Monday 24 October 2011

Princely Revenge – Monday 24th October

"If an injury has to be done to a man, it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared"
Niccolo Machiavelli – The Prince

A bloody face. A hand held in protective posture from a wailing-mob. Machine guns flicking, fizzing through the camera’s panorama. Energetic chaos with frenzied ecstatic shouts surrounding one totally frightened and end-of-the-line-recognising  “king of kings”. A desperate and foreboding scene. Cut to another scene, the once frightened expression on the captured tyrant’s face now no longer displaying any sign of life, let alone terror. A revenge killing, pure and simple. Revenga.

A scene from an ultra-violent (and cheesy) Van Damme/Schwarzenneger revenge movie? The aftermath of Man City’s destruction of Man U yesterday? Not quite…everyone will now recognise the sequence of controversial events surrounding Ghadaffi’s capture and subsequent death. Yes, it was shocking. Yes, it was wrong on a human level… honest with yourselves and admit that it was the cleanest, simplest and most predictable end to an already convoluted and tired saga. No one had any interest in seeing Ghadaffi go on trial in a protracted mud-slinging match. No one will admit they are happier his end came about as it did, but in secret everyone is. And part of you knows that.

It would be a surprise indeed to find anyone that would argue the killing of Ghadaffi and his sons was not the simplest end to a messy few months. Sighs of relief (especially across the UK and parts of western Europe) were audibly heard behind the feigned looks of disgust and disapproval on the news of their demise. Reverberations were felt across the still bubbling rebellions in others parts of the Middle East – leaders there still clinging on to power, provided a nightmare-glimpse of their futures. If the cameras had not been rolling and mobile phone uploads to YouTube not been such an effective conduit of harrowing information, I very much doubt there would have been such an international uproar. Harsh, but true.

Fear, revenge, crowd-mania, the will-of-the-masses. Pick your poison. Throughout history, revenge killings have proved the most brutal. Re-read the quote above. The Libyan rebels obviously had. No risk of vengeance there. Not unless resurrection is on the cards. Revenge is such a powerfully emotive response to a period of perceived wrongful leadership, blamed for poverty, excessive corruption, brutal treatment of dissidents and even the general sinking of a people’s culture and identity. When finally the people have an opportunity to exact revenge on the very lightning-rod of all this suffering and misery, it should come as no surprise that a desire to witness justice in a courtroom is ignored for a more rapid and (in their wild-eyes, cleaner) jury-to-executioner process. Judgement as served by the people sweeps all before it. Just note the half-hearted shouts of objection and all-too-familiar brushing-under-the-carpet international “response”.

Machiavelli, knew and understood the power of revenge. In his unrelenting piece on leadership (“The Prince”), that far too many across the Middle East (and throughout other brutal dictatorships) have read cover-to-cover, he states that once a decision has been made to eradicate potential competitors to a position of leadership, not only should that individual be eliminated, but his/her immediate family and potential “revenge seekers” also be eliminated. This will explain the equally horrific (on a human level) killing of Ghadaffi’s sons. We can argue about each of their roles in the despotic government ad nausea, but a Libyan people tired of the 42-yr old guard saw the writing on the wall and acted with brutal and conclusive force. In the environment of a new liberated Libya, the laws of “The Prince” hold more sway and gravitas than those the international community would consider as the correct path to peace.

Are other developed nations any less Machiavellian? Saddam was found by US forces. Lucky for him. At least until he was handed over to the Iraqi “officials” who subsequently and extremely swiftly placed him on (a very short) trial and had him hung. Few would doubt that, had he been discovered by those oppressed by his regime for all those years, would he have even seen the inside of a courtroom. The US and others were surely not that sad to see him dealt with so swiftly and with as little collateral damage as possible. Was anything significant done after his hurried hanging? Nope. Again, it is easy not to have to argue over a dead corpse. What is done is done.

From Hitler’s suicide to JFK’s assassin being assassinated - would the US be a different place if Lee Harvey Oswald had ever made it to trial? – the rapid demise of controversy-embroiled characters and potential sand-pits of revelation have served the purposes of someone, somewhere. Even Mubarak’s sudden disappearance and ill-health is better for all. Abrupt removals of provocative characters is littered throughout conflict. It is much easier for the victor to (re)write the history books when a dissenting voice is silenced – permanently. Politics is not a clean and friendly game. There are certain deals that oft must be made with unsavoury characters at suitably symbiotic times. When the landscape changes, so does the value tethered to those agreements. This fate has befallen once all-powerful despots from ancient civilisations to recent Baltic monsters.  Out of sight, out of mind.

The public do not enjoy drawn-out affairs. Patience is not a group’s strong-point. The human brain moves on quickly from one event to another, with initial interest and attention turning into apathy and ultimately becoming a distracting element to a species’ otherwise naturally selected instinct to evolve and continue. We move on. That is what pushes humanity towards greater things. The constant desire to look forwards and not be bogged down with mistakes of the past. Reflection on past atrocities is not our strong-point. It is perhaps one of the reasons we forget our mistakes and learn so little from previous events.

Ghadaffi did not have the luxury of NATO ground troops tracking him down. He had the very same people he had ruled with an iron first – one which came crushing down a few too many times for their liking.

Buying Success
Looking quickly around, Abu Dhabi, in arguably their best investment ever, have funnelled so much cash into what was a mid-tier football team (Man City) to become a new leading force in the UK Premiership. Money can indeed buy you success it seems. Can money calm the Eurozone though? Europe is still faltering on the brink, with Sarkozy flipping (that’s what a newborn will do to your nerves) on Dave and asking the UK to “stop interfering” – but how will the UK relish the “we told you so” high-horse position if unable to laugh at the crowd below? Fun while it lasted.

China has seen an unfortunate portrayal of what an over-expanding society (9.1% GDP growth estimated for this year, still!) obsessed with materialism can lead to, leaving a toddler run-over and fatally injured in the middle of a busy road for a full twenty-minutes until one brave soul decided to rush to her aid. Some inner soul-searching being carried out there, quite necessarily. The spiritual land is having a tough time reconciling their new-found material wealth. Argentina has bucked the trend of defying long-running dynasties and re-elected the charismatic and recently widowed (had a lot to do with it) Cristina Fernandez. European leaders look on with envy, wishing they had the power to do with their bondholders as the Argentinians had done earlier this century. Watch-out for an end to the good-times there though. Berlusconi has had to take time-off from his busy schedule of partying to muster enough support and win through a number of confidence-votes – or did he simply throw the bunga-bunga parties for all those voting?

The US is still stuck in a political swamp of indecision. The next election is gathering pace. Usual group of unimpressive near-looney characters. Obama’s star may just continue to shine for another term. Few doubt that the country of innovation and opportunity will remain so for too long – but please start the process in earnest already. Life goes on and on..if your family name is not Ghadaffi that is.

Let’s hope the future leaders of these revolutionary countries don’t find thrown-away copies of “The Prince” in Sirte (or maybe download onto their e-readers), and especially ignore the advice that…
"Whoever desires to found a state and give it laws, must start with assuming that all men are bad and ever ready to display their vicious nature, whenever they may find occasion for it"

Easy tiger…not the best start to an open and understanding society.

Let’s discuss,

Monday 17 October 2011

Spicy Souls

Let’s keep it light today. They say variety is the spice of life. I love spice. They also say laughter heals the soul. I also love laughter. How about some varied laughter then? Sounds like a good combination to me. Varied laughter turns people into “spicy souls”.  

Where’s the problem? Trying to keep things light is not easy these days. Just ask anyone writing/commenting through the media, one eye on the global-vibe, the other witnessing it seemingly-spiralling towards disaster. As Obama said yesterday  - if nothing else, the world will remember this man and thank his poetically mesmerising speeches made at a time where so little inspiration surrounded us - standing in front of another admiring crowd, unveiling an impressive memorial to Martin Luther King, he declared that our current global issues are nothing compared to what the world faced during the days MLK Jr. preached for a realisation of his “dream”. Sobering stuff.

Generation after generation always looks back and considers itself lucky. Considers itself progressed compared to past relations, enriched relative to their parents and providing “happier” lives for their offspring than their own childhoods remembered. Are you listening out there? With one speech, Obama belittled those moaners comfortably sat-behind mahogany desks, driving to secure, mod-con equipped homes in luxury cars, even chastising those that don’t get ring-side seats, forgetting how lucky they are just to be living in a time of relative peace and basic prosperity across most of the developed world.

Wooah, what happened to keeping it light.. Ok, comedy can help us through the hardest times. Every joke is embedded with 90% truth they say. Maybe we are better suited at dealing with reality through laughter. Satirical, dark, all-out…it’s all laughter. “Laughter therapy benefits the body by increasing circulation, improving the flow of nutrients and oxygen to cells, and strengthening the heart muscle. Laughing also boosts immunity and is good for the lungs.” There you have it. You may gave guessed that previous sentence was lifted out of a medical journal. Laughter has been medically proven! We all trust what we find on WebMD, don’t’ we?  Not sure who said it, but as soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul. Does that mean those without a sense of humour are filthy people? Hmmmm…

Let’s ignore the usual weekly-review then, take a break from the attempts to advise leaders on how to actually leeeeaad and get straight into the smile-inducing stuff. Comedy shows, books and movies are in high-demand. We noticed a trend of escapism when Hollywood turned to comics and superheroes, providing 90 minutes of respite to thankful cinema-goers back in late 2008. A number of larger-than-life characters, capable of great feats, flew in to rescue us from dark days. These heroes ensured the world  felt safe while Osama Bin Laden still had a head, banks tried their best to burn cash, Facebook postings took over as a fun-night-out and three-for-one-deals on toilet paper dominated dinner party conversations – held over Skype, naturally. Those were fun times weren’t they?

Now we have a welcome trend towards comedy TV series. Any quick flick through the channel line-up (Virgin suck compared to Sky TV by the way, and Du and Etisalat in Dubai...sort out your remote controls) provides a veritable feast of comic genius. Fans of shows such as Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm (you smart ones you), 30 Rock (sharp), Modern Family (good fun), Outsourced, The Office, Big Bang Theory, Family Guy etc. are probably healthier for all the laughing they do. There’s a reason Fox is thinking of launching an entire channel dedicated to The Simpsons, and why episodes of Friends hit chart-topping numbers week after week, 10 years after the gang stopped being so.

We want to laugh. We should laugh. Comedy really is a modern release valve for creativity, providing a great conduit for silly-political-correctness destruction that surrounds us. The Brits do this political-comedy exceptionally well. “Have I Got News For You” exemplifies the best that laughter can offer. “The Daily Show” in the US is good for that part of the world. Dealing with life is often too serious to see through the ridiculousness. Exposing it with wit can bring clarity and revive a sense of logic. Hence the enduring and powerful effect of comic sarcasm and satire. A noticeable sharpness and realistic touch now threads through the more successful recent shows. The crowd-pleasers (eliciting sharp, easy laughs – hey..still good to laugh) complete an offering acceptable across a wide-palette. True genius (Blackadder) is worth re-watching over and over, if only to steal classic lines from.  

Or how about a couple of recent cinema releases. Seems laughter and the meaning of life are in demand. Outside of Hollywood, French comedies and a great Lebanese one (Nadine Labaki’s “Where Do We Go Now”) have been thoroughly entrenched in comic use of addressing otherwise depressing and humanly-dark issues, such as war. There’s a reason these movies are winning awards. Another epic offering by the controversial director Lars Von Trier (Melancholia – watch it) attempts to address the question of existence. Not quite a comedy but certainly laced with enough satire to alleviate the seriousness of the subject. How about books? A top-seller has been the new financial-thriller from Robert Harris, where a hedge-fund manager gets involved in an algorithm that essentially trades on Fear. Maybe those taking time to read books prefer to be rooted in fictional yarns and markets where people actually make money..thanks for ruining our theme here bookworms.

So we agree it’s good to laugh. Good. Depends where you live of course. In Dubai at the moment - a strange bubble-wrapped place of serious (surrounding) cash combined with those chasing it (not really a pretty sight…in either case) - you’d be mistaken for thinking we were living amongst a thousand Carlos Slim Helus, laughing their backsides-off, remembering how much interest their bank deposits are generating per minute. Other cities express a more balanced nuance towards the “haves” and “have-nots”. Inhabitants of more “normal” cities are probably laughing more at home than generating large smiles in public. Either way, protests across major capital cities remind us how profound a time we are passing through. Any excuse to lighten the mood must be welcomed.

How about music? Simple actually. If laugher is as good as we’ve agreed it is, music must be the food that feeds the soul. Shakespeare once said, "If music be the food of love; play on” Enough said. Could you imagine life without music? Not even worth thinking about it.

History records music’s origin as a story-telling tool. Well, how’s this for a story….two people sit across a table and talk. It’s quiet, far too quiet. Not because BBM has overloaded and blown-Blackberry-up (Obi Jobs Kenobi – the force is strong with that one), but because the cacophony of global issues has reached such a point that, what may have once sounded like an orchestral-strong-set of deafening dangers, has morphed into a constant, irritating din of despair and negativity. The conclusion to the conversation will have repercussions felt for years to come, affecting possibly billions. Happiness hangs in the balance. Lifestyles will revolve around the agreement about to be made. Stories will be written about this very story. The dinner couple? The lawyer holding Steve Job’s final will and testament containing his “future vision” and Sony Entertainment’s CEO ready to negotiate film-rights to the biography. Let’s hope it will be a comedy.  

Laughter heals the soul. Music feeds it. Love can apparently make the world go round. Someone spice it up and make it spin faster please.


Monday 10 October 2011

Operator! Give me the number for 911!

Hooray! Did you hear the good news? They’ve reached an agreement! Finally, a mature and successful conclusion to a series of hard-fought and inner-reaching negotiations that would have had disastrous consequences had they collapsed…yes..”The Simpsons” will return for at least another two further seasons..brilliant!

Now, if only those equally important and essential “actors” across European and US corridors-of-power would be able to take care of that other important little thing to continue its run for another few seasons…the Global Economy. Homer would be so proud of the farce created in Europe through a lack of political will. Good to know where priorities lie when it comes to what is important to society. Homer vs Jobs. Doh!

Another week of highs and lows. A quick necessary word of course for the sad passing of a titan in the tech-industry, Steve Jobs – rest in peace (more below). David Cameron seems to have forgotten the UK never entered the single-currency and his manners, by loudly shouting from the side-lines that the Euro has “but weeks” to survive and urging France and Germany to bury their differences and hammer out an agreement. Another “thank you for 1992” cheque in the post to George Soros should probably be the correct move by the UK. A small period of (relative and misleading) calm across the Levant, yet tensions still abound (clashes in Egypt overnight a worrying development) and felt at every corner across the wider Middle East: from Yemen to Libya where still the “evil one” is eluding the might of the international intelligence community, throwing insults at a wet-behind-the-ears transitional government and forcing an uncomfortable and unsatisfactory ending to the rebellion.

Who you calling a creator?

We still sit and watch the financial industry slowly implode. A massive and messy explosion would be more spectacular but human nature cannot handle such emotionally damaging and traumatic experiences. We need time to deal with loss. We elude reality at every corner for as long as possible in a cloud of hopefulness (see below) all the while secretly knowing what must really be done. Procrastination is dangerous. Yet it is part of our emotional-dealing-process.  The cannier and more realistic out there have recognised the writing on the wall for some time and moved on to pastures new. The financial industry had for too many years taken hostage an unfair proportion of incredibly skilled and talented individuals, putting to work their potentially society-changing minds and ideas in an environment where the only overriding desire was to “create” wealth – sorry, but no wealth is “created” in the financial world, unless you are literally printing money, like the Fed

Thank God for scientists that bother not with ego-massaging recognition, but carry with them some inherent desire to “better” things. The demise of the financial industry will only help accelerate this admirable human trait. Clever minds will gravitate to more meaningful professions. Will those same bankers also comprehend that there is more to life than grabbing the best table in a club and living out a fantasy “bling bling” life?…Ask a CERN scientist who “Professor Green” is and what he thinks of his latest musical release – sit back and take note of his facial expression.  Different worlds exist on this same planet.

Age and understanding

Throughout history, the old and powerful have married the young and beautiful. Not the perfect recipe for a smooth and happy relationship. Well, not for one side of it at least. After listening to an irate German official on one of the media channels and his outlook on the gloomy prospects for the Eurozone, a pattern began to emerge between couples and economic success. Can two totally different characters with so little common ground between them truly come together in a harmonious and arranged co-habitation? Look at Germany and France getting together with the rest of emerging Europe. Older still, Greece getting it on with the rest of Europe. We won’t even mention equally ancient “Turkey” which has been incredibly quiet about the entire Eurozone crisis after several years of yearning.

Several old and quite wrinkled nations with their set ways, strong cultures and, let’s be honest here, strong nationalistic tendencies. Bring in the new, young, good-looking and still learning but quite na├»ve nubile-nations of emerging Europe..and what do you get? A joyous and fruitful union? Endless nights of partying and days of comfortable companionship?…as we all know..that “honeymoon” period only ever lasts a few months.

As with any relationship that stands a chance of survival, some common ground must exist between the protagonists. A strong, mutual and often illogical physical attraction can be a wonderfully powerful and combining tonic. In the Eurozone’s case, emerging Europe was almost hypnotically drawn to the strength and allure of a wealthy and capitalist western Europe. The Euro was the equivalent of a lothario’s charm and guile, the Eurozone where he’d take his prey back after the successful hunt. For “old Europe” the intoxicating vibe and youthful exuberance of hope and unfettered ambition exhibited by those post-communist nations was blindingly glamorous and appealing. Emerging Europe was the devastatingly tantalising young-lady that old Europe wanted at their Eurozone party.

Sad reality is that these fleeting moments of illogical natural attraction (passion can be a great excuse for carnal desire) dissipate with time. As a satiating of the appetite wanes, stark differences in character, life-outlooks and comprehension make strikingly-wide appearances. France and Germany hoped that peripheral Europe, with its vastly different history and approach to the work-ethic in particular, would simply fall-in line with its pace of life. All hoped that a common factor in the form of the Euro would miraculously sweep away centuries of animosity and gulf-wide differences. Any quick glance at an inter-racial and age-defying relationship would have expressed the difficulties involved in keeping things together.

Relationships are about understanding and wanting the same things. The Eurozone is not a working relationship. One part of the relationship is too powerful. Certain commonalities are not going to outweigh a plethora of striking differences. The United States of America works on a single currency because the culture across the entire land hums in unison – the human desire to want more. Accepting that the “debt-of-one-is-the-debt-of-all “ is far simpler when you all have shared principles and ambitions.

Rotting Apple?

It is without question that Steve Jobs was a great man. Achieving as much as he did in only 56 years, the last of which were marred by ill-health and personal triumph ending in unfortunate but inevitable defeat, combined with global-dominating visions of the tech-future, was all nothing short of legendary. The trouble for his inherited empire begins now though. Legends are not easily followed. In fact, empires often crumble on the passing of their revered and once-in-a-lifetime leader. It is as if the weight of self-expectation and the proverbial shoes-to-fill are simply too heavy and large to bare. In earnest, there simply may not be another Steve Jobs around Apple.

Couple this with an industry that is as cut-throat and fast moving as an ancient battlefield, littered with the bodies of the weak where only the strong survive to conquer the lands they seek, and a picture of a shifting dominance in the “smart-phone” battle emerges. Samsung, HTC, Google/Android and Microsoft even, will more likely survive the next four years of innovation and shifting markets at the top of their game, higher than Apple. Imagine your bewilderment If someone had said to you back in 2004, as you were rushing-to-the-phone-store to pick up the latest new covers for your Nokia 8210 or showing off your “unbeatable” high-score on Snake, that Nokia would be almost dead and buried today – hmm..never say never.

Optimistically Healthy…

Scientists have quantified how optimism is actually good for your health. Apparently we optimists – I do consider myself one..why do you look so surprised? – actively acknowledge good news at the same time as partially ignoring risks and downsides. Hmm, sounds a little more like “ignorance is bliss”, but hey, with all that is happening out there, whatever works. Looking through the latest fog to emerge from the beginning of the end of the global economy, many would be quite tempted to adopt a Homer approach and simply admit..”If you really want something in this life, you have to work for it. Now quiet! They're about to announce the lottery numbers.” Oh Homer (yes, that was him calling the Operator), ever the optimist indeed.

Enjoy the week...let’s keep talking.

Monday 3 October 2011

Frankenstein's Facebook

Frankenstein’s Facebook

Frankenstein’s monster…..never scared me. The classic irony of creation, exemplified in the quest for an anti-ethereal scientific form of perfection and everlasting, somehow more discomforting than frightening. Fashioned In man’s image, naturally.

Today’s modern-monster-creation equivalent? Facebook.

Now that scares me. Formed from millions of (posed) images of man, woman, pet and any possible element of one human being showing off to another. Facebook users, let’s be honest, the main point for an overwhelming majority of your devotion to the site, is but to rub your schadenfreude-sprinkled glee in other’s faces. An opportunity to delve into the lives of others whilst inviting others to delve into your “life” - or whatever it is you have created as an online portrayal of your existence (everyone suspiciously seems to live like they’re on an MTV video).

So why a monster tag for Facebook? Too much control, too much intrusion and way too high a level of influence on growing minds and perceptions as to what constitutes friendship and/or networking. Seemingly innocent, but really playing on natural human social/behavioural desires, unrelentingly focused on relationships… this person single? Even the Hollywood portrayal of Facebook’s inception saw founder Zuckerberg pivoting towards success only after the Eureka moment of adding the “relationship status” option . So, are we all really manifesting base human instincts (social gathering, mate suitability, reproduction) via today’s appropriately pertinent delivery mechanism? From cave to profile page. A human-leap of progress only in superficial terms furnished with modern expressions of strength and virility.

Has the original intention of the creation floundered beyond both control and reason? As with Shelley’s fictional tale, an experiment in social interaction has mutated and affected a significant swathe of humanity (800 million users at last count). Some, like myself (disclosure: I am not on Facebook) perceive a more worrying undercurrent of manipulation and basic profiteering of psychological insecurity. Worrying tales of Facebook-fuelled disorders abound, brought upon by awkward and inadequately equipped adolescents, struggling to deal with traditional but amplified in-the-world-wide-web of agony and instant humiliation/gratification world they reside in. A pronounced dilution of what a “friend” really means today. An exposure to adult-themes and issues witnessed by unformed and unsuitable young minds. For all the good that a social-networking tool like Facebook can do (keeping families in touch, spreading word of good causes etc.), the crowd-effect and danger of manipulation by powerfully-information-filled branding and marketing groups looms large.

Everyone knowing what everyone else is up to all-the-time, cannot be a good thing. Much of the latest financial crisis was created by the “me too” effect of marketing- causing a dangerous stretch beyond one’s reasonable means. A relentless barrage of pleasure-filled images of peers and “friends” serves to deepen modern society’s insecurities and unquenchable lust for “in-your-face” purchases. Worse still,  ideas of what constitutes the “correct” way to think and act, now increasingly influenced by staring at a screen and mimicking what the majority applaud and “follow”. Yes, there’s always been an element of the above threading through history’s cultivation of modern society, but it’s all happening so much faster and bigger now. Losing individuality and creativity is dangerous. The web has so far allowed a blossoming of creativity and admirable expressions of freedom – its greatest achievement – but amassing 1/6th of the global population into a huge branding exercise (as Facebook’s latest “media-hub” strategy has done) must rank as a worrying twist to this platform for open improvement.

E-mail?? What, you don’t have Facebook?

Putting yourself out there on display and sharing moments with a growing collection of “friends” is not seen as a major issue by many. What is growingly alarming is the level of comfort younger generations have with divulging what used to be known as private-information to near-strangers. A telling proponent of generational shifts is to witness attitudes by various age-groups to Facebook. The eldest view it is a useful tool for staying in touch. The youngsters, that have literally been brought up with a natural “status updating” lifestyle, seem to exist more in their profile than off it. That is wrong.

Have you had a conversation with a tech-savvy teen lately? It is easier to predict weather patterns in Guatemala than understand their mannerisms and hold their attention for-longer-than-a-neutrino-flash through a normal conversation. Only a couple of weeks back I was confronted by a look of confusion and a tinge-of-disgust by an 18yr old that I suggested an exchange of e-mail to. “Facebook me man” was the response - as if I had requested they hand-write a letter using cursive, with perfect grammar, swim across the Atlantic and personally hand-deliver it to my door. Wow. Are we really that far into it? Is e-mail considered old technology, akin to people laughing at those still sending faxes back in the 90s?

Get with the times grumpy-oldish-man!..some of you will be shouting. Adapting and moving with new technology is what creates barriers between every generation. Those very same barriers serve mankind well. They allow us to constantly push otherwise  taken-as-gospel previous achievements to one side and reach higher goals (point in case: the possible recent debunking of Einstein’s - and an entire previous generation’s - law of physics). Absolutely true. There is no room for grumpy older technophiles to stand in the way of younger, savvy, society-changing Tweeters and Facebookers. That is not the concern. All that is good. But, there should be alarm for the rapid loss of innocence, privacy and old-school style of communication that has served us so well for the last few centuries. A backlash has already sprouted amongst some of the more discerning, with increasing numbers actually deleting Facebook accounts in the realisation that simply too much exposure is actually detrimental.

Inventing new and wonderful ways to facilitate mankind’s constant drive for improvement and growth is admirable, natural even. An invention that starts off as a good-idea but morphs into an all-powerful daily component of everyday interaction, capable of shaping and moulding attitudes and perceptions, should be viewed with some scepticism.

Frankenstein’s monster’s Facebook page status? “Desperately seeking meaning for my existence”. Aren’t we all.

Let's please discuss....

Hani Kobrossi