May 18, 2007

Defining the Box

We bring our own trouble in the way we track ourselves. Current accountability mechanisms, supposedly used to keep track of what is going on, appear to be bass-ackwards. How does accounting sit on a fulcrum, when all the jokers do is follow the shuffle of where the beans go. Budgets are fictional number targets and generally accepted accounting practice is licensed good ol boy theft. I would never dream of firing my accountant, but having to track money so tightly to the exclusion of measuring value in any other terms is ludicrous. In reality, accountants work more for the benefit of the government (to ensure that revenue stream runs smooth) than they do for their clients, the businesses that hire and pay them. Read a CAFR - Comprehensive Annual Financial Report - of any government entity: it will tell you more about the real holdings and spendings of the organization than any fictional budget.

The need for educational entertainment without travel is becoming apparent. Dr. Lenny is entirely self-entertaining - part of that is the ability to turn every action into a game. If you assume a character and role-play the part in the proper context, then you can gain context toward other points of view. Since other people assume a false consistency in your individual actions, there is no reason why we shouldn't explore other positions in a docile and easily discarded manner, like role-play. True learning requires interaction and hands-on ability - so group congregations built around events will have special significance. Intercontinental travel has made local travel look cheap and easy - interpersonal interactions are more frequent and less telling. But as gas climbs over $3.50 with no end in sight, there will be less general mobility.

The trick may be to create an internet based game that involves personal accountability, role-playing and rewards for proper interaction in real life circumstance. The Geo-Cache phenomena is starting to get people moving - perhaps adding DaVinci code like clues that lead to local cooperative network events - sort of like the traditional pow-wow or the non-traditional rock concert. Or maybe just access to another level of the game. To measure performance and reward the work that goes into excellence is a sports type thing that would have major implications if applied in other learning environments. Economics and real life has become bloated with the goal of money as the only outcome - the old ways of gather and hoard are running out, because the only thing left to make money with is access to money. Time to cash in these chips and move onto the next paradigm.

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