Our present society differs considerably from that of only two generations ago. So much has changed in our world. How people communicate and how they are entertained has altered greatly in only the past thirty years. Everything from modes of transportation, to how we store our food differs from the past. The nature of our work has changed and in some cases the roles of members of the family.
Back in January of this year news reports started appearing regarding possible bans on actors and musicians who openly display their tattoos in Chinese media. Time magazine wrote an article describing how the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television of the People’s Republic of China (SAPPRFT) were bringing out new rules for state television.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like were supposed to bring all of us together. Instead, they are dividing our society and reshaping our minds.
All of us are profoundly affected by changing technologies. Many of you reading this have a Facebook page or a Twitter account, or may use other platforms like Instagram and Snapchat. We take computers and platforms for granted, as though they always existed. How our world has transformed over the last 30 years!
The Internet is an encyclopedia of easily accessible information. Ask your smartphone a question and a female voice will come back with the answer in a matter of seconds. Now children can give orders to Alexa and Cortana: “Alexa, vacuum my room.” “Cortana, turn on the light.”
The benefits of these new technologies, devices and programs are obvious, but are cracks in our electronic media structure beginning to appear? Some authorities say yes, and are sounding alarm bells. For instance, there are privacy concerns. How much of our private lives is sold and to whom? Are Google, Amazon, Microsoft or others eavesdropping on us? Who may be hacking into our home security systems? But the concerns go further. What is this new world doing to us, and where are we heading? The World Wide Web, social media and the devices that make it all possible are changing how we spend our time, how we communicate and how we relate with one another.
Take, for example, Alexa and similar “digital assistant” devices. Some authorities are concerned that small children can become confused over the difference between real and imaginary people. They have concerns regarding communication skills. Who is teaching please and thank you? Who is monitoring the tone of voice and attitude? Are we training our children to become bossy—“unfriendly users” of “user friendly” devices? Will they relate with real people the same way?
And, is Alexa or Cortana replacing God in their lives? Consider this: “Alexa, ask meditation studio to play a meditation.” Your child may get what is described as follows: “Slow breathing is yoga practice that increases oxygen levels in your brain and expels toxins, reduces stress, boosts the immune system and strengthens the lungs and heart.” That sounds innocuous enough to many, but is it? Does it simply help one relax, or open one to Hindu practices and ideas about what meditation is?
China, during the Spring and Autumn Period (1045-221 BC), was a turbulent place. While a time of economic and infrastructure development, it was also a time of conflict and intrigue – an era that saw the flowering of Chinese philosophy which sought largely to answer the question of how society and government should be ordered to achieve social harmony and peaceful development.
How often most of us have heard others say, “Experience is the best teacher.” But is it? Experience is certainly one way to learn, and for many it is a sure teacher. This is because experience is often painful, and we generally do not want to repeat what is painful. However, some people never seem to learn! They continue to repeat the same mistakes over and over again. You probably know someone like that.
Most of us have picked up some sand between our fingers and observed how small and insignificant it looks. When we find some on the floor of our home, we don’t value it but sweep it up and throw it out.
But we can learn many interesting aspects from a grain of sand, which might surprise you.