Tuesday, May 8, 2012

FWBH: Evolution of Ideas

For the Fellow Writers Bloghop this month they wanted for us to talk about how Brittannic announced that they were no longer going to print after 244 of their amazing encyclopedia.  And I have to say kudos to them!  They have joined the rest of the world in recognizing that they must evolve or die, which is something that we all must do in this ever changing world.

Evolution has multiple different concepts that drive it.  The religious arguments of whether or not man was derived of apes or created by God are largely missing the fundmental idea that is at the core of evolution.  When the environment around any living being changes, that being will change to match the environment or it will perish.  That is the way it is.  Nowhere this can be seen better than in economics and politics today.  Let's think about this, many people don't like Walmart.  (I don't really like Walmart, it just happens they are really convenient to shop at).  But Sam Walton, had a great idea in bringing everything a person might need into a single shop and then seeking to get the lowest prices for it.  That idea changed the entire market for how people do business.  Companies that had for years focused on making a quality product for a low price had to either sacrifice the quality of their product or have their product made overseas to be able to do business with Walmart.  The concept that Walmart set up changed the entire market for how we do business.

We can see this in the music industry.  MP3's and digital music have changed everything about the music industry.  I'm old enough to have listened to records, eight tracks, cassettes, and CD's.  And the MP3 changed the game of music in ways they could never have suspected.  Because it was digital and so much easier to transport, share, and even work with.  The artists had to stop focusing on making sales by selling an album, but by targeting an audience with the songs that they wanted.  During the time that they made this paradigm shift, they began making it possible to get clean versions of explicit music.  Because it was all about the consumer now, and not the recording companies.

And that is the same way it is with Britannica.  They are changing to meet the needs of the consumer rather than remaining in the past with what they have been doing.  And it is a beautiful thing to see.  At last for the educators who want a reliable online resource for their students to use, Britannica will soon offer opportunities that Wikipedia simply won't be able to compete with.  Because their information will always be factual and unchangeable by the masses.

However Wikipedia will still thrive because they offer articles on so many more topics that Britannica cannot ever cover.  Like when I want information about a video game I can still look to Wikipedia.  Or when I need to get the trivia about the new Avengers movie.  Our age of instant information requires there to be multiple means of getting similar information.  It doesn't promise the quality of that information, but what it does promise is that if one has the correct question to ask, they can find answers to their question.

Because of this need for answers we must start asking better questions.  The questions asked are what will determine what our reality will be.  Because let's face it, it isn't the answers that determine reality and how it changes and what we do, but the questions we ask to get those answers.

Britannica going online is the best answer to Wikipedia I can think of.  There is a need for both sources of information and I'm excited to see the dialogue between the two in the years to come.  But what about Child Slavery?  Sex Trafficking?  Gun Control?  The election of the President of the United States?  The Occupy Movement?  Or Tax Reform?  These are huge ideas that are hanging out there in the wind.  We as a public can control the direction they take by the questions we ask.  If we allow the media to ask questions for us, because they are smarter, or have more information at hand; we sacrifice our freedom.  Perhaps it is time for each one of us in the world to start asking better questions and going to primary sources for our information than trusting simply what has been written before.  Because we should all know the saying, Time is a river and history repeats itself.  But this has everything to do with what history the people who use the time create for themselves.

That's everything from me today.  Tomorrow I'll throw up a Mash Up of Awesomeness and share with you how my weekend went from awesome time for writing to awesome time with a child.  Goals will be met . . . somehow.  I'm Jayrod Garrett, the First OG.  And I hope that this raised some questions for you about how we can change our future.
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