Sunday, January 01, 2006

Construct meaning

Lawrence Lessig in his newest book "Free culture" makes arguments for the importance of intellectual creative content being freely available for reuse via the internet and other media. At least a large part of it should be freely or easily possible to copy with or without modification lest we fall into the trap of surrendering our culture to large entities that can afford to navigate the complex legal framework guarding intellectual "property". Ordinary people would be dispossessed of their culture.

And here is why it is important. The author asks a professional pedagogue or educationist about what it is that people do creating blogs, presentations, collages of music, images - nowadays much of it from the material borrowed/copied form the net. The answer is that they need to "construct meaning" for their lives in the world. This is a very deep statement about the role of culture which was always true but may be even more true in the current post-modern situation of man, in the age where we mostly produce and create abstractions no longer directly interacting with the material world. The modern world gives us more trouble with finding meaning, the sense of doubt about the significance of our actions is pervasive. Construction of meaning, or generation of culture, is a sort of necessary social psychotherapy and the common man cannot be deprived of the right to it giving it up to corporations, experts, governments.

Also note that the word here is construct and not create. I think actually creating a new content is beyond the capabilities of common man but constructing it is a necessary function.

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