Beautiful July morning--I picked some purple beans with hues so deep and warm I wandered back to childhood. My fingers slipped through the vines knew what to do. There is unspeakable pleasure when we do what we are designed to do.
The first tomatoes are ripe now--tumescent with life. Four months ago they were tiny tufts of seeds I tucked into peat moss. My fingers knew what to do.
On mornings like this, one should avoid finiteness. The world holds wonderful and infinite complexity.
Alas, I'm an idiot, and logged into the internet.
I've given up Twitter before, and may give it up a few dozen times before I get it right. I follow teachie/techie type folks, and learn a lot. Today, perhaps, I learned my most important lesson. This was not it:
To folks who scream they don’t want private lives online:
Maybe you should just try to be a better person.
I am pretty much the same online as off. My Twitter account is "M_K_Doyle," not exactly a pseudonym. I
I immediately let all 7 folks who follow me that I found that tweet scary. I tracked it down to Bud the Teacher, a marvelous edublogger. He clarifies his position a tad, but he's still scary.
And I think my public persona,
person I am at work and in the world,
be it the store, or church, or at the park or anywhere else, should be the same public persona online.Bud Hunt, "On modeling," Bud the Teacher
Here’s the problem, and where modeling matters. We have multiple levels of intimacy/behavior in different settings.
What I say to a colleague in an elevator may be different than what I say to her in a pew, both public spaces by Hunt's example. The database searching capabilities have smashed our online personae into an extremely public figure–one with a megaphone screaming at anyone who cares to listen.
Part of becoming an adult is learning situational awareness. Lumping our online persona into some common public space sounds great, but there is no single layer of “public” in our real lives. (It’s like “global awareness,” another impossible task that sounds so cool.)
In our online lives we shake off the limitations of our physical selves, perhaps even our names and consciences, too. What remains are the fundamentals: human beings, human conversations, human communities. To say that "reality" includes only offline beings, offline conversations and offline communities is to say that face-to-face matters more than human-to-human.
I keep hoping to see "America's finest news source, The Onion" at the bottom, maybe the Harvard Lampoon.
My conscience, my name, my physical self is all human. The slight resistance feel as I pull a ripe tomato off the vine, its sensuousness as it rests alive in my palm, is part of who I am.
Face to face evoke all kinds of humanness, not all visual. My neighbor's aromas just beneath our consciousness, his growly gut, the preliminary hug or handshake--all involve a complexity and richness online cannot capture.
There is more complexity in a spoonful of the soil around my tomato plant that can be found on the whole of internet. We kid ourselves when we float on the web, amusing ourselves like bored kids throwing rocks at windows, passing time until we die.
Because we all die. Even if our web personae live on and on....