Category: Life Betterment


Never before have I been more convinced and full of conviction against this digital prison. We created it, which means we can also create alternatives and a bridge to those alternatives. I will no longer capitalize the I in internet. Why? It doesn’t deserve to be a proper noun. Sure, it is an undeniable source of many things, but as a source, it is also endless, and because people are powerless to resist, it controls and manipulates lives in ways that were once unthinkable.

You may say, “It’s the way life is now,” but can that be said without considering the implications of a blind acceptance of technological momentum driven by money-hungry corporations, etc? Sure, maybe for some, but for all people? And I’m not talking about being scared of technology, I’m talking about knowing that it is important and even essential in our lives… moderately, that is. Yes, a balance is the most important, and considering so much is done via computer now, in many definite ways, we are slaves. There are so many ways to emancipate ourselves from all this stuff too. Everyone’s silent… waiting… waiting for what? While waiting for something outside to occur, nothing inside is possible. Just further enslavement. Where’s the limit? Where does it end?

Being off of TV now for over four years, maybe I’ve lost touch with reality as you know it, but I am in touch with a reality of my own, a new reality I am the sole architect of and acrobat in, where silence and solitude are the norm. I have a computer in my office, but none at home. I use my smartphone sparingly: mostly flashcard apps for learning things, jotting down notes, taking pictures of silly things and sending them to people and the occasional album. I also check my email with it, an email address from which I send messages to old friends only to hear nothing, from some people, ever.

I wouldn’t mention it here if it was just a few people, but it’s an epidemic. Maybe the messages are discarded mistakenly. Maybe they’re lost in the spam folder and then deleted. But, when I have people acknowledge that they got the message, how should I feel? When I get an email, I respond within a reasonable time frame. When I get a letter, I try to do the same.

Letters! What happened to them? I still mail them, though much less now, as seems to be the trend. How can we reverse these trends, seemingly turn back time to recapture something meaningful (not just when thought about with nostalgia), something lasting.

I reactivated my facebook today with the dual intent of getting some pictures from it and giving people shit for not responding via other media. Talking to a few people, I realized they have their own lives, and I’m satisfied in mine, so interfere? I don’t want a reply at this point anyway, just wanted them to feel ashamed that they didn’t respond because of wasting time on things that I consider meaningless because they impose limitations on interactions.

Don’t you understand, I’d rather boycott it than be a member, regardless of what fun and frivolity is to be had?

Blogs offer more, but they also require more, and are rarely filled with original perspectives, mostly idiosyncratic, selfish ones (mine included) and are thus a waste of time if the time spent reading them is not carefully monitored.

In conclusion (for now), what is this digital world? Devour your despair with distractions? Distractions, you mean unnecessary invasions of a life that is too short and too precious to be wasted here. So stop reading now. Please, I implore you. Get off the computer and go outside. Not to spend money, and even if it’s merely to wander for thirty minutes before you return here, at least you’ll have gotten some fresh air.

Advertisements

Took the Test of Proficiency in Korean (basic edition) today for the first time. It’s separated into two sections: expressions, grammar and writing, and listening and reading. Each section is ninety minutes.

There were about five words I didn’t know in the first section, and the short essay question just happened to be about my best friend, something I practiced last night with my girlfriend (who it’s about, of course). So, if a woman grades the writing section (which I really hope), I’ll get a good grade because of the romantic things I wrote. Probably the same if a guy grades it, as this is Korea.

More than ten words I didn’t know in the second section, but the listening was super easy, while reading was a bit more challenging. Both sections took almost an hour each, and afterward I had lunch with a Turkish guy who was in the same group of test takers. Won’t know the grade until 6월 2일, but that’s what, a month and a half away?

I realize I need some kind of larger project to keep me going just about everyday. Otherwise I usually fabricate distractions and though until this point I don’t know why exactly, I know I do so and that’s the first step to change, right? Until just a few months ago, I was intent almost exclusively on tail, and thought the chase is sometimes fun and entertaining, it’s leaves one feeling mostly hollow and more alone. In a serious relationship now, I feel grounded and able to work on the things that matter most: always things to take my time and now it’s time to devote myself exclusively to those that require the most. I have the reading project, three (or four) old novels to edit, a new one to begin, numerous stories to prepare for publication, learning Korean, girlfriend and friends, oh, and work!

Today I destroyed my computer. I threw it off the balcony, and retrieving it from the pit where it was partly smashed, brought it back to my room and tore it apart. My efforts were interupted by a phone call from the girlfriend, but I will continue the destruction later. Spread it out over a week or a few days. Savor it.

Two weekends ago I had left it at a computer repair shop and picked it up last weekend, paying around $100 total for some hardware repairs and a Windows reinstall. It worked okay for a few days, and started having problems again almost right away. Problems I’ve fixed in the past, but I learned to hate the computer so much without it for those nearly four months.

Not having a computer has been nothing but a blessing. It is nearly impossible to live without a computer, and that doesn’t mean I must own one. I pledge not to get one ever again, and want to stick to that pledge. Seriously. What I want more than anything else right now is an amanuensis, someone to help with the administrative aspects of editing and manuscript preparation; I will merely focus on writing and reading. Writing. Reading. Writing. Reading. Etc. Instead of using a machine to compose fiction, I will be the machine for it’s creation.

Neither facebook nor the Internet were the problems—the computer was. Music too. Infernal distractions I allowed to monopolize too much of my time. Well, two weeks without them and the results are immediate. I’ve read seven books, in that time and had infinitely more free time. I’d rather be lost in the real world than lost online, but, actually, I’m more grounded and focused without a computer.

Silence is essential to a healthy spirit, I’ve learned firsthand. Space to meditate within, to ruminate on whatever. Not to have every moment filled. With noise, movement, speech. I still talk a lot (and probably always will), but I do talk a lot, lot less these days, and my train of thought is much less digressive.

It’s been a long road getting here. When I left Massachusetts for Colorado over three years ago, I brought a bag full of clothes and one of books. I planned to stay true to my plan, and though I maintained the moratorium on television, I eventually bought a stereo and CDs and a laptop, the same one that’s helped to ruin the road during these last few years.

Not it will be the same as being away from television—the longer I’m away, the more I loathe it. Sure, I can watch TV now and then, but usually the digust is overwhelming after about fifteen or twenty minutes, then I have to get off and away, for at least a week or more. Already it’s like that with the Internet. After I check my email, AND/OR facebook, and I find myself wandering, I get off. Not having a computer helps in this regard, as I’m at a café or in my office, not a PC방 where the computer is rented by the hour. These places I usually bring a book to read and a notebook to write in (like the one this entry is composed in)—so there’s less temptation to surf.

Do you ever feel like your feet, mind and eyes are constantly in motion and you’re still going nowhere?

Living the moment (and being unbelievably busy) helps us realize that so much is accomplished as long as we keeps to our goals. Layer them to create various subplots: existence is about loose ends so some things will remain forever unfinished, while others will not. Change what you do and even the times when you do them to see if it fits better or merely to spice up an otherwise unoriginal schedule.

Ruminate upon every moment of the average day and you’ll discover potential time stealers: internet, television, napping/sleeping, any unnecessary activities that don’t add to your immediate or future well-being. Important not to have too much boring down time: fill those seemingly meaningless moments with endeavors that will complete and fulfill you: passions and hobbies, whatever you like.

And, lastly, smile!

On this new spiritual journey, some nights sleep is barely possible. The newly established communion awakens with numerous facets beyond documentation—whispers and shadows I cannot share. Dreams and visions.

Names can name no lasting name. Thus the actuality remains ethereal, even in the inner mind, which is adamantly opposed to elaboration here/yet. Both mysterious and comprehended reasons.

Sometimes it’s not what we search for, but what searches for us that changes the game in these unexpected and ethereal ways.

Internet Moratorium

The main problem with facebook and every other social networking site is that they have become the primary means of communication, yet are entirely insufficient. They remain voyeuristic, not pedantic, created as a distraction, not a genuine and honest sharing of essential information. The potential for using them to improve our collective lives is vast, yet the Internet is a tool none of us will master.

A primary reason I kept facebook was to share pictures. Though I once enjoyed telling intimate stories and details of my life to others, recent epiphanies have changed this negative mindset. Privacy is more important than anything now. Thus I have quit facebook and myspace, and will no longer post pictures or reveal extensive amounts of personal information. My new goal is to spend no more than ten minutes online each day. I will not continue writing extensively about intimate life issues as in the past, now I will focus on (other) more important issues.

The Internet is not only unnecessary for the average life, it’s a transient black hole usurping hours meant for holy endeavors. Even if everyone else seems to indulge, take your stand. Leave this digital prison before it becomes your digital grave.

Get up a little after 7 (6:40 if I want breakfast), teach a class at 8. Korean class starts at 9 and ends at 1. I’m usually starving if I haven’t eaten breakfast, devouring lunch in about ten minutes at the worker’s cafeteria. Sometimes I go to a cafe and complete homework, converse with strangers. If it’s Tuesday, I have English café from 2 to 4. If it’s Friday, I have an hour class at the elementary school. If it’s Monday or Wednesday, I’m free until 5, when I have class Mon-Thur for fifty minutes, then dinner, then class again from 6:30 to 10:15pm. After class finishes for the night, I usually read and write a daily Korean journal. Weekends are usually reserved for recuperation. Busier than ever before, I get more work done with the time available.

Are you looking for something so hard, something you believe you lack, something which will complete you? Stop your search. Instead, look within. The true secret is that you have everything inside; what you need and even what you do not. The secret’s secret is not to know or understand the secret, but to be.

After the becoming, you will witness the beauty and horror of all things—that the higher place you once wanted is within. You will inhabit a fragile plane, one that must be guarded vigilantly. Focus, rigidity, consistency are essential, yet freedom, playfulness and irrationality are as well. Higher realms exist within a paradox, and after the becoming, you will exhibit such paradoxical characteristics. It is a transitory state—one which may be extraordinarily difficult to maintain.

All things are the same. There is a difference only through perspective; nothing exists separately. Even words like other and another have no meaning. Everything is Nothing; Nothing is Everything. A neutral view allows harmony to blossom. The point of this higher plane, and perhaps the path to maintain it indefinitely, is to share. Others(!) must learn of what you are, but teaching and transferring the actuality remains a challenge.

After the becoming, you will not feel afraid of reverting, for reversion is not defeat—reversion is the same as all other things. Inhabiting this higher plane and experiencing the subsequent perception will be lost if you are selfish. It is a scary place to our typically human containers—because you embody all, you feel every extreme simultaneously. They are not continuous, though, as their strength and intensity wane.