Moving toward union or uniformity; especially coordinated movement of the two eyes so that the image of a single point is formed.
We might hold such truth to be self-evident, but convergence, the merging of distinct ideas, people, industries, and technologies into a unified whole balanced in equality, is the basis of our government, healthy relationships, of spiritual lives, and many things in between. It’s in the ying and yang of the ancients, predating our understanding of the perfect balance of love and justice found in God.
And this concept is just as operational in our world today. The synthesis of ideas, is happening at a faster rate today than it ever has before. So the ability to “hold to one without letting go of the other” is becoming increasingly difficult as well.
Maybe you feel this in your own life, this pull toward the “comfort” of extremes. Too often we’re attracted like magnets to the poles, wowed by the height the pendulum swings. These are the extremes. The world is full of them and they’re unbalancing factors and should be ignored. The unbalanced wants to be heard. But it also wants to be ignored as it argues for its own irrelevance (to pick on political talk show hosts: if they got what they “wanted” they’d go extinct).
This involves paradox and paradox is everywhere. If you’ve seen it and dealt with it honestly, you know that convergence is the answer.
Does God still speak today? And would he speak through prophets who are paid no heed? What if we’re missing his words because we don’t have ears to hear? Would God choose to have a prophet speak through publishing a book? My question to the traditional publishers, most now owned by conglomerates: Can you hear above the other master’s voice? And if you can, what special measures are you taking to ensure your readers reckon with it?
What needs to happen now? Chris Anderson reminds us in Free, “information wants to be free, it also wants to be expensive because it’s so valuable.” (Stewart Brand)
I believe we’re entering a new age where the ideas of freedom that were relegated to the control of gatekeepers can no longer tolerate the restriction. Publishing is a game of “rights management,” a euphemism for ownership and control, but the information wants to be free. And despite their “purchase” price and devoted resources, the publishers do not own it. Not even the authors own the ideas, any more than they created their own brains and the life that sustains them. We can’t even control the influences that go into shaping the new ideas. And as for who “owns” wisdom and understanding, let alone the capacities for such things, we can all agree, it isn’t us.
Why shouldn’t everyone benefit from the current convergence of an idea surplus and the unlimited access to publishing it?
It’s time to hack in. To circumnavigate. To rethink and rebuild the new system.
Democratization of publishing is underway. I don’t believe my job is to help someone control the information. I’d rather make it easier to distribute. And that means convincing people to share their ideas for free. If enough innovative authors agree, publishers will be forced to change.
I think it’s relatively inevitable, but that doesn’t change the hard truth. Some will ask why this should happen. And it’s simple: the idea of controlling someone’s message, idea, or intellectual property, is profoundly connected to the control of those people themselves, and ultimately leads to a no-win for everyone involved. Author becomes indentured servant, publisher becomes greedier, and end consumer is charged increasingly more for a decreasing quality product.
It may not always bear out in every instance, but tending toward entropy is the natural cycle. New opportunities overthrow existing paradigms. Revolutions and tyrannies are cyclical. This is simply a current one. Or maybe, as Anderson says, it’s simply the most recent part of the continuing revolution that bits (computers) have made possible.
And something in me is encouraged to think it’s all outside my control.