In 1971, amidst much controversy, Daniel Ellsberg and the New York Times published a bevy of secret government documents that came to be known as the “Pentagon Papers”. The Washington Post subsequently published portions of the classified reports. Fast forward to 2010 and observe the almost unanimous media outrage over Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks. The difference? Ellsberg, was a “professional” journalist and Assange is not. The fuss about WikiLeaks is not simply about security or freedom of speech. It’s actually about who is “authorized” to speak freely. The mainstream media will have you believe that you can speak freely only if you have a license to do so. Whether there is a distinction between “professional” and “amateur” journalism is a matter of debate.
We live in an age of rapid change — today’s industry giants are tomorrow’s dinosaurs. Not only can two guys in a garage disrupt an industry, but a 17 year-old with a good idea and an Internet connection can, too. Propelling these rapid changes is the rise of “user generated” content by amateurs — you and me — with access to knowledge and resources far beyond what kings and heads-of-state had in the 20th Century.
In our hyper-connected world, information flows freely. The famous phrase “information wants to be free” is often misunderstood to be about cost — it’s actually about freedom. Information “wants” to be free to spread. When information flows freely, amateurs and professionals alike are empowered to modify, extend, and remix it.
At Holistic Networker, we have been celebrating the growth of “do-it-yourself” wellness for almost two decades. The wellness revolution has, at its core, been one of personal responsibility and accountability for your own physical, mental, and spiritual growth. The doctor, the therapist, and the priest are valuable sources of assistance for healing, but for many Americans, they are no longer dogmatic authority figures, but rather trusted advisors.
Will you soon be like Rambo—suturing your own injuries? Maybe not soon, but you can bet that some wunderkind is creating a DIY suture kit right now. As information is set free, watch how a new generation of creative minds innovate, experiment, and hack their way to new levels of health, intelligence, and happiness.
About Tony Cecala
Tony is a business strategist. He publishes the Holistic Networker and produces the Wellness Expo. In his spare time he reads about technology and the mind.