Tag Archives: time

Program or Be Programmed

The industrial age challenged us to rethink the limits of the human body: Where does my body end and the tool begin? The digital age challenges us to rethink the limits of the human mind: What are the boundaries of my cognition?

It’s tragically ironic that the tagline for Douglas Rushkoff’s book incorporates an Old Testament reference to the Ten Commandments, since Rushkoff writes in his introduction that the Jewish race has, since the time of Moses, merely promoted an “enduring myth” where the contents of those stone tablets is concerned.

Regardless, Rushkoff’s perspective is fascinating and worth some contemplation:

  • Are we just learning to use programs or are we learning to make programs?
  • Do we favor the distracted over the focused, the automatic over the considered, and the contrary over the compassionate? Why?
  • Do we merely grant our kids access to the capabilities given to them by others, or do we empower them to determine the value-creating capabilities of these technologies for themselves?
  • Do we pursue new abilities, or do we fetishize new toys?
  • Are we optimizing our machines for humanity, or are we optimizing humans for machinery?
  • Do we think and behave differently when operating different technology as we do given different settings?
  • Are we allowing computers and networks to discourage our more complex processes–our higher order cognition, contemplation, innovation, and meaning making–in addition to copying our intellectual processes (i.e. our repeatable programs)?

…and these are questions that arise after reading just the introductory chapter…

Apparently Rushkoff’s book grew from a short talk he has given on the subject, and there is substantial commentary to wade into just on the talk alone. [1][2]

Contemplation. Something that can all to easily become sacrificed on the altar of busyness. Something to fight for, protect and prize. Warmly embracing why.

Here’s to a 2011 that is more focused, considered and compassionate!

[1] http://rushkoff.com/2010/03/25/program-or-be-programmed/
[2] http://boingboing.net/2010/03/30/rushkoff-program-or.html

Revisiting the passage of time via a tree

Back on 7/30/2005, I marked time by reporting a new tree plant. Until now, I hadn’t followed with how time has “grown” since.

Healthy Purple Robe Locust tree

When you compare the first original picture to the one above, it’s clear that the tree has grown quite nicely. In addition, you can see why this particular variety of tree was planted–for its beautiful color.

Detail of flowering Purple Robe Locust tree

I’m fortunate to have the same type of trees directly outside my office windows at work (three stories up).

Yes, you have to sweep up after the tree when its blooms fall to the ground. However, they’re not sticky, which puts the “downside” way above the downside of the rest of the sap-dropping city plants lining the rest of the street.

There are other interesting aspects about the time between the original picture of the newly planted tree and the more recent picture, which are not as obvious:

  • The neighbors widened their driveway with more concrete.
  • The neighbors painted the outside of their house.
  • We replaced the car in the full-size original picture.
  • We replaced the entire fence around our property, including the shared segment in view of both pictures.
  • Just as I had to repair the surrounding sprinkler system while originally planting the tree, I recently had to go underground to repair a node on the same line.

Marking the passage of time

Recently my neighbor removed a couple of trees due to sap damage and lack of maintenance by the city. (Pruning once every four to six years hardly counts as maintenance in my book.) After dealing with a break to one of my sprinkler lines as a result of stump and root removal, I was ready to plant a new tree in the area between our two properties. Following instructions and dealing with a great nursery made for a very smooth planting process–and this from a first time tree planter, too.

Purple Robe Locust Tree

Above is the newly planted tree from a 15 gallon container: Robinia x ambigua “Purple Robe” (or Purple Robe Locust Tree). It will be fun to keep tabs on its growth annually.