A few weeks ago I was sitting around a fire with good friends discussing how we could benefit the world. One friend* made the wise statement “we need leadership, not more leaders”.
Since then, I have been pondering the importance of leadership as well as our loyalty to beliefs.
We live in an amazing time when people have 24 hour access to most of the world; whether it’s information, communication, shopping… We’re not always wise about how we use this privilege, and may be holding onto old thinking structures that no longer serve us.
What’s the tipping point for questioning beliefs?
Of late, structured organizations including politics, pedagogies, and religions have fallen prey to offensive positioning and are continually reactive, unable to maintain balance and move society forward. We, individually, are a part of these structures. Many of us watch on the side lines as if in a post-accident state, resembling gawkers with our fingers pointing at the mess. We need to push into rescue mode and help lead humanity.
Our new world demands and deserves individual leadership.
Leadership as defined in Wikipedia: “a process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task“. In this context the task is to benefit society.
It’s a new world. Let’s be brave and question it, knowing we have the opportunity for individual leadership and communal excellence with resources for positive innovation like never before.
Think like an individual and act for your community.
*This statement came from Leska Fore, one of my sources of wisdom.
People are complicated, including Pinky Ramirez. Like everyone, Pinky has blind and bad judgment at times… but he can also be good.
He has been pondering humanity and recognizes our moral imperative is serious business. To better himself, Pinky is taking several correspondence courses including “compassion and world peace for dummies”. Unfortunately this course is not well attended.
Regardless, Pinky would like to extend an olive branch of peace and compassion to you. Please accept this irrespective of his high fashion and masculine exterior.
Duality and polarity happens. We all experience a little Pinky.
One reason for the popularity of Instagram and Hipstamatic is they trigger a collective memory of nostalgia with their patina style filters. Physical world patinas imply changes to a surface through age and exposure. Yet the digital world doesn’t reflect age/exposure in the same way, although it can be manufactured to. Regardless, a picture is worth a thousand words and nostalgia appeals to the masses, so voila, $$.
In the future I imagine digital patinas that are left by dear ones, or better yet me. Kind of like my stamp on the world, my uniqueness, my brand. The more I do something or go somewhere in the digital realm, the more wear and tear it would show on that place. Our marks on public and private places could look different, reflecting who we are in public and private.
Tomorrow our granddaughter Mila comes to visit. I can’t help but think about Mila’s response to grandma out of the box. The last time we were in the same room together was last summer, half her lifetime ago. Since then we Skype weekly, so most of her experience with Grandma has been in the box.
I am reminded of a scene “Life imitating Tech” from a few years ago. My colleague Ethan showed me a picture from when his parents had been visiting. His parents and daughter were “fake” Skyping while in the same room. At his daughters’ request, Ethan made a Skype theater out of cardboard; think Puppet Theater. His parents sat on the back side of the theater while Ethan and his daughter sat in front as they had a conversation. I imagined Skype had been their primary mode of communication and her most common experience with them. It was how she knew her grandparents. These real people were likely ok but different than the context of their regular relationship, so she may have wanted to put them back in the box.
We are dependent on screens. Technology continues to morph society and what it means to keep connected, as new experiences become ritualized. The current generation (first world) is also being raised with different rules for time and space than I had growing up. I remember as a young adult, the longing I had for my parents after not seeing them for extended periods of time. This longing was met with an unsettling vivid image as I walked off the plane at age 20 after not seeing them for a year. I was crest fallen to see how old and small they had become. They looked fragile for the first time. My familiar parents became only a memory. I now had to create a new relationship with these changed people. The crazy thing is that the journey I had just taken from one coast to the other took only 6 hours, something my parents weren’t able to experience as children. Each recent generation appears to be redefining personal relationships as technology drives change. Maybe redefining isn’t the right word, although we are clearly experiencing each other in many more formats as time goes on.
Back to Mila… she is so freaking cute I can’t wait to squeeze her (lovingly). I ask myself all kinds of questions about our new relationship. Will she want to touch me? Will she prefer to fake Skype? Will she want to see me in my red robe, my normal Sunday morning Skype attire? What will Mila think when she sees my robe hanging on the hook? Will she recognize it? Will she wonder if my physical head gets really big like it sometimes does on screen? …
Memory is funny; I started writing this post without remembering I had imagined this scenario 12 years ago. Pre grandma, I led a project at Microsoft that had a vignette of future communications with grandma. My work usually centered on personal experiences, so I would draw from my own imagined future experiences. I would also drag my kids into it. The video below stars my youngest daughter Ruby at age 6 (next month she’ll be 18). Unfortunately this video is very small. At the time disk space was at a premium and we were working with a 640 x 480 resolution …
Now here I am on the other side of the future, and it is to some degree how we imagined it, only way more personal. I am so looking forward to staying connected with Mila as she grows up and the new ways of connecting that her generation will bring.
My visits to facebook have been sparse over the past 6 weeks. I decided to suspend activity after I caught myself thinking about what ironic statement I would post as I was on my way to the Puyallup Fair. It occurred to me that I was manufacturing the message before the experience; risking the simple act of experience. So I decided to shut it down for a while.
The result – I slightly missed fb, and I do value it. Moving forward I will attempt to use fb for the value it provides- a rolodex of deliberately manufactured semi-public life. One veil in our ever expanding digital world, our “life obscura”.
Life obscura is a manufactured representation of a physical being using digital technology. It has multidimensional and interactive potential, that potential also influences the representation.
Similar to “camera obscura” it is a projected reproduction. Camera oscura was the precursor to photography. Life obscura may be the precursor to “digital grip” or “d’grip”: a maintained, measureable and evolving set of controlled and uncontrolled incarnations that permeate the digital realms.