"The web comes down to bumping into things we might disagree with. That's my favorite part. It's where the learning happens."
Yes, and...it's more than just the "bumping into" that matters. It's actively seeking out the edges where different ideas, approaches, industries or histories intersect.
Edges are where the interesting stuff occurs. Homogeneity is boring, predictable and unremarkable.
Bob Frankston (more) once told me "If we're not disagreeing, we're not making progress." (Note: The reason I couldn't agree with Bob's statement at the time is an exercise left for the reader. :-)) And his point was spot-on -- mindless, or even mindful, agreement can't create something new.
If you're disagreeing (civilly, I trust), you've found an edge. Explore it.
One of the books that has most influenced me over the years is entitled Out of Control, by Kevin Kelly. It's a collection of real-world examples where "biology" and "technology" intersect. Perhaps the most salient chapter is the one on the Biosphere 2 project in Arizona. To whit:
"Life keeps rising. It rose again and again inside Bio2. The bottle was fecund, prolific. Of the many babies born in Bio2 during its first two years, the most visible was a galago born in the early months of closure. Two African pygmy goats birthed five kids, and an Ossabaw Island pig bore seven piglets. A checkered garter snake gave birth to three baby snakes in the ginger belt at the edge of the rain forest. And lizards hid lots of baby lizards under the rocks in the desert.
Urbanization is the advent of edge species. The hallmark of the modern world is its fragmentation, its division into patchworks. What wilderness is left is divided into islands and the species that thrive best thrive on the betweenness of patches. Bio2 is a compact package of edges. It has more ecological edges per square foot than anywhere else on Earth. But there is no heartland, no dark deepness, which is increasingly true of most of Europe, much of Asia, and eastern North America.
The messy living thing knitting itself together inside Bio2 was pushing back. It was a coevolutionary world. The biospherians would have to coevolve along with it. Bio2 was specifically built to test how a closed system coevolves. In a coevolutionary world, the atmosphere and material environment in which beasties dwell become as adaptable and as lifelike as the beasties themselves. Bio2 was a test bench to find out how an environment governs the organisms immersed in it, and how the organisms in turn govern the environment. The atmosphere is the paramount environmental factor; it produces life, while life produces it. The transparent bottle of Bio2 turned out to be the ideal seat from which to observe an atmosphere in the act of conversing with life."
Find the edges.