Monday, September 21, 2009

Be present

Buddhists use the word 'mindful' a lot. I may devote my next blog entirely to the concept but for now I just want to share just one example and end with a related post that I placed on Facebook. Buddhists advise us to be mindful of the present moment. We should try to enjoy the experience of whatever we're doing at the moment. For example, rather than stuffing crap in our mouths while driving and talking on the cell phone would be the complete opposite of that idea. Next time you eat, try just having that experience and worry about nothing else. It's tougher than it sounds and I suck at it as much or more than anyone else. Be present:

My interest in this subject probably started at one of the last few concerts I went to and realized I was one of the only attendees in the front row that was actually experiencing the show rather than taking pic with the digital and tweeting. More recently, I was doing something as natural as hanging out on a porch with some folks but I was the only one there because the rest were completely "plugged in" to Iphones, laptops and whatever. Not doing work. Not even talking to someone live. Just somewhere else.

Actress Radha Mitchell, Bruce Willis' co-star in the new movie Surrogates, explains what I feel is a rare, relevant theme, the kind that good sci-fi movies should be based on. This is from an interview on

SHH: You mention social commentary; there seems to be a message in "Surrogates" about technology taking over and the inherent risks. Can you talk a little about how you feel the film relates to technology in the world today?

Mitchell: Definitely. I think the strength of this story is that it exaggerates a situation that we're all experiencing now in that we're talking about abstract forms of communication. You use this Surrogate body to live your life for you. A lot of us are spending much more time than we ever did before, especially on our working sites, on the internet, Googling, texting, Twittering. It's taking up a lot of our time and taking time away from actual human exchanges. Or, a lot of us are sort of playing these roles in society and not necessarily being what we are. I think that it is, on a certain level, dehumanizing us. The movie posits the question and then challenges us to take responsibility. It's actually unexpectedly challenging for a big-budget action movie."

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