Buddhism, Internet, Philosophy, Society, Spirituality

Episode 16: Internet Series: Effects on our Consciousness

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Artwork by Alex Grey – https://www.alexgrey.com/art/

What is internet doing to our state of consciousness as human beings?

Are larger companies monopolising us by creating themselves out of thin air, based on our belief in them? How does this affect small businesses and individuals alike?

What will the internet, Google, Instagram, and these platforms do to us and our children if they exert control based on the power we give them?

These questions and others will be explored in this part II of my “Internet Series” — see part I: De-Google Yourself.

We seem to be blinded into the notion that “we need the internet to survive” today. Smartphones, Google, and the upcoming 5G — our dependcy on these devices further gives them power rather than us obtaining our own power through the food we eat, the way we treat our bodies and minds, and the way we interact with other beings.

The internet is so smart that it is now installed in refrigerators, so every time you remove a carton of almond milk or potatoes, it knows you’re getting low and will write you a new shopping list to order more. You are no longer thinking or making considerate choices about your body, your health, or who you are buying from: a computer is doing it for you. This gives your power away so you keep creating purchasing patterns so the business you buy from is making decisions for you — perhaps to the same business again and again. And it’s all under the guise of convenience.

If we’re not conscious enough, striving to become evermore efficient, we will lose our true efficiency and hand it over. But we can’t say that we haven’t considered the consequences.

If we as “customers” and “consumers” of the internet, apps, and online shops keep this as our main reality, here is a possible forecast:

  • The internet will feed us our food on our couches with applications like Just Eat and Uber Eats as we lose the motivation to cook or make an effort to move based on our wants or needs. This will have vast implications on our health. We will become unknowledgeable about what we are putting into our bodies as orders are placed and fed to us (What are the exact ingredients? What care went behind our meal? Is the space we ordered from clean and suitable for cooking?) which could lead to more physical diseases.
  • The small business with a physical location will disappear as orders are constantly placed online. A few monopolise the market, like Amazon, who take a percentage from craftsmen and small businesses who actually create and maintain their products or creations (books, films, etc).
  • Physical service to others will become obsolete, because human interaction is already declining. What will happen to going into a doctor’s office to be checked out when you can describe your symptoms on Skype? Will people move from their home to get a massage or haircut? Will religious and spiritual centres disappear as people obtain more information stand-alone, rather than with older, wiser, beings?
  • Impatience will increase as our attention spans become shorter and shorter

The best thing that can happen, though, is that we realise our societies are becoming out of control with dependency on technology, and go back to:

  • Looking each other in the eyes
  • Cooking and being aware of our bodies and their needs; going to the market to buy food from knowledgable farmers who have so generously grown and prepared our food for us
  • Collaborating with others in real life out of empathy, compassion, and service to them in physical reality
  • Having more physical and mental energy/space which is conducive to a happy life and nurtures creativity, problem solving, productivity when things need to be done, and strength when performing physical tasks
  • Turning around from the big giants, refusing to buy duplicates and rubbish; buying instead from small businesses and conscious creators, like artists (musicians, wood-workers, metalsmiths, custom guitar or violin makers, painters, sculptors, jewellery artisans, etc) who spend enormous amounts of energy and time to channel “God” into the world, spreading beauty, creativity, true individuality, and essence which we are all capable of
  • Spending more time in nature and outdoors, not struggling to think or strategise when unnecessary
  • Being more aware of our environment or surroundings when in a building or outdoors, including other people who are with us
  • Devoting more of our life to being present with ourself and others
  • Improving our focus, motivation, and clarity of mind
  • Putting others first as we rely less on social media and our own ego / false persona it creates and seeks to maintainAnd finally…
  • Using technology and the interet as the tool it is meant to be rather than a dependent reality
Society, Spirituality

Episode 8: Internet Series: De-Google Yourself!


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For years, observing others and seeing how groups of people behave and the myriad ways they act unconsciously, I have to analyse what’s really going on from an external perspective. (It’s not just about chilling out and eating Buddha-style chocolate mochi all day, though that’s good, too.) As an eternal optimist, I can see through the shadows into the light of any situation. But I have to wonder if this shadow — the internet, Google, Facebook, et al. — is deliberately creating a paradigm to entrap us collectively as human consciousness.

Every time I open Spotify, I am bombarded with the “buy 3 months of premium for only £9.99!” message. I don’t want Spotify premium; I have too many premiums already. In fact, my green Thai couch and listening to Carbon Based Lifeforms for the thousandth time is pretty premium… it’s all I need right now.

The more intelligent we become, the more likely it is that AI (artificial intelligence) will be created to become evermore intelligent. Every time we think we’ve “got it” in dealing with the online world, a new algorithm comes out to bring down small businesses and individuals, like artists and craftsmen, from trying to make a living off of their real talent. Now, you must pay in pounds sterling or see your “followers” dwindle; the higher the followers, which can also coincidentally be paid for and faked, the more people automatically trust them with their own time, effort, and money for goods and services. Yet, numbers are just numbers on a screen. To really be with a person is to see them for who they are, as divine consciousness, like yourself — not the celebrity, the popular person, or the “best” at this or that. Those are just images of the highest form of superficiality.

We are all just human! We have a plethora of emotions and the capacity for great strength in courage and discipline and also in kindness. We have ability to change our habits, play with our consciousness through psychadelics, and be creative in infinite ways. AI doesn’t have the chance to do that. However, once the phone companies get the devices into our hands, they have control over us by our attention spans.

“Awareness goes where attention flows.”

And we have less than optimal attention spans. That’s why, I believe, practices like Advaita Zen and short practices, like daily yoga and puja or meditation sessions, have come in modern times for truth-seekers. We yearn to wake up like never before yet lack the attention to be able to attend to activities that require focus and are sustainable: like cultivate our minds, focusing on reading or writing, and generally learning to be more open and kind. The internet does naught to compete with our instinct to flutter around endlessly, craving, addicted, and always searching for something rather than being with ourselves and each other.

When Instagram and Facebook hook us on the principle of “comparison” or “competition”, which locks us into a dual state of “this and that”, “me and you”, they are winning at taking our attention further away from the truth of absolute oneness and non-separation. It’s carving out larger egos for everyone, yet no one can ever be satisfied with this glass ceiling.

In the last generation, it was about the rat-race and keeping up a job to satisfy material desires and make sure you have what the neighbours have. Now, it’s the same, but with endless streams of online invites for activities and gossip and digital photos. That’s a bit strange… right?

We can think of the future and decide not to opt-in to navigating our lives at the push of a button. I, for example, am de-Googling myself and using alternative web browsers and blocking Google from stealing my data. I will make my life possible without being locked into a system where I have to sell myself via a Facebook page, use my phone at a concert, or even use Google maps when I’m supposed to be walking with my feet — not my head. This is not what life is about.

Life is about knowing that the sun rises and sets everyday, for you and for all beings. It’s about knowing that, this second, there are millions of mothers giving birth and feeding their babies in an act of loving-kindness that is the only reason you and I are breathing. It’s about noticing that you exist as a divine sparkle in the cosmic breath for a lifetime with unique attributes and experiences that only make you wiser. It’s about looking your friends in the eyes when they are with you and focusing on them rather than yourself. It’s about enjoying food, music, colours, movement, inspiration, and learning. It’s about reflecting on all the good work you’ve done so far and appreciating the ability to do it. It’s about going through hard times psychologically and knowing they will pass. It’s about life, as it is, right here and now.

Please give me your feedback at curiousbodhi@zoho.com.