Monday, November 3, 2014

Metaphysical Implications of the Smart Phone

We live in a very weird world, which is so unimaginably different than at any other time in the history. Of this, I have no doubt.  Our lives, as "humans" went pretty much unchanged for thousands upon thousands of years, maybe millions. Anyway, bunches and bunches!  There we were, just sitting around campfires, or dung fires, or whatever fires, trying to keep warm, and eating whatever fruits, nuts, roots, grubs, or whatever we could find. 

And like most creatures, we had a few basic necessities - we ate, we slept, we mated, and we sought shelter.  I imagine we were not too different than the chickens we have on our farm.  They spend their time clucking and pecking. Constantly on the look out for that perfect bug or seed to eat.  They didn't have "meal times". Every moment is a meal time.  You pick a leaf or fruit and eat it. 



I sometimes wonder at what point someone said, "Hey, why are we eating all the time? Why don't we instead, sit down 3 times a day and consume a whole bunch, and then we'll have more time for sitting around the fire!"  Probably it had something to do with being enslaved by somebody else and only having limited time for eating...You know, like working for Walmart, Starbucks, GE....hell, for anybody!

Some people propose that we actually had advanced civilizations millions of years ago, which collapsed due to environmental upheavals, natural catastrophes, too much advertising, or whatever. And this, certainly, could be true.  But I do wonder if they were really as advanced as we are now.  In other words....Did they have Smartphones?

"Oh, they didn't need smartphones," you say.  "They could just telepathically 'like' and 'friend' you."  Yes, there we were, in our very high metaphysical states, sending each  other links to fashion tips or new coffee or yoga joints.  We didn't need smartphones because we had smart heads and hearts that were initimately connected to everyone and everything in the universe.

Okay, maybe, but.......Did they have Selfies?

Oh yeah!  Selfies!  Perhaps the most insidious and heinous outcome of Smartphones.  Forget the fact that you can be tracked wherever you go. Forget about that the advertising the constantly comes up is especially designed for who and where you are. Forget that no one can remember a single phone number because they're all speed dials on our phone. Forget that you probably haven't had a real conversation longer than six words plus an emoticon in years. No, the real culprit is the Selfie, that self created portrait of YOU, arm extended, phone in hand, and "Click."  They are facebooked, instagrammed, twittered, and shared in every way so that everyone can remember what you look like, or at least look like now, as opposed to two days ago, or 10 minutes ago, or last year. 

But, I think there is a huge metaphysical question at hand regarding Selfies. The real reason we take those numerous photos of ourselves is to make sure we are still here, and more specifically, to make sure we DO have a head! 

You see, as Douglas Harding and others have pointed out, we have no visual direct experience of having a head.  Sure you can 'touch' it with your hands, but trying to actually physically see your own head is rather like trying to probe your ears with your elbows...it just can't be done.  Even looking in the mirror doesn't really count because it's not direct AND it's reversed. You're really not seeing your head as others do.  How do we even know for sure that it is there?  Our only visual experience of ourselves is from upper chest down - arms, torso, legs, feet. But for all practical purposes, we are headless, and how extraordinarily horrible that is, since we put so much emphasis on our head, and especially our face.  After all, it's not called Bodybook, or Torsobook...it's Facebook.  We NEED to know that it is there, AND that others can truly see it and affirm its reality.  AND that they "LIKE" it. 

This, itself, says a great deal about us. We are persons, and we exist, damn it!  See me! Hear my face roar!  Know that I AM.  Love me.  Perhaps it is truly our fear that we DON'T exist, or that our existence doesn't truly matter.  That it is somehow incumbent or obligatory that others insure our value and the necessity of our existence.  "See my Face, damn it!  I exist. I am not a nameless, faceless, headless drone, working for 'The Man', with no love, no heart, no feelings. SEE ME!!!" 

Or perhaps, we just want God to see us, or to know that we ARE connected to something, a part of something, intimate with something, and not alone and headless in a too often cold world. 

Okay, I get it!  :-D

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