Joined: 06/17/2014 09:32 PM EDT
Location: Carmel, IN
Words of Weakness in 2018: Data and Disruption
“I give the fight up: let there be an end,
A privacy, an obscure nook for me.
I want to be forgotten even by God.
But if that cannot be, dear Festus, lay me,
When I shall die, within some narrow grave,
Not by itself—for that would be too proud—
But where such graves are thickest; let it look
Nowise distinguished from the hillocks round,
So that the peasant at his brother's bed
May tread upon my own and know it not;
And we shall all be equal at the last”
Excerpt From Paracelsus
By Robert Browning
Read this passage from Browning’s work. From 1835. Over and over until you see the application today (especially in the first two sentences) as history repeats itself. You’ll read a man seeking in a philosophical sense both anonymity and obscurity. You wouldn’t think that the early 1800’s were such a time of privacy loss but they were. It was a time where “data” and “disruption” were words oft used by the weak. Used by those destined to lose the game at worst and at best accidentally benefit from that which caused them trepidation.
Ironically Browning’s work would never see greater reach than with expansions in printing that came with the early to mid 1800’s. As we read this in 2018 we’d expect such things from 200 years ago like barely printing a book a little faster than the century prior...ah, but how arrogant we are to think we are truly different in terms of innovation to our ancestors. The period brought the first interchangeable parts in manufacturing, just like we use in industrial applications today. Oh, and the telegraph, which made communication almost instantaneous. The period also saw the first toll road and the invention of use fees that came with it.
The sky was falling.
These interchangeable parts in manufacturing were going to kill jobs for hard working factory folk, the telegraph would kill the postman, and the toll road was no doubt going to be the end of travel for the masses making it solely for the wealthy. At least this is what many thought, and they wasted much time in futility with silly thoughts on how the world would end.
The lessons learned both in the early 1800’s as well as every couple decades thereafter will likewise repeat themselves. Innovation and efficiency will always be met by opportunity and protections. There truly is nothing to fear other than fear itself, unless of course you’re in that business in which case thank you for the protections. At the end of the day the pendulum will always swing back to the middle, and sway back and forth in beautiful consistent and predictable chaos the masses will only live and never fully comprehend.
In the end there’s only one truth that will survive all others: You are not for sale.