Modern communication technology has revolutionized our world, creating a free exchange of information that has impacted politics, business, and media. No more do large media control the flow of information. People now do so through blogging and sharing information directly with one another on social networks like Facebook and Twitter.
For most of us there is little question whether we will use the technologies of our age that allow this information exchange to happen. We will own cell phones, read blogs, use email, and engage on social networks. We see the benefit of these technologies, and increasingly live what we may call "2.0 lives."
However, while there is little question if we will live a 2.0 life, possibly the more important question is, "What kind of 2.0 life will we live?" Will we live at the mercy of our gadgets, caught in information overload and addiction, living what we may call Stress 2.0 and Distraction 2.0, or will we engage creatively and effectively with the technologies of our age and live what we may call Wisdom 2.0?
What are the differences between the two? Here is my take:
1) When chatting with someone in person, you always answer your cell when it rings. After all, it's your cell phone. You cannot let it down.
2) Your first act in waking up and last act before going to bed is checking your messages, while paying less attention to real life partners and friends.
3) You often eat meals and check messages at the same time, unable to focus on one thing very long.
4) Whenever you have not checked your messages for some time, you feel lonely and isolated.
5) You find it hard to speak to someone on the phone and not do something else at the same time. No one ever gets your complete undivided attention.
1) You see the technologies of our age as tools to be used either creatively or destructively.
2) You communicate through technology, but also appreciate direct human contact.
3) When getting an email or phone call while spending time with someone, you can let it go and respond later.
4) You see the potential of technology to improve your and other people's lives, when it is used effectively.
5) When outdoors, you can enjoy the sky, the breeze, or the site of a bird resting on a tree branch, as much as you can the messages coming in via your phone.
For most of us there is no way in hell we are going to renounce all the great technologies of our age. At the same time, there is no way in hell we can let them control our lives. In meditation circles, they often say, "The mind is a wonderful slave, but a terrible master." We could say the same for just about anything, including our cell phone. It can be wonderful when we engage with it wisely, and terrible when we let it control us.
Now that we live 2.0 lives, it may be time to ask, "What kind of 2.0 life will we live?" The beauty of our age is that never before have there been so many incredible technologies that can be used to create a more just and transparent world, giving more people a voice and allowing the free sharing of information. The challenge of our time is that it never before has it been as easy to live distracted and overwhelmed, to forget the importance of the inner technologies of our mind, body, and heart.
Feel free to share below: What do you think is the difference between living Distraction 2.0 and Wisdom 2.0? Which one do you think is gaining the most momentum in our society?
Soren Gordhamer is organizing the Wisdom 2.0 Conference, which brings staff from technology companies such as Twitter and Google, with Zen teachers, neuroscientists, and others to explore this living with deeper mindfulness and wisdom in the modern age. More info at: http://www.wisdom2conference.com/