Blog Archives

Technology: Presence & Time

So I’ve been pondering what to write for a next post.  I was looking at other posts with the daily prompt about use of phones which caught my attention.  They are useful, but they can also control you if you let them because they ring off the hook and people can nowadays text you like there’s no tomorrow.  Texts can be simple like “Dinner’s ready” from a family member to another family member in a different room, or about getting together.  They can be more complicated telling a story of something that recently happened, though that could also be a phone call instead of a text since longer messages aren’t as often sent by text as far as I can tell in my minimal text experience.  It depends though, sometimes that is the case and sometimes it is not.  Either way, technology can take you away from the present moment and into another space, for one reason or another.

This brings me to another pondering, as I’ve recently read The Time Machine by H.G. Wells.  Now The Time Traveller within the book travels hundreds of thousands of years into the future.  He views completely different worlds that are nothing like that where we currently reside.  The social hierarchy of creatures is vastly different, being that it seems humans have evolved into two different species somewhat, at least it appears that the Time Traveller interprets these two species as being derived from humans if I read it correctly.  Some might consider such a long way off in the future to be a daring feat for someone to take when trying out a time machine, but is it that big of a deal?  Would it be better to jump 5, 10 or maybe 50 years into the future to see where things have evolved to before jumping elsewhere?  Would it be most useful to see yourself in the future or past when traveling time, or seeing beyond yourself and to look at the world itself?  I’m not sure I have all these answers, but I think it would intrigue me more to see where the world and humanity goes than to see exactly where i end up or where I’ve been.  Some days my opinion might differ, but I’m living in the moment right now as I create this post.

What are your thoughts?

Community, Society, & Death, Rebirth

This week has brought two first anniversaries that I am familiar with that started last August – the 21st and 22nd to be precise.  The first event was the tornado in Goderich, Ontario.  This was the only tornado I have ever decided to be present for, without my advanced knowledge that it would occur.  I had plans to visit Goderich for a week, and arrived there just 26 hours before the water spout came up from Lake Huron and swirled through Goderich causing much destruction to its buildings, and plenty of shock and other emotions of its community members.  The hydro was out for several days, and citizens had a lot of work ahead of them in the wake of the F3 that tried to mess with the town (with only temporary success; the town has endured and will continue to endure much longer than any Tornado.  It was inspiring to see the community come together and work to rebuild the town, through initial clean up such as clearing away trees and bringing some semblance of order to a disorderly situation to ensuring those who became homeless had the basic necessities available to them.  Still months after, on Thanksgiving weekend (the Canadian one in October 2011), the town was coming together as a community, with the Out of the Storm benefit concert that lasted all day on October 8, 2011 with many entertainers as well as vendors selling food, beverages and souvenirs etc.  The day of the concert was much different weather-wise; it was nice and sunny, warm and peaceful.  About a year after the storm, on Sunday, August 19th, Goderich saw Windstock, another kind of concert/celebration.  This time featuring bands such as local bands Fermented Oranges and Builder Refused who have played local pubs and such together on more than one occasion.  When the music is alive and well, we unite as one and come together for the sake of community; in this case in somewhat of a rebirth of Goderich.

The day after this event, on August 22, 2011, Jack Layton passed away from cancer.  He was the leader of the NDP party of Canada, during the election that brought the party to Official Opposition status in the current parliament.  The fact that the party went from generally a third place win in an election to second place, being Official Opposition, says something about his leadership and his ability to draw the public toward him—his charisma.  Some may not have liked him, and others may not have liked his party, still others may disagree with both.  But many people came together in community during the 2011 Canadian Federal Election to try and bring the NDP into power as a voice for change.  They elected 103 seats, in what was dubbed “the orange wave.”  His final message through his letter is very inspiring to remember, and also seems as though it fosters community growth/development:  “My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.”

These qualities are crucial to building stronger community and a more positive society I would say.  If we’re always angry at each other, how will we ever be at peace?  If we’re always fearful, how will we ever do so much as approach anyone, for fear that they will hate or reject us?  If we’re living in despair, where is the hope of a better tomorrow?  Thus, it is best to “be loving, hopeful and optimistic” to make the world a better place to live.  Perhaps there is something in this about why I prefer not to label myself politically or otherwise for that matter.  There are connotations that go along with labels, things that separate me from you.  Instead I have some values/beliefs that may or may not fit within any particular political boundaries.  I do believe it is the right thing to vote, because we can only get the best representation of what the country wants through as much participation as possible, but to me it is more about who I believe would make a good candidate than about which party they stand for (or not, since theoretically a person requiring the use of a wheelchair could be the best candidate and they wouldn’t necessarily stand at all—but they may still use the language of “standing for” something.)

I believe that we should all be independent and strive to achieve all that we want in our lives.  When we run into tough times, after working hard and not quite getting where we are yet, those around us should realize our efforts and stick by us in times of need.  I get caught up in the (ultimate) brain debate of money vs. happiness whereby I confront the concept of working for money or working for enjoyment and achieving money on the side.  I think of all the expenses that exist in modern day Western society and think a high paying job may just be the answer to everything.  But wait, there’s my mental health–my happiness, joy, and genuine satisfaction in life.  Where would that be, if I had that high paying job to pay for all the perks of the Western world in the 21st century?  It would be probably non-existent, or severely lacking is my guess.  I’m starting to ponder what community would have been like back in other civilizations of the past, or even different cultures.  I also ponder whether the technological advances that may have brought the civilization of Atlantis to an end were anything connected to community and the coming together or lack thereof in the civilization.

I’d love to hear others’ thoughts on this post, because I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s thought of money vs. happiness, or been in situations where this competition arises in life.  I’m also probably not the only one that has an interest in, or ponders life in ancient civilizations.  I’ve read some about them but not a whole lot at this point, so there may be more answers I just have not stumbled upon yet.

People, Differences & The Twelve

Books that inspire the mind, that provoke thought about life and human nature tend to draw my attention.  Such is the case with The Twelve by William Gladstone, which holds important that long talked about date of December 21, 2012.  What happens on that date?  You’ll have to either wait until the reality of the day hits (which will happen before you know it) or read the book to find out where the story leads!  There are some mixed reviews of the book that I’ve seen through Amazon.com.  I don’t consider the book to be a thriller that’s full of action and excitement, but liked it for its thought-provoking nature, and its ability to keep my attention and follow along with the plot.  It also gives an interesting portrait of human nature to ponder.

One of the reasons I felt inclined to write about this book is because it raises the topic of differences in human beings, a topic that I ponder fairly frequently.  Max, the protagonist, runs into some interesting circumstances resulting from his post-secondary studies.  He is provoked to question whether he’s got mental health issues, or not after even his own parents appear to side with the doctor who sees Max.  There is some history of mental health issues in his family, so Max is provoked to question if he may actually have something wrong with him.

I’m reminded of a phrase my father often says, “If you believe it, it’s true.”  I feel that this can apply to what I’m hoping to get at through this post.  If you hear things from others about yourself enough, you might just start to question whether they are true!  You might start believing that if a number of people around you are saying something, that maybe it’s got some smidgen of truth to it.  This could provoke you to start to change things about yourself for others, or totally change who you are.

There’s no reason to change who you are or what you’re all about by any means.  I find that environmental changes can have a better psychological effect!  If you’re having difficulty where you are in your life, maybe it has something to do with the environment you’re surrounded by rather than anything else.  I don’t mean that it is best to run from things in life to make everything better, if it sounds that way, because I think that things happen to us so we can build the endurance to handle challenges that will make us stronger.

But we can also learn when enough is enough and we’ve gained what we can from the experience already.  Max seems to have known that certain individuals in his life have to be there for a reason so he endures his search for the twelve individuals.  He keeps their contact information so he is able to be in touch with them when necessary with the knowledge that these individuals have some significance.  I’ve subconsciously known this in the past and made changes to my environment, leading to feeling more at ease and ultimately having a bit of a more positive outlook on life.  It is only upon reflection that I discovered it in a conscious way.  There’s no need to necessarily conform, just to find your niche and make life work for you through that niche.

Max tends to move around now and then for various opportunities.  What others try to do to him never stops him, it only causes him to change gears a little bit and reconsider what he keeps to himself and what he allows of himself to be public.  Changing his environment enables him to see the world and all; but it also enables him to make important discoveries about life, and about himself.

The big thing about Max is his capacity to endure regardless of what anyone says about or does to him in his life.  He always finds ways to do what he wants regardless of anyone else.  Sometimes someone comes to his rescue if he’s in danger.  If something doesn’t work, he moves on to try a different angle to attain the same goal such as earning a living.  If he felt he had to be somewhere else to get what he wants to achieve, he’d go elsewhere!  That reminds me of another phrase my father also says, “Never, ever give up!”  And it’s true, regardless of mental or physical differences: if you keep trying you’ll find a way to get what you need or want in life.

You can either post thoughts, reflections, criticisms and the like below, or email magnus.wendler@gmail.com