Friday, February 22, 2008

Unconscious for my Conscious

Well, it's a brand new year. Time for me to begin screwing up the date field on my checks for about a month or so, then spend the rest of the eleven months making sure I have money for those checks. As some wise person once said: "Life is hilariously cruel."

Anywho, I figure that since I started this blog last year with something that I hope was profound, maybe I'll give it another try...

So here's an interesting subject: Collective Consciousness

I didn't coin that, and heaven knows I didn't come up with it either. However, I believe that humanity as a species is heading towards a few ultimate parallels in the definitions of collective consciousness. Let me explain...

There is a singular link between creatures who inhabit a particular band of the conscious hierarchy, and this is known as their "collective consciousness." Basically, this is the intrinsic desire for beings to focus on desires and needs which are common to their species, whether they are ants on the ground or humans (everywhere). On a level, a collective consciousness we all actively and knowingly engage in on a regular basis is feeding. As organisms we our bound to the desire to consume food. On a slightly more complex level, religion is a form of collective consciousness in that people are, to a degree, aligned towards the same particular desires and behaviors across the whole group. But the interesting, really sinister part, goes even deeper...

Before we step onto that side of the coin, though, let's talk about the unconscious society, first.

Ever heard of a man named Carl Jung? Around 1970 while working in the field of analytical psychology, he coined the term "collective unconscious." The term was later changed to "objective psyche" possibly because of "user" complaints, but the subject is highly fascinating.

You see, the concept goes that human beings, more precisely the individual self, drives the individual to actually make mistakes by using dreams, archetypes, and intuition. Apparently the ultimate objective is a concept known as "Individuation," which without using too many big words is the process by which a being becomes an individual among a homogeny of duplicates.

Here's the real ticker, though. The self, which is driving this process, can quite possibly be influenced or controlled by the collective conscious.

Getting creepy? Keep going...

As humans strive towards the instinctual need to become significant via their means (a process known as "self-actualization") they cannot help but find themselves caught in the currents of the social psyche. This, social psyche, is directly related to the collective consciousness, because it is in fact the disassociated biproduct of the entire collective-consciousness process. Ironically, the social psyche can also be seen as the cause of the collective conscience.

So let me reiterate this mess incase you're already starting to fade off.

The collective consciousness of the human organism essentially is driving a social psyche which in turn is acting to dictate the course of the collective conscience. Need an example? Well, that's a bit hard, but let's try this one:

1. An object of desire is created which people flock to. Suddenly the collective consciousness is directed towards that object of desire.

2. The collective unconscious is driving beings towards self-actualization, which leads to the creation of the object of desire. The collective consciousness, drives the collective unconsciousness which drives beings towards self-actualization, which drives the beings towards the object of desire.

3. The collective consciousness has now become the social psyche. The social psyche drives the collective consciousness of the beings towards the object of desire.

4. The collective consciousness is now influenced by the social psyche, which leads to the collective unconsciousness driving towards new self-actualization, which leads to new objects of desire based on the collective consciousness.

If you followed that, yay! If not, don't worry about it. :)

Okay, so here's the creepy, fascinating, insidious part: humanity is actually building a new collective conscious.

What is this new collective consciousness? It has a name: The Internet.

As a society we exchange information at blinding speeds today, but we also exchange something more. We exchange dispositions, desires, trends, beliefs, ideals, and much more. No longer is our society limited to the influences we directly percieve around us in the physical world, nor are we effected only by the voice or text communications prior to the advent of the Internet. Now, we have images, chat rooms, virtual realms, virtual concepts, digital ethics, digital laws, and most importantly, whole societies which cannot exist without the technology they deal with every day.

We are, in essence, forming a massive community of exchange, and our individuality is being exchanged, too.

In the end, we may find that our own individuality is not something dictated by a collective unconsciousness we recognize any longer. The Internet, may very well one day become our own consciousness, and our own subliminal driving force.

And that's enough for now...Cya!

Show Me the Technology!!!

It seems to me that we have a rather unusual problem. We have all this wonderful technology, and yet everyone is still using the most basic of things.

I had a series of teleconferences today. The objective was to get groups of remote meeting members together on a single subject. Teleconference. Simple chaining of phones together, it's nothing new, and it has some key advantages, but also disadvantages:


1. It's easy to do.
2. It's quick.
3. Anyone can initiate a teleconference (you don't need an IT person to setup a site or server, nor do you need a secretary to handle anything).


1. Phone communication isn't always clear, reliable, and stable.
2. It's hard to tell who's talking, sometimes. This is especially true when calling a large group of people you've never met or heard before.
3. If there are documents to discuss or slides to view, everyone has to get those individually.
4. Teleconferences void all the personable aspects of face-to-face communication.

So what's the deal? Technology exists out there that allows us to achieve excellent meetings, without us all being in the same place.

Whatever happened to the video phone? Why isn't video conferencing more common? We're not exactly at the dawn of these technologies, yet it doesn't seem like anyone's working on making these things happen. Why?

I should be able to video conference as easily as teleconferencing, but I can't.

I should be able to sit in front of my TV and have it like the "main screen" of the starship Enterprise. Incoming call, "Put it through!" and bam, I'm videoconferencing with my coworkers and clients at the push of a button, no different than picking up my cell phone and hitting "ANSWER".

And why not virtual meetings? No, I'm not talking about "virtual meeting" software. I mean, why hasn't the business world caught on to the advantages of communications that we see in online gaming?

Imagine, if you will, logging into the virtual realm of your business, and entering a room with the digitized characters that represent your coworkers and clients. On one side of the room, a presentation is being displayed. There's a virtual table that we all sit at (for psychological stability and comfort). Behind us is a digital model of the product that everyone can see and play with. When someone talks, a little icon appears above their head. Attendees would be able to log the entire session for later load and experience. The users themselves would have little heads-up displays around their screen, like some kind of business-oriented shooter. Calander, notes, attendee information, objectives.

It sounds far fetched, but the technology is actually already there and being used. It's just not being used in the business market.

So what is the reason why we don't do all this stuff?

I think the reason is because although the technology is there, it has yet to beat the interface of the phone.

Let's face it, which is easier? Picking up the phone and making a call? Or setting up a videoconference?

I believe a lot of technologies don't get used simply because they do too much, and don't do enough easily. People think in modules of action, not in whole packages. Fully-featured applications are great, because they put all the bells and whistles into one place, but the problem is that we don't like all those bells and whistles in one place when we work with the product.

Give me a product that allows me to video conference as quickly as I can teleconference, but which I can setup as quickly as I can setup a phone.

Don't give me a system that can organize everything in the office. I just want to organize my mailbox. That's it. Make the solution modular, so it can connect to other peices as I need them, but when I only want to organize my mailbox, that's all I see.

Okay, so I'm just rambling and ranting...but hey? Come on world! Let's get moving!

Now what did I do with my video goggles......

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Change for a Life...?

Something I've been thinking about lately is the idea that you can change your life by listening to what others say. I find this to be a great tug-of-war inside me.

On one hand, I can't say that the wisdom and lessons of others aren't worth their weight in gold. On the other hand, it's been my experience that no matter how much people tell me things, I usually don't actually learn those things until I experience them for myself.

I guess self exploration and betterment is a two-fold process. You not only have to examine the directions your life can take, but you have to support and analyze them with the help of others. If you decide that being good to others is important to you, and that it is something that needs change, what do you do about it? Do you just spontaneously think of the things you need to do and do them? Are you able to recognize what it is about you that is the problem? More importantly, to what degree do you change your own life, until that change achieves the benefit quotient you are seeking?

Okay, so I'm rambling now, but this blog has a hidden agenda. Yes, the above is important, but it leads to the following:

This may sound funny, but I've got some strange mentors in my life. I think many people would agree that having Mr. Rogers as a life mentor is not unusual, and I did, very much so. But how many people would say the character Hawkeye from M*A*S*H and his actor, Alan Alda, are common mentors? It's interesting to see how different people effect our lives, often without us even knowing it.

Alright, alright, I'll get to the point. Alan Alda has published a new memoir, called "Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself".

If you haven't heard of it, don't worry. It was just published this month, but already it's getting a lot of reads. This is especially the case because Alda's earlier memoir, "Never Have Your Dog Stuffed," was also a best seller.

I just finished reading it last night. I let it soak in for a bit. Plus I've been following each chapter with the audiobook version, which is read by Alda himself.

Read it. Listen to it. I recommend listening to it, since you get the author's tone and characterization at the same time, but either way, I insist you pick up a copy of this and absorb it. (Yes, you can find the audiobook on iTunes.)

Alan Alda has a unique viewpoint on life that is both refreshing and entertaining at the same time. His answer to the age old question of the meaning of life? Well, I won't spoil it for you, you'll just have to read the book. Trust me, you won't regret it. What I will tell you about the book is that Alan goes through his exploration of the meaning of life, by examining his own career, and in particular, the speeches he's given to various institutions and university graduations. Actually, he only gives snippets of those speeches; the bulk of the book surrounds him trying to figure out what to say, and what will have the most meaning to his audience.

So go. Buy the book. Listen to the audio book. Get going! I won't say you'll thank me for it later, because I know that even if you end up disliking the book you'll come away with something. Even if that something is a great coffee coaster.

As always: Enjoy!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

What a Lowsy Day

We won't talk about my car breaking down on me today. *sniff* That seemed to be the major problem of the day, until I heard that this guy:

...was dead.



Pavarotti was one of my favorite artists. Look at my opera collection, and his name appears in over a third of the list. Needless to say, I greatly admired Luciano, and although I knew he was suffering from cancer, I hoped he would make it through so that I might possibly be able to see him sing again. Alas, it was not to be.

I won't say anything about it. It's just one more person on my list of people I admire that's kicked the bucket, right?

Everyone knows Pavarotti, and I know he will be sorely missed. *sigh*

The BBC has some good coverage here.

Here's a great story about the intimate life and person of Pavarotti. Definitely worth the short read.

I should also mention that iTunes has put up a whole section devoted to Pavarotti, which you should see from the homepage of the iTunes store. Lots of good stuff.

What do I recommend most? It's hard to pick out songs from opera, because like classical pieces, there isn't a whole lot of stand-alone 5-min pieces. But here is a selection of some great pieces that go good alone, or with their associated full works. Some obvious. Some perhaps not. Please enjoy.

Core 'Ngrato (Tutto Pavarotti album is best)
Mattinata (Romantica: The Very Best of Luciano Pavarotti)
Vesti La Giubba - Pagliacci (Essential Opera)
Torna a Surriento (Romantica: The Very Best of Luciano Pavarotti)
"Come un Bel Di Di Maggio" (Andrea Chenier; Luciano Pavarotti: The Best)
"Se Il Mio Giunger T'oltraggia" (William Tell; Pavarotti & Freni: Arias & Duets)
Fedora, Act II, Amor ti vieta (Romantica: The Very Best of Luciano Pavarotti)
Nessun Dorma (Pavarotti's Greatest Hits)
La Boheme - Che gelida manina
Notte 'e Piscatore (Pavarotti & Andre Boccelli)
Granada (Pavarotti, Domingo & Carreras In Concert)
Maria, Mari

None of those will disappoint.

Pavarotti. The man may be gone, but his talent and inspiring voice will live on forever!

"Adieu maestro"

Monday, August 13, 2007

Save Energy Surfing the Web

When my friend Gordon hadn't heard of a neat web-related thing-a-magig, I knew I was onto something.

If you haven't heard, there's a new way to Google. It's called "Blackle" and here's why it's so cool: Blackle saves electricity.


Check this out:

How is Blackle saving energy?

Blackle was created by Heap Media to remind us all of the need to take small steps in our everyday lives to save energy. Blackle searches are powered by Google Custom Search.

Blackle saves energy because the screen is predominantly black. "Image displayed is primarily a function of the user's color settings and desktop graphics, as well as the color and size of open application windows; a given monitor requires more power to display a white (or light) screen than a black (or dark) screen." Roberson et al, 2002

In January 2007 a blog post titled Black Google Would Save 750 Megawatt-hours a Year proposed the theory that a black version of the Google search engine would save a fair bit of energy due to the popularity of the search engine. Since then there has been skepticism about the significance of the energy savings that can be achieved and the cost in terms of readability of black web pages.

We believe that there is value in the concept because even if the energy savings are small, they all add up. Secondly we feel that seeing Blackle every time we load our web browser reminds us that we need to keep taking small steps to save energy.

How can you help?

We encourage you to set Blackle as your home page. This way every time you load your Internet browser you will save a little bit of energy. Remember every bit counts! You will also be reminded about the need to save energy each time you see the Blackle page load.

Help us spread the word about Blackle by telling your friends and family to set it as their home page. If you have a blog then give us a mention. Or put the following text in your email signature: " - Saving energy one search at a time".

So crawl over to Blackle today and have a look. I've already set my home page to Okay, so the savings person to person is insignificant, and I probably won't noticed more than a cent or two difference in my electric bill...but the concept is still valid. If you're like me, Google is both your home page, and a page you visit three-thousand times a day. It's not hard to see that adding up as some serious wattage.