Category Archives for "Philosophical"

Musings about the human condition, life and it’s mysteries. I’m intrigued by the passion of humans to hold onto beliefs, even when they seem apparently irrational. What makes us moral? How can we be better human beings.

January 6, 2015

Staying Young

I had the pleasure just before Christmas of having my nephews come to visit, David and Luke. They paid me a treasured compliment. They said I ‘seemed young’. Woo hoo!

It caused me to ponder why that might be. Here are a few thoughts …

Firstly it could be because I’ve come to accept that my generation’s values are different to those of the current generation … not ‘better’. Every generation has unique challenges – pros and cons to being born at that time. There is no better or worse there just is.
(As an aside and if you are interested in this topic, here is a great article Zoë and Mel shared with me recently that puts it all in beautiful context. http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/3930620).

Secondly, I recognise that my children can teach me things … that they are quite likely to know more than me on many given topics. It’s my observation that as we age its easier than ever to become dogmatic. C’mon we’ve had decades to try things out and think about things! It’s easy to slip into that sense of superiority that we know things the younger generation don’t. Big mistake. I believe indulging ourselves in this way inhibits our ability to listen to and communicate with them … sets us apart from them and creates the generation gap, I guess.

Thirdly, I’m able to accept my children as young adults with thoughts, perceptions, feelings and conclusions that may be similar to mine or different. Either way is okay. At some point I accepted that they were responsible for themselves (during their teenage years). It wasn’t my job to train them anymore. Of course it is lovely when they come for advice or to talk things over, but in the end I respect the decisions they make in their lives.

Is this why my nephew’s perceived me as ‘young’? I wonder.

Perhaps it’s because I try on some level to embrace some of the emerging thinking and changing cultural values, despite my baby boomer conditioning.

Perhaps it’s all a mix that just comes out as ‘me’.

I’d love to know your thoughts.

 

Cow-power or Man-power?

We were out moving some heifers last week … trying to give them access to the little feed we have left. I had 60-odd of them grouped under a tree a few metres away from the gate I wanted them to go through.

I moved around as usual on the bike, beeping the horn, trying to encourage them to move off. They just kept looking at me and milling around.

Chris came up a few minutes later on the bike. They responded immediately and took off through the gate … before he had even come right up on them!

What is that? Man-power or some sort of special Cow-power? I don’t know, but I wish I had it.

It actually fascinates me. Is it his expectation that they will move when he arrives? Is it his belief in himself as a competent musterer? How does all that work?

I don’t know, but I wish someone would tell me how I could get it … well I have a bit, but I want more.

 

October 21, 2014

Viral Advertising

Gone Viral

I had cause to strike up a conversation last week with my son and his wife about viral advertising.

Viral advertising is brand and product advertising cleverly disguised as entertainment. If successful, it is propagated (at no cost to the creator) via social media platforms by often unsuspecting individuals, that is, by people who don’t realise that by sharing the content, they have effectively become the advertising medium.

Below is an example by Coca Cola (and yes, it pains me to share it, even to demonstrate my point … aaaarrgh!). It’s a 2 minute video.

In our conversation, I expressed my reaction when someone sends me such a link. I might look at it but once I realise it’s viral advertising, I stop and delete it. I very rarely, almost NEVER pass it on or share it.

They were really surprised as they felt it quite natural to share something funny or clever regardless that it was promoting a brand. They felt they might even want to support and promote a brand they liked. I listened openly as I always do, trying to understand and appreciate the changing values of the younger generation.

But I had cause for reflection. My concern is around the attempted invisibility of the advertising, the cloaking of consumerism as entertainment. The clever fairly seamless distribution, engaging willful actions of a public largely unaware of the impact of their actions. It makes me feel uneasy.

Is it really that harmful? Where is it leading us? Does it empower corporations to infiltrate our everyday life in ways we never imagined before? Or is it simply a mechanism to affirm the brand commitments we already hold for goods and services we want to avail ourselves of anyway?

Love to hear what you think?

February 5, 2014

Change is in the Wind

The Lodge

The Lodge

Have you ever thought much about the generational gap? Does it really exist in this information age with new emerging technologies?

This Christmas just gone, Chris and I had the extreme pleasure of flying across the globe to spend a week with our four children, their partners and our grandchildren in the Arctic Circle in northern Finland. We stayed together in a “lodge”. We planned the event over three years and were thrilled to have such a special, treasured opportunity.

It was the first time we had all been together in the one dwelling with our children as adults, the eldest 32 and the youngest 24, with their partners. There was much to think about when I came home, most of it warm family memories. But I was also moved to contemplate my role in life as grandmother, anew.

Uncle Danny

Uncle Danny

I’m 56 now, a well-adjusted empty-nester. I pride myself on staying abreast of change and remaining relevant to the younger generation. I accept changing cultural values as inevitable, embrace them even. I perceive my children as being not much different from me, though I’ve been aware at times that they may not share this same sense of equality. It seemed easy to delude myself … because deluding myself I was.

Being with the family for such an intensive period was actually a little confronting. For the first part, both Chris and I were a little shocked at the change in our social status within our “tribe”. Chris really put his finger on it when we got home. They don’tneed us anymore. Wow. That’s good, but also confronting.

Warm Family memories

Warm Family memories

But further reflection on the week had the impact of unveiling my delusion that the generational gap didn’t really exist for me. It is as wide and broad as it has always been and I’ve been extremely naive to think that it wasn’t. Of course the kids were never under any such delusions.

The best example I can think to demonstrate the point is … it’s all in the ‘wind’. Wind is a topic my generation is most likely to avoid and yet it’s a topic our children don’t avoid, but accept openly. Actually they haven’t even grown out of finding it hilariously funny! Of course I’m talking about … farting!

I’ve witnessed this change and thought I’d accepted it openly as I watched the younger generation’s open honesty about their bodily functions. They give due warning when unpleasant smells are involved, display a willingness to take ownership for the most part, when accusations are raised. It all seems so much healthier than our ‘pretend it didn’t happen’ approach which borders on complete denial. ‘Fart’ was a very rude word, even taboo, when I grew up. Even now, though its usage is pervasive, the word still grates.

After living with our children for a week, I came away realising that while I accept these changing cultural practices and am no doubt more relaxed than my parents, I don’t really partake in them. I continue to stoically remain in the tradition in which I was raised. The children, sensing our different perspective, never really share with us the same way they share with each other. It’s an instinct, I guess. (Wasn’t I the same? … der!)

New Year's Eve Antics

New Year’s Eve Antics

So there you have it … the generational gap. It’s alive and kicking and always will be. I’m sure my kids were never in any doubt, more fool me.
The experience made me think about how we must so imbibe the value systems of our time as we grow up that they become part of our fibre. (No wonder the social science research centres identify unique names for each generation.) Of course I acknowledge that it must be possible to change but … it’s darned hard, harder than I realised. Perhaps it’s not worth the effort for such a relatively trivial topic … or is it? I wonder if I had the courage to pull down some old boundaries, where it might lead? Do I want to? Should I?

No, I’ve elected to remain comfortably settled in my Baby Boomber status. I will never breach the generational gap … and that’s okay. It’s the natural order of things. But, I still can’t help wondering how far the next generation might take this freedom of expression? I hope I at least get a peak, as it will be very interesting to see indeed.

Life goes on and though changing cultural values emerge with each generation, the fact that the older generation struggle to adapt, shall never change.
In the meantime, I shall remain as open and communicative a Baby Boomer as possible.

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