Remember Your Humanity



All of us failed to match our dream of perfection. So I rate us on the basis of our splendid failure to do the impossible. In my opinion, if I could write all my work again, I am convinced that I would do it better, which is the healthiest condition for an artist. That’s why he keeps on working, trying again; he believes each time that this time he will do it, bring it off. Of course he won’t, which is why this condition is healthy. – William Faulkner


The best value you can provide someone with is your authentic presence. Where they associate pain and sorrow with negative experiences, they associate your energy with love and solace. Naturally, your presence expresses that whatever is going on in their world, they can temporarily forget about their problems when they're with you. It's an undeniable way to enrich people's lives, making you one of a kind.


In a way, I believe that art is the same way. The creators of great works are possessed by this interesting ambition; they want to do something that no one else has ever done before. They want to create something that’s perfect, conjuring up a far more powerful and beautiful world than the one in which they live. Their art is evidence of the soul.


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Hey, friend!


Welcome back.


As we enter the last month of the year, there's so much to reflect on. This post will be a collection of thought-provoking quotes, lessons learned, and productivity tools that have elevated me throughout the year.


Happy reading. 🤓


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My Favorite Quotes From Neil Postman's “Building A Bridge To The 18th Century” (1999)


If you haven't read the book, I highly recommend it.


The future is, of course, an illusion. Nothing has happened there yet. What Gertrude Stein said of Oakland, California, we may say of the future: There is no “there” there. Among Marshall McLuhan’s many intriguing metaphors, the most paradoxical one is his reference to “rear-view mirror” thinking. All of us, he said, are speeding along a highway with our eyes fixed on the rear-view mirror, which can tell us only where we have been, not what lies ahead. He believed that only a few avant-garde artists (and, of course, himself) were capable of looking through the windshield so that they might tell us where we are going. The irony here is that the windshield is also a rear-view mirror of sorts, for whatever future we see is only—can only be—a projection of the past.

 

Kierkegaard is right in suggesting that there is nothing to see in the future except something from the past, and he invites us to be quite careful about what part of the past we use in imagining the future. And so does Santayana. Yes, he is urging us to remember our mistakes so that we do not repeat them.

 

In remembering the past, we must keep in mind that, while it is no illusion, it is elusive, a collection of shadowed memories immersed in ambiguities, wish fulfillments, and oversimplifications. Nonetheless, there is something there to see, to learn from, to provide material for new myths. There is a “there” there, and it will show itself through the windshield if we look hard enough in the rear-view mirror.

 

We have been left, first, with the idea that progress is neither natural nor embedded in the structure of history; that is to say, it is not nature’s business or history’s. It is our business. No one believes, or perhaps ever will again, that history itself is moving inexorably toward a golden age. The idea that we must make our own future, bend history to our own will, is, of course, frightening and captures the sense of Nietzsche’s ominous remark that God is dead. We have all become existentialists, which lays upon us responsibilities that once were shared by God and history.

 

It is helpful for us to remember that there were no technological determinists among Enlightenment thinkers. There were optimists and pessimists, but none without faith in our capacity to reason ourselves into a felicitous relationship with our own creations. Which, I think, would lead them to ask still another question: What sort of people and institutions might acquire special economic and political power because of technological change? This question needs to be asked because significant technological change always results in a realignment of power.

 

Of course, we have to ask the question first. And I fear that we cannot expect even our most intelligent entrepreneurs to ask it. They are, after all, dazzled by the opportunities emerging from the exploitation of new technologies, and they are consumed with strategies for maximizing profits. As a consequence, they do not give much thought to large-scale cultural effects. We must keep in mind that our greatest radicals have always been our entrepreneurs. Morse, Bell, Edison, Sarnoff, Disney—these men created the twentieth century, as Bill Gates and others are creating the twenty-first. I do not know if much can be done to moderate the cultural changes that entrepreneurship will bring. But citizens ought to know about what is happening and keep an attentive eye on such people.

 

In her book Release 2.0: A Design for Living in the Digital Age, Esther Dyson tries to assure those who worry too much about the new electronic world that human nature will stay the same. Of course. If we mean by “human nature” our genetic structure or biological needs or fundamental emotions, no one has argued that technology will alter human nature (at least not by much). But human nature is not the issue. What is at issue are the changes that might occur in our psychic habits, our social relations, and, most certainly, our political institutions, especially electoral politics. Nothing is more obvious than that a new technology changes the structure of discourse.

 

It does so by encouraging certain uses of the intellect, by favoring certain definitions of intelligence, and by demanding a certain kind of content. Ronald Reagan, for example, could not have been president were it not for the bias of television. This is a man who rarely spoke precisely and never eloquently (except perhaps when reading a speech written by someone else). And yet he was called The Great Communicator. Why? Because he was magic on television. His televised image projected a sense of authenticity, intimacy, and caring. It did not much matter if citizens agreed with what he said or understood what he said. This does not in itself suggest that he shouldn’t have been president or that he did his job poorly. It is to say that television gives power to some while it deprives others. It is not human nature we worry about here but rather what part of our humanness will be nurtured by technology.

 

Along these lines, here is another question: What changes in language are being enforced by new technologies, and what is being gained and lost by such changes?

 

Think, for example, of how the words “community” and “conversation” are now employed by those who use the Internet. I have the impression that “community” is now used to mean, simply, people with similar interests, a considerable change from an older meaning: A community is made up of people who may not have similar interests but who must negotiate and resolve their differences for the sake of social harmony. Tocqueville used the phrase “an ethic of reciprocity” to delineate what is at the heart of community life. What has that to do with “a community” of Internet users? As for “conversation,” two (or more) people typing messages to each other are engaged in an activity quite different from what is usually called a conversation. To call messages that lack the presence of the human voice and human faces a “conversation” seems odd to me.


He has nothing to say about how we may become different by talking to doorknobs (and has no clue about how talking to answering machines is far from comfortable). He is concerned only that we adapt to our technological future. He nowhere addresses the psychic or social meaning of adaptation. People are quite capable of adapting to all sorts of changes—soldiers adapt themselves to killing, children adapt themselves to being fatherless, and women can adapt themselves to being abused. I have no doubt we can adapt ourselves to talking much more to machines than to people. But that is not an answer to anything. 


Speaking of talking to machines, I talked to A.I.!: I Fed ChatGPT My Thoughts & The Responses Were Incredible


Of particular interest, I should think, is the effect technology has had on altering the meanings of such essential words as “truth,” “law,” “intelligence,” and “fact.”


You get the idea. I will use technology when I judge it to be in my favor to do so. I resist being used by it.


Which brings us to the question: What is information and how much of it do people need? Obviously, information is not the same thing as knowledge, and it is certainly not anything close to what one might mean by wisdom. Information consists of statements about the facts of the world. There are, of course, an uncountable number of facts in the world. Facts are transformed into information only when we take note of them and speak of them, or, in the case of newspapers, write about them. By this definition, facts cannot be wrong. They are what they are.

 

Children are no longer viewed as adults in the making, but rather as consumers, as a “market” to be exploited for commercial gain.


Postman understood the dangers of our media-centered world of meaningless (and maybe even harmful) information and ways of thinking. He argues that a lot of these new technological inventions in the name of “progress” only lead us to be the very hollow men that T.S. Elliot spoke of in one of his poems:



We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Learning together
Headpiece filled with straw. 
Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats' feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar
Shape without form, shade without color
Paralyzed force, gesture without motion
Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death's other Kingdom
Remember us-if at all-not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men.
The stuffed men.


Postman uses this poem to drive across his point that we as people have become slaves to the way that our culture has worked and run itself. We're more interested in how far our technology could go rather than asking if it should go that far, to begin with.


We're now seeing schools in technology-driven countries, run completely by AI robots (AI therapists included). We're seeing grocery stores with no employees, but AI-operated machinery. How far will we go, and what is the implication of this advancement?


Think, for example, about how the evolution of technology has caused us to create a codependent relationship with our devices. Our easy access to the world's information has made it incredibly easy to get in the habit of giving up when a solution isn’t immediately present.


To fix this, we must become creative solution-finders and self-starters offline so that we don't resort to using our devices online as a crutch, but as a tool in addition to our intellectual minds.


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Start Your YouTube Journey Now!





Starting your journey as a content creator on YouTube? IntroMaker is the easiest way to create beautiful 3D intros for your videos in just a few clicks. Simply choose from their huge library of video templates!


Here are a few examples.






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Growing up, I'm sure most of you have heard the saying “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”


Well, I disagree. In the competitive world we live in today, the image we hold of ourselves may be distorted because there's a different version of “you” that exists in the eyes of everyone who knows you. Image, however subjective, is important. 


Our job is to compartmentalize and stay true to who we are instead of trying to be who the world needs us to be.


If you find yourself being criticized and feeling reactive, consider two of the following points of view:


1) Words can affect you only if you subconsciously believe that there's a bit of truth to them. You wouldn't be emotionally reactive if you truly believed in yourself.


2) Criticism often comes from the bleachers; people doing less than you who have nothing better to do with their time than judge others. Their life is empty.


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Your Anxiety Does Not Scale



If you're a content creator or web developer of any sort, you'll relate to the feeling of being terminally worried about whether or not your application or content will scale.


The irony here is that in general, worries lead to premature optimization and premature optimization will often decrease the product's initial (probable) value, where it could have stood a fighting chance.


Most of the success you'll see in life will come down to your ego and ability to control your narrative.


If you're genuinely feeling anxious, use the method most businesses use for solution-finding: identify, satisfy, and retain customers.


Identify the problem, satisfy yourself with a logical solution, and retain the mindset that helped you get out of the dark corners of your mind.


Control your destiny or something (or someone) else will.


Confidence has little to do with looks since optics alone say nothing about what you're made of. Success is made in the way you sell what and who you are. First client? Yourself. Once you genuinely believe it, others will follow suit. Master the art of persuasive communication.


I digress, but I'd like to share the following as it may somewhat relate. Thanks to whoever posted this.


Think like a farmer


- Don't shout at the crops.

- Don't blame the crop for not growing fast enough.

- Don't uproot crops before they've had a chance to grow.

- Choose the best plants for the soil.

- Irrigate and fertilise.

- Remove weeds.

- Remember you will have good seasons and bad seasons- you can't control the weather only be prepared for it.


Anxiety is a distraction from what is most important, taking your eyes off of the target.


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Apps Of The Month


Duolingo: I've been using it to learn Spanish and have found it to be a great experience. It's free but offers in-app purchases for additional perks.


AutomaTag: Like Kid3 on Linux and its alternatives on Windows, AutomaTag is the best audio file metadata editor for Android. It comes with batch editing and automatic filling for songs it finds the information of online.


CloudConvert: It's your free, universal web-based file conversion application. I use it quite often and honestly haven't found much better.





Journey.Cloud: Not only is it your life companion, but it's also your mental health coach. I've used the app (nearly) since its inception and haven't looked back. Create rich-text entries, track habits, file with tags, and create entries using audio, images, videos, and of course, text.




As you can see from the video, it comes with lots of templates, ranging from productivity templates to mental health prompts.


- Build healthy habits by tracking your daily routine. 

- Plan and track your budget.

- Keep a food diary.

- Create a daily planner,


... and so much more - with Journey's Coach feature.



Best Computer Guide: Although the app is no longer on the Play Store, you can visit the website to learn network commands, PC tricks, ethical hacking, and so much more; immerse yourself in the world of tech.


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Thanks for reading! Until next time. 😁