Fear and trembling on the social networks

October 8, 2011

Louis René Beres, Professor of Political Science at Purdue University, has an interesting post titled "A Core Anxiety: Fear and trembling on the social networks". (I first a reference to this on Andrew Sullivan's Dish). Some quotes that caught my attention:

“Look at me, please,” is the unspoken but desperate cry of the public talker, or “texter,” or “Twitterer.” I am here. I am important. I have human connections. I count for something. I am not (heaven forbid) unpopular.”

There exists a universal human wish to remain unaware of oneself. But this subversive hope always leads individuals to stray dangerously from their true personhood, and toward the deceptively available  security of the "herd". Sometimes, when a terror gang and a sports team effectively become competitors for group loyalty, any herd will do.

Nothing important, in science or industry or art or music or literature or medicine or philosophy, can ever take place without some loneliness.

To achieve any sense of true spirituality in life, we must first be willing to endure at least some aloneness. For better or for worse, all of our principal religious founders consciously sought deeper meanings inside, in seclusion, within themselves.

Śrī Kṛṣṇa emphasizes solitude and cultivating an active distaste for constant human company as key values, essential in our journey towards Supreme Knowledge (ज्ञानं - jñānaṃ).
विविक्तदेशसेवित्वमरतिर्जनसंसदि ||१३-११||
Vivikta-desha-sevitwam-aratir-jana-sa.msadi 13-11
Liking to solitary places, distaste for the society of men

6000 years since Śrī Kṛṣṇa taught Arjuna, humans are still caught up between the need to belong to a community (or "herd" as Louis René Beres calls it) and the imperative to find solitude that leads to a spiritual vision of life. While Louis René Beres has a problem with the desire to constantly connected (and the intrinsic value we attach to this connectedness), the Geeta warns us against getting addicted to the herd in all its forms.

Hari Om and Namaskaar until the next post

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