I am not afraid. I was born to do this. - Joan of Arc
I picked up this print at the Paper Place in Toronto last week. I was in between meetings downtown and had an hour and half to kill. Normally I bike to and from these appointment, it's my Wednesday tradition: a weekly commitment to get outside, to move my body, to let myself loose on the wild streets of Toronto. But this week I drove because I was going to cram a Costco grocery shopping trip, a half hour drive away, smack dab in the middle of my precious day.
Then I thought the better of it.
Instead of rushing like a maniac, I meandered a favourite bit of the city: the strip of Queen Street directly across from Trinity Bellwoods Park. I began at Type Books where I ordered my friend Chris Meades' new novel, For the Love of Mary, combed the magazine stand, and picked up some books for gifts for our 3-year-old's upcoming birthday. Then The Paper Place, right next door. Here I found two beautiful Father's Day cards for my dad and stepdad, a sheet of gift wrap, and this stunning print from Emily McDowell.
"I am not afraid. I was born to do this."
As I read these words they sang out in my bones.
I am not afraid. I was born to do this, I thought...
I was born to remind people to slow down while I myself slow down.
I was born to praise the good of the body while I respect and move the one I have been given.
I was born to urge parents to be present to their children while I myself remember to stop, listen and sit close, remembering the fleetingness of these days.
These are precious things I feel called to share. But there is more. Beyond all this, I feel an even greater urgency to call a culture to pay attention.
I am not afraid. I was born to do this.
I was born to draw attention to the fact that...
Sex robots are becoming a reality. A Toronto Star feature this week reported that: "Advancements in machines that can mimic human beings areraising a host of new ethical, legal and moral questions."
Social media is harming the mental health of teenagers. "The pressure to be perfect and always ‘on’ is overwhelming many of us, as studies show, but the government will not step in," says The Guardian.
AI is developing faster than we realize. "Companies such as Google, IBM and Microsoft are spending billions in a race to become tomorrow’s leaders in artificial intelligence," reports this video on CBC's The National.
And then there's Virtual Reality. Over the next two years, we will hear of little else. That’s because headsets like Oculus Rift have found a way to do more than just hang a big screen in front of your face; they've figure out how to hack your visual cortex. As far as your brain is concerned, there’s no difference between experiencing something on the Rift and experiencing it in the real world.
These technologies are taking over everything from the porn industry to theme parks, taking us beyond the idea of immersion and achieving true presence—the feeling of actually existing in a virtual space.
These technologies are here. Now.
In all of this, I hold close to Jean Vanier's words: "To be human means to remain connected to our humanity and the real world."
We are human. Human is good. I am not afraid. I was born to do this.
And so I will speak.
WRITE Canada Conference
Grace Toronto Church - West End Talks
Yellow Griffin Pub, Toronto, ON
Sept. 9-11, 2016
Social Media and Human Flourishing Colloquium
McGill University, Montreal, QC
Sept. 16-18, 2016