I know I am a bit of a dinosaur when it comes to this 'social networking' business. I don't 'twit', I barely look at my 'facebook', and I just got a 'smartphone'.
But I have to admit that the 'sell' line for this website; "Confirms a person's existence" really punched up my ongoing feelings about our obsession with 'connecting' and 'contacting' these days via the internet; It is kind of pathetic. I keep thinking of the saying: "If a tree falls in the woods, and no one is there to hear it, did it really fall?"
A website that 'Confirms a person's existence.' Hmmm. Are we just going through a mass existential crisis? Has "I think, therefore I am" been replaced by 'I am seen on YouTube, I am twittered, I am facebooked, therefore I am?"!
Now I know they are really plugging some GPS feature where you are matched instantly with a product or price you want to pay for such product, but that line really punched to the absurdity of it all.
Now okay, to be fair, who doesn't want to be 'popular'? To know that they have 'friends'. We never do get out of high school, do we? Emotionally, anyway.
We don't do very well in a vacuum. We have done poorly in teaching our children how to exist without any outside stimulation. They don't have a clue how to be bored. One analyst once said to me: "If we are never bored, then we will never know ourselves."
How true. If we can never sit still long enough or be alone without connecting, or focusing our energies outward, then we will never land in our bodies and minds long enough to sort through any physical or emotional sensations.
'Shifting gears", is what I call the ability to go from focusing outward, (computer, talking, watching t.v., ) to sitting and doing nothing. Sometimes that shift, as you go from the 5th gear of daily activities to the 2nd gear, and ultimately 'neutral' that is necessary for sleep, is experienced as agitation, or emptiness. Alot of people use food to deal with this, a cocktail of course is completely appreciated here. But without that ability to 'land' in neutral, and sit with oneself, alot is lost. Creativity, a sense of self, a seat, or anchor to one's gut, and the ability to decode information and sort through one's emotions, rational thinking, and physical impulses, is poorly developed.
Think about this the next time you, or your kid, starts to whine: "I'm bored." Seize it as a moment to shift through the slight agitation and discomfort and see where it lands you. Approach it in a matter of fact way with your child. Resist the idea that it is your job to 'entertain' or stimulate them all the time. Keep them connected to their inner resources.
Then take a trip sitting around being bored, inside yourself. Yes, in fact, you do exist without the outside world telling you so. Don't 'twitter' your time away. Savor your empty spaces and boredom. You will find something infinitely more interesting. Yourself.
Follow Donna Fish on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Donna Fish