The Museum of Vestigial Desire

Packaging

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Let's say you know something (yes we have to model that as a supposition).

How do you present what you know? How do you take a ten-thousand feet above the ground view of what you know and put it in the world out there? How do you paint a context onto the view and give it a framework to respond to?

Things make sense only when you try and make sense of them.

When you try and make sense of anything, first what you try to parse is the packaging.

The outer wrapper of an idea that lets you place it is the package.

Culturally we have lost the ability to look at naked ideas. We need to compulsively engage with the package first and only then we can allow ourselves to unwrap it and deal with it.

Sometimes the unwrapping never happens. Ideas go on being accessed in a way that does't betray penetration.

The ability of the package to be a kind of surrogate for the content is well-known. We are not talking about the inherent laziness of the populace in investing their cognitive resource in ideas and their unwillingness to live as deep, enlightened beings.

We are, on the other hand, talking about the package itself as a kind of material that does not need to always be surpassed. We are talking about the package as content.

As a surface of content, the package is unique in being upfront, opaque and cheap.

If our systems of knowledge were more and more organised as packages and not as bodies, we wouldn't be able to blame the masses of being ignorant, disinterested and callous. The masses would be learned, opinionated and engaged because it will be easy to be so. They will consume all the information and knowledge that there is because consumption then will be a function of casual scanning and not deep study.

Scanning is something that everyone is a master of. It is an ability that everyone is born with. With scanning as the standard means of consumption of knowledge and scanning already being a part of our evolutionary skill set, there will no longer be any need for peddling education as a panacea for learning, for the inculcation of humanistic values and developing a capacity to deal with complexity.

Driving down the highway, scanning the billboards will be educational if you are in the learning mode. Driving down the highway, scanning the billboards will be a like strolling in a shopping mall if you are in the consumer mode. You can switch modes by switching lenses. Your lens will be your mode.

We will be able to dismantle the university system and paint the whole landscape with simple nuggets of messages implanted as surfaces, as flat packages. Education will be a default and not a privilege.

Our culture is troubled at this point and is actually contemplating if there is any value in education at all because it is greedy. Instead of being happy to propagate brief but universally accessible knowledge through multi-purpose surfaces which could be activated into different modes by the user, we have a scenario where as a system we worry about transmitting complete landscapes of knowledge that no one engages with and then lies about having done so. Instead of doing what we know will work, we struggle with doing what we know will not work.

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