Just a little course correction is all most of us need

Posted by on 05.13.09 | 2 Comments
Filed Under Uncategorized

Patti Digh, over at 37 Days, seeks to live her life with her heart on the edge of it.  She inspires and challenges us all to do the same.  Her post from yesterday is 37days: Guide your tweenbot to safety  and starts with a story of an older man who collapsed on a sidewalk in front of her, and her stunned acknowledgement that no one stopped to help him; even the first-responders were hands-off and dismissive. 

Patti then segued into a story about Tweenbots.  Some might remember that a new blogger, Madeline, on the Virtual Tea House did one of her inaugural posts about this experiment a few weeks ago:  A Helping Hand 

Tweenbots are social art. They are human-dependent robots that navigate the city with the help of pedestrians they encounter. Rolling at a constant speed, in a straight line, Tweenbots have a destination displayed on a flag, and rely on people they meet to read this flag and to aim them in the right direction to reach their goal.

The results were unexpected. Over the course of the following months, throughout numerous missions, the Tweenbots were successful in rolling from their start point to their far-away destination assisted only by strangers. Every time the robot got caught under a park bench, ground futilely against a curb, or became trapped in a pothole, some passerby would always rescue it and send it toward its goal. Never once was a Tweenbot lost or damaged. Often, people would ignore the instructions to aim the Tweenbot in the “right” direction, if that direction meant sending the robot into a perilous situation.

The cute little fellows are dependent on humans to help them around obstacles…and remarkably, humans do.  Isn’t it interesting and heart-breaking that humans will help a robot out of a pothole, but won’t even stop and ask a fellow human if help is needed?

From Madeline’s A Helping Hand

While many predictably ignore the little guy, several are diligent about setting it back on the right course, and trying to protect it from harm.  One man even goes so far as to say out loud to the robot: "You can’t go that way, it’s toward the road."

How often do we focus so narrowly on getting from point A to point B that we neglect to see others who could use a very simple helping hand?  How often do we keep running into the same curb without noticing (or acknowledging) that there is help available all around us?  How do we adapt our limitations (only moving in one direction) to function the way we need to? 

The Virtual Tea House challenges you to connect–to go out and both give and ask for little life-course corrections.  Come back here and write about them, if you choose.  But please don’t just walk away or even shy away from others that need a helping hand.  And for Pete’s sake, don’t hesitate to ask another human for help when you need a little pothole-assistance.  That person may not help you, but maybe the next one will. Come on, people, smile on your brother…





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