Fate

Fate.

A terrible and tragic earthquake hits Chile and in Hawaii and Japan people brace for a tsunami aftermath. Elsewhere, Haitians continue to suffer and the differences between Haiti and a country like Chile where building codes are enforced and municipal emergency services work is evident in the relative (yet no less sad – said as I learned that members of my extended family in Chile are fine) differences in death and destruction.

In other world news more suicide bombers struck, ever more saber rattling made empty noise around the globe, corrupt politicians were caught out yet stayed in office, the Winter Olympics wound down and the tsunami was, thankfully, baby- sized.

All the while people around the world were searching – searching for things important to them, critical to their lives, significant and vital to their day – and of the top 20 searches since Friday not even half were about Chile and Haiti is already forgotten. We have moved on….

What was important? The disappearance of a formerly famous teen actor and a movie he made a number of years ago.

The Romans designed and built great roads (better than we make today) so that important news in their far-flung empire would travel quickly.  Printed matter was the next big leap, followed by the telegraph, radio, TV and today’s Internet.

Each brought events closer, each made them more real and immersive than the last – but maybe…just maybe we have lost the ability to be involved. To really care. To isolate feelings amidst the overload of sensory input.

One possible proof point: despite all of the hype – the twitter networks, the use of technology to micro donate and such – the amounts of donations raised for Haiti have not exceeded previous efforts made with less technology and immediacy of giving options.

What does it all mean? You tell me….

But listen:

“Concern for man himself and his fate must always form the chief interest of all technical endeavor.  Never forget this in the midst of your diagrams and equations.”

Albert Einstein

And there you have it. Albert would have been appalled that killer whales, bad movies and fallen stars would be more sought after in the age of instant information than how to help people in need.

What does it all mean indeed – and what can we do about it ourselves, in our networks and in the greater world?

And, to be completely insensitive for argument’s sake – if people’s attention wavers on Chile and Haiti – what do we think we can do with a box of cereal…?

What’s your view?

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