Note: If this post seems to be circling around itself, it is! I started in one place and ended in another, all the while trying to fit all the flying pieces into place. C’est la vie during this crescendo of interlocking chaotic nodes . . .
It’s no big secret that the accelerating privatization of everything has encroached on the “commons,” public spaces that all of us freely use and enjoy. But sometimes, the unexpected happens. Here are two examples, the first a terrific re-use of an abandoned Wal-Mart, and the second a new commons in the heart of an impoverished section of Tel Aviv. Both of these “commons” happen to be libraries, which, since Andrew Carnegie gave away his fortune to establish 1689 public libraries across the U.S., is perhaps the most iconic form of “commons” still extant today.
Notice that I wouldn’t have known about these two stories were it not for the astonishing new commons we call “the internet”. Or about the number of libraries Carnegie founded, for that matter! Have a question? Just ask! And the answer is there! In the ethers! Who would have imagined even 20 years ago? Indeed, as material public space has shrunk, virtual public space has grown. In equal measure? Is one taking over the other? Is the internet the leading edge of how humanity is “ascending” from 3D to 4D?
(Don’t think I could ask that question and get a meaningful answer from the internet. . .)
And notice, a current attempt to tax the internet in Hungry aroused such a stunning fury that its citizens rose up and stopped it.
Whooeee! Let that be a warning to those who try to privatize the internet, because of course, “they” will and are. Oh wait, they already have! Or at least they’ve changed it from government owned to free enterprise. And that was 20 years ago! Wow, ask a question . . .
From the NYT, October 24, 1994!
Okay, so change my way of talking about the internet. Instead of saying don’t “privatize” the internet, say, don’t let business interests transform the internet via two-tiers, one fast one slow. Plus, don’t let government retake or encroach on the internet — via a tax, or censorship — or whatever!
We may look like sluggards, sitting in front of our screens, but once aroused . . . The internet is OURS. Our COMMONS.
Here are the two promised stories about startling relatively new library “commons” in the 3D world.
From 2012, Huff Po:
From October 3, 2014, dowser.org