Antidotes to the Hubriscene, Part 5
"When we are conjuring words from the mythic, from the real, when we are translating from nature to language, when we are writing with the sincere wish to aid the wellbeing of people, such as journalists uncovering corruption, or teachers passing on wisdom, we are doing work for a good reason. Yet we need to be scrupulous about making sure we allow 'the creature' time in natural movement, away from fixing the eyes on flat, glowing rectangles. Screen life is not freedom, it's consensual confinement. I am beginning to feel the immobility and acquired physical ill-being that it cultivates are as important as the vast array of ideologies that capture people on here. As when any of the 'sides' finally allow their bodies out onto the street, they seem more aggressive and coercive than ever before. The caged animal will seek an outlet for natural movement or go mad."
Before there was the internet, I learned to write poetry with a typewriter. LOL. It saved my life to do so. And in the years since I've mostly told myself my relation to "the screen" is mostly merely a modification of the typewriter. And that's partly true. Touch typing is much like writing with a pen and ink. The thoughts come; the words appear. And my laptop? It's where I do my writing research. It's where I often view the documentary films that inform my writing, and the videos of conversations.
And yada yada yada... I can justify until the cows come home. But it's spring! Time to go for a walk!
Love to you for telling the daring truth, my friend. And love to you for doing so with lovingkindness.
Fittingly, I read your article while at the rock-climbing gym—although, alas, I wasn’t doing any climbing, just walking around reading while others climbed. As a screen-person with an L-shaped posture, I appreciated your many suggestions and reflections.
Wise words as ever, lovely. For me, interrupting the dream-state necessary for the kind of writing I do – especially when it's fiction – isn't much of an option; getting back to that place is incredibly hard work. But even if I do spend three hours in a trance typing at a screen, I don't think I'm really in the screen-world or Machine-world at that time; I'm firmly in some imaginal world where the muse resides. And, as the old 'Celtic' traditions tell us, that imaginal world is firmly entangled with the physical world. But what's interesting is that the inspiration itself is born from movement – specifically, from walking. Perhaps that entanglement between worlds is the reason. Like so many writers, my best ideas and images come not when I'm actually at the keyboard, but when I'm working my body, outside. The machine then is in service to the magic, not controlling it, but yes, we do still have to be very wary ...
I'm glad to have followed the trail left by Mr Hine to your writing. Wisdom wound in with the washing up!
I noticed that when I look up from reading on a "smart" "phone" I take a breath of air, and look about me, like I am resurfacing. From what, or where, I am not sure...
Couldn't agree more! All the fine qualities of our minds and imagination, all the natural movement of our bodies is being endlessly drained away to feed a virtual non-living entity. Just going out to do my tai chi now before sitting down in front of my computer... Thanks for reminding me to tend my animal side!
Indeed, the more fully awakened we become as humans, the more fully incarnate we become.
Me too Jane - can't wait to see you there! Really love these writings by Caroline Ross (nice to see you mentioned in one of her posts) Taoist, animist and artist - what an inspiration.
The book looks fantastic Caroline!
My mammal self loves warm winds and salty swims and listening to the chitter of birds whilst smelling flowers or running on sand, none of which can be achieved via the black mirror. None. My most profound shamanic practices and imaginal walks have also taken place away from screens - connected through a leaf, cup of tea, or thrilling sunset.
The more I step away from ‘screen time’ the more whole and connected I feel and I’ve noticed the same in others. My current query is around the addiction and justification of it, and the promotion of laziness in service of control. Many others have explored and articulated theories, I’m interested in where it lives in our bodies.
Loved this missive from our shores here in the US - hope you’re enjoying your time in the South.
Congratulations on the book!
Thank you for the great read. I suffered for well over a decade with back and neck pain from a run-in (or rather “bike in”) with a SUV when I was riding to work. My helmet, which I’d only just put on a few moments before, broke, which probably saved my head from breaking. Anyway, it was only when I quit my job, which was a lot of sitting in front of a screen, and started farm work (all hand tools, scything, hand sawing, digging) that all those “permanent” aches and pains disappeared!