The Online Double-bind

The trap was set at least twenty-five years ago and the mice jumped at the smell of the cheese.  I am referring to the introduction of the computer as a mass necessity and the Internet that followed. I was slow to enter the trap, “forced” finally in 2007 by the college where I was teaching. Up to that point I was just a member of The Lead Pencil Club, whose motto was “a speed bump on the information superhighway” and whose membership list numbered twenty-three and a half people worldwide. When I slowly and reluctantly reached for the cheese, the trap snapped not on my neck to finish me, but on my head that was half in and half out.  The out part kept thinking.  What follows are that half-head’s musings on why I didn’t follow my intuition, the whole damn sorry situation we are all in, and what we might do to spring the trap and run free.  I don’t like this trapped feeling.  And, by the way, the cheese was American, which is not exactly real cheese.

In 1960 the sociologist C. Wright Mills said that there was far too much information for people to assimilate and make sense of and that lucid summations were needed.  He was echoing Thoreau who in 1854 said, “If you are acquainted with the principle, what do you care for a myriad instances and applications?” Mills said people needed to develop what he called the sociological imagination that would allow them to condense and simplify news and to connect personal and social matters within historical and structural contexts.

That was the long-lost era of newspapers, long-form paper magazines, the reading of books, and minimal television stations.  To think that there was far too much information then can only make one laugh, now that the digital revolution has buried us in data, information, and “breaking news” at warp speed, usually contradictory and lacking context.  The internet has literally made people crazy, created schizoid or split personalities who don’t know whether they are coming or going or what world they are in, physical or virtual.  This is the era of social schizophrenia.  It is also the era of Covid-19 lockdowns when a far greater online life is promoted as the necessary future.

If people once felt that all the information was too confusing and they were ending up thinking and doing things ass-backwards as a result, back then they might have understood it if you told them that the only way you can do anything is ass-backwards.  Today, many would probably greet you with a look of bewilderment as they googled it to see if there was a way to swivel their asses to the front to get adjusted to the way they feel while waiting online for clear directions to emerge.  Which way does an ass go?

They will be waiting for a long, long time.

The Internet is a double-bind because we are damned if we do and damned if we don’t. News, writing, and information of all sorts is now often not available any other way. The era of paper newspapers is coming to an end. This was meant to be. Other sources of fact and fiction have gradually been eliminated, while the content on the Internet has been dramatically increased and progressively censored. The dream of an open Internet is turning into a nightmare. If you look at the Internet’s  creation and development by the U.S. military-intelligence-Silicon Valley network as a tool for social control, propaganda, and total spying, if you grasp this nexus and their intentions, you will come away realizing that the Internet and the total integrated digital world is a dystopian tool designed to make you crazy.  To sow confusion and endless contradictory information from minute to minute. To “flood the zone” (see Event 201) with propaganda and disinformation. To give you a headache, keep you agitated, and destroy your genuine human experience in the physical world. To put you into a state of frenetic passivity while whispering in your ear that there is no escape, while allowing elements of truth to emerge to keep you addicted.

This is the double-bind. It is what Jacques Ellul in 1964 called the technological society that is ruled by technique in every aspect of its life.  Technique is a way of thinking that emphasizes efficiency; it is a way of thinking that emphasizes order and standardized means to a predetermined end.  It is rational, deliberate, and focused on results.  It is a way of thinking that has penetrated deep into the psychic structures of society and opposes spontaneity and unreflective action.  Machines grow out of technical thinking, and today the computer, the internet, and artificial intelligence are the ideal manifestations of such thinking.  They are the result, not the cause.  As such, digital technology satisfies the technical mindsets that have been created over the decades, which includes regular people who have been gradually softened up to believe these machine dreams.  Efficiency, results, practicality, and speed. The human body as a wonderful machine.

We have all been so conditioned, even those of us old enough to have lived before the computer era. Starting particularly in the early 1990s with the rat-a-tat electronic frenzy of the U.S. televised aggressive war against Iraq, euphemistically called the Gulf War and presented live with round-the-clock television coverage by ghoulish announcers more excited than 13-year-old boys with a porn magazine, the speed of everyday life has increased.  If you lived through those years and were sensitive to the social drift, you could feel the pace of life pick up year-to-year, as everyone was induced to get in the fast lane.  On the information superhighway, it is the only lane.  Paul Virilio, a French thinker, has focused on this issue of speed in his studies of dromology, from dromos: a race, running.  While his language is perhaps too academic, his insights are profound, as with the following point:

The speed of the new optoelectronic and electroacoustic milieu becomes the final void (the void of the quick), a vacuum that no longer depends on the interval between places or things and so on the world’s extension, but on the interface of an instantaneous transmission of remote appearances, on a geographic and geometric retention in which all volume, all relief vanishes.

This is the world of teleconferencing and the online life, existence shorn of physical space and time and people.  A world where shaking hands is a dissident act. A haunted world of specters, words, and images that can appear and disappear in a nanosecond.  A magic show. A place where, in the words of Charles Manson, you can “get the fear,” where fear is king.  A locus where, as we sit at home “sheltering in place,” we are no longer there.  Ernest Hemingway sniffed the future when in The Sun Also Rises, he has the protagonist Jake Barnes say no to Robert Cohn, who wants him to travel to South America with him, with these words: “All countries look like the moving pictures.”  That was 1926.

Things have changed a wee bit since then. But the essence of propaganda and social control remains the same.  “All those people who seek to control the behavior of large numbers of other people work on the experiences of those other people,” wrote R.D. Laing, in The Politics of Experience. “Once people can be induced to experience a situation in a similar way, they can be expected to behave in similar ways.”  Mystification takes place when people can be convinced that a social construction – e.g. the Internet and the digital life – is part of “the natural order of things,” like the air we breathe.  And that life online is real life, better and more real than physical existence.

I believe the digital revolution has gone a long way toward destroying our experience as persons. It is the endless magical mystery tour that goes nowhere.  It is the ultimate psychodrama conjured by a satanic magician.

Do I exaggerate?  Perhaps.  But how else explain the spell this medium has cast on billions of people worldwide?  Did the human race suddenly get smart?  Or are many more people crazy?

I ask myself this question, and now I ask you.  Has the Internet and the devices to access it made your life better or worse? Has it made the life of humanity better or worse? Has its essential role in globalization made for a better world?

Obviously, there are pluses to the Internet, just as there are pluses to almost everything.  I don’t deny that. The plus side of death is that the thought of it reminds you that you are alive. The plus side of television is you don’t have to turn it on. Like you, I could rattle off many good things about the Internet (not cell phones, sorry).  But on the scale of good and bad, where do you come down?  Where do I?

Or is it possible we can’t decide because we are too conflicted and caught in a double-bind?

I am of two minds, or more accurately, two half-heads.  The upper part, pinned in the trap and dead to my situation, can only answer yes, sir, now that I am trapped, my life is better.  I can debate endlessly the minutiae of every issue thrown out like pieces of meat for caged lions.  I can check the weather forecast for every hour of every day of the week, even though I know they will probably be wrong.  I can get directions even though I know you don’t need a director to know which way the roads go.  I can research issues quickly and pontificate as if I were an expert on every matter from a to z.  I can feel I am informed while feeling deformed by the contradictory information that appears and disappears every few minutes.  Essentially, I can feel in-touch and worthy of respect from friends and neighbors because I can exchange empty words with them about nothing.  I can feel so very normal and rejoice in that.  I can feel sane.

On the negative side, well, my lower half-head, the one that’s still thinking lead-pencil thoughts, the slow and easy stuff, the calm cool breeze oh what a lovely day dreams – you don’t really need to hear what it has to bitch about the Internet.  You can probably guess.

In a fine article, “Vicious Cycles: Theses on a philosophy of news,” in Harper’s Magazine, Greg Jackson writes the following about our addiction to so-called “news” (the Internet):

When we turn away from the news, we will confront a startling loneliness.  It is the loneliness of life.  The loneliness of thinking, of having no one to think for us, and of uncertainty.  It is a loneliness that was always there but that was obscured by an illusion, and we will miss the illusion…. And we will miss tuning in each day to hear that voice that cuts boredom and loneliness in its solution of the present tense, that like Scheherazade assures us the story is still unfolding and always will be.  I don’t know whether we can give it up.

Nor do I.



37 thoughts on “The Online Double-bind”

  1. Sep 7, 2018 Elon Musk: Something UNBELIEVABLE Is Happening WORLDWIDE

    You’re not going to believe what is happening in the tech world. This is from September 6 2018. (DISCLAIMER: This channel does not align with Joe Rogan, Elon Musk or their viewpoints, I just want to use these clips as a teaching tool, to expose what is happening. Ephesians 5:11)

    1. I watched the video. Outside the fact about him talking about artificial intelligence being created in a more sophisticated robotic fashion close to the movie iRobot staring Will Smith. He kept mentioning about a possible World War 3 and a possible colonisation on Mars about three times throughout the interview. He went further to explain that this colonisation would be used to repopulate Earth when it is safe to repopulate the Earth again. Again, this was mentioned numerous times. Makes someone wonder if he knows something the rest of us don’t. Also, Nasa has launched a couple of rockets missions lately. Something extra to think about.

  2. I’m 57 and I remember early home computers. They had this thing, this product, they wanted to sell to everyone and there was this search for “the killer app” yep, when email came along it was called the “killer app” and this was barely into the 90s. Before that it was accounting software, games, hell they even, grasping at straws, suggested a computer for organizing recipes.

    Then there was email and AOL, and once the Net became the Web, you had to be on it. But yes I remember fanzines, hell printed magazines in general. I remember High Weirdness By Mail by Reverend Ivan Stang, and obscure zines like The Fortean Times and “Answer Me!” by Jim goad.

    But now we’ve got people who’ve never known a world without the Web, or even without smart phones. Talk about having the attention span of a hummingbird. And if it all goes down, someone like me, I’ll just read a book or do some chores, go foraging or find an anthill to watch, but these kids never played with dirt and bugs and plants because “That’s dirty! Stay inside and play your computer game because it’s safe!”.

    Clifford Stoll wrote two interesting books. One was “The Cuckoo’s Egg” about how he caught a hacker back in the 80s, and his next was “Silicon Snake Oil” about – remember those days? – when computers were pushed like crazy in the 70s and 80s because they were “educational”. I like to think retired astronomer Cliff is out there somewhere still, with a small farm and a creek to fish in, and a nice view of the stars.

  3. Whoa this is beautiful and true. The double bind is extremely insidious–especially for those of us whose work requires us to do a lot of research–ON THE INTERNET of course because even libraries have been somehow dumbed down (I’ve noticed this, actually, but it’s purely subjective.) Now they’re closed anyway (reading books is non-essential. However anything related to “defense” is essential. So you can go program a drone but you can’t go sit in a library.) Another digression–Interesting, too, that libraries have historically been one of the few places the homeless can go to rest their feet. Now, of course, they can’t.
    So–even if we wanted to somehow stop participating in this, it’s almost impossible. Not impossible, but almost. and that’s part of the gradual take over of the non-trapped side of the brain. Give it less and less time.
    Thanks again Ed. I’m glad that at least I can still read your stuff on the internet.

  4. A soothingly well-thought-out piece.

    The Internet (like TV before it) is easily subverted, though: I have always preferred to use it “wrong”. I read and write long-form pieces with my PC, ignore viral “trends” (I was going to list a few here but suddenly realized that, having always ignored them… I can’t), never “surf” on my phone (in fact, the first thing I do when I get a new phone is disable its internet: I’ve never used Google Maps, checked my email in the park, downloaded apps or uploaded pics and geolocational data straight to FB), never read “Yahoo News,” (et al), don’t get desktop notifications for *anything,* refused to Skype or “Zoom” during the Dehumanizing Popular Global House Arrest Vacation Drill… and so on. I use my PC/ Internet like the non-medical, Tricorder-like gear I always longed for as a geeky kid watching the original Star Trek… I do NOT use these tools to voluntarily lock myself into a psycho-electronic web of interchangeably subservient (and disposable) cogs… despite seductive invitations from the demon called Convenience; if there is a long way around something, or a difficult way in, I usually go for it. These tools are marvelous as long as THEY (not WE) are the tools and as long as WE (not THEY) are the users.

    Problem being that people want to “belong”. Many prefer to do things the “appropriate way”… many people love that gold-star, goody-two-shoes feeling. They like the discounts and coupons and pats on the head one gets by toe-ing the line in the Gulag, even if the Gulag (for now) is still strictly an opt-in affair: the gate (for how long?) is always open.

    And, of course, there could be a mammoth post all its own concerning the Vonnegutishly-named pharmaceuticals (and crypto-pharmaceuticals in the tap-water, tooth paste, salt, Twinkies, Big Macs, Coke, et al) which no doubt render us more receptive to the subtle frequencies on which the appropriate definition of “appropriate” is always broadcast.

    Peace On Earth…

    (And thanks, again, for your writing)


  5. Thought-provoking piece. The endquote reminds of how TV is often used as a babysitter for kids, thus the Internet that way with adults. Also Alvin Toffler and his wife Heidi Toffler have written a bunch of books and in “Revolutuonary Wealth” they have a section about “desynchronization” i.e. e.g. bureaucracy and educational system are slow to keep up with current events whereas Internet or you call a friend who helps you fix something right away are fast, the overall gist being that synchronization is an optimal state of things being maintained and care for, whether for a business or for maintaining balance with Mother Earth.

  6. Newton Finn said: My particular escape from or battle with what Ed calls the online double-bind is to immerse myself in books written before it obtained its stranglehold. Recently, I’ve been particularly drawn to works of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

    Newton: I’m doing the same; currently reading Henry James’s ‘Portrait of
    a Lady’, which I started just as this current thing (not sure what to call it), wanting something long-lined that required concentration on something deeper than usual, outside this current tumult. It helps, and I’m glad to hear
    someone else is doing the same.

    1. Newton & Carey–me too. I just re-read Moby Dick (one of my favorites). Also Beckett’s plays. Not sure how much they help, but I haven’t gone completely mad yet. Although for a while I thought I was pretty close.

      1. Ah, thanks for the reminder to read more Beckett-
        timely, no? Maybe Molloy Part II..

      2. Isn’t it strange, Lorie, that a second or third or fourth reading of literature of substance always brings forth new meanings, things missed or misapprehended or underappreciated the first time around? Yet all the time I find inaccurate or superficial commentary on such literature from some opinionated academic, the kind of critic Kierkegaard called a paragraph eater.

        1. yes. It’s almost like I never read Moby Dick–there’s so much I forgot! Like how amazing his language is, the hilarity of Ishmael’s first encounter with Queequeg, the sadness of little Pip…etc., etc. Anyway–this lead into reading Charles Olson’s “Call Me Ishmael”–a sort of poetic essay on Melville. Have you read it? It’s definitely not the take of an opinionated academic (there are enough of those on these here internets fer shure).

    2. Nice to know I have company, Carey. If you’re into genuine philosophy (as opposed to word games) as well as quality literature, you might (if you already haven’t) check out Henry’s brother, William. His essay “The Will to Believe” has become something I read repeatedly and devotionally. Sometimes I like to imagine what a conversation at dinner must have been like in the James’ family, with those two brothers sitting at the table.

      1. Thanks for that rec, Newton. I started into ‘The Varieties of Religious Experience’ once (do I have that title right?), but got overwhelmed and haven’t been
        back to Henry James. Will check it out. Too old for

  7. “The Internet is a double-bind because we are damned if we do and damned if we don’t. News, writing, and information of all sorts is now often not available any other way. The era of paper newspapers is coming to an end. This was meant to be. Other sources of fact and fiction have gradually been eliminated, while the content on the Internet has been dramatically increased and progressively censored. The dream of an open Internet is turning into a nightmare.”

    Ed, you and your blog are today’s pamphleteer with its roots being print. Much like our revolutionary war’s pamphleteers roots were from the English Civil War.

    I will have to qualify all my thoughts with the ever present science speak of ‘may, might or perhaps’ our lives have become the double-blind; the double edged sword; and duality. Unfortunately we are lead and preached to by lunatics masquerading and parading as experts.

  8. I agree that we are (I am) addicted to electronic media, and I agree that smart phones are the worst.

    I disagree that the Internet has made it easier to manage public perceptions. I am 71 years old, and my view of what is real has been turned inside out the last 20 years, thanks to a diversity of information that was not so readily available before. For 30 years, I believed that JFK was murdered by Lee Harvey Oswald. But I only believed that Osama bin Laden attacked the WTC for 3 years. I’ve come retroactively to a very different view of the Cold War. I’m a scientist, and I’ve evolved away from trust of the scientific establishment. I no longer believe in a world made up of individual atoms bouncing around at random until they evolved life and consciousness according to the laws of natural selection.

    Before the internet, I was a scientist with an interest in yoga. After, I’m a mystic with an interest in science.

    1. Josh, I agree that the internet has allowed that opening for many people and that is very good. I use it for research and here we are using it to communicate, which is wonderful. I read your writing that is online and really love what you do. I know there are many pluses to it. I am just trying to raise the bigger question of on balance, has it made people’s lives better? Since it has military/intelligence/Big Tech origins and control, one has to be very skeptical about its use as a means of human liberation. As my title says, its a double-bind that we need to address. When powerful forces can manipulate words and images at will and in a nanosecond, by human hand or algorithm, when everything is subject to such change, we are in a slippery slope to say the least. Thanks for your thoughts, which I always welcome. Pax, Ed

  9. Has the Internet and the devices to access it made your life better or worse? Has it made the life of humanity better or worse? Has its essential role in globalization made for a better world?
    Yes, yes, and yes.

    1. And compared to what number of definitions of ‘better or worse’? What is this ‘better world’ you are speaking of? What definition of ‘globalization’ are you referencing?

  10. There’s a teensy little trick for turning bits and pieces of internet into reality: read something twice (as I did this essay) or even a third time. You may not get more from it; but it will seem a tad more real to you because it won’t seem so much like something that will turn around and disappear without a trace tomorrow or the day after. A screenshot is hopelessly ephemeral; whereas a written thing, even just on a “sticky note,” promises to be there when you happen to think of it a year from now.

    “Now where did I put that?” is a dilemma as alien to the internet or computer as asking where your soul is today – hundreds of bookmarks notwithstanding. A written manuscript, as opposed to a keyboard concoction, is something that almost comes close to capturing its intent. And the myriad scratching outs and re-writing, laced by asterisks and notes everywhere, declares the work to have meaning – greater meaning the more extraneous notes. Plus it has the ultimate reality: it is you, the you who wrote it. It is your penmanship, with all its warts. You can look at a hand written manuscript and say “Wow, did I actually write that?”; rather than “Did I just dream it was me who wrote it? How do I know it was me?”

  11. I am your northern neighbour and we all feel the same here. I think as human beings we feel that we don’t have a choice right now because our freedoms have been taken away from us little by little. And if we disobey any of the current rules in place we are heavily find with fees starting at $300.00 and up as far as $100,000.00. For those that have access to a yard or parks we are the lucky ones, because we are able to escape the virtual world they are luring us into by fear. We are lured back into the virtual world because we want to know when we can have our freedom again. But the sad part of it is it will just be another illusion of freedom. I think it is important to draw strength from our beliefs, family, friends, and neighbours.

    The internet was first created in 1969 is was used and funded by the U.S. Military Defense Department. Once the internet was made public, our lives became substantially less private from that moment on in our history of humanity. Especially once they equipped every electric computer component with cameras and microphones.

    Here is an interview with David Icke that they don’t want the people to know about.

  12. But without computers and the web specifically, the internet generally, how could we read Edward Griffin?

  13. Dear Ed, Of the many articles I have read by you , your current essay is the most profound. It catches me in the middle of a determined yearlong struggle to “boycott and divest” from “the online double bind you describe. So far I have had only sporadic and short term periods of success, some weeks at a time at most, but what a relief it is when I can do it. I even have a blessing in this effort from my Bishop (russian orthodox) along with an admonition, only half joking, that to fail and go back would be to fall short, to backslide into a habit which I have already confessed to as a major stumbling block, if not an actual sin. Augustine (along with E Michael Jones lately), states that a man has as many masters as he has vices. In my case, it does seem that I have so far been unable to liberate myself from an overmastering “need” to keep up with the flow of the narratives online. It’s addictive and highly entertaining of course, since these narratives are being created by skilled communicators with the aid of powerful A.I. for the very purpose of continuously occupying the minds of very large numbers of people with a highly seductive, digitally enhanced “City of Man”. How then is a single person to begin to “come apart” from such a “strong delusion” if indeed that’s what this is? How is one to deal with the feeling of being left behind as the world follows the Pied Piper farther and farther toward the distant horizon , leaving one alone and out of touch? It seems to me that one would have to begin with a vague discontent, such as you describe, which might then ripen into a desire to be free; to be free to experience Truth, Reality, Life and Nature, other people (and God?) as our great , great grandparents might have done. Perhaps this persistent desire might lead to many unsuccessful attempts to free one’s self from the power of this mighty divergent reality. Having failed many times, perhaps , instead of despair , the desire becomes stronger and matures into something akin to Hope. Hope in ……..what ? Hope in some thing or some person or group of persons who will help us and strengthen us where we were not strong enough before. Some source of inspiration which would restore a sound mind in us, so that we would arrive at a clean place, where we would rather die than go back to our former corruption. We were created with free will. But in this case the will has so far not been strong enough. How then can the desire be strengthened? how to find the power not only to will , but also to to fight again and at last to overcome, or die trying? Perhaps most importantly, what ground to stand on, and Whom to stand with when taking up the fight again. what to Righteously replace the City of Man in the heart of hearts ? Aloha, Valentine Diehl Maui ,Hawaii

    1. Thanks, Val. So many of us are struggling with the same dilemma, and in our awareness and struggle there is hope that we will find a way though it. Your message and my reply travel this Internet, like flashes of light in the darkness. Messages of hope. Pax, Ed

    2. My particular escape from or battle with what Ed calls the online double-bind is to immerse myself in books written before it obtained its stranglehold. Recently, I’ve been particularly drawn to works of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This time travel has yielded a clarity about the devolution of thought and expression since that era and the shifting of our vision from utopia to dystopia. The upshot has been a fuller understanding of the ensuing two world wars (which have yet to end) and their culmination (pre-pandemic?) in our neoliberal nightmare.

  14. Very good commentary. My partner does not like computers. She spends most of her day growing vegetables and flowers and herself. I’m 73 years old and still lost in the world of images, meaningless words and so many question marks and the horror is, I know just about everyone else is in the same predicament. The speed of communications could be an asset and that would depend on what we are communicating. Can we break through the fear that enables alienation and isolation and light up the same-ness of us all? What words would we use to remove the invisible barriers of fear, distrust, skepticism and communicate our common dilemma among at least a small group of people.

    1. Joe, You are not lost. Your words belie that. Like me and so many others, you are struggling for a true way forward. Pax, Ed

  15. My computer died the other day and I am trying to decide if I should get it fixed or just keep bumming a little time on this borrowed one. Could I give it up altogether?
    It’s summer and warm weather is more seductive than the screen.
    Then I decided to see if you had written anything new, and this absolute gem of a post turns up.
    So who’s fault is it that I will be back online again, Ed?

    1. Ha, ha, Bko. I’ll take the blame and I’ll blame you for my reply. Laughter helps, doesn’t it? Pax, Ed

  16. Wonderful stuff Ed! (I write a one page treatise on some subject almost every day, but I’ve been waiting expectantly all week for your latest) I have been dealing with very much the same subjects and thoughts as you for over 6 years now, since handing my farm over to my son. I compile my writings into books and get 50 copies of each book printed purely for very select close associates. (I’d be honoured to send you a sample.)
    My conclusions and answer to the bind we are in, is to DISENGAGE as much as possible.
    My song is about 4 years old now.

    A CAGE
    A I see you’re in a cage my dears
    C You can’t seem to get out
    A You rattle all the bars and shout
    G You’ve been in there for years
    E It seems you like it there
    F With all your needs C attended to
    F I know you just C pretended to
    Am Despair
    A It’s comfortable and cosy
    C You share it with your friends
    A And follow the same trends
    G The future just looks rosy
    E The cupboard’s never bare
    F To step outside means C lots of pain
    F You think you’d have to C be insane
    Am To dare
    A And so you stay within your cage
    C Complain about your plight
    A You know it isn’t right
    G You demonstrate your rage
    E And claim it isn’t fair
    F But you like being C together
    F With your friends out of C the weather
    Am Without a care
    A You do it for your lover
    C Who will do it just for you
    A And complains about it too
    G Knowing one’s just like the other
    E It’s not rare
    F So you rattle on the C grating
    F But you’re really only C faking
    Am getting out of there

    1. Tom, It’s a struggle so many people are going through. I love your idea of binding and printing you writing into books. I make paper copies of my work for a few people. And I will have a book coming out toward late summer here, published by Clarity Press. I would love to see a sample of your work. A song – so great! Pax, Ed

  17. What a beautiful nuanced post Ed. The dilemma, the “double-bind” of “connected vs unconnected” to the web reminds me of the quote from Mark Twain: “IF YOU DON’T READ THE NEWSPAPER, YOU’RE UNINFORMED. IF YOU DO, YOU’RE MISINFORMED.”

    What this seems to translate to in my own day to day life is a daily focused effort (through reading at a handful of progressive web sites & a good book before bed) to simply not be – “completely misinformed” – on literally every important issue facing the world. And yet simultaneously along with the daily information I consume from outside the “MSM bubble” – the ever more acutely I feel an ever growing sense of being completely powerless to exercise any real influence regarding the resolution of these issues through the structures of our vaunted “Western democracies.”

    Ah yes, the perfect “double-bind.”

    1. Thanks, Gary.Great Twain quote. I visited his house in Hartford, Connecticut a year or so ago. It’s a mansion, really. I have been thinking since that day of writing about Twain, who in many ways embodied the double-bind – the man of the people in the ornate mansion by the river. Pax, Ed

  18. Meandering through the woods with my dog this morning and observing my shallow, anxiety laden breathing, I pondered the what that had brought me to this state of mind I could barely identify. I’ve always been a fringe dweller, but this is different. The fringes of….. are gone, it seems. There is no longer a ground on which to stand; the world has become virtual. I am addicted to it as much as anyone. The Irish scholar and poet, John O’Donohue names it “false belonging”. It’s a lousy substitute! I come home, get a cup of coffee and read this. Thanks, Ed. You can’t imagine how much I value your existence.
    Have a peaceful day.

    1. Thanks, Kay. I value yours as much for reading and responding. I too went for an early morning walk yesterday. It was a warm and glittering day with the birds in full throat. I went by the lake above the town with the sun above the hills with the railroad tracks below. This song echoes exactly my experience, except that I didn’t have to recall the beauty. It was now. Pax, Ed

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