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SciTech Faith and Facebook: The Spiritual Pitfalls of an Online Existence

Discussion in 'Breaking News' started by spnadmin, Mar 5, 2011.

  1. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Yasmin Mogahed

    Yasmin Mogahed is an internationally published writer and instructor of communications.
    Posted: February 28, 2011 10:00 PM



    We live in an iWorld. Surrounded by iPhones, iPads, MYspace, YOUtube, the focus is clear: Me, my, I. One need not look far to see this obsession with the self. In order to sell, advertisers must appeal to the ego. For example, many ads appeal to the part of us that loves power and being in charge. DirectTV tells you: "Don't watch TV, direct TV!" Yogurtland says: "You rule! Welcome to the land of endless yogurt possibilities, where you rule the portions, the choices and the scene."

    But advertisers aren't the only ones who appeal to our ego. There is a global phenomenon that provides a breeding ground and platform for that ego. And it's called Facebook. Now, I'll be the first to assert that Facebook can be a powerful tool for good. It is, like many other things, what you make of it. A knife can be used to cut food which feeds the hungry, or it can be used to kill someone. Facebook can be used for great good -- after all it was Facebook that helped facilitate the toppling of a dictator. Facebook can be used as a powerful tool to organize, call, remind and unite. Facebook can also be used to strengthen our connection to God and to each other ... or Facebook can be used to strengthen the hold of our ego.

    The Facebook phenomenon is an interesting one. In each and every one of us is an ego. It is the part of ourselves that must be suppressed (if we are to avoid Anakin's fate of turning to the dark side, that is). The danger of feeding the ego is that, as the ego is fed, it becomes strong. When it becomes strong, it begins to rule us.

    The ego is the part of us that loves power. It is the part that loves to be seen, recognized, praised, and adored. Facebook provides a powerful platform for this. It provides a platform by which every word, picture, or thought I have can be seen, praised, 'liked'. As a result, I begin to seek this. But then it doesn't just stay in the cyber world. I begin even to live my life with this visibility in mind. Suddenly, I live every experience, every photo, every thought, as if it's being watched, because in the back of my mind I'm thinking, "I'll put it on Facebook." This creates a very interesting state of being, almost a constant sense that I am living my life on display. I become ever conscious of being watched, because everything can be put up on Facebook for others to see and comment on.

    More importantly, it creates a false sense of self-importance, where every insignificant move I make is of international importance. Soon I become the focus, the one on display. The message is: I am so important. My life is so important. Every move I make is so important. The result becomes an even stronger me-focused world, where I am at the center.

    As it turns out, this result is diametrically opposed to the Reality of spiritual existence. The goal of that existence is to realize the Truth of God's greatness and my own insignificance and need before Him. The goal is to take myself out of the center and put Him there instead. But Facebook perpetuates the illusion of the exact opposite. It strengthens my belief that because of my own importance, every inconsequential move or thought should be on display. Suddenly what I ate for breakfast or bought at the grocery store is news important enough to publish. When I put up a picture, I wait for compliments; I wait for acknowledgement and recognition. With the number of likes or comments, even physical beauty becomes something that can now be quantified. When I put up a post, I wait for it to be 'liked'. And I am ever conscious of -- and even compete in -- the number of "friends" I have. (Friends, here, is in quotation marks because many people don't know 80% of their "friends" on Facebook.)

    Facebook also strengthens another dangerous focus: the focus on other people, what they're doing, what they like. What they think of me. Facebook feeds the preoccupation with others' assessment of me. Soon, I enter the orbit of the creation. Inside that orbit, my definitions, my pain, my happiness, my self-worth, my success and my failure is determined by the creation. When I live in that orbit, I rise and fall with the creation. When the people are happy with me, I'm up. When they're not, I fall. Where I stand is defined by people. I'm like a prisoner because I have given up the keys to my happiness, sadness, fulfillment, and disappointment to the people to hold.

    Once I enter and live in the orbit of the creation -- rather than the orbit of God -- I begin to use that currency. See, the currency of God's orbit is: His pleasure or His displeasure, His reward or His punishment. But, the currency of the orbit of creation is: the praise and criticism of people. So, as I enter deeper and deeper into that orbit, I covet more and more of its currency, and I fear more and more of its loss. While I'm playing Monopoly, for example, I covet more and more of its' currency. And it feels great to be 'rich' for a moment. But when the game is over, what can I buy in the Real world with Monopoly money?

    The human currency of praise is Monopoly money. It feels great for a moment to collect, but when the game is over, it's worthless. In the Reality of this life and the next, it's worthless. But the deeper and deeper I enter into that orbit, the more I become consumed with gaining human praise, approval and recognition. The more I enter that orbit, the more I fear loss -- loss of face, loss of status, loss of praise, loss of approval.

    But the more I fear the people, the more I become enslaved. True freedom only comes when I let go of the fear of anything and anyone other than God.

    In a profound Prophetic teaching, a man came to the Prophet and said: "O Messenger of God, direct me to an act, which if I do, God will love me and people will love me." He said: "Detach yourself from the world, and God will love you. Detach yourself from what is with the people, and the people will love you."

    Ironically, the less we chase after the approval and love of the people, the more we gain it. The less needy we are of others, the more people are drawn to us and seek our company. This teaches us a profound Truth. Only by breaking out of the orbit of the creation, can we succeed with both God and people.

    So while Facebook is indeed a powerful tool, let it be a tool of your freedom -- not a tool of your servitude to yourself and the assessment of others.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/yasmin-mogahed/facebook-the-hidden-dange_b_828928.html
     

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  3. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    I was extremely moved by a comment just posted by a new member. I will not divulge the identity of this individual because he was only stopping by and only wanted to leave some thoughts for us to ponder. But I find them truly relevant to what the article above is asking all of us to think about, before technology gets in our way. Here are his thoughts.

     
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  4. jsingh03

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    wow great post! :D
     
  5. ravneet_sb

    ravneet_sb India
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    sat sri akaal,

    if we understand the creation
    no thing existing as absolute positive or absolute negative

    like a coin
    it has both head and tail
    like any atom
    it has equal protons and electrons
    and if not it is unstable

    so be it any thing/thought/ it exists as both negative and positive

    to live co existence of positive and negative is required
    what is required that balance needs to be maintained to have stable life

    this is way of life
    understanding of this creation leads to balanced life


    it's foolish to seek all positive or feel all negative
    existence is both

    bigger the positive, bigger is negative
    be it ego or any e motion


    humans blame others for negative and "i" am positive
    simply impossible

    "i" am both positive and negative
    "tu hi savare tu hi bigare"
    is jag ke saare kaam

    "hey ram hey ram"
    ultimate balanced state of mind

    if negative is not there positive will never be appraised


    "waheguru ji ka khalsa
    waheguru ji ji fateh"
     
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  6. Ambarsaria

    Ambarsaria Canada
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    spnadmin ji thanks for the wonderful effort to bring thought provoking writings into view for spn'ers.

    I take the "Mool Mantar" as follows and suggest a practical interpretation for thought,

    So if God (embodiment of an understanding of the truth as to all) is everywhere and in each of us are we wrong or should we be aspiring to understand and acts as,


    • God is one and is known as the truth
      • So we should say what is on our mind to be true to ourselves and God within
      • As our understanding of God improves, we will continue to be transparent and better in our dealings
      • No double talk will help
      • You won't carry the burden of double-speak which entails 1000's more double speaks to camouflage the first (you have to tell a thousand lies to cover one lie)
    • is the creator of all
      • No one is good, bad or evil by birth or origin
      • We are all the same
      • Its only our deviations from the truth that will see us perceived or recognized as different
      • But in spite, each retains the potential at all times to be like anyone good, bad or ugly
    • present everywhere
      • Compassion and understanding of all is the universal truth to recognize this
      • As in each it is the same
    • without fear
      • With truth the grounds for fear disappear as it is an affect more potent than untruths
      • With truth one needs to stand and deal with fear of consequences
      • A compromise in fear will only weaken the sustenance of truth inside
    • without animosity
      • Speak and actions shall be directed by truth
      • Actions and behaviors should be impartial
    • is timeless
      • Time has no meaning in spirituality or understanding of truth
      • Truth cannot change and it is good to understand rather than wish it would
    • is not guided by life cycles
      • As the infinite source of all continues and prevails, one's birth or death is irrelevant
      • You are related to all living and all dead
      • You will be related to all to be
      • A selfless view will remove hindrances towards living the truth
    • is a self creation and is realized through its own (Guru/God) blessing.
      • In life activities will continue for the oneness and truth
      • Different activities or relationships will prevail now from the past into the present and forward onto the future
    Just some thoughts.

    What you think?

    Regards,

    Sat Sri akal.
     
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  7. darredondo

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    Facebook is an Illness, an addiction. People have started putting it ahead of everything else. I have logged on at odd hours of the night to check for new posts. My co-worker does 2 hrs days work, and six on Facebook. Ahankar will consume us, if we are not careful. Just like the drugaddict lives for his "hit", so will Facebook Addicts live for your approval.swordfight Will we be faithful enough to overcome our addiction?animatedkhanda1
     
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  8. Ambarsaria

    Ambarsaria Canada
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    There is a border line between medicine and poison! Show me a drug today, one day there will be a good use for it and vice versa.

    Internet itself can be mother of all drugs, forget the Facebook, Twitter, MSN, Net Games, Net Poker, and the like.

    Sat Sri Akal.
     
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  9. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    I cannot disagree with darredondo ji. in fact that is in big part the message of the author of the article. The author does not plumb too much into the other side of this story. The search for approval is accompanied by its underside, fear of exclusion and disapproval. So one rushes to advertise oneself as admirable lest one be found defective in some way. But she starts to get at it in these words:

    But it is her message of spirituality lost that really struck home with me. This is too much to give up, too much to throw away.
    That motivated me to post the story:

    Thanks for your response.
     
  10. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Ambarsaria ji

    It is wonderful how you managed to give such a rich antidote to cure the rash of self absorption, the illness that social networks offer in such a tempting way. Maybe this is our veil of illusion for the 21st century which we must tear away. The mool mantar is the scaffolding, and within each layer are many reminders from Gurbani as to how each step is achieved. A real gift you have given to put it all together the way you did. Just one example,
    Facebook is only one place where one can either find or lose one's soul (a figure of speech). As long as we form communities in the electronic world, even on a forum like this one, where tragedies become spectacles where blaming goes on, we are not using the technology to connect but to disconnect, especially from whatever resources we have within. The article really excited me for that reason.
     
  11. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    ravneet_sb ji

    This is not the fault of facebook, but the challenge. You have written the next chapter so to speak. How do we shape social technologies so that they enhance our social, emotional and spiritual development.

     
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  12. Ambarsaria

    Ambarsaria Canada
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    In the same vein I saw that MSN was a disease and may be some one will sue Microsoft for destroying so many young lives through over-indulgence in messaging and entering into a "counter productive La-La land". It could also be the generation gap, as kids will most likely disagreepeacesign.

    I am not on Facebook but it appears it fills some of the voids where the local village has kind of evaporated with people bubbled-in in their homes and kids even more so as a growing trend.

    Again wise use of a tool allows you to make something, and ill use leads you to destroy something.

    Are all the Facebook users Facebook readypeacesign

    Sat Sri Akal.
     
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  13. ravneet_sb

    ravneet_sb India
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    sat sri akaal,

    "social development" is development of "sat sangat" who are attached to "guru" through "guru's bani" and reflected in individual actions.

    Thought (mind) astral
    speech(spirit) spiritual
    and action (body) physical
    are required to be in straight line

    this is first "sidhi" very very very very ..... Difficult to achieve


    "emotion" has no physical relevance is "imaginary"
    we should understand e motion to understand th real world
    "bhav sagar tarna"
    crossing world of emotion,
    tu understand and to crossover is again a difficult task


    "spirituality" is third stage
    "expression" of the "nature"
    formation of words

    its like
    newton expressed "gravity"

    though "gravity" was existing in nature, he gave a word to the nature

    only 4% of nature is comprehended,
    rest is still invisible to humans

    one's own control over mind control's lot, one can realise the world changing.
     
  14. Harry Rakhraj

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    Thank you SPN, for publishing this extremely topical and thought provoking Article by Yasmin Mogahed.
    I wish you would bring out more such writings. It's what draws simple folk like me to
    SPN, in the very first place.
     
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  15. Kunwar

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    In fact, Two days ago i deactivated my account for good; i had this lurking fear, that i would lose contact..then it occurs to me, lose contact with whom?
    The main reason for me to quit FB, was that because there was this weird voice in me..cynical at people who posted stuff..liked by many people irrespective of its content.. And lately my existence had been compromised so much so that i was evicted from myself and my emotions. Just what the author has expressed so ardently.
    With the advent of the digital, close circuited world, with wired lives, and gps emotions; everything that is human which is solely love in its different forms has become an article, a topic for criticism and abduction.

    FaceBook and a lot of other applications have become a substitute for soul searching and the epiphany which results from a path independent of anyone else's path's judgement.
    We need to open our eyes, not in a group not as another movement but as a realization that spiritually and individually we're heading for an Armageddon.
     
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  16. otilia

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    Yes.. it is very touchy indeed.... the essence of what religion should be and what most forgot...and what sikkhi keeps more vivid!!!!!
    Thanks for reminding it Spnadminpeacesignkaur
    Otilia
     
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  17. gsingh2011

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    I agree with the poster 100%. In fact, when he was describing what facebook does to you, it felt like he was talking about me.

    But the truth is that is life. There are plenty of things in the world that can take us off the path. Like you said Facebook is good and bad. So is everything else in the world. We should not just cut ourselves off from the world to avoid all of the bad things, and in the same way we should not cut ourselves off from Facebook (unless we truly do not enjoy being on it). We need to live with all of these things, we need to live in the contemporary society and conquer our own minds so we do not get addicted and get a larger ego.

    So its good to understand what facebook does to you, but deactivating it is not the answer (unless again, you are truly bored of it or don't like it). Don't run away from your problem, conquer it.
     
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  18. ballym

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    So, as a summary I will say:
    1.Non-judgemental love is what we need to do... some call it unconditional love.self.
    2. Look within yourself
    3. Need to accept faults/ negatives in life

    Easy to say but difficult to follow. Simply loving other human beings even if they do not appreciate you is difficult.

    4. Face book... if someone does not like it or internet, it amounts to suppression of information. Just need to keep controls... like with privacy/internet security and www protocols.Everything has positive and negative aspects.... need is to have it in controlled doses.N ot liking Facebook is again judgemental!
     
  19. angie414

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    Everybody follows trends, and it's become a status symbol to be able to spend a fortune on worthless gadgets these days. Temptation is a human weakness, and this exploitation is what society has become--brain-washed slaves of technology. I think that in another 20 years from now we won't be able to so much as get dressed without the help of some hi-tech electronic gadget whose software tells us what and how to wear our clothing! We need to free our mind of technology just long enough to appreciate the glory of God and what He put around us (that is being gradually destroyed each day) before it's all gone. Facebook has become an addiction to almost everyone who uses it regularly (many seem to never get off it). But I don't blame Facebook--it's what's become of the world; greed, power and envy are what enslaves people to spend countless hours at a time sending messages, many which are no more than mindless gossip, just for their entertainment, but on the bright side, it does transmit a wealth of good information!
     
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