Lub… Dub… Step… Rise… we’re live.

Heartbeat -staff v3
These five black lines are known as the Staff or Stave and are used to write music notes. The higher the music note is on the lines, the higher the pitch. The red line represents a heartbeat (PQRST). The 2 primary sounds of a regular heartbeat are Lub (S1) and Dub (S2).

Listen. To the music of your heart pulsating your life. Can you hear your heart – beat?

There are 2 primary notes.

LUB (Step 1)

DUB (Step 2)

A synchronised tempo keeping us alive.

With rhythmic therapeutic sound.

Silence.

Pirate radio, illegal downloads, uploads.

Smashed, mashed.

Notation, Pause.

Computer record.

Fire bun …

Volcano smokes,

bubbling wine,

flowing through bodies.

Back to the beat.

A new sound above the base blows our brain,

And motors our movement.

Drum roll please …

Rise up.

With united applause

We’re live.

 

What time is it? Seasons, Memories, Dreams and Moments

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“Knowledge is authentic and complete only when it is a way of life, when beyond the mastery of a science there is scrupulous attention to what a good life means…”

Professor Souleymane Bachir Diagne

What time is it?

Why we remember, what we remember and when we remember at any point in time is a mystery. Yet scattered memories can form unrelenting thoughts in our minds every day.  They also reveal mysterious connections in our nightly slumber where we can fly like a bird, fall without landing, or chat with someone we forgot. A dream could unfold a realistically bizarre scenario like a conversation about a leaking ceiling in a bar that turns into a plane.

Past, present, and future have always been marked by social events and seasons like winter, summer, spring, and fall or rainy and dry. Technology removed the limitations of these markers. With electricity, we work when the sun goes down but our body clocks still alarm to wake at day. We harvest tomatoes all year round with the help of greenhouses but they are not nearly as delicious as when eaten in season.

Before frequent flier air travel and the internet, our thoughts were more or less limited to our local communities and the occasional encounter; visit or visitor. Yet they were still influenced by human conditions like anger, sorrow, envy, frustration and shame that weigh on us; or courage, joy, hope, compassion, and love that lift us. Still, even then no-one could stop us from traveling in our dreams to see and to experience the new and the impossible that sometimes serendipitously reached into our waking lives or let us glimpse what was to come.

Who knows… maybe what we dreamed then reflected what we do now.

Written text took hold of our imaginations. Technology carried us beyond our communities. With radio we listened; With TV we watched; With computers, we now listen, watch, read, write, capture and communicate with mobile devices, that expect us to relinquish our thoughts and memories to their service; with the hope they serve us in return.

Devices war for our eyes, constantly trying to bring our attention to someone else’s moment by leading us away from moments of our own. Time and space are scattered with our bits and bytes, some of which we look for, stumble upon or have left for others to find.

A valuable commodity, time is bought and sold. Yet the purchase never comes with an unlimited guarantee. It can be taken away from our lived experience in a fraction of a second, tomorrow or years from today. It is not only linear but cyclical as African philosophers, remind us. So, we slowly return to incomplete text, like that of the Ethiopian, Zera Yacob, inaccurately relegated to a ‘pre-enlightenment’ age.

In this season, my present of presence is a lazy Sunday; music warming my soul, like the sunlight, letting my spirit soar; while the sound of raindrops on rooftops draw me into a billow of pillows that swallow me whole with comfort. A memory of dancing with family and friends. Laughing; lots of laughing. A reflected smile. The pleasure of biting into a delicious sun-kissed mango. It’s a dream. Yet I am awake. I am alive!

Seasons, memories and dreams collapse so there is just one inexplicable moment of utter peace.

It’s time for a toast.

Here’s to those moments.

Cue – Manus: A hand to hold?

Walking With Mobile Phone.jpg

Image Source: Libreshot

You are probably holding your phone in the palm of your hand right now, your fingers wrapped around it, thumb moving up, down. We hold our phones in our hands every day. It is a way to connect without being physically present. A study by University of Illinois researchers on ‘Phone Walkers’ in Paris found that people kept their phones in their hands even when they were switched off and even if they had handbags or pockets. Other research used attachment theory to explain why the attachment young people have to mobile phones can occur much like the attachment a child has to a stuffed toy.

Interestingly, ‘phone walkers’ were less likely to hold their phones if they were walking with someone of the opposite sex. However, holding hands isn’t just a romantic gesture, as perceived in Western culture. The need to connect with our hands starts from the womb, continuing after birth, as babies instinctively wrap their fingers around those of mum or dad, a palmar grasp reflex for reassurance. It’s a trait we share with primates. It isn’t just handshakes that are a sign of trust. Holding hands in other cultures like in India, Arab and African countries between not only women but men is not sexualised. Instead, holding hands is a sign of respect and friendship. Prominent figures like the Dalai Lama do this and so has Nelson Mandela. Holding hands has also been found to increase oxytocin, a hormone that decreases stress and helps with pain management.

Racismo

Image Source: Macca: Wikimedia Commons

In our hands are thousands of nerve endings that connect to our whole body, so what does it mean when we hold our phone more and more times each day? The inability to hold our phone brings anxiety and when reunited with it our stress is reduced and our confidence boosted. Unfortunately, using it can also bring distrust, hate, disrespect, intolerance, and insecurity, much like an unwanted gesture.

E-readers are used for convenience, however, at least for now, they have not been able to replace physical books, which have instead risen in popularity because of the inability to create the same tactile experience. Similarly, physically holding someone’s hand is different from the phone holding we always do. Technology is only a tool, much like the wood, we burned to make smoke signals centuries ago. Though it’s changing more rapidly than ever before it’s really our human connection that matters most. With reports that constantly holding our phones may be giving us a smartphone slump and emitting harmful radiation, let’s not replace the human hand with our phone.

As you touch each key quickly placing each finger across the other, you should give a palmar grasp of reassurance. Imagine what would happen if as we type we extended a hand of respect to someone not physically within our reach. What compassion we would both give and receive. Robotic hands that can feel now exist helping those who need them. 12325597985_e401b1399c_n

Image Source: Università Campus Bio-Medico di Roma

The Latin root word ‘man’ is a gender-neutral term used to describe us, humans. The Sanskrit word for man is ‘Manus’. Manus means hand in Latin.  We see connections in words like manual, manifest, mandate and command. It is therefore suggested that the word hand and man are one and the same. Soon our hand may not be attached to a phone we can hold, but instead to a computerised assistant, we manufacture. One that could be made in our image. We won’t need to type a letter, we will just signal, we will just speak.

Cue –

Manus:

What do you want to do?

You: 

I want to go for a walk

… Let’s hold hands

Manus:

Ok?

An answered call…

Hello!

“Another world is not only possible, it’s already on her way.

On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”

Arundhati Roy.

I love reading and I love writing, especially poetry. My curiosity about what it means to be and how we use and change the technology we create to interpret that has increased exponentially with the birth of my son. It’s what made me yield to my mindful, inner push to create and to write here today. Even though the site is not at all perfected and this takes 20 minutes away from working on my thesis, that keeps shouting at me about that looming deadline.

I guess it really is no coincidence that I am doing a PhD in Web Science,  which looks at how the web intersects with the every day. It tries to bring greater understanding of fields, worlds, outside of what we call our own by forging new ideas and different connections for a positive way forward.

I’ll be posting here articles and opinions on technology-related issues, how we impact them and they impact us. My poetry and prose will I hope also inspire, and I’ll link you to any authors that I find interesting and thought-provoking. Let’s see what comes from answering this moment’s call. I hope you hear and answer your nagging call today too.

Ring…

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