Tag Archives: Safe

Access

We curse the spies. N.S.A: the evil-doers. But we have ourselves to blame.

If you were given the choice, would you rather be safe or be free? Security, the absence of fear. Edward Snowden wants mankind to be free, and chooses life in exile. And fame.

Obama’s response: the US spy agency has prevented over thirty terrorist attacks in Germany alone, just by overhearing our phone calls, and reading our e-mails. We should be grateful.

I have personally never feared terrorist attacks, even now that I live in the capital of The Netherlands (who joined the wars in the Middle East). They are too helter skelter to fear, really. And their scale is too small. Almost like natural disasters; hitting merely when they hit. But we humans would like to control everything. If, of the six billion people around, one wants to wreak havoc, is that a valid reason to spy on all? And what if there are a thousand criminals? How many people’s privacy have the same value as another person’s life? What if it’s your life?

There are many sides to this issue. Say it works. Say you can truly prevent terrorist events in this way, does that resolve the problems that motivate these people to attacks? How about this one: if government agencies can see us pick our noses while holding our genitals, then who else can? Or this: where will this stop? Are we heading to Orwell’s ’84? Will we have to justify every dialogue one day? To whom?

Once again, the human nature has been tempted, and once again, it has fallen into the trap of curiosity. Instead of addressing important questions in a timely debate about cyber ethics, most media and the mob blame the bad guys for doing what they do. What many people fail to see, is that the access to our privacy is a vital property of the global network we are building.

It is the purpose of telecommunication to provide access. Using this medium means being heard on a larger scale. We are bringing our self-image to the surface for all others to admire, but when indeed we are seen, we start to scream. Whether it is the government who hears you, or your parents, or a group of obscure individuals who are up to no good, you are the one who gives them this chance. Internet without spies is like friendship without conflict.

We are entering a time in which transparency has a different meaning than it had before. Instead of moaning, be aware of it next time you plug your soul in.

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Call to the aged

“Hello, is this Mr. Havik?”
“That’s me”
“I am calling you on behalf of the pension fund. Have you thought through your pension yet?”
“No I haven’t”
“Do you mind if we ask you some questions about it?”
“I’m sorry, miss, but I don’t believe in pension funds.”
She was irritated and astonished when she hung up.

I have talked this topic through with several friends of my age. It am not the only one who doesn’t believe in pensions anymore. We are the live-for-the-moment generation. Raised in a world possibilities, we have been taught that all that matters is that we do what we like.

If you, reader, are above fifty and have worked hard all your life to collect a stash for a lean-back old age, I’m sorry to inform you that I believe your final years may become harder than you expect. To put it simply: the system of the pension is based on investments in companies that grow. In a shrinking society, withdrawing money from the current situation equals removing it from businesses that need them. You will consume the wealth you created. But as lifestyles have expanded, you will consume it too quickly.

But let me ask you: why have you cast your money into the future in the first place? Did you really think that would keep you safe? Or was it an excuse to stop wondering about the things you could do to keep the earth from turning into a barren ball in space?

The older generations will need their cash, so it should be paid. The wave of prosperity they surf will take its toll for as long as life standards remain high. Meanwhile, the younger generation has seen MTV grow from a creative collective into a mass of shiny show-offs. We’ve seen banks pop and now we witness how we run out of oil. We are learning what our preceding generations have forgotten: you don’t protect your future by saving money. You do it by opening up to the world as it is. It is not in the future but in the cycles of the seasons, where our safety should be sought.

We, the young ones, will have to take over the weight that our parents lifted. We’ll have to place it down gently, hoping our backs will not break. I think we’ll see the day in which value is expressed in food and love again. The young generation will have to show the world what self-sufficiency really means. Please, aged reader, help us with that, even while you are retired.

Will you?