Tracking ID UA-126977798-1
In 1624, John Donne-a cleric of the Church of England, Dean of St. Paul's Cathedral School and poet, wrote a prose piece entitled, "Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions". Within this lengthy work was a section called, "Meditations 17" which was transcribed into a poem titled: "No Man Is An Island". This poem deserves a read and consideration from generation to generation. Maybe now more than ever. I am including the verse for those who have never seen it before. These words are the spark which inspires this week's post:
No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend's
Or of thine own were:
Any man's death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.
John Donne was considered to be a metaphysical poet, therefore you may read or interpret the word "death" to mean physical death or emotional or spiritual death. Some of you may bristle seeing the word "man" for human beings and "mankind" instead of humankind because you are internally policing speech that is not considered 'politically correct'. However you need to remember he was writing hundreds of years ago. His message also echoes the phrase I have spoken about and used before from the Lakota language..."Hau Mitakuye Oyasin" meaning "Peace, we are all related." There is a sense that is it easy to 'relate' to anyone who has access to the internet. The tech connection has provided the possibility of communication almost anywhere, anytime. But has the quality of communication improved? Are we really "involved in mankind" (or you can change it to "humankind" for those who insist on PC). Are we presenting an image of an image of involvement, but in reality we are more isolated than ever in our virtual island screens? We need a degree of detachment to be able to evaluate our quality of life and answer these serious questions.
This past week there were reported tragic deaths in many different countries. The news announces physical deaths...but what of those who gave up hope? Who felt their spirit die a little more each day? What of those who followed as sheeple and shut down their minds and independent thinking? Does this type of death diminish us all? I believe it does.
Although there are more devices in 2019 to connect to each other and more platforms to cyber chat, comment and communicate-there is concurrently more anxiety, addiction, withdrawal, depression and isolation in more societies than ever before. These conditions diminish our effectiveness as human beings. There are studies from the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, Japan, Switzerland, Finland and other nations which confirm this techtonic (my word) social shift:
"People have a tendency to give precedence to others who aren’t present over people who are present. For example, a mother picking up her child from daycare may be texting her husband while putting her toddler’s coat on. Or a father at his son’s a hockey game may be checking email and miss his son’s goal or a teen may be tweeting on his phone at the breakfast table instead of interacting with his family." www.activebeat.com/your-health/women/5-ways-social-media-contributes-to-social-isolation/5/
Have you experienced this with your own loved ones? The time you might have with your spouse, children, partner, siblings, parents, friends is diminished when the phone is present. "I just have to take this....excuse me" becomes a common phrase which breaks off intimate moments and conversations. Glancing or staring at the phone instead of at your loved one's eyes sends the message-especially to children-that technology is more important, fascinating, interesting and engaging than they are. You are cut off from their virtual other world at those moments. Even the sounds of texting, messages and calls are Pavlovian and cause most people to automatically stop what they are doing and respond to the electronic reminders first. The sound cues for "notifications' from social media are designed to heighten your nervous system. Your serotonin/dopamine levels-the feel good neuro transmitters-change with the amount of time you spend on screens and thinking about your time and responses on screens. From one of a series of articles on this phenomenon, here is part of their findings:
"We saw that small screen addiction alters dopamine and serotonin levels in the brain in the same way as addiction to narcotics, sugar, alcohol, pornography, etc. We also saw that from an addiction standpoint, apps such as Facebook, YouTube, SnapChat, Instagram and many others, may as well be drugs – because of their power to release dopamine in the brain and inhibit serotonin. And their power to get us hooked is just as strong as any drug." healthimpactnews.com/2018/breaking-smart-phone-addiction-raising-serotonin-in-the-brain/
You may not realize you are addicted but there are a number of signposts that are considered "classic" symptoms of screen/tech addiction. You can go through the checklist yourself and honestly assess if you are addicted or are in danger of addiction simply by the number of times you check your social media sites, your phone, Ipad, computer,apps in a 24 hour period.
I realize I spend too much time checking on social media and have decided to waste less time and nip a possible addiction in the early stages. www.computerworld.com/article/3014439/internet/social-media-addiction-is-a-bigger-problem-than-you-think.html?page=2
Disengaging from social media is not as easy as signing on...you need to follow the steps written below and take some time to process and check the procedure is complete and effective. Below is proven advice you can find online but which I have edited for you all, to make it simpler. I am more than halfway through these steps as of today. I already have more time and less anxiety by not checking face hook and sometimes seeing the dangerous pursuits of my daughter and other loved ones in various realms.
FYI-Getting off face hook aka face book:
Go ahead, be brave and unhook from social media. Brush away as much of your digital footprint as possible. Don't be predictable, mix up your "profile" and delete any browsing history. It only takes a few minutes to change your settings. It takes less time than to brush your teeth. You need to cultivate these new habits in the age of tech invasiveness. Face your fears and anxiety if just the thought of being less visible online accelerates your heartbeat, causes you to perspire and/or have fantasies of disappearing.
Also, never get "Alexa" or any of the spy devices branded as "smart appliances". They are gathering all your comments, storing your voice and creating your profile with a digital voice print then making AI(artificial intelligence) assumptions for your digital profile, and for all of your family and associates (links). You can never turn it off! I personally don't like visiting or house sitting for anyone with these devices set up in their home. Go outside to a park, lake, hiking trail, pool-somewhere there is less chance of being identified and under surveillance by "skynet" and "dragonfly" devices. (see my blog post: October 2, 2018 -Echelons-www.jopatti.com/blog/echelons)
At the moment, I am on a naturally beautiful island. Yet, I look around and see so many people fixated on their screens, taking selfies, texting and surfing online...not in the actual waves of the undulating deep blue seas. What a pity...for them. Even having the sounds of water and the jungle are not enough for some folks, they have their ear buds in and are listening to some other sounds. The calls of the various birds, insects, palms and ferns rustling, thunder and children are invigorating to me. Yes, maybe I'm crazy to prefer the natural world. Life is so rich in sight, sound, motion and events in three dimensions. Ironically, I have to describe these to you in two dimensions. You will be reading this text on a screen no doubt.
Let's hope we meet again, somewhere soon....in person-as we used to say, "in the flesh". I would like to have an actual face to face conversation, wouldn't you? Even hearing your voice on the phone is a step forward from this keyboard text chat. Unhook as soon as you are able-you'll soon see what you've been missing and you may find you have more time than you thought, for other worthy pursuits.
From an island in Thailand....Chai yoh!
(Cheers, good health- in Thai),
The song I chose for you this week is "Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley - performed by the inimitable Andrea Motis for vocals and trumpet with the Joan Chamorro quartet