“Each time you expand, include and integrate something you formerly held to be outside of your love or beyond your capacity, you are bringing the world closer to unity.” — Elia Wise from her book, Letter to Earth
A few evenings ago, spurred on by all the Oscar buzz, I watched the Social Network. Though I liked it as a movie, its impact left a sour taste in my mouth, a slimy gritty residue of feeling that hung around until the following morning.
All of the characters were so yucky. How could someone so brilliant (Mark Zuckerberg as portrayed in the movie) be so lacking in human kindness? Why would someone so observant of human nature choose to exploit and manipulate it that way?
I realize that to answer those questions, I need look no further than my own life’s past. I’m not calling myself brilliant. Erase that bit. I’m talking about being unkind, exploitative and manipulative. I messed up. I hurt people too. Mostly, like Zuckerberg, because I was too caught up in my own drama to extend my awareness and sensitivity to how my actions impacted others.
I am saying all this upon reflection, though. Immediately after seeing the movie, my skeezy feeling about Facebook was confirmed. It was the enemy. It started out with bad intentions and I could swear, though I didn’t know the history at the time I first signed up, that it just didn’t feel kosher. I felt pushed into it by societal peer-pressure. I felt like a spy looking in on other people’s lives. Sure it was nice to reconnect with friends from the past, but that conflicted with my belief that certain people are supposed to come in and out of your life…aren’t they? Isn’t there a natural flow to all that? And what about those ex-lovers that popped up here and there wanting to be “friends”?
After seeing the movie, I wanted to hate Facebook. I really did. But then I realized that all of those questions were challenging my beliefs, and maybe that’s what I was really hatin’ on, my beliefs being challenged. Maybe those questions were there, now, to help me grow and shape new beliefs. Maybe the force that brings people in and out of our lives is still at work in Facebook, with new dimensions and new potentialities. Maybe, I had to make my own choices in how I responded to the stimulus of being or not being “friended”.
At the public high school where I work, teachers are not allowed to “friend” students on Facebook. Why not? Of course there are always people who are up to no good, but they don’t need Facebook for that. Facebook doesn’t all of a sudden make you someone else. I trust that I have good intentions when it comes to my students. Why wouldn’t I carry the same integrity with my interactions with them in the studio onto Facebook? And if some kind of trouble were to arise, then why couldn’t we deal with it responsibly? Perhaps Facebook is actually helping us all to grow in trust exactly because it didn’t start out that way, as a vehicle for trust. So it is helping us to challenge ourselves in that way, to grow in trust and to examine the purity of our intentions. Huh.
And speaking of the tide of magnetism that floats people into and out of our lives, there is one very important true friend that I’ve found again through Facebook. Our reunion was deeply cherished with tears and hugs. In spite of the lust and meanness that spawned Facebook, maybe there was a thread of love, of the longing for love, after all. Maybe there’s a reason why we all need these networks now. Maybe Egypt. When it comes to a cause that big, you put aside your dirty laundry and send that old boyfriend a message on Facebook about the REVOLUTION. Dig?
Maybe my openness to Facebook will extend to being more open, accepting and, dare I say it, loving of technology one of these days. I know I often rant against technology on this blog, but really what I’m ranting against is the unconscious use of it. Anyway, I sound like a hypocrite if I ask others to love while I do not.
So love it is.
I’m kissing my cell phone right now.
I’m actually still working on acceptance, but that’s a start.