Tag Archives: EFL

Almost 15 years later, what have I learned as an English teacher?

Sometimes I wake up from a weird dream and I have to sort things out. I’ll spare you from hearing about my medical condition, and in fact spare me from the backlash; but teachers are not doing well. In my head, we’ve been outsourced by Google, but the thing is I never go out the street with a phone connected to the internet. Not even when I worked 3 periods did I have that kind of privilege. I downloaded music from The Pirate Bay, and put it on my phone. Made my playlists. It was enough for 20 songs, more or less. And I can’t believe people use their data for that. It’s too consuming. I did want to stay connected with my contacts, but mostly, with people from abroad, and I was so incredibly dumb about going out with my throwaway accounts open in a big city. Today, I would never. I’m the kind of person that uses Google Authenticator for most things. I delete SMS because I think they’re spying on me. I know I just let my phone drop and the screen cracked, but I’m convinced someone hacked my frontal camera. But we learned, as teachers, that we can’t go anywhere if we don’t look around. We’re not paraphrasing textbooks, and to be honest, a lot of them suck, don’t they? And so does our technology. Talk to anyone from the US and you’ll notice an obvious synchronization problem. Which in turn, makes it a trust problem. And live your adventures, believe it’s true love. Get wrecked, again and again.

Our profession requires us to approach things nice and slow. Not to touch. Ask people to look at our mouth when we utter a sound. To pay attention to our intonation. Don’t we know people make judgments in real life based on intonation? How can you possibly teach that? But we do. Rising and falling. The British examples. Linguistics made us drive meaning into that. But it’s more than intonation or connected speech — which, by the way, is not taught anywhere. It’s just luck. A student might pay attention to pronunciation or not; be a good reader or not at all. And when they’re not, you see the value of the textbook. They can feel like they’re making progress, but you have to reassure them. The most tired teacher won’t forget to say that their student had a great participation in the class, and came up with very interesting and surprising answers. That it was good hearing them talk about issues. We’re lying. It’s a bunch of shitty opinions articulated in the worst possible way, and when they laugh, it’s because they think they’ve established common ground. Of course they haven’t. They’re laughing about the subtleties of language. And of context. Humor in the classroom is deemed essential. But willingness isn’t. Sometimes, you know you have to go further, but you won’t, because of time restraints. And so the purpose is defeated. You’re not helping, you’re tasked with a pre-made solution to be effected. Maybe it’s writing mispronounced words on the board. Do we still use those? What about the slides? What about streaming? And most importantly, what about policy? Whose email account do you use when watching YouTube? Not yours, I hope? If you do, you’re clearly not paying attention.

We live in a world where companies dream of having everyone collectively agree on the top decisions they make. To go test in droves their newest innovations, to listen to their most well-paid artists in record numbers, to talk about the topics everyone’s talking about. Nothing authentic. The desire to feel seen is one thing, the need to crack down the code of popularity on Twitter is another. But what’s happening on there anyway? We may feel inclined to try Snapchat, and find out people have infantilized language, for real. But when they wanna be serious, they use all the words in their vocabulary to insult you. This generation learned to insult faster than to compliment. Of course, because the boys wanted tiddies, please. Remember Tumblr? We’ve seen it all, haven’t we? But now we’re supposed to understand the tech. We’re supposed to have opinions on crypto, and the entire economy, when the person speaking to you is skipping classes to play a football game — hey, at least you made 50 bucks an hour! And what do you need to feel valued at work? What is it about your job that makes you feel like you’re doing more than enough, and that’s okay? Isn’t it more or less like posting on social media? They’re all richer than you, and their experiences are not relatable. If they have a funny story, good for them. Most of them suck. But you listen patiently. Smirk and nod. Say “alright”.

And we’re being presented with a new teaching landscape where we have to know streaming channels, a different one for every class, and never repeat our models. If you do a slide, you can’t just do another slide. It’s just gonna be, you know, another slide. You need to bring music. And if you bring music, make sure you pick the right one. And if you don’t, try a game. And if that’s not your thing, have them write together. But if they don’t enjoy that, well, too bad. If they can’t read, too bad. If they can’t find purpose on a listening exercise, too bad. But most of them can barely form complete sentences. They’ll scratch the surface, barely, and you’re tuning in on freaking Bloomberg. You have an actual opinion about power relations; they have a shitty parroting of their bosses. They’re not your friends. They won’t complain about the job. And the thing is, if they do, that’s good; if you do, you might get a warning.

Try complaining about the pay, the commute, the materials, the lack of engagement. Try to say something about the air conditioner. Forget your umbrella to see how they react. Start a sentence with “I was on the bus the other day”. The people who are going to have advanced conversations with you won’t have many bus experiences to share, you see? Try talking about leadership. Everybody’s watching, silly. Don’t you think that’s lack of character? Do you feel any satisfaction? Can you bring it up in a meeting? And if you can’t, is it okay to talk about it informally? Because, if it’s online, there’s always a sense that someone’s watching. Which means we’re fucked. If the English teacher is a spy, a perv or a dummy, we’ll never know. But we don’t have a right to enjoy the things we do, we don’t have a right not to enjoy the things we don’t, and we are supposed to be always on time. Why did you choose this job?

Practical verbs: 12/12

The world is connecting more, but also avoiding to interact. People speak from different contexts, and while it might feel great sharing some of your burdens and frustrations, as well as what makes you feel good, proud, understood or relieved when you find a strong match, it’s still over the phone, screen to screen. The workplace is changing. In 2020, a crisis hit us in the public health sector and everyone was affected. Now we have stuff to rethink, consider the challenges and do some planning. But when we look at what language can offer us in terms of international cooperation, personal gain and professional growth, we also look at society evolving, seeing the other, helping out those in need, sharing narratives that might be forgotten, meeting the people who grasp the dimension of things we think, feel, project and hope for. The hard part is that we’re not always going to find the right way to express what we really want to say, describe something accurately, whether it’s a personal experience or the facts we learned about a place or people we might know, the solutions we read about on an article or maybe comment on what we like about a movie, a song, any sort of thing we set out to do — do you like carrots? My grandma used to make a cake with chocolate on top, it’s a family recipe. Misunderstandings are common, and we’re constantly meeting halfway through the bridge, eventually reaching the other side. And the other side feels different. We wanna look back, and maybe go back; but are we gonna have company? What if you went there and you didn’t like the reception? What if you said something that they couldn’t accept, and how are you going to explain, if you don’t even know enough words for it, besides the particular way to pronounce them? Here’s a few situations:

“I promise this won’t happen again”

We’re easily distracted. Sometimes, when we lose sight of what we need to do, for lack of perspective or motivation, we go on a different path and it’s hard to come back to what we’re supposed to be doing. It happens in relationships, and that’s something everyone can relate to, but also at work, at home, or with stuff we tell ourselves we won’t do again because they’re harmful. My dad has diabetes, so I can’t bring stuff from the bakery and eat in front of him, especially if I don’t wash the dishes later. I sleep after midnight and I’m not feeling my best at 7am when I should be ready to start the job in high spirits with a loud and warm good morning greeting, but I’ll roll up in bed and get up on the third alarm, take too long in the shower and even longer waiting for transport. I’ll tell her I’ll make dinner, but keep on looking at social media and then the market is closed so we can’t cook anything other than pasta. It’s important to say you’re sorry, but we need to explain and promise for good that it won’t happen again. It does. But then we find a way to compensate for it.

“I swear I didn’t mean it like that”

You’ve been friends for years. You want someone to listen to a song that means a lot to you, or maybe you didn’t really like it but you think it sounds like the stuff they would enjoy. You send a message saying they need more of that in their life. Then they reply with another one saying it’s the vibe they’re in right now. Conversation goes on and they say something about the style you’re more into. Oh, right, your dream is to be a pop star. You say fuck off. They take it personally, but you’re the one who’s being teased or maybe trolled hard. But it’s normal. You’re friends. Now a couple is eating dinner out. She wants to order some grilled potatoes, you’re going with a burger. Mall stuff. You come back to where you’re sitting with the order, and the thing’s filled with bacon. You gotta send it back, cause you didn’t notice — she doesn’t eat that. But later she says you never pay attention to her and it’s all about you every time. It gets to you. You wanted to have a nice night out instead of being stuck in the apartment. But you were distracted, it was a long day. So you say, I do pay attention to you, if I didn’t I’d be screwed. Who crossed a line? They’d probably say they didn’t mean it, and go back to normal. But these things build up, so it’s important to measure your words and be kind.

“I don’t believe everything they say”

We consume media every day from different sources, and it’s getting harder to find the content we trust the most in a crowded social feed and a constantly changing influence economy. There’s a lot of people talking about how media makes choices to generate clicks and shares, but it’s happening with regular people and now we’re on the phase of elaborating strategies to use the platforms to have visibility and then manage our digital lives in a variety of ways, which isn’t easy when we’re interested in a variety of subjects. Sometimes you may feel like you’re talking to yourself; other times, something small takes bigger proportions. It’s not about who’s famous or not, it’s about what matters to discuss — but people have different voices and narratives, so making sense of what the real story is telling isn’t very easy, which is why we still rely on traditional media. But more importantly, sometimes you meet someone who doesn’t seem to have the best intentions. From spam links to direct messages promising you easy money, to new people who tell you they wanna date you or an ad promising you to teach you the fundamentals of the last thing you googled, we should take some time to think whether or not we want to spend time thinking about why they’re interacting with us. But people can choose to buy, to interact and to believe in whatever they think is a good, accurate representation of what they see for themselves, the people around them and the future.


We rephrase our thoughts a lot. Sometimes we don’t know how to say something because we have a language issue; other times, it’s an emotional issue. Relationships abroad have many limitations, but a ton of benefits. Understanding the world around us is a required skill for any future we can think of, but we don’t necessarily need to search for all the answers, and sometimes a short conversation fixes things, even if it’s just for a while. What’s important is we can still explain what we really think and acknowledge that sometimes we make mistakes, but we’re people, who evolve and who have a natural tendency for cooperation so we can grow and develop better conditions to live in a world that can welcome any kind of cultural background and way of life.

Practical verbs: 11/12

We know people speak a language as standard, but there’s many aspects in how they use it that relate to general things like context, in every day life and different settings: are you at work, talking to family, approaching a stranger on the street, talking to a neighbor, socializing at a party, catching up with your closest friends, starting a conversation online, presenting results and directions at a company meeting, speaking in public or asking a question with a big audience, maybe recording a video? Some stuff we say tends to be more informal, but people appreciate informality in a given situation while other people in a formal enviroment expect a level of preparedness, coherence and clearness, avoiding certain characteristics of unplanned speech to make it worth taking the time to listen. In today’s world, despite some unfortunate conversation starters and interactions, we want people to be clear, but also kind and respectful. What happens often is the conversation you hear on the street is closer to reality than the conversation you read on social media, so people change the way they talk because experiences in the real world tend to have an effect on how we talk, more or less formally, with more or less conviction; but that goes the other way around, and we’re still beginning to understand how that plays out. Here’s two examples:

“I respect your opinion”

Families have suffered with political disagreements, opinions about behavior and relationships, things that should be done, looked at, talked about in one way or another. But as language develops, some people may reject what came next and stick with what they know. That’s a question of identity, the same way a person will listen to one kind of music and not another, or several, but have a list of favorites — and music is a great example of how language can be playful, raw, intense or just clever in ways normal speech can’t translate or express. What people call slang or urban language might just be your preferred way of communicating, not because of personal taste, but because you think it’s more accurate. I can say something’s nuts or insane, some people might prefer to say distressing, problematic, and others will use a good wtf. Needless to say, the list goes on. But when it comes to picking the language we use for a greater audience, we should be careful and look back to see where we might be caught in contradictions of ideas or interrupted argumentation, along with a lack of consistency in vocabulary choices and empathy for the wording we elaborate. Of course, one of the main concerns today is how conversations start with people we haven’t met, and these have the benefit of being distant, at least at first, before we consider meeting someone who would say things we’re hearing for the first time. Optimism is great, so special cases aside, it’s great when you find someone who not only respects your way of expressing thoughts (doesn’t judge you for how you talk) but also welcomes a new way of thinking, and some of the discussions people have online tend to be more focused on trolling than the good let’s agree to disagree.

“You’re not following the rules”

If the school body decides they will have a cultural project, students are supposed to come up with a presentation of topics they’ll research by themselves. Including some information might be a debate among classmates (at least it used to be like that when I was in high school and also college), while some of it will be left out, if not revised. But some of the things we say can’t be reproduced in certain enviroments. You’re not going to write an academic essay saying the author is fucking brilliant or a complete wacko; you’re going to say while the contributions of said author have broadened the field of study, the aspects explored in this or that chapter are not sufficiently developed or rather they point toward a discussion that this or that author chose to focus on, but you won’t address it on the essay. Some talk is necessary, some is inconvenient. In practical life, you might wanna ask for a towel when you got into the bathroom and forgot about it, but of course you won’t walk out naked and maybe you don’t wanna scream, though you might be upset about having to ask for a favor. On social media, there are a set of rules. There’s many things happening every year at rapid pace, and we might see a future where certain kinds of content will start to be more heavily monitored and even taken down, but some will have their own place, with an understanding that they’re not harmful. Nobody said memes weren’t great, but some of them are offensive on purpose, not to mention that images can be copyrighted. As we all moved towards video, creators face the problem of not knowing their audience, how to respond and what to do when someone attacks them. That happens on television, so it isn’t new. What we need to understand is that rules can be broken, but consistent and massive deviations from decent and civilized exchange are going to be dealt with measures the platform itself has generated, as any other problem in society.


Everyone thinks respect is key in any relationship we want to maintain. But it extends to society in general. A red light asks you to stop driving or walking. A block on social media asks you to stop seeking interaction. But drivers can get tickets and certain users can find better ways to solve disputes instead of the tool for blocking. Some people get banned, others get fined. But not everything works perfectly when it comes to identifying who’s doing right or wrong, and that’s a subject we need to keep debating not only in classrooms but in the media and society. When it comes to language, you want to feel represented, but not necessarily in opposition with a group you never interacted with — but that’s a choice you can make, considering that some of those may not be worthy of your time.

Practical verbs: 10/12

Advertising has experimented with languages, not only written and spoken, but visual and musical, for a long time. It tries to capture the essential and translate it into engagement, with a product or service, in their case; but in an age where everybody has shifted from the consumer mindset to start creating, some of those choices are being made by us and how we want to be represented. Companies listen (more than we’d like to), track and make decisions to reach a target audience; people search, scroll and then fall into an occasional error of judgment. Here’s a few sentences to navigate that context:

“You should think before you buy”

A friend used to say I should think less and live more. While her argument was actually on point, I don’t wanna talk about whatever she really thought about my personality: I take a long time to organize all the things that run through my head when I’m actually interested in a topic, and most of the time it’s a big confusion of references, even when it’s a formal situation. But specifically, when we buy stuff, we tend to make a choice based on immediate reward — or at least we go with short term decision making rather than long term. For example, I wanted a new phone. I knew how much I could spend, and I went for the cheaper models that came with a recent operating system. I found out the most recent ones were actually more expensive than I thought, but then it occurred to me that some brands are more popular than others. In the end, I chose a brand I had decided not to buy again, but that’s because I needed a new phone as quick as possible, and the delivery for the other brand I found online was going to take too long. So I went with convenience instead of personal choice, but seriously, who lives without a phone these days? Maybe buying something reflects who we really are, but I don’t wanna go that far. It’s probably more interesting to discuss how we choose to spend our time dedicating ourselves to what we want to improve, but money tends to make that easier. If people suddenly told you to think before you DM, maybe more relationships would be saved; but that’s a bad metaphor, and maybe some of them wouldn’t even start. Also, you don’t buy relationships. I’m not funny.

“You gotta learn how to sell”

Recently, I read something that said Twitter is a list of reasons for companies not to hire you. Maybe they split the people who wanna work from the people who wanna date online, but regardless of what people think about the process, you have to put an effort to look like the best version of yourself. Of course, that’s what my generation was picking up on, cause now authenticity has a lot to do with sense of humor, which means you’re more likely to nail that job interview if you know the jokes of the week on social media. But people who talk too much about social media are annoying, and we should all learn to look around at products and services for sale, instead of people. That’s what happened to some of us: we became what we share. But there’s a lot more happening around you than the media, traditional or social, can make you see — and while some of it seems irrelevant, a cashier doesn’t spend the whole day looking at Twitter. It’s one product after another. Replace that with a different job and you’ll realize it’s important to look around so you understand the world. But we don’t have to, right now. Like the stuff we buy, it’s good to think about wants and needs, but if you’re on the other side, you start to look at it differently.

“You should think before you hit send”

People have different expectations in relation to language. Language in use: what can be used, what should be used, but also words and even topics to avoid in certain situations. As conversation takes new forms and starts to look a different way, talk also changes to reflect some of the experiences we have with the visual, immediate, complex. People learn stuff with memes. They also share stuff about their mood with a picture of their face or a sunset, coffee or a book, bikinis, beer, screenshots, video edits and songs all in one place. When you send, it could be more private; when you share, it’s another identitary relation. People talk about soft skills: being an effective communicator and a good listener merge into being short when you have a message to share. But conversation isn’t dead: we want it more than ever — and the categories, though this isn’t a word to be used by everyone, are there for us to pick, but with a certain level of scrutiny.

“I can’t read all the comments”

Scrolling has become part of people’s lives, but it’s not just because the older generation spends less time online that we’re going to assume they don’t understand something we set out to do, what’s important for us or in general. If you don’t have time to go to the market, someone else can do it for you. If I need to focus on a project and I can’t have a lot of conversations while I’m working on it, I’ll need some organization and maybe I’ll count on my surrounding context to cooperate. Living by yourself means you have to clean, cook, buy stuff, do laundry, organize, pick up clothes and also work, if that’s the case. Depending on the job, you’ll find that we never do anything on our own. But that brings about many other discussions — how much you get paid, for example. A person with lots of followers can’t read everything people post because there’s too many interactions; a person with few followers may be looking for the right people to connect with, but maybe commenting might be good and even more effective than simply posting, except when you talk to yourself all the time.


People make reference to things we might not understand, and it’s on us to look stuff up. We learn something new every day, but sometimes, we choose to skip on one thing and the next day it’s harder to catch up. That’s completely fine. The context for each of us changes, though some of that stays the same cause we’re the same. But when we see language and start using it, we change as well. How we choose to expose our thoughts is what matters most: people don’t have the context, and if we want them to, we have to be clear, and sometimes, short — otherwise, they’re likely to go on to the next thing. But everybody should have their voice heard, regardless of how they talk, what language they speak or what they believe in: conversation starts, depending on each case, when we try to express what we really think and how we see the world. We just need to be careful of how the words match the actions, and of course, avoid confrontation if we don’t want the same treatment.

Image: Pexels

Practical verbs: 8/12

A lot of people have learned to speak a second language so they could explore the world, different cultures and ways of living, read people writing from another perspective, watch, listen, learn but also meet some people. I don’t like the feeling that I’m repeating myself, but it’s true that the internet provided more opportunity or at least changed the scope of possibility to a wider and more diverse bunch of stuff we can enjoy: from traditional to independent media, voices multiplied and experiences amounted, but now we’re facing the challenge to organize the multitudes of content everyone shares online and at the same time acknowledge that the people who created it feel a certain way about it. As generations look at different experiences and tastes, the conversations are also different and the expectations vary. YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, but also iFunny, Discord, Twitch, and places like Omegle. I know everyone has a particular experience, and these are not definitive examples of how people see the web and interact with it, but it’s a whole lot of stuff. Messaging apps alone can tell a story that parents are probably not aware of; groups chats and key people to follow can give you a context not a lot of people see, and you’re wondering how different you are from the rest. That happens at home but also around the globe, and connecting with someone for a day can be both frustrating or liberating, while long lasting friendships and relationships make us think about everything else that surrounds us, which includes the stuff we like and share, the stuff we read, buy and watch — which is terrifying for some, obvious to many. How am I going to introduce myself and talk about the way I see things, what happened before I met you, stuff I’ve been through or what I need to focus on right now so maybe you can help me achieve my goals? How can I contribute to a job well done in the future or right now, if the expectations get higher and higher, but my productivity and inspiration have a limit I don’t fully understand and I need someone to give me a push? I’ll try to contextualize some of these issues below.

“I wonder what I could’ve done differently”

It’s never too late to start something new, but what you do now is gonna stay on the internet unless you choose to delete everything — which might not solve the problem, and older people have not been through the exact same experience. With people sharing conversations, pictures and details about their life and relationships, it’s hard to tell when they change their minds about something they shared, but some people think it’s actually easier. Companies are saying the most important thing for them is not going digital, but being digital. How does that translate into good paying jobs, with what kinds of roles and benefits? When you’re preparing for life in a future workplace or doing your part remotely, how do your personal and professional relationships merge? Do you think your privacy is more important than thinking about how you spend your time and what you choose to say? Regardless of the specifics, we all have a number of things we didn’t know in the past, that could only be improved once we got to a point where we could look back and point out where we’d make changes, so the key is to be able to do some self evaluation and stick with the stuff that makes you feel good but also benefits those around you, though that might be more complicated in a super connected world.

“People send me a lot of messages”

The teenage and adult experiences on the web have a lot of differences, but interacting with things we don’t want has always been part of our lives. If I don’t want to visit the new shop they were showing me on a pamphlet on the street, I also don’t wanna watch the sponsored ad before the video I clicked, and we learned to live with that, though sometimes these little things can add a lot in our lives. But sometimes, it’s a little annoying or inappropriate. You could say the experience is different based on a number of things: gender, race, education, position, views; but when you get a message you don’t want, fortunately, it’s easy to reject it — ignoring, blocking or saying you don’t like what you’re getting. What’s harder to understand is how groups of people choose to spread a message you don’t like and how to stop it from gaining strength, but that involves other factors that we might never have a definitive answer on how to handle: if you were on the other side, you might feel like your voice was being silenced; but just in case we’re talking about inappropriate stuff on your private messages, I’m sure you’ll realize you have to stop them eventually.

“When you mess up, the right thing to do is to apologize”

Not a lot of people understand why they’re doing something that’s bad, for others or for themselves. People have different experiences and views, which is important to emphasize; but learning with your mistakes doesn’t always have to translate into cutting someone from your life so you can start fresh with another group of friends, another job, another relationship. If you mess up, try to have a conversation about it and tell the people who matter that you made a mistake, an error of judgment, acted silly, was childish or immature, weren’t thinking straight, didn’t mean what you said. These conversations help you grow, and growing together is lifting each other up so you don’t have to feel bad everytime you feel like you’re not being listened to or you aren’t doing enough: people care, what you do matters, but you need the right way to communicate. Of course, sometimes we make mistakes that aren’t about arriving late at work or typing out the wrong e-mail, but maybe saying something that could offend people as a joke, hurting someone’s feelings with a comment about their looks, personality or opinions. We need to keep improving the message, and that means reassessing the way we express ourselves and working it out with the people who care, as well as looking to the ones who are not part of your inner circle and trying to speak to them in a way that will make you more likely to be accepted.

“If I see that kind of stuff, I report it”

Some of the stuff we see is just bad. But there’s always a way to bring content down or at least make people correct what they’re saying, whether it’s fake news or hateful discourse, a spam account or an offensive message from a real person. Again, people can ignore, but some choose to talk about it; they can block, but also report and, in some cases, expose so other people can explain why that content is bad. But it’s important to remember that moderators do the best they can, with the tools available, to make the experience on the web the best for the people who use these platforms. Before social media, when something bad happened in the neighborhood, people wrote to the newspapers and magazines to talk about it; services and companies have a channel to receive feedback from people, and though some of the comments are not helpful or fair, they make changes on how they present themselves based on how people respond. The same happens on the web.


To end on a good note, sharing experiences online can be beautiful, if the right person is listening. To be able to connect with someone who brings you peace and comfort when you were least expecting it, right when you needed it, whether it’s someone who listens to your problems or tries to help you more actively with suggestions and incentives, is probably what the whole idea of connecting people is all about. What we should remember is our lives are not exclusively digital, and though we want to make a good impression, actions speak louder than words — and pictures or videos. Hopefully, everyone can find people who want to know who we are based on more than just one thing, and if they choose to be in our lives for good, it’s the start of a path you’ll walk together, with lots of great experiences ahead.

Perder o foco: consequência ou sintoma do modo de vida?

Apesar dos pesares, a era conectada traz possibilidades que escapam à classificação em seus benefícios a nível organizacional, criativo, cooperativo e social. Afinal, organizar, criar, cooperar e transformar a sociedade parece uma missão importante a todos de bom senso e bom coração, correto? Essa percepção, inocente para o bem da humanidade, maximiza o potencial do trabalho em grupo e do que muitos poderiam metaforizar como o tal do fair play dos eventos esportivos. Mas é claro, a vida não é um simples jogo de intenções: ao percebermos nosso papel e questionarmos as circunstâncias em que tentamos desempenhá-lo, muitas vezes nos atendo à luta para mudar o que nos impede de crescer e aos privilégios acumulados daqueles que cresceram em demasia, é natural que a frustração e os pensamentos negativos tomem conta de uma mente que não tem o mesmo poder de processamento dos que nos antecederam – em suas lutas, no trabalho, na manifestação das vontades e no planejamento. Não nos compete, no entanto, avaliar todas as vontades, todas as lutas e todos os trabalhos: além da petulância de espírito, existe uma questão cognitiva, provada cientificamente, que é a capacidade do ser humano de manter o foco em determinadas características do mundo observável, muitas delas na área da linguagem, mapeada por muitos antes de nós. Para os falantes do Português, o peixe-dourado (goldfish, em inglês) representa o que a nossa memória é capaz de armazenar e como respondemos aos estímulos; contudo, convém ter em mente que os avanços da tecnologia não se traduzem em bem-estar social: apesar de termos opções de entretenimento que justificam o que é chamado de déficit de atenção, não somos o que consumimos. Ou seja, seguir um veículo para se manter alerta aos acontecimentos, bem informado, em relativa sanidade ou simplesmente para acompanhar o lugar-comum das discussões, como dizem nossos pais, não vai pagar as contas.

O comportamento mudou, como acontece desde sempre. A educação volta-se aos meios virtuais, inclusive aos jogos (com ou sem o intermédio da máquina); as interações se abreviam, se mesclam e se dissipam em relevância pouco ordenada (o que, como diz o ditado em língua estrangeira, pode ser a blessing and a curse); as relações se tornam frágeis demais à distância, ao passo que os sentimentos se multiplicam; mas, enquanto isso, cada transação bancária é uma nova razão para dedicar seu tempo àquilo que se julgou preciso. Como usamos nosso dinheiro, afinal? O consumo compulsivo se revela um problema complexo, mas a importância que damos aos que o praticam precisa de um olhar cuidadoso: assim como não se importar com o valor de um aparelho móvel (vulgo: celular) preserva a sua saúde financeira, o papel de um juiz não passa pelo mesmo escrutínio, para usar uma palavra bonita, do que o papel de uma caixa de supermercado. Mas antes que soem os alarmes da generalização, para não falar de sexo, é consenso que existem valores baixos e altos, desde a época de Cícero. Aos leigos: existe hierarquia em todo lugar. O sentido que damos às posições que ocupamos não pode ser ignorado para dar lugar ao sentido imaginado das posições que não ocupamos: em muitos casos, não gostaríamos de enfrentar as mesmas pressões que se exercem aos que ocupam cargos de liderança, com a observação de que a representatividade feminina em tais cargos dá índices de melhora, mas há movimentos contrários. É possível se projetar na vida sem seguir normas e convenções? O meu lado musical diz que isso é mais complexo do que se pensa, mas a praticidade da vida exige uma reflexão sobre o que é preciso para ter um lar em que prospere a paz e o conforto, além do aroma de uma flor posicionada frente à janela, no jardim. E assim como as casas e apartamentos estão longe das favelas e da rua, o seu comentário nas redes sociais sobre a política de incentivos fiscais não faz parte da biblioteca do congresso – que dirá os seus memes.

A sensibilidade frente à gama de conteúdos da rede e as escolhas de aprovação, reprovação e neutralidade que fazemos compõe um dos pilares da nossa vida digital e como administramos reações, considerando suas facetas; a compreensão de que a realidade pode estar se transformando profundamente, mas talvez não passe de uma ameaça a tradições do mundo corporativo, que nunca estabeleceu um salário mínimo universal, não registra trabalhos desempenhados e confia na má remuneração como estratégia de negócio, além de não educar para transformar a sociedade e não exclusivamente gerar lucro, compõe o outro pilar. Numa sociedade da informação, onde o apelo visual é cada vez mais agressivo, apesar das excelentes ideias dos que se esforçam para trazer ao mundo conceitos sólidos e agradabilidade, o que fala mais alto é o que se transmite num sorriso: talvez assim esqueceremos o contexto de fogo e fúria de governantes que se travestem de bons negociadores para ter a asserção de que o desenvolvimento só chegará aos que correspondem aos interesses de seus parceiros, sempre persuasivos, mas curiosamente, nunca carentes.


Imagem: LEADyia (Flickr)


Nota: como escrevo em um blog e não conto com apoio financeiro, muitas vezes uma questão essencial é deixada de lado. Recentemente, criei um Patreon para receber doações de pessoas que eventualmente confiarem nas temáticas que apresento e na abordagem (não sem ressalvas, é claro). Talvez, se você lê o blog e quiser compartilhar com alguém do mundo em inglês, isso possa ajudar bastante. A imagem que usei veio de alguém que conheci numa busca simples, mas que tem um trabalho que não sei nem descrever (sabe quando faltam palavras?) e tentei fazer contato pra autorizar o uso, mas provavelmente deve trabalhar pra alguma revista ou algo do tipo. É um trabalho muito bom MESMO. Impressionante. Deixo o link aqui pra quem gostar de fotografia (e reconheço que a discussão pelos direitos de reprodução precisa ser abordada).