Back to Views on life.
I think that we can all benefit from remix culture. I think it’s an antidote to two types of viewpoints: 1. Your achievements measure your worth as a person, and 1. (as a friend of mine put it,) “on a sufficiently abstract level, all human lives are the same,” so what is the point of your life?
We view life itself as remix, there’s a complete perspective shift: life is not about the flux of ideas and accomplishments out of your own head
but also about letting ideas flow through you, and understanding that often you add a little to the idea when you let it flow through you.
You don’t have to produce a masterpiece from start to finish (although that is very rewarding and is something to be valued). Even though the events in your life are the same as those that countless other people have experienced, no one has experienced it in the same mixture as you, and how you combine those different experiences in your life and make sense of them is controlled by you.
Most of us are familiar with a lot of stuff on YouTube that would qualify – think about how they are more than just the bits they remix.
(Todo: actually put some examples here and analyze them.)
(Side note: I learned about remix culture in a class on modern Chinese literature and film (we also covered Internet culture). My final paper for the class compared remix culture in the US and China.)
All this said, we should make our own work easier to remix. It’s a win-win situation, in that by making our work easier to remix, we give it legs to propagate further as well as see the creation of valuable content.
Open-source, commented work encourages remixing. (The hackers are best at this.) It would be very useful to have open-source remixable math notes as well (arXiv is a step in the right direction). See Math remixing.
In order for remix, we need a kind of “hands-off” attitude, trusting in the ability of others to make valuable contributions on top of our work. cMOOCs gives this kind of context (see MOOCs); see MMORPGs as inspiration for MOOCs for more.
We should encourage remixing in the classroom. The antithesis of remixing is treating works as immutable, and giving everyone the same essay topic or problem set to do. In the humanities we shouldn’t just teach students to “”analyze“” works as if they are immutable, and in the sciences we shouldn’t just teach students to “”copy“”, i.e., all do the same problems with the same recipes. Rather, we should ingrain students with the values of reinterpreting, recreating, repurposing, sharing, and feeding forward. Literary purists may frown, but I think reenacting/reinterpreting classics in a way that keeps up with modern life is a wonderful example.
Trefethen p. 141, Randomness in art