Thursday, March 26, 2009

Not a waste of time - Learn, baby, learn

To place this post in context, I'm at the age where I'm excited to be getting my social security checks starting in 2 months. Hah. I can remember when telephone answering machines were on the leading edge of technology. According to "In 1878, shortly after inventing his phonograph, Thomas Edison created a "top ten list" of uses of the phonograph. Number ten read: connection with the telephone ...." -

In the 1980s when the answering machine became popular for home and office, I remember hearing a resistance to change from a segment of the population (usually older, but not exclusively so) and was fascinated by people who adamantly refused ("I won't use those new-fangled machines") to make their life easier and more effective by using modern tools invented for that purpose.

I hear similar comments today in reference to the web ("I don't have a computer" "I don't do e-mail" "I don't use the internet"). It amazes me, and I wonder if these people now have an answering machine or voicemail. I wonder if the resistance goes beyond the web itself and applies to anything new across the board (new food, new restaurants, new fashion) or just to new inventions in the world of technology (cell phones, computers, internet and now .... new media, which includes social networking, blogging and the like).

It's okay these people exist. They have a right to their resistance. But oh my, what a different world this is becoming around them. Einstein said, “Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.” Although I'm not a proponent of "shoulds," I count my lucky stars I am rarely resistant to change. I embrace it, flow with it and choose to focus on the joy of discovery rather than the loss of the comfortable. Helen Keller said, "When one door closes, another opens."

I'm so very grateful to be alive at this time of global awareness and marvel at the speed of light with which we are coming together to make this a better world. I watch our new president, Barack Obama, blasting forward with one new thing after another and I hear (mostly older) people cry out, "He's doing too much, he's moving to fast ..." No people, he's a man of action, a man of integrity and he's a Web 2.0 kind of guy.
He's showing us what a new thing looks like, not just talking about it. He's on the leading edge and we get to come along for the ride. I don't know where all the changes will lead us as a world community, but make no mistake about it, things are changing. Fast.

If you hear a new term, a new idea, or talk of a new technology, you can always start by asking Google, the wizard of the web. One link leads to another and suddenly you're in the know. Then you can decide where to go from there and if you want to know more.

A few years ago my parents were visiting me in San Franciso from Miami. My parents are self-employed and have an export company selling building products (Florida International Trading of Miami). My mom used my computer to check her e-mail and noticed an inquiry from a customer in the Caribbean which sounded big. My dad (who doesn't do much online except play bridge and read the VMB611 WWII veterans webpage) felt anxious about the fact that he wouldn't be back in Miami for two weeks and therefore he assumed he would lose the sale. I took a look at the e-mail, found a few words I could search on, did my Google search and voila! found the page in a suppliers catalog that was the exact thing he would have used in his home office to gather the information for the quote. This took all of five minutes. He was amazed and relieved. He put the quote together which my mom then e-mailed to the client and the sale was a done deal.

The internet makes things easier, saves time, and is FOR you, not against you. One of my spiritual teachers (John-Roger) has said for years and years, "If it works for you, use it. If it doesn't, let it go." However, if you never try it you can't find out if it's going to work for you or not.

-Raphaella Vaisseau,

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