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Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Staying Focused in an Internet Age of Distractions - The Radio Blog

Staying Focused in an Internet Age of Distractions - The Radio Blog
By James Bean

The folk musician Pete Seeger once said: "Technology will save us if it doesn't wipe us out first." The same Internet that creates an avenue for cyber-attacks is also providing the opportunity for people from all nations (imaginary lines drawn on maps but not visible from space) to be able to communicate with one another, hopefully affirming their desire for life, love, prosperity, and working out their differences. 

The Internet could save the world by empowering its people to collectively save themselves. Seeger often made coments about radio and "democratizing technology", expressing the hope that: "Maybe the 21st Century will be the Century of the Democratization of Technology. This is Pete Seeger signing off and saying don't forget to make music yourselves." Actually his famous song "Little Boxes" reminds me of the world of radio as it once was just a few short years ago, in what now can be described as the pre Internet age: "Little boxes on the hillside, little boxes made of ticky tacky, little boxes, little boxes, little boxes, all the same. There's a green one, and a pink one, and a blue one, and a yellow one, and they're all made out of ticky tacky, and they all look just the same." The full song at Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ywgJLw21UqU

The mediocrity (media-ocrity) of the "vast wasteland" of channels and frequencies, with all it's conformity, is finally being transcended in this Internet Age. Rather than remaining limited to a handful of local media outlets zealously preaching a gospel of rock, country, or right-wing political talk radio, the global "Democratization of Technology" is just a mouse-click away. 

Now everyone potentially has a microphone, a blog, an ability to access information, to network, to share ideas and organize new communities as never before in all of human history. Now many with an urge to broadcast, can do so. One might say the creative human spirit is finally free, and: "This time it was right, it would work, and no one would have to get nailed to anything." (Douglas Adams, "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy")

Yet, there is always the danger that the same dullness-of-spirit that reflected and echoed back to us a vast media wasteland of "five hundred channels and still nothing on", could end up dumbing down, slowing down, over-regulating, or filtering this great Type One Civilization means of global communication known as the Internet. There are growing signs of this already, both near and far.

Still, I think at present, the greatest danger for now is people failing to prioritize, failing to pay enough close attention to, and support, the causes that are most important to them. In the pre Internet Age the problem was denial or slowness of information - lack of access, only a limited number of speakers, microphones, and channels. These days however, the main concern is our attention being scattered. We are drowning in a sea of information ranging from the ridiculous to the sublime, and hopefully not multitasking ourselves into a new vast cyber wasteland. Facebook for example. My opinion is that, for some, the Facebook experience is getting to be a bit scattered, out-of-focus. As people not only join a few groups and pages that reflect the causes they really care about, but also join ("Like") hundreds or perhaps even thousands! of additional pages, how can one pay attention to much of anything anymore? 

It is the same for Internet radio. May the creative voices stand out, be heard, not submerged below the noise level, not lost in the static, not starving and dehydrating. May the creative people, the webcasters with a vision for a positive future for humanity and the planet we call home, the innovative, truly receive the support they need, so that these torchbearers may thrive, teach, transform -- being many stars collectively forming one light. HealthyLife.Net radio network holds a torch and has lighted the way in internet radio since 2002. The metaphor of the musician: If a street musician is a masterful player, throw some "coins" into his hat or guitar case, and you may get to enjoy hearing him again and again. Without the musician there is no music. 

"A human being's attention is the most precious treasure he possesses." (Edward Salim Michael, "The Law of Attention - Nada Yoga and the Way of Inner Vigilance")  

"All peoples of this earth weigh equal,
Heading as they are toward one goal, common to all....
Let all come forth and march in loving union;
The greater the trials, the more united we shall be.
Together we shall overpower the onslaught of time,
And learn to light the torch of love in one and all......
Let us find the remedy which raises us from the
wheel of life,
Fills our whole being with love, and alchemizes us
into the divine."
(Darshan Singh, from, "The Cry of the Soul")