It’s about having something to say.
We say a person ‘found their voice’ like it was lost in the sofa cushions, but for me it’s about someone having something they need to say. Not just something they know, but something they need others to know. So they say it, or try to, and—no surprise—people usually don’t get it, not really, at least not many people, not at first.
But if the person’s need is great, they don’t give up. They try it here and try it there, they try it on you and try it on me, and if they learn from our reactions wisely enough, two things start to happen: They get better at saying their idea, and the idea itself gets better.
That may just sound like good news, but if we’re being honest, that means the idea itself used to be worse. And it was, after all, the person’s belief in the idea’s rightness that powered their need to say it in the first place. So if it turns out to be the idea that gets changed, rather than the people who hear it, well that can sting.
It takes strength and humility to redream a dream without losing it entirely. Sometimes the dream breaks against reality, and people become bitter. Sometimes the dream holds and reality breaks, and people become crackpots. Sometimes it’s both. If we’re lucky the jury stays out.
But still. If the person doesn’t give up, if they hold steady where they can, and redream where they must… and if the stars above align, then people finally do start to get it. People start to praise it, and spread it. And then the world has changed.
And how do we describe that? We say: The person found their voice.
Here, for example, is a try at saying what I need people to know:
We are in crazy land the way we are making and using computers these days, because their internal architecture is deeply flawed. The design arose for understandable historical reasons, but the result today is dangerously fragile, bad for society, and a growing threat to democracy and civil liberties and individual freedom and security.
Which might be sad but inevitable, except there are excellent reasons to believe there is a better way to do manufactured computation for the real world: The way living systems do it.
That’s what we need to be studying and developing.
I’ve been saying that a lot over the last several years, and there has been some progress. That feels both empowering and disheartening, depending on whether I look at goals that now seem increasingly plausible, or at the increasingly obvious mountain of work likely necessary to achieve them.
I’m getting better but I’m still a slow and self-indulgent writer. And I still lovelovelove rewriting beyond anything seemly, or at least practical, for the sort of volume text production that I, sigh, am beginning to admit seems likely to be necessary.
Because to explain the Living Computation stuff in a way that will have any real chance of landing effectively in more than an extremely small minority of folk, it’s going to take a major pile of text.
And I have to get started. I have to start writing faster. I have to start collecting the material before having the exact box to put it all in.
That’s the idea here.