Recipe For Happiness: Focus On The Future & Embrace Experimentation

Yesterday, I ranted a bit about the apparent silence in the film community regarding our collective need for forward thinking experimentation (and support thereof).  The need for such action is reinforced in a recent WSJ article by Clay Shirky promoting his new book:

This issue isn't whether there's lots of dumb stuff online—there is, just as there is lots of dumb stuff in bookstores. The issue is whether there are any ideas so good today that they will survive into the future. Several early uses of our cognitive surplus, like open source software, look like they will pass that test.

The past was not as golden, nor is the present as tawdry, as the pessimists suggest, but the only thing really worth arguing about is the future. It is our misfortune, as a historical generation, to live through the largest expansion in expressive capability in human history, a misfortune because abundance breaks more things than scarcity. We are now witnessing the rapid stress of older institutions accompanied by the slow and fitful development of cultural alternatives. Just as required education was a response to print, using the Internet well will require new cultural institutions as well, not just new technologies.

Yes, we are overwhelmed.  There are too many choices.  But solutions are being found.  And the tools have never been better.  How can you not be moved by stories of discovery like this.

Even more so, the benefits of such future focus is underscored by this great video based on Philip Zimabardo's lecture that my wife, Vanessa, turned me on to:

The whole RSA Animate series on YouTube is pretty great, and well worth your time.