So, the title is a tongue twister, for those who are into such things, people weird like me.
We’ve all now extended ourselves via the virtual world of the Internet, it isn’t science fiction, it’s just our daily reality, a reality that is both virtual and real…and often times, our lives lie somewhere in between.
Here’s the leading idea: Technology is an extension of the self.
It ain’t all bad, I’m not saying that, not really. Speaking for myself, my brain remembers more shit, due to the fact that I have the Google Note app on my smartphone. I have access to a wider variety of news and current events info., because I can browse through the vast infinite space of information and ideas, aka the world wide web. I can retain and recall more of that information because I use the Evernote app to save web pages and notes as well as my own thoughts and writings. And I correspond quicker — instantly sending messages around the world! — and I correspond more often, via email and text and Instant Messaging and, yes, Facebook.
These are a few ways in which my life is virtual, ways in which my self is extended out past the “realness” of the real world. It’s weird, though, even though for most of us it feels normal. It’s weird because we weren’t really meant for this. That is, we didn’t really evolve to have our self extended in this way. Our cognitive equipment wasn’t necessarily meant to be so spread out.
Take me. Right now.
I go online, and I’m instantly between like eight things that I need to do, like right now, tasks that are buzzing in my head like bees. As soon as I get online to take care of one little things, like Facebook, then there’s a half dozen blog posts that I’ve been meaning to write, or there’s a bunch of writing notes that I’ve been meaning to transfer, from one app (Google Note) into another (Evernote), and there’s that email that I’ve been meaning to send to Tamie, and then someone’s face pops up in a little circle on Messenger, and between taking care of all that, I’m chatting —– and suddenly my mind feels swarmed, swarmed by these little techno-bees, busy little bees all busy buzzing around, pulling my attention in all these different directions.
Technology, dude. It does strange and unnatural things to us. We evolved to focus on one thing at a time, to be deeply attentive and mindful, one thing at a tie. This is why meditating and slowing down (or even just going on a walk) feels so relaxing. We aren’t pulled in so many directions by the buzzing bees.
I guess I’ve nothing in particular against technology, per se, maybe I should, but I’ve never really been one to rage against the machines, at least not really all that much. Even so, sometimes I feel thinned out, on the inside. These virtual realities really are an extension of the self, and when I go online I often a bit hollowed out inside, stretched, feeling how my self pulled in so many different directions.