Having your consciousness raised is a constant experience as a kid. Once you get older, and especially once you leave school, it stops being unavoidable and becomes something you have to work for. Pushing the boundaries of your realisation frame and expanding your insight requires proactive efforts, either on your own part or others’.
In Australia and New Zealand they sell maps of the world with the South Pole on top of the map and the Northern Hemisphere at the bottom. It flies in the face of convention surrounding the notion of North meaning ‘up’ and South meaning ‘down’. It raises consciousness to the fact that, in the astronomical sense, there is no up or down. It also draws attention to a prejudice surrounding the Southern Hemisphere.
Since most people don’t actively seek to have their consciousness raised they need catalysts like the ‘upside-down’ map to force the issue. Unfortunately, for most of us, the experience of having our foundations rocked is not pleasant. It can be unnerving and unsettling. Ignorance is bliss. But in many cases it can be liberating and exciting.
At the 2007 iCommons Summit held in Dubrovnik, Croatia I enjoyed discussions surrounding the fact that global consciousness needs to be raised surrounding copyright. Not everyone understands why conventional copyright is insufficient or where the shortfalls are in our existing legal constructs. I realised that we need an “upside-down map” to help enable realisation. Something simple and powerful that raises consciousness.
I wish I had a good suggestion for what this device should be. I’ve been thinking about it since leaving Croatia, where I decided that I need to be more involved in Copyleft, Creative Commons, Open Source and other movements that challenge our conventions surrounding ownership and sharing.
Not everyone is an artist or a coder – but we all create in one way or another. Perhaps our ‘upside-down map’ will play on this commonality. Or perhaps this level of consciousness raising requires more work than a simple illustration of an erroneous notion.