Living on the Cusp…Finding a Direction at the end of The Age of Reason
We are indeed fated to live in interesting times, living up to the blessing or curse of the old, supposedly Chinese adage that is blithely and often bandied about. Perhaps this is always the case. Whatever times we find ourselves in are likely, speaking in the language of probability, to be eventful and fraught with one sort of adventure or other— very often not of the welcome or expected variety. But I think most will agree with me when I say that these are turbulent times we are experiencing just now. How often have you heard ones state that their lives are too busy, too hectic or just too rushed to keep up with this, that or the other thing? Attempting to express just how overwhelmed we [all] are has become a Mantra for this current decade.
(This is another in my series of excerpted and updated Posts from my old blog A Glitch In Time. This one was called simply “Accountability” originally appearing in the Summer of 2014.)
Time Traveling and Unraveling
As usual, I am busy and harried, and seldom timely with my Blog posts. I honestly do not know where the weeks go. The Time unravels like trying to track the path of a falling star. By the time I catch my breath, I have already moved on, seemingly at the behest of some automatic pilot I was not aware of being equipped with. I keep Thinking that I have all this time, that I should be able to accomplish so much and organize my life, but I seldom get far past the initial thought. My life is like this Blog. It goes off in directions I could not have anticipated when I first began it. I have often struggled with this direction, trying to push it back into saner and safer channels. However, I have had some thoughts on this subject lately, and I think ultimately, I will let this Blog (and my life 🙂 ) be whatever it wants to.
Not only time is flying these days. Whole societal paradigms are shifting with nary a notice. The acceleration of technological development is overwhelming. The fact that I can decide to launch a new shop, publish my photographs or writing, or dabble in any number of other creative or business avenues as easily as I can, is just another indication of how fast and far we have come, at least technologically speaking, these past few decades. I think I can say, without doing the research, that the first world nations have made greater scientific and technological leaps in the last fifty years than in the preceding several hundred years. It is a New Millennium indeed. It literally boggles the mind of anyone over the age of thirty or so to try and mentally assimilate the vast changes just within our own lifetimes. I have to wonder about cause and effect. Are we so rushed, so overwhelmed in our lives by this onslaught of change, or has the tempo of the change come as a response to an acceleration of Time itself?
Even though I can contemplate and pursue avenues not available to me even a decade ago, through the magic of the internet and the array of gadgets that keep all of this constantly at my fingertips, there is a price. It costs me Time, an increasingly precious and rare commodity, and forces me to fragment my attention to achieve my goals. To be a successful internet entrepreneur, you have to not only keep up with a technology and infrastructure that is evolving right before your eyes, but you have to be savvy enough to use Social Media and these other (often newly emergent) tools to draw traffic your way.
I readily admit that there are things about the internet that I like— and just as many that I don’t. I am old enough that none of this really comes naturally to me. The learning curve can be steep for those of us not born and raised on the techno-teat. However, the lure is certainly there. My Dad (before he passed away) was a Texting aficionado, seldom is far from his iPhone, and spent several hours a day on Email and the internet. It is not something I would ever have expected, yet it is a testament to the power that these devices hold over us as a culture. Social Media is another example of this magnetic sway. First embraced as a cutting edge icebreaker by the young and tech-savvy, or as a networking tool by the scientific establishment, it has grown into a gargantuan network of internet industries catering to any interest you can conceive of. I think that it was a shock when young people discovered that their parents, often initially tuning into these social networks to monitor their offspring, became as enamored of them and as involved, as their children. Now, young people hopscotch from one venue to the next, trying to keep a jump ahead of their internet hungry parents. And there is always somewhere new to go.
Getting back to the usage of Social Media as a business tool, I will say that it can be somewhat akin to being sucked into a black hole in many ways. While infinitely useful, the pitfalls are always there. You can easily be caught in the magnetic fields of many of these media before you even realize that it happens. No matter how efficiently you manage these things, they will still swallow up large chunks of your precious time. Before starting a Blog, the only social type sites I had accounts on were DeviantART and Pinterest.
As I would quickly admit, I was a bit of a Pinterest addict for quite some time. For a couple of years, it was my unwind at the end of the day activity. I kept expecting to get bored with it, but it was a long time before my fascination with that gargantuan Idea Board started to wane. It has by now lost much of its former luster in the constellation of my leisure time activities. However, it wasn’t boredom but, at least in my mind, an overly commercial turn the company took along the way that cooled my enthusiasm. When my feed started varying little day in and day out, became swamped with advertisements for products rather than ideas and inspiration, and when Pinterest started telling me what I was looking for rather than letting me explore myself, I just lost most of my interest. I keep up my Pinterest account linked to my Etsy Shop, but these days I am either saving new content from the many blogs I follow, or searching for recipes. I generally spend no more than a few minutes a day on the site now.
Additionally, since launching this Blog I have spread out, so to speak. At one point I had accounts on Google+, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, tumblr, and Amazine. Ostensibly, I started these accounts to publicize my Blog. And truly, I don’t usually spend a great deal of time on any of them. I have long since dropped my account on DeviantART simply because I did not have time to maintain it. The Amazine venue was pretty and interesting, but never really caught hold in this country and I canceled my tumblr when it didn’t seem to serve any purpose in my particular niche. There was a time when I almost abandoned my Instagram account, but after getting some pointers from my granddaughter and beginning to utilize it more for my business, something clicked, and I am still a loyal fan. Taken as a whole, these things, along with all else that goes into Blogging or opening a web store, take an enormous amount of time. And still, you have to attend to all the regular chores of life, and hopefully use some of that scant leisure time to unwind away from devices, internet and Social Media…
Of course, another issue that sees a great deal of attention these days, is that with the openness of Social Media, Blogs and so forth, there is a proliferation of negative, and sometimes downright nasty feedback. The fact that people use these forums to bully, denigrate and sometimes harass other folks who have different viewpoints or ways of presenting themselves, sickens me. If you don’t have something kind, constructive or supportive to say— Go Away. No one is making you look at or read any of this particular content. In my view, our most potent weapon against ideas that we disagree with or that disturb us, is to tune out. Boycott things you don’t like. If enough people feel the same, the impact will be huge. I just have a hard time understanding how some people, concealed by the anonymity of technology, can be so inconsiderate of their fellows. But then, maybe this is just a reflection of what is happening more frequently in social relations out in the ever more crowded world. Common courtesy and good manners are becoming rarer all the time.
In that same vein, you can’t help but see the lack of Presence and Attention to each other and the world around us these days. I know that many people are posting pictures of what they are doing on their Social Media even as they are doing it. But I also know that I will never be one of those people. I like to screen my photos, get rid of the out of focus or boring ones , and I like to enjoy what I am doing. How many times of late do you find yourself in a social situation where half or more of the participants have their mobile phones in their hands, either texting, browsing the web, or updating social media instead of genuinely engaging with those around them? In my experience it happens very often, and I have even found myself pulled into this same activity at times. Social Media is no replacement for true society or for having basic social skills. Even as the whole world rolls out before us through our technology, we are isolating ourselves in ways that just might prove not only unhealthy, but dangerous, ultimately.
There is a good chance however, that the isolation we are undergoing as a result of our burgeoning technological abilities, is part of some grand plan—a gateway into levels of consciousness that will open up new frontiers of human development. We are a lost people, looking for pearls in the dust of a decaying cultural milieu. So many of us have forgotten how to truly connect, or become jaded or suspicious from past experience. We know that the world around us is changing, that a way of life is passing. But we do not yet know where we are going, so we immerse ourselves in the barrage of artificial entertainments that too often pass for life.
There are hopeful signs as well as apocalyptic ones. Magic is again becoming a widely accepted possibility in this world. The Age of Reason is crumbling beneath the onslaught of imagery, information and technical wizardry that has become our contemporary norm. Albeit much of the imagery is altered and enhanced. The information, crushing in its sheer amount, is just as likely to be misinformation or outright deception as anything resembling truth or illumination. However, if this abundance flows forth via the magic of one or more of our many technical gadgets, than a certain credibility is lent, a shine that is acquired just by association with the divine oracle of the Internet.
Again, I would say that I believe we are a people on the Edge of an Abyss. Great change is occurring in the way we apprehend the world around us. Our perceptions are being shown through a new glass, and we are yet to understand just what it means. A choice, I think. We are a folk at the Crossroads, and we have only to choose a direction, or to let go and let Spirit select it for us. That is a Choice, too. I hope I have provided a little food for thought today.
Many Blessings and a wonderful finish to this Summer…
(I would be more than pleased to hear your thoughts on these revisited posts of mine. Last week’s Staycation has left me quite behind and short of Time 😛 . I hope to be back next week with my weekly features and new merchandise for the Etsy Shop.)