New Beginnings… and Old Memories…

Hi Folks:

It’s now closing in on the end of January, so if you’re still maintaining your New Year’s resolutions, my congratulations to you!  It may be sheer coincidence that Remembrance Day and New Year’s Day fall so closely together on the calendar but our memories of the past and our dreams of the future always seem bound together.  It may be true that (as espoused by George Santayana), “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”  It’s also true that much of how we see ourselves today is based on and built out of who we have believed ourselves to be and that person no longer exists.  It’s not just that your body is continuously refreshing itself – building new cells and removing old ones.  Our thoughts, ideas, understandings – in some ways the essence of who we are – is also different… unless of course we hang on tight to the past memories of who we used to be.  Memories can be pleasant or painful and there are varying degrees of both, but there’s one thing memories rarely are, and that’s an accurate recollection of the past as it happened.  My grandmother was a very wise woman with a Grade 5 education, and one of her sayings was, “No matter how thin the paper, there are two sides to every page.”  In some cases there are many more than two sides to an issue, more than two sides to a memory, but the point is made. Continue Reading →

You Like Me! You Really Like Me!!

Hi Folks:

So far as I know, Facebook was the first to introduce the concept of the ‘Like’ button to user posts and comments, and it’s such a good idea that it’s been adopted by others as well.  Google+ uses the ‘+1’ button instead, but it’s the same idea.  The folks at TED.com used to give users the ability to up vote or down vote another user’s comments, but they changed that policy so that only up votes are possible.  The people at 50opx.com have both ‘Like’ and ‘Dislike’ buttons on the images displayed there; I suggested to them that they remove the ‘Dislike’ button but the choice is of course theirs.

Why is this so important?  Well, in a pre-internet world (yes, I’m old enough to remember such a time), personal interactions were less frequent and more intimate.  People waited days, weeks, even months sometimes to hear from a friend or loved one, and as such contacts were treasured.  People exchanged long notes, thank you cards and more. Today we live in a much different world. Long letters are hardly ever written, thank you cards are almost forgotten, and even e-mail has become passé, especially among the younger generation.  We’re swamped with ever more information, almost all of it short and almost all of it impersonal.  The internet is largely considered anonymous and while on one hand that gives people the freedom to express their ‘true’ feelings behind that mask of anonymity it also distances the connections we have with those who are close to us in different ways.  Internet friendships can be as strong as any ‘personal’ relationship, but without being face to face we lack inflection, touch and more.  Apparently studies have shown that people are more likely to ‘trust’ links that their friends have ‘liked’, but I think it’s much more than that. Continue Reading →