What is This Doing to Us?
This is a question we should have asked ourselves long ago, but didn’t. Instead we asked ourselves “What can this do for us?” And the answer was always “It can make us rich and powerful!” And so we went for a whole line of new technologies – the sailing ship, the railroad, the automobile. Never dreaming they would deplete our inner selves – that as we put more of ourselves into them, there would be less of us.
Even as I write this, I find it hard to believe – and I have to struggle to find the words to express myself. This was a question our technology-obsessed culture forbid us to ask. “Things were getting better and better,” we were told, and questions like this would ruin everything.
But then the ultimate disaster hit us – networked technologies, the radio, television, and now the Computer. Before we had something physical to identify with – now we have something that is all over the place – everywhere and nowhere at the same time. But something that exercises an enormous influence on us – one that we cannot resist.
In response, we did the only thing we could do – we ceased to exist. At least consciously, and retreated into our collective unconsciousness. Which we are not aware of (by definition).
We may not be aware of it – but powerful people have made it their business to be aware of it, and have learned to how to manipulate it. As a result, they now control us.
This is the most horrible condition imaginable. But once again, we made what seemed to be the only response available – we ignored this, and became what they wanted us to be: satisfied, happy consumers. With no minds at all.
All of this: the whole rant I just went through, is not something anyone with a job – schoolteachers and psychologists, for example, can recognize and keep his job. Even people who do not have jobs – but depend on the general public for their support and approval – cannot cross this line. Let me amplify on that.
When I was working in Silicon Valley I met this psychologist who had made a new discovery – the Highly-Sensitive Person (she was one of them herself). So she went to work and wrote a book about it.
But her publisher would not accept it unless parts of it that were critical of American culture were deleted. “People wouldn’t like that,” he said, and would not budge one inch from that position. She was getting desperate to get her book published, and accepted the deletions.
The book was a success, and made her famous. But also made her know (unconsciously) that she would have to forget part of her discovery to make it acceptable. Which she did – without realizing it.
Meanwhile, I was fast becoming critical of The System – which made me unemployable. I got kicked out of the nest and ended up down here.
I now have time to reflect on this question – and write about my discoveries. It’s not a bad life. I live in interesting times and there is plenty to write about.