Beyond the universe as we know it, there is another me. That universe may be separated from ours by space or simply by dimension. The “other me” may not look exactly like me. She may or may not be married, may or may not have children, may or may not be a lawyer… It might sound like something straight out of “Fringe”—that science fiction TV series that made my everyone in my family loyal fans of actor James Noble. The existence of a parallel universes or even multiverse is a topic where fiction has been way, waaaaayyyy ahead of science (probably the earliest fiction with a parallel universe/multiverse theme is “The Blazing World” by Margaret Cavendish, circa 1666) but science is catching up.
It bothers me how people can share articles and news items on Facebook and Twitter without having read the linked article at all. Worse, the shares come with their rabid comments. Seriously, people, how can you comment on something you haven’t read?
There is always the excuse that their mobile plans don’t include free or unlimited data transfer so they are unable to click and read.
Then, why share if you haven’t read? Facebook does not require users to share everything they see on their friends’ news feeds. Still, they do. Itchy fingers. I thought it was the height of stupidity and irresponsibility.
Today, I came across something even worse. A friend shared an article about a “dead whale” sprawled on the shore. The mouth was open and inside was more plastic junk than anyone cares to see.
Two friends of my friend commented.
It’s been a joke in my family how I always leave food on my plate. Not a lot. A tablespoonful of rice, two or three peas, a sliver of meat… It’s even true when I drink coffee—there’s always a teaspoonful of liquid left by the time I put my cup in the kitchen sink.
It’s not something I did willfully. Until recently, it was a subconscious thing. Until I thought hard about the WHY. The best answer I could come up with—it’s my way of rebelling against all the silly rules from my childhood. On the dinner table, it was always, “Finish your food and don’t be wasteful; there are a lot of hungry people in the world.” The rule is the same with drinking water. “Finish what’s in your glass because there are places in the world where they don’t clean have water to drink.”
I was a child. Until you get to that age when you realize that not all grownups are wise, you don’t question rules like that. You follow. But like any child, I grew up. But unlike the grownups who never questioned the logic of the silly rules they imposed, I learned that whether or not I leave food on my plate or water in my glass won’t help feed poor people nor give them better access to clean water.
Between this blog and the two food blogs, I’ve written 3,279,600 words over the 13 years that I have been blogging. And that’s a conservative estimate because I arrived at the total word count by multiplying the total number of posts by 600 which is kind of low because about 40 per cent of my blog posts are over 1,000 words long. And that doesn’t include the articles I wrote for about.com during the year and a half that I was the Southeast Asian Food “expert”.
The thing is, after churning out over three million words, I seem to have lost my ability to “write about anything” (as a friend once commented). Perhaps, it’s the result of focusing on the food blogs. One can only insert so much food porn-y words in every recipe. And, for most readers (“scanners” might be a more appropriate term because web readers these days merely scan rather than read in the real sense of the word), waxing poetic about the virtues of sugar over artificial sweeteners is the surest way to get them to leave.
In the same manner, writing passionately to convince people to be smart enough not to fall for every “scientific research” because most are paid for by entities that stand to benefit from pre-determined results is just getting “blank stares” from most readers.
The truth is, in an age when people respond more to clickbait-y titles, sound bytes and 40-second videos, writing seems to have lost its place in the world wide web where the meaning of “content is king” has been re-defined too much and too fast.
For people like me who use words to make people “see”, “hear” and even “feel”, that hurts. Believe me, the temptation to go with the bandwagon and re-package the blogs was tremendous. I even thought of a fake news web site (I went so far as to register a domain) which is truly fashionable these days. In the end, I couldn’t. Even if writing a fake news site can be considered writing at all, that’s stooping so low.
But I miss writing beyond making a list of ingredients and describing a cooking procedure.
The significance of this post won’t be apparent unless you read the previous one — the one about school pride and how the mediocre will use his status as alumnus of a prestigious school, and the connections he gained in that school, in order to make it big.
Well, it appears that there is a study that supports my observation. I was browsing and I came across an article on IFLScience about how humans have been evolving (I’d use the word “mutating” which is really more accurate but that will make us humans sound like bacteria). One of the ways by which humans has evolved has to do with the shrinking brain. Yep, the Cro-Magnon man had a bigger brain.
That does mean people are getting dumber and dumber, and the dumbing down is inevitable?
So, there’s a blog post getting virally shared on social media. The post was originally written as a homily by a priest who calls himself Fr. J. The title of the blog post is “Do You Have an Ateneo Blue Ego?” I saw the link on the Facebook wall of an Atenean, I read the full article, and…
I rarely agree with anything that priests say (especially if they are bishops active with the CBCP) but there is one part of the post that is worth mulling over.
There’s nothing wrong with school pride; it’s a wonderful virtue to celebrate at graduations and sports competitions. But if it’s taken way too seriously–as it sometimes is, one could get carried away and end up carrying it beyond the occasions where it properly belongs. A healthy dose of school pride could morph into a subtle and dangerous sense of self-entitlement based on nothing but one’s diploma.
I agree. But I disagree that it has anything to do with the alleged “constant striving for excellence that the Jesuits encourage us to engage in ad majorem Dei gloriam (or in English, ‘for the greater glory of God’).”
The twisted extension of school pride to ridiculous lengths is true with students, faculty and alumni of almost every school — and not just colleges and universities but even high schools and grade schools. It is especially strong among alumni who, figuratively speaking, seem to be wearing their diploma on their forehead all the time. I know a lot of people (I said A LOT and that means NOT ALL) who define their self-worth by the social status of the school that they go to or have graduated from.
It has always bothered me how people on Facebook can like/react to links based on the headline alone and obviously without reading and comprehending the full text of the article linked to.
A friend told me once it has to do with the unholy alliance between Facebook and the local telco, Smart ‐ free data to post/browse/interact on Facebook but clicking links to external sites are not covered by the free data. Result — people liking/reacting/sharing linked articles without having read them.
So, yesterday, I did a little experiment. I looked for posts against the burial of Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani and posted as replies the links to RA 289 and the Philippine Star article from my previous blog entry. The results were mixed but mostly predictable.
Competing with the world’s best — and winning — is a high that is hard to match. Still, I have mixed feelings about the Olympic Games.
What may have started out a series of friendly competitions has led to a show of power among nations as to which can produce the best, the fastest and the strongest. All of which, of course, take more than natural talent. It takes money and years of professional training to produce world-class athletes.
In some countries, the money and training are provided for by the government to promising youth. The problem is that these youth hardly ever experience youth. Children spend years in training and miss all the fun of being children.
A matter of preference, I suppose. And in the case of gifted athletes coming from poor families, it’s an opportunity to live and eat decently at no cost to their parents.
But all of that is really an aside. This is about one of the themes of the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics — the environment.
I posted a recipe for meatless lumpiang togue (spring rolls with mung bean sprouts) and the memories came flooding in.