Finding your Freedom on the Internet
Expression is the most important freedom. This is not just the most important, this is the ultimate freedom.
Freedom of expression implies much more than the name suggests. To start, we need to define expression. Within this argument we are defining expression as the ability to translate an idea into reality. This can take the form of moving, cooking, reading, writing, etc. It implies that you are able to use what ability you have. Now, and this is important, free expression does not deal with the moral correctness of the action or thought. In fact, this is where the argument gets interesting.
The Freedom of Expression is ultimately something that only society, that is other humans, can grant. Society, of course, needs some underlying structure and leadership unless we want total chaos. The Freedom of Expression does not presuppose that we shouldn’t surrender certain freedoms to maintain stability and security. I think we should. But we should also do more to encourage this freedom. Not by breaking down laws, which is bad, but by giving us better tools to express.
In the end we are shaped by our surroundings. This means our environment, history, and society shape who we become. What this also means is our surroundings shape who we are not. When we talk about the influence of our surroundings we are talking about the influence it has over our perception. Perception shapes our reality, and without free access to information our reality is locked in. Without access to all information our perception is constrained. To a degree, however, this is a good thing. It allows us to fit in with our surroundings; a lush forest dweller’s (think Oregon) mindset in a desert will not suffice, the opposite also being true. So it’s not that this influence is bad, it’s just that it is not as open as it can be. If our surroundings shape our perception, the way to change our perception is to change our surroundings (or intake). You can move to a new state or country, you can find new friends, or you can find new information.
Now, changing your perception might put you at odds with your local society or culture’s standard, but not to fear. If we had someplace on the Internet where we could interact with entire communities of people we might be able to escape from part of that. At the very least it would help us find people who share similar ideas, or are willing to help us explore them. What we need is an audience.
What I want to do with OurPangea is make it easier to find an audience. If you were able to find the people who were interested in same things faster, you can escape the “physical prison” of your surroundings. I am not saying we should substitute life with a virtual world, I am saying it is a good medium to share ideas with people who are interested. The Internet is for the mind, but it should also serve as reminder that we are also our bodies. I think sci-fi speculation often forgets this, without our bodies we don’t have our mind. They are permanently intertwined and we would do well to remember this.
If we use the Internet to create a collection of audiences (a.k.a. communities) we should be able to reach this level of freedom. If we were able to access a larger variety of communities we would be able to find people who support similar mindsets, not just the ones around us. Instead of conforming to the society around us, we will be able to find the communities that will support us. Not everything we think is right, morally or logically, and open discussion can only help. If we had an audience to discuss with we would be able to define our reality as we like it, not as our environment dictates. Of course, at some level our environment will always dictate who we are, but it’s nice to think we can have more a little more say in the matter.
If everyone were able to express themselves freely, either their actions, ideas, or art we would see a very different world. We will still be governed, but we will also have more freedom. Without stability (government) we lose the ability to be free as we will all operate out of fear. If we were able to find our audience we could be more free. We would be able to express freely alongside everyone else. We would be able to act without judgment and think without fear. We could choose to be more open minded.
A Community Network is designed to open up the world for you. If a Community Network existed, you would have access to everyone. You would be able to find the audiences who support you. You would find the people who will support your freedom of expression. You would gain a new freedom and through it the life of your choosing.