What Equality Means

When it comes to social change, I think we often get caught up in the big ideas. That a movement or a cause is about human rights or civil liberties or freedom of choice. And, certainly, it is about all of those things. But, in practice, it is about things much more simple and more personal than that.

It is about being able to have a seat on a bus.

It is about being able eat a sandwich at a counter.

It is about being able to enter a raffle so you can be the first one to kiss your girl…

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Petty Officer 2nd Class Marissa Gaeta, left, kisses her girlfriend of two years, Petty Officer 3rd Class Citlalic Snell at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek in Virginia Beach, Va., Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2011 after Gaeta’s ship returned from 80 days at sea. It ís a time-honored tradition at Navy homecomings – one lucky sailor is chosen to be first off the ship for the long-awaited kiss with a loved one. On Wednesday, for the first time, the happily reunited couple was gay.

 

Permanently Impermanent

I’ve been doing some thinking lately on impermanence in a digital world. Permanence is often assumed despite the inherently impermanent nature of existence itself. Life is impermanent. Nothing that exists will exist forever. Why should our data be assumed to be any more so? Why do we treat it with such perpetuity? Does it in some way represent immortality? Do we take comfort in some potentially mis-applied idea that these things could outlast us and therefore will?

We would like to believe that that which we put up on the internet or save to the cloud is available forever. But how can we, who shall never see forever, possibly understand what forever is or agree on what it means? And what happens when we have the skill and the will to decide to erase our creations for that same forever — permanently?

We all now have access to tools that allow us to recover those things we delete — either through accident or purpose — for as far back as the backup storage space will allow. What then is to stop us from hitting delete instead of sorting it to some virtual folder and saving it? Why not let the clouds we are building do this for us? Why not erase these things with the knowledge that, in the rare times we might need them later we can get them back? Especially for those items we are not certain we will ever have to access again? Is it that despite our desire to have faith in digital permanence we, in fact, know the truth of all things in inherent impermanence?

I know people that have had a hard drive crash and lost everything because they had no backup. Years later, it happens again. I then inquire as to why they did not have a backup — especially after the lesson they should have learned the first time. The reason: Though the previous loss was painful at first, they rebuilt. They moved on. They survived. They saw no value in backup because they knew if the drive crashed they would rebuild, move on, and survive again.

I’d like to think that embracing such impermanence grants them a level of effortless peace. It gives them a certain confidence that their digital creations are not stronger than their ability to survive without them.

Perhaps it is this peace and confidence that fuels one to declare Status 410 and walk away. Knowing that what good you could do has been done — in a place, for a time. Now, it is gone. Life and all of it’s creations are permanently impermanent. When the permanence we and others have come to rely on suddenly reveals itself to be less so, we can only rebuild, move on, and survive.

Better – Merlin Mann

What worries me are the consequences of a diet comprised mostly of fake-connectedness, makebelieve insight, and unedited first drafts of everything. I think it’s making us small. I know that whenever I become aware of it, I realize how small it can make me. So, I’ve come to despise it.

Better – Merlin Mann

This piece is really resonating with me today. There are things I know in my gut I need to do and want to do but am struggling with the courage to actually do them. That said, I think I am beginning to realize that I’m on a course to make bold moves in the near future regardless of the fears that may hold me back. Because, ultimately, they are the only ones that makes sense.

And, yes, I know I’m being a bit cryptic. I’m being so purposefully. I’m not even sure I’m being fully transparent with myself. All will be revealed when the time comes.

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