“Ghosting” is the appearance of being present when we’re not. We ghost with each other, with our world, even with ourselves.
I’m slowly reading through Sherry Turkle’s Alone Together, a look at “why we expect more from technology and less from each other.” I began reading it almost two years ago: it’s dense and alarming and challenging and, today, made me think about ghosting.
Here are two offerings from Turkle, the first about how we use technology to control contact with each other, and the second from a thirty six year old nurse too shattered to go out at the end of the day but finding some comfort in the ghosts she finds on Facebook:
‘We will fill our days with ongoing connection, denying ourselves time to think and dream. Busy to the point of depletion, we make a new Faustian bargain. It goes something like this: if we are left alone when we make contact, we can handle being together.’*
“Even when people are not there [on Facebook}, like, exactly when I’m there, it seems like they are there. I have their new pictures, the last thing they were doing. I feel caught up.”*
We hope one day things will change, something will happen and we will have the time for people, for doing the things we want to do. Perhaps we promise ourselves something will be big enough to change things, to make a difference, making it possible for us to be more present and less absent. We can miss the something that is smaller and closer.
Polycom’s Jeff Rodman asks: “What’s the smallest changes we could make […] ?**
It is much easier, not to mention hopeful, to be present in the small. Making small changes every day in the things within us and immediately around us. Don’t say you’ll begin reading more tomorrow – borrow or buy the book today:
‘Life becomes a matter of showing up and saying yes.’^
It means we’re not waiting for the next flow of life but we’re seeing the flow we’re in right now. Filling our days with dozens, even hundreds, of small things is the surest way of dealing with ghosting. Waiting for the next big thing or or the planets to align jus right is to put off what will probably never happen.
‘The reason it’s difficult to learn something new is that it will change you into someone who disagrees with the person you used to be. And we’re not organised for that. The alternative is to sign up for a lifetime of challenging what the self believes. A challenge to find more effectiveness, not more stability.’^^
(*From Sherry Turkle’s Alone Together.)
(**Jeff Rodman, quoted in gapingvoid’s blog Deliberate Progression.)
(^From Richard Rohr and Mike Morrell’s The Divine Dance.)
(^^From Seth Godin’s blog Defending Myself.)