Friday Faves is our weekly blog series highlighting a few select pieces from the REG team’s reading lists. You can catch up on past Friday Faves on the archive

Another year goes by

Jakkii says: This week we mark the anniversary of a big loss here at Ripple Effect Group, as it was 3 years ago this week that we lost our friend and colleague, Natalie Hardwicke.

Grief is a funny thing, that time certainly changes – like all of us and everything, I suppose. It vacillates and ebbs and flows between all-encompassing and manageable to, eventually, being something we’re more able to live with, that we ‘grow around’, as I’ve heard it described before. It becomes a permanent part of us, changes us in ways that vary with each loss and each person it happens to, and shapes us in ways we may not always fully understand or appreciate.

Nat’s loss had a profound effect on me, and three years on I still think of her often. These days it’s much more likely to invoke a smile than a tear, and while it will never not be unfair that she was taken from us too soon, I’m more able to simply be grateful for the time we did have with her, than mourn the time we did not. Her death and also her philosophies have made me more philosophical, too, especially when it comes to loss, which I was surprised to find helping me with the loss of another friend just 12 short days ago. It’s not that it hurts any less, but my perspective has shifted and I think I’ve somehow found it easier to accept death as a part of life, even if the sense of unfairness at a loss so young and for those left behind, remains.

This week, I have a short collection of things to share with you that are all articles that made me think of Nat, because I think she’d have appreciated each of them – some of them I think she’d even have shared on our Friday Faves, accompanied as always by her philosophical viewpoint and her unique perspective and wisdom. I think she’d have liked Anne’s piece this week, too – I know I did, having written about awe (aka wonder) previously for our Friday Faves (as recently as July, and as far back as one of our earliest Friday Faves in 2017). While my links are generally focused on technology, anything that encourages people to really engage with the world around them, to experience it and to actually think about it as Anne’s piece does, was really right up Nat’s alley.

Read on and enjoy, and hopefully, you’ll take just a little piece of Nat with you into tomorrow and beyond.

Life and love and death and technology

Nat had a very philosophical view of life and death, and her thinking tended to align with more Eastern philosophical ideas than Western ones. She was particularly interested in existentialism and how we develop, use and view technology within the framework of existence. In her words:

The evolution of technology has reflected our obsession of making it more integrated and integral to our everyday lives. Part of me sees the progression of technology as slowly eliciting man’s attempt at immortality – at becoming God, and this is starting to be reflected in our pursuit to do things such as store data in our DNA, or replace organs with digital replicas. I think the philosophy of technology is interesting but seldom discussed whenever we talk about technological evolution. As Michael Crichton once said, “Scientific power is like inherited wealth: attained without discipline.” We constantly build on what others have done and take the next step, yet we never question whether we should do something just because we can.

I know I always reflect on existentialism in my posts, but technology is symbolic for us either wanting to prolong life, or simply make reproductions of it. We use computers at work then go home to watch television screens. Humans have always had a hand-in-glove relationship with technology, but where does it end? Are we so busy both consuming and creating a digital world that we forget to live in the now and miss the point of living altogether? What’s going to happen after we have data in our DNA? If we keep going down this path, I’m going to guess a reality that reflects something like the Matrix or Westworld. In our feeble attempts of becoming God-like creatures, we might just paradoxically lose our minds and our sense of reality in the process.  – Natalie Hardwicke, Friday Faves 13 Apr 2017

It’s this type of thinking – and Nat’s incredible ability to express herself and her ideas in ways that made technophilosophy so accessible – that immediately comes to mind for me when I see articles like this collection I’m sharing today. I try to look at these through the eyes of Nat and wonder, what would she have thought about this? What would she have said about these technologies, our existentialism, our relationship with life and death, our drive to be more God-like through technology, our desire to live on, to be immortal through technology, and our inability to let go, our want to use technology to keep people with us, or bring them back to us?

I’d so love to hear her perspectives, but three years on it now mostly brings me warmth and comfort rather than sadness to think of Nat whenever I see these kinds of articles, and ponder these types of questions.

It’s interesting to reflect on where the line is between keeping someone’s memory alive and keeping loved ones with us in this way, and the lengths technology can go these days, both purposefully and accidentally, in bringing people ‘back’ (via holograms, deepfakes, AI, our phones, our social media, and so on).

Would they want it? Does it help us? Does it violate them if they had/have no say in how their image or voice is being used? Who does their likeness, their work, even the sense of who they were, belong to once they’re gone? Are any of the types of technologies in the articles below any different than how I’m talking about Nat today, discussing her ideas and views as I understood them and how they live on in my mind and memory without her? I don’t know. The only thing I do know for sure is that Nat would’ve had opinions and I would have loved to hear them and discuss them with her.

I encourage you to read, watch, listen, and ponder. What Nat would’ve loved more than anything would be for these stories to provoke your thinking and for you to explore and consider the technophilosophical questions they raise. I only wish she were here to add her perspective, which was always so considered, so thoughtful, and so intriguing. Her views as a technophilosopher always fascinated me, and they inspire me to this day.

Why You Need to Protect Your Sense of Wonder — Especially Now

Anne says: This is a wonderful article from a number of perspectives. Firstly, it’s timely – right now, especially now during the pandemic, lockdown fatigue, vaccination anxiety… There are useful strategies that can be implemented without a great deal of effort but with great rewards. Secondly, the authors have included a solid amount of research as background, without overwhelming scientific jargon, in a relatable context. And finally, there’s specifics for individuals, managers and teams – adding an organisational context which is so often missing in these types of articles and left for others to interpret.

The essence of this article is the experience of awe, what it means, how to do it (a reminder – we’ve always known how), why to intentionally search out these experiences of awe, and the outcomes. What is an experience of awe?

“At its core, awe has an element of vastness that makes us feel small… the wonder we feel when we encounter something powerful that we can’t easily explain.”

In addition to reducing stress, experiences of awe have been found to expand our mental models and stimulate new ways of thinking, increasing creativity and innovation. At the moment, I think we could all benefit from these experiences of awe. Find your own, but also share it with your work colleagues – maybe set up a Slack channel (or whichever communication sharing platform you’re using). Take photos, share them. Writing about awe will help you deepen the experience.

Think about ways of experiencing awe in your daily life – for me, I’m watching the moon rise over the Mediterranean tonight and the way it shines streaks of silver pathways across the water. Tomorrow morning, I’ll watch the sunrise in the same place but with such a different way of lighting the skies and colours across the water – it’s breathtaking, it’s awesome!

What’s your moment of awe?

Read: https://hbr.org/2021/08/why-you-need-to-protect-your-sense-of-wonder-especially-now

At home

@onyedkweSend help 😴#fyp #sydney #lockdown #sydneylockdown #bored #trend #viral #freezeframe

♬ Fry pan sound – Karolina

Jakkii says: Lockdowns continue, restrictions continue, mask wearing continues, trying to get people vaccinated continues, political infighting continues. It’s exhausting! Distract yourself from it all when you’re at home with this week’s list of things to see, watch and do at home while you’re you’re doing your best, staying safe and staying sane.

Friday Fives

Hybrid workplace

Remote work and the digital workplace

Communication, collaboration, engagement, and culture

Community management, moderation and misinformation

Privacy, data and security

Big Tech

Social media

Extras

This is interesting: Apple’s double agent

Things that make you go hmmm: The case against music curation

Space: Hear the ‘sound’ of a spacecraft flying past Venus

Podcast: 5 tips to help you give good feedback

Friday playlist: The story of feminist punk in 33 songs


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