McClouds comics were rather interesting – I particularly liked his notions that comics could present time elapsing in a single frame and also how past, present, and future can all be displayed simultaneously.  It reminds me of some of McLuhan and his “with instant speed the causes of things began to emerge with awareness again, as they had not done with hings in sequence and in concatenation accordingly.  Instead of asking which came first, the chicken or the egg, it suddenly seemed that a chicken was an egg’s idea for getting more eggs.”  Still along the same veins comes Kay’s desire to see a device where “there should be no discernible pause between cause and effect…”

We seem to be able to (through media) to manipulate our perception of time, to instantaneously see multiple possibilities and their consequences, and to simplify the interpretation of complex phenomenon by overlaying different data streams (remember the Sullenberger/Hudson river video?).  This is, at once, both exhilarating and terrifying to me all at the same time.  The exhilarating part is easy – I’ve talked about it quite a bit.  I think there are incredible possibilities for us to create and innovate in ways we have never even imagined.  I just keep thinking about how hitting shuffle in Words with Friends can instantly alert our mind to some killer-word that was always there but we just needed a different lens.  By the same token, I know that we will be able to ask questions and solve problems in ways we have not yet imagined because of this new media.  I could go on and on about the possibilities and the excitement… but I want to bring up one concern I have in particular about our perception of time… specifically linked to Kay’s idea of eliminating all pause between cause and effect.

I sometimes worry that with how fast everything and everyone moves now that we are becoming blinded (remember augmented and blinded from our chat on McLuhan!?) to the notion that not all things accelerate at the same rate.  For example, consider “building trust” in one another.  When you think of this process, does it seem any faster or slower than 10 years ago? 50 years ago?  Sure, others can vouch for a person… or you can check their criminal record… or you can dig through their Facebook page… but does the time it takes for you to trust them really speed up?  We currently have this unprecedented ability to near-instantaneously connect to nearly anybody else in the world, known or unknown.  We can learn of news before news channels can report it.  But, in many ways, there are still some functions that operate on a different time scale – that cannot accelerate at the same rate as others.  I become particularly interested in this as it relates to social change (I am reminded of the book Freakonomics).  There seem to be some major social issues of our time that are confounded by many years distance between cause and effect.  So, how can we learn to prudently understand and harness the acceleration of many aspects of our lives… while still maintaining a patience and a long-term view needed to dissect complexities of integrated and fraught issues?? Better yet, how can new media help us to do just this?  (for some reason, that last sentence made me picture time lapse videos… the re-wiring of how we think and perceive the world is truly amazing!?  time lapse videos themselves are not that old…)