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  • Writer's pictureD. Randall Faro



Things one doesn’t understand. Ununderstandables. If that’s not a word, it should be. Maybe not-understoodables suits you better. Whatever. Here’s several that discombobulate (which is a real word) me.

Global Positioning System . . . better known as GPS. It’s that little device on your dashboard (or built into your vehicle) or within your “smart” phone that tells you how to get from where you are to where you want to go. The one in my truck is a Garmin about the size of a large deck of cards, but thinner. It knows where I am and can guide me to wherever I tell it I want to go. It doesn’t seem right to me that it should be able to do that. Some satellite follows me everywhere. I have to turn off the Garmin to feel unwatched. How in the name of all that is sacred can we make something to do this? I don’t understand.

Google searches. I just typed in “golden retriever breeders” and got 48,800,000 results in 0.91 seconds. There must be some super computer somewhere somehow hooked to mine that can come up with results like this in less than a second. Talk about scary. This is not artificial intelligence per se, but it does things in nano-seconds that would take me years to accomplish. I don’t understand.

The U.S.-Canadian dollar exchange rate. It changes daily, some days several times. Who decides that one minute I get $0.714427 U.S. for my Canadian dollars (I just checked) and tomorrow I might get $0.723119? Somebody has to determine the difference and stroke some keys to make it happen. Who? Where . . . Canada or the U.S. . . or some international monetary cabal? Nobody has ever been able to tell me. I don’t understand.

Purposefully wearing jeans full of rips and holes; jeans that look like Goodwill super-rejects. Why do people purposefully choose to look like they’re in the bottom 5% economically? Millionaires do this. Are they trying to hide their riches? It’s fashion, of course. But I guess I was born too far away from the runway. I don’t understand.

People who appear to care nothing for others. Not just me-first, but me-only. I certainly comprehend that everyone has self-concern, but what puzzles me is when that seems to be the only concern. Self-centeredness, selfishness, egocentricity, egomania . . . call it what you will. It is a destructive attitude that belies the need for and value of human community. The me-me-me syndrome is an evil force wherever it exists. I don’t understand it.

You might say that I could reach understanding in any of the above examples if I did the proper homework. And you might be right . . . although all I really care about is that my GPS does what it’s supposed to. And while resolving the first four cases is non-essential or relatively unimportant, the phenomenon of uncaring is more than vital. While one can’t make another person care, we need to work on ways to promote a sense of the value of human community vis-à-vis selfishness. We really do need each other, and the more people that affirm this and work for the good of the whole society, the better world we will all live in. This I understand.

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