Posts Tagged ‘ choice ’
While I’m not absolutely certain “rules” are the answer to the world’s tough problems, be those rules gun control, or mandatory mental illness screening of high school students (as I heard Dave Cullen, author of the book Columbine suggest on NPR’s live coverage yesterday), or this interesting one — enforcing politeness — which predated the tragedy in CT. I *do*, however, find the latter’s poll finding that “60 percent of French list bad manners as their #1 cause of stress” very humbling. That and the words attributed to Mahatma Gandhi are getting me through today.
We must be the change we wish to see in the world
Now, I know I have not secured my everlasting privacy. The internet is both permanently public in one sense (data is forever and no longer my own) , and publicly private in another (there is so much out there, my contributions are likely to go unnoticed anyway). But my hope was to begin sorting out my online lives a little more clearly into basic camps of what I want to share and what I want to store. I am also not giving up Google entirely. I am keeping my Gmail account and the services for which I’ve used that email to register. But in order to disassociate it from my daily searching and reading (that I prefer to keep somewhat private), I had to figure out a new browser, search engine, and reader. So, here’s the end results and what I learned in the process.
Google Bookmarks –> Evernote
I had tried Evernote as a personal notetaking, to-do list keeper, and potential research ideas storage/organizer. So, I decided to add my bookmarking there. Because I wanted to clean them up in the process, I manually reviewed, moved and tag-categorized over 150 sites. I’m not totally jazzed with the default display, but I’m still learning and feel like there is plenty of flexibility.
Google Reader –> Netvibes
I took Sense and Reference’s suggestion for Netvibes as a reader alternative to Google Reader. Along with a good take on what the Google privacy changes mean, you can see his full Google alternative recommendations here. I like Netvibes both visually and organizationally. And it seems, like Evernote, to have much more to explore.
Firefox and Chrome (Google Lite)
To take EFF’s recommendation to separate my search from my service, I had to really think through how I work in the day. Ultimately, I went back to Firefox as my default browser and giving it my home page for work, my bookmarks, and my reader. I kept Google Chrome, opening it to my Gmail, Twitter, and this blog (which I might reconsider — I’m blogging right now intentionally not yet signed into my Google accounts.). Luckily, I have two screens so I can visually keep these browser universes separate. Although, I’ll probably have to put a big post it note on the Chrome screen that reminds me DO NOT SEARCH IN GOOGLE CHROME!
Sidebar on dual monitors (in Ferris Bueller voice): “It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking [another] one up.”
Google Search –> Duck Duck Go
Google+ –> Facebook (for now)
Finally, I cancelled my Google+ account which wasn’t much of anything anyway. When it asked why I was deciding to leave, I should have said: “Your algorithm can probably figure that one out.”
I’m sure I’ve got still got some blind spots in this whole thing. So, please feel free to educate me, especially since next up is Facebook timeline .
Discovered this presentation by Barry Schwartz on the paradox of choice via STEPHEN J. DUBNER‘s Freakanomics article that proposes its probably really more about complexity than choice that causes us problems. Haven’t read yet Tim Hartford’s piece in the Financial Times that persuaded Dubner. But, more on this later.
Reading more from the Utne articles about choices, I found other interesting connections that I have discussed separately in my journal in and in class. Karen Olson admits the cause of out anxiety may be cultural or it may be fear. Phillip Moffitt of the Yoga Journal coined the post-September 11 societal climate as an Age of Fear.
My mom is a psychologist who is completing her doctoral thesis on post-traumatic stress disorder. Her take on this goes beyond the definitions I (and perhaps others) assume that it is a post war disorder, discovered or studies primarily in veteran soldiers. She takes it further account for victims of child abuse (physical, sexual, and emotional), car accident survivors, those who have experienced the death of a loved one, divorce or any other significantly traumatic event. Friends and I were discussing this and the tie to September 11th, that the entire country is likely suffering from the traumatic event of that day, from the atrocity our government’s response, from the fact that the worldwide protests against the war in Iraq were dismissed, and we can be described as suffering from this in the form of post-traumatic stress disorder. If you have never read about post-traumatic stress disorder cases (I’m thinking of my own experience just from watching a war movie once), imagine a victim incapable of normal daily communication function, suffering from outburst of emotion, flashbacks, nightmares, etc., living in fear of their memories and experience. This seems to be where many of us are today. Helpless. Helplessly hoping that some vague movement of truth will prevail that will give us a new president in the next election (at least this is what my group of friends were discussing). But the vague feeling exists I think on a larger scale. People are traumatized to the point where they cannot find solutions. The ultimate suffering might be that we hope, but we have lost the ability to know how achieve results.
That seems to match the state the Karen Olson describes, that our multiplicity of choice has caused so much anxiety, that not making a decision gives the impression of weakness. It is in a sense a weakness. But to view that weakness as a negative trait is characteristic of and compounds the problem itself.