Strenthening Our Inner Firewalls

In a world of what William Gibson described as “deliriously multiple viewpoints, shot through with misinformation, disinformation, conspiracy theories and a quotidian degree of madness,”[i] we need to cultivate the power of discernment – conscious attention and conscious inattention. In a hyper-stimulated media world, silence clears the “memory buffers.” Mind clarification must precede mind expansion. Our gullible consciousness responds to any software we put into it.

These moments of silence are the “inner firewalls” against the waves of cultural spam that threaten to inundate us. From this place of deep quiet we can begin to perceive the whole web of illusion, beyond appearances and habitual concepts, to the true state of non-duality which modulates all reality. As media scholar Marshall McLuhan told us 60-years-ago, pay attention to the underlying medium, not the message.

By Steven Vedro author of Digital Dharma. See the full post at Digital Dharma: Metaphors of Consciousness in the Infosphere blog.

Link

“It was really nice to walk in and see a big group of people in a small space not looking at phones, not watching things. I was close to most of the people there, but it was different. We shared more stories and more intimate stories than we would have otherwise.” (Elise Michael, student)

“We ended up staying up until 2 a.m. and spending five hours huddled around a coffee table with candles, talking. With the power on, we never would have bonded like that.” (Matt Field)

“It made me realize how beautiful it is,” he said. “That’s one of the few times in my life I’ve ever done that. And it was so beautiful.” (Eric Borb, bar owner, after spending two hours sitting on his fire escape just staring at the night sky.

New York Blackout Kills Phones, Revives Ancient Art Of Actually Speaking To People

#socialmedia

#socialmedia from ABOVE on Vimeo.

As irony, Above, the artist says, “it will be reblogged and seen on social media outlets the world over”. Like him (or her), I also think people look at me like I’m from another planet when I tell them I have left Facebook and Twitter. “How come?” they ask me, even if they didn’t notice I am no longer appearing in their timelines.

“In the eyes of social media I’m severely outdated, lost and not ‘connected’”, says Above. All I know is that I am much happier and much connected to myself this way.

By the way, the paintings in the video, made for GALORE festival in Copenhagen, Denmark earlier this month, is a time-lapse composed of over 9,000 photos and painted over a 5-day period. Try to honour it and watch the video without interrupting to send it to your networks – it only takes two minutes of paying attention to *one thing only*. You may then tweet.

The “ASSMBO” Game

A good game for tonight, via Kodakboi but some of my friends have been doing this with a commendable degree of success:

Offline Bar Game

Everyone puts their phones in the middle of the table. Whoever cracks first by touching their phone, pays for the entire meal. The purpose of the game was to get everyone off their phones, away from twitter, facebook, texting, etc and to encourage conversations. In other words, help cure the “Anti-Social Social Media Craziness”.
Here are the rules:
1. The game starts after everyone sits down.
2. Everybody places their phone in the middle of the table.
3. The first person to touch their phone loses the game.
4. Loser of the game pays the bill for everyone’s meal.
5. If the bill comes before anyone has touched their phone, everybody is declared a winner and pays for their own meal.

To improve effectiveness, pick very good (and extra expensive) restaurants.

I like the term “Anti-Social Social Media Craziness”. It reminds me of ASBO, or Anti-Social Behaviour Order. Perhaps we can have a ASSMBO too.

Update: 20 August

A colleague has just sent me this peace of news about a restaurant in Los Angeles that is offering diners a 5% discount on their bill if they dump their digital devices before being seated. “It’s about two people sitting together and just connecting, without the distraction of a phone, and we’re trying to create an ambiance where you come in and really enjoy the experience and the food and the company”, they explain.

Los Angeles Times: L.A. restaurant pays customers to put away their phones.

The Essence of Connection – Social media’s universal truth

From You Can Heal Your Life website: Shining a light on what we already share. Dave Carroll, creator of one of YouTube’s all-time most popular music videos, “United Breaks Guitars,” discusses how the power of one voice in the age of social media can awaken individuals and corporations all over the globe.

Excerpted from United Breaks Guitars by Dave Carroll. Copyright ©2012 (Hay House). United Breaks Guitars – The power of one voice in the age of social media

When you’re faced with a universal truth, there’s no confrontation or argument, because there is no other side to defend against. It’s something everyone can agree with, and a confrontation requires at least one opposing side. Combining catchy lyrics, upbeat music, and fun images made for a powerful communications tool, but the essence of connection in my message was universal in its appeal. That was the key!

[…]
Here’s where I think this gets really interesting. If you accept that people long to experience connections with others, the bigger question then becomes: Why do they long to do that? Could you say that things like my video actually form those connections? I don’t think so. I don’t believe that my video created bonds between people where none had existed before. The answer has to be bigger than that, and here is what I’ve come to understand.

We don’t just long for connection. I believe that all people are connected with each other as a natural state of being and that this bond doesn’t need to be fabricated. It already exists and always has. We are connected, and we long to feel more of that natural connection with each other.

[…]

Likewise, social media allows us to satisfy an urge to share our experiences with others and serves to allow us to experience what others wish to share with us. To say that Facebook is a source of our connection, I think, is wrong and misses the mark. Facebook and all the other social-media platforms simply let us experience our connectedness, and this subtle difference carries massive implications.

Full Story.