I applaud the choice of topic and Sherry Turkle's efforts to bring consciousness to how we interface with emerging technology. This is an important topic to me personally and professionally.
(1) I serve on the Board of Directors at the Coulds in Water Zen Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. At a recent retreat, our lunchtime conversation became quite energetic as the phenomenon of technology (eg, social networking, smart phones, texting, etc) was broached. Generally, the younger board members had more familiarity with and experience using contemporary technology. However, the need for individuals, families, and society to *consciously* interface with these technologies, to keep them tools and not tyrants in our lives, was unanimous.
We have no technology-specific programs yet, but I, for one, foresee this in our sangha's future.
(2) I recently had a rich exchange with a marketing professional/social media-guru friend of mine who maintains a blog for work. He posted a summary of a panel discussion, "The future of collective intelligence," he attended at last month's South by Southwest Interactive in Austin, Texas.
I had such a strong reaction to the panel's ideas and choice of words that I responded to my friend, largely out of curiosity for his opinions on my "unconventional" views. To my pleasant surprise, he not only graciously received my perspective on the pitfalls of mindless technology, but also requested to share it with others that follow his blog.Here is his original post: http://marketingpie.risdall.com/?p=1998Here is my response: http://marketingpie.risdall.com/?p=2002
I think this exchange between my friend and me underscores the importance and *possibility* of bringing consciousness to the conversations that shape the media, marketing, and mores of our culture.
(3) I have been a public health professional for more than 15 years, working on chronic and infectious disease epidemiology and policy at the state, national, and international levels. For more than 10 years, I have held in awareness a growing uneasiness below the surface of my professional life. Last year, after intentionally cultivating a "container" (months of meditation, reading, yoga, and retreats) to allow this uneasiness to gestate, an idea arose within me like a promise that, as the poet David Whyte puts it, "[would] kill me to break."
No longer satisfied with pursuing the cultural norm of "health" as merely a disease-free status, I am professionally embracing the fuller meaning of the word "health," which comes from "heal" or "whole." I am now dedicating myself to the epidemic of "emptiness" in this country, which is constantly covered over by our growing addiction to smart phones, among other things. We increase our own suffering and that of the world when we cover up or run away from the present moment of our lives.
Consciously addressing emerging technology requires conscious indivduals.
That is why the company I am starting is dedicated to providing opportunities for people to discover, develop, and deepen their connection to life - to their "one wild and precious life" (poet, Mary Oliver).
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