Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

As a child, I really liked stories. I read all of Robert Anton Wilson's books and HOPED that the stories were true. Stories like the fact that the number 23 was magic and that Timothy Leary had been contacted by aliens -- The Starseed Transmissions. When I met Timothy Leary on my 24th birthday, he told me that the stuff about the number 23 along with the story about the aliens was not true. It was a joke. The more I talked to him, the more I realized that most of the stuff that Robert Anton Wilson had written was a joke with a sprinkle of reality to make it interesting.

For awhile, I still believed that sneaky powerful people must control this world. I tried to meet many of them to find out if they did. I found out that the chairman of NHK (Japan's public broadcasting network) had a lot of power over politicians, but that they had enough power over him to oust him when they decided they didn't like him. I met people who didn't seem powerful who were and people who were supposed to be powerful who weren't. So, although I discovered a web of power brokers and power that flowed between them, I still haven't found anything really "sneaky" or mysterious. The more I meet people and slowly become part of my own little network of power, I realize that power and money follow fundamentally simple rules. One of my good friends and my roommate in college, Peter Chiang told me a saying that his father told him. "Money is lonely. It likes to go where other money is."

So although life and the distribution of power and wealth are not "fair," I think that most conspiracy theories are rather interesting, but wrong. The members of the Trilateral Commission do wield a lot of power, but they are not consciously "conspiring" in a "sneaky" way. Most of them are fairly good people trying to fulfill their fiduciary responsibility which ends up causing harm to other people in some cases. Having said that, there are MANY networks of power that are not obvious and insiders do have an unfair advantage. Once you are aware of these networks though, they are rather logical and predictable to a certain extent. So as I slowly cross the line from radical outsider to a virus fighting an immune response within, I find myself becoming somewhat self-conscious of inevitably being labeled an "insider" or becoming the target of a conspiracy theory and losing what little public support I have.

I guess blogging and disclosure will help. I will also have to learn how to ignore some hatred from people I don't know. I already seem to have people who hate me, even though I have tried not to do things where I piss people off unnecessarily. The worst is being hated by people you don't know. One fellow who we were trying to work with said he didn't like me and couldn't work with me. When our guys asked him to meet me before making up his mind, he said he didn't want to meet me... I was rather hurt for a moment, but then I decided, "his loss." ;-) Anyway, I should probably stop thinking about what people are thinking of me.

It will be interesting to see what happens when the conspiracy theorists meet their targets in the network of blogs. I think blogs humanizes the people blogging. It also exposes interesting networks of relationships that can help create credibility. Obviously, if the target of your conspiracy theory turns out to be a respected friend of someone you respect, your thoughts may be swayed. I am also interested in whether this growing web of trust can create some sort of alternative back channel network to alleviate some of the hatred and conflict in the world... or whether blogs will fuel more noise. It really helps leverage the "strength of weak ties" if used properly though...

1 Comment

What will really frustrate you later is, having your reasons for certain actions, labeled as excuses. Further more, you will be called an XXXXX apologist or a sheep; for going with the crowd.

Welcome to my nightmare.

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