Thursday, May 18, 2006

Another Day

Not much to say about today. I wanted to move ahead with my job search, but I didn't. Ended addressing contact information for service companies, closing out accounts, paying bills, trying to open up channels between financial companies and my new bank, everyday things that have just mounted or popped up because of the move.

Should I consider these types of tasks as constructive procrastination or things that really need to get done.

Unfortunately, I still have a bunch more of these types of things to address tomorrow. Part of me just wanted to keep marching ahead with it, finish it whenever it got finished. The wiser side of me convinced me otherwise. I'm happy that my medication and more self awareness has made listening to my wiser side easier.

Now I just need to listen to it more when it tells me to not take things so seriously.


Before leaving for Chicago, a friend of mine commented that he was really happy that we all had the Internet. It helps us to keep in better touch with our friends much better, especially when I've moved to Chicago, another friend has moved to LA, another friend moved across Massachusetts and this friend has stayed in Cambridge.

I've got to agree with this friend, especially after moving out here to Chicago. Most obviously, the connecting and keeping connected with good old friends from 10 years or more so ago makes this transition much easier. Sure, I'll eventually make friends here in Chicago but until then, it's nice to know that I can probably turn on my computer and find an e-mail from my family or a friend who has been around in my life for years or maybe knew me back when I was trying to learn about myself and the world.

I really have to do a better job at writing back to these people, though. . ..

Not having a reliable Internet connection during the road trip (the hotel in the suburbs had a horrible connection in our room and the router at a friend's place in Pennsylvania pretty much died around the time we visited) really struck it home to the fiancee and me of how cut off we can feel without the Internet.

Sure, we can probably blame many things on the Internet and general technology. Things like people not going to in person social events so much, having great in person social skills, not looking to engage with other people face to face, abandoning practices that force us to interact with each other and plenty of other things.

I don't really want to address that part of the topic at the moment, though. It's not like the fiancee and I could have gone to some community hall, a church or anything like that to make permaneant friends while travelling across the country. I guess we had some chance of doing so if we tried socializing, but I feel that chance would be quite slight if not nearly nothing.

Then there's the matter of learning about things happening around the world. We had the TV for news. Stores made newspapers available. Either one of us probably could've gone out to purchase some kind of periodical. All those things might have given us our fix of news and information about the world.

We could have also phoned our friends.

But there's something to the blog, the chat, the message board, Wikipedia and all the other random information out there. Also, having the ability to buy movie tickets, instantly find the number to a car rental company, find the number to a restaurant, get directions on how to reach a destination and all the other things that you can look up to find out about your surroundings.

Not having the a reliable Internet connection contributed to a sense of not feeling connected with the world. Maybe if the Internet, TV, the telephone and other wonders of human invention disappeared, we would be forced to socialize face to face more or force us to work within and experience face to face communities more.

I think we would miss out on something, though. Not having these things would take away the diversity of perspective that comes from encountering people from all over the world, communicating with friends who have moved elsewhere or vacationed somewhere else, learning about the differences between the experience of humanity in the Midwest with the experience of humanity in the Middle East.

Yes, the Internet provides all of us with the opportunity to turn inward and become passive in face to face situations. It allows us to ignore the people immediately around us. At the same time, though, it also provides us with the opportunity to broaden our perspective, grow as a member of the human race, become the part of something larger than just our individual selves or even just the local community.

The operative words here: allow and opportunity. TV, the radio, the telephone, the Internet, all human technology only comes to us as a tool. We have the ability to control what we do and do not do with that technology. Maybe we can even think of communication and the community as human technology, just as socially based rather than physically resource based.

So the question becomes: do we choose to use the Internet, the TV and other things as an escape from the world that hurts us in some way or do we use to join with the communities in the world and become part of that world?

I vote for the latter, for I believe that if we truly try to understand and enlarge our perspectives with empathic understanding, we will see involvement in the world as an experience with rewards that far surpass anything that we could lose. Involving ourselves in the world is worth the risk.

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