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Digital N. Negroponte (Vintage
Social Life of Information J. S. Brown, P. Duguid (HBSP,
Tasks Responsibilities Practices P. D. Drucker (Harperbusiness,
to Live. How to Live This Year As If It Were Your Last
S. Levine. (Three Rivers Press, 1998)
the Clock: 10 Thoughts on Our Relationship to Time B.
Jonsson (Harcourt Brace, 2001)
say yes, I say no.
I say yes, but I may mean no. You say stop, I say go, go, go. I
can stay 'til it's time to go. Oh, oh no.
Hello Goodbye, The Beatles
keeps on slipping,
Into the future.
Fly Like An Eagle
The Steve Miller Band
I told you once and I told you twi-ice. But you never listen to
You don't try very hard to please me. With what you know, it should
Well, this could be the last time, this could be the last
time. Maybe the last time, I don't know
The Last Time, The Rolling Stones
Photo by Henri D. Grissino-Mayer
"There are three types of people in the world, those who
can count and those who can't." -Anonymous
bipolar. A bit is on or off. 1 or 0. Unless you're a digital
processor, this binary thinking can trick you into oversimplifying
what's going on.
The human world
is not yes or no; it's a sea of maybes. Most decisions aren't
black or white; they're shades of gray. Are you liberal or conservative?
Perhaps like me, you're a little of each.
Treating the world as an open-or-shut case leads to thought
crimes like "The Internet changes everything." In
my work, I struggle with the knuckle-headed assumption that
learning must be either instructor-led or computer-delivered
rather than a blend of the two. Few things in life are really
all or nothing.
"Computer scientists have a tendency to count '1, 2, 3,
'as if scale were insignificant once the first
steps were taken." - John Seeley Brown, Paul Duguid. The
Social Life of Information
Real life is analog. Situations are continuums, not just the
extremes. There's a whole world between the poles.
You may be asking yourself, "Why bother?" After all,
it's easier to use the shorthand of yes/no than to give a situation
a probability rating, simpler to paint something black than
Pantone 7C gray.
The rub is that everything's relative. Each of us sees things
differently. My internal movie is not the same as yours. You've
got your scale, I've got mine, and other people see things differently
from either of us.
each of us is
at the center of the universe. so is everyone else. -e. e. cummings
People who stick to yes or no (and never maybe) are extremists.
By definition, extremists have few alternatives. If you say
yes and I say no, one of us has to capitulate or we'll never
agree. This is a zero-sum game. I win/you lose. Or perhaps you
win/I lose. Life's too short for losing all the time.
is an essay about time. Didn't I mention that? Timing is everything.
Time is all we have.
All too many of us are extremists when it comes to time. Chronologically,
we are single-minded. We are so busy chopping trees that we
don't take time to sharpen our axe. Some of us can't see the
forest for the trees; others can't see the trees for the forest.
The nearsighted live like there's no tomorrow. The farsighted
seem far out.
Peter Drucker once said that to be successful in business, one
must have her nose to the grindstone and eyes to the hills.
Certainly, balancing the short-term with the long is healthier
than fixating on either.
Of course, now vs. then is another binary oversimplification.
Here's a metaphor to help you when you're looking at the world,
or when you're trying to imagine how some other human being
is looking at the world.
of the time period youre focused on as a slide
switch that you control.
If you find yourself jumping around in the immediate
present, perhaps acting recklessly, overlooking things
that you know really matter, slide your consciousness
into the future for reflection.
what youre doing right now make any difference
in the larger scheme of things?
this what you want on your tombstone?
the other hand, if youre so wrapped up in the
future that youre paralyzed for the present, slide
your concentration into the immediate moment.
you doing the things to get to that future you were
you living the life you choose or going through the
more thing. Dont forget to spend some time in the
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