Self Publishing changes the paradigm of human culture

Published by Wreybies in the blog Ponderings of a Pachyderm. Views: 409

Culture, in a short and dirty version of its anthropological definition, is the accumulated knowledge one generation passes on to the next, via language and its outgrowth media, which continues to propagate forward through time. Humans are not the only creatures to have culture under this paradigm. There are other primates and also cetaceans that we know to participate in this tradition. They are more than just their hardwiring. But once there is a medium of recording the information, writing, which we alone possess, there is an explosion of culture because it allows for the accumulation of much more information than any one mind could ever hope to hold.

From the plains of Africa to the Moon because of writing.

One thing that anthropologists must always be wary of is sampling error. When digging up the remains of ancient cultures, we are often left with only small parts of that culture that, if one is not careful, could easily lead one to believe that the day to day life of the average person from that era was focused only on certain things, the things you find left behind, the temples and goddess figurines, the fetish idols and the well buried rich (who appear from the beginning). Most of the writing that comes to us from ancient times is filtered through processes that leave only certain subjects intact. We find scripture quite often and strangely also things having to do with accounting come to us in profusion from the ancient past. There is more, but when found, it often gets held back from us, like the fact that pornography has existed since humans first possessed the capacity to draw boobs and a wiener. ;)

Once we come into times where the record is less archeological and more historical, we find again that the culture of the day is filtered through the hands of those in possession of writing. Scribes painstakingly wrote books by hand that took lifetimes and are today national treasures in many countries. And again, the writing seems to focus on paradigms less in touch with day to day life. The printing press came and for a time the written word was available to, for, and from anyone who could read. Then, as humans are wont to do, things got organized, categorized, and privatized. In short, the few took control of what our culture (the many) says to the future by controlling what gets printed as regards our thoughts, our feelings and our imagination. We're back to where we were when we first chipped away the crust of a rock to reveal the flint blade within. We leave behind only tiny, hard facets of what we, as a culture and a species, are at this moment in time. All the soft tissue is gone and the bones can tell us only so much, even to the trained eye of forensic anthropologists.

Self publishing is a bigger deal than I think anyone realizes. Never mind success. Never mind making money and a living at writing. Never mind all of that for a small moment, I beseech you. Self publishing, for the first time, gives humans a way to allow anyone to deliberately give a small piece of themselves, the individual, small, singular self, not only to anyone with technology in hand today, but also to the future in a way that doesn't physically erode with time and get lost amongst the atoms and molecules of everything else that happens in the world. The individual voice can speak to the future, unfiltered by the hands and minds of others, and give a window into a singular life, a singular mind, a singular human paradigm. That's huge. That's as huge as the discovery of fire, of writing, of the opposable thumb. It means the future gets to know you, not someone else's version of you, not some filtered, altered, strained you, but just you and only you. And through the many yous who make deliberate use of this medium, the future gets to know a greater and more real us.

Think about it.
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