Friday, October 7, 2005

The nature of things

Sitting in a doctors surgery nursing my black mood, listening to a podcast on bio terrorism, scowling at the wall. Out the window there's a fruit tree bouncing in the breeze, heavy with blossom, scent blaring. Blah. Piss off. Spring, schming.

A little old lady wanders in carefully holding a plant cutting - a delicate orchidy looking thing or something. "Ooh!" the girls at the desk squeal in unison. Some discussion about how someone's aunt took a cutting the other day and how well it's doing. I'm in little Italy - they're always swapping plants'n'things. The excited squeals descend into a sonatina of murmurs and clucks, lulling me into snooze mode. And then all of a sudden I feel really alert (but not alarmed).

Nature is open source.


There's plenty more where those cuttings came from. The more clippings they take, the better it'll grow. Everything we need or will ever need already exists in some form - we live within an unimaginable abundance of elements, raw materials, scripts and stand-alone environments. That old lady is a goddam hacker. The secretaries are pirates. That tree outside is an API in the hands of a good gardener. Even that red-faced squalling baby on the floor is open source, launched a matter of months ago. Some members of that baby's species know how to hack enough code to make another one. But fortunately most people prefer using the original program.

The operating system and all peripherals are totally interoperable. Everything within infinite coo-ee is except for a bunch of materials created by a few generations of intelligent hacks (enough to trigger a mass extinction in some cases, but even nature generates those from time to time). And another bunch of opportunistic bully boys think they can licence and control things like food and medicine just because they've learned how to spell its genetic code and have lodged a form. But hey, that's hardly bothering me now because something really obvious and important is revealing its beauty to me in this otherwise very bland and ordinary day.

Wow, eh? No wonder so many people are sharing things, creating collaboratively, fighting the introduction of arbitrary and repressive laws, contributing to the greater good and so on. It's in our code. It's natural. (It's bloody obvious once you start thinking about it!)

Go, you good thing.

Photo by josef stuefer

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