Geoffrey Long
Tip of the Quill: Archives
Bruce Mau's incomplete manifesto.

I may have already noted this here – I know I've come across this before, and it's definitely the kind of thing I'd want to share with you, or remember myself: Bruce Mau's Incomplete Manifesto for Growth.

Lately I've been listening to Mr. Mau quite a bit. He gave a lecture this morning as a part of Pop!Tech 2004 on his new project, Massive Change. I'd previously eyed this with a somewhat cynical eye, but the more I read about it, the more I like it, and the more it seems in line with what I've been thinking lately.

My thought processes lately have been... I'm not sure, exactly. I started out working on different programming books, then took a step back to try and wrap my head around the real nature of the issue at hand. That led me to read more theoretical books, like Marshall McLuhan's Understanding Media, Howard Rheingold's Smart Mobs and David Weinberger's Small Pieces, Loosely Joined. I've also been flipping through my copies of The Rise of the Creative Class by Richard Florida, Urban Tribes by Ethan Watters and a stack of other books as well. My nightstand is groaning and tottering.

In addition to this, my media intake has also been flooded with politics, both from the real-life election and from quasi-regular doses of vintage The West Wing reruns on Bravo, which I like to watch while I'm working out or hammering on the laptop. There's something sort of nebulous in all of this that I can't quite grasp yet, but it feels a little like a Unified Theory of Everything. Sort of.

I'm thinking about Social Software, like Friendster and Flickr and even Movable Type and Blogger. I'm wrestling with the concepts of honor and strength and unity and leadership in politics and our daily lives. I'm thinking about design and philosophy and directions on a macro scale, about how when we screw ourselves down into the daily grind, it's all too easy to look up and say, "How the hell did I get here? Where did these kids come from? This is not my beautiful house!" (Thank you, Mr. Byrne.) I'm thinking about Big Picture stuff, both at the world level and at the personal level, and trying to figure out how to bring those things together. Worst of all, I'm not sure if this is detracting from my plans to apply to grad school, or the best possible thing I can be doing. Like I said, it's nebulous.

But it feels to me like the takeaway from The West Wing is that we should live every day knowing and accepting that we are fallible, yet striving with the very core of our being to rise above those limitations. That we should not buckle to the excuse of being "only human", and permit ourselves the willful myopia of ignoring the Big Picture and justifying it with the insistence that we need to set our own houses in order first. That while trying to wrap your mind around the enormity of it all hurts, that's a similar sensation to the pain following a workout: it tells you that you're outside of your comfort zone, and that you're growing.

Still working on this, but that's the gist at the moment.

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