I think the ‘Open movement’ might have an image problem.
From the outside, and even from within, it might seem as though it’s a very low level affair. To many, I get the impression that it looks like it’s about toppling an industry, or implementing a policy change here or there. And with this lots of squabbling between different parties as we debate intricate things like appropriate licensing for creative works and the role of copyright, or how much we should pay for Open Access to research papers.
But for me, the ‘Open movement’ is about something much deeper.
It’s a collective vision about how we shape and embrace knowledge, something at the very core of us all, and the foundation of our civilisation.
What might come across as personal, industrial, or political change is just a façade of the reality. I think many movements might suffer from this sort of image, with a failure to manifest themselves beyond a small scale into the truly global-scale changes they’re trying to instigate.
What Open is about is the liberation of knowledge for humankind, and doing ourselves justice as a culture to things we all create, each designed to help us try and understand the world around us.
Open is a massive scale structural re-think towards how we treat and regard knowledge as a society. It’s about re-shaping cultural attitudes towards knowledge generation, and the sharing of that knowledge for the betterment of everyone. For me, this is the underlying motivation – that knowledge sharing benefits all of society. The real change here will remain physically unseen, as it has to occur in our hearts and minds.
It’s our job to help others see this vision, because if we can succeed in implementing it then we’d have made a step towards building a better world for every single person alive now and forever in the future. The foundation of an ‘open world’ is very much grounded in principles of freedom and equality, and you don’t have to be a scientist to figure out which is the right side to be on. Embrace them, and use them to fight for real change.
I think if we remind ourselves that it’s the bigger picture we’re working towards, it’ll make the smaller fights on the way to achieving it much more easy and manageable.
That’s what Open is about, and that’s why it’s important. This is how I see it anyway – I’d LOVE to know if people see similarly, or differently!
Part of the #JourneyToNowhere series 🙂
Rik Smith-Unna has a nice compilation of useful texts around this topic.