Thursday, February 26, 2015

living vicariously

I am going to say that living vicariously through someone else or a fictional character deepens the divide between the have and the have nots.

Living vicariously through others.

If we choose to experience our pleasure or entertainment through watching someone else in a role, in a game, a race, etc, etc we can cheer them on and celebrate with them when good things happen. It's a very exciting premise to be a part of their good times, advertures and drama.

However, when that character is killed off, that player starts to lose their age, driver no longer wins or any other number of problems with continuing success we do not have to be part of their downfall or failure. We can detach ourselves from this "person" that we have aligned ourselves with and move onto another.

On the flip side, if we take on an endeavour ourselves, building up to that positive result is hard work, scary and challenging to us. Worse yet, if it doesn't go well we feel the pain and discomfort of it not going well.  

Whether it's a quest for knowledge, learning new skills, building, competing, playing, walking, etc, etc there are a million different activities that a person can participate in and they can all go well, or go badly.

When success is achieved it's much more powerful for us than being a viewer into that success and if failure does occur, while painful, we get the full learning experience from that failure.

Sadly, I think the situation gets worse with time.

The longer we go on living through fictional characters, celebrities, sports figures and the like, the more likely we are to lose our physical and mental edge that would help us maintain confidence in the face of challenge when taking on experiences ourselves.  Our comfort zone reduces and things that should not freighten us do resulting in an experience tainted with negativety because our expectations for the experience were not based on reality, but rather someone's reality.

By living vicariously through others too much, we become less of a participant and more of a viewer until the day we die when we can only say that our life was spent in employment to pay for the privledge of watching others participate in life.

I would continue to say that while much of our society would argue that financial wealth is the greatest achievement to strive for I think the "have nots" are actually missing out more on life experiences than on wealth.   It has become a social norm to entertain oneself primarily through viewing others engaged in something. Whether it's real people or characters in a show, movie or video game it's extremely common to have this lifestyle of viewing as where the most time is spent.

I don't understand.

I quest for knowledge, experiment, experience and expression so much so that I really don't know what is going on in pop culture. I don't know what's "good" on TV these days or which movies are doing well at the box office and I don't bing watch on Netflix. The result is I am unable to participate in conversations around the "water cooler" but that doesn't make me sad.

What makes me sad is that it seems to be harder to find people who can talk about science, making, building, the arts, society, history, etc, etc.

What kind of world will my children find themselves participating in as adults? Will anyone talk about real life or will that be saved for a small portion of society running the system that we are contained within?

Thanks for reading. 

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

lets do this 1 - stop racism 2 - replace it with cool stuff

I live in the very center of North America in a very special place called Winnipeg.
Winnipeg exemplifies the term diversity like no other city.
We have diversity in our weather ranging from minus 30c to plus 30c.
We have diversity in our industries, agriculture, housing, recreation, etc, etc.
We also have diversity in our peoples.

Recently, a national magazine in Canada labeled us as the most racist city.

To begin with, I really hate labels and I mean hate in the true sense of the word.  I believe when we apply a label we create further angst in people because of how they/we identify with that label.  Labels are too simple in general and in this case a label of racist is absolutely too simple.

Our community is vibrant and working to survive and thrive, like any other. We have the same disease as any city in that sometimes we choose to see our fellow citizens as competition. Rather than assigning threat to the system of wealth that we are engulfed in we assign a threat to peoples. Like the people before us in history we are more comfortable assigning that label of “threat” to the people we do not know and as such we easily choose those people groups with cultures that are not like our own.

We must to strive to educate each other on the realities that we are the same in more ways than we are different. We must stop the competition amongst us on the basis of cultural practices and histories. We must stop because it is hurting our community and those that benefit are others outside of our community. Other cities and communities benefit from us fighting with each other. Why would we give them that advantage? Why would we let racial tensions eat away at our limited resources to empower ourselves?  We need to build trust amongst stuff.

As we build this trust with each other, connecting communities of different cultural practices, we must align ourselves together as a geographic group to tackle the real competition, the systems that would deny us the opportunity to grow and survive as people. We all deserve to have access to the best education opportunities whether working towards a degree or learning to cook new food dishes from around the world. We all deserve to have opportunities to create and partake in a plethora of artistic experiences. We all deserve to have quality leisure time and interesting activities in our community that go beyond the hopelessness of just watching a screen and living vicariously through other, mostly fictional, lives. All of these things we deserve to be accessible, affordable and available to all citizens of our community.

None of us would actually like a world where we all looked the same, dressed the same and behaved the same, no matter how safe and secure that might sound to some. We need to not look at the colour of skin, accents, styles or the practices of others as things to assign negativity to but rather as things to be thankful for as part of a colourful world. People are the most amazing works of art on our planet and we need to remind ourselves that artwork is better when each piece is different.  

We need our community to be so engrossed in working together that we grow out of these old systems of competitions against other people groups. We need to make our community a safe place for everyone where we are engaged in this task in collaboration and cooperation with each other regardless of our culture background or practices.

In summary:

  1. Educate ourselves on how we are the same
  2. Build opportunities for learning, leisure, arts and activities that help us grow into peoples who see important values in people beyond our appearances and cultural practices.
  3. Celebrate the colour in our appearances and practices as things that make the world more interesting.

So say we all!

P.S. I want to address this label of racist or racism. We need to stop talking about each other as if we are from a different race, we are all part of the human race. I will not say any more but instead link you to the video comments of Edward James Olmos:

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Protecting and Growing the Common Good

Part of my disgust with society, and the way we attempt to demonstrate how one group is better than another, is the resulting loss of space on earth to private ownership and/or control.

I truly believe that one way for us to learn to understand each other is to share common space together regularly.

Important common spaces like parks and libraries are so crucial to embrace both nature, knowledge and the human experience together.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Science Fair

Both of my kids are preparing for the science fair and I wish I was doing my own project.

I was thrilled to be helping them come up with ideas for what their science fair projects could be.

It felt so good to be curious about the world and to discover that not every question that I had was immediately answered by a google query.

Is instructables a science fair?

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

creating makes me feel good | I AM A MAKER

As I work on the creative process for writing, photography or videography I feel good.

It's a goodness that includes elements of happiness, satisfaction, peace, wellness and growth. 

As I complete the task I also have a sense of pride, and I am learning not to expect perfection because there is no such thing.

I have come to realize that  making my things is what matters to me. It is what helps me to grow and develop. Sharing my made things helps others grow, develop and experience the world differently.

My day job is in management, managing teams of developers in computer systems application development to be more precise, and my job has its rewards but it cannot compare to the feeling I get when I am engaged in a creative process.

When I first started to paint, acrylic on canvas, I remember thinking I should have some specific purpose, techniques and structure in mind but I was a new artist with no training, skills or talent. I struggled to give myself the freedom do just paint. Eventually I did not think about perfection or audience but rather I let myself go into the work.

It's still not easy. The medium doesn't always do what my mind desires, either because of my lack of skill or the limitations of the media. Still, I am very glad that I continue to try to make time for my art forms. 

I make stuff, because it makes me feel good, and sometimes it makes others feel good too.

I am a maker.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

transparency that evokes

Imagine a meeting room.

A space in a corporate office, a government building, a church or a library.

Think about that meeting room having one wall that faces out into the common area of the building made entirely of glass.

Not just ordinary glass, but one-way glass.

You can only see through it one way and from the other side your view is completely blocked.

There are no blinds or drapes or any way to block the view through the glass. 

In this meeting room, the mirror faces inword, towards the people inside the room.

What does this space evoke, or perhaps provoke, in/from the people inside? 

appearance profiling must end

When I ride the bus, I get on it early, when the bus has lots of open seats. I usually choose a spot next to a window. The bus can fill up to the point of people standing in the aisle and yet the spot next to me is still left open. No, I am not one of those jerks that puts their bag on the seat, or sits in the middle. I would usually be sitting quietly with my ear buds in my ears listening to classical music while reading a book. I am, however, a man with a beard and long dark hair.

One person who did sit next to me one day, and decided to strike up a conversation with me, actually told me that I am a lot friendlier than I look. When I shared this story with a friend he told me "that you do look kinda scary and have a "dark" image, sometimes". Another friend said "it's so ironic that the guy who looks like a drug dealer has never done drugs and wouldn't no where to get them".

My personal appearance, gets me a seat on the bus to myself and people making room for me in a crowd. A perk, right?

I have also noticed that people are shocked to learn that I am a leader in things that I choose to involve myself in, that I have a strong preference for rules, law and order (of the real kind) and that I believe in hard work, balanced decision making and a world without chaos, loud music and parties.  Shocked, because my appearance doesn't line up with concepts of civil order or leadership?

I hate the negative stuff that comes with my choices for appearance but I do get it.

I struggle to trust the white, short haired, clean shaven male driving a sedan. I don't trust him because I suspect that he is likely out to use me, my money, my information or my connections to get him into a higher income bracket with a nicer house and a newer car.  Yes, I am guilty of it too. I do profile peope on appearance too and it really bothers me. It makes me sick how I look at someone driving a luxury car through the parking lot and assume that the reason that they are cutting across the lot to cut in line at the front, instead of going to the back of the line like the rest of us, is because they think that their time is more important than mine. It also frustrates me how I assume things about the wealthy because of how they dress.

If I shaved, cut my hair and dressed up in a suit I would change what some people expected of me, what some people thought of me. I have an issue however with the real fact that today in 2014 that we continue to have many people groups who still don't have that "luxury". The luxury I speak of is the ability to use a false appearance to portray something else, a suit, jewellery, car etc.

Far too many people are profiled by their appearance starting with the fundamental foundation of their appearance, the colour of their skin and the look of their body.  It makes me so angry that with all the trouble we humans have that we continue to make skin colour a factor at all.

You see, I understand when someone is profiled because of their behaviour. After all, our systems within our society are based on a set of rules that is supported by a series of tests leading up to the determination if we are breaking said rules. If you have someone tasked with enforcing those rules, you want them to have tests to find the rule breakers when they would be hiding their actions from your enforcement.  Here is the distinct issue I have, our appearnce has nothing to do with behaviour!

Driving a Ferrari does not make me speeder deserving of a ticket does it? No, the test of the radar gun has not been failed and therefore I have not broken the rule.  If I drive a Ferrari within the speed limit then I am passing the testing and working within the rules. Appearance has nothing to do with it.

Why are the people charged with keeping peace not being educated on the differences between appearance profiling and behaviour profiling?

Why are the people charged with keeping peace not being educated on good decision making based on a set of tests that assist them in assessing behaviour that might establish that a rule is being broken?

Why on earth would someone who is not capable of making good decisions be put in a position of authority?

Finally, I will close this rant of mine with a video clip that addresses part of my feelings on the topic of skin colour, ethnic background, etc. etc.

How we look does not matter, it is how we behave that matters. 

We have no aliens coming from outer space (sometimes I wish we did to unite us) but we must unite all peoples for the good of our species.

We must resolve to fix our societies, systems, laws, rules and tests to be good for the common good of all peoples.

So say we all!