As we seek higher goals at the end of year, I have found a piece worthy to be on two lists: the reading list and the wish list.
“Every generation believes that it must battle unprecedented pressures of conformity; that it must fight harder than any previous generation to protect that secret knowledge from which our integrity of selfhood springs. Some of this belief stems from the habitual conceit of a culture blinded by its own presentism bias, ignorant of the past’s contextual analogues. But much of it in the century and a half since Nietzsche, and especially in the years since Heaney, is an accurate reflection of the conditions we have created and continually reinforce in our present informational ecosystem — a Pavlovian system of constant feedback, in which the easiest and commonest opinions are most readily rewarded, and dissenting voices are most readily punished by the unthinking mob.”https://www.brainpickings.org/2017/09/25/e-e-cummings-advice
In a world of global information, profit and opportunity, it is easy to let our mind drift to new horizons and new objectives, while we day dream. We should not however forget that daydreaming is also a tool, it a compass and a map that allows us to plot our course. It is for this purpose that we must bare in mind that the pathways we envisage should not only be spectacular, enticing and full of positivity; our pathways should also be navigable, coherent, durable, reliable, robust.
Must of all, we must remember that is we who must walk or sail the paths we set. Let us not, for the thrills of imagination alone, cast the seed of our thoughts and minds in deserts in which it will not flourish.
The ideas, the dreams, the plans we have are actually just that: seeds. We must always remember that the ground in which those first seeds must flourish are our minds, our lives, our schedules, our craft, our skills, our integrity.
The mind is an amazing computing machine, able to generate more hypothesis than it validates. It is up to us that we keep the balance between the pleasure to envision and ability to execute. We are responsible to ourselves that we seek and grant safe-harbor for the seeds of our minds. We should not too often pick the seeds that exciting to imagine. We should also care enough for what we leave behind to pick those seeds which have a good chance at growing in the soil that they have.
The Internet has brought upon us a gift and a curse. The gift is connecting everyone makes everything possible. The curse is that 90% of this undefined “everything” is made up of junk, trash, saltwater and, in some cases, poison. For every 100 sailors who see the sirens, less than half return to safety.
We must be careful in how we let our mind use the tools of navigation. Our imagination, now much expanded by the constant torrent of media and notifications on our phones, can take us to untold wonders and unimaginable perils. Each of us individually is responsible in learning to tell right from wrong on these new maps and compasses for the ocean of disruptive technology (IoT, AI/ML, Blockchain, payments, security and personal safety).
Let us imagine a 2020 where we put our phones offline a few times per day. Where we download all our Facebook data for offline enjoyment and reflection. Where we make time to put thought to paper (or canvas). Where we take time to write a stupidly long message before having the courage to cut it short, out of respect for the others’ time (maybe I should have thought of that before I started writing this one). Where we take time to look into the eyes of people who talk to us, not into our phones. Where we take time to think more about implications and connections before we speak up and act out.
Let us imagine that, in the castles of our mind, we take time to rebuild. Not for trends and hype, but for coherence and durability.