Personal Freedom: Social Networking vs. The Borg

One of these represents the Borg, one the Internet, one is Picard, one is a BT telephone user. Hmmmm....

I just watched a video which covered many of the things I’ve been contemplating lately. I’ve always been an identity protection freak. I have been guilty of making a scene in public when someone tried to demand my social security number (when I knew it wasn’t necessary) before offering me a service or looking up an account.

I’ve been a freak about other things too…

When the education system wasn’t up to snuff, I pulled my kids out and educated them myself. If a store didn’t provide me with the service I needed, I walked out and spent my money (even if it cost more) elsewhere.

All of these things did little to change the system, the situation or the environment.

Mostly they just changed me into a skeptic (usually a pissed-off one) and complicated my life. It seems that nearly everything I did served only to make life harder. Some were worth the added complication (like my children), but most were not worth the price they exacted from my time, my tranquility, and the quality of my life.

I’ve recently decided to quit trying to change the world.

I’ve quit trying to control my environment. Instead, I’ve decided to only avoid being controlled. That may sound like the same thing, but it’s not. Trying to control other individuals and situations is always futile and is usually rude. Refusing to let others control you is difficult but possible and it doesn’t have to be anti-social.

First, I have to determine “what is me?”

Is my personal information “me” or is that only a series of labels people/companies/entities put on me? Are my thoughts “me?” Is my video collection and taste in media an identifying marker of “me?” — and should I remove my information from Pandora? Is how I’m spending my time this second me? Is that information “private” or is it something to be shared on Twitter? Are the people who are my friends private — or do I add them to Facebook? Where I go and what I do… is that something my iPhone should be allowed to track? A couple years ago, I’d say no to all of the above. And, I would have said it loudly.

Is my journal me? Are my musings (like this one) private thoughts, or should I blog them? Am I communicating and being more open (the way I like my software and the way I’d like my government to be) or am I divulging my own personal details to a degree that I’m too visible? Will I regret the new level of transparency I’ve started to adopt?

I’ve spent much of my life jousting windmills in the name of freedom. I’m tired. Even more important, I’m not sure that what I thought I was gaining is achievable or even desirable. And isn’t this how societies change… with broad, sweeping apathy following exhaustion? I think we are there.

Exhausted — politically, philosophically, personally

I’m not interested in being militant for its own sake (that’s the game for a much younger person… been there, done that… and I was in the minority even then. Most of my generation (at least the ones I knew) were sheep in their youth. Quiet sheep. I’ve always been the odd one for fighting the wind, pushing life uphill and raging against the machine.

Balancing my love of autonomy and communication with my passion for technology and “connectedness” has always been a saga of personal oxymorons. Determining how much I do is promoting my own freedom (the freedom to not struggle and fight everything in life) vs. selling my freedom (by accepting things that once let loose into the wild cannot be recaptured) is taking up too much of my mental energy.

View the Video

And, although the video on the Next 5000 days of the Internet is interesting and follows many of the positives of the connected society, it also screams the downfalls (even if the presenter doesn’t seem to notice.) And, Mr. Kelly? The word you are looking for (the replacement for the words “the one”) is “Borg.”

That is all. Rambling rant over… and out.

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