Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Attending The University Of The Info Sphere

People have asked me in the past why I never went back to finish a full college, and graduate, degree program. And what I've always said was that the expense was not worth the certificate of credibility thus obtained. And the fact of the matter is that the miniscule amount of money that I, and the government, spent on what was essentially a focused, liberal arts degree, with a side of Data Processing, was just about the most cost effective training program anybody's ever done.

Not only did it leave me with no debt, I ended up having a career that paid a very nice, upper middle class income for more than twenty five years. And I've always felt pretty good about that. I've also felt very lucky to have received the kind of quality learning Washington State's community college system provided at the time, and for which I can only assume continues to this day.

I mention this because it occurs to me now that, for the last 15 years at least, I have been attending a new school. A new school that is the only way one could possible do what Marshall McLuhan had prescribed, years ago, for those who would seek to understand the new media environments; becoming the guy who tries to be inside the tornado of whirling facets of content, forms, and new modes of absorbing complex mosaics of meanings, all juxtaposed in a never ending maelstrom of effect. Trying to be inside there and ferret out new, important connections.

The result of this 15 year, ongoing education, and investigative observation, is the thesis you now see being presented across two blogs (as well as the OldSoftyConcerns web page I used to have online). And presented on blogs so as to provide the forum for my defense of this thesis.

So. Whether I actually succeed in getting my "graduate degree," or not depends on the quality of the challenges I get as a part of my defense. And in that regard I have to say it's been a bit of a puzzle.

I don't know about you, but I don't think I've ever encountered a web forum of any kind where someone could go on proposing what ought to be an obviously controversial agenda, and yet receive virtually no comment at all on it (critical or otherwise); for nearly two years now, and something like 1000 posts in total (with Google's questionable view tracking system having indicated over 100K before they finally shut down the old Google+, where these posts get copied to).

Don't get me wrong. It changes nothing in a practical sense for me. I continue because I have to. I continue because of the splinter that's been in my brain or as long as I can remember: There just has to be a better way to do things. It doesn't leave me alone, and I can't leave it alone. That's just the way it is. I'm just curious is all. And as much as I'd like to have an affirmation on the graduate degree, I can assure you that continuing on without one is not going to cause me much grief at all at this point in my life. And even if it did, compared to everything else that's being done, or not being done, in the world today, you couldn't get anything more "small potatoes" than that.

The really important thing to remember, though, is that there are a lot more of you out there that are attending the same new university. My hope in that is that as many of you as possible would carve out a study program to use this new institution's unique properties to present your own graduate thesis; your own attempt to tease out important aspects that old institutional learning simply has no hope of even recognizing, letting alone articulating properly to any degree, graduate or otherwise.  Keep at it. If you feel it, it has value, and don't let anybody tell you otherwise.

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