Take the leap.

Make stuff that *matters,* says author of ‘You Are Not a Gadget’

DURHAM, NC — I found this book at Geer Street Garden, where a tiny corner bookshelf is also home to The Society of the Spectacle (Guy de Bord), and the reason I keep returning. I like hanging out and finding out what else is there, randomly, without the aid of a “device.”

Ironic that hours before our inaugural AETHER conversation table up in New York (hello Manhattan!) and Boston this Thursday and Friday, I find a book by a leading thinker on the idea that, you know what, maybe this Web 2.0 stuff — mashups and bits and fragments of everything, and where Facebook is just a bunch of “multiple-choice identites” — maybe this stuff is overrated, he says.

Maybe we should just write and think and be people. Who we are. With, you know, personalities.

In his book, computer scientist Jaron Lanier says:

“The central mistake of recent digital culture is to chop up a network of individuals so finely that you end up with a mush. You then start to care about the abstraction of the network more than the real people who are networked, even though the network by itself is meaningless. Only the people were ever meaningful.”

Only the people, yo. The people!

More about the author at his site, here.

But what do you think? Is new technology erasing our ability to be truly artful, and human?

And if you’re wondering about this roundtable “tour” thing, AETHER Durham and AETHER Washington, DC, are on the books, too. More coming soon. –DK