As if we didn’t already have enough on our historic Relationship plate – enough wars, terrorism, political oppression, gender inequality, cultural disharmony, economic disparity, and environMental breakdown … our adolescent Humanity has decided to take a mistress. What – a – mess.
Her name is Technology. She’s alluring and smart. A foxy femme-fatale willing to let us play with her, dress her in fancy accoutrements, and convince ourselves that we’re in charge of this seductress from the start. Not so simple.
Our primary relationship is suffering. Our Beloved (as in our human Self, with whom we share our most intimate moments throughout a lifetime yet rarely consciously acknowledge) is taking a back seat to our Lover (as in Tech, onto whom we project that neglected Self and invent a more fascinating version thereof). Do we honour Beloved as we do Mistress or suckers, we … do we become unwitting slave to that which we now seem to crave?
We are naive; about our Humanity and about our Technology. A destructive love affair would almost be easy by comparison. But this tempting Miss is a permanent fixture we invited – we invented – with little regard for the outcome of her evolution. We haven’t even properly introduced her to our Beloved. We eagerly brought her home, enamoured by her exotic skills and how they could enhance our Beloved while incrementally losing connection to Beloved through our embedded lust for power and instant gratification – something Mistress cleverly facilitates.
She has stunning attributes alright, and we’re rightfully captivated. She makes enormous strides in contributing to our lifestyles, and in ways that can truly revive the ailing Human Condition – or become its demise. But unlike us she has no emotional investment in them either way. Or in us. Which makes this invincible cold mistress one to mistrust unless we keep a watchful “I” on the relationship’s dangerous tipping point from human to oid (read: humanoid … humannoyed).
Once upon a time the tweet was born – a chipper little word that conjured the innocence of a chirping bird. Birds are sweet, right? Unless they’re vultures. Time has mutated our short-lived innocence into the monstrous, with far-reaching psychological consequences already in evidence. Brains are fried. Fuses are burned. Twingers (twitter fingers) are aching – and so is our Global Soul. Where’s the damage control?
We haven’t cultivated a stable relationship with our Humanity to withstand the magnetic undertow of Technology. The riptides can rip us, as Techtonic plates now rub and grow.
Breathe. Breathe again …
That’s what I reminded myself all weekend as this Cinderella went to her ball and actually had a ball, but also observed an anomaly in the humanity that was focused on its technology: the focus was split.
I’ve just emerged from “Davos Season“, launched by its annual by-invitation DLD Conference – a stellar event in Munich that makes Tech look uber sexy. A rare convergence of world-class leaders and innovators from Media, Industry, Science, Politics, The Arts, Philosophy, Tech (and even wondrous Unicorns like a Huffington) regularly appear on the wintry horizon for a relaxed power-packed pow-wow on themes about the future of … Us. It can leave one breathless.
We need an Us App. How to navigate Us. How to find Us. How to define Us. Or maybe we’re just getting App’d till we sn’app.
Even though a backlash is starting to evidence – reverting us to “antisocial media” as a means of rejecting the Tech Connect-Disconnect syndrome that’s plaguing a cross-generational planet – it’s not game-over by any means. Nor should it be.
I remember a mid-point during the conference when I’d just recovered from heady meetings with a media titan, an ambassador, a hi-ranking female politician, and a famous actress. My adrenalin was pumped and my mind dizzy-busy with strategies to forge further inroads on behalf of the stunning global governance initiative I was spokesperson for.
The multi-floor venue was abuzz with conferences, networkers, android devices, laptops – all vying for airspace in the unseen air we all share (yet forget to exhale in order to repair).
Where to go? Whom to meet? Fast choices to make, all of which compete for a singular moment of Me. Should I quickly write this article for Thrive’s highly apropos weekly post, which just bombarded my mobile device already blipping with multiple incoming messages? Should I phone back that VIP who owns a television network? Maybe I should rush a PR package to that Tech gazillionaire whose limo’s waiting to race him to the airport? Or perhaps I’ll just flip my business card to that someone over there being briskly security-checked before coat-checked who looks exactly like one of the richest someones in the world (my glasses just broke, I can’t read the name tag, my eyes are squinting, my head is bursting, my stomach is hungry and I need to pee – so I give the card and flee)? Why not scurry downstairs to the mingle-area where the air smells yummy with fresh baked snacks that remind me I’m human?
How-oh-how to split atoms and my actual countenance so as to navigate numerous options at once? Sexy-Tech hasn’t mass marketed that one yet.
Instead I do something rad. I dock my phone, close my laptop, and shut my eyes in a hidden corner of this stylish megalith that’s humming with live rock music from one wing and guest speakers downstairs from another. When I awake, slightly dazed but refreshed, I return to the mingle area and plop down on a sofa to just chill, smack dab in the middle of the action. I’ve decided to challenge my urge-to-mega-merge with something antithetical to everything I’m supposed to be doing here. Observe. I watch the human show; scurrying, texting, drinking, posturing, mingling, Being.
In this digital-riddle of Techtonic Plates it’s about finding balance within the push-pull of one’s own complicated nature. Forsaking Social Media and Technology is as likely as forsaking our Humanity. It’s now so embedded it’s become a third limb. Or a kind of twin. Social Media’s gone on a madcap pendulum-swinging ride but that’s no reason to cast it aside, otherwise we’ve learned nothing about managing our inherent addictive nature.
In my case, in the middle of temptation-by-invitation where one’s supposed to maximise time by using it wisely I opted to use it differently – by not letting it use me. For a brief moment I prioritised being over doing. I “thrived” with time, and used it wisely to reconnect to my Humanity, and in turn others’.
We need to seed the maturity in our Humanity. We need to seed the humanity in our Technology. Taking a self-induced pause in full view of it all to still the soul and feel part of the Whole – was my personal Davos-apotheosis. Perhaps “by-invitation-only” Tech reigned. But in relation to Self I reigned, by reigning in a human moment so that future digital ones wouldn’t grate on those Techtonic & Human plates but rather compliment them.