Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Nothing New Under the Sun

The glories of "crowdsourcing", whereby the power of the Twitter hive-mind are well-known. It's a good thing. You can chuck an idea "out there", people come back with their individual sparks of brilliance or otherwise, and some will be good.

But there's a down-side to that power. I was talking with Burton Dasset the other day. Well, I say "talking  with". Burton was regaling me with a whole load of unnecessary information about the beer-making process, under the impression that this was what human beings call "communication". But he said one thing that was interesting.

Did you know that a traditional method of clearing the yeast and muck out of beer in the brewing process is to use the swim bladder of a sturgeon, chopped up and dissolved in acid? All of Burton's friends - if I can stretch the meaning of the word "friends" to that degree - will have shouted "yes, we did". Further, they will have added to themselves the extraneous and unnecessary information that it is called "isinglass".

Well, of course, Burton's comment interested me strangely. For I had the makings of a "Quick Middle-Earth Brewing Joke." To wit, "How do hobbits clear their beer? - Isengard finings." I rushed to the Blogmobile to get my wit and wisdom out to the masses.

But I've been fooled like this before. So before I shared my inspiration with the world, I googled "Isengard finings". And what did I find? I found this on Twitter:

Well, I mean - what?

So I suspect the truth is that there is nothing new under the sun. Any new idea we've had, somebody has had it already. The Internet has won, and all human creativity has already been indexed. Even all the Googlewhacks have ceased to be Googlewhacks, as the moment you put one out in the open it gets indexed and ceases to be one.

As the man said, of the making of blogs there is no end. But those blogs will recycle themselves endlessly. In the past there would be no thought, no emotion, no experience that someone else had not already had. Today, not only have they shared those experiences - they've blogged or tweeted them, or Pinterested them. Our race is over. There is nothing more to say.

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