This year so far has been particularly difficult and trying; yet also one of the most profitable. I have completed my 2nd masters, however the most valuable lessons I have learned and experiences I have acquired had little to do with the academic knowledge or experiences gained during and through acerbic debates. I have learned a different set of values:
I have learnt to cope with many difficulties, endure and overcome trappings, pitfalls and pain of studying under stress. I have learned to collaborate with “virtual” people I’ve never met before nor will ever meet. Sadly, my last semester turned out to be rather barren when it came to collaboration. However, I attribute this to the fact that my fellow master graduating students in their last throws of study focused on crossing into the light at the end of a long and hostile tunnel. What I found particularly difficult to be is that for the 1st time I did not have a single student who shared my interest in my research project - Cognitive Information Continuum Model (C-ICM).
However, let this be understood correctly, I blame no one for this since my research project was way off this planet.
I have learned that individually conceived projects are far more difficult than pre-defined or parameterized projects. However, the real value of being off this planet has been the realization that there's more to life than:
- pursuing complex concepts and esoteric theories
- student life
- intellectual pursuits of one’s own mind and
- there’s more to relationships than committing oneself entirely to books and the works of others, regardless how noble or clever or engaging the authors and their works may be.
I have learned that Virtual is Real yet without flesh it is inanimate. Flesh is more real than virtual, and that physical affection is more sentient than even the most sensual virtual sensation.
I have learned that event the entire supercomputer grid with all its AI, neural networks and digitized knowledge does not come even close to a child’s smile or giggle or my a twinkle in my wife’s eyes.
During my last semester I have never slept so little in my life yet dreamed so much. I have never mourned the death of a virtual person or even a demise of entire virtual communities, yet I cried my eyes dry when a loved one passed away. I have learned that I have been quicker to get on the net than get on with my family, thus I have lost far more than I gained.
I have met some wonderful people both students – from my classes and from classes of other courses - and have built a few enduring relationships which stretch far beyond the confines and domains of the virtual class rooms.
I have learned that nearly all of my mishaps were self inflicted and have no one to blame for them. I had to fight my own demons because I did not notice the love, affection and protection of those who cared.
I have learned that the Internet stores vast amount of information and most of it is totally useless. The life span of any knowledge on the net is short. However, I also learned that without the Internet and the WWW, we would literally fight more physical wars instead of virtual. Without the Internet and the WWW communities would be poorer in every respect.
I have learned that despite much junk and pollution, the Internet is the richest repository of all sorts of wonderful things and I have learned how to find them without getting bogged down in the deluge of cyber gunk.
I have learned how little I know, yet today I know more than I knew when I began my sojourn with Internet Studies.
I have learned that kindness worth more than clinical intellect and that one trait that distinguishes us from machine is that we can make mistakes; machines are just too dumb for that.
I have learned to appreciate my teachers, yet I have not thanked them enough, so I may as well take this opportunity to thank at least Dr. Helen Merrick, who’s been one of the kindest academics I’ve ever met and whose care helped me through to the finish line of this endurance run.
Thank you Helen.