LOSING MY NON-RELIGION

What if we held on to things?

Not threw them away, not replaced them. Kept them.

Would that make us feel differently also about people? Ourselves?

Might we feel less involved with THIS VERY MOMENT RIGHT NOW and more connected with the past, more thoughtful of the future?

Is the present primacy of the present why we tolerate CEOs who layoff thousands, investment bankers who “optimize” a 100-year-old company by closing off two of its business lines, each employing over 500, why we can’t log off, shut down, reboot? Why we can’t stay in the same place nor value what came before?

The rise of the disposable culture mixed with the rapid spread of technology which alters how we live is together eradicating the past, for bad and good, but also breaking us in the now. We are lost. Not connected to place, rarely to people, never to things — not things of a different time. Is this why so many insist upon a connection to Brand?

Apple! Tesla! Netflix! Alexa!

I JUST BOUGHT THE NEW IPHONE! LOOK!

SEE!

Consumer culture, disposable people, false gods. This is not what the future deserves.

Many intuit this already.

Silicon Valley has always sought to mix engineering with enlightenment. After it hacked our desktops, our phones and then our attention spans, it sought to hack our corporeal selves. First came peak performance (smarter, faster, stronger) then mindfulness (chillax, brah). Today, the new frontier is consciousness hacking. Its goals are varied, its practitioners virtuously divided and its definitions fluid.

That led to our next wave: pulling the neural triggers that can produce the same kind of enlightenment that lifelong meditators experience. Want an out-of-body experience? We have virtual-reality simulations for that. Want to be smarter and happier? You can learn to quiet your pre-frontal cortex – that inner critic – and access more of your brain’s attention-focusing norepinephrine.

We have not disrupted the soul, merely cast it aside. But it remains accessible, powerful, calling. Neither the ironic words of a trained-jaded reporter, nor the trend-seeking dilettante, not even the frantic-hopeful looking to siphon off riches from the NEXT BIG THING can alter this truth.

The spirit beckons.

Atheists are on the wrong side of history.

Maybe so is everything.

I do not have a dentist. I do not have a doctor. People who do strike me as thoroughly adult. For me, there’s no bar nor store nor butcher nor baker where they no my name, nor I there’s. I live far from where I was born. Is this just romanticizing my regrets? Perhaps. It wouldn’t be called romance if it were permanent. Not everything lasts, nor should it.

But we can get our future right. That never goes away.