being human digital image

The art of being human in the 21st century

If you search ‘digital intelligence’ in a search engine you will find that, broadly, it is either a “new type of intelligence that combines knowledge, ways of knowing, and the ability to interact effectively in a cultural or community setting” 1 or something to do with big data, marketing, and strategy.

These definitions ignore our essential humanity moving the playground of our digital lives firmly into the school room of skills, abilities, and knowledge.

They also assume something fundamental has changed about the human experience when really nothing has changed, we are simply looking at our world through a different window.

Over the next few months I’ll be working on a series of blog posts and a new book that hopefully, will light a path to understanding how our digital lives are fast becoming the reality of our lives; and what we can do to survive and thrive in an environment that strives to strip away the value of the still, small voice within that has successfully guided our thoughts and behaviours for millennia.

I’ll explore:

  1. Whether technology has changed our relationship to the world, alienating us from nature or making us more likely to save ourselves on this planet we call ‘home’.
  2. The impact on our decision-making ability when information is always mediated through another opinion; and how filter bubbles and confirmation bias work to divide, rather than unite us.
  3. How we learn to revalue our personal experience of the world around us, rather than accepting someone else’s as more real or relevant.
  4. How we judge what is right for us when algorithm’s make essential decisions about our lives like health and finance, and control the information we have access to?
  5. Whose rules we are playing by, and when the switch was made from the egalitarian tool created by Tim Berners-Lee, to a “customised, commercialised online paradise or hell.” 2

Our digital life exacerbates our tendency towards narcissism because it forces us to judge our value by the number of clicks, likes, and comments we receive in our closed, microscopic communities of commonality.

And yet, it also enables important messages to reach and teach across continents. It gathers change makers together who challenge brands by calling out their behaviours. Personal suffering is reduced by allowing topics once ignored to be brought into the light and discussed. And social injustice is more visible and thus more likely to be challenged by the majority.

The question at the heart of my meanderings is how we navigate the opportunity of our digital lives whilst remaining centred to who we really are. The digital playground, replicating the school playground of our youth, requires us to learn the rules whilst we establish an online identity that is both congruent, and self-aware.

The Internet is the ultimate external symbol of connectedness mirroring the connectedness of consciousness. As we connect spiritually and digitally, we create a powerful combination; and as we mature digitally, we cannot help but mature spiritually and socially.

References

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_intelligence
  2. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/aug/24/internet-lost-its-way-tim-berners-lee-world-wide-web

(Image courtesy: Comfreak / 566 images Pixabay)

Leave a Reply