Aaron Swartz was someone who saw what you and i saw in our everyday lives but what made him stand out from the rest of us is his never ending curiosity and questioning.
We were assigned the task to read the Guerrilla open access manifesto and to say its inspiring would be an under statement. Swartz opens our minds in this manifesto he takes what we have always known, what we would call ‘natural’ but he questions why? Why is this the way? Why do we just go along with this way of doing things? He made me draw to the conclusion the we simply call these thing ‘Natural’ because we were all brought up being thought that this is the only way. We are thought this by our parents, teachers and peers and the only reason they believe it is because they were brought up the exact same way. Its the vicious cycle of tradition that we currently face in a changing society. Swartz has the ability to open your mind and enlighten you to realise that once you change your perspective you will see how not everything that is so ‘Natural’ is very just and that w need to move forward and change.
Aaron Swartz’ generation experienced the change of the digital age. The world wide phenomenon which was close to Swartz was the collision of the antique copyright system and the new and much improved system which he was trying to build. Throughout his entire life Swartz contributed to major firms and was massively valued because of his technical ability but for Swartz it was much more than a ‘technical issue’. He believed that the internet was a gateway to give everyone a voice, a right to speak freely, but the issue was who is actually allowed to be heard. It seemed to him that if you didn’t have that golden American express card your voice would just be drowned out by the rich. the internet was censored and he wanted to make this change!
How can one man who didn’t value himself as much as the world valued him change this? The answer for Swartz being programming. It was common knowledge that Swartz believed programming to be a sort of magic and at this crossroads in his life he must decides would he use this sort of ‘Magic’ to make a mountain load of money or use it to improve the world. the answer for Swartz was easy.
Through his years Swartz contributed to a myriad of activist projects but the one that stood out most for me was the ‘Stop Online Piracy Act’ commonly known as ‘SOPA’ the aim of this was to abolish censorship, make information such a legal records and such other documents which were seen as ‘Public’ available to the public for free so it was not just the ‘Students, librarians’ and ‘Scientists’ who have been given a privilege to access this ‘banquet of knowledge to feed off while the rest of the world is locked out’. To much to his surprise he won this case released a statement saying:
We won this fight because everyone made themselves the hero of their own story. Everyone took it as their job to save this crucial freedom.
Aaron Swartz was an intelligent man who always enjoyed not only teaching but learning. he was curious and never stopped moving forward cause he believed that there was always more to do. even though his life was a short one he definitely made the most of by developing a website similar to Wikipedia at the age of 12 or being given the opportunity to draft for RSS at the age of 14. He was considered to be an adult at the young age of 15 and he always had his path clearly cut out for him. Swartz followed in the footsteps of one of his inspirations Tim-Bernard Lee, the creator of the world wide web who gave his ideas away for free for the world to benefit. he’s a genius that doesn’t financially benefit as was Swartz. Swartz rejected the business world and instead worked for his own ideas of making web use available for ALL!!
Aaron Swartz brought public access to the public domain. He’s an inspiration. The internets own boy, forever.