The Butterfly Effect

A blog article by Bonniejean Alford (Educator, Activist, World Citizen)

Several years ago I was honored with the opportunity to be a panel member on Jim Mann’s web site on 21st Century Social Evolution. The site at the time was much like a social experiment. While not everyone could post to it, it was open to the public and the knowledge gained by scholars and business persons from across the US delving into serious issues impacting a global and domestic market was quite exciting. Brilliant minds coming together and clashing all at the same time. Truthfully, it was a blog before there was such a thing as a blog. I didn’t know it then, but that experience would one day influence many of my decisions and understandings of the world.

Sadly, Jim Mann passed away a few years ago and with it his website has disappeared with no one to look after it. Honestly, I hadn’t thought directly about my experience with his work on social evolution until I realized one of my three ultimate goals in life, which is to create a magazine dedicated to social justice and global interconnectedness. Jim Mann looked at how the inundation of information in this Internet age was going to impact the world at both a global and local level, in business and in everyday life.

And yet, here I am, seeking to add further collections of information for the world to see and maybe understand.

Am I mad?

Isn’t there already an inundation of information that leaves people confused and overwhelmed?

Most definitely.

In fact, I do believe that much of the information out there lacks depth and a true ability to capture the essence of life, as Jim Mann’s work on social evolution did. As a college instructor who has seen the quality of student papers drop because they rely too much on this kind of information, I know only too well how bad facts can harm a system reliant on innovative and modern means for attaining said information.

But then, there is information out there seeking to truly make the world a better place, as Jim Mann did.

I hope that this blog, created out of years of training and experience with social justice issues, can honor Jim Mann’s memory and fits into the category of useful information that helps make the world a better place. And one day (soon, hopefully), when my magazine launches, this blog can become a place that exists in conjunction with the magazine as a place that educates, enlightens, and entertains by bringing brilliant minds worldwide together to change the world for the better.

Because after all, we are all connected in a way that few actually understand fully.


14 thoughts on “The Butterfly Effect

  1. I feel that there should be more blogs like this and also as the one described above. I know that I have looked on Wikipedia from time to time even knowing that the information has no guarantee to its authenticity. I even witnessed someone who deliberately altered the information because he thought it would be funny, and I still use Wiki from time to time. I think that if there were more sites and blogs like this that allowed students to participate in a less structured, more free environment, it would everyone to have a broader mind about things while also being much more informed.

  2. I recommend everyone read the hackers manifestos by McKenzie Wark. because It talks about a basic idea, freedom. Freedom to acess complete and uncensored information. Freedom of discrimination by race sex or creed. because as you know the Internet is a place where, people reinvent themselves. Here you are what you want to be, completely and total free. It’s a honor to be part of this revolution of the mind bloggers of the world unite!

  3. Well, seeing as no one seems to want to reply to this article… I want to know what people think of blogs like this… Do you all think that it is a good source of education and would be useful and informative for other students to learn through blogs like this? And I also want to know some people’s opinions about Wikipedia? Do you think it should even exist since it can be changed at any point?

    1. Mitch L., I most definitely agree with the fact that there should be more blogs like this. Because as we all know, there isn’t only one truth about things, there are many and in this kind of blog we could probably find the truth about life and the events of life. And referring to Wikipedia, I must say I don’t rely on it very much, but I do use it a lot, and I do think it should exist because something in there must be truth but I think we must definitely have other references.

      1. See, I don’t really know what to say about Wikipedia. I do use it from time to time, but ever since I met someone who deliberately altered the information on Wikipedia, it makes me wonder who else does that and what information really is true. But as for blogs like this, I agree… it helps bring out many viewpoints and opens the minds of the responders to more ideas.

      2. Mitch L. I get what you mean about wikipedia, you get a little apprehensive about what information is true and which one is false. But, how is it possible that people deliberatly alter the information? Doesn’t the page have like a security thing or something? In what remains the blog. I still support my point on the fact that blogs help us to see differently life and events of life. But, what do you think of people that don’t take blogs seriously? That just do unintelligent comments about discussions? Do you think they should be private from the right to write on them?

    2. I agree with Mitch. I see he is on his A game and noone wants to reply to his topic. I got your back though. I think having a blog like this is great. Imagine if we can have blogs like this at school, where maybe the deans or teachers ask the students questions about what they think about certain things in that school and people give their opinions. I never got into the blog thing but right now I can say I like it a lot. It is fun to me to see people’s opinions and react to them, to tell them that you agree or disagree is very powerful stuff. You might tell them why they might be wrong and they might look at things from a differant perspective and then change their opinion.

      1. You know, that idea about using blogs in school is genius. I remember in high school how much I hated some of the rules and felt they were so unfair. I think that if schools had blogs like this where the students could talk to deans about things they don’t agree with to give opinions and talk it out… a way to make the students more involved and thus more motivated. I think you are on to something.

  4. I agree with most of what other people have been saying that there should be more blogs like this one. A place where people can collaborate about issues in the society and give different opinions on what they think or information we might not know. These blogs are worldwide which makes it possible for anyone to see it or add to it, which means that there are millions of people in the world that can add their thoughts and life experiences to these stories or topics. I think these blogs are useful and serve a purpose for now and the future.

  5. So let me clarify for folks the differnece between Wikipedia and Blogs. Wikipedia is a type of Wiki, which is essentially an open encyclypedia, although sometimes it is password protected and only open to those with privledges. Anyone with the rights can edit, add to, or delete from a page information, whether being truthful or not. Yes, with Wikipedia specifically, there are people who are specifically assigned to moderate particular pages, and there are autobots that prevent certain posts, but changes are immediate. Meaning, even if only there for a minute, someone may see it, have the wrong information, and go on with life thinking said information is wrong.

    A blog is a bit different. It too can be password protected. They can be moderated, as this one is, or not, as many are. But the general idea of the blog is that there is an initial post, and then others post comments. Blogs range from being completely informal, with expectations of text message-like coments, to more formal with expectations of well thought out comments using proper English (such as this one).

    Both have their place in the world. I personally find blogs to be more condusive to discussion and critical thinking (obviously since I have created one), but wikis have their place too. I acknowledge full well that I too have looked at what Wikipedia has to say on a topic, just to get the general idea mind you. But I always then follow up with other sources, whether listed at the bottom of the Wikipedia site or found elsewhere.

    We all need to be responsible in the information with read and share, to insure that knowledge is actually passed on to the future generations.

  6. I may be wrong in what I am saying here, but I believe the main focus of this specific blog is to point out that there is no substitute for real, authentic, original thought in each individual. In today’s society it is so easy to obtain information at any time through print or throught the internet. This is amazing! This however is causing a problem for some people because it does all of the thinking for the individual researching. What needs to be done when researching is questions need to be asked, answers need to be searched for, answers themselves need to be questioned and supported, and it becomes a cycle with no true end. Education is a neverending journey. No one person can know everything, therefore there is always more room to learn and to seek out information. Factual knowledge can only get an individual so far, however. Deeper meanings and possiblities and intangibles that are explored are what make the human mind so fascinating and special. This allows for the most diversity in theories and provokes the most questions for those who are exposed to it. This sparks and continues the educational cycle which should be the goal of any provider of information. To make things short, blogs allow for the most free form learning and presenting of information, leaving no boundaries for the mind to expand to making blogs far superior to any other factual internet websites that stop the learning process at a yes or no question without any other dimensions.

    1. Yes. Yes. Yes. Andrew B, you have hit the point exactly. People, not just students, but all people should question the information around them, no matter the source. And in that light, they should be open to different ideas and opinions, because each is just as valid and important as another, so long as we recognize and respect each other. Sure, there are facts out there that cannot be denied. We should know those too, but not all sources provide all information accurately, and people need to learn to be able to seperate the bunk from the reality from the opinion. Sometimes, though, it just isn’t that straight forward!

  7. I think it is true that we need to be able to seperate truth from someone’s opinion. I think the media plays a large role in this issue. The news can be just as opinionated as a site like Wikipedia. I remember reading Randy Pausch’s book he wrote before he died, he touched on Wikipedia and its reliability and said that Encyclopedia Britannica asked him to write about virtual reality video games and he felt that he was just like anyone else who would have knowledge of a subject and yet he was writing for the encyclopedia, and Randy touched on the possibility of sources being just as reliable for the web-site. I think the advances in technology will help create smarter kids. I do enjoy following blogs, to follow the life of someone I am friends with, to see what people are creating and to get inside the minds of someone else. It can be like an engaging and amazing conversation between two people. I look to the internet for information, whether it be facts, opinions or recipes, it is an amazing tool!!

  8. I completely agree with you on this one Bonniejean! I love the idea of a blog because its basically a continuous discussion. Finding information on the internet is great, but clashing ideas are what make the world go round. What I mean by this is, when you read and take information from a certain place online, you are only taking one person’s opinion. When you are on a blog, you are constantly seeing ideas contradicted. This in turn gives you the ability to understand both sides of whatever is being discussed, making you a more open-minded person. I also like the idea of having a free structure in which we can speak our minds. I hope to see more blogs like this in the near future.

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