The U.S. might stop treating the pandemic as the emergency that it is. Daily tragedy might become ambient noise. The desire for normality might render the unthinkable normal. Like poverty and racism, school shootings and police brutality, mass incarceration and sexual harassment, widespread extinctions and changing climate, COVID-19 might become yet another unacceptable thing that America comes to accept.
The circularity of systems that spin our collective suffering has revealed what incarcerated firefighters already knew: that these issues build one another and, together, perpetuate a violence that’s both American and unoriginal—theft of land; genocide of those who stewarded that land; construction of prisons on land with little arable value; investment of public funds into mechanisms of control; and a refusal to address climate change.
Because I am not stuck on particular outcomes or results, I am deeply committed to the process of loving folks; trying to understand them; putting myself in situations where I can be vulnerable; and where I can be seen and admit that I want to be seen. I start from there rather than saying this is my political agenda and the classic organizing landscape.
I want you to know how it feels to be the only one that looks like you in a conference room, in a meeting, at a networking event or happy hour. I want you to know what it feels like to constantly have to assimilate and ingratiate yourself in to another group's culture and way of doing things even though you're citizens of the same country. I want you to know what it feels like to not be able to stand up for yourself or correct someone's assumption about you or your culture or community for fear of losing your job. I want you to know what it's like to be effective in your role and have the same or more credentials as your peers, but be passed over for promotions because you're "too serious" or because there's a lack of connection. I want you to know what it feels like to desire to move up the ladder and see there are no other examples like you that you can follow. I want you to know what it feels like to see investments made, grace extended, sponsorship provided, risks taken, and opportunities given to and for others but not you. I want you to know the pressure that comes with trying to be perfect and represent your race well because if you make a mistake, the odds of you being given another opportunity are slim. I want you to know what it feels like to live, work, and raise your children in a world where you don't have the complexion for the connection or the protection.
I've always been interested in complexity and the nuance that makes one idea/theory/situation different from another. What people are paying attention to in 2020 has provided a lot more avenues to explore complexity and sit with unfamiliar thoughts, ideas, and emotions.
One reason it is useful to use virology as a model for behavioural adoption is that it teaches us that good ideas don’t always naturally become adopted any more than bad ideas immediately die out. (Wine boxes were an excellent idea.) What matters is often not their value but their transmissibility.
Wow! The title is "You can handle the post-truth" and the piece ends with:
We’re not just post-truth, we’re pre- something else that’s yet to be determined. “Post-” is just what you call a transitional era while you’re trying to figure out what the hell is going on. It’s never the end of history. We’re going to grow whatever’s next out of this messy, surreal soil.
One of the things that pains me the most is not knowing if what I'm reading online is legitimate and accurate. Outrage and tension make the headlines because those feelings tend to create stories that capture attention. How can we make sure that we are reading stories that cover multiple points of view, stories that do not just try to elicit outrage from readers? Where do we begin with curating that and filtering through the noise?
I peeked at Lil Miquela's instagram profile and there are still so many comments wondering if Lil Miquela is "real" (even though in the bio clearly states Lil Miquela is a bot). The profile is strikingly similar to the feed of many public personalities.
Some of my favorite snippets:
To go meta is to study the way history has been (and is) written. It’s trying to understand the story of the stories we’ve told about ourselves. There’s no one narrative that rules them all, no one way to connect the dots from the past to the present.
And strive to actively be part of the solution:
I trust we’ll create a new mode of understanding that’s better fit for the surreality we live in — one that demands transparency and acknowledges that people are beginning to see through all the manipulative corporate PR.
I recommend reading this in-browser from the original source to see the fantastic images and embedded videos with Oxman's work.
Neri Oxman is, for the lack of a better phrase, an interdisciplinary thinker. The presentation of her work stimulates people from different backgrounds (i.e. "left or right brain"). In my opinion, her work is basically proof that though each individual is a speck of dust in the vastness of the universe, our life in itself is a beautiful miracle, one that has domino effects and affects another being ("being" as another organism or things constructed from resources we have on Earth).
The key to our juggling multiple projects of numerous scales at once is to apply a systems-view perspective: global warming does not differentiate between buildings, cars, packaging or infrastructure; its inevitable impact is all-encompassing. Our design solutions should, likewise be universally relevant and applicable.
What can be measured doesn’t count. It is only when what you’ve created requires its own system of quantification that you know you’re innovating. Novelty also requires suspending one’s disbelief, letting go of perceived judgement in order to truly become experimental. Even if we’re not ready, particularly then, we must move forward with measured foresight.
We’re still very much in the conceptual and incubation phase of the digital biological revolution, the opportunities here are unfathomable, is there a particular aspect about this discussion we’re not having right now in society?
Being kind to others. Without it, we are lost.
This is fascinating. As is with most things, if vanadium is shown to be the most efficient and forward path to sustainable energy, the politicization and greed that may accompany such a precious resource may also be its downfall. How do we protect and best use our resources?
Loved this analogy -
Vanadium batteries can be a reservoir of energy much in the same way as we use actual reservoirs to store rainwater for later use
The kindest thing to do right now, if one is privileged enough to do so, is to distance yourself from others. Reduce time spent in areas with potentially higher exposure. This is an opportunity for those who are relatively healthy to improve their relationship with technology and really use it to bring us together. And not in the way Zuckerberg always references.
There is so much uncertainty. When will kids go back to school? How long will someone be unemployed? What about small business owners? Everyone is fighting a different battle, and no battle is greater or less than another. It’s our duty as citizens of the world to make decisions, to the best of our capability, that help our communities. That can mean staying inside for extended periods of time. Call a contact who you think may be hit very hard by the state of affairs. They need to know that other people care now, more than ever.
I was just a student a few years ago, and I didn’t have to think of wildfires, power shutdowns, and global health crises as barriers to my education. Now these are obstacles for any student to complete their education while learning to grapple with the complexities of coming of age. And to think that fossil fuel companies have deliberately steered propaganda by manipulating us into believing there is greater individual fault in contributing to climate change than their entire industry - despicable. Imagine how many children see those ads and internalize them at a young age. The world we are in now should not be the only reality children believe in for their future. Climate change is not governed by political boundaries. We have to be global citizens, not just citizens of our countries, in order to work towards solutions that incentivize corporations to do something to alter their practices.
This is not to say that you should have a biological child. I rather think the point is that no one should tell anyone else whether or not they should procreate. One does not have to give birth to believe in the possibility of a human future.
They’re solving problems for people, rather than with, replicating many of the mistakes that the world’s largest development agencies make on a much smaller scale.
This article reminds me of Leila Janah, founder of Samasource. Her motto of giving work, not giving through charity, aligns with many things this article brought up (like the failed play water pumps.. that was so sad to read).
I also watch the news. It’s surreal to see everyone panic — news conferences, the stock market falling, school closures — about a disease I have. It does seem likely that coronavirus will spread in the United States, but it won’t help anybody if we all panic.
He’s much calmer than so many folks I know who have developed deep, deep paranoia about the virus from too much news exposure. Keep doing things that keep the immune system strong - that most definitely includes taking care of mental health and not being wrapped up in paranoia, causing life stagnation!
It never occurred to me to have someone else do the work so I could do something seemingly more important behind a desk. The fastest way to learn was to experience the workflow I was trying to digitize, so that’s what I did.
I’ve always been fascinated by Jason Fried and his approach to Basecamp. It’s a very trusting, thoughtful, and generous approach. I wonder how these principles could be applied to large corporations, perhaps outside of tech.
I’m working on finding stillness. Instead of saying “I’m busy”, I’m trying to replace that phrase with “I have priorities and obligations to address“ - helps me filter out what really matters and what I perceive as something that matters
But what we lose, ironically, is exposure to suffering.
While I don’t ever wish for anyone to undergo traumatic, high-stakes, high-pain experiences, those experiences are really the ones that transcend our lives and teach us lessons that could not have been learned otherwise.
On a parallel note... when I was a student, I wondered if instructors remembered what it was like to be a student. At work, I wonder if upper management remember what it was like to be junior staff. At what point up the ladder does that empathy and compassion start wearing off?
Knowledge is peculiar in that it grows when it’s shared (as does love, as the romantics would likely point out). And luckily, we humans are ridiculously good at sharing.
Really loved that line. The back and forth in this article (the paradox!) kept throwing me between feelings of despair and hope. If we can get ourselves into this fossil economy, we have the brains to get out of it. Just not alone, but as a collective.