Another Monday, Another Naive Weekly - Curated stories on Technology and Internet Culture.
I decided not to read any articles this week to end the year in reflection. What I did instead was to read all my notes from the year that went by. Thirteen notebooks to be exact. Each offering a mix of meeting notes, to-do lists, quotes, drawings and loose thoughts.
What you are about to read are the patterns I noticed when reading my notebooks. It is what I was thinking about in 2019 (see 2018). Below them you’ll find my resolution for this year. Thank you for reading, I’m grateful for your attention and sparks.
When I close my eyes and think of nature I feel warmth. The heat of the sun. Yellow. Technology on the other hand feels cold, blue. Yet I see myself and many other humans starring at our screens as possessed moths dancing in the glare of the lamp. We continue to fly towards the light, never fulfilled, unable to disconnect.
As the Earth circles around the sun, flowers open and close. Open when the sun is shining, resting when the moon is shining. The sun shined before we were born. The sun will shine after we die. No one is orchestrating it, no one is owning it.
The artificial sun that has caught our attention has a switch. But we don’t seem to control the switch, because if we did we would not be chained to the nearest electricity plug, re-charging. The switch belongs to someone else. Somewhere else.
The real sun has clouds, the artificial sun has glitches. It asks us to confirm that we are humans by proving that we are not robots. Yet there is no human to help when the algorithms fail to understand us.
Fields are covering Denmark. In fact more than two-third of Denmark’s surface is used by agriculture. Roads also cover Denmark. You can drive anywhere, from East to West, from North to South, from city to village, from farm to farm.
The scenic of the roads are appointed as Marguerite Routes. Roads winding through picturesque landscape, along the coastline and in-between forests, lakes and farms. The Marguerite Routes are often the slower alternative to the fast-paced highways, offering you beauty, demanding your time.
Corn and poppy flowers are two of those flowers that used to dot the green fields. Today most of these wild flowers are killed by pesticides. Leaving the farm land as wide-stretching deserts, places with little to no life, except for the crops useful for the farmer. The dotted beauty you only find along the side of the road.
The road side offers space for unconditional being. It welcomes those species that find no place elsewhere. It is a breeding ground for ends without means. It feels similar on the Internet. In hidden corners of the monoliths platforms you find colourful life thriving as it is overlooked by the commercial interest of global mega chains.
Progress Distortion Field
I often end up taking the highway. It is much more convenient. It allows me to arrive faster to those that I love and care for. In Japan we took the Shinkansen, the high-speed train. And I don’t want to count the number of planes I have boarded this passing year, avoiding the slower but more climate friendly option of the bus or train.
So I am not just an innocent passenger on the highway to extinction. I celebrated the democratisation of technology. I was on the waiting list for Gmail and pushed companies to use Facebook. I amplified the illusory promises of technological progress and believed the exponential growth curve.
I didn’t think of the crossing frog. I didn’t consider what was safe to forget. I expected summer and forgot the winter, while summer leaked into the whole year, increasing temperatures, causing wildfires and forcing millions to flee. Like how data has leaked into our ground water, becoming immersed in every part of our society and all our social relationships.
But we shouldn’t forget that we chose the clouds we see. As you drive into the new year, I challenge you to take that slower route more often. Look at the roadside flowers and imitate them as they turn their heads towards the sun.
My New Year Resolutions
Last year’s resolutions were about bringing a rhythm to my life. After a decade on the road, I managed to start and end the year living in the same apartment. I also managed to send this newsletter every week for an entire year. I do sense a rhythm as we are entering 2020.
With people rushing to kickstart the new decade, I want to slow down and start the next decade softly. 2020 is hopefully not the last party. So I want to take time to be present. Take time to visit the past and future. Take time to open up to the world of curiosity and wonder.
My overall goal this year is to observe. In proper goal setting this means:
Thinking - Publish one longer form writing
I feel an urge to write, edit and publish a longer form of writing. The format is not important; it can be in the shape of a zene, magazine or short book. The goal is to extend my thinking on one subject and explore it deeper than what weekly newsletters allow me to. I already have a firm idea of the project and will share more in due time.
Sensing - Dedicate the majority of the week days to non-work activities
I want to make a clearer distinction between my professional activities (=what I do for work) and my amateur activities (=what I do for my love of it). It is not an easy task since they often overlap, but if I don’t learn to make this distinction I’ll never be able to set work aside and give space to life.
Settling - Get to know my neighbours
In 2020 I want to spend more time in fewer places. Today I feel slightly divorced from the place I live; not divorced from the city or our flat, but from the street and the near surroundings. For example, I don’t know any of the people living in the same building as we do. It is true that there is no local in a networked world, but I don’t believe we improve the networked world by being everywhere all the time, and everything to everyone. Instead we should start at our own doorstep.
Hi, I’m Kristoffer and you have just read Naive Weekly - Curated stories on Technology and Internet Culture.
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