Do you ever get the feeling that your caught up in a discussion you've been having too many times before?
That weird feeling when you find yourselves talking about (media) issues you thought were resolved many years back, or arguments you thought had been put to rest ages ago?
It's often an awkward position to be in when you feel you really should point out that we had this discussion in 2001, 2005, 2007 or ... (insert year) and arrived at those and those conclusions to the arguments someone is bringing forth now.
Sometimes of course, you're only to happy to steer the debate in a more interesting direction by doing so, though other times, when these issues are being discussed anew in full earnest and with much passion, it really does make you feel like a Lorite.
See, I just found a new term for this when I read Neil Stephenson's "Anathem" recently. It's a rather complex book - interesting, very Stephensonesque but not my favourite Stephenson book - which I reviewed briefly on Facebook, but I was taken by the role Lorites play:
Lorite: A member of an order founded by Saunt Lora, who believed that all ideas that the human mind was capable of coming up with had already come up with. Lorites are, therefore, historians of thought who assist other avout in their work by making them aware of others who have thought similar things in the past, and thereby preventing them from reeinventing the wheel.
That's a rather useful role to play, but, even though I've actually studied the history of ideas, I can't for the life of me remember which philosophical direction Lorites alludes to (though I did spot lots of Plato, Spinoza, Heidegger, Kant etc in the book). Come to think of it, it can often be very useful to keep in mind the history of science, of ideas, of printing etc when contemplating today's debates on media and technology - there are many universal, reocurring themes - but why I associated Lorites withe Long tails when I first started writing this post (probably a few months or so back) evades me right now...