Sunday, January 23, 2022

You Are Your Data

If you think climate change is a difficult problem to solve, you might be surprised to discover there is another much more difficult - no let's be honest - impossible problem to solve and we are contributing to it right now. 

We all know that while we use our phone, pad, or computer, every click and search is used to target us in, for example, advertising. We might even know that our 'likes' and 'comments' are all used to make sure we see more of the same thing online. A word like "algorithm" sounds very mathematical and computerlike, yet the term "business model" is much more to the point, for nothing in this capitalistic world is free. What we do online is our payment for the provider's service, and this is like gold to a political party or a potential dictator. It would be unfair to give away much more. There is a video below and it is informative and well-presented.

Maybe you know a teenager who needs to watch this.  While I definitely learned some things, at my age, my searches and clicks don't matter to most companies, or politicians, or ... anyone. Cynic that I am, I honestly have no hope that we, as a society, can escape the traps that have already been sprung or will be sprung very soon. 

However, it is better to know the problem. That way you will know where to allocate the blame when ... No, I'm not going to spoil it. 

Friday, January 14, 2022

The Importance of the Moment

My friend Joanna put up this post about living in the moment. It got me thinking seriously about something that has been in the back of my mind for some time - how I can better approach living, and yes, eventually but hopefully not soon, dying.

Of course, dying is something most of us want to ignore and definitely to postpone. What we might not want to acknowledge is that we often ignore and postpone living as well. 

As Jiddu Krishnamurti wrote:
"We think that living is always in the present and that dying is something that awaits us at a distant time. But we have never questioned whether this battle of everyday life is living at all. We want to know the truth about reincarnation, we want proof of the survival of the soul, we listen to the assertion of clairvoyants and to the conclusions of psychical research, but we never ask, never, how to live - to live with delight, with enchantment, with beauty every day."*

When young, I was always thinking - what next? -  instead of savouring life. Even now, writing this blog post is an example of not living in the moment. In my hubris I try to make something permanent out of a moment's thought when instead I need to make moments into the most important thing. 

Here, then, is a message I would send to my younger self if I could. It is definitely an instruction to myself now, to repeat as a mantra:

Find joy in what you are experiencing every moment so that when your last moment comes you will be prepared to experience even that - fully - and without fear. 

*Krishnamurti, J. (Jiddu) (1895-1986): Freedom from the Known
New York, Harper & Row, 1969