victims of a culture awaiting nothing more fervently than the Paris Hilton autopsy video

Clay Shirky colorfully points out that, putting the amount of human effort to create Wikipedia as about 100 million hours of thought, then about 2000 Wikipedia’s worth of thought would be freed up by stopping watching TV in the US alone. (Previously I’ve commented at length about why doing almost anything other that watching TV is probably a good idea.)

Which is another approach at what I was saying back here; if and when we collectively start doing anything positive and conscious, our power to effect change will be enormous.

This abundance of means is really the only hope I see for human survival in the coming years. The only question is whether we stop doing all this unnecessary unfulfilling stuff, and begin something better, in time to prevent unnecessary catastrophic suffering.

2 Responses to “victims of a culture awaiting nothing more fervently than the Paris Hilton autopsy video”

  1.   Janet
    April 30th, 2008 | 2:51 pm

    My main problem with human effort is that it requires you to do everything simultaneously, because nothing is open for effort in the evenings, or the weekends. Or you get the phenomenon where everything happens on the same evening. Or the phenomenon where you can’t make healthy food because you’re out in the evenings all the time (not watching television). Or the bus timetable is a really annoying work of fiction and hours of effort that you could be spending on useful things are being spent sitting at a bus stop instead. (Gosh darn, if we could just get the buses running on time, think of how much extra human effort we could harness ;-)) Or it’s raining, or dark and cold, which limits what you can spend effort on.

    And I’m still interested in the TV thing – I find books relax me in the way you describe, whereas more than 1.5 hours of TV makes me really irritable and wanting to get up and go outside. Which is why I can’t stand video marathons. Am I really so unique?

  2.   michael
    May 1st, 2008 | 9:05 am

    Posted this in response to Morgue’s Shirky linking, may as well put it here too:

    Pretty huge irony in him making an aside about the TV producer not *wanting* to believe what he was saying, when he’s clearly addressing an audience for whom his message is basically a giant pat on the back…

    Ridiculously entertaining, but I made the mistake of watching it twice. Got up this morning and have to admit I’ve hit the point of thinking he’s something like a courtier amusing the patrons.

    Curious about the central assumption that the time spent “doing something” is time in which people were “doing nothing”, i.e. watching TV. I guess there must be stats for levels of participation in clubs, sports, social meetings, volunteering, etc… over the past 50 years.

    So I guess while I agree with the stuff in principle, I’m fairly skeptical about wtf is going on… particularly hearing all his stats in context of other stuff posted here and elsewhere about growing division of wealth etc.