January 1st, 2010 by Collin Canright | Filed under Philosophy, Technology.

A number of people have pointed out that today is a binary date, and we’ll have another couple, on the tenth of this month and on the first and tenth of October, when we’ll have 10-10-10. I read in Seth’s blog his predication that it will be a decade of frustration and change. Change because the first internet generation is old enough to spend money and start companies and will change things. Frustration because baby Boomers are aging; dreams and health are failing. They don’t have the savings and resources they once did–and they will whine about it publicly.

I read a link in the comments to a post from marketer Shafeen Charania, who suggested it will be a decade of clarity, a binary clarity (he’s one who commented on the date). This quote from the article struck me: “. . . I was reading The Worthing Saga by Orson Scott Card and was so struck by the power of I was what I did; I am what I will do . . .”

It struck me because of its existential character, and I have come, during this past year as a graduate student, to appreciate the insight of the existentialists: that the basic power of potential that resides in being human is the ability–the inescapable necessity–to make choices–good, bad, and neutral–while living through time. I have come to respect the responsibility of that power and to use it as consciously and intentionally as possible.

And for someone who bemoaned objectivity in journalism and its lack of responsibility for so long in my papers as a student, I have also come to appreciate the power of seeing things as they are, objectively. Unvarnished facts in some cases and unvarnished truths in others.

The fact of choice through time is just that sort of unvarnished truth. It certainly will be a decade of change, and of frustration, and undoubtedly some level of clarity. Yet today it’s also the time of year to look at our past choices, some with remorse and regret, and use the lessons of those choices to make better ones in this digital year that ends our first “digital decade”* and look forward to the next, with ever increasing choices, especially online, and the frustrations and changes choice entails.

* I came across the term in an otherwise lackluster review of the major online events of the past 10 years. In searching the phrase on Google, I find that the first result is an essay Bill Gates wrote in 2001, “Moving into the Digital Decade.” He almost got it right with this phrase, except the digital decade he’s talking about will take place on the mobile handset, and during the decade that’s upon us:

“In the Digital Decade, you’ll no longer think of the PC as a tool you use only to carry out specific tasks it will become something you come to rely on all the time. The power of the PC will be as ubiquitous and reliable as electricity, and vastly more useful than any single device we use today.”

One Response to “01-01-10”

  1. Collin Canright | 1/01/10

    I came across this gem of a post on choice from Seth’s Blog, an item he originally wrote for Fast Company magazine in 2003: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2007/12/only-two-years.html

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