Posts Tagged ‘Society’

Writing History

08/01/2010

“In a few hundred years, when the history of our time is written from a long-term perspective, it is likely that the most important event those historians will see is not technology, not the internet, not e-commerce. It is an unprecedented change in the human condition. For the first time, literally, substantial and rapidly growing numbers of people have choices. For the first time, they will have to manage themselves.
“And society is totally unprepared for it.”

~ Peter Drucker

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Over Protected

11/20/2009

Are we? When you sit back and think about it we realize that we no longer have any sense of independence. Or self-reliance if you will. Our ancestors sure did. They’d go out each day with two goals: Don’t get killed and eat enough to get to tomorrow. In today’s society however, it seems that we have so little we need, yet so much we still want. Would we know how to get what we needed if we wanted it?

I was reading through a book a friend of mine recommended called “The SAS Survival Handbook“, brilliantly written by John ‘lofty’ Wiseman. In it he covers every practical survival technique from keeping warm to evading a biological attack. While reading it I realized how unprepared and inadequate our skills are to take care of ourselves. How do you compare someone who knows how to reprogram the logistics software for NASA to someone who knows how to find water in a barren desert?

“Today we truly have so much time and so little to do”

We have built a society so securely entrenched in a “faster, better, easier, cheaper” mind-set that many of us no longer have the ability to withstand unconventional circumstances. How long can you sustain yourself at home without additional food? Do you know which foods to consume first? How much water do you have and how would you distill more? If you’re in colder climates how would you stay warm? Remember, the four most important life-necessities: Water, Food, Clothes and Fire.

But this extends to far more than just physical survival. What about financial survival? A couple a months ago we faced a near collapse of the entire financial system. Most people don’t know what this means. We’re talking no credit cards, no cash-flow, no manufacturing… the whole economy shuts down – Depression-style. Ok, so we somehow avoided it, but the system is still broken and we rely on it – not just daily but constantly. Most people don’t have any cash stashed away for emergencies.

How about emotional survival? Years ago we had greater self-esteem, built up by our parents and coaches who taught us to work hard and persevere even in the face of challenge and adversity. Today, we seem to have eliminated those challenges for our youth. Some children’s baseball teams no longer count points because they don’t want to have one team lose. What in heaven’s name are these kids going to feel when they grow-up, get laid-off from their jobs and “lose” something for the first time in their lives? This is not optimism. This is blind unrealistic and wishful dreaming. It helps today but burns tomorrow.

We won’t even begin with spiritual survival. It’s rigor mortise. People don’t care. Money and Fame are the new gods – the true American Idols. If you chose not to believe in a religious God, that’s fine. But to believe that you are the creator of yourself and your own destiny has detrimental consequences. That type of thinking ends where the titans of ancient Rome, Greece, Babylon, and Nazi Germany are today. Consigned forever to oblivion.

The objective then is to re-think our lives. It’s not all sales commissions and granite counter-tops.

Some people call this abstract thinking, others call it negative thinking. I think it’s a matter of responsibility. We must know that what we have should not be taken all for granted and to realize that one nick in the system can usher in a new reality.

No doubt. We are over-protected.

14 Reasons I Left Facebook

06/30/2009

I re-activated then re-de-activated my account today. I had to remember why I left. Now I have… the 14 Reasons I Left Facebook:

  1. Notifications can get quite annoying and there’s no way to filter out which are important and which are not.
  2. Event invites are the lamest thing I’ve ever witnessed. I know someone who missed his close friends engagement party because “You mean you didn’t get my Facebook invite?”
  3. It is always possible for things to be too close for comfort. When you lose control of the information you project to the world, crazy things happen… and people divorcing their spouses in pursuit of their college sweethearts is part of that phenomenon.
  4. If there is any etiquette left in this generation it’s definitely not reflected on Facebook.
  5. You want emails, birthdays, personal info? Most people don’t post that stuff anyway.
  6. It seems that my theory on the “Facebook Paradigm” (see bottom) stands and the only people who have time to talk to you are the ones who should be put away.
  7. People have this obsession with having as many friends as possible. I’m not sure if this is self-validation or for fun but studies show indicate that the human mind cannot retain personal information for groups larger than 150 – and that’s for a first-rate mind.
  8. Trust me when I say: Everything that can be done through Facebook can be done without it… besides…
  9. If you do need something, you have a 100% better chance getting the answer you need in the time you need it by using either a phone or email.
  10. Facebook chat doesn’t work that well… (“sending”…)
  11. People could stalk you but you can’t stalk them… because you have stuff to do. (More traction for the “Facebook Paradigm”).
  12. Ok, so you can’t see the dorky pictures of your friends oh-so-cool party that you missed. So that’s one in favor…
  13. Twitter, I think, already fills the basic gap that many have in their lives: To be seen and to be heard.
  14. And finally… Facebook tries to validate that which so few people have: a Life. Get out and do something! We spend so much time trying to fill all the new free time we’ve been enriched with from generations of successful industry and innovation. Go hang out with your friends, fly a kite, do something stupid in public… but to sit in front of a computer for hours on end trying to make something of not-much rejects the value of “time-value”.

The Facebook Paradigm
There are 2 types of people on Facebook (and Twitter for that matter – I hate to generalize but its true): The Dead and The Living. Those who have lives and those who don’t. It seems to be the job of those who do to upload their lives in order to supplement the lack thereof to the less fortunate. If you have a life, live it! Also, you can now actually hang out, talk, show-off to your friends (enemies?) next time you see them (now that you’re not just stalking them online). Facebook is not bad. It’s just that it’s gotten way out of hand.