The following is from Blogging and the Wisdom of Crowds.
If an essential part of Web 2.0 is harnessing collective intelligence, turning the web into a kind of global brain, the blogosphere is the equivalent of constant mental chatter in the forebrain, the voice we hear in all of our heads. It may not reflect the deep structure of the brain, which is often unconscious, but is instead the equivalent of conscious thought. And as a reflection of conscious thought and attention, the blogosphere has begun to have a powerful effect.
The author goes on to talk about the effect the huge rise in the number of blogs, coupled with tag’s defined by ‘the people’, is having on the structure of the internet. I don’t pretend to have my head around this to the extent I could comment about it. So, if you’re interested in the goings on behind the scenes of the internet and how its structure is being changed by ‘us’, then this article is worth taking a look at.
I found it somewhat disturbing when I bumped into the phrase ‘constant mental chatter’ in connection with blogging! Buddhist Blogger Beware! I ask myself, ‘Do I really want to add more to the voice we hear in the forebrain’? I aspire to sit still in the midst of that within myself daily. Partaking of the ‘global brain’ through blogging is a challenge and, for the moment, it’s worth it.
Over the past couple of weeks, since being more involved with other people writing Buddhist weblogs, I’ve gained a new appreciation of their place in practice. Offered and received in their highest form, the blogs can be understood as an expression of the Sangha Refuge. I know I benefit from sharing the inner workings of others walking The Path. And there is the offering of that which comes from behind the words too.
6 thoughts on “Still in the Midst of Conditions”
Dear Rev Mugo,
I guess we have to bear in mind the difference between the use of the term ‘fore brain’ in a web analogy and the actual chattering forebrain which we all indulge. I don’t suppose the fact that comments appear on a blogger necessarily mean they are actually just fore-brain chatter any more than thoughts arising during meditation inevitably come from the heart.
Sometimes I wish there was an infallible way to tell the difference, and at other times I’m convinced it’s essential to recognise that, however deep our meditation, we may be mistaken.
Isn’t that what the sory of Hyakujo’s Fox is getting at?
Paradoxically communication theory tells us that adding noise to a weak signal can sometimes make it detectable.
Most blogs are noise, there is nothing wrong in that. They sustain the weak signals. If you want to follow events in Iraq, to take one example, you are likely to track a specialist blog. Our traditional newspapers are less and less concerned with analysis and addressing the unpalatable.
I find posts and comments here thoughtful and honest, dealing with some tough issues. I’m grateful – many thanks.
I think it depends on where you’re standing. From my perspective there is something about reading the writings of people, such as yourself, who go deeply into a discipline that soaks through my mental chatter and reaches the part of me that wants to do the same.
Nice that it can be funny too!
Thanks I’ll sit with your comments and see if anything worth saying emerges.
Your general support is much appreciated, especially since I feel like I am running out of steam at the moment.
Since I have recently started my own blog this has given me food for thought. I think I need to be a bit more focussed in what I say on my blog. I originally intended it to be pretty general, posting on any topic that occured to me whether Buddhist or not. I am hoping now that I am not just adding to the general noise.
I think what I would like my blog to be is a sort of online spiritual diary. With practice, maybe I can reduce my general chatter and create posts which reflect what’s really going on for me right now in my training.
Thank you and In Gassho,
Really Ian it is all to do with one’s intention behind writing. Others benefit from hearing about your life of practice. Call it chatter, call it insight. So I’d be careful about doing down ‘chatter’.
In the article I made reference to, the day before yesterday, there is mention of ‘mental drifting’ (you could call that chatter). The author obviously found that he could learn from what was heard.
Happy blogging Ian.