It is interesting to contemplate the interconnectedness of all things in relation to the growing digital network of communication. The latent Christian part of me says "Is this a good thing or a bad thing?" My current Buddhist mindset says "This is a thing." Is there no morality attached to these vast webs of communication? On one hand you have the ability to talk or text or send images to friend or family in different parts of the world, on the other you have the opportunity to spend large swathes of time mesmerized by the stream of human thoughts, stories, myriad gaming opportunities, music, eBay, etc... Basically a dynamic window into the inner workings of samsara, the karmically enhanced cyclical condition of suffering via greed/desire/craving. When you stop and think about it, you are doing nothing while you stare at the computer, TV, cellphone, camera, or car window screen. A world of screens.
The question then arises in my mind "Is doing nothing a good thing or a bad thing?" I think it depends on your idea of nothing. There is active nothing and passive nothing, sad nothing and happy nothing, tired nothing and energetic nothing. While you weed the garden are you actually doing anything? While you clean the bathroom are you doing a thing, or are you doing nothing? While you meditate are you actively meditating or passively existing?
I find the internet extremely helpful if I want a thing, or want to know a thing, or want to do no thing. Want, of course, is desire, which is the primary cause of suffering on the planet. I feel better when I talk to a friend or play guitar or cook a meal then when I do anything involving a screen. Those activities are relatively free of desire. You may say "But you want to eat a tasty meal, or you want to hear a nice tone, or you want to shake off loneliness." But I say "My desire for those things are good for me and for others." What am I doing that is good for me and or for others while I am on the internet? I can say with some certainty that it is usually nothing. I do some research on environmental, political, or spiritual issues. I write this blog as a place to put my thoughts for others to read, in case they might find some use or insight or entertainment. I guess at the end of my contemplation I would have to say that the majority of the time I spend online is wasted time.
I really believe you can only spend time, you can not save it. Well, I also believe time is a mirage, but I won't get into that. If you feel you are not spending your time wisely, you should change your behavior, correct? Therefore if I feel I spend eighty percent of my time online doing nothing with desire I should instead use that time to do something without desire.
At the end of it all, really, everything you do is good if you do it mindfully and for others. At the end of the end of it all, really, life is but a dream. At the end of the dream, life is. Life.
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