I wanted to write a post to explore 'what would be lost if everything is connected?' but time.
Still I wanted to share a couple of resources that I feel speak to this question. One is 'The Circle' and the idea of Ultimate Transparency in the novel. For some of us, the future the novel portrays is here right now...those so busy counting clicks and hyperlinking to the popular 'kids' so that they link back or retweet them.
From a review of The Circle:
"It is here inside the Circle that Eggers’ critique of "ultimate transparency" has most force. For Rousseau, the "empire of opinion" was a realm of constant comparison and dependence on the opinion of others for one's ability to love oneself. This is Mae's fate, as she comes to measure her worth through her PartiRank. In being exposed to so many people all the time Mae is effectively alone, unable reflect on her situation in relative seclusion. The only time she can talk frankly with her friend Annie is in the bathroom. The conversations outside the bathroom have a generic quality, as insincere as a telemarketer's script. The enforced publicity thus brings out insincerity and conformity."
"Her penance, which she enthusiastically embraces, is to become "totally transparent", wearing a camera from morning till night (with bathroom breaks, of course). Her live feed is followed by millions"
What is lost? Our non-performative life. I have no plan to guide myself or my students to 'everything being connected'.
What is lost? We are seeing 'The end of absence' as Michael Harris wisely tells us.
From a review of his book:
Michael Harris argues that amid all the changes we're experiencing, the most interesting is the one that future generations will find hardest to grasp. That is the end of absence-the loss of lack. The daydreaming silences in our lives are filled; the burning solitudes are extinguished. There's no true "free time" when you carry a smartphone. Today's rarest commodity is the chance to be alone with your own thoughts.
I have no plans to lead myself or my students to the loss of absence either. I teach relational meditation and online insight dialogue, part of that is about sitting with absence and intentional connection and disconnection with awareness. My wish for my students is that they feel free to connect or disconnect depending on their desired outcomes, not on the 'empire of opinion' Rousseau foresaw which is frighteningly illustrated in The Circle.
I hope these ideas inform the conversation.