25 years ago, and for about 10 years after that, the Web was a REALLY exciting place. Electric, vivacious, energetic, full of hope and possibility. It still is, but it has been “contaminated” with what contaminates nearly everything that becomes ubiqutous: the kind of “anomie” that seems to come with mass-anything. Social Media has been both a blessing and a curse. In the early days, 20-25 years ago, there were more people showing up on my virtual doorstep and striking up conversation, and that was BEFORE there were Web-based forums. They emailed me, and I emailed back. Today we have comments, and Likes, and Follows, and Favorites, but people can simply click one of those and let that be the extent of it. I am not complaining about those as Likes and such go, for they serve as an indicator that people are reading and hints as to who might be enjoying what I have to say.
But the anticipation I had for what the Web would become, a true valuable extension to face to face life, and the opportunity to build an extra layer of contact and friendship and , ultimately, communion, has been pushed “off the table” (or better, “further from reach”) by the crass, impersonal, depth-decaying touch of commercial glitz and “hit/click-counting”, Friendsâ€”in the inauthentic senseâ€” and Followers)
I sense it as pain on days when I long for deeper conversation, and reflect on what has been lost (perhaps not “unrecoverably” so; I hope not). In a way, this is what has happened to our world in regard to the Earth and the marvelous ecosystem that it is, and on which we depend so profoundly. We have become so enamored with the ideology and “benefits” of “unending growth” and therefore (we reason) , unending possibilities, that we fail to see how we contaminate and despoil something that is GOOD, in the act of taking it for ourselves and “acquiring it” rather than APPRECIATING it and being CONNECTED to it.
We in the church have allowed this malady of the spirit into our theology, where it contaminates and distorts that “Original Blessing” that is our deep-rooted, basic, connection and inter-dependent , co-creature relatedness to the world. Matthew Fox is who called it “Orginal Blessing”, and he was very aware of the danger that consciousness faced in a rapidly “Westernized”, mechanistic, “utilitarian” approach/consciousness that enables a separation via greed/individualism to build up ideological systems which construct false theologies of vapid or no meaning, which deifies the accompanying notion of “progress”, and to which they devote much energy to defending these systems which encourage “quick and ‘easy’ accumulation and ‘improvement'”.
The things we are now finding out about via Climate Science is telling us in a myriad of ways that this is a massively destructive ideology. But people deny it with all the rationalization they can muster. “Think Tanks” are supported by the biggest benefactors of these “Towers of Babel” that construct this “Common Language” (so they say) that “says” to us that since we CAN, we SHOULD. Many of us have , at some point, perhaps for most of our lives, been caught up in this. IN fact, never even realized that we were “caught up” in anything. It was just the way we were trained to see the world. As much of the fabric of this ecosystem is showing disturbing signs of imbalance and unraveling, it is inevitably giving us a wake-up call. And now I have come full circle in this reflection. I am feeling that sense of isolation at a personal/psychic level, and recognizing the ways in which the ecosystem itself is reeling under the same forces of the rush to acquire the trappings of comfort and security.
This all feels very “circular”. And , of course, it is. Fossil Fuel Economy and it’s accompanying ecological costs are making it clear(er).