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April has arrived and suddenly we are already in the fourth month of the year. April can be a bit of a moody month. One minute you sit in the sun, drink the first cold beverage of the sun and catch your first sunburn. The next you catch your scarf and the woolen socks and get back in front of the stove with a hot chocolate. You are not caught in between the seasons, you are jumping between them. It asks us to be flexible and prepared for everything. Before summer arrives and gives us a break to take a deep breath of fresh air, we get befuddled. We are getting to the other side, and change is rarely comfortable. But we are used to the changes of the seasons, right? We are used to the turmoil of the change of the seasons. Maybe we can learn something about how we deal with change from how we deal with changing seasons.

What we wrote

Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose

Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose
My father was a pretty big fan of the late US American country singer Janis Joplin. I could pray for a Mercedes-Benz to the Lord probably before I could move on my own two feet. And that early childhood music education really did a good job. To this day I like listening to that smokey voice. “Me and Bobby McGee” is on my favourite songs Spotify playlist since the day I started filling that list.

The chorus of that song, however, has one line that for a long time I could not really understand: “Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose”. Because isn’t freedom the thing we strive for? Aren’t we doing so much in the name of freedom? Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom to live a life as you want it and design it?

I always took that phrase in a very dark interpretation: You can only ever be truly free if you have nothing left to fight for. You can only ever be truly free if you have nothing left to care for, if you gave up caring for something. The song, after all, is about a woman (in Joplin’s interpretation) and her partner hitchhiking through the states. Is there a bigger fantasy of just leaving everything behind, living into the day and seeing where you end up than hitchhiking?

The word freedom recently strikes a wrong chord with me. I still believe in the values of freedom. But I am not sure of the intentions of others who (mis)use the word. Recently I noticed the tendency to use “your freedom” as the reason to be a douchebag. You just deeply insulted and hurt somebody with your words? “But the freedom of speech!” A legislator decides to take a step back in history and criminalize abortions? “But the freedom of a right to live!” You don’t wear a mask and risk others getting ill from an airborne virus! “But the freedom of choice!”

This has nothing to do with freedom, in no sense of the word. This is ignorance. And basically, if you find yourself on the receiving end of it, this is the opposite of “nothing else to lose”. It is dependence on the mercy of others. It is everything to lose - your mental integrity, your physical integrity, and in the worst cases, your life!

Freedom is not a completely worry-free alley all the way. It’s not that you get everything at the expense of others. It’s not a blank check to do whatever you want. Our freedom ends where the freedom of others to remain free of pain, trauma and injury begins. It’s a negotiation process that involves uncomfortable conversations with others and also with yourself about boundaries, needs and fears.

Freedom is not “nothing left to lose” in a sense that leaves nothing to care for - freedom is the state where we don’t have to fear losing anything. And by now I understand that that’s what Janis Joplin is singing about. The main character in the song is not free of worries. But there is lightness in her time with Bobby. There is room to think about other things. There is freedom in freedom!

What others wrote

No text I ever write just comes out of my brain from some form of abyss. I am not that genius creative. I read a lot of stuff that forms my opinion. Not all of it makes it into my articles. Some things are just a brain tickler. So I will share good pieces with you, so maybe they also tickle your brain.
The market for company white-labelled messaging apps is booming. Companies want to engage more employees in communicating more with each other. Lowering the barriers of accessibility, hierarchy and technology barriers. WhatsApp has raised more questions about information security and so companies don’t want to take the risk of a breach. And while the chance presents itself, why not include one or two features more? Like, banning certain unpleasant words? Amazon tries do do exactly that. In their new internal chat apps certain words such as “slave Labor”, “prison” - and “restroom”. The official explanation: “We want to lean towards being restrictive on the content that can be posted to prevent a negative associate experience.”
Ever wondered why Google completes your search with such weird stuff? Well, as with most things like that nowadays - there's an AI involved. And that means there's a tech company involved with a - very possibly - not very diverse workforce. Here is another call for public advocates when forming what will be part of our future.
We are following the same rules for stories for quite some time now. So how could innovation look like in the field of storytelling? And: Do we even need innovation for it?

A word from...
Katherine May

"The book to read is not the one that thinks for you but the one which makes you think" - Harper Lee
This month I want to recommend you "Wintering" by Katherine May
Book Cover Wintering
Well, Winter is over. We are heading right into our short pants and t-shirts. So why am I referring to a book here that deals with the cold season? Because Winter is not only a season. Winter is a feeling and a phase that we go through, sometimes no matter what Mother Nature dictates on the outside world. Katherine May writes a wonderful plea for breaks, dark places, and, in the end, what beauty can come out of that. And that, sometimes, is not dependent on the hours of sunlight we get.

The Good News

Sometimes things feel like we will not survive them. Turns out people can survive pretty crazy stuff. So this is a little light, I guess: it takes a bit until we are dying.

What's new?

I have a "Now" page. So everyone can see what is going on.
What is a Now page? It's "a page that tells you what this person is focused on at this point in their life. Think of what you’d tell a friend you hadn’t seen in a year." The idea was first brought into the world by Derek Sivers. So this is me sharing myself with you, just as I would do with friends I haven't seen in a year. Even if we have never met in person.
That's it for this month. Thanks for reading the 11th Edition and for your support. Please let me know what you think of the newsletter. All feedback welcome!
And on a last note, just to let you know: This newsletter, as any, was made by the loving support of snacks, coffee, and the vastness of the internet.
We actively want to bring in colours, not just lighten the place up! We want to create the space, where ideas from other dimensions are included, where thoughts outside of the black and white realm find a touchpoint with the spectrum. We want to explore possibilities how our society can be a better one when we don’t fight the unknown but embrace it with open arms and a curious mind. It is an offer to think differently. It’s an offer for different views, opinions and insights so that the “One Size Fits All” story of technology becomes a range of various stories that show us the immense beauty of digitalization.
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