An article was forwarded to me this week by someone I know who believes strongly in the importance of ethical technology. He is heavily involved in the Ubuntu project and we all share a desire to see a paradigm shift in the role of technology in our lives from that of a harmful consumable to a helpful benefit.
If you have looked down at your phone already since starting to read this blog you are a victim in the most serious way. You can’t even focus for 30 seconds without running to the call of your taskmaster.
Before reading the article, I felt it would be beneficial to share some of the discussion that we had. One friend suggested that people perhaps simply “don’t care”. When that suggestion came I responded with this:
This issue is one of truth, in my opinion.
Everyone knows their phones own them. No secret. They know it whether they are in denial or not. So the issue is one of truth.
It seems that the same people who “don’t care”, also don’t seek out truth. Seriously. You have to be open-minded enough to realize that you could be the victim of someone with an agenda.
Most of the world hates truth.
“your phone owns you.”
possible response 1: yes it does. But what can you? (hears truth but rejects it by inaction)
possible response 2: no it doesnt. I’m in control. (liar)
possible response 3: yes it does. And I’m trying hard to get out of jail. (highly uncommon… like needle in haystack uncommon)
Compare this with:
“you shouldn’t eat sugar because it’s it’s bad for you”
possible response 1: Yes it is. but what can you do? It’s in everything?
possible response 2: I don’t eat that much. I’m not worried
possible response 3: yes, I know and I’m gradually reducing it from everything I eat/drink
If someone loves truth it will be followed by action. Otherwise, you will see either denial/lying or submissive acceptance.
Now here is the article!
I’m not a fighter.
If someone were to attack me I would just curl up in a ball and try to protect my vital organs. I tried Tae Kwon Do to remedy that back in high school but I still find it easier to curl up in a ball. I’m not lazy, but I just figure even dirtbags would feel dirty if they were kicking a helpless man curled up in a ball and may stop sooner than wasting more time provoking them. I never won arm wrestles either which was embarrassing, especially in front of girls and even worse when I was the one challenging someone.
I’m not a fighter – physically.
I learned early that the battles of this world are not fought physically but that there was a greater force at work that I could not explain. First of all, why were they kicking me in the first place?
Let us turn for a second study someone who knows more about this topic than anyone else – God Almighty – Jesus the Lord.
One of the greatest battles of history (I almost typed ‘Epic Rap Battles of History… go to Youtube to figure out why that’s funny in a bad way’) was when Jesus defeated Satan on the earth in Round 1 in the book of Matthew chapter 4. Here Satan tries to make Jesus fold ’em and take the bait with the hook. Note that Satan didn’t sucker punch Jesus or beat him like a rented mule when no one was looking. He leaves that kind of buffoon work for his underlings. He used words. He cut right to the core of the human vulnerabilities and used manipulation skills in an attempt to achieve his nefarious goals .
And that’s the battle we face. Words and manipulation for selfish gain.
So our battles are, at the core, battles of the words (not much unlike Epic Rap Battles of History…. I really gotta stop promoting these guys but it’s hard)
Good manipulators don’t put anything in writing.
Companies hesitate to put in writing anything other than that which will benefit them. I told my mom to call up her ISP and try to get a new modem and a better rate. I told her to get them to email the quote to her and then she could forward it to me for approval. When I asked her for the quote later that day she said, ‘They weren’t allowed to put it in writing but they gave me a faster download speed and bundled something with it.” Not surprised I then asked, “And the new modem?” She informed me that the company ‘doesn’t have new modems like the one she has but only modem routers’. Gimme a break. She ended up with a plan that will save her a bit of money now but, at the end of the fine print (and there is always fine print) she will likely pay more.
Lawyers know this, too. They are Wordsters. They can word you into certain death or they can word you right out of a mess. They can outword anyone and using a language that only they know.
With that preface, now that we agree the battles are with words, what battles should we fight and which ones should we pass up?
I believe that if your battle is for selfish gain you won’t have any long term joy from the victory. If your battle is just simply to take someone down that you will spend your energy and time and even when you are done, you won’t have made any great significance in the world.
If your battle is to pave the way for helping others in the same boat as you, and your victory will not only help yourself but many who come after you, then you must fight. You cannot avoid your duty to put on the verbal gloves and wordcraft your way to victory. So what do two examples look like?
The classic example of a battle not worth fighting is the divorce battle. Obviously I’m completely against divorce from the get-go, but for those who have chosen this path, read on. The sick stories that I’ve heard related to one ex trying to destroy the other ex seem like they are from a twisted Hollywood movie. The only people who win in these stories are the lawyers. And I’m not talking about a ‘fair divorce’ (if such a thing were possible) where both sides divvy up the bounty. I’m talking about divorcing but then going that extra step to make sure there is salt in the other person’s wound. Forget it! Move on. Seek God and He will heal your heart, not auctioning off your ex’s motorcycle for a dollar.
I’m not saying that I agree completely with where many unions seem to have gone in the last few decades, but I think they are a good example of a battle that was worth fighting. Unions formed because companies were abusing people. Companies that have only their own selfish gain in mind are still very much present and, oh yes, right here in Canada, right here in Vancouver. Unions used peaceful demonstrations, and words of negotiations. No punching (well I’m sure a few angry union dudes lost their cool). No beating of rented mules.
So, I recommend using a basic gauge for your battle. Will others benefit from your battle? Will you be helping others beside yourself?
If the answer is ‘yes’ then by all means go down fighting and die trying if you must. Take a round-house kick to the head for the team. Curl up in a ball and let them boot-smack you.
But if you are the only ‘winner’ in the battle, pack up, fold the cards and move on – your battle is in vain.
People who use proprietary operating systems (OS) are like those people who like physically abusive relationships.
I was having a business conversation with a non-profit organization on another topic. During the conversation I noticed that they had older computers. When I noticed the somewhat dated machines, she explained that they don’t want to waste the donor’s hard-earned money on new computers and these could ‘get the job done’. Watching her use it was quite painful.
During the conversation, she also mentioned to me that she didn’t reply to my email because she had received a virus which crippled her machine and that she was paying someone to fix it.
I left the meeting and went about my life for a while when all of a sudden it dawned on me – THEY SHOULD COMPLETELY SWITCH THEIR ORGANIZATION OVER TO UBUNTU!
It would solve everything:
- It would be free (no wasting any of their donor’s money)
- It would run faster (Ubuntu runs very lean on any machine)
- She would not have been affected by that virus that was designed for her proprietary OS
- It’s brain-dead simple and these people were clearly not interested in something complicated
- It’s more secure (no viruses, less risks of outsiders gaining access to the organization’s data)
I was so excited that I stopped what I was doing, contacted to inform her that I would – for free – come and explain Ubuntu and even help them install it and get started. To my complete surprise, she replied “We just set these computers up so no thanks.
I had to read it again.
Was she really rejecting a free solution and labour that would solve her entire organization’s issues? I couldn’t believe it so I made it even more convincing by reassuring her that some major governments and some of the largest technology and information companies are using Ubuntu.
She again rejected my offer.
That’s when it dawned on me that she actually liked the pain. There’s no other explanation. She’s comfortable in her abuse. Every time her proprietary operating system beats her and her colleagues down, they just accept it like it’s okay. They shut their eyes to the truth that there actually is a better way – a way that doesn’t hurt so much.
I then had the creepy revelation that it’s like the physically abusive boyfriend who beats the girl and after each beating apologises, tries to apply a band-aid solution and whispers kind words and promises of improvement.
But abuse is abuse.
We need to start a 1-800 helpline for these poor people. As for my family, we will use Ubuntu.