Saturday, February 04, 2006

A brief explanation before game time

A funnel accepts a large amount of information and organizes it through a small pipe. A bullhorn takes a small amount of information and amplifies it. Most writing on Internet journals tends to act as a bullhorn, where one person shouts for everyone to hear. In that way, this is a very democratic medium and allows a forum to speak for people who were never heard before.

This journal hopes to achieve the opposite: instead of expelling information, it hopes to accept information. It is the world funneled through the mind of one man. It hopes to draw on resources that tend to be logical and concrete — like math, the sciences, engineering and government (left brain) — and pair them with resources that are more freewheeling — like art, culture, people and daily life (right brain). I have trouble grasping the former categories, but they fascinate me, and so I am trying to engage the latter as a tool for understanding.

Sometimes it seems to me the world has become incredibly large and unnecessarily complicated. Every field consists of experts talking to other experts about their expertise, and any novice with only an interest is brushed aside. Try to read through a Terms of Agreement, a scientific survey or a new bill before Congress. They are very frustrating. We’re told these are important, and yet they appear unapproachable. There is not time to shuffle through it all, and so we rely on other people who are paid to go through it for us and present their findings. Often those people end up being writers: journalists who go through the bills, authors who condense the big concepts, critics who think about art and culture and take a position. The trade off is that ideas are changed with every mind they enter, and so while I get to see the wide mouth of the funnel, you only get to see the narrow bottom. Plus, one person got the idea before me and another will get it after you. This subjectivity used to upset me, and it still does, but as I learn to accept it as inevitable, I’ve found the world opening slightly.

This journal will try to explain difficult concepts — difficult for me, at least [For instance, creating a journal. All of these technical terms mean little to me as of yet. I wanted this to be a straight up Web site, and I own One day I will learn how to make it work]. If you read this journal, you are watching me grapple with ideas both abstract and concrete. If you have been wondering about those ideas, or if watching me wonder makes you wonder too, this will hopefully become an enjoyable read. If not, I will likely bore you once and not hear from you again.

I’m aiming for the former, but I need time. Funneling is a lot slower and more deliberate than a bullhorn; it takes a while for all the information to get through that tiny pipe. Ultimately, this journal is working toward something much larger: 1) becoming a way to connect very disparate ideas to hopefully prove that all branches of thought are somehow related, 2) becoming a voice for people who have exciting and important ideas, but not the skills to verbalize those ideas for a mass audience, 3) promoting a new and different writing curriculum in elementary school education to create a more literate youth, and 4) eventually becoming a global writing system and brand available to people of all viewpoints to promote understanding, compassion and moderation in an entertaining forum through all forms of writing (even poetry).

If that sounds high-falutin’ and all over the place, it’s because I’m suffering from the disease I just described: I’m having trouble putting words on what I’m trying to say. This journal is the very start of a plan, though, not the end. In it I hope to define these concepts, and meet people who agree with the structure I’m creating, even if they disagree with the viewpoints I espouse. This won’t be daily to start, but I wasn’t going to launch The Weekly Funnel and then change it if this thing works. Please don’t hesitate to contact me, and please be patient.

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