Double Standards

I’ve previously shared my thoughts around the difference between equality and equity (The Myths of Equality), but I guess this is about one of those specific realities. A reality which says that despite all efforts to normalise their lives, sports stars and celebrities are different to you and me. The expectations, the scrutiny, the public presence, and the value they add to a large quantity of strangers lives. For this reason, we are not equal to that of a celebrity, sportstar, politicians, or other public figures.

There are benefits of this inequality and disadvantages, for both parties. Good and bad is a measure of perspective, it is simply a demonstration of opinion.

We forgive disgraced celebrities and sports stars because they offer something to our life. They provide art or entertainment, and help us escape from life’s daily challenges.

But there is a cost for this type of immunity, having every moment of consciousness scrutinised by the masses. A level of privacy comparable to a public gym change room.

Putting all that a little to the side, there is the final, more cynical approach to this imbalance between the ordinary and the famous… Money. And as we know, money talks.

Guise.

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Small Talk

Something that I’m definitely not good at is small talk. It makes me uncomfortable, feel stupid, and offers a hollow feeling in pretending to connect with someone. It’s safe to say, I do not like small talk.

There is, however, a form of conversation that I enjoy even less than that, and that is gossip. As soon as my brain registers that we the conversation has transitioned to gossip, I’m checked out. My consciousness goes to a subconscious place, hiding itself from the incoming discord of rumour, innuendo, unsubstantiated assumptions, and biased conceptions of past experiences.

Quite simply, I’m aware of the benefits of this primal form of human collaboration. A primordial connection to others through the discussion of a third party and their habits and idiosyncrasies. I understand that everyone of us use it to build relationships, and that it is a safe ground away from the taboo topics of small talk, but I am curious where my instinctual aversion of the topic has developed.

And I wonder, knowing that this form of communication and social bonding is important to us, why do we spend so much more time on this, than we do on the discussion of ideas, thoughts, opinions and innovations. Why are we happy to accept that the dealings of the Kardashians can make the nightly news, reaching a mass audience in an instant, but in order to hear the discussion of real world people’s ideologies and challenges, we have to resort to the niche corners of Reddit and the rest of the internet.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad that we have this ability to connect and share with other individuals in the same mindset as myself, but for how long. With the looming threat towards net neutrality in the United States, do not be fooled to think that won’t affect the rest of the globe.

So the question I leave you with today is, what have you done this week to discuss something bigger? What information have you absorbed from sources other than your mainstream news organisations, Facebook feeds, and radio advertisements.

If we hope for a population of individuals, thinking for themselves, challenging the decisions of our leaders constructively, and pressuring the major news articles to raise the quality of reporting and removal of bias, then that starts with each of us.

Guise.

Reality Driven

Follow says the wise,

Be educated and concise.

Know and tell,

To learn and share.

Expression of privy.

Follow says the leader,

For wisdom is but pestilence,

Transferrable.

Not logical nor emotional.

Blind.

Follow says the poor,

Take example and opportunity.

One must be grateful,

Not greedy and ambitious.

Follow says the indescribably unique,

You are the well of all knowledge.

Guise.

The Myths of Equality 

I implore you to accept that equality is not equivalent to equity. 

Equality is simply a possible element of, and not an appropriate measure of, fairness. 

You don’t measure the success of a fish on it’s ability to climb a tree. What’s fair for the chimp, is not fair for the fish. Is it fair to say that Men fight topless in combat sports, so Women must also? 

So what’s our fascination with equality. Is it just easier to fight for an equal standard than to justify and highlight the measure of fairness. I mean,  it’s easier to say that person A has this right, so person B should equally have this right, than it is to express where the imbalance of fairness lay. 

Or maybe it’s easier to make the discussion about equality, as opposed to defining our specific gripes. 

Either way, we are encouraging unhealthy social, and also internal, dialogues of comparison and injustice. Life is not equal, it does not exist in a fair and email realm. We often have one of the other.  But as people, if we are to find positive results for. As many as possible, we need to be willing to acknowledge that equality and equity are not one in the same. 

If we acknowledge this, we can control the emotional charge of many of these discussions and aim to be subjective. But I guess the key is, not asking for everything in this world. 

As a disclaimer, DO NOT assume this to be in commentary of any current or future social discussions about equality and fairness. Rather, this is commentary about how we go about discussing them. 

This Sunday thought is one which I hope to continue to explore in the future. Keep posted for more. 

Guise. 

The Death of Opinion

With Google’s DeepMind and IBM’s Watson only a couple of the major Artificial Intelligence systems currently growing and changing, we need to recognise that it is only a matter of time before these systems learn and absorb facts and data at such an exponential rate that humanity is launched into a renaissance of knowledge. 

While the reality of the machine uprising and termination of human life is a possible consequence of this development, I’m interested in another great loss. When these systems absorb all of the world’s truth, all that we will deal with is fact. Speculation and opinion will cease to be relevant. 

So then, what does a human existence without opinion look like? For starter, we can do away with politicians, because when interpretation of best interests is trumped by pure output of facts by AI, we will not need elected representatives spinning words for meaning. Each meaning will be but simple truth. 

Working life will change also, in that, there would likely be little purpose for human workers, as the AI will have the capacity to think,  solve complex problems and adapt to the most efficient and effective form of conduct possible. 

Where does that leave currency? Without a workforce, the purpose of currency will be rendered useless, effectively wiping the class systems in the majority of countries in the world. 

It will be the end of civil and religious wars. The end of true privacy. The end of human life as we know it, but maybe not altogether. 

A world where science fiction meets reality. 

I welcome it. At the end of the day, we just as likely to head towards our own destruction at the will of man anyway. If we’re going to do it, we might aswell do it right. 

Guise. 

Rhythm and Blues

Wake Up. Don’t hit that snooze button again. You have a train to catch, or traffic to beat, or ferry to ride. It’s time for work.

Nobody ever told me just quite how it would change. Growing up, you are warned and whinged to about the hassles and stresses of working life. “Enjoy your school days”, or “make the most of uni, they were the best times”, that’s all we were ever told. The details were omitted of the difficulties of adulthood. We assume the details and believe that it all comes down to the stresses of paying bills, and raising a family. I don’t know about you, but I was never warned about the expectations, and THAT is what has been the biggest adjustment to adulthood.

I’m no stranger to responsibility, rather than shirk it off, my personality drives me at it and I thrive on it. Expectations are different however. Expectations from your manager which far exceed either your skill set, formal training, or time capacity. Expectations from your family to be there for them, to not snap at them, keep your patience, and to be the person that they have loved as you grow up. Expectations from your friends to always be the same, smiling, and ever-happy guy they have grown up alongside. Expectations from your partner to be a caring, nurturing lover, a keen listener, and a rock firm support during their tough times. Expectations from society that we will uphold the morale good, not drink to excess, work hard in our career, turn away from drugs, avoid violence, and so on. These expectations are all valid, and it fills us with a great satisfaction when we meet those expectations, but it leaves very little for one to focus on, develop, and grow one’s self, without some of those expectations falling away to way side, leaving us with broken or strained friendships, unfulfilled career potential, a rocky relationship, or a reputation as that family member that nobody can stand to be around.

Nobody warned us of the pressure; nobody warned us of the monotony of working life, and the anxiety that comes with it. Considering the improvement for worker’s rights that we have seen in the last twenty years, it’s fair to assume that this is the best it has ever been. I don’t want to know what it was like for our parents, grandparents, and so on. Ignorance helps me sleep.

So what’s this all about, exactly? Why scrap together 650 words of whingeing about life? Is it about the pressure of a career, the monotony that working life brings, the conflicting expectations drawing and pulling us in multiple directions, or a personal vent at the state of NSW infrastructure? I suppose it’s all of the above. It’s not to say that you or I can’t handle it all, or that we are destined to failure or an asylum. It’s simply that it sneaks up on us. When our career, family, relationship, friendship, health and hobbies come at us demanding the same scarce time that we have to spare, we cannot prepare for this moment. No matter how many warnings our relatives, mentors, and acquaintances offer to us, nobody is ready at that point. We are still young, possibly immature, but ultimately overwhelmed by the spike, in expectations.

Happiness is the key. Either find something you love to do, work for someone amazing or an employer who openly shows how much they care about you, just find something, because I’ve found in recent months, is that happiness makes the darkest days feel bright (don’t you dare say a word about that cliché).

When you find that happiness, make sure you show your appreciation to the person or people who supported you when you found it tough to wake up. When you were pressing that snooze button three too many times a morning, they were your happiness when you needed it most. She is my happiness, and the reason I fought through some of my toughest times. Thank you.

 

Guise

Happiness

William Penn, the great philosopher once wrote, “The secret to happiness is to count your blessings, while others are busy counting their troubles”. Wise words from a man so historically significant that he has an entire region in North America named after him (Pennsylvania, for those that missed the boat on that one).

It seems like a pretty simple formula to understand whether or not we are happy in our lives. Appreciate the good, pay little attention to the bad, and always be grateful for the people and things that make your life what it is.

But I think the greatest difficulty, is the fact that a ‘blessing’ can be quite subjective. We are all programmed in different ways, so much so that we fuel debate simply as a result of various perceptions. Some people come to expect things, others learn to expect nothing. If you expect your neighbour to take out the bins for you, you will be disappointed and bitter towards them when they don’t do it for you. If you don’t expect such behaviour, your life remains unaltered by your neighbours inaction.

So it begs the question, have we as a society, come to expect too much?

Social media and mobile internet has taught us to expect answers and information at our fingertips at any given second of the day. We then get upset, anxious and frustrated when reception is weak or the internet runs slow.

So what blessings can you count in your life?

The love of your family or cherished other half? Service with a smile from the shop attendant who just helped you try on twelve pairs of shoes to find the right one? Good health? A home? … Life?

We’re all guilty of falling victim to our own expectations. We lose our touch on reality and forget to smell the roses.

Whether or not each of us want to break this habit is another story. Expectations bring hope and excitement. We FEEL when we are disappointed. We are brought back to our reality. Perhaps humanity needs to feel the highs and lows that expectations bring?

At the end of the day, we are but creatures of habit. I suppose that is what William Penn thought also,           “Experience is a safe guide”

Do you want to be safe, or do you want to live a life where you are challenged?

 

 

Guise