take place in time and space?
Study can and should take place at any time and any where, an endeavor in which any and every person can and should engage. Actuality falls short, however.
When we study, what are we doing in its most general sense, in the sense that pertains for any one at any place and any time? When we study, we form a question and actively seek to answer it, we are seeking to answer a question we are formulating.
Throughout historical experience study has been an esoteric form of experience in which only a few engage in particular places and special times with resources to which most people have no access. In principle, a digital system of communication can give immediate, self-directed, random access to all cultural resources to all persons at any time and place. This condition is radically unprecedented historically. It makes possible a degree of cultural democracy that very few of us have even begun to grasp in imaginable awareness.
Actualization of this condition that exists in principle has achieved only tentative beginnings. Personal access to the digital infrastructure has spread rapidly, but it remains riven by substantial inequities—geographic, economic, political, social, legal, technical, linguistic, educational, ethnic, even religious. In collaboration with others, large and small, through A Place to Study we will work to bring the democratic potentiality of digital communications to greater realization.
How might we do that? First, we must realize that bringing the democratic potentiality to realization is a large scale, contingent historical process unfolding through a long duration, one spanning several centuries. Perforce, a place to study will scale its activities to a level of personal initiative. That recognized, much can and should be done to explore and develop what ordinary persons can do with their unprecedented, but still limited, immediate, self-directed, random access to cultural resources. Large academic, corporate, and governmental organizations drive the unfolding process, but they do it in impersonal, dehumanized ways. The goals served are important, but not concretely meaningful in the ordinary experience of ordinary persons. What can we do to strengthen the ability of each person to control their uses of digital resources for themselves,suiting their own purposes?