In these last days of gravity, the moments of human history
before the tides of the singularity will perhaps wash over our individuality and bury it within the depths, and we will find ourselves living within a vast collective consciousness, I wonder...
I have not Traveled Far since the AD of ubiquitous networked social connectivity.
When I was last Out There, I had a distinct sense that we became cooler as we traveled further. The further we got from civilization, the more our minds cleared, the simpler state of consciousness yielding a love for ourselves and thus an openness and love for connecting with every one we met.
There was even a high, upon returning to land, of having a blank slate of a mind and walking around a new town or city as if it an alien planet. Feeling as both observers of a strange world and intimately connected to the people there, and wanting to connect with them on a fundamental level. Breathing properly could extend this mindspace. I am certain I am not alone in this feeling because I've seen this mentioned, in books
, in passing, as if a shared secret between fellow sailors.
It was a bit sad to see that this was not a durable change, and for some it seemed to pass without note. On returning to civilization, even a civilization as minor as Papeete, where some of us could once again read the news and email
and fill our minds like landlubbers with noise
from the various memes replicating within our collective unconscious, memes that suck the attention and focus from us and cloud our thoughts like parasites...
Anyways, I've been wondering. For those of you who have Traveled Far in the Modern Era, the era in which we do not have to completely let go of Landlubbery concerns, thoughts, and mind, because we can maintain this bondage even in the farthest corners of our beloved Earth... A Modern Era in which some of us in Nuku Hiva are pontificating and swaggering about recent exploits in a self conscious way to a non-existant 'other' we've made up in our own minds, or even those at sea are activating that part of our brain necessary to make a narrative, to write a story and thus become self conscious in the harsh glare of a fictional anonymous reader, to judge ourselves to be witty, compelling, or just adventurous against that light, or worse, bragging about a string of future cocktail party anecdotes and minor boyscout badges we've collected to label ourselves as interesting, instead of just... wholly being in the moment of being at sea... without labels or a written narrative, a too cute quip or thoughtful point that collapses the experience into a discretely labeled and defined thing, the totality of the experience reduced into a neat little package of written thought.
Do you still have this sense that Far Away, people are different? Cooler, more centered, and more open?
Do you feel that this connectivity has ... retarded your mindspace to one of a landlubber?
Is technology now such that one can even be at a beach fire on Suvarov or Sulawesi and still caught up in our own BS, and just as likely to pontificate about trivial new memetic viruses as express awe at the wonder of our lives and the range of experience? There is no longer this sense of meeting someone on the Top Of The Mountain, where pure joy just shines through our souls at the chance to connect with the core
of another with such a blank slate, to compare notes on the paths traveled, the path ahead, and the current
moment? Are sailors no longer in the true wilderness, disconnected from this huge civilization, and gaining from the experience of a mind whose internal resonances are no longer pumped by artificial external influence?
I don't know. I'm torn-- I currently believe blogging is bad for the soul while far away. It activates the narrative part of a mind, it reboots the mental noise
of civilization in places where it's better a distant memory... It adds a filtered and over intellectualized judgment and measure that tarnishes the moment by reducing it to words that others can understand. Remember when cruisers, when asked what it was like out there, would tend stare off into space, unable to really form words to describe it? So my idea is to drop out of this enormous machine when our voyages start, to facilitate returning to a simpler and more direct experience of the world that is defined by what is in front of me, and let go of trying to define it in a way others can understand.
But at the same time, perhaps if I was centered enough to connect with people through these new tools in as unselfconscious of a way as I would in person, if I could grow in that way and become wholly of this modern era instead of a horseman surrounded by cars, is this not just expanding the scale of my connection from the few random people immediately in front of me to a larger intentional community, and thus an enormous gift from modern technology?