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On Being with Krista Tippett is a public radio project delving into the human side of news stories + issues. Curated + edited by senior editor Trent Gilliss.

We publish guest contributions. We edit long; we scrapbook. We do big ideas + deep meaning. We answer questions.

We've even won a couple of Webbys + a Peabody Award.

Plugged In to the Outer Cape

by Jill Schneiderman, guest contributor

WellfleetSand dunes at Wellfleet. (photo: Joshua Bousel/Flickr, cc by-nc-sa 2.0)

“If you don’t teach your children to be alone, they’ll only always know how to be lonely.”
Sherry Turkle, from “Alive Enough? Reflections on Our Technology”

The founder of MIT’s Initiative on Technology and Self made this remark in the context of describing the awe she feels when she walks among the magnificent dunes near Provincetown, Massachusetts. I know well those sand dunes and the extensive tidal mudflats that mark the tip of the Cape.

Dr. Turkle thinks of these places as sacred spaces, and I agree. I take my earth science students there to witness the work of wind, water, and sand. And, for a week or two each summer, I go with my children so we can experience the flow of the tides. These are indeed remarkable places in the landscape ripe with possibilities for self-realization.

I take my geology students to the dunes and mudflats of the Outer Cape so that they can experience the vast time scales and spaces of earth system processes.

Settling on the CoastA satellite view of Cape Cod. (photo courtesy of NASA)

The Cape itself, as some readers may know, owes its existence to the great ice sheets that extended as far south as Long Island during the late Pleistocene more than 10,000 years ago. The mud of the tidal flats and the sand of the dunes are the glacial debris, reworked and sorted by the wind and water long after the ice sheet retreated north.

Other reminders of the presence of the massive ice cover in the region are cliffs above the dune fields — the edge of the glacial moraine (a pile of boulders pushed along as the ice pushed south) — and freshwater ponds of neighboring Truro and Wellfleet (“kettle holes” formed when stadium-sized chunks of ice broke off the glacier, became engulfed by glacial sediment, and then melted). All of these features stretch for miles and remind me and all my geologically time-traveling companions that 18,000 years ago — a seemingly long time — this portion of the Earth was covered by a one mile-thick sheet of ice.

Eyes of the EarthWellfleet Bay Audubon Sanctuary. (photo: Susan Cole Kelly/Flickr, cc by-nc-sa 2.0)

Encountering this landscape cultivates in me, and I hope in my students, what Jewish scholar Abraham Joshua Heschel called “radical amazement.” For me, this is a soothing feeling of awe and connection. Walking in the dunes or across these mudflats puts me in touch with deep time — for the particles that compose them may themselves be millions of years old, silt and sand moved there merely thousands of years before.

Although we walk among them today, the particles have been through many cycles of existence. Formerly they were part of a mountainous land mass; subsequently they were eroded, transported, and deposited at least once. Each grain has an individual history. Collectively they tell a story that encompasses swaths of time that hold all of humanity. I find this reality comforting.

Provincetown MA 068The sands of Provincetown’s dunes. (photo: Leonarda DaSilva/Flickr, cc by-nc-nd 2.0)

Dr. Turkle worries helpfully about the inner effects of digital objects. Though she acknowledges the benefits of digital connection, Dr. Turkle laments what people lose as they take to the dunes and mudflats with their earphones in and handheld electronic devices on and open. To her mind, people lose the ability to feel at peace in their own company. I agree, but also would like to suggest that by unplugging from the electronic world in such sacred spaces we increase our capacity to encounter entities larger than ourselves — vast time scales, and past and ongoing earth processes. Thus we enhance our ability to connect with the earth system of which we are a powerful part, and this experience lessens loneliness.


Jill S. Schneiderman is Professor of Earth Science at Vassar College. She’s also the editor of and contributor to For the Rock Record: Geologists on Intelligent Design and The Earth Around Us: Maintaining a Livable Planet. She blogs at Shambhala SunSpace and Earth Dharma.

We welcome your original reflections, essays, videos, or news items for possible publication on the Being Blog. Submit your entry through our First Person Outreach page.

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On Bin Laden Killing Tech Blogging

by Trent Gilliss, senior editor

MG Siegler, a blogger at TechCrunch, takes a whack at Mashable and tech blogging in general for their capitalistic opportunism of the Osama Bin Laden news now that advertising dollars are beginning to ramp up online.

Is there some type of competitive rivalry going on here? Perhaps. But his question of business ethics and gaming the news and search engines in order to make money with SEO land grabs is something that is surely not relegated to the tech world.

The national tragedy question aside, do savvy operators undercut their own business in the long run in order to make short-term business gains? What kind of ethical responsibilities, if any, do businesses and news outlets like Mashable have in making sure their results don’t crowd out the most relevant news for quick access? What does Google owe its customer’s when businesses flood the search market with results?

From parislemon:

The information in the image above is not surprising at all. But still pathetic.

Imagine that, you write 35 200-word posts featuring the words “Bin Laden” in the headline and they pull in traffic on the day it’s one of the most searched terms ever

Were any of those stories really about technology? A few, maybe. But none were given the actual attention that a story of such magnitude deserves. It was a pure traffic/SEO play.

Read More

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Listeners Respond to Sherry Turkle’s Insights on Technology and Living Fully

by Susan Leem, associate producer

(don't) Cry
"(don’t) Cry" (photo: Pedro Klien/Flickr, CC by 2.0)

The fresh ears of our listeners and their own experiences of our show with Sherry Turkle are helpful in absorbing parts of her message that might have slipped by the first time. Following are several we found enlightening and funny:

Rick Silveira of San Diego, California taught me a new phrase:

"As I listened to Turkle’s unedited comments I am reminded of the FOMO factor, the ‘fear of missing out,’ and how social media fills that gap for some."

I can see it being a major force to keep people involved in social media. But what else do you miss out on while trying to quell that fear? I also loved that he was listening to the unedited version of Krista’s interview when this phrase came to mind, trying not to miss a beat!

Our senior editor particularly likes this humor-filled, self-effacing response from Ken Hyatt, a retired chaplain in the U.S. Navy who now lives in Grantsburg, Wisconsin:

"Recently I’ve been catching myself sending emails to my wife while she’s sitting in the same room a mere arm’s length away at another computer. She has expressed valid complaints to this situation: "Just talk to me!” is her plea. This awareness has revealed my own hypocrisy when I rail at others who concentrate on sending text messages while ignoring the person with whom they’re conversing, or having lunch with. …

Finland, the land of my ancestors, has more computers, cell phones, and modern communications technology per capita than anywhere else on the planet. I have a growing conviction that it is the way we Finns deal with our fear of face-to-face communication, and by extension, a certain fear of intimacy. I have come a long way in that regard, but I have a considerable distance yet to go, as a 72-year-old who is still ‘on the way.’”

In another thoughtful reflection, librarian Marcia Jackson of Ashburn, Virginia describes her affluent neighborhood library where parents have continued for years to turn out for storytime in droves, as devoted parents do. But something is keeping them from really being there:

"I look out over the sea of faces and see adults texting, checking email, playing solitaire, etc… The other thing I see, which I find greatly ironic, is the obsession with taking photos of their kids with their smartphones. So, they can’t actually interact with the child yet they feel the need the record the moment and post the photo on their Facebook page or blog. The end result is that the kids are not the same… they aren’t getting the most out of their library experience and they’ve turned into little performers in front of the camera to get their parents’ attention.

As I sat down to clip coupons on Sunday (without any technology at hand incidentally), my own toddler rushed at me and begged me to stop because she knew I’d be out of commission for an hour. Sherry Turkle pushes us to think about what drives our relationship with technology, but, more importantly, reminds us of what we’re trying to protect and preserve — the ability to be more than just physically present, to be alive.

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What is the Path to Integrating Technology into Robust, Meaningful Living?

by Krista Tippett, host

Sherry TurkleWe’ve been paying attention to Sherry Turkle for some time, as a thinker and observer on technology in terms of the human self, spirit, and identity. I love the philosophically witty title of one of her books: Simulation and Its Discontents. She is a social scientist through and through, an immensely serious researcher into what she calls the “subjective” side of technology. For over three decades, she’s been analyzing the inner effects of the digital tools that are transforming our days — how they affect our attention and relationships, our sense of reality, and even of “aliveness.”

Earlier this year, she made waves with her book Alone Together. That title itself has become a catchword for the ironic capacity of communications technologies to alienate us from one another. Alone Together was reviewed in that vein as well — as a call to unplug our tablets and phones, our players and laptops. And yet, as I read Sherry Turkle and listen to her speak, I hear her saying something far more thought-provoking and indeed hopeful: that each of us can find practical and meaningful ways to shape technology to our purposes, towards honoring what we hold dear in life.

I once heard Sherry Turkle insist to an interviewer, with some exasperation: “I’m not saying, ‘unplug.’ I’m saying, ‘reflect.’ I’m saying, ‘converse.’” And here is the starting point for the conversation she would encourage all of us to have within ourselves, within our workplaces, and especially within our families: just because we’ve grown up with the Internet doesn’t mean the Internet is grown up. The reality check is that we are meeting the glorious communications technologies of this century in their infancy. It is up to us to mature them, to direct them to the best of human potential, and to develop wise habits for living deliberately and sustainably with them.

57527543SG009_family_policy
(photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Of all the perspectives she sheds on this challenge, none is more sobering than the fact that the adults she’s studied are at least as culpable as any teenagers in giving their lives over unthinkingly to digital gadgets. Far too often, she says, it is parents who are on their BlackBerries at the dinner table, parents responding to email and therefore failing to look up and meet their children’s eyes when they pick them up from school, parents failing to be present with and for their children in ordinary moments that make up the memories of a childhood — on playgrounds, on a nature walk.

Sherry Turkle puts arresting words around what is at stake. On a very deep level, for example, we can fail to teach our children the rewards of solitude — of being able to be at peace in our own company. This is an enduring human challenge. Yet the possibilities for missing it are perhaps more abundant and seductive in this generation. And, as Sherry Turkle reminds us, “If you don’t teach your children to be alone, they’ll only always know how to be lonely.”

How Letters Used to BeSince speaking with Sherry Turkle and taking in some of her strategies, I’ve been more deliberate (not yet perfect) at drawing lines with email between work and home. I’ve taken an idea she offers — of selectively declaring “sacred spaces” like the dinner table as off limits for technology. And while my children grumble, they too are embracing this. I’ve started regularly printing out emails that are substantive or special in some way and putting them in boxes like I did once upon a time far more naturally with letters or thoughts written in the first place on paper.

And as I talk about this in my circles of family and friends, I’m hearing about all kinds of strategies others are devising to make the technologies we love more humanly compatible and even nourishing. With this show, we’re hoping to spark a lively and useful exchange of such ideas among listeners. Tell us and other listeners if you’ve created strategies to lead an examined digital life — to shape it to honor what matters. Please join in!

About the images: top, portrait of Sherry Turkle (photo: Jean-Baptiste Labrune/Flickr); bottom, Is the age of the handwritten letter over? (photo by papertrix/Flickr)

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Our Robotic Moment: Turkle Says We Should Be Reframing the Questions about Technology and Our Humanity

by Susan Leem, associate producer

ASIMO the robot conducts
Humanoid robot ASIMO directs the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. (photo by: Honda, Ars Electronica/Flickr)

"The options are given in the description of the situation. We can call this the package problem. In the real world, situations are not bundled together with options. In the real world, the act of framing — the act of describing a situation, and thus of determining that there’s a decision to be made — is itself a moral task. It’s often the moral task. Learning how to recognize what is and isn’t an option is part of our ethical development…In life, the challenge is not so much to figure out how best to play the game; the challenge is to figure out what game you’re playing.”

In her latest book Alone Together, MIT professor Sherry Turkle cites this passage from Kwame Anthony Appiah's Experiment in Ethics to raise an important point about context and decision-making. She is concerned about the way we set up such important social questions, “quandaries” she calls them, such as: “Do you want seniors lonely and bored, or do you want them engaged with a robotic companion?” A “robotic companion,” in fact, may not be the only solution or even a viable one to “lonely and bored.”

She wants to make sure we’ve considered moral issues not only when setting up a quandary, but also when responding to it. And as Appiah suggests, how you frame and respond to a quandary is a moral issue that is part of a person’s moral development and obligation. Turkle takes on this task by questioning how we think about our relationship with technology.

In our show this week (title "Alive Enough?"), Sherry Turkle asks how we can shape technology to serve human purposes and not the other way around. During one poignant moment of the interview, she tells a story about how children and others have reframed one of the most fundamental questions of reality, about recognizing “aliveness” and having a new kind of pragmatism about how alive something needs to be for its purpose.

galapagos turtleShe’s concerned that some may no longer care if we are among life, that life has somehow become irrelevant to a generation.

"By the time of the Darwin exhibit in 2006 I think, my daughter saw a Galapagos turtle which had been brought up from the islands, this was the life that Darwin saw. And she looks at this turtle…and she looks at me and she says, because this turtle is sleeping, she says ‘for what this turtle is doing, they could have just had a robot.’ And it struck me that from her point of view, the fact that it was alive mattered not at all.”

The package problem around technology is that most people simply want to ask whether it’s good or bad for us, and not how it changes us. How it changes us can be as complex and as fundamental as how we recognize life’s worth.

About the image: (lower right) A giant Galápagos tortoise on display at the American Museum of Natural History’s Darwin exhibition. The diorama was labeled with a “Live!” sticker. (photo: Andrew D. Miller/Flickr)

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When Did My Luddite Parents Become Skypers and Texters?

by Nancy Rosenbaum, producer


(photo: Lars Ploughmann/Flickr)

A few weeks ago, my dad crafted his first-ever text message. He was with my sister, who was on the brink of becoming a mother. His text is classic Dad, a singular mixture of humor, complaint, and anxiety:

"Well we’re here in the hospital waiting for [your sister’s] turn. She’s very calm, which I am not. I don’t think I’ll be able to have lunch until it’s over, which is OK since the soup in the coffee shop doesn’t look too good anyhow. I think it’s kale and it doesn’t look very hot. We’ll keep you apprised about the soup situation and about the baby too. Love, Dad"

Since my baby niece’s entry into the world, I’ve received scores of digital pictures — more than were ever taken of me or my sister during our first week of life. I’ve been experiencing aunt-hood from a geographical distance. But with technology in the mix, I’ve been able to interact with my niece as a pixelated being in ways that weren’t possible when I was a kid.

Now my parents are eager to learn how to Skype! To my amazement, a digital revolution is unfolding in the suburbs of New Jersey as monumental life changes inspire my parents to use technology in new ways.

Has this kind of thing happened to you? What changed in your life that inspired — or forced — you to turn a corner with technology?

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I wish there was a website where non-profits could ask for what they need and people could work for them from home.
-

@ths1104, from The Internet Wishlist

An image of wooden prayer tablets in Japan made me think of this virtual suggestion box, of sorts, where people can petition their “prayers” for the future of technology. The quotation above was one of those submissions, which I liked because it suggests using technology to serve and connect.

The Internet Wishlist creates a space for people to share the holes and needs in their complex lives where apps and websites could do them some good. Start-ups and developers, pay attention to these missives! The pedestrian longings of today could lead to the technological advances of the future.

If you’ve got an idea to contribute, simply post your idea on Twitter and include the hash tag #theiwl.

by Susan Leem, associate producer

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A Twitterscript with Sherry Turkle, Founder of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self

by Susan Leem, associate producer

MIT Professor Sherry TurkleFor 20 years Sherry Turkle has asked unusual questions about the human side of technology. She wants to know how our relationship with devices affects our psychology, and why it is that “we no longer care if we are among life.” She’s referring to our love of gadgets, robots, and the way we obsess over email and smart phones, ultimately giving them highest priority in our social interactions.

Professor Turkle is the Abby Rockefeller Mauze Professor of the Social Studies of Science and the founder and director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self. Her latest book is Alone Together.

We live-tweeted highlights of this 90-minute conversation, which we’re aggregating and posting here for those who weren’t able to follow along. Check out our Twitter stream next time at @BeingTweets.

  1. "There’s a phenomenon where people feel their phone ringings when they’re not. It’s called the phantom ring." - @STurkle 1:09 PM 22 Feb
  2. "Just because we grew up with the internet we think that the internet is all grown up." @STurkle 1:13 PM 22 Feb
  3. "I get very discouraged that we don’t seem to have a taste for stopping and asking how can we make this work for us?"-@STurkle on technology 1:14 PM 22 Feb
  4. "What is intimacy without privacy, what is democracy without privacy?" - @STurkle, author of “Alone Together” - http://bit.ly/cJxjOQ 1:16 PM 22 Feb
  5. "If you don’t teach your children how to be alone, they’ll only always know how to be lonely."-saying in psychology via @STurkle 1:28 PM 22 Feb
  6. "You don’t want to be alone because you can’t think by yourself, you can’t feel by yourself." - @STurkle on growing up with texting, etc. 1:30 PM 22 Feb
  7. "It’s teenagers who say ‘My parents text at the dinner table.’" @STurkle on how children also want sacred spaces. 1:34 PM 22 Feb
  8. @STurkle on rules for adults to create sacred spaces in family- put down the phone at dinner, moment of school pickup and on the playground. 1:40 PM 22 Feb
  9. "The greatest gift you can give your child is to walk out of the house without your phone. Show your child what that looks like!" @STurkle 1:41 PM 22 Feb
  10. "We have to ask ourselves what is served by having an always on, always on you, open to anyone who wants to reach us, way of life."@STurkle 1:43 PM 22 Feb
  11. "I love uses of technology that are positive and hopeful and exciting." - Professor @STurkle author of “Alone Together.” 2:01 PM 22 Feb
  12. "In a human conversation I’m talking to another person who understands the arc of a human life cycle." -@STurkle  2:14 PM 22 Feb
  13. "I don’t need to be right, but I do need to feel as though people understand what I’m trying to communicate." -@STurkle on conversation. 2:16 PM 22 Feb
  14. "Whether or not we want robots caring for our elderly will be one of the most humanistic conversations we’re going to have." -@STurkle 2:17 PM 22 Feb
  15. "This is a corporation, it isn’t your mother, and I think people forget that." -@STurkle on Facebook 2:21 PM 22 Feb
  16. "There’s a whole kind of robotics that’s really going to change the way people see the world." -MIT professor @STurkle  2:23 PM 22 Feb

About the image: Sherry Turkle (photo: Peter Urban)

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A Necessary and Vital Moment for Jon Kabat-Zinn and Being Mindful in All of Our Senses

by Krista Tippett, host

» audio-only download (mp3, 51:09)

I’m listening with new ears this week to Jon Kabat-Zinn’s practical approach for calming ourselves, and also being a nourishing presence in the world. Before this interview, I had read and heard of Jon Kabat-Zinn for years. But I hadn’t really grasped that he is first a scientist — a molecular biologist — and second one of the world’s leading experts on meditation. And it was when I listened to talks he’d given at Google and MIT that I really wanted to have this conversation with him.

He is the real thing — a teacher — with a personal combination of erudition, warmth, wit, and wisdom.Jon Kabat-Zinn As we began to speak, he told me that the seeds were planted in his earliest life with his microbiologist father and painter mother to pursue the nature of the human condition in its fullest sense.

In more than three decades of work at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Jon Kabat-Zinn has contributed mightily to demystifying meditation — taking it out of a box that says it is only for Buddhists or special practitioners, then studying its effects clinically and bringing the fruits of his research into life-changing work with the ill and dying, with leaders, and with Olympic athletes. He has followed a conviction that began to grow in him after he began to meditate while a doctoral student at MIT in 1966: that if the deepest insights behind mindfulness meditation are true, they must be true for everyone, in every circumstance. That is, the facts of impermanence and imperfection as a commonplace part of life apply to us all; we all struggle to live gracefully with those realities, and we all create suffering for ourselves and those around us as we resist and deny them.

The real challenge that defines our humanity is this: how do we take on reality as it unfolds, navigate it, and truly stay awake and alive in this moment of life, whatever its contours. And here is the silver lining, if you will, of Buddhism’s frank insistence on suffering as a feature of life: a parallel insistence that equanimity and even joy are within our grasp in every moment, without anything at all needing to change. The stakes for getting this right are high. As Thoreau said, in one of Jon Kabat-Zinn’s favorite lines, “Only the day dawns to which we are awake.”

He also points out that our wondrous, seductive, addictive new generations of technologies — at once liberating and stress-inducing — are themselves changing us. And they will force us to re-examine the deepest meaning of what it means to be human. Part of this work, surely, will be in living into our understanding of that second level of knowing that we know — of sovereignty over our minds, of awareness that encompasses “thinking” but also transcends it and can galvanize it towards greater sanity, creativity, and healing.

Coming to Our Senses by Jon Kabat-ZinnThere is a paradox here that I love, and that I explore with delight with Jon Kabat-Zinn in this conversation. That second level of knowing — being mindful — is not about being in one’s head, just as meditation is not about sitting with one’s thoughts. It is first and foremost about rooting in the whole of experience. In the first instance, this means rooting ourselves in our own bodies, in all of our senses, in breath, in the mind itself as a “sense” and not just a cognitive realm. There are a couple of minutes in this hour in which we hear Jon Kabat-Zinn conduct an introductory meditative experience for employees at Google, which we also partake of by way of radio. This spiritual technology or way or living, however you want to name it, is immediately effective and at the same time an engagement for a lifetime. It is about “coming to our senses” in the fullest sense of that phrase.

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The Ceaseless Society
Shiraz Janjua, Associate Producer

I’m not going to lie. I’m really enjoying Jon Kabat-Zinn. His Google talk introduced me to some very simple techniques that I’ve been using lately to help me fall asleep faster. Bedtime is when my mind is freed from all restraints, unfortunately. That’s when the hamsters go nuts, and it usually takes me an hour to fall asleep, on average. But just breathing the way Jon Kabat-Zinn shows has helped me bring my ETA to sleep down to about 15 minutes. Joy.

He jokes about how, in the 1960s, while some Westerners were heading off to forest refuges in India to learn to meditate, counterintuitively, he discovered meditation at perhaps the most accomplished technical institute in the world, MIT. Here he is back at MIT in 2006 to talk about the increasingly hectic pace of life in the 21st century. (He gets on stage around the 18:00 minute mark.)

In his conversation with Krista, Jon Kabat-Zinn talks about one aspect of that hectic life: our 24/7 networked reality and the difficulty it poses. In some sense, I think this is going to be a generational thing, a matter of conditioning. But one worthwhile question he asks is, “Who are we going to be without the technology?” I’ve been thinking about this alongside my recent discovery of Ray Kurzweil and his thoughts on the future of human evolution, A.I., and digital networks. I’ll be set to retire around the time the singularity happens in 2045, and by that time, apparently, we might be living in some kind of Matrix society (i.e. lots of trench coats and sunglasses?).

Here I am blogging on the Web about how networked we all are and will continue to be. Well, fine, I can’t escape. The machines have me. OK, time to take a breath. I could choose to be paralyzed by the immensity of the big problems of civilization or the little ones in my life, or I could just…whew…relax a little bit, stop freaking out, and start each day fresh.

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A Culture of Availability to Everybody But Yourself?

by Trent Gilliss, online editor

Perhaps this TEDtalk gets at the heart of the matter. In the second half of our upcoming show with Jon Kabat-Zinn (first available in podcast on Thursday morning), he argues, to some degree, that the accelerated pace of technology and its significance in our lives doesn’t allow us to be mindful, to live in the present. All this communication and digital connectedness actually creates an inner dissonance — a disconnectedness with our own selves.

One memorable moment in Krista’s interview: Kabat-Zinn describes a person viewing a sunset. Instead of simply taking it in, he says, we either are thinking about how we might write about it (or perhaps tweet or blog it), or, that certain somebody standing next to you actually has to gab away and tell you how gorgeous it is — which completely removes you from the moment of recognition and contemplation. In other words, we have this compulsion to do something with the moment in order to make it meaningful. We are not being mindful.

In the video above, the presenter includes a couple images that capture something that Kabat-Zinn is getting at. In one photo, a girl is actually extending her arm with her camera while kissing her boyfriend. But, it looks awkward, inauthentic, dispassionate because you can tell her real interest is in telling the later story. Her body, her eyes, her lips are oriented more toward the iris of the lens than the irises of the boy. And, in another intimate setting of a public nature, a crowd of onlookers are almost all holding up their devices capturing the moment while the Obamas stand on stage in celebration.

I’m guilty of both, and then some. You?

Renny Gleeson wraps it up quite succinctly in his post-event blog post:

With all this connection comes the danger that in our mad rush to be everywhere, we end up nowhere. That the technology we use to connect, actually separates and isolates.

Kabat-Zinn isn’t necessarily gloomy about the technology onslaught though. He notes that the steep learning curve in learning how to deal with and incorporate this availability into our lives will be achieved. We, as individuals and as a society, just may have to bottom out first in order to create the balance within.

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Wired BenedictineTrent Gilliss, Online Editor
Each month I look forward to ripping off the plastic wrap of the latest issue of some of the smartest, wittiest, snarkiest writing in magazine format — that’s right, in the tech rag Wired. But, it isn’t the paid contributors that I turn to first. Oh no, the real sass and verve come from its readers — the ones who fire the opening salvo showcased in its Rants section.
And, who should be one of the headliners but Father Columba Stewart, whom Krista recently interviewed at home base of St. John’s University in upstate Minnesota. We tentatively have this upcoming program scheduled for broadcast some week after the glitterball drops. Father Columba’s letter to the editor, cleverly titled “Geek Orthodox,” gives you an idea of this man’s savviness and how dialed in he and his brothers at the Abbey are. They’re progressive agenda in preserving and digitizing ancient manuscripts (watch our video) from India, Ethiopia, and Georgia (not the state) for a centralized repository is exciting and, dare I say, sustainable. And it’s hard not to admire Columba Stewart’s humorous approach to all his pursuits, including reading pop culture periodicals:

In "When Tech Attacks!" (Start, issue 16.09), you say “Christian theologians denounced the printing press as the work of the devil.” Whoa! It wasn’t so simple. Remember, the monks of the Dark Ages preserved classical civilization by copying its texts, making possible the technological discoveries of later centuries. And monks welcomed the printing press. Gutenberg’s most famous project was a Latin Catholic Bible, and you can almost hear the relief in the cloister: “You mean we don’t have to write it out by hand anymore?” As a Benedictine monk working with the world’s largest archive of digital and microfilm images of old manuscripts, I have strong feelings about both the preservation of ancient culture and the benefits of modern technology. Whatever you might say about other neighborhoods in the Church, we Benedictines have always been in the technological vanguard.

(photo: Colleen Scheck)
Wired BenedictineTrent Gilliss, Online Editor
Each month I look forward to ripping off the plastic wrap of the latest issue of some of the smartest, wittiest, snarkiest writing in magazine format — that’s right, in the tech rag Wired. But, it isn’t the paid contributors that I turn to first. Oh no, the real sass and verve come from its readers — the ones who fire the opening salvo showcased in its Rants section.
And, who should be one of the headliners but Father Columba Stewart, whom Krista recently interviewed at home base of St. John’s University in upstate Minnesota. We tentatively have this upcoming program scheduled for broadcast some week after the glitterball drops. Father Columba’s letter to the editor, cleverly titled “Geek Orthodox,” gives you an idea of this man’s savviness and how dialed in he and his brothers at the Abbey are. They’re progressive agenda in preserving and digitizing ancient manuscripts (watch our video) from India, Ethiopia, and Georgia (not the state) for a centralized repository is exciting and, dare I say, sustainable. And it’s hard not to admire Columba Stewart’s humorous approach to all his pursuits, including reading pop culture periodicals:

In "When Tech Attacks!" (Start, issue 16.09), you say “Christian theologians denounced the printing press as the work of the devil.” Whoa! It wasn’t so simple. Remember, the monks of the Dark Ages preserved classical civilization by copying its texts, making possible the technological discoveries of later centuries. And monks welcomed the printing press. Gutenberg’s most famous project was a Latin Catholic Bible, and you can almost hear the relief in the cloister: “You mean we don’t have to write it out by hand anymore?” As a Benedictine monk working with the world’s largest archive of digital and microfilm images of old manuscripts, I have strong feelings about both the preservation of ancient culture and the benefits of modern technology. Whatever you might say about other neighborhoods in the Church, we Benedictines have always been in the technological vanguard.

(photo: Colleen Scheck)

Wired Benedictine
Trent Gilliss, Online Editor

Each month I look forward to ripping off the plastic wrap of the latest issue of some of the smartest, wittiest, snarkiest writing in magazine format — that’s right, in the tech rag Wired. But, it isn’t the paid contributors that I turn to first. Oh no, the real sass and verve come from its readers — the ones who fire the opening salvo showcased in its Rants section.

And, who should be one of the headliners but Father Columba Stewart, whom Krista recently interviewed at home base of St. John’s University in upstate Minnesota. We tentatively have this upcoming program scheduled for broadcast some week after the glitterball drops. Father Columba’s letter to the editor, cleverly titled “Geek Orthodox,” gives you an idea of this man’s savviness and how dialed in he and his brothers at the Abbey are. They’re progressive agenda in preserving and digitizing ancient manuscripts (watch our video) from India, Ethiopia, and Georgia (not the state) for a centralized repository is exciting and, dare I say, sustainable. And it’s hard not to admire Columba Stewart’s humorous approach to all his pursuits, including reading pop culture periodicals:

In "When Tech Attacks!" (Start, issue 16.09), you say “Christian theologians denounced the printing press as the work of the devil.” Whoa! It wasn’t so simple. Remember, the monks of the Dark Ages preserved classical civilization by copying its texts, making possible the technological discoveries of later centuries. And monks welcomed the printing press. Gutenberg’s most famous project was a Latin Catholic Bible, and you can almost hear the relief in the cloister: “You mean we don’t have to write it out by hand anymore?” As a Benedictine monk working with the world’s largest archive of digital and microfilm images of old manuscripts, I have strong feelings about both the preservation of ancient culture and the benefits of modern technology. Whatever you might say about other neighborhoods in the Church, we Benedictines have always been in the technological vanguard.

(photo: Colleen Scheck)

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