-Matthew Fox, Original Blessing
A few years later, as a young teacher, I remember the first Apple 2E computers arriving at school. The whole faculty had to take training classes, and it was a big learning curve from typewriters to a computer keyboard. Then, came email. We were completely sold a bill of goods on how email was going to “save time in our day” and “make work easier” since you wouldn’t have to run down the hall to find your colleagues, you could just send them an email!
The dark side of the internet in recent years has threatened to overwhelm the positive. The Dark Web, Russian trolls, hate groups, fake news, all of these things unsteady us and alter our understanding of truth. We find ourselves polarized, angry, with no reason to come together. I have to take frequent Facebook breaks in order to be able to go back on and deal with my professional pages.
It’s been a relief in the last few weeks to see the positive side of the internet reemerging. As we begin to pull together as a country and the world, suddenly the internet is becoming that lifeline we need to keep us out of total isolation. We’re waking up again to the good it can do. In the last week I have watched some of the best concerts, performances, and “sing-a-longs” I’ve ever attended. The generosity of donations to artists, restaurant owners and those in need is overwhelming. The amount of hearts floating by on that Facebook screen have never been bigger. Community groups have ceased most of their snarking and are working together. I am teaching over Zoom and having coffee with friends over Zoom and singing (more or less) over Zoom. It’s not the same as being in the room with people you love, but it’s contact. Face-to-face contact, if not physical contact.
During this time of crisis, I am grateful for the socialization the internet provides. I hope you’ll join me in “accentuating the positive” for a little while and restoring balance to this important aspect of our lives. We have a choice to change our relationship to the internet and ultimately to each other – what will you choose?
Choose your Response – Every time we experience a negative stimulus (from the internet, from our family members) we automatically have a reaction. This could be our body physically startling, or the flight or fight reaction that causes our hearts to race and feelings of fear and anger to arise. An unconscious physical reaction, however, is not a response. How we choose to respond in those situations is entirely up to us.
Next time you read an inflammatory post on the internet, pause. Now pay attention – how do you feel? What’s that like? What would your habitual response be right now to reading something like this? Wait a moment and see the choices of how to respond arise in your mind.
Looking over those potential responses, which one feels good right now? Which one might move the conversation and the world positively forward? How will you choose to respond today?