The inaugural post here at iProgress is a statement of sorts. A redefinition of the terms of American organization. A redefinition of the relationship between citizens, community, government, power, culture, and the complex interactions and meanings associated with each. To be sure, the term ‘America 2.0’ didn’t start here, with the title of this post. If one ‘Googles’ the term it appears sporadically throughout blog posts, clever comments in various nooks and crannies of the Web, and even in a handful of mainstream articles.
What you won’t find anywhere (that I’m aware of) is any articulated vision of what an America 2.0 would look like and, in fact, what the idea means. Generally speaking, America 2.0 is a simple allusion to the idea that citizens and government interact differently as a result of Internet and social network technology. The simple notion that individuals can now communicate directly to and about the government and its institutions is the essence of America 2.0, as far as my exploration has uncovered. What I intend to pursue via this ‘borrowed’ and underdeveloped phrase is a reexamination of the relationship between Amercan community, its infrastructure, institutions, individuals, and symbolic environment. This undertaking will be conducted through a lens ground and refined by scholars and thinkers from a wide variety of disciplines, but best articulated through the tradition of media ecology and the men and women credited with providing the core structure of its philosophy.
As America 2.0 grows and evolves at iProgress, participation from readers and fellow philosophers, scholars, and citizens of all stripes will be key, for, you see, America 2.0 is not a place or a concept modeled on top-down thinking, but rather from collaborative, multi-directional, grassroots communication that typifies the media environment in which our national discourse is currently advancing fastest.
An important note about America 2.0: Nothing is more important to understand about this concept than the idea that our sense of national character, our culture and our communities, are experiencing a kind of structural schizophrenia in large part due to the contradictions found in the way we have extended ourselves into a world of digital, electronic networks that stand in stark contrast to the corporeal realities that make up the ‘natural’ world, for lack of a better term. On one hand, we’ve seen the acceleration of corporations and institutions operating in a stratosphere beyond the reach of most individuals and their relatively small claimant groups. We’ve see ourselves immersed in electronic environments which have transported our consciousnesses around the world without a care for space or time, but our ideas and beliefs have become increasingly disconnected from our bodies and the physicality of our environment, in which the importance of ‘meaning’ and ‘action’ of the greatest concern. This includes notions of fairness, morality, ethics, and a sense of empathy that is essential to our humanity. The specifics of this phenomenon are for another time and another post, but it’s important to recognize that the basis for America 2.0 must be one of structural integration where the physical world meets the conceptual and the cybernetic.
As the pioneer of the concepts discussed here at iProgress, I intend to drive the bus, so to speak, by providing some intellectual foundations for this concept. Some of the core principles and structural elements will be mine and will hopefully provide a singular coherence to the project. Input from outside sources will always be welcome and should push the project in a positive and broadly useful direction. America 2.0 is what we say it is, and the ideas will begin to crystallize here.