SideWalk Ghosts / Interview 371: “Of Romance, Technology and Implanted MicroChips”

_L2R3095Mark advises, “People need to be more open about having an opinion about everything, and actually questioning what they do, why they do it… and especially things that they are told to do.”

Then he questions, “Why then do they go ahead and do it? I think a lot of people do a lot in their everyday life without questioning it.”

Then he councils, “And if people question things a lot more, then I think a lot of things in the world that shouldn’t happen, might not happen–and it’s because people don’t question it. I think just taking the time to formulate your own opinion about something… and it could be something minor… just getting into that routine of actually questioning and thinking. Because too many people, I think, just blindly follow what they are told. And what they do is probably just out of habit as well. I think this would make the world a much better place. And it would make people a lot stronger… it would make the community global.”

We talk about the impact Facebook and other social media has on the way we act and think. Not bagging on it. The new face of communication in here to stay; we’ll talk about Mark’s thoughts on what’s to come in a moment. But for now, the main point of our discussion leans more toward how we use social media. Posing a couple of questions. First: Are we using it responsibly, or are we just fishing for superficial likes? And Second: At first glance, do we believe all that we read and react to it before we gather the facts?

Both excellent points to ponder–points that are core to the approach Operation-365 is following in hopes of inspiring us to raise our heads from time to time, that we may increase our desire for face-to-face interaction with the world around us…. even with strangers.

Mark suggests a path to follow in using social media. “A lot of people will blindly like something because it say, ‘Here is a fact.’ That is utterly is the wrong way to approach it. You can’t question everything, but you should, at the back of your mind, say, ‘Do I really believe that?’ and if I am passionate enough to like it, or to go away and tell somebody else, then perhaps I should look into it before I go and tell someone that it is true or what the real problem is.”

“Informed decision,” I add to the conversation.

“Exactly…” Mark responds, “…that’s exactly what it is… just taking the time to tell yourself that you need to be informed… especially on Facebook.”

He elaborates, “An invalid comment on something that is invalid… what a waste!”

I turn to Mary, “What council do you have for the world, if all were listening?”

_L2R3107She smiles (something she does with constant warmth and charm), “My answer is a little more optimistic… I guess…” Her smile is infectious, and with it bridges to a unifying core idea. “I think that people need to be kinder. Kinder to themselves and kinder to other people. I think that most of the problems happening in this world…” she pauses and skips a beat. “I guess I believe that most people are inherently good and somewhere along the line they are taught certain things and they don’t question things. They get used to a certain way of being and a certain way of living, and they get used to being closed-off to the idea of seeing or experiencing anything new.”

She stirs us to self-examination, “Take your time to open yourself up to not operate with all the frequency of notions that your parents or your society have instilled in you–the good will come out…” a slight pause… “Perhaps that is a little bit idealistic.”

What Mary is talking about has hit at the foundation of what 365 is all about. You’ve often heard me talk of the silent majority–you and I, everyday people doing what we can to live harmoniously with each other. People, although not all in absolute agreement, most often are willing to at least look upon one another with dignity, respect and without scorn. So Mary (and I will take this moment to get personal), I don’t think you are too idealistic. Actually, you are one of the chosen ambassadors in the cause of loving our neighbors.

So I guess that I too am an idealist, but one with a few facts to ground my… yes, overly optimistic perspective. My evidence? The close to two-years of meeting strangers. My findings? The silent majority is real.

I’ve done a little math and the results show that of all the individuals I have approached (I’m guessing now pretty close to 3000), two-thirds are at least willing to engage in a sharing dialogue. Not always on the same page, but of this majority, none have attacked me for my beliefs and I not theirs. Really quite the opposite–we somehow managed to drop our walls and find common ground. People of all race, religion, gender, age, and the ever-argued sexual preference have interacted with one general resolve. That being? That there are far more people seeking betterment and good-will than those of darker outlooks.

So Mary, you are right, and we should all take heed to your wisdom.

“Are you still recording,” (I always record our interviews), Mark inquires.

“Yes.”

In perfect British form Mark acknowledges, “Splendid!”

L2R3“In my opinion…” he transitions as he looks to the future, “…even though we have been talking about Facebook and technology, what I think humanity has in store will probably be a more intimate connection between the biology and technology. I would imagine that the future probably holds some sort of implant of future technologies.

“Rather than chin down and staring at your phone to communicate via Facebook, we will be more sort of a global consciences connected by implanted technologies that are tapped in at a subconscious level. And that may help us as a global community.

“Perhaps there is a lack of understanding that we have because we are so extracted from each other. Maybe when we are interconnected on that intimate level, perhaps we’ll begin to understand each other better. Or perhaps we will all start to become so similar by that point that we will become bland enough to understand each other.” Mary chuckles as Mark smiles with a little sarcastic humor. “But I suspect that is probably where we will be in 50…100 years,” he concludes.

Wow… has Mark been smoking too much of the whacky stuff? Absolutely not! He is as sober and confident as any genius can be. You see, Mark is not speaking as if influenced by Sci-Fi Hollywood. He is speaking from fact. Facts that he has gained through his many years as a key scientist and researcher at the University of Reading, where he earned his PhD. Yes Dr. Mark Gasson is the real deal.

He tells me about how microchip technology is now being used for medical purposes. Things like heart monitors, pacemakers and brain stimulators that are used for Parkinson’s disease. “We’ve already got implantable technology that are basically computers.” Mark explains, “And a lot now have Wi-Fi so that health information can be taken out of these things remotely. So the fundamentals of that stuff are already available. Look at the rapid development of technology. A few advances of medical technology and the tangible benefits of implant technology is there.”

Screen Shot 2013-07-16 at 11.35.31 AMHe rolls up his sleeve. “Do you want to see my bump?” It’s a little microchip that has been implanted in Marks hand. Here is a link to the whole story of why it is there.

Mary breaks in with a smile, “10 minutes before my meter expires.” She runs to put more change in. I take it as a sign, asking me to respect Mark and Mary’s time.

Mark and I small talk for a few minutes and when Mary’s returns I know it’s time to wrap things up.

“Mary… you’re thoughts on the future?” I turn to her as she sits beside Mark. “I don’t necessarily know where the world will be in a year or 100 years. But the less isolated… the less polarized, separated and defined in the small ways we are… the better things will be.” She opens up a little further. “My experience with people who are very closed off and have very different opinions about the world and other people… but when they actually know someone who is of a different religion, or a different sexuality, creed or political belief than they are… then they have sympathy in a way that they never did before—when they were sitting around a table with people who were exactly like them; thought exactly like them or did the things they did.” Another infectious Mary laugh… “Hardly deep.”

_L2R3087But coming from Mary, it is deep and meaningful. She tells me of her family differences and of experiences with friends. All of who, she says, have opened up over the years, and all of whom she speaks of with the greatest love and compassion. It is obvious that Mary has a huge heart.

“Anybody who doesn’t close themselves off… gets to know someone,” she continues, “…and that is connected to an inherently good thing. I think that people want to connect with other people. And if you are open to that change, then it can change you. But you have to be open to the change.”

OK, curiosity is killing me. I know it’s time for me to depart, but there is one last question that I have to ask, “Sorry if I’m getting too personal. Are you friends, family, co-workers?”

“It’s our third date,” Mary lights up.

Mark, Mary… Thank you for allowing me into your lives, and especially during your third date. Your words are wise and your facts well founded.

Happy romancing my new friends!

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