The social media dilemma and its consequences

I hope our civilization will survive but I think it will do so in some convoluted ways unfamiliar to us currently. The rise of instant media has already fundamentally changed society and will continue to do so I think.

Matthew Wright

I watched ‘The Social Dilemma’ a few days ago, the Netflix semi-dramatised documentary exposing the business model behind social media, and what it’s doing to world society.

A beautiful picture of Earth from 1.6 million km sunwards. NASA, public domain.

I wasn’t surprised; the social outcomes have been clear for a while. The ‘confirmation bubbles’ to which social media reduces people are a function of the way in which it’s been geared to make money. But the documentary didn’t go far enough. There’s also the nature of social media as a tool for interaction. It’s a limited and distorting caricature of the ways people interact in person, but it’s being used as a substitute for the real thing.

How limited? The documentary looked at the way photo filters are distorting self-image – highlighting the way it’s damaging children, particularly; and at the way ‘likes’ have become a mechanism for validating…

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Thoughtful Thursday: spreading kindness

Spread the kindness.

Robby Robin's Journey

Kindness seems to be in short supply these days in many parts of the world. We need all we can get, now more than ever in such stressful, uncertain times. Hopefully these kindness quotes will resonate with you. Pick one or two of your favourites and help spread their spirit through your actions; the recipients will be forever grateful.

We may never know whose day (or life) we have changed by extending the hand of kindness, but rest assured it makes a positive difference. And we feel so much better ourselves when we treat others with kindness rather than responding with anger, rudeness, or indifference.

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Thoughtful Thursday: leading a meaningful life

Robby Robin's Journey

For most people in the northern hemisphere, Labour Day is the real mark of a new year. School begins, activities resume that have been in recess during the summer, and as summer starts to fade – and the glorious colours of fall make some initial overtures – we settle into a more scheduled pace of life, with great hopes for the new ‘year’ ahead. Well, of course, this year is a little different. Depending on where you live, kids may or may not be going back to the classroom. Favourite activities such as club meetings, recreational sports, and weekly card-playing may or may not be possible. I hope for your sake that some kind of return to normality is possible for you. Some vestige of normalcy at least … while you are staying safe.

We’re having a fair bit of luck that way in our neck of the woods. Earlier…

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Mother Nature doesn’t care if you believe in science or not

Excellent article mirroring my thoughts of Nature and it’s recuperative power without us!
Thanks Jane for a hard hitting, well written article.

Robby Robin's Journey

It seems to be fashionable these days for people to pick and choose among scientific theories and advice, depending on whether they like the implications of that scientific advice. They may treat one scientific theory like the gospel and another theory like a hoax, to be ignored at all costs. It’s called the post-truth world: whatever we want to believe to be true is true and whatever is troublesome to be taken seriously is not true. How is this working out for you?!

As convenient as this is for personal and political decision making, presumably students are still taught and tested on established scientific principles. And while I can identify with not knowing the answer to every question on a science test, it never crossed my mind to just dismiss the question as wrong if I couldn’t get the answer. Maybe too difficult to understand without having done enough studying…

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All My Decapitated Heroes

Ah here is the difficulty of History explained in an understandable way, for me at least.

Hypergraffiti

In the spring of 1979, when I was thirteen years old, I fell in love with two men.

It was an impossible romance from the start. Not only were they both inaccessible to me, but they were each other’s sworn enemies, standing for starkly different values — one doomed to die at the other’s hand. I couldn’t have either of them, and I certainly couldn’t have both.

Plus, they were older than I was. Like, a lot older. Like, dead-many-decades older.

I blame the CBC — for my ill-fated love affairs, not to mention my lifelong fascination with history. In the spring of 1979 they aired the TV movie Riel, about Louis Riel, the Red River and Northwest Rebellions, and his subsequent execution. I was glued to the screen (ok, I was a weird teenager), passionately on the side of and in love with Riel, but also deeply fascinated…

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How to understand 2020 – the worst year in living memory

Valid thoughts and excellent questions requiring some thought.

Matthew Wright

It’s fair to say that 2020 has been the worst year in living memory. The world has, in the span of just a few months, been plunged into one of the most widespread and severe crises since the Second World War. Even the Cuba Crisis of 1962, with all its implication of nuclear armageddon, was over in – as it were – a flash. Right now, the world is months into a crisis that won’t abate for another year or more. And society is bending under the strain.

In a way it was predictable. Society was already in difficulty before the pandemic hit. The current neo-liberal version of capitalism has long since reached its use-by date; times change, attitudes change, society changes, technology has changed – and with that, the way economies work must also shift. That was made clear by the General Financial Crisis of the 2007-10 period, which…

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What the professional athletes are saying transcends sports, damn it. Listen to them and be part of societal change.

Thank you for your thoughts, let’s keep this going by reblogging on many publice sites and actively talking about it.

Robby Robin's Journey

My Social Justice Saturday posts haven’t had a huge uptake, so I’ve been giving those tough topics a bit of a rest. However, watching the NBA and also shy young tennis player Naomi Osaka take such brave stands against racial injustice this week has compelled me to follow their inspiring lead. Every voice is needed. Time to get back on the social justice bandwagon!

I sat up and took notice on Tuesday when the Raptors and Celtics were reported to be in discussions about sitting out Game 1 of their playoff series. The players were so distraught by yet another police shooting of a Black man – 29-year old Jacob Blake – in Kenosha, Wisconsin that they couldn’t wrap their heads around just playing as  if nothing had happened. They had entered the NBA bubble with reluctance as it was, having to leave behind their ability to participate in the…

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Reincarnation

Worth considering.

I can't believe it!

I’ve always been drawn to the idea of reincarnation, despite its been scoffed at by much mainstream thought. At first this came from the attraction to Eastern religions, particularly Buddhist and Hindhu. But science has been catching up, and in this article (limited access via Medium) Deepak Chopra gives a nice summary of where things are, sprinkled with his own imagination.

He quotes Jim Tucker’s summary of research that shows that a significant percentage of children, up to the age of six, who have credibly reported experience of previous lives, and where that has been checked out. “There has been no serious questioning of the validity of this research.”

To cut a short story even shorter, Chopra summarises a plausible extension of current science:

What Nature presents, from the level of subatomic particles to the level of DNA, is an endless recycling. Just as physics tells us matter and energy…

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