Excerpt 1 from A Talk Based on "Life Inc" by Douglas Rushkoff
Check out this fascinating excerpt from a talk by Douglas Rushkoff based on his book Life Inc.: How Corporatism Conquered the World and How We Can Take it Back -- a book that challenges us to think completely differently about how we see the economics, the world of business, and money itself.
As I see it, nothing is free. Nothing is free. Everything costs. It’s just that many things are not paid for. So there is a very big difference between those two things. I think that the problem is that the operating system for money, the operating system that we use for money, is obsolete and it is incompatible with the digital era. Our money system is a legacy system and like any legacy systems, they work for a certain amount of time. You forget that it’s even a legacy and then you begin to accept the operating system as a given circumstance.
So then, we talk about free and we have all of these discussions accepting the kind of currency we use as the given circumstance of the economy. Once you understand, once you cope with the fact that it is only an operating system, you realize the programs that we are trying to run aren’t working for us anymore. Not because the programs are the problem or because we are the problem, but because the OS, the operating system that we are running them on doesn’t work for that any more. The stuff in our pockets, the stuff that we call money is not money.
Did you ever hear about general semantics? General semantics, the idea. You can’t use the word “is.” You can’t say, “This is money.” If you take the word “is” out of the equation and you’re not allowed to use it anymore, then what can we say? We can say this represents money in our society right now. We use this as currency. That’s all we can say about it. This is not money. This is not value. This is not anything. This is, if it’s going to be is, this is paper with stuff printed on it that means something.
Excerpt 1 from A Talk Based on "Program or Be Programmed" by Douglas Rushkoff
Douglas Rushkoff is widely considered to be one of most cutting-edge thinkers of our time. In his book, Program or Be Programmed, Rushkoff asks the question: Do we direct technology or do we let ourselves be directed by it and those who have mastered it? BetterListen! is delighted to make a available a talk Rushkoff gave on his fascinating new book. Following is a transcribed excerpt from that talk which challenges us to think differently about the world around us.
What I see when I look at the history of culture and technology and computing, and media in particular, is I see occasional rare opportunities for civilization, the majority of people, to decide to participate in what’s going on. For people to actually become what in the sixties we used to call empowerment. For people to actually become empowered to exercise agency in their own affairs and in the world around them.To become cognoscente of the fact that a whole lot of the world that we live in is a social construction, is made, is not actual or not preexisting conditions, but are things that people made for us to function in certain ways.
Then usually we let that opportunity go by. Either because -- and we don’t really know -- either because people just look at it and think it’s just too much work, it’s just too much responsibility, I really don’t want to know. Put me back in the matrix, boy, and don’t let me remember this ever happened. Or as I argued in Coercion, because there are kind of big bad institutions and mean guys who cover it up and take it away or make us afraid of it. That our hesitance to open our eyes, to put on the Hoffman glasses in “They Live” -- if you know that movie -- and see the programming all around you, that that’s because there are bad guys who don’t want us to get there. Either way, it’s a repeating cycle.