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July 2009
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September 2009

Driven to distraction

Many places are introducing bans on the use of cell phones while driving - unless it's hands free. But it's not just the cell phone, we all try to multi-task while driving, some to glance at the radio to change a station, some to grab our coffee mug or look for a street address or read a book or put on makeup. Yes, some people drive while they are that distracted yet still are so that confident in their driving ability that they believe they will not have an "accident". Quotes there because I think if they hit someone/something it's not really accidental, they chose to not pay attention and assumed no problem.

I found a PSA (public service announcement) on Youtube that tries to drive home the risks associated - with cell phone texting while driving - risks to you, to your passengers, to other drivers. Check it out, it's not pretty but I hope will be effective.

Consumers, complainers, or agents of change. And how to..

I don't have many friends that are complainers in life - those people that see themselves as not in control, as victims that blame fate or the gods or government or Bay street for everything that happens to them - whether bad or good. I find them depressing and usually unwilling to change their ways.
I do have some friends that are consumers - they enjoy life as it passes by in a hedonistic way, are fun to hang out with, but don't really initiate much in life. They don't interact, they have no passions, so sometimes lack depth of either personality or conversation.
I do have a few that symbolize change - they not only accept change, they effect change. They have found a passion in life, they believe they can change things, no matter how small the measure, they act as a catalyst to nudge others into changes. Those friends I treasure.

But why worry about changing things? Well, I've talked a bit about my beliefs before, I'll repeat some of it here. I've wondered about the meaning of life - other than #42 - and  I think we are here to a) enjoy life, b) develop ourselves in a positive way, and c) make some positive contributions, leave things in life a little better than when we found them. Sort of like camping.

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Myth of Meritocracy

I saw this TED lecture Tweeted by Imogene Heap - it's not music related but I tend to follow people like her that have eclectic tastes similar to mine.

The presenter, Alain de Botton, talks of Success and Failure, and how we determine it. I wanted to add more to the tweet - they go to my Facebook status, so I went in to add to the text via a comment. However, I hit the bar for number of characters. So added it here, with a link....

Alain talks of how when we meet people, we ask "what do you do", so that we can easily pigeonhole and judge them. We assume they are defined by whether they are a dentist or an undertaker, and then apply snobbery to decide it they are better than us or not, since some occupations have more status in our mind than others.
Try asking someone what some of their passions in life  are - rather than if they are a fireman or a politician or a welfare recipient.

Some people can answer the question, many are surprised and intrigued, others seem afraid that the snobbery will extend to whatever their passions are. Personally I don't care what your passions are, just that you have some. I'm just looking for the differences, to learn. As I've said in here before, I believe we are here to enjoy life, and also to make some positive contributions, to leave the campground in better shape than when we found it. For the people that have no passions, that are just complacent consumers, I feel sorry for you. I suppose every society needs drones, but it seems such a waste. 
Alain also discusses the myth of meritocracy -we say we want people to be promoted and succeed based on merit, rather than on who they know, or on blind luck. But if we accept that, we also must accept that  some people will not gain in status/money/influence on merit. Some will lose all those things - based on merit. And as society should we not then follow through on our argument and be prepared to leave them there? With no social net of those "less fortunate", because we have taken fortune/luck out of the equation?

I'm off to a singles thing shortly - a casual affair on an outside patio. I'll troll for passions.