18 Feb Thieme Presents Unique Technology Angle at Gov.’s Conference
Madison, Wis. – Civic and industrial representatives were treated to a unique viewpoint Thursday at the Governor’s Conference on Economic Development, thanks to the speech by columnist and former Episcopal priest Richard Thieme. Tying situational context with technology, Thieme emphasized how seeing what is not readily apparent leads to growth and change.
“We wanted someone who could start the conference off and make some waves of his own,” said Mary Cole-Laub of Alliant Energy in her introduction of Thieme.
Thieme began by presenting the idea that everybody’s background is the strongest force on identity, and how looking at something in a new light changes what it is. He cited the discovery of Pluto as example of where a scientist found something and everyone was then willing to look where there had previously been nothing.
“No one had seen it because no one had been told where to look,” Thieme said of Pluto’s discovery. “You don’t change the content, you change the context and the content will follow.”
Thieme also told of an experience he had with a Buddhist monk, explaining how the monk showed him a coffee mug and asked what the most important part of the mug was. Thieme suggested the handle or the bottom but the real answer was what was not there – the space inside. Thieme said that this is the most important concept to realize: what is not there is the most important.
“[It’s] psychic space, in which people see possibilities for action we did not see before,” Thieme said.
Thieme tied this idea to technology’s evolution, pointing out that advancements have allowed room for even more growth. And as more changes are made, room is left for even more.
“It is the context that people see,” Thieme said. “Technology is nothing but space, and inflating it will change you.”
Thieme then turned to his personal experiences, recalling his first forays into technology following his resignation as an Episcopal priest. The first people he worked with were not tutors and businessmen, but hackers and because he was willing to listen to the group he learned many valuable skills, and has continued to learn from them for over 10 years.
“The hacking’s the structure, but what’s behind the structure is the human network,” Thieme said of what the hackers had established. “That’s what the hackers were – they were co-creating the network in which you live in.”
Thieme continued on this theme, explaining that due to the “fluid” nature of the world it was easier for changes to be made and boundaries to be broken. This continual evolution and growth allows technology to take hold and work its way into the framework of the world.
“Technology has so deeply restructured who we are that it’s axiomatic,” Thieme said. “We already live in a network created by technology.”
Audience members praised Thieme’s enthusiastic style of speaking, as well as his motivational messages.
“It’s very inspirational,” said Brent English of the Center for Technology Transfer, Inc. “He brought a fresh perspective to a lot of people in suits.”