Thursday, April 12, 2007

Living To Learn, Learning To Live

Rocky Bay, Waiheke Island
April 2007

The streets of my little community start to empty out after the last holiday of the Summer, which is Easter. Not that they were busy to begin with. The 100 or so homes that dot the coastline here on this part of the island are mostly holiday homes. The remainder of us call it home for the full year, with periodic breaks. The boats and children and walkers and joggers and dogs and kites and bikes and kayaks have been mostly put away. Back to the job in the city or wherever they all go.

Even Pa in the local Paradise Duck family is looking around and planning his annual "flyabout"... Now that the little ones have flown off on their own

Speaking of flying about, if you are a traveller, and would like to see what countries you have been to on a graphic scale, this site makes it easy to "plug and play" your travels and have them displayed on a world map. It then became apparent (to me anyway), how many places I haven't been. Yet.

Don't forget to think about your carbon footprint as you jet around however, and as this Alternet article points out, the process of offsetting your personal carbon emissions from flying or whatever by purchasing credits has some fairly flawed logic behind it. One person likened it to an athlete sitting at the side of the track eating ice cream and paying someone else to run the race. Paying for something does not necessarily change behaviour, it is just another tax. The wealthy will continue doing what they do, and the not wealthy will continue not doing what they haven't been doing. Does that sound like change?

Six years into the project to catalogue all living species on earth, Smithsonian scientists have topped the 1 million mark. What a great job! Never ending might be the appropriate sidebar here. 253,000 species of butterfly and moth, and 83 species of krill, the tiny shrimp that whale eat. Well done you science boffins!

Addicted to data? I used to think I had a problem, and well, maybe I do. But without the must have mobile interface of the day, the Blackberry, I feel relatively safe from the pushers of hyperconnectedness. Like all good pushers as this Time article says, the current digital variety do not really fulfill any existing needs, they create new ones, and then proceed to fill those, thank you very much. Can you stand to be unavailable? Especially if everyone else is? I definitely can, and make sure I am, as a matter of fact. I force myself to go out (at times hesitantly) without my cellphone at least once or twice a day. Ouch.

Try it, it is really liberating. As Wi-fi becomes more and more ubiquitous, and devices become cheaper and easier to use, the temptation will start to creep in. That is exactly what they want. Good luck. There is a whole world out there waiting to be explored. And it doesn't have a digital component. Yet.

The Guardian once again gives a good sense of perspective to the online world in this article. Businesses are scrambling to understand how to get the eyeballs (especially media saavy young ones, you know the ones that spend) on to their products and services. There are so many social networking sites now, the need a social network to connect them all.

Instant Tribe, but in a very distant way.

The so called social networking "sites" are so popular because they allow one to engage without really engaging. To pick and choose who to befriend and who not to, to share personal details online that never require any real personal interaction, and the ability to be turned off or on as desired. A sort of selective and impersonal way to fill the void that being alone often brings...

Don't get me wrong, Myspace, YouTube and others are so successful because they fulfill a need (albeit one that has been created) to connect and share with others the creativity and information that gives culture its momentum. It is definitely a Tipping Point. They are great resources, and though they may not at present be used for anything too liberating or world changing, the time will come.

As long as the massive corporations that control other sources of media, as they slowly worm their way into the internet do not inflict any type of filtering process or "codes of conduct" that inhibit the very open nature of the web as we see it now. It is all simply a reflection of what we as a collective consciousness are doing, like it or not.

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