“Strange is our situation here on Earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to divine a purpose. From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: that we’re here for the sake of others, above all for those upon whose smiles and well-being our own happiness depends; and also for those countless unknown souls with whose fate we are connected by bonds of sympathy.” Albert Einstein

But it doesn’t take an Einstein to recognize the importance of social bonds. This theme came up repeatedly in yesterday’s classes. Two reports touched independently on the concern that our vaunted technological “progress” is actually causing us to regress socially, ethically, and humanly. Others worried that the pursuit of happiness is being undermined by the way we live now, with our growing  reliance on those ubiquitous online “social networks” that may really be socially isolating. We navigate cyberspace with ease, but biospace is a mounting challenge.

Drifting apart, fixating on our own “status” (on Facebook and in the coldly-judging eyes of unsympathetic others) and perpetually polishing our superficial public personae, we may begin to lose the vital sense of common connection. We may forget that we’re all in the same boat (Bucky Fuller’s Spaceship Earth), breathing the same air, sharing the same fate. None of us will be “left behind,” if ever a Rapture (or its ecological equivalent) comes… or, what comes to the same thing, we all will be.

Computers and technology in general are tools. If they’re not helping us create ties that bind, we should replace them. And we should heed Mr. Einstein, and Chris Stevens (“studying philosophy has given him a generally calm demeanor”).  They knew something about real happiness in Cicely, AK. (This was pre-Sarah, though.)

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One Response to “others”

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