covenants and technology


‘We are all cyborgs now.’*

‘[W]hen you expose yourself to the opportunities that scare you, you create something others won’t do.’**

The year is 1996.  Sherry Turkle is noticing researchers moving around Massachusetts Institute of Technology wearing gadgets which allow them to be constantly connected to the internet – describing themselves as cyborgs.  Some even report that this cyborg-state allows them to feel a “better person.”

Now we have smartphones and we are all cyborgs.  Now we can be connected to everything, everywhere, all the time but I can’t help but think this connectivity is less than we imagine it to be.  I don’t see us giving up our technology but I do imagine us adding more to it.

There’s an older form of connectivity.  It comes in the form of a covenant in which people agree to work together in a deeply connected way for the good of each other – covenants often include sacrifice from both parties.  The primal covenant, however, is the one we make with ourselves.

‘The most sustainable Musts happen slowly, thoughtfully and quietly.  They don’t happen impulsively but are built with a soner, calm, intention.’^

The covenant we establish with ourselves has zing to it.  We feel the electricity.  It involves something that excites us and we’re prepared to sacrifice for.  When we have forged this covenant with ourselves then we’re ready to covenant with others, finding electricity there too.

Technology can never replace this experience, though, it can support it.

(*From Sherry Turkle’s Alone Together.)
(**From Seth Godin’s Whatcha Gonna Do With That Duck?)
(^From Elle Luna’s The Crossroads of Should and Must.)

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