The virtualization of life

A friend and I were talking about taking a meditation class together, and she suggested an online course option. It looked good. I was tempted. Online anything is always tempting for me, but also a problem: my life is gradually getting virtualized to the point of absurdity.

My days are a blur of digitized chores to tick off in a task manager app. Things I have to actually leave home to accomplish are in their own special, shrinking category, actively minimized — not because I object to being out, but for love of speed and efficiency. Hauling my body around is slow.

For years I’ve worn my isolation proudly, proof of a writerly life. But I’m starting to feel like I don’t do anything real anymore. I have meetings and even doctor’s appointments by video chat. I order pizza with a form instead of a phone. I “keep in touch” with friends by liking a few Facebook posts. Most days, the voice I hear most often is Siri. I’m even losing conversations with cashiers to automated checkout stations. It’s a bit much.

There are countless conveniences in this brave new world I’d be loathe to give up, but it’s clear that I’ve lost something as well, and it’s probably not healthy.

I think if I'm going to study meditation, I need the experience, the place and people. I probably need it even more than I need the meditation!