Towards Imaginology

Welcome to Digitally Literate, issue #334.

I worked on a couple of projects behind the scenes this week. More to come soon.

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Jacinda Ardern delivers Harvard University Commencement speech

One of the things I love most about writing and sharing online is when people reach out and share a quick email or note to say hello.

Marcus Reynolds and I connected on PixelFed. I definitely recommend clicking through to see the great content Marcus shares on the network.

Reynolds shared this link to the Ardern commencement address as it succinctly captures most of the challenges we unpack weekly here in DL. It is a gem and well worth your time.

The full text of the address is available here.

2022 Digital media trends, 16th edition: Toward the metaverse

This year’s Digital media trends survey from Deloitte reveals that media companies in the United States are now feeling more turbulence from the deeper currents shaping consumer behavior. Deloitte is a professional services firm that offers audit, advisory, tax, and consulting services across more than 20 industries.

Results suggest that immersive, interactive, and personalized experiences are gaining traction. As Gen Z and Millennial entertainment choices are adopted across generations and across the globe, social and gaming experiences compete head-to-head with streaming video for consumers’ attention.


Stephen T. Asma with a wonderful long-form piece that suggests that we need a new approach to learning that shifts imagination from the periphery to the foundation of all knowledge.

Asma indicates that human knowledge and nature are divided into facts (the province of experimental science), values (the domain of religion and art), body and brain (the machinery studied by scientists), mind (a quasi-mystical reality to be understood by direct subjective experience), reason (the faculty that produces knowledge, and emotion (the generator of art). Asma suggests that these are no longer productive ways to organize knowledge in the 21st century.

Asma suggests that we need Imagination Studies at every level of education to study its creations, processes (creativity), and underlying cognitive structures.

Why Isn’t New Technology Making Us More Productive?

Innovations like cloud computing and artificial intelligence are hailed as engines of a coming productivity revival. But a broad payoff across the economy has been elusive.

In each issue of DL, I try to highlight one tension that exists as we live in an age of screentime. This week, I’ve been thinking about the prospects of productivity. I’m starting to think that getting more done is not the ultimate benefit. Collaboration across spaces is the key. The interconnected nature reduces ‘local maximas’ of knowledge, skill, and expertise.

Can we evolve online?

Emma Bates asks a question I ponder as I think about youth growing up online.

Are we allowed to learn, grow, and change over time…online?

I know that everyone reading this can think of at least one mean comment, damning photo, awkward Tweet or former opinion that you once shared online but would make you cringe today. Wouldn’t it be weird if we weren’t slightly embarrassed at our well-documented past lives? That would be a wholly un-human experience. There is always room to grow and learn.

So why do we hold others to an unrealistic standard, especially in today’s online “cancel” climate? Could it be because of the manicured presence we’ve come to expect of others online? Or is it a subconscious projection of our own past (or present) shortcomings?

The philosopher who resisted despair

Albert Camus said that he was pessimistic about the human condition and optimistic about humankind. Is that ultimately a contradiction?

We’re born into a world that doesn’t seem to have any purpose, that we know will end, and yet we go on living anyway.

For Camus, that meant that there is something in humanity that transcends the fact of our condition. That’s the source of our collective dignity — and it’s the part of humanity that always has to be defended.

Don’t chase happiness. Become antifragile.

Antifragility is the idea of putting pressure on a system, or human, the system or human actually grows bigger and stronger. Antifragile systems are all around us.

From a psychological perspective, antifragility comes in the form of PTG, or post-traumatic growth. After we experience a stressful event, we learn and grow to become more resilient.

Tal Ben-Shahar discusses these topics, and why happily ever after is a myth.

To be successful you have to enjoy doing your best while at the same time contributing to something beyond yourself.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Here’s a bunch of cats covering “Seven Nation Army” by the White Stripes.

@frenchfuse The Cat Stripes 😁🐈 #thewhitestripes #sevennationarmy ♬ son original – French Fuse

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