connection

Helsinki Hudson presents Anne Heaton and Natalia Zukerman: An Evening of Songs and Stories on December 5 at 8pm.

The multimedia evening will feature excerpts from Zukerman's latest show "The Women Who Rode Away" and from Heaton's new album and storybook "To the Light"

Natalia Zukerman's “The Women Who Rode Away” melds her talents as a songwriter, painter, and storyteller as she recounts the journey of finding her voice through the stories of the women in her life and in history that paved the way. 

Anne Heaton’s “To the Light” is a celebration of collaboration and connection. Heaton is the Founder of Soul Songs School.

Richard Louv’s landmark book, "Last Child in the Woods," inspired an international movement to connect children and nature. Now Louv redefines the future of human-animal coexistence. "Our Wild Calling" explores these powerful and mysterious bonds and how they can transform our mental, physical, and spiritual lives, serve as an antidote to the growing epidemic of human loneliness, and help us tap into the empathy required to preserve life on Earth.

"Our Wild Calling" makes the case for protecting, promoting, and creating a sustainable and shared habitat for all creatures: not out of fear, but out of love. The book looks to point us toward what look for in the age of technology: real connection.

Hayim Herring, PhD, is an author, presenter and nonprofit organizational futurist, with a specialty in faith-based communities. A former congregational rabbi and “C-suite” nonprofit executive, Hayim blends original research and real-world experience to inspire individuals and organizations to achieve their greatest impact.

Social isolation, loneliness, and suicide are conditions we often associate with the elderly. But in reality, these issues have sharply increased across younger generations. Baby Boomers, Gen X’ers, Millennials, and post-Millennials all report a declining number of friends and an increasing number of health issues associated with loneliness. In his book, "Connecting Generations," Hayim Herring focuses on how Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, and Millennials perceive one another and looks underneath the generational labels that compound isolation. 

Named one of the world’s ten most influential intellectuals by MIT, Douglas Rushkoff is an award-winning author, broadcaster, and documentarian who studies human autonomy in the digital age. The host of the popular "Team Human" podcast, Rushkoff has written twenty books. His latest is "Team Human," a manifesto on his most urgent thoughts on civilization and human nature.

In it, he argues that we are essentially social creatures, and that we achieve our greatest aspirations when we work together not as individuals. Yet today society is threatened by a vast antihuman infrastructure that undermines our ability to connect. Money, once a means of exchange, is now a means of exploitation; education, conceived as way to elevate the working class, has become another assembly line; and the internet has only further divided us into increasingly atomized and radicalized groups. If we are to resist and survive these destructive forces, we must recognize that being human is a team sport. In Rushkoff’s own words: “Being social may be the whole point.”

Today’s leaders are grappling with the pace and complexity of change, the challenge of supporting healthy collaboration and alignment among teams, and the resulting stress and burnout. The practice of mindful leadership may be one of the most important competencies in business today if leaders are to move beyond fear, anxiety, nagging self-doubt, and the feeling of constant overwhelm.

Marc Lesser has taught his proven seven-step method to leaders at Google, Genentech, SAP, Facebook, and dozens of other Fortune 500 companies for over twenty years and has distilled a lifetime of mindfulness and business experience into the book, "Seven Practices of a Mindful Leader: Lessons from Google and a Zen Monastery Kitchen."

Shoshana Zuboff is the Charles Edward Wilson Professor emerita, Harvard Business School. She is the author of In "The Age of the Smart Machine: the Future of Work and Power" and "The Support Economy: Why Corporations Are Failing Individuals and the Next Episode of Capitalism."

In her new book, "The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power," she brings to life the consequences of surveillance capitalism as it advances from Silicon Valley into every economic sector. Vast wealth and power are accumulated in ominous new "behavioral futures markets," where predictions about our behavior are bought and sold, and the production of goods and services is subordinated to a new "means of behavioral modification."

Zuboff's analysis lays bare the threats to twenty-first century society: a controlled "hive" of total connection that seduces with promises of total certainty for maximum profit; at the expense of democracy, freedom, and our human future. 

Listener Essay - Pumping Gas

Feb 19, 2019
Bama - a yellow lab
Bob Slack

 

  Debbie Slack was honored to be a recipient of the 2018 Edwin Way Teale Artist in Residence at Trail Wood sponsored by the Connecticut Audubon Society.

Inspired by the residency, Debbie has been writing a series of essays which has expanded into a memoir titled "Trail Wood: A Love Story." Debbie is also focused on publishing her novel, "Margaret Mary and the Gutsy Girls." She is excited for their story to leave the comforts of home and venture out into the hearts of girls everywhere. Outside of writing, Debbie enjoys exploring nature with her husband, Bob, and their two Labradors.

~Pumping Gas~

It was just a typical day and I assumed an ordinary moment, when I drove into the gas station with my son’s Yellow Labrador Retriever watching me from the backseat. While my son’s deployed we’ve been taking care of Bama, a gentle giant, who croons like a hound dog and acts all innocent when the bread goes missing even though his snoot is peppered in crumbs. When Bama’s allergies flare-up, he scratches, loses hair, and turns pink. So this morning when he was looking less a dog and more like a pig, I called the vet’s office. They insisted I bring him right in. It’s a thirty-minute drive one-way and by the time we arrived, the office was overwhelmed with an emergency and needed to reschedule. I understood, but the trip was about to waste an hour of my time and all of my gas.

We’re all aware that innovations like smartphones and social media can have a negative impact on our lives, but the thought of quitting these technologies can scare us into believing we’ll be left disconnected and left behind.

According to Georgetown Computer Science Professor Cal Newport, the solution isn’t relying on tips and hacks to use technology less, and it isn’t an outright rejection either -- it’s a clear, simple philosophy for our technology use.

In his new book, "Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World," Newport suggests focusing your online time on a small number of carefully selected activities that strongly support things you value, allowing you to happily miss out on everything else.

Bookstores and libraries have long played a central role in fostering a deeper appreciation of knowledge, and in lifelong learning. Increasingly, these places are also filling another critical need in our communities, by providing a haven for those seeking a communal connection in an ever-more isolated world.

But, how is this all playing out in our current fractured political climate? We have two guests to discuss this with us this morning. Chris Morrow is owner of Northshire Bookstores in Manchester Center, Vermont and Saratoga Springs, New York and he joins us along with the CEO of the American Booksellers Association – Oren Teicher.


  This Thursday at 4 p.m., The Mount in Lenox, Massachusetts presents Women Writing Through Loss: Connecting Through Calamity featuring Dr. Lucy Kalanithi, Rebecca Soffer, and Emily Rapp Black as they read from their work and discuss the power of connection as friends, as writers, as mothers, and as women who forged powerful friendships after experiencing great personal loss, and writing their way out of it.

 

Rebecca Soffer joined us to tell us more.

In her new novel, Touch, author Courtney Maum tells the story of a leading trend forecaster who suddenly finds herself in the position of wanting to overturn her own predictions.

Maum examines the issues of technology, family, and artificial intelligence in a sophisticated and very entertaining way. 

  Jonathan Coulton is a singer-songwriter, fan-cruise operator, public radio one-man-house-band, and internet personality -- if in fact that is still a thing. In 2005 the Yale educated computer programmer, pledged to release one song per week for a year to prove to himself that he could produce creative output to a deadline and to see whether a professional artist could use the Internet and Creative Commons to support himself. A hair more than a decade -- and a good many musical adventures -- later, Coulton is releasing a new full-length album, Solid State, tomorrow on SuperEgo records.

SuperEgo records is Aimee Mann’s label, and Jonathan Coulton is opening for her on tour - in support of the Solid State release and that of her new album, Mental Illness.  When the tour was at The Egg in Albany, NY earlier this week, Coulton came by the studio to talk about the concept album, its companion graphic novel (written by Matt Fraction and drawn by Albert Monteys), NPR’s Ask Me Another, and The Spongebob Musical.

Photograph of a portion of Tanja Hollander's "Are You Really My Friend?" at MASS MoCA
MASS MoCA's Instagram


  How often do you get a friend request on Facebook from someone whose name you don’t recognize? You have mutual friends. You check those names -- and then you aren’t sure exactly who some of those people are either - or how you know them. Imagine telling someone 15 years ago that you have friends you don’t know -- and not in that “a stranger is a just a friend you haven’t met yet” optimistic way.

Tanja Hollander’s new exhibition Are You Really My Friend? is currently on view at MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA. The show explores, through portraits and paraphernalia, what friendship means to Tanja and what friendship means today - in the age of social media and easy surface relationships. She set out to connect with and photograph her 626 Facebook friends.

I spoke with Tanja and curator Denise Markonish at the museum recently and began by asking Tanja when and where she had the idea for the project.

  Peabody Award-winning broadcaster and National Humanities Medalist Krista Tippett has interviewed the most extraordinary voices examining the great questions of meaning for our time. The heart of her work on her national public radio program and podcast, On Being, has been to shine a light on people whose insights kindle in us a sense of wonder and courage. 
 
In Becoming Wise, Tippett distills the insights she has gleaned from this luminous conversation in its many dimensions into a coherent narrative journey, over time and from mind to mind.

    A cosmopolitan, by definition, is a “citizen of the universe” — someone who engages with issues across the globe, from politics, to war, to climate change. For example, we listen to WAMC, read the newspaper, check our Facebook pages and act like dutifully connected people.

But the Director of the MIT Center for Civic Media, Ethan Zuckerman, argues that we’re living in a state of “imaginary cosmopolitanism.” We expose ourselves to limited kinds of information, particularly that which is already of interest to us or to those closest to us. He confronts this issue in his new book, Rewire: Digital Cosmopolitans in the Age of Connection.