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Posts Tagged ‘Connection’

 

It’s been a while coming and not at all a quick and hasty conclusion, but today I found myself in the first steps towards permanently departing from Facebook.  The reasons are hard to sum up into one neat little package and any attempt to do so results in far off tangents all over the place.  The biggest draw to NOT do so is the obvious, which is losing the quick easy and instant connection with friends, family, and loved ones.  But that’s actually one of the biggest reasons TO do it; the quick and easy instant “connection” with friends, family, and loved ones.

 

We live in a culture that thrives on instantaneous gratification, and we accept posts of what someone ate for dinner, a check-in at the local gym, and a gif with some inspirational message that gets posted a million times by every friend we know as just that.  I walk down the street and I see something beautiful and inspiring, and my gut reaction is to take a picture with my phone and immediately upload it to the world.  What happened to the simpler times, where I could just take that beautiful whatever and drink it in with my entire being and experience it all just for just me, or at the very least with the person I’m with.    Sharing is caring, but somehow in this high-tech fast-paced world of ours, we’ve begun sharing to the extreme that we miss so much of the beauty and truth in what it is we are sharing.  Then there are these political posts where someone somewhere has done something really terrible and the original poster is pissed off as hell.  Then everyone starts sharing like crazy, completely outraged and about to lose their minds…but how many of those sharers read beyond that tiny article (or worse, even read the full article, or any of it, at all) to research it to make sure they actually have all of the information to justify their pissed-off-edness?  I have no doubt this happens more often than not.

 

I have a million ideas and thoughts about how modern technology and internet globalization is adversely affecting  humanity;  a group of friends go out to eat and everyone has their head in their phone.  On the train nobody knows how to interact with each other because there are no “like” buttons or upvotes/downvotes to read “behavior”, so everyone just avoids eye contact of any kind.  And now every part of the internet is oozing with advertisements (you can’t escape it, and you probably don’t even consciously noticed half of them) which leaves me to have to wonder, how much is the general public at large even ABLE to think for themselves anymore ?  Google’s no privacy policy and Facebook about to go public is surely sealing the deal.

 

Myself, I am a billion times G-U-I-L-T-Y of all of the above and much, much more.  I recently was talking with a friend about this trend where people will comment on the internet when they think they are “anonymous” (facebook groups posts, at the end of news stories, youtube comments, reddit, etc) and the ugliness of humanity that comes out as a result.  There have been times when I’ve gone back to comments I’ve made in such places and noticed how I fell right in to that trend, appalled  and asking myself what is THAT about?

 

Social networking sites like this have their goodness.  You find long lost friends and relatives, share pictures, stories, life events.  But they also create this somehow inescapable time sucking vacuum that can and does lose facets of humanity and eats up creativity in ways that only the computer and internet can do.  And somehow I just know that disconnecting from the madness and reconnecting with the juicy life in the present-right-in-front-of-me world is the only way to  truly heal.  At least for me,  this is truth.

 

Sociology and culture trends aside, for me personally, this is about getting back to basics and simplicity in my life.  Letting loose the distractions and procrastination tools I use as my excuse to not step fully into my artistic life that longingly and without rest pulls me forward.  It’s about being more present in the right here right now, allowing focus, noticing, and being more engaged and connected.  It’s about where am I putting my attention.  Mixed with these ideas of integrity and authenticity that continue to monopolize my head space.

 

So there it is.  And now here I am.  Open, present, grateful,  humble.

 

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After reading a friend’s latest thoughts on this weekend’s Occupy Oakland protests and arrests, I started searching on the current happenings and came across this article about the damage done by the anarchists.  He and I have talked before about Occupy’s refusal to stand up to the anarchists but rather this idea of respecting everyone’s rights to the way they protest.  Which IMO is bullshit, especially at the detriment of the purpose of the movement itself.  (But that’s a whole other post.)

 

What I look to then is a creation like Reddit, where the community DOES so easily self govern, and those that try to cause nonsensical havoc are quickly smothered out.  Which leads me to think then, why does this work so easily in an online community but not in a current in-person revolution?

 

This is something I’ve been pondering on and accessing  for quite some time–this idea that current technology that “connects” us also disconnects and dehumanizes us in so many ways.  There has been a shift where people are freer and more apt to communicate via technology than in person, via technology losing the human aspects of eye gaze, voice intonation, and body language.  Certainly anonymity plays a part in this; there is the  freedom to say whatever you want if nobody really knows who you are (or where to find you).  Or even for those that are completely forthcoming with personal information, but know there are no real in-person consequences to whatever one might say.  I’ve been both disgusted and fascinated with comment sections in various forums (news, FaceBook, entertainment sites, YouTube, etc) where people will say the most astounding things; and you know full well if someone were to actually have the balls to say such things in person (they wouldn’t), retaliation would not be deemed unreasonable but perhaps even cheered on.

 

In light of all of this and now the recent Google privacy changes, I have to ask is the internet becoming (or has it already) the new television, aka  the means of propaganda control by government and the 1% corporations?  While we, the 99%, are certainly beginning to figure that out and using it to our advantage, how much are we awake and aware to how it influences us as humans in our everyday, interactive (or non-interactive) lives?  Certainly the governments and corporations (same thing) see the big picture and are well aware of how to both use it against us as well as how the people are using it to fight back; hence SOPA, PIPA, ACTA and the likes.  But are we, the people, seeing the big picture and fully at choice in our daily lives in the use of the internet and modern technology and how it might be influencing our in-person interactions?

 

 

 

I don’t have any answers and not necessarily expecting any in return, but rather am presenting food for thought, as it is something that has been mulling around in my head space for quite some time.  I think it’s more than worth considering and being brought to awareness and discussion to the public at large.  Even today so many of the people do not get that the TV is being used against them as a propaganda machine and a means of control.  I would guess that even though the internet is a prosperous means of information  and idea exchange, even less of the people realize that the internet is being used for this exact same thing and in a much more intrusive way.  Is newer, more advanced, smarter, faster, and more more more better?  Is it helping or hindering us, or both?  And what can we do with and about this information?

 

Lastly, I’ll live you with an excerpt from this great interview with the film maker, Terry Gilliam, on this very subject:

 

“Would you ever make a satire about the world we’re living in today?:
Well that’s the part… I don’t know how to get at it. I mean, how do you get at it? I think if there’s anything, it’s about how people are becoming so disconnected from reality even though we live in a time when everything is connected. And that’s the irony of it. And that’s why I’ve got this house in Italy. When I’m there, I just do manual labor. Just physical work, and dealing with trees, birds, bugs, rocks.

And then I start talking to younger people and I realize that they don’t understand where things come from. They don’t understand how the system works. This is terrifying. They just are consumers, and that’s it. And that’s like the dream if Orwell had written the dream. We don’t live in a socialist or capitalist society; it’s a consumerist society, and nobody cares, as long as they’ve got their goodies. And if it’s well-designed, it’s even better [points to an iPhone on the table].

And yet at the same time we’re supposed to be getting cleverer and thinking. What may be happening is, I just think people are becoming neurons, and they’re just part of this big thing. Hollywood was always like this. A new idea pops into the system “Boom!,” all these neurons start firing, synaptic gaps are being leapt. And then it dies down and the next idea comes. It goes like that. And the world is becoming like that now.”

 

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Below was sent to me from a dear friend and is incredibly fun, clever,  and creative.  It also, however, revisits my thoughts on modern technology and social media, and how much is “too” much.  Does it take us out of being present in the moment of our “right here, right now” lives?  Does social media via modern technology serve to connect us or does it actually assist in disconnect?  The answer I’m sure is somewhere in the middle, although for me, like many things in my life, I tend to swing hardcore to one side.  Balance, jenn…..balance.

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