Is Commitment a thing of the past?

I enjoy reading a blog called Satisfying Retirement, it is written quite well and it has a lot of great information, not just about retirement but also offering a great point of view of the world from a retiree’s perspective. The blog is both honest and candid about a lot of topics.

One of the articles that I enjoyed reading quite a bit was about commitment. With the economy the way it is looking, not just in the US but globally, it really makes you want to look for causes. I don’t want to look for someone or something to blame, but more of what behaviors can really affect the overall way we live.

I found that one of the biggest culprits is the lack of commitment in everything from relationships to people doing what they say they are going to do.

It was eye opening the first time I found out that there are people that will tell you that they will do something just so that they can get you off their back. Even though the have no intention of doing what it is that you are asking or suggesting, they just agree. The funny thing is that this culture is a lot more strict about communication in this sense. For example, in India, a yes means, I will try and you hardly ever hear a no to reply to a request. In this society, when you say yes it means I will do it. At least I thought it was supposed to.

Is this a value that has been eroded? Is bending the rules also part of the general consensus?

Follow my train of thought for a minute or two. The moment that the individual thinks of a commitment as something that can be broken, it is the moment that a system fails. Systems function based on rules. When you say something you are supposed to mean it, if not, then there is no accountability.

The post in Satisfying Retirement was more about how inconvenient it can be when business and people don’t respect a schedule, but this same thing permeates everything that we do. I have watched some documentaries about the economy recently and they all seem to have the common theme of not rule breaking, but lets see how much we can bend the rules. Eventually the rules just don’t apply and it turns into, lets see how much we can get away with.

I have also had interactions with people that love to see how far they can push others. They find it interesting to find others breaking points. To me this behaviors shows a lack of respect and it affects everything else in life. How about you, do you trust people’s word anymore? is that someone you value?

The Revenge of the Nerdz, I got your face!

Recently I have noticed something very strange. I am not as paranoid as I thought I was. Maybe it is because everyone around me is becoming more and more paranoid about the internet and facebook in particular, but I seem almost ok with what they have been doing. If you have no clue of what I am talking about, in a nutshell facebook has software that will allow it to be able to tell who is on every picture you post by recognizing the faces. Don’t panic, you can turn it off.

I am a geek, I read a lot of tech streams and find out about a lot of things before other people do. The biggest one lately though was the whole facebook timeline that was only available to users that were developers. It made me realize that this new world is probably scary to people without the computer competency required to understand privacy. What is worse is that some people don’t even know they should be scared.

I recently played a bit with the google image search. If you search for an image and you find one that looks like what you are looking for, drag and drop that image into the search bar and instead of searching for a word it will search for a similar image. Ebay is releasing something similar, so you can take a picture of what you want and find it on Ebay. Right from your phone.

You say, OMG that is so cool!

Wait a minute though. That is the same technology that is going to make it so scary to live in this new digital world. Face recognition software has been out for a while now, but most people don’t understand how powerful and intrusive it really is. You think your car telling a company where you are at all times and how speed you are going is intrusive? think about software that can recognize your faces so any time you are near a camera it can do the same thing. No GPS, no need to carry a phone, nope just showing your face will get you identified!

I learned something new not too long ago. There are a lot of people that don’t use the banking system and rely on cash. That was a surprise to me. Most of the people I know have a bank account, even more so do online banking. It was bizarre to have to think that there are people that still stuff their mattress.

Its not scary to me, it does not make me paranoid. I just don’t think that most people are aware of that. The government has had the technology to do this for a while, but now corporations have it too.

I think this information should be available to all, and users when signing up for a service should get a tour of the privacy settings. Also you should be prompted by the software when something is released that has a privacy setting attached to it.

I assume that most people know a lot of this information, but every time I have a conversation lately people don’t know that facebook knows who they are even when someone else uploads a picture. I get incredulous, no “f*ing” way. Oh YES way.

Addicted to Competition

Recently I read a quote that I have heard many times before.

“The rest of the world has culture, America has sports.”

Apart from the annoying thing that it is to have the United States just claim the whole continent; “Even someone born in the Patagonia is still American” the US has a real hard time getting their heads around what the culture here is. I mean, not like it is not annoying enough that American sports claims to have the “World” champions in so many sports. The more I try to explore the topic, the more it comes back to competition, individualism and in some extreme ways to look at it as narcissism.

The other conversations I have been having recently lead me to believe that more and more people don’t understand what it takes or don’t want to become adults. It is an interesting concept and I have seen it all my life. The taglines for this blog at one point was “just a child stuck in adulthood.” A lot of people told me that I had to grow up fast, or that I grew up too fast.

Considering myself an adult is something recent to me, and marriage did not do it… what actually did it was having to face the death of those around me and when the people I consider adults started to look at me for answers or advice. It was a weird feeling, and honestly I don’t know if I really like being an adult all that much. Responsibility is a tricky thing, and most of the time not a pleasant one.

Trying to anthropomorphize the United States to make a point seems valid in the discussion. If we look at the 60s and 70s as the teenage years, why does it seem like the country never came of age?

Is it because we have a nation of children that want to be taken care of at every corner? or is it because being a responsible adult is just not part of the fabric of this country any longer.

I think one of the basic principles in the culture of Colombia comes down to a simple proverb,

“El vivo vive del bobo” a good translation is almost impossible, “The clever lives of the simple minded (or dumb)” just does not encapsulate all the meaning that the phrase has for those that group up with it. It begins to teach you at a very young age that you will be taken advantage of unless you wise up. It does not have anything to do with competition though.

I was already a teenager when I moved to the US and not growing up in an average American household I have no idea what little proverbs were used to teach kids lessons. I do know what Hollywood always portrays… the rise of the underdog. The geek has to beat the quarterback at something to get the girl right?

I do think competition is good, but I don’t think it should be the only way to interact with other people. I have seen it ruin many of my relationships. Compromise is laughed at because there always has to be a loser.

I don’t hate sports, I actually love that many sports do teach a lot of lessons to kids about teamwork and sportsmanlike conduct. But what about those people that don’t get to play sports, where do they pick up those skills?

The next topic I want to discuss is chess and my love of that game. Even though the game is all about beating your opponent I think it does a lot for not just critical thinking but teaching healthy competition. Failure should not deter you from trying, it should make you want to try harder.

Is American culture just a mirror of what sports culture is like? only one winner, only one “World” champion?

Letting Others Think For You

The other day I was reading a blog and I came into a piece of writing that shocked me. I am totally going to paraphrase in the off chance that someone can actually trace it back to the post (and therefore the person)

“I continued to watch the show because it is one of the shows that smart people watch, even though I did not get the humor; I would try to laugh and I was going to force myself to enjoy it.”

Now, discarding the fact that it could be a complete BS blog written just to mess with people’s head (it kind of messed with mine if you could not already tell.) Would someone actually make themselves “like” something because others do?

I know I have done plenty of things that I did not want to do, and I do admit that sometimes I am wrong on judging stuff that I am going to enjoy. Forcing myself to like something though to be part of a perceived group of people though? That sounds more than a little bizarre for me. Isn’t kind of figuring out what you like and don’t part of developing a personality.

I guess every time that I go to a romantic comedy with Bea it is a similar exercise. I think the success rate of them is about 50% in not making me want the 2 hours of my life back. Overall I hate romantic comedies because they do to promote false sense of what relationships should be. I have an awesome relationship with my wife; but I am not that perfect dude from the movies. I don’t think that perfect dude really exists. That is what they sell… and people actually fall for it. I think some people that have a lot of issues dating are because they have built unrealistic expectation of that the ideal person should be; and yes I do sometimes blame romantic comedies for that.

The more I thought about it, the more we do try to like things that those around us enjoy. We read movie reviews, we listen to the critics, now social media makes it so our friends can also start sharing more and more of their opinions and probably having more influence in our likes and dislikes.

I guess the process can be mostly unconscious, my friends like something so I should find what it is that they like and try to enjoy it. I guess the part that freaks me out is thinking that if a certain group or type of people like something, then if I want to be like them I have to make myself enjoy what they do. Like if somehow I watch the discovery channel I will now become a scientist. Its just delusional. Is that what the newer generations are like? Do people really want to be told what to like? Do people really believe that personality traits via osmosis works in higher beings?

Da Bears

I try not to be one of those fans that panics after every game. Yesterday Da Bears defense encountered Cam Newton and allowed him 543 yards. The guy is an amazing talent, and the defense did stop him in the red zone, but overall it made many people concerned, including me.

Ulracher and Briggs are getting older, so is Tillman. I am a big fan of Ulracher and to see him do what he did the first couple of games was very gratifying as a fan, but football is a game of youth and physical punishment. I want them all to stay healthy and win the SuperBowl that they all deserve.

Being a Bears fan, makes you watch the defense more than the offense. For the years that I have been rooting for them it has been more about hoping that the offense does not screw up, than wanting the to do good. Cutler has an impressive arm, but without a good o-line it does not look like he has the confidence (or desire to get hit) to really get where he needs to be.

Yesterday we finally saw a running game and hopefully paved the way for Forte to get paid. I honestly wish that they continue to build the game around the running game and let the passing game grow from it. I am sure Martz is not all about the run, but who knows… I don’t think we have seen what the guy can do because not many of the plays end up developing.

You have to wonder if the coach is capable of just playing with what he has rather than having to make the players fit into X-Os.

A win is a win, and I love to believe that every season is the season. I think we have what it takes, but I hope that using the running game was not just a one game thing. I also hope that our defense can stay healthy and stop talent like Can Newton in the future. We cannot let the Lions beat us. Plus we do have Devin Hester returning balls, did you see that! That is number 11 if you were not counting.