We often gloat about how “connected” we all are in this modern “wired world”, but are we really? Look around any busy street, subway or office building and sure enough you’re going to see cell phones and blue tooth devises stuck to people’s ears, thumbs feverishly clicking away at tiny keyboards, or headphones feeding music into ears, as these people shut out the world around them.
Some of us will check email on our Blackberry, G1 or Iphone every few minutes because of a need to feel wanted. Others will talk for hours on their cell phone because they don’t have the courage or desire to strike up a meaningful conversation with a stranger; a young activists blocks out all the bullshit by listening to Skinny Puppy, while couples “sext” each other raunchy IMs because they wouldn’t dare say such things in person.
This wired world we live in has not made us more connected, but has literally hijacked us from the beauty of the human experience. We have become far too dependent on technology, to the point where we feel we can’t live without it. And that very thought is the seed of all our confusion.
You see, we were not born with these gadgets and neither will we take them with us upon our departure from this world. They are, like every other man-made wonder, temporary distractions — “toys” if you will, to play with while we wander through life. It is true, that technology has opened the door to information that would not or could not have been accessible to a vast majority of the human population, but at what price? We have to ask the question: “Am I really happier now that I have the latest Blackberry? Similarly, is that illiterate villager happier or better off now that they have access to the Disney channel? In a superficial way, yes, but if we really dig deep and look at the experience from the spiritual paradigm, the answer is a resounding NO! How can it be when the very essence of our existence here is transitory and meant only for awakening to the higher reality of spirit. Human life is a blessing from which the soul can once and for all escape this cycle of birth and death, and yet, modern man has created a life in which we have become fixated on electronic pulses and the glamor of owning new stuff, all the while losing touch with our innate need to love and be loved as souls.
As a way to fight this addiction to technology, I have begun to periodically turn off my cell phone and walk away from the computer to breath fresh air, take in the world without the use of a computer screen or sound system, and force myself to interact with other humans around me by smiling, watching them, speaking to them and just trying to be human once again.
If we wish to evolve, we simply must “turn off” this technology and start living as do all other animate beings in this world. I know by using my computer to write this blog I am consciously going against all of what I just said, but hey, while I have access to technology, I may as well use it help me. It’s sort of like using your legs to help you get back up off the ground after those same legs had just tripped you up and made you fall. Or using the thorn of the rose bush to dig another thorn out of your hand. Get the point?
Yes, it’s a relevant point, but, herein lies the problem: It is easy to justify any use of communication technology, for in many ways it has or is helping us survive. For example, in saving the life of someone after they called 911, or in stealthily alerting someone through text messaging, when it was not possible to call out. However, that is not the core argument I wish to make. What I am becoming increasingly uneasy about is the overwhelming amount of time that these gadgets have taken over our lives, to the point where we have forgotten how to connect with people one on one, face to face, by exchanging warm and meaningful words that are accompanied by real facial expressions and not some emoticon on a text screen. 🙂
The same applies to the growth of social networking applications like Facebook, Twitter and the Grand daddy of them all, Google, with it’s plethora of applications like Gmail that seek to make our lives better, all the while taking more and more of our privacy away. There is whole movement developing now to shut down facebook accounts (Facebook refusenicks). Indeed, there is even a site called Arsebook that helps people to connect to people they hate! I can’t understand why, but I digress. The point is that along with the growth of these social media mavens, there are millions of people now canceling their online accounts or not even bothering to sign up at all, simply because they feel the trade-off of convenience is far outweighed by the loss of privacy. We’ve become a society that is so dumbed down that we openly welcome anyone into our life, even if they have ill intentions. I mean, unless you have gone in an changed your privacy settings on Facebook, by default you are allowing friends of friends and sometimes “anyone” to view your complete profile, what to speak of when you install those cute little applications that enable you to send a gift or vote for a charity, etc. All of them clearly state that they will access your personal information, but we don’t bother to read the fine print and just click, click, click to install that app to our Facebook account. Such is the carelessness and mindlessness that dominates our culture these days. Why? Because we have been systematically “undressed” by large corporations and the media through carefully crafted Nuero-linguistic programming, to the point where most people have no idea that the elephant is literally sitting in their living room.
I encourage everyone to set limits on all communication technology and to do whatever it takes to get back to the basics of human interaction with other humans, animals and plants. For the survival of our species and spiritual evolution we need to!