Cool dog monks

In my web travels I came across a monastery with monks that train and raise dogs. On their website they articulate some of joy and wisdom of having a close relationship with a non-human companion. This really resonated with me as I have learned to be more calm, patient and gentle since I started living with my dog companions.

I like what the monks have to say about being authentically human and how dogs can help people achieve this

After all Dog? God? same letters, is this just a coincidence ? Many dog people think that this is not just a coincidence.

As the monks say:

“Although our involvement with dogs spans nearly twenty-five years, we never cease reflecting on the dynamic nature of that connection and the intrinsic role it plays in the life of our community. Dogs are not an accidental element of the monastic life at New Skete, they are at the heart of a vision that sees the totality of life as a finely woven unity to which all of us are responsible.’

To anyone who knows us, this will be perfectly understandable. But to those who do not, the idea of a community of monks living in close relationship with dogs always provokes a lot of questions. We recall a visiting priest who once asked: ‘Why does your community attach so much importance to dogs? After all, they seem to take up so much time, time that could otherwise be spent in prayer and reading. . . Wouldn’t your community be better off supporting itself by a business that is more in keeping with what a monk’s life is supposed to be? Selling candles, perhaps?’

The priest assumed that dogs take us away from our spiritual priorities. In fact, just the opposite is the case. Being a monk has nothing to do with donning other-worldly veneers or conforming to set ideas about what seeking God means; it is about becoming a true human being, and dogs can play a pivotal role in that process. Precisely because they are living creatures, dependent and vulnerable, dogs continually take us outside of ourselves, the fundamental movement of being human and the only way to find God.

To be authentically human means learning to give oneself unselfishly, ungrudgingly, and to one who listens, the very nature of the dog calls this out in a unique and compelling way. In the very routine and ordinariness of a relationship with a dog, through the discipline and responsibility it entails, we learn about ourselves, about nature, about God and the spiritual path we are on in ways that would otherwise be unavailable to us. Without apologies, we have discovered that dogs play a crucial role in our growth in consciousness.”

The Monks of New Skete belong to the Eastern Orthodox Church and are members of the Orthodox Church in America, their book is Raising Your Dog with the Monks of New Skete

Transcripts: Harvard’s Blogging, Journalism & Credibility conference

Thanks to Hughie from University of Queensland for the info that transcripts of Harvard’s Blogging, Journalism & Credibility conference are available at: http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/webcred/Interesting stuff posted to it (it’s a blog) and also to Collected Reactions from Participants

Aggregated Feeds of Attendees: Great stuff for anyone interested in this new appraoch to “journalism”.

How Net Gen people think and learn

As always Belinda from journoz: Guide to Internet Information Sources for Australian Journalists provides some good resources, this one is worth a look …

The Net Generation’s “aptitudes, attitudes, expectations, and learning styles… reflect the environment in which they were raised” – the always-on, media-saturated world of chat, IM, email and the Web. Want to know more?

EDUCAUSE) has a whole new e-book, called Educating the Net Generation, that you can download about how Net Gen people think and learn. It’s here and you can get the whole book (in PDF only) or chapter by chapter, in either HTML or PDF.

IWD: International Women’s Day & the IT industry

What a surprise- another year of women complaining that there are not enough women in the IT industry! We get the token female CEO or CIO to talk at our IWD lunches & we all shake our heads in horror that there are not more women in the industry.

Why aren’t there more women in the IT industry?

Perhaps because to get a start you have to do an IT or computer science degree with a bunch of pointy headed male nerds? (Now that I’ve spent a significant number of years at work with nerds I’m glad I spent my undergrad days with a bunch of male philosophers instead.)

Perhaps because most entry level IT jobs have terrible hours and a lot of weekend work? When was the last time we did a code drop or network upgrade during daylight hours on a weekday?

Perhaps because men still do not think women can do hands on techie stuff or use tools? And this in spite of many of having our own power tools these days (I’ve got a really good set of powered and non powered tools & my male partner is not allowed near them).

Perhaps because women still do not think that they are capable of doing technical things? Come on Moms, when did you last encourage your daughter to pull her computer apart?

Perhaps because in many ways it is a grungy job? How many girls want to crawl around and play with hardware when they could dress up nicely and wear high heels. Let’s face it, after 12+ years of school clothes most girls want a nice dress, some makeup & a nice pair of shoes to wear to work – not jeans and a screwdriver.

I don’t know why there are so few women in IT. But here are a few reasons I am still working in IT:

  1. I am not very sensitive, tend to ignore other people and just do what I want – so even when people tried to deflect me from working in IT I just ignored them.
  2. I know how men think and act because 4 out of 5 children in my family had penises (this helps if you have to work with men – which many of us do).
  3. I like playing with technology and am not afraid of either software or hardware. My personal observation in the workplace is that many men will give things a go while women hang back waiting for an invitation. Not many women were building web pages for the heck of it like the guys in the IT department when the web came in.
  4. I take a lot of initiative and make myself useful – it is harder for people to get rid of good performers of any gender.

Some researchers attribute the low rates of female participation in IT to women unfriendly workplaces. Face up to it, workplaces are not just women unfriendly they are PEOPLE unfriendly. If women do not want to participate in the work then they cannot change the workplaces from outside. More women have to want to work in IT, if women do not want to do this work then they will vote with their feet. Just like they are doing now. I’m just not sure how we can change this.