I'm referring here to Clay Shirky's idea that people are becoming more and more adept at using their time and mental energy creatively and productively--especially for persons in "creative" (as opposed to productive) lines of work. You might say that we have cognitive surplus to thank for the long and detailed threads we get here at DharmaWheel, with posts not infrequently written by people while at work, and wikipedia, and... all those kitty cat pictures on teh interwebz. And 4chan.
(this isn't exactly a new idea; Rudolph Bahro anticipated Shirky's argument in important ways with his concept of surplus consciousness. but I digress.)
Thinking of all the time spent on nonsense like watching "Gangnam Style" on youtube ten thousand times or making memes about a certain well-groomed shiba inu (wow!), I'm beginning to think that cognitive surplus may be as much of a problem as a blessing. I see this at work, and in some volunteer organizations I am involved with. Meetings are getting longer, more detailed, more personal, more solipsistic, more fussily obsessed with details that are either obviously irrelevant or with relevance showing no signs of recovery, for starters. I notice some changes too in the expectations around emails and other forms of communication. Meanwhile at work, while we're in the second hour of our debate over whether the accent color on the new brochure should be teal or turquoise in color (DIDN'T YOU READ MY EMAIL ABOUT THIS?), the dishes aren't getting done and we waste each others' time and energy on minutiae. Such productive, very help, wow.
My point is that cognitive surplus may be another way of saying it's increasingly likely that people are tying themselves and each other in knots unnecessarily, thinking themselves INTO problems rather than out of them, using all this thoughtwork to escape engaging seriously with the concrete facts of their situations, and projecting absurd expectations and presumptions onto others, with all manner of samsaric consequences. I'm beginning to prefer the too long didn't read (tl;dr) approach. It's more honest, and makes fewer demands of others' time in some ways.
All this makes me want to retire from the internet entirely and head for the mountains. Good things are happening in the mountains, you know.http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.ph ... 91&start=0