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Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

Wild Goose Chase

Wild geese in flight

Wild geese in flight

With apologies to Mary Oliver’s “Wild Geese”

Irina Raicu

Irina Raicu is the director of the Internet Ethics program (@IEthics) at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics. Views are her own.

You do not have to post, or tweet, or toot.

You do not have to scroll

For a hundred hours through your feed repenting.

You only have to pay attention to the soft animal of your body

Which has more in common with wild geese

Than with tokens.

You can tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine

--but in person.

Meanwhile the world goes on.

Meanwhile the sun and rain don’t have to be photographed

As they move across non-digital landscapes,

Prairies and trees and mountains and rivers and wild geese, none AI-generated,

High in the clean blue air, far above data centers.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,

Social media calls to you, harsh and exciting;

But if the world offers itself to your imagination,

Announcing your place,

It is in the family of things like wild geese.


Image: “Wild geese” by liz west, unmodified, used under a Creative Commons license.

Jan 4, 2024

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