Your Placebo for Reality
In recent years we’ve witnessed a drastic departure from what we used to consider a true-to-life experience. More and more, we see people accepting the substitution of the adventure of actual physical activity with a “virtual reality” provided by computer technology, especially by the internet and its many derivatives.
While video games and 3D goggles can provide an astounding rendition of computer-generated activity, given the current technology, the body beholding a 3D escapade remains greatly motionless. And the intent of – the underlying feeling of – the living force that creates the real-life experience is missing altogether.
The social media sphere offers even less input: the sensation of an elevated heart rate from actually moving, seeing, doing, being, have been collectively reduced to a mere tweeting (or at most, a video posting) on the internet. People meet each other and carry out relationships by email or web-based chat rooms. Likewise, I’ve been witness to years-long relationships called off by a single cell phone text message.
How can these activities serve as a placebo (and poor at that) for the fully interactive reality with which we’ve been blessed already?
A Life of Hi-Tech Distractions
Technology presents itself as a significant distraction in people’s lives also. As I’ve ambled along a sidewalk, sat in a café, or driven a car, on occasion I’ve been startled by someone laughing out loud – apparently at nothing. Invariably they sit in the car next to mine, or sit at the bus stop, or walk on the sidewalk next to me with their head bowed down, eyes directed to that small screen on their smartphone. They laugh aloud either because they are truly mad, or because of a silent conversation they’re having with someone by text, email, Skype, or via a live Twitter stream. On occasion these folks make easy targets for muggers, or get run over by a car while crossing a busy street while distracted by a cell phone app.
Living such a life, with one’s consciousness somehow barely, loosely, attached to one’s body while not in attendance to the moment – is this a life worth living? Apparently so, and these people are willing to pay good money for the gadgets that distract them so.
From the extremes of getting one’s hands and feet dirty, to running a mountain ridge, to the gentleness of watching a butterfly dance from flower to flower – this is the life for which the human body is wired. Tactile, sensory, in attendance – actually here – swimming within the form-fllled yet uncannily amorphous intent of the Creator that made all this possible – this is the living life.
Banished from this are those who relegate themselves to a life of a couch potato. Yet for those people still able to do things, they are an ever-sparse rarity. You’ll find them canoeing across a lake, jogging down a street, making love with their mind fully intent on their partner, or lost in some other act of utter creation – these are the folk in attendance. Aware, awake – alive are they.
Life Lived for Twitter
For those attempting a mere semblance of doing, they fall short of living through lack of awareness. As they partake in activity, they are present in body only. Their mind has departed already, wondering how they will relate the experience (to which they should be paying attention right now) in that tiny Twitter text box later on. When they finally Twit, text, or IM their message later, a pop-up ad window distracts them from finishing their 200-character train of thought, and thus causes them not to finish their message anyway.
Not here in the present, yet never reaching a vague notion of future that will never arrive, how can today’s technology consumer call such a condition “living?”
What we see here is placebo: a surrogate reality born of technological convenience and a growing fear of the notion of actually taking risks – going out into the world to see what it has to show, and sometimes stretching out one’s neck at the risk of it getting chopped.
The adventure of life? What’s that?
“Adventure” Defined Through the Ages
In its earliest form derived from the Latin, the word “adventure” means “to arrive.” By extension it is also related to the old French word “venue” – to see, as in to see what unknown things will happen later. In the simpler form of the word “venture,” we see the word originally means to “to risk loss.”
So there it is. This idea of adventure, the experience of life in its former mold, involved risk.
Welcome to a reality of risk, of paying attention, a world of response-ability.
Get out there and run with it. Otherwise, it will be exactly as web writer Female Warrior states here:
“As the earth becomes more and more overpopulated and the realm of experiential knowledge continues to diminish, if we don’t dance along the lines of awareness we don’t have to worry about robotic artificial intelligence being built, we are doomed to become it.”