I'm not losing my mind yet, but it's close.
Over the last week I’ve been skirting a significant conversation begun by Maha Bali (“I don’t own my domain, I rent it“) and continued by Audrey Watters (“A domain of ones own in a post-ownership society“). Never far away is Andrew Rikard’s Edsurge post “Do I own my domain if you grade it?”
The question for me is how the idea of “own” works as a metaphor. It’s complicated enough as it is: my own, to own, owned, owned. We own our mistakes, we own our work, we own our politics, and none of this is quite like the way we own our homes—which for most of our working lives means some version of renting, in a funhouse world in which access to credit, like debt itself, has become an asset.
Conceptually, home ownership makes an ironic pass at all this, promising dominion over property that is actually quite a temporary thing in geohistorical time. Home ownership offers a misleading sense of permanence in relation to our provisional space in the world. A home that’s owned is always haunted by both its past and future. Far from sheltering us against the churn of things, it’s a daily reminder that we’re not here for long.
I’ll try to say more about these ideas which have been swirling about the #EdTech space for a bit, but I thought I’d outline a few bits before I forget them.
- 9/10 of the law is about ownership
- Commons is an interesting framework, but perhaps is an outmoded concept given that the majority of ownership is now either private, corporate, or governmental. Commons is now generally part of governmental ownership now rather than the older versions of what commons used to be. We need some oversight, management, and support for the governmental portion now. Perhaps Hacker’s book has something interesting to add here.
- No one is taking the next step to say that either government or educational institutions should be footing the entirety of the bill for marginalized students. Why? Again Hacker et al may have something interesting to say here.
- The analogy of ownership to things like houses is fine, but it’s still only that, an analogy to help people more easily think about an abstract idea about which they’ve not got direct knowledge. What about the lack of “ownership” we get from “free” services like Twitter and Facebook? Recall the example of an editorialist saying roughly that we (rich, privileged Americans) shouldn’t leave Facebook because it will potentially damage service to third world groups which then wouldn’t have anything. (include citation). What does all this look like 10 years hence when more people have direct knowledge and we no longer need the “house” ownership model?
- What could be added to the discussion at the IndieWeb’s longevity page?
- Considerations of evolving complexity and mashups found in examples like When Ideas Have Sex.
- Considerations from Why Information Grows (C. Hidalgo) and the creation of value in links as well as the evolution towards larger knowledge entities.
- The future is already here, it’s just unevenly distributed. The same could also still be said about the Industrial Revolution which is still slowly coming to rural third world countries. Recall that it was only until the early 1900’s that the vast majority of people in the world were subsistence farmers.