Turn off Twitter.
Just for a moment.
Ignore your “friends”.
We live in a new world now. A world where anything or anyone we want to know is at our fingertips. Or is it? Where did that come from? Who said so? What is the agenda of the creator of the information?
The great revolution of today is not information, it’s relevance.
You don’t have to be burned too many times, forwarding or posting a meme that had less-than-meritorious intent, to understand how the social graph auto-corrects. That lesson, the “oops, I might not have known what I was talking about” feeling is quickly replaced with a “maybe I should find out more, before I hit ‘post'”.
Critical thinking is higher order bit, but the democratization of information mandates higher orders of thinking than we, as humans, have been accustom. Make no mistake, it will become as ingrained in us, or our descendants, as reading and writing to you now… if Darwin’s theories hold true.
The tools that communicators use, be it rational, emotional or metaphysical all map to resonances inside all of us. Understanding how we resonate, our buttons, is the key to not only understanding, but survival it self. Call it the ego, the id and the superego, or the reptilian, limbic and cortical, or the father, the son and the holy spirit, but in the end, they are all begging the same intelligence, understanding and meaning.
Reality is an illusion based on perception and memory. Perception is the most malleable in that the presentation of perception can be crafted. Anyone involved in marketing, advertising, writing, music, film making understands this. Writer, Gary Indiana, of the Village Voice once said, “if it’s written, it’s fiction”. What he meant was that all writers interpret the world through their own lens in order to write it down.
Higher cognition has higher mental friction. Making sense of new ideas requires more effort than going with the flow. It’s harder, and our psyches *are* energy efficient. The natural inclination of most is to satisfice, to go immediately with what seems to make the most sense. But if we drill down on that sense in most people, it was a guess, the path of least cognitive resistance.
Like rats in a Skinner-box, if we don’t get the electric shock when we push the lever, we assume all is right with the world.
In Jeff Hawkins’ On Intelligence, he proposes that our brains are actually prediction engines, comparing the world to a model that we have built inside our minds. We are constantly checking to see if our inputs, our senses, match our model. When they don’t, we “notice”, when they do, we just keep going.
Using media to craft messages results in changing our perceptions and memories, therefore media changes our reality too.
Hyperlinks and the opinions and recommendations of “friends” add mass to media, and once in motion, that mass can store enough energy overcome more friction. Ideas sell through, that in isolation would not make sense… too much friction.
History is filled with bad ideas that were adopted by popular demand. Ultimately, the hand of universal reality, be it God or Darwin, intervenes to make things “right”.
Relevance is gravity. It causes perception and memory to find it’s own level, like water.
And relevance is always relative to the body, to the corpus. Relevance to one is not the same as relevance to the many, like gravity, it’s inversely proportional. An astronaut floating in space, has some gravity, but not nearly as much as the planet or moon below him.
An idea in a single persons mind, has no weight, no purchase. It requires consensus from an audience to gain weight, and the larger that audience becomes, the more mass/energy/gravity that idea has.
Managing perception is a short game.
Managing relevance is the long game.
You can Tweet now.
But don’t stop breathing.