I’ve written on this somewhere before, I just can’t remember where or in what form right now.

As I was driving down the coast from Big Sur this morning I reflected on my own personal digital detox that I had the pleasure of undergoing for the previous weekend. Basically I only checked my phone once in three days which for me is extreme. Unless I’m in some far off land or physically unable to my phone, like most of us, has mutated into an appendage.

With great trepidation and cynicism I’ve been checking out what the Digital Detox ( team is doing. My first reaction is one of defensiveness and outright defiance in that these damn dirty hippies are trying to disrupt the train that has already left the station. That they are trying to challenge the nature of progress and creativity by guilt tripping us into getting our feet dirty in the god damn dirt and if we don’t we may loose out on the truly meaningful things in this life. Deeper friendships, connections, inter personal love affairs and fresh air are all things that come to mind. And of course while I’m busy judging the book by its cover and rallying against these extremist antiquarians I am being bombarded with more texts and tweets than a) I can keep up with and b) can sustain my attention in any sort of cognitively sane way. Yes, it’s true that I – like just about everyone else in the western world – is seeing their attention span dissipate into a stream of short sound bytes and only half way real digital connections. The pay off for the short term shift is that my long term neural network based creative potential and inspiration is far more developed than ever before, that – however – is another blog post.

The weirdest part about our digital connections is not that it’s happening but rather, the speed at which we’ve adapted to its happening. I’m at the age where I can remember my adult life pre smart phone and post smart phone. Or pre web and post web. Somehow, I lived life before Google Maps telling me where to go or before a friends text message telling me where and when to meet them. This did happen. Yet, I can’t remember it. No, seriously. I can’t remember.

I can’t remember how day to day life worked just a short 8-20 years ago. This is not to say that my memory has dwindled or that I’m exaggerating the circumstances, neither has occurred. The mutation of how the technology has been chosen, applied and then just accepted is a thing of pure mysticism that is found within the human condition. Yes, these mutations have happened before – from the Guttenberg press all the way through the advent and subsequent mass adoption of TV – we are very quick to embrace the new stuff and quickly discard the old.

There is something different about personal digital technology that can’t quite be put into the same category as the others – partially due to the peer-to-peer connective tissue, the rapid acceleration of the thoughts and ideas and the simplicity and grace that is found within the UI. It’s easy to get sucked in and quite frankly the laziest most introverted troll on the planet can have skin in the game. We’ve mutated fast. So fast that I’m of the mind to suggest that it’s a natural evolution and may in face be a form of some quasi warped blend of spirituality and purpose driven destiny. On a good day. On a bad day, it’s the end of the world. It’s us being sucked into a black hole where there is no more empathy or compassion, just social media driven justice and cold hearted hellos. Somewhere in between is the truth.

Back to last weekend. With just two and one half short days off from the digi-drome I did indeed remember how it used to be. It came flashing back to me in little bits complete with euphoric recalls of pay phones and note pads.

Then I got lost and needed Goolge Maps. My notifications were not off. Sigh. The cycle repeats.

6 rules to make Facebook a better place

6 rules to make Facebook a better place. Brought you to you by me, of course.

1.) Limit Self Promotion – a little is cool but use a FB fan page if all you want to do is promote yourself. Otherwise it degrades the qualitative aspect of Facebook. Ok, we get it. You’re going out on another audition. Awesome.

2.) Reciprocity – like and comment on other peoples stuff too. Just don’t use FB as your own personal megaphone without engaging in the bigger cultural conversation.

3.) Disrupt the algorithm – alter your own “Filter Bubble”. Read up on the “Filter Bubble” for more on this. But you can’t be objective if all you’re doing is engaging with nothing but liberal stuff. Read and befriend some people who are on the other side. This way FB starts showing you content that may not necessarily be relevant to who you are but you’ll probably find VERY interesting.

4.) Enough cute animal pics and videos – we’re done with that. thanks.

5.) Argue (kindly) – I fail at this, I get involved in way too many FB arguments where I end up being rude to someone. My intentions always start off well though! Anyway, get in a healthy debate on FB often and you’ll see how amazing is that so many good ideas and perspectives can come out of this place.

6.) Post cool stuff – what’s cool to you may not be cool to me, obviously. With that said – post videos, stories and ideas that are you find thought provoking and disruptive. Again, cute cat pics don’t count. Be passionate about what interests you – the militant vegans are good at this, so are the far lefties and the far righties.

The Insanity Quotient

All measures of progress always begin with looking back at what it is we are trying to improve upon. The American Revolution was set against a back drop of a previous system of organized civilization that wasn’t working for a lot of folks so a few thoughtful and well organized people overthrew the system that wasn’t working, the British monarchy in this case.

Or on a personal level one might seek to get into better physical shape because the performance of their human body isn’t what they’d like it to be so they do something about it. There are endless examples. In order to improve we must be aware of what it is we are improving upon. I think we can all agree on that.

In our lives there are thousands of choices we make in order to optimize the human experience ranging from the mundane to the extreme. These are usually well intentioned and valuable however, in the course of our self determination we may sometimes loose site of the global connections that we all have a stake in. For instance, in the midst of my striving to be a better father to one’s children, the father may loose site that the food he is buying to please his children’s taste buds in the short term but has a negative effect on the planet in the long term. That’s a very pedestrian example but we all share in this sort of behavior. Most of can’t claim that we are in 100% of the solution all the time. There are endless necessary evils that we participate in simply because the way our options are presented in society can’t be escaped without great difficulty or inconvenience. Unless there’s a massive shift in the collective conscious we are very slow to make any huge changes at once.

Occasionally we do simply because enough is enough. Take civiil rights for instance – the insanity went on long enough so a forceful change came about in a very short period of time. This happened because a collective spark was ignited that resulted in most people realizing that they had enough bullshit and hypocrisy. Of course, many people even today still can’t accept this and choose hatred over love. Still, some progress was made.

This is the insanity quotient. Ask yourself how much collective insanity must we continually engage in that is comfortable for you? Since the beginning of recorded history there has always been an accepted level of insanity that we as a society can seemingly accept. War, poverty, religious crusades, racism, environmental neglect – choose your poison. Most of us just proclaim “that’s just the way things are.”

Ok. Fair enough. I just drive a hybrid car that still uses gasoline and a toxic battery, it’s slightly better for the planet that a conventional car but still not ideal. Why? Because that’s just the way things are. I can’t (or am not willing) to give up my car entirely to put my money where my mouth is. I simply do the best I can even though it’s not good enough. Or, when I dine out I eat institutional food and meats that are in no way GMO free or cruelty free. Why? Because I’m not willing to not be social and source 100% of my food responsibly. I do the best I can even though it’s still not good enough. This, again, is the insanity quotient. I engage in some mundane levels of insanity simply because I can’t be bothered to completely disengage from these common behaviors.

These are personal day to day life decisions. What about the BIG collective species decisions? Take climate change or war in the middle east.

Why is there a certain group of people so intent on denying there is a problem with the human impact humans are having on the environment? Best I can make out is that changing our behavior is simply to expensive and problematic. To have a course correction at this point would change the way we conduct business and government in a way that simply can’t be tolerated by some people who control a great sum.

Or why are some people rationalizing an excuse to go to war with Iran in order to defend Israel rather than taking a road of negotiation? I won’t even attempt to answer that one, but it’s happening and anyone can read about it on any given day.

This post is one of observation, not of answers per se. Yes, I believe that changing our consciousness is the first big step. But there’s still a problem – even when we do that we’re still not doing enough. How much insanity are we willing to live with before it’s too late?