“Dominated.” This is the word a student uses to describe the relationship he has to his screen devices.
Even though we are on Zoom, and everyone is muted, I can feel the silent heaviness that comes over the “room.” We are all stunned into silence as the enormity of this one word settles over all of us. It’s all so powerful. All so sobering. And all so very, very devastating.
Where do we go from here? How do I even begin to help these students untangle from what we have gotten ourselves into?
No matter how many times I gather with others around the impact the technologies are having in our lives, I am always taken aback. One way or another. I am always left knowing that the technologies are beyond us. That despite the fact that we are not even close to having a handle on what we currently have, we continue to create more and more of something that is taking us farther and farther away from ourselves. And each other.
Farther and farther away from what it is to be human.
At this point, we all know it. Whether we cop to it or not, we all know it. We know that our use ruins a good night’s sleep. We know that we do it to the detriment of really living. We know that it is destroying our mental and physical health. We know that it is eroding our capacity to be in relationship in satisfying ways.
And we know that it is destroying the health and well-being of generations to come.
If all of this is not the makings of a world-wide addiction, I do not know what is. But because “everyone else is doing it,” it feels normal. We are literally living out now every dystopian sci-fi story ever told. Every prescient warning we ever got from those before us. And did not heed.
Enter the “Metaverse,” Mark Zuckerberg’s latest brain child. According to him, we will do everything via a virtual environment. Everything. And it’s going to be so great! So advanced. And he is so enthusiastic in the telling that it’s got to be great, right?
Now is our chance, my friends. As with everything that is happening in the world, now is the moment. Does it make sense to you to travel even further from yourself than you already have? Does it make sense to allow something non-human to further dominate you?
This is not someone else’s to do, and it is time we all got over “what everyone else is doing.” Time we all got over abdicating responsibility to those making money off of us.