(This time I wrote directly in English, which is not my native langage, so I beg for kindliness regarding mistakes.)

First of all thanks my dear Don for your thoughts, with which I globally agree, especially your sight of Ipernity and his community, and overall about the pleasure to share my images here.

Nevertheless, as a past social worker, sort of a "transmitter", I felt necessary to break one or two illusions your article seems to convoy and which are very common in what can be called the occidental middle class (to which I belong!). It's worth noticing that those illusions make our lifes sustainable. Don't forget as written at the beginning that I agree globally with your position. So, as it's not the most important part of my message, I put it as a post-scriptum! :-)

That said one can mention as you do that here we are not dependant, our lives and happyness don't depend on our appartenance to Ipernity, we can enter or go out at each moment, or speak or be silent etc. What's seldom the case IRL, in real life.

That's why, in my humble opinion, those people you're speaking about are driving an irrelevant and imaginary battle, because they have only an illusionary power. Thats not to say that your answer is also irrelevant: it's good to remember loudly some spiritual thoughts from time to time, and to "simply ignore" is not always the best attitude.

More. Even if most of the comments here could be felt as more stupid than wise, what's the matter? Are we sure that we are ourselves continuously creative and wise? Is it possible to give hundreds of comments a year and to be wise and creative each time? Medias such as Ipernity are tuned on massive membership so a certain simplicity of the comments is the price because nobody is a "creative machine", machine gun shoud be said. And so what? Why would it be better here than in our allday's life? A great part of comments are due to all sorts of interests and friendships. Are they of less value because the emmiter is not a seasonned summit in art critique? Who is here? And who can say what's that "value" to be seeked?

We have to love people and ourselves "as is". Spiritualy it's an evidence but it's also prudent: I met people which are so to say unable to read and write, who express themselves difficultly, but who are very effective in fields of life in which I'm definitely not.. And also, wisely, humanship invented the Law in order to resolve conflicts of interest without having constantly to grasp wappons... so the best rate is to follow the rules of Ipernity, and to "go and let go".

What belongs to "my me myself personnally" :-), and as a granfather, I know since a very long time that photography - mostly photography, but also drawing, painting or hearing music, cooking for leasure and so on - is an attempt to get momentally rid of some shouting struggles around me. Something Blaise Pascal called "divertissement" (in French) which is not necessary pejorative. The sense is "distraction", what distracts us from the hardness of life.

I feel allowed to express myself with whatso an art or handcraft or what I can imagine, and wish to everybody to allow himself to feel the same. Incidently I _must_ bring my creations under the eyes of others, in order not to be eternally chasing my own tail. I experienced that 25 years ago and had to join a photo club to share my images in order not to stay. Here as otherwise, I need the "others". The different reactions I met or will meet are called "risk". One of the major advantage of Ipernity is that the tolerance is great - it's a rule of economical survivance for the team - and that the occasional injures will always be virtual...

So in no case is Ipernity simply a photo hosting, but what we call a virtual community or "others" with commune interests. I feel lucky that I can meet here, would it be virtually, people of the whole world, and from countries I can only dream of IRL.

All in all, thanks again for your courageous article, Don.

Serge

Oh.. and my answers to your points. :-)

Actually the reasons I agree with you are not totally related to your points. I sincerily hope you won't feel offensed by these "rational frenchie" views. I won't answer to all the detailed points of your article, which is so rich that it would keep me awake a fortnight - one is enough :-) - but just share some thoughts which came while reading you. What will show the direction of my own view of our beloved world.

- - "The reality is that if all expression—oral, written, artistic, and musical—were, in fact, structured and limited, the world would essentially be a sterile place."

Yes but also no. First of all, thanks to so called "nonsensed" people there is creativity on work also when there are major constraints on work. The real role of fools and poets is to brake the rules. Secondly, at this moment, it has never has been possible to totally structure and limit expression. All attempts avorted. Thanks to what you want.

Actually, if one read treaties of artists, historians and philosophers about it, one can learn that there is no creativity where there are no constraints. We only create "against" one or some constraint. For example, your article is beautiful and talented, but think of his genesis. ;-) Think of the genesis of ecology. A constraint isn't necessarilly a structure, it can be an idea or a fact of reality, opinions, illness and overall the great master, death. A constraint can also be a conflict of interests to be resolved. Desire is also a constraint, perhaps the most universal. All in all, humanity has only progressed to get rid of constraints.

There are no ingeneers nor computers needed in paradise, nor are artists because all is supposed to be perfect...

No? But also "yes"... because that's will not say that it's a good idea to add constraints where there are still enough ones. In that sense too I agree totally with your reaction!

In an ideal world, only death and desire, and globally named natural deseases, shoud be the constraints left to provoke our creativity. Alas we know of what humans are made.

- - "Thanks to a growing appreciation of the value of free expression, humanity was able to break free of any such bottleneck."

Humanity??? Was???
There are many places in this world where free expression remains an inacessible dream. Actually, free expression is everywhere a holy dream, a real illusion also where it seems to exist. Think of how much we are "politically correct" in our allday's lifes, handlings and speakings, and... artistic expression. That the most of our constraints are totally accepted - probably because most of them are useful - and are deeply burried in our consciences shouldn't fool us.

Our langages, too, stream lots of unsaid believings and/or lots of presuppositions which are all but uneffective.

Freedom, and free expression, is only a concept - have you met one? - it is actually what we use to call our bunch of accepted constraints.

Worse. About unknowed constraints. In our occidental countries it could occure that storytelling and other "communication techniques", whith the gracious help of computing technology and imagery science, throw us back in such "dark ages" you mention. Ages where virtuality will stand for reality. As in the Middle Ages, but technology will replace obscurancy. One can usefully read the "The Running Man" by Stephen King (1982), which was alas premonitory and still is. I fear that this time the sacred middle class won't be spared.

The evolution of "twisted senses" of words are relevant in this optic. For example what is called "social ingeniering" is actually nothing but swindle and breach of trust and so on. We have the same "twisting" evolutions of the sense of words in French, and I suppose it is the same in most langages.

- - "The starting point for any kind of relationship—friendship or romantic—is mutual respect. Without that seed, no relationship canare grow, much less flourish then survive the test of time."

Yes and no again. One, that's only true when there are no dependencies at work. Which is another pietic dream because we are definitly, deeply and strongly interdependant. Think simply of a mariage with kids and one is - gracefully! - attached to them. This create a dependance, and as such the possibility of a relation of power. Nevertheless, if this occurs the relationship can perdure a lot, not necessarily in a too stressing way, while not ideally, and with perhaps a very low level of mutual respect. Two, think of a working relationship. Or a fisher boat. It exists not only friendship- or romantic-like relations but many others sorts. All in all, all are based on common interests. More ore less mercantile, OK. To be deeply in love has to do with passion, wich can drive to all but respect. To be burning with desire, too.

Actually, the only sort of respect which is mandatory is the respect of the rules which make our co-living sustainable. Rules make possible to resolve conflicts pacifically. That's not necessarily similar to justice... If one diggs deep enough in this rules, one will end on the Constitution of his nation.

On the other hand, why would a successful relationship be necessarily supposed to be eternally growing and flourishing, and to last times? Where is that written? And would it be written, some foolish or insensed creatives will brake this rule too!

So. That's it. ;-)