Mind games

“We all realize, now that the Internet is humming all around us, that in one way it’s a blessing and it helps us, and that in another way it enslaves us. To give you an example, I recently became aware that I was in a dream, and I realized that by the fact that the transition from one dream scene to the other looked exactly like the way I click from one website to another. So, working with all these computers and new technologies does something to the brain itself.”

Thomas Metzinger

How true it is that technologies shape our stance towards the world, even in our dreams! Tivo, for instance, has infected my brain, making me think momentarily that I can pause and rewind other events, like radio, like conversations. Maybe this could explain why kids nowadays (am I sounding like Andy Rooney yet?) always blurt out the word “Wait!” when what they really mean is “Could you say that again, please? I wasn’t really listening the first time. I was multitasking.”

“To a man with a hammer everything looks like a nail,” wrote Mark Twain. We are shaped by the tools we use. Edgar Lee Masters put it this way in Spoon River Anthology:

Griffy the Cooper

The cooper should know about tubs.
But I learned about life as well,
And you who loiter around these graves
Think you know life.
You think your eye sweeps about a wide horizon, perhaps,
In truth you are only looking around the interior of your tub.
You cannot lift yourself to its rim
And see the outer world of things,
And at the same time see yourself.
You are submerged in the tub of yourself–
Taboos and rules and appearances,
Are the staves of your tub.
Break them and dispel the witchcraft
Of thinking your tub is life
And that you know life.


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