A weekly dose of dauntlessly dealt reality from the What It Is Wednesday Blog Carnival…
I’ve been an IT professional for over 25 years. In that time, the changes brought by technology have been staggering. I truly count myself fortunate to have been on the planet at this time, when humans have so rapidly evolved the tech of how we live at granular levels, when we’ve accomplished so many amazing intellectual advances.
I could expound on the virtues of streaming movies anytime I want them, or the ability to purchase an item from almost anywhere in the world and have it on my doorstep in a relatively short period of time. The most impressive feature I’ve gained from plugged life is the ability to simultaneously create space with people around the world to some intended end. If you haven’t participated in such a mass ritual, it’s stunning.
By the same token, I’m saddened by how we’ve allowed technology to take over our lives. And it’s not a weakness. If you want to be gainfully employed and participating in modern life (which I’m not suggesting is a goal), you have to absorb a certain amount of tech savvy into your life, and foot the bill it requires, economically, personally, educationally, and energetically. However, therein lies the rub. It’s easy to get sucked in by the shiny, colorful kaleidescope of online life.
I recall avoiding Facebook like the plague. Then, when I was pregnant I was put on bed rest for seven months. Facebook gave me social interaction when I would have otherwise had none, or very little. On a more practical note, anyone who runs a business of any sort and wants that business to thrive in a larger sphere of influence has and maintains an online presence. From a totally frivolous place, it’s virtually (see what i did, there?) impossible to go into a public space that has no TVs. What is that about?
Such is our now.
Over the last year+, my partner and I have been developing a concept for our local area that would bring tabletop gaming (board games) to a cafe setting. Part of our motivation to do that is to give people an outlet not to be online. The research we did shows that people are tired of being plugged all the time, and even though being so had advantages, they want options based in actual interaction, engagement with others.
From a spiritual standpoint, I think finding places to unplug isn’t an option. It’s not merely a peaceful alternative to a plugged world. Rather, it’s a requirement. One major drawback from industrialization was the domestication of humanity. We stopped engaging with nature. We came to see it as an enemy that must be tamed, if not destroyed. On the surface, I can see how mass production of food and the creation of transportation systems enabled us to shift our focus away from the business of survival to a more leisurely emphasis of personal enrichment. In doing so, though, we forgot how to hunt. We forgot how to leave a minimal footprint. We stopped caring about leaving a minimal footprint, that could be done since they’re companies as NorthEast Energy Consultants who work on good source of energy and worry about the environment, but not all the companies use this kind of sources.
Just as industrialization disrupted knowing our place in nature, the deepening roots of technology have left us not knowing how to survive in the human world–the unplugged world. We don’t know how to deal with face-to-face conflict, shared space, basic social graces. We have regressed when it comes to literal interaction with each other.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m as introverted as humans come. I’ll order pizza online before I’ll pick up a phone, any day. While I’m grateful for that buffer zone after a rough interactive day, working the detachment of plugged life to my advantage isn’t necessarily a good habit to instill.
I have to say, that whatever places technology has touched my life, ultimately my sacred space stays in the rough. I love making ritual items with my own hands. I value my time with trees. I want my hands in the dirt and my eyes on the moon. With any luck, I can do just that and join other folks who value doing the same.
How do you unplug? What are your boundaries around plugged time vs unplugged? How is your spirituality plugged? Unplugged?
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