MM 7 — Day 8: Pulling the Emergency Break (Again)

During last year’s MacMania 4.5, I had canceled the final shore excursion, as I felt that I had packed too much into my schedule, and that having a bit of slack instead was a good idea. Nevertheless, I basically fell into that same trap again this time, having booked an excursion for every stop along MacMania 7’s course. But now that we’re two thirds into the cruise, I do need some peace and quiet to digest all that I have seen so far.

Puerto Limon as seen from our ship at the pier.

Hence I have canceled the final excursion on this cruise, just like I did last time. That excursion would have been a promising visit to a sloth sanctuary, but I feel as though I need to hit the emergency break now. You know, it’s just what you do when you realize that you are approaching a corner at speeds that would only allow for straight-ahead motion.

Instead of going ashore, I have spent an idle day to muse on all the events of the recent days, and to get in shape for the classes still awaiting us during the two sea days on our way back from Costa Rica back to Fort Lauderdale.

On a side note, we have had pretty rough seas ever since leaving Colon. Combined with the grayish skies, today’s weather reminded me of what we are used to from the North Sea during this time of year: strong winds and cool, very “agitated” waters with rolling waves. That stark contrast of familiar sights and sounds — sea, air, skies — vs. unfamiliar ones — vegetation and buildings of Costa Rica — made for yet another (very welcome and enjoyable) surreal moment.

A sunken ship in Puerto Limon's harbor.

To be frank, seeing a bit of Costa Rica and those unusual creatures would have been interesting, but it was the right decision to remain on board and waste away the day, as it did wonders for recharging my batteries. And that renewed energy came in quite handy for tonight’s party in the Crow’s Nest.

Following that party, we were treated to “an evening with Richard Dreyfus.”

The award-winning actor was our very own Geek Cruise celebrity guest, who said that he came on the cruise because it combined two of his passions: the Macintosh and Shakespeare, and he expressly admitted to being a “crazy nuts-o Apple geek.”

Another of his hobbies is studying history, which, as he phrased it, is the “story of the haves against the have-nots.” In his speech tonight, he made a passionate case for teaching civics and clear thinking in schools.

According to Mr Dreyfus, a major problem of our times is that, in many of our communications and especially the news media, images have largely replaced text. And these images — “primitive, which text is not”, says Dreyfus — are now immediately available all around the world. What’s more, time has been removed from decision making, that is, there is no more rumination, contemplation, thoughtfulness, or thinking things through, before taking a decision that may have wide-ranging consequences.

Relating to the example of the attacks on the World Trade Center Twin Towers, he said: “We see the towers fall, and we react, and if we don’t react, we are called cowards or worse.”

This problem is exacerbated by computer industry, which has “become addicted to speed and can never be fast enough,” while it has done relatively nothing to help rumination and thinking things through, “even though we need those values now more than ever.”

Pointing out his own love for his Mac laptop several times, he hopes for the computer industry to leverage people’s love and passion for such products to enhance their ability to think clearly and to comprehend, stressing again the importance of teaching such abilities as well as the topic of civics to children so they can grasp these concepts at an early age.

To support his endeavors in this area, Richard Dreyfus plans to create a website called Common Senselessness. Let’s hope it’ll go online soon.

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