Division of the Divine

I always believed that I am an essentially soulful creature, a person that lives to observe and act within a world of wonder. But lately I’ve been thinking about the untold effects of technology on the soul, the way that the divine in all of us is formally extracted, divied up, sliced apart and thrown to the dogs.
I take for an example the cell phone, which I use constantly for both personal and business use. “Use” is the proper word because I feel both “useless” without it and I increasingly feel “used” by it. The cell phone, in its portability, its persistence and its practicality intersects my every move. When I carry it I feel an urge to be on it. When I’m not carrying it, I feel an equally awful urge to have it.
Moreover, I know this is a common complaint and I don’t hold a patent on the idea of spiritual loss through technological gain. But what I’ve been feeling lately is that email, the Web, cell phones, and telephones generally are ways to cut up our interior lives into smaller, undigestible chunks — components that can never been integrated again that will die within us and refuse to be made whole. They fracture our experiences of the world and its unfolding.
I used to create attachment with a place (or build presence of mind) through staring at a spot on a floor or an object or area. For me, staring creates certainty. It focuses the mind. It pushes the objective present into the subjective future. And it seems to calm frayed nerves. It seems harder to do this lately what with the demands of life and work, the actual ringing of phones and email arrivals. But further, staring (or rather, just being) is hard because of the immense anticipation of interruption. The division of the divine within all of us is real and I need to find out more before the operation is over. Any suggestions are greatly welcomed.

3 thoughts on “Division of the Divine”

  1. Yes, I can at least identify with the cell phone pull- at one point I sought to deal with this by just not carrying it with me sometimes thinking that not feeling that weight in my pocket connecting me to the rest of the world would be a peaceful thing but it didn’t so much work out. Instead of being put at ease I was in a constant state of “What is someone is trying to get a hold of me right now…”
    So I am back to always having it with me, and those days when I have left it somewhere or forgotten to charge it I go around feeling naked. But at least now I am trying to be more conscious of not using it as a shield for having to interact with people (strangers), so I wont just make a call to talk to a friend for no reason when drinking coffee alone anymore I try to just sit there in the moment… but it is a comfort to know that I can retreat away if I desire to.

  2. this is kind of tangential, but in a larger sense your entry conjures within me an image of frenzied connection, of cellphones and emails buzzing ecstatically across manhattan… i’m reminded of melville, actually– a passage in that first chapter of ‘moby dick’ in which he finds the rhythms of the sea (and intimations of the great white whale) in lower manhattan’s hustle bustle:
    There now is your insular city of the Manhattoes, belted round by wharves as Indian isles by coral reefs– commerce surrounds it with her surf….
    and no, perhaps these shimmering rhythms of commerce aren’t ones we can know directly, through the bright drench and fabric of our veins– but maybe, just maybe, they’re harmonics of them–

  3. i think you are looking for the divine in the wrong place, sucka! people have this idea that to appreciate the divine, you’ve got to be sitting in some silent room, or staring off at the sea from a mountain top. i couldn’t disagree more- seeing god or feeling soulful is easy when you are in the middle of a forest- but if god wanted you to live there, why aren’t you living there now? my feeling is god put me in a world of cellphones, 500 emails a day, constant information bombardment from the TV and radio and so on, not to tempt me away from a divine life, but to remind me that he’s everywhere. so get out of the box, and embrace the world in all its shining complexity.

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