Twelve Warning Signs
Warning: everybody’s got a list of warning signs. They range from topical and fear-inducing to timeless and informative, but they seemingly occupy every corner of our continuously-connected consciousness. It’s a lot to take. All these warnings are truly cutting into the process of daily living and acting from a place of confidence.
Warning: the world is a dangerous place. Adding to the warning epidemic would be the fact that we are more globally aware and concerned than ever before. That pandemic virus can get here via plane before we even realize that it is on the loose. Greece is no longer a far-away country deep in debt, it’s the first domino to fall in a pending global economic collapse. Isolationist foreign policy sounds positively quaint at this point.
Warning: all this warning business is going too far. Some of life’s greatest moments spontaneously arrive without any warning whatsoever, so why do we pay so much more attention to the things we might fear? History is littered with the consequences of living in fear. While it’s true that someone close to death might say, “I wish someone had warned me about that,” we’re fairly confident that no one on their deathbed ever said, “I wish I had been more afraid of living my life.”
Warning: too often people cross the line into fear-mongering. This seems to be particularly true as media have come to blanket so many aspects of our lives. Place-based media, social media, mainstream media, and mobile media beg for your attention. It happens to be easier to capture if anxiety or uncertainty can be tapped, if some bright yellow or orange emergency colors can grab your eye, and if the details of the warning can be succinctly listed out to improve their pass-along value.
Warning: we’re becoming wired to pay attention to even the slightest warnings, like that vibration coming from the phone that you keep somewhere in close proximity most of the day. Telephones used to answer to us, doing our bidding as we approached and directed them in order to facilitate our communication objectives. When you consider the emergence of Phantom Vibration Syndrome (to the point that it has inspired artistic comment), it’s getting harder to say whether this is true today, and whether or not some among us now answer to our phones instead. Which begs the question: at what point do we lose perspective because everything has become some kind of warning?
Warnings are with us to make a point, to call attention to what’s important. Warnings are even better when they don’t involve fear. In that spirit, we leave you this month with a list of twelve warning signs we’d endorse.
Back when very few people were sure of what this thing called the Internet was or did, an unidentified author posted the following on a computer bulletin board (kids, ask your parents what that means) in Waldeport, Oregon (pop. 2,035).
12 Warning Signs of Good Health
(Warning: if several or more appear, you may rarely need to visit a doctor)
- Regular flare-ups of a supportive network of friends and family.
- Chronic positive expectations.
- Repeated episodes of gratitude and generosity.
- Increased appetite for physical activity.
- Marked tendency to identify and express feelings.
- Compulsion to contribute to society.
- Lingering sensitivity to the feelings of others.
- Habitual behavior related to seeking new challenges.
- Craving for peak experiences.
- Tendency to adapt to changing conditions.
- Feelings of spiritual involvement.
- Persistent sense of humor.