Camden Bucey

Pastor · Scholar · Aspiring Hermit

Developing the Selfie

The Cyber Effect by Mary Aiken is an engaging—though at times frightening—study of the effects of technology and Internet culture on persons. She addresses issues such as raising children in a digital environment, the addictive qualities of certain technologies, romance, “cyberchondria,” and the ethics of anonymity. I’ve found it thorough and current. She hits the mark. Aiken writes a challenging and sobering book without resorting to condescension. I encountered this thoughtful section this morning:

Humanistic psychologist Carl Rogers’s work is valuable in terms of illustrating how a young person develops identity. He described self-concept as having three components:

  1. The view you have of yourself—or “self-image.”
  2. How much value you place on your worth—or “self-esteem.”
  3. What you wish you were like—or the “ideal self.”

I think we should consider adding a fourth aspect of “self” to Rogers’s list. In the age of technology, identity appears to be increasingly developed through the gateway of a different self, a less tangible one, a digital creation.

Let’s call this the “cyber self”—or who you are in a digital context. This is the idealized self, the person you wish to be, and therefore an important aspect of self-concept. It is a potential new you that now manifests in a new environment, cyberspace. To an increasing extent, it is the virtual self that today’s teenager is busy assembling, creating, and experimenting with. Each year, as technology becomes a more dominant fact in the lives of teens, the cyber self is what interacts with others, needs a bigger time investment, and has the promise of becoming an overnight viral celebrity. The selfie is the frontline cyber self, a highly manipulated artifact that has been created and curated for public consumption.

But how do we explain that weird, vacant, unmistakable expression on the faces of many selfie subjects? They eyes look out but the mind is elsewhere.

The virtual mirror could be socially isolating, except for one thing. The selfie can’t exist in a vacuum. The selfie needs feedback. A cyber-psychologist might say that’s the whole point of a selfie.

Selfies ask a question of their audience: Like me like this? (Aiken, The Cyber Effect, pp. 171–172)

There’s a $500 billion remittance market, and Bitcoin startups want in on it

I thought this was an interesting phenomenon in the use of cryptocurrency.

At just over six years old, Seoul-based KakaoTalk has more than 170 million registered users on its flagship chat app, and enjoys nearly 93% market penetration in South Korea.

Read more

The Terms of the Game

In his book Changing the Subject: Art and Attention in the Internet AgeSven Birkerts shares an astute observation,

The explosion of cell phone use changed the terms of the game. That more people were able to call while not tethered to the landline meant more calls, and more calls meant a growing likelihood that those who had not gone portable would be missing calls. Along with this—again, by degrees—emerged the expectation of reachability. Responses that before could have waited for the receipt of the call or message acquired a new urgency factor. The margin of acceptable time for response began to shrink and it has not stopped shrinking—for if there is a reluctance about making an actual voice call, there is no excuse for not texting a reply. There has followed a profound (and ongoing) revision of etiquette assumptions. I am the same person in 2015 as I was in 2000—at least in terms of my calling habits—but in that interval i have grown a devil’s horns. The same hours-later or day-later response that had been perfectly acceptable is now often seen as rude. And, in a neat inversion of the former situation, the delay is now seen as a kind of preening, an assumption of exceptionality (pp. 33–34).

The Book You Need: Deep Work by Cal Newport

I absolutely loved Cal Newport’s Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World. From beginning to end, Newport cuts through the mess and offers a genuine way to engage in “deep work,” through penetrating and sustained thought. If you feel crippled by incessant emails, text messages, and social media, which cultivate low-value “shallow work” done in a state of distraction, you need this book.

Prayer is the breath of the soul.

Our breathing is a constant source of renewal to our bodies. We eat three or four times a day. But we breathe all day long, all night too.

As impossible as it is for us to take a breath in the morning large enough to last us until noon, so impossible is it to pray in the morning in such a way as to last us until noon. Therefore, too, the apostle says, “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Let your prayers ascend to Him constantly, audibly or silently, as circumstances throughout the day permit.

—O. Hallesby, Prayer (pp. 147–148)

The Task of Decluttering by Organizing Papers

I have a paper problem. Historically, I’ve exhibited the tendencies of a pack rat. That’s probably just a way to word things in order to deny that I am a pack rat. I’m trying to get better. I just read Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I enjoyed the book. While there seems to be an implicit animism at work in the book, Kondo prompts the reader to think more critically about the “things” in his or her life. One constant in my life seems to be piles of paper. Kondo offers a practical strategy for dealing with these:

Papers are organized into only three categories: needs attention, should be saved (contractual documents), and should be saved (others). The point is to keep all papers in one category in the same container or folder and to purposely refrain from subdividing them any further by content. In other words, you only need three containers or folders. Don’t forget that the “needs attention” box ought to be empty. If there are papers in it, be aware that this means you have left things undone in your life that require your attention. Although I have never managed to completely empty my “needs attention” box, this is the goal to which we should aspire.

I’ve invested in a good double-sided scanner and an Evernote premium account. I scan everything and attempt to shred everything for which I don’t need originals or hard copies. This works well for reducing the paper clutter. Now I have to deal with the problem of unorganized notes cluttering up my Evernote inbox!

I’m boning up on my white tail butchering technique for November.

The Ballad of the Dreadnought

Martin Guitars produced a wonderful documentary on the dreadnought, what we think of as the classic shape of the acoustic guitar.

Narrated by actor and Martin player Jeff Daniels, The Ballad of the Dreadnought traces the rise of the Martin Dreadnought from selling only a few dozen guitars for its first 20 years to becoming the musical companion played in almost every musical genre in every corner of the world.

For 100 years (1916-2016), the Martin Dreadnought has stood the test of time and survived endlessly evolving musical tastes becoming the musical companion for countless artists throughout music’s history. From Crosby, Stills and Nash on stage for the second time together at Woodstock with a D-45 to Seth Avett discovering countless songs waiting inside his Martin D-35, artists such as Rosanne Cash, Roger McGuinn, Steve Miller, Vince Gill, Jason Isbell, Sturgill Simpson and Del McCoury to name a few, will take you on a musical journey as they lovingly recall moments where they stood proudly alongside their trusted Martin Dreadnoughts. #DreadNot #MartinPride

Watch The Ballad of the Dreadnought

Tri Rock Lake Geneva

I’ve registered for my second triathlon. It’s another Olympic distance event in Wisconsin, though this time at Williams Bay in Geneva Lake. I’m looking forward to improving my initial Olympic time—especially on the swim. My swim at Elkhart Lake in May was atrocious. I suffered something of a panic attack, which threw all my training and form out the window. But I’ve been swimming regularly in Grays Lake with good results. I plan to train hard and smart through the summer and come out of the race Saturday, September 24 with a solid performance.

The Moral Inversion of American Culture

American morality is in decline. It’s nothing new, but that doesn’t make it unimportant. Michael Avramovich asks whether we’re the proverbial frog sitting still in the boiling pot.

Yes, our nation has now come to dry rot and decay, and I fear that we can only expect things will get much worse as we endure God’s holy and righteous judgment. The Jefferson Memorial contains a quotation from President Thomas Jefferson, who said powerfully, “God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever.” Lord have mercy!

« Older posts

© 2017 Camden Bucey

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑