The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

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Growing Through Social Media

Posted on May 28, 2015

MY FRIEND JODI LAUNCHED HER NEW BUSINESS this week and used social media to get the word out (@CityMatchLdn on Twitter). It was exciting to see how quickly word spread and the support she gathered in just a few hours. It caused me to think back to a time only a few years ago when a good number of us quickly coalesced around Facebook and Twitter as our main method of interacting with one another. So much has changed, mostly us. At times communicating through such venues was a rough ride. There were the usual suspects – the haters, the trolls, the overt attention seekers, the underminers, even the political hacks – but for the rest of us there were misunderstandings to be corrected,…

Working Without Meaning

Posted on May 26, 2015

INCREASINGLY AT THE LONDON FOOD BANK WE ARE encountering those recently without work or holding down one or two minimum wage jobs as they seek to make ends meet for their families. It’s an endlessly disillusioning process – one showing no sign of abatement. But this is the new world, the new economy, the new reality of employment. Millions are facing it, and despite training and education they are witnessing that link between work and wealth disappear in real-time and with real fallout. We see what happens when democracy stumbles along through cycles of low voter turnout and the dysfunction that inevitably follows. Suddenly power migrates upward, with citizens cut off from it in ever-increasing ways. Well, it’s now like that with employment. Wealthy…

When We Feel We Can’t Make a Difference

Posted on May 21, 2015

“RATIONALIZATION,” SAID AUTHOR AYN RAND, “is a process of not perceiving reality, but of attempting to make reality fit one’s emotion.” We’ve all been there and often regretted not proceeding with something we felt we should achieve. There are occasions when we don’t take something on because we have reasoned that it wouldn’t work anyway, even if we feel it was important to others or ourselves. We’re not talking about excuses here, where we didn’t want to do something anyway and manufactured reasons for declining. This is different. This is where we experience the desire to take something on, but have developed some reasons, often through experience, that make us hesitant. It’s not because we’re looking for an out; we just think the odds against…

When Government Disappears

Posted on May 19, 2015

THE SIGNS OF IT ARE EVERYWHERE – university tuitions almost out of reach; poverty both systemic and entrenched; the decline in research almost across the board; significant cuts to foreign aid and diplomatic initiatives; and an increasing sense that Ottawa might as well be situated in some other country. Then there is the emotional damage created when a people no longer look to the future with a robust sense of optimism or to government with any real kind of expectation. This collective decline in optimism is, in every way, as significant as the previously mentioned challenges. Government itself is changing and it’s in the process of disappearing. The so-called “austerity agenda” has crippled numerous regions, including southwestern Ontario, and the much hoped for “austerity…

Can Technology Save Us?

Posted on May 14, 2015

SO MUCH HAS BEEN WRITTEN ON THIS SUBJECT for 30 years that it’s become something of a preoccupation for many. But let’s just answer the question directly: no, technology can’t save the world – at least not alone. But there is potential, lots of it. Everything is in the process of being “connected” to everything else, people too. Almost 90% of the data in the world today has been created only in the past two years. In only five more years, 50 billion devices will be connected to the Internet. The advances in DNA mapping and bioinformatics will turn humans into living data fields to be researched, monitored, and perhaps made healthier. Data in general will grow ten-fold in the next five years, to…

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