promote (even if simply through a click). Otherwise our 'selves' are just digital, living inside of an algorithm.
Once we've followed a path of inquiry, consumption and creation for a week, a month, three months, a year, we need not forget to reflect upon that path. Do the branches feel balanced and healthy? Are we nurturing our own growth by balancing our consumption with creativity? Or are we poisoning our own fruit and blackening our roots by making bad choices with our consumption, stifling and sabotaging our own creativity in the process?
What if each of us found our own, unique path not unlike that of Tim Pool in the video below? What if we all became citizen journalists? Even if we only covered the fruitful events of our own micro lives (the seemingly mundane sparks that fly up ever so slightly at unpredictable times each day), we could add a giant fire to the collective ideas that are shared around the world. All of the money and political influence from the top would just burn up and disappear in our blaze, if only we could inquire, consume, create, and reflect...inquire, consume, create, and reflect...inquire, consume, create, and reflect...
...until our branches became copses then woods then forests that could thrive for generations upon generations.
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