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A hopeful approach for the future of international relations.

Redirect teen rebellion towards idealism and self improvement.

Read excerpts from unpublished book: Science, Religion and the Search for God —Bridging the Gap.

Poems of society, the human condition, and spiritual discovery.

Our student activities and curriculum materials instill an environmental, cultural, and global perspective, and integrate various academic disciplines.

archives archives archives
Archives 2002:
Vol. 1, Numbers 1-12

Read past articles including:
Hope for the Future
Six Part Series on Science and Religion
First Three Parts of the Series on Leadership
Archives 2003:
Vol. 2, Numbers 1-12

Read past articles including:
Series on Leadership continued
Avoiding Dictatorship in a Free Society

Art and Politics
Living the Good Life
Teaching Teens
World Peace in Less Than a Month?
Archives 2004:
Vol. 3, Numbers 1-12

Read past articles including:
Seven Part Series on Global Consciousness
Is "Liberal" a Dirty Word?
Can Idealism Solve Problems?
Peace on Earth, Goodwill to All

Archives 2005:
Vol. 4, Numbers 1-12

Read past articles including:
Standing up for Humanity
Unity in Diversity

Thought and Imagination
Imagination and Healing
Lessons of Katrina
Intelligent Design or Evolution

Archives 2006:
Vol. 5, Numbers 1-12

Read past articles including:
Human Programming and Conflict
Non-Violent Political Change
Sustainable Development
Legalizing Torture
Living Without an Enemy
"Fast Food" is really "Slow Food"


Featured Articles about Responsibility, the Future and Consciousness:

Hope for the Future
Series on Leadership
Series on Global Consciousness
World Peace in Less Than a Month?
Can Idealism Solve Problems?
Conflict, Harmony and Integrity
Human Programming and Conflict
Non-violent Political Change
Living Without an Enemy
Protecting Children: Words and Deeds




June, 2008
7, Number 6

This Month's Article

iGods and Connectivity

When I call my students’ MP3 players “iGods” I get reactions from rolled eyes to laughter to “why do you call them iGods?” I respond that it is because they worship them and even practice religious one-ups-man-ship, touting their gigabytes, colors and skins. They are adepts in covert listening when in class. Long hair is not just a fashion statement these days, but also a way to hide earphones and wires that are hidden beneath shirts.

I wonder what kind of community will evolve where most people are wrapped in a sound sphere of their own choosing. Given that life perceptions are largely subjective, what will be the result of each person experiencing even the same events to a different sound track? Will life seem the same to a person whose sound track is rap compared to a person who spends the day in a 60’s rock and roll musical, or bouncing to the rhythms of salsa? The possibilities are as endless as there are people. How does such insulation prevent us from acknowledging others or meeting others’ needs?

The promise of technology to connect people into communities that are not based on geography or other demographic considerations is great, and many positive results have impacted our lives. Nevertheless, when I see the desperate isolation of kids checking for text messages that are as important as “What’s up? I’m bored,” or “I’m in the 300 hallway, where are you?” I wonder if perhaps kids are not missing the sense of place beyond their cell phone display, or the nuances of the relationships that surround them.

Cell phones and “iGods” have produced a sense of security that makes many people feel protected from the challenges of real human interaction, and makes them feel that they are not alone. However, in reality they are even more alone and are cutting themselves off from experiences that may expand their horizons and teach them. When they are in their comfort zone of the familiar that they have created, they are stagnant beings, at the mercy of their gadgets.

We have all witnessed cell phone moments that are rude or comical commentaries on the oblivious state enabled by personal communication devices. Some years ago I was in the power tool department of Home Depot while a customer was having a cell phone argument with his wife/significant other. While shouting at her he continued to calmly inspect the circular saws. What a disconnect between verbal and body language! (Unless the circular saw was somehow related to his current mental state….) Our technology has made it so easy to just push a button and enjoy people or turn them off rather than dealing with them face to face.

The everyday tools of modern communication may enhance our humanity if we are their masters and use them to create better relationships and keener perception of nature and of other people. They may promote better relationships when not used simply for insulating us from living responsibly.

Any good invention may be beneficial when it helps us explore and express our human gifts and creativity better. At this point of human evolution listening to and understanding others are essential to a civil life. Peace is not simply the avoidance of conflict; rather it is active involvement improving the lives of oneself and others — of building community.

An exchange student from Mexico wrote an essay about her impressions of young Americans before and after getting to know them. She wrote that at first they seemed to be preoccupied with materialistic possessions — their clothes, iPods, cell phones, and so forth. However, when she asked them about their goals for the future, the majority said that they wanted to do something to help others. Her conclusion was that there was a big difference between how they act and their inner values. The test of society then would seem to be how to nurture those values that connect us in the fabric of community so they become a way of life.

© 2008 Richard V. Sidy

Read Related Poems and Articles



Cell Phones

Hush and Listen

Downcast Eyes

Passing By




Standing Up for Humanity

The Poetic Mind

I Know I'm Not Alone — The wisdom of Michael Franti

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Archives 2005
Volumn 4
January: "Standing up for Humanity"
February: "The Wake of Disaster" – a poem
March: "Unity in Diversity
April: "Life is Calling"
May: "Entertainment" – a poem
June: "Thought and Imagination" part 1
July: "Thought and Imagination" part 2
August: "Imagination and Healing"
September: "Malice or Neglect? – Lessons of Katrina"
October: "Protecting Children"
November: "Intelligent Design or Evolution?"
December: "Building with one hand, destroying with the other"
Archives 2006
Volumn 5

January: "Conflict, Harmony, and Integrity"
February: "Satyagraha or Soul-force and Political Change"
March: "I Know I'm Not Alone - Wisdom of Michael Franti"
April: "Human Programming and Conflict Part I"
May: "Human Programming and Conflict Part II"
June: "Soccer Diplomacy"
July: "Sustainable Development is Nature's Way
August: "Parallel Universes"
September: "The News is not New"
October: "Legalizing Torture"
November: "Living Without an Enemy"
December: "Fast Food is really Slow Food"

Archives 2007
Volumn 6

January: "State of Fear"
February: Criminal Justice - "The Powerful Over the Weak"
March: "Culture Shock: The Good Life and Survival"
April: "March Madness"
May: "No Child Left Behind" Leaves Many Teachers Behind
June: "Personal Ecology"
July: Criminal Justice - "The Ethic of Custodianship"
August: "Exploring the Mind - part 1"
September: "Exploring the Mind - part 2: The Poetic Mind
October: "How Much Pain Can We Stand?"
November: "When Languages Disappear"
December: "Is it Enough to be Tolerant?"

Archives 2008
Volumn 7

January: "Beyond Ideology: Politics of the Future "
February: "Beyond the Bush Years"
March: "The Imaginary Economy - Part I
April: "The Imaginary Economy - Part II
May: Questions from Prison
June: "iGods and Connectivity"
July: "Energy Independence"
August: "Tribalism and the 2008 Elections
September: "Guilt, Shame and U.S. Justice"
October: "Have We Been Willing Slaves?"
November: "Are We Ready for the Future?"
December: "Are we done learning from pain?"

Archives 2009
Volumn 8

January: "Awakening"
February: "When Sacrifice is no Sacrifice"
March: "The Good New Days"
April: "The Power of Metaphor"
May: "The Conflict of Mythologies"
June: "The Time is Right"
July: "The New Anarchy"
August: "The Art of Living"
September: "Outrage"
October: "Are Women Becoming More Unhappy?

November: "Effect of the manufacturing culture on the American Psyche"
December: Who are the Real Game Changers?

Archives 2010
Volumn 9

January: The Music of Place
February: Earthquakes and Other Awakenings
March: Sense of Place, Sense of Self, Sense of Humanity
April: Why Do People Serve?
May: Decentralizing Food and Energy
June: Beyond Reading and Writing — Ecological literacy
July: Organization or Organism?
August: Fear and Cynicism = “Inter-fear-ance”
September: Are we afraid of our "Better Angels?"
October: Choosing Our Battles
November: Meeting the Need
December: A Living Canvas

Diplomacy Help for Teens Science and Religion Poetry Archives
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