Monday, October 5, 2015

#278 / Continuity #2

In filmmaking, maintaining "continuity" is a big deal. You can get the idea, with video illustrations and examples, from this blog intended for indie filmmakers

My most recent thoughts about "continuity" were sparked by an article in the September 22, 2015 San Francisco Chronicle. In the online version, the article was titled, "Why Uber is wise to destroy itself, before someone else does." This article touted the advantages of "disruption," a familiar refrain in our Silicon Valley region. Steve Blank, entrepreneurship guru, says, "Creative Destruction Can Help You Be Truly Innovative." There is a real argument being made, in other words, that "continuity" is to be avoided, not achieved. 

"Homeostasis" is the maintenance of "continuity" in the context of biology, in the context of the World of Nature. In that context, at least, "continuity" has always been thought to be not only a "good thing," but something that is "essential" for life. Just as you can't make a good film without maintaining "continuity," you can't even continue to live without maintaining "the stability of the human body's internal environment in response to changes in external conditions," which is the definition of "homeostasis," or "continuity" in the biological sense.

I do not think that the tech world's commitment to disruption and discontinuity is quite the advantage that the gurus proclaim. I don't particularly think that it's a good thing that every new edition of the iPhone operating system makes it extremely difficult to carry out the operations that you previously accomplished with ease, because now everything works differently. There is at least as much advantage to stability and "continuity" as there is to disruption and constant change. 

When "continuity" in filmmaking is abandoned, the intelligibility of the film is diminished. When we dismiss "continuity" in the human world that we create, and search for its opposite, disruption, our confidence that we know what we are doing, and that we are "in charge" is diminished, as well.

And when we don't think we know what we are doing, we aren't effective in doing what we want to do, or "must do."

A commitment to "disruption," over "continuity," puts our human world in peril.

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1 comment:

  1. You're making a lot of dubious, vague claims. Which gurus proclaim discontinuity is an advantage to which disruptive technology? Which operations are more difficult on which version of iOS?

    While we're making poetic analogy, consider also that the body (ideally) grows into a fully-formed human from just a single cells. Along the way tissue is grown and reabsorbed. Homeostasis aids survival but not at the expense of stagnation.

    Biology has as many examples of change as it does equilibrium. None of them have anything to do with Uber. Anyway, I prefer Lyft.


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