How is the internet in all of it’s myriad of forms, going to harmonize with my spiritual morals? How can I share my life online without hurting friends, family, and self?
What are the ethical ways of using this gorgeous toy of instantaneous information distribution? How does it work well, and how does it fail?
I sometimes communicate to a friend online my hopes for happiness on their birthday. I feel healthy about this application. At other times, I’ve made mistakes. I’ve mentioned the death of a friend in a passing thread online, to the surprise and dissatisfaction of someone who cares, and is unaware. I don’t want to do that again. Expressing my missing and love for that person in a wistful poem has it’s place….maybe in a couple of years.
What do I want? I want my best friends to call me for my birthday, or even better to send me a card on time, or show up. Last winter I read a quote I liked that’s harmonic with this; ″90% of life is showing up.″
Wariness breeds in me for cell phones as these amazing devices pry my life open with a signal. A call at dinner, a text during a conversation, or a distracting vibration in my pocket while running a chain saw. A video camera that can be turned on from somewhere else, while the signal can be triangulated, showing where I am.
Establishing boundaries for myself around other peoples expectations for the use of the tech, has brought me serenity. My phone is for me, and I choose to use it when it’s seems appropriate. “Lack of planning on your part, doesn’t constitute an emergency for me.” Additionally, how do I know that it’s an actual emergency, if I get repeated calls from you due to your lack of patience? Is that crying wolf?
I like the feeling of challenge that comes from getting lost. Can I get lost anymore? Whatever happened to the skill of map reading, or discovering a new place with luck and curiosity? What happens when the battery dies? This wondrous instrument is strong, and easy to shut off. So I do, and give thanks to the setting of airplane mode while I pray for a good day on a boogie ride.
Due to conversations gone awry I blocked the text message capacity on my phone, and it frustrated friends. Avoiding a form of communication that consistently went haywire didn’t save me energy, so I turned it back on. Years later I still wonder about the boundaries I should set for the use of it. How can I avoid people using it to hurt me, steal from me, and lie in a some form of oblique spiteful power play?
What did it look like when thousands of dollars were about to be taken with text? How about lack of integrity, or a voice being raised, or sarcasm? Does it require tone of voice to be clear? Does a joke sound like a joke in text? Now I do my best to accept the passive aggressive texts as weak in spirit with the capacity to ruin a friendship, and break my heart.
At times I let my mail fill up to brimming. It feels good not to have overwhelming unheard messages every day. Life is good when I’m sweating, reading a book, writing, and when I’m touching a loved one. When the dog is running in the sun, I will have a life. I keep hoping it won’t be one where I clutch my devices the way Gollum does, or treat them with covetous glances from four feet away.
For example, at the Greyhound station in Oakland waiting for a bus, there was a charging station for cell phones. When I went to get mine charged for immediate conversation, I stood next to a row of them while I placed the call.
A scurry of nervous energy behind me gave me a wary feeling in my gut. I felt the presence of awkwardness and agitation. People came forth in a barely controlled rush as I stood there attached to the wall, with my head talking into a box. It was uncomfortable as I was too close to their “precious”, so I ended the call, and walked off ten feet to sit down. As I looked at mine from a safe distance, and watched the furtive glances of others, this article started forming in my head.
What do you hold dear? How many things are present in your mind that matter to everyone? When are you most triggered emotionally by internet and phone? Is the phone good for you? When does it satisfy your needs and bring you happiness? These are the questions I ask myself as I prepare to turn off this device, setting it down in airplane mode, and picking up other equipment I love. Maybe a hammer, a splitting maul, a Frisbee, a guitar, or a pen and paper.