On Friends and Enemies

On Friends and Enemies

Over the weekend, I read/heard two great quotes about the nature of friends and enemies:

1) The first was from Peggy Noonan in the Wall Street Journal where she reminds us of a political rule that “Friends come and go, but enemies accumulate.” Really this applies in all of life, a few real friends may last over an entire lifetime, but most others are transient, such as in school, at work, or in a community, but when you leave that place or circumstance, the friendships often do not persist. However, enemies seem to last forever, where people never forget when they feel they’ve been wronged and these people may actually seek each other out and even join forces to get their contemplated revenge. The fight is not always fair or just, but people’s feelings when they think they’ve been wronged, hang in the air, like the stench of decaying carcasses. Something to beware of.

2) The second was from a martial arts movie called Ninja 2 where one of the characters says to a martial arts expert, whose wife was brutally murdered, “The man who seeks revenge should dig two graves.” Upon which, the martial artist wittingly responds, “They’ll need to dig a lot more than that,” and in the movie, the Ninja exacted his revenge on the drug lord and his gang for the murder they committed.

My impressions are that we should try to be good people and have a broad positive influence in the world. With some people, we will find true friendship–and very often, there is an almost unexplainable chemistry to this, where it just clicks–and it’s as if we’ve known this person not only in this lifetime, but in prior lifetimes as well. In other cases, the friendships are more temporal based on shared circumstance, camaraderie, or even an alliance or sorts, and these really are not sustained when one or both parties move on. And that’s okay, not every friendship is deep and forever.

In terms of enemies, you know it when you have it. Again, chemistry may play a role or one person may have indeed wronged the other. Sometimes, people can learn from making a mistake, they can apologize, commit to do better in the future, and there can be forgiveness. In other circumstances, the blood between people is bad and won’t get better, because there is scarcity, misunderstanding, bias, or even blind hatred. In these cases, it often seems as if no amount of communication, negotiation, or bending over backwards will resolve it. You can try–it’s always worth a try–but be prepared to circle the wagons and defend yourself, if all else fails.

Finally, a wrongful act can be so brutal and egregious that at times it seems that only a “joust to the death” will do, but revenge in the end, does not bring anybody back or undue the harm done. Yes, when justice is done, the world seems somehow righted and the fallen can be released from their painful throes and go on in peace, and maybe the evil aggressor will be prevented from hurting others in the future. In the end, the smell of peace is the sweetest of all, when we can live and let live. πŸ˜‰

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Google Hypocrisy?

Google Hypocrisy?

Google, which touts itself as the one that “organize[s] the world’s information and make[s] it universally accessible and usable,” ended its Reader product on Monday, July 1.

The RSS reader was a terrific tool for aggregating content feeds on the Internet (and Google is a terrific company that benefits the whole world’s thirst for knowledge).

With Google Reader you could subscribe to tens or hundreds of news services, blogs, and other information feeds and read it on your desktop or mobile device.

Reader represented the Google mission itself by pulling together all this information and making it available in one reading place, simply and easily for anyone.

While the Goolge line is that they killed Reader, because of a declining user base, I find this less then credible, since anecdotally it seems like a very popular that is helpful to people. Moreover, Google could’ve chosen to competitively enhance this product rather than shut it down.

So why did they end a great product that literally fits their mission perfectly?

We can only surmise that the ad clicks weren’t there (and thus neither was the profit) or perhaps Google felt this product was cannibalizing attention from their other products like Google News (a limited aggregator) or from some of their paying ad sponsors or partners feeding other products like Google Glass.

We may never know the answer, but what we do know is that, in this case, Google sold out on it’s core mission of organizing and providing information and abandoned their adoring userbase for Reader.

Feedly and other more clunky readers are out there, but Google Reader is a loss for the information needy and desirous and a misstep by Google.

RIP Reader, I think we will yet see you, in some form or fashion, yet again. πŸ˜‰

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Laurie Pink)

Walking In All Shoes

Until_you_walk_in_my_shoes

Thinking about life and death and the concept of reincarnation.

While I have heard the belief of some that reincarnation is the ultimate justice machine–if you treat others well, you come back well off, while if you treat them badly, you come back in their situation.

So the classic example, would be if you have the opportunity to give charity, and do so, genoreously, then you are rewarded in a next life with riches, but if you are miserly, then you come back poor–to learn the lessons of charitable giving.

However, I wonder if this concept goes even much further.

Does our journey ultimately takes us not just to occupy some positions if life, but rather to every role and status, illustrative of all peoples–so that we learn from the eyes of everyone.

The world Β is round and the number of perspectives around it are as varied as the people, races, cultures, and nations they come from.

As the saying goes, “don’t judge me until you walk a mile in my shoes,” perhaps we are indeed given the opportunity to walk in a large representative sample of those.

When the see the world not from where we sit today in life, but from where others are perched, we can get a whole new perspective on issues and ideas–we can learn true empathy, caring, respect, and justice.

Almost like having G-d’s vantage point, we can learn to see the world from a multi-cultural perspective, where each person, tribe, and nation is infinitely valuable–where each holds the key to a perspective and lesson that we must all learn before our journey comes to a conclusion.

Live life and learn well–there is much to see, hear, and experience, and no one has all the answers or is all righteous–like a large mosaic, we all have a piece. πŸ˜‰

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Fernando Stankuns)