We must start going in the other direction
In the context of critiquing the insane amount of “communication” the internet entails, I quoted Thoreau saying, in 1850 : “In proportion as our inward life fails, we go more constantly and desperately to the post office. You may depend on it, that the poor fellow who walks away with the greatest number of letters, proud of his extensive correspondence, has not heard from himself this long while.”
. . . and someone responded: “What, are you kidding, do you want us to revert to life before postal mail? I can understand the issue regarding current overload, but you seem to be advocating a localism so extreme as to result in total autarky and isolation. That’s going too far, unnecessarily far.”
I’m not really advocating an absolutism of that kind (or any kind). I’m bringing up issues related to a certain directionality . . . and I think Thoreau was doing the same thing. It’s a question of trajectory, momentum, irresistibility.
There’s an idea that aboriginal people generally intuitively did resist what eventually was an overwhelming force: the expansionism, wealth-lust, and power-lust that accompanied the rise of the state. Why would they be inclined to resist? Because of a sensibility that these things would be disruptive to community cohesion and integrity (‘integrity’ re: the definition: “the condition of being whole, undiminished, unimpaired”).
Once the statist complex (expansionism, development, growth, power, capital) emerged it overwhelmed tribal, village, and aboriginal communities. And ever since, the trajectories toward More, Bigger, Faster, Farther have been irresistible. So now I have to check my postal mail, my email, my voicemail, and my text messages. I tried to resist the cell phone phenomenon for a long time, but the dynamics of the Technosphere are such that novelties have a tendency become necessities (and then create dependencies) in short order. That’s why, with all the “conveniences,” people feel overwhelmed by it all.
Channels open to mass society. Woe.
We must start going in the other direction.