Technology’s ace when it works.
I lost my mobile phone and broadband over Christmas. Most of my friends were away on holiday, and it was surprising how cut off I felt. Julie next door empathised. Thing is, I’m so used to diving into cyberspace to see what’s going on in the world, that it suddenly felt like my little satellite was adrift in vast empty space.
I’ve not spent 40 years on this planet yet, but things have changed so much in my life. Mobile phones, CDs, DVDs, MP3s and the internet have all exploded into life.
Not that the old days were particularly good – Google would’ve been brilliant then – just that I’m not sure that the quality of life has improved.
As Geshe Kelsang says, “In recent years our knowledge of modern technology has increased considerably, and as a result we have witnessed remarkable material progress; but there has not been a corresponding increase in human happiness.”
Check out Louis CK’s comedic rant Everything’s Amazing & Nobody’s Happy for some good examples.
So would “walking around with a
donkey with pots clanging on the sides“
like Louis says make you happy? Probably not. I’d definitely be like our Indian friend here, and want my mobile close by.
I was relieved when technical support were back after Christmas so I could call them from my newly fixed phone and get back on-line.
the Attraction of a Distracted Mind
Does top level communication really make people happier? Or is it just that we’re used to it now. I didn’t really suffer that much without my gadgets for awhile. Though I was relieved to get them working again, and soon let myself get sucked back in.
What they’re offering is most attractive - distraction from an uncomfortable mind. But it’s not a lasting , nor reliable solution to our discomfort. Basically, we can only really be happy if we’ve got a peaceful mind. A disturbed, or agitated mental state is not a happy one.
We do tend to waste our time looking for happiness in all the wrong places; when all we really need to do is stop where we are. In fact, “happiness and suffering are states of mind, and so their main causes are not to be found outside the mind. If we want to be truly happy and free from suffering, we must transform our mind” Geshe Kelsang.
How To Solve our Human Problems, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso
(thanks to Kelsang Oden and Losang Tenpa for remote help with images, and to that mime artist in York.
Photo credit: Jas)