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Preface to a Reading

Posted by Rick · November 7th, 2003 · No Comments

No, no. I haven’t gone in for spiritualism, although I admit to an unexplainable weakness for The Charmed Ones.

The reading I allude to with the title of this post is the one I’m just starting of Lawrence Lessig’s book, The Future of Ideas.

I expect this to be a particularly interesting read, especially in light of Microsoft’s internal discussions earlier this year regarding the potential legal issues involving blogging employees.

The common thread — in case you haven’t spotted it — through all my blog entries is the eternal semi/proto/pseudo-human struggle for power. Those who have it wish to keep it. Those who do not typically do not even know some of the most basic things:

  1. They could have had it.
  2. Those who have it will fight them if they try to attain it.
  3. They do it by getting you to side with them against yourselves.
  4. The push for it is one of the most primitive of all human drives.
  5. It’s no longer a necessary or useful drive.
  6. Point 5 doesn’t change points 1 through 4 and so you need to educate yourselves…or succumb.

I believe — and have no doubts — that there are those who wish to use the rest of us for their own benefit with barely a care about our needs, our hopes, our very lives. And the best way they can do that is by controlling information.

But I digress (and, since I intended this to be a short blog entry, that’s a bad thing™).

The Preface to the Vintage Edition of Lessig’s book opens with this paragraph:

This is the second book I have written. After reading the first, Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace, a friend told me that the argument was too dark. Too pessimistic. Things would never turn out as negatively as I had predicted. Balance would be found soon enough. A year later, the same friend wrote that he was wrong. Events had outstripped the darkest of my predictions. If anything, Code, he now said, was not pessimistic enough.

On that unpromising note, I begin my reading of The Future of Ideas

For those who don’t know, Lessig was the special master in the Microsoft antitrust suit which was all the rage before Corporate America captured the Presidency. He is a Professor of Law at Stanford Law School and founder of the school?s Center for Internet and Society. Prior to joining the Stanford faculty, he was the Berkman Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. Lessig was also a fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, and a Professor at the University of Chicago Law School. He clerked for Judge Richard Posner on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and Justice Antonin Scalia on the United States Supreme Court. (For more, see his bio from which the last several sentences were lifted.)

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