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Reality is an Unbox

Our world is increasingly a place where people box everything into nice labels and acquire places, events and things in nice labeled boxes. Modern life, for some, is simply an ever escalating art of creating, sustaining and consuming better and better digital universes filled with better digital boxes. But better, as in "more efficient to produce", "more efficient to consume", "more efficient to serve", "use and throw" with "talk-to-a-child" simple interface.

In this world, people are the standard input and standard output - the buy and sell side interfaces - of the box; events are transactions between the box and the box holder. Here, motion is emulated by a switch to a different buy-me box. Relationships are mediated through an emotional attachment to an anonymous box that embraces, extends (and thankfully, not yet managing to 'extinguish') one's identity.

People, events and relationships - the soul of being human - are being seen more and more through the bitcoins of digital emotions - short bursts of feelings that can be typecast, searched and mined in an infinite set of contexts.

We created this world. It has substantially enriched parts of our lives. We cannot imagine a life without these boxes, nor can we sustain the current level of human aspirations without these boxes.

But reality is continuous - there aren't many clean interfaces and nice wrappers. An infinitely satisfying emotional bundle is a continuously changing interface in a permanently growing form - a  child, for example. The mundane and the sublime intertwine, as in a meandering conversation with a friend that proves Einstein wrong - time dilation can happen even when two observers are at rest because their mind is in motion. Where people, events and relationships are grown and groomed, not just harvested, paid for, negotiated through reciprocity or subordinated to a vision statement.

People, events and relationships are more like a rain forest than a searchable library of boxes.  There is the imperceptible reach of the long-term in each short-term interaction. Beauty is in the fractured interfaces that never fracture relationships. Good and bad are fractal experiences.

Living a balanced life between the boxed world and reality is going to get harder - just a random sampling of people walking on the streets, meetings and after-work family dinners will suffice to explain. We need to cultivate more Unplugged moments - a kind of fasting for the boxed world.

Shut the box out on a regular basis. Bring in unscripted moments where they are least expected. Pixie dust   spills out when you open the box and shake it up.


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