We all need validation. We all need to believe we matter. We fear death, we’d like to think we’ll somehow live forever. But deep down we know it’s not happening. One day, very soon in the cosmic sense of things, we will be dead. And soon enough everyone we have ever known, everyone who has ever known us, will be dead too. Gone forever, with any memory of us also gone. And we’ll be forgotten. As if we never existed. As if we never mattered. And this thought scares us. We all like to think somehow the memory of us will live forever. After all we still remember poets, painters, scientists and all sorts of people who somehow mattered, who made a difference and have been immortalized one way or another. Why can’t that be us? We take no chances these days. We create profiles for ourselves in websites such as Facebook, we take pictures of ourselves and our surroundings and we write in blogs (such as this one) making sure we’ll be remembered. After all, after I’m gone I would have left behind a legacy: pictures, blog posts, movie reviews and a very elaborate Facebook profile that will probably leave a trace in the web for a long time to come.
We have mostly lost any faith in any sort of God, we are all educated and no longer believe in fairy tales of the past. And this new realization brings back a very real and very dark threat: non-existence. We have always existed, we don’t know how to not exist. The thought scares us. And with heaven no longer being an option, we try to find ways to convince ourselves we matter. We know our cosmic insignificance and we fear what we already know is true: we do not matter, we will not exist forever and whatever we do, we will be forgotten. But that’s what life is. A very short time we get to spend in this universe. It’s a wonderful feeling and yes, we are lucky to be alive. You can try to understand life (the universe and everything) but don’t try so hard to live forever; chances are you’re not gonna make it.
“I am,” he said. He was staring at me, and I could see the corners of his eyes crinkling. “I’m in love with you, and I’m not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things. I’m in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we’re all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we’ll ever have, and I am in love with you.”
– John Green, The Fault in Our Stars
“Try to imagine a life without timekeeping. You probably can’t. You know the month, the year, the day of the week. There is a clock on your wall or the dashboard of your car. You have a schedule, a calendar, a time for dinner or a movie. Yet all around you, timekeeping is ignored. Birds are not late. A dog does not check its watch. Deer do not fret over passing birthdays. an alone measures time. Man alone chimes the hour. And, because of this, man alone suffers a paralyzing fear that no other creature endures. A fear of time running out.”
― Mitch Albom, The Time Keeper
Back in 2007, I discovered about Net Neutrality and posted about it in this blog post. That was 7 years ago. Since then, we heard more and more about it in the news and finally arrived to today. Sadly, it’s as good as dead. The first hit is Netflix (oh Netflix, how I loved you before this, should I cancel my subscription now?). Read a good report about it here http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2014/02/23/comcasts-deal-with-netflix-makes-network-neutrality-obsolete/
In January 2012 we defeated the SOPA and PIPA censorship legislation with the largest Internet protest in history. Today we face another critical threat, one that again undermines the Internet and the notion that any of us live in a genuinely free society: mass surveillance.
In celebration of the win against SOPA and PIPA two years ago, and in memory of one of its leaders, Aaron Swartz, we are planning a day of protest against mass surveillance, to take place this February 11th.
Together we will push back against powers that seek to observe, collect, and analyze our every digital action. Together, we will make it clear that such behavior is not compatible with democratic governance. Together, if we persist, we will win this fight.