Humans have always had a love/hate relationship with technology. I’m sure there was some guy back in the Stone Age saying, Hey guy, that looks like bronze, but we make our tools out of stone…Stone! Slow down!
While we might not be Luddites raging against technology, I think there are people out there not jumping into each technological advance headfirst, but wondering, pondering and measuring.
I’m on the internet talking about this, the irony isn’t lost on me.
Social media is packed with stories designed to attract attention, tug on heart-strings, and/or to make money. They work, because they know people want instant gratification, even if that means falling for a hoax, scam, or drama.The news no longer cares about the truth or the story, just ratings to get more advertisements.
Governments only care about getting elected or re-elected so they can be in control.
Corporations only care about profit, the bottom-line and making shareholders happy.
So we’re caught in a cycle of exaggerated attention-seeking behaviour.
Do we even care about the truth anymore, especially if it’s not as exciting as the story we’re being fed? Are people even aware or caught up in the seductive web of social competition, scandal, and satisfaction?
Social media, where people are encouraged, dared, bullied, or enticed to share and given endless platforms upon which to do so. A perfect means to promote feelings of envy, depression, and anxiety so people will shop and consume more, also, builds a growing resentment between classes, races, religions.
And it’s working.
Social media is releasing our inner snoops, voyeurs, bigots, exhibitionists, critics, haters, narcissists to star in a 24-7 reality show where people will say and do anything for attention, fame, notoriety, money…exposing all, figuratively and literally, fighting, scamming, plotting, scheming, dying, killing – all for the consumption of the public – a modern-day coliseum.
It’s as though we’re determined to prove B.F. Skinner was right about free will being an illusion, with a side order of Pavlovian responses to: Likes, stats, shares, tweets; salivating as a little bell tells us someone ‘cared’ enough to press some buttons. Our most basic humans needs: affirmation, encouragement, acceptance, validation, comfort, all nourished by social media in ways that people can’t or won’t, at least at the frequency we seem to desire.
A constant stream of information and entertainment, and millions upon millions spent studying behaviorism – make no mistake, we’re being conditioned…
I just wish there could be a middle ground where we enjoy technology without being dominated by it.
If I worried about doing or saying something stupid I’d never open my mouth, write anything or probably leave the house, but as I get older I hope I’m slightly less stupid.
For me, the Christmas season seems to come with the gift of introspection. Maybe it’s because the season brings out the best and worst in people.
This year the news is filled with bizarre, almost surreal images that still seem vaguely familiar.
Terrorism. Shopping frenzies. Economic manipulations by the rich. Protests against the police for what can only be categorized as cataclysmically abysmal conduct. Since the police aren’t getting in trouble, their behaviour must be explicit or implicit policy, which makes it more disturbing.
Wrapped in a cloak of civility we shiver against the winds of change. As we become more and more comfortable, any discomfort sets off a fear response in us. We’ve been the white meat for a long time now, worth more, and as much as we say we’re not prejudiced, we are. And we’re fearful, why else would we vote in politicians that are self-serving fear mongers who only want to further their agendas?
People hide their fear, but it’s there. As society becomes more inclusive, more politically correct, the fear festers. It’s Christmastime and there is a need to be afraid, about what’s really fearful.
Fearful that corporations run our governments, who don’t serve in the best interests of their citizens.
Fearful we’re more worried about apps, vacations, eating out, fashion, and entertainment than about the environment.
Fearful that a lack of respect for each other has lead to arguing, bickering, even, as we’ve seen, death.
Fearful households are sagging under the weight of their debts, countries are struggling to stay afloat.
Fearful poverty, hunger, inequality, injustice, and war are still accepted.
Fearful in a world of constant connection, we seem further apart than ever.
Police are hired to protect and serve.
Governments are elected to govern.
Kindness and compassion are a language understood by all, we need to remember how to speak it.
We all want to change the world, but not enough people want to change. Waiting in line for a new iPhone, or Christmas wrapping services, or Drake’s new store, concert, movie, restaurant, etc. we have the power in our wallets – stop waiting and stand up for something that will be a positive change.
Sometimes there’s too much going on to see what’s really going on.
As we grow older, wouldn’t it be better if we got slightly less stupid?
This has all happened before and it will all happen again…history doesn’t have to be a broken record.
The day after Halloween, before we’d even removed all the pretend fear,
Christmas is starting, carols are starting, earlier and earlier each year.
People say they respect soldiers and veterans,
but instead of respect – Christmas everywhere?!?
Everyone down in malls, the tall and the small,
will stand close together, Christmas sales ringing,
waiting in line, their credit cards zinging!
They spend! And they spend! And they spend!
They’ll spend on tablets! They’ll spend on smartphones!
They’ll spend on toys, clothes, TVs, and even on drones!
Instead of contentment and helping where we can,
filling our hearts with tech, plastic, chemicals, what a plan!
Stop for a moment, look at a soldier.
Dressed all in honour, from foot to head,
Poppy on their heart, to remember the brave dead.
The box of poppies sits below a chest full of medals,
honouring the past with each poppy they sell.
Christmas isn’t before Veterans Day.
Christmas isn’t before Remembrance Day.
Christmas is in December.
It begins on the 1st,
No, not of November!
Christmas blaring through the stores.
Christmas decorations, ads, displays.
Crass and disrespectful.
To soldiers fighting.
Families who lost soldiers.
Soldiers who fought for us.
Shop all year round if you must,
Black Friday, Cyber Monday,
Months of sales!
Leave Christmas until December,
Can’t we wait for Christmas until after we’ve honoured our soldiers?
If we showed more respect to our soldiers and our veterans,
we might make our governments show them more respect as well.
Christmas Comes After Remembrance and Veterans Day.
I can’t believe the news today.
I can’t close my eyes and make it go away.
We’ve all heard the terms global warming and climate change. I’m sure you’ve also heard people during heavy snowfalls say, see, how can we be having global warming. Sigh. This kind of ignoring, willfully misunderstanding, mocking, or twisting of facts may get a few Likes or giggles on Facebook, but it doesn’t change the facts.
The Industrial Revolution has been a boon and a curse for humanity. We made more faster. The problem was, we made more, faster, but it’s all an illusion. None of it means anything if you can’t breathe the air, drink the water, eat the food…
The UN Climate Summit 2014 is happening in New York, right now. For days around the world people who care have been taking to streets, letting their voices be heard. Activists, parents, children, celebrities, all essentially saying we have to care. http://www.un.org/climatechange/summit/ #climate2014
Leonardo DiCaprio, actor and long-time activist has been appointed UN Messenger of Peace, a sort of Climate Change Ambassador and one his first duties was a speech to the UN Climate Summit,
“As an actor I pretend for a living. I play fictitious characters often solving fictitious problems.
I believe humankind has looked at climate change in that same way: as if it were a fiction, happening to someone else’s planet, as if pretending that climate change wasn’t real would somehow make it go away.”
Please check out the rest of the speech, it was wonderful.
We need to admit we made mistakes, now let’s fix them, before it’s too late. We don’t have to keep believing rich men, governments, and corporations who are lying to us for money and power. We really can change.
Have you ever read the book There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly ? The latest version of this book (North South Books) was illustrated by Rashin, making this cautionary tale more up-to-date and accessible. Also an excellent book to help struggling readers. This was one of the books my cousin who taught special needs children suggested for my son who had a reading disorder.
This book always fascinated me, I don’t know why.
I never knew why an old lady would swallow a fly.
I thought perhaps she had some sort of disorder,
That most certainly made her life shorter.
But it always seemed callous and cruel
To make those animals turn into stool.
Why did the old lady swallow the fly, or all the other creatures?
The old lady’s behaviour was not only self-destructive and lead to her demise, but it was counter-productive. We’re the old lady. We know climate change is being exacerbated by manufacturing, yet we are buying more and more stuff.
We know that the fossil fuel industry, coal, fracking, etc. are destroying the planet we live on, yet we consume more and more.
So the theory of our time, even for those who profess to love their children is, eat, drink and be merry, who cares about their tomorrows?
We keep swallowing the lies, but why? Why does it have to be economy versus environment? We can have both.
If we admit it’s true we would have to accept the recommendations, that means changing our lifestyles, possibly even make some sacrifices.
At times the green movement is its own worst enemy.
Too many people lying, or exaggerating for shock value, to make points, or make money. Some just too self-righteous or really flaky.
The facts should speak for themselves, but we become so easily distracted and big business uses that.The rich will do anything to hold onto to their money and power, have no doubt about that. But they are a tiny percent of the population. There are more of us than there are of them.
People have stood together and overthrown tyranny before.Instead of standing in line for iPhones, toys, TVs, airline tickets, stand in line to vote, stand up to those who will kill our future, our children’s future for profit.
How angry would you be if you came home tonight and someone had destroyed your home? Planet Earth is our home.
The ongoing struggle between the government and veterans sometimes goes nuclear.
Whether or not you believe in war, it happens. Soldiers leave their family, friends, their homes to go to various parts of the world to serve their country, sometimes risking their lives.
Sometimes they return home fine, sometimes injured, sometimes in a casket draped in a flag to represent their country, the country they died for.
Oh, the government of the day will tell their citizens repeatedly, I mean over and over again, ad nauseum that they treat the veterans well. Patting themselves on the back and bragging in a self-congratulatory manner as rhetoric and champagne flows. Meanwhile vets are struggling for heat, food, medical care, even a home.
Robotic talking points about how this government has done more for vets than another other government.
I believe that most citizens respect their veterans. They know the price they paid or were willing to pay. They stepped up and left their families, friends, and homes to fight for us, to protect us, to serve us, sometimes making traumatic or even deadly sacrifices. We should repay them for their service.
Every government says they care.
All governments need to do more.
Remember our vets. Not just on Memorial Day or Remembrance Day or Veterans’ Day, but every single day.
Veterans commit suicide in countries around the world at a startling rate. Why? Because they’re not receiving the help they need.
They were of service to their country and yet services, benefits, and support they should receive are withheld, cut, and clawed back. Some vets are still looking for jobs, good luck with that.
Veterans have to once again fight, against their own government for what they were promised for serving their countries.
Meanwhile our governments spend money on important things like:
$150,000 to figure out a way to save the human race from zombies, ummm, did someone not get that The Walking Dead is fictional?
Millions to find ways to trim their budgets? I’ll give you this one for free – don’t spend $20 million on advice.
A million to research how not to burst a cooked sausage?
Millions spent studying love on the internet, intelligent life on Earth including the US Congress?
Lawyers’ fees for allegedly inappropriate activities?
Golf Club memberships?
Bridges and roads to nowhere?
Millions on computer systems that are dysfunctional, easily hacked and/or redundant?
People that work to collect taxes also owe billions in taxes?
Trips around the world hundreds of politicians and businesspeople?
Billionaires get subsidies for beachfront properties, companies, mansions while the average person, including Vets struggle to make ends meet?
Spending millions to study what food tastes like on Mars, let me help with this one, who cares?
Millions to promote governments and what they say they’ve accomplished?
Paying for Likes and Tweets, trolls to promote their viewpoints and put down oppositional viewpoints on social media?
Millions/year to find out what the media is saying about their government and corporations?
Are you reading this on Facebook? They get millions in tax refunds each year, no worries, they’re not alone, many, many other corporations got a helping hand too.
Plane and helicopter rides as well as limos, town cars and drivers?
$50,000 to study how to stop traveler’s diarrhea, in the Caribbean?
Professional sports teams listed as non-profits so they get bigger tax breaks?
Millions in audits and expenses?
Billions in procurements on planes that aren’t operational and some that might never be, libraries that will never open, empty military bases, empty warehouses, etc.?
Millions celebrating wars, but little money for those who survived them.
Legal fees fighting veterans over the claw back of military pensions.
Using drones to count sheep? Hey, maybe these people that waste your money can’t get to sleep.
And so much more waste. It’s a disgrace.
You can tell everything you need to know about a government and a society by how they treat their most vulnerable members.
How are we doing?
Politics needs to be about service, duty, and helping citizens, less about photo ops, game playing, and manipulation.
The Earth for which he: fought, lived, wrote, and sang. For which he was: imprisoned, blacklisted, banned, applauded, lauded, thanked, and recognized. The Earth which he loved.
He lost his beloved wife, inspiration, and partner, Toshi-Aline O-at in 2013. I don’t know how it all works, but I hope they can find each other again wherever the universe takes them.
Mr. Seeger spent so much of his life protesting: war, corporations destroying the environment and the economy. He fought for all people, all races, all religions, all political stripes. He fought so hard; it’s so paradoxical that we have to fight so hard for peace and rights.
Rest now, Mr. Seeger, hopefully others will carry on your fight. I can’t hope that greedy corporate types and politicians will see the error of their ways, they can’t see past the red haze of their lust for power and money.
The world is less because you’re gone, but so much more because you were in it.
Will we be able to say that about attention-seeking celebrities, most politicians, corporate types, some greedy business types, people who broadcast lies and propaganda, and those who promote hate? No.
Turn, Turn, Turn
To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time for every purpose under heaven.
A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep.
A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones
A time to gather stones together.
A time of war, a time of peace
A time of love, a time of hate
A time you may embrace
A time to refrain from embracing.
A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time of love, a time of hate
A time of peace… I swear it’s not too late.
Words from the book of Ecclesiastes
Music and additional words by Pete Seeger
“Technology will save us if it doesn’t wipe us out first.”~Pete Seeger