On Technology

I went to school back when technology was something people knew a lot about or a little, depending on what they did for a living. For example, the scientist, mathematician, artist, doctor or chef knew next to nothing about technology first-hand. Instead, they deferred to the philosopher, psychologist or economist to explain to them what tech was and where it was relevant. This may explain why doctors still know less about using technology than, say, a graphic artist. For the latter, like the architect, knowing how to use the latest technology is critical to what they do. For the physician, what is critical is what they know — what’s in their brains and how good they are at utilizing what they’ve learned/remembered from ‘practice’.

So tech has changed a great deal in 30 years. Even those of us who use all kinds of electronic tools or toys each day, and that’s everybody here, know very little about the back story to technology as we now live with it. Here is where a little animation might fit in nicely, if you’ve not seen some of the RSA animate talks on YouTube, check out the links at the bottom. Not to digress much, technology has provided a means for people to calm themselves, to feel a part of the bigger thing that’s going on and to have that sense of being in the know. But when you just check yourself out in the morning or evening or afternoon quiet, do you really believe you know what’s going on and what you are a part of? The reason why many of us don’t (if we’re honest), is that tech was never meant to provide these things to you. The objects of technology are meant to be treated objectively as a proxy for real experience–a surrogate. In that sense, a music and video player provides me with a substitute for the experience of sitting in front of a person playing a tune with people running around doing things while the music is playing. It’s stimulating to sit by a creek and simply hear the movement of the water rumbling along its path. All of my senses are stimulated by it. Not just my eyes and ears. What about my sense of touch, or smell and taste.

You know, space has a lot to do with technology. If you don’t have any space to stretch out in, you can make believe you do by just playing with a pocket device, like a portable game or music player. These provide a false feeling of  ‘ok-ness;’ but then there’s the let down after using up all of the songs, the levels, the minutes, the something that is measured and usually priced. Unlimited minutes and data are great, though, aren’t they? That should do it. Why doesn’t it? Remember, I started by writing that technology is not well understood by those whom you would think use it the most. The artist, which I am not, understands the limits of technology quite well.  She knows that tools extend her reach onto the canvas or with the raw material which she is about to fashion into an image that expresses … something. The computer and a program enables her to render more from her imagination than mere sticks and oils ever could. But she knows there is a creative cost for her excursion into the realm of  surfeit tools and processed manipulations.  Technology says what you can do. But who or what says you should do it? Did you get the memo; were your parents or mine asked whether we wanted easy access to friends and neighbors with the click of a button or the flip of a switch? There’s nothing necessarily wrong with it. It’s just that I did not order it or know it was on the menu.

Until now — or let’s say 20 years ago, we could see most things coming and decide if and when we wanted them to arrive at our doorstep. As it is today, we don’t know what is coming next; and if it arrives tomorrow in our inbox or as a tweet or a scroll on our wall, we will only be able to say OMG, right. Maybe because I’m old, I don’t see the value in having my sensibilities attacked constantly in this way. When you turn on the TV, you must have the remote handy or you are likely to be experience emotions that you aren’t prepared for. You must protect yourself, because we’ve lost control over the things that have been made. And our privacy is compromised, big time. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing. People are not as comfortable with themselves as we used to be.  So many may feel like they don’t particularly want to be alone, have waking time to themselves. The phone rings, there’s a text, a twit, a message all of the time. Makes you feel kind of special, until you look at it objectively. Look, I think it matters that you feel good about yourself. Go ahead and utilize all the tools and gadgets tech has provided us with to maintain that comfort. Just don’t forget that the thing is not the thing. Friends on face book are not friends in my living room or at my kitchen table or next to me on the beach. The latter folks never ask to be my electronic friend. They visit, call, and  touch me in the old-fashioned ways.

Be like the artist. Use these fun things to get serious work done–for your school, your town and your planet. Check out websites like Open Culture, Kevin Kelly and TED to find out about real stuff. I mean, tech is great for looking out of your window (your eyes) and seeing what is happening everywhere. Then we have to decide how we are going to make a real difference in the real world, because the surrogates won’t.

http://comment.rsablogs.org.uk/videos/    http://www.openculture.org    http://ted.org



Mom, this is a conversation I’ve been meaning to have for a while now. Ever since I can remember, your love has sustained me, your other children and many loved ones. It empowered us to set sail on the world with its climates and landscapes, storms and serenity. Each hardship and victory meant so much more because I could share them with you. In what seems an infinity of space, and what had been an unlimited time, you are and have been my lighthouse. I don’t know what to do without you, but you made me willing to learn and step out on faith. If I know anything, it is that you will always hear my story and make it your story. I can tell a thousand things to others at a time to come, about you; but you are really the audience of my beating heart, and keeper of the fondest memories. So, while your eyes continue to light the world of your youngest and oldest, of friends fond and familiar, this moment here is one of true joy, because I can share it with you even now. To be with you and to tell you this.

Small Report

Human history is filled with messages and stories told primarily in pictures and through impressions (feelings) expressed without words. It seems, on observation, that the spoken word takes up an small portion of all thing conveyed between us; and the written word, even less. So how did the written word, which historically held the least influence over the affairs of man, come to dominate the earth as we know it today? For me, an even more urgent question is whether that  which is written matters anymore right now. I do think that it will have its place- a permanent one- in our history and future. But in order for us to have a future, the thoughts, actions, tradition and culture of the new world will need to occupy the center of the global stage. And much of what will be revealed will be of the former manifestation–i.e. they will be visual and impressionistic. Words will have to take a backseat, if only for practical reasons. Most of us don’t have words to convert our thoughts into; we are very happy to navigate life with a minimal vocabulary, consisting of code words and phrases that everyone around me understands. A recent addition to our lexicon comes from the social media sphere, with lots of abbreviations, emoticons and other symbols that puts everyone on the same page, whether it is a good or not so good page to be on. Smiles, frowns and gestures cover a wide range of life situations, telling us what is OK and what is not, again with the fewest words, if any. Just nod if you agree or shake your head, if not.

We have so many languages because we could not agree with one another or appeal to the centralized and cosmic authority of our source. Talking about God or the One who originated the universe and our presence here makes for major challenges, perhaps the greatest that mankind has experienced to the present era. So, what to do with all that has been said and written. Don’t burn or bury it; that won’t help. Because people speaking the same language had (and still have) a lot of trouble getting along with each other, different languages emerged to referee major conflicts; and land borders, if not sea borders have kept us from fighting all the time. But day by day, we are reminded that something has to got to give.

What are the words? Can they help us now? I suggest we get back to basics. Inside of you there are answers; words are not completely necessary if you ask yourself honestly what you should do. Keep asking, then do what your heart says is right where you are, with whom you share space and some time. I am going to start there.

You know, it should be those of us who have been doing (and playing) word games all this time who are most aware of our thoughts and actions. It wasn’t long after completing a second college degree when I realized how useless books were in the real world. They can give roads and even provide directions, but if I don’t know where I should go or want to go, education becomes a burden, and the words deceive me. Actions are true, be they good or bad; at least they proceed from the heart. More often than not, they associate with our needs. What someone is thinking shows in their deeds sooner or later; we know this, and speak to each other very politely in the meantime.

This is a thought, shared the only way I could this morning – in a gift-wrapped word package.


The Page

She said to him, I want you to know what I’m thinking. And as he sighed and looked into her face, the words came forth soft and easily, “We should go to the movies more than we do, or on a date somewhere. We always go to restaurants, and the same ones. I’m getting a little bored.” He smiled, as his go to reaction to many surprising, but not surprising revelations that emerge in their evening conversation. “Ok,” he replied, “what do you suggest we do to avoid this encroaching state of boredom?”  She had a ready answer that had to do with a Broadway show that her friends told her about only this afternoon. “There’s a show called Macey that’s opening in Manhattan this weekend! Counselors in my department were talking about it this morning.” So how many of them are going? he asked, feigning an unlikely interest in the idea.

“Eight of us, so far, including you and me. We talked about getting a luxury limo rental, and going in style.” And there were many more details discussed and even decided already than she explained standing in the kitchen, stirring up leftover spaghetti from yesterday’s dinner. Like wearing matching “black-tie” colors and eating shrimp hors d’oeuvres during the ride over – from the catering company she used for her sisters bridal shower last year. The only thing he could think about was whether any one of their friends had pushed back on planning such an elaborate event. And what was the “Macey” show about anyway. Why go now. He was able to get online later that night to find out about the show.

In the meantime, Mya, his longtime girl, only really wanted him to consent to the affair without knowing all the preparations that were going into it. No particular barriers prevented them from making a great splash during the 3 day holiday weekend. They could afford it, whether they split the cost or he fronted $950 or so on his card to cover them both. To satisfy his curiosity, Glen agreed to go along with Mya’s whole plan, even if he had stopped listening to the details several minutes ago. While he knew his motive for participation would differ from hers, he would be surprised by how much.

He sat on the sofa with his tablet later that night and looked up the play and show, Macey. Glen found that it was about people searching for themselves in the current era, living in a town not far from New York City–upstate near Albany. An enclave of affluent Asian, African and middle eastern graduates had settled there, at least long enough to make a dent in their accounting, coding and project management careers with a few companies in an east coast office park. They had friends working at Starbucks, the computer store and other service gigs. Some had kids and spouses. The play surrounds their conversations, debates and decisions affecting their work and personal lives. And it takes a while to find out about Macey. What Glen did learn from his initial search whet his appetite before he started dozing on the couch and went to bed.




Full Motion

Flowers and trees only move with a breeze, but always with grace and precision. The heart though is still and responds to my will, yet suffers from my indecision.
Come break with the past and become free at last, by confronting the life that besets us. The visions are tainted and guidance is colored by rules from a vintage unknown. We stop when we don’t know for sure, but that is surely the time to go, as the future belongs to all who make it there. Why do so many settle for the past as if it is the present? It isn’t. We are living lives over that people fought to overcome 50 and 100 years ago; and they won! Our task now in this gen is to stand up and see what battles were fought by men and women of the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. You can party, but they struggled so that you could learn whatever you wanted to learn and become whomever you wished to become. But to become no one was not one of the choices. My father wanted to be somebody, but the wall prevented him; it wasn’t his time. Now it is my time and yours to do what we will. To do nothing is not something anyone had to die for. What a bad dream it is to have no where to go, but in circles. Someone had to dream big for you though. They saw greatness in your tiny hands and four little teeth at your infant stage. Marching and voting and washing and drying and cooking and cleaning and praying and hoping. Sending you to school and not knowing what to ask about homework, but feeding you anyway. And what are you doing now? Chilling. Are you serious? How many hours a week do you do that and what is the hourly pay rate. Is it hazardous? Do people die while chilling, clocking, hustling and rolling? Why die young? Where is the greatness in that?
Some who decided that they would die (young) thought about the future of America, where a black man and his family could have whatever job they worked for, could live in whatever house they paid for, could study at any school they prepared for and could live any life they desired to. If you are young, you don’t understand that to be a real man was a dangerous thing in the old days. To live in full motion, without caution or concern was something few know how to do: Jack Johnson, James Baldwin, Martin Luther King, Octavius Catto, Marian Anderson, Ida B. Wells, Fannie Lou Hammer, Absalom Jones, Thurgood Marshall, and others unnamed but remembered just the same. A party I attended just last night was a such a gala affair, but smiles were strained, and tears were not shed; so the range of emotion was limited to what could be teased out by music and song – good vibrations, yes. Achievement comes at a high cost, hence the word, victory. Without sacrifice, we remain motionless, still; we wait for breezes to push us a bit forward or back. As long as we can blame some one thing, we remain in a low dark place. Don’t be afraid, the time has come; and the victory has already been won. Look for your opportunity, your pride is rooted in your strive. There is much less resistance now to chasing your goal, your dream and reaching it. But the work that is required won’t ever change. Remember: your mind, heart, body and soul must care to be in full motion.


All the time we stand and stare

or sit and wonder what or where

next we do what will not change

or help to overcome the strangest

feelings that are passing through

our minds belying subtle clues

From post to pillar and back again

exchanging waves as we pass by

the words are piling up inside

more channels blocked, no reasons why

I like that living here and now

is freedom to a wandering heart

and if I choose to settle here

when can a new relation start

there is a thing with sentences

verbs commanding object things

but nouns begin and end the tome

denying all the mist between

For things begin and then become

the actions pose as minor chords

the climax closes all reversals

and ends with few if any words

But always are there things to see

and hear and feel along the way

It’s just a cycle rarely lifting

above the range of yesterday

Excitement in a basket is

the fare of most or many tales

The form full of the contents read

like toggled ships without their sails

When times arise to create to conquer

the charge announced to launch and run

Go, to make a fortune’s change

to catch the eyes of everyone


Not the same

Wondering where you are going
and imagining what you must do
are not quite the same as your presence
to spend a new moment beside you
along came a phone to give hearing
the melody of words from your lips
yet the way that they sound is not nearly profound
as the touching of your fingertips
A text is so nice and surprising
no matter the type of request
but a look from your eyes is much more of a prize
and the smile that you share is the best
So make plans on twitter to meet me
and get here however you can
For thoughts of your name are just not the same
as a walk with you hand in hand

The Family Meeting

The family meeting.

Good morning everyone. It’s time for a word about family. This time of year, people start to get chills and want to be inside with people who can help us feel warm inside and out. I have a sister who cooks like the world should be waiting outside the door for a plate. She cooks great in quality and quantity. But I go see her because she is a family hero – taking in her grandchildren to care for them while my niece works some things out. What we see people doing outside the family is what you can’t do inside, and that is hide the truth. We all have attitudes and dispositions and opinions that the Supreme Court should hear when it comes to this one or that one that you knew since they were born. I’m saying, “they are not the problem.” Once in a while – used to be 3x a day – they can be a pain in the neck. Is it the neck? But as grown folks, we realize that my family always has me, and if someone knows your stuff and still loves you, it doesn’t get any better. It’s time to call them up or go for a visit to say, Hey, how you doing. I just needed to check on you since you mean the world to me. Some of us have a few friends that fit in here too; and you are highly favored. The world outside of this love is closing in on some of us. So in response we have to gather our love nodes together and push outward. Like, go with your sibling to court, or to the doctor, or shopping, or to a restaurant, or to church or a movie, or to city council or to the concert, or to the park or for a walk down their block. For people who think they know you or your sister, they will see and think differently, because yall have the support that you need, and you can bring what you share to the larger world. What if a church did this? That would be newsworthy. The only response to the madness is the love response. So build your team of family and friends and let’s go. Hotep.

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This Road Here

This road here teaches something new to everyone on it. And those things that I learn will be no match for yours; for we are not the same. As one is unique, there is mystery in the other. No, don’t let your person be simplified or broken down to make it easier for another to understand. You have a place to go – a destination state and a new land, with passport in hand. Whether you travel by air, sea, rails or roads, enjoy the going all the way. It should feel different; because what you have to share, and how you do it touches everyone and everything, to make a singular impression. That is why there is no smile like yours, no beam of light to compete with the sparkle in your eyes. I have no comment though– any words sent from my mind to these lips are dissolved by emotions and only my eyes can speak for my heart as we meet. Give me a script or I will not know how to break the spell of grace revealed in your face. Can you? No, never mind. I knew no words would come.
This road is yours to travel in peace, even as trials beset on the left and on the right; you, indeed are a follower of the light. No one yet understands enough to approach (you) carefully, sincerely and with respect. At least will I recognize the spirit of the most high God (in you), step aside, and gather my thoughts. Your spirit is admired – a witness to mercy and grace – and available to all. Having turned right to go straight, your road is adorned with natural beauty on both the left and right. As you go, may His blessing be upon you by day and by night.

Peaceful Breathing

Peaceful Breathing
Here we are in what would be a most beautiful week this year. Leaves, colorful and bright, wave so long to you as they descend to the soil below. The curtain of nature’s summer display closes and at once we are introduced to the new season.
Is it any wonder why a tribe, family or community would want to ‘manage’ the information aka news that comes before its inhabitants and disrupts the tranquility of their moment to moment living. Shock and awe beset us from watches, phones and those bigger screens. My mother used to think that a computer could steal from you just by being in your house. And, of course she was right. Even boxed up in the closet, its potential to detract from her peace of mind was real.
So, the babies preparing for school today – 3rd, 4th and 5th graders, the smartest among us, and our very hope for survival 25 years from now – were attacked today; by news.
Adults today know very little about protecting their little ones, or themselves.
If we feel helpless, then why not tell your BFF at least. There is some catharsis in it. There is value to slowing down shocking and amazing events – be they great or tragic. It’s been a while since something awesomely wonderful happened. Let’s take the successful March on Washington, where Dr. Martin Luther King gave his “I have a dream” speech. A turning point in our nation’s history, and perhaps that of the world; but it likely took days or longer for that word to reach the poor, huddled masses where I lived.
Our parents and teachers were gatekeepers then. Do we even have gates anymore? You’d have to have your 12 year old explain to you how to use Parental Controls on your devices. To keep hope alive in these times is to do what many tribes and families and kin have done through the ages. It mattered not whether they could read the printed word, write symbols on wood or follow the controls on a screen. Their art and science was breathing. How to keep time, know joy, pain, sorrow and jubilation. War and peace alike obeyed the dictates of the breath. It is what makes us ‘living souls.’
At the speed of light, those babies and their siblings, parents and grands need to know that love abides with them, right now. Disrupt them not as they inhale the air around them. They should relax and enjoy what their immediate space has provided today. The great and tragic news from over yonder can wait.

Whom you will become

Whom you will become – |
I like the person you are right now. I like the sight of your face, your sound, your touch and even the scent that surrounds us when you are near– so soft and mild. Much of what preceded our encounter is over back there, behind the veil, in the shadow of days past, a time that may as well be fictional, for all I get to experience of it.
I feel my past, with its near misses and never forgets, along with the great triumphs and the survival of how many landings to earth from how ever high I fell at the speed of fate. I know those moments well; they dwell in what should be long, but is in fact, short term memory – a consciousness that always abides, because it seems I am empty without them. Relishing the old, warmed over always, my stories, even if they’re cruddy, dusty, rusty and molded. It is my past, not yours; and I will thank you to remember that. If I don’t wish to move forward and learn anew and rely on heaven to refresh my soul with the rebirth of God’s creative concern, then is it anyone’s business? Even the great things I have done belong to me; they do not belong to God.
Believers forget that, in as much as God is the Creator and source of me, the same One can also re-create me.
Still, you; you are a dream that I had a while ago. In it, there was someone whom I thought I had known–perhaps beyond time and space–that was nice and cute, but mostly unlike anyone I had ever met before; so, lovable. Now, every person has a past tense and a present tension. In our encounters, there is the present, and it’s cool and drama free for three hours straight. Oh yeah! great potential lies in what we can do together. But only today, did I happen to ponder whom you would become. That person in the shadows, behind the curtain of countless experiences already stored, ready to be dredged up from an ocean’s depth, is someone else – not the one I meet today. Unless you feel the need to bring it all to breakfast–since it is unresolved, let your light refrain from shining on it. For now, our menu is new to us; by Grace it is an image of hope.
Few faithful persons (of seasoned age) can say that we want to be who we were so many decades or years ago. Physically, of course. But I mean spiritually and emotionally. With gray hair and aching joints, I want to be better – so much better in here; and I need the Lord’s help so much. How about you? I need you to keep striving to develop past the events, emotions, trauma, explosions and meltdowns of the before. Please understand, I am asking not as an exceptional candidate for your hand or heart; but as a concerned citizen-to-be of the heavenly home where we all will live someday. Allow your spirit to grow ahead of the trip. Believers know that they must travel light; extra baggage costs more.
If we are to bond in a special way as friends, neighbors or even mimics of God’s passionate union of masculinity and femininity, please strive for your inner greatness; don’t settle for less. True love moves forward. It cannot bless a former path or a present managed just for the moment. It is for those newly becoming whom you (and I) will be, by the faultless love of the Original One.