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Getting to the core of the problem…


What a crazy time for Apple.

You know the folks in their PR department have been working overtime lately.

First, the exciting announcement of the launch of iBooks Author, iBooks 2 and iTunes U guaranteed to be the start of a revolution in education.

Then the jaw-dropping reveal of the company’s record-breaking 2011 fourth quarter revenue of $28.27 billion and quarterly net profit of $6.62 billion.

And finally the stunning blow – reports that Apple’s vendor, Taiwanese owned Foxconn, has been abusive to their employees, resulting in workplace injury and even worker suicide.

Say it ain’t so, Apple! I have been a proud Mac user for 25 years. And like many of my fellow progressive-thinking Apple fans, one of the reasons I swore allegiance to the Apple brand was because it stood for something more than profit – excellence, creativity, learning, and universal access to unlimited information that would level the world’s playing field, bringing economic and educational equality.

My Mac friends and I were all in a quandary about how we should personally react to this news. We clutched our iPhones and iPads to our hearts and we suggested that (gasp) we should boycott Apple products. Or at the very least, write a strongly worded letter to Apple management with that threat.

But could we continue doing our important social work without these valuable tools? We could recite example after example of how important our Apple products are to positive change. For my friends who are blind, Apple products are the only mainstream fully accessible products on the market, and are invaluable to their daily work and life.

We felt angry about the problem. We felt guilty about our dependency on these products to do work we are passionate about. It was a yucky atmosphere.

It is easy for us to have a strong emotional reaction to bad news. It confirms our fears that the world is bad and triggers feelings of guilt at our inadequacy to impact these problems.

But it is important to remember that the bad things we see in the world are only symptoms of our separateness. We can engage in fighting the bad things all day long, but they will keep happening as long as we are separate.

Any action we take to heal separateness must be made in love, not guilt or anger. The emotions triggered by bad news sometimes distract us from this. Rather than being guided into angry action by our feelings, it is important to take a breath and remember that our only job is to help recreate community, in our homes, in our neighborhoods and in our world. This can be done with small, simple loving actions – volunteering in an elementary school computer center, giving a donation to an organization that helps families reach economic self-sufficiency, saying a loving prayer for executives making big decisions.

Will these little actions do anything to stop unfair labor practices halfway around the world? Yes! They change our understanding, build our capacity to serve and strengthen our ability to work together for change. As that happens, the big problems will also disappear.

This blog was lovingly written and posted with my MacBook Pro.

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copyright 2014 Anne Marie Durham