Digital diary collaboration project finishes.

So the Digital Diary project finished up on the 14th, and I have to say I’m delighted with it. (Posted below, after the introductory ‘Tweet-Presentation’.) The beginning was a little bumpy. I think it took time for people to get into it – the idea that it was to appear as if it was one person writing it. After a couple of entries, though, you begin to see some flow arise and it begins to read pretty well. As a fellow contributor, I can safely say that it was a really enjoyable experience communicating with other people in such a way. It tore down the boundaries of ‘you’ versus ‘me’, or ‘mine’ and ‘yours’, or ‘us’ and ‘them’. Writing as if there was only one ‘I’ in this digital existence was eye-opening. A sense of friendship began to emerge with the other contributors, yet it was a friendship with ourselves – another part of ourselves that we had not known before.

 

Whilst the project was quite casual, I see great potential for this kind of anonymous collaboration, a space where identity boundaries can be broken down, and recreated as one person, unifying the separateness of the self, and allowing for areas of greater understanding to emerge. There could be a lot of therapeutic benefits to such collaborative exercises, perhaps as support in helping people in recovery from alcohol and drug abuse.

 

On the level of it being a digital artefact, I think the whole thing speaks for itself; such a project could not be possible without the internet, and digital technology. One interesting thing I found was that, even though it was digital, nobody actually used photos, or music, to express how they were feeling, even though for instance there were mentions of different songs throughout the diary. It’s interesting to observe that the concept of a diary in the digital domain appears to be (at least in this case) based very much on a traditional diary, that being that the written word is at its textual core. It appears as if when people are talking about personal things, or events from their day, the preferred mode to translate their thoughts and feelings is still the written word. Although it may have only taken one contributor to set the use of mixed media in motion, it still never happened. There was a link to a youtube video, but it wasn’t included for the explicit reason of emphasising or augmenting personal feeling, or thoughts. Perhaps we have not become totally comfortable with expressing ourselves with such media when it comes to day-to-day personal events. I know, for myself, the idea of creating a YouTube video, for example, to express myself or give my opinion, is in no way feasible – not to mention a YouTube diary. There is definitely something beautiful and wonderful about just using written words to express yourself. It’s personal and can be very intimate. It’s close, yet not in-your-face close, which it would literally be if it was a YouTube diary.

 

The creative possibilities that open up to us with the digital collaborative online space are also showcased in this little project. This is a whole new method and channel for creativity, creative writing, creative exploration. It allows  people to come together to share, and create, like never before.

 

The highlight of the project for me was actually how much I enjoyed it. It really was an entertaining, and educating, experience. I loved seeing ideas flow back and forth. Some things written by one person would directly affect the life and thoughts of another person. I feel what made this possible was being able to collaborate anonymously and in real time in the first person perspective.

 

Diary of December

Diary of December

 

December 1st

 

God all mighty. God y god y god. It’s December already.. where has the year gone, or where have I gone? I’ve been saying that quite a lot in the last few years, not where have I gone, but where the year has gone! Is time speeding up? Can time speed up? Is time speeding? I’ll give it a ticket so!

 

No really though this year has gone like ridiculously quickly. I’ll probably say that to myself again in this diary next year. Anywho!… So Dear Diary, what is going on? Ehh… Not much.. it seems.

Today was a nice day indeed. I do love Sunday mornings, when everything is so quiet, and peaceful around town.. and especially this time of year, when it’s like slightly cold, but really fresh, and it’s not too bright, overcast, but not dull, or dark.. just nice. God I was tired this morning though, but I decided to get up anyways.

 

I went to the shop specifically to get coffee this morning, and I came back without it, I clearly needed it.. mmm Coffee is good, it really is. I often wonder should I stop drinking it though.. Anyways, I don’t think that will be happening anytime soon. What to doodee do tododay. Perhaps they should start calling today, tododay, because we are always doing stuff, never not doing anything, always must be doing stuff! But do we ever really do anything, the unchanging in the changing.

 

We connect. We eat, we drink, some do pray. Hail Mary Full of Grace. I pray to St Anthony myself. He is the Patron Saint of the Lost and Found Department. Since I am constantly lost I pray to him to find myself.  And since I haven’t I am coming to the view that he needs to be demoted.  Perhaps he could become the Patron Saint of Politicians?  I mean like that is a lost cause completely so he could be looking after the Lost ones forever and ever and he could be in a constant state of looking after the Lost. It would sort of be Deputy Patron Saint of Lost Souls, like a Junior Minister for Lost Souls.  And he could pay a visit to Lucinda and John Waters and sing “Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind..” on New Years Eve.

 

On this day fifty eight years ago, Rosa Parks, an African American woman, was arrested for refusing to surrender her seat to a white person. This was a seminal event in the U.S. civil rights movement and was a political and social protest campaign against the policy of racial segregation on the public transit system of Montgomery, Alabama. The campaign lasted from December 1, 1955 to December 20, 1956, when a federal ruling, Browder v. Gayle, took effect, and led to a United States Supreme Court decision that declared the Alabama and Montgomery laws requiring segregated buses to be unconstitutional. The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. and Ralph Abernathy were among the many important figures in the civil rights movement who took part in the boycott.

I find myself asking the question has life really changed since this event? Do I feel like I live in a world of equality, justice and freedom for all? Increasingly I have to admit not. Maybe it is the side effect of five years of constant austerity and the lack of opportunity to fulfil one’s potential. I am inclined to say though without hope there is nothing. Rosa Parks took a big risk, she had a goal in mind.  During a 1956 radio interview with Sydney Rogers in West Oakland several months after her arrest, Parks said she had decided, “I would have to know for once and for all what rights I had as a human being and a citizen.” And so my message to myself today is that while at times life may seem daunting, unfair and a bit surreal, having hope for the future is the only way forward.

A quiet and unassuming woman uttered the most powerful words in American history. She said ‘no’. One day, I, too, will say no. The word may, or may not, change the world. But first I need more coffee. I know there is enough grounds for what I need, yes I can.

I sometimes ask myself whether I should continue to read the news. The top stories are inevitably depressing accounts of great atrocities, either of nature or of humanity. It seems like it would be easier, in the end, to go about my life ignorant of these horrors. Maybe I’d be happier, or at least less stressed. When I feel this way, I try to remind myself of three things. The first is that humanity marches ever towards greatness. Though we, as a species, do still display appalling ignorance and outright evil, we have made clear progress on all fronts since the beginning of history and we have every reason to expect that that will continue. Second, darkness exists even when we don’t acknowledge it. Will ignorance of a state of affairs does not diminish that state in any way. Thirdly, things don’t change just because you want them to. It is not enough to be aware of the problems and to expect or desire that they will be solved. If I want better news to read, I must do everything in my power to facilitate that. Though an individual’s contributions may never seem to amount to much, every drop coffee nevertheless contributes to the greatness of the cup.

 

December 2nd

 

Having a cup of coffee before I madly dash out the door for my first lecture of the day. The accompanying music in the background is Ray Charles’ Hit the Road Jack’ perhaps a bit apt as I should really hurry up. I am a person that gradually wakes up to face the day. I generally wake up in positive form and generally make a do-to list. If I manage to achieve half of what is on that said list during the day I am doing extremely well.

The last of Lord Putnam’s Film course today.  What an experience. His positivity knows no bounds and dare I say it, is quite inspiration. His love of film making is without doubt but I have been stuck by his deep respect and appreciation of other people’s views. It will be slightly sad to say adieu to such a legend but am sure as he is Digital Champion of Ireland, I will follow with great interest his future endeavours. Now back to finishing this coffee, every drop counts.

 

I never actually told you what I did yesterday! Met a friend for coffee at 1. Intention was to have coffee and then go home and study for the day.

Event 1: We went for a walk in Fota House and couldn’t get out..gate took our money but wouldn’t let us out…big car jam behind. Took an hour to find someone.

Event 2: Went to Fota Hotel for the by now very much needed coffee. Met the most interesting couple from New Mexico USA, man aged 75 used to teach medicine in UCC 35 years ago and had amazing stories.

Event 3: They went and we were left alone but the hotel manager came and asked us to move to a different table because he said ours was “reserved”..it was the one by the fire. My friend got stropy in a big way…… complained about how we were treated and we ended up getting a special table, a free bottle of wine, two free coffees, free scones and strawberries.

I didn’t study ….

We finished all our freebies, chatted some more, and finally left, each to their respective home. I didn’t study, a vague feeling of guilt accompanying my solitary evening’s activities. I knew the film course was today and I looked forward to that and let that block out thoughts of all the other things I should be doing. For the first time ever I went off to bed leaving the sink full of dishes. I took this as a sign of the state of my mind – overwhelmed. It is also because the kitchen has no heating and since yesterday no light as the light bulb burned out. Doing dishes by candlelight does not lead to the cleanest dishes. If I am honest, I just didn’t care. While dishes in the sink may not seem like a big deal to most people, I know what it represents for me – a giving up of the idea that my place must be kept nice in case anyone calls. I have been waiting for two months for someone to call unexpectedly, but no one has. Having decided to invite no one and see what happens I now see what happens. If I don’t make the effort, no one else does either. This is what I have deduced from this state of affairs. Sad but true. How is it possible to lose so many people so quickly? In just a matter of months all the ‘friends’ have evaporated. I see that nothing bad has happened to them, I see their activity on facebook and see they are still doing things, they are still there and alright. I observe and ask myself how I fell out of real life and seem to exist more in virtual space now. If I hadn’t organised the day in Fota, it would not have happened. It was just one thing, one little day in a string of so many. And while I was there I felt fine, I ‘performed’ well. But my heart wasn’t really in it. My heart is confused, maybe. When I comment on facebook and other places I have a persona, a reason for commenting, a voice I use, a self I quickly assemble out of space who comes forward and types away. It’s a little more confusing in real life. There are so many more signals I send out that I am not necessarily aware of. Who knows what my face is doing in the few seconds I take my attention and put it somewhere else? Who knows what my face was doing when my friend gave out about the seat by the fire?  I don’t know. Better hit the books, I guess.

 

OK, well that attempt at studying did not go so well. Here I am back at my diary again.  I seem to be more interested in thinking about myself than any other subject.

 

What have I actually done today? The list barely has a dent in it and the dishes are still in the sink. Does anything ever change? The prospect of trying to change where I am or find some purpose in what I am doing, or not doing, seems exhausting. But then, what did Rosa Parks do? She didn’t “stand up” for her rights. In fact, she refused to get out of her seat. Sure I’m an expert at that! I guess in some ways it’s the smallest of acts, or non-acts, that can make the difference. Stand up, stay sitting, do the dishes, leave them sitting there, contact your friends, sit around waiting for them to knock at your door. We have no way of knowing what ripple effect our actions, or apathy, will have. “Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back, everything is different…”

 

December 3rd

 

It’s official I am on fire- alas not in a good way. Temperature sky high, swollen glands, ears and throat tres sore. Emmm think I need to put some very upbeat background music on. And so after visiting the doctor, I have been told to take it easy. Groundhog day or what. I am not the best patient- I get bored of taking it easy. I am not sure is it that my subconscious is saying I should be doing something productive or is it that I am just bad at relaxing. Listening to music being an obvious exception to that theory of course.  And now I have the melody of ‘I’m on fire’ in my head- tacky I know. Am going to have a cup of coffee, then a Lemsip, then another cup of coffee and then perhaps another Lemsip and will endeavour to have a restful day. My rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle knows no bounds.

 

Ahh, having a nice cup of tea now! Listening to a bit of chanting, feeling a little better! Perhaps having those coffees followed by Lemsip might not be such a good idea actually. I just remembered the last time I was sick I had a Lemsip, followed by, well followed by a huge strong cup of coffee actually, and I felt pretty sick after it. As in, my stomach was not good… actually maybe it was because I didn’t have anything to eat as well.. Hmm.. .

 

I think I have a fever now, a headache, and my joints are sore. I considered sending a couple of messages to people, but then didn’t bother as I wasn’t sure what persona to adopt. I told myself that the reason I ‘wasn’t bothered’ was because I am unwell, but the truth is I don’t know what persona to adopt. The sassy me, the thoughtful me, the curious, the warm and caring, the drily sarcastic, etc. Do I have a personality disorder of some kind? Disjointed – Schismatic, or something. I just made that up, although there is almost certainly a name for it. So many disorders nowadays that we didn’t use to have. Speaking of which, I keep thinking of that documentary I watched on Vice a few days ago – ‘Teenage Exorcists’ – and the poor woman at the end, so deeply troubled and afraid with no one at all to help her, speaking about herself in the third person and thrown out from a meeting that she had hoped might heal her and ‘cast out her demon’. God, that man, the American fraud posing as an exorcist with his three pretty assistants and their American teeth and hair surrounded by the pale and stretched faces of the frightened people of the Ukrainian town they were visiting. I can’t stop thinking about it. The opportunism, the cruelty, the lack of human compassion in the face of such need. Spoiled products of sunny fields with blue skies overhead transplanted and walking unfeelingly through the grey landscape of a Ukraine mining town. It’s isolation and ignorance that breeds such horror. And poverty. I wonder if those people had the internet, and used it the way we talk about these days in our classes, if that would help them. If contact with a wider world and people and ideas from outside would shine a healthy light into those bleak and damaged lives.  “Humanity ever marches towards greatness” – did I really say that a couple of days ago? Do we?

 

December 4th

 

Temperature down, but still on the mend. I abstained from the double dose of coffee in the end and opted for soup. It is meant to be good for you or is that my mind equating soup with goodness. I treated myself to watching ‘I’m a celebrity get me out of here’ last night and it was hilarious. The legend that is Steve Davies and his complete lack of balance has probably gone viral by now.  The mind boggles, he has won six snooker world championships and was world number one for seven years and he cannot stop falling. A bit of light entertainment can be a good thing.

 

Plan of action for the day: still in the taking-it-easy mode, but must get some work done.  Deadlines, deadline and more deadlines. Yes, it is that time of the year. Little by little hopefully all goals will be achieved. Now on that note, I will put on the kettle and get ready for action.

 

“Little by little”, you know that song.. ah it doesn’t matter, don’t know why that particular song popped into my head. Maybe the reason I’m so sick is that I have to heat my apartment with the oven! Yea, well the temperature has definitely dropped out there. Even though I’m feeling pretty sick, I do so love those clear blue skies, and fresh days outside! If only I could go for a quick walk now, but the idea of another ‘I’m a celebrity’, a warm cosy bed, and a cup of tea is also very welcome! The fresh cold weather also adds to the comfort element of this! Win win! Har har!

 

You know, I’ve been thinking again about how no one calls here; it’s true. It really is a funny one, like I do have plenty of friends down here and stuff, but I guess people just get up to their own thing a little bit more now or something. I am mostly to blame, I mean I haven’t gotten on to anyone since I reappeared down here really, like I was saying you have to make the effort I guess. What’s that quote, every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Does that mean if I just don’t go asking people to come over, that they will eventually by law stop coming? I kind of like it in a way though, I just bump into people and that is working for me at the moment.

Anyways, I know that my real front door is somewhere else. My real ‘Home’ my ‘Existential’ home, is my self, or the ‘I AM’ being that ‘I AM’. It is a gradual realisation, but oh such a wonderful one. Here’s a bit of info! You know the name for the Jewish god, is Yahweh right, and most people assume that it is a name like, John, or David, etc. But it’s not, it is actually translated as ‘I am that I am’ , and some people still think this is a ‘name’! Such silliness, it is the immediate and true reality, that you are, and that’s it! Dig that!  ‘I am that I am’ it’s you! Say it, I AM, that I AM.

In other words I am the very amness, presence, right here right now, fully whole unto myself.

Ahhh feeling better already.

Yea, good for me, I finally stopped feeling sorry for myself. Gave myself a kick up the butt earlier on. Went for that walk and hey, the air was crisp, the sky blue, and didn’t I bump into the doctor from Fota! What a nice little coincidence. I was meandering around the pond, the swan pond, and there he was coming towards me with a walking stick. I started to laugh and asked him if he was following me. He said that he was just tapping his way through his old neighbourhood. He used to live near there 35 years ago, before he moved to New Mexico. We went around the pond together a couple of times and then he calmly tapped off to his car saying that he expected to see my dimples again. That made me laugh. As if my dimples would go off some day on their own and bump into him and maybe have some other adventures too before plopping back in through my letter box and springing up to my face while I was reading or talking on the phone or just thinking about something. I yam that I yam.

The temperature’s dropping so I’m turning on the grill as well.

 

December 5th

 

Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the imaginary fire here is so delightful. Yes indeed I am afraid I am in danger of acquiring a new bug – the Christmas one. I must resist the temptation, at least for one more week. I do like the festive cheer that seems to descend around the place. If we could curtail the constant advertising that would be even more of a present. At this stage no presents have yet been purchased, lists have been written and lists have been ignored. Being a student again, it will be minimal offerings this year. I hope they really mean it when they say it is the thought that counts!

 

Have been looking over my wordpress and twitter offerings and I realise that I am on the road of Digital skills learning, which I am quite pleased about. When I glanced at other people’s offerings I had a slight moment of ‘Wow, theirs are amazing and mine are very basic in comparison.’ In the next few months I am going to change that.  I feel I have lifted that cloud that is the psychological barrier of IT being a different world to mine. Now I want to produce something that I can be proud of.  It may take time but I feel this is an achievable goal.

 

The number of the beast, that is, 666, just appeared on my computer screen. But as I was attempting to clean the ‘6’ key at the time I am not too worried. I mean, it’s not as if it appeared by itself or anything. That would be something to worry about.

 

December 6th

 

RIP to Nelson Mandela. I feel today is a day for remembering. Rest in Peace Mr Mandela, you made the world a better place. Twenty seven years in prison – still boggles the mind how he survived and grew strong enough to forgive. I liked Muhammad Ali’s words on Nelson Mandela: “What I will remember most about Mr. Mandela is that he was a man whose heart, soul and spirit could not be contained or restrained by racial and economic injustices, metal bars or the burden of hate and revenge……. He taught us forgiveness on a grand scale.”

 

We all know he was a South African anti- apartheid revolutionary who was imprisoned and then became a politician and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa. He was the first black South African to hold the office, and focused on dismantling the legacy of apartheid through tackling institutionalised racism, poverty and inequality, and fostering racial reconciliation. Which all in itself is amazing. But I think he was even more than this. He offered hope and was a symbol of freedom and equality. He inspired people to be better.  His inspirational words epitomise Mandela’s enduring legacy:  “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” and “For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others”. RIP.

 

We’re on the road to nowhere. I wonder what the Talking Heads actually meant by that. One interpretation that popped into my mind recently is that it could be a non-dualistic piece of wisdom. On the road to nowhere, as in where do we ever go, we are always ‘here’, and where is here exactly, it’s nowhere in particular! In fact the journey towards God, or Self, is often described as a pathless path, and when you arrive, you realise you never left. The road to know(ing)where.

 

I sometimes wonder what the point of my philosophical musings are, or, truly, any philosophical musings. Philosophers will often tell you that they are seeking an ultimate truth about the world, much as scientists and theologians are, but in a different way. Do those truths matter? Take, for instance, the grand debate about the nature of our will. Are we free creatures, in the truest sense, able to move about our lives in deliberate ways? Or are we simply bits of dust swirling about in the wind, completely helpless and completely deluded about our helplessness? We tend to ground our notions about justice and responsibility and success in the fundamental belief that all are in control of their own actions, even their destinies, and so the argument that we are merely clockwork creatures ticking away in some universe-sized mechanism would seem to threaten our very conception of our existence. If I am doomed to follow the path laid out for me by the laws of nature, what does it mean to say that I’ve succeeded, or realized my dreams, or perhaps done some grievous wrong for which I ought be punished, or at least ashamed? In the end, I wonder if the most meaningful question is not about the true nature of our existence, but rather about whether it is our perceptions of reality or reality itself that actually matter.

 

The darkness tends to make me excessively thoughtful, and in a rather grandiose way. It’s a bit of a hassle sometimes.

 

December 7th

 

The sun is shining, what a lovely way to begin the day. I do like the weekends, less timetables and you go about the place with a more relaxed feeling. After having a day of nostalgia of Nelson Mandela’s passing, I think today is day of organisation. The weekly tidy up both physically and mentally.  I am actually craving having a day like this a bit.  It is time to take stock and take control.  So tidy, do some work and reconnect with a friend is the order of the day.  All this and of course, figure out exactly what I have to submit and when by on this MA in DAH.  I think today may indeed fly by.

 

December 8th

 

It’s not who you know. It’s not what you know. It’s just how you live, how you are to others, and to yourself, that ultimately matters.

 

December 9th

 

I seem to playing catch up at the moment. Not exactly how I planned the end of term to go but hey ho, I must persevere.

 

Then again, whatever. Just came back from an amazing meal out. Risotto how I love you. But that Pinot Gris at 8 euro per glass was a saucy price.  A spin around on the ferris wheel first, to get the blood up. There were too many of us in the …cabin? …chatting and laughing and trying not to look straight down for it to have had the full effect while we were up in the air.

 

And so Christmas approaches, if the fairy lights strung up over every surface, vertical and horizontal, of the city are anything to go by. Didn’t little Cork look magical from up there. So many years in and out of this city, so many views of it, so many ghosts of myself on its little streets. If everyone could see the ghosts of themselves superimposed over that scene, how would that look? How many me’s would there be? What if my favourite me’s were bigger and the ones I liked less, the unhappy me’s, smaller? What if I could hear my own voice(s) echoing through the air? Like distant bells. Someone from the past still calling my name. A giant heron swooping down, the way they do in the early morning hours, and just brushing my cheek with the tip of his wing.

 

I half expected to see the doctor from Mexico on the street from up there. But I didn’t.

 

I think it is our perceptions of reality that matter more than the reality itself. A palimpsest of past and present haunting us. And only we can see and feel and know the significance of it.

 

I wish I could focus my perceptions on the present rather than the past or – worse, most of the time – the future. There was a moment, on the big wheel – just a single moment; a tipping point – when suddenly we went from being part of the streets, the buildings, to being UP! over the rooftops, up in the sky, with the city stretching out below us.

 

I would have liked to stay in that moment, to focus fully on it, but suddenly my mind had dropped back down to the streets, to the ghosts of the past, and on and on, and the moment was gone.

 

I went to the mall earlier today to buy some small gifts for my family. I never cease to be amazed at how many people are all shopping at once, swarming over merchandise like locusts, especially at this time of year. I’ve never much liked shopping, though I recognize the value of gift-giving and do not have the necessary crafting skills to participate in that tradition and avoid shopping. I worked in a large store for a few years and, much as I disliked that experience, I still felt more comfortable on that end of the transaction than this. Perhaps it has to do with having a sense of purpose and authority. When I go out to buy things, especially if I don’t already know precisely what I’m seeking, I feel like I’m imposing on the employees and the other shoppers. They all know exactly why they’re there, or so I imagine, and I’m simply in their way (I must admit that I had an embarrassing amount of trouble getting those their/they’re/theres right). I do sometimes enjoy shopping online, but then one runs the risk of an item being less, or more, than expected, since one can’t inspect it prior to purchase. User reviews can help with that, but often only for popular items. One great benefit of online shopping, though, considering that there wasn’t a man’s wallet for sale in the entirety of that mall, is that availability is often much less of an issue.

 

December 10th

 

I watched a guy run to catch the bus. I followed him with my eyes as far as I could.

Have got that Tonto song – ‘Apache’ I think it is called,  in my head all day. I have absolutely no idea as to why. Tonto, jump on it, jump on it, jump on it… You know it! It is inflectious.

 

December 11th

 

Have recovered after those class drinks last night. It was lovely to have a catch up. To be honest I was absolutely fine in the morning. So when I stayed in bed an extra half hour it was down to pure laziness.  But it was so warm and snug and it was dark outside. I have just had my lunch and would love a siesta to compliment it.  I will resist the temptation. My nightly visits to ‘I’m a Celebrity’ have now ceased as the season is over for another year. It was so nice to see the Australian outback again. I must visit again some day.

 

December 12th

 

I walked through the English Market this morning and could not believe the aroma of the place- incredible. It was like all my favourite foods in one place, a bit of Italian, greek, turkish, thai and indian. I felt full and I had not even eaten a bite.  An uplifting start to the day I must visit more often.

 

December 13th

 

Ooooh. December, Friday the 13th! I actually like 13, it’s one of my favourites, I see a lot also! Ahh where have I been indeedy. Getting assignments done! Is it what you know, or is it what you ultimately don’t know, not knowing anything! Cus we do no nothing ultimately right? Like where exactly are we? Really, we have no idea, like we don’t know where we are! That’s just MENTAL! Were in ‘space’, we’re contained in space, we occupy space, but where is that space? Some non-dual traditions say, if we perceive space, we must be even subtler than space. That’s pretty cool right, and it makes sense, if I can perceive it/conceive it I must be ‘before’ it, I am the knower of space, who knows this? ‘Can seer be seen?’ And so goes the enquiry into the self ala Mooji.

 

Speaking of space, for some reason I’m fascinated by Lana Del Rey’s recently released short film ‘ Tropico’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VwuHOQLSpEg&feature=youtu.be

What a strange creature she is, totally an internet baby, writing and re-writing her history.   Seems most of her offerings were released to the world via social media, while in the background the machine of big business record companies moved inexorably. Stories of clips posted on youtube then being pulled making it hard to work out the chronology, or any kind of definitive story, of this young artist’s path. Even the Wikipedia entry on her, while seemingly thorough, leaves more questions unanswered than answered. Questions about where she came from, how she worked, who she knew, if some overarching idea / manipulative media strategy is working away in the background.

 

The  mish-mash of visuals, sounds, and influences leaves me gasping at the breadth of creativity. Or maybe it’s all smoke and mirrors. Elvis is my daddy, Marylin’s my momma, Jesus is my bestest friend. Indeed. Quite gorgeous.

 

My favourite news item this week, and I know it’s connected in some way, is the hilarious story of the fake deaf signer at Mandela’s funeral ceremony. How in the hell does someone like that get past all the intense security that must have been part of this event? Why, why do such a thing?! It’s performance art, completely wonderful! Flapping his arms without creating any meaning, as the headlines said.

 

December 14

 

Do you meet me in the middle, do you meet me in the air, do you love me just a little, just enough to show you care

whoo pop do wap

This is the song for the simplest, a simple song, for the simplest love…

A constant song, for a constant love.

 

Having seen the end, I came back running.. scared.. but you know what.. I have to go there, and I will, I’ll be fine, I will become death.

 

A response to ‘The future of the pen’

A very interesting post was created in our Digital Humanities forum earlier in the month, asking ‘What is the future of the pen?’ Here were some of my thoughts on the issue.

The poor pen, yeah, I love it. I don’t use it much, but I love it. I like it not so much for writing things, but for doodling! Oh my, it is so wonderful, and relaxing.

See, the crux here is that we have this whole digital reality coming upon us, I mean there has never been anything like it before (that we are currently aware of). As in, there is the biological ‘real world’, and now there is this whole other world of 0s, and 1s – it’s that mental! Like another dimension being created around us, by us, through us, alien to us, yet a product of us. Forget about typing – even in a few hundred years, you’re talking digital cybernetic implants; thoughts are energy, right? (E=mc2?) We’re looking at telepathy not far down the line via wireless implants in our brains – no, it will happen, it will! No doubt. I still have this creepy feeling that this is all way out of our hands already. 

So the thing with the pen, and the quill for that matter, is that they are not digital. It was mentioned above that the pen may become as the quill is now, but I say that those two are of the same kind, now that there is this digital reality amongst us, and both have even more tremendous value now. I know for a fact that I could not sketch on a computer, and feel as relaxed as I do when I have a pen in my hand slowly drawing a line, eye and breath fixed at one point, no intermediary between me and my creation, from ether, to mind, to arm, to pen, to paper. 

Perhaps one day we will snap out of it and go, ‘What is all this… this crap!’ Or the ego will undergo a transformation and we, as we know ourselves, will be gone, not so human after all. 

All very pessimistic sounding – sorry, I’m a little sick at the moment. I do love technology, but I am becoming ever so much more aware of its potential – both great and terrifying. I think this question of a pen is brilliant, and fascinating! It really brings into focus a genuine meeting point of the two worlds.

Text and the pace race

The whole idea of what is a text is baffling. From what I can figure, it seems I am a text (whatever ‘I’ am), and everything around me is text – for whatever I look at is a symbol for something that can be read/interpreted/understood. Reality could be considered to be a large text; we are forever labelling its parts and communicating them, in order to gain an even greater understanding of them. There are numerous examples throughout culture of reality being understood as a text (‘In the beginning was the Word’; the ‘Book of Life’; the Eastern idea of reality being a cosmic ‘play’, or māyā) and as a story (‘All of this has happened before and all of it will happen again’ in Peter Pan).

So, a text for me used to be something written on paper, but now it appears to be reality as comprehended by the mind of the human being.

On a day-to-day basis, my relationship with text has changed greatly, and it heavily influences my life. I find the worst thing is not the insane amount of information we have available to us, but the sheer speed at which we can get that information. As if thoughts weren’t runaway enough, you now have a system that can follow them just as quickly and bring up a load more information, until it gets to a point where the text is leading you, rather than you leading it; a somewhat unconscious element has entered.

I have literally got myself lost only to finally ‘wake up’, and consciously realise that I didn’t want to be in this part the internet looking at this type of information – or did I?

With the advent of the speed at which we can gain all this information, are we perhaps developing new modes for gathering and assimilating it? As I said above, there is an unconscious element when you are surfing, or the text is surfing you, and you’re reading a bit of this, and being led to a bit of that, and then four hours have passed, and you wonder what you have done. But maybe you’ve done a lot more than you think you have done. An element of ourselves might think ‘That was a complete waste of time,’ or ‘I feel like I’ve learnt nothing,’ but you probably covered quite a bit of new material, albeit only briefly. What if a line or two of information from one of those brief visits reappears in your conscious mind with a new idea attached to it, or with a newfound inspiration to engage with that subject much more deeply, after a night’s sleep? How much of a waste of time was that four-hour, semi-conscious, information overload binge now?

Is the brain developing a new ‘seek, find, assimilate’ algorithm, which is operating on a level of which we have yet to become aware? Or am I becoming aware of it as I write? Is it actually a highly counter-intuitive way of gathering information, and learning? I have previously been honing my awareness so that I would stop doing this kind of reading on the internet, but now I’m wondering, which is better…?

Obviously there are times when you have work to do, and you should just do it – and this is my greatest difficulty.

I think learning in the future is going to take a serious amount of personal discipline. Before, you would go to the library and study – that was the discipline. Now that we have a whole load of distractions at every turn in the digital world, it appears to require even greater discipline.

The emergence of ever increasingly more mobile and efficient hardware opens new realms of learning while on the move, but how is this kind of learning going to affect our learning abilities? Not only do you have the speed of the information coming to you, but you also have the speed of the real world surrounding you, with all its distractions and ever increasing pace.

Perhaps we need to look again at where this technology is leading us, with a greater awareness of ourselves in the mix.

Welcome

Welcome to my blog space, especially created for my exploration and education in ‘Digital Humanities’. Having never had much interest in starting a blog before, I find the whole prospect a little daunting. While I may be used to blabbing nonsense in the ‘real life’, I find that having a dedicated space to do it in, and committing it to text a little odd. Why? Well that’s a good question I guess, and one that many Digital Humanists are most likely itching to find out. One reason why I feel it may be a little odd for myself is, well, I’m just not used to it. I’m not used to talking about how I am feeling, or voicing an opinion about something in a more public environment. This added to the fact that my writing may not be the strongest, and in all honesty, at the end of the day, do I really have something worth saying?

I guess if anything it is an interesting experiment, and an exploration of self. So let’s see what happens shall we.