The mosh pit and cognative surplus.

I was caught off guard by an interesting compare/contrast over at snarkmarket. Two quotes from recent books, both disparaging looks at pre-internet life. The author, Tim Carmody, asks if these kinds of feelings are what are driving us to use our cognitive surplus towards creation.

Maybe slightly, orthogonal to his original idea, was a thought that pop’ed into my head. Not just why are people leaving TV, but how. I have tried to get my parents to use “newer” things, like linux, bad idea I know, but here they are using the internet in interesting ways, in creative ways all without “my help”. Where did they learn to do that.

When I think about this I am reminded of my first concert going experience. I was 14, or 15, and I came upon a mosh pit, literally kids banging up against one another. My first thought being, why the hell not, and I joined in. At some point I fell. Now, I had never met any one in this pile, but 4 people reached to pick me up, and a couple others communicated to watch out. Quickly, I was set right, and re-joined the mosh.

What I have always found remark able, was how quickly a community coalesced around an organizing principal. There was no rule book, but the rules were clearly being communicated, in a viral method. Maybe that is why it’s easy to leave the TV. The rules of using our cognitive surplus aren’t explicit, but implicit, and easy to under stand, and spreading in a viral method.