I was pondering that eternal question, "what is the perfect progeek society?" …and I realized, we're not too far off. With things like Lulu and YouTube, there is very little standing in the way between a progeek and their audience. However, I believe that today’s world places a disproportionate value on immediate financial value, which makes everything else undervalued. For example, we don’t care about science or technology as much as we should, because as important as it is, it is behind the scenes and therefore doesn’t mean much to the world unless it is directly tied to a top-earning product or company. And as for the arts – don’t get me started!
I look at ancient societies like those that blossomed in Greece, Rome, and Egypt, where artists were revered as having special talent. Every wall, column, and alleyway was designed to be beautiful as well as functional. People had unparalleled pride in their cities. You don’t get that in the cement-block cookie-cutter constructions of the cities largely built in the 19th and 20th centuries.
What’s more, look at Medieval-era craftsmanship. There was no dichotomy between art and technology. The attitude was “if we’re going to make it, then let’s make it awesome.” Somewhere along the lines, probably around the Industrial Revolution when Economies of Scale came into play, we started to value fast and cheap over awesome.
But that’s come around full-circle now. Things have become so fast and cheap that even the tools of production are in the hands of The People once more. Granted, the tools of production ARE products (like video editing software), but that has more to do with how we got here than where we are going.
We have the tools to allow a progeek society. We just don’t have the culture for it… yet.