Sannion posted recently about the evils of Social Networking and to a lesser degree the Internet… and on the one hand I can truly appreciate and understand where he’s coming from. I find myself bouncing inwardly off of his words…
“Every day I look out on a world grown stupider, crasser, less concerned with others, less aware of the higher imaginative realms.” ~Sannion in the above mentioned article
There is SO much anger and fear and hatred and division in the world… and it sometimes feels like wherever I turn they are infecting every aspect of life and discourse. It sometimes seems that the places where people interact online have become pits of anger and despair. It’s like Facebook, and the comments sections of blogs and pod-shows, and so many online places of potential connection and communication have become the 21st Century equivalent of shouting and throwing things at the television…
Or a virtual needle allowing us to escape the pains of our shared world for some inner illusory landscape.
Holy Powers how I do hear and feel those words, Sannion.
They echo many of my own thoughts and feelings lately. I have been wrestling with some dark nights of the soul, doubting my place and my worth and whether all of my journey hasn’t been just a fools dance. It can be easy to give in to the tides of anger and self-absorption and fear and crash against us all like tidal waves in this overculture of ours. So many tides and so many people caught up in them, and thrashing about looking to tear others down and apart rather than work to create.
It is hard not to be eroded by them both, sometimes.
There are also the podcasts, and the blogs, and the sense of sharing and community that can arise. Through the blogosphere and the Podkin and, yes, even through Facebook…. I have been blessed to make friends and connections with likeminded souls. Some of them have wandered off to parts unknown or suffered a sea change into things rich and strange; others are still out there and here in my life sharing and listening and giving spiritual fellowship to one another.
I was priveledged recently to be invited into a private, members only, blog; a spiritual fellowship group of sorts of like minded souls who are all far flung friends of a particular blogger and FB citizen who decided to gather together some of her dearest friends for a place of Listening and Care and Community.
We are the ones who chose how the Internet can be used, how are we using it? How are you Using it? How can we use it in our communities of faith and inter-faith and choice?
Some choose to use it as a tool to spread a message of Spiritual Practice and Liberation. Some give freely of their own time to try to share their hard won wisdom and a love of using information technology and library science as an offering to their community. Some work hard to share News and information that may be of interest to their larger communities. Some, burning with inspiration, seek to weave the tapestry of community of folks of similar experience and interests. Some folks gather together to try to share the words of wisdom and inspiration that nourish our minds and souls. Some stand up and use the Internet as a tool of caring and social action. Some use their wit and hard won wisdom to dive into scholarship and writings in honor of their Gods.
Some of us simply try to share our own journeys, rant and rave occasionally, and provide potentially useful resources to others.
Whom would you spotlight in a list like that above? What sort of examples would you add?
What sort of example will you be?
Peace and Curiosity,
Then too there are the countless lists and e-groups out their languishing for constructive discussion because of the worst behaviors and fanaticism of some of us… and yet, there too we have the power to choose….
8 thoughts on “The Internet is a Magickal Tool…So why are so many people stabbing themselves, or others, with it?”
The problem with the Internet is that it makes it far too easy to forget that the people reading what you write are real, breathing, people too. Then when you add in the capability of total anonymity offered by some sites — allowing a person to not only forget the personhood of others, but to hide their own personhood and escape any sense of ownership for their words and deed — things get really ugly.
Like you, I prefer to focus on those people who are trying to build something. My list of sites includes a number of one’s you’ve mentioned, but I will add (and I will note that many of them are not Pagan) yourself for being insightful and thoughtful, Witchy Godmother for her incredible narrative style, Jerome for sharing his musings and questions with the world, Matt for modeling what a truly incredible and open person an evangelical Christian can be, and Marisa for demonstrating that there can be joys, triumpsh, and laughs even during difficult times.
That first paragraph alone makes me glad you are back in the blogosphere!
Thank you for the kind words,
Thanks too for the links to other interesting blogs!! I am as you may have gather something of a reader… and new blogs and sites are always a delight!
Thank you for this thoughtful post. I have had similar thoughts, usually when I indulge in my guilty pleasure of reading Failbook.com posts 🙂 People are so, so mean to each other and I just don’t understand why. I heard on NPR yesterday about how the Obamas have lent their voices to the anti-bullying campaign and it makes me wonder, where on earth do kids get the idea that it is OK to abuse another person for their own pleasure or ego-feeding? And then I turn on the TV. Oh, right, there.
Like you said, TV and the internet are just communication tools. They only transmit what we, in our human brains and hearts, create and send down the tubes. Yes, the anonymity of some parts of the internet, and the extra distance between people online, makes it easier to be our worst selves… but we are already those bad selves before the internet gets involved.
Thank you again for your post and the links. Very thoughtful and wise. Thank you 🙂
Thank you for your dropping me a not of thanks!
Failbook is fun, and People of Walmart is kind of a train wreck spectacle (you are appalled but can’t turn your eyes away…) , my favorite has to be cake wrecks…
Although I also take delight in things like NPR stories of hope and goodness, there are TED talks and interesting fun articles that make one think shared on Facebook or on blog posts…. I think also some of my philosophy is coming from my involvement in the Pagan Newswire Collective… if we can’t find the information/messages we need/want/desire in the media currently, then we need to start creating them… you know sort of like building a religion on the cycle of the season? 😉
Thanks so much for highlighting me on your list! (And can you tell I’ve been focusing other places the last few days?) I definitely think that the ‘Net is a tool that can be used in a variety of ways, and one of the things I focus on professionally is figuring out how to use these kinds of tools to create the experiences we want – it’s definitely an emerging conversation with no clear answers.
One thing I’ve been thinking about recently was a guest post on the Zen Habits blog from Tyler Tervooren. In there, he says: “Rather than create a whole new you, create the best you. Choose the traits you like about yourself, and exemplify them online. Let the less attractive qualities fall by the wayside. Place yourself in a digital environment that will allow you to flourish.” I think there’s a lot of meat in there, and I keep coming back to how that applies to my life.
You are most welcome! Thank you for the writing and work you do. And, believe me I understand about being busy online and elsewhere!!
Thank you for sharing that post, it really rocks my socks and resonates with my own thoughts on things lately.
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