The Rise Of The Machines…

Blog is reblogged from a previous site: I am the sole author of this content. 

 

I was born in the time before computers became the bane of our existence.  The truth is, I still remember what that was like…even though I was only a kid when I was introduced to the Commodore 64.  Yep…that was my very first computer.  I won’t lie and say that I believe that technology is evil…because I don’t believe that it is…but, I will say that I believe that we, as a society, have grown far too dependent on the technology.  I also believe that it is making us dumber!  I know I’m not the only one who feels this way, as I’ve had this conversation with many others from my generation.  But, then again, I’m from the time when technology was fresh, and just enough to enrich our lives a bit and make it a little brighter.  NOW, however, technology is in EVERYTHING we do!  So, ARE WE too dependent?  Let’s examine the basis for why I believe we are, and then you decide for yourselves!

I remember when I was growing up. Things were simpler then, less complicated, and people talked to each other. And when I say they talked to each other, they had ACTUAL, and MEANINGFUL, interactions. Today’s world, however, is all about social media, selfies, and internet connection. It hasn’t proved to serve as a USEFUL tool in developing better communication skills, however, and it seems to be making people MORE socially inept. And I swear, if one more kid calls me an “old timer” or makes a comment about how my generation only THINKS things were better, I am going to flip my lid. Yes… I do say “back when…” A LOT! Because….”back when” people had respect for their parents and other authority figures. “Back when”…we knew how to count change, multiply and divide WITHOUT using a calculator, what CHORES were, what it meant to EARN an allowance, and that money didn’t grow on trees. We dressed in clothing that was appropriate for all occasions, and we were sent to the school office if we WEREN’T dressed appropriately. We respected our teachers, at least to their faces, and we didn’t dare curse in the classroom. But, I digress…. WHAT does that have to do with technology? You’d be surprised, actually. Technology has made us rude. It has made us apathetic. And, technology has made us LAZY! Not only has it done all of that, but it has also created some rather alarming issues as well.

  • Video game addiction. This is a very real thing. It affects adults, not just our youth. 
  • Social media addiction. Also affects multiple genres of the population.
  • “Selfie” addicts
  • Cyber bullying
  • Easier access for fraud, theft, and scams
  • Easier access for “predatory” criminals

I think those things should make most people think twice. The truth is, sadly, people actually think they’re protected. We’ve become blindly dumb to the realities of how exposed our most sensitive information is to the wrong people. And, as our society becomes more and more desensitized, we create new BAD situations for ourselves every single day. We just haven’t caught on yet!

I guess, though, that the most irritating piece of technology has to be the smartphone. Yes… I have one. And, I have participated in contributing to the growing trend of cellphone dependency. Seriously, I can’t leave my house without it….right!?!? “Back when”…we had house phones with answering machines. Before answering machines, the caller would simply try again. But, the point is….you called somebody back when you returned HOME! Let’s be realistic for a moment. Is it appropriate to have a conversation with someone while you’re at a checkout in a store? And yet, we do!! WHY????? It’s actually pretty rude! Let’s look at a little list of other cellphone faux pas….

  • Texting or talking while driving
  • Texting or talking while in the work place
  • Texting or talking in school classrooms
  • Using cellphone while “hanging out” with “friends”

Maybe you don’t think any of those are a problem, but I encourage you to really take a look at the world around you!! I have certainly given you some things to consider. Sure, technology can be wonderful. It’s fantastic when it works right, and when it is used responsibly. But, what about when the power goes out? Try turning it off for a day… maybe you’ll see my point! But, decide for yourself. Are we too dependent??

 

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“Self-centered” Thinking

I’ve given myself time to reflect over the past couple of days.  I’m not sure that it’s made anything clearer, and I’m almost certain that the muddiness is even muddier than it was before I began to reflect.  At the center of everything is me, so yes…I am being a bit “self-centered” here.  However, aren’t I at the center of most things in my life?  Truly, when I look around, I believe that the one common denominator is myself.  I’ve begun to look at relationships, both personal and working related, and I’ve really started to wonder if other people actually do the same thing.  Do others reflect on their actions?  Do they ponder how they affect the world, and people, around them?  Do they even understand, just a little bit, the impact that they have?  Do they attempt to better themselves, or is someone else always the problem?  I’ve asked myself these questions, as well as applied them to myself.  I’ve concluded that the following question is the ultimate one:  Am I the problem??

When I ask myself if I’m the problem, the answer is a lot more complex than you might imagine.  It’s true, what I’ve heard said, that people become a product of their environment.  So the answer, in short, is both yes and no.  I’ve had to examine statements that people have made to me recently, and I’ve applied them in practical form so that I might gain insight and understanding.  The biggest question I’ve asked of myself is this:  Why do I always feel the need to be right?  I guess it’s harder to accept that other people can do things in a different way, and they can still achieve the same results by doing so.  It doesn’t fit with logic, at least not the way that my brain understands.  I’ve always been comfortable with strict procedures and structure, so deviance from those is a highly uncomfortable place to be.  And, imagine this, if I’m to correctly understand the training I am currently receiving, it takes 21 days to break a habit!  Imagine someone trying to force a habit to change in ONE day, and you can literally see the sparks of conflict fly!

Jumping back to the original thought: Am I the problem?  At the heart of it, NO.  I am a product of teaching, and if that teaching hasn’t been done correctly, then corrections need to be made.  So…who is at fault?  In a working environment, the teacher (trainer, coach, etc.) is responsible for making sure there is a CLEAR understanding of all responsibilities and duties.  That also includes understanding chains of command, and appropriate ways to address grievances.  At the heart of every working environment, there are always grievances.  Some of the grievances cut straight through to another person’s personality, which can be based on viewpoints that are highly subjective, so then WHY is it important to follow a chain of proper addressment for a complaint against a person?  I decided to single out one example from a recent comment about me that included the thought that I was “rude”.  

I feel, first, that I need to address the word in itself.  Rudeness is a matter of a person’s perception.  Often times, we may consider someone else’s behavior rude, before we examine our own.  It’s very true that our own behavior may have actually created, or perpetuated, the “rudeness”.  Or, in some people’s case, maybe we just don’t see other signs that could explain the so-called “rude” behavior.  I would say that RUDENESS is one of the biggest complaints made by fellow employees, and customers, of a business.  So let’s dig a little deeper into the “rudeness”.  

What things could contribute to “rude” behavior?

  • Being tired:  This could be from lack of sleep, or just a long day.
  • Stress, or high pressure demands.
  • Someone else acted inappropriately, thereby setting off a chain of “rude” behavior. 
  • Anger, being upset, or having hurt feelings.
  • Being overly confident in one’s abilities or knowledge.
  • Being corrected in an inappropriate manner.
  • Disrespect.
  • A lack of empathy.
  • Miscommunication.
  • Misunderstanding.
  • Impatience.
  • Not knowing, nor having an understanding of, the individual in question.
  • Misperception.
  • Being judgmental.
  • Jumping to conclusions.
  • Not liking someone.

I’m sure there are other things that could be added to the list, however, I’ll leave it right there.  All of the things listed could contribute to someone’s perception of another person being “rude”, which is defined as:  Being offensively impolite or ill-mannered, and has synonyms of discourteousness or being unmannerly.  I think the bigger question to go with this is:  How should we respond to perceived “rude” behavior??  My answer does not involve talking behind someone’s back, which can also be considered “rude” behavior.   This rarely solves a problem in ANY relationship, and can create even further conflict.  I mean, imagine yourself in this scenario:

Jolene is going about her day, and she is feeling rather confident.  She accomplished all the tasks that her boss had outlined for her to do, and she has a half hour until it’s time to go home.  Ten minutes before she prepares to leave, her boss suddenly approaches her with a task that will take twenty minutes to complete.  Her coworker, Susie, approaches her, and asks her a question about another task that Jolene had done earlier.  Susie proceeds to tell Jolene that she did the task the wrong way, and then outlines how the task is supposed to be done.  By that point, Jolene is looking at the clock and realizing that, the task that will take twenty minutes to do will cause her to be working a half hour later than her original shift.  Jolene also realizes that if she does not get the task done, and if she doesn’t clock out in a reasonable timeframe, her boss will be piping mad.  Jolene tells Susie that if she wants the task done correctly, then perhaps Susie should redo it.  Susie looks at her blankly for a moment, and Jolene, being pressed for time, walks away to go complete the new task that must be done.  Later, Jolene is approached by Lisa, another coworker, who asks Jolene why she was rude to Susie.  

The biggest question in this scenario is:  Why is Jolene’s behavior relevant to Lisa, and/or why is it Lisa’s business?  The answer is:  It isn’t.  The conflict is between Susie and Jolene, with the complainant being Susie.  If Susie felt hurt by Jolene’s behavior, the appropriate response would be to talk to Jolene about it.  Now, Jolene feels hurt and offended right along WITH Susie!  In accordance with MOST people’s behavior, we tend to involve other people in our personal problems or conflicts.  How, or why, does this create further conflict?  More importantly, how can we work on stopping the behavior of inappropriate response?  Conflict can be tough!  The truth is, we all need to work on it each and every day!  We’re imperfect, our communications are imperfect, our perceptions are imperfect, and we’re going to sometimes be involved in things that end quite badly.  Sometimes, the way that we respond can create MORE hurt feelings, and this time, not our own.  Hurting other people seems to be easy to do.  How great would it be if we could just stop hurting each other?   I feel that by understanding each others imperfections, that’s a perfect place to start.  Also, by doing a little “self-centered” thinking from time to time, we might actually evolve our own behavior.  

 

Disclaimer:  All names used are fictitious in nature, and not related to anyone in real life.  All musings are of a personal nature, and anyone finding a real-life relation to anything contained herein, is hereby assured that the body of work is the sole product of the author’s mind.  

 

So Long And Thanks For All Your Threat…

First, I want to say that sending me threats via comment, probably not the most intelligent thing to do. Second, it might be a fair thing to suggest understanding the terms “slander”, “character assassination”, and “libel”. I’m well aware of all three definitions, and am also aware of the legal ramifications of such, as well as the responsibility of the accusing party to provide evidence of “damages”. I also have a clear understanding of fact versus opinion, as well as intent, which the sender of recent “warning” seems unaware of, and/or ignored. Threatening an individual is a crime punishable by law, and cyberbullying is also a crime punishable by law. I will go on record, again. This blog space is for me personally, a place to vent, a place to work out thoughts, and as such, clearly labeled. You will find tags that clearly denote these statuses on each post. They are my thoughts, musings, ideas, feelings, and are personal. They are also reactions to posts, by news sources AND individuals, and, as such, solely my individual views of events and happenings. Some things are political, and yet some are nowhere near that. Anyone reading anything on my blog that they might feel on a personal level, please be advised: It isn’t about you. Also be advised: Anyone who feels it necessary to make threats via comment, your information WILL be forwarded to the proper authorities. 

Lost In Thoughtfulness…

Truthfully, sometimes I over think literally everything. I think about tomorrow, yesterday, next week, last week, and so on. It gets to the point of me being bogged down in every scenario that upsets me, or that I find joy in. You know that thought of “living in the moment”? I truly don’t. I relive every single moment, almost like the character in the movie, Groundhog Day. I know I probably shouldn’t, but I don’t know how to stop. I’m sure it’s a barrier to accomplishing certain tasks, and I know it’s most likely what bars me from chasing my dreams. It’s just become this centerpiece of my self identity, this big piece of my character, and I am certain I would feel off kilter if I were not lost in thoughtfulness. How to break the cycle…?

Call Me W.I.P.

Oh yes I am, a bonafide “Work In Progress”, or W.I.P. for short.  Somehow I think I’ve always been, and yet still I know I’ll always be, and that’s all there is to it.  But what does that mean?  I can say it about myself, and I know that it’s true, yet I am unsure what details are ensconced in being so, and I really think that I must know.  I’ve pondered a bit on the whole of being a “Work In Progress”, and the simple answer is, well, simple.  It simply means that I am always working on becoming the best “Me”.  Wait…what??  But, I’m already awesome, aren’t I?  Well…okay, maybe not so much.  Like everyone else, I still have growing to do.

Have you ever met that obnoxious person, you know, the one who thinks that they are absolutely perfect, and that there’s nothing they need to improve or change?  Maybe you found them annoying, or maybe you were jealous of them, maybe wanted to be like them, or maybe, just maybe, you thought they were arrogant or conceited.  If you’re anything like me, it might have been some extreme combination of all of the above.  The truth is, however, that everyone could benefit from improvement.  I don’t think I have met one person who was perfect, even the ones who THOUGHT they were!  Sure, they might have been super awesome at certain things, but that didn’t make them PERFECT!  But, improvement, you ask?  What do I mean by that?  Again, it’s so simple!  However good you were today at something…take that and try to be even better at it tomorrow!  

There’s one more key to being a W.I.P. and it’s the ultimate one.  Change.  This is the area that most people struggle.  Change is difficult, especially for those who are set in their ways.  Learning to embrace change has been my most challenging battle to date, but battle I do…every day!  The greatest changes come from within, but are a natural course to accepting the differences and difficulties in life that we face.  No one ever said that growing was easy.  Sure, growing older is a breeze, but we don’t control the aging process, at least not physically.  Growing up is the hard part.  Being an adult can be a royal pain in the butt.  People expect that you’ll be responsible, that you will have respect, and that you’ll be reasonable.  Imagine an adult throwing a child-sized tantrum in a toy store, and honestly NO ONE wants to see that!  It’s ridiculous to even think about, right?  We don’t expect adults to behave in such a fashion!  So, change is inevitable as a part of the growing process.  

So, to sum this up:  Call me W.I.P.  I am a “Work In Progress”, and each day I strive to be the best “ME” that I can be.  Some days I am more successful than others.  I have good days and bad days, and the good days I strive to repeat, while the bad days I attempt to learn from.  I don’t always get it right, I am not perfect, and I always can improve.  As long as I am continuous in my efforts to improve, I shall remain a W.I.P.  I’ve come to the understand that that’s not a bad thing.  Nope.  Not at all.

Dear Diary, Re: Trump, and stuff, and all that jazz….

I’m not immune to the crap that rolls out on the internet, and if I’m being completely honest, I am rather sick of seeing the same garbage regurgitated all over the place.  I get that people have opinions, and I’m no exception to that rule of thumb.  However, opinions aren’t facts, and often the opinions that I read are rather brutally nasty in nature, and quite disrespectful.  Am I offended?  Welllll….  

Truthfully, being offended is commonplace nowadays.  I hear it thrown about like it’s the new, “You’re gonna be in trouble”…you know, the sibling crap that we all used to pull when we’d tell our older or younger sibling, “I’m gonna tell”.  Can we all grow up for just two seconds and realize how ridiculous we’re all actually being?  Honestly, I don’t think I’m so much offended as I am flabbergasted by the ignorance and stupidity that rages on around me.  People can’t even have respect for the office of President of the United States!  We have determined, in our tiny pea brains, that if we don’t like something, we don’t have to respect it anymore.  If we want something, it doesn’t matter if we attain it the CORRECT (in the case of illegal immigration- LAWFUL) way anymore.  Life is all about FEELINGS!  Wow!  

So, let’s talk about “FREE SPEECH” for a moment.  Everyone throws that part of the First Amendment out there, and they brandish it like a weapon!  Sure, you have the complete “right” to act like a disrespectful jerk, curse, be vulgar, rude, “offensive”, and hateful.  It doesn’t make it right, and, in fact, there may be CONSEQUENCES for  exercing your “right”.  I think what it boils down to are the CHOICES that people make in life.  Why do people CHOOSE to be disrespectful jerks?  Why do they CHOOSE to be unlawful?  Why do others CHOOSE to allow unlawful behavior??  I see the behavior of “calling out” those who CHOOSE to use “hate speech”, and I find it laughable at best.  People that spend their time being literally “offended” by EVERYTHING, to the point of having arguments daily on social media- we’ve labeled them “keyboard warriors”, or “social justice warriors”.  What, exactly, are they accomplishing?  

Basically, here’s what I see being accomplished by all of the whining, belly-aching, moaning, complaining, hateful, disrespectful, inconsiderate, ignorant, and stupid rhetoric that is being spewed every day. Nothing. Look…the tired arguments of “my dog’s better than your dog”, or “anything you can do, I can do better”, are just beyond ridiculous. I’d say “why can’t we all just get along”, but that’s as much of a worn out cliche as the rest. I know why we can’t get along. Power, greed, selfishness, control, superiority complexes, and FEAR! Yes, I said fear. 

People are afraid of Trump. Some are afraid, unfortunately, that he might be correct. Truth is a scary thing, but often a necessity. If we, as a people, can make something a scapegoat, that’s what we choose to do. Accepting personal responsibility isn’t comfortable for folks! Who wants to point the finger at themselves? When we make issues out of non-issue, we are scapegoating! I’ll just be blunt. The only racists that I see in my country right now, well… they’re the ones who are screaming the word RACIST the loudest. They’re the ones who are busy pointing their fingers, asking for special recognition, being condescending and hateful towards those who are “different” than themselves, and all while claiming that THEY are the ones being discriminated against! Wake up, people. The war is an inward one. It’s high time to look into the mirror and say: “Perhaps the problem isn’t THEM. Perhaps I, it is I, that is the problem.” 

I think, rather I feel, that folks find it much easier to make someone else the bad guy. Wouldn’t it be nice, for a change, to realize that we are all human, none perfect, but all striving towards our own “ideals”? Not everyone has the same goals in life, or dreams, or standards, or even ideas. There are those who would die defending what is “theirs”, and those who would gladly share, and more still- those who would give it all away. Those who would die defending are attempting to save the givers and sharers from themselves. See, I know this because I used to BE a giver. I know how easy it is to give, and what it means to be SO COMPASSIONATE that you OVER give! There is a saying: Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. TEACH a man to fish, and he will eat for life. What I have learned, and paid a heavy price in doing so, is that we need to become teachers. There is more compassion in teaching others to fend for themselves, than in giving them everything you think they need, and thus creating a dependency (MINUS appreciation) for your generosity.

Anyway, these are my musings, such as they are. As always, I am not looking for agreement, nor am I seeking response. My thoughts are just that: Mine. I share my thoughts only to prompt thought in others, and with the hope, always, to inspire. If I inspire only one person, then I have accomplished plenty. Take care, and see you soon.

Me, Myself, A bag of Chips and All That…

Have you ever wondered what makes us care? More specifically, about things, other people, or even ourselves? I know we all want to make sense of this great big space that we fill each day, you know, the space that we know as our world. Our tiny little lives seem like they matter, or at least we attach some manner of importance to living. I guess I just sometimes wonder why, or what the purpose of everything is, or where it’s all heading. After all, everything that begins must, at some point, end. I suppose I see the inevitability of endings, the finality of existing.  Is there something beyond the caring?  And what about the things that we think we care about? The people? Things are just that…things, and they don’t care back. To things, we are meaningless, we don’t matter, and things shall continue long after our flames sizzle and sputter, long after the fire of our existence ceases to illuminate the world around us. People are an entirely different story altogether. Even though we may inwardly care for those around us, we are often left to ponder whether those feelings are reciprocal in nature. We only have the ability to see within ourselves, and that can be truly scary. Letting people in isn’t easy, maybe for anyone. Perhaps, in truth, we are all holed up in the darkest corners of our own minds, and fearing the absolute worst of our peers. Is it possible to be open and just let that darkness fall away? Why do we have insecurities? What makes jealousy reside in the hearts of so many? Why, just why, can we not accept that we are all, ultimately, built the same on the inside? We shove our insecurities onto our peers, we tell others they don’t care about us, only because the truth is ugly, and it’s messy. The truth is, we have the most difficult time caring about ourselves, trusting who we are, believing that we are worthy of simply being. Anyway, these are the questions and musings from the dark corners of my mind. What thoughts lurk in yours?