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Thread: Social media on our brain

  1. #1

    Social media on our brain

    Hi all,

    I thought I would share this info that I watched this morning about how social media (this specifically on Facebook), affects our brain and social relationships. In my mind even more reason for our practice.

    Please take a look.

  2. #2
    Thank you, it is an important reminder.

    I have heard the "50 to 150" people ceiling before the cells split analogy used for Zen Sangha as well by some sociologists who have studied Buddhist communities, which explains in part why most of the Zen groups I have encountered around the world seem to hover below such size and rarely above. I think it may be true for this community too.

    Also, the video is reminder for an online community like ours. It takes a lot of effort and care to keep the atmosphere around here open, intimate, warm and real. We miss something because of being limited to the written word (and the silence of sitting together), but I feel that overall we are doing not too badly. We need to be very careful though.

    Gassho, J

  3. #3
    Dedicating myself to being careful. I DO think that the written word has some advantages too, because theoretically one can "THINK" before "SAYING" something. I can also go back and actually see all the stupid things I wrote, and the great things all have written.


  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Clark View Post
    Dedicating myself to being careful. I DO think that the written word has some advantages too, because theoretically one can "THINK" before "SAYING" something. I can also go back and actually see all the stupid things I wrote, and the great things all have written.

    I believe that our true thoughts arise naturally in speech and the written word can be more attuned to the "politically correct" way of communication. It is thought out with the intentions putting ourselves in the best light or a means of protecting others from our viewpoint if it is thought that the idea may cause an undesired reaction. I've definitely edited my communications after the fact due to this.

  5. #5
    Well, any Zen Community is dedicated to realizing the so-called "Person of No Rank Coming In and Out of the Senses", the True Self ... and that is beyond and right through oral or written, names and facades of all kind. That is not a matter of what is said or not said.

    But besides that, I am of the view that we do gain much from taking a moment to speak in words ... I once wrote this (and it was heartfelt) ...

    We encourage our members to attend “in the flesh” Zen meetings in their communities whenever they can. It is wonderful to sit under a roof with others, able to share that kind of interaction. However, it’s just not possible for so many. What is more, Taigu Turlur (the other teacher at Treeleaf) and I have been surprised at the rich, intimate, nurturing environment that can be established in a so-called “online” Zen community. Certainly, there are some things we miss, beginning with the simple ability to hug a member during a life emergency or adjust posture by touch. Yet, our structure offers benefits too, especially in comparison to many non-residential, once or twice weekly or monthly Zazen groups where people come to hear a short talk, then sit silently before heading home, with little chance for social interaction beyond a few minutes before and after. In contrast, our Treeleafers communicate any day, every day, as much as they wish, with fellow Zennies who become real friends over time. People share the twists and turns of their lives, support each other during the ups and downs. We often see people who are more inclined to reveal themselves and share their lives over the internet (given the relative anonymity it can provide), and to drop the masks and facades that sometimes people wear dealing “face to face”. People do open up, often about events in their lives that they have told no one else. We have various video opportunities to chat with each other (including two way video Dokusan), but much of our Sangha’s communication is by written word in our “Forum”. While intonation and body language are unseen, our very diverse, mature, literate, gentle, lovely members are generally superb communicators by writing, and the written format allows a richness of expression, taking of time, depth and thoughtfulness that can be missing from casual oral chat-chat. Our discussions on the Dharma, on Practice and all life are serious business. It is a bit like the story of the blind man who, deprived of his ability to use some senses, learns new paths to richly contact the world through his remaining senses in ways the sighted often ignore. Although “Leafers” are denied aspects of physical contact and communication, they laugh and cry together, support each other, give each other a kick in the pants when needed, are truly Sangha brothers and sisters. At least, as much as any lay Sangha I know.
    Having worked "in person" in any number of offices with co-workers trying to play office politics, gone to high school and college with classmates obsessed with self image and "being cool", grown up attending family gatherings with some of my own puzzling family members ... how much even then do we get "behind the veil" of what people project and the facades they build, even to themselves sometimes? And when people show their "true sides" in person (such as my uncles who always let slip some embarrassing comments after a couple of drinks at a family dinner), can I thus claim to really understand what makes them "tick" deep down in the hidden recesses of their psychology? I don't think so. Small towns, traditional conservative families, religious groups which mold a group identity that crosses the line to cult ... each can be more like a prison squelching self-expression, intimacy and freedom. On the other hand, the internet often allows people to "come out of their shells" ... like the shy wall flower who cannot talk easily with people "in person" but can do so online, or the victim of some trauma who finds it hard to talk about the events and pain "in person" but who can open up behind the semi-anonymity the internet provides. (In fact, most of the speech on the internet is anything but "politically correct", and people say things to and treat each other in ways that they would hesitate to "in person" where they want to put their best foot forward and put on a mask. Maybe the "real" inner self comes out more on the internet?)

    In other words, I think the situation may be a bit more subtle than that video implies.

    Anyway, said too much ... heading to bed. Goodnight all.

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 03-19-2014 at 06:04 PM.

  6. #6
    Wonderful video.

    I closed my Facebook account a few years ago and life suddenly improved. It may seem like a paradox, but leaving Facebook made me less stressed and I wasn't alone anymore.

    Why? Because I started going out more often and spend time with real friends who care for me (even if the are in other countries and we keep in touch online).

    Social networks are great, but like everything in life, one has to be in control, not the other way around.

    Treeleaf is also an Internet social network in the way that we need to spend time online to be together. But we focus ourselves to zazen, practice and community events. This makes us a sangha, not just a Buddhist forum. That's why Treeleaf feels like home to me


    Hondō Kyōnin
    奔道 協忍

  7. #7
    Onken, thanks for the great share, very much enjoyed. =)


  8. #8
    Great post. I really agree with Jundo. I was going through a hard time and dealing with a lot of anxiety when I joined. Being able to come on treeleaf and read all the wonderful posts and study with the reading list and the videos was just what I needed. It was instrumental in getting me to a place where I started to feel a lot better. So it's definitely complicated. I know physical interaction, or just face-to-face, is vital. But everyone here is so lovely and mindful that I feel it really works. There's always room for improvement though. And that last sentence is geared at myself for not being more mindful about contributing.

  9. #9

  10. #10
    Thank you.

    "Recognize suffering, remove suffering." - Shakyamuni Buddha when asked, "Uhm . . .what?"

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