You cannot prove the truth of a book from its content because any source of information has a natural instinct to perpetuate its own life.
Any source of information, any natural body and any being has an interest in its own survival. Therefore its natural reaction is to fight to survive.
A story will try to convince the reader that it has such value that it needs to be repeated, needs to be kept, needs to survive. And that is also the interest of the author.
Put this against the background that any structure will naturally resist attempts to change or end its existence. Any structure or organisation will strive to keep intact the structure that gives it power. Therefore, the members of any organisation will defend the power structure, even if the power structure does not benefit them most.
In human nature it possibly rests on the instinct that what I have accepted, I must defend. That is why it is so difficult to convince people to change their views. Once I am part of the structure from where I gain power – how weak it may be – I need to defend that because it is my only call on power.
Couple that with the need for people to belong and you have a structure that will violently resist attempts to change or end its existence – regardless whether it is proved to be untrue.
That is why people kill each other in the name of religion. That is why people give their lives to promote their religion to such an extent that it will allow them to rule other humans. And that is why the bridge resists attempts to demolish it.
People are not really interested in the truth. They are interested in what benefits them. That is why people will only change if the change ensures something substantially better for them.
People don’t work for a better world to make the world better. They work for it to make it better for them to live in. People do not support welfare because they care for the less fortunate, they support welfare because it makes them feel better. People conserve nature not because of Nature’s rights, but because their existence depends on it or because being conservationists personifies what they want to be (not what they are).
People cry when a loved one dies. Is that because of the dead? No, it is because of their own sense of loss. People say they cry because they loved the person who died. That would then make love the most selfish emotion.
You cannot prove the truth of a book from its contents. Proof can only come from an objective source.
An objective source would then be a source which has no interest in the survival or extermination of the book. An objective source would need to be unemotional towards the truth on which it must deliver a verdict.
A logic conclusion would then be that humans are unable to be objective by the mere fact that they are emotional.
How then can the truth be found?
Objective reporting is the personification of what journalism wants its profession to be. It is an unattainable objective because people cannot be objective. The only thing journalists can do is put all the information in the spotlight for their readers to draw their own conclusions.
That means that the truth needs to be found in something that in itself is true. That, I believe, is why people are increasingly turning to science to find their truth. The only problem with that is that science can only be the truth if we know everything. But we know that humankind does not know everything and that scienctists also still look for answers to many questions.
We don’t even know yet what the human brain is capable of evolving into.
How about “belief” as in “religion”. Only problem I have with that is that anything can be true depending on what one believes. If I really, truelly believe, it makes it true for me, but it does not make it objectively true – and trying to prove the truth of the book from its contents does not make it true.
Which brings me to the question: are we asking the right question?
Rather than claiming that we have the truth, should we not acknowledge that we don’t have the truth?
What if we said we are part of humankind who is searching for the truth and that we will increasingly find more of it, that we will probably never have the whole truth because even nature changes all the time and that we will spend our energy to search for the truth rather than kill people because they do not believe in our truth?
Will we then have personal and world peace?
And how do we attain that?
In the spring of 2008 Dave Carroll of the group, Sons of Maxwell, was the victim of bad client service from United Airlines in the US. United Airlines employees damaged his $3500 guitar but United refused to compensate him.
Carroll did what many individuals do these days when they come up against bullying conglomerates. He wrote a song describing his experience and posted it to YouTube.
At the time of writing, 3 370 695 people had already viewed the video and the song “United Breaks Guitars” had become an unwelcome jingle for United. It’s quite a catchy melody, you’ll agree.
UPDATE: United contacted Dave and offered compensation. Here is the second video which is much more reconciliatory.
Social Media can be your friend or it can be your enemy.
I have been giving a lot of attention to social media in the last year and I consider myself an “amateur-social-media-specialist-in-training”. “Amateur” because it takes much more than a year to become a professional although every second person who has read something about social media call themselves social media experts these days and “specialist-in-training” because that is what you will remain for a very long time if you start on the social media route – be that for relaxation or for business.
My website has become the centre of a social media network for Polokwane which you can follow on Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Friendfeed and Twitter. Also look at how Absa, Toyota and sports clubs are using our site to their benefit.
It has been quite a journey since April 2008 but I must confess: It was worth all the trouble.
I became friends with people who call themselves names like Snowgoose, I see real experts in action, I have a friend in Kokstad, I listen to experts like Andy Hadfield, Reuben Goldberg, the official Standard Bank Tweep, Myles the Butler, the inimitable Walter Pike, knowledgeable people like Kate Elphik, an all-in artist and Rich Nagle form FNB whose favourite rugby team is Western Province. You can see most of them on my Twitter profile.
I restored contact with old school friends who have left the country and I share in the daily lives of hundreds of other people. I stay informed thanks to modern news organisations.
I drink a toast to social media that has become the tool that an individual can use when his guitar is damaged and I drink a toast to the human beings who make it a valuable communication tool for modern people. And I drink a toast to my friends all over the world – friends I would not have known existed, were it not for social media.
Here’s to my first year in social media.
If you are serious about South Africa you should read Mike Stopforth’s post about an address by Prince Mashele of the Institute of Security Studies.
Mike calls it “… a brilliant speech that challenged me to my core, and I believe needs to be shared.”
So I implore you to go to Mike’s blog and read the complete speech
This week, Google CEO Eric Schmidt, addressed the Newspaper Association of America and dealt with the criticism of the newspaper industry against Google and the whole online news industry.
Before Schmidt’s address, Jeff Jarvis, journalism professor, wrote a hypothetical address to the members of the Newspaper Association about what is now accepted to be a crisis in the newspaper industry in the USA.
Jarvis’ “address” should be compulsory reading for journalists all over the world. He quotes a university student who, a year ago, said: “If the news is that important, it will find me” and he advises the newspaper owners and publishers: “Two years, even a year ago, I would have said that you had time to build the networks and frameworks and platforms that would support the ecosystem of news that will come next. The best thing some of you can do is get out of the way and make room for the next generation of net natives who understand this new economy and society and care about news and will reinvent it“
No, Jarvis’ address should be compulsory reading for everyone. Because, while some people try to re-invent the past to deal with new challenges, others are already reaping the benefits of the future, brought about by not being scared to be innovative – like the founders of Ambitionblog, a South African company who redefined the way in which people build their CV’s.
But while many wait for the expected downfall of the newspaper industry, their own industries are changing so fast that it is just a matter of time before they will be in the same situation.
Whatever industry you are in and whatever you thought you will be doing for the rest of your life, take stock and discover what entrepreneurs are already doing that may change your industry. But even more serious, what innovative people are doing that will change how you live your life and what your choices will be.
The world is changing and if you don’t change with it you will be left behind.
Every day I am astonished at how different I think compared to a mere 12 months ago. When I left journalism a year ago, I had an idea that I was going to do much of the same thing in a different way. Within a month (and a terrifyingly steep learning curve) I knew the world had changed while I was practising journalism. Now, 12 months later, the information website we planned, had exploded into a social media network represented on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube and Friendfeed. We build websites because small businesses could not afford the prices they were quoted and that denied them an on-line presence and we advise people on how to use social media in business.
Personally, my view of the world has also changed. I have my own social media network on Twitter, Facebook, Delicious, StumbleUpon, Flickr, YouTube, Friendfeed and on this blog. Most important: I don’t see the world the way I saw it a year ago. Too much has happened and too much is still happening.
I know there are more people like me because I see them every day. I see how their perspective broadens as we talk about social media and I see how people of all ages adapt to new technology. I see how people are respected, not because of their age, but despite it. And I know that those who think in old ways, will not reap the benefits of the new world that is dawning on us.
I see how South Africans embrace social media such as Facebook, how it helps community organisations in Polokwane and how it amuses us. I know my community is changing and that people will not stop that change.
It is not only about how things change. It is more about how that change makes people think differently. And when people think differently, society takes a new direction.
We – me and you – have taken a new direction. May I not tell you in two years’ time “ The best thing some of you can do is get out of the way and make room for the next generation … “
BE the new generation!
He stood at the corner of a circle.
Half his life on the left, half on the right. He estimated the height of the jump from the known into the unknown.
At twelve hours before twelve, a churchbell rung. He wondered whether people still go to church to listen. Do they rather go to think?
At 20 years after twelve he stood at the arch of a square. No decision made. At one hour before one the church bell stayed silent, unsure how many times to ring. Should it be twelve or should it be none?
While the church bell was considering, the man tried to touch all the corners of the octagon. Then he melted away.
The churchbell turned his head to watch … and never rung again.
I left the businesses, but it seems the news about the news industry keep on finding its way into my feeder every day.
The Rocky Mountain News in Colorado closes today, and its not a happy sight. http://www.rockymountainnews.com/
Here is what the Ink-Drained Kvetch says. I can’t put it any better, save to say that some of us saw it coming – and see it coming – but if printers are newspaper owners, they would not want to hear that the business is changing away from paper http://inkdrainedkvetch.wordpress.com/2009/02/27/anybody-left-with-the-heart-of-a-journalist/
History is being made.
You may save your children a lot of sweat if you remember Facebook (or all your social media platforms) in your Will to provide what must happen with your information after your death http://consumerist.com/5157481/facebook-wont-let-you-remove-dead-relatives-page-per-policy
“When someone asks you the question ‘who are you?’ What do you answer?”
Ex Polokwaneans Quinton Deacon and sons Xavier and Xante are busy building what must be a world first – a website where you not only post CV’s but actually build the most comprehensive CV available. It includes your professional profile, social, green, wellness and talent profile!
It is called Ambitionblog and you can be part of their journey. In their own words: “The ambitionblog business will take all the different aspects of your life and mould it into one “advertisement” of yourself and publish it to the world.”
Join them on their blog called Blog about a Blog
There isn’t a lot of personal info about the entrepreneurs on the blog, which is a pity, but we hope that will come in time. The guy on the profile photo of the blog is Xavier.
“The year’s most successful startup took a skinny kid with a funny name and turned him into the most powerful new national brand in a generation”
Read how in the Fast Company 50 Most Innovative Companies
There are still many people in our community who do not realise how social media helped Obama win the election, and can help them to win the business they look for.
The 21st century is here. Let’s go!
I stumbled over this “old” article today.
If you are in any way involved with teenagers, this is a MUST read http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/families/article4295414.ece
Three feeds landed in my inbox overnight and I think readers who want to take a look at using social media or at their private lives in 2009, can benefit from reading it.
‘Six lessons from a wooden boy’, a post by Jennifer Laycock on Search Engine Guide in which she discusses the search for formulas to impress Google’s algorithms and rank well on Google search.
She advises against searching for formulas and suggest rather going for common sense. While Jennifer talks about search, her advice is valuable for life in general.
Are you going to spend 2009 to search for formulas? Formulas for happiness, formulas for making money, formulas for dealing with problems, formulas for finding friends and/or lovers, formulas for staying out of trouble at work, formulas for ensuring people know how important you are?
Heed Jennifer’s advice: rather apply common sense.
Can a formula ensure happiness, ensure you make money, deal with your problems, ensure you find real friends or a lover, let people realise how important you are? It may … but is not as effective as applying common sense.
Because, just as Google change their algorithms to comply with changing human behaviour, life changes the circumstances within which you live and operate. Formulas are not good at dealing with unexpected change – common sense is.
If your interest is social media and what it entails, read Jennifer’s post. If your interest is to do better in your private life, read Jennifer’s post.
But, what Jennifer’s use of Pinnocchio as an example probably tells us about ourselves is that we won’t be satisfied with what and who we are. We can change that and become ‘real’ boys and ‘real’ girls, just as Pinnocchio wanted to become a real boy. Nothing wrong with wanting to be better.
Just rather use common sense than formulas.
Chris’ post is not really about the 12 things, but rather 6 things we need to do in 2009:
Chris’ 6 things to do in 2009:
1. Find a new way to improve someone’s day (and determine if there’s value in it)
The first point made calls on us to think not about ourselves but about someone else. This is the way I believe the 21st century will demand from people. We already see that happen on-line where one cannot demand attention, you have to earn it. Brick & mortar life is going to become the same. Go out, find someone to treat with your kindness and see if you are not astonished by the dividends.
2. Synthesize new ideas from outside your audience’s circle (and help us make meaning from them).
And, may I add, source ideas from outside your OWN circle. Too often do we see trouble and pain in the world, only because people lock themselves up in their own views. You will benefit, I will benefit, the world will benefit if you find ideas, motivation, creativity from a new source. Go find that new source, but remember, it must not have a familiar face, it must be completely new.
3. Promote the great people out there ( and and keep doing it).
Promoting people without being asked to do it and without expecting something in return, is more satisfying than you would imagine. I know. Just try it.
4. Learn from brilliant people (and share what you learn).
These days, you have the opportunity to learn from the best in the world, thanks to the Internet, to the growth in blogging and to the advent of social media. Whatever you need to learn, it’s on the Internet. And thanks to Google, you only have to search for it.
The Net is full of brilliant people, go learn from them.
5. Work on interesting projects that matter to you (and empower others to participate).
6. Discover your passions (and share them openly).
There are so many talented people in our community – and obviously world-wide – that one wonders why the world is not a better place and why more problems are not solved.
You can complain about what is wrong in your community, or you can do something. Even if that ‘something’ is just to change your reaction to the problem. In every community there are passionate people with a contribution to make, if only they would do it in public.
Nicky Jameson gives good advice: throw out your New Year’s resolutions and set yourself goals instead.
Of course she’s right. New Year’s resolutions are motivated by old year’s dissatisfaction. That makes them colourless reactive emotions disguised as resolutions. Goals are defined, colourful intentions. But whether it is resolutions or intentions, they will not materialise unless you measure your success.
If it is too tall an order for you – as it will be for most people around the fifth of January, don’t feel guilty. Idling purposelessly through life is also a choice made. And that is how most people do it, anyway.
You owe it, not to yourself, but to the people who have to live and work with you in 2009.
Those who will have to tolerate you.
May everything go right for you, may your dreams not remain dreams and may you be your own best friend in 2009.
Our family is at the stage where I and my contemporaries are the old generation, which means we must buy gifts for everybody’s grandchild.
We will be spending Christmas with my youngest brother, who happens to be the grandfather of a three-year-old boy in his Spiderman stage.
But, as the oldest of the old, I tend to be sensitive to the threats of modern life. What the young man does is to watch Spiderman DVD’s day in and day out. So, as a responsible adult, there I was this morning in the bookshop, looking for something more beneficial than Spiderman DVD’s.
No modern technology that limits kids to using their thumbs on their cell phones, glueing themselves to TV screens or sitting captivated in front of computers. I insisted on buying him something that would compel him to use his imagination, enhances his reading ability (for some reason people think the computer and TV generation does not need reading ability) and something that would broaden his knowledge.
So what did I get him? I got him exactly the right thing that complies with all my requirements for a Christmas gift.
I got him the cheapest book in the store.