Maybe technology can offer a little inspiration on how we can all feel more connected … particularly right after a divisive election.
When I say “connected” I don’t mean like on Twitter or facebook. I already know what lots of folks ate for dinner last night, their favorite NFL teams and what their kids were for Halloween.
I’m talking about a deeper level of connection. One that doesn’t have a flip side in broadcasting our differences and points of separation. I think technology can help us see that we live in one world in which everything is connected. We all have more in common than in contrast. There is a central nervous system to life, and we are all a part of it.
I’m sure you’ve read about the “Internet of Things” or “IoT” for short. It’s been around for a few years, and it’s captured the imagination of the technology world. It is the emerging reality of a completely interconnected world. Though its concept is still infinitely bigger than its reality, it has us dreaming of great things.
It’s like the world inside your iPhone in which all the components are connected to a central intelligence and inform one another and work together. It’s a network of sensors, devices …. “things” … all talking to one another.
To a small degree, “IoT” is already happening … coffee pots talking to clocks. Thermostats and light switches talking to motion detectors. But imagine the possibilities in which sensors can be added to the process of mixing concrete. So when a road or bridge is built, we have built-in intelligence that can determine stress in bridges, dangerous road conditions like ice or potholes, precise traffic conditions.
This technology is also called the “Internet of Everything” (IoE) which I like better because it tells of even more unlimited potential.
Maybe this type of technology will be the thing to push us over the cognitive edge and finally realize how deeply connected we already are. We all breathe the same air. We are all susceptible to the same law of gravity. We all require the basic ingredients of shelter, food and water to survive. One hour is still the same amount of time for one as it is another. While we all have different pasts and futures, we all equally share the same present moment.
In Aikido, Shinichi Tohei sensei teaches that we need to “change our concept” about a situation to understand how deeply connected we already are, despite our best efforts to think about separation.
Shinichi Tohei sensei uses a great example about trying to move someone. Rather than think “I” am going to move “You” — which is a thought that inherently creates separation — let’s change our concept. Instead, let’s think “we move together”. If we think about things as two separate forces, that thought immediately invites conflict. Separation is conflict. However, if we think that we are already connected and one thing, there is no conflict in “moving together”. It is simply a natural conclusion of our relationship.
Perhaps I’m naive to think that technology could be a missing link for having us realize something that’s always existed. But it feels like it’s certainly headed it that direction.
“The Internet of Everything” is a timely and healing way to think about the idea that we are all connected and moving together.