Tracks In The Dust

A Father's Advice About Learning the Mission of Life

Archive for the tag “Information Age”

Take The Weight Off

No, it is not a diet edict. This weight is the weight we all carry, regardless of our physical appearance. It is the weight that becomes a burden that we come to be dependent upon. It is that heaviness that we don’t want, but no change in diet or physical exercise is going to remove it.

It is the weight of information. and we are all subject to that these days. One time stored in encyclopedias, reported in newspapers and magazines and complied in text books – the information for those of us who have access to the Internet seems nearly infinite.  Mistaking that for knowledge is another thing. The nearly infinite source does not have a definitive declaration of the truth, but only the versions of the truth we come to find there.

I love the Tom Waits picture below. It is pretty profound. It is the weight of the things in our lives.  Here in America we collect things to make us more important. From what I can tell is that way in many other places around the world too. The more we have (information, possessions, money,friends, etc) the more we think we will be happy. Abundance can sometimes seem to translate to safer life, or a better life. But hopefully that is understood. It is not going to ever be enough. And as the adage says “you can’t take it with you”.

Kids, my advice is to understand where you are, and know how you should see it? There is more.

DO you have the weight of the world carting around on your soul? Of have you found that there is much more than that?


Buried Beneath the Weight



Love this quality video from The Band. The Weight.

Making History Disappear

When I was younger I was fortunate to have been taught the value of history. Its perspectives, its meaning, the reasons that things happened in the past and the way things got to where they are now. It is all part of the value of understanding history.

History Disappears

It’s great in our modern times that we have so many ways to learn about history. History channels on TV, history websites, documentary movies and books written about some of the most influential people and times in Earth’s past.

But also it seems today that we are more eager than ever to erase parts of history. By distorting it in those same places that supply it, and even more so by erasing its reference in the culture we live in. It is a delicate balance for sure. Our racial and political prejudices make for what seems valid reasons to just eradicate any current reference to those things deemed unacceptable now. As they may have seemed right in the past, today they may seem very biased, cruel or insensitive to how things are in the “now.”

But we are in the times of the “information age” where information is readily available at the push of a button. We have to be careful to understand that just because we have an abundance of information – doesn’t mean we have an abundance of “knowledge”.  Erasing the past entirely for the sake of the future would be most difficult, but erasing the memories of what those things are in the past can be very easy. In the course of that effort, the generations ahead will be unaware of what brought them to that point.

So my advice to my kids? 

Understand history and respect it. My father and my wife’s father both fought in World War 2. They are remembered by their children, but as my kids grow up and they have children they will have a different perspective. Even the veterans of the Vietnam era will only be a fact in the history data that will exist on the Internet or in books or movies. It may only seem like another fiction book or story to some of them

When history gets erased, it will open up the opportunity for it to be repeated. With no lessons learned, generations ahead will not understand the perspectives on which we got to where we are… they will go in and blindly misunderstand the reasons for things.

Erasing history and the references to things around is can be labeled as “progress” or “the correct thing to do” – and that is always going to happen. But it has accelerated because we live in the age where an abundance of information and opinion is shared with everyone.  So everyone’s opinion is supposed to count, but with regard to history- the basis for formulating those opinions are lost in history (or the lack of its understanding).


Too Much Information

Too much information!

Piles of Things

Back in my childhood I remember the evening newspaper landing on the front porch every night. My dad would come home from work, kick off his shoes, sometimes make up a cocktail and read the paper.  When I got interested in what they used to call “current events” I was watching TV.

Even in my youngest days the biggest news would show up on the airwaves and most of the public would watch it. After all, we had 3 national networks to choose from. You had a choice who you liked, who you trusted.  Assassinations, moon landings. war’s on TV, protesters, politicians, national news and local news all came through the TV screen on one of the few channels the airwaves could send our way.

Things have changed. We get our information in such a different way. My grown children don’t even own a connection to a TV source. No antenna, no cable. They get their news from the Internet. Though the smartphones and the computers they have in their hands. Portable. Anywhere.   That is the great part of the “information age” .

But  now those 3 channels have turned into a multitude of options. The newspapers are shuttering their doors, the TV channels that had been so robust in reporting the news are now full of talking-heads who are spouting their opinions on any topic that will sell more commercials and make people who think the same way happier.

So here we are on the Internet. There is an endless source of information on the world-wide web. But that has made the news have a thousand alternate versions. A view-point becomes a fact, a fact becomes distorted, a picture tells a thousand words but the words don’t match the picture. The photos are photo-shopped, and the captions frequently don’t match the event.  The world is instantaneous. News from the other side of the world can show up on your iPad less than 30 seconds after the event.  Two minutes later you can read the view points of every one who wants to declare their position.

So its TMI. Too Much information.  There doesn’t seem to be a “filter” at all. It is going to keep coming and we all have to make the best of it.

That is what can make blog-posts on WordPress exciting. Connected people can make a difference. It is what we can all do since we are inter-connected human beings from all over the world. We can verify that the entire world isn’t going down in flames. There are a lot of things we all have in common. It is the goodness of the information age.  It is our chance to remove the filter and understand each other. I am thankful for that.  Hope you are too.


We all get them… There are a lot of mixed messages in today’s’ world.


A lot of it is the fact that we live in the “information age”  I think. It happens all around us. No matter what we see or hear, there seems to be a question of reality. We read news, we track social networks, we watch media provide up to the minute real-time events in our living room.

What we see can sometime contradict what we believe is true, and still we may tend to deny what our eyes are seeing.There are other times we see  or read something, that won’t validate what we want to believe so we will dismiss it. It contradicts our beliefs and then we are not going to accept the evidence.

There are a lot of people who outwardly say sincerely that they care about people and causes. But  their actions contradict that. They follow their religious or personal philosophies, but only when it fits in their lives.   Like the message of LOVE and the practice of HATE. They may be saying that people “in need” should be helped, but shouldn’t help them in any way even if they are provided many opportunities.  I guess almost all of us need to work harder all the time to focus on people in-need.

It is easy to say and do things that don’t make sense to everything else in our lives. It can be the principle of the moment and long-term it doesn’t play out. But there are many times I think I need to stop and review what is “in-coming” in my life and make sure I am convicted to the “outcome” – and not contradict myself.   Does that happen in your life, too?

The Touch of Grace In Living

Just the other day someone who I hadn’t seen or talked to in ages happened to communicate with me online. I thought again how much the Internet has changed everyone’s lives in the “Information Age“.  As part of our communication it was apparent that somewhere along our past journey I had said something that “stuck” with him and became part of his philosophy in life from that point on.

I didn’t recall saying anything to him that would be that profound, and frankly what I said must have been part of a conversation that I don’t recall now. What it was isn’t even that important to this posting. It did make me think again how much we are all interconnected by everything we do and say every day. Sometimes it may be with a stranger at the checkout line, or someone you meet on your walk with the dog. Other times it could be with those friendships and relationships you have with friends and relatives that pass through your timeline of life (I shudder when I look at my life as a “timeline”- thanks Facebook). It is more than the impact of reading a book, or watching a film, or listening to a song… it is human interaction.

But no matter how we intersect and no matter whether it is brief or an extended amount of time, there is always this chance that you or the other person may be changed by it. If even just in the smallest of ways; or sometimes in the most profoundly huge ways.  It is part of God’s wish that we treat everyone that way and it is not always going to work because we often find ourselves centered on our selves. But even then, it can happen. That brush with action or words that can change everything after it.

There is a fictional TV show on US television these days called “Touch” that addresses the idea that much of our world and its actions are interconnected mathematically. There is even going to be a web-based online series based on it called “Daybreak2012”. I think people are guinely curious about their effect on others. Heck, that is likely at the core of many of the blog-sites we are all visiting online today.

Perhaps that is the hidden equation, perhaps it is more on a spiritual level – something that we all possess but often do not acknowledge or recognize we have. 

At the end of our lives we may have touched so many people we didn’t ever realize we had. We may had said something or done something that made such a difference but we will never know because that person’s path will never cross ours again.

“There by the grace of God go I” to make my way into the world and leave something behind that is not just “tracks in the dust” that eventually fade away. Instead it is a chain reaction of things that I will not know during my lifetime. But I am excited to know in the next world.

Do you share in the excitement? Can you share in the grace of life?

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