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Monday, July 17, 2017
DIGITAL DHARMA TEN YEARS LATER
Its been ten years since my book, Digital Dharma, was released by the Theosophical Publishing House (Quest Books). I’ve decided to look over some of my “predictions” a decade later, and in general, I think I did pretty well! Yes, Second Life and Friendster didn’t make it as online communities, but Facebook has over 1.9 billion monthly users. I called Twitter messages “twits,” but truly predicted the rise of SMS text-based services, and while I labeled the emergence of shared global intelligence networks “the grid,” we are all becoming dependent on our “smart devices” communicating via “the Cloud!”
In retrospect, using the chakras as the organizing ladder was probably a mistake in terms of marketing: my media-ecology and technology readers were frightened away by the esoteric references to “energy wheels,” while my New Age friends often told me that they “hate their computers and smartphones,” and have no interest in seeing them as tools for self-reflection. It might have been safer to rely more on Don Beck’s “Spiral Dynamics” and Ken Wilber’s holons, but in the end, the real leap I asked my readers to entertain was that our “outer technologies” both reflect and influence our inner psycho-spiritual challenges, and are in turn, created and used in ways that also reflect the state if our mass consciousness. As our world gets even more connected, having a “big picture view” of the emerging spiritual issues – the Light and Shadow of each technology – is even more critical to our mental health and the survival of the planet.
In the next few weeks, I will try to update each of the book’s seven chapters. I will also try to respond to any blog questions readers may have about the intersection of telecommunications technologies and spiritual evolution. As a start, here is a look at how the global telegraph, with its “first level” issues of security and self-identity, has reemerged in our constant “texting” and Twitter feeds, and a President who can’t keep his thumbs off the phone screen!