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On vision (technology and its role in our lives)

By Douglas Black , last updated on September 9, 2019

“Wisdom is acting on knowledge.” God Help me, that’s a quote from Russel Brand, I think.

We live in an age of unprecedented access to information, and we’re only just beginning to understand the potential for it. Despite a few (hopefully soon to fade) black marks of internet censorship, we are all more informed than ever before on a global scale. We know about the current inferno consuming the Amazon rainforest, poverty (not financial, but lack of resources), climate change, tribalism, human-rights violations, etc. — but what can we actually do about it?

A lot, I propose.

What we’ve lacked historically is a lack of a vision for where we are going. Elected leaders are more focused on managing domestic issues, and few (if any, other than perhaps Barack Obama) were elected based on a positive global vision. But it looks like we need one now more than ever.

That’s what it looks like for me here in Hong Kong, but I’m sure that’s what it looks like for many elsewhere, as well. So again: what can we realistically do? Strive to make a difference with your personal conduct. I’m not going to quote Ghandi because I’m too affected to be trite, but it’s time we collectively look within, find our values, and adhere to them.

I’m not telling anyone to stop eating meat or to throw out your smartphone or laptop. I’m just saying that everything we do has an impact and we are all somehow connected by only a few degrees. I’ve been trying to stop eating fish and other seafood after I started seeing less and less fish in the ocean on my SCUBA dives; I’m now trying to not eat the meat of any animal I would not kill myself; I’m trying to help people be informed, find themselves, and connect with my writing and music; Most relevant to readers of this site, I try to reward and encourage upgradable, repairable laptop designs. Maybe it helps (I think it does), or maybe it doesn’t. But it feels good to just try.

Nobody’s perfect, and I don’t advocate trying to be. But we need to stop trying to disconnect ourselves from our actions and instead try doing the opposite.

Find your ethics; listen to them; and then figure out what direction you want to head in. Hopefully, we’ll all meet somewhere in the middle. :)

As always, feel free to comment below.

P.S. Lenovo ThinkPad X1Extreme Gen 2 is coming in in the next few days! Let me know if there’s anything specific you’d like to know about the model in relation to the first-gen model!

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Based in Hong Kong, Douglas Black is a veteran editor of Notebookcheck, university lecturer, researcher, and writer.

2 Comments

  1. MercuryMat

    August 29, 2019 at 6:46 am

    This is a nice though. We can do something, but in the end we should also look at the big picture. We can be efficient and virtuous in our lives, but there are really big corporations/companies etc that are still making the trends, and pollute, and destroy, and just make money.
    I live in USA, but I'm European, and I see how people are thinking "someone else" should do something, and in the end they do nothing to improve their lives, the environment etc etc. People just wait that someone else would do something for them, while they struggle to make money to buy the latest trends that all these companies are putting on the market.
    Internet=information. True, but what kind of information? If people do not have a decent education, will be not able to understand what is the "right" information and what is the bullshit. So, in the end, all this information will be only a new way to create trends, policies and to control people life.
    Actually, I do not see a solution until we'll reach a point when all humanity will be really at risk of extinction. In short words: we're fucked. And our kids probably will pay the consequences of our behavior.
    What I know is that I feel better if I do something that is "outside of the trend" and if it can also be good for the environment, the people around me etc etc. But too many times I feel like I'm a white mosquito (or a black sheep…) in a totally motionless world. We just have to enjoy what we have.

    • Douglas Black

      August 29, 2019 at 8:03 am

      "People just wait that someone else would do something for them, while they struggle to make money to buy the latest trends that all these companies are putting on the market.
      Internet=information."

      I very much agree with you there. But the thing about people is that they learn from their environments and from mimicking others in society. The more people there taking responsibility and setting examples by being "good people", the more other people will start to follow suit. I never knew any better growing up because I was simply surrounded by bad role models, but all it took for me was to meet one right person who changed my whole perception of how people can and should be.

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