the best of qualities is dispassion

Response to Chapter 3: “The Evolution of the Digital Storytelling Practice”

I enjoyed reading Joe Lambert’s piece describing the evolution of digital storytelling. Part of my enjoyment arose from an important connection between Lambert’s piece and the digital story that I critiqued this week. The digital story was “What If Money Was No Object?” which was produced from an old audio recording of a talk given by the philosopher Alan Watts. In the talk, Watts describes how he advises young people to ask themselves the important, pivotal question, what do I desire. He then goes on to explain that if one answers the question honestly and then flows along that path they will find others with like interests, which will lead to true success through a meaningful existence. Lambert (2012) describes how this happened in his life with the following quote, “… You make a choice, with no more ambition than the hope someone will want to play with you, and a few years later you are surprised that many folks have come to play with you …” (p. 25).


Lambert is a prime example of a thinker who has followed his desire and come to realize that others share his passion, which leads to meaningful success. The key point here was that Lambert did not set off in pursuit of money, and therefore did not mistake wealth for success, as our culture defines it. He instead embarked on a path of social activism, coupled with artistic creativity, which was firmly rooted in his desire for social justice. Watts was explaining how one might live versus how one might work, which seems to be the focus of our educational industry. As a product of our educational industry, one might ask how Lambert learned to live, which is a question that he answers with humility and in-depth.


He learned how to live through his childhood environment where his parents set exceptionally healthy examples and taught him to think critically about important issues, focusing on civil and human rights. Lambert proudly credits his parents for setting him on his path and describes how they were both committed to social justice. Lambert (2012) describes his mother as, “an aspiring model and radio personality, converted to left-wing causes and found herself using her theater skills as part of a troupe of theater workers performing … to small tenant farmer communities in Arkansas.” And his father as, “a lifelong activist and union organizer who crossed the South and Southwest working the needle trade factories” (p. 26).
Although he gives much of the credit to his parents Lambert (2012) also describes how his digital storytelling is firmly rooted, “in the notion of democratized culture that was a hallmark of the folk music, reclaimed folk culture, and cultural activist traditions of the 1960s” (p.26). Hence, Lambert’s childhood environment, including the era, served as the perfect incubator for his digital storytelling adventure. Although he deserves the credit for having the wisdom to know what he desired and then flowing along that path to success. Again, what do I desire?

Lambert, J. (2012). Digital storytelling: Capturing lives, creating community (pp. 25-36). New York: Routledge.

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