So, I tend to start working--both with home stuff, "farm" chores, and world work before the sun comes up. How did life function without computers? If memory serves, I was able to sequester and plot my days with less interaction from the outside world, but that is not the way things are any more; this is the world we live in now.
My morning Pandora Radio station (with headphones, of course) is my Bee Gees station. Yup. I know I am not alone in that I have various stations for various moods, challenges and times of day. Disco at Dawn would be a better title, I suppose, and there is something about all those dance beats and false setto that helps me ease into what is a rather chaotic and kooky time to be in this world. I think I prefer that 70's and 80's sound first thing in the a.m. because it is tidy--themes are simple, the beat is predictable and gosh darnit, I can type to it.
Last year at this time, there was a cry for revolution with the Occupy Movement world-wide. I believe we are still in the midst of transition and transformation--and it is playing out on a local, national and global stage in myriad ways. Things feel surreal, scary, hilarious, ridiculous, disorganized, and the word I have been using more and more: polarized. I have learned things about people that I sort-of wish I could "un-know." Teri blames this on social media...the good and bad of computers.
We joke a bit as a family about Teri's philosophy that "no good can come of Facebook" but I'm thinking that while I disagree with her generalization, there are points where I complete agree. Used to be that I didn't have to know which of my colleagues and family members were bigots, right-wing Republicans, racists, homophobes, or whatever--unless they chose to disclose. To be fair, they didn't have to know the extent of my politics, volunteer work, how gay I am, or even about my career--it could all remain shrouded in a veil of hmmm...we suspect, but don't have to actually know. Has it changed the way I feel or think about some people? I have to give Teri some credit here because the answer is...probably.
Some days, I fantasize about a world where I could disconnect from social media, disconnect from the computer, slow down and un-know how close some of the problems and challenges are. I have studied history and I know that this is not the first time this nation has been so polarized, but like the sometimes skeptical Teri, I'm not sure how we will come out of it. With help from one of our daughters, I have learned how to block and organize things a bit on Facebook, so I don't have to see so much of the icky stuff, but I confess that some of the damage is already done. I have become more ruthless about deleting and I know it is reciprocal.
On one hand, I love the connection to people all over the world--those I've met on travels, through work and in other ways; I like being able to share and promote events and activities and the way social media can be used to organize, educate and mobilize. It is a tiny half-hour piece of my day and I still believe the real work and the real connections happen in real time--face-to-face. On the other hand, it can be an instrument of oppression too--perpetuating myths of mainstream, and spreading misinformation, fear and hate. I still agree with the late Gil Scott-Heron: the Revolution will not be televised...but surely social media will play a compromising role.