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Albert Camus, Introspection and the Social Media Journey

May 21, 2012
English: Albert Camus in 1957

Albert Camus – The Fall (1956)

Albert Camus is one of my favourite authors. I haven’t read all his novels; probably never will. I don’t (and won’t) pretend to understand the ins and outs of his work; my mind doesn’t have the capacity. He’s one of my favourite authors because of one novel, The Fall (1956). This is a story about ‘a successful Paris barrister…who has come to recognise the deep-seated hypocrisy of his existence. His brilliant, epigrammatic and, above all, discomforting monologue gradually saps, then undermines, the reader’s own complacency’. Wow, bleak, eh?

Though, it’s not bleak. Not as far as I’m concerned. It is an introspection that goes deep into the human psyche, posing questions about our nature and character, morals and our penchant for judgement of self and each other. It is the introspection that appeals. Introspection is part of who I am, as I reflect often on what ‘makes me tick’ as an individual; I want to understand myself better, so I become better, more effective, able to employ skills learned directly into the work I do. It is part of my lifes journey – a blessing and a curse. To search, discover, disect piece by piece, give rise to provision of a solution. Camus’s, The Fall, allows me to reflect on this as a positive approach to continued learning about human nature, helping me navigate life in a much more positive way.

With this positive aspect in mind, there is a particular passage that struck me recently, offering up a peach of a reflection and opportunity for constructive introspection.

You were wrong, cher, the boat is going at full speed. But the Zuyderzee is a dead sea, or almost. With its flat shores, lost in the fog, there’s no knowing where it begins or ends. So we are steaming along without any landmark; we can’t gauge our speed. We are making progress and yet nothing is changing. It’s not navigation but dreaming.

This, to me, is powerful writing. It is exactly this sort of literary description that I connect with, where imagery through prose conjurs thoughts that syncronise with situations of the present. In this case, I link the passage with the social media journey.

More and more of us are becoming a part of this journey, for pleasure, for work, both; intertwined. We are going at full speed, while each of us at our own pace. We are being swept along in progressing our knowledge, often without knowing where we began or where we’re going. There are no landmarks, only the wake of others froth and bother as they speed along. All our paths cross constantly, a mass of tracks. Sometimes we collide beautifully, creating fleeting moments of shared vision, before speeding off again.

“We are making progress and yet nothing is changing”, and right there is the ultimate pondering moment, of social media, open data, new web technologies in local government. Progress is being made. I read it. I’ve seen it. I’m forever being amazed by the new ways people speak about what they’ve done and what they’re doing.

Change will come, when its ready, subtly slinking its way into everybodies conciousness. It will begin to apply itself in new ways of thinking, about how services are delivered. We will keep on going at full speed, lost in the fog, and it will be brilliant. Paths of navigation will be left in the wake for others to follow (I’ll be following), by the dreamers who dare to hurtle along, unbound by beginnings or ends or safety of landmarks.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. Dan Slee permalink
    May 23, 2012 4:51 am

    Spencer, I loved this line: “We are being swept along in progressing our knowledge, often without knowing where we began or where we’re going. There are no landmarks, only the wake of others froth and bother as they speed along. All our paths cross constantly, a mass of tracks. Sometimes we collide beautifully, creating fleeting moments of shared vision, before speeding off again.”

    My own journey reflects this absolutely and occasionally, as just now I stop and reflect as to why I’m on it and why I’m headed. I think I’m on it because it feels right and I’m compelled in in a direction that feels right too.

    Like most good things, there’s no big plan behind it, just the excitement of opening up doors to see which other doors they’ll lead to.

  2. May 23, 2012 7:33 am

    Thanks Dan. As a result of my own path down the social media route, I have learned much about the opening of doors and learning to be fine about not knowing what is behind each, or what possibilities could reveal themselves.

    It has allowed me to develop an approach to day-to-day work in general that is exploratory, to look at things differently, seeking out potential for change and difference in previously long held approaches.

    Much of these have nothing to do with social media directly, but they do have a lot to do with the attitude explorers of social media imbue.

    Begs the question: Are explorers of social media the virtual Captain Cook’s, or Columbus’s, of modern times?

  3. Sam Hampton permalink
    June 16, 2012 8:15 pm

Trackbacks

  1. COLLIDE BEAUTIFULLY: How idea sharing can create brilliant paths « The Dan Slee Blog
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