Taken from Wired 12.09 article titled: The Anime Giants Are Coming
"A few years ago," the director explains, "I had a shock when my cat Nene died. There was a hole in my heart, a hole that could not be filled, even though a new cat, Mina, came along. I started to wonder why. Why can't one cat replace another? And I started to think that the "I" is not just one person, but the sum of everything you love-- your dog, your wife, your child, your computer, your doll. This led me to the conclusion that the self is empty. What is essential is this network of connections."
I’ve had this passage saved for nearly two years. Every so often, I stumble upon it again and realize that there is some truth in what was written.
It speaks of the isolation that we’ve imposed upon ourselves. We’ve become afraid to be who we were as children and now fear as adults. In larger cities, it is even worse because everyone on the street wears the ever ubiquitous I-pod or worse, is on a cell phone-- hell, a co-worker of mine, sits next to me wearing headphones most of the day.
We walk down the sidewalk, hallway or street and fail to look people in the eye. We’ve become so isolated in our so called oneness with self that we’ve shut off contact with people around us. Sure, we interact at work or at the check out counter but that cannot count for much because there is not any kind of communication going on. Where I grew up as a child, it was rude if you did not waive at people in passing cars; whether you were in a car going the other direction, walking down the street or sitting on your front porch. Years later when I visit, it is still the same.
Are these actions we see every day part of the reason that the self is empty as the director from the article said?
I think he is going on a slightly different path that I am taking here, but what I have realized and am trying to explain is that all this technology we have has made us forget how to listen, how to focus, how to breathe even.
Sensory overload of the spirit might be applicable here.
So, I say turn off those mp-3 players. Ditch those cell phones for a day. Stopping checking your email for a while. Meet your neighbors-- I bet half of the people who might read this don’t know both people living on either side of their house. Better yet, go to the park and have a picnic. Listen to the world around you.
You will be glad you did.