Posted on June 23, 2008
Filed Under Culture & Technology |
Last week, a commenter on this blog pointed me in the direction of an interesting post by Fred Wilson, a venture capitalist in New York and the author of the popular blog, A VC.
In his post, Wilson lamented that he’s not finding much inspiration in the technology blogosphere these days.
As technology blogging has become defined by blogs like Techcrunch, Gigaom, VentureBeat, Valleywag, PaidContent, AlleyInsider, and many others that are quickly becoming news organizations optimizing around scoops and driving readership, I am feeling that we’ve lost something, or at least we need to look elsewhere for that magic that was existent back in the first half of this decade.
He’s seeking something more than what the blogosphere is currently offering:
Who knows if what I want exists or can exist. But I want techmeme for inspiration. I want a place I can go every day and get inspired by real people. It hasn’t happened for me in many years in traditional media and honestly it’s happening for me less and less these day in online/social media.
I found Wilson’s post interesting because I’ve pointed out before that the technologies we often perceive to be beneficial to us often aren’t.
In Wilson’s case, it appears that the freshness of the technology blogosphere has worn off and he’s been left to ponder the fact that now that the initial “high” is gone, there’s not a whole lot of “inspiration” to be found.
I felt compelled to respond to Wilson and posted the following comment:
Fred: have you ever considered that inspiration comes primarily from within?
Perhaps your problem is that you’ve been searching for inspiration from others instead of searching for it within yourself.
As Carl Jung said, “He who looks outside, dreams; he who looks inside, awakes.”
In Wilson’s discussion of “inspiration,” I was reminded of the words of St. Augustine, who observed:
“People travel to wonder at the height of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars; and they pass by themselves without wondering.”
And so it goes with technology. Misguided individuals seek some sort of inspiration through a blog or a gadget, all the while forgetting that these things alone are incapable of providing the type of fulfillment most spend their whole lives seeking despite the fact that it is right under their noses.
One might point out the apparent contradiction in my comments on this matter. After all, I write a blog and I often ponder the ideas and works of others.
Yet I blog not because I find inspiration in the topics I write about but because I find inspiration in the process of taking my thoughts and transforming them into the written word.
I find that I become a better thinker when I am challenged to turn abstract thought into concrete language. It does not matter what I write about and it does not matter if what I write is read.
I would note that history’s great thinkers - from Buddha to Thoreau, Shakespeare to Einstein - were generally not individuals who sought comfort through the popular external stimuli of the day. They spent more time alone with their thoughts than they did interacting tritely with people and things.
To be sure, they were not isolated from the world and were actually keen observers of it, but the source of their wisdom, and inspiration, was introspection, not interest. In other words, interest in the absence of introspection rarely leads to inspiration.
While the thoughts of others can get the creative juices flowing, my advice to Fred Wilson is: don’t confuse the interesting with the inspirational. The former exists in great abundance. The latter exists only when one decides to search the “Innernet” instead of the Internet.Print This Post