“Creation is in part merely the business of forgoing the great and small distractions.”
— E.B. White
“Disconnection is a brake to hold the system from overconnection, to keep our cultural system poised on the edge of maximal evolvability.”
Kevin Kelly - Out of Control (1991)
The setup to this is that Kelly has found that while we have the technology to connect everyone to everyone, those who have tried to live in this way have found that the only way to get stuff done is to disconnect.
It’s important to note here that Kelly hangs out with some pretty exceptional folks and much of their work is intellectual production in terms of papers, books and the like. But, Kelly wrote this is 1991, when folks like him were exceptional. Now connecting everyone to everyone is the norm and that level of connection is causing just the problem that Blackstrap is meant to play a small part in solving. We are too distracted to get things done.
In the case of Blackstrap the doing is reading and pondering the content that we indicated that we wanted to spend more time on by saving to read later services.
Disconnection is a key pathway to accomplishment. Let’s start carving out some disconnected space 74 pages at a time.
“Big distributors are influencing the reader’s behavior and mindset: as an example, the Kindle app for desktop computers doesn’t allow copy-paste. The lack of this feature, clearly against the intrinsic tendency of the medium, is supposedly a market-driven choice: the e-books that sell the most are fiction, and it is generally thought that readers don’t need to copy-paste much from a fiction book. In return they’re allowed to share passages on Facebook and Twitter. The service offered by the big players, inevitably conditioned by a commercial logic, not only determines a purchase process, but a usage pattern. And the application of a usage pattern to the book corresponds to the instillation of a cultural model.”
The Book as Directory, Silvio Lorusso (2013)
Culture changes and that’s ok. However, the feeding of culture should maintain a panoply of mechanisms for inserting ideas into the cultural stream.
The thing about book’s disconnectedness is that that disconnectedness allows culture to flow in non-standard ways. Putting cultural inputs onto a standardized, connected platform seems better for computers than for humans.
Blackstrap is excited about disconnecting content because it allows readers to insert knowledge into the stream through their own specialized ways.
“Vinyl and cassettes have thus become post-digital media. They exist today only because they compensate for deficiencies of digital files — deficiencies that are both aesthetic and social, since tangible media are means of face-to-face interpersonal exchange. Exactly the same is true for the booming media of artistic printmaking: zines are made because they are not blogs, artists’ DIY books are printed because they are not web sites or PDFs.”