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  • Wendy Becker

Vague Anxiety


The world changed overnight. Technologies that once seemed part of an alternate universe are no longer “stranger than fiction.” What was perceived as potential is now an integral part of our daily reality. Social media is packed with an assortment of signature memes and meetings are held in a light box like a Jetson's cartoon videophone. Downloadable game applications can pass artificial time while keeping track our vitals with the invention of Fit-bits and Dick Tracy like blue-tooth wrist apparel are prominent.


Overnight, human activities on this planet slowed to a quiet buzzle. Unexpectedly, wildlife graze on city lawns, streets are quiet without daily commuters, and the sky has not had such atmospheric clarity since 911. In fact, geological seismographs have fewer squiggly lines of feedback interference as a result of “Stay in Place” restrictions world-wide. It is as if we have fast forwarded from old black and white horror film where our imagination fills in the color of what is generated on the screen. Godzilla took a clean sweep through Tokyo and Dorothy and Toto bypassed the Wicked Witch of the West by getting spat out of a tornado to stay home.


We are learning there are a lot of places to be other than home. When kept to our own vices we get spooked by scary contrasts of light and dark. Naturally, we scoot closer to another to receive comfort, like the herd mammals we are. We are impacted by shadows cast on a wall like Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave”. As a species, how evolved have we really become? In all our wisdom it appears that we are moving further away from natural law. More and more we are inexorably connected to the building of an artificial bicameral mind where “pain is just a program.” Humanity, in love with potential has increasingly made the choice for an artificial reality. This concept is explored in the HBO Series “Westworld” that questions AI sentience.


Is there bliss in living forever? Can we stop bullying ourselves with self-judgements that are violently projected in the form of shaming others for their needs and beliefs? Is it possible to free ourselves from our own fiery emotional purgatories and learn from our mistakes? Is there such a reality where one can be unambiguously happy all the time without grief or loss? As slaves to impermanence, we are familiar with beginnings and endings. A Buddhist monk once said to me: "We are born to die." Our hero's journey traverses cycles of suffering, life, death and rebirth in constant motion. Vague anxiety maybe just this: standing in luminous unfamiliar territory of tidally changing times with no control of the outcome.

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