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Possessions and Confessions

Stuart White
THE WORLD IN BLACK-N-WHITE

The really delightful thing about growing older is the ability to have richer outlook. You see perspective is the difference between someone who loses a job and says “my life is over” which starts to spiral down into a vortex of perpetual depression versus someone who acknowledges that the situation isn’t looking good and decides to take action nonetheless.

For some people that’s the kick in the butt they needed to start working towards their dreams, kicking fear to the curb and, had it not happened, they would not have taken the need for action.


Those two examples show different perspectives, outlooks, and frames of references which are all quite different. Tony Robbins said ‘Nothing has any meaning apart from the meaning that you give it’ or if we consider the words of French philosopher, Michel Foucault, ‘Nothing has any meaning outside of discourse’, and by that he means ‘discourse creates a social context and gives meaning to anything that is spoken about.’

In other words if it’s true, it’s true for you in your world, and the chances of someone else seeing it differently are very high.


Which brings me to the needing and wanting to hold onto possessions. Because ultimately it is how I feel and think about it right? I recently lost a box of memories that I used to keep in my house. And this really shook me because even though I knew it was just ‘stuff’, on some level it was stuff that I considered to be very important to me. 

But here is the thing, this box had an unsystematic collection of items such as photo albums, old letters, and a diary which I had religiously written in for a year, quite childish things which would be meaningless to anyone else.  And to be quite honest I never really looked through the box, it was dusty in the garage. I had lugged it around for years and I guess just the knowing that it was there made me feel…well, something.


I was really bummed by this loss and it kept rushing into my subconscious because I couldn’t accept that it was gone. You could say, its memories that I could look back on, giving me something to tell my children who are now too old to be interested. Maybe it was for the grandchildren…so that I could be so interesting to them.

Maybe it was proof that I had been somewhere and done something. I realise that no one really cares or is much interested in my collection of stuff.


My mother died recently and at the ripe old age of 85 and I was left to go through her stuff and distribute what was left between her children. It was so sad that, what was left could be carried out in less than two shopping bags and the rest given to a charity shop.

I wondered about a life time of accumulation with nothing to show. I was conscious that my spoils would be more impressive. So when the box went I was disconcerted, and all my spiritual teachings kept saying don’t attach to possessions and I could hear this very clearly, but still I longed for that box.


We spend a lifetime accumulating possessions, filling our lives with beautiful things, cars, clothes, ornaments, people so that we can feel good and so that people can look at us and say “ Woah would you look at that!”. We endure endless days of hard work, burning the midnight oil looking for the next fix, the next win, the next accolade. And perhaps that’s all a bit pointless when we all end up six feet under.


I don’t have a tendency to horde but there are some things I like to keep in case I may need to reference them in the future. What about you, what do you hold on to? Receipts, old wedding photos, old television sets, LPs, clothing, books (sometimes you truly are done with that book and it would be better off in someone else’s hands), school scrap books (ok I am talking of an older generation here (I explained to my children that the box was the equivalent to their social media pages and only then did they understood the magnitude of my situation).


What we have or experience on the outside is a reflection of what is happening on the inside. So the question you would need to ask yourself is ‘What is it about me, my thoughts, my feelings, my perceptions that I feel that I need to hold on to all this stuff in order to feel complete?’ ‘Why am I seeking so much comfort in keeping these things, these habits, these friends and the likes.’


Growing and living gives you a panoramic view of life. It gives you the HD experience that enhances your picture quality. It gives you greater clarity which means the picture on my screen (my perspective) can be less blurred and less fuzzy.

It also brings other benefits such as smoother motion, richer and more natural colours, surround sound, and the ability to allow a variety of input devices to work together (the ability to consider other people’s perspectives). So just when I was  prepared to let that box go, with all its meaning and resolve with the thought that the time is now to create new memories anyway, –ex-wife’s telephone call to disclose – she has it! I guess I will never know if she did it on purpose!


STUART WHITE is the Managing Director of HRMC and they can be reached on 395 1640 or at www.hrmc.co.bw

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Export Processing Zones: How to Get SEZA to Sizzle

23rd September 2020
Export Processing Zone (EPZ) factory in Kenya

In 2005, the Business & Economic Advisory Council (BEAC) pitched the idea of the establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to the Mogae Administration.

It took five years before the SEZ policy was formulated, another five years before the relevant law was enacted, and a full three years before the Special Economic Zones Authority (SEZA) became operational.

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Egypt Bagged Again

23rd September 2020
Samson

… courtesy of infiltration stratagem by Jehovah-Enlil’s clan

With the passing of Joshua’s generation, General Atiku, the promised peace and prosperity of a land flowing with milk and honey disappeared, giving way to chaos and confusion.

Maybe Joshua himself was to blame for this shambolic state of affairs. He had failed to mentor a successor in the manner Moses had mentored him. He had left the nation without a central government or a human head of state but as a confederacy of twelve independent tribes without any unifying force except their Anunnaki gods.

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‘RO, ‘RO ‘RO YOUR ‘BOT

23rd September 2020

If I say the word ‘robot’ to you,  I can guess what would immediately spring to mind –  a cute little Android or animal-like creature with human or pet animal characteristics and a ‘heart’, that is to say to say a battery, of gold, the sort we’ve all seen in various movies and  tv shows.  Think R2D2 or 3CPO in Star Wars, Wall-E in the movie of the same name,  Sonny in I Robot, loveable rogue Bender in Futurama,  Johnny 5 in Short Circuit…

Of course there are the evil ones too, the sort that want to rise up and eliminate us  inferior humans – Roy Batty in Blade Runner, Schwarzenegger’s T-800 in The Terminator,  Box in Logan’s Run,  Police robots in Elysium and  Otomo in Robocop.

And that’s to name but a few.  As a general rule of thumb, the closer the robot is to human form, the more dangerous it is and of course the ultimate threat in any Sci-Fi movie is that the robots will turn the tables and become the masters, not the mechanical slaves.  And whilst we are in reality a long way from robotic domination, there are an increasing number of examples of  robotics in the workplace.

ROBOT BLOODHOUNDS Sometimes by the time that one of us smells something the damage has already begun – the smell of burning rubber or even worse, the smell of deadly gas. Thank goodness for a robot capable of quickly detecting and analyzing a smell from our very own footprint.

A*Library Bot The A*Star (Singapore) developed library bot which when books are equipped with RFID location chips, can scan shelves quickly seeking out-of-place titles.  It manoeuvres with ease around corners, enhances the sorting and searching of books, and can self-navigate the library facility during non-open hours.

DRUG-COMPOUNDING ROBOT Automated medicine distribution system, connected to the hospital prescription system. It’s goal? To manipulate a large variety of objects (i.e.: drug vials, syringes, and IV bags) normally used in the manual process of drugs compounding to facilitate stronger standardisation, create higher levels of patient safety, and lower the risk of hospital staff exposed to toxic substances.

AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY ROBOTS Applications include screw-driving, assembling, painting, trimming/cutting, pouring hazardous substances, labelling, welding, handling, quality control applications as well as tasks that require extreme precision,

AGRICULTURAL ROBOTS Ecrobotix, a Swiss technology firm has a solar-controlled ‘bot that not only can identify weeds but thereafter can treat them. Naio Technologies based in southwestern France has developed a robot with the ability to weed, hoe, and assist during harvesting. Energid Technologies has developed a citrus picking system that retrieves one piece of fruit every 2-3 seconds and Spain-based Agrobot has taken the treachery out of strawberry picking. Meanwhile, Blue River Technology has developed the LettuceBot2 that attaches itself to a tractor to thin out lettuce fields as well as prevent herbicide-resistant weeds. And that’s only scratching the finely-tilled soil.

INDUSTRIAL FLOOR SCRUBBERS The Global Automatic Floor Scrubber Machine boasts a 1.6HP motor that offers 113″ water lift, 180 RPM and a coverage rate of 17,000 sq. ft. per hour

These examples all come from the aptly-named site www.willrobotstakemyjob.com    because while these functions are labour-saving and ripe for automation, the increasing use of artificial intelligence in the workplace will undoubtedly lead to increasing reliance on machines and a resulting swathe of human redundancies in a broad spectrum of industries and services.

This process has been greatly boosted by the global pandemic due to a combination of a workforce on furlough, whether by decree or by choice, and the obvious advantages of using virus-free machines – I don’t think computer viruses count!  For example, it was suggested recently that their use might have a beneficial effect in care homes for the elderly, solving short staffing issues and cheering up the old folks with the novelty of having their tea, coffee and medicines delivered by glorified model cars.  It’s a theory, at any rate.

Already, customers at the South-Korean  fast-food chain No Brand Burger can avoid any interaction with a human server during the pandemic.  The chain is using robots to take orders, prepare food and bring meals out to diners.  Customers order and pay via touchscreen, then their request is sent to the kitchen where a cooking machine heats up the buns and patties. When it’s ready, a robot ‘waiter’ brings out their takeout bag.   

‘This is the first time I’ve actually seen such robots, so they are really amazing and fun,’ Shin Hyun Soo, an office worker at No Brand in Seoul for the first time, told the AP. 

Human workers add toppings to the burgers and wrap them up in takeout bags before passing them over to yellow-and-black serving robots, which have been compared to Minions. 

Also in Korea, the Italian restaurant chain Mad for Garlic is using serving robots even for sit-down customers. Using 3D space mapping and other technology, the electronic ‘waiter,’ known as Aglio Kim, navigates between tables with up to five orders.  Mad for Garlic manager Lee Young-ho said kids especially like the robots, which can carry up to 66lbs in their trays.

These catering robots look nothing like their human counterparts – in fact they are nothing more than glorified food trolleys so using our thumb rule from the movies, mankind is safe from imminent takeover but clearly  Korean hospitality sector workers’ jobs are not.

And right there is the dichotomy – replacement by stealth.  Remote-controlled robotic waiters and waitresses don’t need to be paid, they don’t go on strike and they don’t spread disease so it’s a sure bet their army is already on the march.

But there may be more redundancies on the way as well.  Have you noticed how AI designers have an inability to use words of more than one syllable?  So ‘robot’ has become ‘bot’ and ‘android’ simply ‘droid?  Well, guys, if you continue to build machines ultimately smarter than yourselves you ‘rons  may find yourself surplus to requirements too – that’s ‘moron’ to us polysyllabic humans”!

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