Paramedia *

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"A point of view can be a dangerous luxury when substituted for insight and understanding." ~Marshall McLuhan


“Paramedia” describes what happens when peers come together in networks of influence, using media innovation. In the era of USER AS CONTENT, self-organizing people with the status skillsets of traditional media and access to media publishing tools converge in mutually-reinforcing, democratic and purposeful new ways beyond journalism and the shameless self-promotion of "Web 2.0" and other non-compliant media and distribution channels.

DIY Media: Paramedia, including desktop cinema, is the medium of the "Naughties." Arguably, it is the single most important factor in current social evolution, light years beyond the offerings of dry pedagogy and endless Power Point presentations. It penetrates deeply into the gaps of conventional culture, rigidity and atrophy, bursting it apart at the seams, like overripe fruit. It is a chaotic factor mirroring the criticality of our times, and magnifying its influence through the butterfly effect of info-memes.

Infowars: Taking its message directly to the people who either actively seek it or come upon it synchronistically, it is a new way of teaching and learning that suits our busy lifestyles and our infolust for concise, up to the minute reportage, analysis and applcation.  As with all media, once you digest the content, you are invited to make up your mind for yourself.

Paramedia Ecology describes the peer-to-peer world of subtle interactions of the sum of all such evolutionary media interactions, networks of influence, and peer relationships.  It includes social and political potential, agitprop, blogging, podcasting, videocasting, network nodes, tiny TV, YouTube, and the next thing we haven't heard about yet but will soon all be doing.

• Paramedia is a form of media that applies the training that has been largely restricted to journalists, artists and storytellers by limited access to the tools and channels for making and distributing messages;
• Paramedia operate beside, between, above and below the traditional practitioners of media and the paramedia channels enjoy an increasingly similar access to audiences through distribution channels.
• Paramedia can be dysfunctional; the assumption by established media is that paramedia is essentially flawed by a lack of professionalism. Paramedia people, likewise, believe the conventional media they supersede is dysfunctional. (Ratcliffe).

"McLuhan believed that electronic environments were molding people on a scale that was greater than any artwork, and that, therefore, artists should embrace the technologies of the future," says Paramedia Ecologist, Bob Dobbs."By this, he meant that in mass media environments, people are molded not only by the content but by a sensory bias specific to the medium," says Dobbs. For digital media, he adopted a different adage, that the "user is the content."

McLuhan's "put on" is the mysterious process of continual mutual transformation, resulting from a reciprocal dynamic whereby a reader's perceptions are altered by putting on a mask or poem, and a writer or maker puts on the reader, having to project his own image as the mask of the user or reader. McLuhan would later note that the "complexity of this process is such that even literary critics have despaired of ever unravelling it. Critics of the press, on the other hand, are accustomed to label the whole thing as degrading…" given that in the commercial sphere, the process can be referred to as "giving the public what it wants." He continues, "this process is at the very heart of any communication activity…It is certain to remain the central issue so long as readers are human and not merely robots." -Andrew Crystall


Now, it's time for the TAKE OFF, as we all GET REAL, online or off, once again ~ what is called in media ecology, the ANTHROPOMORPHIC PHYSICAL (AP), the physical body - not just the chip-body. 

The audience is US, the users, the DOWNLOADABLE HUMANS.

MYTH IS the  pattern of information/culture/community/technology and words/archetype/story/passion. Previously myth was imposed, now it is evoked. Instead of ruling people by controlling their passions, we rule through their passions. Myth is passion and under the electric myth all passions are retrieved and recycled simultaneously as software "form" (to live in on a long-term basis) and as hardware "content" (short-term and temporary lifespan). In terms of communication, which is what a medium is - it's shared information, it's community - shared communities and archetypes are talking, living out loud.

"We are polluting Art as fast as we are tidying up Nature. The people of the Earth are encouraged to engage in an experiment of utmost urgency. We must turn off the electric environment for a period of one week to perform a cleansing of mass-man's mind, body and spirit. We must get back to our bodies, lest we forget they are still there! Imagine the freedom to be experienced as the top-down cultural control of civilization is eradicated for even the briefest period! If everyone did participate in the media Fast, how would we know it happened? Stay tuned..." ~ Bob Dobbs

Who are we?

What we need is a new existential paradigm, a design pattern for putting knowledge into action. Doctors tell us we don't know the simplest things like how to eat or sleep properly. Psychologists tell us we don't know how to behave and politics shows us we don't know how to get along. Pundits and talking heads tell us we don't know how to think critically. We don't know what to believe, and fall victim to mind control, the spiritual supermarket, memes, agitprop and propaganda, and our own outworn childhood scripts.

We need a new Participatory Wisdom for how to be and how to get along in our rapidly changing world. We need to change the architecture of our participation with self, others and world for a richer user experience, an attitude not a technology. Science isn't the panacea. Soon it will make us Borg, transhumans with bioelectronic supplementation. Science still doesn't know what energy, matter, electricity, life, or the cosmos is, but the secret of the Universe is that IT's ALIVE! And so are we.

Calm Passion

It is that very nonmechanical liveliness, the joi de vivre of passion that best communicates our holistic Presence to others, to the world. In ancient times, wisdom was thought of as the type of knowledge needed to discern the good and live the good life. It was one of the four virtues, including justice, moderation, and courage which comes from the heart as the root couer shows. The pursuit of wisdom comes from a willingness to expose the pretenses of wisdom wherever we find it, even in ourselves. It gives us the infallible judgment to discern what is worthy of pursuit.

The "courage to be" -- what we potentially are, our mission and raison d'ete -- is essentially an ethical act of affirming our identity despite any shortcomings or the possibility of dreadful outcomes. It is embodied in two basic life strategies, which can be summed up as, "Say it then play it" or "Play it and then say it." 

In the former we declare our intent. We begin with an inspiration, fantasy or desire, name it then go about the process of making it so.  In the later, we place ourselves in the matrix of spontaneous events and find ourselves living larger than life, and then maximize that fortune to parlay it into further opportunities for fantastic experiences. Wisdom is developed through experience, insight and reflection -- the common sense of foresight, or "connecting the dots."

Philosophy as the love of wisdom is a metaphysical pursuit which opens the depth dimension. Sure, each of us can be wise in our craft, but that is merely a steppingstone to the greater accomplishment of a well-lived life, optimizing our talents and opportunities for expression. Knowledge is the basis for making good choices. Without the right information, we are stuck in the "garbage in/garbage out" modality.  

Participatory Wisdom

Practical wisdom, then, means the disposition and skill to use knowledge in the right ways -- fully actualized power. Skepticism toward rigid dogmas and even our own beliefs helps us stay quietly open to the opportunities which might otherwise be lost. In this mode, faith comes from a solid connection with the nurturing Ground of our Being, the inherent power of self-affirmation, despite the threat of nonbeing.

Faith in oneself pragmatically confronts and transcends both theism and mysticism with a skeptical eye toward their limiting content. In this regard, it affirms radical freedom. This is a freedom to simply be what we are, more fully, without cultural or "imported" conditioning. Insecurities remain, but are no longer paralyzing. When the inner aim is true, we cannot help but be drawn forward toward our own Truth. Aligning ourselves with others who appreciate the fundamental interconnectedness of life helps us thrive. It opens the door to both learning and mentoring others.

Courage in the face of the unknown is a gift of our Spirit. This strength of mind and heart is our Essence, our essential nature, which can neither be taught nor learned, but is a grace. It means power over oneself to muster and self-regulate inspiration, mood and creativity. It gives us the will to surpass ourselves, and joy in doing so. Without courage, we can tolerate neither failure nor success. With it, we can face the prospect of setbacks, guilt, condemnation and even death, for our lives are not empty nor meaningless...but a grand work of art, an artfully lived life with the acceptance that what IS-IS.

Thus, seeking and promoting wisdom means the capacity to realize what is of value in life for oneself and others, including knowledge and technological know-how, but much else besides that is the domain of aesthetics - Art with Heart.

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