Words Get In The Way

What’s in a name?  Companies have taken words that once had meaning in our lives and used them to brand their business and products.  Not only that, but they have copyrighted these words so that nobody else can use them for their own business.  Language has become, essentially, for sale!  I was born in an era where I thought the names of products were just that; the name of a product!  It’s only when I grew older and began hearing those product names in sentences that I realize they actually had meaning.  Take, for example, a shampoo called Finesse.  When I was younger I would see commercials for this shampoo and it consisted primarily of beautiful white women waving their hair around and rounding up with a bottle with the word ‘Finesse’ on it.  I thought finesse was limited to the brand of a shampoo.  I bring this example up because I received an email from my boss last week asking me to use finesse when dealing with a particular client.  The first thing that came to my mind when I read that request was shampoo.  

Modern Language

Language is undoubtedly the most powerful and influential medium of our time.  We use words to express our intentions.  This could be anything from telling a story to disciplining our children.  Words have the ability to uplift as well as destroy relationships, yet we have created mechanisms to distort language to suit our perceptions.  Take, for example, texting and email.  How many times have you sent an email or text only to have it misinterpreted?  People will only perceive written words based on where they are, emotionally, at the time of reading.  We have bastardized our primary form of communication by taking the feeling out of it and leaving much to the interpretation of the recipient.  
How can we begin to overcome this in our modern life, when the proliferation of communication is actively at play?  For one, we can use more emoticons!  These seemingly silly, playful little pictures are far more effective and conveying a response while mitigating the risk of misinterpretation.  Why do you think they have become increasingly popular over the years?  It’s much easier to send an emotion across than to try to wrap every little feeling up in words.  Lets think about non-verbal communication.  Have you ever just sat around with a friend for hours and said nothing, yet ended up having the best time of your life?  If you haven’t, try it.  Schedule some time with your best friend, your significant other, or even your SELF, and don’t say a word.  A shining example of the effectiveness of non-verbal communication is the beautiful relationship we have with our pets.  Sure, we talk to them sometimes but most of the time we are just in each other’s presence, fulfilled with the idea that there is mutual love and non-judgment.  I was at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met) the other day in the Ancient Egypt exhibit looking at hieroglyphics.  Egyptians used pictures to covey messages and we are now moving that same direction.  Just look at the popularity of instagram and snapchat.  Twitter might limit your character limit on a tween but pictures, and videos, are worth a thousand words!  

Social Media Rockstars

Instagrammers and Snapchatters with ginormous amounts of followers have come to be known as ‘Influencers’.  I learned this last winter when I was enjoying some coffee inside the lobby of the Ace Hotel talking to a friend about another friend who was looking to hire a social media manager for his newly renovated hotel in Times Square.  A young man sitting nearby overheard our conversation and chimed in stating that his brother is a social media influencer and looking for full time work.  This was the first time I heard this term and was intrigued.  If you amass a great following on social media you can actually sell out your authentic self online and get paid by corporations for influencing those who follow you.  Circling back to my claim that corporations are trademarking words, they are also buying out some of the more popular people you might follow on instagram and other related social media applications.  People know this, yet they are not bothered by it.  Like any good marketing campaign, the money goes into making sure you don’t realize that you are being programmed.  When you scroll through a feed and see something related to marketing for a brand you are, on a subconscious level, being fed a message.  

From Follower to Leader

We now have a problem not only with words being capitalized upon but our social media heroes.  What is a person to do?  A good start is to be aware of this.  If your influences change from authentic to corporate you could find others.  They may soon sell out which brings you back to square one.  In this case, why not be the influence?  Why not self-educate and live to your fullest potential so that your life becomes one big hodgepodge of super videos, pictures, and status messages?  You will be living so large that you won’t have time to follow anyone.  Instead, people would follow you.  You can be that good.  I believe in you!

Progress and Human Consciousness

I grew up before we had the internet.  I recall being a Freshman in University when I first learned about the world wide web.  It was fascinating, and completely out of control.  Web sites were ill-designed and obnoxious while IRC chat rooms unleashed the keyboard warrior in many a introvert.  It was indeed a very interesting time.  I would equate it to walking into a candy store with more candy than you could ever conceive and not knowing where to start.  As we began to get our bearings with how to utilize the internet the technology jolted ahead at full speed.  I remember writing papers in college about various technologies that were obsolete within a few short years.  Social media platforms like Friendster and Facebook refined the interface and processes of IRC, including the ability to add pictures.  This resulted in us being more connected as a planet than we had ever been before.

Playing Catch Up

Although technology has advanced it still feels like we are struggling to understand how to use it.  Now that we can access the internet on our mobile phones there is really no getting away from the abundance in the web.  Every day I learn about a startup company designing a new app that is meant to make our lives easier and more convenient in some way.  Laziness is the fuel for these innovative designs!  The world wants so much more without having to work hard for it.  Is this a blessing or a curse?  Are we headed towards a society that is completely dependent upon technology to function?

Tribal Times

It was only 400 years ago that humans who inhabited this great country were deeply connected to nature and in tune with its song.  Communities thrived as the expansion of human consciousness was revered.  The tribal warriors of that time relied on their potential.  They cultivated what was needed for themselves and their tribe from within and lived a life of awareness and glory.  The men of those days protected their women and made every effort to provide for them.  Nowadays I see men getting pedicures and speaking about women as though they are objects.  I am not placing blame on men for this transformation, as it works both ways.  I am simply pointing out the dramatic change on every level that can take place in the matter of a few centuries.  The rate at which we are advancing now can either mean that we will be completely void of intelligence, honor, and emotion in the next 400 years, or else we will implode.

Beginning of the End

I had a breakfast meeting yesterday with a man who runs a very successful Project Management consulting firm.  We found ourselves spending around ten minutes talking about President Trump because it is just simply hard not to.  His take on the condition of the world today is that we are reaching our lowest point.  He said we are reaching ‘Kali Yuga’.  This is the last of four stages the world goes through, according to the Vedas.  Hindus believe that human civilization degenerates spiritually during the Kali Yuga.  It was an interesting point, and not an uncommon one.  I continue to hear from people that it has to get worse before it can get better.  Perhaps our technological advancements are a diversion.  Perhaps if we run fast enough ahead we will miss the finer details of the Kali Yuga phase.

Human consciousness is evolving for some but the mighty dollar is still God for many.  While 50 million lonely people are swiping their lives away on Tinder there is a demise in progress.  Technology and the internet have become a knock-off pair of rose-colored glasses and we can’t help but keep them strapped on.  What is the alternative?  Something to think about.