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The Intersection of Art, Ideas, and the World

I am listening to one of the most provocative podcasts I’ve heard recently and the ideas being discussed are stimulating and honestly a bit mind-blowing, at least to me. Mark Andreeson is being interviewed by Brian Koppleman on “The Moment,” and the clarity of his thinking is stunning. Listening to these two guys talk is like taking a drug that sends your mind into hyper speed.

Mark is probably best known as the co-creator of Netscape, the first widely used internet browser, but that’s not what they are discussing. There are so many novel ideas being thrown out per minute (Mark talks very fast, almost like his speech can’t keep up with his mind) that it’s hard single out one, but I’ll try.

They spend some time talking about “systems thinking,” and if you think that’s programming vernacular you’d be very wrong. It’s really about making intelligent predictions that relate to how your art (or “thing” in the broadest sense of the word) interact with the world (a complex adaptive system).

Because we are such highly social creatures, he argues that whatever we make, either for art or commerce, must be exposed to the culture from which it sprang.

How it interacts with that world is where systems thinking comes into play. I am doing a poor job of communicating this highly provocative idea, but if this sounds interesting check out the podcast. It’s really about a) why would you create something and b) what greater purpose does it serve?

Being able to answer these questions implies a thorough clarity of thought and intention, without which we are left stumbling in the dark.