Wednesday, October 31, 2007


I have been feeling wishy-washy about my relationship to technology and that all came to a head tonight when I broke my cell phone by dropping it by accident.

The thing is, I've broken three cell phone in the past and each time I've been really upset at the thought of losing my cell phone, but besides feeling momentarily inconvenienced, I wasn't upset this time. Partly it's because circumstances are different now; I have a landline and I can get a pay-as-you-go cell phone for emergencies. Partly it's because I just don't want a cell phone anymore, for the same reason I've been having trouble with the internet lately.

I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with cell phones or the internet. In fact I think the internet in particular has brought a lot of amazing things into my life and does a lot of good. Lately, however, I've been really frustrated with aspects of the internet or maybe just how I use it.

I think I may use this kind of technology to spend less time alone with myself and my thoughts. When I am always reading about other people's opinions, I never really have time to form my own. It's the same with the cell phone. Instead of walking by myself and thinking or waiting and thinking, I can just call some one up and chat. There are good aspects to both of these things, of course, I stay informed (or get misinformed) with the internet and I reach out to my friends with my phone. But it seems like (and I don't think I'm alone in this) I am unable to use the internet or my cell phone in moderation or for the "right" reasons.

Besides stunting my ability to form my own opinion, I think the internet has had other negative effects on me. When I read blog comments or visit youtube and look at the comments, I inevitably end up angry or depressed. Some days, being on the internet can be like watching the failure of communication over and over again. I do not understand why strangers feel compelled to try to convince one another that the other person is wrong. I do not understand why I feel compelled to do this. I would not feel compelled to do this if someone on the bus started telling me about their conservative view points, so why do I feel the need to shove my viewpoint down someone else's throat on the internet?

I am not very good at wrapping things up, so I thought I would just end with a thought from Radiant Mind: Essential Buddhist Teachings and Texts. Jon Kabat-Zinn writes,
Where to start? Why not with your own mind? After all, it is the instrument through which all our thoughts and feelings, impulses and perceptions are translated into actions in teh world. When you stop outward activity for some time and practice being still, right there, in that moment, with that decision to sit, you are already breaking the flow of old karma and creating an entirely new and healthier karma. Herein lies the root of change, the turning point of a life lived.

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