It’s both funny and sad that as soon as people leave their familiar comfort zone, when they are alone, say at a coffee shop or waiting in line for a bus, they automatically, almost reactively, reach for the cell phone to call or text someone who will reconnect them with the safe and familiar world from which they have momentarily wandered away. The average persons’ lack of ability, or willingness, to encounter an unknown situation or territory reveals their lack of tolerance for being alone, as well as their lack of curiosity or propensity to simply notice and appreciate their surroundings – as if their bodily senses had been nullified into a potential danger zone in which their very stability of self would quickly fragment should they let go a little, observe and potentially interact with the unfolding world around them. Yes, we’ve learned to live in little bubbles of safety which cut us off from our fellow-humans – we no longer live in the actual world, but in our own self-created worlds, via the latest form of technology.
I suspect that our modern sense of security has been entrained to operate in collusion with these technological devices that have slyly entrapped our minds even as they have offered us incredible new possibilities. Our reliance on new and ever-advancing technologies, such as the mobile phone – which in a few short years has also become a mobile photo album, mobile internet, camera, video machine and multi-media entertainment center – has developed into quite a habit, an unconscious addiction that is shaping the very nature of our personalities, both personal and collective, and even, God forbid, our souls. What need have we, the general public, for an imagination when so many limitlessly stimulating devices are available in our world? Who needs an inner world at all when the outer world of our own creations has become so evocative, so seducing, so ever-demanding, evasive and totalitarian? We are continually inundated with advertisements and societal pressures to acquire new technological distractions and modes of external stimulus. Living under such conditions, how is it possible for us to maintain or cultivate much of an inner world, or a soul, whatsoever?
The underlying message of our media is commercial; in enforcing the demands of commerce upon us, we are defined primarily as consumers, persuaded not to think for ourselves, but to join in the latest collective frenzy of technological adventures that continually reinterpret the purpose of our lives. This never ending flood of media proclamations, while appearing as a material liberation, serves as a psychological oppression of the individual soul. Capitalism sells new versions of reality that may have nothing to do with one’s own true needs or sensibilities. However, it is the advertisers’ job to convince us otherwise. So far they are doing a pretty good job!
The natural world, the earth itself; the air, the trees, the vast realms of animals, plants, oceans, deserts and mountains are increasingly losing meaning and value in the self-hypnotized, narcissistic lives of mechanized human beings. Although it is certainly an abomination of our essential heritage, we are ever-entrained to focus less and less on the natural world in which we live, and of which we are but one aspect – lest we forget – and more and more to focus on the world as fashioned through the minds and hands of men. It’s sad indeed when we ignore what is right before our eyes, i.e. our actual surrounding environment, and instead remain culled to a collective techno-vision of the ideal man-made life. It’s also sad when we ignore those human beings who are standing right in front of us because we’d prefer to text or talk with someone miles away, when we must remain overly-attached to those we know because we’ve lost our human capacity for interrelationship with our expanded world of fellow citizens who we now dismiss as strangers. Our advance in technology has engendered a...
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