Posts Tagged ‘Information Age’

“By way of compensation for the loss of a world that pulsed with our blood and breathed with our breath, we have developed an enthusiasm for facts – mountains of facts, far beyond any single individual’s power to survey… The facts bury us…”

C.G. Jung (CW 11, par. 767)

Jung wrote these words in 1939! What would he say of today’s world with cloud computing, massive data centers and Google? We live in an Age of Information, in which ‘mountains of facts’ reside at our fingertips. It is estimated that every two days we create as much information as existed from the dawn of civilization to the year 2003. Yes, every two days! In the same paragraph, Jung goes on to say that:

“We have the pious hope that this incidental accumulation of facts will form a meaningful whole, but nobody is quite sure, because no human brain can possibly comprehend the gigantic sum total of this mass-produced knowledge.”

Our increasing technological prowess has created a race to accumulate more and more facts. I am not opposed to the gathering of information. Those beautiful pictures of Earth from space are the result of such an effort. Let us also not forget the luminous pictures of deep space from the Hubble telescope. Scientific knowledge is rooted in the accumulation of facts. But we seem to have entered a place where we feel compelled to accumulate facts indiscriminately. We no longer reflect on what we are accumulating.

Jung is concerned that this process of indiscriminate accumulation arises to compensate for our loss of experiencing a living, pulsing world. It is as if we are trying to replace a lived experience of the world with a representation of that world. We are choosing to look at images of nature, rather than walking away from our laptops and going outdoors. In this fast paced world, we feel we have little time for a direct experience of the animate world. We look at it on a screen. Is this why so many are seduced into ‘reality’ television? Have we reached a point where people want to live vicarious lives through images on their TV screen, rather than living their own lives?

This week, choose to walk away from your screen for an hour. Go outside and touch the earth.

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