Someone recently sent me this article from the NYT called "Hooked on Gadgets, and Paying a Mental Price". (View at It tells the story of a 40-something guy's relationship to technology (pretty standard for most people I know, I actually) and claims "Technology is rewiring our brains." It takes a look at the pluses and minuses of multi-tasking and the results of the barrage on the brain.

I am reminded of Jung's words: "We are awakening a little to the feeling that something is wrong in the world, that our modern prejudice of overestimating the importance of the intellect and the conscious mind might be false.  We want simplicity.  We are suffering, in our cities, from a need of simple things…." (in Americans Must Say 'No' in McGuire, William, and Hull, R.F.C., eds., C.G. Jung Speaking (Princeton: University Press, 1977))


The topic of technology and the fast pace at which the world is moving came up in a group discussion recently and someone suggested it's not that technology is evil, but that we get caught up in it, and  culturally, we tend to abandon ourselves and the sacred in order to maintain the pace (or be inundated by it) full-time. Jung said the loss of connection to our instincts and to nature has been devastating to us. Perhaps now is the time to take a few moments and step outside, or look at the sky, or light a candle in ritual, or just take a long deep breath and appreciate something bigger and more simple....

How do you feel about the pace of the world we live in today?

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  • Bonnie said in the intro: "...culturally, we tend to abandon ourselves and the sacred in order to maintain the pace (or be inundated by it) full-time. Jung said the loss of connection to our instincts and to nature has been devastating to us."

    I have also experienced a situation similar to Laura's (I am sorry, too - it is heartbreaking). I wonder now if what we as a culture are losing is the authentic feeling and expression of our emotions, partly due to the screentime seduction sucking up our time and capacities, as well as the the actual screen as the interface between people.

    Moreover, if emotions are pathways of opening to archetypal energies, as rooted in our instincts (an unwavering compass in our body) then what will become of us if we cut off those pathways and the archetypal energies are really shut off from our conscious experience and expression of them in the world?
  • A personal anecdote as this hits right where I've been living for a while with an online man friend. He is much like Mr. Campbell in your linked article...always on gchat, facebook chat, Twitter, runs a high traffic blog so many posts and comments there per day, reads 987 other blogs/day, receives email by the hundreds daily, does IT for the dept. at work, teaches online classes, cell phone by his side. His inability to focus in on a one-on-one exchange for very long and understand the concept of depth and "reciprocity" in communications (oh, he teaches communications at a University!) has been quite hurtful and harmful to me in my relationship with him. And yes, I realize this is one of many ways he tries to assuage his deep anxiety and other neuroses, constantly distracting himself and seeking external validation and anonymous attention.

    A few weeks ago I was attempting to connect with him in a rather heated moment via email and was very frustrated. He emailed back: "I'm not shutting you out. I've got three computers running and you keep talking to the one I am not in front of."

    I told him that was better than a dream image and that there was nothing I could say that would portray the dynamic any better. I think some people are just "wired" to prefer virtual stimulation on demand to interpersonal intimacy and deep connections. Sad, but alas.
    • Oh, Laura! What an incredible tangible example of the phenomenon. I think we're usually all moving so fast its hard to even grasp how pervasive the problem is, but your story is stunning. Thank you for being willing to share....and....I'm so sorry! Of course, I'm only being halfway facetious. Even 5 years ago, text wasn't nearly so prolific nor were Ipods, Ipads, Itouches, podcasts, and video on cell phones and pdas. I wonder if things can possibly continue at this pace...and where our culture will be in another 5 years....
  • Dear Bonnie - I love all the Jung quotes you have sprinkled throughout the site. They are still so relevant today. And I wonder what part of our brain shrinks when we are mostly relying on symbol processing through technology, and what kind of re-wiring happens in our brains when our gaze is restricted to a screen?
    • Good questions, all, Julie! I'm thinking about how strongly both Jung and Hillman, among others, feel that images are autonomous and have their own free will. Even if they appear on a screen, it seems like it might be more about our willingness to engage in reciprocal relationship as a participant rather than simply "bystanding". I think technology, in some ways, offers up far more opportunities for the psyche to introduce information to us. The question is, what do we do with it?

      Jung says it is our ethical obligation not simply to notice and wonder about images that come to us, but to truly seek their meaning (in MDR, p. 193). Hillman says we sin against the imagination when we simply ask the image to reveal its meaning to us in the form of a (flat or simple) concept (in Re-visioning Psychology, p. 39). Instead we have to engage with it, visit it where it resides, dialogue with it and let the meaning emerge.
      • Wonderful insights into image - So now I wonder how does culture start to engage with it all via the imaginal faculties?
        How do we stop long enough to see that the image has it's own vitality and that it lives in us in an alive way as well? Do so many flickers make our brain skip over and move on too quickly?
        Maybe that is the real impact of technology - as you brought up the pace of the world we live in, it crowds out the space and time needed for a 'religious' or imaginal attitude.

        I like Jung's definition of the essence of religion - religiere, the "careful consideration"
        of the archetypes. On the Nature of the Psyche, par. 426.
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