Tuesday, September 12, 2006

from Shinto ritual to videosphere

On the Joi Ito Web, there's an anecdote about Shinto ritual for pruning a Shii Tree. The tree was beginning to lean toward the author's house, so something had to be done to prevent the Shii from destroying the house. The tree must be removed, but respectfully, with full mindfulness of what is happening.

Trees have pain, sorrow, joy, hopes and fears. All living entities turn from suffering and head toward gratifications of various types.

This senior tree may have simply grown weary of the struggle, the fighting and frustrations of being a tree in this world. It may be leaning destructively from a sense of resignation, rather than retaliation.

The Shinto ritual invoked the spirits of the Shii tree. What we scientists might call the thermodynamic tensions of the tree. What CEOs might call the core values of the tree. What immaterialists might call the vegetal personality of the tree.

The tree, being a distinct individual, has a natural persona, a unique set of intrinsic drives and external circumstances, just like you and I.

"Proving Science Wrong", a game of the fictional YouTuber Lonelygirl15, is an attempt to reduce science to a joke, since scientific method is perceived as a threat to the "religion" of her parents. For science, with all its flaws, still wages war against superstition and sentimental ceremony, entrenched tradition and taboo.

Our defeat of superstition, irrationality, and priestly mystery is greeted with an apparition of the fallen foe. A picture on a wall under candles. An actress who remains aloof and carries on like she had never been exposed as a "false persona". But the surreptitious, the zoned off, the tantalizing tidbit adventure leaves much undone. Much that is starting to backfire with sites that are "not available for browsing" and dumped audience members feeling digitally duped.

Didn't your mother teach you to never fully trust anyone you know only online?

You cannot know who LonelyGirl15 really is, especially if she really does not exist.

A fictional character is a pretended persona inhabiting an imaginary world where what happens really never happened to people who don't exist. To remain rational and sane, you must remember this. Every persona you "meet" online should be considered computer-generated, not human, a text, voice, and image generator only.

"Home-schooling" and "stay in my room a lot" mean nothing. Fiction. Nonsense. Fluff. Poof. Gooodbye to another illusion. Delusion sets in when we refuse to acknowledge the apparition as unreal, and cling to our own introjected embodiment of its persona as an active character in our own psychical apparatus configuration.

To see, to gaze, to inspect. We shield our eyes from the unknown and unfamiliar. But the unknown and unfamiliar persist and launch their invasions, technologically or metaphysically, in spite of our willed blindness.

From callous indifference to trees and other lifeforms, to a exaltation of trees as entities who are superior to us in some way. All created things point to the Uncreate, the Unidea, the Un-I-Verse, that which is Other, the Not You Not Me, the Source of the All and Beyond. Even in denying a Source we reiterate Source by shooting off our mouths.

What's the pervasive attitude or "spirit" of your company? your family? your career path? Is it Warrior or Reconciler Spirit? Innovator or Imitator Spirit? Humor or Grave Spirit? Cooperative or Competitive Spirit? Misanthrope or Altruism Spirit?

The spirit of a tree, that's the vision, the photosynthetic snapshot the individual tree has of itself. Its inborn tendency to triumph, the way it reacts valiantly to the forces aligned against it, from lightning to lumberjacks. From the silent heroism of the tragically bent, twisted, tangled, windocombat tree...to the upright integrity of the solid sky-pointing tree.

Bringer of books and toothpicks, shade and dry basements.

Can we honor the work ethic and self-worth of a tree, an employee, a customer, or client? How about a new technology, one that permits you to engage in casual, relaxed, authentic communication with the public?

How can we use the new communication tools of wikis, podcasting, blogs, RSS, and video to cut costs, increase sales, and build customer loyalty? Not make them fit in with what we have been doing, but use them to launch new strategies, new ways of serving, new manners of existing in the world?

When you do a video, and upload it to YouTube, Revver, Google Video, or other film sharing host, you have begun a New Existence as a Video Entity. You join an online community of vloggers and film producers.

You interact with the vlogosphere by subscribing, saving as favorites, posting comments at, and uploading video responses to the videos of other content creators. Every time you upload a video, you make a statement about yourself and what you consider to be relevant, infotaining content.

MySpace is so 2005.

YouTube is 2006.

Blogosphere is where you should have been.

Videosphere is where you should be now.

Within video you can fully communicate, almost as intimately as physical presence, your core values, driving attitude, or "spirit".


carrie said...

or you can communicate any number of 'false personas' which is basically what most people do in real life, anyway when interacting with the public.

steven edward streight said...

Yes. I've noticed how strange women act when they greet each other. They way their voices lilt in higher octaves when they say "Oh hi, so nice to meet you!"

Men are more gruff. "Not bad" is the highest compliment. "Thrilled to death" is a female equivalent.

We do use various personas in different situations, but don't we admire someone who is exactly the same no matter where they are?

I like to see someone who acts no differently toward "superiors" or "inferiors", people better off or worse off.

But blogs and videocasts are ideally by genuine people expressing their true identities, feelings, and opinions.