Larry Lessig has a post up where he announces a new direction for his research and activism. The substance is super-interesting — he’s going to focus on corruption of the political process, in a broad sense, rather than copyright policy — but so is the format.
I love the idea of so consciously staking out a direction — of so publicly announcing a new set of questions. His post has this almost odd specificity to it:
[…] I have decided to shift my academic work, and soon, my activism, away from the issues that have consumed me for the last 10 years, towards a new set of issues: Namely, these. “Corruption” as I’ve defined it elsewhere will be the focus of my work. For at least the next 10 years, it is the problem I will try to help solve.
He explains that he’s been doing copyright policy for ten years; he feels he’s learned all he’s going to about that set of questions, and kicked off a powerful movement; and now it’s time to start over.
As Lessig defines it in his post, corruption is the central problem in our political system today: Its inability (our inability?) to acknowledge broadly-agreed-upon facts and act appropriately. See: “An Inconvenient Truth, “The Assault on Reason.” (Indeed, Lessig says Al Gore is one of the people who inspired this new direction.)
But I lost track of my original point: Even if his new focus was milkshake policy, I’d be impressed by the sharpness of his shift, by the stark statement of new goals. For those of us with a million thoughts and links buzzing around in their brains, all mostly just looping in on each other (clearly I am talking about Matt here), it’s a good model to consider.