Jerry Michalski (geek watcher, former Release 1.0 editor, conversational hacker) is giving a really interesting talk about deviant thinkers – outsiders. He gives us a rogue’s gallery of intellectual heretics, from seemingly unrelated fields and documents their individual heresies:
Psychotherapist Alice Miller: Abuse is epidemic and people don’t believe survivors.
Dogme 95 diector Lars Von Trier: Artifice diminishes movies.
Founder of the Quakers, George Fox: We don’t need intermediation in our relationship with God.
Richard Stallman: We should be able to share software.
Jerry sees a common thread through these outsiders – they’re all pointing to an implicit societal message: “We Don’t Trust You”. We don’t trust you to self-educate, to design, to enjoy authentic art, to minister to one another, to create collective goods or to know things you can’t measure.
Jerry’s interested in what happens when we start from a position of trust – when you believe that you’re dealing with “users”, not “consumers”, when you trust openness to be a competitive advantage, not a threat. Jerry believes that open content, tools and processes aren’t just good business practice, but have other critical values, releasing human energy.
I think Jerry’s insight is a useful one, and I’m interested to see what happens when he’s got some more time to use this notion of deep trust as a way to analyze software and economies… though I don’t quite understand what Jerry means by unlocking human energy…
A question I offered: if these thinkers are united by a belief that we had to trust others, why were they so dogmatic in their methods? Jerry’s got an excellent start of an answer – it’s not healthy – psychologically or otherwise – to be a leader. While the insight about trust is primary, other problems with being a leader make it hard for that leader to trust followers.
Very interested to see where Jerry goes with these ideas.