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The Digitally Divided Self: Relinquishing our Awareness to the Internet
The Digitally Divided Self: Relinquishing our Awareness to the Internet is on Amazon.
274 Pages – Format: 6″ x 9″ – $17.90 (discounted on Amazon)
It is nearly half a century since Marshall McLuhan pointed out that the medium is the message. In the interim, digital technologies have found an irresistible hook on our minds. With the soul’s quest for the infinite usurped by the ego’s desire for unlimited power, the Internet and social media have stepped in to fill our deepest needs for communication, knowledge and creativity – even intimacy and sexuality. Without being grounded in those human qualities which are established through experience and inner exploration, we are vulnerable to being seduced into outsourcing our minds and our fragile identities.
Intersecting media studies, psychology and spirituality, The Digitally Divided Self exposes the nature of the malleable mind and explores the religious and philosophical influences which leave it obsessed with the incessant flow of information.
I am deeply touched and extremely grateful to the people who took the time to read, support and endorse The Digitally Divided Self. Being my first English book, and basically self-published, I didn’t expect to receive many reviews, much less from such leading thinkers and writers – nor such positive responses.
It was also a surprise to find common interests around eastern spirituality with so many people into technology and media. This makes me hopeful for an evolution of the information society – from chasing external stimulation to inner explorations and silence.
Praise for Digitally Divided Self
“Quartiroli’s The Digitally Divided Self is a must read for anyone seeking to understand the ever-increasing hegemony of the digital world in the individual psyche. Drawing on diverse fields and traditions, the author analyzes numerous mechanisms by which IT separates us from ourselves. Readers stand to benefit from such an understanding that is a prerequisite for mounting a defense of one’s individuality.” —Len Bracken, author of several novels and the biography Guy Debord—Revolutionary
“With great insight, Ivo Quartiroli captures the subtle as well as the gross impact that media use has on our individual and collective psyches. The challenge before all of us is how to adapt to the new technology in a healthy way that allows us to retain our essential humanity. He offers us a solution born of his experience and confirmed by neuroscience. This is a must read.” —Hilarie Cash, PhD, co-founder of reSTART: Internet Addiction Recovery Program
“It is difficult to offer a spiritually based critique of today’s network culture without sounding like a nostalgic Luddite crank. Immersed in the tech, but also in various meditative traditions, Ivo Quartiroli is the perfect person to offer integral wisdom-tech with clarity and bite.” —Erik Davis, author of Techgnosis and Nomad Codes: Adventures in Modern Esoterica.
“Aware of the profound and rapid psychological and social metamorphosis we are going through as we ‘go digital’ without paying attention, Ivo Quartiroli is telling us very precisely what we are gaining and what we are losing of the qualities and privileges that, glued as we are to one screen or another, we take for granted in our emotional, cognitive and spiritual life. This book is a wake-up call. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates should read it.” —Derrick de Kerckhove, Professor, Facoltà di sociologia, Università Federico II, Naples, former Director of the McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology.
“The Digitally Divided Self alerts us about the insidious dangers of our growing dependence on Information Technology. Ivo Quartiroli warns us that Internet can easily develop into an addiction that undercuts our connections with nature, with other people, and with our deeper inner reality. The spiritual nourishment coming from genuine relationships is then replaced by the empty calories of fake relationships, with the resulting deterioration of our personal and social lives. Using an incisive style, Ivo Quartiroli can be provocative, iconoclastic, at times exaggerated, but never boring. Behind each observation there are pearls of wisdom that are guaranteed to make you think.” —Federico Faggin, designer of the microprocessor.
“Global culture is not only the latest step in the human evolutionary journey. It is also, as Ivo Quartiroli shows in The Digitally Divided Self, a critical opportunity to apply non-Western techniques of awareness to ensure healthy survival in the 21st century.” —Michael Heim, author of The Metaphysics of Virtual Reality, Virtual Realism, and Electric Language.
“Question the merits of technology in the past and you’d be called a Luddite. But now technologists are leading the way toward a new, more balanced view of our gadget-driven lives. Drawing from his fascinating expertise in computer science and spirituality, Ivo Quartiroli presents a compelling critique of the corrosive impact of the Net on our humanity. It’s a warning we must heed.” —Maggie Jackson, author of Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age.
“A profoundly premonitory vision of the future of the 21st century, The Digitally Divided Self unlocks the great codes of technological society, namely that the very same digital forces that effectively control the shape and direction of the human destiny are also the founding powers of a new revolution of the human spirit.” —Arthur Kroker, author of The Will to Technology and Canada Research Chair in Technology, Culture and Theory.
“People today, especially young people, live more on the Internet than in the real world. This has subtle and not-so-subtle effects on their thinking and personality. It is high time to review these effects, to see whether they are a smooth highway to a bright interconnected future, or possibly a deviation that could endanger health and wellbeing for the individual as well as for society. Ivo Quartiroli undertakes to produce this review and does so with deep understanding and dedicated humanism. His book should be read by everyone, whether he or she is addicted to the Internet or has second thoughts about it.” —Ervin Laszlo, President, the Club of Budapest, and Chancellor, the Giordano Bruno Globalshift University.
“The Mind-Body Split is a pervasive condition/affliction in the developed world, wholly un-recognized; yet fundamental to the great worldwide problems of health, environment, and economic inequity. Ivo Quartiroli’s Digitally Divided Self masterfully examines the effects of the insulated digital experience on the mind and the body self: exacerbating illusions and the Mind-Body Split; and contrasts it to the processes of self-discovery, growth, and healing: true inter-connectedness with nature, each other, and our selves. If the digital age is to solve our real problems, rather than create them, it will be with the knowledge contained in The Digitally Divided Self. Well done!” —Frederic Lowen, son of Alexander Lowen, Executive Director, The Alexander Lowen Foundation
“Ivo Quartiroli here addresses one of the most pressing questions forced upon us by our latest technologies. In disturbing the deepest relations between the user’s faculties and the surrounding world, our electric media, all of them without exception, create profound disorientation and subsequent discord, personal and cultural. Few subjects today demand greater scrutiny.” — Dr. Eric McLuhan, Author and Lecturer
“The internet is an extension of our central nervous system. When you operate a computer, you are extending yourself, through its interface, potentially all over the world, instantaneously. Extending yourself in such a disembodied, discarnate fashion only further entrenches your separateness, your ego self. In contrast, the introspective freeing from the physical through meditation also has the effect of creating a discarnate, disembodied state. That state is one that is progressively less identified with the ego self. This is the dichotomy that Ivo Quartiroli explores in The Digitally Divided Self. This book is well worth investigating.” —Michael McLuhan
“We should all be asking the questions Ivo Quartiroli asks in this bold and provocative book. Whatever you think right now about technology, The Digitally Divided Self will challenge you to think again.” —William Powers, author of the New York Times bestseller Hamlet’s BlackBerry
“It isn’t easy to find an informed and critical look at the impact of digital media practices on human lives and minds. Ivo Quartiroli offers an informed critique based in both an understanding of technology and of human consciousness.” —Howard Rheingold, author of The Virtual Community and Smart Mobs.
“Ivo Quartiroli is mining the rich liminal territory between humans and their networks. With the integrity of a scientist and the passion of artist, he forces us to reconsider where we end and technology begins. Or when.” —Douglas Rushkoff, Media Theorist and author of Cyberia, Media Virus, Life, Inc. and Program or Be Programmed.
“You might find what he writes to be challenging, irritating, even blasphemous and sacrilegious. If so, he has proven his point. The Internet, Ivo suggests, might just be the new opium of the masses. Agree with him or not, no other book to date brings together the multitude of issues related to how the seductions of technology impinge upon and affect the development of the self and soul.” —Michael Wesch, Associate Professor of Digital Ethnography, Kansas State University
“The Digitally Divided Self is a refreshing look at technology that goes beyond the standard, well-worn critiques. Ivo Quartiroli charts new territory with a series of profound reflections on the intersections of computer science, psychology and spirituality.” —Micah White, Senior Editor at Adbusters magazine.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: From Awareness of technology to technologies of Awareness .. 1
Chapter 2:“It’s only a tool” .. 17
Chapter 3: The Roots of It .. 39
Chapter 4: The Digitization of Reality .. 53
Chapter 5: Intimacy and Sexuality.. 73
Chapter 6: Commoditizing and Monetizing.. 89
Chapter 7: Politics, Participation and Control .. 97
Chapter 8: Come together: the Rise of Social networks.. 115
Chapter 9: Digital Kids ..125
Chapter 10: Literacy and the Analytical Mind.. 133
Chapter 11: Lost in the Current .. 143
Chapter 12: The Digitally Divided Self.. 165
Chapter 13: The Process of Knowledge .. 189
Chapter 14: Upgrading to Heaven .. 205
Chapter 15: Biting the Snake.. 223
Appendix: The People of Contemporary It and what Drives them.. 233
Like many people nowadays, much of my personal and professional life is related to technology: I use the Internet for keeping the connection with my work projects and friends wherever I am in the world. I published the first book in Italy about the Internet. I run a blog and a Web magazine, do my investments online, shop on the Net, do interviews by email and Skype, and have even indulged in cybersex. Right now I’m in Asia developing this book – which is full of references to Web articles, blogs and material found only on the Internet – with online support: an editor and writing coach in California, copy editor in India, book designer in Italy, and a printing and distribution service with multiple locations in USA. My life is immersed in the digital loop.
I have been involved in IT since I was a student. As I learned meditation and explored spiritual paths, I developed an inner observer and discovered states beyond the mind. Thus, I found myself going back and forth between processing consciousness and information. Slowly my focus has shifted from what we can do with technology to what technology does to us. As a first-hand explorer, I’ve observed the subtle changes of our massive use of the Net.
Just as a spiritual researcher can go beyond the mind only after having observed and mastered it, it is necessary to enter the digital world to step beyond it. We can’t become aware of its effects without being engaged in it. Since digital technology is unavoidable now, we need to master it without becoming lost in it, using its tools with our full awareness.
In this time, the intensification of mental inputs is a phenomenon that must be kept in balance. Our contemporary culture does not acknowledge anything beyond the mind, but in other traditions the mental world is just one of the aspects of our wholeness. In the West a sort of Cartesian “pure thinking” has been given priority. Although the mind is the best-known organ of thought, it is not the only cognitive modality. Nervous systems have been discovered both in the heart and in the belly, and the global awareness that can be accessed by spiritual practitioners is pervasive and non-localized. Yet these modalities cannot be represented digitally, so they are relegated to the sidelines.
Our technological society militates against uninterrupted conscious attention. Several authors have documented the effects of IT on attention, literacy and intellectual skills. It also intrudes on the silent time needed to be aware of inner transformations. We don’t realize we have become servomechanisms of IT – precisely because IT has weakened the inner skills of self-understanding. Shrinking of the rich range of human qualities to privilege only those which can be represented and operated digitally arises from the nature of the ego-mind and our particular Western history which has engendered – then valued – mental representations of reality. My focus here is to understand why the mind can be lured by the magic of the tools, while forgetting the person who is using them.
We believe we are empowered individually and politically as we post articles on our blogs and participate in social networks. In actuality, we feed the machine with our “user-generated content” which becomes candy for advertisers who then design ads based on what we say on Twitter, Facebook, and even our emails.
Jumping from information to self-understanding is necessary if we are to regain real freedom, a freedom from conditioning of our mind and the manipulation by information – whether self-created or from external sources. We mistake the transmission of gigabytes of data for freedom.
In our advanced technological society there is a reticence to acknowledge the inner, spiritual or metaphysical dimensions of life. What cannot be calculated – which is, thereby, “not objective” – is considered unworthy of investigation. Even more strongly denied is the relationship between technology and the impact on our psyche. Technophiles declare that it’s only a tool, as if our psyche could remain untouched by continuous interaction with digital media, and as if we could control its impact on us. We can indeed be in control of digital media – but only after we become fluent in those cognitive modalities which can’t be reached by such media.
To be unaffected by digital media, we need a Buddha-like awareness with sustained attention, mindfulness and introspection. Yet these very qualities which are needed to break out of the automated mind are especially difficult to access when we are drowning in information – information that is predominantly ephemeral and transient, and which lacks a broader narrative. Awareness is what gives meaning and depth to information, but for awareness to expand we need to empty our mind. A story will illustrate this. A university professor approached a master to learn about Zen. Tea was served, but when the cup was full, the master did not stop pouring. The cup, like the professor’s mind with its concepts and positions, was full. It must first be emptied to understand Zen. So, too, for the digital world.
The world over, people using the Internet click on the same icons, use the same shortcuts in email and chats, connect with people through the same Facebook modalities. This is the globalization of minds. In the process of the digitization of reality, regardless of content, we use predominantly the same limited mental channels and interact with the same tools. We bring the same attitudes, gestures and procedures to working, dating, shopping, communicating with friends, sexual arousal, and scientific research. And most of these activities are impoverished by this phenomenon. Everything is seen as an information system, from the digitization of territory (like Google Earth and augmented realities software) to our biology.
Judeo-Christian culture places nature and the world of matter at man’s disposal. Acting on them is a way to garner good deeds and regain the lost perfection of Eden. In this culture that has considered miracles as proof of the existence of God, we have developed technologies that resemble the miraculous and the divine. We are compelled to welcome the advent of new technological tools with the rhetoric of peace, progress, prosperity and mutual understanding.
The telegraph, telephone, radio, TV and other media have been regarded as tools for democracy, world peace, understanding and freedom of expression. The Internet is just the latest in a succession of promising messiahs. Yet we don’t have more democracy in the world. In fact, big media and big powers are even stronger, while freedom of expression has ceded to control by corporations and governmental agencies. The Internet, like TV, will be entertaining, dumbing people in their own separate homes where they will be unable to question the system. The Internet might already be the new soma for a society experiencing economic and environmental degradation. But with the huge economic interests connected to it, criticizing its effect is akin to cursing God.
Many technological developments appeal to people because they answer psychological and even spiritual needs – like the quests for understanding and connection with others. Already digital technology has taken charge of truth and love – the drives which are distinctly human. Those primordial needs have been addressed, on the mental level, with information. Reflected only at that level, our soul is left empty with craving for the real qualities, and our mind is left restless, craving more information and chasing after satisfaction in vain.
The need to extend our possibilities through technology derives from the need to recover parts of ourself that were lost during the development of our soul – the states of sharp perception, fulfillment, and peace. Information technology (IT) also satisfies our ancient drives for power and control, even giving us several options with a simple click or touch of a finger.
The endless multiplication of information can keep the ego-mind busy – and thus at the center of the show. IT is the most powerful mental “pusher” ever created, feeding the duality of the ego-mind (which is symbolically mirrored by binary technology). More than TV whose attractions are framed between the beginning and ending time of a show, the Internet, video games, and smartphones have no structural pauses or endings. Hooked on a “real-time” stream of information, they take us farther away from both the real and the appropriate time frames.
The computer charms us by reflecting our mind on the Net. Like Narcissus, we mistake the reflected image and enter a closed loop, charmed by our reflection. The Internet, since the beginning, has been considered a technology which could crumble central governments and organizations. Perhaps that forecast was an external projection of what can happen inside us: disturbance of the integration of our psyches.
Meditation helps us recognize that we construct reality and that the mind leads us astray. Meditation is a path back to reality, to truth, to knowing and mastering our minds – instead of mastering the computer as a way to outsource our mind’s skills. It is a way to expand our awareness and join the other global “Net” – of awareness that permeates everything.
Though I am Italian, I am publishing this book for the English market because it is a post-digital book which can be better appreciated in countries where digital culture has spread throughout society. In Italy, one politically powerful tycoon owns most of the media, and uses it to demonize the Net. In that setting, being critical of the Net invokes the accusation of aligning with power to castrate freedom of expression, which is the polar opposite of my intention.
I welcome every medium which expands our chances of expressing ourselves, but I am aware that true self-expression can happen only when there’s a true self, which can hardly be shaped by screen media.
I am grateful to my spiritual teachers who opened new dimensions for my soul in my journey toward awareness, especially the intensity of Osho and the brilliant clarity of A. H. Almaas. I thank my copy editor Dhiren Bahl (www.WordsWay-Copyediting.com) for his painstaking corrections of my English text and my editor David Carr (www.MovingWords.us) for his clarifications and stylistic improvements. I’m grateful to my friends, too many to list here, for the numerous talks bringing together heart and mind in sharing our passion for truth.
The world over, people using the Internet click on the same icons, use the same shortcuts in email and chats, connect with people through the same Facebook modalities. This is the globalization of minds. In the process of the digitalization of reality, regardless of content, we use predominantly the same limited mental channels and interact with the same tools.
We bring the same attitudes, gestures and procedures to working, dating, shopping, communicating with friends, sexual arousal, and scientific research. And most of these activities are impoverished by this phenomenon. Everything is seen as an information system, from the digitalization of territory (like Google Earth and augmented realities software) to our biology.
Judæo-Christian culture places nature and the world of matter at man’s disposal. Acting on them is a way to garner good deeds and regain the lost perfection of Eden. In this culture that has considered miracles as proof of the existence of God, we have developed technologies that resemble the miraculous and the divine. We are compelled to welcome the advent of new technological tools with the rhetoric of peace, progress, prosperity and mutual understanding.
The telegraph, telephone, radio, TV and other media have been regarded as tools for democracy, world peace, understanding and freedom of expression. The Internet is just the latest in a succession of promising messiahs. Yet we don’t have more democracy in the world. In fact, big media and big powers are even stronger, while freedom of expression has ceded to control by corporations and governmental agencies.
The Internet, like TV, is entertaining, dumbing people in their own separate homes where they will be unable to question the system. More than TV whose attractions are framed between the beginning and ending time of a show, the Internet, video games and smartphones have no structural pauses or endings. Hooked on a “real-time” stream of information, they take us farther away from both the real and the appropriate time frames.
The Internet might already be the new soma for a society experiencing economic and environmental degradation. But with the huge economic and psychological interests connected to it, criticizing its effect is akin to cursing God.
You Can Tell What Somebody is Like by the Company They Keep
At the end of September 2009, an experiment done at MIT on social network analysis could identify which students are gay just by considering the data available on their Facebook pages. Through analyzing their online friends and the connections between them they could infer their gender preferences with a degree of accuracy. This raises more questions about online privacy.
I wrote in Google, Privacy and the Need to be Seen that we are apt at showing ourselves online in trying to fulfill the natural human need for mirroring, to be seen and understood, which probably hasn’t been actualized in the proper way at the proper time in our lives. Also, our skills for self-recognition and inner mirroring is becoming weaker and weaker because of the growing pressure from external inputs, mostly by the Net. No time for reflection and no empty space.
Social network analysis can infer much more about us than our sexual preferences. The ordinary mind in itself, as most spiritual teachers say, is quite mechanical in its behavior. Joining this mechanistic nature of the mind with the amount of available data which most people spontaneously show on the Net is such that a well-written software could guess many of our ideas, opinions, tastes and, most important for marketers, which products we’ll be willing to buy.
Psychoanalysis, neuro-linguistic programming and any other science of the inner being knows well that our beliefs and ideas are for the most part created by the conditioning acquired during our lives, especially in childhood.
Marketers have a special aptitude for cataloging people on the basis of their personalities, attitudes, lifestyles and preferences. But they aren’t interested in understanding the roots of those attitudes or in going beyond them. More than anything else, marketers are interested in the conditionings which have been created through a compensation for an undeveloped inner quality.
For instance, we might “need” some sort of external appearance (goods, clothes, gadgets, make-up, muscles or a slim figure) to compensate for a weak sense of self-worth, or we could need to connect frequently with people online because we aren’t able to keep in touch with our inner self and for the lack of authentic real-life relationships, thus needing computers, connections, smartphones and such gizmos.
Marketers, as well as psychoanalysts or spiritual teachers, are interested in knowing us and our conditionings, but the former are interested in making them stronger, reinforcing our “needs” instead of liberating us from them.
The understanding of marketers of the human soul is quite superficial since they don’t really need to go into the depths of people’s souls to exploit their weaknesses commercially, as much as a pusher doesn’t need to know the reasons why his client needs drugs.
Pew Internet released a report on Social Isolation and New Technology contradicting previous studies on the subject:
This Pew Internet Personal Networks and Community survey finds that Americans are not as isolated as has been previously reported. People’s use of the mobile phone and the internet is associated with larger and more diverse discussion networks. And, when we examine people’s full personal network – their strong and weak ties – internet use in general and use of social networking services such as Facebook in particular are associated with more diverse social networks.
I also think that Facebook users have real-life connections as well, but since Facebook has spread massively, my feeling is that the pre-existing real-life relationships are being sucked into Facebook too.
In the beginning, TV used to show and describe reality, and people would talk about what happened on TV. Starting around 20 years ago, I noticed that TV talked more and more about what happened on TV itself in a self-referencing way. I saw that mostly through other peoples’ TV sets since I don’t own a set myself. Seeing TV only rarely makes me more aware of the macro-changes. At a certain point, TV didn’t just show and talk about reality any more, but made reality itself, which was then commented upon by TV itself and by other media.
The Net followed a similar but slightly different path. A few years ago, the Net was limited to a small percentage of the population and it was immediately self-referential, encouraged by the easy mechanism of the link system.
Then, as social networks spread, people populated Facebook and similar sites. Recently, I noticed that real-life conversations got more into “what happened on Facebook” and this in itself fuelled the growth of the social network itself. People didn’t want to feel “left out” so they flocked to Facebook. Suddenly, people would feel left out if they weren’t present on the Net and in its happenings, more than if they weren’t present in face-to-face meetings.
The Net got priority. Without it, many real meetings can’t happen anymore as they are organized as Facebook events. Since we spend more and more time online, without the Net, we could even become short of arguments in our real-life conversations.
Many people into technology welcome the interaction between the Net and real life, seeing that as something which balances both and which takes the Net out of a cage. The problem is that the process of digitalization of reality is quite greedy and tends to incorporate every aspect of reality, absorbing the wholeness of reality starting from the mental level, representing it digitally as if everything could be translated into bytes. So in the end, reality becomes sucked into the Net, which has to be lifestreamed or lifelogged in order to become realized. Reality can be considered real only when can become digitalized.
After a series of resistances to Facebook I experimented with the social network in the last few months. The first resistance was about presenting a “self” of mine, the same for all people in my friends’ list. This created some perplexity for me. I like the variety of human beings and have always mixed with people of the most variety: adventurers, hippies, artists, travelers, therapists, entrepreneurs, scholars, rich, poor and creative mixes of those natures. My self, being composed of a mix of different personalities, tends to show different facets of my nature where these can find correspondence. Inevitably, this creates more intimate and personalized relationships but at the same time they are limited by a subset of our personality.
With Facebook and the public profile which widely embraces our personality, I was afraid of not being recognized “for what I am” by some individuals. It reminded me of One, No One, and One Hundred Thousand, the latest novel and a masterpiece of Luigi Pirandello. Basically we are “One,” but for the majority of people we are not “No One,” while in front of the multitude of people who know us, we are “One Hundred Thousand.” We are a different person in the eyes of each person. Without going to the spiritual level where we can say that actually all of us are “nobody” and “everything” at the same time, remaining on the levels of the personality construction and object relationships, Facebook is an interesting experiment.
On the Net we are often anonymous in many spheres: in our Web surfing, in social networks and in forums, we mostly use identities which do not identify us precisely. Facebook is an attempt to reunify the various personalities and to give a center of consciousness to the fragmentation of the online personality. It is an attempt to overcome – even though limited to the digital area – the various object relationships. Facebook can represent an evolution of the adolescent search of one’s own personality, a stage when there are attempts to give ourselves an identity through experimenting with life and people and often hiding behind anonymity.
So, here I am with my “real me” on Facebook, the same in front of everybody, unifying the pieces of my history and therefore the pieces of my psyche. What will it be like, this public “me”? As a lowest common multiple where my relationships and human qualities can be creatively expanded through sharing with friends, or will it be as a highest common factor where only the common qualites will be kept, the ones which most people can accept? It seemed to me sometimes the former at other times the latter.
When in the offline community human relationships are evermore distant and formalized, where almost the whole territory has been turned into a cement jungle, where non-commercial places for meeting are becoming rare, where the time for real meetings itself becomes absorbed more and more by technological gadgets, Facebook has arrived to the rescue for helping us to find again the sense of belonging and to keep in touch in contact with people.
The first thing which struck me was that Facebook proposed to me to update my status writing in the third person: “Ivo…,” which I could have completed with “has gone to the beach,” “has had lunch with friends,” “is writing an article,” etc. We write this way in the perspective of others, to be seen and read. The third person has a double function. From the one hand to present oneself in the third person supports the inner observation. The very fact of presenting oneself from the point of view of others helps the awareness of ourselves. On the other hand, speaking in the third person can feed the ego even further, maybe for the very fact that in speaking of ourselves we are feeding an attention which is not that of inner observation, but that of the ravenous ego to be seen and recognized.
After a couple of months the initial proposal became, “What’s on your mind?” Facebook is giving more importance to the “Twitter-like” functions, stimulating the flow of daily messages almost in real time. The way of meditation is to let the thoughts pass by, not becoming attached to them. After years of working on myself, one of the few things I have learnt is that the mind excretes thoughts continuously, that the vast majority of them are not interesting and most of them do not even belong to us. Most thoughts present themselves in the form of conditionings and repeating others’ words and thoughts, with few variations on the theme. Now that I start to attach less to my thoughts, letting them flow with a certain indifference, here comes Facebook which elevates them to the “news of the day” ranking. Well…
Anyway, I played around a bit with Facebook, wrote some notes, gave links and uploaded photos of my travels. Once I was on a tropical island, taking pictures and thinking of how I would have presented them on Facebook. Instead of living the situation totally, I was thinking of how to picture it and how to present it inside a media, moving away from the direct experience on many levels. Even the mind which interferes is a part of the totality of experience and I accept it with great pleasure, but when it exaggerates, I put it aside in a corner.
I remember when I was a child and when something interesting was happening, sometimes the adults would tell me, “Oh…think of when you’ll tell this to your friends (or at home).” It used to make me mad because it got me out of the flow, whether I was playing or watching a show. For many years I did not take pictures of my trips and in some way if I have started doing it since the last few years, it is also due to the pressure of sharing them through the Internet.
Every time I connect to Facebook I browse the flow of my friends’ updates. There are those who write several notes in a day, those who seldom write, there are funny or serious appeals, a female friend of mine writes, “Something is dying inside….”If she writes it in a public way it is a desire for sharing, but it is strange to see this message running with dozens of other signals mostly ordinary and often banal. I know something about this friend’s life; it wouldn’t be appropriate to reply in public for asking further details but at the same time I would not want to use Facebook as a platform email for sending a personal message. In this manner we enter Facebook for continuing a talk which can happen much more easily through ordinary email. I choose not to send any comment or message in Facebook, reserving myself for communication with her in other ways (by Internet, through IM or email because we live in different nations). I also ask myself if I am avoiding deeper contact, being in my turn taken over by the avalanche of superficiality.
Using Facebook I tend to decrease individual contact. More than communicating I found that I was broadcasting, transmitting to an audience. Almost every day the audience increases, the number of friends expands. The effect is seductive and gratifying for the ego, but it is a different thing to communicate to a public rather than to a single person. With each of them there is a unique story and a unique relationship. Of course, it is possible to send personalized messages by Facebook too but for this purpose a mailer program is better, while the structure of Facebook gives more emphasis to broadcasting. As a mailer I use Eudora, an old software, but still functional and “ecological,” which works even with a slow Internet connection or through a mobile phone connection. Differently, it is almost impossible to open Facebook pages with a connection which is not ADSL to send just a private message.
I have noticed that after about 50 “friends” the flow of messages becomes such that it leads to loss of sense and value. I tend to scroll the messages with the mouse as if they were newspaper items. As when in some countries everybody is hooting on the road, the meaning of the signal gets lost, hearing gets anesthetized and it becomes only a background. McLuhan had noticed how technologies and the media become as much an extension as an amputation of the body/mind’s faculties.
The nature of the mind is such that after some time it erases any interest; through the repetition of the stimulus less attention is given to the same type of input. The mind chases novelties. The same happens to me with the feed of the blog I read. As soon as a blog has been discovered I follow its articles with interest, then tend to look through them quickly. I would not want to “evaporate” my friends’ messages in the same way.
Giving news regarding myself on Facebook makes me become lazier and having an excuse for not contacting people personally. And what about those who aren’t on Facebook? Most of my friends are not on Facebook and sometimes they do not even use the Internet. Since there is a limit to the time which one can dedicate to communications, those inevitably get penalized.
The really important news of my friends, including those who are on Facebook, anyway did not come through Facebook: they reached me by direct contact, on the phone or by email. In any case I’ll play the game of Facebook more, but I could decide to stop at any moment by sending a note to my contacts. Apart from the above-mentioned reason, it would be enough for me not to be connected to a fast Internet line for some time to make me lose the will to wait for minutes for looking through mostly banalities, with all the respect I have for my friends.
Facebook undoubtedly is the best engineered social network site, nevertheless I foresee the fall of its popularity as it has happened with other very popular sites such as Second Life or MySpace. Facebook will be more persistent than the others because it is linked to people we know in real life. But as the mind has constructed the game of Facebook, the mind will dismantle it. The mind loses interest about everything, especially if something remains only on the mental plane. Facebook’s strength consists in being a bridge between the purely mental world and the world of real relationships. In this reciprocal exchange between the virtual and the real on one hand some virtual meetings can be “real-ized” but on the other hand real people can be “virtualized,” reducing them in our psyche to a small icon and a flow of bytes which scroll on the screen. Similarly, various appeals and different causes risk counting in the real world as much as a discussion between prisoners during the air hour.
All of what I have written was without considering the problems connected to privacy – which would be an alarming separate chapter.
The New York Times’s article Is Social Networking Killing You? quotes the neuroscientist Susan Greenfield telling the Daily Mail about social networking:
My fear is that these technologies are infantilizing the brain into the state of small children who are attracted by buzzing noises and bright lights, who have a small attention span and who live for the moment.
I already wrote about her in No identity and I appreciate her efforts in advising people about the inner transformations caused by technology.
When, in Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, the governor asked youths if they never faced a difficulty which couldn’t be overcome and had to endure a long time between a desire and its fulfillment, after some silence (during which the director started to become nervous while waiting), one of them confessed that once he had to wait almost four weeks before a woman whom he was attracted to conceded herself to him. The strong feeling associated with the waiting was “horrible” according both to the youngster and the governor, which the latter added that our ancient people were so stupid that, when the first reformers came to save them from those horrible feelings, they would reject them.
In Huxley’s Brave New World people were conditioned even before being born and life was engineered in such a way that every desire was satisfied in a short time. In case of unpleasurable feelings, there was soma, the perfect drug with no side effects.
The whole world of technologies revolves around avoiding idle time and silence. Waiting became equivalent to frustration and efficiency and speed are the qualities most cherished in technological fields. Internet technology brought the tendency to speed to new levels, which was already present in traditional media like radio or TV, where pauses or silences are consciously avoided. I don’t have a TV since a long time, but in the rare cases I do see it, I notice a progressive acceleration in editing and switches of context, with a drive to avoid vacant spaces, short though they may be.
The Internet experience, even though interactive, is even more extreme in this trend. Our attention is split between different applications which produce much input and flow of information which interact faster and faster with our clicks.
But the most fulfilling human experiences need a certain time to be internalized. To enter the flow of a dance, in making love and in meditation, time is needed. Looking for instant fulfillment is a childish peculiarity. The ability to hold and feel frustration is a gym to bring awareness to our feelings and to create a bigger container for them.
In one spiritual workshop I experienced the association between the activation of the shakti energy of kundalini and frustration. The activation of energy is modulated by the capacity to feel frustration and, staying in it without acting it out to discharge it.
In a certain way, meditation itself is an exercise in acceptance and awareness of frustration. There are few things as frustrating as sitting without doing anything and observing thoughts arising, sometimes trivial or boring, at other times associated with impatience or with feelings difficult to hold. Ecstatic states can be achieved during meditation as well, but, usually after that, some inner knots get melted in the form of awareness.
Technologies avoid reflective time and tend to minimize the gaps between a want and its fulfillment, causing irritation when there isn’t a quick response to our inputs, feeding the persistance of a childish attitude toward reality this way.
However, the quest for a null gap between a desire and its fulfillment reminds me of the condition described by spiritually realized people who, living in the “here and now,” don’t have any separation between what the mind desires and reality. There is a synchronization with reality, where the mind doesn’t filter any more what should be from what we want. Since there isn’t anybody any more who wants anything, the alignment with reality is total. Those states are not exclusive for enlightened people, but everybody gets a glance of them, even though for a short time. Somehow, looking for evermore speed at a technological level shows the need, limited to the mind’s plane, to enter the continuous flux which cancels frustration and desires themselves.
Anyway, on the mind’s plane, for as much as we can reach more speed (and if fact is the goal of most technological development), frustration is not going to disappear: rather, the quest for fulfillment becomes evermore greedy in a mechanism which reminds one of addiction. The mind, in itself, won’t ever have enough desires, information, or speed. Somehow the mind looks for the liberation of the desires/frustration couple, seeking immediate fulfillment, but finds instead reiteration and their multiplication.
L’articolo del New York Times Is Social Networking Killing You? cita le parole della neuroscienziata Susan Greenfield al Daily Mail a riguardo dei social network:
Il mio timore è che queste tecnologie portano ad un’infantilizzazione del cervello in uno stato simile a quello dei bambini piccoli che vengono attratti da ronzii e da luci brillanti, con una scarsa capacità di concentrazione e che vivono al momento.
Avevo già scritto a riguardo della Greenfield in Senza identità ed apprezzo i suoi sforzi nel mettere in guardia sulle trasformazioni interiori causate dalla tecnologia.
Quando, ne Il mondo nuovo di Aldous Huxley, il governatore chiese ai giovani se non avessero mai incontrato un ostacolo insormontabile e subire un lungo intervallo di tempo tra la coscienza di un desiderio e il suo compimento, dopo un certo silenzio (durante il quale il direttore iniziò ad innervosirsi per l’attesa) uno dei giovani disse” Una volta dovetti attendere quasi quattro settimane prima che una ragazza ch’io desideravo mi si concedesse”. Il governatore quindi chiese “E avete provato, di conseguenza, una forte emozione?” “Orribile!” disse il ragazzo. “Orribile; precisamente” disse il Governatore. “I nostri antichi erano talmente stupidi e corti di vista che, quando vennero i primi riformatori e si offersero di salvarli da quelle orribili emozioni, non vollero aver niente a che fare con essi.”
Ne Il mondo nuovo di Huxley le persone vengono condizionate già prima della nascita e la vita era congegnata in modo che ogni desiderio venisse soddisfatto in tempi brevi. In caso di emozioni spiacevoli c’era a disposizione il soma, la droga perfetta senza effetti collaterali.
Tutto il mondo delle tecnologie è fatto per evitare i tempi morti e il silenzio. Attendere è diventato equivalente a provare frustrazione e la rincorsa all’efficienza e alla velocità sono le qualità più apprezzate in campo tecnologico. La tecnologia di Internet ha portato la tendenza alla velocità a nuovi livelli, già presente nei media tradizionali quali la radio o la televisione, dove vengono evitati accuratamente le pause ed il silenzio. Pur non possedendo la televisione da tempo, nelle poche volte che mi capita di vederla noto un’accelerazione progressiva nell’editing e nei cambi di contesto, manifestando una volontà di evitare pause e vuoti, per quanto brevi siano.
L’esperienza su Internet, pur se interattiva, è ancora più esasperata in questa direzione. La nostra attenzione è divisa tra diverse applicazioni le quali producono parecchi input e flussi informativi che interagiscono sempre più velocemente con i nostri clic.
Ma le esperienze umane più appaganti richiedono un certo tempo per essere interiorizzate. Per entrare nel flusso della danza, del fare l’amore e della meditazione ci vuole tempo. La ricerca dell’appagamento immediato è una caratteristica infantile. La capacità di contenere e sentire la frustrazione è una palestra per portare consapevolezza alle nostre emozioni e per creare un contenitore sempre più ampio per queste.
In un workshop spirituale ho fatto esperienza dell’associazione tra l’attivazione dell’energia shakti della kundalini e la frustrazione. L’attivazione dell’energia viene modulata dalla capacità di percepire la frustrazione e di stare con questa senza agirla o senza scaricarla.
In un certo senso, la meditazione stessa è un esercizio di accettazione e di consapevolezza della frustrazione. Ci sono poche cose altrettanto frustranti che sedere senza far nulla ed osservare pensieri che emergono, talvolta banali e noiosi, altre volte accompagnati da impazienza o da emozioni difficili da contenere. In meditazione possono giungere anche stati estatici, ma solitamente dopo che si sciolgono alcuni nodi interiori al fuoco della consapevolezza.
Le tecnologie ci evitano ogni pausa di riflessione e tendono a minimizzare gli intervalli tra un desiderio e la sua soddisfazione, causandoci irritazione quando non c’è una risposta rapida ai nostri input, alimentando così il perdurare di un’attitudine immatura verso la realtà.
Ma la ricerca di un intervallo nullo tra un desiderio e il suo appagamento mi ricorda la condizione descritta dagli individui spiritualmente realizzati i quali vivendo nel “qui e ora” non hanno la separazione tra ciò che desidera la mente e la realtà. Ci si “sincronizza” con la realtà dove la mente non filtra ciò che è da ciò che dovrebbe essere, ciò che è da ciò che si vuole. Non essendoci più nessuno che vuole alcunché, l’allineamento con la realtà è totale. Questi stati non sono esclusiva di un illuminati, ma chiunque ne ha fatto esperienza, seppur per un breve tempo. In qualche modo la ricerca di velocità sempre maggiore a livello tecnologico manifesta il bisogno, limitato al piano della mente, di entrare nel flusso continuo che annulla la frustrazione e i desideri stessi.
Tuttavia sul piano della mente, per quanto si possa raggiungere velocità sempre maggiori (e di fatto è lo scopo della maggior parte dello sviluppo tecnologico), la frustrazione non è destinata a sparire, anzi, la ricerca di soddisfacimento diventa sempre più famelica in un meccanismo che ricorda la dipendenza. La mente, in sé, non ne avrà mai a sufficienza di desideri, informazioni, velocità. In qualche modo la mnete cerca la liberazione dall’accoppiata desideri/frustrazione cercandone la soddisfazione immediata ma trova invece la reiterazione e la moltiplicazione degli stessi.
One of the reasons for the success of Facebook is that friends are supposed to be such. Usually, in social networks and dating sites we meet people who are alien to our real-life narratives. Even though these “just online” contacts can bring interesting connections, in most cases such “friends” come and go and the connection doesn’t go much in depth. Missing a real-life narrative beyond the Net, the connection between people doesn’t sink as deep as in an authentic and almost “organic” place.
So Facebook came to the rescue as a way to connect with people we know and those we knew in the past but with whom we lost touch. Even though the invitation game of picking friends and friends of friends expands and I ended up with some contacts I barely know, with maybe half of them I shared important parts of my life, parts of our histories which shaped our lives.
But I am resistant to participating in Facebook games with them, for the very reason that some of them are real friends and we had such important connections. So until now I didn’t look for friends to add on Facebook and I seldom open the site, not much more than accepting the requests I had until now.
Since most of the people who request for friendship know I’m a long-time Internet user and former Internet book publisher, sometimes I feel like telling them that I rarely go to Facebook and I’m not deliberately ignoring them. Actually, the situation poses an inner strife, a sort of double bind: since people are there on the site, it doesn’t look nice ignoring them, but at the same time I don’t want to be engaged further in one more online toy.
Of course, we can say that for every level of communication there are different areas and that we can choose the medium according to the depth and intimacy we need. With intimate people I can choose other ways too for communicating. The medium can vary greatly from telephone calls to personal meetings and body/mind contacts at any level from hand-shaking to making love.
But Facebook, like many other Web applications, tends to expand its scope and include more aspects of our lives, and can also easily become addictive. It starts with a cool way to connect, then it adds feature after feature, then it becomes essential to not get isolated from the group of friends and, finally becomes one more window that feeds on our time and scant attention. In being active much on Facebook I sense the risk of digitalizing even those real and important relationships and consequently of trivializing our rich histories. I also sense the risk of creating a cyber-elite and excluding friends who aren’t on the Internet or who access the Net quite rarely, friends who don’t have the time or the desire to get wired or locked in social networks.
Even though I have, at the moment of writing, 45 friends on Facebook, a small number compared to most users (around 150 friends on average), anytime I connect to the site I can still get a certain number of updates about “What they are doing now.” As I browse through those short sentences, my online experience, like that of many other people, is made up of other open Web pages and applications competing for my attention. While one friend is planning a trip, another is going to sleep, one more is sad (even though “negative” feelings aren’t expressed that much, generally speaking) and yet another is enjoying music. It seems to me to be more like TV, where tragic news are immediately followed by gossip and vice versa, where everything melts in an anesthetized flow of news with no connection with our inner states.
I don’t want to become numb in the felt connection with my friends as I might be with a TV or movie character. Every input we get from a person who is a valuable connection for us takes time and attention to assimilate and interact with, especially if it’s something which isn’t trivial. But time and attention are scarce resources when we are on the Net and depth is mostly avoided. Perhaps this is the reason why we read much less about difficult and challenging inner states on Facebook and in general on other social networks. The “hugs and love sending” applications look a bit, well…unsatisfactory.
I sense as well the risk of considering myself exempt by keeping more direct contacts with people, substituting them with writing a few updates about myself on Facebook. Even in this case, we could say that one medium doesn’t have to substitute another, but our time and attention resourses are limited and don’t grow at the pace of computer speed.
One other risk I sense is to homogenize the rich variety of ways with which I interact with individual persons. With every friend whom I interact with in an open way, a unique relationship is being created, almost an entity in itself, shaped in time from the alchemy of two souls meeting.
On a psychological level we can say those are object relationships, which drive us in the construction of our personalities. People who follow a spiritual path make themselves aware of the role of those relationships in their lives and eventually they can be transformed, making either the relationship evolving in a more authentic way, free from past conditionings, or eventually end it.
Homogenizing our relationships and canalizing them through Web applications and options weakens the construction of our personality through object relationships and doesn’t help us in becoming aware of them either.
One other resistance I have in meeting people on Facebook whom I knew a long time ago is about the recognition that what shaped our relationship is not there any more, since we’ve probably both evolved our personalities in different directions. And it isn’t easy to find a new point of contact through Facebook which fits our current inner states. At the same time, we can’t just re-enact the past: once our psyche has evolved, going back to the same shape becomes impossible, like growing baby teeth back again.
In the meanwhile, I rediscovered plain old email communication, which was the only way to communicate when I started working online 15 years ago. From time to time I email updates about my life to a group of friends who are more present in my life. Email is simple and more environment-friendly, uses little bandwidth, and is accessible from any computer, even very old ones, by very slow Internet connections and by most mobile phones too. Facebook pages usually take a long time to show if the Internet connection is not fast. Email is more direct and personal, giving almost the feeling of letters.
The lack of gimmickry in email writing gives space to more direct connections between words and internal states: we need to fill words from the inside, rather than choosing applications or giving a quick update about “What I am doing now.”
However, I sense that a part of my resistance toward participating in Facebook is also to be found inside some of my conditionings and beliefs which don’t match with reality. I want to explore them for the sake of knowing those parts of myself, so I’ll probably start to participate more in the games to see where it takes me.
Information highways and speed. Chrome for “more,” “new” and “amazing” Web applications
According to several journalists and bloggers, it seems that the world expansion of Internet broadband would be almost the answer to the world’s problems, involving the right to knowledge, overcoming the digital divide, and the opportunity of spreading human rights.
Is the high-technology version of the same message, of the need to “civilize” the world through Western values and to believe that bringing the market system everywhere will bestow welfare and comfort to everybody? Countries which still havn’t “reached” our standards are called “developing,” as it was unavoidable that they would have to traverse a similar path.
The race for larger bandwidth discriminates between who does and doesn’t have it and affects the development of websites and software which are more and more complex and bandwidth-greedy. Software downloads and updates are quite “heavy”: just think about antivirus updates or operating systems, or the “heaviness” of websites like Facebook.
Often myself being in countries where there is no fast connection to the Net, it becomes impossible to update the operating system and sometimes even to do ordinary activities. My blog itself, quite simple in its architecture, is very slow to initialize with an ordinary connection through a modem. In the good old times in the mid-80s I could let up to five people work at the same time with Unix with terminals through a very humble Intel 8086 processor.
The more the bandwidth expands, the more the Net goes towards the visual and risks seeming like a hyper-TV with a predominance of videos and virtual environments to immerse in, evermore hungry of speed and resources. We get further away from narrative to favor disconnected fragments of information; we get further from words and from a path which goes in depth.
Per diversi giornalisti e blogger tecnologici sembra che l’espansione mondiale della banda larga di accesso a Internet sia quasi la soluzione ai problemi del mondo, chiamando in causa i diritti alla conoscenza, il digital divide e le possibilità di diffondere diritti civili.
E’ la stessa retorica, in versione di tecnologia avanzata, della necessità di “civilizzare” il mondo con i valori dell’occidente e di credere che portando il sistema di mercato ovunque questo conferirà prosperità e benessere per tutti. I paesi che non hanno ancora “raggiunto” il nostro standard vengono definiti “in via di sviluppo”, come se fosse inevitabile che prima o poi debbano e vogliano percorrere un percorso analogo.
La rincorsa alla banda sempre più larga discrimina chi non ce l’ha e porta allo sviluppo di siti e programmi sempre più complessi e avidi di banda. I download dei software e degli aggiornamenti “pesano” parecchio, basti pensare agli aggiornamenti degli antivirus o, peggio, del sistema operativo. O alla “pesantezza” di siti come Facebook.
Trovandomi spesso in nazioni dove non vi è una connessione veloce alla rete, risulta impossibile aggiornare il sistema operativo e talvolta anche svolgere le attività ordinarie. Il mio stesso blog, piuttosto semplice nella sua architettura, è molto lento nella visualizzazione con una connessione ordinaria via modem. Bei tempi quando a metà degli anni ’80 potevo far lavorare fino a cinque persone contemporaneamente con Unix, collegati con dei terminali ad un umilissimo processore Intel 8086.
Più si espande la banda di connessione più la rete va verso il visivo e rischia di assomigliare ad una iper-televisione con una prevalenza di video e di ambienti virtuali in cui immergersi, sempre più famelici di velocità e risorse. Ci si allontana progressivamente dalla narrativa per privilegiare frammenti disconnessi di informazione, ci si allontana dalle parole e da un percorso che entra in profondità.
Internet and the weakening of central (inner) organizations
In the Hindu and tantric Buddhist esoteric traditions, human beings are seen as composed of centers of energy called chakras. Of those, the sixth chakra, called Ajna chakra, is located between the eyes and is often associated with the pineal gland and the “third eye.”
The sixth chakra resonates with an intuitive kind of intelligence, with clear thinking and clear vision. The sixth chakra way of knowing allows one to see the forming of clear patterns in a huge amount of information. This chakra synthesizes many different aspects of intelligence and gives the skill to pick out information about anything by non-logical means.
The sixth chakra world points to a fascinating place where pure knowledge is omnipresent. Descartes would probably have loved to imagine such a place. Anybody heavily involved with information technology as well would enjoy the sixth chakra capacity to see patterns in the information overload and to live in a clear, brilliant place where intuition rules.
The sixth chakra is even more than intelligence as we know it. It is pure knowing, where even thinking is not needed any more. It is also a place where single individualities melt, where there’s nobody who knows and just knowing remains, a place where there’s no separation between inner and outer, between me and you… no more duality. There is a transpersonal flavour about the sixth body.
The sixth chakra is supposed to take charge of the person when the ego, through a spiritual path, doesn’t have the primary role any more. The sixth chakra starts to coordinate the body and the mind from a higher awareness than the ego and one of its names is “the command chakra.” The ego keeps the personality together through a thick net of thoughts, feelings and conditionings that are mostly acquired, while the Ajna chakra gives direct vision, knowledge and action, non-mediated by any past conditionings.
Nelle tradizioni esoteriche Indù e nel Buddismo tantrico, gli essere umani sono composti da centri energetici chiamati chakra. Di questi, il sesto chakra, chiamato Ajna chakra, è localizzato in mezzo agli occhi ed è spesso associato con la ghiandola pineale e il “terzo occhio”.
Il sesto chakra risuona con un tipo di intelligenza intutitivo, con un pensiero e una visione nitida. La modalità di conoscere del sesto chakra consente ad una persona di vedere con chiarezza delle strutture, dei pattern, all’interno di un’enorme quantità di informazioni. Questo chakra sintetizza molti diversi aspetti dell’intelligenza e conferisce la capacità di estrapolare informazioni su qualsiasi tema tramite procedimenti non-logici.
Il mondo del sesto chakra mostra un luogo affascinante dove la conoscenza pura è onnipresente. Probabilmente Cartesio avrebbe amato immaginare un tale luogo. Anche chiunque è fortemente coinvolto nell’elaborazione dell’informazione si feliciterebbe della capacità del sesto chakra di vedere delle hiare strutture nel sovraccarico informativo e di risiedere in un luogo trasparente e brillante dove l’intuizione la fa da padrona.
Il sesto chakra va oltre alla definizione di intelligenza per come la conosciamo. E’ conoscenza allo stato puro, dove anche il pensiero stesso non è più necessario. E’ anche un luogo dove le singole individualità si fondono, dove non vi è più nessuno che conosce e dove rimane solo la conoscenza, un luogo ove non vi è separazione tra interiore ed esteriore, tra me e te, nessuna dualità. Il sesto corpo ha un sapore transpersonale.
Si ritiene che il sesto chakra si prenda cura della persona quando l’ego, tramite un percorso spirituale, non ha più un ruolo primario. Il sesto chakra inizia a coordinare il corpo e la mente da una conspevolezza più elevata dell’ego, tanto che uno dei suoi nomi è “il chakra del comando”. L’ego mantiene la personalità unita attraverso una fitta rete di pensieri, emozioni e condizionamenti, perlopiù acquisiti, mente l’Ajna chakra produce una visione, una conoscenza e un’azione diretta, non mediata da alcun condizionamento del passato.
Any time there is contact with a new technology, as Marshall McLuhan tells us in Understanding Media, this brings us to “an extension or self-amputation of our physical bodies, and such extension also demands new ratios or new equilibriums among the other organs and extensions of the body.”
The self-amputation aspect is hardly considered by people who deal with the media and technologies, much less by marketing offices. The potentialities of any new technology in extending our abilities are magnified, but there’s attention on the self-amputation side only when there is obvious damage.
Ogni volta che vi è il contatto con una nuova tecnologia, Marshall McLuhan, ne Gli strumenti del comunicare, ci insegna che questa ci porta a “un’estensione o un’autoamputazione del nostro corpo, che impone nuovi rapporti o nuovi equilibri tra gli altri organi e le altre estensioni del corpo.”
La parte di autoamputazione viene presa meno in considerazione da parte di chi si occupa di media e tecnologie, e ancora di meno da parte degli uffici marketing. Ogni nuova tecnologia viene esaltata nelle sue potenzialità di estensione delle nostre possibilità ma l’altra faccia della medaglia, l’autoamputazione, viene considerata solo quando vi sono dei danni evidenti.
Analysis and interpretation of symbols has always been considered more a magical than a technological act.
While once magical skills were applied to celestial bodies and the flight of birds, the symbols to be interpreted nowadays are computer programming codes and financial analysis charts, so complex that their interpretation often seems to require abilities closer to magic than to science.
Historicaly, exclusive languages have always been an instrument of power, as Latin was for the Church.
Interpretare e analizzare i simboli è sempre stato considerato un atto magico prima ancora che tecnologico, lasciato ai sacerdoti, agli astrologi.
Gli astri e i voli degli uccelli, riportati ai giorni nostri sono i codici di programmazione dei computer e i grafici delle analisi finanziarie, la cui complessità interpretativa richiede spesso attitudini che si avvicinano più alla magia che alla scienza.
Nella storia, i linguaggi di uso esclusivo sono sempre stati uno strumento di potere, come lo è stato il latino per il clero.