Day 13 – Wednesday, November 11, 2009
I received my Google Wave invitation! As soon as I heard about it from Mashable I went to the Google website to submit my request to try it out. You can read the Mashable article as well as look up more information online (there are plenty of YouTube videos) and you’ll see what the fuss is all about.
The original idea behind Google Wave is simple: Email today hasn’t changed since the creation of the internet. What would it look like if we redesigned email using today’s internet technologies? The answer to that question is Google Wave. It is EMAIL 2.0.!
Google Wave will replace all of your online communications including email, chat, collaboration tools, and could even replace social networking (facebook and twitter). Communications will be done in real time, meaning, you will be able to see your friends, typing messages character by character. Like Facebook, you will be able to add photos, videos, links, maps and everything else the web has to offer to your messages and, unlike, Facebook, you will have the flexibility to share any part of any message with as many people and with whomever you like. The most revolutionary aspect of Google Wave, in my opinion, is that the focus of communications is no longer on the individual but is on the conversation itself.
I spent several years informally studying the philosophy of language and communications, ever since I was introduced to the work of John R. Searle, via the Landmark Forum (formerly the EST Training) and Dr. Fernando Flores. His work introduced me to the idea that the whole of our social reality is created by and is based on our conversations; our language and our speaking and listening. This idea was also revealed to me in my studies of relational databases. I came to understand how our relationships, born from our ongoing conversations, create our identities and social reality. Remarkably, this wonderful woman, Samadarshini of the Penninghame Foundation, has the same conclusion as she explains in this YouTube video:
As she explains, we are nothing but our relationships (the difference between she and I is that she views this as a larger truth of the nature of reality, whereas I limit it to the domain of only social reality). Our social identity is defined by our relationships or by the conversations that we have with each other. In other words, our social identities come into existence as a result of a background of pre-existing conversations.
As our conversations change then so do our identities and our social realities. Identifiers like, for example, “The United States”, do not exist in the real world. They only exist in our collective conversations. By understanding this then one can see that these identities are defined by the relationships that are created in our conversations. It stands to reason then that a communication platform or internet program that is conversationally based instead of being based on the abstract personae and individual profiles and identities more closely mirrors the nature of our social reality. Google Wave is a step in this direction.
While on the subject of how conversations create social reality, I would like to address “positive thinking”, “creating the universe by our speaking and with our thoughts” and similar ideas promoted by Louise Hay, the “Secret” and “The Laws of Attraction” by saying that I do not agree with the basis of these ideas.
First of all, I limit the influence that our thoughts and speaking have only to the domain of social reality which is conversationally based. I do not apply it to all domains of the universe that we experience and live in. I cannot, for example, think of a dog and then have a real dog materialize in front of me. What I can do instead, is think of a dog, and by doing so, my consciousness will then be attentive to all dogs that I may come across in the course of the day. I will not have created or materialized real dogs. I will have only become more aware of those dogs that already exist. In other words, by using our thoughts and words (or “linguistic distinctions”) I am only creating divisions in a pre-existing reality which then eliminate all other possibilities other than the ones I think or speak of. I am narrowing my perspective and increasing my awareness for those things which I make distinctions of through my use of language. I am not actually creating or “attracting” anything. Everything continues to exist in the real world, whether I think or speak of them or not.
However, my disagreement of these ideas is not meant to dismiss the power and influence of language and conversations. On the contrary, language and thought can be extremely powerful. Our values and our religious, political, social and personal beliefs are all a function of the conversations that we have. When we change our conversations, we change our values and beliefs which, in turn, effect our behavior. and “our world” Changing our behavior impacts our biological and physiological functions.
Yet we forget this and are conditioned to believe that we can’t change these conversations. We are so accustomed to using our language based “identities” as the starting point of relating to the world that the evolutionary step that is Google Wave is hard for many to grasp. I don’t know what the future of online communications will look like. It could be that instead of logging in to “Facebook” we will be logging into a “Conversation Book”; a place where we manage all of our conversations that make up our social reality and defines who we are.
One other thing to mention about Google Wave: it is still so new that when I logged in there was only one other person I could talk to. Like any new communication technology, it requires others to have it also in order for it to work. I am looking forward to all meeting all of you on Google Wave!